Monthly Archives: September 2013

Are You Really Seeing What’s Coming Into Your Store?

Have you ever looked at the dashboard and found it showing only a few appointments, yet when you look out onto the sales floor you see your best salesman lined up with one customer after another all day? Maybe you get the excuse that they can’t do this or that because they have a customer coming in but you don’t show anything lined up for them.  This could be due to your sales reps not actually putting their appointments in the system.

Neglecting to schedule appointments through the CRM could be due to them not wanting to show you when they are busy or not or just plain laziness.  It could also be that they don’t actually know how to create an appointment in the program or maybe they are just afraid to put their customers into the CRM until they hit the sales floor for fear of them being skated due to a lack of understanding of how the system works.  The problem with this is that you never get an accurate idea of what’s really going to be coming into your store, which prevents you from forming a game plan to prepare for the days ahead.

There are ways to get closer to the goal of having every appointment logged in the CRM every time. The best way is to make sure your sales rep understand the benefits of having them in there by informing them of all the various ways that we have skate protection built into the system to put them at ease.  Another way would be to have meetings throughout the week asking your team how they are looking for the weekend, or do they have enough people scheduled for the big sale that is coming up.  Asking these questions will make them want to put the appointments that they have in their head or on a post-it note, into the CRM to show you that they are prepared.

Another benefit from having every appointment in the system is to be able to confirm appointments ahead of time.  Generally speaking the more appointments you confirm the lower the number of no shows you will see, or at least you will have the opportunity to reschedule them for another date and time.  Less no shows means more people coming through the door which will always translate to more sales.

Are you Meeting Enough

When it comes to helping a dealership be more successful, a lot of energy and effort is spent on improving their “process” but do they have one? Is it too light or too heavy? Is it scalable and manageable? Why isn’t their process working well in the first place?

After visiting hundreds of dealerships, the pattern is pretty clear, dealerships that have a focused, regimented process end up as top-performing stores and a CRM tool is a great solution to help dealerships create and sustain that process while at the same time providing metrics to help monitor improvements and track hits and misses. It sounds great on paper – get a new shiny CRM, get the staff trained and reap the benefits. So why does it often not work out that way? Answer – lack of enforcement!

A good process is only effective if it’s followed and enforcement falls squarely on the managers’ shoulders.  I can always tell when a store will succeed or struggle with a new CRM by how focused and dialed in their management staff is. While training I ask myself questions such as:

  • “Do the managers understand what these metrics mean to their overall success?”
  • “Do they look like they will mentor their staff and buy into the process/culture change that a CRM requires?”
  • “Do they look like they only want to desk deals, work their dealer trades and take smoke breaks?”
  • “How can I communicate to them the importance of total management buy in?”

The average CRM install looks something like this: Everyone is pumped in the beginning and they use it for the first 30 days.  After the allure of the shiny new toy fades, management stops enforcing it and the sales staff falls back to their old habit.  Upper management concludes “the CRM tool isn’t the solution for them” and start shopping for a new tool, rinse and repeat.

One of the best ways to avoid the 30-day fall off is to communicate! The most successful stores I visit meet, communicate and discuss problems and solutions. People generally hate meetings, they think they’re boring and unproductive but sometimes meetings can be productive and can be useful at finding out where you are vs. where you want to be.

As the saying goes, everything starts from the top!  If you want to be successful with CRM ask yourself questions such as:

  • Do I know what my floor traffic, internet and appointment closing ratios are?
  • Do I know what my be-back closing ratio is?
  • Do I know what my be-back customer statuses are for the week?
  • How many phone ups are we taking that are NOT resulting in appointments?
  • How many floor ups are not going on a test drive or making it to the write up process?

These are questions that the CRM can answer, but only if you create, implement and enforce your process – and you can only enforce your process if you know what you’re looking for.

Is Your Internet Department Fully Utilizing the CRM?

One of the things that all highly successful dealerships share is a strong online presence.  Our customer base has now evolved and wants to get the majority of the shopping process finished before even setting foot in the dealership.  By creating websites and partnering with various online shopping avenues we have created easier access to our people, inventory, and as a result, swelled our bottom line.

Nothing I have said thus far has been revolutionary.  The industry has had a presence on the Internet for some time now and it is now standard practice for customers to go online before making the first call.  So if the Internet is a staple in the buying process, why do I see the same stale Internet process at many stores with which they originally started?

Some of the strongest features of our DealerCRM program are under-utilized by some of our dealers.  Everyone is sending emails now, and everyone still makes calls, but one thing everyone can’t do is send E-Brochures.  This tool is one of the many things iMagicLab provides to enable you to separate yourself from the competition, and customers love it.  It’s included, why not use it?  Also some of you may have noticed our new quote tool on the vehicle of interest screen.  Set up a template to utilize the auto-fills generated from this tool and you will have yet another way to reach your customers in a unique and innovative way.

These features should be used by everyone in the dealership but your Internet department can see the most benefit from this if you work it into your process.  As we continue to create new features for you, choosing to ignore them and keep everything status quo would be selling yourself short.   iMagicLab does not continue to create, develop, and search for new ways for you to reach your customer for us;  we do it for you, our dealers.  In the end our goal is to help you sell more cars, and we believe the tools we provide will help you accomplish that.

A proven way to Increase your Show-rate

The average car salesman sells 2-3 cars a week. The national average closing ratio is roughly 15%. At 8 to 10 cars a month, that’s nearly 44-55 walk in customer’s taken a month. That’s a lot of time and effort spent on customer’s with little to no return; adding to that a recent NADA survey mentioned that 90% of walk-out customer’s are not followed up with.

Incredible!

We humans are wired for short-term gratification. If we work for it, we want the returns – now now now! Many sales reps I’ve encountered do NOT like to follow-up. Their excuses are many, but the tacit excuse seems to be that there’s no guarantee of a return if extra work is put out, especially given the closing ratio #’s above. The remedy for this follow-up obstacle? –

The appointment.

The national average closing ratio on customer’s who came in on an appointment is roughly 50% Likewise, the be-back closing ratio can jump to as high as 70%

The same NADA survey went on to mention that close to 65% of clients do not return to purchase a car at the same dealership due to a feeling of “indifference from the salesperson” after the sale.

Good follow-up is crucial to achieving more sales!

I recently talked to a 20 year veteran who loved our CRM for the follow-up reminders it provided. I asked him how many appointments he set, and he said he tries to set 10 appointments a week.

“You figure you set 35-40 appointments a month, maybe more than half will show but I get 8-12 extra sales a month from those who do.”

Excellent!

Now while he did admit he does a lot of repeat business, he told me he sold 12 cars his first month, and never sold less than 12 ever since – now he’s a 25-30 a month average guy. I asked him the keys to his success,

“Know your product, if you do not know what a button does you have no business selling the car. Once you know your product inside and out it’s easier to qualify and feel like your helping your customer’s rather than just desperately selling to them. And learn how to follow up and set appointments.” I asked him for some tips on setting more appointments, he continued…

“If they want a car, they’re going to have to walk into a dealership at some point. Figure out what gets them talking and force close the appointment – you figure they’re either going to come in for a test drive; get their trade-in appraised; get their financing approved in a secure environment, not online; or buy. If you answered their questions, then bring them in.” I asked him what a force close was, “It’s when you don’t leave a question open ended, don’t ask ‘when is a good time for you?’ give them set options and they’re more likely to decide.”

 The follow-up process is both a skill and an art, but it is crucial to a sales reps success. The scientifically back guarantee that sales reps are looking for, is to set more appointments. The more appointments you set and confirm, the greater your closing ratio is going to be and the more success you’ll achieve!!