Make Money Mondays with Sean V. Bradley - 'Message to Dealer Principals' - Automotive Sales
Make Money Mondays with Sean V. Bradley - 'Message to Dealer Principals' - Automotive Sales
STOP Believing The B.S. About Your Internet Sales Department Or BDC NOT Being Able To Make A Minimum Of 120 Calls Per Day Per Rep!
Most dealerships on a daily basis hear excuses from their Internet Sales Department, BDC or their Sales Team in regards to how many phone calls they can ACTUALLY make in a day. I have said it for almost 15 years that an Internet Sales Coordinator, BDC Rep AKA an appointment setter can and should make a MINIMUM of 120 calls per day. BOTTOM LINE, PERIOD but YET, there are dealers that ALLOW their employees to be COMPLACENT in MEDIOCRITY. That is right… they ALLOW Mediocrity. Please watch these videos over and over again. PLEASE go to the search bar on this site and search "Power Hour". This is NOT the first time I have done this and VIDEO RECORDED THE RESULTS. It happens ALL THE TIME!!
All I have to do is put up a $100 Bill… tape it to the wall and BOOM!!!! I SHATTER THE Mediocrity. I shatter the myth that they can't make all of those calls… I SHATTER their FEAR THAT THEY CAN'T do it. BOOM!
PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW Mediocrity in your stores or in your life.
If you would like to discuss this video or how I can help you obliterate Mediocrity in your Internet Sales Department, BDC or Showroom. Please feel free to call me or email me-
This scene was the inspiration for my blog, "My Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine". You're spending a lot of time and money on lead providers, SEO, SEM, website goodies, etc........Are Lucy and Ethel handling your leads? Why go to all of this trouble and expense if you are not serious about training. This clip is one of the funniest moments in television history. When you think of those little candy chocolates as $3000-$4000 missed car deals, it's not that funny.
If this reminds you of your Internet Department, then pay close attention to every word you hear at Internet Sales 20 Group.
Who's your Danny?
The 2013 Special Finance Benchmarks were announced at the Used Car University Subprime Conference, held last month in Las Vegas. To no one’s surprise, after analyzing tens of thousands of special finance (SF) transactions, the performance benchmarks increased in nearly every aspect of operation from 2012 to 2013. In some cases, the numbers came in at or above all-time highs. These upticks certainly demonstrate an aggressive and competitive battle for market share among auto finance companies.
The chart here supplies all the key metrics that comprise the Used Car University benchmarks, which are calculated at the 75th percentile levels. The following will delve into some of the most important metrics dealers typically look at daily.
Volume and Conversion Rates
We begin with deal volume and the general makeup of dealers’ SF businesses. While both franchised and independent dealers enjoyed a general uptick in volume, franchised dealers grew at a rate of slightly more than 10 percent — all based on new-vehicle sales. In 2012, new vehicles comprised 34.7 percent of a franchise dealer’s SF volume. In 2013, that ratio grew to a whopping 40.8 percent, which shows the strong influence of the captives’ subprime efforts. And their impact on the market is being felt all the way down to “Tier 4” SF customers.
And as unit volume increased, so did both the conversion ratio of showroom opportunities and deal gross profit. This year, franchised dealers converted 37.9 percent of the SF opportunities that made it into their showroom. They did slightly better than independents, which converted just less than 33 percent of their opportunities into sales.
Conversion of most lead types improved in 2013, especially third-party leads. Franchise dealers converted nearly 11 percent of their third-party leads, while independents converted nearly 10 percent — both significant improvements from 2012 and the past four years.
Internet leads also converted well. Independents delivered 14.9 percent of all SF leads they received from their websites, while franchised dealers delivered 14 percent of their leads, just a tick off from last year.
Phone conversion increased as well. As a group, franchised and independent dealers converted in the mid-13 percent range of all incoming SF phone calls.
