by Taylor Loethen | Sep 8, 2023


"Dealers nationwide face challenges with low ROI on digital efforts, appointment volume, and unqualified appointments. However, with effective processes, tracking, and team accountability, these challenges can be overcome."

As we try to keep up with today’s ever-evolving digital evolution, dealers across the US face three consistent challenges that slow them down from increasing their bottom line: low ROI on digital efforts, low appointments volume, and unqualified appointments. Any of these sound familiar?  

You are not alone! Every client we’ve served over the past four years has experienced one or more of these challenges. With the right processes in place, consistent tracking and measuring, and team accountability in place, you can overcome these challenges.  

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Here are the top three challenges and tips to overcome them right now. 

Challenge #1 - Low ROI on Digital Efforts

Digital Marketing is executed via various channels including, but certainly not limited to, website, advertising, social media, newsletters, text marketing, etc. Often, dealers put out particles, but don’t receive a large response. Why? 

🔹First, how well do you track your digital marketing efforts? Do you have a scorecard in place that tracks your spend, visitors, marketing qualified leads, test rides, conversions, etc.? If not, establish that first. Remember, you have to know your foundation before you can determine if you’re successful or not. We recommend tracking the following metrics by type and analyze it monthly.


  • Each Individual Paid Advertising Channel
  • Each Individual Social Media Channel 
  • Events 
  • Other Marketing / Sales Channel(s)


  • Spend $
  • Visitors / Attendees
  • Cost Per Visitor / Attendee 
  • Marketing Qualified Leads Generated
  • MQL Conversion (MQL / Visitors)
  • Cost Per MQL $
  • Test Rides / Conversions 
  • Total Conversion / Test Rides (Test Ride / MQL)
  • Cost Per Conversion / Cost Per Test Ride $

🔹Second, understand what the data is telling you. If your web traffic is low, review your digital marketing strategy. Are you investing enough money? Are you investing in the right lead generating activities and sources? Consider reducing or eliminating spend on low or non-converting channels. Reinvest those dollars into high-performing channels.

🔹Third, review your website through the customer lens. The average dealer converts 1% of their web traffic into a lead. If you are performing below 1%, review your website and ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time you updated your banners? 
  • Is there movement? 
  • Is there an irresistible call to action? 
  • Are your inventory pages up to date? 
  • Do you have real photos of new and used units? Are your photos good quality? 

Start with your homepage and VDP pages, then expand to audit and updates.  


Challenge #2 - Low Appointment Volume

Let’s presume your digital marketing is on point and you’re generating an abundance of leads, but your appointment set rate is low. We might ponder, what could be causing this?

There are three most likely culprits: slow response time, insufficient follow up, and/or limited word tracks. Make it your mission to reduce your response time incrementally week after week to 10 minutes or less. Your effectiveness doubles if you can reduce it to 5 minutes or less.

Follow up, follow up, follow up. Think of it as a “buy or die” philosophy. If the customer hasn’t responded after four attempts, don’t give up. We have a 26-point no-contact cadence we recommend.

Tighten up your word tracks. I cannot express this enough. No slang, no bros. How does the customer want to communicate, call or text? Meet them where they are at. Not ready to come in? Guide their journey, build value in you and your dealership, nudge them to an appointment


Challenge #3 - Unqualified Appointments 

Has your sales team ever experienced one of the following when an appointment arrives? 

  • No one knew they were coming in
  • Customer didn’t bring necessary paperwork
  • Trade appraisal isn’t complete
  • Unit of interest isn’t washed, battery dead, no longer available

If you said “yes” to any of the above, your team isn’t retail-ready. 

Here are 5 best practices to ensure your team is retail-ready. 

  1. Be retail-ready outside the dealership 
    • Have unit(s) ready with other options 
    • Unit(s) washed, battery charged, gassed, keys ready
    • Designate VIP appointment lane with customer’s name prominent

  2. Be retail-ready inside the dealership
    • Have an appointment board (physical or digital)
    • Conduct Daily Huddle
      1. Review Appointments for the Day
      2. Review notes in CRM, needs for appointments, etc. 
      3. Conduct Save-A-Deal
    • Confirm Appointment (Again!)
      1. Ask for salesperson by name
      2. Establish contingency plan if salesperson is with another customer 
    • Update Notes in CRM

  3. Establish Communication Best Practices 
    • Ensure Effective Communication Internally
      1. Daily, Weekly, Monthly Reports
      2. Timely No-Show Follow Up
      3. Accountability for Shows and No-Shows Next Steps

  4. Identify Primary Point-of-Contact for Digital Appointments 
    • Proven Effectiveness
    • Responsible for Greeting and Closing

  5. Establish CRM Notes Etiquette 
    • “If it’s not in the CRM or LeadHelm, it didn’t happen.” Mentality
    • Establish Quality Notes Best Practices 
    • Spot Check CRM and LeadHelm Notes
    • Establish Note Review Process and Accountability 

In conclusion, dealers across the US consistently face these three challenges that stop them from increasing their bottom line: low ROI on digital efforts, low appointment volume, and unqualified appointments. However, with the right processes, tracking and measuring, and team accountability, you can overcome these challenges and achieve success! Remember, you are not alone in facing these challenges.

LeadHelm provides a solution to these three common challenges, with a focus on data-driven decision-making and exclusive access to industry insights.

To learn more about how to overcome these three challenges and to see how LeadHelm can expedite your success in action, please contact Travis Winkleman at to learn more about LeadHelm, your digital sales solution software.

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