Listen to what a lead is telling you

In this video I show how to dissect a lead quickly.  Gather information and glean clues to make for a better initial response to an internet lead.

I feel strongly that armed with robust info from the lead. You can respond to customers better. Have more excitement and put your best foot forward with customers.


Not every lead is the same. Why is that ?
It’s because each customer is different.
They each are on a different journey, trying to discover what vehicle is right for them.
Right for their family, their budget. Even which vehicle is right for their status.
They all have different situations they are in.
They may currently have a car and want/need to replace it.  It may be their first car.  They have an income level.
And they all are taking a different path on this journey.  This path colors their decision making.  It influences their expectations.

When looking at a customer opportunity in Eleads starting with the customer information, I first want to get an idea of how far away the customer is.  Yes we all know of a sexy story
of the car deal that went out to California or
Michigan or new York.  But those are the exceptions.  It is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.  What is a reasonable distance a customer will come to visit you ?
Knowing the location and the distance changes  how I am going to speak to the customer.
Either on the phone or in emails. Someone local, I am going to say things like, “what are you doing for lunch today?  How about a car deal ?
If they are a good distance away, I am going to ask them why they are casting such a large net. And I am going to note who or how many of my competitors are nearby them.
Now anyone who has sold cars, knows of the days when you are standing out on point and a car pulls in and you are straining to look at the car to read a licences plate or bumper sticker or what is handing from the rear view mirror. Trying to get an idea of who might be inside. Searching for clues so that you can establish some common ground early on. Trying to understand what reason they are coming in today.
Hey look a Braves sticker !
Sticking with the Customer Information portion.
I do two things. I highlight the phone number and right click on my mouse and search Google. And I am going to do the same thing with the email address.
You see the biggest problem with internet leads is that they are air. We have a problem
associating that lead with a real living breathing person that is interested in buy a car. Its human nature.  And it is hard to get excited about them.  But we really need that
excitement.   It sells cars ! What you can find out are things that help  validate that this is a real person. But also give you some insight into them as a person. From where they work to their hobbies, even a picture.  All of this helps your brain get in gear.  Now this does not always work. and do not spend  over a minute doing it.
Next I move over to the opportunity section
Where the vehicle info is.
NEW or Used and is it a specific vehicle?
My first thought here is AVAILABILITY. Do we have it? How many do we have. Are there
any incentives. Does it have a clean Carfax. I want to make sure to communicate this to the customers.  Tell them.  Availability is considered one of those unspoken questions we
need to answer each and every time.
Under that is the lead source. This area has the most impact on a weather you sale a car or not. I will say it again in a different way.
Understanding where the customer came from and what experience they had determines what their expectation is of us.  We either meet that expectation or we fail.
And mostly we fail.
Because we tend to treat each and every lead the same.
So again.
This area  has the most impact on a weather you sale a car or not.
A customers expectation on a website that says “get your best price” or Get Eprice is not
going to be very receptive if you do not include or speak to price in your communication.
You need to best position yourself with the customer by having an understanding of the experience they have had thus far.
I invite you to explore the portals, websites and tools a customer uses.
Finally I drop down and look at the lead that came in.  At the actual lead.  Now some can be hard to read.  But in the lead may be other cues and clues that will help.
Eleads is not perfect and often looking at the lead you will see a trade entered or a vehicle of interest that did not populate when the lead came in.  This info you should manually enter into the opportunity section.
Especially if the customer has a questions.  Those questions you must not ignore.
There you have it.  I feel strongly that armed with robust info from the lead. You can respond to customers better.  Have more excitement and put your best foot forward with customers.

Thanks for watching and I welcome your feedback.


Stopping the Clock is Sinking You

The worst buzz words I have ever heard. EVER. Is “Stopping the clock”.
In the past, I would get a little nauseous, a bit sick.  Now I am flat out angry.
It starts at the top with manufactures, this disease. And spreads to owners, GM’s, Internet Managers and their folds.
What we are doing is indicating that we have made an attempt to contact a customer.
That ends up on some report.  A measure that we are judged on.  In some cases, it is
the one and only thing looked at to determine the health and welfare of our lead handling.
Yep, response time is good. Lets move on……..  YIKES !
We have taken probably the most important opportunity to effectively communicate
with customers and turned it into a knee jerk reaction.  A click of the button, a send
of a lame template.  All to satisfy this evil, sadistic clock.  That like the monster under your bed, is not really there at all.
True, a quick response time increases close ratios.
So we are car folk right ?  Which means we have sought the laziest means to accomplish
this.  In most CRM’s, clicking “made phone call” stops the clock.  There, now we can get
on with the morning biscuit and bullshit.
And then we forget and suddenly after lunch that we really get around to responding.
Pick and choose. I am willing to compromise.  OK ?
A third party lead from Nissan is much different than a true new car lead from the manufacturer or your own website.  If you are going to stop the clock, then do it
on these leads.  Their value is diminished because they are probably a bit stale
a bit haggard and have mold growing on them.
Just sending an email template to stop the clock is not a good idea.
Templates have their place and can be used as a good framework
initially.  Sending a “quick” email is often full of mistakes.  The form fill

is often wrong and what the customer gets is NOT how we want
to represent ourselves.
That first email is the most important email.
It is your best and sometimes the only chance with a customer.
It will set the tone with the customer for what to expect
from you and your communications.  And they decide from that
what value continuing to open your emails are.
A good initial email takes time to put together.  From 8 to 16 minutes.  I often use it as  a script when calling a customer.  I just read them the email.  It acts as a guide and helps make sure I deliver the best info to the customer.  If no answer, I just leave an abbreviated message and send the email.
Crafting a good email takes practice and it is a skill set that most sales people
lack.  But with time and practice they can get better.