Most of us have faced the hard reality of a bad month. Whether that’s missing the monthly manufacturer stairstep after we “realized” the dollars or not hitting the new sales volume requirements imposed upon us internally. Leaving you faced with that never-ending cycle of “adding another program car” to make the number. Having your GSM or Sales Manager crunch numbers harder than Accounting, who’s paying out the monthly commissions, to then start the “report” frenzy. Looking at every report to see where the “missed” opportunities were or scouring for what we call the “low hanging fruit.” 

Looking for the low hanging fruit at the end of the month as you’re deciding whether to add additional program cars is not the solution. And reviewing the reports near the end or after the fact is only looking at one part of the root cause. As it’s not taking into consideration the total leads (including inbound calls) your dealership received for the month. And sure, none of us are perfect, and leads do fall through the cracks. But when the cracks get bigger and bigger each month, you start losing that many more potential deals. That’s everything from the inbound calls that never made it into CRM, potential deals your GSM or Sales Manager didn’t follow-up on, unanswered leads, previous month’s leads that are still hanging in the abyss, or current web leads that weren’t followed-up on. 

Despite many CRM’s having workflows, the cold hard truth is many of the workflows are behind the times. Nor do they often reflect how customers communicate with us. Whether that’s through social media messaging, texting, email – etc. In fact, what’s more concerning is that so many of today’s CRM’s don’t even count texting as a means of “following-up” with the customer! *fax much? The point is we cannot solely rely on an antiquated workflow report to get the real story. Instead, you must dig into the CRM and see how these leads were actually answered and followed-up on. Think about it, how easy is it to click a button that says “phone-call” / “left-message” when they might not have actually even called the customer? Or “sent-email,” which was nothing more than an outdated “canned” auto-reply template that failed to answer the customer’s question. What’s worse is that, more often than not, the Sales Consultants and BD Agents’ CRM email signature line has never been updated or offers the incorrect information by way of broken links. And if you think your Sales Consultants or BD Agents are only sending emails out of their work email, invest in a proper third-party mystery shop and see for yourself. Not to mention all of the other messages/follow-ups that are done through social media apps, or other platforms your dealership is using that aren’t reviewed or captured. 

So how do we globalize their communications and tackle the root cause of the issue? It’s not easy. But it is possible. And it starts with Active Coaching. So when they’re answering leads, inbound calls, chats, texts, social media messages, or on any other platform, they’re doing so properly with consistency. The more uniformity across the platforms and among the team – with quality responses – the better their chances are of closing them. More importantly, avoiding the cracks, tackling the root cause of the issue starts with lead management. And no, this is not just about looking at the reports, either. It’s about understanding how the leads – every single one – is handled. You’d be surprised, but there are so many instances where the lead’s first response is not consistent with your expectations. Whether that’s not sending a well thought out and relevant email to not even sending an email at all (yeah, that happens too). As we know, we tend to have one shot at getting the customer’s attention. And once we do get their attention, we have to diligently follow-up with purposeful content until we’ve built the relationship that makes the sale.

Bottom Line: if we want to end the cycle of adding rentals/demos/service loaners/program cars each month to hit our numbers, we have to tackle the real issue. That issue is handling the leads correctly. But to handle the leads correctly, they need active coaching. Coaching that instills consistency in how they respond to each and every lead. Who doesn’t want to avoid a bad month and have their dealership be profitable?