AutoSuccess September 2011
I received a lot of great responses from my article a couple of months ago on getting Internet sales departments to effectively make phone calls. I had some people contact me with skepticism, but after we hung up from our call, they were complete believers and understood exactly what I was trying to articulate in my article. I also had people excited because finally someone broke it down with details on how things should work and why. But, I also had some communication with people that were a little confused about the numbers and the strategy. So, this article is going to break things down a little deeper.
Let me recap the highlights from that article:
- Your Internet Sales Department is primarily a phone sales department.
- You want to have a minimum of 120 phone calls per day per rep.
- Do not let your team settle for mediocrity.
- Implement the “power hour” exercise ASAP.
- The average connection ratio (From phone call attempts to connections) is only 11 to 14 percent.
- The key to success is understanding the logic: The more people you attempt to call, the more people you will connect with on the phone; the more connections, the more appointments; the more appointments, the more confirmations; the more confirmations, the more shows; the more show, the more sales.
Here, however, is the most powerful advice I can give:
Every dealership should really think about having professional appointment setters in their dealership, and I mean every dealership. We have clients all over this country and abroad, and it doesn’t matter if they are a small dealership, a large dealership, a dealer group, highline, import, domestic or even an independent dealer. Our most successful clients have professional appointment setters and some even have a full-blown team of appointment setters.
One recent example is Gary Mathews of Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee. This is a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Hyundai dealership that went from 35 units per month to 86 units per month and were on track for 102 for August. In a down economy, they have broken dealership record after record. And they are proud to tell you why: their dedication to their Internet business. One of the main keys to their success is that they have a team of appointment setters, and all they do from open to close in shifts is pound the phones and e-mail (the CRM is programmed with an automated e-mail action plan). Think about it: How much more successful would your dealership be if you had a team of trained appointment setters, and all they did at your dealership was make phone calls all day from open to close in shifts?
Remember that you only have a 11 to 14 percent connection ratio on the phones. So, if you only make 50 calls, you will only have five to seven connections. Plus, if you leave this up to your sales team to do, there will be no consistency. How could there be? They have to do follow-ups, product presentations and deliveries; they sometimes chase stips; they have days off, shifts off, personal time, and so on.
You need 100 percent consistency on those phones, from open to close.
I will give you another example. We have a Honda Dealership client in New Jersey that went from 60 units online to more than 200. How did they do this? Well, they had a team of 12 professionally trained appointment setters who made 120 calls per day five days per week for a total of more than 30,000 phone calls in one month. That’s what it takes to sell 200 units online. More than 15,000 phone calls to sell 100 units online. More than 7,500 phone calls to sell 50 units online.
Math is math.
The push back I get from dealers is that they don’t trust “BDC Reps,” “appointment setters,” etc. The reason why most are not successful is that they have the wrong people in those positions and most don’t have the proper training.
At minimum, an automotive Internet sales / phone sales professional — A.K.A. “Phone Ninja” — should be trained in areas including:
- Inbound / outbound phone process
- How to qualify a prospect and Identify wants, wishes and expectations.
- Objections / rebuttals
- The power of leaving a great voice mail
- Outbound / inbound e-mail protocol
- How to execute the dealership’s value package proposition
- Science of communication — tone, inflection, etc.
- Automotive Internet sales knowledge
- Product knowledge
These people are truly phone sales professionals. The only difference between them and your showwroom sales professional is that they do not sell the vehicle; they sell the appointment. They should, however, be no less intelligent, skilled and trained.
If you have any questions about this article please feel free to call or e-mail me.Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400
How Many Phone Calls Can and Should Your Internet Department Make?
Here’s a question I hear a lot at my Internet Sales 20 Groups: “How many phone calls should my department make per day?” This question is huge, because simply dialing the phone can dramatically change the outcome of your dealership’s Internet Sales. Your dealership’s Internet Department and BDC are, after all, a number’s game. Let me break it down for you:
- The more people you dial, the more people you get on the phone.
- The more people you get on the phone, the more time you can execute your phone process or sales script.
- The more people you engage on the phone, the more appointments you can set.
- The more appointments you set, the more appointments you can confirm.
- The more appointments you can confirm, the more people show up.
- The more people show up, the more people will buy vehicles.
- More vehicle sales equals more money for everyone — both the dealership and you.
I know that this might sound too easy to be true, but it really is this simple: If you dial phones more, you will sell more vehicles. I have been doing automotive Internet sales and business development for more than 12 years now, and that has proven to be the case over and over again all over the country. Doesn’t matter what type of franchise you have or how big your organization is — math is math.