One metric absent from this year’s benchmarks is the credit-hotline lead, where customers dial a toll-free number to apply for financing. Such leads have been a staple in the SF segment since the early 1990s. This year, however, marks the first time that an insufficient number of dealers reported credit-hotline usage, making the category’s results statistically irrelevant. Results from the few dealers who reported using credit-hotline leads were all over the map, making it impossible to set a benchmark.
Gross profits on SF deals soared this year. Unlike the last two years, when there were significant differences in vehicle (front-end) gross profits between franchised and independent dealers, gross profits in 2013 came in close enough to set a single benchmark: $2,235 per SF vehicle sold. F&I (back-end) gross profits did continue to see a significant variance. The franchise benchmarks dipped ever so slightly to $1,056 per SF vehicle sold, while independents improved gross again to $763 — still far short of the franchised dealer mark.
Adding the front and back ends together, total deal benchmarks for 2013 come to $3,291 per SF vehicle sold by franchised dealers and $2,998 for independents. That’s a significant increase over 2012 and the past five years.
For the second consecutive year, SF advertising expenses still remain inefficient compared to past years. Franchised dealers actually reduced their ad cost per vehicle sold to $436, while independents crept up to $360. Additionally, ad expenses as a percent of gross profit still dropped for both sides due to the significant increase in deal gross profits.
Investment in advertising media varied significantly between franchised and independent dealers. Franchised dealers, who spend more money overall, tend to direct more of their ad budgets toward broadcast and digital than independents. They drive the customer to the phone or dealer website and then work leads through a call center or business development center (BDC). Only 11.5 percent of all the total opportunities received by franchised dealers are customers who walk into the dealership. As for independents, more than one in four customers walk into their stores before first contact.
Results also revealed that franchised and independent dealers amped up their broadcast media spends this year. Forty-four percent of franchised dealers spend money on radio advertising, and for those who do, that medium represents 73 percent of their entire SF advertising budget. TV is also in play. It’s used by nearly one in three franchised dealers, representing 54 percent of their ad budgets.
Whether franchise or independent, one thing is for sure: The numbers add up to increased success and penetration into the subprime credit market. While deal conversion and gross profits have not quite returned to 2007’s peak levels, they are not far off. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see SF benchmarks reach all-time highs in 2014
Your website provider should be able to provide you with a monthly report that lists the number of hits your site has garnered, the sources of those hits, how long the average visitor spends on your site and what they are visiting on your page.
Most dealerships now have an Internet department. Some stores have gone full speed by appointing an Internet manager, hiring representatives to follow up on leads and creating an advertising budget. Other stores have approached the digital age more cautiously, just dipping their toes into the vast pool of online media.
I visit dealerships across the country, and there seems to be no similarity at all in how Internet sales are handled and accounted for. Some dealers think they are maximizing their online sales revenue just by answering every e-mail and chat request.
There is a lot more to it. It just depends on how much money, time and resources you are willing to commit to the project. Full speed or not, from an accounting standpoint, it may make sense to set up a separate department to manage the income and expenses you derive from online sales. Here’s a six-step plan:
1. Hack Your DMS
It should be very simple to set up a new department on your dealer management system (DMS). Assign your new department a number and name, set up income and expense accounts and assign them a factory financial statement line number so they show up on your monthly financial statements. This step forces you to decide how you are going to track your Internet sales, as most factory charts of accounts don’t have separate accounts set up for Internet sales, cost of sales and expenses.
2. Track Your Sales
To properly track your Internet sales, you must set up separate sales and cost-of-sales accounts for each model of new vehicles you sell. Do this for your used inventory as well. If you don’t track these sales, cost of sales and gross profits separately — whether on a spreadsheet or in your accounting software — so you can subtract them from your financial statements, you will probably not have a clue if the money you are spending for this department is worth it.
3. Establish Your Structure
Decide whether your Internet personnel should handle the lead all the way to the finish line or hand the lead over to one of your regular salespeople. If it changes hands, you have to decide how you want to record the deal on your books. If not, note each Internet sale on the deal jacket so accounting knows which sales account to record it in, where to post the commission and where to list other costs associated with the sale.
