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First or Fifth? What’s Your FQR?

First or Fifth? What’s Your FQR?

Christine Plunkett

If you ain’t first you’re last.

I never would have thought that any valuable internet sales training information would result from a Will Ferrell movie, but here we are. Reese Bobby got it right when he mused that being FIRST is all that matters. Especially when we’re trying to convince skeptical car shoppers to part with forty grand for a hunk of metal with no voice-on-voice action.

The FIRST dealer to give a FIRST quality response wins the race. Sadly, it’s more typical to find dealers saving the good stuff until too late in the conversation.

Over the last twenty years, we’ve witnessed a steady and steep decline in automotive internet lead close rates. Today, dealers are reporting an abysmal average of five percent conversion of leads to sales. You are dropping the ball with your internet lead responses. Dropping it, tripping over it, kicking it under the bleachers, and deflating it.

I have a very important question to ask you:

Are you sending a FQR or a FQR? Sure, they look the same, but one wins the business and the other is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.

Let me break it down for you.

You must start sending a FQR, First Quality Response, to every lead. What you’re probably sending today is a FQR, Fifth Quality Response. On average, dealers are making it all the way until the FIFTH FRIKIN PASS to send customers anything of value.

It’s truly dumbfounding.

Customers submit a lead and get back all sorts of ridiculous drivel like:

“Thanks for your email, we’ll be in touch shortly.”

“Is this the best email to reach you?”

“We find that phone calls and texts are better, what’s the best number to reach you during the day?”

“I just wanted to say “Thank You” for your time because I know time is valuable so “Thank You” for your time. I’d love to earn your business.”

“My name is Kate, I’m helping the sales team. Someone will be in touch shortly to discuss your request.”

“Thanks for your email. Here’s a website link to the exact car you just sent a lead on which you’ve clearly already seen.”

“My name is Geoff with a ‘G’, can you come by for a test drive today and ask for me specifically by saying, ‘I’m here to see Geoff with a ‘G’??”

“Hi, I’m Bill and I’ll be helping you.” *Exact same time*, “Hi, I’m Jack and I’ll be helping you.”

“How did you here about our dealership?”

… here.. HERE?!?!? GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH… for Pete’s sake!

It is truly mind-numbing that real dealers are sending ALL OF THAT before answering the questions in the lead notes or addressing the vehicle of interest. Your internet sales manager is waiting for the FIFTH pass to ask about the trade or even mention price. Waiting to talk about price until you’ve exhausted all other options achieves one thing, it trains your customers to IGNORE your emails.

So, what do they want to know? I’m so glad you asked.

• Is the car I want available?
• Is now the best time to buy it?
• For how much money can I buy it? (Not the same as price, 90% of your customers want to know the payment.)

When is the right time to talk about these very important pieces of information? Immediately.

The First Quality Response is money. Tell the customer the car is in stock. Encourage them that now is the best time to buy it. Give them real, accurate, interactive price and payment options, including taxes and fees. Stop selling and let them decide how they want to buy the damn car. Give them the tools to make an informed decision instead of trying to tap dance your way into an appointment.

First step? Stop what you’re doing right now and open your CRM. Turn off all the auto-responders with the exception of your after-hours note. Next, kill all your old, tired, lame, played-out templates. Kill them with fire. Do it.

Doesn’t that feel better?

Now add a new FQR template. Here’s an example of a First Quality Response:

Subject: [Make] [Model] deal for [Customer First Name] Body:
Hello [Customer First Name],
Great news! The [Make] [Model] you like is available and now is the best time to buy it from [Dealership Name] thanks to our [Season] Savings on new [Model]s. We’re going to make this really simple. Tap the link below to select from our impressive lease, loan, and out-the-door price options.
[Link to lease, loan, and out-the-door price info] Call or email me if you have any questions otherwise, just let me know when you are ready for a test drive.
[User Signature]

Want more guidance setting up First Quality Response templates for your dealership? We can help.

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  • Hey Oh! Thanks for sharing my article. I believe the quality of a lead is only as good as the quality of the first response.

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