Lead Management for Smaller Dealers – Great things can sometimes be free.

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

There is no doubt that a platform like AutoPlay is the benchmark lead management system in New Zealand. It is easy to use, integrates well with TradeMe and your CRM, and has solid reporting for sales managers and DP’s, and is available on desktop or as an App. But what if you are a smaller dealer, whose volume doesn’t justify the monthly fee? What are your options, and is there anything out there that does say, half the job, for almost no cost?


Well, you are in luck. But before we dive in and tell you what we think are great solutions, ask yourself these pre-qualifying questions.

  1. Do you need a lead management system?

  2. Will you take time to support and nurture your staff all capture leads the same system?

  3. Can you accept that you can’t have everything you want when something is low cost?

  4. Do you want to be in a stronger position than your neighbours when the market turns softer?

Take a moment to answer the first question. It is closely related to the last question.


A straw poll of motorcycle dealers and smaller used car dealers show that there isn’t a very high standard of lead management in dealers. When we looked for a replacement car this year, we didn’t get a single follow up call from the five or so dealers we visited. Some dealers (quite a few from this non-scientific survey) weren’t capturing any information for follow up, a couple entered our phone number on a pad (a pad!!) and yet most were probably spending money to generate leads. It begs the question why. They would be more cost effective getting fewer leads and following them up properly. You can guarantee that their sales conversion rates were low (and almost impossible to measure accurately, because, well, they weren’t capturing the data).


Some dealerships believe sales is an art. There’s no doubt that the right personality can make a real difference. People buy from people they like. But any dealer that thinks salesmanship is more important than sales process is deluded. Process will make a decent salesperson better and a great salesperson a superstar. Who would you rather have?


A solution is at hand, and it is free. There are lots of online T-Card systems (sometimes called Kanban) which with 60 minutes work you can set up as a sales process capture and mapping board for your business. They aren’t specifically designed to be sales but they work well.


In Kanban you have boards, rows, and cards. The board is your dealership. Rows are a lead state (like New Enquiry, or Pending Finance, or Test Drive) and each card is a customer. You then drag the card between the states, so you have a visual representation of what state each customer enquiry is at.


There are lots to Kanban boards choose from Monday.com is really great, there is Wrike.com and my favourite, Trello.com. I get no payment or commissions from any of these platforms. Trello is great because it is easy to set up, and you can create automations and integrations with Gmail and Outlook. You can also send email from within Trello, and use add-ons (also free such a Cardbox or CRMble for better integration, so you have a record of all correspondence in one place. You can also use the Trello app, so sales staff can capture details on the go.


I love the way you can automatically populate a lead into Trello with one click. Trello even allows you to randomly allocate that lead to one of your sales team (so they all get their fare share of leads). All the options above have similar integrations, and Monday is slightly easier to use with a cleaner interface than Trello – but it costs money, while Trello is free.


But free doesn’t mean no set up. All of the above systems are straight forward to set up once you know what you are doing, but they also require an investment of time. You need to learn about the quirks and power of the platforms as well as management time to get the sales team on-board, and you may have to tweak some internal processes to integrate them. But I guarantee setting one of these boards will improve your sales rate – or your money back!


Last but not least, any business owner doesn’t need a crystal ball to see that the market won’t remain as strong as it is now forever. When the market is strong poor practices get masked by strong results. So do yourself and your business a favour by getting the competitive edge. Introduce or update your lead management processes now, and reap the rewards. You’ll thank yourself for reading this article and acting when the market gets tougher.


Boost Auto has a link to a sales template designed for local car and motorcycle and marine dealers. You can access it by scanning the QR code below. You’ll need to join Trello, and remember once you have logged in to your copy, switch it to private. But the template is free and there is no monthly cost. Of course you might want some help setting it up for your business and to train your staff.


Boost Auto can set up Trello for your business and book you and your team into a Zoom training session for a one off cost of $345 per dealer. Click here to book.


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The document below is a flowchart of the Road to a Sale sales process. You can download for free.