The Marchex Blog

How auto dealers can convert inbound phone calls into sales

As the leading provider of call intelligence to the auto industry, Marchex understands the importance of optimizing this stream of leads. In looking at the path to purchase for auto buyers, Google Research found there are several micro-moments of the journey, one of which is the “where-should-I-buy-it?” moment. Prior to this milestone, the car-buying journey is mainly a digital one until the prospective buyer requires answers that can only be provided by dealers they are interested in working with. At that point, they often search for “car dealerships near me”; the next step is to make a call.

In late 2018, the Marchex Institute studied inbound calls to auto dealers to learn the impact they have on the business. In the first part its 3-part study, the Institute took a macro look at inbound calls to determine how many were successful in reaching the business and having a conversation.

In its report: How some OEMs are boosting sales at the expense of others, the Institute discovered that 19.3 percent of calls to auto dealerships failed to connect with the business. These calls were either unanswered or the caller dropped off at some point during the routing process before making a connection.

So, what can dealerships do to connect with all inbound calls successfully?

Reduce unanswered calls

Research has shown that a high number of abandons occur while interacting with automated menus. Whether they are too complex, take too long to route or simply because callers would prefer to speak with a person, automated answering attendants and sending callers to voicemail appear to be a point of friction with callers and some callers would rather hang up than engage.

Staff and stock optimally

There is no substitute for being knowledgeable on the typical topics callers ask about:

  • Is this model or part in stock?
  • What does the pricing look like?
  • What financing incentives are you offering?

Knowing your inventory and being able to suggest alternatives, being up on current financing offers and keeping a well-stocked supply of parts are key actions to satisfying customer demands. These actions keep the business in your shop since frustrated callers can simply hang up and call the dealership next door.

Set a date with the caller

If you can remove any friction the caller has about next steps, you open the door for asking them to come in. Not just suggesting they drop by, but actually setting an appointment for service or a test drive helps the prospective customer take the next step along the path to purchase. As prospective buyers visit fewer dealerships during the car-buying process, making sure yours is one they do visit significantly improves the opportunity for your team to make a sale.

To learn more about how to optimize inbound phone calls at your dealership, check out the full report:

Marchex Auto OEM Study 2018: How some OEMs are boosting sales at the expense of others

And if you’re attending J.D. Power Automotive Summit in San Francisco next week, find our team at the networking happy hour events to gain more insights on optimizing the phone touchpoints of the modern-day auto buying journey.