4. Separate Your YTD Expenses
Once you have the department and the general ledger accounts set up, you can move the year-to-date (YTD) expenses from the accounts you have posted transactions to all year to the new accounts. That will allow you to start your department analysis in the current month.
Once you begin posting the sales and cost-of-sales accounts separately, you can easily see whether your Internet department is profitable. Make sure you allocate the correct payroll costs for the personnel working in this department. It should be based on the percentage of time they are spending there. Now you can calculate the average gross profit per unit sold, the commission or cost to sell it, and the variable expenses associated with it — the same as you would with your new- and used-vehicle departments.
Make sure you have set up accounts for Internet-centric expenses such as website design, in-store Internet usage, monthly web hosting maintenance fees, search engine optimization and lead-management software costs, not to mention your manager and sales representatives’ salaries and commissions.
5. Separate Your Fixed Expenses
If you really want to do it right, you should be allocating some of your semi-fixed and fixed expenses to the Internet department. How much is up to you. This can be a real pain to analyze and allocate, so you may want to have the department up and running for a while before you take this step. Your office manager or accounts payable expert can probably tell you which expenses pertain to your new department.
For the most part, your largest expenses are going to be personnel and electronic media software and usage fees for each click, etc. These are the ones you need to pay the most attention to, as they are variable and controllable costs. If the cost of each sale is larger than the revenue you are generating, you will need to decide how to drive more people to your site that may buy, or start reducing some expenses so the department is not a drain on your dealership’s profits.
6. Order Your Reports
The profitability of any department depends on performance. Your Internet manager should track how long it takes to respond to a lead and how many leads are closing as actual sales. Your website provider should be able to provide him or her with a monthly report that lists the number of hits, the source (e.g., Google search terms), how long the average visitor spends on your site and whether they are visiting different departments.
With the right information at hand, you should be able to compute your cost for each lead and unit sale. Better yet, you can make intelligent decisions on how to improve your website, your inventory mix and your process for handling Internet leads.
Once you have set up new accounts for the income and expenses generated by your Internet department, you can determine whether the department is profitable. If it isn’t, you need to act fast. Look at your site from the perspective of a potential customer and ask yourself the following questions:
Hi, my name is Johnny Dealer. I spend my mornings listening to incoming sales calls from the previous day. I then, go into a deep depression. I guess I am like most dealers, but today, I'm going to do something about it. I am going to create a system that will eliminate missing all of these opportunities. I am about to create a Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine.
Here is how I'm going to do it.
First, I'm going to TOTALLY commit to my new lead department. I am going to commit finances, facilities, training, equipment, and most importantly, PEOPLE. I am going to hire a real-life Manager to run this department and I'm going to pay this person just like the rest of my managers. After all, this department is every bit as important as the others in my dealership. I know that the future of this department is wholly dependant on MY buy in. I AM IN!
What am I going to call this department. BDC? Internet Department? I think I am going to call it the Appointment Department. That is the most accurate name I can think of, plus, calling it the Internet Department only makes me feel more techno-ignorant. I want these employees to know that the appointment is the objective. We'll hand them of to specialists when they get here.
I want to make this Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine to run smoothly and most importantly, be reliable. I can't have it breaking down at inopportune times. I think I'll begin with my people. I'm going to take my time and only hire the best and pay them well. Training? Of course. I think I'll do this in two stages. First, I'll get my hands on the best phone scripts and email templates in the industry. We will train them relentlessly until they can recite them in their sleep. After that, I will teach them our incoming lead concepts. 1. We got what you want. 2. You got what we want. 3. You're special, we're special. (see my article, "Incoming Calls are as Easy as 1,2,3.) I want my people to not only memorize the word tracks, but I want them to UNDERSTAND the content and CONVEY the motivation to the customer.
This machine is beginning to take shape.
Now, I must set up a process that works for everyone. Everyone in my store needs to know this process, inside and out. When a lead comes in, who takes it? At what time do they turn it to a Manager? Can they discuss price? If not, who then? How about follow up? When and how often do they get back with a customer? Do they do it by phone, email, video, or in person? When do they stop trying? I will make sure that ALL of these questions are answered in my process.....my WRITTEN process. How can I expect my people to perform if they are not clear on my vision.
