Archive for November, 2009

The Unsold Prospect – Don’t Let Them Get Away!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009



NADA published the following survey results:

  • 90% of the prospects bought somewhere within a week.
  • 90% of the buyers were not followed up with after leaving the dealership without making a purchase.
  • The average salesperson sees and talks to as many as seven prospective buyers face-to-face each day.
  • Only 20% of prospects buy on a first visit.
  • 57% of buyers buy within three days of the day they start looking.
  • 42% of buyers actually took the time to shop other dealerships.

At the time, you could pretty much “bank” on the stats and a lot of dealers established the showroom processes based on the logic.

Fast Forward to the Internet Age

Realistically, these statistics are no longer valid because today’s consumers are more “car shopping savvy”. The Internet provides so much information on every available vehicle, including incentives and pricing, that people start shopping earlier and longer than in the past. They are doing their homework on their vehicle choices prior to visiting the dealership and only visiting to test drive and validate options. It also means that many are not purchasing on the first visit, within three days, or even within one week.

According to recent news and various published reports, the good news is that the economy is turning and more people are shopping for vehicles. With the good news comes the bad. Dealers have cut back on sales and sales management staff as well as their BDC staffs. This means fewer dealer staff to meet and greet and then follow up. Also, according to Shulman (2001), most dealerships struggle with the following:

A large percentage of prospects who did not purchase because they were uncomfortable with or did not like the salesperson or manager.
Reduced or no supervision by busy sales managers who are too involved with the dealership problems (other than sales) to monitor sales follow-ups.
The distraction of floor traffic that justifiably competes for the salesperson’s attention for ongoing follow up with prospects.

In an article written by Nat Shulman (2001), George Libin, president of the Automobile Profit Builders in Wayland, MS, a leading showroom control solution providing company, stated“a prompt and properly handled phone call (within 24 hours) to a prospect can bring back 50% of first-time unsold ups. Of these be-backs more than half can be closed. After six weeks, a similar call may bring back another 14%, half of which can be closed.” Very simply put…if they are shopping your dealership…they are most likely shopping other dealerships as well. Basically, the dealership that promotes timely and effective follow up, has the greatest opportunity of earning their prospect’s business.

Given these current conditions, we are seeing more and more dealers taking the proactive steps to use a professional Virtual Business Development Center (VBDC) to manage and call their Unsold Prospects. VBDC’s are designed to contact a dealer’s potential customers within 24 hours of an event to re-establish contact, verify their overall experience, make an offer to return, and schedule appointments with sales management. In essence a VBDC takes the follow up process to a new level that is designed to increase be-back percentages and sales opportunities. The good news is that the VBDC can produce more results at a lower cost while removing the headaches associated with following up on unsold prospects.
Reference: Shulman, N. (2001) What a follow up call can do. Retrieved on November 15, 2009 from http://wardsdealer.com/ar/auto_followup_phone_call/

~ Gary Mitchell

Director, Telephony & Virtual BDC Products, DMEautomotive

Bio:

Gary has 25 years of experience in providing franchised auto dealers with marketing and technology solutions designed to increase revenue and overall profitability. Gary has held national positions with ADP Dealer Services, LML Technologies, and DMEautomotive. He is currently responsible for researching and designing new products and marketing campaigns based on industry trends and specific dealership needs. He directly interfaces with Development and Product Management to monitor market needs and requirements, taking into account emerging technologies, competitor products / services, industry trends, and regulatory / compliance changes for both OEM and regulatory bodies.

LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/garymitchellauto

Note: The original blog has been updated to include proper references.

The Unsold Prospect – Don’t Let Them Get Away!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009


The Unsold Prospect – Don’t let them get Away

If you ask any dealer, they will tell you that 4 out of 5 prospects that come to their showroom depart without buying a new or used vehicle. What most won’t tell you is that 70%-80% of those prospects left because they just were not ready to make a purchase decision yet. They are still shopping. Why? Because consumers may be confused by all the different variables (i.e. selection, discounts, rebates, interest rates, etc.) or who to purchase from and, in some cases, they just are not ready yet.


NADA published the following survey results:

  • 90% of the prospects bought somewhere within a week.
  • 90% of the buyers were not followed up with after leaving the dealership without making a purchase.
  • The average salesperson sees and talks to as many as seven prospective buyers face-to-face each day.
  • Only 20% of prospects buy on a first visit.
  • 57% of buyers buy within three days of the day they start looking.
  • 42% of buyers actually took the time to shop other dealerships.

