When Quick Isn't Enough

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We have all been there. You send out an important e-mail, are excited when a response pings into your inbox, and anticipate what you will soon read. You click on it, only to find a canned, automated response.

“I will be out of the office until….”

I almost wish there was no response rather than that response. 

It is a response which is not a response.

How many times do we send that to our potential customers?

Not a very nice first hello. This is more of an index finger in the air--wait until I want to talk with you-- response.

Leads are valuable. They are not only leads--they are potential customers. And whether you purchase those leads or if they are OEM leads, they have monetary value; regardless of when they come into your system.

I recently read a study in the Harvard Business Review  which described the value of leads, and how quickly they should be responded to. To capture the lead--to try to convert the lead from online to on-lot, you need to respond to the potential customer quickly--and not with an auto-responder. If you wait more than an hour, the lead is statistically no longer interested.

So, here is what we know:

  • You need to respond to each online customer in 10 minutes

  • You need to be professional, consistent, personal, and engaging

  • You need to be grammatically correct.


You need to personally respond to each online customer

Regardless of the hour, you need to personally respond to the customer. Auto-responders are not an effective way to get a customer from online to on-lot. It is just a digital answering machine. Those customers shopping at night are there for a specific reason--that is when they have time! The work day is over, the dinner is made, and the kids are in bed. That is his/her first free moment to shop. Reach out to that customer where he/she is.

It is doable. And that does not mean that you have to have your phone or computer next to you at all times or sleep with it at night. We have a great tool to respond to these leads which is not an auto-responder, but that will be a writing for another day. But being the first and the fastest is not enough. 

You need a professional, consistent, engaging response

Professional means the response is just that--professional. Your first hello should be the best possible you. When a customer walks into the dealership, you turn on your genuine smile, walk with authority, shake with a firm grip--you want to make the best possible first impression.

When responding to customers, you need to make sure that your responses are consistent between all employees, at all times, with all mediums of technology. Whether using a computer or a phone, you should provide the same quality of response.

You need to be grammatically correct

Nothing is worse than receiving an e-mail or a text with incorrect punctuation, capitalization and spelling. It looks unprofessional and childish. Take the time (the extra five minutes) to review your work. If you are not confident in your written skills, have a co-worker review your responses. Never hit send without a second read through.

So, What Now?

We have a saying at BetterCarPeople--You won’t sell a car with one e-mail, but you can definitely lose a sale with a bad first hello. Make sure that your first hello to your customer is genuine, engaging, and professional. Take the extra moment and make that connection. You will see the ROI.