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Best structure for internet leads

 

We are considering making another change with our internet process. First I will tell you a quick history of how we have handled internet leads in the past.

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We started by having all of our sales consultants take each lead.

 

We then went to having 2-3 internet salespeople that handled all the leads and the normal salespeople didn't take any of the leads. The problem is we had a lot of turnover in that position.

 

We then went back to having all the salespeople take the leads again. We have handled our leads that way for about 6 years. I think we have a great internet process compared to a lot of dealerships and we have closed as high as about 10% when we have things dialed in. The difficult thing that we are facing is to get our guys to be consistent and commit to following all the steps to our internet process 100% of the time.

 

We are now considering hiring 2 BDC agents that don't sell at all and have them handle all the leads. Their only job would be to take the leads, follow our internet process, and make an appointment for the salespeople. We have talked to a couple of dealerships that handle their leads that way and they claim it is the only way to go. Any thoughts (positive or negative)????

Tony Ziegler
I've been in quite a few dealerships and hopefully helped and learned something along the way to defining process. I have a couple thoughts on your topic. First, you are exactly right in your statement regarding not being able to get your team to follow the Internet process 100% of the time. That is indeed the true challenge. It seems that many times someone is hired who has "magic bean" templates that are supposed to engage the prospect better than any other. In reality any process followed 100% can be better than no process. But there are no magic beans out there. There are just those who believe in them. I'd start by insuring the sales team who handles the Internet department process is bought into the process. Easiest way to do this is to simply have them help in the creation of both the process and the templates. As a team, this is done and your crm should have the ability to let you know which templates actually get replies or are opened. Moving forward your team can redefine their process and templates as results are noticed and things change like the weather. The bottom line here is they bought into their process. That's the key. The second item I'd like to discuss is the way the prospect comes into the dealership. It was once by walking in supposedly. Some phone ups. And the Internet was beginning to drive them to us. Somehow we separated those who handled the Internet leads from the floor. It was easy to do this with the phone as well. But I think we are missing the point here.The sales process itself has changed and needs further changing. The means in which the prospect first touches the dealership isn't the key item. That's just their way of coming to us. What they want is a quick, easy, fast, friendly, fun sales process. Those on the sales floor need to evolve into also being able to work with those on the phone as well as those who touch us via the web first. After all, the Internet is really the phone on steroids when handled correctly. However the prospects are the same folks who walk in, or call. Managers need to be overseeing all forms of customer entry as well. There is no need to remove the Internet from the desk. Managers should manage and sit together to do so. The crossover of traffic is obvious and shouldn't managers know as much about those who are working deals as they can regardless of how the customer came to the store? Let's make the sales process simple. The professional salesperson gets to shake hands, take phone calls, and Internet leads. Cradle to grave. They work with their manager to bring the customer into the dealership, demo the Vehicle, sell the car, do the paperwork, deliver the car. One stop shop. Why have to try and transfer trust and rebuild rapport over again when passing a prospect to another sales person, finance manager, delivery agent, etc? My two cents is that we know the answer. We just choose to not do what feels normal. Let's not make this too difficult for a customer to buy from us. Perhaps if we stop making it so hard, we can get them to do that more often? Tony Z
Joel Sesco
I have to say that I agree with some of that and I disagree with some of it. In an ideal world, yes, the entire sales floor would all be properly trained on how to work the inbound phone ups and iLeads, but that requires buy-in and very active participation from the entire management team, both executive management and the desk managers. That is exceptionally rare. It also requires on-going training, and someone to inspect what you expect. It can be done, in a perfect world, but most of our worlds are not perfect. You can typically get the exact same results by hiring 2-3 BDC reps and either hiring a Business Development Manager, or delegating over site to the manager with the greatest affinity to following a process. Yes, BDC reps mean higher labor costs! but a BDC is also typically the department with the second-lowest turnover in the dealership (the office usually has the lowest). It is my experience that it is far easier to properly maintain a staff of 2-3 with low turnover than it is to constantly retrain new salespeople on a floor of 12-15 with a 50%-60% year-over-year turnover rate (which is industry average).

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