AutoSuccess November Cover Stort
The #1 Sales Trainer and the #2 Nissan Sales Consultant Discuss The
Two Most Essential Tools for your Dealership-CRM & Training
There is a great deal of moving parts in today’s modern dealership. Each person plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the dealership, from the showroom sales floor to the service center, the F&I department to the Internet department; all must work cohesively for the same common goal – dealer profits. Considering your long list of responsibilities, how can you, the general manager or dealer, guarantee that your team and all its moving parts are following through on protocol and the processes you are expecting? How can you make sure you are being efficient and tapping into all the resources available to you? Training, training and more training! By training your team on effective processes, how to attract and cultivate good quality people, how to spend your ad dollars wisely and strategically utilize your Customer Relationship Management system, you will minimize the need for micromanagement and maximize profits.
A CRM is one of the most essential tools for all dealerships in today’s rapidly changing technology-based culture. And rightfully so because it behaves as a data incubator for sales opportunities, allowing dealerships to store customer information in an organized and up-to-date fashion, it has easy tools for interaction and follow-up and provides accountability of the staff, for an increased rate of productivity.
CRMs go far beyond data storage. The tool uses the data strategically to improve the sales process and increase profits across all components and profit centers of your dealership, such as showroom control, lead management, data mining and equity mining, special finance, F&I, fixed ops, inventory and much more.
When utilized properly, a dealership’s CRM has the ability to contain a gold mine of information about customers. CRMs have gotten so much more powerful in recent years. CRMs don’t just track your customers’ information, calls and emails anymore! New technologies have given them the ability to send alerts and set priorities, as well as create and automatically send email templates to stay in touch and ensure proper follow-up. However, with these changes, they’ve also become more complicated. The modern CRM system requires a more complex user interface, advanced tools and ever-changing updates and applications.
As a result of these new resources, it’s more crucial than ever to provide your team with ongoing CRM training. You don’t want to just keep up with , you want to be the . Unfortunately though, this is an often-overlooked step and ends up stopping the dealership from effectively leveraging leads that they’ve already gathered and spent advertisement dollars to generate.
The reality is that most dealerships struggle with maximizing their CRM. Even when a dealership has the most incredible CRM technology with a proper set up and training, it still falls apart. Why is this the case time and time again?
The simplest explanation is that the rate of turnover at most dealerships is extremely high. There often isn’t enough time to properly train new sales people on how to use the CRM, and so they are definitely not taught the intricacies of how to truly engage and utilize the power of a CRM. In addition to not being able to truly maximize all resources and technologies, an un-trained or poorly trained Sales Person, Manager, BDC Agent etc… can reek massive havoc in the CRM by not using the proper statuses, archiving prospects properly, inactivating leads, letting action plans expire, NOT marking units sold or putting notes into the CRM. Since the CRM is so important and has so many applications for all profit centers this is very serious because this is the leading reason why most CRMs in this country are a complete mess. It is not the CRM Company, it is mostly user degradation.
There has been a stigma in the automotive industry about training that has led to training being consistently neglected, which has created an epidemic of untrained sales consultants, coordinators and even managers.
NADA estimates that the average dealership spends approximately $64,000 per month in advertising. With an average of 10 sales consultants at each dealership, that’s essentially an investment of $6,400 per consultant, monthly. The average sales person only earns an average compensation of $4,000 a month. This means that the average dealership invests more money in advertising per sales person, per month than an average sales person earns in a month.
Even with staggering numbers like this, dealerships still fail to invest in training their staff appropriately. They spend all that money to get people into the dealership, yet they spend almost nothing to ensure that the freshly generated traffic is handled correctly and by a thoroughly trained sales team with sufficient training to solidify the sale.
The stigma is understandable however. In the past, training was not something that could be taken lightly.
- Intensive – a lot of information packed into a short amount of time
- Invasive – if everyone’s in class, who’s selling cars?
- Expensive – quality trainers don’t come cheap
Luckily, just as CRMs have advanced over time, modern training has benefitted from emerging technology too. The newest and most powerful way to train in all areas of your dealership is through Virtual Training. Virtual training provides the classic areas of training, such as Showroom Sales, Internet Sales/BDC, Phone Sales, F&I, Fixed Ops, Management and of course technology products, like CRM. With the limitless capabilities, it’s easier now more than ever to train your team and reap the benefits of increased profits.
