Of course it is, silly. Did you bump your head? Accountability is missing, and it’s not just in your BDC. Where’d it go? Same place as your gross.
Most dealers are struggling with less gross, more expense, reduced net efficiencies, tougher customers, harder to find talent…the list goes on. Meanwhile, it seems like almost every day there is a new shiny nickel to solve a problem you didn’t know you had that distracts us from the fundamentals.
Let’s get back that accountability and gross that follows. Make car buying great again by making your dealership great again. As the cycle goes, there’s a downturn caused by (insert excuse here; likely tied to a polarizing political issue), things get tough, we get smart. We remember the good habits, shed the bad and get back to what we do best: sell cars, make money, have fun. Then things get good; success becomes as easy as taking candy from a baby. As usual, we get fat, dumb and happy. Bad habits return and good habits have vanished. Performers leave for the guy down the street who offers a few extra bucks or a title (and demo). The manufacturer decides it’s time for some new facility initiative they’re going to push or adjust your MSR while showing you how far behind XYZ benchmark you are, but the person telling you can’t explain how they arrived at those numbers. Before we know what hit us, it’s all “the OEM is blah blah, can’t get used cars, damn millennials, township won’t let me…” and so on. The thing is, those issues aren’t anything new, they’re just this month’s excuse for why last month was weak.
We hear similar concerns and challenges at every different OEM and in every different market. Invariably, these stores all share similar difficulties while the solutions are astonishingly simple: execute fundamentals.
When a management team is fully bought in and willing to be open-minded, there’s no stopping the traction that can be gained by being honest with ourselves and not fearing the critique.
Let’s run down a few topics and questions to ask:
• What’s happening with yesterday’s unsold showroom ups and missed appointments?
• Who is compiling the list for your daily Make-A-Deal meeting?
• Where is the accounting of those results?
• What is your process for near-term re-engagement of in-store shoppers independent of salesperson efforts?
• Who is checking CRM usage and accuracy?
• Who reconciles the desk log with appointments and CRM entries with credit pulls and submitted deals?
• For remote principals and off-location operators: Is someone providing you a daily customer service reporting providing unbiased feedback on their visit? Questions like “How was your visit? Did you see the car you wanted to see? Did you speak with a manager?”
You continue to spend all that money on your CRM, probably have changed at some point in the last three to five years, and you’re wondering why you’re not selling more cars? It’s not the software, it’s the users and the lack of consistent, verified adoption. Your CRM is useless if A) it’s not being used by everyone, and B) you aren’t getting actionable data. When nobody verifies, the data is useless.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with BDC ROI?” Well, regardless of what traffic your BDC drives to the store, if the floor isn’t 100 percent transparent and accountable for those results, you should just toss the BDC anyway, it’s another unneeded expense (like the majority of your PPC budget, but that’s another time).
You probably ask the BDC how many appointments they have for tomorrow (the answer is disappointing), there’s probably friction with the sales team because the BDC brought someone back in who can’t borrow a pencil to fill out the app, let alone get approved while they’re 15k flipped on an Altima. The BDC is upset because they’re not getting paid their show bonuses because the salespeople aren’t logging their customers in the CRM.
Start with the missed expected results and work backward through your processes to identify the hiccup. More often than not, we find that it’s only minor tweaks that get the momentum going again.
Every manager should be able to demonstrate the trust and accountability of their team to execute the process fundamentals that are expected and have been clearly explained (you did explain what you expect of your team, right?). If the BDC is supposed to handle certain questions in a certain manner, then be able to back up what they said to a customer. If you have a 100-percent log policy (who doesn’t?), then take clear and deliberate action when you find out someone was broomed. If you expect 100 percent TOs, dive into survey responses when a customer says they didn’t speak to a manager. Does your CRM data match what the customer said?
Define a process for your daily unsold traffic.
Email the report every day to every manager. Make sure the Make-A-Deal meeting happens two days in a row, then three days, then a week.
Create a daily CRM usage recap. Identify who is being accurate and who isn’t. Encourage transparency by making these reports public. Openly praise and reward progress.
If you’re currently using a third party for your inbound BDC, appointment setting or service drive conversion, ask them if they do any of the services above. There are plenty of great independent auto-focused customer service and sales teams across the country who can do this for you. If you’ve got capacity to do this in store, setting up some Google Doc forms is super-simple and can get you quality, actionable data.
Get back to executing fundamentals and watch the dollars rise again.
Certainly, I’m way over my word count at this point. Drop me a line at the email above to continue the conversation. Talking shop with fellow car people is my favorite thing to do. Chris Sondesky