It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. A similar comment can be made about car sales. A closed sale begins with a single conversation — and it takes many such conversations to make a deal.
Yet it is not unusual to see over 20 percent of all phone calls to a dealership go unanswered or unreturned. And a missed call means a missed opportunity. In other words, missed revenue for your store.
So, how much money are you losing? Let’s walk through the math.
For the average car dealership, 211 sales calls are either lost or go missing each month, according to a CDK study. And with an average profit of $1,500, those uncaptured calls translate into $47,475 of lost opportunity.
Add in lost or missing calls for your service and parts departments and it can cost you more than $49,000 in lost business each month. With 12 months in a year, you’re looking at losing nearly $600,000 each year.
Losing Employees Means Losing Customers
More than just phone conversations can be lost. According to NADA, the auto retail industry suffers from a 62 percent turnover rate. Put another way, if you have 15 sales members, 10 of them will leave.
In a CDK study, salespeople give customers their personal cell phone number 86 percent of the time. If your customer information is stored in a salesperson’s cell phone, those sales opportunities and customer relationships are at risk. Every bit of contact information and every conversation, inbound or outbound, that employee had with your customers leaves your store, perhaps never to return.
Own the Phone, Keep More Customers
To ensure opportunities do not fall through the cracks or walk out the door, your dealership should own every phone your employees use and every sales or service conversation they engage in, regardless of where the call originated.
A dealership phone, as opposed to a personal phone, enables your sales team to dial internal extensions, record calls, enter leads directly into your CRM and look up customer information on the lot. Best of all, you retain all contact information and communication with that customer whether or not the employee is still physically with your dealership.
The real beauty is that, by using a centralized, cloud-based phone system as your communication umbrella, you’re able to track, analyze, and report on all calls — across all locations. Plus, the calls can be recorded and published to your CRM system, enabling you to capture 100 percent of your business-related conversations.
For Want of a Conversation
In thinking about the importance of phone conversations, I was reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s poem that begins “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost” and ends with the loss of a kingdom.
It may be hard to imagine in our high-tech world, but even common everyday items, such as a phone, can lead to greater success. With the right phone solution on your side, you’ll always know what your customers want or expect. And you’ll find it much easier to nail down success.
Autonomous vehicles. Electric vehicles. Ride-sharing. Digitization. Social media.
In the auto retail industry, we’re surrounded by new and useful technology, the result of evolutionary and revolutionary changes. There’s no shortage of technology available to us.
Granted, the latest and greatest tools can help your dealership succeed. But don’t let your business be blinded by the glitter of new shiny objects, especially when your best sales and customer service tool can be as simple as a phone.