- Interaction –This isn’t YouTube! High-level production videos truly interact with the trainee to enhance and customize the training and learning experience.
- Retention - Correlated testing means that there is a qualitative way to ensure retention. After each video, the viewer must correctly answer questions in various formats before moving onto the next concept.
- Accountability – Dealers and Managers can track their entire staff. Get notified daily, weekly or monthly via text or email on accountability details such as who has logged in, what videos were watched, what tests were taken, who passed, and who failed.
- Certification – Just like an OEM Certification, virtual training offers curriculum paths for many aspects of the dealership. Follow the modules, pass the tests and get certified in areas such as Automotive Sales Professional, Internet Sales/BDC Director, Sales Management, BDC Rep/Internet Sales Coordinator, Special Finance Director and more.
Virtual training breaks down the barriers of time and location because it’s available whenever your team is able to take a few minutes off the floor, regardless of whether your staff is at the store or at home. The trainee can use their cell phone, tablet, or desktop computer.
If dealerships had access to a truly comprehensive, ongoing training program that covered all profit centers of the dealership and a full regimen regarding one of the most powerful tools a dealership possesses, their CRM, they would be able to sell more cars, more often and more profitably. If they had these strategies in place, dealers would be able to reduce their advertising costs, reduce their attrition in HR and simultaneously increase sales, volume and gross. Dealers need to focus on making sure their team is educated on each and every aspect and possibility of what the CRM can potentially do and on the strategy of how to use their CRM effectively. The only way to guarantee the true success of your CRM is through ongoing, consistent training.
We recently sat down with two of the industry’s top experts, Tammie LeBleu, National Dealer Development of AutoLoop and Sean V. Bradley, CEO of Dealer Synergy, to explore a surprising number of new resources available to dealerships when dealing with the two most critical subjects within a dealership, CRMs and Virtual Training.
AutoSuccess: Welcome to both of you.
Tammie LeBleu: Thank you.
Sean V. Bradley: Thank yout’s a pleasure to be here.
AS: Tammie, let’s start with you. You’re one of the most successful salespeople in the country - earning over $1.5 million over the last five years. You were the #2 Nissan Salesperson in the country in 2011. Your personal bests include 6 sales in one day, 47.5 for one month, and 400.5 units in a year. Those are super-hero numbers. How does a person hit those kinds of numbers?
TL: (Laughing) You sell a lot of cars! Seriously, a lot of it is just what you would expect: hard work, drive and preparation.
AS: Do you think that being female in a traditionally male-dominated industry was a plus?
TL: No, not at all. In fact, I found it to be the opposite. I had to overcome a lot of I don’t want to say “bias”, but maybe, expectations. People have this picture of who a salesperson is supposed to be and I do not fit that image at all!
AS: Did your dealership location factor into your success?
TL: I’m sure it does, but it didn’t help me much in my situation. I was in Bossier City, Louisiana, which has a population of 62,000. It’s not a high-traffic market
AS: So are you saying that with just hard work and determination, anyone can sell this many cars?
TL: Hard work is going to play a role in being successful, no matter what. But the other thing I feel is that you really have to have a willingness to use every resource available to you. And for me, that meant learning how to leverage the information in the dealership’s CRM.
A good CRM is like an ATM, a moneymaking machine for a dealership. But you have to be willing to learn it and use it, and you have to be consistent. I got hooked into AutoLoop CRM and, for me, it’s been like a road map. It gives me direction and tracks what I need to do every day to be successful. I know when to call customers and which customers I need to call. It’s all digital, updates automatically, and I don’t have to write anything down!
AS: Was there a steep learning curve?
TL: Well, the software does a lot, so yes, there’s a lot there to learn. But you don’t have to know everything to start enjoying the benefits. Start using one feature, get familiar with it and then start adding to your knowledge base. There are training programs online, even “On Demand” training. Literally, www.BradleyOnDemand.com has a full training “channel” dedicated not only to AutoLoop CRM but strategies, best practices and secrets for all CRMs.
