By Nick Haynes, Programme Director, Quazar Automotive
Buying a car is supposed to be a joyous occasion, one filled with excitement and pride as you spend your hard-earned money on the ultimate expression of who you really are.
You want the world to know what you have bought and your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend to be green with envy. You imagine that old school teacher who said you’d never amount to anything unable to speak, her foot firmly placed in her mouth when she sees the photo of you taking ownership of your shiny new beast.
This is the second biggest investment you are going to make so you want the whole experience to match the occasion.
Not always the case
Most people end up with a less than satisfactory service experience, to say the least.
It often starts off with you excitedly hitting that “Contact Me” button on a website, eagerly anticipating the call to tell you that your beauty is even better than described, and ready and waiting for you to come and collect the same day. And then…nothing.
And this is where the problems start.
If you’re lucky, the call centre agent will call you within seconds to tell you that they have received your lead and that someone from the dealership will contact you shortly. For most of us, that’s as far as it goes. Nothing again.
Proof is in the pudding
I recently went through this ordeal myself when trying to buy a new car. I spent hours scouring the web looking for that one vehicle that would give me that testosterone-fuelled feeling as I cruise down the road parting traffic like a presidential motorcade.
I must have sent through at least 40 requests for contact and would you like to guess how many people contacted me out of that bunch? Three. Three out of the 40 leads that were sent were answered.
And, even worse, of the three only one person made me feel like I wanted to feel.
Only one person listened to my requests and went out of his way to make me believe that all those financial advisers were wrong and that a new car was exactly the way I should spend my hard earned Randelas. But unfortunately, as good as the salesman was, there was still that shadow of the previous experiences dampening my mood.
Why would these people not make the effort to pick up the phone and try to make me spend my money?
It’s about measuring leads
As people in the motor industry, every month we spend millions on advertising and call centres so that we can fill our sales teams’ diaries with potential customers, but no one seems to be measuring what happens once the lead hits our salesperson’s desk. We need to stop trying to fill the funnel if we have no way of emptying it out.
So how do we get the most out of this seemingly mythical beast called “the Lead”? Pick up the phone and contact them, preferably within the same decade.
Salespeople need to understand the importance of these leads and how difficult this industry can be if those leads dry up.
What we as leaders should be doing is sitting them all down and explaining that these leads are filled with people who want to buy cars; the cars that you are selling.
Yes, there are going to be the people who won’t be converted into deals but that is just par for the course. However – no pain, no gain. Our sales team need to realise that the lead is a privilege and not a right.
Like all privileges, leads need to be earned
Managers need to take responsibility for these leads and, if a salesperson is not treating the lead with the respect it deserves, then consider giving the lead to someone who will. Effective lead management and follow up is crucial. A manager needs to have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in their dealership.
If what you’re currently doing isn’t working, consider lead and customer relationship management tools. For those tricky leads that remain in the “Not Buying” column, follow up personally to see if there’s a way to change their decision. It’s possible that the salesperson and the customer just didn’t click for some reason, and it takes is a different perspective to rekindle the interest. Even if we can’t close that customer now, we should add them to the database and save them for a later date.
“Until death do us part”
A Lead should be treated as marriage used to be, “Until death do us part”.
By simply paying attention to your leads, actively following up and keeping communication open, I can guarantee that you will see an improvement in sales.
It takes so little effort to be above average. So get stuck in and make your business thrive!