I spend a fortune on tools in my service department. Every time I turn around, my manufacturer has generously shipped and billed a new piece of equipment that is now needed to work on the new models. In my new Appointment Department, I'm not going to cut corners on their tools. They are going to need their own area, with fast computers, great phones with headsets, and a great CRM. The equipment and resources they have are a reflection on my commitment to this department.
How can I make this machine consistent? If I dump a specific number of leads into my machine, how can I be sure of exactly how many car deals will come out the other side? This will boil down to tracking and expectations. I have learned over the last 30 years, that if you want to see numbers increase, simply track them. What are my expectations? I guess I will leave that to the experts. I want to set appointments with 60% of my fresh leads and 40% of my leads that are a week old or more. 50% of them will show. I want to sell 45% of the appointments that show up. I know everyone has different numbers that work for them, but these work for me.....for now. That leads me to "expectations". I know that my people will perform to their expectations. It is MY job to not just manage people, but manage their expectations. I promise make my expectations so clear that they become their expectations.
When my machine is built and running effectively, I vow to soup it up. You know, like a turbocharger. I can start getting innovative with video appointment confirmations, fancy .pdf proposals, bringing in trainers, hiring phone coaches, data mining, lead screening, video search optimization, email marketing, social media promotions, and the like. Heck, my new machine will even be able to handle service leads!
If is a big two-letter word. But...
My mission is simple now......Find more leads to feed the machine!
Who's Your Danny?
PS - My apologies if your name is, in fact, Johnny Dealer. Any negative references to this name is strictly coincidental, especially if you actually live on 123 Elm Street, Anytown, USA. or work at ABC Motors.
Practicing script training having a great time. Learning a lot of different things.
It's that time again! AutoUSA is collecting responses to its annual Fall Internet Marketing survey. Sales Managers, Sales Directors, Internet Sales Managers, BDC Managers, Internet Directors, General Managers, dealer principals and others involved in auto dealership Internet Marketing are invited to participate.
The survey is just 15 questions and will take less than 15 minutes to complete. When all responses are collected, we will randomly select one survey participant to receive a $300 Visa gift card. But you can't win if you don't answer the questions! Please click on the link below to get started, and in less time than it takes to finish your cup of coffee, you will be entered into the prize drawing. In order to be eligible for the prize, you must work at a dealership and be a resident of the U.S. or Canada.
Thank you so much for your time and participation!
Click here to get started:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AutoUSAFall2013AIS
BEWARE of YOUR Internet Or
Business Development Department Infrastructure
For more than nine years, I have traveled the country conducting consulting and training for approximately 500 dealerships, and before that I worked on the front lines for five and half years. I have tracked trends, patterns, common situations that effect dealership’s success, and what is crystal clear is that region, franchise or demographics don’t matter. I want to share some revelations I have identified that will help you sell more cars, more often and more profitably.
Dealerships are not staffing their Internet or business development department the right way. I see the same thing over and over at dealership after dealership. For example, dealers will have 500 leads in their CRM and have one or two appointment setters working those leads — or worse, they have no appointment setters. They just rely on showroom consultants to handle all of those leads.
Let me just dive into my concerns in this scenario, beginning with having too few appointment setters. This doesn’t work because there are far too many leads to be handled for only one to two appointment setters. Understand that you only have an 11 to 14 percent connection ratio from phone call attempts. I train clients to make 120 calls per day, no exceptions. However, we find that the average dealership’s appointment setters are making only 50 to 75 calls per day.
Let me break this data down for you:
On average, 50 call attempts will only convert to five to seven conversations. Does that sound productive for an eight-hour day? Of course not. With two appointment setters each making 50 calls, they will have 10 to 14 conversations for the entire day. Remember that is only 10 to 14 conversations out of 500 leads. Leads mean opportunities to do business. These prospects are in the market but we do not engage them?
