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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?
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.
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 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