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Research proves that timing is everything for successful dealers

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on August 29, 2018

Competitive dealers respond to queries quickly and personally

It’s true of comedy, and according to new research it’s true of selling cars too. Timing really is everything. Figures from automotive lead management company enquiryMAX show that speed is of the essence when it comes to closing sales. The research found that 78% of sales are made within 10 days of an initial customer enquiry.

The 10-day hot zone

The message for dealers is hardly new, but it bears repeating. The figures reveal a 10-day zone of opportunity that dealers should be ready to exploit, after which the chances of a successful sale start to recede. A structured programme of contact, by phone and email, is crucial to turn waverers into buyers during this period.

That programme is not difficult to put into place. Automated emails should thank browsers for their initial interest and point them towards further interaction (like model specification downloads or finance options). An initial phone call can gauge interest in a test drive. Communications should be friendly and personal.

Making it personal

In fact, personal service is essential during this period of opportunity to earn trust. The research authors claim that, if a customer returns to a dealership for a second visit, sales staff should not only know their first name, but also their partner’s first name and even what they like to drink. Whether that level of detail is required or not, what is certainly true is that generic communications are no longer enough.

All of which may seem obvious, but plenty of dealers don’t have a programme of structured communication in place. That might help explain another finding of the research: that 57% of all active prospects were over 50 days old. A sale at this late stage is by no means impossible, but it is increasingly unlikely.

Speed sells

The new research confirms that interested buyers expect timely interaction, and it is not the first study to say so. One analysis found that nearly half of car buyers were more likely to complete a purchase if dealers responded to online enquiries within an hour. An impatient 25% expected a response within just 30 minutes.

The message is clear. When it comes to an expensive purchase like a car (new or used), buyers who have expressed an interest expect quick, personal contact. What it amounts to is a 10-day window in which well-prepared dealers turn browsers into buyers.