Even if your people were making 75 calls each. One rep’s connections would be seven to 10 conversations and two rep’s connections would be 14 to 20 connections. That’s still inadequate compared to the lead volume.
Now, let’s discuss the scenario of having no appointment setters and just utilizing your showroom sales consultants. The average dealership has approximately 10 sales consultants, and they have lots of responsibilities as well as ways for them to sell an automobile. Let’s look at the eight different ways a showroom sales consultant can sell an automobile:
Lets be honest: I believe the vast majority of automotive sales consultants do not engage the full eight ways to sell an automobile and even if they do, the majority do not do it consistently. But, let’s pretend for a second that they do. How can the average sales consultant handle their full sales responsibilities plus handle the 50, 75 or 100 fresh Internet leads they receive per month? If an appointment setter — who does not have to do a product presentation, demo drive or a delivery — only makes 50 to 75 calls per day and converts only five to seven conversations per day, how many phone call attempts do you really think your sales people are making?
Let’s add another crazy, but important, variable called the residual flow factor. That means the “carry over leads.” Remember that the average Internet prospect is approximately 45 to 90 days. So, if you receive 400 leads in the month of June and you sell 40 units, it doesn’t end there. Just because you close your month doesn’t mean that all of those 370 other leads that didn’t buy are garbage. On the contrary, those are actual working (“cooking”) opportunities. So, let’s say that out of the 370 remaining leads, 200 are still active and viable opportunities. You will start July 1 with 200 “carry over” leads, plus you will receive an additional 400 “fresh” leads for a total working lead opportunity of 600 leads. This is known as your residual flow factor.
Now, let me give you the “secret formula” to success. I have numerous nationally recognized client success stories. Clients using this formula have graced the cover of every major automotive magazine, including AutoSuccess (The most recent would be Alan Vines Automotive, in the September 2012 issue).
Alan Vines Automotive has five appointment setters:
Five coordinators X 120 calls per day = 600 calls per day
600 calls per day X five working days = 3,000 calls per week
3,000 calls per week X 4.3 weeks in a month = 12,900 calls
12,900 calls X 12 percent connection ratio = 1,548 connections with prospects
1,548 connections X 25 percent appointment made ratio = 387 appointments
387 appointments X 60 percent appointment show ratio = 232 appointment shows
232 appointment shows X 42 percent close ratio = 97 units delivered.
97 units delivered (as documented in the cover story)
Alan Vines Automotive receives 600 to 700 fresh leads per month and has a residual flow factor of 800 to 900 working leads.
My final point is that your Internet sales appointment setters should not be doing anything other than dealing with fresh and carry over Internet sales leads. The only exception is if you have them take incoming phone-ups. That is perfectly in alignment with the system. Do not, however, have them working on:
Unsold showroom traffic
Getting lunch, coffee, etc.
If you think your one or two appointment setters (if you even have them) can work 300 to 500 fresh Internet leads plus do any or all of these things, you are wrong. If your dealership has these efforts tasked to the Internet appointment setter, I suggest that you delegate to someone else, hire BDC appointment setters or accept mediocrity.
If you have any questions or comment about this article, or if you would like me to personally review your Internet or BDC infrastructure with you, please feel free to e-mail 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. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you need to know to developing and evolving the Internet Department at your dealership.
We are going to review 4 different Internet Departments that went from 20-30 units online to over 100, 150 and even 210 units per month online and onto the covers of AutoSuccess Magazine, Digital Dealer Magazine And Auto Dealer Monthly Magazine!
"How To Grow Your Internet Department" - OVER 500+ Car Dealers Attended This FREE KPA Webinar Today
The term wif-fi does not have a meaning. It is a shortened name given by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, the group which ensures compatibility between hardware devices that use the 802.11 standard. Wi-Fi is used for high-speed connections (10 Mbps or greater) to laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets and any other wireless device located within proximity indoors or within several hundred yards outdoors.
