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Best practices for selling via email

Recently I reclaimed my job of a new car salesman at the #3 Mazda dealership in the US. When I came back, they had made drastic changes...they eliminated the internet department and started handing out internet leads to all of the salesmen on the floor. I think this is great, but we are not taking advantage of the leads correctly IMO.

The old internet team (2 people) would sell approx. 40-50 new cars each month. Now with the leads being passed around, we are probably selling 10-15 cars in the same timeframe except now there are 10 people! The sales manager stresses to sell the appointment by asking a question in the email and inviting the customer to call to clarify. This is not working for me! I made 2 sales from internet leads last month and with the amount of leads being generated, I should be closing at least 8-10 deals.

When I get an internet lead, it looks something like this:
Customer's Name
Customer's Address
Customer's Phone Number
Customer's Email Address *(Preferred)

Time Frame - Varies 24 hours to 6 months (Usually 1 wk or less)

Info on vehicle interested in (Make, Model, Transmission required, Trim level, Year of vehicle)

Thus far, I haven't been successful getting call backs or even a lot of returned emails. My stock template is something to the effect of:
Dear Mr. (or Mrs.) Customer,
Hello, my name is Bill Thompson and I am a new car consultant at Mazda South. Thank you for your inquiry on XXXX. The XXXX is a great choice as it ____(won a certain award, has the best whatever in its class, etc.). In order to provide you with more information I need to ask you a few questions. I invite you to give me a call at 512-462-3131 (office) or 512-799-7659 (cell) at your convenience.

I noticed your time frame to purchase is XXX, but the 2005 inventory is moving very quickly due to our closeout pricing. In order to secure the model the matches your needs and wants the best I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible. I look forward to earning your business.

Sincerely,
Bill Thompson
Mazda South
"On the Motor Mile"
512-462-3131

When making suggestions, don't worry about hurting my feelings...I'm a car salesman- I don't have any :)

Thanks for your support. - by EXP Creative
don't worry about hurting my feelings...I'm a car salesman- I don't have any :)
I don't believe that at all.

My question is: Why don't you call them??

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
My question is: Why don't you call them??
Unless they specify they would like to be called, the dealership would like the first contact to be by email. BTW, I've tried to shortcut the system a couple of times ;), but it seems as if people don't like to list their correct phone numbers. Sorry to make this harder than it should be. - by EXP Creative
Rats. Well then I have a couple of suggestions.

It would help to know why they filled out the lead form. Are they expecting a price? info on whether you have any in inventory, etc?

I'd suggest, tho, asking a specific question, like about the color they want. Or, if you have one in inventory, tell them you have X number in inventory and can give them a quote, but want to know: do you want one with accessory A, B or C? Or, ask them if they have a trade-in, or something that requires a specific answer.

I'd edit your message like this:

Dear Mr. (or Mrs.) Customer,

Hello, my name is Bill Thompson and I am a new car consultant at Mazda South.

Thank you for inquiring about the XXXX. The XXXX is a great choice as it ____(won a certain award, has the best whatever in its class, etc.).

I'd like to prepare some pricing and availability for you, but I need to know whether you would prefer Midnight Black or Forest Green. We have both colors in inventory, but they carry different options. Please call me at 512-462-3131 (office) or 512-799-7659 (cell). I can provide pricing very quickly once we've narrowed down your choices.

I know you want to make a purchase within a week or so, and I wanted you to know that the 2005 inventory is moving very quickly due to our closeout pricing. To make sure you get the model that matches your requirements, please give me a call as soon as you can!

I look forward to earning your business.

Sincerely,
Bill Thompson
Mazda South
"On the Motor Mile"
512-462-3131


Current thinking is that you should write as you talk. And, e-mails are especially informal. Maybe the message above doesn't match your style, but I just