As a dealership manager it can be difficult to get participation and buy-in from your team. During my many years as a general manager, I found that one of the simplest and most effective ways to get a team to work towards a common goal is through accountability. Accountability (when managed lightly) can create consistency, successful habits and pride in performance. I say managed lightly because accountability reporting in front of the whole team is like putting individuals in the spot light for all to see.
Part One: For Long Term Success - E-Mail Address Capture Accountability
Collecting customer e-mails is a basic foundation of marketing. Earning trust and communicating your brand may be the single most important rule for future marketing efforts, but also for the most basic of uses - communication. Don’t limit your e-mail capture efforts to the sales department. Your dealership will see many more customers filtering through service than sales, so ensure that e-mail acquisition happens at every customer touchpoint. That being said, despite best efforts, every manager will find contact records in their CRM, or discover sold vehicles that have been RDR’d with questionable e-mail addresses. Typically there are a few reasons why this occurs: your staff isn’t asking for an email address, they don’t want heat from management so they enter a fake email address, or the customer doesn’t want to give it.
It is true that some people are hesitant to give out their personal e-mail addresses for fear of being spammed by the dealership. The key to reducing that fear and increasing customer compliance is simple: Give the customer a reason to share it. For example, in service, we would tell our customers something along the line of, “Out of respect for your time, we e-mail you quotes for service work and pertinent coupons, a digital copy of your service record, receipts for completed service work, as well as important - and relevant information. Keep all this info in a folder titled ‘2014 Acura,’ and when you go to sell it….bam! More money and happier buyers.”
And for sales, something along the line off, “Most of our customers appreciate a digital brochure – may I email you one?” Simply email them the link. Or, “I think we have more like this one arriving soon, what’s your email address? I will email you the pics, price and details.”
As for asking for the email address, I’ve found that if you educate your staff why email address collection is so important, buy-in becomes easier. I used to simply go through all the campaign examples for service and sales that happened on their behalf automatically, but, ONLY if email addresses were provided. I suggest you put the campaign examples, along with a clear explanation as to “why” email collection is so important, in your New Employee Welcome Packet, so everyone views it, every time.
You can’t stop there, however. Reinforce the importance of this through ongoing accountability. One of the ways I have found to be very successful is the use of accountability reports. These provide the information needed to gauge both individual and overall dealership compliance. I would share the results with staff in weekly meetings. When someone achieved a high percentage e-mail address collection, the staff as a whole gave them applause. If, however, someone had a particularly low score, the staff would give them a baby “Boo” (one quick boo). The positive reinforcement in your weekly or daily meetings should be enough. In the event that you have consistent underperformance by an individual, a private word with executive management will typically fix the problem. I found that keeping the results in front of the staff and leveraging peer pressure was extremely effective. In fact, our dealership was in the top half of one percent in the nation for e-mail capture rate in both service and sales.
Here is an example of the email collection spreadsheet/report we show “every week” and we also email it out but only ‘after” we have shown it in front of everyone at our weekly meetings for both service and sales.
The data from this report is very simple to obtain through your CRM’s reporting functionality, and is well worth the little time it will take to gather the data.
By overcoming non-compliance through education, accountability, positive reinforcement and just a little peer pressure, it can be much easier to gain buy-in from your staff and excel at e-mail capture. However, it all starts at the top. Managers must be willing to make a commitment to consistent tracking, reporting and sharing of that information with their staff.
I believe that when there is a cop in the rearview mirror, we all drive a little better.