Question: Looking for several different options. 

Internet Leads (going to several dealers) with 0 contact after 200 days. Is it ok to mark the opportunity "lost"? I've noticed that I have so much follow up that it's starting to pile up on me. I have been calling/texting (if I have a number) and emailing (if available). When do you think too long is too long if ever?



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For most brands, most people will tell you that after 90 days of no response, most of your follow-up should be automated. Newsletters, campaigns, etc.

Naturally, we want to keep going after leads until they "buy or die," but unless you have unlimited manpower or a very low lead volume, you will be better served by directing your energy toward customers who have entered the market more recently. An additional call on the first day is worth 100x more than an additional call on the 150th day. So it's not so much a matter of how your customer is designated in your CRM; it's where you're directing your energy, in what proportions.

What is your follow up process for that first 90 days? How many leads do you work per month? Do you work them from cradle to grave?

I do work them all for my department. I'm around 100 leads per month. I'm seeing my follow-up is getting to be too much. I do have some auto sent emails going out and I do some mass emails too. Here's my unqualified (no contact)

  • Day 1 call/email
  • Day 2 call/email
  • Day 3 literature (salesperson)  (auto)
  • Day 5 call/email
  • Day 8 literature (salesperson)   (auto)
  • Day 10 call/email
  • Day 15 literature (MGR)   (auto)
  • Day 20 call/email
  • Day 25 literature (salesperson)   (auto)
  • Day 30 call/email
  • Day 45 literature (GM)
  • Day 60 literature (salesperson)   (auto)
  • Day 75 call/email
  • Day 90 literature (salesperson)   (auto)
  • Day 105 call/email
  • Day 120 literature (salesperson)   (auto)
  • Day 135 call/email



To me, this looks fairly solid. I would encourage some form of "Let's make a deal" email to go out from the GM / GSM on day 3, and I would recommend staggering the call volume more heavily toward the original lead date. 4-5 calls on the first week, with 2 on the first day. Would also recommend 8-9 calls in the first month.

This may be quibbling a bit, but I also believe in making sure that the emails and phone calls dovetail. That's to say, day 4 email, day 5 call; day 20 email, day 21 call. I'm assuming your emails say more than "Are you still in the market / Please call me," and if they are more substantive, e.g. "Incentives expire soon" or "We really need trades right now and are offering top dollar," a phone call the next day can be more productive when it's under the protective umbrella of making sure that the customer received the important information you were sending.

But quibbling aside, I basically agree with you. I don't see the point of calling a guy on day 135 who hasn't picked up the phone or returned a voicemail after 15 calls. That's beyond the point of "I've been busy and/or bombarded with other salespeople" and well into the realm of "I am probably not a real customer."

Yes, that customer MIGHT still be active, but that demographic is simply not very productive. You'll probably have better results working a galley list than calling 120+ day old customers who have never responded.

If you are looking to change the follow up program, show the data. Show the number of deals generated from 120+ day calls versus the number of lost opportunities in your area who purchased within the first month. You may end up with close to the same number of total calls, but they'll certainly be more productive. No matter how sensible, the "I don't want to work this much" argument doesn't usually fly, but the "I want to get us more deals by improving our outreach" argument often does.

Thanks, James.

Hello Zachary,

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Tracy Lake

Executive Assistant


A 180 day long follow up process is optimal. Anything over that can be legitimately marked "lost".  Be very careful with making phone calls after 90 days...think about the "Do Not Call" law.

I call 4 times a day.

1. From your Office Line, Call the customer at about 9am.
a. Tell the customer that you have “Some Great News” and ask for a return call
b. Keep it short and non-specific but give your hours and contact information
c. Let the customer know that if you don’t hear back from them you WILL try them again later today

2. Send your Video email message immediately after your first call attempt.
a. Introduce yourself and your store
b. Tell the customer briefly what you discussed if you got ahold of them and thank them for speaking with you
c. If you left a voicemail then give them your vehicle options that match the customer enquiry e.g. “We have the 2013 Honda Accord available in the red or white today”
d. Give the customer your direct contact information clearly and your hours in store
e. Make it Personal. Use the customers name and be casual and conversational
f. Keep your video under 90 seconds and under 60 seconds is optimal
g. Ask for the Call back and let the customer know that you WILL contact them again if you don’t hear from them.

3. From your Mobile Phone, Call the customer at about 11am.
a. Do NOT leave a message

4. From your Mobile Phone, Call the customer at about 2pm.
a. Again Do NOT leave a message

5. From your Office Line, Call the customer at about 5pm.
a. Leave a Message again with your contact details and hours in store today
b. Ask for the call back and explain that you WILL call the customer back again tomorrow if you do not hear from them before then

Some people may call this borderline harassment, but the simple fact is that the customer has requested this information about a car that interested them on your lot. You may get some negative feedback on occasion however for the most part it is your job to reply to these leads and you aren’t doing your job if you don’t get in touch with the customer.

The goal is to Set an Appointment. You can’t sell a car if you don’t get that customer on the lot. How you begin your relationship with each lead will determine if you get that appointment set. Treat each lead as Elise suggests above and I bet you set more appointments. It’s our job to sell cars and put the numbers on the board sure, but giving the customer the most wonderful car buying experience should also be high on your personal agenda. Once you get the customer on the lot they can fall in love with the car. Videos and that personal touch will build trust and help the customer to fall in love with your store. It also removes the awkward from your first appointment as the customer feels that they have already met you and you can get straight down to it when they arrive.

Great job on your videos

Thank you, Elise. You're awesome!!


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