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If you had to do it all over again, BDC or no BDC? And unicorns...

ChrisR

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Oct 12, 2015
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I used to think that too... now I think the first BEST response is what wins. I KNOW a lot of dealers actually unknowingly shut the door by being the first shitty response. The automotive community has spent the last 22 years educating their consumers to expect a fast, but crappy response. Be different.
That is 100% true - I want to believe that my team will have the best response, and be first to respond.
 
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Dan Sayer

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Dec 4, 2009
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Educate me... why?

Devil's advocate: is your response process/methodology helping or creating this logjam? Consider... do you really need a lot of people to answer the questions customers want answered before a visit?

Dan -- be clear -- this is my working through a thought... not challenging you or your process. The thought is still formulating... In full transparency, I built a BDC back in the day, paid an hourly wage and bonuses -- the appointment-setter model. We provided pricing up-front via multiple quotes & options -- as a way of overcoming the biggest objection (How much??).

But what I learned... people really weren't necessarily looking for the answer to the questions they were asking. They ALL were trying to figure-out: "Is this where I am going to do business?" Simply by creating the appearance of transparency, and providing information up-front that our competitors wouldn't, we stood out as "consumer-friendly" and were wildly successful.

Sooooo.... if I had to do it over again... would I focus on appointments? I'm not so sure. Would I focus on being the place where they wanted to do business? Hell yeah. How? Making it easy to do so... I think. I actually like the problem of having a bunch of people just show-up vs. not being able to set enough appointments.

But one thing is for sure... make it easy, and you get results. Vendor side, or Retail... never were truer words said.
@john.quinn Good question. I think I understand your initial thought and I'm open to hearing this from other perspectives (as to the reason I posted to the forum in the first place).

When you ask, "do you really need a lot of people to answer the questions customers want answered before a visit", I think I would replace "people" with "time". No, I may not need a lot of people to answer questions. I do need time though to make sure the lead is reviewed, the question is understood, and the response is of high quality. Additional time is required to multiply that through all channels (email, text, phone) and even a little more time for video. Increase that time needed, and this is where we do it to ourselves, if the car inquired about is at a sister store 2 hours away. If I take that time ^^^ required, how many people does that take?

You said yourself, "make it easy". If I make it easy for the sales people to focus on the upcoming guest (not pursuing an initial response), the guest in front of them, and the follow-up on that guest can I get a better experience for the customer? I would say yes. The question is do I make that change with a BDC under our roof or someone else's? And, going back to "easy", is that making the shopper experience easier or harder?
 
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Dan Sayer

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Everyone is fast and few are thorough. I think speed is actually killing dealers. SLOW DOWN!
Amen. I stopped sending reports on Response times in 2018 because it became the focus and quality of that response dropped. I still watch it but quality wins every time. I also found it helps to stop preaching "tasks and to-dos" as well. When the focus became "checking my boxes today" quality also dropped.
 

john.quinn

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In all transparency... I have the luxury of being able to be PURELY theoretical here... so take it with a grain of salt when I push back on the status quo.

When I say, "Make it Easy," I think what I'm saying is, "Answer the questions without the need for the "lead."

Again theoretical (so don't shoot me, LOL). If you have enough people to handle all your sales, but not leads... is the problem too many leads? I know it sounds kinda dumb. But I have seen this hyper-focus on chasing leads, and I do kinda question it.

The question I'm asking: what does the dealership look like if your website and process answers, say, 75% of the questions customers are asking without having to complete a lead form?

Nature vs Nuture = Lead vs Engagement in automotive retail.
 
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ChrisR

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Oct 12, 2015
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Christian
In all transparency... I have the luxury of being able to be PURELY theoretical here... so take it with a grain of salt when I push back on the status quo.

When I say, "Make it Easy," I think what I'm saying is, "Answer the questions without the need for the "lead."

Again theoretical (so don't shoot me, LOL). If you have enough people to handle all your sales, but not leads... is the problem too many leads? I know it sounds kinda dumb. But I have seen this hyper-focus on chasing leads, and I do kinda question it.

The question I'm asking: what does the dealership look like if your website and process answers, say, 75% of the questions customers are asking without having to complete a lead form?

Nature vs Nuture = Lead vs Engagement in automotive retail.

There are "bad" leads - I have ended relationships with a variety of 3 party lead providers, as I would receive "attention" for vehicles, yet no approach would ever (98% failure rate) work. Which allowed us to not add additional people to cover leads, at that particular moment.
 

