All prospects, when they first encounter you, are in one of two stages: 1). Information Gathering, or, 2). Information Sorting.
The Gatherers are in the early shopping stages and are likely not yet committed to a specific vehicle brand or model. The Sorters are farther along – they now have a short list and are ready to go to the next level.
I believe showroom closing rates today are so high because people can do the majority of their information gathering without having to set foot in a dealership. Therefore, when they walk in the doors to your store a great proportion of ups are already in the Information Sorting stage. This was not possible in the days before the internet. (Think about it, when's the last time you had a person walk into your showroom and say "I just came by to pick up a brochure"?)
However, prospects can’t get everything they need from Edmonds.com or the OEM site; matters of inventory and local incentives (to name but two) have to be discussed with a local dealer. And this is where you come in.
With showroom closing rates averaging 35% - 50%, but Internet closing rates averaging 10% - 15%, I have to believe that a lot of our leads come from people who are still in the Information Gathering stage. These people can be weeks away from becoming Sorters.
Gatherers are often immune to hard selling offers - instead, they are seeking 1) information/education, and 2) a dealer with whom they can establish a trusting relationship.