Do you focus on the lead or on the dialogue?

Do you focus on the lead or on the dialogue?

My company’s existence was created around optimizing online leads. So, as far as I am concerned, there cannot be enough leads! I don’t want to discount the importance of an effective dialogue because that is another critical part of the sale. But the more online leads there are, the more I can help dealers prosper. Whether it concerns training, consulting, or the use of Calldrip, there are always advantages and advice I can offer through my business. But consider this question: are we living in an outdated world? Is directing the online customer to fill out a static lead form the best communication option we can offer ?

A lead represents an unanswered question

Dealers conduct marketing to attract visitors to their website where they will find a wealth of information. There are pictures and details about new and used cars and hopefully, most everything a shopper would need to make their buying decision. If the customer has any questions, they may be able to find the answers in the FAQ. If they cannot find the answer, a lead form is provided for them to communicate with the dealership. The shopper has, up until now, enjoyed immediate information while browsing your website. The question now is whether you should push that shopper towards the lead form. With this action, you are essentially conveying the message that you are closed for additional questions at this point.

If the shopper happens to leave their details, the sales team will respond at a time that suits them. Is this the brand message you want to send about your dealership? My advice: Look at the information requested in the lead immediately. Make communication your priority and talk directly with the online customer via direct messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to give them the details they need to move quickly to the next step.

Trade in

On most dealer websites, the trade-in module is the primary lead driver. If you are involved in marketing the dealership, and your KPI is based on the number of leads generated, the trade-in module is a great tool! However, if you want to give today’s customer the information they are asking for, why not provide that information directly online and in real time? Have we not already determined this is the right thing to do for the consumer? At our own test site,, and in collaboration with AutoUncle, the customer receives a real-time valuation of his car.

This fast valuation is an important step for us and for the consumer; we continue to fine-tune our online process. If the customer doesn’t like the price provided, fine. If he thinks he should receive a better price, then I will ask for more information which includes their name and address data – the lead is now generated. With this way of addressing trade-in requests, I may be able to manage with 50% fewer leads to accomplish the same number of sales.


When I see the typical low level of lead follow-up at a store, it appears that the customer must prove 200% that he wants to become a customer. Unfortunately, the sales process and training at the dealership is woefully lacking. A trained salesperson might deduce that the customer who submits the request on car A might be convinced to go to car B provided that it is offered with the correct sales verbiage and closing technique. So you see, you don’t always need MORE leads but rather, process improvement and salesperson training to make the funnel more effective. The “better” qualified leads will get expedited through the funnel.

Today’s challenge is for your sales team to respond to leads immediately to continue the dialogue, answering all the shopper’s questions, and leading them efficiently to achieve the sale. 

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