08 Oct 2013

Techniques for Increasing Internet Sales

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Fully integrated, top-of-the-line systems won’t do much for your bottom line if your team doesn’t know how to use them, or doesn’t understand their importance- training is imperative. Pat Hayes wouldn’t consider letting new employees loose on his system without intensive training, I tell all my new hires: Im going to give you a tool belt. When you start, all the tools are going to be dull. We’re going to spend the next six months sharpening those tools, and well continually sharpen them and increase your knowledge. The majority of lead management systems offer both onsite and virtual training for dealership employees. Dealer.com CEO Mark Bonfigli explains, We hold virtual training sessions twice a week at no charge to the dealership. During the launch of a lead management system, or a Website, we have dedicated classes for the dealership so that before the site goes live they have 100 percent training. Employees who know that prompt follow-up combined with logging complete customer notes will affect not only the dealerships bottom-line, but their own individual success, may be more motivated to use the system correctly. As Hayes says, You must have motivated and hard-working people who want to be there, but we also incentive-ize everything for our sales staff.David Kain, founder and president of Kain Automotive, and a recognized industry expert in Internet sales training, explains what he terms the two week push to get dealerships up and running with their lead management systems. During the first two weeks, we set-up dealerships in their lead management tool with a series of activities for email, telephone, and postal mail. Each activity is structured around a task that will provoke a consumer response so that every employee knows how to most effectively use the system. When you implement a lead management process and system, understand that it makes your dealership more successful and efficient, but only if you take the time to get every employee on-board and up to speed.When responding to Internet leads, time is critical. A customer needs to know that youve received their request and are ready to help, or they may quickly move on to another dealership. Most lead management systems can make quick follow-up, as well as timely reminders and long-term relationship building easy, with advanced automation capabilities. The catch is that the dealership has to make these capabilities work for them. When Jason Truttman, Internet sales manager for Jim Wilson Motors in Yreka, CA, receives a lead from Ford Direct, the system sends an automated customer response immediately, buying this small dealership some time if all the sales staff are on the showroom floor or busy with customers. With the automated response, the customer knows weve received their request, says Truttman. Then, when I get back to my office, I send a personal email and follow that up with a phone call. My goal is to get lead response within 30 minutes, or optimally, 15 minutes.Other lead management systems can be used to send monthly vehicle service reminders, notify the sales team when to follow up with a lead, or even send an electronic birthday card on the first-anniversary of a customer’s vehicle purchase. The system can even make up for a dealership not having a strong long-term follow-up process in place, Many salespeople will work a lead for three weeks and then lose interest and forget about it, says Braun beck. Our system has sales status folders so if you put someone in long-term follow up you can have a series of steps that occur: automatic email in 30 days, in 60 days, etc. Automation helps dealers work long-term prospects to get their double-digit closing ratios. Most lead management tools are marvels of ingenuity, but they cannot populate their own fields- its still all about people. If sales staff uses the system correctly, the automatic functions can strengthen relationships and turn leads into sales. Every action has a measurement, and to optimize Internet leads and sales, you need to track and measure these actions. This requires tracking the salespeople, the dealership as a whole, and your lead providers. Only by tracking actions can you determine whats working, and whats not. Pat Hayes CRM system not only allows him to keep a close eye on his sales team, but with half of his leads coming from third-party providers, it also allows him to monitor his lead providers. I do monthly monitoring and tracking, he says. The bottom line is that you have to know where youre at to know where you’re going. Jason Truttman uses a template provided by Kain Automotive to quantify and monitor his leads. Tracking can also help you recognize when a salesperson is cherry picking leads, or working too many at a time. Karin recommends ranking each salesperson by the number of appointments they have, and the number of sales from leads. Lead providers should be ranked by total return on investment, as should lead management systems. With innovative lead management technology, lead providers, and thorough system training, your dealership can close a much higher number of Internet leads and increase your bottom line. However, it is worthwhile to remember that the Internet is a tool of convenience, not a replacement for human interaction. As Jason Truttman notes, People ultimately want to speak with someone, before they make a vehicle purchase. For this reason, invest in systems and providers that attain and manage leads, but invest just as much in attracting, training, and retaining exceptional sales staff.







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