When I first moved into a marketing role at a car dealership, the first project I was tasked with was fixing our poor lead conversion.
So I decided to start with the emails we were sending out for a few reasons:
1) We sent more emails than anything else so we could test more quickly (about 4x as many emails as phone calls)
2) Measuring performance was relatively easy.
3) I’d written email sequences before so it seemed like a good fit given my background.
When I first started, we had an email autoresponder that automatically contacted every new lead that came in. I hated it because rather than building any value, it immediately started the relationship with the customer in a deceitful way (it may seem minor, but you don’t start with much trust to begin with at a car dealership – why make things worse right off the bat).
I don’t have a copy of the old email but it was something like this and was sent a few minutes after a customer inquired about a vehicle after hours:
“Hi name, I just happened to be checking my email and saw your request, would you like to make an appointment to come test drive the car”
Like I said, I’m not a fan of misleading the customer right out of the gate so that email was the very first one to go.
What I wanted to do was respond to the customer to let them know we received their request and build a little value and rapport at the same time without misleading the customer. And just to make it more interesting, I threw in a touch of humor to make like the people who worked there were actually human and not a bunch of soulless robots. (Which often feels like the case when you let sales reps respond to emails)
What was the result?
1) It was the most responded to email we sent out… including custom written ones by the sales staff! We consistently averaged a 49% response to it (and a couple months went above 50%) – yes, almost half the people who received the email clicked the reply button!! That was more than triple the previous response.
And since it helped us reach more potential customers right away, we were able to set more appointments and increase sales (though those metrics were a little tougher to definitively attribute to changing an email template).
If your business depends on taking leads and converting them into customers, I’d encourage you to model this template and put it to work for you:
And without further adieu, here’s that template (certain portions removed for privacy and copyright reasons)
Subj: Thank you for contracting usHi [firstname]Thank you for contacting us.We’re currently closed but I want to let you know I’ll be passing your info along to one of my best salespeople and having them get in touch with you ASAP.In order to be respectful of your time, what’s your preferred method of communication?-Email?-Phone?-Text?-Carrier Pigeon?Okay – maybe not that last one but if you do have a preference please reply and I’ll pass that along as well.Thank you for the opportunity to build your business and hope to meet you soon!Have a great day.[picture of the general sales manager][signature line]P.S. You have my word that we’ll do everything we can to make your car buyer experience a pleasant and painless one (even if you don’t buy a car from us you deserve to be treated right).P.P.S. But don’t take my word for it, here is some recent feedback from past customers just like you: (put a few testimonials here)
There you have it – quick, to the point, and it got a ton of response – give it a try in your business. And yes, about 1 in 10 people did request to be contacted via carrier pigeon – We emailed them back and let them know the carrier pigeon was off for the day and asked if it’d be okay to email or call them instead.