Sept. 6, 2010 – Q&A from lead management/CRM Webinar

A Webinar that examined processeses and results from lead management and CRM tools provided a whole set of data on how well the industry is faring in this key arena.
For instance, less than half of U.S. dealerships currently have a CRM?system and less than one in five dealership sales staff’s pay is linked to lead management or CRM.
The Webinar, provided by Powersports Business and Traffic Log Pro, not only featured new findings on lead management, but also ways in which dealers can take better advantage of leads. In fact, industry personnel who took part in the event focused on improving those tactics during the Q&A portion of the event. More than 150 members of the industry registered for the Webinar.
Here are some of those questions and some of the answers that the Webinar’s panelists provided.
Panelists included Glenn Roller of the Roller Institute; Tad Kilgore, general manager of Traffic Log Pro; Steve Budke, owner of Budke Powersports, a multibrand Nebraska dealership; and Neil Pascale, editor of Powersports Business.
Webinar Q&A question: If an e-mail lead leaves a phone number, should we call that person on the phone right away or should we e-mail them back and wait for an e-mail response?
Roller: I would say two things. I would suggest phoning them. They’re hot. They’re probably by their computer at the time and the sooner you can connect with them, the less likely you are to play telephone tag. Personally I find talking on the phone is more likely to result in an appointment at the dealership rather than sending an e-mail. If you have the choice. Sometimes you don’t.
Question: A follow up to that. Have you seen any indication that people are freer with their communication through e-mail than a phone call?
Roller: Yes. There’s three nice ways to connect. The most impersonal is Internet. The next is phone because you can hear energy in their voice. The third is in person because you can observe what you have. If all I have is either Internet and phone, then I’m going to choose phone because I can hear their energy. But if an e-mail lead leaves a phone number, that’s somebody who is pretty receptive. It’s often the lead that is most difficult that doesn’t give you anything.
Question: What is the best way to build urgency with your salesperson regarding follow up?
Budke: The salesperson cannot make the door swing, cannot make the inbound phone call. What the salesperson can control is the outbound phone call. So we can track on a daily basis the number of outbound phone calls the salespeople have. You have to generate phone calls in order to follow up with customers, to get referrals, to get in the sales funnel, get some potential appointments. We track outbound phone calls very, very closely. On the upper side, we’ve had salespeople make 80-100 outbound phone calls a day.
Question: How many logs a day should we be mandating for sales staff?
Kilgore: From what we’ve seen with various dealerships and even my own time as a salesperson, five logs a day has been really the ticket for success for dealerships. We’ve seen people try to increase that number or adjust that number in slower times, but if you mandate a certain amount of logs on a daily basis, you’re going to get salespeople less reliant on that front door. Let’s say that front door is only bringing in two or three opportunities a day, those salespeople are going to go to the service and parts department and they’re going to start talking to folks. And that’s what you want them to do — shaking the trees to make something happen. In my opinion, you have to have a mandated amount of logs per day and five is a great start.
Question: Does an e-mail auto responder speed the appointment process or hinder the process?
Kilgore: In my opinion, it only betters the situation. It buys you a little time too. In my opinion, having an auto responder is a fantastic way to start the process out. We’ve all purchased vehicles from the auto side and that’s the model that we’re eventually getting to with the (powersports) CRM. It’s great because within a minute you get a reply back and hopefully within five minutes you’re getting a call back.
Roller: I completely agree. It tells the customer their message was received and help is on the way. I don’t see any downside to that at all. I think it’s terrific.
Question: Is it better to leave a phone message on a lead, or is better to keep calling until you contact the lead?
Roller: I would say two things. Here’s what we discovered, which was kind of humorous and a little disappointing. We found the sales staff kept calling that same lead’s phone number at the same time of day all through the week. I mentioned to them, “Maybe that’s a home number and they’re at work. How about if we try to call them around 7?” Boom the phone got answered and there was a connection. I would first choose to try to talk with the person; messages are difficult. Most people aren’t really good at leaving a message that somebody wants to respond to. If you have to leave a message because you just can’t reach them, we suggest leaving what we call a “good news message.” Leave something that the client wants to respond to: “I received your inquiry. I’ve got some great news for you. Love to share with you. Please feel free to call me at (this phone number).”
Question: Steve, how do you handle that?
Budke: Virtually identical to what Glen spoke to. We try to leave a “little bait” about why you should call. PSB

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