Monday, March 7, 2011


A lot of dealers have difficulty understanding how to prepare and deliver a good 1st Quality Response (FQR) email. You can’t just wing it – you’ve got to have a defined procedure in place. If you don’t have a defined procedure at your store feel free to borrow this one. We broke it down into 5 easy steps below. Do all 5 with every lead that comes in (in combination with phone calls/attempts) and you will sell more cars. We’re serious.

    1. Respond Quickly. Responding to a fresh lead via email in less than one hour greatly multiplies your chances of a reply. Internet shoppers want info NOW, not 5 hours from now. If an hour or two has passed and they haven’t heard from you they move on – and you are toast. He who responds fastest wins.

    2. Read the Lead. With few exceptions (Autotrader T.I.M., Sam’s Club program, USAA and/or other special purchase programs) all eLeads fall into one of 4 categories.* Take the time to read each lead, determine which of the 4 categories it falls into, then send the appropriate response. Don’t send the same response to all leads; one size does not fit all.

    3. Fill-In the Blanks. If you are using a template be sure the correct sections have been filled-in and any non-applicable wording removed before sending the email. 1st Quality Response templates usually have sections that must be completed by the salesperson before sending. Take the extra couple of minutes and tailor the template to each customer’s request.

    4. Personalize The Email. We can’t stress this enough; your efforts will fall flat if the prospect feels that he has received a form letter 1st response. (Day 1 prospects are looking for a relationship 1st, and a car 2nd. Form letters do not create relationships). Find some way to add a personal line or two to the email, even if the lines are unrelated to the car deal. Say something/anything to let the prospect know that a real person has taken the time to read his inquiry and is replying with a personal touch.

    5. Give A Price. If you withhold info the prospect wants unless he agrees to come in he won’t come in. But, there is good news: 80%+/- of new car leads are non-VIN specific, therefore, we only need to give them price ranges for their vehicle of choice. You can’t get in trouble doing that. Also, when a prospect asks our price on a specific VIN he is often just trying to understand how we price the cars. (Most people do not end up buying the car they 1st requested a quote on anyway). And, of course, price is a compelling factor for the used car buyer. So never be afraid to send a quote via email.

*4 types of eLeads: 1). New Car General Inquiry, 2). New Car VIN-Specific Inquiry, 3). Used Car VIN-Specific Inquiry and 4). Credit App First.

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