The old adage “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink” is never more prevalent than when it comes to training. We at DealerKnows see salespeople and Internet specialists given many resources to improve their performance, from the best technology to continuous training. However, even with all of the tools provided, that does not guarantee that people will do everything that is being asked of them. Most need ongoing reinforcement.
Ongoing reinforcement doesn’t mean more training or more tools, but, instead, more (read: better) management. One area we see dealers falling short: handling their Internet leads. The reason management doesn’t know how to improve lead management is because few know what they should be looking for.
Since much of our time is spent monitoring and coaching lead handling as it is one of our primary services (through our TaskTeacher tool), we’ve identified six segments necessary to ensure quality lead management is being conducted by dealership staff. Here are six key elements you should be reviewing on every lead inside your CRM to ensure a consistent follow-up approach.
How quick your prospects are contacted back is one of the most statistically critical elements to lead handling. How fast does your team respond on-hours? By phone? By email? If four hours is industry average and most dedicated dealers obtain a one-hour response time, is it possible to have your team execute the same response back in 15 minutes? Recognize that the time intervals of follow-up, initially and ongoing, are imperative to Internet success.
What message are they sending to their prospects? Are their emails answering the customers’ questions? Does it include requested pricing and information regarding availability and incentives as it should? What about multiple pricing options or alternative vehicles? Know what your team is sending out.
Is your Internet team clearly defining what separates you from the same brand dealer down the street? Are you explaining to customers why they should choose you over your competitors? Ensure your staff is sending out some semblance of a value proposition so prospects can weigh the benefits of your store in comparison to the others.
Are Internet prospects responding back to your email templates and calls? Is your Internet Sales Manager engaging them in conversation? Are they asking questions to create a dialogue or is every outbound email in monologue form? No great relationship can be built without a conversation.
How much effort is your team exuding to contact a customer? Are they following up multiple times ongoing? What our TaskTeacher tool has proven is that dealer staff traditionally spend no more than the first four days attempting to reach a customer before ceasing phone efforts. You must have ongoing phone and email follow-up scheduled to truly contact a high percentage of interested shoppers.
Is your team setting appointments at a reasonable rate? At what percentage do those customers show for their appointments? Of those that show, how many of them are converting to a sale? Without measuring the results, there is little way to adjust strategies to improve the outcome. You must know what lead handling metrics you are achieving to pinpoint what weaknesses need to be addressed in your follow-up tactics.
To truly “manage” your team, you must hold them accountable and monitor their daily duties. These are the six key elements that your management team (or Internet Director) should be actively reviewing on leads to ensure that your Internet prospects are receiving the attention and communication they deserve. If they can’t do it, find someone else who can do this for you. Otherwise, you’re simply wasting opportunities to sell a car.