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Allowing bad processes and paying for more marketing is much like another American Classic: How many homes do you know where there’s a nice automobile sitting in damaging sun and weather in the driveway while $300 worth of junk sits protected in the messy garage? We do the same thing as dealers; buying new shiny things for our marketing and letting them sit outside our garage full of bad processes. There’s money on that garage floor—let’s clean it up!
Where do we start? First, let's say you are marketing "okay" today and getting shopper traffic . . . . and vendors and consultants are talking to you about how to make your marketing great and drive even more traffic to your lot. Sounds fantastic, and necessary, but what if you could improve your business significantly at this time by just fixing your processes? You’d not only make more money today, you’d also make even more money when you have that great marketing!
Here are just a few examples where tools and processes are possibly failing your business today:
CRM: Have you already paid for a CRM and not implemented it properly around good, solid processes? Is it still possible that you have no idea how much of your traffic is not entered into the CRM? And how about follow-up? Your CRM is likely telling you every day that few salespersons are calling for bebacks if you look. Your CRM can help you make more money if you motivate your sales staff and managers with conditions of being paid that include proper CRM use. If you don't do that, why not? Why are you paying for a CRM just to kill it's value with poor processes?
Phones: Do you pay $8 an hour to a receptionist who fumbles the call you paid $300 to get? If the call still gets to a salesperson or service writer, do they know how to best convert the call to an appointment? And do you pay for a forensic tool like WhosCalling, etc. that can tell you (IF you listen!) how bad your staff is on the phones—and yet you do nothing to correct that situation? This can also be fixed, by training and, again, conditions of being paid (even the receptionist!) that include good phone skills, or you can also consider a dedicted BDC (on-site or off-site).
Lot/Floor: Do you require a manager TO on every shopper? Do you require salespeople to “touch the desk” at critical points of the sale? Do you train your salespeople on the Steps to the Sale, especially—but NOT limited to—your green peas? This can be fixed, same as the others, by training and, again, conditions of being paid that include TOs and desk touches.
Service Drive: Do you have busy service writers fumble trying to answer appointment calls, or do you have a dedicated person/BDC take care of those? Do you have a true online scheduling page with alerts via email and text to folks waiting for cars? Do you train your writers on up-selling? Do you monitor their production? This can be fixed, too, just like the sales side, by training and, again, conditions of being paid that include # of appointments and production quotas.
And you can all surely add to these items and to this list yourselves, once you consider all this. Better marketing, especially the right online marketing woven into your current marketing, is as necessary to your business as oxygen is to the body. Let’s just get our dealer bodies in better shape so that the oxygen really makes our business boom! The first place for exercise? Why, your messy garage of processes, of course.