Changing hearts, minds, behaviors to get the outcomes you want is hard! This is particularly true when we talk about creating lasting change in dealership sales departments.

Our experience in improving dealership sales effectiveness indicates that using dealership lead and shopper effectiveness data is a powerful tool for getting dealership management to change, especially when we see in the data a sales impact 3X greater from specific types of lead responses.

Many of us who have worked in, or with, dealerships realize that shoppers today have considerably greater expectations and more tools to ensure their expectations are met than just a few years ago. Most sales surveys are conducted with buyers.

However, dealers using shopper experience data know the superiority of shopper data over buyer data in driving sales. Dealers using this Lead and Shopper information as part of an overall data-driven approach are far more successful in navigating increasing shopper expectations. In fact, this shopper experience data is the foundation in a series of six key steps we have used to improve dealerships’ sales success:

  1. Define what shoppers want at every step of the shopping process—from time to respond to their inquiries to the type and timing of test drive they want (this data doesn’t currently exist for dealerships—but we provide it)
  2. Identify gaps in the dealership’s current sales process against the shopper expectations, including speed and quality of responses to lead inquiries; the effectiveness of the needs assessment; test drive route, length, and explanation; …
  3. Implement new sales actions to fill process gaps, including training, so your sales team deliver the required expectations at each shopping touchpoint
  4. Develop clear business cases for each dealership salesperson based on their individual avg monthly sales and what the new approach will do to the avg (increase of 105-25% typically—yes, that much!)
  5. Monitor shoppers’ expectations to ensure shopper expectations are being met by the new sales actions and training; shopper expectations are highly dynamic—and so must your sales improvement approach be dynamic
  6. Modify processes and training continuously to enhance the expectations and sales outcomes from the new shopping experience

These actions don’t require a lot of time. We have seen changes implemented over a couple of weeks by highly motivated sales management teams eager to cash-in on the opportunity the Lead and Shopper data indicated.

Several recent dealership shopper experience improvement activities using these steps yielded fantastic results:

  • A dealership with an overall close rate of 17% improved its overall close rate to 23% in 3 months by collecting, analyzing and acting on shopper data with our help; As close rates increased so did the belief in the importance of the shopper data.
  • A dealership with a close rate of less than 3% on digital leads improved its close rate on digital leads to nearly 9% by responding within an hour to inquiries and including vehicle photos, prices, and other information in the response – which shoppers loved!

Great change in sales is possible and it begins with collecting and understanding lead and shopper experience information. Of course, additional work is required to change. But motivation to change is greatly increased by the business case from shopper close rates. Ask ROAR how its Experience Intelligence tool can support your sales success.