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As a former new car dealer and current consultant on dealer operations and marketing through my advertising agency I am constantly amazed by the lack of cooperation between the various departments in a dealership. Their common goals – to sell more cars, service/parts and to make more money – should be part of their communal focus but these shared opportunities rarely receive the attention they deserve.

Dealers hire managers to solve a problem in a particular department with little attention paid to shared bottom line profits and accountability to the entire customer experience before, during and after the sale. Of course each department manager needs their own job description and areas of responsibility along with supported compensation plans based on individual and department guidelines and objectives but the true opportunity lies in inter-department communications of shared opportunities across department lines.

The A, B, C’s of the car business - “Always Be Closing” – go beyond the showroom floor and apply to all customer contacts. Opening internal communications in the selling process in both vehicle sales and fixed operations is the key to improving performance in all areas of operations. Verifiable R.O.I. to the dealer’s total bottom line, as well as the individual departments contributing to it, provides a more stable environment on many levels and is the key to consistent profitability in a down market.

The Internet Department of the future will be more than a lead generator with limited selling responsibilities. The Internet Manager of today is more central to developing sales and service than the GSM - and should be treated accordingly!

All communications, before, during and after the sale can, should - and soon will be-handled over the internet and/or on the dealership’s website which is already part of an Internet Manager’s area of responsibility.

Currently, Business Development Centers, (B.D.C’s.), coordinate new and/or used
vehicle sales developed on the telephone, showroom floor, service drive, data base
marketing and in some cases the Internet. They usually rely on linked technology like telephony systems communicating to a data base management system, (DMS), which is tied to a customer retention management system, (CRM). Who is better prepared to coordinate communications and even transactions on the Internet than the Internet Manager? Who has the best understanding of computers, software and integrated links to access and apply information to all of the department managers?

Customer Communication Centers, or “C.C.C’s.” can provide a more integrated and
accessible central point of contact at the dealership for your customers. All customer contacts for sales, service/parts and office should be channeled to one location from all sources including telephone, email, mail, internal DMS/CRM, Internet – you name it!

Cross-selling between sales and service/parts is obvious, but unlikely if they are handled by two different people or departments! Less obvious opportunities like customer complaints and key vendor communications provide the ability to turn a problem into a solution but only if channeled properly.

Most dealers have been traumatized by individual department software solutions they are still paying for and never use. Usually they require secondary input, are redundant with other more integrated systems to the selling process or just lack real world applications to their deal flow. “Inspect what you expect”, coupled with standards like “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” support the value of having one department responsible to focus on these investments in processes/procedures to be shared by all departments.

The following areas of responsibility cross over department boundaries and place your “Internet - C.C.C.” squarely in the middle of all selling processes. The devil is in the details and there is no standard application to apply to all situations. Deciding what to do and what to delegate, and how to best integrate with your current systems to minimize disruption, is the key. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water but expecting different results from the same action is a good definition of insanity.

INTERNET "C.C.C." MANAGER - SUGGESTED AREAS OF RESPONSIBILTY FOR SALES AND SERVICE:

1) OUT-BOUND PHONE CALLS / CONTACTS
2) IN-BOUND PHONE CALLS / CONTACTS
3) INTERNET CONTACTS - INBOUND AND OUTBOUND
4) LEASE RETENTION
5) GALLEY LISTS
6) THREE YEAR RETAIL PURCHASE
7) LETTERS – SALES AND SERVICE
8) INTERNET CLUB EMAILS AND SPECIAL PROMOTIONS
9) BUSINESS TO BUSINESS MARKETING
10) CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
11) WEBSITE MANAGEMENT WITH SEO/SEM MARKETING INTEGRATED INTO CONVENTIONAL ADVERTISING (YES - THAT IS STILL PART OF THE DEAL!)

The Internet “Geek” of the old days has matured into a key manager in most dealerships and the trend is growing! A forward thinking dealer or senior manager should evaluate current communications, customer and deal flow and create a C.C.C. based business plan in concert with the other department managers to develop shared profits.

