How to deal with DM leads as a car buyer …

DM leads are a gift and curse at the same time for the 2017 car buyer

Leads from Direct Mailings, the so-called passive leads, are a difficult chapter for many vendors in the automotive industry. I get that. Most sellers have too many acquisitions and therefore they lack time to focus consistently on these types of leads.

With a so-called ‘calling night’ you will not make it, even if this is successful for one time. You must be able to follow the follow-up of leads consistently. Week in, week out, 52 weeks a year. I think that the car buyer should be used as a vanguard and not as a runner-up player. I use this comparison consciously; you want maximum return and so you put your Messi in the lead and not on goal as keeper. If you send your DM campaigns regularly 12 months a year, you want a regular follow-up and you want to make arrangements. This can be done by submitting the follow-up to the Client Contact Center (CCC) / BDC, whether internal or external.

And then it fails

If you have the CCC / BDC call to make appointments, you will need a number of coincidences to reach that appointment. The following happens: the mailing is sent, some people read the message, most of them throw him away. Then a phone call follows. About 30% does not pick up, 70% does. Of all the people that do pick up, the majority has thrown out the mailing without reading it. It has never been their intention to buy something or to make an appointment. The conversation takes place and goes well. They make an appointment for a test drive. The USP? A free quotation and a test drive, with the knowledge that the valuation of the exchange car is for free.

Against all expectations, the customer is showing up for the appointment. This turns a passive lead into an active lead. As a dealer, you have overcome some obstacles and the customer is in your store, but what is the seller’s expectation? Does the seller know that the chance that someone goes from a DM to an appointment and a showroom visit is very small? And what is the customer’s expectation? He’s still not thinking of buying a car. That customer is still busy satisfying his information needs.

Sales Leader

Did you, as a sales force, properly instruct your salesmen how to handle these customers? And is it clear what the goal is? Explaining what the goals are is very important. The goal is not to sell, but to provide information and to make suggestions. It’s nice if you are able to make a proposal in 80% of the appointments, but more importantly, it needs to be understood that the customer’s will most likely not make a decision within a week. It can take several weeks. That customer was not in the market, but he was tempted by that DM, and now he is in the exploratory phase.

He explores the possibilities of the fire you have encouraged. Are you going for the short term, the quick profit? No, that customer is not in the market now, so you want to guide this customer to the moment that he will take the step. It is like running a marathon. This is the first step for those people who move towards the finish line, and as a salesman you want to be present at both the start and the finish. That must be your goal!

Therefore, make it clear that DM leads are initially people who are NOT in the market. Do not make the crucial mistake that these people will never buy. They can buy, eventually. The seller must therefore stimulate the purchase intent with his qualities, without expecting that the decision has already been made and that the customer is ready to buy. An appointment is not a deal, but just the starting point of your (long) dialogue with the customer.

Sellers are no longer used to selling the need, because the initiative today only comes from a customer. The stage of selling needs has already passed at this point. In case of a DM lead customers still have to go through this stage. Therefore, they go to a professional seller and not to a cashier.

About Paul de Vries

Paul de Vries became a Key Automotive Spokesperson at eBay (Marketplace) after selling to eBay back in 2015. Paul is the founder and CEO of the #DCDW Academy and the presenter of the #DCDW Podcast. He is also a by dealers and importers frequently asked speaker in the online automotive industry. Paul is the winner of the prestigious Lighthouse Award 2016 in the U.S.! More information is available at:

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