My heart breaks when I hear that some dealers in today’s market still oppose sending out pricing to Internet shoppers. Thankfully, these dealers are going the way of the dodo bird as the business model known as “just get ‘em in” is a nail in the coffin to marketing efforts.
However, once a dealership has overcome the hurdle of giving out prices, there is still a good amount of red tape that goes along with actually getting the pricing. This internal transfer of information, from software/tool to delivering party, is still a roadblock to fast Internet replies. The Internet shopper goes online, finds a vehicle of interest, and requests a quote. What they expect is transparency and we, as dealers, have opted to give it to them.
Unfortunately, there are a few hoops to jump through in many stores to get the requested pricing. Here are a few different scenarios of how pricing is obtained by the “lead handler”. If leads are distributed to the sales floor, with each lead the salesperson must approach the desk and ask for a price on the unit. Provided the sales manager is available, not eating, remotely interested, and not overwhelmed with five other tasks, they give the salesperson a figure to send. Usually, though, the sales manager is preoccupied and giving a price to email away is put on the backburner. The clock starts, the price request is forgotten, and the lead is marked lost three days later. Sad.
Knowing that time is of the essence, this bottleneck can cost dealerships countless sales. This same structure is what holds up countless ISMs and BDC agents from delivering valuable pricing information to customers in a timely fashion. Want to increase your response and closing rates? Eliminate the sales manager from the equation and stop making them give out pricing every single time a new lead comes in. Instead, create a pricing matrix for the Internet department.
If a new price is given at each and every lead received by a sales manager, they will likely not be working off of any logic or historical data when handing out the price. Instead, have bi-monthly meetings where ISMs, Sales Managers, and General Manager alike review some mystery shops from other local, same-brand dealers and then determine a set price per make/model based on plus or minus invoice/MSRP. Take the data and create a simple pricing matrix that your BDC team can refer to. This way, as each lead comes in, the ISM can calculate the pricing (provided they are given the access they deserve in the back-end tool) without involving the Sales Manager on every occasion. This will increase response times, closing ratios, and simply make it easier on your team to deliver for your potential customers. Once again, this requires the ISM/BDC Agent to have access to whatever software necessary to find information on availability, invoice, and MSRP.
An even more progressive way to cut through the red tape of pricing is to have a dedicated desk manager specifically for your BDC team. If you believe that every deal is different, and you want to deliver total transparency (invoice pricing, Internet pricing, financing/lease payments, etc) to your customers, consider placing a desk manager inside the BDC to garner the pricing info as quickly as possible.
Don’t let dealership politics or power plays get in the way of a quality showroom and Internet process. Talk to your sales, Internet, and management teams to determine the best method of pricing for your customers. Cut through the red tape, think of customers first, and find a way to deliver pricing quickly, effectively, and transparently for your Internet shoppers. Your ISMs will thank you for it.