carsales has successfully operated a business model centred around the value it delivers to its clients.
The billing mechanism is online leads delivered but the model is about the sale not the lead. This is applicable to all businesses using online as a sales mechanism, not just the auto industry.
It’s interesting in our business as some clients will convert 1 in 4 online leads to a sale and another client in the same city with a similar inventory mix will convert 1 in 8 leads. Why?
The answer comes back to the way each and every lead is treated where:
a) Those who sell 1 in 4 leads want more and more leads (because they know they are sales opportunities) to the point where they will call our support centre to see what is wrong when leads drop off because they know that it means their selling will drop off.
b) Those who sell 1 in 8 leads complain about the quality of leads.
Do the clients receive the same quality of leads? Yes, leads are not vetted to send the good ones to certain clients!
The keys to converting online leads are available to all businesses:
1 Treat each and every lead as a hot prospect – the person is sending a lead or calling because they want to buy from you or use your service. In our business, more often than not a sale is made on another car in the dealer’s inventory than the one enquired on.
2 Speed of response must be immediate and is paramount – first of all a template email response and then human follow up. Consumers regularly tell us they end up buying from the dealer who contacted them first or more to the point, some dealers just don’t respond or fail to follow point 1.
3 Track and measure all leads from all online sources in the one lead management system – this is especially so if you have sales people you are relying on to sell your products/services and look after your brand. Emails can be deleted and phone calls “didn’t come in” but not so in a lead management system where email leads are logged into the system and can’t be deleted. Calls are also logged and recorded.
When you think of it, it is kind of funny how some say the Internet (or carsales in the auto space) is making it hard to compete and making it too expensive.
We have far too many clients who follow these 3 steps and are successful online for it to be true.
Sometimes ROI attribution and accountability can be a scary proposition, especially in a changing world.
Maybe go back to the “good old days” and bring back the newspaper “rivers of gold”, that will fix it.