By Susan Gaytan, Director of Training & Engagement, Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions

What is your batting average on the sales floor? Do you know which performance metrics are most critical to your success as an automotive sales professional today? In this blog, I am going to cover how to measure your team’s success on the sales floor. What specific areas are the most critical to your performance, and what specific numbers should you be measuring?

Two key areas to measure sales success:
The car industry has seen some drastic changes lately but when you think about it, when doesn’t it? We are constantly adapting and shifting the steps to selling a car with the market and consumer demands. But one thing never changes, and that is a salesperson’s ability to CONVERT and CREATE sales opportunities. There are two main areas to measure a salesperson’s success:

    • inbound leads & opportunities
    • outbound leads & opportunities

Converting inbound leads and opportunities:
Before the world had an abundance of online resources, shoppers had to physically get in their car, drive to the dealership and walk in to get a brochure. Remember those bulky things? If anybody wanted details about the vehicle they were interested in they had no choice but to visit the dealership. And that’s where we closed them! We worked our magic and put on the charm. Converting those walk-ins into buyers was key even if it took us 6 hours. And salespeople trained HARD on how to take someone from greeting to close.

But today, how many people are walking into your dealership? Think about it. Most shoppers are now online and on their phones.

So, while some salespeople might still pound their chest bragging about how many deals they closed in a given month – the real question should be, “how many leads did they have to talk to in order to close all those deals?” The real closers TODAY are those that can convert from online or a sales call – into the showroom. And since data shows that shoppers aren’t even visiting more than two dealers before making a final decision, getting them to your showroom will often result in a sale.

Certainly, as time goes on more shoppers will eventually complete their entire purchase online. However, people that are calling your dealership today will more than likely want to come in to see, touch, and drive the car, and will complete their purchase in the store.

Either way, you’ve got to get REALLY GOOD at those phone and online conversations with your inbound prospects. This is exactly the stage where most sales opportunities are lost today.

This is due to a) the abundance of choices your shoppers have today and b) salespeople don’t know what to say or are using strategies from twenty years ago. Getting really good at the words and getting more shoppers to show up means you have more opportunities to close. On the other hand, if you can’t even get them to show up then there IS NOTHING to close. This is where the goal line has moved.

Measuring inbound conversion performance:
Here’s how to measure performance when it comes to converting inbound prospects and leads. Let’s start with your conversion performance on sales calls.

1. Take the total # of sales calls you took for one given month (example: 60)
2. Out of that total number, how many of those showed up at the dealership? (Example: 15)

Your lead to show conversion rate is 25%. (15/60 = 25%)

The national industry average here is 36% which means that the average salesperson can get approximately one out of three shoppers to come into the dealership. Getting really good at converting leads at this stage means knowing exactly what to say to be the most effective – and it’s everything else besides just making an appointment. The best salespeople know just how to differentiate themselves from their competition and they train and practice their word tracks daily.

Cultivating opportunities with outbound sales:
Another area to measure a salesperson’s success is outbound sales opportunities. How much are you relying on your dealership’s inbound leads to sell cars? Do you come in every day to simply react and answer phone pops until you get a buyer? Or are you cultivating opportunities with proper follow-up, loyal repeat customers, and referrals?

Think about how many opportunities you have to grow your business without having to rely on your dealership’s prospects. Every person you sell a car to knows at least a handful of people that are or will be in the market to buy a car, so why shouldn’t you be their trusted sales professional? And what about repeat business? Repeat customers close at a rate of 75% compared to 20% for fresh sales calls. The most successful salespeople in this industry spend their time between customers driving more of these specific activities, cultivating more opportunities. This is working smart. We call these salespeople “farmers.”

Measuring outbound sales performance success:
Here is a simple way to measure your success on outbound opportunities:

1.Take the total # of sales you had in a given month
2. Out of those deals, how many were opportunities you created yourself? Repeat or referral business, or generated from social media?

Think about it. This is what makes a truly valuable salesperson and the true measure of success on the sales floor. If you were to leave the dealership tomorrow, how many sales opportunities would the dealership lose? Bottom line is that if you are thinking about being in this industry for more than a minute and want to make great money, work smart, and have customers coming to YOU – you won’t get it from waiting for the next sales call or walk-in. True success on the sales floor is measured by your value in creating & cultivating your own sales opportunities.

Performance areas you should be tracking as a manager:
Sports teams meticulously measure each area of an athlete’s performance. What is your team’s batting average? Proper conversion, measurement, and tracking are critical in today’s retail car industry. Here are some critical performance indicators and areas that you should keep track of on your showroom floor:

    • Phone Lead to Show % – getting shoppers to show up or commit.
    • Online Lead to Show %. Don’t forget about your online chats and conversations -is your team converting effectively here?
    • Trade % of sales – sourcing more inventory today is critical today and will attract more shoppers. Does your team know how to drive more trades & purchases?
    • Repeat & Referral business – how much does your team rely on fresh leads? Do they create their own opportunities?
    • BDC lead-to-show conversion – BDCs tend to drive lots of appointments, but not always high conversions, inspect the calls and stats, ensure the leads are showing up.
    • Follow Up – are you keeping track of your team’s follow-up on unsold deals? We always recommend having a third party (manager or CSS rep) make an additional call to uncover the main objection. These are your be-backs and they close at a higher rate than any other lead you have, don’t forget them.

It’s all in the stats!
The best coaches in Major League Baseball and the NFL – scratch that – even high school level coaches know their players’ numbers and review them DAILY to ensure they are putting the right players in at every opportunity; they know each player’s goals, tackles, passes, runs, possessions. Just like a coach on the field you’ve got to keep track of your team the same way to ensure that you have the right people managing your hottest inbound leads.

Think about how much money it costs your store to get all of those people to contact you. Thousands? Tens of thousands? There is a price tag to each of those leads and your team needs to understand that it is a privilege to take those calls.

No matter what industry or business you are in today, the right performance numbers matter to ensure you are working smart.

About the Author

Susan Gaytan is Director of Dealer Engagement & Training at Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions, bringing over twenty years of automotive experience and dealership management expertise to her role. She is responsible for integrating training solutions and helping dealerships maximize the effectiveness of training. Susan began her experience in the auto industry at the age of 21 as a receptionist, but her Spanish skills helped her get quickly promoted to Customer Relations Manager, responsible for dealer client retention as well as dealership staff training. She then took on the duties of inventory & used car management in charge of all wholesale processes and procedures from allocation, purchase, appraisal, inspection, and assigning ad price. She ended her dealership showroom career as a Certified F&I Manager. Susan is a National Certified Trainer and Facilitator of Management By Fire! and In-Dealership Events.

Author: Christine Corkran

Digital Dealer