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At its core, sales is a numbers game. It always has been and always will be. If you’re selling the same product that others are selling, you can only expect to close a percentage of customers that come into your store. In our industry, top performers close 50 to 60 percent of their appointments.

Therefore, logic dictates the only way to increase sales is to make more appointments. We all know you can’t rely on “ups” alone. So, how do you get more appointments? It’s pretty simple. You make more phone calls.

The person who makes the most phone calls makes the most connections. Those who make the most connections, make the most appointments and ultimately close the most sales. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Yet, many salespeople routinely struggle to make the necessary phone calls. This is why 30 percent of auto dealerships now use call centers for the type of “heavy lifting” phone calls that their sales team can’t, won’t or don’t do.

I’m talking about calling hot leads, cold leads and equity leads generated from data mining your CRM for potential customers who in a buying position, about to go out of warranty or come off lease.

What’s that I hear? Your salespeople are already making these phone calls? Are you sure about that?

Just because your team is making some phone calls, doesn’t mean they’re making the right kind of calls, or all the calls they could be making. Let me share a few common myths that I keep hearing, and the reality of what’s going on.

Myth #1: My salespeople are making those calls.
Fact: Your salespeople aren’t making enough calls.

Call center data shows it takes an average 4.8 phone calls to connect with a customer. The average salesperson follows up with a hot lead two or three times and virtually ignores cold leads. Plus, salespeople get caught up in other activities of daily meetings, talking to ups, customer appointments and lunch. There isn’t enough time in the day for them to make the hundreds of calls required for prospecting.

Call center agents make phone calls, every day, all day long. That’s the only thing they do, and they are trained to know how to handle each type call professionally and use the right call guide to get information dealers need.

Myth #2: My salespeople are motivated to make phone calls.
Fact: Salespeople are not paid to make phone calls.

Salespeople are paid on commission when they sell cars. So, they will always be chasing the down funnel leads they believe are close to closing—and rightly so. They are not data mining your CRM or creating strategies that will fill their pipeline full of prospects three months away from purchasing a vehicle.

Call center agents create organized outgoing call campaigns and execute those campaigns with precision. They don’t lose interest in customers who don’t call them back. They contact cold leads and nurture up funnel leads. Then, when a lead becomes “hot,” they hand it over to your sales team.

Myth #3: My salespeople have better phone skills than an outsourced agent.
Fact: Not all salespeople are great on the phone.

Do you hire salespeople based on the impression they made from a phone call or from their in-person interviews? If the latter, how do you know what their phone skills are? Most sales people are great face to face but many lack the patience needed for phone skills that are effective.

How much phone skills training do your salespeople receive? Or, do you just assume that they should know what to say and how to say it? Converting conversations into appointments is a specific and learned skill. Call center agents are trained how to be personable and sound authentic. Asking for an appointment too soon is guaranteed to drive the customer away. You need to earn the right to ask.

Myth #4: My salespeople are great at making follow up calls.
Fact: Some salespeople suck at follow up calls.

It’s not their fault. When a customer leaves your lot without purchasing a vehicle, the salesperson has often done everything they can do. When they call to follow up, they don’t have an enticing offer to lure the customer back in, so they resort to the “checking in” call or asking if the customer has made a decision yet. No wonder customers avoid answering their phones.

However, 95 percent of customers contacted by a third party are willing to take a short survey about their customer experience. This is what call center agents do. These surveys provide valuable insights into what your sales team is doing right and wrong so that you can coach them up effectively.

Additionally, sometimes the customer shares the real reason why they didn’t buy, which is not always the same reason they give the salesperson. When the real objection is identified, the customer feedback is given to a sales manager who has strategies to overcome that objection.

Yes, your salespeople “should” be making phone calls. But are they? That’s the only question you need to answer, and hopefully, it’s an honest answer. Because whoever out dials, out connects and outsells.

Prospecting_For_New_Customers_A_Lost_Art

As a salesperson, do you wait for leads and ups, or do you go out and actively prospecting for new customers?  No matter how great a salesperson you are, sales is a numbers game. If you want to sell more, you need to talk to more people. If you aren’t talking to enough people, you need to prospect. I believe that for the most part, prospecting for new customers is a lost art.

