Five Quick & Easy Rules That Will Grow Your Sales
Sometimes it’s easy in automotive retail to overthink this whole sales thing. Confusing concepts ranging from multi-touch attribution to your VDP strategy can boggle the mind of the average sales manager; all while seemingly moving no more metal than the confusing concepts that came before.
The truth is that Ups are down and discounting is up; inventories are bulging, sales team turnover is growing; and it looks like the market is done routinely delivering those year-over-year increases we grew to depend on.
For the average dealer working to profitably grow sales today and long into the future, now is not the time to be learning new ROI metrics that take you further away from the sale. (Leave this to your marketing partners and make them prove their value at least once a month.)
Instead, dealers and their sales management teams would be better served focusing on running their business and employing a few simple rules that, when enforced, will help them profitably grow sales by creating a culture of accountability that drives that business.
#1: No Appointment, No Protection
In an effort to be “fair,” most dealerships protect lazy salespeople who fail to keep in contact with their own customers. They do this by awarding the deal to the lazy salesperson if their prior customer shows up and buys a vehicle.
This is not only not fair, it’s a fools bet that the customer will ever return on their own.
Once today’s consumer catches new car fever, there are just too many choices out there to expect they’ll remain loyal to you. As we know, only about 50% of new car customers are brand loyal, but how many of that half are also dealership loyal?
Your salespeople should be actively marketing to and setting appointments with their sold database. They should be greeting them when they service with you and they should be following a robust post-sale phone strategy that focuses on gaining real customer loyalty – ensuring your dealership gets first crack at them when they’re ready to buy.
If you want your sales team making calls to their sold database, remove the unfair protection you’re providing them just because they sold someone a car in the past. The rule is simply “no appointment, no protection;” and it works just like it sounds: If your prior customer arrives without an appointment, all salespeople are free to sell them a vehicle and retain full credit.
#2: All Calls Must Be Tracked Calls
Virtually all dealers have the necessary technology in place to track all outbound phone activity in their CRM; yet few actually make full use of this feature. There are usually two reasons why this simple solution is so underutilized: 1) The dealership didn’t know this was available; and/or 2) The dealership didn’t understand how valuable tracked calls can be to helping them reach their goals.
Depending on your CRM provider, outbound calls that are tracked are sometimes referred to as recorded calls or CTI Calls. (CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration; which is just a fancy way to say that the CRM and the phone system talk to each other so that the CRM knows when a given salesperson or manager has called a specific customer from your database.)
Because you likely already have this capability, it usually just takes a call to your CRM provider to get your CRM to begin tracking your outbound calls. Tracking, by the way, doesn’t have to mean recording. Many dealers, especially those in states where recording phone calls requires the consent of both parties, only use CTI to track that an actual phone call has been made, who made it, and how long they spoke.
Knowing that actual calls are being made versus hoping that your sales teams aren’t just checking off their phone activities (which they probably are) helps dealers drive higher sales with their existing leads, customer base and be-backs.
Given this, the rule is “all calls must be tracked calls.” This means that if a phone activity is simply marked as being completed, it never happened; only properly tracked phone calls in the CRM count as a valid completion of a required activity.
#3: Zero Past Due Activities
Dealers pay thousands every month for their CRM for a reason; yet most of their salespeople have hundreds or even thousands of past due activities piling up in their To Do lists. Many of these same dealers even have “rules” in place that require salespeople to successfully complete all of the activities assigned by the CRM. (I wrote “rules” in quotes, because these rules are not enforced or were written without necessary consequences.)
If you want your salespeople to complete all of the activities assigned by the CRM, then the “zero past due activities” rule accomplishes this. Simply put: If you have past due activities this morning, and you worked yesterday, you don’t get to catch any Ups today. Feel free to ride your desk, your CRM and especially your phone, and generate some appointments for yourself.
#4: Miss an Up, Lose One
Every dealer has a rule similar to “all Ups must be logged in the CRM.” The problem is almost no one enforces this. The “miss an Up, lose one” rule addresses this and simply means that if you catch an Up that you failed to put in the CRM, you lose your next spot in the Up rotation. Go have a seat and generate some business from your database.
The rationale for this rule and the next is that today’s Ups are more ready-to-buy and, thus, much more valuable than they were in the past. Given this, no dealer can afford to have prospects visit their lots anonymously or without some interaction by a sales manager.
#5: Miss a T.O., Lose Two
Just as every dealer has a rule requiring the logging of every Up, every dealer has a “100% T.O.” rule. The problem is, again, almost no one enforces this.
A properly executed T.O. (or management turnover) often gives managers or closers the opportunity to calm or close a difficult prospect (among other benefits). Without a T.O., most new salespeople would sell few customers; with a T.O., they can and do enjoy better than average close rates.
When appropriately applied, the “miss a T.O., lose two” rule puts the right amount of emphasis on the need for 100% turnovers. Simply put, if your Up leaves the lot without a T.O., you miss your next two spots in the Up rotation. Feel free to grab a phone and call your be-backs – likely for the rest of the day.
But, These Rules Are Too Drastic!
Rules matter; and if any of these rules sounds too harsh for your team, learn to be happy with mediocrity and continue to ride market waves. Great people love structure in the workplace and good performers need rules to keep them on track.
If nothing else, ask yourself what make more sense in the current market conditions: To continue chasing confusing concepts or to create a culture of accountability grounded in rules that help drive your business forward?
The choice should be easy.