Internet Car Sales Best Practices

Everyone likes to throw the term “Best Practices” around in the car business. Whether it concerns sales, delivering a car, answering the phone, or working an Internet car sales lead. Right now, I want to talk about Internet car sales best practices. Because when it comes to selling cars and the Internet, things are constantly changing and not permanently for good.

Online Car Sales Yesterday

Only a few short years ago, the Internet car sales best practices were as simple as receiving an Internet lead and making a phone call.  Then send an email that tells them why they should do business with the dealership. Now invite them in or confirm an appointment made on the telephone. At that time, the Internet was a new way for the dealership to sell more cars. Leads may inquire about a vehicle on your website and whether it’s still available. Then the ISM calls the customer back, tells them it’s still available, and sets an appointment. The majority of the showroom traffic came via Fresh Ups. Internet appointments accounted for less than 20% of the visitors to the showroom and, if you were lucky, 8% to 12% of the dealership sales.

Internet Car Sales Best Practices

Today and Tomorrow Internet Sales

Let’s fast-forward to today and what I consider Internet car sales best practices. Over 90% of car buyers are using the Internet to shop for new or used cars and decide where to go to make that purchase. It used to be that most car buyers went to their local dealerships and bought their cars. Sometimes, they might visit another dealership, but more often than not, they would buy locally.

Dealerships can’t count on customers being loyal to their dealership anymore. Customers who buy several cars from a local dealer get all their service work done at the same dealer. They will shop at several dealerships online when it comes time to buy a car today. Some customers will get a price from several dealers and return to their local dealer to purchase their car. As long as the dealer beats or matches the price, others will buy where they got the lowest price almost, regardless of the vicinity.  Most Internet car sales best practices can be tossed out the window today because it’s a jungle out there.

Internet Auto Sales are Changing

To stay in the game and keep selling cars, Internet car sales best practices require much more. Sending email templates and making phone calls to lousy numbers is not enough. Even promising to give serious car buyers a great deal once they visit the dealership. We must treat every single Internet lead as if they were standing before us. That means answering questions, acknowledging their concerns, and providing the information they request. If they ask for a new car price, you need to send them a price or at least give them a price on the phone. Recent research tells us that at least 64% of Internet car shoppers that don’t receive a price as requested disqualify any dealership that doesn’t respond with a price.

So if you are not providing your prospective Internet car buyers a price quote as requested, it’s like deleting 64% of your Internet leads. But wait, if that’s not enough, you must have a respectable online reputation or at least be better than your competitors. You need to know what is happening in your area, including how other dealers are pricing their Internet leads. Plus, Internet best practices require a quality website that provides numerous pictures. Including specifications and car buyers’ tools such as payment calculators and up-to-date manufacturer incentives. Plus, easy-to-use contact forms for requesting more information. It is way too easy for a customer to click their mouse on the following dealership and leave you in the dust.

Converting Leads to Sold Cars

So when it comes to Internet car sales best practices, it’s all about what works and brings customers into the dealership. Could I list a step-by-step procedure for converting an Internet car buying lead to a sold car? Of course, I could, but it would be nothing more than an ideal scenario or fairy tale that would only work about 4% of the time. Documenting and recording every step and every possible scenario and course of action would consume an entire book. A book that would be very boring and more than anyone could comprehend. Internet car sales require the same experience, common sense, people reading, and intuition to sell a fresh up that walks onto the dealership lot.

The big difference is that the ISM must be able to use their car salesman skills without being face-to-face with the potential car buyer. They need to try different things, try different approaches, provide value, and appear to be knowledgeable. Buyers must have the right price at the right time and use a suitable medium, such as email, phone, or text.  They must be prompt and responsive without being pushy or judgmental. They must be car sales professionals and do what it takes to turn an Internet lead into a sold car. That’s what you call Internet car sales best practices; it’s about what works today.

Later Fresh Lead in the CRM


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Internet Sales Manager

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