Over the past 13 years or so we’ve noticed a trend in the RV Industry where visitors and new email leads slow down starting in late September and continues slowing down until the end of December. During this time your new leads become increasingly precious, however, no matter how busy you are, or what time of year it is, new leads should be contacted within a few minutes of their form submission to make a lasting impression.
You should think of your website visitors / leads just like they are walk-in customers on your lot. If a customer comes to your dealership for parts, service or sales, are you going to let them stand around and wait a day or two until they are taken care of and/or their questions are answered? I don’t think so. You would not be in business very long if that was the case.
I recently had an experience with a local RV Dealer that I wanted to tell you about. My daughter was looking for a car and we happened to notice a nice little car at one of the RV Dealers that I talk to a couple times a year – nice folks. We stopped, test drove it, got all the info on it and told them I would email them the financing specifics. A couple days later I emailed them for some info I needed about the car for my credit union. About a month or so later, I received a call from that RV Dealer who had just found my email and wanted to know if I was still interested in the car. I was thinking that maybe they didn’t respond to me sooner because I was not in the market for an RV, but even if that was the case, the impression I have of that RV Dealer is that they just don’t care about their customers or potential customers – the complete opposite of my impression of them since I started talking to them about 2 years ago.
I wanted to walk-through with you the basics of an email lead follow-up time-line:
- 9:00 am: Joe and Jane Smith send an email to your dealership to find out how much shipping would be on a particular unit.
- 9:01 am: Joe and Jane receive an auto-responder that thanks them for browsing your website and inventory and lets them know that George Lopez, their Internet Sales Consultant, will be responding to them shortly. Provide a picture of George along with his direct line, cell phone number, direct email address and office hours.
- 9:05 am: George calls Joe and Jane to let them know he’s working on the shipping quote for them, get any other details he needs to provide them an accurate quote, find out what the important key features are for that particular unit for Joe and Jane and let them know he will be calling them back shortly with their quote but to expect an email from him in a few minutes as well.
- 9:15 am: George emails Joe and Jane a link to the detail page for the unit they are interested in that has a 2-3 minute video walk around with George talking about the key features of the unit from the previous call to Joe and Jane and any others he feels they may really like.
- 9:30 am: George calls Joe and Jane with the verbal quote for shipping and lets them know he emailed it to them as well.
How impressed do you think Joe and Jane are with your dealership and the 30-minute follow-up they received from you? How many of your competitors do that for their website visitors? If their question or need will take more then an hour or even more than a day to complete, let them know up front with your first call to them. Be honest and they will appreciate it and know what to expect. Don’t leave them hanging.
The auto-responder is an important element and should be as personable as possible to make the visitor feel like they are already part of your dealership. I never received an auto-responder from the RV Dealer I referred to above so I didn’t know if they received my email or not nd to be honest when a couple days passed and I didn’t hear from them I didn’t want to do business with them anyway.
One thing you might think about adding to your website is an FAQ page. I know there are many calls we get with repetitive questions and I’m sure you’re no different. You can custom tailor this page to your dealership for the maximum benefits to your visitors. This allows visitors to educate themselves on the most common questions and gives your sales team more time to work on the more complicated ones.
Email Etiquette Basics:
- Respond to emails within 2 hours if at all possible, but no longer than 24 hours.
- The quicker you respond, the more favorable impression you will make.
- When responding check it over for spelling and grammatical errors before sending (turn on auto spell-checker).
Surprising Stats I Found:
- 42% of the Top-500 businesses take more than 5 days to answer a simple question sent via email.
- 35% of companies don’t even bother to answer emails at all.
What is your standard procedure for responding to emails quickly?
Are you tracking the response times, results from them and if they are getting better?
Cindy Spencer 🙂