Maybe you’re a GM, and you suspect your Internet department is underperforming. Or you might be an Internet Manager who’s tired of losing deals to competitors that tell your prospects to bring in their lowest quote. Either way, you’re in the right place; this is no average article – It’s a step-by-step plan on how to improve sales.
I’ve been an internet manager with various Los Angeles area dealerships for nearly eight years. I’m not a green pea. I don’t work for a vendor. I’m not a consultant. In fact, I don’t even cling on to the simple dream of promotion; Internet Managers don’t seem to climb above the rank of Director. Has it happened? I’m sure. But I haven’t seen it. So just like you, I only make money when I sell cars. What you’re about to read is a plan to do exactly that. And it begins with a simple step:
Internet Department Leads Step 1:
Reorganize your CRM or find a way to create two distinguishable lead categories. In other words, if you have your CRM organized by steps, time, or any other factor, let go of that organization. Re-categorize new and existing leads into two major groupings with each rep: Engaged and Open.
If you’re wondering why I just suggested you trash your processes and maim your CRM, don’t worry. It’ll become clearer as we go along. First, here’s a closer look at these groupings:
Engaged Lead Category:
The engaged lead is the only lead that closes. If you’re winning deals without engagement, you’re winning on price alone. That’s not a war you can afford to continue. Your customers are getting too smart for old-school tactics. If you’re a dealer and you believe you could prove to me that low-balling to win deals pays off, think about this: If your competitor implements this plan, you will find yourself on borrowed time. And if your competitor doesn’t wake up, your customer sure will.
So, what is an “engaged” lead? This simply means that you and the shopper experience meaningful back and forth communication while discussing a deal. Simpler yet, it means you’re working a deal.
Open Lead Category:
These are people who don’t respond to your email and phone call attempts.
Let’s look at these groupings in terms of shopper behavior.
Open Leads don’t require much involvement with a manager; they are process-driven. You (or your internet reps) usually attempt communication with these leads until they become engaged. You probably already have a slew of templates and phone call requirements. I won’t get into details on these, but I’ll soon offer more suggestions on how you can convert these open leads into engaged ones.
With open leads, managers should closely align to a sales process; with engaged leads, managers should monitor the engagement to assist reps in closing. These leads really only end up lost or sold. And the better your upfront work in converting open leads to engaged leads, the higher the percentage of closes you’ll see.
So let’s get to the good stuff.
Internet Department Leads Step 2: Engage more.
To engage more, you need to stand apart from the crowd and create a reason for the customer to respond. It’s a simple concept. The hard part is how.
How to engage more:
Scrap your auto-response template. Most likely, it looks like everyone else’s.
The first response from your dealership should be a high-quality video intro by the rep assigned to the lead – like this one. Will every customer click the YouTube video link? Maybe not, but don’t worry – you’ll have more winning moves in store. For the percentage of shoppers who do watch the video, you have their attention. Please use it wisely.
What happens next? Your rep will try to call the lead and will email the lead (hopefully with a price quote). Basically, this rep will do what they always do – but they’ll also send another video email to let the open lead know that a quote is in their inbox and that they can come in any time to take a test drive. Here’s an example of an effective follow-up video.
How’s this done? The rep takes a quick, on-the-spot video with their smartphone and posts it to a YouTube channel. And just like that, you’re off the CRM grid already. Should this bother you? Nope. Remember, this is just a step in the process. You’ve now sent the customer (ideally within the first hour) a high-quality video link from your rep, a phone call, an email, and another email with a personalized video link that references the quote and invites them for a test drive. You’ve only added one more step to what you normally do, but you’re leaps ahead of your competitors. Why, you ask?
Internet Department Leads Step 3: Picture yourself as an open lead
Why don’t most people respond? Simple. They have some homegrown plan that sounds something like, “I’m going to get the lowest price and…” If the “and” part of their plan doesn’t involve you, it involves another dealer. Don’t you think that a response including a high-quality introduction to the benefits of buying with your dealer will help you find out more about your lead’s “and”?
Does any part of the “and” bother you? Look at it this way: if you don’t know what the “and” is, you don’t have a chance at this deal. No access, no deal. You need to get these open leads to open up to you. Toengage.
More Engagement Tips
If you’re reading this article, your dealer likely has a satisfactory dealer reputation on Yelp, Dealer Rater and/or Google. You may already be using positive reviews to your advantage. If you’ve been more modest in the past, create a new email template that links to your reviews. What happens then? The open lead reads your stellar reviews. And if he or she had also considered another dealer in their plan, they’ll naturally want to read this competitor’s reviews. If the competitor’s shoppers complain that the dealer is shady, you just won yourself some engagement. And any previous deals lost to this competitor just might be avenged after all.
It gets better. You may have seen all the shopper “tips” I’ve written on CarWoo! So right about now, you should begin creating your own bank of tips in email and video form that you can send to open leads.
Wait a second. We sell cars – we aren’t consumer advocates!
These tips are to be used on open leads and engaged leads that are falling for shady dealer tactics. Sending these tips not only converts more open leads, it helps rescue your engaged leads when you need them. Think of the tips as strategic smart-bombs.
Do you have a sense yet that you are talking to a lot of customers? That you are positioning yourself to win deals? If you’re still worried about the person who insists on a lower price, that so and so will match blah blah blah… I have a secret weapon – a secret, unexpected, and effective weapon, in fact. It will clean your competitors’ clocks.
The Secret Weapon
For the stingy lead you’ve engaged that still insists on some impossible deal, you’re going to get another quote. They probably won’t believe you – otherwise, you wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. But imagine this: wouldn’t they believe you if the very dealer giving them an impossible low-ball deal suddenly re-quoted a price that didn’t match up? They’ll be even more apt to believe you if they see seven other quotes that match what you’ve already told them. So how do they see this? What is this Secret Weapon?
While you’re on the phone with this lead, you’re going to launch a deal on their behalf on CarWoo!
You configure the car, plug in a name, and have them log in. The first quote they’ll receive is yours, to show them how it works. Then, you send them a message: “Isn’t this awesome?” Here’s the beauty of this secret weapon. Only YOU know who this lead really is and you see every quote they receive. This secret weapon, coupled with all your engagement steps (your videos, tips, reputation, etc.) has positioned you to win. If they still creep to your competitor, at least they’re far more educated than before to spot trickery and deliver a punishing blow to this competing dealer’s reputation (which benefits you, too). But in the end, you might find this humbled prospect at your door, asking, “Can you still offer that quote you’d sent me?”
Would you prefer to see some helpful examples or discuss this more? And how does all this relate to your dealer? Would you add anything? Leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Facebook. If enough dealers respond, perhaps we can further develop this new process together.