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Survey Shows 72% of Incoming Used Car Phone Inquiries to Dealerships Mishandled

Survey Shows 72% of Incoming Used Car Phone Inquiries to Dealerships Mishandled


Dealix, a division of Cobalt, the leading provider of quality leads for new cars and used cars, released today the results of a multi-part research study of phone inquiries consumers made to dealerships about used cars.

The study, which evaluated over 3,000 phone calls into dealerships from consumers who saw a vehicle of interest on a website that is part of the Dealix Network, revealed that dealers miss opportunities nearly three-quarters of the time. This is despite statistical results that show that phone leads are among the highest- value inquiries for dealers, with high close rates and fast turn- around times.

Room for Improvement in Dealers’ Phone Call Handling and Sales Process
The most notable areas where dealers failed in phone lead handling were:

72% of dealers did not ask for an appointment with the caller.
35% of dealers did not suggest alternatives if the caller’s first vehicle of interest was already sold.
24% of dealer voicemail systems were full or not functional, so the customer was unable leave a message.

In addition to reviewing phone calls, Dealix also conducted primary research, surveying the consumers who placed the calls. In this respect, the survey found good news. As compared to consumers who contacted a dealer via email, buyers reported being more satisfied with their shopping experience if they had used the phone. And those who talked to the dealer were successfully converted to buyers at that dealership with more frequency.

“The progressive dealers we work with report that phone leads provide some of their fastest-closing opportunities,” said Anna Zornosa, general manager of Dealix. “However, these study results show there’s great room for improvement in dealerships’ phone- handling practices. Investment in this area will help dealers take advantage of the current upsurge in pre-owned sales.”

Strong Phone Handling Skills and Processes Start with Training
As a result of the study, Dealix designed a training session that comprises findings from its phone lead survey results, including a review of actual phone calls between consumers and dealers and best practices recommendations. Experts participating in the program are Bobby Malatia, a senior training partner at auto sales training and consulting firm Kain Automotive, and Justin Brun, e-commerce manager for one of the most successful Internet dealerships in the country, Acton Toyota.

The training session and panel discussion, which was a popular workshop at the Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas in April, will be held as a webinar and is open to all dealers who want to learn more about maximizing their sales opportunities with phone leads. The session will include findings from Dealix’s Phone Leads Study, recordings of phone calls into dealerships, and feedback and discussion with Malatia and Brun.

“At a time when dealerships face enormous economic pressures, it’s disconcerting to see so many failing at the fundamentals,” said Malatia. “The good news is that with proper training and attention to developing a proven tactical plan, dealers can take advantage of the great opportunities presented by phone leads.”

Free Webinar: Maximizing Opportunities with Phone Leads