Due to the nature of our business, we are often invited to present about the importance of following up online leads quickly and professionally, and it seems that the issue of poor lead follow-up continues to plague the automotive industry. A recent Sophus3 study highlighted that on average it takes UK dealers 7 hours and 56 minutes to respond to online test drive requests, and other studies around the world mirror these results.

One question that we are repeatedly asked is this: “Why is speed of lead follow-up so important?

We often answer that having measured the lead follow-up activity for over 5 million leads around the world, our data proves that speed does count.

But maybe we should look at this a different way…

Imagine for a minute that you want to buy a new car, you have a budget in mind and freedom of choice. So you start your search.

Like most car buyers, the search will probably start online, you may have a few makes and models in mind, and there will probably be a few “must haves” that you need to make the car fit your needs. So off you go.

You spend hours on the internet, visiting manufacturers websites, configuring cars, trying to find the answers to your questions. You may even look at online motoring journals to read the latest road test reports, or even visit online forums to learn more about the experiences of current owners.

Once you have drilled down to what you like and can afford, you may end up with a couple of makes and models that really appeal to you.

But here is where I want change what happens next. Rather than submitting and online enquiry through the manufacturer, dealer or car sourcing website, you decide to visit your local dealers to take a look at the cars and take a test drive.

So, off you go, you take time out of your day, and visit the first dealer. You are greeted by a smartly dressed sales person who will hopefully answer all of your questions and arrange a test drive for you.

However, this is what the sales person says “Please take a seat, I will be with you in 7 hours and 56 minutes to help you”.

Websites are often described as virtual showrooms. If that is the case then potential customers in your website need to be treated like potential customers in your showroom.

It is common sense to just follow-up leads quickly!