The 10% Solution

automotive marketing

Steps to Delivery on Your Marketing

By Glenn Pasch

Every month dealers spend anywhere from $10K to over $100K a month on automotive marketing. From traditional ads on TV, radio, newspapers, direct mail to digital services and live hosted events. The numbers are staggering when you step back and review.

While all dealers hold their marketing vendors accountable for performance, as they should, my question for you to think about is:

How are you training your team to deliver the customer experience you are marketing?

In many ads we see how the promise of excellent service is shared. “We will treat customers like family”. “Been in business 50 years,” “Thousands of happy customers,”The no haggle promise!” and the list goes on and on.

As great as these marketing slogans are, they are just that. A slogan.  It will remain a slogan unless the leaders in the dealership are focused on training their team to deliver on this promise.

Let’s use an example of an average dealer who is spending $40K a month across all marketing, which means over a half million dollars a year. We are not even including all of the salaries for the individuals who will interact with these customers.

Let’s Talk Commitment

What should be the commitment to training the team? Would a 10% investment of matching dollars against the marketing budget for this training be too much? A 10% investment to impact the other 90%? So in this case $40K over the entire year?

Now before you throw this article away, or say, ”Glenn are you out of your mind!” let me turn the mirror around. What if we change the discussion to an investment of employee’s time?

  • Would 10% of a manager’s hours each week being devoted to training the team be too much to ask?
  • Would 10% of an employee’s time to train on product or online education be too much?

Let’s think about this. If we could get one hour of a manager’s time each day to coach individuals on their team to perform better, could you envision how good that team would be a year from now?

Is that unrealistic?

Master the Basics

My son has a baseball coach, Brian Ciuffreda, and he taught them a very simple warm up routine they do before each game and practice. He instructs them that games are won by mastering the basics. He devotes time each practice to overseeing these basics. He is constantly out on the field watching and making adjustments.

If we apply this same philosophy to your dealership, how are you training each member of your team to deliver excellent experiences that you promise in your marketing. Do your managers watch how your team is “playing their game”?

Let’s do a quick experiment. I want you the reader to take a moment and think to yourself, what would you tell someone is the reason a customer should do business with you. Buy a car, service a car, trade in their car, finance a car etc. I want you to think of it and write it down or say it out loud.

If I quizzed your team would I find they say the same thing as you?

Does your team explain how they deliver on that promise the same way?

Does each department understand exactly their role in delivering this experience?

For example, do all service advisors greet the same way, go through their process the same way thanks them the same way etc.

Do your receptionists greet the same way? Do all of your salespeople treat customers the same way?

You expect this when you travel. You go back to certain businesses for consistency of experience, not because “I wonder what will happen this time”

Do your customers look at your dealership and brag to their friends that every time they deal with you it is a great experience?

If not or you are unsure you need to address this.

Steps to help your team deliver the customer experience you desire.

It takes time and work, so I want to warn you but if you do invest the correct time and effort you are wasting dollars.

  1. Decide on the end result. What is the experience you want to create or deliver?
  2. Look at every customer touch point and begin setting up a process that delivers on this. From website, to email to phone call to social to every customer touch point, think of what your team had to DO in order to deliver on that experience.
  3. Write out every process step by step. Make sure everyone who will engage in that process is trained correctly to deliver the experience.
  4. Make sure everyone understands what every department does because their performance may have an impact on that department as well.
  5. Get the right trainer and follow a consistent training process.
  6. Put a process in place where the coaches/managers are responsible be out with their team to see how the staff is executing on each step, not just looking at end results.
  7. Keep retraining and inspecting on the employee performance or else your experience will fade.

Spending a half or over a million dollars to drive people to your dealership or business is not an inconsequential sum. Without the right people and processes in place that work to deliver the experience you envision you are wasting much more than 10%.

The auto industry is still a people business. It is time to invest the right 10% to impact the other 90% of your budget.