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Training customers to ignore your emails

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
First Name

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.
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Jeff Kershner

May 1, 2005
First Name
This brings back some old memories. The year, I forget but it was a long time ago. Maybe 2001 or 2002. I attended a free training seminar hosted by AutoTrader (now remember this was 18+ years ago when very few knew what the hell they were doing,) I'll never forget when the trainer recommended answering all leads with a first response that read something like this...

"Dear John, thank you for your interest in the vehicle we have for purchase. At the moment we are very busy with the BIG SALE we have going on. Would you please give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX so we can further discuss." -- or something like that.

We sure have come a long way since those days, or have we?
Dec 2, 2009
First Name
Love it.

CRM emails have become as bad as "A.I" (LOL... don't get me started!) chat bots.

I think customers are actually getting pretty good at spotting the good responses. It's like the entire Inbox is now a junk box, and you quickly scan through to find the gem or two that might hold some actual value...

I caught a glimpse of my wife's inbox the other day -- over 500+ unread email. Wonder what you have to do to catch the attention of today's shopper?


Marc Lavoie

3rd Base Coach
Jan 3, 2019
First Name
The struggle is real.

It just shows who puts their heart into this process and who doesn't.

I'm sure Dealer Principals and General Managers out there would be answering those questions because it's their business. But the reality is that these people don't handle leads.

I have nothing against automated email if done right.

The problem is most email tracks are done by people who are NOT handling leads on a daily basis. So we get those 30-page long, vanilla emails adding no value to anyone.

It's too bad because you can really get creative when crafting those tracks. I can tell you we're having a ton of fun with our BDC.

Rookie mistakes like the ones above happen because, sadly, people handling leads don't understand:
1) The importance of pausing and reading
2) The customer
3) Lead segmentation

It's not rocket science, plus you can make your life easier by automating a ton of stuff these days.