The first rule in following-up online leads: call first!

Online Rule 1: Call first, email second


We all know that the salespersons that are most successful in following up online leads in the automotive industry do not mail the prospects, but they always call first. With calling alone you are not there yet. Why do you call? What can you expect and what do you expect to achieve with making a phone call? Or are we just going blind? All questions that we would like to answer. After all, better conversion starts with the seller himself.

How do you start the conversation?

It is important to determine how you start the conversation. How do you imagine? First and last name? Company Name? Enthusiastic or not too energetic? Do you ask for ‘permission’ to call, do you ask if it suits? Do you know who you want to talk to when someone else answers? All sorts of questions that may be easy to answer, but which can still be a considerable hindrance in the daily hustle and bustle, so that you can miss the first essential click, in that first and important moment of contact.

What is your added value?

In other words, why should the customer buy from you? What makes you and your company so unique? Perhaps the brand? The distance to the customer? All things that are relevant and must be top of mind with every salesperson. The buyer buys from you, not because of the best service or the best price, there must be more than that. What makes your company unique? What is the all-determining trigger for the customer to choose for you?

How do you convince to make an appointment?

There are more questions to ask. Why should the customer make an appointment with you? Now, don’t say it’s easier for you to look at the trade in yourself, that it is easier for you to value a car of 10 years old. Tell him what his advantage is to come by. Can he test drive and experience all the new features and benefits of his new car? Can he experience all options, colors and accessories to determine what his preference is? Or is it the fact that you can offer alternatives that might meet the needs of the customer better? So, think ahead of time what the benefit is for the customer. That’s what it’s about.

How do you sell the appointment and instead of the car

The most common mistake is to sell the car and often also the price in the conversation with the customer, even before an appointment has been made. Only one thing must be sold in the conversation: the appointment. Of course, it is desirable to mention the benefits of the car, but in that case, the advantages are mainly related to the experiences that can be gained during the appointment. And of course the price is asked by the buyer, but do not be exact, but indicate the range. With that, the reason for the appointment gains strength.

Do you give all the information?

A question is asked in many e-mail and online leads. Can you answer that question without this also being the end of the dialogue? If the dialogue is dead, then an appointment may also be useless. So go and give the customer the requested information, but also make sure that you can still sell the appointment. So do not call before you can answer the question that the customer has. After all, nothing is as messy as a salesperson who responds to a question from a lead without being able to answer this particular question.

Are you ready for counter-arguments?

Counter-arguments come, for sure. A customer will almost certainly drop those counter-arguments, so make sure you are prepared. What are the advantages of your car, brand or offer? And what are the advantages of doing business with you and your company? Have you heard certain counter-arguments before? Prepare yourself for that. Do you have the frequently asked questions, even the difficult ones, already answered in your head or on paper? Then you are done with the preparation and you can make the call. Do you get a voicemail? Then grab your script and leave a message with the right energy and content. A better conversion in online leads is always starting with yourself. With good preparation.

Orginal article

About Paul de Vries

Paul de Vries became a Key Automotive Spokesperson at eBay (Marketplace) after selling to eBay back in 2015. Paul is the founder and CEO of the #DCDW Academy and the presenter of the #DCDW Podcast. He is also a by dealers and importers frequently asked speaker in the online automotive industry. Paul is the winner of the prestigious Lighthouse Award 2016 in the U.S.! `Lead the Way op de digitale snelweg’ is Paul’s new book, which can be used as a guide in the online automotive industry. More information is available at:

hoofdfoto Paul

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