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Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch CEO

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Kalso Earth Shoes and Why You Need To Focus On Phone Calls

By Brian Pasch


We have all seen how quickly fashion changes.  Last Saturday I took my son Connor to a Kaskade concert at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. At the show I was laughing at the current "EDM" fashions worn by the female teenagers.  Neon colors, tight fitting spandex, furry leggings, and muscle t-shirts over an exposed bra. The guys were dressed similarly, just without the bras.   

Old styles can come back into fashion too! However the Kelso Earth Shoes I wore in the 70's might not make it back.  This year there is a fashion trend for military inspired clothing, which has been cycled through a few times in my lifetime.  

This article is not about fashion but the need to bring back something that was once "fashionable." Phone training, phone measurement, and phone call accountability are back is style in a big way and it is critical for your business to be aligned with this trend. 

Most dealers have paid for phone training in the past but few have had the discipline to stick to the training process.  Do we invest more energy each day making sure that every car is clean and shiny on delivery than we invest in phone training? 

Phone Calls vs. Lead Form Submissions

If you haven't taken the time to inspect your digital advertising and social media investments in regards to phone call traffic, you should do that today.  As more consumers use their mobile phones to shop online, they are submitting less lead forms and making more phone calls, on a percentage basis.  

In the example below, you can see that this dealer was averaging 105 website lead form submissions a month.


But notice how many phone calls associated with their website advertising come in each month.  This 6-7x ratio is one that is common across the country.  Take a minute to look at your last Adwords campaign report and see the ratio of forms to calls, and I bet you will see significantly more calls than leads. 


Since, most dealers are paying thousands of dollars a month in digital advertising, social media engagement, and traditional media investments, isn't it time to get back to the basics and make sure they are answering the phone correctly?  If the majority of our consumer contacts are phone calls, why are we so focused on counting leads?  

Leads are important, don't get me wrong! Dealers spend so much time on CRM lead processes, templates designs, and reporting that we might be missing the bigger opportunity with phone skills.

Dealers ask me all the time "How can I sell more cars with the traffic that is already coming to my website?"   The answer is simple.  Invest in phone tracking, phone training, and hold your staff accountable to follow proven phone scripts and processes.  Those people who ask me that question often do no like that answer because it requires leadership.  It's not easy. 

Make The Investment

One of the first steps your dealership should make, it you have not done so already, is to install phone tracking for organic and referral website traffic, as well as tracking advertising investments like radio, TV, and newspaper.

Phone tracking technology will allow you to see which sources of traffic are generating the most calls and conversions.  Dealers investing in Google Adwords, Social Media Advertising, Craigslist, etc. should have unique phone numbers for these campaigns to track their ROI.


Once you have phone tracking, you need to work on phone training and accountability.  There are a number of companies on the market that provide this service and you can look at DrivingSales Vendor Rating for some guidance.   There are also companies that will listen to your phone calls and identify problems with the calls that can be remedied immediately with a call back from a manager. 

You need to decide which phone training partner to use and make the commitment to get back to the basics this month.  You should make sure that the vendor partner you select makes it easy for the dealership to get feedback on how the calls are being handled.  Of course the management team must be bought in 100% to make phone training work.

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising is in its infancy and dealers will soon be testing Facebook Advertising and promoted Twitter Tweets.  If you have reviewed the user metrics from these two popular sites you would know that the majority of the traffic is from mobile devices.  This means that social media advertising and engagement, that has a call to action, will draw more phone calls than lead forms.

All the data trends point to the fact that dealers need to significantly increase their focus and investments on phone skills.  

How would you rate your dealership's handling of phone calls? 

What are the barriers for signifiicantly increasing the quality of phone handling?  

Let's talk about it here on DrivingSales and please share this conversation on your social networks to increase the engagement on this topic.



Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Consulting

Tony Colan
Very good points. I would also point out that if you are using call tracking technologies and just attributing calls to the last touch or last visitor path before the call happened, this can be an extremely flawed metric. Most web visitors come and go to a dealer website 3-5 times from different sources, before actually making a call. If you just give attribution to the last entry point before the call, it's just part of the picture. The first touch may be as important or more so as the last touch. There are solutions that can track all the touch-points that led to a call and allow you to optimize ad-spend automatically based on different touch-point attribution models.
Brian Pasch
Tony, that is a great point to ad to this discussion. Attribution modeling will be the next wave of improvements for digital marketing investments. A know a few companies that are working on this and the channel is how to make it useable information for the business.
Michael Speigl
Great post Brian. I would be very surprised if there are still dealers sharp enough to read these forums who don't take the time/money to invest in their people and phone process. If you didn't believe in phones then you wouldn't be advertising with companies like and you wouldn't even be in the service business. If you do believe in phones then cheap companies like Carwars/Century Interactive and Phone Ninjas are no brainers. There are other out there too, but use someone. I have used Phone Ninjas for over three years and I am coming up on a year with Carwars. Both companies do a great job of making accountability on the phones fun. Your total monthly training budget as a dealership should be 2% of gross profit. Spend it wisely. Regards, Michael Speigl Managing Partner Wesley Chapel Honda
Brian Pasch
Michael I recently saw some data with CarWars and I was very impressed at what they do and the reasonable cost associated with the product. My clients who use PhoneNinjas have seen a significant increase in appointments and show, which of course adds directly to the bottom line.
Chip King
Great post Brian! A great dealer friend of mine read your blog, doubted the numbers, ran his own to find he had received 8200 calls since July with 2400 internet leads showing! Nationally, In 2 million measured calls the stats are 50% of all New Car Dept sales calls never reach the sales/bdc reps (Just answer the phone for your first big lift!), and 56% of the ones that do are not providing contact information. Only 22% resulting in an appointment, and CRM is doomed by no information...There is a big disconnect with the Ad Dollar! Dealers have always fixed what they can measure (forgive the cliche)----No matter how you do it...measure it! We have seen Phone Ninjas effectively maintain and improve the performance level of call handlers, preventing the need for the expensive training merry-go-round. Real call training and catching the call handler 'doing it right' as well as opportunities is a powerful combo.

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