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

  • Great Sales People Aren’t Born They’re Made

    Training budgets have been cut back to the bone to preserve cash flow in these challenging economic times, so we cross our fingers and hope that good sales people are born and all we need to do is find them and recruit them!Read post

  • Don’t Sit Down! 6 Reasons to Change How You Do Your Investigation

    When you meet a new customer on the lot, where do you start your investigation process? I believe there is one best place to do it. But before I share what it is and why it’s the best, look at these typical places and pick the one where you usually start your investigation process: a) out on the lot, b) at your desk, c) on the show floor, d) near the new car the customer’s considering, and e) near the customer’s current car. I will share 6 reasons why only one of these places will gives you a unique advantage in the sale. It will also allow you to be efficient by learning about your customer’s needs and wants much faster.Read post

  • Digital Marketing Company Naked Lime Helps Automotive Retailers Seize Opportunities

    Naked Lime Marketing authored four white papers this year that showed digital marketing’s effect on the modern dealership. The white papers covered a range of topics in automobile retailing, including new profit opportunities, customer acquisition, web design, and digital engagement. You can download the whitepapers on nakedlime.com.Read post

  • Video Games: Using Employee Interests To Train

    Despite the many tools available and the best of intentions, many dealerships struggle with providing ongoing professional development for their staff. Whether it’s because of the volume of customers that need handling; lack of time; or worry about taking a technician or salesperson out of commission – even for a short period of time – training presents many challenges to dealership management.   A recent article in Automotive News reported that Chrysler thinks they have found a potential solution – video games. According to the article, Chrysler has developed “four video games to help salespeople learn the fine points of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and RAM vehicles.” The goal is to provide interesting product knowledge exercises to the sales staff that can be studied at their convenience. The staff can quickly review the exercises on their own smartphones and mobile devices during periods of low activity, without any large time commitment. A salesperson could be waiting for...Read post

  • Culture at your Auto Dealership

    According to Peter Sokolowski, Editor for Merriam-Webster, "we're simply using the word culture more frequently. It may be a fad. It may not. It may simply be evolution." Culture has meant so many different things to all sorts of managers over the past year. While it may mean an air hockey table in the conference room to some, that's really not what will make or break your auto dealership. ​ So then, what makes a good company culture? I recently read an Inc. article where founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council discussed the most persistent myths and what you can do to fix them. Here are the top seven biggest culture myths I took from the article:Read post

  • Announcing: Dealer Engage Sonar

    Dealer Engage is excited to announce the launch of Sonar, a powerful lead tracking tool which provides complete behaviour and activity tracking to enable businesses to create highly effective targeted campaigns. Read post

  • 15 Candles On Our Cake

    Digital marketing company IMN (iMakeNews Inc.) celebrates its 15-year anniversary as a turnkey email newsletter and marketing service that helps automotive retailers create and distribute newsletters affordably, efficiently, and effectively. Read post

  • Resolving to Keep Resolutions for a Healthy Dealership

    As a new year approaches and everyone is thinking about resolutions, I humbly offer the following list as possibilities for Dealership Operators:Read post