Who owns the customers?  Where do your employees work?  Are prospects even being called back?  Some dealers don’t know.  All because we allow some of our sales team members to do it their way.  You’re feeding into their problem. 


I’m asking you to ‘Just Say No’ to…

1)   Letting salespeople use their own personal email addresses when responding back to customers.

2)   Allowing salespeople to make all of their (so-called) follow-up calls to happen from their phones.


The prospect submitted a lead into your store… not your salesperson. So do not allow your team to respond back from their own personal @aol, @msn, @yahoo, @hotmail accounts when contacting the customer.  You are a business.  Act like one and require your employees to use company-only email.  It helps with the branding and it clears up confusion for the customer.  Moreover, it ensure you and your software are retaining the customer in your system.


And stop letting your salespeople convince you that they’re making their outbound calls from their cell phones.  It’s BS.  It shouldn’t be allowed.  They are likely lying about the amount of calls, but either way, it is disconnecting the customer from the dealership.  While I know that the employees own the relationship, the companies own the customers.  If a customer isn’t answering attempts from the dealer phones, I’m fine making a call attempt or two from the employee’s cell, but not all. 


These two problems are really just lazy employees’ drugs of choice.  It’s called “because it is easier for me” and they spike it into their veins every time they choose to do it their way.  Step in. Get involved.  Call an intervention.  And break this bad habit cycle before it affects the dealership as a whole.

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Tags: business, communication, consulting, dealerknows, joe, training, webb


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Comment by David Ruggles on March 28, 2013 at 9:42am

If one is responding to an email lead and contact information is provided that includes a work number, certainly the best time to respond is ASAP.  But for the vast majority of people who work standard hours, and who don't have the option of taking phone calls and emailing during work hours, the best time to contact them is the same time as peak showroom traffic hours. 

Comment by Joe Webb on March 28, 2013 at 9:11am

Actually, David, I don't believe the best time to make follow-up calls is the same as peak showroom traffic time. All of the data we've gathered shows that the best time to make follow-up calls is based on the time the "lead" arrived.  If a customer submitted a lead at 3:30pm on a Tuesday, the best time to make contact with them usually is as close to 3:30pm on that day and all subsequent days.  Same goes with following up with phone calls opportunities.  However, for walk-in customers, you're right... that usually is in line with showroom traffic time.  However, it appears to vary for each and every customer.

Comment by David Ruggles on March 27, 2013 at 10:28pm

At some point, someone will figure out that the best time to make follow up and prospecting calls also happens to be the time of peak showroom traffic.

Comment by David Van Engen on March 26, 2013 at 10:11pm

JOE KNOWS! --- Again, Joe is right on the money on an issue that exists in countless dealerships. We mystery shop dealers throughout the country, measuring their internet process and proficiency. During a series of mystery shops we perform for dealer group in Chicago, we could document only 62% of recorded calls made as compared to their CRM reporting. Surprised? … Don’t be. This is common practice for dealers without CRM/Phone integration or daily inspection.  

As further testament to Joe’s point, calls made in a controlled environment, on better phone systems, are clearer, better thought out and simply better received by customer. In the month of February, throughout all dealerships, we documented 22% of all voicemail response calls unrecognizable. Without searching the incoming phone number, we were unable to identify the individual and/or dealership who left the message.

Take a good listen to what your people are saying, and how they’re saying it!  

Comment by Joe Webb on March 26, 2013 at 12:06pm

Good point, Ron.  That is another angle I never considered.  I just believe more accountability happens from a dealer phone.  The customer is aware they contacted the dealership, but hasn't yet met the sales pro who will be assisting them, so it is opening up another communication channel for ease rather than exposure.  However, if a customer is ducking dealership calls, a call here and there from a mobile device can be beneficial to making contact.

Comment by Ron Rozier on March 26, 2013 at 11:44am

Joe, I have also found that sometimes when a sales person, especially men, keeping calling from their cell phone, it makes the customer feel a little uncomfortable. I can personally tell you I have had women and husbands tell me that they bought elsewhere because the sales person was bugging their wife constantly and they were not sure if the sales person wanted to sell a vehicle or if they were flirting

Comment by Mathew Koenig on March 26, 2013 at 11:11am
Amen Joe. We can't complain about our people "not getting results" if we don't create proper process and HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE to those processes.

If my name is on the building, I need to take ownership of my team and care enough about their success to hold them accountable for doing things right.

It's better for them, it's better for me and most important - it's best for the customer!
Comment by Joe Webb on March 26, 2013 at 11:05am

You're correct, Evan.  The people you hire will be the determining factor to success.  But, just because an Internet Sales Manager has the word "manager" in their titled doesn't make them need to be managed any less.  ISM's need to be managed too.

My good friend Gilbert Chavez (now at vAuto) always said, "The best thing about the Internet is that it's quantifiable.  The worst thing about the Internet is that it is quantifiable."  Trusting someone to do their job is what 95% of dealers do.  The other 5% hold people accountable to ensure they're doing their job. If the store has the technology to track phone calls outbound from an employee's cell phone, that is great.  It is okay to use your cell phone occasionally when calling customers, but not all the time.  The customer likely doesn't remember the ISMs name so have no inclination who their Caller ID is telling them it is.  They DO have an idea about the dealership. If a process is in place to endear the dealership and the ISM to the customer, a call from a dealer phone may be more advantageous.

Comment by Mr. Natural on March 26, 2013 at 11:00am

Wow Evan!!!  Great point, and so true. In the real world, it's far more important that they ARE responding, rather then how.  A wise man once said that "chance favors those in motion."  With this in mind, an active, successful salesperson could go far and beyond the call of duty and call from the Bat Phone.

Where can I buy a Bat Phone anyway?

Comment by Evan Johannson on March 26, 2013 at 10:27am

I think you make some valid points here, but.. This seems to me not an issue with how the work is being done, but an issue with who you have hired to work for you. The dedicated salesperson who cares about doing follow up and responds to all their customers in a timely manner should indeed be using a cell phone to have that personal touch and added rapport with their prospects.I personally (in my duties as the Internet Manager and single point of contact for all online inquiries) live and breathe on my cell phone. The company just purchased me a company cell but that is beside the point.


What it really comes down to is trust. If you have people working for you who you do not trust to follow through with their duties, does the issue truly lie with the manner in which they carry them out, or with the people you have hired?

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