By Marshall Slaton, Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team
It is not uncommon for automotive or service businesses to worry about generating “enough” leads. Examining the Inquiry, “Is Your Business Not Generating Enough Leads?” a little further, often yields very interesting and actionable results.
The story I am about to tell you is very true, and I am not mentioning the brand or auto dealership because this most likely happens often for many auto dealerships and service businesses where marketing and sales are misaligned.
Recently, I was looking for a new vehicle for my growing family and kicked off my journey by doing research online first (Just like the majority of automotive customers in today’s marketplace). After visiting sites like Edmunds, Motorweek, YouTube, Autotrader, Cars.com, etc., I eventually found several candidate SUV’s that I was interested in. I was ready, willing, and able to buy a new SUV. What happens during the process will amaze you.
After finding the SUV I wanted to test drive, and possibly buy, I submitted my information via the dealerships contact form. Shortly afterwards, I received a call from a woman working in the internet sales department. She gave me some additional information and asked when I would be able to come by the dealership. I gave her a date and time, to which she said she would have me meet with Jim at that time for the test drive. The day before the appointment, the woman called me again to verify the appointment and that I still planned on coming to the dealership. So far, so good! A lead was generated and effectively followed-up by the dealership.
Upon arrival at the dealership a few minutes before my scheduled appointment, I went to the reception desk to ask for Jim. There was no one at the desk, but a salesperson with another customer came by to assist. I told him I was to meet with Jim about a specific SUV I was interested in buying. He says he’ll check, but Jim may have already gone home. Wow, did I just hear that a salesperson went home instead of helping a qualified lead? Guess he may have already hit his quota for the month.
The salesperson that was trying to help me verified with some other folks that Jim was not available. As he relayed the information to me, he shouted out to another person with a tie that was walking across the showroom to ask if he could assist. Quite quickly, the other person said he was busy and kept walking. A couple of minutes later, I would discover that this person was the Assistant Sales Manager and his mission was getting to the outside of the showroom for a smoke break.
So, I waited about 10-15 minutes for a salesperson to finally come to assist me (we’ll call him Derek). While waiting for Derek, I had been asked to stand in a large office with a window into the showroom. Two gentleman were sitting behind a tall desk, and one of them said a salesperson would be with me shortly. As I stood there for a while, neither gentleman said anything and just sat staring into the showroom. Later, I would discover that I was waiting with the Sales Manager and Service Director. I guess that neither person would have an interest in selling one more vehicle.
Derek came and greeted me and apologized for the wait. He asked me to sit down and tell him how he could assist me. I explained that I had an appointment with Jim to look at a specific SUV that I was interested in buying. Derek then asked me what my budget was and if I was looking to finance. I stated that budget wasn’t a concern more than the right vehicle and that I would be open to financing depending on current offers. He then proceeded to show me the SUV and went over all of the feature and benefits. He took about 10 minutes going through everything without ever pausing to ask me a question.
If you missed it, the point I am making is that he never questioned me about why I need a new SUV and how I would use it. For example, carrying multiple kids, towing a boat, using it off-road, primary or secondary vehicle, and so on. He only asked about money details, and did not try to build a relationship for better assisting me. I was an Internet lead and already knew everything about the vehicle other than the experience of driving it. He was standing in the way of a sale.
After our test drive, he asked if there were any other questions and when did I think I would purchase. I told him I had one other dealership to stop by, but look to make the decision within the next week. He said great, shook my hand, gave me his card and sent me on my way. I would have expected him to ask me if I had any objections to buying this SUV or if there was anything else that he could do that would have me driving the new SUV home today. Is he really a salesperson?
The next day I received a call from the woman in the Internet leads department asking if I was helped during my visit. I did not share my experience with her other than I was still looking for an SUV. I never did get a call/text/email from my salesperson. He should have at least contacted me to see if I made a decision and if he could win me back. I never did receive any other correspondence from the dealership.
In summary, I was a qualified Internet lead that took all the steps to arrive at the dealership. What the dealership did once I arrived was fail to make a sale by simply not abiding to good sales practices. The marketing and inventory of the dealership generated a lead, but the sales team failed to close the sale.
The key take-away here is that both marketing and sales must be aligned well to produce successful results. Take the time to understand your customer’s flow through the purchase experience with your business. Aligning communication, feedback and incentive between Marketing & Sales can help clarify whether your standard procedures expose a lead generation issue or a sales closing issue.
At Bayshore Solutions, our marketing and sales teams’ goals are interdependent and key performance metrics are measured that connect the success of both areas with each other. We certainly help bring leads to our customers through their websites and to their doors. We also can help build the analytics to ensure the journey from your inbox or doorstep to the handshake with a new, happy customer is well planned and executed.
Contact us today to learn how we can help grow your business.