Let’s go a little deeper. I have dealers who tell me over and over that their Internet sales coordinators, BDC reps, and appointment setters are only making 50 to 60 calls per day, and that is like pulling teeth from them. They complain that they can’t make any more calls — it’s impossible. Or, they don’t have anyone to call, or they are worried that they are calling too much, or that people are mad at them for calling too much, or countless other excuses for mediocrity.
Here are some important statistics:
• 55 percent of communication is visual perception and body language
• 38 percent of communication is tone and inflection
• Only seven percent of communication is text or the words that we use
This means with Internet prospects, it makes a lot of sense to escalate the e-mail to the phone call and the phone call to the appointment. The appointment builds the relationship, product presentation and demo drive, and all this builds value.
The average Internet prospect is searching five to seven other dealerships and or Websites (this can be same franchise or other franchises). That means five to seven other dealerships are following up sending e-mails and leaving voice mails.
The average connection on a phone call attempt is 11 to 14 percent. That means if you dial 50 attempts you are only going to reach five to seven people. Think about that for a moment: If you have full-time appointment setters, BDC reps and Internet coordinators and they work an eight to nine hour day, they are only connecting with five to seven people? That is not enough at all.
On average, you will close 25 to 33 percent of the people you actually get on the phone. That means if you attempt to call 50 people, you will get five to seven people on the phone, and from those you can expect to make about one or two appointments. That is nowhere close to being enough.
Let’s just use a safe and realistic 50/50/50 closing ratio. If you make two appointments per day, five days per week, that’s 10 appointments per week, or 40 appointments per month. Out of 40 appointments per month, about 20 people will show up and about 10 people will buy vehicles.
Our clients are making 120 phone calls per day per rep. Out of the 120 attempts, they are connecting 11 to 14 percent, which means they speak with 14 to 17 people. They are converting 25 to 33 percent to appointments, which gives us between four and six appointments per day per rep. Let’s say they make five appointment per day, five days a week, for 25 appointments per week or 100 appointments per month. Of those, 50 people will show up for the appointment and they will deliver 25 units.
Now that I have your attention, how do you get your department to actually make these phone calls? Its simple: accountability. Do not let them accept mediocrity. They will give you every reason, why they can’t do it. You have to encourage them they can and they will. For a sure-fire way to prove it to them, however, have them go through the “Power Hour.”
The “Power Hour” is a contest you will have with your team. Put some type of bonus, prize, or gift up for the winner. Here are the rules: For one straight hour, your people are going to make as many Internet sales calls as possible. Whoever makes the most Internet Sales phone calls wins the bonus. At the end of the “Power Hour,” you calculate how many phone call attempts everybody made, and then add them together and divide them by the number of people who participated.
For example, I just did this very exercise today at a Ford / Mazda dealership in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A couple of weeks ago, they were kicking and screaming that they couldn’t make more than 50 calls per day, per rep. I put out a $100 bill for a “Power Hour” prize. They have four appointment setters and an Internet director. Here are the results:
- 20 Calls
- 28 Calls
- 36 Calls
- 42 Calls
- 53 Calls
They made 179 calls in one hour, for an average of 35.8 calls per rep. Now, multiply 35.8 phone calls times 6.5 working hours in a day (that’s taking out breaks and lunches), and you get 232.7 calls in a day. Now, that might seem crazy, but the math doesn’t lie. I’m not suggesting that they should be making 230+ calls per day per person, but I am saying that they can sure as heck make a lot more than 50 calls per day.
The reality is that they were killing themselves making phone calls because they wanted to win that $100 bill. They had the desire, the want and the need to make a lot of calls. The end result for this dealership was that they all were floored at the end of the exercise when I broke down the math to them. They could not believe how many calls they were able to make in one hour.
I have been doing the “Power Hour” exercise for more than seven years now and it works every time. If you have any questions about this article, or you would like me to e-mail you the video of this exercise and the exit interview of this exercise, please e-mail or call me and it would be my pleasure to send it to you.
In conclusion, you need to make sure that your team is dialing the phone. An Internet sale is predominately a phone sale. Just think about the math. Remember you only have a 11 to 14 percent connection ratio. Everyone will tell you the hardest part of Internet sales is simply getting the prospect on the phone.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Automotive Internet Sales Process (First 30 Days) and WHY...
I am telling you all that this dealership... John Hinderer Honda is AMAZING. Look at this dealership!! They have a GREAT team. Lets wish them luck and assist them anyway we can in growing their department.
