CONFESSIONS OF A MYSTERY SHOPPER - PT 5

I just discovered that in the past sixteen months I have launched more than 225 mystery shops.  Wow.  I didn’t realize there had been so many.

You’d think after 225+ mystery shops a guy should have some profound observations and conclusions to share about mystery shops, right?  I don’t know about the profound part, but, yeah, you’re right, it seems that a person should have some observations and conclusions to share.


So I’ve spent the last couple hours ruminating and writing down things that currently stand out in my mind.  Here they are, in no particular order of importance. Feel free to add some of your own or challenge these.

1). The view from out here in shopper land is way different from your view down in dealer land.  I thought I was a pretty good template writer and process builder when I was an Internet salesman; I now see that I wasn’t nearly as good as I credited myself for being.  It took this new outside perspective to show me that.  My advice: seek outside opinions when tweaking your process and content.  Our industry is famous for singing only to its own choir.

2). When a fresh eLead arrives we don’t and can’t know what it is. 
- Is it a new car inquiry from someone who actually wants a used car?   
- A person whose lease isn’t up for a year and is just window shopping?   
- A 14 year old kid building his fantasy Mustang on your OEM’s site?   
- Someone hopelessly upside down in their current vehicle, still hoping for a miracle rescue?   
- Someone who thought they were registering online to win a free iPad?  
- A buyer? (Yay)!  But also a grinder?  (Boo).  
- A “Get me bought” with a 500 Beacon? 
- Someone who is actually bona fide ready willing and able to buy something today?    
- Or one of at least 1,336,749 other possibilities that can be to added to the list above?

Until a connection with the sender is established (if it ever is), we can’t know what that eLead represents.  Therefore, doesn’t logic say that the only smart way to respond is to attack the lead from all sides using every tool in our arsenal?  

Very, very few (maybe 2%) of the dealerships I have shopped do this. Instead, most make some timid outreaches for a day or two and wait for the lead to reveal itself. Meh.

3).  You’ve heard this before: He who responds the fastest wins.  He who responds most often wins. He who responds using the greatest number of media (email, phone, text) wins.  He who responds using all of the above wins big.

4). Let’s say this is a pretty typical Day 1 – 5 Internet response schedule:
- Day 1 – Send a first quality response (FQR) email, make a phone attempt, maybe send a text.
- Day 2 – If lead is unresponsive, send a quality email, make a phone attempt, maybe send a text.
- Day 3 – If lead remains unresponsive, send a quality email, make a phone attempt
- Day 4 – If lead remains unresponsive, send a quality email, make a phone attempt.
- Day 5 – If lead remains unresponsive, send a quality email, make a phone attempt.

With some variations, we all agree that’s pretty much how it should be done, right?  So how come my shopper almost never, ever gets follow-up that even closely resembles this? 
 
If your current Internet salespeoples’ workload and/or work schedule prevents them from being able to accomplish the above, you have a problem with your workload and/or work schedule.  If your workload and/or work schedule provides them the time needed to complete these tasks and they are not completing them – you have a problem with your people.

Bonus info:  Ford Digital Team consultants have access to new car days-to-the-sale data for each of our stores.  In my region, 35% - 50% of all sales take place within 5 days of an eLead’s arrival.  Doesn’t logic say, then, that making sure your people are giving prospects complete coverage Day 1 – 5 is primo importante?

5).  We still think we are selling cars via the Internet.  We are not.  Whether we realize it or not, we are in the eCommunications business instead.

6).  It doesn’t seem to matter if a store has a BDC, a dedicated Internet sales department, or just hands eLeads out to the sales floor.  My shoppers get equally bad service from all three!

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