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Keith Shetterly

Keith Shetterly Owner

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The Accountability Culture and the CRM


We don't have an "accountability culture" in the car business, and we need one. Badly. For great examples why, just look at the sports we love that are so successful!

The NFL keeps stats on players that boggle the mind and produce hours and hours of ESPN commentary; basketball hinges on free throw percentages that can haunt a player’s (and team’s) season; and, from long ago to now, baseball has led them all with stats that kept the players accountable in a witches brew of information.

These are all sports we know and love in the car biz. And they are accountable in every play they make. Or don’t. Every day in every season.

And yet somehow we don’t have that same Accountability Culture.

What do I mean? Imagine this:

  • Every call you make or receive for vehicle sales is logged and followed up on for sales-making appointments using your CRM.
  • Every prospect that walks on to your showroom floor is properly greeted, gets a needs assessment, and is logged into your CRM along the Road to the Sale.
  • Every unsold prospect that leaves your showroom is pursued with strong follow-up via phone and email, all contact logged into your CRM, to create as many sellable be-backs as possible.

And so:

  • You know your true store closing ratio because of these two items inside your CRM along with the SOLD unit number. You begin to see the real state of sales and make adjustments from these facts to grow your business—everything from advertising to inventory goes into this.
  • You begin to know what real follow-up call and email methods and schedules work in your market, and you make sales *and* CSI gains.
  • You use the unsold and sold customer information in the CRM to create call and email campaigns where every email opened and call made and received is logged and known for sales and service results.
  • And the Internet Department grows into even more sales than today, because it is by nature the most-accountable work (lead/call/visit) in the entire dealerships.


Doesn’t this sound great?? And yet far too many dealerships don’t have the Accountability Culture in place: The owner wants accountability tools and processes but too often turns away to leave them solely in the GM’s hands; the GM may or may not want an Accountability Culture, but gets really uncomfortable if the tools and processes seems to say he or she isn't doing the proper job; and the salespeople in general don't want accountability at all because they want to be judged on the sales they make, not on the UPs they burned through to “make their eight”.

I guarantee most dealerships in the USA don’t use their CRM properly, and they don’t have processes that lead to true accountability to show true results. At all. Replacing the CRM has become almost a hobby at some dealerships, thinking that it’s a tool holding them back.

Well, an Accountability Culture would even work with a pen and paper. Because it starts in the heart and is led from the top, and it flows down to every position from there.

If you lead a store and believe your CRM “is not working”, make sure you look into a mirror before you spend $100,000 to make that change. Because even the simplest-to-use CRM, or even the least-expensive CRM, needs you to USE it. 

For example: Do you even know how to log into, much less use, the CRM you have? And If you lead a department, are your folks truly accountable to you for their work towards sales production— is your “22 car guy” burning through 200 UPs a month and you don’t know?  In other words, as a department manager DO YOU USE THE CRM? As a salesperson, aren’t you trying to be more efficient and work less hard for MORE MONEY? All that is in the CRM if you go there.

Because accountability isn’t a discussion at the coffee machine. And it isn’t just the sales you made this month, either.

It’s the sale you missed.  You know, the ones you’d be accountable for, too, if you really wanted accountability for everyone? The ones you can get with beback efforts of follow-up? Accountability Makes Sales Happen!

Accountability is for Winners. What is your culture?

Jonathan Dawson
Keith, great points. To improve in any area, a sales person or a dealership needs to know their current numbers and ratios!

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