Cleats and a Helmet – September 2005
By Sean Wolfington
“I’ve got the cleats and a helmet, coach … take me to the Super Bowl!”
Yes, it’s true that you need a pair of cleats to play, and if you want to reduce your chances of getting hurt on game day you’d better wear a helmet and some pads. But, are cleats and a helmet enough to take you to the Super Bowl? No way.
The most successful eDealers in the nation have figured out that cleats and a helmet may get you off the sidelines and into the game, but equipment alone will not take you to the Super Bowl. A winning team is like a successful dealership: The owner defines his or her strategy, recruits the right coach and players, equips them with the right gear and follows a playbook to carry the ball over the line. Let’s see how the football analogy
• Define your Internet marketing strategy and budget to attract traffic to your site and your showroom.
• Define the staffing model and the most effective pay plans to drive results.
• Create a detailed eCRM business plan with clearly defined actions and timelines.
• Ensure healthy gross profits by clearly defining your pricing philosophy and strategy.
• Use e-mail marketing to promote your dealership.
• Leverage search engines and online relationships with regional sites so customers can easily find you.
• Leverage your traditional media to promote your Web address.
People: Build the Team
• Determine the right number of people to staff the Internet Department or Customer Relationship Center (CRC).
• Document and implement your process for recruiting, hiring and training.
• Define the skills and talents you’re looking for and remember that it’s easier to teach technology to a great sales person than it is to teach sales skills to a technology whiz.
• Create a profile and clearly defined job description for each position within the department.
• When lead volume increases (or when a player gets benched) be prepared to bring on additional staff.
• Rely on a digital marketing system that automates much of the process – handle more leads with fewer people.
Web site & CRM Tool: Equipping the Team with the Best Gear
• Post the content customers want.
• Design it so it’s easy to use.
• Keep customers online with highly interactive functionality.
• Use compressed multi-media animation so the site is fast, even when viewed at 56k.
• Focus on results: A lead and a sale!
• Measure your conversion rate. Average sites convert 2 percent of visitors – aim for 10 percent to 25 percent.
• Save time with technology that automatically updates data.
Process: Create, Practice and Master a Winning Playbook
• Define a process that incorporates proven best practices.
• Train your team on the skills needed to set appointments and sell cars.
• Make them practice until they puke!
• Save time and increase efficiency with customer management tools that can automate parts of your process and free your people to sell more cars.
• Use the reports to identify problems and opportunities to continuously improve the process and the results.
You wouldn’t try to get to game day with nothing but cleats and a helmet, so don’t kid yourself into thinking that your Web site alone is all you need to compete in the car business.
Sean Wolfington is the owner of BZResults.com. He can be contacted at 866.802.5753, or by e-mail at email@example.com.