How do you dealers get responses from people who have been to your website, seen a vehicle, then submitted a request then DON'T ANSWER followups?  I am frustrated by them and wish I had a better answer than a follow up call, several emails etc.  What do you do ? Thanks M

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Many people are more likely to reply to a text and/or social media. Texting is low-pressure and works in their world. Finding them through their email address on social media is another alternative. If you send them an @reply on Twitter or friend them on Facebook and send a message through there, they may be more inclined to reply.
Hello hows your day? I seen you were looking at such and such.....when can you come in? Just returning your call, when can you come  in? Just following up on your internet inspection, when can you come in? get the picture?
haha. exactly.

Are they interested in the "BIG IN STORE SALE" going on with  "SPECIAL PRICING" on that vehicle and others like it? The sale includes the highest pricing for their possible trade.

I agree with texting because that is very low pressure and most phone numbers are going to cell phones, but Tweeting or Friending may seem a little creepy and desperate.  Consistent, complete, informational follow-up is, and has always been, the only way to try to convert a lead to an appointment.

How did you you answer the request? Auto Rersponder? How long did it take to answer the request? These are the questions you must ask yourself first. Are they going to buy now or 6 mos from now? When the answer comes from an auto responder

that is a complete turn off when on your web page and they click to quote and get a response loke hello my name is Tom got your request please call me etc...that excitement is once you figure the first response out then the rest should fall in


If I get a hit after we close, it gets an auto response, I reply in the morning, then immediately follow it up with a call.  The call seems to go to voice mail, the email back to them I am afraid to say may go to SPAM.  So they aren't seeing my response, price etc.  What do you do ?

What percentage of requests aren't responding?  Are these folks the 1% you will never see anyway, even if you gave it away. Or is this a troublesome higher percentage?  If so you are possibly doing something that might drive them away.

If you look at it from a shoppers point of view you might change how you do things.  Consider this: some people are contacting you in order to take you off their list, by judging your response.  I know it's hard to hear but some people would rather see their dentist then deal with buying a car.  For example just responding with a "it's here, when can you come see it?  Here is my rock bottom internet price"  will not get some people captivated to come in.  If you just quote a low price, odds are they will shop it (especially new cars) and you effectively taken your dealership off their shopping list since they can't do better by you anyway.  Are you using a auto-repsonder that is vague and impersonal or even worse pushy?  Are you following up with their preferred method of contact?  Did you leave a reason to call back or email back?  Consider asking them some engaging questions like "when are you considering buying?", "is this car replacing a car?" or "who is going to use it most?" or "is this the only type of car your considering?" If you get a back and forth of emails you commit them to coming down.  Do you offer to do something no one else will, like "can I bring the car out to your place at your convenience?"  Give them a little trivia about the car they are interested in "did you know that 2007 Camry Hybrid has a cabin air system called Plasmacluster that removes...?" Or talk about some other things you offer like free service shuttle etc.  Maybe even give them a good time to call peppering in life things like "I am available Friday till 4pm after that I have my son's school play."  Shop large successful dealerships in other areas and see which emails you think you would actually respond to.   Yes price and availability are important but not the only thing people respond to.  Be human and real and you will get a better customer, more referrals and easier deals.


Good Luck

James Crossman

Great question Mark!

I think we have to start with the fact that the Internet Customer is a slightly different animal. We are used to people walking in to our Dealership and buying that day or maybe shortly thereafter.  The Internet Shoppers are long term shoppers and they have become information gathers. 

We have had some great responses so far and I wanted to add to them.

In my opinion this is the approach that works well.

So many Dealers these days fall into the trap of trying to sell the car online. I still have not seen that work. Another thing that we do as Joel mentioned is continuing to push the appointment without giving them a real reason to come in.  When we are constantly hitting them for an appointment we really need to build value first.

When I talk to others about replying I tell them to do four things.

1. Answer the questions.

2. Pose more questions to give them a call to action. 

3. Build up the experience of coming to your Dealership.

4. Use out of the box tactics ie, texting, video, etc.

So basically before we reply we really read the lead and determine who this person is, what they are looking for, how they came to us, and what questions they are posing.  Truly personalize the lead. We want to remember that these aren't actually leads, the are people.

Just as you would desk a lead if the customer was in the store, we want to desk that lead from the Internet Department. After we desk that lead we want to use that information to truly engage them and give them the information that they are looking for. At the same time we want to build up our customer experience by talking about our VIP service and our customer reviews. Use these to your advantage.

The first response should mention your customer experience and really address what they are looking for.  The second response should really focus on your VIP Service listing what you have and maybe in the end give a link to your Google Places or DealerRater. In the mean time if you have a phone number you should call.  You can take care of in one call more than 10 or 20 emails back and forth can accomplish. Call them! :) 

Also, by posing questions we have effectively answered their initial question, gave them a call to action to reply with our questions and built up the customer experience to give them a reason to come in for an appointment. 


Remember that the Internet Shopper is an information gatherer though. They may not reply but they are listening.  They are stockpiling the information you are giving them until they are ready to come in. Given them useful information to stockpile. Every response doesn't have to be a "are you ready" response. You can send them an email with a link to check out about their desired vehicles. Send them a video walk-around of their desired vehicle. Send them a video introduction of yourself. Use all the tools in your Toolbox.

The goal is to stay in front of them.  Keep your Dealership on their mind.  

Texting is a great tool.  Go ahead and text them.  If they would rather not receive texts they will tell you and you can notate that.

Lastly, you can use Facebook to get a feel for who they are if their Profile is public. Do not under any circumstances friend them or let them know you saw their Facebook page.  Use it for your information only to determine how to contact them.

Sorry, I got a little long winded LOL!!! 



Great response.  It may be long-winded, but it's right on target!
All Great Points. I have not integrated Facebook into it....but I will soon !  Bringing up something different and reengaging them in conversation is something that I don't do 100% of the time !  I will now !  Thanks All !
Why do you suggest that we do not send Friend request?


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