The Successful Road to Lead Management

by Joe Courrege, President of Car TV Network

A question most often posed to me when discussing lead management is this: “When do I truly need to have a lead management system in place?” My answer is a question right back! Can you effectively handle the leads you are currently generating?  More often than not, the immediate answer is “yes” followed with “why do you ask?”

My experience has shown over the years that if you are not delivering a 68 percent or greater appointment-to-lead ratio, you need to question your lead management process. In addition, your call center should have the goal of a 70 percent show rate. Regardless of where the lead originated (TV, radio, Internet, direct mail), this department is your lifeline to successful sales and it starts or dies here.

Lead management is a living, breathing entity that must be cultivated throughout the entire process. Too often a sales lead is viewed as nothing more than a name or number. In order to be successful, it is necessary to break this thought process. Invest a strong effort into this vital part of your organization and watch your sales grow!

This brings me to successful lead management.

Capture your leads. Build a solid, reliable database in which to strategically collect and compile your leads that will ultimately become your sales. Once you have this lead information, you have a built-in business development base to build upon. Remember, someone is always looking for a car or, at the very least, knows of someone else who is. Calling on these previously-captured leads is a great sales tool during down time and will lead to additional sales throughout the year.

Timely lead response. Sales leads must be contacted immediately. I view each lead as a perishable fruit; capture this fruit straight from the tree as soon as it is ripe! I much prefer this over the fruit that has laid around and spoiled. Your leads work the exact same way. The sooner you call, the higher your lead conversion percentage. Whether you are using your internal BDC or outsourcing, always verify the hours of operation and book your advertising accordingly. In many cases, the price of outsourcing may be minimal versus the increased gross profit realized. Bottom line – check your options and don’t just rely on what your dealership has done in the past.

“Sell” your leads. Never underestimate the “sales” role that the BDC plays. Too often I see internal BDCs perform like an order-taking service. Your BDC should perform as a “sales” team. Each lead needs to be “sold” on your dealership and ultimately, an appointment. Training should be a conducted on a regular and ongoing basis.

Manage your leads. Successful lead management begins, and ends, with highly-motivated phone personnel. Your agents must be diligent when buttoning up the appointment and determined to lock in their appointments. Anyone can set an appointment, but a good, experienced phone agent excels in getting their prospects to show up. It takes extreme determination on the part of the phone agent to press towards the goal no matter what road blocks they may encounter. No lead should ever be lost.

Follow up on your leads. Never give up on a prospect because you can’t seem to get them on the phone, or because they are “waffling” on you. Be diligent. Be persistent. Keep calling with messages of encouragement. They had a need; they saw your infomercial offering to help and they called you. Merely making an appointment is never good enough; having the lead show up on your showroom floor should be the only goal. If the appointment does not show up, call them back. You will be amazed at how many times you can convert a no-show into a reschedule!

I have just scratched the surface with a quick snapshot of the lead management process. In reality, the entire process is much more involved. I encourage you to question your current lead management system. You may be successful with current performance, but are you truly maximizing your leads? At the end of the day you have two choices: 1) invest the manpower and money into your internal BDC, or 2) leverage an outside call center service that will work in conjunction with your existing BDC or function as your own. Either way, you must invest in an immediate, consistent process that will greatly increase profit in this often-overlooked sales tool!

Joe Courrege
President
Car TV Network

Originally posted Wednesday, June 04, 2008 at http://www.AutoDealerMonthly.com/30/3389/ARTICLE-NL/The-Successful-Road-to-Lead-Management.aspx

About Joe

Joe Courrege, President of Car TV Media, Inc. has spent the last three decades developing his systematic program generating high gross profits for dealerships. While successfully representing 100’s of NFL players Joe moved into the car business purchasing his first dealership in the 70’s. This direct knowledge of the car industry gave Joe the blueprint to his successful formula. Joe now works with dealerships to achieve this same success proven in any market condition. Call us today to have Joe star in your Auto Dealership Commercial.