The number of car buyers purchasing a vehicle on their first visit to a dealership has leapt to 40% of all sales, according to figures from lead management company enquiryMAX.
The study, undertaken ahead of its best practice session at Automotive Management Live which takes place on 8 November at Birmingham NEC, shows 78% of purchases are made within 10 days of an enquiry.
However, many dealers are failing to close sales with 57% of all active prospects over 50 days old.
During the session at AM’s one-day expo which brings together retailers, manufacturers and suppliers and sees expert speakers take to the stage as part of its insight theatre sessions, enquiryMax will draw on its data to highlight areas to exploit and pinpoint opportune moments to communicate with consumers.
David Boyce, managing director of enquiryMAX, said: “The first 10 days after an enquiry are crucial. The period is a sales red zone when you are likely to close over three-quarters of sales.
“The data shows that a structured programme of contact will help to engage the customer and close the sale.
“Customers arrive on the forecourt ready to buy, having played with the car configurator and sourced a target price.
“Consumers have got used to a prompt and personal service, driven by greater data management across the retail sector.
“If a customer returns to a dealership as a bare minimum the sales team should remember their name, partner’s name and drinks preference. Earning a customer's trust is paramount.”
Easy to use tools and clear processes should be put in place which will also help gain a clear understanding of the buyer’s need and personal circumstances, vital to adhere to FCA guidelines on treating customers fairly, delegates attending the session will be told.
With a tablet interface common in high street stores and restaurants, customers will also expect their car transaction to be completed electronically whether they are buying a £30,000 car or even a £5,000 car.
Boyce added: “Get the process right, and the buyer will become an advocate for the business and recommend you to their friends and family. And in a world where the average person has over 300 friends on Facebook, it can be a powerful marketing tool.”
However, Boyce advises not to force a customer to provide contact details at the start, but to build the rapport first.
Straightforward diary functionality is a vital part of a flexible lead management system to enable all customers to be given a follow-up date, and a next action.
Boyce also advises any system must be easy for the sales team to use and the sales management to track including a simple dashboard for managers to follow opportunities and know what is happening in their business every day.
Providing sales lead management software and retail consultancy to over 700 dealers in the UK, enquiryMAX is one of eight best practice sessions at the event delivered by some of the sector’s leading suppliers.
The AM Live expo is free for dealer and manufacturer delegates to attend, although pre-registration is required which is open at http://www.automotivemanagementlive.co.uk/online-registration