Many dealers are starting to realize they need to pay attention to this marketing and selling medium and are looking for “how to” information on just about every topic, from every available source they have at their disposal. The factory, their associates and the internet.
Its kind of ironic that dealers will search for their information on the internet when this is the exact same thing that consumers are doing for their products, yet they fail to translate that similarity over to their internet sales process.
The first step they usually attack is to staff an automotive Internet Department.
But lets take a step back and think this through. Hiring people is a necessary part of the equation but what are those people supposed to do? We believe dealers will find more value in defining the roles and responsibilities along with a proper sales process PRIOR to hiring or moving someone into those positions.
Today we want to talk about the sales process for internet based leads and prospects. We will touch on internet department associates roles and responsibilities in the future.
The word process is defined as a series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result. In this case the results need to be defined. Is the result wanted a sale? Is it increased customer satisfaction? Is it increased fixed operations retention? Is it all these and more? Whatever they are, they need to be defined and a process built to accomplish them.
Typically most dealers will take their existing floor sales process and migrate it over to their newly created Internet Department. This is EXACTLY what they should NOT do.
Internet leads are a different monster. If we use the same sales procession them as we use on other traffic such as walk in, we will lose them. As you may know, 57% internet based leads make their purchase after 30 days from lead sent date. Half of those people buy after 60 days. Now you may be thinking, “That’s 43% that buy in the first 30 days, Ill take those”, and we wont disagree with you. We would take them to. However, a high percentage of those 43% that close within 30 days are people that have simply reentered the market. They sent a lead prior and have sent another. They may have sent you the lead originally or another dealer. Even more importantly is the fact that by living with the 43% mentality, 57% fall through the cracks. That’s a TREMENDOUS amount of opportunity and worth every penny in trying to capture.
Typically, dealers will see a consumer (walk-in etc) very late in the purchasing cycle from the consumer perspective. What the internet has really done has allowed dealers to “see” this consumer MUCH MUCH earlier in the purchasing cycle. Way before they are ready to actually make a purchase. These consumers are doing their research much like the dealer was doing research for creating an internet department. If in the dealers research they reached out to a company for information and that company provided value, service and information and not just selling of their product, you would probably put that company on your short list when its time for action.
Why would this be any different for a vehicle consumer?
Dealers think that price is the only thing consumers are looking for and the only thing consumers base their decision on where they buy from. This notion could not be further from the truth. Yes, consumers want a good deal. Who doesn’t. But they also want good service. THEY WILL PAY A PREMIUM FOR ABOVE AVERAGE SERVICE.
Let me repeat that. THEY WILL PAY A PREMIUM FOR ABOVE AVERAGE SERVICE.
All you have to do is be a tad above average. Imagine if you excelled…..
There are many companies that understand this and have implemented processes for just that fact. Apple. Disney. Four Seasons. Even Lexus and Mercedes Benz to some degree. The point is, its not always about price.
So before you start throwing people in the Internet Department, think about your process. Define objectives and build processes to achieve those objectives. You will be glad you did.