Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Quick Response vs Quality Response

By Ron Henson on Apr 2, 2013

One of the popular buzzwords (It's actually 2 words) in the industry when it comes to Internet Sales is "Response Time."  Oftentimes dealers fall into the trap of thinking that managing their response times on Internet Leads is the Holy Grail of Digital Operations.  I was chatting with a dealer recently who was frustrated because they had worked very hard to reduce their response time from an average of 5 hours 35 mins (YIKES!) to 25 minutes.  While 25 minutes is certainly respectable, and a massive improvement from where they were before, it is not anywhere near a best practice benchmark.  Anyway, the dealer was frustrated that the improved response time had not had a measureable effect on their conversion percentage to appointments.  So he and I began to dig a little deeper into what was going on.

Over the next couple of days the dealer and I started to take a look at what was going on in his CRM.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have the dealer's authorization to publish these responses as long as I don't divulge the dealership's name or location.  That disclosure gives you a pretty good idea as to the nature of the responses you are about to see.  (responses are word for word including typos and grammar)

Question: What is the "out the door" price on this pre-owned 2010 Civic? 

  • The price isn't important unless you're paying cah which I sure you not.  How much down?

Question: Do you offer financing for people with credit problems?

  • We can get you bot.  All I need is a 5 liner. What are yor prilems?  (WHAT?)

Question: Dealership XXX has quoted me a slightly lower price on the same vehicle and I was wondering if you price match.

  • Dealership XXX is giving cars away to buy market share.  Go buy it there.

 

At this point I probably don't need to write anything more in this blog post to properly convey my message.  While repsonse time is certainly an improtant and vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to having a top notch Internet process, it is only 1 piece of the puzzle.  Not the only piece.  This dealer was astonished and furious over what we uncovered when we just took a peek into the responses that were going out from his dealership.

The key is Quick Response in conjunction with Quality Response.  

Take a look at the responses that are going out from your dealership and always inspect what you expect.

Let's move some metal!

Comments

Ron, I recently wrote an eBook on my experiences of email follow up. I found when testing lead forms out, no one really answered my question. If your interested in reading my ebook you can download it for free here: http://livechat.ae/XDW3hb

Apr 2, 2013

Hey Ketty, Interestingly enough, I have found the same thing when I mystery shop dealerships. While this post shows some of the poor responses, many times the responses will evade the question completely. It's pretty good technique if you are trying to assure that your dealership gets eliminated from consideration.

Apr 2, 2013

Great article Ron! In my experience it's a mix of aspects that create an appointment conversion. Basics are punctuation, respect and timely response. If you don't have the basics, forget it.

Providing an incentive works nicely. For an "Out of town" customer that is interested in a used vehicle. Let them know that you will cover their gas if they don't buy the car. With a closing ratio of 80% on internet leads, we were more than happy to promote that offer.

The little things that make your dealership different will help convert a lead to an appointment.

Remember, people searching online probably submitted a lead to five dealers. Why should they come to you?

Apr 2, 2013

Thanks for the thoughts Grant. I especially like "The little things that make your dealership different will help convert a lead to an appointment."

Apr 2, 2013

Improper work flows (processes), misspellings, wrong email templates going at certain times, overused and common email templates with mo originality, etc. That is the name of the game. It is unfortunate but it is CRM companies that have enabled technology which helps makes the sales professional lazier. I am not saying CRMs are bad as everyone knows I am an advocate of having an effective CRM system and believe that everyone should have one. However, dealership management needs to play a bigger role in managing the settings of the CRM. The CRM needs to be evaluated on a weekly or at the very least a monthly basis. Also, when you get a CRM setup in the dealership, stop relying on just the generic stuff that the trainer will come in to set up. CRM companies do not care what processes you will put into place but are generally trained to have their own generic best practices. Remember, it maybe a best practice somewhere else but it might not make sense at your dealership. My advise is to get creative and write out specific email templates that can be edited or a allow a custom message to be added when needed. Also, check the email for spam. It is frustrating me how many dealers send out emails and they hit my spam filters. While it may not always be controlled there are tools that help minimize that. I use http://www.emailspamtest.com to make sure every email that I install is spam free in addition to the spam checker that some CRM companies offer.

