Sadly, not all leads initially convert into sales. But that shouldn’t mean that your relationship with the lead ends if the initial conversation falls through. At a time when solid leads are becoming increasingly elusive, you need to make sure that all enquiries coming into your dealership are fully recognised and nurtured.

According to research from Marketing Donut, 63% of people requesting information today will not purchase for at least three months - and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. It’s therefore crucial that you are able to play the long game to create sales potential further down the line. The question is – how?

We break down some simple steps to ensure that your leads are well nurtured and therefore open to a sales conversion in the future.

Identify and segment your leads

Not all leads are the same. There are many potential customers making queries at different stages of the buying process, and your priority is to find out where. Once you’ve determined what stage of the process the lead is, you can determine which of your marketing strategies and content best applies.

Determining the buying stage can be as easy as having optional entry fields in a contact form (never mandatory - you want to minimise the barriers a customer goes through to make contact), or simply through organic discussions in your enquiry response.

If a query fails to move further in the first instance, you need to make sure that any follow-up communications are as tailored toward the lead as possible (assuming the lead has opted-in to further communications from your dealership).

Target content and communications

Targeted content will take the form of anticipating and answering common questions and concerns a buyer will have, depending on what stage of the journey they are at. E.g.

Early stage leads: Try sending semi-regular emails (weekly or fortnightly) with relevant information such as car buying tips, finance guides, or details of any active offers. Not only are you now positioning yourself as a thought leader, you are both consistently refamiliarizing your brand with the customer, while enforcing an image of a helpful provider of information. When the customer is ready to dip their feet in a bit further, they’ll now know who to return to.

Late stage leads: Later stage leads are going to require a more personalised response, greatly tailored to their potential purchase interest. Information regarding test drive slots, or latest offers on the model(s) of car they are interested in will be useful. As your approach will not be as ‘soft’ as that of the early stage lead, it would be wise to reassess the appropriate channels of communication e.g. a phone call at this stage is more likely to be effective than an email.

Of course, these aren’t the only two stages. Make sure you have content aimed at other aspects, such as lost sales, duplicate leads and previous customers (more on that to follow).

Use engaging media

The use of engaging media, such as videos, infographics and social media should be integral to all your marketing communications but is especially worth extra effort when it comes to your lead-nurturing strategies.

The reason being that at all stages of the buying journey, enquirers will inevitably be ‘shopping around’ - comparing cars and dealerships and looking for the best place to purchase their vehicle.

According to Autotrader research, consumers spend nearly 11 hours online choosing the exact vehicle that is right for them. With the customer therefore spending a lot of time looking at vehicles and dealer sites - it’s crucial that your messages stand out and are memorable.

At the earlier stages (and possibly later), leads may well not have visited your showroom, so bring the showroom experience to them - film a video tour, including your latest stock. Similarly, instead of sending an email regarding finance options, record a video interview where someone can explain them more clearly.

When sending emails, visual data is always more memorable than written. Try presenting information more simply via infographics (e.g. information about car specs, or a guide to finance options). Make sure to also post these infographics on social media, where it is also more likely to be shared across various networks.

The sale is just the start

Congratulations! Your dedicated approach to nurturing leads has paid off and you’ve made a successful sale. So, time to remove the customer from your mailing list, right? Of course not! Assuming the customer is happy to still receive communications, make sure you send updates relevant to their subsequent need, e.g. maintenance information and offers.

Now the customer is more engaged with your brand make sure to include them in any dealership events. While you always need to be careful with creating offers only open to certain people, consider capitalising on the exclusivity appeal of a ‘customer club’ which offers specific discounts, event invitations, promo items and offers.

After a suitable amount of time, you can also start to send emails and info on trade-in offers, and information on new models. The key is making the customer feel valued and engaged with your brand. This will mean that when they’re looking for aftersales care or purchasing another vehicle – they’ll know who to come to.

Lead nurturing starts by ensuring all initial queries are captured and responded to as soon as possible. To find out how you can guarantee 100% lead capture and 100% lead response - any time and anywhere - see our Dealerweb React page. Alternatively, get in touch direct on +44 (0)1392 247477 or email

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