Paul de Vries, founder and CEO of the Digital Car Dealer Workshop (DCDW), talked about the importance of converting leads at AutosBuzz.

“It is not the quality of the lead which is important but the process of converting them,” he began.

According to De Vries, there are three consumer aspects dealers must address:

  • Customers are always on so how do you cover that?
  • They don’t want to give information
  • They want it now

When a customer walks into the dealership, they will wait a minute or two. However, when they call and are forced to wait, you’ll lose the customer,” said de Vries.

Paul de Vries

“That means dealers must adjust and not leave customers waiting.”

How do we convert more leads into sales?

The benchmark was an eight-hour response time for dealers leading to a 7.9% conversion of leads to sales. The aim was to increase this to 13% by improving the quality of the process because we can’t improve leads.

This was a five-step process of training dealers and sales people.

Step 1: “We introduced the North Star lead follow up within 7 minutes enabled by being open for longer from 9am to 9pm.”

Step 2: “We set up the online rules, which are universal,” said de Vries. This involves calling first and emailing later, including:

  • Make followup appointments and work your LMS
  • Always make a proposal
  • Be available

Step 3: “Make the salesperson the most important ‘piece’ in the lead follow up. They have the knowledge and most marketplaces have not utilized this in the last 15 years.”

“We found a problem that we needed to resolve. Sales people are not trained and lack a real purpose for the lead followup. Then you have to handover to the car salesperson, which is critical because it can burn out leads.”

Step 4: Map everything. “This helped us get to a 36% conversion from leads to appointments,” he said.

“The problem was there was no culture to ask for an appointment. It used to be that the typical sales response was to ask customers to call if there was a problem, instead of asking a question or offering a test drive. Once we implemented this, suddenly we got more appointments after showing salespeople how to do it.”

Step 5: Listen to all calls. Leads from the OEM are free of charge but come with an obligation, so correct any problems.

Final step: Process performance review to enforce new ways of working because a different set of eyes makes all the difference.

Did it work?

“Yes. The average response time dropped to 2.3 minutes,” said de Vries. “It also increased car sales. We achieved a 13.2% conversion from leads to sales. We did this not by improving the quality of leads but by training people and putting the salesperson in control, making it easier for consumers.”


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