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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell Performance Manager

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CRM - Is it Your Best Friend?

 

We have so many tools in the automotive business that we have to make sure that we are using them to our fullest potential.
 
When I got into the car business 16 years ago, I remember the days of the note card file boxes that I would keep on my desk.  Then in about 2001, I got my hands on a daily planner that I thought was the best thing since sliced bread.  I lived by that book for a long time.  Then that thing called a CRM came along.  I got my first look at one in 2003 and thought it was something that could revolutionize the auto sales industry.  
 
Fast forward to 2012, and we are still using that CRM, but obviously has changed over the years with more and more features.  The problem I see is that I don’t see salespeople using it 100% of the time to their fullest potential.  This should be their best friend that they confide in and tell all of their stories to about customers.
 
A few months ago, a customer walked into the dealership and wanted some information on the 2013 Accord that was to come out.  He gave what he could give her, took her name and number, and she asked for a call when we received them.  Great!  We got the customer’s information; however, it was never put in the system.  So when the 2013 Accords did come out and we had them on the lot, she was never called.  She ended up coming in after being on our website and saw that we had them in stock.  She didn’t have his business card and couldn’t remember his name so needless to say, she was not a happy camper for not being called.  Two hours later, she was putting a down payment on the highest trim level available that we had coming in that month and was sold at list price.  
 
How many deals are being lost in each and every dealership across the U.S. just due to not putting a customer in the systems and how much money is the dealership losing as a result of this?  Let’s just look at your dealership losing 1 sale per salesperson.  Take your average gross, multiply it your average gross, and then times twelve.  It’s a scary number, but I will almost guarantee that most dealerships are losing one sales per salesperson per month.  
 
The CRM must be the backbone to the dealership.  There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to CRMs with a lot of different features and benefits.  The key is not which CRM you are using, but how you will use it.  Set your process and make your salespeople stick with it.  If they stick with it, you may be able to increase your sales by 5-10% which is what we all want.  
Adam Ross
Absolutely, Jim! I've always preached that implementing a solid process for tracking EVERY up AND entering it into the CRM tool is critical to a dealership's long term follow up success. No doubt your equation is accurate. Do you attribute the lack of usage due to insufficient training, lack of PC/CRM access (in some dealers), general laziness or management failure to hold salespeople accountable? I think it' probably a combination of all of these factors. There are also limitations which make using some CRMs time consuming to use - even to enter the info to print an "up" worksheet. With a busy sales floor it's nearly impossible to do the volume of follow up work required without help from a good CRM, but also from management. Management has to take ownership of overseeing the prospecting of sold and unsold traffic so that it sets a tone for those who work under them that this a is an essential and required part of the job that if done properly helps everyone make more money. Great article.
Hunter Swift
Great article Jim.
Jim Bell
Thanks for the comment Adam. I am going to venture to say that it is laziness. We all know do to it and know how to do it, but it just comes down to laziness and pre-qualifying customers.
Jim Bell
Thanks Hunter! It all comes down to precesses we all have to take a hold of and make sure they are getting done.
joe stroffolino
One of our industries greatest mysteries! Salespeople refusing to embrace a tool that is for their own benefit! Some understand and do get it but many do not. Perhaps we need to find the right salespeople? Certainly leading by example as managers helps too.

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