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

  • Auto/Mate to Host Spring User Summit for Auto Dealer Customers Near Boston, MA

    Attendees who pre-register by Friday, March 6th will be entered to win one pair of Red Sox tickets! ALBANY, N.Y. – March 2nd, 2015 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) today announced it will be hosting a User Summit for its auto dealer customers on Friday, April 17th in Westborough, MA. The User Summit is an all-day event with breakout sessions featuring product experts who will introduce and give in-depth training on the latest and greatest features of Auto/Mate's dealership management system (DMS).   "Due to overwhelming and positive feedback from our first user summit in September, we realize our customers really appreciate being able to meet and network with our own employees as well as other Auto/Mate users," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "On our end, the feedback we receive from our customers during the event is invaluable."   There is no charge for Auto/Mate customers to attend the all-day event, which incl...Read post

  • Auto Dealer Websites - BEHIND The Curve?

    Automotive advertising has always been an integral part of the Dealership business. Spending hundreds of thousands per year to stand out from the dealer down the street. The budget has never been the issue, it seems that taking an innovative leap might be...Read post

  • Aligning Brand with Operational Discipline – Cardinale Auto Group's COO to Address Presidents Club

    We are pleased to announce Erich Gail, COO of the Cardinale Automotive Group, will address Presidents Club attendees with his presentation: A Culture of Courage: Aligning Brand with Operation Discipline to Achieve Exceptional Results. Erich will present key takeaways for automotive retail leaders such as...Read post

  • How Customer Training Leads To Retention

    With almost everything consumers purchase, there’s an owner’s manual or set of instructions for them to use.  For decades, car manufacturers have included an owner’s manual with new vehicles. Sadly, it is no secret that this tidy three hundred-page booklet is one of the least read publications produced in mass quantity.    Some car dealerships require that their sales people give each vehicle purchaser a thorough presentation of their vehicle at time of delivery.  This slower-paced and personalized walk-around is perhaps more common in days past, than in today’s busier climate. However, it acquaints the car buyer with their vehicle’s key features, inside their vehicle as well as critical components under the hood.  In short, it offers a much-abbreviated version of what is found in the owner’s manual.    Customer training is not a new concept, but in an ever-changing industry, automotive manufacturers and dealerships adapt to the wants and needs of the consumer....Read post

  • Direct Mail Has Changed But It’s Never Going Away

    Direct mail might seem like an outdated and out of fashion marketing tactic, but dealers using it effectively are having the last laugh: consistently reporting an average of thirteen incremental new car sales per month by targeting customers who are “in-equity” in their current vehicle.   A recent study of over 200 US dealerships using personalized direct mail for strategic, targeted campaigns showed that, with a minimal spend and little hands-on work by dealership personnel, dealers are experiencing huge ROI – moving customers into new vehicles with little or no out-of-pocket spend and getting great trade-ins as a result.   It’s important to understand how best to find those customers who are “in-equity” – you can’t simply rely on length of ownership as customers are often upside down in their vehicles, instead it’s important to do extensive database mining to find those customers who’s cars are worth more than they owe, despite how long they’ve owned it. ...Read post

  • Dealer Solutions: 4 Ways To Boost Productivity & Improve Your Hiring Process

    We all have those days when we’re feeling sluggish or offbeat. Sometimes it’s because we’re lacking sleep or have too much on our schedule to handle. Other times it could just be because BuzzFeed is killing it with awesome quizzes for the day. Regardless of what causes us to be unproductive, there’s always that one thing we need but can’t quite obtain on these types of days: focus! Inc. Magazine recently published an article about the psychology of productivity and used results from their Inc. 500 survey. According to the survey, “85 percent of fast-growth-company CEOs work 10 or more hours a day” and that “Under such circumstances, personal productivity isn’t just a metric. It’s also a mandate.” Those hours may be necessary for CEOs, yet the same can be said about employees in other positions, especially managers at auto dealerships. It’s hard to stay on top of your work if you can’t be consistently productive, yet alone hire the right people in a timely manner. If you’re looking for ways to increase your personal productivity, whether in the office or at home, here are the four ways according to Inc.’s article: #1. “Go to the Root of Your Procrastination” Addressing why you procrastinate is the first step towards strengthening your productivity. Sometimes the reason why is because of fear or the fear of making the wrong decision. “With uncertainty comes fearfulness. You have to acknowledge that fear.” - Timothy Pychyl, Professor of Psychology at Carleton University Read post

  • Marketing Trends Illustrate the Importance of Video

    If you still aren’t sold on the importance of video marketing, it only takes a brief glimpse into recent news to illustrate just how important video is in marketing. There are many news stories relating to acquisitions, statistics and trends, which highlight the increasing importance – and value – that platforms of all kinds are placing on video content. The common thread that exists throughout all of these stories is companies recognize consumers have a strong desire to view video content and are positioning themselves to be able to serve that up.   Consider these recent stories:   Facebook videos are now receiving 3 BILLION views per day. Facebook is all about relevance. It wants to serve up content that its users want to see. A recent report by social media company, SocialBakers, reported that video posts surpassed all other types of content with the highest organic reach as well as highest fan reach. In addition, Facebook gives videos that are directly uploaded to the...Read post

  • Auto/Mate Integrates Dealership Management System with VinSolutions' Sales & Service Marketing Platform

    Real-time data delivery improves customer service & retention opportunities for auto dealers    ALBANY, N.Y. – February 23rd, 2015 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) today announced it has integrated its dealership management solution (DMS) with VinSolutions' (www.vinsolutions.com) all-in-one management, sales and service marketing solutions platform. Auto dealers using both systems can now enjoy the benefits of real-time data updates, including increased productivity, improved customer service and more customer retention opportunities.   "Our Open/Mate program provides vendors like VinSolutions with a low-cost, easy integration process," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "The result is increased utility of both systems by dealer employees, a necessary pre-cursor to maximizing the efficiency of any technology."   VinSolutions’ CRM, websites, marketing, inventory management, desking and service solutions span...Read post