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Dealership Marketing

Lead Handling For Car Dealerships: Benefits and Tips

Transform your leads into appointments and sales with these tips for effectively lead handling management at your car dealership.

Man in a car dealership working on lead handling to sell more cars.

Leads, leads, leads! We hear it daily: “hey, FlexDealer - we need more leads.” And trust us - we can get ‘em for you! But what happens after those leads come in? How many of them are you shirking off as “bad leads?” What quantifies a “bad lead?” Is there such a thing as “bad leads?” Do you have appropriate scripts, processes, and support for your dealership team to handle ALL leads, no matter how cold they may seem? 

In today’s post, we’ll be digging into the benefits of setting the bar high when it comes to lead handling, plus providing you with a few tips on setting your sales team up for lead-handling success. Let’s get started.

What is Car Dealership Lead Handling?

This might seem like a “duh,” paragraph, but with plenty of business owners just getting their new car dealerships off the ground, it’s important to take a moment to understand what we mean by lead handling.

Essentially, lead handling is how you manage the sales process once a lead comes in for a vehicle. It could be somebody asking about the price of a car, looking to book a test drive, asking some very general questions, “just browsing,” or even just checking out your dealership. Leads look many different ways, but they usually include somebody taking an interest in your dealership, products, or services.

Lead handling at dealerships is an important process that can help ensure a positive customer experience and generate sales. When done correctly, lead handling can help to build relationships with customers, create a good impression of the dealership, and ultimately result in sales. Thus, dealerships need to have a clear and concise lead handling process to ensure the best possible outcome for both the customer and the dealership.

Benefits of Lead Handling Management at Car Dealerships

  1. You'll Provide Far Better Service To Your Clients

It’s important to have quick access to all the information you need to reply to inquiries quickly and keep new customers flowing through your pipeline. Your employees must know whose responsibility it is to:

  • Be the first point of contact with a new lead

  • Follow-up with leads in the hours, days, and weeks after an initial encounter

  • Keep an eye on various lead channels (i.e.: instant messaging, email, voice mails, etc.)

  • Access information quickly (i.e.: vehicle information, financing information, etc.) so your customers aren’t left hanging

The more organized and thoroughly communicated your processes are, the better for both you and your consumers. You can rapidly respond to queries and leads with all the information at your fingertips, ensuring that no one is neglected or lost in the weeds.

  1. No Sale Will Be Overlooked

Few things cause lost leads more quickly than archaic lead handling techniques. You need to find new solutions that will save your team time. One thing that connects the majority of today’s shoppers is the demand for instant gratification. If you don't answer a customer’s questions promptly, they will search elsewhere.

  1. Each Lead Can Give You Credit As The Rightful Provider

Like we said in the beginning, there is always something that has brought a lead to you. Maybe it’s a giant inflatable gorilla they remember seeing on your lot a few weeks ago or a well-placed Google vehicle ad, but there is most certainly always a reason they’ve chosen to reach out to YOU. 

Once they’ve made contact, dealerships should be able to track, monitor, and comprehend every stage of the customer journey, including any subsequent post-purchase interactions with the service department, after-sales team, and other parties of a similar type.

Flex Tip: Being able to pinpoint the source of each lead (data collection) is a huge benefit. Effective lead management involves more than just better lead organization and processing: another goal is to provide you, the marketer, with a tool to recognize the top channels and marketing strategies.

Tips for Successfully Managing Your Dealership Leads

  1. Be Smart With Your Lead Capture 

The average vehicle dealer creates 278 leads per month when you consider all phone calls, online forms, and online chats. Some of these leads might be significantly more sales-qualified than others depending on where the customer is in the sales funnel, what their credit score is, availability of inventory, etc.

But if you’ve captured them as a lead, there is merit there: be friendly, ask questions, and make a connection. Even if they’re not ready to purchase right now, you’ll leave them with a positive experience of your dealership, and they may come back in the future. You’ll also be able to determine fairly quickly whether they’re a more serious shopper, allowing you to nurture the lead accordingly.

  1. Avoid Lost Leads 

Didn’t respond to a message over the weekend? Dropped the ball on calling someone back who was interested in that pickup truck? Marked a particular lead as “bad” because of your perception of where they are in the funnel before even reaching out to them? ACK. Those are lost leads.

Let’s just be clear: don’t waste leads. Put the effort into each lead. Toss your preconceived notions aside and concentrate on giving quality customer service to each and every potential shopper. It will pay off in both the short and long term.

  1. Nurture Your Hot Leads

We've spent a lot of time talking about managing more challenging leads, but let’s not forget your hot leads! You are bound to get plenty of qualified sales leads from your digital marketing efforts, and you’ll want to put extra effort into those potential shoppers.

Keep an eye on your most promising leads and don’t let them fully vanish or be put on pause. Use a CRM safety net for the calls, forms, chats, and leads that could otherwise elude your sales process.

We also strongly recommend using automated communication systems, including things like email flows and scripts (yes - scripts!). During busy periods, these automated systems can save your high-quality leads by keeping them in the funnel with less one-on-one effort from your sales team. Don’t be afraid to put scripts and effective email marketing into play at your car dealership - they’ve been proven to work well, especially while your team is busy working directly with customers.


If you're looking for ways to generate leads and manage those leads effectively at your car dealership, consider using some of the methods mentioned or working with a creative marketing agency for car dealers. From online marketing to cold calling, there are a number of ways to reach potential customers and get them interested in your product. By using a mix of methods, you can create a well-rounded lead generation and management strategy that will help you keep your dealership running smoothly.

You can get in touch with FlexDealer if you're looking for a creative marketing agency for car dealers. We contribute original and fresh ideas to your marketing plan. Leave the marketing to us and concentrate on your business!

FlexDealer Team      

FlexDealer Team      

FlexDealer is a leading provider of innovative dealership inventory and marketing solutions. Our goal is to help dealerships thrive and grow in a rapidly changing industry.

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