Sales leads are the lifeblood of any retail operation. Without them, you have no customers and no business, so it’s imperative for dealers to attract as many good quality leads as possible. The digital age has introduced a wealth of new ways to reel in customers, but there’s also no substitute for old-fashioned market knowledge and a reputation for quick and friendly responses.
Our top three tried and tested methods explain how you can boost your sales leads for the better.
1. Optimise your website
If customers can’t reach your website, your leads are going to suffer. So the first thing to do is make sure it’s as web-friendly as possible. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) uses organic—or unpaid—methods to make a page more visible to search engines. It includes a host of measures, such as regular and relevant content, page titles, meta descriptions, and tags.
Paid search is similar in its aim but, as the name suggests, it relies on commercial advertising based around key words and phrases users are likely to search on Google. Your website also needs to be geared up for conversions, and there should be a clear way in which customers can start the sales process—such a contact form. Every page needs to load quickly because customers won’t hang around for a sluggish site.
Many dealers will already be using these methods, but it never hurts to revisit them—especially given the pace of change associated with digital shopping habits. Check out our post on SEO and paid search for an in-depth look at each.
2. Offer the right stock
You know your market better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to source and offer the stock to attract the right kinds of leads and plenty of them. That’s easier said than done: good quality used cars are currently low in number and hard to come by. Dealers told us as much in our 2019 One Voice report, when 80.8% of those surveyed said finding and acquiring used vehicles in the right condition and at the right price had become more difficult year-on-year.
There’s no substitute for keeping a close eye on the auctions, but resilient dealers have told us they’ve increased their use of part-exchange vehicles and bought directly from private sellers in order to boost their stock levels.
Refurbishment also has a role to play here—or more specifically, the balance of it. Any kind of refurb costs time and money and employing it to excess leaves dealers out of pocket and hikes the value of the car. This can easily price it out of your target market’s range. However, a tactical approach to refurbishment keeps the costs down while increasing the car’s appeal.
Market knowledge of both the products and your customers is your best friend here, but a small amount of work to get a less-than-desirable car to an appealing level can pay dividends and instantly broaden your market. Some auction companies already do this in-house, based on National Association of Motor Auctions grading levels, and have reported greater interest from trade buyers as a result. But there’s no reason dealers can’t do the same on the forecourt.
3. Be open all hours
Maybe not quite all hours (it might not be worth stationing a sales executive by a computer for a 3 am graveyard shift) but there’s certainly value in having a manned phone and digital response service outside of the conventional nine-to-five slot. Most people will likely browse for their next car in the evening or on weekends. If potential customers can see you’re available for a chat at those times, then they’re more likely to get in touch.
Even better if you’re known for quick replies. Facebook Messenger tells users the average amount of time a business usually takes to respond. If you fall into the category of ‘typically replies within an hour’ then customers can see that you’re speedy and no-hassle from the off. Our previous post goes into greater detail about how best to set up your out-of-hours responses. It requires resources and diligence, but get it right, and you can expect an increase in sales leads.