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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 wanted you to get a feel for how it could be written without being as formal as the original.

Hope this helps. By the way, I love the Zoom-Zoom commercials. I wish they'd bring back the little boy, too.

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
Thank you Kathleen! I do like the edits you have done. While still keeping everything I had mentioned, it has a completely different feel. I like it (and will use it!)

I do know where the leads are coming from (www.mazdausa.com); however, I normally do not know what exactly the customer is in need of as from the main Mazda site you can build a vehicle, search inventory and do research. E-mail customers tend to be the most educated on the cars.

I love those commercials too! Maybe you should take a Mazda out for a spin, it's as close as you can get to the commercials ;)

BTW, did I mention I sell Mazda's? :D - by EXP Creative
Glad you found it helpful. :D

The only other thought that comes to mind is this: If it's possible, I'd go to the website these leads are coming from and figure out when a visitor would fill out a contact form. Maybe if you know where they are when they fill in a contact form, you can gear some questions about a more specific issue?? Maybe worth a try--- - by KSA-Mktg
I do a lot of e-mail selling and one thing I've learned is open your mail with something eye catching. If you know what car they were asking about you might bold that and put it after your Dear Customer.

Also I'm not sure what others would say about this but I have never been a big fan of Dear unless I'm writing family. I usually go with greetings or the simple Hello.

Just wanted to put in a few cents worth there for you. - by Landisintaiwan
Hi!
I have found that many email inquiries are simply for "fishing"; they are looking to see ballpark pricing, etc. The best way to connect with customers and get a true read on their intentions and motives is to pick up the phone and call them.

Carole - by celevers@yahoo.com
The best way to connect with customers and get a true read on their intentions and motives is to pick up the phone and call them.

Carole
Good point Carole. Nothing beats good old fashion personal contact. :) - by Liberty
Hi!
I have found that many email inquiries are simply for "fishing"; they are looking to see ballpark pricing, etc. The best way to connect with customers and get a true read on their intentions and motives is to pick up the phone and call them.

Carole
I can agree with that completely. But sadly, as I am in Taiwan and we market to Europe and the America's it's not always easy to just pick up the phone. With Skype call out it does make it more cost effective but for General prospecting, I find e-mailing is best for finding first contacts.

If your selling locally or even nationally though, Always pick up the phone or maybe send an e-mail first letting the prospect know your going to call. That way it gives you an opening as in "I hope your received my mail letting you know I'd call today". - by Landisintaiwan
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