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From leads to customers: 4 key steps

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From leads to customers: 4 key steps

Interested in easy-to-follow best practices designed to turn more mobile users into buyers? Nate Lehmann has the scoop.

Lehmann is automotive tire and wheel sales manager at ARI Network Services Inc. ARI is the parent company of 50 Below, a provider of eCommerce websites.

Here is a Q&A with him, courtesy of ARI, that addresses four key steps to move shoppers from leads to customers. Nate can be reached at Nathan.Lehmann@arinet.com.

Q: What’s the first thing a dealer should do when a potential customer contacts them?

Lehmann: When customers come into your store, you talk to them. You ask them questions about what they’re looking for and what they want. One of the most important things dealers should do is get customers’ contact information.

You need to do the same thing on your website by providing them with information that answers their questions and giving them an opportunity to “tell” you what they want through call-to-action forms such as “Contact us” or “Request a quote.” Visitors should also be able to see right away where your email address is, or be given the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter.

Whether a shopper walks into your dealership or visits your website, the first thing I tell dealers to focus on is make them feel welcome and build trust, even if they’re just there to browse or do research. Provide information, make recommendations, and don’t pressure them.

Q: Are there specific things a dealer should do if a prospect doesn’t buy on their first visit?

Lehmann: Absolutely. Send an email thanking them for visiting your website or dealership. In the email, ask if they need any further information about what they want; respond promptly to questions they may have; avoid trying to “close” the deal immediately; and let them know you will contact them in a few days. This type of call-to-action invites people to do something and sets the stage for you to start the lead nurturing process.

In addition, ask them to become your Facebook fan, Twitter follower, or LinkedIn connection. The more ways you have to contact and connect with prospects, the easier it will be to continue nurturing them.

Q: You mentioned “nurturing”. What do you mean by that?

Lehmann: Stay in touch. And not just with prospects. You need to stay in touch with customers as well! As long as the message you send is relevant and provides valuable information, you can send around 16 messages per year. Send emails or newsletters that include:

* information on the tires or wheels they were interested in;

* service specials;

* new products;

* tips on how to change oil;

* safety tips;

* special events at your dealership

Remember, “no” doesn’t mean “never.” Not every opportunity closes immediately. Not all opportunities result in a sale -- at this time. If you are nurturing them properly, they will come back. Just remember to stay in touch. If they have purchased their tires or wheels from the big box store or your competitor down the road, there is still a chance to win their business in the future.

Q: In closing, what would your final recommendation be?

Lehmann: If you make it easy for people to buy from you, they will come back to you for future purchases and recommend your dealership to their family and friends. If you had a positive online buying experience during your first visit to a dealer or a website, wouldn’t you do the same? Buyers want to make their own decisions, and you need to give them all the information they need to decide to buy from you. That’s what lead nurturing is all about. Doing this not only keeps your dealership top of mind, but builds brand recognition.

Also check out these links:

"4 simple ways to make mobile customers happy."

"These 3 steps will 'wow' your online customers."

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