Study: Auto dealers lead other industries in effective lead follow-up

A recent study has found that when it comes to lead follow-up, the auto industry performs well compared to other industries, though many dealerships still aren’t reaching best-practice targets and some don’t respond to incoming inquiries at all.

The study, conducted by Conversica, focused on the extent to which auto dealers use the “Four Ps” – promptness, personalization, persistence and performance – to achieve successful lead engagement. During the study, secret shoppers reached out to 59 companies in the auto industry (and 538 companies total). Of the nine industries included in the study, automotive had the highest percentage of top-tier scores. More than one-third (38 percent) of respondents received an overall “A” grade.

Of the dealerships that responded:

  • Almost half (49 percent) responded within five minutes, which is the optimal window for qualification and conversion.
  • Only six percent took more than 24 hours to respond.
  • Twenty-five percent made eight or more attempts to reply to queries

The study found that the overwhelming majority (74 percent) of dealerships used all four key elements of personalization in their response:

  • Personalized greeting
  • Specific mention of the lead’s inquiry
  • Inclusion of specific contact information
  • Time patterning (responses occurring at a time of day similar to the inquiry)

Even with all of the positive information, the study still found some room for improvement. Close to 20 percent of dealers didn’t respond at all to a direct sales inquiry from their website, and 75 percent did not make eight or more attempts to engage an Internet lead. (Research indicates that number is the minimum it takes to be successful in engagement.)

To view the full report, visit


Let us know! How does your dealership handle responses to incoming leads from the Internet?

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