AS: Well that leads us right to Sean V. Bradley. First, Sean, you have been featured in, and have been writing for, AutoSuccess Magazine for 7 years now and most of our readers are already familiar with you and your company. But we welcome new subscribers frequently, so for those who are not as familiar, can you describe for us what Dealer Synergy does?
SB: Absolutely! Dealer Synergy is an award-winning training company. We build custom, highly profitable departments for automotive dealerships across the nation, Canada and overseas. We are partnered with state associations and manufactures to provide the most cutting- edge training tactics for not only Internet Sales and Business Development Centers, but also for Showroom sales training.
With 92-99% of Americans going online before they step foot in a dealership, almost every customer is an Internet customer. Therefore, we don’t just believe in Internet “departments”, but rather Internet “dealerships”. We have taken our profound experience and success with Internet sales departments and developed curriculum that utilizes the same Internet tactics, principals and philosophies for the showroom sales floor and have witnessed extreme success.
AS: So you offer Internet Sales, Business Development and showroom sales training. Do you offer CRM training too?
SB: Absolutely! The CRM Company usually shows you how to use their technology; we show you how to set it up to make money. Specifically, we will assist dealers create their automated action plans, sales processes, set up email templates (video and text), scripts, statuses. We teach the proper follow up process with your CRM for the Showroom and Internet / BDC teams. We focus on how to manage the relationship from showroom, phone and the internet fluidly through the shopping and buying cycle all the way through to service, referral generation and re-sale!
AS: And you actually go to the dealership?
SB: Yes, we conduct onsite training. Our program varies from an array of options, from 2-5 days of intense onsite training, depending on the specific needs and goals of the dealership. In fact, up until recently, almost all of our training to date has been on-site. But that doesn’t work for everyone in terms of scheduling and cost and all the other aspects of on-site training.
We’ve taken our award-winning curriculum and created virtual, interactive training modules available on-demand, 24/7, called Bradley On Demand. Our training covers an immense amount of topics, such as Internet sales, showroom sales, BDC, F&I, special finance, time management, leadership, motivation and so much more.
We saw a great need for this type of service in our industry and we wanted to fill that need. It is a more viable solution for dealers because it’s more cost-effective. Your sales team can focus on whatever area they most need training in at their own availability and at their own pace. Plus, you don’t have to worry, like “Oh, John was sick on the day the trainer was here, he missed the whole thing.”
AS: That sounds great. How do you guarantee that the training sticks?
SB: The 3 R’s, repetition, reinforcement, and retention are key. I don’t care if you are the best trainer and motivator on the planet. Eventually, that feeling of inspiration will dissipate. With the availability of the tool to re-motivate and reinforce the information, whenever needed, this concern is eliminated.
Again, I don’t care how amazing the trainer is, it is a scientific fact that immediately after hearing a speech or a lecture, only 50% of what the trainer says is retained. Then, 48 hours later, only 25% of that 50% is permanently retained. With virtual training, the same information is delivered exactly the same way each time and can be repeated over and over again for maximum retention.
AS: That sounds really effective. Now, Tammie, you’ve been using Sean’s training videos to train your teams, correct
TL: Yes, I watched all of Sean’s videos when I was a consultant, and once I was in the management role I had my team watch all his videos as well. It’s the obligation of the dealership to train the sales people. I felt it was my duty to supply them with the education, the know how”, a fair opportunity to succeed. More times than not, we hire these people, give them no direction and then are surprised that they fail. Whose fault is that? Not the sales person. Poor training is a direct reflection on the dealership.
SB: I agree completely. How can you expect your team to excel if you don’t provide them with the tools to succeed? We need to evolve what we do in the dealership.
TL: Yeah, I had to evolve on my own (laughs) I wish there had been training back then. I credit most of my success to the utilization of my CRM, but even the CRM itself has evolved in the last five years. At first it was more about what information I could get out of the CRM. But as it went on and I realized how much data really was in there, that’s when I started asking, what information do I need? When do I need it? Then I used the CRM to set parameters for alerts or reports or whatever.
AS: That probably didn't happen overnight.
TL: Oh no. It was like I was married to my CRM for a while there (laughs). It was that type of commitment coupled with a great tool that got me to be the #2 Nissan sales consultant in the nation and sell over 400 units in 1 year.
