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Keith Shetterly

Keith Shetterly Owner

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The Big Lies

The biggest lies are those we tell ourselves, personally and in business.   We’re going to look at a few here that we, owning or working at dealerships, tell ourselves--and that cost us profits every day.
The Internet is Killing Our Business.  The lesson of the Internet for car dealers is that we sold best when we totally controlled the information and experience of the large body of uneducated in-market shoppers AFTER they had made a choice to come see us at the dealership.  High volumes of traffic entering very close to the top of the sales funnel AT THE DEALERHIP rendered great sales at the bottom for decades.
Nowadays, however, the Internet allows the customers to move themselves very far down the funnel on their own well BEFORE choosing a dealer.  That should mean your dealership’s visit and phone traffic is more ready to a buying decision than ever before, right?  Hmmm.  Does your closing ratio reflect that?  If your answer is “no”, then perhaps you’re also lying to yourself about the next item:
We Don't Need to Immediately Monitor Sales Calls for Missed Opportunities.  Training the sales staff is good enough, right?  Maybe we need to be more regular with that.  Hey, we buy a recording service, so salespeople think we’re listening, even though we don’t—we don’t need to listen if they THINK we’re listening, right? And if we listen the next day or beyond, that’s still cool because it’s all about bringing the salesperson in and counseling them so that they don’t do it again.  That is, IF we catch them doing it “again”, since we don’t listen very much.  Etc.  Etc.
Statistics from several entities demonstrate that, though they are shopping online, 20% or less of our customers are sending in Internet leads:  Upwards of 80% or more are calling or coming right on in.  So we must listen ASAP to our sales calls and also take action ASAP—we need to have the EMT sales managers on the chest of the dying sale with the defibrillator paddles, not having the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) looking later at the body of the sale, or worse looking at the outline of the dead sale on the floor the next day!   And if you’re not listening at all, effectively you’re so unaware of the dead sales you’re even missing their funeral—except, that is, in your profits each month.
So, step up, record, and listen to your sales calls!  Right away.  If you want help, get it from one of the companies that will listen for you right away and alert you in a snap to what you need to know about any call.  80% of your customers are being serviced by your sales staff on your phones, so do you know how that is going?  On the flipside of that, if you’re lying to yourself about the calls which are the better part of 80% of your business, maybe you need to look what you’re doing with the 20% of Internet shoppers in the next item:
We Must Have a Crushing Sales Priority on Internet Leads or We Will Lose HUGE Business!   The Internet Department needs our best people, best phone, best email, best sales skills.  EVERYBODY knows that, don’t you agree?  Except aren’t we sending our best people into 20% of our business?  Oh.  You mean that you also let them take phone calls, but only Internet phone calls?  And maybe they also cover the floor, but they get floor + Internet because they are so good?   That's for best sales, right?
Not really.  They are good, most likely, but their floor sales cannibalize their attention to the Internet leads.  The time spent selling a vehicle delays responses to new leads.  So you pay a price for that focus on the Internet leads.  And know that 90% of your traffic of every type has been on the Web—so, effectively, EVERYBODY BUYING FROM YOU IS COMING FROM THE INTERNET.  So don’t they all have their expectations built the same way there, and don’t they all deserve the quality of skills you reserve for those working leads in your Internet Department?
Throwing all these together towards the truth, what you really need is to embrace the Internet as a positive thing that is staying, get your phones immediately monitored and sales recovered from those losses before the sales die, and hire as many good phone/email/sales skills people as you can handle for crushing sales from ALL your traffic, not just the 20% of it (or less) in Internet leads.
Otherwise, you’re just continuing to lie to yourself.  And those Big Lies are what are killing your business, not the Internet.
 
by Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
www.keithshetterly.com Copright 2011
All Rights Reserved
Jim Bell
Great points Keith. I've heard the saying a million times...a good manager is a double checker. This comes into play with listening to those sales calls and coaching them. Looking at the email responses and coaching them. It all comes back to basics. We all have to become 'Internet Dealerships' because the majority are internet customers even though they didn't submit a lead or make a phone call. It goes back to the ZMOT and FMOT that will make you stand out and go to the next level.
Jerry Thibeau
Well written article Keith. When my team does a mystery Internet shop, one of the weakest areas is the outbound phone call. The phone is the bridge that helps bring traffic to a dealership. Record the outbound calls as well.
VJ VJ
Just remember my quote from the Digital Dealer Magazine: "TRUST is GOOD - CONTROL is BETTER"....I can certainly tell you. It had never let me down!!!
Keith Shetterly
Thanks Jim and Jerry! Agree 100% with you both.
Keith Shetterly
VJ, like Ronald Reagan famously said: "Trust, but VERIFY." :)

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