Sean V. Bradley is Training a HIGH LEVEL Automotive Internet Sales / BDC Director on "How to Identify LOST Opportunities" and how to EVOLVE her Employees
Ok... You saw that video. Now watch the previous video. I am SO proud of this team. They went from Not feeling comfortabel, not being able to clear the whole 10 steps to CRUSHING it.
But that is STILL Not enough... I want my team to know the phone process inside and out, forwards and backwards. They will get there!
Fire Your Internet Sales Manager
I know I am going to get a lot of heat on this article, but it has to be said. I have worked with thousands of dealerships over the years and there have been numerous reasons given for mediocrity, and even failure. In the beginning of automotive Internet sales in the late 1990s, it was a novelty and an incremental business, but most dealerships were not able to truly harness it and make it a major profit center. However, over the years and through evolution of the automotive sales industry, and the country as a whole, there has been a lot of change — change in how people are researching, shopping, making decisions and ultimately buying a vehicle. There has even been change inside our industry by dealer principals, GMs and sales consultants. It seems that dealers are getting it. They understand that Internet sales, business development, digital marketing, and social media are all important.
What I am seeing now is a scary pattern emerging. A lot of dealerships are not maximizing on opportunities right in front of them because they do not have the right person in place. The Internet sales manager or BDC director that they have in place is the wrong person for the position, and they are hurting the dealership! Here are some problems I’ve seen at dealerships:
• A computer geek in the position who is not an automotive professional. There is nothing wrong with being a geek. I have a problem if they have no idea how to sell a car, and don’t have the respect of their team and employees. They can’t motivate and drive the department to success.
• An IT professional is the head of an Internet sales department or business development center. Just because they are good at fixing computers or understanding technology does not necessarily make them the best choice to run a million-dollar sales department. “Internet sales” is still sales.
• Instead of terminating a sales consultant from the showroom floor, they are given a “second chance” running the Internet sales department. I don’t get this one at all. If someone can not be effective on the showroom floor, why would you have that person be the head of a department where 92 percent of Americans go before they ever step foot into your dealership?
• A sales consultant is promoted from the showroom to running the Internet department. Please understand just because someone can sell a car does not mean they can run a department, let alone an Internet sales or business development department. Just because they can sell cars does not mean they are capable of being a manager or a leader. There are a lot of successful sales consultants who sell 20 or 30 cars per month, but don’t work well with others. They have no concept of interdependence.
• There is no Internet sales manager/BDC director at all. That is just bad, and again, makes no sense whatsoever. When 92 percent of people are going online, there needs to be major attention to this area.
• A dealership’s manager also manages the Internet department. I have seen it all, my friends. The dealer principal or general manager takes on the Internet department as an “additional” responsibility instead of having a dedicated manager, or they dump the responsibility of the Internet department onto the GSM or sales manager. This is not a viable solution.
Remember Basic Math
The average dealership in the United States delivers fewer than 100 units per month. But the average dealership has:
• A GM or GSM
• One to two sales managers (new car/used car), or “closers”
• An F&I manager
• 10 Sales Consultants
If you want your Internet or business development department to deliver units, you are going to need the right Internet manager or BDC director.
Yes, you might need to fire your current Internet sales manager or BDC director. You might have been thinking about doing it for months now but weren’t sure. Let me make it easier for you.
Think of your current Internet sales manager or BDC director:
• Are they a family member or in a relationship with anyone else in the dealership?
• Do they have any automotive sales or management experience?
• Do they have an aversion to the phone?
• Do they have the ability to take a “TO” from their employees, sales consultants, appointment setters, etc?
• Do they have the ability or desire to proactively “TO”?
• Do they have the respect of their team (or the dealership for that matter)?
• Can they, or do they, lead by example?
• Do they train their team? Do they know how to train their team?
• Do they have “one on ones” with their team?
• Do they know how to project and forecast, and not merely guess and hope?
• Are they rude and or mean to their team or their customers?
• Do they have Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P.s), or do they just “wing it”?
• Can they desk a deal?
If you are reading this and you are a dealer or GM, do this calculation before you open the showroom tomorrow:
Look at your electronic leads, phone leads and walk-in leads. Say your electronic and phone leads are 70 percent or greater of all leads. Now look at your manager running your Internet or business development department. Are you comfortable with them in charge of 70 percent of your opportunities? If not, make the change today. If you can’t promote that person as your nest general sales manager, you have the wrong person in place.
If you would like a free personalized analysis of your Internet Sales Manager, contact me at the email below with “ISM” as the subject line.
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
CarWoo! is an online new-car buying service and marketplace. Buyers come to CarWoo!, state which car they are looking for and CarWoo!’s network of over 5000 dealers compete to sell the buyer the car.
Technically the product is an semi-anonymous (first name, last initial, zip code) engagement tool. The buyer’s personal contact information (address, phone number, email) are kept private until the buyer accepts an offer from the dealer they want to buy the car from. This helps the consumer avoid spam emails and unwanted phone calls that are common when people buy new cars using “Request a Quote” processes many other online sites use.
CarWoo! has two plans for car buyers. CarWoo! Basic, a $19 plan, offers buyers a search for a vehicle and guarantees 2-3 dealers will compete. CarWoo! Plus, a $49 plan, offers buyers a search for a vehicle and guarantees 5 dealers will compete, but is not capped and as many as 15 dealers have participated in many deals. Both plans offer the buyer privacy protection and CarWoo!’s 100% Happiness Guarantee.
For car dealers, CarWoo! offers the highest quality online car buyers to the dealer for no charge. Dealers are offered the opportunity to engage with car buyers in an online setting that is social and non-threatening to the car buyer. A dealer that uses CarWoo! has an online dashboard where they can engage with all car buyers near them, make them firm offers on cars they have for sale and see how their offer’s stack up competitively against dealer’s vying for the buyers business.
