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If you ain't trackin' you ain't tryin'

How much do you know about how much you know.

Many dealers desire the knowledge to be better, improve their practices, and generate more business. It would seems that much like the bad credit customer who has all the DESIRE to purchase just lacking the ability, dealers have all the ABILITY to track better but lack the true desire to do so. Myself included I don’t have the stats on every little metric in our dealership but I do have the ability. I try to track everything that is notable but not everything that is trackable.

Dealers in general don’t have the time, or the man power, or the strong enough desire to know what they are looking at to better estimate goals, to better position advertising, to just be better. This blindfold holds back many dealers from additional profit and growth potential. It has been said, knowledge is power but in our industry knowledge is money, and to be without the former is to be missing out on the latter.  Here are a few crucial metrics a dealer should know in order to use the knowledge to better themselves.

  1. Walk-In traffic: Seems like a no brainer with all the tools available now between, CRM tools, ILM tools, pre-generated follow up processes, etc. However, dealers still miss out on a majority of people who come in to kick tires and don’t make it into the front doors. Recording this traffic will help gauge how not only your sales people are doing, but also your sales managers, advertising, campaigns, closing percentage, and overall daily to monthly traffic are doing. Is traffic really down or are people just not accurately reporting their opportunities.
  2. Contact rate: As a quote from Glengarry Glen Ross goes “You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them” Sure you’ve got a billion leads a month, or maybe you’ve got 100, it doesn’t matter, what you do with them is the biggie. How many people do you actually contact from the leads you get every month, if you don’t know that, you don’t know what to expect down the line. If you contact every single lead that comes in but still are under performing on sales, you’ve got a place in the middle to identify where the breakdown is. If you’re not tracking that, then it’s a guessing game, every day, every week, every month.
  3. Contact to Set: Why aren’t you tracking how many appointments that are set?! If you contact someone whether it be on the phone, through E-mail, or someone who comes on the lot and gets their ticket for the “Be-Back-Bus” on the way out, you’ve made contact. NOW GET THEM IN!! If you don’t know how many people are committing to come in then you’re traffic might as well be tracked with an abacus. The value of knowing how many people intend to attend, gives you hard numbers to hold yourself or those responsible to, it gives follow up to be done on those slow times that all dealers run into. If you don’t know this I can almost guarantee that you don’t believe the goals you set are even achievable, if you set them at all.
  4. Set to Shown: We’ve all been in the sales meeting and a sales manager screams out “How many appointments you got” and the sales person says “3, 2 for sure” when we all know they haven’t talked to a customer in 3 days. Just screaming out a number is at least moderately more effective than not tracking it at all, at least with the screaming you might get lucky and there’s always the power of positive thinking too. Managers need to be calling EVERY “appointment” to verify and confirm if they are coming in, to track how often a customer shows and how often they lie. If you’ve got 100 appointments scheduled and only 3 show, I would contend that the 100 number needs a harder look to find where we missed 97 opportunities. Just because you set an appointment doesn’t guarantee they’ll show. Track this and you’ll find leaking profit from many sources that could net you big gains over time.
  5. Shown to SOLD: Here is another no brainer, if they’re here, how often do they buy. Are the sales people weak? Are the appointment setters weak? Are the Sales managers weak? Accurate time stamped shown appointments are valuable because we know how good we really are when it’s showtime. The Customer is here, the sales people are here, the car is here. LET’S DANCE! But if we don’t sell them; why, how, what happened. Do you know how much money just went into that wave goodbye. If you don’t know how many people are walking onto your showroom floor and not driving off with your car then you’re lost in a sea of guessing games, of marketing shotgun blasts, lacking substance, lacking strategy, lacking knowledge and most of all, lacking profit.

There is a saying I try to live by “If you ain’t trackin’ then you ain’t tryin’.”

By doing your due diligence to ensure that you are looking at accurate numbers every day, every week, every month, you will ensure that you are at least making educated guesses about your next decisions. You take the blindfold off by simply making the effort to see what is already there. While bringing that customer in the door is a moving target every month, by taking the blind fold off at the very least you’re able to pull the trigger and be confident that you were aiming in the right place.

Until the DESIRE to do these things actually inspires you to do it, the growth you have the ABILITY to achieve will be just out of reach. Every day, every week, every month.  If you’d like some help with these things, please ask, it’s the only way I’ve learned.

Views: 407

Tags: BDC, CRM, Customer Relationship Management, Dealer Training, KPI, Key Performance Indicators, Lead Management, Reporting, Tracking


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Comment by Bruce L. Roffey on January 27, 2013 at 9:06am
How do you get where you want to go if you don't know where you are, what gets measured, gets done! Great article!
Comment by Scott Klein on January 25, 2013 at 7:24pm

"You can't manage what you don't measure." Speaking of measuring, does anyone have "turn key" spreadsheets for measuring floor traffic. BB's, Demos, write ups, sales etc. Same for Internet and BDC? Tnx!

Comment by Subi Ghosh on January 25, 2013 at 1:36pm
Great post Mike! Sometimes people know that they have to track but don't know the actual metrics they need. It always surprises that people don't have these more basic stats always readily available in an easy format. Or even know how to use them to increase performance and profit.
Comment by Mike Watson on January 25, 2013 at 1:13pm

Thank you Ralph. If a dealer chooses not to track, they are choosing not to learn, and an un-learned dealer is most assuradley not a profitable one.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 25, 2013 at 12:55pm

Mike, you are all too accurate in your assessment of the differences between what we are able to measure, what we are willing to measure and what we are willing to do with those measurements in the car business! This has always seemed to me to be more of a lack of willingness than capability... Every time I have taken a retail management role, I have implemented measurement and scheduled review processes that improve revenue and profits on a steady and continuous basis.  People ask "how did you sell over 11,000 cars in a single year working out of a 50 year old single point Chevy facility"... Next time, I will send them to this blog post: Measurement of data points that drive actionable management decisions.

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