3 Ways to Increase Appointments at Your Dealership Immediately

by Taylor Loethen | Aug 9, 2023

featured image of 3 Ways to Increase Appointments at Your Dealership Immediately blog

"Too often, online customers are not responded to timely, are treated like checkboxes, and are methodically moved through the sales cycle reducing their excitement."


Imagine saving your money for years to purchase that brand new 2023 Polaris RZR Pro or perhaps the 2023 Harley-Davidson Pan America S. Maybe you’ve been saving for that Can-AM ATV that your son has been asking for Christmas for the last two years. Now imagine the ecstasy filling your chest when you finally submit a lead at your local dealership to test ride and learn about financing opportunities for the dream toy you’ve been working so hard to save for. 

Then, you don’t hear back. It’s been an hour, 4 hours, 24 hours. That ecstasy diminishes and you begin second-guessing your choice to purchase. “Is this model even the right one for me?”, “Can I even afford this?”, “Why haven’t they responded?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Maybe I should look elsewhere…” You and I both know that if you don’t hear back within a few hours, you’re on to the next dealership to see “who wants your business”. This is the reality for our customers too.        

Too often, online customers are not responded to timely, are treated like checkboxes, and are methodically moved through the sales cycle reducing their excitement. Sales people often overlook the emotional connection with the customer to properly influence their emotional sales conversion oblivious to the impact that their behavior has on the dealership’s bottom line. 

✳️ Dont Miss Out: Register Now for "Generating Demand in a Tough Market." LIVE August 17, 2023 3:00 PM Join our dealership training webinar and take control of your customer experience!

Remember, we are digital customers too. We research online, we educate ourselves, we submit leads. Take a moment to think about how you want to be acknowledged when you submit a lead. I guarantee you want an immediate response. Welcome to the 21st Century with Amazon, Netflix and DoorDash. Today, humans want instant gratification. Are our customers any different than us? 

Like us, our customers want to be acknowledged quickly, followed up with timely, and guided. Is it too much to ask to treat our customers the way we want to be treated? 

The customer will decide on either purchasing from your dealership or not depending on how every interaction with you and your brand makes them feel. Therefore we must nurture our customers properly and guide them along their emotional journey to purchase. 

blog banner - (800 × 175 px)-01

Here Are THREE Proven Strategies
To Increase Appointments
In Your Dealership Immediately

▶️ Speed to Lead

First things first. Think speed to lead. Disney and Pixar’s Lightning McQueen starts out every race stating his mantra over and over, “Speed. Speed. Speed. I am Speed.” Adopt this proven mindset from the 7-time Piston Cup Winner and you’ve already increased your appointment set potential. 

Impressions are made in the first 10 seconds of meeting someone. This also translates to your website. While the website is what often attracts the customer during the discovery phase, once they “raise their hand” and submit a lead, they have advanced to the consideration phase. Your response time is your opportunity at your first impression. You only get one shot at a first impression. Read that again - you only get one shot at a first impression. 

Fast response time increases your likelihood of connection and it communicates that you want their business. 

Take Action: Identify your response time and focus on reducing it incrementally until you achieve 10 minutes or less. 

▶️ Read the Lead

This is more than just reading and answering the question submitted online. Reading the lead is understanding the customer’s position and meeting them where they are at on their journey to purchase. We must identify what is most important to the customer. (Hint: It’s not always about price!). 

Acknowledge quickly and ask probing questions. This helps us identify what’s most important to the customer. Seth Godin shares “the reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven't given them anything else to care about.” Give them something else to care about. 

We must listen, not just hear. Understand what the customer is saying versus what they mean. We must dig deeper until we understand their emotional “why” behind the purchase. It’s always something. Sometimes it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s time-motivated - there’s a rally coming up, you know. Perhaps their partner wants to ride more and needs a more comfortable ride. Consider the customer’s frame-of-mind and ward off any “commission breath”. Give yourself and the customer the opportunity to build a relationship and establish greater understanding of each other, then educate and guide the customer to their purchase. 

Take Action: Role play customer conversations via phone and text. Read into what the customer is saying and ask probing questions to achieve a greater understanding of their purchase desires. Earn the right to ask for the appointment. 

▶️ Feed the Lead

Online shopping is expected to increase by 25% (BigCommerce) and customers aren’t just shopping at your store. Most customers are not ready to purchase yet when they begin their online journey. Almost always, customers begin with the discovery phase, researching the product they want and where they wish to purchase from. We must nurture the customers early in the discovery phase from website navigation, ease of use and nudge them to submit a lead. 

Once the lead comes in, the nurturing must increase. The first dealership to respond to the customer’s inquiry is most likely to obtain the sale. Once communication is established and probing questions have been asked, when we can describe the customers’ wants and paint the visual of them already owning that unit of their dreams cruising down the coast or tearing up dirt, we’ve got them. All we have to do is continue to nurture the lead and guide them through the remainder of their journey to purchase. 

We’ve all heard of F.O.R.M.A.T. There’s a reason why this method is taught in every sales training around the world.  Find a commonality and lean in! 

F - Family
O - Occupation
R - Recreation
M - Motivation
A - Animals
T - Team / Tattoos

Although F.O.R.M.A.T. is primarily used in person, the concept works digitally too. Here are some probing question examples. 

  • What do you like most about this unit? (Motivation)
  • What brought you to our website? (Motivation)
  • What do you do for a living? Work weekends? (Occupation)
  • What do you do outside of work? (Recreation)
  • Will you be riding by yourself or with a partner? (Family)
  • Nice ___ tattoo! [Elaborate] (Tattoos)

Here are four tips to help you Feed the Lead.

  1. Customize your message. Use their name. Remind the customer of your name and the dealership you work for. Mention the unit they are interested in and its availability. 
  2. Use Links and Pictures. Resend the bike they inquired about if available. Build an emotional tie to the unit. Send a few other options they may be interested in. Build excitement! 
  3. Let them know if there has been a price change or if the dealership is having an incentive. Events equal deals! End-of-month pushes, trade-in specials, bike buys, etc. 
  4. Mine Your Funnel. Ask for referrals. Consider a “finder’s fee”. 

Increasing your appointment rate isn’t hard, but it does take time, patience and grit. If you follow the best practices outlined for “Speed to Lead”, “Read the Lead”, “Feed the Lead”, you will increase your appointments immediately. 

To learn more about our three ways to increase appointments immediately and how you can better nurture your digital leads, please contact Travis Winkleman at TravisW@DLPspeed.com to learn more about LeadHelm, your digital sales solution software.

Additional Reading