Improve Your Digital Sales Funnel: Increase Your Conversion Rate (3 of 4)

Improve Your Digital Sales Funnel: Increase Your Conversion Rate (3 of 4)

In an increasingly transparent world, car shoppers look for understanding, clear answers, and trust in any sales associate they work with.

There has been a cloud over the auto industry for many years. It’s time to show customers that the car-buying process doesn’t have to be shady.

In this four-part blog series, we’re exploring the six steps to building a digital sales funnel for auto dealers. Catch up on the first two posts:

  1. Improving your lead generation
  2. Increasing your number of appointments set and kept

Today, we’re diving into part three: increasing your number of sales from appointments. Read on to learn how to improve your appointment-to-sale conversion rate in the sales funnel.

Understanding the Sales Funnel

One of the first steps any salesperson should take is understanding the sales funnel and how a customer moves throughout the process.

Share with sales employees how the customer is being reached through digital marketing efforts. At what point should salespeople get involved? How do they impact conversion rates?

The following infographic illustrates the 24 touchpoints that most shoppers encounter on their road to purchase (19 of which are digital!).

The Online Car Sales Funnel, Explained - 9 Clouds Digital Touchpoints

Why the Fuss About Conversion Rates?

Conversion rates help you understand the strengths and weaknesses in your sales process.

The automotive sales funnel is broken down into six main steps. We’ve worked with many dealerships over the years and have found an industry-standard conversion rate for each part of the sales funnel.

Here are the typical conversion rates we’ve found for appointments sold:

  • Below average: 60%
  • Average: 70%
  • Above average: 80%

If you notice a large drop or change in your percentages, that can lead to a drop in sales, and that can lead to a drop in profit. Keeping your numbers in the “average” or “above average” percentiles will promote a healthy and steady growth in your dealership.

Does your store fall in the “below average” percentile? Here are some helpful digital marketing tips that can improve your sales funnel conversion rates.

3 Tactics for Closing the Deal

The best closing strategy for your salespeople will depend on how your store prices vehicles (one price, negotiating, etc.). In general, work to make the process efficient, transparent, and respectful.

If a sales associate doesn’t close the deal at the appointment, it’s important for them to follow up with the lead.

There are several paths to take in the follow-up process, depending on what was discussed at the appointment.

1. Questions Follow-Up

Did the customer leave with unanswered questions you need to explain? Or maybe you could tell they had something on the tip of their tongue, and they just weren’t saying it.

Answering your leads’ questions in an efficient and honest way is sometimes the only thing prohibiting the sale.

The best way to follow up? Send an email, so they can gather their thoughts and send them back to you on their time.

2. “I’ll Find You Another Car” Follow-Up

If the shopper is very specific in what they’re looking for, you might not have that exact vehicle on the lot. But that shouldn’t prevent you from finding them the one they want.

Take into account whether they want a new or used vehicle. A new vehicle could be custom-ordered to fit their needs; it just might take a few weeks to arrive. So follow up, and explain the process.

Used vehicles are harder to get — but not impossible. Let the customer know that it may take a little time, but you are earnestly on the hunt for their perfect vehicle. A customer who has put their trust in your sales team is usually fine waiting. (And don’t forget to actually look for the vehicle!)

The best way to follow-up? Call to let them know you are actively searching.

3. A Simple “Thank-You” Follow-up

If the customer took a test drive and realized they weren’t ready to purchase or couldn’t get financed, make it a point to still thank them for stopping in.

If the timing isn’t right, but you were courteous throughout the process, the customer will probably seek you out again when the time is right.

The best way to follow-up? Text or email to let them know that you’ve enjoyed working with them and that they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out if they need anything.

Master the Buyer’s Journey

It’s important to remember that your sales conversion rate isn’t only about the sales process, but also about the buyer’s journey. You can be the top salesperson at your dealership, but if the customer isn’t at the right stage of the buyer’s journey, the sale can quickly dissolve.

By understanding both sides of the process, you can make the customer experience efficient, transparent, and respectful.

At 9 Clouds, we try to make the sales funnel a clean and well-maintained piece of the marketing process. Stay tuned for the final post in our four-part series, or read about all six steps in the automotive sales funnel now!