· Written by Drew Wilson

Sokal's Consulting and Training Team works hard to make sure dealers and managers have the best information possible to improve the flow of their dealership. Whether it's new and improved email templates or innovative ways to follow-up with potential customers, the BDC team wants to help you achieve your goals. Our hope is to be a resource for your dealership staff, so consider sharing these 3 tips if any of them resonate with you.

(1) Improve The Quality Of Your Email Templates

We believe first quality responses are the backbone of BDC. Sending clear, concise, and simple messaging is paramount to your dealership's operation. Oftentimes, we see dealerships using banner ads, buttons, and other flashy things in their first response emails. This may make the viewer feel more pressure than is necessary for initial contact (or they may just be overwhelmed and not know what to do). Simple messaging is the best practice in these instances.

Another thing to keep in mind is that viewers are probably going to use their mobile phones to quickly check their email. If a template has too many flashy components—whether it's banners, gifs, and buttons—the chances of something breaking or not being responsive is likely. More moving parts means a higher chance of someone not viewing the email the way you intended it to be seen. Even though open rates might be high (due to a well-planned subject line or discount offer), the reply and click through rates will fail in comparison.

Unfortunately, we have seen dealers using the same templates year after year. Specials change every month, and you should use these changes as an opportunity to share incentives, sales events, facts about your dealership, and the "why buy" aspect of any sale. The best email practice is always a personalized email that shares the dealerships location. Imagine this scenario:

John comes in to your store and is interested in the payload for one of your quality trucks. He needs to know the weight, torque, and other statistics because he will be using it for his fishing boat. He isn't ready to buy today, but the knowledge he gains will influence where he buys a vehicle.

The best personalized email to John will probably include local boat ramps in the area, reminding him of his need for a truck. This shows the differentiated sales process between your store and the competitor. Come up with some other scenarios for potential buyers and cater to their needs.

(2) If You Want To Hang Up, You're Giving Up

If you're a manager, you may hear your dealers mention that the team isn't making the phone calls they need to make. Beyond the fact of just doing what needs to be done, there is a mental preparedness that must take place before getting on the phone. Remember, 30 to 40 percent of your customers will buy a vehicle 30 days after the initial point of contact.

Is your staff just leaving voicemails to potential leads? Tell them to call again. Maybe they were at work, doing yard work, handling the kids, walking the dog, who knows. Remember, they filled out the form and sent it in, so the customer has asked to be informed by your dealership's team.

(3) What Counts As A Real Prospect Appointment?

Time and time again, we see BDM's pay on "soft" appointments, which is a tentatively scheduled appointment that may not even happen. Meaningful contact within the last 72 hours is not an appointment. Having someone say, "I'll be there around 9," is not an appointment either.

These "soft" appointments are hurting department metrics and payout. A true appointment is a legitimate prospect that shows within 30 to 45 minutes of the confirmed time. If a prospect has a specific date and time, there is only a mental commitment that exists at that point. It is only the first step to getting them to say "yes!" on the floor.

Things To Remember:

Training is never a one and done scenario, so it's important to keep reminding your staff about these tips so your dealership can grow. If emails aren't getting the momentum you would like, maybe it's time to update some templates. Don't let leaving voicemails scare your staff away from getting the prospect; encourage them to call again! Lastly, re-evaluate how your team looks at appointments and wait to see if the potential customer shows up and actually looks at the car.

If you need help or want more information regarding any of these tips, our expert BDC staff will get you where you want to be. Thinking about having a training? Don't hesitate to reach out.