In the second quarter of 2012, the NCM Institute (NCMi®) formed a training partnership with Automotive Internet Management (AIM). After personally auditing two of these sessions and receiving client-dealer feedback from all of the sessions, I’ve become convinced that dealers and their sales management teams need to “raise the bar” on their expectations for Internet closing ratios.
At NCMi, we have always believed and taught that a 12% to 15% Internet closing ratio was a really good job. Most of the OEMs, Internet consulting firms, and “best practices” dealers have paralleled our belief. However, after experiencing the AIM training, and talking with a number of the AIM clients, I sincerely believe that the “true” Internet closing ratio metrics that define a “really good job” need to be raised to 18% to 21%. Here’s how I see these metrics being developed:
It’s also interesting to note that there is no “silver bullet” required to achieve what may appear to be very lofty objectives. According to Bill Phillips and Greg Elam at AIM, these metrics are attainable by doing the following:
Effectively organizing and managing your Internet lead data
Employing tenacious and quality lead follow-up
Ensuring greater involvement by sales managers in the eCommerce process
Thoroughly documenting lead management activities
Working smarter, rather than harder
Implementing and executing the Six Elements of Effective Accountability Management that we talk so much about at NCMi
The folks at AIM believe the automotive Internet sales process is really pretty simple. People will always sell vehicles. When used properly, technology is only an aid to selling. Internet consumers are the same as other customers; they are just communicating with you electronically. Just as with floor retail business, implementing basic, proven sales processes and management techniques will improve your eCommerce business. You CAN generate more gross profit from your eCommerce business if those proven principles are applied.