Preparing for 2019: Remember, It’s the Boring Stuff that Sells Cars

perfect data

As you and your team review your sales plans for 2019, it’s important to remember that the dealers growing market share use the same websites, tools and marketing sources you use. Just like you, they’ve yet to discover a magic bean or digital secret to sell vehicles without effort. They’ve discovered, as most dealers have, that selling cars isn’t hard, it just takes work.

Moreover, top dealers understand knowing is just a fraction of the job of selling cars; the bulk of what drives their growth is the doing. And doing, for most people, is boring. However, as top dealers know, it’s the boring stuff that sells cars.

Rules, processes and measurement are all pretty dull stuff; especially when compared to cool things like tech gadgets and social media. While elite dealers get just as excited about the latest shiny objects pitched by tomorrow’s self-proclaimed disruptors, they’re more successful than average dealers at recognizing and adopting the effective solutions because they’ve already mastered the boring stuff.

CRMs are Boringperfect data

Entering data into the CRM can often be the most boring activity for salespeople. For most managers, monitoring and leading their team via that data can be equally monotonous. This means many salespeople will do what they can to avoid logging customer interactions in the CRM; while many managers will do what they can to avoid enforcing that required activity. Together, they create a symbiotic relationship of doing less to accomplish less.

Of course, when the month ends, and targets were missed, these same salespeople and managers will look for external reasons to blame for their lackluster performance. You’ll hear such phrases as, “The dealership didn’t spend enough on marketing!” “The OEM incentives were crap!” “The ups were all deadbeats!” “We didn’t have the right inventory!”

All of these excuses will be said, while competing dealers faced with the same marketing spend, OEM, ups and inventory had another record month.

Data is Boring

For everyone in your dealership, the CRM is the most important sales tool they’ll ever use; though it has one major limitation: It’s only as good as the information your team enters.

Your goal, therefore, should be to have a perfect CRM filled with precise data. Achieving perfect data can mean the difference between profitably growing market share in any market condition or wondering where your customers went.

I define perfect data as the recording of every customer and prospect interaction in near real time. This means ups go into the CRM soon after they arrive on the lot; the visit is closed soon after they leave; and the customer record is complete with every important step they took while at the dealership, including copious notes about what they liked and didn’t like about you and the vehicle.

I get it. Entering every customer and prospect interaction in the CRM takes time. Plus, trying to get that data entered in near real time seems improbable with the hectic schedules of some sales teams. That said, there seems to be no profession with more downtime than car sales. When it’s busy, it’s busy. But, when it’s not busy, it’s dead.

The Power of Perfect Data

Perfect data is exactly what the name implies: information that is accurate, up-to-date and (above all else) a true representation of what happened and currently happening on your lot. While getting perfect data may sound like a hard task, it’s actually easier than the alternative.

There is a broad misconception with many desk managers that perfect data gets in the way of working a deal or somehow makes the job of being a sales manager harder. The opposite is true. Perfect data makes every job in the dealership easier.

With perfect data you can decide which salesperson is best suited to handle the next up and which one needs help getting prospects to take a test drive. Without perfect data, you spend every sales meeting screaming at the entire team about manager TOs instead of being laser-focused on the two guys struggling the most at getting a manager involved early in their lost deals.

With perfect data, you know which vendors are helping you sell cars and which ones are just stealing from you. Without perfect data, you’ll keep wasting tens of thousands of dollars on the latest brand of snake oil. The more perfect your data, the better your decisions and the more focused your efforts and training. Period.

As boring as it sounds to keep your CRM filled with perfect data, those dealers growing share in any market condition love boring. Because, as they know, the boring stuff sells cars.

Good selling!