Email & Voicemail Best Practices



car dealer email best practices

(This is an excerpt from the 2015 Automotive Dealer Mystery Shop Study completed by; and the best practices shared below relate to the email and voicemail messages that car dealers should be using when responding to an internet sales lead.)

Voicemail & Email Responses – Best Practices

It’s important to remember the goal of this process: That is, to drive a reconnection; preferably by phone. Your
chances of closing the sale increase three-to-fourfold when you set an appointment that shows (versus having the internet prospect arrive unannounced). In nearly all cases, you cannot set a firm appointment that shows without first getting the prospect to speak with you on the phone.


  1. Always leave a message. Always.
  2. Highlight your persistence in each message. (“… and, if you can’t reach me right away, don’t worry, I’ll try you again later.”)
  3. Keep voicemails short and to the point. Preferably around 15 seconds, but never more than 30 seconds. If you leave the prospect just one voicemail longer than a minute, they’ll likely delete future voicemails without listening.
  4. Voicemails should be varied – that is, don’t leave the same message every time. If they didn’t call you back last time, what makes you think leaving the same message again is going to work this time?
  5. Use day-specific scripts, but never sound like you’re reading.
  6. Never try to sell ANYTHING over voicemail. Not the car, not the appointment. Nothing. The only goal of the voicemail is to drive a call back.
  7. Give the prospect a reason to call you back. Each voicemail should contain some WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) for the prospect.
  8. Always use a clear Call-to-Action that drives a call: “Please call me back at (number).”
  9. Never tell them to stop in and ask for you. The chances that they remember your name are slim, and without an appointment your closing percentage is around 20%. (Versus 50-80% with an appointment.)
  10. Never tell them when you close or when you’ll be at the dealership. Your goal is not to have the prospect arrive unannounced – you need a call back so you can set the appointment.


  1. Always send an auto-response. Always.
  2. Use pictures (especially email headers) sparingly. Beyond the potential for causing an email to be considered SPAM, email headers and other images often distract from the primary goal of the email.
  3. Use links (especially those to your inventory and specials pages) sparingly. Your goal is to drive a phone call, not to send the internet prospect into your website to further confuse them.
  4. Emails should print on a single page for the prospect.
  5. All emails should include a single Call-to-Action: “Call me at (number).” You never want to encourage the prospect to reply to your email or “stop by and ask for me.”
  6. Remove your store hours and directions from emails to non-responsive prospects. Your goal is not to have the prospect arrive unannounced – you need them to call you so you can set the appointment.
  7. Except for the auto-response, all emails should appear personal in nature. That is, each email should appear as if you just wrote it this morning specifically for that prospect.
  8. Check email formatting. The same font and size should be used throughout the email.
  9. Emails should be varied – never send the same email twice.
  10. After the first personal response (sent on Day 1), all emails should be automated to non-responsive prospects.
  11. No typos. Use a program like Microsoft Word to check for spelling and grammar; but be careful to paste “as plain text” when moving your emails from Word back into your CRM.

To download and read the white paper from this study visit: Car Dealer Mystery Shop Study.