Lead count down? Try this little trick and watch the lead count grow.

As I travel from dealership to dealership I often encounter the same issues. This one is a recurring theme.

Many dealers allow their BDC manager or e-commerce director to place any phone number of their liking on the ads, websites and other e-commerce streams. Maybe the vendor told them it was best to advertise a different number for "tracking" purposes. Perhaps the BDC manager feels they need to "protect" their ability to prove the fruits of their labor. Perhaps they've sold you on the "tracking ROI" theory.

Please allow me to share with you the cold hard truth. It's all a bunch of bull malarkey. With today's CRMs we can track where clients are calling from and use old fashioned communications to discover what method the client searched us to input accordingly into CRM.

Any business is better off advertising their main phone number and having the call transferred to the BDC or to the sales managers or sales floor, depending on how your process works. Whatever your process is do not fall into the trap of advertising a bunch of different phone numbers just to please a vendor or a BDC manager. 

If you are like me you google or do some search engine to find the desired business you are looking for, then afterwards you "save" number into your contacts on your phone. This is where the rubber meets the road.

It never fails that I walk into a dealership and I use a these search engines "Google"- "Bing" and "Yahoo."  I always find dozens of phone numbers on these search engine sights associated with contacting the "sales" department.

You know what else never fails? 

I call all the numbers and at least two of them were old vendors the dealer no longer uses and those calls go to outer space. They just ring of the hook. Typically at least one or two of those numbers goes to an old extension the dealer used to use before they moved the BDC or moved personnel around and now that call goes to a dead line. Heck, at the last three dealerships I performed this little trick at I discovered numbers that had since been converted to a fax number so I got the loud screeching noise in my ear. Remember I was supposed to be calling "sales" at a dealership I had performed a search engine on.

Typically dealers spend many thousands of dollars advertising and I'm willing to wager many dealers would have a stroke if they realized how many phone numbers they had out there on search engines as well as their own websites. The stroke would become a full fledged heart attack if they called them all and found several of them are now dead lines, fax machines and forgotten about lines that connect to nothing but outer space.

Advertise your main phone number on everything you do. Everything, Your website, your ads, your emails, everything. Track the ROI yourself because you will undoubtedly have a lot more leads to track. You will never have your main number converted to a fax machine, or become a dead line due to moving your receptionist. It will never go into outer space because you no longer use a certain vendor. Your main number on everything will undoubtedly be saved into your previous customers, current customers, and prospective customers cellular devices. This will increase your lead count and doesn't cost you a thing.

Roger Williams

The AutoMotiveCoach

Twitter @Autocoach30

FB Automotivecoach sales training and blogs

Author of "Synergistic Selling"  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DLA3F3Y

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Comment by Roger Williams on April 26, 2016 at 10:00pm

Steve, my apologies, perhaps I am the argumentative one, if so, my apologies. Please review my book, it has become a best seller and Jim Ziegler and Dave Anderson promoted it on social media for me, and the book really started selling. If you buy my book and don't get anything out of it, send it to me and I will refund your purchase price. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/190-3216565-7256647?url=se...

Comment by steven chessin on April 16, 2016 at 1:33pm

"Basically your entire last response is singing from the hymnal of my teaching, same verse, same note, same page...."

Exactly.That was my intention. Sorry you thought I was arguing the point when I wasn't. I'd like to read the book. My daily work is with every member of the sales team to increase conversion to shows but I also let them have contact from their videos which is controversial but proven effective. Some dealers allow my effective approach and some don't.   

Comment by Roger Williams on April 12, 2016 at 4:31pm


At this point we are branching so far off from my original article that continuing this discussion has no merit. Branching off the original subject to make a point is generally known as arguing a point to make up for lack of merit of the original point mixing in video to the websites and social media has zero to do with paying vendors to advertise all kinds of different numbers on search engines. . However I must point out to you if you know my teaching or have read my book you realize I strongly advocate sales people videos both e-commerce and social media. I insist on follow up video, welcome video, test drive video, thank you video, specific unit marketing video, and "this is the unit you inquired on video"- However this is not even remotely related to the column of search engine phone numbers being dictated by vendors. It's not even a distant cousin. If you had read my book you would be aware that I am not just a proponent of video marketing but teach that the dealership should participate in the cost associated with boosting the videos. Basically your entire last response is singing from the hymnal of my teaching, same verse, same note, same page....

Comment by steven chessin on April 12, 2016 at 1:19pm

If a dealer wants to make their pages FAR more effective live salesman video must be "encouraged" which means - an incentive. I accomplish that by featuring direct contact info. Yes the dealer owns the page but the salesman owns their video content that drives the page to success. It is a collaboration for mutual success. I have seen many dealer pages where the "Internet Sales Manager" gets to place his own contact info --- without making any effort to deserve that self-promotion which comes at the expense of fairness to the sales team ---- it is a form of "spooning".  But when all have equal opportunity to be featured fairness is maintained and the pages are enhanced. Win / win. And of course this must be supervised and compliant with the dealer's best interests and values.  

Then --- there is the issue of salesman owned websites - even if they foot the cost.  

Comment by Roger Williams on April 12, 2016 at 12:03am

I think we are getting close enough to hear each other in a game of Marco Polo here....Like I said, if the salesperson is footing the bill, allow him/her to advertise any number they like- if the dealership is footing the bill, advertise the dealership number.

Comment by steven chessin on April 11, 2016 at 11:56pm

Maybe you will not find fault with my version of direct contact for the salesman - when earned -  as it does not interfere with the store's numbers, but does reward individual effort appropriately. I think it balances the needs of both the business and the business within the business. It is tasteful and unobtrusive.  

Comment by Roger Williams on April 11, 2016 at 10:43pm


 While I respect your input, this is the place you and I must agree to disagree. It doesn't make either of us right or wrong, it just simply means I do believe it is that "cut and dried". I go to dealership after dealership and I am amazed at the amount of phone numbers listed for them on line, and even more amazed when calling those numbers does not result in reaching the dealership. You say "a bdc manager wouldn't have IVM access" but many dealerships operate differently than you suggest here. For example when I asked the powers that be at specific stores more often than not the culprit is the vendor has sold someone the theory of "tracking" trumping advertising your main line. That someone usually turns out to be a sales or bdc manager. If the dealership is paying the bill, the main number needs to be advertised. Period. A specific vehicle needing sold will not trump advertising the main number in my book of business. If the sales associate, manager, or bdc manager pays for the ad they can advertise any number they like for their tracking ease, but if the dealership is paying for it, the main number is to be used. When the dealerships change all their search engine numbers to the main number the lead count instantly jumps up. Its an amazing phenomenon. I realize you took from my blog I was blaming BDC managers, but please be advised it's just as often sales managers who are the culprit, and neither do it maliciously, they just get sold a bad business practice by the vendors. It's a practice auto dealers need to be cognizant of, and need to eliminate. 

Comment by steven chessin on April 11, 2016 at 1:56pm

Roger - This is not so cut-and-dried - there are exceptions. 

"Perhaps the BDC manager feels they need to "protect" their ability to prove the fruits of their labor. 

A bdc manager would not have IVM access. But if the manager does perform vehicle marketing a motivated individual can generate sales by generating leads. The sale - and the appointment - from that lead were well-earned. I understand your point regarding overall marketing - but - the needs of a specific vehicle to be sold asap trumps that.   --- Call it "Manager Specials" -- and  if the system can't or won't track leads and direct them properly the contact info has to. 

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