Recently, my company conducted a mystery shopping study to gauge the status of dealer responses to customer price quote requests. Brace yourself, here are the results:
Twelve percent of leads received no response—not even an auto responder. Fifty-eight percent received a response that was not a price quote, and 30% received a price quote response. Of those responses that included a price quote, 70% included at least one vehicle, but had no details about that vehicle in the quote. 30% included details and only 10% of the price quotes showed multiple vehicles with details on the vehicles. Only 2% showed multiple vehicles with detail including incentive information.
The median response time with price quote responses was 1.1 hours.
The study included over 1,300 dealers, with price quote requests submitted via the dealer’s website from 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. Monday – Friday in September and October of 2010. Responses were calculated on a 24 hour clock, and auto responders counted.
These results are sobering, especially when compared with the data on consumer expectations. A Polk study showed that price is the most significant reason for selecting a dealership, followed by “response to the consumer’s request for information.” The most important options consumers seek when on the web are, in order: transaction price information, full range of product information, and ability to compare vehicles, according to a recent Capgemini study. The same company found in an automaker study that a response in 20 minutes doubled conversion rates. The data also showed that if the dealer takes too long to respond, the consumer will look for another dealer.
So if best practice is:
- A price quote response
- Showing multiple alternative vehicles
- Showing vehicle detail
- Showing up-to-date incentive information
- Received within 20 minutes
Then less than 1% of all responses from dealers fit this requirement.
Wow. Imagine if you at your dealership could master these best practices. You would gain a commanding advantage over your competition. Here’s the point: you can, and you should.
Of course, a rapid multi-vehicle price quote response is not the only critical success factor: a quick initial phone follow-up call, followed by a rigorous human 14-day follow-up process, followed by an 180 day ongoing follow-up process, are also important factors in your success. But the price quote is the first critical step.
That’s because the arrival of a lead at your dealership is “The Moment of Truth.” That lead has been sent to multiple competitors. This is the moment when you can profoundly differentiate yourself from the competition. If you execute a multi-vehicle price quote, with details and incentive information, back to the customer in 20 minutes, you move to the front of the pack.
Add the other ingredients noted above, and you are like the Star Trek Enterprise after hitting the warp speed button: you’ll leave your competitors eating stardust.