“Teaming with Your Dealership to Create Strategy and Score Sales Touchdowns!”
What is your customer experiencing when they contact your dealership via Internet or Telephone?
Is your sales department, service department, or Internet/BDC performing to your requirements? Does your customer receive the experience you expect? If you ask your representatives what’s going on, do you think they will answer honestly, or with an appeasing response?
There’s only one way to know what your customers experience – that is to have a third party objectively shop your dealership and processes.
Let DealerQuarterback evaluate your dealership and processes – we provide this service at no charge to you – and will provide a report outlining our results and any issues you should be aware of or gaps in your processes.
Use the form below to provide us with your dealership information and get started, then scroll down for an additional tip.
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Making the Commitment to Change
Are you sabotaging your own efforts?
Dear General Managers,
In the car dealership industry, the true pros have one common goal: move metal, get the rubber over the driveway, sell cars, Sell MORE Cars! Our impressive sales last month, week, day is in the past and we need to be more impressive in the present. The strong salespeople are selling 15-30+ per month – varying numbers by brands and effort. The weak are barely squeaking out 4-6. (Of course, this might be a high number if you’re selling a Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin or McLaren. If you sell one of these brands, four cars a month could be really great business!
In the days of yester-year, it was easier; A small handful of brands on the market, minimal information in the hands of the consumer, and no Internet/Social Media/Hand-Held devices to get in our way. Times have changed. Consumers have more choices for vehicles than they know what to do with. Cars, trucks, SUVs, CUVs, Hybrids, and the list goes on. They have more brands to chose from instead of the big two imports (Honda, Toyota) and big two domestics (Ford, Chevy). They have social media, friends, and strangers dictating where their money should be spent. In some cases, it is in our own showrooms, thanks to the SmartPhone that the decisions to purchase from someone else are being made!
Yes, it used to be easy(er) for us. We put a full page ad in the local newspaper, maybe a good commercial on tv, and a nice Saturday afternoon meant the family jumping into their current wagon to hit five or six dealerships, before returning to one (or getting tired) and making a purchase — in which we earned every dime of the MSRP or close to it, if not more! Do you remember the days of the guy holding the newspaper, sitting in your doorway, waiting for the dealership to open? I do…My friends, sadly, those days are GONE!
We still put ads in the newspaper or on tv, but most people in the car buying market see our advertising online. By the time they decide to make a purchase, they have been on multiple car research sites, followed by shopping sites, and maybe they have even landed on our own dealership website. Consumers are no longer asking how much better we can do to a competitor’s newspaper ad. They are asking how much better we can do than our own websites, a faulty competitor’s all-inclusive (kitchen sink) price quote, or my favorite, how much better than the quote a research site provided on a car that has never been produced (you know, the base model before destination fees, floor mats, and any minuscule accessory the factory insists on installing whether it’s needed or not). We gripe, we moan, we low-ball them, and we move on. But what have we really accomplished? Maybe a few extra sales per month. Maybe a few more service customers. But in the end, we are STILL behind the 8-ball in how we work our car dealership business.
I’ve personally spoken to two-to- three dozen GMs over this year who would sit and nod their heads in agreement as we discussed the changes technology has imposed on car dealership selling methods. I discuss the necessity to improve customer service, as treating customers well in the first place will improve Reputation Management (Yelp, DealerRater) issues. I discuss working Vendor programs, College Grad Programs, local business networking, and similar methods to build business around the vice-grip created by the Internet and promote an easier way of buying a car. I discuss the necessity for dealerships to adopt a telemarketing method for their Internet Sales Departments to promote sales to more than just the low hanging fruit. And then, I walk out the door.
What happens after that? Most of the dealerships I’ve spoken to nod their heads in agreement. But when it comes to taking action, they don’t. They agree that improvement is needed — but at the moment, they are good without making changes. Truth be, when I conduct the Mystery Shops, these very stores are anything but good. Because it’s not good if you have an Internet prospect who provides a telephone number and never gets a telephone call. In this day, it’s horrible if a telephone number is provided and there is no attempt to send a text message. And it’s worse when there is not an e-mail sent. And when this type of lack of response to an Internet lead is what occurs within 24 hours, how much more do you think is lacking in 72 hours, 2 weeks, 3 months, or 5 months — the time frame that is the statistic setting for the Internet Consumer Buying Cycle? Not to mention the small percentage sending that request from the showroom of another dealership — that reply (if any) more than 15 minutes later, the next morning, or the next week, is nearly useless. I say nearly, because at least if you can get them to answer the phone after they’ve made a purchase, MAYBE they can be converted to a service prospect.
Some dealerships have hired me to come and make these changes, but none of this is an overnight success, and the stage has to be set to make the venture successful. The stage includes preparing Sales Managers and existing staff for new processes. Some of the processes may be CRM-based, but most of the changes are in the human element. The humans have to pick up the telephone. The humans have to relinquish control of information. The humans have to work with each other’s personalities. And the humans have to treat one another with respect. With any aspect out of place, the stage is set for nothing more than failure from the start.
With these thoughts in mind, I turn back to you, the General Manager, or other store personnel who has taken the time to read this blog entry, and I ask you to consider the efforts you are putting forth to improve upon yesterday, in this difficult era of selling against the technological advantage. Have you hired people who are knowledgeable in aligning the people, process, programs, and promotions? Have you hired people who realize that standing on “the point” and waiting for the next “up” is not where today’s business is coming from, and that they need to be generating appointments to sell cars? Have you introduced a Sales BDC – either in addition to or in place of your Internet Salesperson(s) – to more effectively and quickly answer, and follow-up with your Internet leads and possibly to work other business opportunities? And if you think you have done these things, have you given the people you have hired the right tools to do the job? Or have you given them rope – by which they will hang, and you will turn around in 30, 60, or 90 days and tell others how “it didn’t work for your store”?
It is hard to admit how many times I’ve been handed the rope, especially in stores that I loved and knew I could have made a difference by working with them, had the tools been provided. As you review your sales numbers, give thought to this topic and the role you play. If you’ve made the commitment to change, you can’t afford to sabotage your own efforts.
Whether you’ve made the commitment to change in the past, and realized you have been a saboteur in your own success, or this is the first time you are ready to take a step of change – contact me for a Mystery Shop and a discussion.
Dealer Quarterback – Strategically Connecting Your Team to Sell More Cars
Dani Zandel 310-428-3362 firstname.lastname@example.org