The focus of Dealers for years now has been on recruiting and retaining top producing “Digital” sales teams. Regardless of whether you call this team a BDC, some fancy new buzzword, or if your sales department handles everyone start to finish, the reality is that the days of the “digital” customer and the “traditional” one are long gone. They are one and the same, which has made it a requirement for the entirety of your sales staff and leaders embrace a new methodology in selling vehicles. Have you assembled the best digital team in your market and still find yourself looking over the financial statements without seeing the increase you projected? Let’s examine why.
1. Clarity With New Hires
Did you look for top level talent with a current internet related title from a competitor? Titles and the responsibilities that come along with them rarely mean the same thing across dealerships. Don’t assume they know what you’re expectations are or that they are already trained to handle them. Too often a dealer will promote someone because they know how to work a computer by slapping an internet manager title on them. The ability to operate technology does not qualify someone to understand how to communicate effectively with a consumer. Inspect what you expect, titles do not equal talent.
2. Be On The Same Team
Are your managers and staff working with each other or against? Too often management is either not present or not committed to staying present in “new age” training sessions. They are leaving to work deals, answer calls etc…Create coverage so that they are able to learn with their teams without distractions. Lack of enforcement on this creates burn out and frustration when dealing with the desk due to the lack of understanding and buy-in. True progress happens as a team once they commit to a new mindset together.
3. Accountability With Consequences
Then what? Begin by implementing new processes and enforcing accountability that is geared toward the consumer experience in 2016, rather than the control tactics we have used for the last twenty years. The culture change that produces results has to come from the top, and it has to be consistently made a priority with consequences for those who refuse to adapt.
4. Consistency With Your Process
Have you recently justified a particular person following a different process because they sell “so many cars” or they “don’t work internet leads”? Don’t allow different expectations for different performance levels. If they sell 20 now and don’t follow the process, then they are missing 10. You have to transform your entire team. It is unacceptable to teach someone to follow one process for “traditional” customers and an entirely different one for “digital.” Instead, segment the processes based on what previous research they have done. Have they agreed to a demo drive? Has a proper T.O been performed? This allows you to identify where there are weaknesses within a department and isolate them to make improvements.
5. Have Quality Leadership
Does your management team roll “Old School”? If the sales staff hits a negativity wall every time they go to the desk with an “out of the box” idea, then they will eventually throw their hands in the air, quit following up and become complacent because they begin to believe they cannot win. Stop training people to respond quickly and accurately only to ask them wait for thirty minutes to get numbers, or worse, respond to them with things like “Just Get Them In.” That’s lazy. Think about how often we tell sales people to prospect the household and focus on the trade, but then the Used Car Manager looks at them like they are crazy when they want a sight unseen appraisal. We are teaching them to communicate differently in order to do it right, but then can’t figure out why they don’t follow the traditional steps to the sale when they are working a deal. Maybe it’s time to create a new set of steps.
Do you believe you are already doing everything as a best practice? I challenge you to step back and re-evaluate the managers on your teams without the bias of the relationship you have or what you “know” is happening. Decide who is willing and able to embrace a “new age” process. Too often as dealers we step over dollars to pick up dimes by not investing in and enforcing our management teams to stay current.
Commit today to having an expectations meeting with your entire team to create goals and strategies that support success for the dealership moving forward. Support those who are embracing change by encouraging the “crazy” ideas they come to you with. It’s time to get on board by being willing to change the culture if you’re truly going to succeed. The everyday model in many dealerships is broken. The floor is typically split between the notion that what they are currently doing shouldn’t change and those who know that the consumer experience requires a new direction. Fear of the unknown and the capacity to embrace it will limit the results.