Dealers should create a sales process for digital leads: Rod Stuckey

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2013
By Holly J. Wagner

That quote isn’t a substitute for personal interaction. It’s a springboard. Any quote request should be answered by email as quickly as possible, and then followed up immediately with a phone call. That’s the salesperson’s opportunity to learn about that customer – what they want, how they ride, options they might want and whether they have a vehicle to trade – and then set an appointment to bring them into the dealership.

“Without that call, the only thing that sets you apart is your price,” Stuckey said. “It’s a dangerous game for you to commoditize yourself with a quote.”

The benefits of process. The Internet lead management system plays a bigger role than just connecting with customers initially. Properly used, it means the dealership relies on process, not just talent, to gain and keep customers.

Building a database of every customer contact lets dealers track not only what is sold when, but things like sales anniversaries that may trigger future service or trade-ins. It can help dealers coach sales personnel on their weaknesses.

 “At 24 months, they are probably in an equity position. That is a good time for a trade-in,” Stuckey said. But the main point may be his acronym WGMGD – what gets measured gets done.

A dealership CRM system lets dealers quantify what’s happening in the store. It can show how quickly people are jumping on leads, how frequently a customer contacts the store and what they are likely to need during the product life cycle. It also lets dealers keep control of what once resided in a salesperson’s Rolodex.

“The dealer owns his customers and builds his database,” he said. “If that person leaves tomorrow, you still have that customer in your database.”

Dealers can use CRM to help identify where employees do well and where they need coaching or development, and to set individual goals. “Some people are so much enthusiasts, they are not willing to follow the sales process,” Stuckey said. “CRM helps you to manage off of sales data rather than the emotional relationship.”

To make it work, dealers have to cultivate a CRM culture in the dealership. That may mean rewarding people for logging contacts in the beginning, until they see the value to their own bottom lines. Managers can use the data to motivate and focus staff.

“Each morning we have a ‘start your engines’ meeting. It is looking at the CRM,” Stuckey said. “After the meeting, managers would do one-on-ones with the salespeople to look at their performance.  You have to leverage tools to inspect what you expect. The team can learn to love it.”