Recently I performed 10 Dealer Audits for a Manufacturer and the Results Blew Me Away (Not in a Good Way)

  • 9 out of 10 did not have a consistent process to interact with online consumers. (3 of them admitted to me directly.)
  • 9 out of 10 did not have consistent messaging.
  • 9 out of 10 had gaps of 2-3 days in between responses or stopped trying to connect after day 2.
  • Yet 10 out of 10 are talking about ways to improve their marketing budgets to create more sales opportunities.

I am all for maximizing marketing. I have been a loud voice advocating for holding vendors accountable and educating yourself so you can understand what your agency is doing for the fees you pay. I think getting your analytics set up to track what you get for your marketing spend is crucial.

However, I am telling dealers to stop obsessing on only on one end of the customer process. Focusing on more opportunities is not the answer. It may feel like the answer, because anyone can sell in spite of a bad process, but at what cost?

Forget focusing on the marketing spend for a moment, or even the amount of money spent on salaries for those handling the opportunities. Let’s just focus on the lost revenue with these missed sales.

In the cases of these 9 dealers, they were all focused on telling me their problem was their closing ratio. They needed to focus on selling more of the customers who came into the showroom. While I could agree with this statement for some of them, I was more concerned that all 9 dealerships were anywhere from 10-20% below the standard performance for appointment/lead %. (33%)

For some of these dealers that meant missing 150-300 appointments set. If you then do the math for average show (50%) and sold (50%) then they were missing 35-75 extra vehicles sold just on opportunities they had. When I asked a client what the gross profit per each vehicles on average, he stated $2000 per car would be safe.

  • $70,000-$150,000 per month lost.
  • $840,000- $1.8M lost per year.

Have I got your attention? Despite the glaring shortcomings in their sales processes, some of these dealers are still only looking for more ways to spend on marketing to create more opportunities that they simply don’t need.

When I audit business procedures, there is no one tried and true method for customer interaction. What I often find is no written process for follow up and employee training is sporadic and unstructured. The biggest missing piece is a lack of accountability for people doing their jobs. When I ask why this is, a torrent of excuses or blame is shared, all of which just kicks the can down the road and nothing changes.

“Before you increase spending, I recommend auditing your process.”

I received a refreshing perspective from one dealer after we reviewed his statistics. He said he was not going to increase spending until he felt they handled the current flow of customers efficiently. Well done! He asked me to help because as he said, “What I have done isn’t working. Time to ask for help.”

The consistent inspection of results and efforts and continuous refinement of process and execution to deliver maximum efficiency is where dealers make their money.

Before you increase spending, I recommend auditing your process and looking at your efficiency metrics (appointment %, show%, sold%) so you can work to maximize these figures instead of focusing only on end sales numbers. The rest of 2019 and 2020 should be about efficient marketing efforts by your agency and productive execution from your team. The combination will help you win as the market gets tougher to navigate.

Please take the time to reach out to me with any questions, or if you just want to bounce some ideas around with me.

Join me in November at the AAAS  Conference where I will be leading a panel and workshop on this topic. Attribution is great, but what you do with the opportunities is just as important. I am also looking for a few dealers who would like to maximize their performance. I have 3 spots open for the coming months. DM me and let’s talk.

Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.