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Why Aren't My Leads Closing at 20% or Greater?

July 22, 2019

If you're like many GMs and dealership executives, a fair portion of your time is being spent on reviewing your lead ROI performance reports as you try to make sense of why your lead-to-sold percentage is not where you want it to be.

The sheer volume of information available, combined with the number of differing perspectives and people who pontificate "industry standard" this and "benchmark" that and "well, my other dealers are doing it, so you should be too." - it almost makes you want to throw it all out the window and go back to the old way: hold our salespeople accountable for their customers; hold the managers accountable for every TO; hold the desk accountable for every pencil; hold the UCM/buyers accountable for every appraisal.

Somewhere along this path, someone decided it was easier to place all responsibilities on the bastion called the BDC. This fortress of ninjas was to be our boiler room, where everyone was on the phone all the time, kickin' butt and writing appointments. We could pump and dump in our showrooms, move metal, make money and have a metric f-ton o' fun while we did it.

Then we started distracting the BDC from the bedrock of their existence, customer communication, to set appointments that show and buy.

We continue to pour resources (read: money) into things that we think will make it better:

  • Website widget to generate more leads.
  • Different proprietary software to manage some platform of communication.
  • Change the CRM after a recent conference because there was a better integration to that aforementioned widget that is going to streamline the buying experience.
  • Hire a speaker/trainer/coach/motivator in the store for a few days.
  • Oh! Next week is a holiday, let's put together an email blast to our database about that extra $500 off, that'll make the phones ring...

Don't get me wrong, most of those ideas are great ones and have their place, but they are not the resources that improve our closing ratios if we don't understand the "why." Understanding the "why" allows leaders to approach the challenge with an open mind so we're not stuck in the rut of trying to fix things over and over with the same recycled solutions.

Our resources, both time and money, are squandered without looking for, and applying a direct correlation to generating that lead in an effective manner, the BDC responding properly, to script and process, setting an appointment, confirming it and getting that customer to show. All the data and software in the world are never going to find the actual gap in performance without understanding the "why." Why didn't the customer buy? Why didn't the customer show? Why didn't we have the car available for them when they got here? Why didn't we follow-up the day after the visit?

Try to approach the question of why while excluding "someone didn't do their job" from the list of possible answers. Someone not doing their job is our failure as a leader to ensure the proper things are in place. Let's understand the gaps in the process. The fundamentals of selling a car are unchanged, and it is our failure to execute them by allowing ourselves to be distracted by all sorts of external noise with an agenda that doesn't benefit the store first.

Diving into the specifics of your CRM every day, with less than 45 minutes of reporting that can be executed by an administrative-level person (new BDC agent, receptionist, cashier, etc.), can provide you an absurd level of clarity, most especially when you begin to realize what's lacking in the minutiae of your CRM records.

We review hundreds of showroom visitor records every day in a variety of CRMs, and the No. 1 thing missing is information. How does that make sense?

Your CRM exists to house information and we see less than a 60% completion rate on basic info:

  • First & Last Name.
  • Lead Source - c'mon, 50%+ of traffic is "walk-in/location"? Go ahead, find the last 10 walk-in/location customers, and search their phone number or email in the CRM - you'll find more than half of those customers had existing records that weren't walk-in/location.
  • Salesperson.
  • Exit Notes.

This is an easy solve and will take someone less than 15 minutes:

Create a daily spreadsheet that gets emailed out with eight columns detailing the Customer Name, Lead Source, Appt Yes/No, Info Accurate Yes/No (are any required fields missing, i.e. desired vehicle, exit notes, phone number), Salesperson, Vehicle of Interest, Stock No. (if applicable) and Exit Notes. Email this out to every person on the sales team and in executive management every day. That fosters transparency and gives everyone a single point of reference, right in their email.

Not only are you getting a snapshot of yesterday's CRM usage, you've also got a really quick one-sheet to serve as the basis of Today's Make-A-Deal meeting for your managers. We've even seen some remote DPs and execs who have their GSM reply to that email with a status update to confirm they've all been worked.

Taking it back to basics, executing fundamentals and deliberate baby steps is the way to course-correct a ship off course or improve an already well-functioning machine by reinforcing the essential functions that have gotten us to where we are today.

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