Wi-fi service providers are networking cities and other areas with a high concentration of consumers. These location networks are called "hot-spots" and access can be free or fee based. The original wi-fi service providers had no idea this technology would have such broad appeal and acceptance by even small businesses owners. Blacksburg, VA was one of the first cities wired with free wi-fi for the entire city.
Some wi-fi service providers use their sign-up page as new space for advertisers in hot-spots in airports, train stations, shopping malls, hotels for example.
With such high level of use by wireless device owners can wi-fi become the next successful marketing and advertising channel? Most businesses, that offer free wi-fi, provide the hot-spot as a tool to keep shoppers in the business longer in hopes of getting sales for products and/or services offered.
What if a business with free or secure wi-fi had a cost effective means to place opt-in ads for all users of the wi-fi service? That would mean the business owner could control advertising of its products to all shoppers casually using the wi-fi for Internet surfing and make more sales.
As a dealer would you expand your wi-fi to an advertising tool for more sales opportunities? If so, ANProximityMarketing has the exclusive rights for such a service in the U.S. Call 571-235-6538 and sign-up now.
This is the third in a series of blogs I’ve been writing on metrics: in my last blog we discussed the average percentage of sales in dealerships that can be attributed to Internet leads. This week, I’d like to talk about average front-end gross per vehicle.
In a recent survey we conducted, we asked dealerships representing all types of makes and models:
These were the two questions related to front-end gross in the survey:
1) What is the average front-end gross per vehicle sold in the showroom (floor sales) in your store?
2) What is the average front-end gross per vehicle sold in the Internet department in your store?
We wanted to first quantify the difference between gross from showroom sales and Internet sales, and we wanted to compare the averages of stores in different “performance brands.”
Here are the survey results:
• 29% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the showroom is > $1,300
• 15% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the Internet department is > $1,300
At the same time:
• 9% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the showroom is < $800
• 21% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the Internet department is < $800
It’s clear there’s quite a disparity between averages in the showroom and the Internet department. We consulted David Kain of Kain Automotive on this question, because he believes (and the survey results reflect this), that most Internet salespeople tend to discount too soon. This tendency leads to lower front-end gross averages in the Internet department.
Regardless of what your dealership’s average gross per vehicle (PVR) is, the goal is for the showroom and Internet department averages to be the same. Why is this important? The higher the gross per vehicle, the higher your ROI and profits are.
We compared answers from dealerships making seven times or more ROI on their Internet spend, to those making three times or less ROI on their Internet spend, regardless of make or model. The results were compelling:
Internet Department ROI
Showroom PVR > $1300
Internet PVR > $1300
So how can you increase your average front-end gross per vehicle, as well as get the Internet department gross in line with the showroom gross? Here are a few tips:
1) Always provide the customer with choices and carefully review leads for model selection and trim levels. If you’re quoting your customer the loss leader or base model and they want the luxury model, then you’re setting them up for a price expectation way lower than is reasonable.
2) Just like when you’re face-to-face with a customer, focus on building value in the vehicles. Customers want to know what they’re buying is worth the money, and you have the opportunity to explain why the price is what the price is
3) Don’t be tempted to immediately give a discount, and be wary of programs that send inventory selections to customers with quotes designed to beat your competition or that are loss leaders. Big discount quotes make the customer believe all vehicles can be significantly discounted.
4) Mystery shop your competition from time to time on key vehicles to ensure you’re pricing your vehicles to market.
5) Consider location. If a customer is close to you, then price in the convenience of shopping with you. If the customer lives 20 miles away and has to drive past multiple competitors in order to get to your store, you may be more aggressive in your pricing.
6) Set the rules in the Internet department based on what vehicles are selling for in the showroom. If they know the ‘floor’ price, you’re less likely to have a significant discrepancy between the showroom and the Internet gross.
What other tips do you have to raise the average front-end gross per vehicle, and more importantly, to increase the averages in the Internet departments to be more in line with showroom averages?
A General Manager of a Toyota Dealership with 35 Years in the Automotive Sales Industry Talks About Internet Sales
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.
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