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As I was talking strategy with a good friend of mine who is a GM of two rooftops we got into a discussion about which strategy is most effective in the automotive internet sales world i.e. coordinators vs. floor sales people making the calls. 

We all know that the hardest part in the Internet Dept. is getting people on the phone.  As you know you have what is called connection percentage or ratios that prove that less that 20% of the calls that are made on a daily basis actually result in getting the customer on the phone.  The day-to-day mission turns into e-mails and phone calls and some really progressive departments have implemented video e-mail. 

As I discussed into detail with the GM it really takes a dedicated person to be on the floor taking ups and having the opportunity to have Internet leads sent to him/her.  What happens unless this person is very dedicated is that he/she makes 10 phone calls in the morning if you're lucky and then an up walks through the door.  Now doing fact finding with the customer, caring the customer up, building value, presentation/demonstration, silent trade appraisal and my favorite working numbers, F&i then a through delivery and hours have passed by.  Equally relevant, while all this is going on Internet leads aren't waiting for him to get finished they're coming in while all this is happening and by the time the sales person gets back in front of the computer after taking lunch when the deal was complete his/her response time is around three hours!!  Now I haven't even mentioned the follow up month to date that should be going on during this time. 

My friend's response was the cost of having coordinators which I understand affects the bottom line.  What is interesting to me is that we'll spend $150K on advertising for the month now when the sales person sells that customer we don't split the deal or put an additional pack on the deal to help recoup the cost of advertising.  And even better yet we all know the customers that we don't sell that most of these customers are never logged into the CRM or they leave without a T.O. and if they are logged the notes read "showroom up" not detailed notes of why we couldn't put the deal together.

Having people who's job is to pound the phones all day with a experienced director there for a T.O. and/or to work numbers for the customer that want's the "best price" is the most effective strategy I have seen unless the sales people that get leads aren't allowed to take ups.  I would rather have 5 coordinators making a total of 500 calls a day versus 5 sales people barely making 100 calls per day.  The numbers don't lie the more calls you make the more people you're going to get on the phone, the more people you get on the phone the more appointments you're going to make, the more appointments you make the more people are going to show, the more people that show the more cars you're going to sell!!  Appointments sell cars....

This is Internet sales 101 however, unless there is leadership in place that understands the dynamics of a E-Commerce Dept. there will be a struggle between the owners and those that understand the basics of Internet Sales.  What's even more funny is when I asked how many appointments his sales people set per day he was angry and tells me that they don't set enough appointments and that's why they aren't selling more cars.  Duh, how can they set more appointments they're selling cars, waiting for an up and making 10-20 calls a day.  Sounds like a oxymoron to me. 

Good luck and good selling!!  

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I found this study about how consumers shop for cars from the AutoTrader Dealer Learning Center www.weworkforyou.com. Nearly a quarter of all new- and used-car buyers use multiple devices to shop. Indeed, there's a correlation between everyday device usage and shopping behavior, and it's a trend that's becoming a way of life. In fact, AutoTrader.com expects that 52% of all car shopping will be done on multiple devices within the next 5 years.This study reveals how consumers use their devices, and what you can do to ensure that you're delivering the kind of shopping experience they expect.

Click below to see the Entire Study:

AutoTrader.com Multi-Device Car Shopping Study: How Consumers Shop for Cars

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The Mission Of A E-Commerce Director!!

Ok the month is pretty much over now and I wanted to reach out to everbody in regard to the amazing transformation that we have went through here in our E-Commerce Dept.  As a E-Commerce Director I've learned that there are many things that the director needs to be doing on a daily basis.

  1. Making phone calls with the coordinators!!  Have you heard of the saying "Lead by example."  Before I would barely make phone calls during the day; NOW I'm right in the middle of combat banging out calls also!!  My goal every day is at least 50 calls and most days I'm making 60-80 calls with my team.  Productivity has increased drastically and the team has much more respect for me now that they see that I don't mind getting my hands dirty. 
  2. T.O.  Every time that a valued internet customer says that they want to wait to make a purchase or they are no longer in the market etc; I want to talk with the customer.  The goal of this strategy is not to micromanage but to give the consumer options that the coordinator may not know existed.  Being that I sold cars for five years I have learned that many customers want us to educate them on the best way to buy a car.  For example a customer leaves the dealership that didn't purchase a vehicle I'm going to call that customer and thank them for coming in and when the right time presents itself ask the customer why he/she didn't buy.  I've been told "I don't have the money for the down payment" WHAT!!  "Mr/Ms customer if I can get this deal to fit into your budget with no money down can we earn your business?"  I have had customers respond with "Absolutely."

I truly believe that a dealership with a strong E-Commerce Dept and equally relevant EVERYBODY at the dealership supports the E-Commerce Dept there will not be a dealer in town that would ever be able to compete.   

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Dick Edwards E-Commerce Dept!!

Now that we have a full month under our belt with our new E-Commerce Dept I wanted to give everyone a update on how great things are going!!  We have been meeting expectations and what's even better we have exceeded the expectations that the owner had for our dept.  I truly must say that the Dealer Synergy 10 step process works.  Now, I know that you're asking yourself "J.R. how can you verify that the process really does work?"  Well great question and guess what I have a answer for you; not only do we have the numbers to prove that the process works but even better we have mystery shopped the competition here in Kansas and I'll be the first to say that 99% failed with flying colors!! 

The SWOT analysis that we have conducted proves as follows:

  • the automotive internet sales in our market doesn't have trained phone ninjas
  • the opportunity for us to steal business from competitors is open
  • 99% of the stores that we mystery shopped had NO PROCESS in place for inbound and outbound phone calls
  • we truly can say that we don't forsee any threats from other dealers (but we'll continue to train just in case)
  • our strengths are not only do we have the best automotive brands but we will continue to be trained phone ninjas AND we have a process in place

We're really excited about what the future holds for us here at Dick Edwarsd Auto and we fully plan on maximizing every opportunity that is presented to us.   

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