All of us have heard the pitches: “Sign Up Now and Get MORE Leads!” or “Sell More Cars with Our [Awesome Product]” or “Increase Sales with Digital Lead Generation Now!” I mean, who doesn’t want more leads, right? Well, perhaps you don’t.
Why? Because if you’re not successfully converting leads to sales (with data to back it up) then piling more leads on top of a bad process, and spending even more money to do it, is an exercise in futility.
All of these claims and more are heard at every automotive dealer conference and 20 Group I’ve been involved with.
FACT: It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got 100, 1,000 or 10,000 leads when you’re not effective at converting them.
Poor lead process = poor closing ratios = poor performance
At Kruse Control, we’ve had clients who refrain from the “get more leads” mentality until they’ve deconstructed and reconstructed their lead handling process. Some take months to test it and all spend time regularly refining it.
5 Lead Process Questions to Answer Before You Spend Another Dime on Lead Generation
If you discover that your lead process isn’t what you’d like it to be, take a look at your operation and then ask yourself these five questions. The answers will provide a basis to refine your own process and increase dealership sales performance.
1. Where do my ideal leads come from?
As long as I’ve been in the car business, lead attribution and sourcing has been an issue. Here’s the thing: it’s not going to get any better unless you establish a process for knowing and understanding where your ideal leads are coming from.
Digital marketing affords you ways to determine where the best leads come from but only if regular examination and assessment is part of your lead process.
2. Which lead generation strategies and tactics get the highest ROI (Return on Investment)?
Remember in my last post where I said to “Follow the money“? If you’re not paying close attention to expense with every digital marketing action’s effectiveness, then you’re probably throwing money into the wind.
3. Who fields the lead first?
BDC = Business Development Center
In high-performing, profitable stores, the BDC is tracked and held accountable for developing actual new business. When that’s the case, it’s amazing.
When that’s not the case, then the BDC is simply a crutch for an ineffective sales department.
FACT: Every sales department is an Internet sales department. There is no separation between the two.
Effectively managing a dealership today means that every salesperson is trained to greet the customer online, where purchase decisions are often made.
4. Are my lead responders doing it right?
According to Google, 95% of customers begin their vehicle purchase journey online. They’ve done their research and are considering buying from your store.
One of the biggest failures I’ve witnessed in dealership operations is the lack of adopting a lead process to meet the customer where they are in their specific journey. Sadly, canned emails that have benign information, poor grammar, and no inviting language or videos are the norm. Some retailers don’t even bother to use the lead process tools that a CRM supplies.
Make no mistake, you will lose business if you’re not providing the customer with a personalized lead follow up that shows you KNOW where they are in their process.
Let me explain: In the old days, if someone came into the store in person, completed the app, talked about financing, demoed the vehicle and left the store, promising to come back tomorrow, you wouldn’t make them do that all over again the next day, right?
The difference today is that these customer actions happen online and it’s your job to be organized enough (ie: have an established process) to continue working the deal once they reach out to you.
The CRM is a tool to support your lead process, not take its place. Every lead response must work the deal from where the customer is.
5. What tools do I use to measure my managers’ effectiveness at optimizing the lead process?
At Kruse Control, we see many eager salespeople who recognize the value of social media in the sales process. Unfortunately, they are hampered by a sales manager who’s still stuck in the old way of operating. Even now, as we experience a softening market, these naysayers wield their power and far too any are not equipped to handle today’s digital operations.
Very few owners, dealers and GMs are willing to address this problem and the longer it goes on, the less relevant the dealership model will be.
In an effective lead process, putting forth expectations and following up with accountability using data is crucial.
Effective lead process = higher closing ratios = better performance
For any dealership to succeed at digital transformation, at communicating successfully with today’s hyper-connected customer, it’s got to establish an effective lead process before seeking more lead generation.
A sinking ship doesn’t need more water, it needs a process to bail out the excess so it can sail to profitability.