Article

Use It, Or Lose It

Technology insider says no dealership should be without a CRM tool — that’s unless your operation closes 100 percent of its customers on the first try.

February 2013, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Philip Barras - Also by this author

Several years ago, I com-mented to someone that I was amazed to find dealers still operating without a CRM system. Having made the same observation in 2012, I am totally flabbergasted. It’s unimaginable to consider how dealerships today can stay healthy and profitable without using the basic processes of a reputable CRM tool.

A lot of dealers have avoided availing themselves to today’s modern automotive technologies. Maybe it’s the perceived costs causing the hesitation. Maybe is personal doubt in the benefits offered. Or maybe it’s simply a desire to remain rooted in a process that’s proven successful for previous generations of the dealership.

With that being said, every dealer who has given modern technology a try has found the need for a CRM tool. If you’re not one of them, let me tell you why you need to reconsider.

See, dealers need to use their CRM processes for reputation management and social media. And that’s in addition to basic CRM processes and activities. And all you have to do is think of the many uses of a CRM tool. For this article, I’d like to talk about using a CRM to nurture save-a-deal leads, and how the proper application of this key dealer tool can drive profit.

See, unless a dealership has a 100 percent first time closing ratio, unsold visitors exist and need to be nurtured to achieve a point of sale. Anyone who has been in the automotive business for several years can recall excruciatingly painful save-a-deal meetings at the dealership.

Undoubtedly, dealers knew they were leaving deals and money on the table. Unfortunately, without a more technical approach, the save-a-deal information was limited and accepted as such. Now, contrast that with a manager who has learned to use his or her CRM to conduct efficient and profitable save-a-deal meetings. With direct access to all available contact data in the CRM, these dealers can thoroughly review options that could be used to reactivate and reinvigorate the sale. The entire negotiation process can be recovered.

A good CRM can even search the dealership’s available inventory for alternative vehicles, comparing options for a more beneficial deal almost immediately. With the CRM’s links to preferred lenders, managers can get an approved deal and deliver a complete option to the customer quickly. And with a strong CRM product, the options available to a manager to influence a saved sale are significant. And by using the wealth of information currently available within a CRM system, the difference in potential sales is drastic. Think about it this way: If a dealer turned only 10 or 11 saved deals with a gross of only $1,000 a copy, the CRM system would not only pay for itself, but turn a nice little profit.

CRM success is all about a simple view into your own personal database of client information. Some dealers today have a process or a product that allows them to see virtually endless possibilities of monthly success residing within the dealership’s current CRM. Some dealerships are still operating blindly. Fortunately, dealers don’t have to dig too deeply into the usage of any CRM to start recovering save-a-deal leads, and potential sales.

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