Automotive, Education, Insights

How Dealerships are Losing Online Leads, and How They Can Fix It

By Motoinsight - Apr 09, 2020

We do a lot of mystery shopping — and I mean a lot. We've filled out thousands of online leads across all brands and regions, and refined the data in order to identify a few key insights about how dealers interact with digital customers. Based on the results, we've put together a list of dos and don'ts for handling online leads. Some dealers are ahead of the curve, and not all of these may apply to you, but there is always room for growth. Here are our top six insights:

| 17% of dealers failed to respond to online leads

This one should be obvious: respond to leads in a timely fashion and take the time to be personal, thorough, and helpful. So where does this number come from? To their credit, most dealerships recognized the value of their online leads and responded almost immediately. But the surprising number of dealers who simply didn't respond at all shows the gap between the number of customers looking for answers online, and the quality of the digital infrastructure that addresses those questions.

| 60% of dealers didn't answer basic pricing questions

You probably aren't one of the dealers who forgot to answer their leads, so you're safe, right? Well, not exactly. We found that 60% of dealers avoided providing a direct answer to basic pricing questions about leasing and financing. Instead, we received a litany of requests for phone calls or in-store appointments. Our mystery shopper received as many as 30 emails from a single dealer without ever getting a straight answer.

| 15% of dealers didn't have pricing on their websites

Customers like the internet because it’s easy, anonymous, and flexible. They can research their next induction cooktop in between meetings, and compare the brands in their price range. But many dealers make it harder than you'd expect for customers to get the basic information at the start of their purchases. In the exploratory stage of their buying journey, customers who seek information online are looking for quick answers to simple questions. However, we found that instead of quick answers, 15% of dealerships listed “$CALL” instead of any price information on their VDPs.

| 15% of dealers ask the same questions more than once

What's worse than answering tedious questions once? Being asked them a second time by the same person. After filling out forms or submitting requests through a specific VDP, we found that 15% of dealers asked for information that should already have been available to them. We'd fill in the lead form for a red Civic, only to be asked what model and colour we wanted. Or we'd ask for financing quotes on a 60-month term, just for the dealer to ask us what term we were looking for. Take note: your customers want to feel heard, not ignored.

| 3% of salespeople differentiated their responses

We found that only 3% of salespeople made any attempt to differentiate themselves when responding to lead forms. Generic responses and vague statements made each dealer’s email blend into the next; our overburdened inbox contained little useful information. When everyone has a similar VDP and lead-generation process online, you can really stand out by offering just a little more than your competitors.

What should you do with this information?

Your dealership might not fall into these common traps, but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Even the best of the best can make mistakes, so the simplest solution is to automate the transition between digital and personal away from salespeople. Your team is good at what they do, but you can accomplish so much more with sophisticated software. An omni-channel digital retailing system makes it easier to track and close online leads.

With an omni-channel solution, your customers can bounce back and forth between the internet and the showroom as often as they like. They can proceed with confidence from the knowledge that their information and progress will follow them at every step. No online leads get lost, and no customers get frustrated and leave for another dealership.

This is good news for you. It’s not hard to stand out right now. Consumers are happy if dealerships can answer even the simplest questions without a lengthy phone call or trek to the showroom, which gives you the opportunity to stand out like never before. An omni-channel digital retailing platform eliminates all the sticking points in the sales processes. Even better, it builds customer trust in a way few can compete with.


Since 2011, Motoinsight has been working with dealerships and OEMs to realize a new vision for the automotive industry through our leading solutions including MotoCommerce. If you’re ready to find out how your dealership can thrive in the digital future, visit
motoinsight.com. Let’s redefine automotive retail, together.

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