What’s the worst response a salesperson can get during a sales call? Up near the top must be: “I am sorry, I have just bought another car.” Which means the customer was in the buying window, but you have missed out on the opportunity because the follow-up was not fast enough.

This scenario was captured in a real-life SCAN mystery shop (our call scoring service) call for one of our clients recently. The dealer received the lead at 9.55am on Saturday morning but didn’t call the customer until 9.51am on Monday, by which time the prospect had purchased a vehicle.

This prompted us to question recent research¹ which suggests that 95% of new car buyers expect a response within 24-hours. We do not believe that is fast enough. Dealers should treat online enquiries with the same urgency as showroom visitors. If Dealers respond within 1-hour, or less, of receiving a lead, they are three-times more likely to speak to the customer, than those delaying for 24-hours or more. The conversion of enquiries into appointments also increases with the swifter response.

Improving the speed of lead follow-up

Asking dealers to respond to leads quickly makes good business sense, but it will not happen by chance. TrackBack works with numerous vehicle manufacturers to provide objective and accurate measurements of lead follow-up. Vauxhall, who have used TrackBack since 2011, achieved the top spot in the Sophus3 2016 Test Drive Awards, with an average response time of only 10-minutes. Second and third places went to Alfa Romeo and Fiat, who also use TrackBack to measure lead follow-up.

TrackBack’s clients use this data to coach and encourage dealers to improve their lead follow-up performance. Field managers regularly review any leads not contacted with dealers to understand why. Dealerships listen to real-life customer calls and identify training requirements. And vehicle manufacturers provide dealer incentives to raise lead follow-up performance to higher levels.

In what is an increasingly competitive industry, it pays not only to be one step ahead of your competitors but also one phone call ahead, which will hopefully avoid the dreaded “I have just bought another car” conversations from taking place in the future.


¹ Cars Online, Capgemini, 2015