The Bottom Of The Sales Funnel Is Where 90% Of The Sales Opportunities Leak Out
Dealerships often suffer the most along the last few feet of their marketing funnels. A large fraction of the dollars spent at the top end of the funnel, often on advertising, marketing and SEO can wind up ultimately circling the drain unless a skilled human being can expertly usher the phone traffic the funnel produces off of the phone and into the showroom consistently. After all, the goal of all those marketing and SEO dollars is to get the customer in the store, but their first action step is most often a phone call. The job of getting them from the phone into the store falls to a sales or BDC rep, and this is a source of major slippage for most dealerships.
Why Setting An Appointment When The Customer Calls Is So Important Today
When a customer calls the store, they are signaling that they have both interest and time to call, right now. They might have a question or two, but they have typically done most of their homework online and their next step is to see, feel and drive. To do that, they need to physically come into the store. The best tool we know of for getting them to do this consistently is the ability to set a confident appointment. Anything less, from ‘ask for me when you come in’ to ‘ok we’ll see you sometime Thursday or Friday’ is essentially an investment in hope. The return on hope these days is low and falling and appointments help to bring structure and predictability to an otherwise chaotic sales process.
“When a customer calls the store, they are signaling that they have both interest and time to call, right now.”
If the rep feels the need to pull out some ancient technique like saying they’re going to “put their hands on the vehicle” and then call the prospect back, in today’s market they are flushing dollars down the drain. This is because prospects don’t stop shopping so sales reps can go “touch the car.” It sounds weird nowadays anyway, to say that. Who wants someone touching and putting their hands on the car they’re interested in? The worst part is that at best, you’re probably going to have to call them back several times if they pick up again at all. And if they get a sales professional on their next call to your competitor, they’ll book an appointment and your sale is as good as gone because customers do, in fact, stop shopping after they set an appointment with a sales rep, better than 90% of the time, according to NADA.
Good Automotive Phone Training Conditions Sales Reps To Push Through Their Perceived Discomfort And Set Consistent Appointments
Inviting a customer more than once to set an appointment to see a vehicle can be uncomfortable for many sales reps. Almost universally, reps are conditioned to empathize with the customer’s resistance to setting an appointment. After all, it’s a sales floor, not a dentist’s office. But this is what trainers call ‘head trash.’ False, yet widely-shared ideas like these not only subtract sales; they actually do a disservice to the customer. The customer’s time is valuable, but the sales rep’s time is as well and this is underrepresented in customer communications. Setting an appointment signals the value of the sales rep’s time while respecting the customer’s. It also adds structure and a degree of predictability to what can be a chaotic business process.
Good call monitoring systems expose cracks that training can remedy.
Proper phone training conditions sales reps to form the habit of pushing through the discomfort their head trash foists upon them and to confidently, fluidly and expertly explain to the customer why they work best by appointment, how it will benefit the customer, then set a proper day and time slot, get several points of connection and guide them into the store at the scheduled time. Sales reps who develop this skill set to complement their showroom sales sell more vehicles each month, with much greater ease. The reason is that customers who call the store before coming in are extremely well-targeted prospects. They went to Google, and they typed in something they want. Google returned what your store has; it also returned what your competitors have. They are only going to visit 1, possibly 2 stores before they buy. Search traffic produces very-well-targeted prospects, and as such, they tend to purchase over 50% of the time when they get in the showroom, so the cost of letting them slip away is inordinately high.
Call Monitoring Systems Expose Faults
Call monitoring systems allow managers to monitor and track their sales and BDC reps’ performance on the phones. Most systems at a minimum allow managers to easily review calls from a dashboard, and let them keep track of performance metrics in order to expose areas that require better training. The average store is only setting 10-20% of their inbound sales calls as appointments but with a good call monitoring system, managers can begin to discover precisely what deficiencies exist where, and to more-effectively address them with much less time wasted. Much of the time, effectively addressing these exposed issues comes down to better and more consistent training.
Better Monitoring Without Better Training Can Lead To Turnover
The best call monitoring systems feature real-time reviews and alerts by actual humans (Artificial Intelligence is coming along, but it’s not there yet). Call Revu’s robust system allows a manager to be alerted over a smart phone app or desktop dashboard about a missed opportunity within a few minutes after a reviewer has flagged the call, so they can reach out to the customer and attempt to restart the process while the call is still fresh. But tighter review over improperly-trained sales reps can have negative consequences. A rep who has not been trained to set automotive sales appointments properly cannot reasonably be held to a high standard in doing so. The tight review and oversight can thus seem like micromanagement, and could contribute to turnover.
Good Phone Training And Phone Tracking Systems Synergistically Increase Each Other’s Value
Dealership phone training, therefore, is the perfect compliment to a good call monitoring system. But the value runs the other direction as well. It is difficult to improve with any predictability or precision what you don’t measure, track or review. While good phone training can produce good results on its own, when those results can be predicted, growth can be more accurately planned and supported. Businesses can’t grow sustainably by throwing rice at the wall and aiming more where it stuck before. For that, we need ways to invest resources that will predictably drive measurable results. Call monitoring and attribution systems, in this way, add synergistic value to effective phone training, which in turn adds value to the monitoring system. One and one equal three. That’s the definition of synergy.