If there's one thing we're obsessed with in our industry – it's our CRM workflows. We live and breathe by the workflow; everything from our daily reports, reviewing them multiple times a day and using them as the “benchmark” for success to judging people’s worth based on them. While I am a fan of having a historical reference of past performance metrics and believe it's essential to have consistency in follow-up and a score card, the fact is many CRM's workflows are flawed. Flawed to the point where we often spend more time focusing on percentages and not the end results. The results are the goal. What we should be focusing on is quality and outcome. You’ll realize just as many appointments with a lower workflow completion percentage if you have the right tools at your disposal. And a lot depends on who’s crafting the workflow. Is it someone that’s not familiar with the reality of your market? Is it someone that’s embittered with today’s client? Is it someone that’s not that great with a specific prospect channel? Is it someone that’s never been in the car business but they have a marketing degree? Or is it someone that’s spent 6 months in retail and just wants to pound on customers until they “buy or die” without any class, concern or conscious?


Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, this isn’t suggesting your team should ignore "tasks.” What this is offering, however, is instead of focusing on how many calls, texts, emails, and chats it took to get the appointment (which most CRM's can’t effectively track in the workflow anyway), focus on how many appointments they’re setting first and the quality of the engagement. So, if your BD Agents or Sales Consultants are completing their "tasks" and making that report look good, but they're still not setting the optimal number of appointments, then you have to look at the content they're sending. Canned or otherwise, if it’s not situationally appropriate, you’ll know and it will be glaring. It's the idea that if we're using that workflow report as a means of saying "the more tasks you complete the more appointments you'll set," – not only is this not effective anymore, it actually has the inverse effect on appointments. Sure, if they were to call a few extra customers (completing the task) they might set another appointment. But that’s just hoping for the best, isn’t it? Why is it that someone crafting 100% custom responses (quality) are twice as effective as someone sending out canned responses?


What if instead we focus on how their tasks are being engaged? The key is meaningful engagement. Not just blasting out nonsensical emails “welcome to our buyers club” and then “here’s a letter from our General Manager” and then “here’s what some of our customers have to say” and then “here’s why we’re number one” *has anyone else noticed that everyone seems to be “number one” lately? I’m amazed by this. Maybe I’m not that good at math but if everyone is the “#1 DeLorean Dealership,” does that mean they all sell the exact same number of new and used DeLorean’s? Does a customer actually care? I buy based on convenience, treatment, proximity and price. If it’s an online purchase then reviews come into play. I don’t know on the magical and mysterious ranking on whatever list whoever is keeping where anyone I make purchases from falls….


We all know the initial response for an internet lead is critical when it comes to content, approach, and technique. We have one shot at our first impression. But make no mistake, if we're more focused on checking that "task" box to make the report look good but not focused on the content and how the leads are actually being answered, then we're missing the point. The point is that workflow is not measuring their success. Their success is measured by their performance. If their performance is not up to par – they're simply clicking "complete" to click "complete." And their results will show it. Is management being told not to ask “did you set the appointment, did the appointment show, why didn’t I get to meet them?” vs. “did you check off you sent the response, did you check off you tried calling, did you check off you texted, did you check off that you checked it off….”


For the workflow to make sense and, more importantly, drive results, your BD Agents and Sales Consultants must have the proper mindset and support. They also must have the proper training to support this in a nurturing and ongoing manner. Imagine if you were actively coaching your teams how to effectively email the customer? And, as a result, your response rate went from 22% to more than 50%? How many more appointments would they realize as a result of effectively using their workflow to drive results? Remember, the purpose of completing a workflow is to drive meaningful customer engagement with your store thus creating an environment in which the prospect is compelled to book an appointment.


One of the best ways to combat the "response" rate – making the most of your workflow – is active coaching! Sure, you can hire a self-proclaimed guru, buy a self-help book, or even listen to someone from a store that spends more time giving advice than actually working retail…. But when it comes time to "apply" those “techniques,” they often don't work. So, in most instances what ends up happening is you've paid the money for the magical fix that leaves you scratching your head. And as you read your afternoon emails – with another 500 emails sitting unread in your inbox – you press your palm into your forehead, wondering why nothing's changed? You paid for a result, right? No, you paid for some ridiculous rubber bracelets, maybe a baseball cap and a sign for the BDC with a saying that nobody understands.


To change the current results, you must have ongoing active coaching. There’s no magic answer, silver bullet or secret sauce…. It’s a formula and it’s simple: consistency x excellence + accountability = results. Active coaching that works on building a foundation. That foundation is understanding how to approach answering leads from each prospect channel. As they complete those tasks your results will follow the completion of the workflow with the goal being meaningful engagement. Active coaching also provides your team immediate and actionable takeaways. The keyword here is "actionable." Because they have a solid foundation – through active coaching – they now have the ability to use the actionable high-impact takeaways vs. relying on a one-day session full of "tips" & "tricks." Remember, "tips" & "tricks" are just that.


How many opportunities are you willing to sacrifice to complete your store’s workflow checkboxes? Isn't it time we finally address the real issue and offer your team high-impact actionable takeaways that build their performance and drive real results aka, the bottom line?

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