In today’s world, many salespeople believe that posting on social media constitutes prospecting. Although it could be considered a form of prospecting, it’s not nearly enough. Nothing beats genuine, in-person connections. Prospecting is the art of cultivating mutually beneficial relationships, which means you should not be prospecting just so you can make sales. That will happen as a byproduct, but it’s not your goal.

Prospecting is really about making friends—lots and lots of friends, and treating them well. Here are a few tips.
Read More

Selling_Cars_The_Magic_Formula_For_Success

Did you know that the self-improvement industry in the U.S. is a $10 billion market? That means there are a lot of people out there who are not achieving their goals. Of course, there are also dozens, if not hundreds of self-help gurus taking advantage of this situation and dishing out advice on how to be successful.

If only success were as simple as drinking a bottle of magic formula.

The reality is, whether you’re selling cars or performing oil changes, only you are in control of how successful you will be. Ultimately, it’s up to you to create your own formula for success. Expect it to take time and allow plenty of room for trial and error. Read More

Customer Experience

As a seasoned road warrior, I don’t always look forward to the next airport, cab ride or hotel destination. There are definitely some aspects of traveling that are forgettable. However, over the years I have developed a list of favorites, as in favorite restaurants and hotels to visit.

When I walk into these places, I am immediately greeted like an old friend. They know my name, they know what I like and everything is ready for me. The service is authentic, meaning it feels real. I believe the employees in these establishments are genuinely happy to see me (if they aren’t, they sure do a good job pretending).

When I have a great experience somewhere, I will also sign up for its email list. Not only do I sign up for it, but I will actually open the emails to see if there are any special offers being promoted the next time I visit that hotel or restaurant. If there aren’t, that’s okay. I choose to go there anyway because of the experience.

Think about your service experience. When a customer pulls into your service lane, are they immediately greeted like an old friend, or are they ignored for several minutes because your service advisors are too busy helping other customers? Read More

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Staying on top of the competition calls for a daily assessment of  your used car inventory.  Andrew Cowart, Camp Chevrolet Cadillac General Sales Manager, shares his one solid habit to set the market standard in Spokane, Washington in this Dealer Tip of the Month, first published in April 2017.

Potential buyers are spending more time online and less on dealership lots in the hunt for their ideal vehicle. In an era of immediate gratification, consumerism via the web and mobile devices, it’s increasingly likely that if your dealership doesn’t have exactly the vehicle (model, color, options, etc.) consumers want at the moment they’ve decided they’re in market, they’ll move on. Dealer Marketing Magazine turned to Bill Wittenmyer, Partner at ELEAD1ONE for a look at what auto dealerships need to do to improve their inventory strategy and processes.

This informative article answers key questions such as:

  • What trends should auto dealers will have the biggest impact on inventory management in 2017?
  • How have changes in the pace of new-vehicle sales impacted inventory strategies?
  • Are shoppers with a fixed car and price in mind changing the inventory balance between new and pre-owned?
  • What new and emerging inventory management technologies will be most important for the industry?

Download your full copy of the article to save and share now.

Key Takeaways from ELEAD1ONE’S Bill Wittenmyer:

  • It is crucial that inventory selection in the selling process is well communicated with internal teams, and focused on with each business opportunity.
  • With the majority of decision-making done during the research phase, the solution is to present consumers alternative selections in your digital strategy, as opposed to guessing the inventory mix on any given day. Options are always better than obligations and limitations.
  • Data and execution are the most important new technologies that will be beneficial to auto dealers. Dealers have their choice of some great technologies, but it’s about actually using data to execute your strategy and achieving sales goals.
  • The most important area a dealer can control, maximize their opportunity, and limit the liability is in the turn of that inventory and taking advantage of low floor-plan cost by moving it quickly.

Learn how the latest auto dealership software helps drive sales and increase inventory turn. Request a demo and consultation with an automotive technology expert today.