Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: General Mgt

How To Prevent Poor Lead Process Management and Poor Website Experiences

By Eric Miltsch on Jan 15, 2013

 
Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak to a 20 Group in Chicago - a group that has met annually for nearly 25 years. A very experienced group set in their ways. Yes, I was concerned with what I was about to show them - and how they would respond.
 
Fortunately, I was met with a group of professionals that came willing to learn. Their thirst for information was incredible.
 
Our day started off by talking about lead handling processes and the 16-Points every dealership needs to have in place - made famous by Jared Hamilton from his Process, Structure & Marketing industry overview. Nearly every dealership does two of the process points consistently - they take the lead in and they try to close the lead as hard as possible, that's about it. These efforts are incomplete a majority of the time. 
 
True opportunities for change and dealership improvement happens between these two actions. I believe these are among the most important process decisions a dealership can make. This sets the tone for the staff, this is how management activity is defined, and it also makes or breaks the customer experience. 
 
Also included in this discussion were the seven items to measure for effective lead response management. Even though dealers have the latest and greatest CRM systems in place, that doesn't mean their processes are in-check or that they're getting the highest quality lead responses from their employees using the platform. 
 
A workshop style activity that allowed each dealership to see their own lead responses and also grade their scores, based on the seven items to measure, was an eye opener for everyone in the group. Every dealer agreed this was a hot topic and one that needed more attention in their store. Take-aways for this segment: 
  • Is proper grammar being used?
  • Is the customer's question being answered? 
  • Is price being mentioned within the responses?
  • Do the responses include value added information (links, pictures, videos) 
  • Are they asking for the customer's phone number?  
The afternoon continued with extensive marketing coverage. The theme, not surprisingly, was marketing cohesion. A majority of the dealers were all firing random shots in the dark using a fragmented marketing approach. A consistent, long-term approach needs to be applied and it must include some type of reporting or analytics element to ensure proper decisions are being made. Many in the group readily admitted to making decisions based on emotions rather than facts over the years. 
 
The day concluded with website reviews. A simple exercise for any dealer or Internet manager is to use your site as a customer would: visit the home page, find a vehicle and submit a lead request, a trade-in request and or a credit application. If doing so frustrates you, how do you think it feels for a customer who has just visit a dozen different dealer websites? Their frustration level is probably off the charts by the time they hit your website. Key take-aways for this section: 
  • Does the site load quickly? 
  • Can you get to the vehicles in one click? 
  • Do you have social icons and links above the fold and getting more importance than the items that ring your cash register? 
  • Do you have unproductive clutter on your home page? 
  • Do you have dead end pages - pages with no call to actions or deep links? 
  • Do you access your analytics on a consistent basis?
  • Do you know your top ten most visited pages and the keywords that drive traffic to your site? 
If you're spending good money driving traffic to your new improved website, but don't have solid internal lead handling processes - and vice-versa, you're simply doing it wrong. Check your marketing and your processes to create the best structure possible. In a year from now you'll wish you had started today!
 
Would you like a website analysis and mystery shop review done for your dealership?
 
Contact Ron Henson from DrivingSales University for more information.
 
 
 

Comments

Sounds like a great day Eric. That is the one thing that I love about the 20 group that we are a part of. It is constant contact with them and measuring all of the pertinent info that we need to make all of us better. This is a good starting point for dealers to look at in looking through all of the questions that you have outlined. All too often, we get caught up in the car world and don't think like a consumer. The website, emails, and other forms of contact need to be evaluated constantly to make sure that we don't have too much car talk and we are talking with the customer as if we weren't in the car biz,.

Jan 15, 2013

I recently submitted a lead for a car I was actually interested in. My lead was responded to right away, and the car was actually sold.

I found another car on their website and asked about specific information on the car. This reply was missing an answer to one of my questions (they probably needed to go looking for this answer).

I then sent another email asking for the missing answer, and haven't gotten a reply in 3 days. I have since talked to another dealership about a similar vehicle.

As someone that helps brings in traffic to a dealers website, this made me lose a little faith in the handling of some leads.

I'm sure not all dealerships are this bad, and good lead management is a must!

Great post Eric!

Jan 15, 2013

Justin - just incredible that this type of activity still happens.

And yes Jim, it did turn out to be a great day. We tend to take so much for granted and this was a great way to help some dealers who were truly interested in helping themselves.

Jan 15, 2013

I was just about to write about my own frustrations I am experiencing MTD...But I am currently one of those dealers that needs to change our business model.

Eric, your article has hit home with me. I need to help our group.

Each dealer wants more sales but does not staff the department with enough BD Agents. There solution: reduce leads and cut employee cost...my solution: add staff so we can answer all the customer questions. Time to Centralize and Effectively Manage Daily.

Great Post Eric!

Jan 17, 2013

Comments 1 - 4 of 4

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Eric Miltsch's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • The Trick to Increased Service Revenue Is Keeping Your Bays Full

    All too often, dealerships have technology in place that allows sales managers to monitor what’s going on in their departments. CRMs and phone call recording services are used by sales managers to ensure that Internet leads are being followed up with promptly and salespeople are following up with customers who have visited the dealership but did not buy. Many dealerships, however, don’t take advantage of these technologies to monitor what’s going on in their service departments. Most dealership service advisors are paid according to the amount of work they write in a given month. The more costly a repair is, the more they get paid. Sometimes that leads to missed opportunities as service advisors give preference to larger ROs. How many times do you think customers call your dealership in an attempt to schedule an appointment just to be told that they will have an extended wait until next available appointment? What do you think those customers do? People have busy schedules an...Read post

  • What's Your Chat Follow-Up Process?

