3 Horrifying Fails of Dealership Follow-Up Emails

Your dealership follow-up process impacts the effectiveness of everything from your live chat service to your advertising efforts. Without proper follow-up, shoppers don’t buy…and then your dealership doesn’t make any money.

With that in mind, and you might want to sit down for this…after doing some research, I’ve discovered a horrifying reality…the email follow-up process is broken for many dealerships.

Yes, you read that right. The email follow-up process is broken, and it needs mending ASAP!

So in an effort to repair the dealership email follow-up process, I’ve outlined below three ways that dealership emails are currenting failing, and also given the solutions dealerships can use to prevent these horrible email fails and win back their shopper satisfaction and sales!

Please, please, please – pay attention and fix these email follow-up issues if you see them happening at your dealership! They might be costing you lots of sales!


Fail #1: Using Bad Personalization

It leaves a really bad impression when your dealership’s follow-up email includes personalization that did not fill in properly or includes text in brackets that should have been removed.


Let’s look at a few of these:


Example 1:

Salutation email

Notice the [salutation] was never deleted before sending this email. Also, “Np” above most likely means “Not Provided”. This means the dealership was trying to use personalization to include the first and last name of the customer in their email, however the last name was not provided in the lead, so in its place the automatic filler used “Np” in place of a last name.

These are careless mistakes that need to be cleaned up before the email is sent.


Example 2:

Dealer Name Email


If you don’t take the time to write your own dealership name in your emails, you’re doing it wrong! How do you think the shopper is going to feel after reading this? They might not even be sure your testimonials are actually about your own dealership. This kind of mistake breaks your shopper’s trust and confidence! DON’T DO IT!


Example 3:

Missing Info Email

Request for what? Oops.


How Not to Fail: Always, always, always – Test your emails. Make sure your personalization is working the way you want it to be presented to your shopper before you press send.

If it’s an automatic email, only use first name personalization, because in many cases the shopper isn’t going to provide a last name in the lead. Also, make sure to check that you’ve removed any inserts like (dealer name) or [salutation], and exchanged them with the appropriate information.

Personalization can add a really nice touch and save you time when writing your emails. However, if it is done incorrectly, it could mean the difference between a sale and just another shopper that ignores and deletes your emails.


Fail #2: Having Two Employees Contact the Same Shopper

Another way dealerships are failing is by having two employees contact the same shopper. This not only creates confusion about who is the primary contact, but it also makes matters worse when the two employees communicating with the shopper aren’t communicating with each other!

Here’s an example:

The following email exchange occurred on Dec. 1st between a shopper and the Internet Sales Manager.

Duplication Email


Since this exchange, the shopper has received 4 more emails (one sent every 2 days), not from the Internet Sales Manager, but from his Assistant.

The following email was received on Dec. 4th, and all of the emails from his Assistant were similar to this one.


Assistant Email

It does not leave a good impression on the shopper when they’ve already told the sales rep that they have the information they need, and then the sales rep’s assistant continues to email the shopper because the employees don’t properly communicate.


How Not to Fail: If your sales or service staff doesn’t have time to follow up on leads, then you need to put in place a dedicated team for this task. And please, only allow ONE person to follow up per lead, unless the situation requires escalation to a manager. If the shoppers does need a manager’s attention, please make sure to copy the manager on all previous emails.


Fail #3: Long, Generic Email Templates and Not Addressing the Shopper’s Question

I’ve seen generic email template after generic email template, and one thing is for sure – a generic template is not helpful in answering every shopper’s question. And they can be REALLY frustrating when the email mentions something else about the dealership rather than the requested information.

For example, if a shopper asked to be sent photos of a vehicle on your website (since it had stock photos listed instead), and they received this generic email:

Not what was asked for email

Do you think the above email would be helpful based on their query about photos? It wasn’t until the bottom line that we actually find out that someone is going to contact them about what the shopper actually wanted to know!

And if the shopper was frustrated by the email’s beginning, where their query clearly wasn’t addressed, then they might not have even read to the bottom of the email to see that another communication was coming their way.


How Not to Fail: Take the time to respond personally after reviewing all of the shopper’s questions and assessing their needs based on the comments they provided in the web lead form or the live chat transcript. In the email, address exactly what the shopper asked about – send those pictures! – and ask how they would like to move forward.

The little extra effort you take in personalizing a response will certainly show the shopper that you care about them and understand their needs, which will make them much more likely to continue the conversation and stop by for a visit!


Tip for Managers: Mystery shop your team! Stay on the lookout for issues like the ones listed above, and privately discuss their strategy’s strengths and weakness with each team member.