Babe Ruth was known for hitting the most home runs, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that he also had the most strikeouts. Think about that for a moment…
My point is that you need to be at bat to crack those home runs out of the park. For many years I was at the frontline of Internet Departments. I have successfully built multiple Internet sales departments from the ground up from nothing to selling over 100+ units solely from the Internet. When I started, I tried creating and managing the Internet department every possible way imaginable. I had struck out several times before I developed that “Power” swing. I put a solid strategy together and I was cracking home runs right out of the park.
Soon after I started I realized that I needed a strategy and a focus. I needed to set some goals for my department, my company and myself. I worked with others and developed a four-point strategy we called D.I.M.E.. The four elements of D.I.M.E. are Design, Implement, Manage, and Evolve.
This is where you create a vision of where you want your business to be in the future. List your goals and desired outcomes. Be specific about how your business will be affected. Don’t talk in generalities but in specifics-percentage increased or decreased, net gain or loss, numbers for retention, etc.
Work your vision through implementation. Establish a timeline for task completion. Be sure everyone understands their accountability especially outside vendors and inside managers.
Management is about measurement. Be sure to measure your progress against the standards you set during the design phase. You want to be sure that everything is moving forward and that you are achieving the desired results.
Evolution takes leadership. Throughout the design, implementation and management of your plan others will be looking to you for guidance. In order to evolve, others must understand where your business is headed and follow the vision you have laid before them.
D.I.M.E. is the method we use at Dealer Synergy for everything we do from buying computers to hiring new employees. Having a strategy and repeatable method of execution allows us to get better at what we do every time we do it.
Having a methodology is important but your also need to know where your key areas for success are. Most businesses share four common elements of focus. I call them “The Four “P’s”. The first is products, the second people, then process and finally promotions.
Next month we will take a look at how the Four P’s apply to selling cars online…
Sean V. Bradley
BDC vs. Sales Floor
Does your sales force communicate effectively with your internet/BDC department? If you are like a lot of dealers the chances are that the answer is “NO”. I have worked in a few dealerships over the years where I have experienced the same problems as an Internet director. Nowadays, I have been working with dealerships nationally on a training and consulting level where I still see the same problems arise.
So how do we fix this common problem?
I learned from my previous dealer about the power of having mandatory weekly meetings. I am talking about sales meetings with sales managers, sales consultants, internet/bdc coordinators, and the internet director. The meeting needs to be mandatory and held once a week. These sales meetings need to be a half hour to an hour long with the purpose of uniting the two departments together.
The meeting must cover any news or updates in the dealership regarding advertisements and store policies. If there is an advertisement running for that weekend, there needs to be a customized script or outline created for the BDC so that the calls are answered properly. This advertisement needs to be reviewed in this meeting so that everyone is on the same page when speaking to customers.
The biggest goal of this meeting is to allow both departments to see how they operate. The way to do this is to role play around the room the phone scripts using coordinators and sales staff. Also, it is important to role play the sales process of how the customer will be handled once they arrive to the showroom. It is important that sales consultants and sales managers know what is being said on the phones and how it is being said. Why? It makes a smooth transition from speaking on the phone with one person and working in the showroom with another. When the customer comes in and works with a sales consultant, there will never be a “he said, she said” situation because the sales representative will know what is being said on the phone and will have the knowledge to check the notes of the conversation in the CRM.
What will these meetings do to your people?
These meetings boost strong morale in the dealership. The meeting needs to be positive and motivational at the same time. While these meetings are serious, people need to laugh and enjoy being in that conference room for almost an hour. It is a great idea to have bagels and coffee in the room for breakfast. One of the most powerful things I did at the dealership was taking pictures and videos at these meetings for memories. We need to understand that people love memories and they appreciate being remembered. There is nothing more rewarding then to look at them one year later and remember how effective these meetings were.
As the communication improves in the dealership by utilizing this practice, both departments will work together. The sales staff in the dealership will start to see value in the internet department and will only show respect as they will realize that the BDC is there to help them make money. When you motivate and lead your people by building value in the right processes, you will only see positive change.
Let’s face it, when I left my last dealership I had sales consultants that were sad about me leaving because of how I ran my department. This is the effect that needs to happen in your dealership right now. If you are not having the success that you desire in your sales and BDC department performance, it is a great idea to consider how the departments communicate with one another.
I just wanted to thank everyone for helping us put this site together :)
I am amazed by how much we got accomplished in only a couple of days. The site is going to be completed by the November Internet Sales 20 Group in Philadelphia.
PLEASE remember to add your profile picture... It would be nice for everyone to get an idea of who they are communicating with. Remember this isn't Match.com, its not that deep lol!
Continue to add articles, blog posts, pictures and of course video... anything that you feel is relevant and or important to you that you think other people in the community would see value in.
Thanks again for being part of AIS!