If we know our first opportunity to sell the customer is now the last.... Are we up to date with these expectations?

Jennifer Bourgeois
U.S. car sales are up right now. We are in striking distance to beat sales records that we haven't reached for the past decade in the auto industry. So my question is with so many new ways of driving traffic through digital and social marketing. And the shopper going on average to 1.2 dealerships, shouldn't our closing ratio be much higher for our walk in traffic? If we are getting the customer to come into the showroom now knowing our first opportunity is almost always our last, where do we set the bar to close these more apt buyers when they visit our showrooms? Furthermore, do we hold the same gross we did in the past? Where is everyone setting the bar now? Should we still be closing only 30% of the total traffic? And should BDC appointment closing ratios still be at 50% of the appointments that show?
Jennifer Bourgeois
Thanks Chris! I agree 100%. I still think it is important to always look at the numbers however. In the most basic sense, the traffic that walked through the door and how many we are closing. It is essential to holding sales departments/individuals accountable. Does anyone have what they are currently setting for a close ratio benchmark? Myself and many other dealers I know, along with Driving Sales has said 30% is the benchmark. Everyone agree?
Clint Jones
I am with Chris, for some of the same reasons and for some different reasons. The retail automobile business is so diverse today. Now mix in all of the different website designs (from a conceptual perspective), and you have a situation in which it can be very difficult to compare closing percentages. PPC will drive up website traffic which in turn will drive up leads depending upon the conceptual design of the website. For example, what if my website does not show prices? There is a button that says "Click For Price" which opens a lead form in which the customer is told to enter their cell phone number (or email address) and the current price will be sent to them in the form of a Text Message (email). By definition, we now have a lead. What percent do you suppose that store will close? It will be very low, but there will most certainly be sales and gross profit there. The other extreme of course is the one price, turn and burn type of website that has everything cheap, top notch photos and cosmetic reconditioning, payments posted on all cars, etc.. This website may not attract as many "leads" because all questions are answered on the website, and there won't be many general inquiries. However, the percentage of these leads that do close will be much higher than the first example. I believe that the numbers should always be analyzed, but I don't believe that industry benchmarks are as valuable as they once were. I believe that the most value in numbers comes from comparing current period to historic periods within the same store.

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