While a favorable credit climate, strong economy, and low unemployment add to the bounty the automotive industry has experienced in the last five years, we often overlook the very basic, simple, yet valuable activities. Not only do these activities provide an instant form of success, but they also escalate today’s customer relationships into long-term relationships that carry through from sales to the service lane and back to sales again.

So as we close out the first half of the year, we decided it was time to do an activities check.  We asked three Regional Sales Directors at ELEAD1ONE for their midyear reminders that every franchised and independent dealership should enact every single day.

“Accountability is the one food we all must eat to survive.”
Focused managers hire employees who consistently strive to be better every single day. “Your team wants to get better,” says Regional Sales Director Stacy Murray, “they want to see the data that reflects their success or provides a clear look at where improvement lies.” As a manager, clearly communicating your goals and expectations is an essential component for your team to understand what success looks like in your store.  Measuring and examining individual and team progress on their activities, providing praise for reaching goals, and in the same measure, addressing opportunities for growth help keep the sales team in step with one another — every day.

Long-term follow-up builds bridges.
“It’s the New Car dealer’s secret weapon,” says Murray.   Utilize your CRM to see what leads are over 30-days old. If 50% of them close within 30 days — imagine what your close rate would be if you were implementing and executing good long-term follow-up practices including email, phone, and text; we see many dealers getting an extra five percent lift in close rates up to 180-days with consistent follow-up.

Log more. Sell more.
While business in the automotive sector is good, it is easy to let slide the very activities that contributed to that sales growth.  Don’t get blinded by the arrogance success can sometimes bring if you let it.   You can’t follow-up with what’s not been entered into the CRM in the first place – it’s that simple.”Enforcement comes from the GM/Owner — if we don’t mandate that our sales managers use the system, then why would you expect the salesperson to log prospects or the sales manager to enforce it?” stated Billy Reynolds, Regional Sales Director.

The quality of your logging is just as important as the act of logging every day.
Regional Sales Director Eric Wilson says “remember you are gathering information to create a long-term relationship with the customer — from the initial visit to the showroom for a test drive, and hopefully through the ownership side of the sales cycle.”  At a minimum, gathering the full name, along with two phone numbers and two email addresses (a work and personal email), and permission to text the customer will provide the solid groundwork for establishing a relationship that will allow for multiple touchpoints.  Wilson says, “Don’t pester, but stay in front of your customer if you want the ultimate sales to win. For be-backs, “always ask if their information has changed so you can update your prospective buyer’s record and continue to grow the relationship.”

Know before you show.
“Product knowledge is just as important, if not more so, on a used car lot,” says Billy Reynolds, Regional Sales Director.  “Having a switch car ready every time you (remove go to) show a used car will move forward the customer’s decision-making process, and perhaps even shorten the sales cycle.”

Don’t skip steps.
Today’s parent purchasing their teen’s first car could be tomorrow’s 2018 SUV owner. As Reynolds elaborates, “just because a customer is buying used doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a full presentation and demonstration.  For most people, next to their home, their vehicle purchase is emotional and significant one. Anyone showing an interest in your dealership deserves your utmost respect and attention from start to finish.”

In conclusion, being mindful that what may seem like an insignificant activity today, is highly significant in creating a memorable customer interaction. Those valuable engagements will ultimately lead to growth in profits and higher customer retention for the long-term.