Inspect what you expect!

The sales manager should be in charge!

The blog title is a line I heard in a podcast of Autodealerlive by Bill Whittenmyer. From the moment I heard the quote, it is even clearer to me that you should deal with online leads in a better way. Of course, we do know that we need to be better at monitoring online opportunities. Customers no longer come in large numbers to visit our stores, but they come in as a call lead, chat lead, WhatsApp lead or as online lead. Does it matter? It shouldn’t. In fact, the outcome must be the same: more sales! The question is whether that outcome is based on coincidence, or thanks to a well-defined process?

Penalty versus free kick
Too often I have a discussion with dealers and marketers about the quality of the marketing initiatives. The leads are discussed and discussed again. It is never about the process behind it all, that has to make sure that leads become paying customers. Look, if you are the cheapest, that doesn’t mean that you will make a sale. It doesn’t mean that everyone will come to you to make a purchase. You don’t want to be the cheapest, and in fact, you aren’t the cheapest? Then it is our responsibility as dealers and entrepreneurs to make the most of the opportunities that we get. I understand that car salesmen in this case prefer to see a lead as a penalty kick, without a goalkeeper, then as a free kick outside the sixteen, including goalkeeper and a wall of players. For one soccer player a professional club doesn’t even want to pay a dime, for the other they are willing to pay millions. What I mean to say is that the search for easy leads is fun for amateurs, but that game cannot be won. You must therefore want to win on something that you have control over, and that is the process after you have received the lead.

So inspect what you expect
The outcome on, for example, online leads is simple: 13% conversion on an active leads is the minimum requirement. With that percentage you will not take part in the Champions League, but it does bring you to the better online sellers. From there you work upwards. The measuring rod that you use for this is the 60% rule!
The goal of lead follow-up must be very simple: first a dialogue (by telephone or by e-mail) than an appointment (secondary make an offer), then then the customer shows up and then a sale. If you as a manager, sales manager or dealer only look at the number of leads versus the sales, then you are missing important steps that can tell you a lot about the quality of your sellers and the process that is followed. The point is that some dealers do not even report the conversion, the numbers of leads to sales, etc.

Are your salespeople not able to convert 60% of the leads into a dialogue? Then something is wrong in their process. They do not call, they call too late or too little or they e-mail without having the intention to actually motivate the customer to a meaningful dialogue. For example, mention the benefit for the customer to contact you…

If you have the dialogue (at least 60%), then I expect 36 appointments. This is from leads that have signed themselves up (active leads) to receive information! If someone scores below 60%, I first check what the salesperson does with his chances, before I discard the mirror and look at the marketing department to figure out why the leads are so jerky!

Of those 36, 22 must actually enter the showroom. That is still quite a job, because some people say they will show up, but in fact they don’t. That’s not the worst thing that could happen, provided that the minimum value of 60% is achieved! Only then, and only then, is the conversion to a sale really relevant. If the top is not going well, I will never get the desired result at the bottom, not now, not ever. Not if you want to sell cars for normal money. Of course you can say that you want to be the cheapest, but that is the same as thinking that a ‘pill’ gives you abdominal muscles. If you do not want to make the effort to put your lead follow-up in order, the result will be what you want it to be. If you have a BDC and you do not inspect the expected outcome from both the BDC and the salespersons, then in this case the BDC agents are getting blamed, because, of course, the salesperson that only wants to score when the goal is empty never gets blamed.

So inspect!
I too am an entrepreneur and, with the people that work for me, I am working to manage the expected outcome every day. Coincidence is the devil, by being constant you are going to make a profit. If you are constant, you can only sharpen your marketing channels. And only when the process of follow-up is constant, it is possible to form an opinion about the quality of the leads. Without being constant and without a process, you can only be guided by that feeling in your guts. In that case you will not do the work that you should be doing. So inspect what you expect from the outcome! Inspect what you expect! Thx Bill!

About Paul de Vries
Paul de Vries became a Key Automotive Spokesperson at eBay (Marktplaats) after selling to eBay back in 2015. Paul is the founder and CEO of the #DCDW Academy and the presenter of the #DCDW Podcast. He is also a by dealers and importers frequently asked speaker in the online automotive industry. Paul is the winner of the prestigious Lighthouse Award 2016 in the U.S.! `Lead the Way op de digitale snelweg’ is Paul’s new book, which can be used as a guide in the online automotive industry. More information is available at:

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