internet leads

Keeping a firm grasp of how your Internet leads are handled will uncover your sales team’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. BY PAUL POTRATZ

“Your only job is to send me the traffic and we will take it from there.” Have you ever said this to a marketing guy? If so, I want you to repeat after me: “I will never say that again,” since that is a recipe for failure. Please don’t take what I am about to say negatively since I honestly feel no one wants to fail or underperform.

The problem is most people don’t know how success is measured.

In today’s market, driving traffic is the easy part; in fact it’s very easy. However, most managers and practically all website vendors don’t want to accept responsibility for how business is done today. First, let’s start with the managers at most businesses, a lot of managers don’t know how to develop processes, benchmarks and teams to handle the abundance of selling opportunities when it comes to online. Most are looking for sales opportunities in the form of a lot-up, phone call or website lead, which means they are missing out on the highest gross sales opportunities. Most managers are telling their advertising partners, “I need more traffic, I need more leads.”

Are you one of those managers that goes to your advertising partners and blames them when sales are down or when you feel traffic is down? Here is a quick test to see what type of manager you are. This test has a 10-minute time limit, so if you can’t complete it within this window, then it’s time you start developing new skills for today’s market.

  1. How many leads has each sales associate received?
  2. How many leads by sales associates resulted in initial contact?
  3. What is the percentage of initial contacts made by each associate?
  4. How many leads scheduled appointments for each associate?
  5. What is the percentage of scheduled appointments by each associate?
  6. How many leads showed up for an appointment per each associate?
  7. What is the percentage of appointments that showed up for each associate?
  8. How many leads that showed up resulted in a sale per each associate?
  9. What is the percentage of leads that showed up resulting in a sale by each associate?
  10. How many leads prior to step 1 and after step 9 were considered a dead lead?

The first step is to become aware of the issues and start correcting them one day at a time.

So, were you able to complete this list in 10 minutes? Fact is, you should have a list like this on your desk daily and you should be monitoring more than your stocks, email and Facebook account. Again, remember what I said: People don’t want to fail. It’s your job to monitor the key performance indicators as a manager and uncover your team’s strengths and opportunities for improvements. Then share their strengths and coach the team to higher KPIs.

How can you know what to improve if you don’t know?

Just by studying the answers to the first three questions you can uncover some things that could be holding you back from a record sales month. If a sales associate has a low percentage of initial contacts made, it could be a result of:

  • Slow response time
  • Handling too many leads which could cause slow response
  • Weak phone skills
  • Leads coming in from a third-party source are being oversold
  • Cherry picking leads

The initial contact and response time is where it all starts, and if this process is in need of help then your sales will suffer.

What can you learn from studying the numbers above?

  • Who is excelling better on used car leads vs. new car leads
  • Who is stronger on the phone
  • Who is better at getting initial contact
  • Who is stronger in setting appointments
  • Who is stronger in keeping appointments
  • Who seems to cherry pick by converting leads to dead

This is just a small example of what you can learn from studying the numbers. You can also see how your pay plan might be archaic; since I believe you should pay people based on the performance you want them to excel at. Pay them for what they are responsible for, not what others control.

A manager should never be working in the business; you should be working on your business.

I am not saying you are a bad manager, since this is not the way dealerships were set up to operate. The purchase of a vehicle has always been an emotional purchase. The best managers were always the ones that could create excitement on the showroom floor, and train a sales team that knows what to say and when to say it when they had a customer face-to-face. Hence the statement, “you just drive the traffic and we will take it from there.” The traffic is available but it’s not just face-to-face traffic now, therefore it’s critical to start measuring performance with black and white numbers. This is what it really means when we say that the Internet is fully trackable. You will be surprised by how much you can improve lead counts in a matter of a week.

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