If you ask your Internet leads for a phone number before answering their question or providing a price, you’re doing it wrong. And how many damn times do you need to be told this 101 crap? That’s my summation on this article. If your initial email response is to provide a price with other vehicle options you can stop reading now because you’re doing it right. For the other 99.99999% of dealers hang on my every word. Read a few of your BDC’s, your Internet manager’s, and your sales agents’ outbound emails. If it doesn’t make you puke then you’re not thinking about things like a consumer. I know, I’ve been guilty of doing that too. Having been born into a dealership, I couldn’t appreciate the world of a customer until I became one. As a dealer my mind was always focussed on slamming a customer through our process as fast as possible. I was so wrong. I am in the market for 2 used cars. My wife has been hunting and I’ve been contacting the dealers with the cars she likes. We are over 30 leads submitted and only 1 dealer has responded answering the comments I left in the lead form. Questions I am asking: “What airport should I fly into to pick this car up?” “Can I see another photo of the rear passenger side seat?” “Can you cut me a break on this one and stock #XYX234 too?” Sure, these aren’t your typical “is this your best price” question a lead asks, but they’re answerable questions without having to touch the desk. Our hunt has taken us all over the country so the issue is nationwide, and not limited to no-name dealers the rest of us don’t know. I can only assume this is happening a lot. Oh yeah, I have received 5 billion auto responders telling me how great the dealership is and another 2 million emails asking for my phone number. My mental reply to those 2 million phone number asks is “go F— yourself, you’re out.” If you can’t bother to answer my question via email, I can’t bother to give you hounding privileges to my phone. My story aside, customers have been trained to make a purchase online. That doesn’t mean they are expecting some digital retailing nonsense. It means they’re accustomed to getting all the purchase-decision-making information online. In the car business that is done through your website and a digital conversation with someone at the store. When your digital conversation starts with a request to move the conversation to a different medium, the customer didn’t contact you through, you’re telling the customer you are going to push them through your meat grinder process. Put nicer, you are training your customers to not respond to your emails. If your email response rate is low, it ain’t due to an email deliverability problem at your CRM. Read the whole post here.