At the time, you could pretty much “bank” on the stats and a lot of dealers established the showroom processes based on the logic.

Fast Forward to the Internet Age

Realistically, these statistics are no longer valid because today’s consumers are more “car shopping savvy”. The Internet provides so much information on every available vehicle, including incentives and pricing, that people start shopping earlier and longer than in the past. They are doing their homework on their vehicle choices prior to visiting the dealership and only visiting to test drive and validate options. It also means that many are not purchasing on the first visit, within three days, or even within one week.

According to recent news and various published reports, the good news is that the economy is turning and more people are shopping for vehicles. With the good news comes the bad. Dealers have cut back on sales and sales management staff as well as their BDC staffs. This means fewer dealer staff to meet and greet and then follow up. Also, according to Shulman (2001), most dealerships struggle with the following:

A large percentage of prospects who did not purchase because they were uncomfortable with or did not like the salesperson or manager.
Reduced or no supervision by busy sales managers who are too involved with the dealership problems (other than sales) to monitor sales follow-ups.
The distraction of floor traffic that justifiably competes for the salesperson’s attention for ongoing follow up with prospects.

In an article written by Nat Shulman (2001), George Libin, president of the Automobile Profit Builders in Wayland, MS, a leading showroom control solution providing company, stated“a prompt and properly handled phone call (within 24 hours) to a prospect can bring back 50% of first-time unsold ups. Of these be-backs more than half can be closed. After six weeks, a similar call may bring back another 14%, half of which can be closed.” Very simply put…if they are shopping your dealership…they are most likely shopping other dealerships as well. Basically, the dealership that promotes timely and effective follow up, has the greatest opportunity of earning their prospect’s business.

Given these current conditions, we are seeing more and more dealers taking the proactive steps to use a professional Virtual Business Development Center (VBDC) to manage and call their Unsold Prospects. VBDC’s are designed to contact a dealer’s potential customers within 24 hours of an event to re-establish contact, verify their overall experience, make an offer to return, and schedule appointments with sales management. In essence a VBDC takes the follow up process to a new level that is designed to increase be-back percentages and sales opportunities. The good news is that the VBDC can produce more results at a lower cost while removing the headaches associated with following up on unsold prospects.
Reference: Shulman, N. (2001) What a follow up call can do. Retrieved on November 15, 2009 from http://wardsdealer.com/ar/auto_followup_phone_call/

~ Gary Mitchell

Director, Telephony & Virtual BDC Products, DMEautomotive

Bio:

Gary has 25 years of experience in providing franchised auto dealers with marketing and technology solutions designed to increase revenue and overall profitability. Gary has held national positions with ADP Dealer Services, LML Technologies, and DMEautomotive. He is currently responsible for researching and designing new products and marketing campaigns based on industry trends and specific dealership needs. He directly interfaces with Development and Product Management to monitor market needs and requirements, taking into account emerging technologies, competitor products / services, industry trends, and regulatory / compliance changes for both OEM and regulatory bodies.

LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/garymitchellauto

Note: The original blog has been updated to include proper references.

A Voice of Experience in the Auto Industry

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

My name is Steve Dozier, and first and foremost, I’m not a “blogger”! However, I do know there are hundreds of thousands of blogs online. Which do you pay attention to? How many are written by people with real experience versus those with opinions on every topic known to man. I’ve always asked myself: Is this just an opinion, or have the things that this person writes about been tried and tested in a real world scenario? Not only are those the questions I’ve asked myself about the “truth” behind someone’s blog, those are historically the problems I’ve had with bloggers. It’s because of those concerns that I can count the number of blogs I’ve read on one hand and still have a few fingers left. However, several experts in the automotive industry have asked me for the last 4 months to share my knowledge of the automotive industry via a blog.

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A Voice of Experience in the Auto Industry

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

My name is Steve Dozier, and first and foremost, I’m not a “blogger”! However, I do know there are hundreds of thousands of blogs online. Which do you pay attention to? How many are written by people with real experience versus those with opinions on every topic known to man. I’ve always asked myself: Is this just an opinion, or have the things that this person writes about been tried and tested in a real world scenario? Not only are those the questions I’ve asked myself about the “truth” behind someone’s blog, those are historically the problems I’ve had with bloggers. It’s because of those concerns that I can count the number of blogs I’ve read on one hand and still have a few fingers left. However, several experts in the automotive industry have asked me for the last 4 months to share my knowledge of the automotive industry via a blog.

