Every up sheet should have a source. This tells you how the lead originated, is helpful for reports, and
provides background information on your customer.
E-leads will come in with their source named, which is great because then you know this customer is an
internet shopper, and you hopefully have an email address to keep in touch with him/her. But, manually
created up sheets need to be assigned a source. Was this a walk-in, referral, friend, previous customer,
or did the customer come to you through an advertisement?
Having the source in all of your up sheets gives accurate reporting statistics that managers can use to
see where money on advertising in best spent, but can also be helpful to a salesperson. Knowing where
your most fruitful leads are coming from tells you where to use more energy when trying to close a sale.
Having the source in there is another way to filter your customers, too.
Using sources properly starts with the account administrator taking time to make sure the dealership’s
AutoRaptor account has the sources that it needs and can use in the future. This step is critical early on
to ensuring that sources get used properly. For example, just entering the source “referral” may not tell
you much. Maybe you want a category called “referral” broken down into sources specifying from whom the referral
came – customer, employee, family, friend, etc. Each dealership is different and can choose their sources based on their needs.
Do you have the sources you need in your AutoRaptor account? Are your salespeople assigning sources to all leads?
We are planning to head to NADA soon, so an article titled NADA Convention & Expo to Feature Used-Car Side of Business, Too in Auto Remarketing caught our attention.
Most of our business is with used car dealers, and we hope to see some of you at the NADA Convention. The fact that NADA is gearing sessions toward used car sales backs up our recent post about the need for independent dealers to find ways to compete with franchises that are putting more energy into their used car departments.
Of course, we wish all car dealers success, and our business is here to help dealerships of all types sell more. But, for the independent and BHPH dealers out there maybe a little extra advice can't hurt. Take note of Brent Carmichael's 5 Biggest Mistakes in BHPH. They are lack of:
Make sure your business is doing all it can to compete in the current economy and be successful!
AutoRaptor CRM updated how users work with contacts not too long ago. Any new up sheet or additional contact added to an up sheet begins with typing in just the name and a phone number or email address. Then, AutoRaptor searches for matches before you enter more information, so you do not create duplicate contacts.
This makes it quicker and easier to add contacts and up sheets, which saves you and the customer time. But, you do need to go back and complete as much information as you can about a contact. All phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses you have should be entered. Remember, a CRM is more valuable with more information.
Additionally, AutoRaptor made it easier to access important dates and other notes about the customer with the contact information. Important dates is used to add a customer’s birthday, anniversary, or other special date, and then AutoRaptor reminds you a couple days before the event so you can wish your customer well. This is such an important feature, because it lets you add a personal touch to correspondence with your customer and keeps you in their thoughts when they are ready to buy a vehicle again.
Contacts also include a notes section, which can be used to remind yourself what you know about this customer and what you’ve talked about with him or her. You might put here, “Joe has two teenage daughters and likes to go fishing.”
Are you personalizing your customer relationships? If not, start to by using these important features in the contact section of our CRM.
In the article CRM: The 'holy grail' or a process fail? Craig Conard ponders the question of whether a CRM is always worth it. He says sometimes CRMs create extra administrative work without enough benefit to the business. But, I think he makes some of the same points that AutoRaptor CRM has been making all along.
As Conard says, "Most important, keep the database simple." AutoRaptor was built on this premise.Our CRM for auto dealers is easy to use and easy to learn because it is designed to be simple and to store your database of customers and potential customers in a simple form. Tech savvy customers learn the basics of the application on their own, while those who come to AutoRaptor CRM unable to even turn on a computer are still able to learn the application.
But, Conard makes another point that we have been saying all along - Managers need to make using the CRM mandatory, and enforce proper use of the tool. As Conard puts it, the managers and salespeople are under pressure to produce sales first and foremost, so if a salesperson makes sales without properly using the CRM, there is no push to use it. This creates a gap in the usefulness of the CRM for reporting and documentation as some information is missing from the database. Basically, it is important that management purchases a CRM that is useful for their dealership's needs, and enforces use of that CRM.
