July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
Nowadays, your Internet leads could account for more than half of your walk-in traffic. Is your Internet team prepared to handle this volume effectively? Regardless of how productive your team is, there is always an opportunity to improve. If you’re ready to increase your market share and profitability, take some time to assess your team in the following five areas. These are the major areas that will take your team from good to great to awesome.
1. Traffic Awareness: Are you and your team aware of your unseen traffic? The number-one enemy of any activity is “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. With awareness comes responsibility to monitor, track and measure. Become serious about awareness minute-by-minute – you would not let customers on the showroom sit and wait for hours! Speed and relevancy of the response is essential in creating great first impressions. Do you measure/track your incoming Internet and phone leads? You’ve heard the old saying, “What gets measured gets done.” Set standards for speed of response and measure lead count, appointments, shows and sold ratios. Then, watch your results grow.
2. Phone Skills: How good is your team on the phone? Are they still selling cars over the phone? With each lead, their job is to sell an appointment. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but those are few and far between. Do not allow exceptions to rule over your process. Does your team know what to say on the phone and how to say it? If not, they need some serious training.
You can spend thousands of dollars on leads every month, but if your people cannot bring those leads in, do not think for a moment that cutting the price down will do the trick. A skilled pro is able to sell an appointment without talking price, payments or even availability. (Feel free to e-mail me for word track ideas) Do your people measure up? Do you monitor their skills? Most CRM tools on the market are able to record and play back incoming and outgoing phone calls. You can be on-board with this technology, but if you do not use it, you will be always wondering where you need improvement.
3. Readiness: Do you have a plan for when your guest arrives? There are reasons most people want to deal with an Internet department; they want to avoid the showroom floor experience, get the best price, get in and get out. Is your team ready to wow your guests? If not, it is time to get ready. A few carefully executed steps will ensure greater results. Have a manager or another member of the team confirm a documented appointment. As with any appointment, it is important to prepare the vehicle. Is it clean? Does it have enough gas?
When it comes to the buying experience, Internet customers expect more. Your department’s ability to manage customers’ expectations will set the tone and potentially win them over. Your team’s state of readiness will influence the perception customers develop about their experience at your store. Always remember, their perception is your reality.
4. No Shortcuts: It is common for Internet customers to not receive the full experience when they arrive. This is largely due to a salesperson’s assumption that just because they already communicated with a customer, they do not need to have any further conversations about the customer’s needs and wants. Taking customers from the curb to the car is a common practice that could be costly. Your team needs to slow down and follow proven steps of a sales process. Continuing to build rapport, confirming wants and needs, and exploring additional vehicle options are essential parts of that process. No matter how your customers arrive at the dealership, guiding them to the ultimate decision of buying a car and asking for a sale is a must.
5. Follow-up: In most Internet departments, right after they are done working with their guests, salespeople can easily get busy with new leads and opportunities. Without thorough planning, follow-up will not get executed effectively. In a market with tough competition and price-conscious customers, proper follow-up will yield an extra edge that may tip the scales your way. You know that many sales are lost due to the lack of follow-up. If you start seeing a decline in your Internet be-back traffic, it is time to review the lead-to-salesperson ratio. Some experts recommend 75 to 85 leads per person, per month.
Now that you’ve had a chance to reflect on your team’s performance in those five areas, it is time to ask yourself, “What ingredient(s) do I need to add or improve upon to get my team from good to great to awesome?” You will find out for yourself that, when executed consistently, these five ingredients will turbo-charge your Internet department’s performance, raise your profitability and increase you market share. With this in mind, what is your action plan?
Vol. 7, Issue 5