Growing up, I used to love watching re-runs of the show Mission: Impossible. Each episode would start the same way—the leader of the team would receive a recording of what spy mission they were about to go on, and then the voice would say “This message will self-destruct in 15 seconds.” The tape would then start smoking and catch fire. You should think about leads the same way—maybe they won’t self-destruct, but if you don’t follow up ASAP, you will see your chance to convert them into sales go up in flames.

Just about any sales process can be visualized as a funnel. You start with a large group of possible customers, and with each step you take to move them along that funnel down to the sales spout, the number decreases, but the likelihood of converting them into an eventual sale increases. The widest portion of the funnel, the top, is filled with potential leads. This is the contact information you get from people from your website or calls.

Through the hard work of you and your BDC, you move them into appointments and dealership visits where you can show them the sales solution you offer to make their life better with a Nicer, Newer® car. The more leads you convert into appointments, the more sales you are going to end up with at the end of the process, and that is the goal, right?

So what do you need to do with those leads? Here’s two suggestions:

ACT QUICKLY! That contact information you have is like gold, but it decreases in value with every minute that passes and you don’t act on it! Research shows that the value of a lead diminishes after an hour and can be almost worthless after a few days. Think about it—when someone gives you their contact information, they are looking to talk about buying a car, so who’s to say they are only talking to you? If you aren’t speaking to them, you can be sure that someone else is. Also, as you know, buying a car is a big decision and the more time you give them to reconsider their plan, the likelihood of them changing their mind increases.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO CONTACT PEOPLE, EVEN MULTIPLE TIMES! There are far too many dealers that will not be aggressive when following up with leads. Some don’t want to play into the stereotype of car salesmen, but this makes NO sense to us. By sharing their contact information, these people are asking you to reach out to them. So you should give them what they want as quickly as possible, and if you only leave a message, set a reminder to follow up on that message. Once you speak with these leads and tell them about the fact that you aren’t selling a car, you are selling a solution, they will see that you are not the typical car salesman. You are an expert that is helping solve a problem.

Be aggressive and persistent with your leads, and you will convert a higher percentage of them into dealership visits that you can then close into sales. Hitting your targets will then become Mission: Incredible.