Inter-department squabbles in the car business will always exist but a well integrated
C.C.C. – if introduced correctly – will transcend individual motives to resist efforts to
improve everyone’s bottom line. A C.C.C. taking on the burden of making appointments and providing centralized communications – both internally and externally to the dealership – will free everyone else up to sell more cars, service and parts!

Real time “paperless” reports available online – or in the DMS/CRM – will provide the department managers with the information and tools they need to do their jobs. C.C.C. provided “secretarial” services, automated and managed follow up systems to recapture lost sales/service opportunities coupled with increased appointments, sales and customer satisfaction is not a threat but a blessing!

Define the areas of responsibility that the C.C.C. will handle and decide which ones will be delegated. Compute the budget, staff and facility you will need, online and in concert with your conventional advertising and community networking proposals, to develop the traffic required to achieve established sales and performance goals.

Monitor shifts within budget based on results and R.O.I. per investment but never
increase the budget without a proper risk to reward consideration and an acceptable projected R.O.I. The days of guessing are over; so be right! Do all of the above, design a pay plan for the Internet /C.C.C. manager, as well as all other department managers, tied to specific performance with a bonus tied to the total dealership bottom line and move forward with the confidence that you have not left any money on the table.

That's all I have to say about that! What do you pro's think?

Tags: ad, advertising, agency, auto, autoadcreative.com, automotive, industry, online, philip, zelinger

Views: 814

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

The key word in your comment is - TEAM! We all play a position and no one should be expected to play them all. The best "phone" people are often the worst "floor" people and vice versa so why try to have one size fits all! Everyone has their individual personality and strengths and the best teams find them and apply them accordingly so 2+2=5 and the sum total is more than the parts!
Phillip,
This is right up the alley the managers at the store are trying to go. Can you provide any other sources for setting up a "C.C.C" ie best practices, job description?
Thanks,
Rhyne
Hi Rhyne,

Don't apply this literally as it must be adjusted based on individual dealership resources, established processes and staff but it should start your creative juices flowing!

CCC - INTERNET / BDC DEPARTMENT
JOB DESCRIPTION – AREAS OF RESPONSIBILTY – COMPENSATION PACKAGE

COMPENSATION PLAN: This generic plan will not fit all dealerships. Line item percentages must be analyzed and applied across all involved departments – sales and fixed operations - to insure that all associated compensation packages fit within established cost of sales percentage guidelines both by department and in the total P&L computations.

TITLE: Customer Communications Center - CCC MANAGER –

SALARY / DRAW: * SEE NOTE AT END OF OUTLINE

$1,000.00 BI-WEEKLY SALARY

BONUSES:

APPOINTMENTS:
$20.00 PER SALES APPOINTMENT - $10.00 PER SERVICE CUSTOMER PAY APPT.*
*Excludes Oil Change only and Warranty repair

SPOT DELIVERED UNITS:
$40.00 PER CONFIRMED SPOT (0-30 UNITS)
$50.00 PER CONFIRMED SPOT (31-50 UNITS RETRO TO UNIT 1)
$60.00 PER CONFIRMED SPOT (51 + UNITS RETRO TO UNIT 1)

NEW CAR MONTHLY BONUS:
$500.00 IF THE DEALERSHIP MEETS SALES OBJECTIVES

USED CAR MONTHLY BONUS:
$250 IF 40-49 USED UNITS ARE DELIVERED
$500 IF 50+ USED UNITS ARE DELIVERED

SSI / FFV / CSI BONUS:
$500 IF COMBINED TOTALS MEET OR EXCEED BUSINESS CENTER AVERAGE

NOTE: ADDITIONAL BONUSES MAY BE OFFERED FOR SPECIFIC ACTIONS OF THE CCC. ALL APPOINTMENTS AND SPOT DELIVERIES MUST BE SUBMITTED AND CONFIRMED ON A DAILY RE-CAP SHEET TO QUALIFY FOR COMPENSATION – NO EXCEPTIONS!