Apr 2, 2013

Here here Stan! The tools are only as good as the people turning the wrenches.

Apr 2, 2013

Hence why I said that management needs to be on their game and manage the CRM system.

Apr 2, 2013

The great lesson here is we have to approach internet leads with the same mindset as we would a customer right in front of us. We investigate, build rapport, build value, and do our best to walk the line of being "Client Focused" It's like a friendship. Someone is putting their trust in your care. You now entered an unspoken or unwritten contract that you'll hold the relationship sacred. A customer puts their trust in you as a professional..as the expert, and that you are there to provide them with outstanding service..for no other reason than it's our JOB.

"Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better. -Martin Luther King, Jr."

Apr 3, 2013

Very well said Simone! The steps to the sale are the same and building rapport is still of utmost importance! Many are approaching Internet leads like they are interacting with a bot. They're a person, you're a person. Engage.

Apr 3, 2013

Quality and response time count. They aren't mutually exclusive as we all know. We process just over 3,600 workable leads a month for our dealerships and have an initial response time of less than 15 minutes. The quality of our responses improved dramatically when we established a 2nd and 5th day reveiw completed by team leaders. They check to see if the initial response answered all quesitons from the prospect, including an internet price and alternate vehicle. On the 5th day the leader insures that any ongoing questions and progress is being made. In the event the quality is less than acceptable training and additional supervision is set up.
I am curious about how Grant Gooley is measuring the result and getting an 80% close ratio.
Mike Morrow, Director of Online Sales

Apr 3, 2013

Comments 1 - 10 of 23

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Ron Henson's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Conquesting 2.0: Attract Cross-Shoppers With Search Remarketing to Capture More Sales

    Once a qualified buyer browses your website and leaves to check out your competition, what tactics do you have in place to bring her back to choose your model? My most successful dealers have addressed this opportunity by combining two tactics that have been proven to drive increases in return website visits by cross-shoppers using mobile devices and PCs. Put simply, we’re running search ads in a new way that’s actually getting a response to help our dealers meet their sales goals consistently. Read post

  • Mobile Click-to-Call vs. Tap-to-Text: Controversial or Complementary?

    A July 2014 Automotive News article sang the praises of phone calls over email and form leads, citing faster responses and ease of use via mobile. What it didn't point out, though, is that text-based, one-to-one messaging is worthy of a verse or two as well.Read post

  • Do Your Salespeople Spend Too Much Time Managing Software...Instead of Selling?

    The fact is, lead generation is an expensive business and having the right tools to manage this investment and deliver the most qualified leads to your dealership is paramount to your success. When it comes to mining your database and working your in-market customers, you have two choices: use your internal team to run and manage all aspects of it (self-service) or outsource many of the functions to a service provider who does most of the heavy lifting (full service).  Self-service options demand the installation of comprehensive software that requires training and hands-on daily interaction to be effective, while a full service provider will take over the day-to-day tasks (i.e., database management, developing marketing materials, mailings, e-mails, etc.) and, instead, deliver qualified leads to your sales force. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Full disclosure, I currently work for a full service provider, but I also spent eight years as VP of Sales and Marketing for a la...Read post

  • Proactive PR & the NFL?

