You might need a little bit of a backstory. I have wanted a Toyota Tacoma truck for a long time. It started when I was living in Breckenridge, Colorado, in a doublewide trailer with 5 roommates. At the time, my ride was a Honda scooter (that just worked fantastic in the snow – sarcasm). I would stare out the window of my second job as a lifeguard at the local rec center – dreaming of rollin’ down the road in my 4 WD Tacoma with matching truck cap and a roof rack with my snowboard attached.

Of course, I ended up with a Chevy Astro van with the back seats taken out so I could store all my junk. Dom Pérignon taste, Pabst Blue Ribbon budget.  I digress.

Fast forward to today, I’m out for a run and I see a sweet Tacoma double cab and it hits me,“I’m a baller now, I’m going to go buy me a truck!”  Positive self-talk, right? I go home, tell my wife and she totally surprises me, leans over to give me a kiss and says in her sweet voice “You go get yourself that truck honey.”

Whoa – game on. So I start looking. Now folks, I’m a buyer. I have an 8 year old Toyota 4Runner with 100k miles, time for an upgrade. I buy late model used cars and I drive the heck out of them! I don’t do car payments and I look for the best ROI.

At this point, I’m not kicking tires – I’m pretty serious. So I go online, start my standard obsessive-compulsive search that keeps me up at nights. Researching everything, everywhere leaving no stone unturned.

I narrow it down to 2 strong possibilities and one of them is the beauty:

TWIST: This listing is one of the few that didn’t have the price listed, anywhere, not on or on their website. (That drives me bananas because I know they just want me to fill out the form.)

But, I’m interested, so reluctantly, I fill out the contact form knowing full well what I am getting myself into (I’ve shopped dealers many times). Here is the message I send mostly pre-filled for me from Note: I also give them ALL my contact info because my wife said make it happen cap’n. I want a new truck!


I’m writing from Tulsa, and I’m interested in the 2011 Toyota Tacoma you have listed on I would like to know more about this vehicle. I can be reached by phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX

Thanks Mike Lyon

Additional Comments

I am wondering what the price is? I also have a 2004 4Runner I might trade in. Thanks.

Sounds like a good lead – right?

So, this was submitted 9:17 a.m. on the weekend. The auto response comes back 10 minutes later.

Hi Mike,
My name is (“internet manager”), I will be working to help you find the right vehicle at the best price.

My assistant  will contact you to make sure we get you all the information you need.

Thank you for your request for information, and she will be in touch soon.

Ok…standard protocol. Then I get this weird little message 3 minutes after that?

Good Morning Mike,

I just received your request. Is this a good email address to send information to?


Customer Service Representative

At his point, I’m like, what is this? Are they trying to make sure I am a human? So I send back a response – because I want the FREAKING PRICE OF THE TACOMA!

So I reply:

Yes. I am looking for pricing on the Tacoma. Thanks!

OK – So I am a real person, asking a simple question, that should elicit a pretty straightforward response.

(Note: I gave my phone number, still no call)

One day later, I get this message:


Thank you for your interest in the Toyota Tundra that we have on our website.  It is still available and ready to biy (his spelling, not mine).  We have it listed for $45900 on the lot.  I can let it go for $42600.  Would you like to come in to take a closer look at it?

Ummmmmmm – noooooo, I do not want to look at your Tundra (see my initial request for pricing on your Tacoma spelled T-A-C-O-M-A) At this point, I am actually a little amused thinking to myself, is this for real?

(Note: still no call)

Then, later that day – I get this text…you heard right, a text message with a picture of….wait for it…the Tundra!

Mike that tundra @ (dealership removed) is still available, and is really nice.

I’m thinking, “Wow – thanks bro, I’ll be sure to let anyone I know who is looking for a Tundra that you have a really nice one, in the meantime, can you just get me the FREAKING PRICE on the Tacoma”

P.S. Don’t text me – we aren’t there yet in the relationship.

P.P.S. How do you know this is my cell phone?

Update: One week later, no calls and no additional emails. Classy move guys.

By now, I have cooled off a bit. They could have had me, but alas, it was not meant to be. Maybe I am  being harsh, but this just doesn’t seem right. Especially considering this dealership’s monthly advertising budget is probably well in the hundreds of thousands! (I see their super cheesy commercials featuring the daughter of the owner) Let’s just say, we didn’t get started off on the right foot.

The moral of the story: You don’t have to be superhuman at follow-up to get a sale; you just have to be good.

Pay attention folks, this is your competition. How do I know? I’ve seen shop results of 1000’s of real estate agents and homebuilders. Half of the time, there is NO FOLLOW-UP at all. My encouragement to you – join the top 3% and develop a plan to be remarkable!

Online leads are people…. (that reminds me of the classic line from Charlton Heston “Soilent green is people”)

Customers spend 10-20 times the amount of time online researching their next home vs. face-to-face interaction with a sales person. It’s time to get REALLY good at communicating with your prospects.

(Do you have a similar “fun” follow-up story, share below)


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