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Hunter Swift

Hunter Swift Manager of Market Development

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Why You Should Focus On Your CRM To Drive Traffic

I was recently reading an article on DrivingSales from Keith Shettery called Traffic Is Everything about the focus and solution for most dealerships in driving more traffic. Although I agree with Keith that driving traffic is important, I think an important part that is missing, is that most dealers look to drive traffic through "online reputation, SEO, PPC, CPM, websites, cable TV, radio, print, direct mail, email", etc and then we hope salespeople will use the CRM or even enter the traffic that comes into the dealership in the CRM.

There always seems to be this focus on leads and traffic that cost dealers money for a lead with little information and not even guarantied exclusivity. At every tradeshow I attend, almost all the speakers talk about driving more traffic. I agree with Keith that "traffic is everything" I wanted to write this article becuase I feel dealers should be focused using their CRM and driving traffic from existing data.

In your CRM you now know more about your customers than any time before or with any lead. We know:

  • Every Call, Email, Letter, Text…
  • Mailing Address, Phone Numbers, Email.
  • Every Lead and Vehicle they have looked at.
  • What Vehicle they own, have owned.
  • Service History, Average RO.
  • Estimated Mileage.
  • Trade Value, Equity.
  • Previous Deal Structure.
  • Communication Preference.
  • Bank Programs, Manufacture Incentives.
  • plus more.


If you have access to all this data you should be using it to cater marketing and follow-up to that customer to drive traffic. Instead dealers are spending the majority of the effort and money to drive traffic marketing to the 98% that are not in the market versus focusing on the 2% that’s in the market.

Just look at the comparison between a Floor Up, Internet Lead and a Repeat Customer:

  • Fresh Up: Closing 10%, Gross: Average, CSI: Average, Ad Spend: 70%
  • Internet Lead: Closing 40%, Gross: Low, CSI: High, Ad Spend: 15%
  • Repeat Customer: Closing 60%, Gross: High, CSI: High, Ad Spend: 5%


But where do most dealership focus their attention? Driving new traffic.

Most dealers don’t even know how to handle the traffic they do get. If 80% of your leads come from the phone and internet that means 80% of your “Success” is dependent on Appointments. And according to a DealerSocket research study of 346 dealers and 1,956,624 calls only 6% even included an attempt to set an appointment. Talk about missing huge opportunities with new traffic!

It doesn’t get any better on the lot. I attended Keith Shetterly’s session at Automotive Boot Camp this year where he said, “Only 25% to 35% of dealership visits get put into the CRM.” Dealers, Yikes! This means your marketing and analytics data could be off by over 75%!

If you initiate traffic from your CRM your salespeople are more likely to use it. Get your salespeople to think of their CRM as a pump; where the more they work the CRM the more that comes out of it.

Driving traffic is important. You have to look at what you are doing to drive traffic and manage the traffic efficiently. CRM's have an important role in this. I believe it is all about sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

Here is a list of marketing campaign ideas that yield high traffic returns:

  • A customer life cycle (customer for life)
  • Finance termination
  • Extended warranty
  • We want your trade
  • Declined services
  • Aftermarket accessories
  • Customers in equity
  • Bought elsewhere, service introduction
  • High customer pay RO to new vehicle
  • Future model introduction
  • Lead escalation
  • Sales notification of a customer in service


and the list goes on…

I would love to talk with any dealer who is looking to successfully drive more traffic to their store through the use of their CRM, regardless of which vendor.

Thanks Keith for sharing and inspiring me to write something.



Hunter Swift is the Director of Sales Development at DealerSocket and has been with the company since 2005. In addition to his current role he has fulfilled the responsibilities of customer support, consulting, training, and sales. He specializes in helping dealerships improve processes through the use of CRM technology. Prior to DealerSocket he sold cars and is a graduate of Pepperdine University.

Follow him: @HunterSwift

Shawn Bray
AWESOME Article Hunter. When used correctly, CRM's will drive traffic for you.
Nikki Polifroni
Working smarter, not necessarily harder. Excellent advice, Hunter.
James Klaus
Great Points, The CRM has so much to offer and is too often overlooked. I feel this is because most dealership employees still do not grasp what a CRM is for. They look at a CRM as something that a manager wants customers logged in and that is about it. It is looked at as a hindrance not as a tool. If we can get our employees to understand why we use this we will be better off. The big brother (how many calls, email times, etc) aspect of a CRM has pushed many employees away and a lack of understanding of what this tool is for (to manage our customers, to market to our customers, to communicate better with our customers) has made it background noise in a lot of dealerships. When data mining a CRM you can put together custom campaigns for sales and service with little cost and insane ROI! The fact that this is news is the most alarming part! Why do we as dealers pay all this money for a great tool and then not use it! INSANE!
Eric Cosman
Great article, articulated well. As we all know, any conversation about the options, daily usage, program choices, and capability of a well designed CRM system regardless to your company vision could be one that just never ends with all of the excitement in today's market place. This is a great read for both the green pea and seasoned vet alike...
Michael Bilson
Awesome many dealers I work with say they don't like the CRM tool they have and are thinking of changing. But when I ask what it is that is not working for's usually that they don't know how to use the tool to maximize opportunities. So many in-house campaigns can be built and provide profit for low or no cost. Again, it starts with gathering customer data from phone and walk in traffic. Too many times the top 3 lead source providers in any CRM tool are Unknown, Drive By and Other.

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