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Hunter Swift

Hunter Swift Manager of Market Development

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I am always surprised the answer I get when I ask a dealership about how many more cars they think they could sell a month if they improved their follow-up process.  This missed opportunity can often be fixed by implement a CRM technology, which is great for processes and campaigns. However, it is ultimately up to the salespeople to do what they are supposed to do. I have found that what you may think is being done in the dealership, often isn’t.

When I sold cars, I remember multiple times when the sales manager would tell a salesperson to make his daily follow-up calls and the salesperson would simply respond that he had already completed his calls.  It became a constant battle.  Apart from not making the calls, salespeople are notorious at finding ways to cut corners and cheat the system.  This not only hurts the salesperson but, the dealership and even the customers.

The first suggestion I have is to utilize reports in your CRM that track the number of new opportunities that your salespeople are entering into the CRM.  Nothing is worse than seeing someone take multiple ups and not having any of the customers entered into the CRM.  This can throw off your marketing and ROI reports.

The 2nd key metric is phone calls.  It is important that your CRM is integrated with your phone system in order to track outbound phone calls.  Having your salespeople mark all of their calls completed is one thing, but its better if there is proof that they actually made the call and how long they were on the call.  You can actually step this up and record their outbound calls.  This is great for managing quality and training.  Looking at the data that I have compiled, the top salespeople are constantly those that make the most calls.

Email and weblead tracking is also important.  You need to know how many emails they are receiving and sending out, as well as how long it is taking them to respond to their webleads.  (On a side note, a dealership recently told me they were going to be pulling the plug on their AutoTrader leads because they weren’t selling as many as they wanted.  I looked at some reports and noticed that all of the AutoTrader leads were being sent to one person and that person took an average of over 2 hours to respond to a lead.  It wasn’t the lead provider’s fault, it was the salesperson.)

Pipeline Management is also important.  Salespeople love people that come in and buy, but what about those that don’t buy or those that they talk to but are hard to get in touch with afterward?  Are they reaching out to them?  Make sure you are looking at reports that reflect this data.

Salespeople also love to move people to Lost. This is a way to get the follow-up to stop.  Do you have a review process in place for a manager to look at each lost deal and try to “save a deal”?

Another suggestion I have to improve accountability is to use a checkout system.  Some CRM tools have a daily activity report or check out report that shows everything the salesperson has done for the day (Ups, Appointments, Calls, Talk Time, E-mails).  One dealership that I was working with that had a problem with accountability, instituted a process that before a salesperson left for the day they would print out a report and give it to their manager to check out.  The report told the manager everything they had done as well as all of their calls (Daily To Dos) that they didn’t do.

Quickly, Managers were able to see what had been done and what had not been done. Often, the manager would send the salesperson back to make more calls before they left.  Salespeople began to feel ashamed when they handed a manager their sheet that said they didn’t do anything which motivated them to make more calls.  The dealership drastically improved their follow up process and began to see an immediate increase in their sales.

These are my suggestions. 

What do you do to make sure that your salespeople are doing what you want them to do?




Hunter Swift is the Business Analyst at DealerSocket and specializes in Automotive/Dealership processes that help dealerships become more effective by maximizing their opportunity to improve all aspects of the sales cycle, including: driving traffic, marketing, proper sales, and demonstration techniques. He also specializes in helping dealerships increase their customer satisfaction, reduce their web-lead response times and to improve accountability. Follow Me: @HunterSwift

Bryan Armstrong
Great points a usual Hunter. I have set up "alerts" to be fired at key points along each customer's cycle. The salespeople can't see that this is there, but it sure shocks the heck out of em when you say "what happened with Mr. Smith that was in 6 mos. ago and wanted us to call him after his BK was done" or other relevant question. CRM's are my external memory drive and help me track EVERYTHING.,The sad reality is I care more than most of my salespeople do about both their income and our Store's bottom line and reputation. Used properly, a good CRM process and reporting feature can instill the same passion to a salesperson.
Jim Chamberlain
Very well said! Let’s face it; there’s a lot of “loose change” lying around most dealerships in the form of poor follow-up, no follow-up, poor phone skills, unprofessional emails and a lack of adherence to process. This is usually due to poor training and process or managers failing to hold staff accountable. It frustrates me so much to see 15, 20 or 30 lost deal per month walking out the door? When I train Sales and BDC staff, I train them to be “Parachute Folders”. What is the acceptable error or failure rate for a parachute folder? What would happen to your sales volume in the Sales, Service, F&I and Parts departments if your staff approached their jobs like Parachute Folders? Why would a Dealer Principle or General Manager accept anything less? All of your recommendations have to start at the top.

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