When I worked as the Director of E-commerce at Hendrick Automotive Group, we realized that for our dealers to succeed, they needed to be deliberate in the way that their teams were both managed and measured. My company, Better Car People, has set over 700,000 appointments for GM dealers and is currently responding to hundreds of thousands of sales and service leads per month. It’s a fact that sticking to performance fundamentals will improve your contact ratio, appointment ratio, overall measurement, and your ability to achieve long-term goals. While many of these things sound like a no-brainer, it’s crucial to be true to the foundations of customer service and sales efficiency.
Performance management isn’t always as easy as it sounds. A dealership can sometimes feel like chaos, so it’s important to stick to the fundamentals.
There are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind throughout your customers’ journey, and some best practices that will make sure that you’re getting the most out of every lead you earn.
The Best Follow-Up is No Follow-Up
Connect with your leads; strong engagement, in the beginning, can help eliminate the need for comprehensive follow-up. It may sound simple, but to get strong engagement you have to start by responding to 100% of your leads, including the 45% of leads that come after hours. And you have to respond as quickly as you can. In this study from Forbes, companies are losing over 71% of their internet leads by not getting in touch with them soon enough.
Consistency is Key
When having qualified conversations with prospective customers, remember that it’s all about the process. Make sure that your team is asking for appointments 100% of the time. Once again, this is a common problem that requires a simple solution. Call guides and Word Tracks may sound old-school, but they can go a long way towards improving consistency across your dealership. Call tracks also ensure quality. Remember that the first bad email you send is the last one your customer will read. Keep a single voice of contact across all your communication channels such as calling, texting, and emailing.
It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
When it comes to bringing your appointments in to show, keep that process-oriented mindset. Make sure you confirm with your prospects several times before their appointment. Your first appointment confirmation should come immediately after it’s scheduled. If a prospect misses an appointment, make sure to follow up with them. Life happens, so don’t just assume that a missed appointment is a lost opportunity.
If you try to control everything, you’ll end up controlling nothing. It’s important to be strategic about how you measure your team’s performance because strong measurement leads to improvements in efficiency, productivity, and cost reduction.
What to Measure
I’ve found this list to be consistent across most dealerships, but it’s important to begin analyzing all of the data at your disposal to determine what areas your unique dealership should be focusing on.
How to get started
Analyzing these metrics on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis will give you perspective on trends, seasonality, and your dealership’s growth. Performance measurement is the first step to performance management. As you improve your team’s engagement, consistency, and follow-up, you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making by comparing KPI data to your previous metrics.
Automating some of your performance measuring processes will make life easier and better. Storing your data in a digestible format is worth investing your time in since you’re unable to draw conclusions from data that isn’t able to be seen. Think about the people that are involved in your measurement process. Make sure that your entire team is aware of what you’re tracking and the key ways to manage performance better. You’ll also want to assign someone the task of managing your performance KPIs and reporting on them. Set up your CRM to notify you when KPIs are impacted and send you reports and alerts throughout the week. Your BDC Performance Report also has useful information and resource links that can help you keep an eye on your KPIs.
Making a Plan
Adding a bunch of numbers to your already chaotic system can make it even harder to see the bigger picture. But a plan that stretches across your dealership improving processes, utilizing technology, and strategically measuring will help simplify the steps you need to take to reach seemingly impossible goals. At the same time, it’s important to realize that deviation is normal. Like Denzel Washington said in The Equalizer, “Progress. Not Perfection.” Keep an eye out for outliers, but don’t let the day to day deviations in data get you off your game and break down your performance management fundamentals.