Best Practices

“A Lead is a Lead”

If anyone knows me or even after speaking with me for a few minutes about my job, they know I’m not a huge advocate of segregated “Internet Sales Departments”.  I hate it when I hear…oh, their “Internet customers”. There is no such thing as an “Internet Customer”. If you read the newspaper and respond to an ad, are you a “Newspaper customer”? Or maybe you’re a “TV commercial customer” because you saw the dealers’ latest ad on TV.

A “lead is a lead” and a customer is a customer. The process should be the same no matter where the customer comes from. It kills me when a dealer establishes an “Internet Department”. It’s like having a special department that does everything right but it’s ok to continue to allow our showroom sales people and managers to do things the wrong way.

As I said, I don’t believe in segregated internet sales departments. I tell my sales people and dealers..if you’re going to make this a profession, then you need to be where your customers are and be willing to communicate with them in the manor they desire. A new generation is rising and these old school dealers and the GM’s that are managing them need to step up to into the times or your gonna get smoked!

I was actually working on an article about my opinion on how dealers need to realize that your Internet Sales Department is/are your showroom sales people. BUT..after reading Leo Hillock’s latest article in Jan. 2006 Digital Dealer magazine, I could not have said it better myself and decided to just forward a link to a copy of this article.

Orange_arrow_box Click here for Leo’s Article

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
  • A
  • May 12, 2006
You may be right to some extent. However, the reason dealerships integrate a seperate internet department with an ISM is to improve and track sales volume. Not all salespeople like to follow up on leads they don't get in touch with after the first, second, or third call. I have just started a new internet department for our dealership and can vouch for the importance of consistant follow though. Many dealerships allow their salespeople to follow up with leads, and maybe you should get their success rate and compare it to a dealership with an internet department. I've sold vehicles from leads that I found in trash cans left by salespeople who was not able to contact them after the first call. As for the article, Integrated management is good if the dealership wants to spend and train employees on logging every service, parts, sales, and phone message lead on the computer. Every ISM knows that internet lead to sales ratio is very small, and a proffessional trained to specifically deal with this is needed in the dealership.

  • G
  • October 16, 2007
Internet Sales Managers and floor sales people are about as similar as they are with relation to the service techs in your service department. To think you can train a sales person who is happy and content to sit on point for the "Up Bus" to stop is not going to be successful in the mining and developing of relationships with an Internet customer. A caveat, however, if your store is a small, upper-end store like MB or Porsche, then perhaps.

To think these customers are the same is equally naive. Spend some time with say a Subaru or Toyota customer who has a portfolio of information on specs and pricing and compare that buying selling experience to the good ole boy looking for an F-350 diesel, and you will quickly learn the levels of expecations are VASTLY different, and if you use the same approach on both customers, you will sell one, but not the other.

Point being, Internet customers usually desire to develop a relationship prior to arrival to minimize haggling. At least, that is my opinion.