Article

Checking Your Blind Spots

February 2011, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Greg Wells - Also by this author

Four Spots Where Opportunity Hides



Few people in the dealership are as busy as the sales manager. Constantly pulled in multiple directions, it’s tough to manage what you can see, never mind what you can’t. Here are some opportunities that may be in your blind spot and what you can do to get them out in plain sight.

Inbound sales calls—you hear them, but what percentage of those calls do you actually get to work? Who’s deciding whether or not this is a quality lead? When’s the last time you took a T.O. on a phone up?

The first challenge with phone ups is training the people handling these calls to follow your phone up process. Gathering follow-up data, setting appointments and adding the opportunity to your CRM are the critical steps. As a showroom manager, you are probably busy managing what you can see, and it can be difficult staying on top of every phone call taken by your sales team.

One idea you might consider is implementing a method of letting salespeople evaluate their own calls. Get your team together and create a scorecard of 10 things that need to happen with a phone up. The criteria should be made up of steps like a proper greeting; getting a name, number and e-mail address; asking for the appointment; CRM input; etc.

Two or three times a week, download a sampling of recorded sales calls. Listen to each call just long enough to identify the employee handling the call and then e-mail the call, along with the scorecard, to the team member. The instructions would be to listen to the call, fill out the scorecard and e-mail it back to the manager. This will improve phone skills and doesn’t require as much time from a sales manager.

Put data collection and performance standards in place for phone up eligibility. These measures will get your phone traffic out of your blind spot and into your field of vision.

Closed service ROs may be another area of opportunity in your blind spot. What you need most is quality showroom traffic, and as your salespeople wait by the door for an up, hundreds and possibly thousands of customers are passing through the dealership in the service department.

Since these customers need to be called anyway, why not have your salespeople call them? The call would include thanking the customer for their business, asking if they have any questions or concerns and then screening the customer for a sales opportunity. The salesperson might say, “Looks like you are driving an ‘07 with only 42,000 miles. Would you be interested in selling it? My manager is always looking for cars like yours. If we could give you an exceptional offer on your car and help you upgrade to a 2011 model without much change in your budget, would you want to hear about it?”

Try this math equation: Determine your average monthly number of closed ROs for vehicles at 36,000 or more miles. Multiply that number by 10 percent. That’s how many appointments you can expect to get in the showroom. You probably came up with a worthwhile number, didn’t you?

Most sales managers would say Internet leads are no longer in their blind spot. I agree the fresh ones aren’t, but what about the Internet leads that are 30, 60, 90 and even 120 days old. Over 30 percent of new car leads don’t close until after 90 days.

Factor in the snowball effect and you’ll find there is a lot of opportunity in regular follow-up. It’s mathematically impossible for solo Internet salespeople and teams to follow up without a rigorously–followed, long-term strategy. Regular e-newsletters, manager’s specials and scheduled phone calls over the life of a lead are essential. Check to make sure you have such a strategy in place.

Maybe the biggest opportunity in your blind spot is the showroom visitors who don’t get recorded in your CRM. These days, showroom visitors are a precious commodity. Most of your showroom traffic has already been online, done their research and are ready to buy. Gone are the days when a future customer comes to the showroom for a brochure. Your showroom closing ratio should be higher than it’s ever been. Follow-up is absolutely critical, as the people who visit your showroom are within days if not hours of making a purchase.

If your salesperson fails to log the customer, management follow-up and accountability for the customer is almost nonexistent. Again, process adherence, performance standards, CRM compliance and data collection are the keys to maximizing these valuable opportunities.

The best thing to do as you are driving your sales department is to adjust those mirrors and look over your shoulder and behind you to keep all of your customers in view because you can’t manage what you cannot see.

Vol. 7, Issue 12

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