BENEFITS:

MEDICAL: PER ESTABLISHED COMPANY POLICIES AND PROGRAMS

DEMONSTRATOR: $300.00 ALLOWANCE

COORDINATORS: THE BASE SALARY AND MONTHLY SALES GOAL BONUSES WILL BE PAID BY THE DEALERSHIP BUT ALL APPOINTMENT AND SPOT DELIVERY BONUSES WILL BE PAID BY THE CCC MANAGER WHEN THE VOLUME SUPPORTS ADDED STAFF

SALARY + BONUSES
Monthly Bonuses: Established quarterly with sales goals to be determined
Appointments: $5.00 for every appointment that shows that the coordinator makes plus $10.00 for every sold unit.

AREAS OF RESPONSIBILTY:

1) OUT-BOUND PHONE CALLS / CONTACTS –
New/Pre-Owned Sales; Use the sales & showroom follow up systems in the CRM application. It is the job of the CCC to determine why they didn't buy and what will get them back in. Service and Parts; open and closed R.O.’s and Counter Tickets will be followed up daily to solicit the sale, generate referrals and to improve CSI, SSI and FFV. Manager phone calls, letters, emails and any other CRM based outbound contact services, automated or personal, will supplement live calls by CCC coordinators with all contacts updated in the CRM daily and reviewed by the CCC Manager to coordinate “make-a-deal” meetings.”

2) IN-BOUND PHONE CALLS / CONTACTS - New/Pre-owned Sales Calls: A CCC coordinator will answer all calls and – if possible – will obtain: a phone number, a name and an appointment. Overflow will be overseen by the CCC Manager using certified sales staff who will keep any appointments made. Service and Parts: All special sales and marketing material will use a Whos Calling number or Mobile Text Messaging Short Code and – when applicable – assigned an ”op-code” which will be answered by the CCC or supplemental service writer/parts counter staff to set appointments for all departments.

3) INTERNET SALES: The dealer brings in leads from various sources which must be sourced and handled according to best practices. Each lead will be answered within 15 minutes and called within 30 minutes with more immediate attention paid to mobile text message based contacts.

An Internet lead will be given THREE prices on initial response, not Auto responder. 1) A price on what they want, 2) A price on something similar with a little less equipment and 3) On a used similar vehicle.
An Internet lead will be followed up in a specific sequence of emails and phone calls for a period of 90 days (or until they buy, die or say to stop bothering them). All automated systems must me managed, monitored, and updated by the CCC Manager.

The website will be maintained with posted transparent and market based prices and specials with the CCC acting as a separate ‘Desk” online and on the phone empowered to make offers, approximate trade-in values, quote payments and assign appointments to certified salespeople to be worked by the showroom Desk and Sales Managers.

4) Lease retention: Using a pre-established system: 6 months before the lease termination, the
Customer will get a letter, followed by a phone call. The purpose of this letter is to inform the person about what is about to transpire, to let the customer know that the bank will try to sell them their vehicle and also
about the pre-termination inspection about to come. CRM automated systems will apply.

At 4 1/2 months, the customer will get a pre-termination inspection package, including a date for the pre-termination inspection. This will be followed up with a confirmation phone call. There is also a confirmation phone call the day before the appointment and a visit outcome phone call after the visit.

5) Galley lists: A specific letter from the dealership sent to the list followed by a script phone call inviting the recipient to the dealership. Expected rate of return: without the follow up phone call .5-1.5% With the
phone call 5-10%

6) Three year retail purchase (IN EQUITY) letters followed up by phone call integrated into the automated CRM system.

