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How Many Opportunities Are You Missing with Walk-ins?

In an article, earlier this year I looked at the symptoms of a sick sales floor. I want to dig in a little deeper and look specifically at walk-in traffic and its true value to your dealership. The opportunities can be richer than we perceive. However, that value can go completely undetected by even the most seasoned veteran. We’re going to tackle that today and get us all on the road to recovery.


Everyone working at a dealership understands the value of an appointment. Bottom line, the closing rates are better. Additionally, the opportunity for referral business is stronger and long-term relationships can be created for your dealership that can be lucrative for years to come.

However, we rarely look at the walk-in customer with the same value. Let’s consider the following…

First impressions are everything.

You made enough of an impression online for a walk-in customer to come and visit your store. How many times does your staff remember this key point? I don’t need to go into the stats but if a person is walking into your store you need to assume the following:

1. They KNOW what kind of vehicle they want.
2. They have thoroughly researched it, they may know more than your own staff about the vehicle they have their eye on
3. They have vetted their ideal vehicle via social media and read your store reviews
4. They feel confident enough to visit your store without submitting an internet lead or calling ahead.

THEY PICKED YOU!

Data says consumers visit less than 2 stores in their research and shopping phase. I’ll say it again, they VISIT LESS than 2 stores! I don’t know what .5 of a dealership looks like but if they’re coming through your dealership’s doors they want to do business with you. They want to buy a car – from you. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Let’s crunch some actual numbers

With over 30 million transactional data points in our platform, we were able to pull some pretty interesting stats.

On average a walk-in customer visit closes at approximately 22% (that's up 4% from previous years due to customers arriving at your dealership more transaction ready). Now, these data points are being generated by stores that have moved from Open Floors to Managed Floors. The customer experience is more optimized due to the fact the store is working on correcting all those walk-in moments that bad habits can ruin. No manager intro or test drive.

What would the close rates look like if we continue to tighten our processes? How many opportunities are we missing if we overlook these two critical pillars in the store visit?

The closing rate of a walk-in customer when a MANAGER INTRO is conducted moves almost 10 points to 30%. The customer wants to receive validation that their choice of dealership was the right one. Manager intros ensure this time and time again. It’s a small exercise that carries so much weight.

Now, Let’s look at the “trifecta”...

The WALK-IN customer closing rate when a MANAGER INTRO and TEST DRIVE are completed on their visit was a whopping 43%! Most stores would kill for that kind of closing rate!

These dealerships are seeing a jump of over 20 points just by ensuring they treat every customer with the best possible in-store experience. And it’s not by jumping through hoops. Just simply practicing the pillars of doing good business will move the needle in a major way.

Remember, your appointments are golden geese. You’ve worked hard to set those up and those closing rates are always strong. But don’t forget about the potential of building new relationships with those who walk through the door unannounced. Give them the same attention you would those with an appointment and you’ll see your store’s retail sales potential rise.

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