New data has highlighted the importance of dealers responding swiftly to leads or risk losing out on business.
Research by eBay Motors Group found that 41 per cent of customers do not phone a dealer within 48 hours of their missed calls or voicemails not being returned.
The survey, which reviewed over 30,000 calls and emails, also found that in the same period, 21 per cent of buyers will also be making calls to other dealers.
It also found that just seven per cent of calls and emails were not directly related to a vehicle purchase, highlighting the importance of a fast response.
The research identified how nearly half (48 per cent) of all leads received by dealers could be classified as ‘highly engaged sales leads’ covering vehicle reservations, test drive requests and enquiries about part-exchanges, finance and deposits.
A further 45 per cent were categorised as ‘engaged sales leads’ with customers asking if the car they are interested in buying is still available, asking for more information about it or enquiring about the best price.
Lucy Tugby, head of marketing at eBay Motors Group, said: ‘With the cost of living crisis suppressing used car demand, dealers need to be even more vigilant in the way they handle leads from potential customers, with our research showing just how serious buyers are once they’ve found a vehicle online and then getting in touch with dealers direct.
‘During the Covid lockdowns, when showrooms were closed to customers, dealers worked harder than ever to convert incoming leads.
‘Dealers who continue to do this are ideally placed to maximise their sales opportunities in the current market.
‘The importance of actioning incoming leads cannot be overestimated, with the research showing how 93 per cent of the leads generated across our platforms directly related to the purchase of a vehicle.’
She added: ‘Consumers typically generate a lead at the end of weeks of research, meaning they are highly engaged and ready to buy.
‘Even the small number of leads not about car purchases were valuable as they included aftersales enquiries about servicing and MoTs and were prompted by customers viewing car adverts.
‘This further demonstrates the value to dealers of building their brands on marketplaces.’