By Billy Reynolds, Regional Vice President, Elead
If you’re like most independent dealers, you loaded up on used inventory during the first few months of the pandemic. Inventory shortages and high demand pointed toward selling those cars all day long at higher-than-average prices. Now that the market is beginning to correct, book values are dropping. Are you concerned about moving that inventory?
A robust CRM system is a proven way to move vehicles faster because leads don’t fall through the cracks. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying a CRM is a magic bullet. As the saying goes, you put garbage in, get garbage out. But CRM software backed by strong lead management processes is proven to get you results.
Consider a smaller independent store that sells less than 50 cars a month but, because there is no clear lead follow-up process, the store misses out on 5% of their deals. Those few deals can make the difference between being in the red or being in the black. Just a handful of deals!
“Consider a smaller independent store that sells less than 50 cars a month but, because there is no clear lead follow-up process, the store misses out on 5% of their deals.”
A Call for Inspection
How do you know if you are losing deals due to poor lead management? Mystery shop your store. Have someone go to your website and submit a lead. Then have that person call your sales line and leave a message. See what happens. Does that person get a follow-up call or an email? If so, how many?
More times than not, an email goes to the owner’s personal email. He or she prints it out, hands it off to a salesperson, and then never knows what happened. The same scenario occurs with phone messages.
It’s understandable. Your store is likely employing fewer people, all wearing multiple hats. You don’t have time to go back and manage the lead process. A CRM backed by the proper process helps you to capture every lead and monitor follow-up efforts so you ultimately can close more deals.
I know I’m hammering on having the proper process, but behind-the-scenes training is the only way to make a CRM work for you. You can’t just plug it in and watch your sales numbers soar.
Look for a CRM provider that offers account management along with software. The provider should check in on you, call at least quarterly to see how things are going and offer you a training option that best suits your store. Look for options like remote, in-person, and entirely self-paced training.
The Aftershock Effect – Robust Reporting
The aftershock effect of a solid lead follow-up process is robust CRM reporting. Once you have a process nailed down and your employees are accountable for using the system properly, reporting becomes invaluable. You can manage and monitor salesperson activity to see who needs more training, check daily traffic reports to see where your leads are coming in, and regularly review opportunity reports to see leads that need attention. Therefore, your CRM should operate from a mobile device. That way, accountability is enforced, and stats can get confirmed anywhere, any time, and in real-time.
“You can manage and monitor salesperson activity to see who needs more training, check daily traffic reports to see where your leads are coming in, and regularly review opportunity reports to see leads that need attention.”
Huge Marketing Value
Another key report tracks the growth of your customer database. Building a database in your CRM of every person that has ever shopped your store (whether they purchased or not) has a huge marketing value.
Typically, a dealership without a CRM will add the names of sold customers to an Excel spreadsheet or another type of software. A store that sold 300 cars last year added 300 names to its database. That next email blast will reach 300 more people. Sounds good, right?
Not when you consider that you’re missing all those people who shopped but didn’t buy. For easy math, let’s say the store’s closing rate was 10 percent. So, ten times the customers should have been added to the database. That email blast should reach 3,000 customers that in some way, contacted the store and shopped the inventory but bought elsewhere.
A CRM captures all those leads and provides reports to monitor the database regularly so you can market to everybody and grow your business. The best part? That marketing costs you pennies. You don’t have to buy a list or partner with a bank. It’s your customer data, and you own it. You can build your recession-proof book of business and reduce your reliance on advertising budgets and marketing specifications. It costs a lot of money to go out and find lists. It costs pennies to market to those already in your database.
CRM software backed by clear lead management processes is the best way for independent dealers to record every lead, grow a customer database, and move more inventory. Don’t overlook revenue-producing technology that can help your business grow for years to come.f the U.S.
About the Author
Billy Reynolds is a 20+ year veteran of the automotive industry, holding various retail positions in sales and general management before joining Elead. As regional vice president, Billy currently oversees the sales division located in the Southeast region of the U.S.