    While I love to be active myself, I certainly could not call myself a big fan of watching and keeping up with sports. It seems, however, that you cannot turn on a television, read a newspaper or use any social media recently without hearing about continuous misdeeds and wrongdoings of NFL players. I’m sure that you’ve seen them as well. So this is not designed to rehash, recap or discuss any of these controversies. Much of the attention and negative PR has been directed towards those players involved, as well as the NFL itself, as can be expected. Due to the ongoing controversy, sponsors have distanced themselves and some have even disassociated themselves with the league. One sponsor, however, seems to be taking a slightly different approach to the controversy… Verizon.   Let’s face it. Regardless of any controversy, football is not only uber-popular in America, but also big business. It brings massive exposure to its partners and sponsors. Just as in the real world, howe...Read post

  • "Going Viral" is a Dream, Not a Goal

    Over the years, I've worked with some of the best social media marketers in our industry. I've seen some posts that have hit incredible numbers on social media sites that were seen by tens, even hundreds of thousands of people. They were all memorable, not because the content was so incredibly awesome but because "going viral" on the internet is so hard. In fact, it's not just hard. It's what most would consider to be a fluke. It's for this reason that I want to warn dealers about the concept of going viral. Reference.com says that going viral is something "pertaining to or involving the spreading of information and opinions about a product or service from person to person, especially on the Internet or in e-mails." It sounds awesome! Wouldn't every dealer love for their messages on their website, blog, YouTube channel, or social media profiles to go viral and get spread from person to person in bulk? Unfortunately, it's not something that can be easily manufactured. I'm not going...Read post

  • Dealer Solutions: Catching Red Flags on Millennial Resumes

    Does it ever feel like the term “millennials” is an annoying buzzword or something that the American workforce can’t stop mentioning? Regardless of how this may make you feel, this is a term that won’t be going away anytime soon. You probably keep hearing something about “Generation Y is the future” or “right now is the time to attract millennials at your organization”—although it might seem repetitive, it’s true. This generation currently makes up approximately 23% of the dealership workforce, according to a report released by the NADA last year. Additionally, the percentage of millennials in the workforce is only going to increase in the years to come. This also means that there’s a good chance you’ve had a decent influx of resumes coming from this specific generation at your dealership. While hiring millennials is essential to growing business, it’s also important to make sure you’re hiring the best-fit candidates. One way to avoid poor hiring decisions is by scanning resumes for certain warning signs. The following are several red flags on millennial resumes that hiring managers should search for in order to avoid hiring a potential turnover candidate at your dealership: Careless Grammar & Spelling—This is an obvious red flag to spot on any resume. If a potential candidate is lazy enough to not carefully proofread his or her resume, then it’s likely that same candidate will not perform to the best of his or her ability. Full Sentences—Resumes should never be writRead post

  • AutoLoop Welcomes Sales Rep Sean Donovan

    Clearwater, FL--October 21st, 2014--AutoLoop LLC, a leading developer of sales-generation and customer-retention software for auto dealers, today announced the addition of Sean Donovan as Sales Representative for western North America. Donovan brings nearly 20 years of automotive marketing, technology, and analytics experience to the team, and his new position emphasizes AutoLoop’s continued expansion into the western U.S. market.   “Sean’s an exciting addition,” said John Bottone, AutoLoop’s Vice President of National Sales. “He has a deep understanding of our products and the ways dealers can benefit from them. Having him on the team will be a tremendous asset to our ongoing success in the west coast markets.”   Before joining AutoLoop, Donovan served at dealerships throughout the western U.S., and has watched how the rise of mobile devices has affected the consumer purchasing process. “Today’s dealers must focus stronger efforts on engaging and retaining cust...Read post

  • 3 Halloween Ideas for Car Dealerships

    Trick or treat! There’s a little less than two weeks until Halloween! Does your dealership have a plan for how to bring more shoppers into the showroom and service bays during this fun and hopefully-not-too-scary time? You should! Holidays are always an opportune time to foster some community spirit and be the host to memorable events for your customers and prospects. If you’re struggling with coming up with ideas for how to celebrate Halloween while bringing in more sales, I’ve put together a few ideas below that are sure to get your community excited to come see you.   Throw a Community Halloween Party Everyone loves a party, right? Provide food, drinks, and music, have a costume contest with prizes, set up a haunted house, hayrides pulled by a truck (to show off the impressive strength of your vehicles) give out candy, and make sure everyone has a good time. Events like these build community bonds and even if the attendees don’t buy a car while they are there, theyRead post