That’s how much the average car dealership spends on advertising per new vehicle sold, according to NADA Data 2015.
Whether you realize it or not, there is one critical moment in the sales process that usually makes or breaks that $617 investment.
It’s the very first interaction between the customer and a dealership employee.
It could be an email, a phone call, or an in-person interaction, but the magnitude of that key moment cannot be overstated. It’s your first, and sometimes your only chance to make a good impression on a potential customer.
Sadly, though, I’ve found that many dealerships mishandle this moment, especially in cases where the customer reaches out to the dealership first.
Just look at the phone up process many dealerships still have in place.
When I visit dealerships where inbound calls are open to the floor, it’s almost always the newer sales consultants who are the most eager to take the calls.
That means the least experienced (and least capable) sales consultants are often the ones who are representing the dealership to potential customers at the most critical moment of the sales process.
This is night and day from the rigorous precaution we take with new salespeople in other contexts.
For example, when I was a rookie salesperson, it was months before I was allowed to take a showroom up on my own. To start, I was paired with an experienced salesperson and only allowed to observe as he worked his deals. In time, I was eventually allowed to work a few of my own customers, but even then, my work was under very close supervision.
If we’re that careful with new sales consultants in the showroom, why wouldn’t we be equally as careful with them on the phone? Unlike the showroom, where you can intervene if needed, you can’t do a thing to stop an inexperienced salesperson from dismissing a potential customer on an inbound phone call.
2 Phone Up Processes that Work
For dealerships without a dedicated Business Development Center, I’ve found there are two straightforward phone processes that can effectively improve how phone ups are handled. In both cases, you’ll start by having all inbound sales calls routed to a single location like a receptionist. At that point you have two options:
- The receptionist round robins the calls to the more experienced or specially-trained sales consultants; or
- The receptionist pages for “Sales,” and the sales consultants call in if they’re available. The receptionist can then send the up to the most experienced salesperson available at the time.
In both scenarios, your receptionist can then log the call and who it went to. This will:
- Limit your inbound phone leads to a select group of your best salespeople.
- Help ensure a consistent log of who took what call and when, allowing you to follow up with the rep later if needed.
Additionally, you could further improve this process with an investment in a call tracking system, or go even further by getting a fully integrated telephone system built specifically for automotive retailers.
Author: Alex Abramovich
Alex Abramovich joined Reynolds and Reynolds in 2012 as a consultant in Reynolds Consulting Services. He is qualified to consult on CRM process improvements and retail sales operations. Prior to joining Reynolds, he spent 10 years working in various dealership roles, including sales manager, finance manager, and general manager.