AS: Tammie, that is a surreal amount of units sold from such a rural town! Explain to us how you used your CRM to sell that many car!
TL: When I said I married my AutoLoop CRM, I wasn’t kidding! I used every feature that they had. Every prospect that I had I entered in their birthday, their anniversary, special holidays that were relevant to them. I then set up reminders / notification. So, when these events happened it let me know and I would be able to call, email or send out a personal letter to these people and it truly built that “Relationship” with that prospect or client. That is what the “R” in CRM is… RELATIONSHIP. I took that literally. Additionally, I had an automated action plan for every situation. For example:
- Fresh Up Process
- Be-Back Process
- Dead Deal Process (Bought elsewhere, changed mind, upside down, credit etc…)
- Prior-customer process / orphaned owner
- Phone-UP Process
- Internet Lead Process
- Referral generation Process
- B2B Process
- Equity Miner / Data Mining Process (Prospect Manifest)
- Service Conversion Process
I used my CRM methodically. I thought of it as a team of personal assistants for me!
There are eight ways that a sales professional can sell an automobile. Walk in, be back, internet, phone, service, prior customer, referral and prospecting. I truly leveraged my CRM to enable me to maximize all eight ways every single day. And it did!
AS: And what’s the benefit of the on-demand training? Does it cut down on all the “do-it-yourself” learning?
SB: Absolutely. Like we've said, the technology keeps evolving. You can’t just learn one thing and be done. Because next week a new version is coming out with more features that will make your life easier – but you still have to learn them. It’s an ongoing process.
TL: Exactly, which is why I have used some of the Dealer Synergy on-demand training. It helps me keep current as things change and progress.
AS: Now, we’ve talked about how training is evolving and how technology is evolving, but what about the industry as a whole? Is this type of CRM data-mining the wave of the future?
SB: Yes, today it is. But because it keeps evolving, you have to stay on top of it. What looks like science fiction today is old hat by tomorrow.
TL: I agree, and I don’t think we’ve done a good job of staying with the trends as an industry. With my speaking engagements, I get to see different dealerships all across the country and I am amazed at how many aren’t tapped into the power of CRMs. They either don’t have a CRM, they have one that it is not being used, or it’s being used incorrectly. So many dealerships don’t even know what they’re missing out on. We’re still pouring too much money into advertising and events and we have no real way of tracking whether it’s even doing any good. Yet, we have a whole database of potential prospects at our fingertips and we neglect it.
AS: It’s a blanket approach.
TL: It sounds more like a throw it against the wall and see what sticks approach. You think, “Well, sales went up during that promotion.” Okay, but there is nothing to say that the promotion itself had anything to do with it. We don’t know for certain if the message is really getting out, or hitting the right people, or who those people even are. On the other hand, all that information is already there, sitting in your CRM. All you have to do is ask for it.
SB: (Laughing) She sounds like an evangelist.
TL: This is definitely something I believe in wholeheartedly. Which is why I’ve shifted my career focus. I feel like I have a responsibility to the industry to make them aware of the gold mine at their fingertips.
AS: Yes. You’ve actually joined AutoLoop as their new National Dealer Development.
TL: Yes: I’m going to be out there saying, “Hey, this has worked for me, and I think it will work for other dealerships.” I think this is what our industry needs. And when I say that, I’m talking about all CRM marketing, and data-mining as a whole: personally, it made sense for me to go with AutoLoop, since we already had a relationship. I know the product works, because it worked for me. It’s important to me that I stand for a product I believe in. But overall, I’m talking about a complete shift in the way we think about selling cars: we have the information, we need to use it and I am going to make it my mission to spread that message.
AS: Anything to add, Sean?
SB: First and foremost, I agree that CRM is one of the most important tools, and it definitely is a whole paradigm shift in thinking once you adopt it as part of your process. I believe in what Tammie is doing, focusing on the data-mining, and I believe in what we’re doing, helping dealerships make that transition. There are a lot of great CRM tools out there, but I frequently recommend AutoLoop to my network of dealers because they have a phenomenal installation process, a great training program and the best follow-up training in the industry. That’s why we partnered with them for Bradley On Demand.
AS: And with that, I want to thank you both for talking to us.
SB: My pleasure.