Here is an article I wrote for DealerRefresh – or read below
This doesn’t hold true for all, but it will hit the nail on the head for many. Your middle management is killing your Internet sales. Not in a good way. Not like “Wow! You guys are killing it!”. No. They are hurting your online sales efforts.
How? What they don’t know, WILL hurt them. DealerKnows fields many calls from dealers, but even more from their Internet personnel. What we continue to hear is the pushback your Internet Sales Managers and BDC teams are receiving from the sales managers in your stores when trying to fulfill their job duties.
I previously detailed one of the primary ways in my blog titled “The 4 Words That Make Sales Managers Sound Stupid”. Those four words? “Just get ‘em in.” Without preparing your BDC agents and ISMs with any information, they are expected to coerce a researched, interested party into the store with no value to give them. Needless to say, the “hallelujahs”, “thank you’s” and “TESTIFY’s” we got through email was great. That is just one way your managers are hindering your online sales. Many have no willingness to (or understanding why) give out information to the customers before coming in. This tactic is killing you.
Another way? If the sales management insists on handing over a new Internet price for every…single… lead… rather than a researched, validated price structure for all models that the ISM can be trusted to speedily calculate and hand over, then they are hurting your online efforts. Timing is key. If your Internet team has to go for them every…single….time they have a new lead and want to give out a price, you are slowing down the response time and likely giving the manager the ability to choose the Internet pricing they give that day, on that car, off the top of their head. This is killing your response time.
Want to hear more? Micro-managing. Who do your sales managers think they are to brow-beat an ISM over their closing ratio, their pricing, or worse off, their customers when they are letting the salespeople run wild on the showroom floor? If your sales managers are constantly asking your ISMs “What is going on with this lead?” or “Whatever happened to the folks interested in the…?”, but are not enforcing ANY of the sales folks to call back ANY of their customers that have been in, then they are hypocrites and they are killing your Internet team’s motivation.
- What are some other ways your sales managers are destroying an online foundation in your store?
- Demanding to handle inbound calls/leads/etc for your store, rather than your BD team, so they can remain in control, yet are unwilling to call to confirm appointments.
- Not demanding the sales team to make appointments as well.
- Not reinforcing the use of the CRM on the showroom.
- Not requiring the sales team to source customers properly.
- Not forcing the sales team to obtain a customer’s email address.
- Taking their sweet, old time to get pricing, availability, truthful spec info and more to their Internet team so they can then pass it on to the interested party.
- Not getting pricing up on the newest pre-owned cars that hit your lot.
- Not supporting new digital initiatives in the store that might help them win ZMOT, while at the same time, not listening to how their sales team handle calls.
- Allowing the salespeople to handle calls.
- Not training the salespeople to handle calls.
- The list goes on
- And on
- And on…
I know I am preaching to the choir here because there are more ISMs and Internet Directors reading this than there are dealer managers and owners likely. (Sad that the group most thirsty for information and willing to learn and progress are often the ones with the least amount of power to do so. As is in life. Still shameful.) However, if you are a dealer owner or GM, I strongly urge you to open up the blinds, let the light in, and ask your Internet team what they NEED and WANT from the middle management at your store to improve their job performance and the numbers.
Too many great people in eBusiness positions are scared of speaking up for fear of causing waves in the water, but if prompted and protected, they will give you the keys to untold sales. Look at the hierarchy of the people in your store and make sure the sales managers are not stifling the productivity of your Internet team. Or keep the blinds closed and watch as they kill your Internet sales one by one.