Don’t Be a Tiger Woods with Your Internet/BDC Department

Does your store play the sales game like Tiger Woods plays golf? Does your store appear to be a completely professional, ethical, and respectful player at first, only to prove otherwise once a customer sets foot in your store? Let me ask it another way. Does your internet/BDC department perform like a competitive “pro” on the first nine holes of the sales game, getting customers in the door, only to find your sales department causes the game to fall apart with a weak and cheap approach on the back nine of the sales round? Does a less than satisfactory number make you feel like you were chased and beaten with a nine iron?
Automotive sales are much like the game of golf; there is a front nine and a back nine to the “game”. More than 80 percent of the time the front nine of the game, generating and cultivating the sales leads, takes place in an internet and/or BDC department through an internet lead or phone up. When the front nine is “played” well in a store, there is an appointment set by your internet and/or BDC department. Then, this appointment arrives at the dealership and the back nine of the game is played out. There is either a “score” (sale) or the brutal reality that you just played an expensive round and you are a shankapotomus. When you compare the cost of advertising and doing business with greens fees, you can see that blowing a sale in your store on the back nine can cost more than a round of golf, and isn’t nearly as much fun.
Here are three things to consider for increasing your store’s likelihood of playing a great back nine once the front nine is completed:
First impressions
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Cliché I know, but this idea is critical in this case. Do you know how many times I have walked into a store to find an antiquated “firing squad tower” of sales managers? To the average visitor this presentation is menacing to say the least, makes one feel as though they are approaching the Wizard of Oz.
Let’s start with body language, smiles are usually at a premium in stores that have less than stellar closing ratios. I once visited 17 stores in one day and made a note of the number of stores where I was greeted by a warm friendly face. Three, that’s right, three stores used smiles as part of their sales process. Not surprising to me, these were the only three stores out of the 17 that had sales activity underway. Coincidence? The other 14 stores’ salespeople all looked as if they were fed the same Ex-Lax frosted brownies.
If your dealership cannot be a welcoming environment in the first 30 seconds of a prospect’s visit, you substantially lower your likelihood of a sale, regardless of how wonderful the appointment setter is. Remembering here that a customer can drive 10 miles in either direction of your store and most likely find a similar or exact vehicle to the one that brought them into your store, customers are looking for a salesperson first, car second.
Transition from internet/BDC sales lead to sales floor opportunity
Make the appointed prospect feel expected and special. You and I know just how “special” they are. It’s what we are all working so hard for right, the appointment? Let them know how “special” they are. Give the impression you have been waiting for them when they arrive. Appointment boards where the prospect can see their appointment is a huge tool for this effect. A store I worked at in Seattle made sure that every appointment whenever possible was posted on the manager’s appointment board and the vehicle of interest was prepped and sitting ready for a test drive in a designated holding area, cleaned, warmed up or cooled off.
Make sure the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. This is a leading factor of debacles in stores that have internet/BDC departments, which create appointments for salespeople. Your departments have to be on the same page at all times. This starts with how you present your store, inventory, and specials on your website and in your advertising. Once a prospect gets one piece of information that is different from what he or she received from the internet/BDC department, your credibility has taken a hit and you will spend a significant amount of time having to rebuild it in order to move the prospect along in the process. Once you have created this crack in credibility, it is very hard, if not impossible, to regain control and rapport with the prospect. A critical factor; sharing of correspondence and all information that the prospect has received from your store prior to their visit making sure that there is consistency in your communications with your prospects across the board.
By making sure you have these few consistent policies in place, you can greatly improve your likelihood of closing those much cherished internet and/or BDC appointments. Play the wholegame with professionalism, integrity, and respect towards your prospects, remembering they can “play around” at dozens of other courses, but they chose yours. Show them that you are truly the Jack Nicklaus of the game.
Dave Page is the director and co-owner of Dealer e Process, LLC., founded in 2007. For more information please visit or call 866-606-7916.



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