    Live chat success does not happen on its own. Success happens when live chat is flawlessly incorporated into your dealership’s daily processes. And one of those daily processes is lead follow-up. As soon as a chat lead hits your CRM, you need to have a team promptly following up with that shopper. You can have the most amazing chats in the world, however if your staff is not properly following up with your online shoppers, it won’t matter if you had a good or a bad chat - the result will be the same - you won’t see the sales. Therefore, the moment you sign up for chat, you need to have a plan for effective chat lead follow-up.   Questions You Need to Ask to Plan a Successful Chat Follow-Up System at Your Dealership: Who is going to be following up on the leads? Are you going to use round robin or some other form of fair lead distribution among your staff? How many employees do you need to effectively follow up on all chat leads in a timely manner? Does y...Read post

  • Effective Communication: Stop Playing the Telephone Game

    Most of us are familiar with the telephone game. For those that haven’t played, the game is very simple. A group of people stands in a line. A simple sentence, starting with the first person, is whispered into the next person’s ear one by one until the message reaches the end of the line. Typically, the sentence that is revealed by the person at the end of the line is significantly different than the one that was started with. Just as in the game, this phenomenon of simple miscommunication exists in the workplace. Once you realize just how easily spoken communications can be changed inadvertently, the importance of effectively communicating is reinforced. Car dealerships are particularly prone to this given the complexity of many of the activities occurring. If a salesperson misunderstands the sales manager when working a deal with a customer, it can alter the rapport and general experience for that customer significantly. When a service advisor communicates with a customer inef...Read post

  • Stop Using Public Relations as Advertising

    Throughout history, public relations professionals have assisted companies in gaining exposure and getting the right message to the right audience at the right time. In the past, PR agencies relied on connections with journalists, media contacts and industry publications to relay relevant company news. With the arrival of social media, and digital marketing, PR agencies have had to evolve with the times. It has become a content-driven world, with a whole lot more opportunities to place content. While it is now easier for PR agencies to spread a company’s message, the amount of information news outlets and other publishing platforms receive is quite overwhelming. As such, it is now more important than ever to get your messaging right, so it does not get lost in the noise, or, even worse, turn the audience away.  A good public relations agency knows which types of messages are appropriate and most effective for each type of content. Public relations firms are now frequently retaine...Read post

  • DrivingSales 2014 Innovation Cup Award: Finalists Announced

    Innovation Cup recognizes the most innovative dealership solutions of 2014; finalists CarWars, DMEautomotive, Gubagoo, LotLinx and Pearl Technologies to present their solutions at the 2014 DrivingSales Executive Summit   Salt Lake City, UT – September 16, 2014  - DrivingSales today announced that five finalists have been selected for the fifth annual DrivingSales Innovation Cup Award, which recognizes the most innovative dealership solutions of 2014. The finalists will compete onstage for the Innovation Cup Award at the 2014 DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES), which will be held Sunday, October 12th through Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at the Bellagio Las Vegas.     The DSES, which had record attendance in 2013 and has sold out every year since inception, is unique in the industry because auto dealers determine the speakers and agenda, as well as the finalist and winners of the Innovation Cup Award.     The 2014 Innovation Cup Award finalists are (alphabetically): Gubag...Read post

  • Gubagoo’s New TalkSmart Drives ‘Smart’, High-Converting Phone Leads

    TalkSmart integrates advanced telephony into Gubagoo’s analytics-driven website chat and communications platform   West Palm Beach, FL – September 16, 2014  – Gubagoo Inc.’s new TalkSmartsm is designed to drive ‘smart,’ high-converting phone leads. Integrated into Gubagoo’s analytics-driven website chat and communications platform, TalkSmart closes the loop on customer communications via dealership websites. TalkSmart caters to the large percentage of consumers who say that talking to a live person is still their top communications preference, while also helping dealerships ensure that they never miss a car sale because they have missed a call (research shows that at least 20% of a dealership’s call go unanswered).   “In the rush to make websites function at their best, it is important that dealers don’t forget about the oldest kind of chat – the good old-fashioned phone call.  TalkSmart is designed to help transform a dealership website from a ‘dead-zo...Read post

  • Do you want a sales process?

    I have been aske numerous times for a a sales process; here it goes: The Initial Greeting:   You only have one opportunity to make a positive first impression with a customer! Before you ever meet the guest you need to be prepared! Part of the Team sales process involves the use of several tools to help create that positive first impression: Sold/Hold Card Business Card Pen Smile We NEVER go on the sales floor without our tools! As you take a shift in the UP (unplanned prospect) rotation you should avoid any distractions like cell phones, phone calls, conversations with other salespeople and anything else that might take your focus off of the lot and the customer parking area.   When a guest arrives you give them a moment to exit their vehicle before you go out to meet them. It is called a Meet & Greet because you MEET the guest where they are as opposed to waiting for them to come in to see us. We use the following greeting:   “Good morning/afternoon/evening! Wel...Read post

  • Does A Great Leader Make A Great Team?

    I recently read a fantastic article that an HR Professional wrote about her experience buying a MINI. The article itself focused on lessons in leadership she had learned from a sales manager at a MINI dealership while purchasing a new car. In her message she relays that this sales manager had built a better team by listening and allowing his team to build him. There were additional lessons  about how his team created an excellent customer experience in arguably one of the places consumers dread going to the most – a car dealership. Our company works with MINI  so we are aware of their quirky and fun branding style. Staying consistent with this public persona, MINI encourages its dealerships to think and act differently.   An example of this is a story I heard recently about an automotive vendor named Bob. Bob has been in management positions in the automotive industry for  over 30 years. This gentleman has worked mainly in highline stores including Porsche, BMW, Maserati, Fer...Read post