The Best Automotive Internet Sales Process
Like the best CRM for your dealership, the best sales processes are:
- Those your team will use; and
- Those that genuinely help you sell a car.
For CRMs, I love the simplicity of Dominion’s Web Control. It’s intuitive, easy and effective. Moreover, your team will use it. (In fact, I love Web Control so much, I asked them to sponsor a recent live video webcast where we taught How to Create the Best Internet Sales Processes.)
For internet sales processes, I love those that make sense, are customized by lead type and are focused on today’s customer.
What About Today’s Customer?
Unlike when the World Wide Web first started generating automotive sales leads for dealers, today’s prospects are actually “low funnel.” This means, they’re ready to buy; and, if handled right, they will buy from you… today.
When I wrote my first formal internet sales process in 2006, it was 150 days long and tasked those handling internet leads with calling non-responsive prospects for 60 days. You see, if you wanted to sell cars to those submitting leads in 2006, you had to follow up until they were ready to buy. Back then, these leads were more “requests for information” than the “orders” consumers submit today.
Today, your internet sales processes need to be much shorter; and not just because the prospect is lower in the sales funnel.
Spam and Other Considerations
Precisely because your prospect is lower funnel, you will quickly become labeled as a spammer if you follow the misguided old-school internet sales processes that tell you to “follow up until they buy or die.”
Plus, when it comes to phone calls, we need to be honest here. Your team is not going to continue to call a non-responsive prospect for 60 days. Heck, they’re not calling after seven days today, are they? My process (as of this writing) is to make no more than nine call attempts to non-responsive prospects. This is because there really is no return on investment for making more than nine calls.
If you follow my current process properly, you’ll get your nine phone calls completed by Day 15. After that, you let the automated emails take over.
The Best Process Doesn’t Care About “Stopping the Clock”
One of the dirty little secrets built into the average dealer’s internet sales process today is a mostly worthless email that effectively “stops the clock.” You see, your internet sales manager needs you off his or her back. They need the OEM to stop calling them out for a slow response time. So, instead of calling the prospect as soon as the lead is received, he or she has instructed their BDC agents or internet salespeople to send an email that will satisfy the artificial response time requirements your and/or your OEM is imposing.
Your goal for your internet sales process should be to connect (and to connect first) with the prospect. It should never be to artificially “stop the clock” in order to make someone up the chain happy. (To illustrate the importance of connecting – and connecting first with a prospect – there’s a great study from CraftJack that shows consumers were 238% more likely to buy from the contractor that connected with them first, versus the one who connected second.)
If you indeed want to create the best automotive internet sales process for your dealership, then remember: it’s got to help you sell a car; it must be much shorter than in the past; and the goal is simply to connect with the prospect (and never, ever to “stop the clock”).
Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in The Customer Experience, is the host of Undeniable Advantage Live!, a monthly live video webcast and customer service training provider hosted at UndeniableAdvantage.com. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at SteveStauning.com.