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ATTENTION All Dealers GMs and Managers

It’s Time You KNOW and OWN Your Internet Process

As I travel around the country helping dealers set up and build their Internet Departments, one of the things I have really been focusing on, is involving the Dealer, GM and Managers in the process. I always start out by asking…

When someone walks into your dealership, what happens? What is your process? What are your steps of the sale? What are the, “THIS happens every time or heads roll?”  Every time I ask this question, EVERY dealer and manager always know the answer, we do this, we do that, our steps of the sale are, etc.

and then I ask the question….

When an eLead “enters” your store, what happens? When you receive a lead off of your website or from a third party provider, what happens? The normal response I get is, “I have a person that handles our Internet leads”. To which I always say, “and then?…..”. “Well, they try to respond within a couple of hours”….to which I say again, “and then?…..”……”and then”….”and then”……I always have to ask them more questions, I have to dig deep because most do not know what their Internet steps of the sale are.

Once we go through this exercise, I have the whole room understanding that its time to own their Internet process!

Now I don’t expect them to know A to Z but in the end I want this to be their process. So they can say, “this is how WE do business online”. I want them to know “the steps of the sale” so to speak just like they know how they do business on the showroom floor. “When we receive a lead, this is what happens…”.

This is so important because one of the big disconnects with most dealerships and the Internet is, they look for that great Internet Salesperson who is going to build up their Internet Department. The one who is going to take them to infinity and beyond! Nothing wrong with finding that “right” person but there is when the dealership doesn’t know HOW he/she is doing it or did it! Then, unfortunately when that person leaves, poof! Their Internet Department is gone. “I’m not really sure what they did”. “I know they followed up quickly with the customers”. And then most try to find another guru Internet salesperson to start the cycle all over again or they may spend time trying to figure out what and how they were doing things. Some even have the idea that they can just keep things going. “How difficult can it be?” “Sure, they were good but we can just continue doing whatever it was that they did”.

It’s time for dealerships to “own” their Internet process and then start building on it!

Dealers need to know how they do business online. When they hire a new Internet Salesperson, they can say, “This is how we do business”. That Internet person is expected not only to follow that process but to add to it. Add to the dealerships Internet process. Now, if and when one leaves and they hire a new one, they will be able to hand over a manual – this is how we do business here at ABC Motors. Yes, I’m sure I will be called on to train that new salesperson but now the dealer has a process in their store. Their process. So they can say “This is how WE do business online. This is how we follow up with eLeads”.

Below are the Top 10 Questions Every Dealer, GM and Manager should know about their Internet Department:

  1. Are ALL of your leads going into your ILM (Lead Management system)?
    Automatically or manually. Are you sure?? You can’t track it if it’s not! It’s very common for me to find leads being sent to three or four different places. Manufactures leads are being sent to the ILM, AutoTrader leads are sent to a used car salesperson and website leads are going to the new car manager. It’s hard to track and get accurate numbers if leads are going to more than one place.
  2. What are the first actions taken when an eLead enters your store?
    When the lead is sent to your Lead Management System, what happens next? Text alert notifies the salesperson – Salesperson Sends eMail – Salesperson Calls Lead. Is that what happens? If not, do you know what does happen?
  3. What is your average response time?
    Time kills deals so response time is so critical. Most Managers and Internet Managers THINK they know what it is but usually they are very, very wrong. Average response time for all of your leads. Not what you think it is. Is it under an hour? If not, it should be.
  4. How many leads do you receive, average, per month?
    Is this number going up or down? Someone needs to be tracking this and working on improving the volume of leads.
  5. Performance.
    How many sales do you average from your Internet Department? Do your Internet salespeople handle floor traffic too? If so, they aren’t counting those sales in the numbers, are they?  We want Internet Sales in this report, period. Closing Ratio: It’s all about tracking each individual lead source to know how they perform and which salespeople do best with different leads. Knowing the closing ratio or each lead source and then having an overall closing ratio of all of your leads. What is your average gross profit from those deals, front and back? This should be the same or higher than your showroom traffic.
  6.  Who answers your incoming phone calls from you website and third party sites like AutoTrader,, etc.
    This is so important to know! There are so many deals lost because the people answering the phone think they have that unique car of old. Not so anymore! There are hundreds of others just like yours, right at their fingertips and people will travel to buy it. It is a must to know who is handling these calls and that they know how to handle these calls. And every single call must be put in the CRM/ILM with the correct lead source.
  7.  What is the process for following up with leads after hours?
    Do the calls and emails you receive after hours go unanswered until the next day? If two dealers get the same lead and one responds and one doesn’t, who do you think will sell the car?  Time kills deals. People find that other car just like yours and maybe even better during that time that no one responds.
  8. Who is responsible for making updates to your website (specials, incentives, etc) and how often is it done?
    Because most dealerships are used to the newspaper rep stopping in and collecting this weeks newspaper ad for the dealership, a habit for updating their website with specials has never been developed. It is so common to visit websites and see a special from weeks, months and even a year ago! Or how about “Please check back, there are no specials at this time”. What??!! That’s like saying your local clothing store at the mall doesn’t have 50% off of all stock. For a limited time only of course.
  9. How well do you market your used cars online?
    How many pictures do you take of your used cars?  Setting a minimum requirement of 20 pictures per vehicle is a must. Writing custom comments of your used cars is a must. How are your cars priced compared to your competition? Market Pricing.
  10. Are you updating your OEM provided websites?
    It is so common for me to find the different websites that the manufactures provide to their dealers to have NO used car pictures being sent to the site, wrong phone numbers on the site and leads being sent to never-never land. Another common problem I see is going to the manufacture website, entering the dealerships zip code to find them, clicking on “visit dealer”, only to find a dead link!

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