Q & A About Starting a BRAND New Internet Department (From Scratch)
I had a great conversation with a NEW Internet Director. She was a "rep" but this is a whole NEW venture in becoming a NEW Manager etc...
Q - Where to start:
A - You want break it down to 4 main elements, Products, People, Process & the Promotions.
- Department will be inside the showroom, deeply tinted, blinds for privacy.
- 5 workstations PLUs to for future evolution (You are going to want to make sure that you INCLUDE an ISC in the mix).
- Computers... Do you have dual monitors, head sets, What are you going to do for Digital Media? I suggest a separate computer for videos, pictures, articles etc... Maybe an external hard drive.
- ILM / CRM - Dominion... AVV Webcontrol. Mac Haik will be designing its own CRM (Microsoft CRM).
- Need Scripts, Templates, Voice Mail, Automation, Integration
- Reputation Management
- Social Media
- Video / Photos
SELL THE APPOINTMENT!
Please REMEMBER to "Sell" the appointment... Don't merely just "ask" for the appointment.
The internet sales team at Harnish Auto Family are a group of personal shoppers whose role is to provide you with a stress-free car shopping experience. To speak with a member of the internet team, call (888) 636-2381 or chat with us online at www.harnishautofamily.com.
Who should be running my internet department or bdc?
This is another question I am asked from dealers all over the country — and the dealers who don’t ask me this question really should. While I acknowledge the fact that there are many different types of dealerships, please have an open mind to what you are about to read.
First, I am sure that we are all aware that 88 to 98 percent of people go online before they ever step foot into the dealership. We also know that social media is the No. 1 form of communication in this country. The problem that I continue to see, however, is that many dealerships in this country still don’t view the Internet or business development department as a “real” department.
Too many times I walk into dealerships and you can immediately feel the tension in the air; it’s an “us vs. them” mentality. There is dissention on the floor, frustration, anger and even sabotage — not to mention disrespect. I often hear the same thing from Internet coordinators, managers, directors and BDC reps; they are neither appreciated nor respected, and are treated as the “stepchild” in the dealership, and that goes from the dealer to the GM to the GSM, all the way down the food chain.
And, as we all know, perception is reality. If the dealer feels this way — that the manager of the department isn’t a “real” manager — they aren’t going to have an idea of who the right person is for the job, or what type of a pay plan to put together. They might not give this manager authority in the dealership. They might only make this person a “manager” in title only.
They also might put in place the wrong people. They have people who aren’t working out on showroom floor, so they give them a shot in the Internet department. Or, they might hire someone computer savvy because they feel that qualifies them to run an Internet sales department. Dealers also hire young people because they feel they can relate to the prospects better. These are all wrong strategies. The Internet Department or BDC in the dealership should be a major department, on a level with the new, used, finance and fixed ops departments. We are focusing on Internet “sales” department, but it goes deeper than that (Internet sales, service, parts, body shop, finance,
aftermarket, leasing, fleet, special finance, etc.).
Here are some facts: The average dealership delivers approximately 100 units new and used a month. An average dealership has approximately 10 salespeople, a finance manager, a sales manager and either a GSM or GM. All of that goes into selling about 100 units. Now, I have dealers who tell me that they want to sell 50, 100 or 150+ units per month from their Internet department, but they don’t want to treat the department as more important than the other departments or profit centers in the dealership. Furthermore, they want to put in place the wrong type of person to manage and run the department. They don’t want to pay the Internet sales director like the other “real” managers in the dealership. They also do not allow them to have any “real” manager authority, but they will put all of the responsibility on that person’s shoulders.
So, what exactly is the right profile? Who should run an Internet sales department? First and foremost, you want to make sure you have a person who is an automotive sales manager, or at the very least have someone who is a great sales consultant and closer with the potential to be a great sales manager with the proper training and support. Let’s go deeper: If you are trying to run a department that delivers more than 100 units a month online, you should have at the bare minimum a great sales manager, or even a GSM or GSM-caliber person running that department. Answer this question: Would you ever have a non-salesperson run your entire dealership, or even be a GSM at your dealership?
You want a sales manager in that department who can drive the momentum in that room. You want someone who can put a deal together and can even desk a deal if necessary. You also want to have someone who will be respected by the other managers and the showroom sales force — not just by the Internet department.
So, how in the world do you expect to deliver that number of units without having the caliber of individual I just outlined? The argument is that dealers need someone to manage the Website, take pictures, create videos, get testimonials, handle I.T., take care of the CRM/ILM, handle online reputation management, SEO, VSEO and all other forms of digital marketing. I agree 100 percent — all of that needs to be taken care of. However, I do not think that the Internet sales director or Internet sales manager should be that person, especially when you are trying to deliver 100+ units per month from the department. You should either hire a person to do those jobs, or outsource those duties. Anything else is not going to be as productive in the long run. They are, at a minimum, two different jobs.
Don’t freak out if you are a current Internet sales or BDC director and don’t fit the profile I just mentioned. And don’t freak out if you are a GM or dealer who just hired someone who doesn’t fit the profile outlined in this article. I would say, if they were the “right” individual who you believe in, get that person training on product knowledge, I would have them get certified as a sales consultant from your OEMs and I would get them certified as a sales manager by your OEMs. If you have to invest time, money and training to get the department head at the level of any other department head in your organization, it is what it is. If you don’t, you will suffer.
The bottom line is that having the right Internet sales / BDC director is crucial to the success of the dealer’s online initiative. If you have any questions about this article or if you would like some examples or ideas of ways to ensure your department’s success, feel free to e-mail me or call me.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry.
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 email@example.com.
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.