Static online submission forms once were a standard for dealerships, but consumers are quickly picking up on the fact they really don’t get any value from these.

Consumers fill out a form hoping to get answers to questions or schedule a test drive, and instead, they’re bombarded with calls and sales pitches – all before they’re ready to talk to a real person.

Consumers have come to expect this type of reaction to submitting a form. They say to themselves: “If I submit my information, I’ll get lots of phone calls and will need to fight with them to get the information I initially requested.”

This shouldn't have been the way dealers did it, and it shouldn’t be the way they do business now.

Don’t misunderstand me. No matter what industry you're in, the sales field is inherently aggressive. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make valiant effort to convert a consumer into a paying customer. But you shouldn’t deceive your consumers by not answering their questions upfront.

Attention spans are getting shorter and consumers are going to flock to businesses that give them what they want in the shortest amount of time. You can thank the ever expanding Internet marketplace for that. Every dealership out there is online, so that means your competition is right around the corner waiting to scoop up your would-be customers.

So we’ve established two things: static lead forms are declining in performance, and the Internet is a crucial component of dealership marketing efforts. What now? Simple. Actively answer car buyer inquiries and feedback using interactive lead forms.

Unlike static forms, interactive lead forms (or interactive experiences) allow consumers to have a 2-way conversation with a dealership website that enables specific micro-moments.

These are times in the shopping journey that give consumers the need to pick up their smartphone or hop on a computer to search for more information.

Here’s an example of a consumer going through an interactive lead form. Meet Brenda. Her car has been on the fritz. She’s just about had it.

After concluding she wants to trade in her vehicle, she visits a local dealership website to find out what her current vehicle is worth. This is a micro-moment that should never be ignored.

Where does the dealership go from here?

The obvious answer is not to offer a static lead form. Instead, leverage an interactive one with a calculator, so consumers can interact with the dealership website. Don’t just take their information. Use the information they provide to immediately give them something of value in return.

Brenda has the opportunity to calculate her trade-in value on the spot through an interactive experience. She also can enter specific information about her vehicle and shopping preferences.

The dealership website can reciprocate by providing her with exactly what she’s looking for – and then some. Not only will she get an immediate estimate of her trade-in, but she might also get a trade-in offer depending on the information she entered.

For example, if she said she was interested in purchasing in the next month, the website might generate a time-sensitive trade-in offer that incentivizes Brenda to come into the dealership sooner.

In addition to providing consumers with what they’re requesting, interactive experiences provide dealerships with the opportunity to keep shoppers continually engaged through a digital process called “Dynamic Pathing.” It provides a choose-your-own-adventure type of experience for website visitors.

After a consumer has completed an experience (let’s say it was the trade-in experience), they might be prompted to another interactive experience that pushes them even further down the purchasing funnel. For example, a drop-down menu provides them with financing options, a credit application or a budget calculator.

If we’ve learned anything from companies like Google and Amazon, it’s that consumers spend time on websites that continually engage with them. Things such as product recommendations and links to relevant articles lead consumers to new discoveries. Dealerships readily can learn to do that.

Russ Chandler is the product marketing manager at PERQ, a marketing technology and advertising company. He can be reached at 317-644-5721.