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From: Jared Hamilton
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Mark Winters

Mark Winters Dealer Services

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I Just Want To Sell Cars

 

“I Just Want To Sell Cars!” I usually hear this from salespeople or even sales managers when I am talking about CRM. Why? What part of CRM keeps you from selling cars? Ask that in response and you will get a barrage of impressive explanations. It takes to long. It gets in the way of me and my customer. I can do better using a pencil and 3x5 cards. It slows me down. It creates busy work and CRM has never sold a car.

Why is it that sales people and sometimes sales managers have major issues with CRM and the BDC agents and managers couldn't live without it. Aren't they both interfacing with the same customers. What causes this great divide amongst the “sales floor” and CRM?

Customer Relationship Management or CRM was designed to do one thing, help the dealership manage it’s relationship with it’s customers and find and nurture future customers. So why all the angst from the sales floor. Because CRM has become big brother to the salespeople.

The perception of CRM needs to change in our dealerships and it starts with everyone in the dealership using CRM. From the Dealer Principle and the General Manager to the Service Manager and Salespeople. Adopt a policy of “if it didn’t happen in CRM, then it didn’t happen”. All disputes on the sales floor should be solved using CRM. All of your reporting should come from your CRM. If you are all drawing from the same well your dealership will start to see the value of using CRM and using it well.

Don’t stand for garbage. The term “garbage in garbage out” is an example of forcing people to use the CRM. Your people need to see that CRM is there to help them. You can accomplish this by doing one-on-one training with your people. Use group training to explain the concept and functions of the CRM but focus on using the CRM the right way through one on one sessions.  

Transparency. Inform everyone of what goes on in the CRM. Let them know and see what is being sent out and generated in the CRM. Let them see the programmed to list generator. Show them the action plans that are programmed into the system. Get their input and suggestions. Provide reporting, create a leaderboard in the dealership of the best users. Show everyone who is doing there job, Make this standard for recognition in the dealership.

Job requirement. When you hire new people include in their job description the requirement to use the CRM system in their respective job role. Hold people accountable to this principle. What would happen if an employee was let go because they refused to use CRM? What message does that send? This may be an extreme example but sometimes you have to deal with an extreme situation.

CRM is simply a tool, however it does become the nerve center of your dealership. Establishing a culture of CRM in your dealership will yield many benefits. Your ability to coach your teams using actual data, helping salespeople improve every step in the road to the sale. Using the data to create and track your marketing efforts. The more data points, the better your marketing can be. Send your customers birthday cards on their actual birthdays, it’s on the drivers licence, and it can help you to stand out from your competition. Use it to reactivate past customers that are in a trade cycle. Save a deal meetings, review the notes from the salespeople and find missed opportunities.  

In today’s world we no longer have the luxury of letting opportunities be wasted. We have to capitalize on everyone of them in order to thrive. CRM will help you sell cars. So the next time you hear someone say “I just want to sell cars” reply with, “Great, this is how we do it!”

Alexander Lau
It's frustrating because dealerships are spending tons of money on tools that provide bogus leads or are buying them from companies that purchase them from non-credible sources. Crap in, you're going to get crap out...
Dennis Wagner
Great stuff! A good CRM is no longer an option if you want to truly gauge your success rates, mine your current data base for previous customers that are again in the market and capture new business. All customers are not loyal.
Chris Vitale
Very true and extremely well written Godfather. It's true, you don't need CRM to sell cars... TO THE 5% THAT ARE GOING TO SAY "YES" AND CLOSE ON THE FIRST VISIT, ON THE FIRST PENCIL. However, for the other 90% of your opportunities and the bulk for which you invest ad dollars, you need CRM.
Chris Vitale
Oh, and "I just want to sell cars boss, I'm using your system..." Hahahahahaha classic.
Russ Chandler
Well written Mark. This seems like a never ending topic that should just be common sense at this point. One thing I'm surprised CRM's and lead providers haven't expanded on that I think would help solve the problem Alexander Lau mentioned is a more robust profile on leads. Personally, I believe any customer who has engaged with your advertising/marketing is valuable . Many times dealers fall short here as they don't acquire or retain enough of the right information to understand when and how to capitalize on that value. Look across other industries and there is massive amounts of lead scoring and segmentation going on but just a few in automotive. I wouldn't be surprised to see this type of practice become more streamlined for faster extraction of more information from customers and streamlined to the sales rep through CRM's. Any thoughts?

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