I don’t remember what I ate for dinner yesterday, but almost 31 years later I can still remember the training I received my first week as a car salesperson. Signs hanging throughout the back office included the slogans “Be-Backs are not green backs” and “The Be-Back bus never stops.” My sales manager made it clear that if the customer walks without talking to a manager that I should turn in my demo keys and walk with him. I can still hear his voice, “Take charge, control the ball, and turn every customer.”
Today the selling process is a little different; consumers are more in control of the showroom experience. They are armed with information on the vehicles they are considering, including invoice, incentives, financing options—even vehicle availability at other dealerships. Today’s information-empowered consumer has changed the balance of power in the negotiation.
At OneCommand, we are fortunate to do business with dealers across the US and one thing remains the same. Good dealers still exhaust all possibilities to close a consumer while on the showroom floor and make use of technology and information to balance the negotiating power. Sales managers are active in the showroom, engaged with consumers, and helping salespeople explore all avenues to doing business. If the deal is not closed, comprehensive customer information is gathered in a CRM solution, enabling timely and professional follow-up.
Unfortunately, the same management diligence that maximizes the closing ratio of showroom prospects is often not applied to phone prospects. Ask yourself: Does your dealership turn over 100 percent of your phone leads to a sales manager? Do you make sure that your phone prospects are followed up in a timely manner? Do you apply the knowledge and skills of your most talented staff to every caller?
If the answer is “no”, you are not only missing out on the potential to build and deepen customer relationships, but frankly, you are missing out on car sales and service business. The good news is low-cost and easy-to-implement call capture and automated call return technology is readily available to quickly connect you to your phone leads, so you can optimize both your show ratio and your phone lead closing ratios. By applying these technologies along with the three simple success practices listed below, 100 percent of your phone leads will receive management follow-up, which should ultimately lead to more car sales, more service business, and more profit.
Success comes through a simple three-step process
1) Audit your traditional media sources to make sure that each has a unique call capture number.
2) Use dynamic call capture numbers for your website to assure that the original source of the web lead is properly tracked. Supplying a dynamic number helps you to recognize each site visitor as unique and follow their shopping pattern more effectively.
3) Implement an automated voice message, recorded by your most talented sales manager, to be delivered to each and every phone prospect. Call timing should be flexible to accommodate your specific operations, but generally, the sooner the call is delivered the better. A manager should be following up with each caller within one hour or sooner from the time of inquiry. The automated message should simply be a CSI call. “Hello, this is…I noticed you recently contacted our dealership…I want to make sure you are completely satisfied with the service you received…If I can be of assistance please call me direct at….”
It is essential that you provide each and every phone prospect an alternative route to doing business by delivering follow-up from a voice of authority. The result will be significantly higher show ratios, higher closing ratios, and improved future performance from your sales and BDC employees.
Al Babbington is CEO of OneCommand. For more information, visit www.onecommand.com.
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