New Internet Sales Manager looking to raise the closing percentage

Jason Grimm
I've always worked Internet leads (as well as walk ins and phone ups), but once they were in the dealership brought in by the BDC department as a sales guy. I took a new position as Internet Sales Manager. The dealership has the floor divided with 6 internet guys and 2 floor guys. The floor guys take all phone ups and walk ins while the internet reps handle only the internet leads unless there is over flow of walk ins. The leads are round robin and given out equally as they come in. Unlike other places I've worked the internet sales people work the deal from start to finish. They are paid a very aggressive salary and a flat per car after the first 6, a percentage of the back end that goes up based on volume (maxes at 9%) and a small cash volume bonus at number 10. The closing percentage is around 6%. Any suggestions to get that number up closer to 10%?? My initial thought is the salary is to high to motivate my 6 to bring more traffic to the dealership, but if they're working them start to finish it can be time consuming. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Update: To clarify, I just took this position, I'm spending the next few weeks going back thru the last 6 months of the previous Managers processes and tracking where things are getting lost in the shuffle. It seems like 600 or so leads averaging 100 per rep. Just from a brief look I think more phone calls quicker to the time the leads where submitted is the first place to start and a weak spot I have found.
Russ Chandler
Hey Jason, How well do you track your process? If you don't already, I would create KPI's at several check points along your deal working process. For example your checkpoints could be first contact, appointment, test drive and desking the deal. Set bench marks according to a high performer or maybe the averages of the whole staff and then create goals. After your able to collect some data you will be able to hone in on where your losing customers. You may find out that your conversion rate is low because your not getting enough of the leads to show up, test drive or actually desk a deal. Regardless, once you can illuminate where the challenge is you can focus on overcoming it through training or a change in your process. Another way to look at improving once you've identified the weak point of the process is to adjust the pay structure to incentivize that low KPI. You may also consider splitting the process up among two people instead of just allowing one to work it beginning to end. The downside is forcing your customer to work with more than one person to buy a car. The transition to one person to the next can be a risk for some dealers. What should outweigh the risk is more specialized staff that can focus improving at just a few steps of the process instead of the whole thing. This is especially influential when you have a high volume amount of leads coming in. Hope this is helpful and feel free to reach out to me to discuss further.
Adam Ross
Hi Jason,Great question! It sounds like the comp plan may not be the issue - it sounds like the issue is more about your follow-up process. I am making assumptions here, but 6% is usually the lowest-hanging fruit on the vine. To raise your game you need to increase the frequency and quality of follow-up emails, calls, letters, social media posts, text messages, etc. Which CRM tool are you using to manage the leads? How far out does your phone and email process go when you get a new lead? Do you have different follow-up schedules for new and used cars?Here's an article I wrote just a few weeks ago that may help... How Follow Up Helps Car Dealers Close 15 Percent of Online Leads Here's another article that I wrote on the same topic a few years ago which recently got a refresh: Close 15 Percent of Your Leads And here's a third article from 2011 stressing the importance of a quality follow up process: Focus on Long-Term Follow-Up Hope these help! If you would like to discuss further feel free to reach out directly! Best of luck and happy selling, Adam
Jason Grimm
Thanks for the responses. I have some long hours of digging thru the past ahead of me to try and find where we are strong, but most importantly where we are lacking as a team.
Adam Ross
Here's one more piece I recently wrote that may also be of significance to you... Advice for New Car Dealership Internet Managers Just Getting Started
David Hicks
Hey Jason, Here is a simple tweek that might get you shooting in the right direction. Russ and Adam make some great points about KPI's and process, and those are very important pieces to the puzzle. In addition, you might want to take a close look at your round robin process. I realize that the round Robin approach is often used take to make sure that the lead is handled quickly, efficiently and professionally, but does that technique put your leads in the hands of the sales person best suited for that particular inquiry. For example, I have sales reps that are particularly gifted on the phone, while others do a great job with email follow up. While they may be gifted in one area, they may be challenged in another. You might want to make sure that your internet leads with a phone number are handed to the sales reps that have the best phone skills. Your email-only internet leads should be handled by a rep that is very quick at sourcing information and has an arsenal of email templates that can quickly be modified for that particular lead. Once you make those distinctions, not only will you see an improvement in closing ratios, you should see an improved user experience for your customers as well as happier, more-eager sales people as they will be handling the leads that best suit there style. Good Luck! Dave.

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