7) LETTERS – SALES AND SERVICE: Sold and unsold opportunities as developed through the use of the CRM system will be done on a daily basis with “Make A Deal” reports printed and distributed daily. Three year cycle touch points: quarterly letters asking for referrals, first service reminders, birthday and holiday greetings, blast email special events, 11 month time for inspection notifications, follow up call list for parts manager asking if the customer wants to enhance their purchase, etc, etc. - all automated.

8) Internet Club emails

9) BUSINESS LINK: Business to Business Club and all available programs will be fully designed and monitored by the CCC Manager.

10) CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND FACTORY CERTIFICATION: Follow up calls for sales and service/parts to sold, un-sold, open R.O.’s and closed tickets are a natural source for new business and will be called daily to solicit sales, referrals and improved CSI/SSI and the associated customer retention. Power Call automated system will be applied. All factory certification requirements will be maintained by all employees in all departments coordinated and confirmed by the CCC Manager.


NOTE: The actual function of all of the above can be delegated by the CCC Manager but the responsibility can’t be delegated! The enhanced role of the CCC Manager vs. a conventional BDC and/or Internet Manager suggests a position of responsibility that is more like the role of the General Sales Manager. If properly coordinated the compensation plan can be modified to absorb this role with a much more robust compensation plan paid to the truly empowered CCC Manager.
Philip-
Our dealership does excellently with the Cardone ePencil, however I need some phone training for me and the CCC staff and would love to know if the ePencil has phone "process scripts" that tie into the wording of the ePencil. Or if anyone has some phone processes I can adapt and use, I'd appreciate whatever has been successfully implemented in our industry!
Susan,

Grant Cardone and Scott Morgan are old friends and partners so I will pass on your request to them. I am sure that they can and will help - or direct you to someone who can,

After all, what are friends for!
Thank you so much, Philip!

I look forward to getting some direction and guidance from someone soon! It's been a busy past week getting our website redesign launched, having one rep promoted to another store and filling in for them, to now having the open slots for training purposes this week. Phones are a big focus for our stores and we are looking for ways to correct and change what phone processes we are doing now.
I have been reviewing a number of new toys that leverage the resources of a BDC. Has anyone else come across any new toys that will let my clients do more for and with less?
VinSolutions seems to be a fairly integrated system, but i would like to hear about your new "toys" as this is the forum that led me to change the way i do business and hire David Lytle, (thanks for that by the way).
OK, - my latest vendor client has a TWO WAY LIVE VIDEO Customer Interaction system that allows a single window to open and engage your online customer in a video chat WITHOUT OPENING A SINGLE OTHER APPLICATION OR HAVING TO BREAK THE CONNECTION TO SEND AN EMAIL OR PHONE CALL that allows your BDC to see and be seen real time while being able to play a video of the vehicle and any video from factory footage to a dealer walk around, answer any question on product,price,trade or payment including the ability to set an appointment that links to the CRM, pull data direct from your DMS to "desk" the deal and serve actual numbers to the customer, accept a download of the customers trade and get trade-in information - including customer pictures or video - push a credit app and check credit, push any form such as menu upselling of accessories or additional vehicle information, send an email with a picture of the salesperson and all of the "facts" of the deal that has just been done online including an appointment reminder to the customer an an email or text message to your BDC including an after hour or overflow text or email if a lead was just missed or recap the one that just finished ---- all tied into your existing CRM, DMS and sales processs. Just send the check to www.adagencyonline.net or call me!

Oh, by the way, AutoNation is already their first customer so if you want to use it as a differentiator so your dealership is the only one to have a LIVE ONLINE VIDEO SALESPERSON you better hurry!!!!

Oh yeah - kiss David and the kids for me!
Hey Matt,

A CRM - Desking system is the heart of any selling process - online or on the showroom - so start with that one! Can you post enough info to expand on any proprietary or "cutting edge" features and benefits. If not, please call me and let's set up a presetation for my affiliated automotive advertising agencies. If it is as good as you say let's talk about it on www.adagencyonline.net or on www.blogtalkradio.com/adagencyonline. After all, what are friends for!
Ready when you are!!

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