Since I have my own personal concerns about blogs and bloggers, I owe it to those that read this to explain where my writings come from and “The Rules” that will apply to my blog. First, there will be nothing written in this blog that has not been learned from a dealership. Second, there will be nothing written that’s “my opinion”. Everything you read in this blog will be something that has been tested and proven to produce results.

I’ve developed relationships with automotive dealers across the country. Some stores have sold a lot of cars and made a lot of money. Some stores don’t sell many cars at all, but do so much wholesale business they don’t care. I’ve worked with the most profitable service departments in the country. But I’ve also worked with dealerships that have been stagnant for the last 10+ years. I have spent years learning how and why dealers are successful and why they aren’t. You can learn just as much from a dealer who has been stagnant as you can from a dealer who grows every year. Let’s get on the same page with my definition of success – it’s not selling a ton of cars, it’s not completing a lot of service RO’s, and it’s not retaining a large number of customers. My definition of success in this industry is how profitable your dealership is Period. Nothing else really matters! I’ve been in stores that sell 700+ cars a month and don’t make any money. I’ve been involved with dealerships that work their tails off to get to 100 + cars a month and need an escort to the bank. The number one thing I’ve learned in the front end, F&I, Service, fleet and wholesale is the need for SOLID EVERYDAY PROCESSES. So if you want to know how the best of the best do it, you’ll want to read this blog going forward. It’s about one thing – The processes you’ll need to be successful!

So I hope that I’ve given you good reasons to follow my blog and apply what I share with you at your dealership.

~ Steve Dozier, Sales Director @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Steve Dozier brings 15 years of experience in the automotive industry to DMEautomotive. Before joining Full Circle Solution and DMEautomotive, he held upper level management positions in the retail industry. Steve also owned a consulting company that specialized in CRM and direct mail, which brought in $2 Million in Sales for approximately 5 years. While serving as a consultant Steve was consistently recruited by the top 3 CRM firms of that time.

Since starting with DMEautomotive Steve has held a managerial position overseeing the Dealer-to-Dealer team. He is responsible for the entire telephony sales department.

Steve is married with two children and enjoys scuba diving and boating in his free time.

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-dozier/10/903/623

The 5 Ws (and an H) of Targeted Direct Mail

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Over the next few months I want to share with you some “Do’s and Don’ts” for Targeted Direct Mail (commonly referred to as TDM). Lets call it the 5 Ws (and an H): Who, What, Where, When, Why and How for TDM.

Each month we will look at one particular aspect of TDM and its role in the planning of your Yearly Marketing Game Plan. We will discuss annual, quarterly and monthly planning, the implementation, the analysis of and adjustments to your marketing game plans for an effective TDM Program.

With the end of 2009 rapidly approaching and preparations for 2010 already underway, there are many basic items you want to look at to drive desired business, expected current customer sales and increase market share. Let’s take a look at how TDM can be a part of that effective marketing plan to increase sales and market share.

The basic questions for a successful Targeted Direct Mail-Marketing Plan:

· Who is your targeted customer?

· What is your message you want your targeted customer to receive?

· Where do you feel your targeted customer should receive that message?

· When should your targeted customer receive that message?

· How should your targeted customer receive that message?

Over the next 30 days sit down with your key sales and marketing team players and start discussing the basic questions:

Who is the customer you want to target? Determine who your best customer is: Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annually, Annually and in general.

What are some of the best messages you could use to grab the attention of that targeted customer in the specified marketing periods?

Where is it most likely that you would capture the attention of customers?

When will the criteria be correct?

How should you deliver the message to the particular customer?

Have your team make a lot of lists and think of all possibilities… These lists should include everything to everyone. The objective of this list process is to create the “Big Picture”.

“Big Picture”

Who is the “Big Picture” of for your possible target? What products do you want to be known for? Where do we find that customer? When will they fit your criteria? How do you get them as your customer again, and how can you steal that customer from your competitors?

There are a lot of questions that will need to be listed, discussed, thought about, drawn out, analyzed and planned for. The possibilities are large at first and the possible solutions will likely create even larger lists for all of their implementations.

At first, you want to be open to all possible doors and thoughts for consideration. However, as you go thru the process of elimination, analyzing, discussing and planning, you will eventually drill down to a more finite solution.

When you sit down with your team to start discussing the possibilities, you will all be curious as to the variety of possibilities. Be open to any discussion. Remember everyone is a possible customer, but what do we need to do to capture that customer with your TDM.

