ORLANDO, Fla. – “The Internet doesn’t sell boats … good dealers do.” That’s how Bob McCann, Channel Blade director of education, opened his presentation yesterday during the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, Nov. 16-18, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando.
Still, he said, dealers can’t afford to squander the opportunities the Internet provides by ignoring leads generated on their Web sites. That’s why McCann and Channel Blade chose to present Pride Awards to the five dealers who performed best in a secret shop of MDCE registrants.
The winners were Jared Lacefield of Bohner Lacefield Marine; Jason Taska of Lake Union Sea Ray; Christy Van Bevers of Lynnhaven Marine; Steve Edwards of Dockside Marine; and Kenji Gima of Seattle Boat Co.
Lead management tips
During the presentation, McCann pointed out the importance of responding to leads immediately, citing a study that suggested leads that receive immediate responses have a 20-percent conversion rate, while those that are responded to in more than four hours have a 2-percent conversion rate.
“Respond to a lead immediately and improve your chances to make a sale ten-fold,” he stated.
The quality of a lead response is also key, according to McCann, who suggests dealers use pre-written e-mail templates, which are branded with the dealer logo, use consistent and professional language, minimize sales rep key strokes and encourage process adherence.
E-mail leads should be followed up with a phone call in order to make an in-store appointment, says McCann. And those appointments that are confirmed in advance are 30 percent more likely to be kept.
And finally, McCann urged the audience to be patient. Research shows most customers buy after seven customer touches by the dealership, he said. Nurturing un-sold customers has been shown to reduce lead neglect to less than 25 percent, improve sales conversion rates by 7 percent, accelerate the buying cycle, reduce discounting and improve margins, according to Forrester Research.