Best Practices

You Can’t Just Make the Baby, You Have to Raise the Baby

image of cute baby boy
We know the fun part. When you first get your hands on one. They are new to you. All coddling is out the window and it is time for action.  These first intimate interactions are exciting. It is that magical time when you first get together…

I am speaking of the moment the lead arrives.

Imagine a lead, as it grows, becomes an infant. It enters your dealerships CRM world brand-spanking new. It is helpless. It needs your immediate attention and devotion. Like a baby, it needs your warmth and your motherly/fatherly care. This is a beautiful time. You get to read the information the customer submitted on the lead, read into the customer with a little lead deconstruction and smile at their peccadillos. You get to garner pricing for it, check the inventory, and coddle the lead with a detailed, personalized first manual email response and phone call. The world is new and you love that lead. It represents hope…the future… a sale.

While a good motherly/fatherly Internet Sales Manager is still caring for that newborn lead at three months with the same utter devotion they did at one day old, other ISMs do not.  Unfortunately, for some, that new baby smell wears off. They don’t feed the lead daily. They don’t call out to it. They don’t keep a watchful eye and make sure it isn’t in need of help. And this is the problem with lead management at car dealerships.

I’ve devoted my life to only a few things.

  1. My children and family.  (I am insanely proud of the Dad I’ve become).
  2. My comedy and writing. (Hey, everyone needs a creative passion outside of their daily duties).
  3. Improving the way dealers do business.  (More specifically, how improved communication with customers can change the way car dealers are perceived.)

At DealerKnows, from our in-store consulting to our Virtual Dealer Training…from the watchful eye we are in a dealer’s CRM and website to the honest and progressive brand that DK has become, our love of improving dealers’ phone, email, chat, text and video practices make us incredibly proud. We witness the growth and transformation of their Internet profitability the same way a good parent cherishes watching their children grow and learn. Now why can’t more Internet Sales Managers feel the same way about their very own leads? 

Today’s ISMs must take ownership of their leads and be proud of the care they give them.  They must recognize that managing a lead isn’t just a Day 1 wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am task, but a consistent, long-term daily regimen with each and every lead they parent.

Regardless of the statistics showing that Internet sales are being closed sooner and sooner to their arrival in the CRM, we believe that a lead has value (and the ability to sell) at any point in its lifetime.  And this is where Internet teams fail. They give up. They skirt their responsibilities of being the lead’s guardian all the way through from conception to conversion. They like the lead when it is new to them, but don’t want to participate in the diaper-duty associated with long-term lead management.

What are you doing to ensure all tasks are completed in the CRM? 

How often are you looking to guarantee leads aren’t being flipped to lost or bad far too early in the cycle?

You need to check regularly. We find this to be one of the most common process breaks and profit leaks in every dealership. As we at DealerKnows monitor the daily goings-on inside our clients’ CRMs, we see when they are ignoring the babies. They don’t try to raise them or educate them. They simply tend to them in the first few days and then pay them no mind after a few days. It is neglectful.  And we can assure you it is happening at your store too if you’re not training them to be better parents.

Reinforce the need to follow-up with all leads until their adulthood, or at least until they buy. If you are a dealership operator, you need to be the social services of your store. Make sure your people are caring for the store’s leads consistently and don’t just focus on those first few response-time metrics. If you are the Internet Sales Manager, don’t think your job is over after your first interaction with the lead. Take care of it. Love it. Care for it until it matures. Don’t abandon your leads too early in the process.

You can’t just make the baby… you have to raise the baby.

Marketing consultant & process leader, specializing in automotive. I'm also a writer, speaker, movie buff, and Dad. --President of DealerKnows--