AutoRaptor feels we can meet the needs of many dealerships as our user-friendly application simplifies the CRM process, so time is not wasted on the administrative details. Get a demo to see if it will work for your dealership.
“Talk that does not end in any kind of action is better suppressed.” - Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
How many times have you made friends with a customer and not sold the car? How many times have you talked yourself out of the sale?
I sat listening to a salesperson drone on about the features of a new Jaguar convertible to a potential customer. It was a one sided conversation that just did not stop. The customer just sat there waiting, minutes passed and all the surrounding salespeople were waiting for their fellow sales-talker to stop and ask for the order.
Well he did not stop talking, the customer rested his head on the desk and waited patiently hoping that the pain would be over and he could leave. Finally the customer lifted his head and loudly said “shut the F up and write the order”. I want the car. The showroom exploded in laughter, but it was not funny. Talk for a purpose - to explain and educate - but always ask for the order.
“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” -Jack Welch
In the last five years technology has brought many changes to the way we think and operate. At AutoRaptor adapting is one of our major themes. We recently added a mobile version of AutoRaptor to work on the following phones; Iphone, Android and Palm Pre as well as a version for the new Ipad. If you do not have a Smartphone you will still be notified via email of any new leads. We want our users to stay connected, so they can convert the lead to a sale quickly. That is what we are about!
Connection to your customers starts with a process that should be simple, affordable and powerful. The traditional rules using snail mail and cold calling need to be replaced with new marketing rules. Many dealers have a reluctance to enter the social media networks because they do not understand the way people connect digitally. It is not just about the daily things people do; it is about passing information and ideas to your customers on a large scale. It is about staying connected in 140 characters or less. To make social connections succeed you must make a commitment to invest your time and resources to understand what social media is and how it works. Connecting to the customer through social media has many additional benefits; customer service, service appointments, sales appointments, register issues and build a relationship with your existing clients.
Why are so many dealers DMS databases incomplete? It requires commitment and a process above the normal course of business. You as Owners need to see the benefit and how your database will make you consistent profits. Managing your database is like managing your check book. Out of date balances lead to overdrawn accounts and lost money. As dealers we invest in expensive systems to manage our companies and then do not do our diligence in making sure that the data is useful and accurate. How many incorrect phone numbers, bad addresses and missing information does it take to create some action? As a CRM application that polls dealer databases we see it all. Some dealers rely on the DMS system to refresh their databases monthly and that is a start but the dealer should start at the sale with all contact information from the customer. You as the dealer are required to meet the Red Flag rules since credit is a good part of the transaction. Maintaining a solid database for your records is good business and is a requirement in today’s world. Do not assume it is being done in your dealership, it is boring work but the payback is high. Check your processes today and periodically to assure that you have the database tool that will help sell more cars.
AutoRaptor can migrate your sales history and periodically updates as new business is created. With the ability to export any defined search, having an up to date database is the best marketing strategy you can have. Just follow time proven processes and manage your database today to get on the road to more sales.
This a familiar topic that I keep coming back to: Why is it so difficult for some sales people to adopt to new technologies? How many sales people do not have an email address? Approximately 30 percent do not have a personal address let alone one for business use. Getting one is so easy and it is one of the few things in this world that are free. Fear of technology and the lack of understanding of how to use this communication device to create sales stops them in their tracks. Some can talk but just can’t type or spell correctly. I once downloaded a typing program to help my staff get started. It helped some but not all. Sales people who stare out the window waiting for the next up just do not want to change. Proactive follow up is just not in their genes. So how do we make them see the potential to increase their sales by using one piece of technology? You the owner or manager have to champion the process; it always starts by command till the benefit is realized by your staff.
A side benefit is that you will also have an additional way to communicate with your staff, written communications that can tell you that the mail was read, is a sure way to keep everyone on the same page. It is an efficient and productive method to make sure your directives are read and followed.