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More Leads = More Sales, Right? Not So Fast

Whether your dealership operates on a buy-or-die or BDC model, having the skill to properly engage a customer, build value in the dealership and product and gain the customer’s commitment to do business in the showroom is paramount to the success or failure of business development for your store.

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Have you ever spent hours in the woods trying to build a fire? Looking for dry tinder, getting it collected, then assembled in just the right fashion (I’m a fan of the teepee method taught when I was a Boy Scout), and then you burn your thumb and fight the wind just to get those first few flames flickering.

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You then slowly add on some material, being careful not to choke it. You fan the flames, you nurture it, you protect it from the gusts, so you can get it hot and consistent enough that you can just put a couple of big ol’ logs on it so it will cook your meal and keep your family warm through the night. 

We’ve all been to the roaring fire that someone gets a little over-zealous about and they put on too much additional fuel and it starves for oxygen, or they don’t effectively screen the fuel, and a wet, steaming log of non-fuel extinguishes most of the flame, and then nobody wants to get their hands dirty to remove it.

If you haven’t gotten there yet, the fire is your BDC and the fuel is your leads. Regardless of how you choose to operate and market your dealership, your organic, dealer website-driven form and phone leads will always be your best opportunity to drive traffic into the showroom.

More leads could potentially mean more showroom visitors. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always guarantee that you will sell more cars, especially when you dump voluminous amounts of leads (of questionable quality) and continue to expect above-average results. 

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Whether your dealership operates on a buy-or-die or BDC model, having the skill to properly engage a customer, build value in the dealership and product and gain the customer’s commitment to do business in the showroom is paramount to the success or failure of business development for your store.

If you are generating your leads from the wrong sources, or trying to append volume with common solutions that just create a mess, you may have the bodies in the showroom increasing but you won’t be seeing any more tail lights that formerly resided on your floorplan. Not all leads are an equal opportunity provider in every market. Before considering adding additional third-party sources, focus on driving traffic to your organic sources like your dealership’s website, social media or on sites wherein your inventory is advertised. 

Additionally, many dealerships do not appropriately fan their flames in a manner conducive to building a roaring fire that will weather the storms while still providing its core function of heating up the showroom. Proper execution of service drive, equity mining and galley lists can add revenue while not incurring additional cost to your bottom line. These tools have always existed, maybe it’s time to look at them from a refreshed perspective?

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Another thing to consider is how you currently have your leads configured. Before looking to add, be sure to examine what you currently have in place and whether you’re dialed in for success. Distance (radius), accurate advertised pricing/availability online and above-average photos with accurate equipment detail are all things to consider when taking a closer look at your resources. 

Any one of these things can throw your process out of whack. A strong case can also be made as to these being the factor preventing online shoppers from taking the next steps in their purchase process with your dealership. The root emotion? A lack of trust in the information they are being provided. Saturn used to have a philosophy of “Everything Speaks,” and every controllable component of the process is one that you have no excuse for not executing above that of your peers. 

Keep a keen eye on your lead ROI each month. Pick apart the lead sources you currently have in place and identify the breakdown in the results compared to your lead volume. If identified, make the necessary adjustments to “right the ship,” record these adjustments and review again the following month to see how the needle has moved. It makes sense to get the most out of what you have before busting out the checkbook again, doesn’t it?

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More leads are always great — if you have the staff to work them. A high-performance BDC rep on average can facilitate over 500 leads per month effectively given the tools. Without a sharp eye on the input and output, a dip in quality and timeliness of response and follow up will be inevitable. At best, this will cause your team to be overwhelmed. At worst, it is going to lead to an overall drop in employee satisfaction and increase in turnover, leading to a larger strain on and already fragmented process. 

Whether that’s a BDC rep or a sales representative, that feeling of dread they will have every morning as they realize they’re about to be buried in work will start to make the dealer down the street with the better comp plan sound a lot more appealing. Is this where you want to see your top performers end up? Be aware of what your team can handle and if it makes sense to add more opportunity to their plate before expanding their trained resources. 

Inspect what you expect and don’t hesitate to reach out for some additional perspective, we’re here 100+ hours/week.

Click here to view more solutions from Chris Sondesky and BDC Pros.

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