Crap Your Sales Staff Shouldn’t Get Away With in 2017
Salespeople, it’s time to take a hard look at your work and admit where you can improve.
Auto sales training isn’t easy. High turnover rates, an evolving industry, and competition among salespeople can make it tough to put together a winning staff of helpful employees.
Still, if new years are about positive changes, we’ve got a handful of resolutions for auto sales staff to live up to in 2017.
Updating your auto sales training with this list of five salesperson no-nos will get you and your team to stop losing out on business in the new year.
(Marketers, work with your sales colleagues on these areas for improvement! Shoot them this link so that your whole team can be on the same page for what can’t fly anymore at your dealership.)
1. Assuming the Sale Starts with Salespeople
The car-buying process takes most shoppers a long time. They spend weeks talking to friends, learning about brands, and reading all manner of articles online before they ever stop by your lot or even fill out a form.
But as long as your dealership has a sensible digital strategy, you have a stockpile of information waiting for you before your first touchpoint with a lead.
Find out what blog posts, landing pages, and vehicle detail pages (VDPs) your lead has been looking at, and make sure you have information that will help add to — not repeat — what they’ve already learned on their own.
If your auto sales training didn’t teach you how to look up this information, ask your marketing teammates for help. Sales and marketing are better off joining forces than complaining about each other after work.
2. Not Using Your Dealership’s CRM
Coming from a guy who looks at a lot of automotive data, this one is huge.
If you’re not using your dealership’s CRM, you’re hurting everybody — marketers, salespeople, and customers.
Marketing teams thrive off learning more information about both individual leads and shoppers as a whole. Sales departments that use CRMs are less likely to drop good leads and are better equipped to identify areas in which salespeople can improve.
Most important? You’re jeopardizing the experience of your customers. No matter how good you think you are at remembering information you’ve gathered about a contact, putting it into the CRM immediately is the only way to guarantee that info can be used to help the car buyer.
Using the CRM — and using it well — will be vital to a dealership’s success in 2017.
Your auto sales training needs to cover the ins and outs of managing your contacts with the CRM. Your marketing coworkers should also drop by to explain what data points are vital to their campaigns.
And really, sales managers? If one of your salespeople won’t use the CRM, stop giving them leads.
3. Marking Good Leads “Bad”
How do you define a “bad” lead at your dealership?
Answers will vary across regions and markets, but if you don’t have a specific definition, something is wrong.
And by “definition,” I don’t mean a gut feeling or any subjective crap. What measurable criteria do you use to declare a lead not worthy of your time?
Marketing and sales need to collaborate on that answer. Without dealership-wide communication and understanding, there’s no way to find holes in your sales funnel.
Almost any store would bend over backward to get more leads, but only the ones willing to frankly assess (and address) their weaknesses will find more success.
4. Not Personalizing Your Follow-up
This one loops back to the first two items on our list. Once salespeople:
a) recognize that leads have already been interacting with the dealership before salespeople get to them, and
b) have fostered a culture that embraces the CRM,
they are much better equipped to interact with leads.
Armed with data gathered by both sales and marketing, you don’t have to struggle through crappy emails about how you hope so-and-so will stop by again.
Talk to each lead as a real person instead of using an obviously generic email blast. Better yet, if you’re using all your resources, your follow-up can also cater to new information about their search.
Maybe after meeting with you or talking on the phone about a Jeep, a shopper got online and looked at six different Dodge Journeys. Or they started reading about the RAM 1500.
In this case, it no longer works to shoot them an email about coming by to see Jeeps. You need to tailor your next interaction toward what they want now:
“Hey, this is Matt. We talked about the Renegade last week, but I’ve got some nice prices on Dodge Journeys and was wondering . . .”
Present yourself as attuned to the customer’s needs and thought process.
Your knowledge base about your leads is considerable. Leverage it to help your customers find the right vehicle.
5. Not Requesting Online Reviews
Dealing with negative dealership reviews is not easy. The best strategy is to amp up the number of good reviews you get.
Plant the seed early. Just work it into your sales routine.
When you first start talking to a lead, say, “My goal is to give you such a good experience that you’ll leave a five-star review.” Mention it again in the process if it feels right, and then remind the customer again after the sale is made.
If your store has set up a smart workflow to push a review console like Podium, you don’t even have to email customers for reviews later.
Talk to your marketing team about whether a review request email goes out automatically. If it does, the process that starts with you could turn into a surge in positive testimonials for your store.
Who knows? You might win some favor up the ladder if your name pops up in a few 10/10 reviews.
Make Your Store Better Than Ever in 2017
Improvement in these five areas will set you up for a wonderful year.
It won’t be because of some wild promotion, either. It’ll be because you are striving to do what’s best for your dealership and your customers.
A successful dealership needs to consider the buyer’s experience from start to finish.
If you think your store is struggling on those vital first online interactions, get an expert opinion. Our digital audits can get professional eyes on your website and point you toward the resources you need to get ahead.