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Okay, so my brackets, like many of yours, are already a hot mess. UCLA beat SMU; UAB over Iowa State; Georgia State defeated Baylor--and those were just on Thursday! It was the perfect storm for my March Madness experience.
As I was setting fire to my brackets yesterday, I started thinking about how the tournament was similar to dealerships, how we sell cars, and the competition involved. Seriously--there are some pretty solid comparisons between basketball and moving metal. If you want your BDC to perform better than your brackets, here are five hints to help move things along.
Five Ways Your Dealership Could Go All the Way:
5) Keep the game plan simple.
I love watching coaches who know their game plan and stick to it. The players are confident, they know what has to be done and when, and they execute well. Syracuse University's Boeheim is the master of this. Zone defense is his language. And even though he is not in the tournament this year (that rant is for another blog), his excellence has never been in question. He knows his game plan and keeps it simple.
Does your BDC have a game plan? Do they know exactly how to respond, who to respond to first, and what they need to say? You are their coach--make sure the plan is understood, implemented, and practiced.
4) Know your competition.
Coaches and their coaching staff spend copious amounts of time watching, analyzing, and picking apart game film.. How else will you get an understanding of your competition’s defense and offense, their “go to” guys, and coaching. Doing this homework helps uncover what to focus on and how to prepare.
Do you know who your competition is? Even if you are a rural dealership, there is competition. My parents live in rural Upstate NY. They have a dealership 15 miles away, but because they did not like how they were treated, they drove an hour away to another dealership to purchase a truck.
And I am sure they are not the only ones who do that.
Know your competition. Know how they respond to leads and make sure yours are faster and better. Make the customer experience as positive as possible so that customers choose to come to you and not to the dealership.
3) Play ‘till the final buzzer.
If you saw Georgia State’s coach fall out of his chair, you know that the game is not over until the buzzer sounds. Especially in basketball, 5 seconds can be the difference between winning and losing. Every moment counts, and each of the moments can lead you to either an amazing victory or a soul crushing loss.
Do you play ‘till the final buzzer? Do you answer those leads that come in late with a personalized response, or do you send in the second string auto response and think that it is good enough? I know that when I played (long ago) and the game was close, the starters were the only ones on the court. Why do you let an inferior response go out to the customer? Play strong until the end of the game. Send out a personalized response which addresses customer questions and provides valuable information. That is how you win the game.
2) The team needs to be coached.
Could you imagine a team making it to the tournament with no coach? It is ridiculous. The players need coaching--they need someone calling the shots and making sure the game plan is followed.
Now think about your BDC. Too often I have heard BDCs talk about lack of training, lack of knowledge and lack of direction. You cannot be a successful team without leadership, direction, and knowledge. Make sure you offer all three to your BDC or Internet Department. I don’t care if your department has two people or twenty, without knowing the game plan, the direction, and the expectations, they will be nothing but a glorified call center.
1) Control what you can, react when you must.
The best coaches and teams control the game. They control the pace, the scoring, and the outcome. There are times, though, when things don’t go quite as planned or scripted. In those moments, the players need to know how to think for themselves and make things happen. Then they know how to think through these situations because they have practiced different situations multiple times.
Does your BDC know how to do this? Scripts are a definite must, but what happens when a customer goes off script? What if they ask questions that requires more than a simple response? The only way to be prepared for these scenarios is to have them practice and practice some more. Think about objections to appointments, how to word responses, and how to seem inviting and friendly over the phone--not pushy and tyrannical. I have avoided dealerships because of poor phone skills and overly pushy appointment setters. Train your department on the art of the question, how to word things in a positive manner, and how to listen.
The automotive industry is a definitely competition--make sure you are prepared.
Be the Coach K of your dealership! Strong leadership and direction are a must.
Aimi Gundersen is an Automotive Lead Specialists, Blogger, Speaker, Educator, and a Project Manager for BetterCarPeople. Aimi has her masters in communications and her doctorate in Higher Education and Adult Learning. Her life is dedicated to making people smarter, stronger, and more efficient in any capacity of work. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.