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Getting the Most Out of Your Prospects

By Deal Pack - July 2, 2012

Every dealer is in business for one reason and one reason only – TO MAKE MONEY. In order to make money you need customers, and in today’s market your customers have more options than ever. Successful dealers know that the key to being profitable is maximizing their conversion ratio, to make it simple – how many prospects can you turn into buyers. This is easier said than done, but once you get it right it will change everything.


I got my first lesson in sales working for a furniture company at the age of 20. We worked on an ‘Up’ system, which means that the first salesman to work got the first customer in the door, and so on and so forth. Usually the first customer in the door is the MOST eager to buy, and in most cases would result in a guaranteed sale which we’d call a “lay down”. Boy is it easy to sell someone something that they already wanted to buy!


As the day goes on it doesn’t get any easier and you start to notice people walking in on their cell phones, ignoring you completely, or my favorite “I’m just looking”. Of course you’re just looking – I’m just trying to make a living! But, I digress… Persistence pays off, and while today they may just be looking, tomorrow they’re ready to buy and you’re nowhere to be found. Your dealership will only have a limited number of opportunities to make a sale each month, how will you make sure you are maximizing each opportunity?


Don’t get too down on yourself now. There are plenty of ways you can make sure that your dealership is getting the most out of your limited prospects each day. The first thing you should do is go out and invest in a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System. We used to track our prospects on index cards, which is the equivalent of making accounting journal entries by hand in a notebook. It’s a prehistoric and ancient technique that is inefficient and time consuming. A good CRM should work hand-in-hand with your DMS and allow you to send e-mails, text messages, schedule reminders for follow ups, and much more. Pretty difficult to do if all you have is a 3×5 piece of paper with a name and number.


Now that you have your CRM, the follow up is key. I always used the “3-3-3” rule, where follow-up should occur at 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months. Although your customer did not buy the first time they walked on the lot, it doesn’t mean they are done looking. It’s always best to follow up – thank them for coming in and keep them informed of any upcoming specials or financing programs you may be offering in the coming weeks. They will thank you later.


Finally, treat all potential customers equally, no cherry picking! I know it’s easy to fall into that trap but some of my biggest spenders walked in looking like Joe Dirt with a broken flip flop. You cannot afford to let these ones slip through the cracks because when they walk they WILL buy from your competitor. This reminds me of when I was 19, walking into (a very high end jewelry store) to buy my wife an engagement ring. I looked like a grocery store bag-boy with pimples and bad facial hair. Every salesman looked the other way. However, one kind lady did approach me and after about an hour she went home with a pretty nice commission. Don’t be that guy who misses out on a good sale!!

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