At the completion of this first process you should have at least:

· Who: 4 Target Customers

· What: 4 Messages

· Where: 4 Vehicles for Message Delivery

· When: 4 Time Periods

· Why: 4 Reasons

· How: 4 Media Types

Now you are a few meetings away from putting together the game plan for your TDM program. As you move forward with discussions, start rating, prioritizing and eliminating targets, messages, delivery, time periods, reasons and media types.

You will continue to finish and get to your finals. Now you have a road map for discussing, planning, analyzing and final implementation for your strategic thoughts for a TDM-Marketing Plan.

Next month we will discuss the next part of the process, “Who is Your Target Customer”.

Happy Planning…

~ Paul Ryan, Sales Manager of Mail Team @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Paul Ryan brings over 20 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, negotiation, leadership and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009 Paul assumed his current position of Sales Manager, Mail Team. He is responsible for overseeing the entire Mail Division and manages a team of sales representatives.

Paul graduated with a B.S. In Business Administration from Iowa State University.

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-ryan/7/726/b35

The 5 Ws (and an H) of Targeted Direct Mail

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Over the next few months I want to share with you some “Do’s and Don’ts” for Targeted Direct Mail (commonly referred to as TDM). Lets call it the 5 Ws (and an H): Who, What, Where, When, Why and How for TDM.

Each month we will look at one particular aspect of TDM and its role in the planning of your Yearly Marketing Game Plan. We will discuss annual, quarterly and monthly planning, the implementation, the analysis of and adjustments to your marketing game plans for an effective TDM Program.

With the end of 2009 rapidly approaching and preparations for 2010 already underway, there are many basic items you want to look at to drive desired business, expected current customer sales and increase market share. Let’s take a look at how TDM can be a part of that effective marketing plan to increase sales and market share.

The basic questions for a successful Targeted Direct Mail-Marketing Plan:

· Who is your targeted customer?

· What is your message you want your targeted customer to receive?

· Where do you feel your targeted customer should receive that message?

· When should your targeted customer receive that message?

· How should your targeted customer receive that message?

Over the next 30 days sit down with your key sales and marketing team players and start discussing the basic questions:

Who is the customer you want to target? Determine who your best customer is: Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annually, Annually and in general.

What are some of the best messages you could use to grab the attention of that targeted customer in the specified marketing periods?

Where is it most likely that you would capture the attention of customers?

When will the criteria be correct?

How should you deliver the message to the particular customer?

Have your team make a lot of lists and think of all possibilities… These lists should include everything to everyone. The objective of this list process is to create the “Big Picture”.

“Big Picture”

Who is the “Big Picture” of for your possible target? What products do you want to be known for? Where do we find that customer? When will they fit your criteria? How do you get them as your customer again, and how can you steal that customer from your competitors?

There are a lot of questions that will need to be listed, discussed, thought about, drawn out, analyzed and planned for. The possibilities are large at first and the possible solutions will likely create even larger lists for all of their implementations.

At first, you want to be open to all possible doors and thoughts for consideration. However, as you go thru the process of elimination, analyzing, discussing and planning, you will eventually drill down to a more finite solution.

When you sit down with your team to start discussing the possibilities, you will all be curious as to the variety of possibilities. Be open to any discussion. Remember everyone is a possible customer, but what do we need to do to capture that customer with your TDM.

At the completion of this first process you should have at least:

· Who: 4 Target Customers

· What: 4 Messages

· Where: 4 Vehicles for Message Delivery

· When: 4 Time Periods

· Why: 4 Reasons

· How: 4 Media Types

Now you are a few meetings away from putting together the game plan for your TDM program. As you move forward with discussions, start rating, prioritizing and eliminating targets, messages, delivery, time periods, reasons and media types.

You will continue to finish and get to your finals. Now you have a road map for discussing, planning, analyzing and final implementation for your strategic thoughts for a TDM-Marketing Plan.

Next month we will discuss the next part of the process, “Who is Your Target Customer”.

Happy Planning…

~ Paul Ryan, Sales Manager of Mail Team @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Paul Ryan brings over 20 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, negotiation, leadership and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009 Paul assumed his current position of Sales Manager, Mail Team. He is responsible for overseeing the entire Mail Division and manages a team of sales representatives.

Paul graduated with a B.S. In Business Administration from Iowa State University.

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-ryan/7/726/b35