Dan Sayer

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Dec 4, 2009
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Dan
In all transparency... I have the luxury of being able to be PURELY theoretical here... so take it with a grain of salt when I push back on the status quo.

When I say, "Make it Easy," I think what I'm saying is, "Answer the questions without the need for the "lead."

Again theoretical (so don't shoot me, LOL). If you have enough people to handle all your sales, but not leads... is the problem too many leads? I know it sounds kinda dumb. But I have seen this hyper-focus on chasing leads, and I do kinda question it.

The question I'm asking: what does the dealership look like if your website and process answers, say, 75% of the questions customers are asking without having to complete a lead form?

Nature vs Nuture = Lead vs Engagement in automotive retail.
I think I see your point @john.quinn . A great website would reduce leads while not decreasing sales where a bad site will increase leads and increase sales? Its almost like website lead conversion should go away as a KPI like Bounce Rate did when sites simplified and mobile increased? In theory, I know this is probably a bigger conversation but I see your thought, I think. Customers don't know what they don't know. And maybe over time the confidence will increase but even if we post a price they'll still want to know what the price is. Even if the car is showing online, they'll still want to know if it is available. Even if we give them a payment widget, they'll still want to know what payments are. Which all those are fine and not met with frustration at our dealership BUT they still require us to be diligent in our attentiveness to the "lead". I really push these teams to envision Leads as People. At the end of the day, if we just treated the lead as a person and not a game, or challenge, or goal we'd all be better.
 
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Tallcool1

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Mar 17, 2014
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Its almost like website lead conversion should go away as a KPI
Especially on our own website or Facebook Ads. We control the cta's on these sites and that really effects the lead conversion %.

I am liking this thread.
 
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Baron Ringler

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Jul 6, 2010
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There are "bad" leads - I have ended relationships with a variety of 3 party lead providers, as I would receive "attention" for vehicles, yet no approach would ever (98% failure rate) work. Which allowed us to not add additional people to cover leads, at that particular moment.
I just cancelled Mazda Third Party leads, saved almost $2000 per month, and lost absolutely nothing. I've cancelled Autotrader, Cars.com, Cargurus, Truecar, and more, and only re-signed when I could get a bill that made sense with the ROI. If the ROI works, they stay, if it doesn't, they go. The big thing is setting you standard and sticking to it 100%, no exceptions.
 
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Baron Ringler

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Jul 6, 2010
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Baron
Amen. I stopped sending reports on Response times in 2018 because it became the focus and quality of that response dropped. I still watch it but quality wins every time. I also found it helps to stop preaching "tasks and to-dos" as well. When the focus became "checking my boxes today" quality also dropped.

I agree 100% that fastest does not always mean better, and is usually the opposite. You rush to be first and don't read the lead properly and completely ignore the customers wants that were spelled out in the lead.

If you do the proper BDC 101 steps to go through the lead before your response, it's almost a certainty you won't be the first response, and I don't care. The 'open' percentage on my first manual e-mails is 87% (all CRM's have that report, e-mail success rate), and that is what our system can recognize. It is probably closer to 95%. So if that many people are opening my first e-mail, even if I come through after 2-4-10 other places, I haven't lost any ground, and because my responses are better I am actually ahead.

Here is the problem. My CRM is telling me that a certain percentage of customers is opening my e-mail, but it can't tell me if people have actually read it. So we have to create a look and feel that sets us apart and makes the customer read our e-mail. I was very careful, to avoid SPAM filters, but everything my people send out is colorful, large fonts, easy to read, and short. 2-4 paragraphs TOPS, and 2-4 sentences per paragraph TOPS!

It's simple marketing: my look sets me apart first, THEN the messaging comes in to play.
 
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Jan 19, 2018
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... At the end of the day, if we just treated the lead as a person and not a game, or challenge, or goal we'd all be better.

This. It's the same with content for the website or a GMB post or what have you. Why are people and 3rd parties still keyword stuffing content like it doesn't get you penalized, like any HUMAN reading that content isn't going to feel like it was written for a robot, or...worse - that it doesn't make you appear disingenuous? I've always thought I was bad at capitalism because I have always had the desire to provide customers with answers and not hoops to jump through to get those answers. It's legit lost me jobs.

I guess I could be ignorant, but what's the disadvantage to answering questions directly, be it on the website, in an email, through a text or on a call?