Article

Can Of Nuts Theory

December 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Tim Randall - Also by this author

I was pondering recently about the similarities of buying nuts and special finance Internet leads. I know just what you’re thinking, what kind of nut talks about nuts in an automotive publication and what the heck do a can of nuts and Internet leads have in common? Let me clear this up now, I do understand they are completely different from a standpoint of food and services but both will feed the type of hunger you have. One feeds the body and the other your pocketbook. However, the most noticeable difference is that Internet leads have a much shorter shelf life than nuts.

I’m calling this my “Can of Nuts” theory. Think of a Special Finance Internet lead provider as a “can of nuts” distributor. Typically the type of nuts you purchase depends on your taste and budget. Pecan taste and large nut buying budget gets you a premium product, just the best pecans and nothing else in your can. If you have a small budget to work with you’ll probably have to settle for a can of mixed nuts. Now the mixed nuts contain a portion of pecans but you also receive hazel, Brazil, cashew and a lot of peanuts.
Now if you’re like any normal person you eat all your favorite nuts first until you’re left with just the type you like the least which is most likely the peanuts. You now have a decision to make, are you going to eat the peanuts or throw them out? Since they likely comprise the majority of the cans contents you’re probably inclined to eat them, I know I would. Besides I like peanuts. But with everything else in the world there are wasteful people out there who would just throw them out without a second thought. The same is true with the Special Finance Internet lead program you chose.
 
Almost every dealership I’ve dealt with has cashew taste and peanut budgets. They want all the prime leads just for themselves. They must be packaged appropriately to their specific taste and wrapped in silk. Well for this type of service you have to pay premium prices. On the other hand that same dealer can go with a premium provider that sells a mixed can of finance leads. The costs will be less and there are plenty of great leads available and believe it or not those peanut leads are very profitable when handled properly. For those dealers that are truly hungry for sales they won’t waste a single lead and the rewards are enormous.

Now let’s look at this from another angle. Let’s say that these nuts are the lifeblood of your economic welfare. If you are honest with yourself that is exactly what Internet leads are to you. Internet leads provide you and your staff with daily opportunities to do what you do best, sell cars and make money. If this is your dealership why would you opt for anyone other than a premium Internet lead distributor?

One thing that I’m sure you want is fresh finance leads no matter what type your pocketbook and taste desires. Why would you settle for anything less? Fresh leads produce the best results. Now fresh leads don’t stay that way for long so it’s best to work them as quickly as possible. In fact the very best results are achieved if you work the leads within minutes of receiving them. The longer you let them lay around the less likely that they will provide satisfactory results.

Dealers would like to blame the provider for the lack of productivity from Internet leads even though they were fresh when distributed but old when worked. The truth is that the process should be evaluated to make sure it isn’t an end user problem not a distributor problem. If the fresh leads were utilized as recommended they most likely would have produced your desired result. Specific lead handling processes and accountability for the business will increase your success rate tremendously.

One thing that you need to be warned of is buying too many leads for your staff to handle effectively. If you don’t have enough sales people to properly focus on the leads they will become stale quickly. The documented industry standard is 80-100 leads maximum a month for each sales representative. Too many leads and your staff will mentally filter through them and call only the ones that they determine can purchase and ignore the remainder. That’s commonly known in the industry as “cherry picking” but for this argument I’ll say they’re eating all their favorite nuts and tossing out the rest. They have just squandered some great opportunities to do business and cheated the dealership out of potential sales. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if your sales people are clairvoyant enough to know who can buy and who can’t by looking at a piece of paper why are they still selling cars for a living? Don’t you think their skill would provide them a better income playing the ponies or making a killing in the stock market?

Whether your “can of Internet leads” is filled with new car, special finance or premium pre-approvals the key to success is continuous follow-up and accountability for the business opportunities on the table. Put processes in place to get the most from your chosen Internet lead source. Work every customer like it’s the last nut in the can and you’re starving, you’ll be delighted with the results and your new customers will thank you for it.
 
Vol 3, Issue 11

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