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A simple fix to a complex situation

Neil Pascale, Columnist
February 13, 2013
Filed under Columns

Rounded wheels. Sliced bread. Peanut butter. Electronic lead management.

Yeah, OK, the last one there isn’t exactly hailed as a groundbreaking discovery, nor has it been adopted as readily as round wheels. Although, come to think of it, history texts tell us wheels started showing up in ancient clay tablet diagrams around 3500 B.C., but weren’t really used until 3200 B.C. That’s 300 years of guys lugging around a big ol’ clay contraption and telling farmers this is just the thing to bring about a bigger and better crop. Of course the farmer probably took one look at it, scratched his head and asked, “How is my ox going to use this again?”

Fast forward thousands of years and we have a new contraption in an electronic lead manager that will yield bigger and better results, and we’re in roughly the same shape as the Mesopotamian farmer: We’re still trying to figure out how to use it in a process we’re comfortable with.

Thankfully it isn’t as heavy as a clay wheel.

But for many of us, it’s still so different from what we’re accustomed to that we struggle with identifying its value and, just as importantly, its fit within our daily operations. The latter is what I addressed recently in a seminar at the American Suzuki Motor Corp. dealer show. Thanks to a couple of Suzuki dealers who were willing to share their practices, we talked about how to incorporate an electronic lead manager into daily operations. This is a huge hurdle for all of us — how do I get my sales guys to use an electronic lead manager? Yeah, it has fabulous potential, but if we’re not going to use it, then I might as well buy an ox, right?

But hold the four-legged option — the federal government probably has riding restrictions on these too! — and consider this example of how to use an electronic lead manager in a daily operation. Actually, this example is from a dealership group on the East Coast, so the process includes multiple storefronts. But we’ll also address how it can work in a single-store operation as well.

Let’s say a consumer goes online, identifies a vehicle or two of interest and drives to the local dealership. The salesperson greets him, gets his contact information and ultimately says goodbye without a sale. As the consumer heads back to their vehicle, the sales guy heads to his electronic lead manager and types in the shopper’s information. Now the consumer, on the way back home, talks himself into the purchase, but ends up stopping at a second dealership, which happens to be part of the same dealership group. The consumer connects with a salesperson there and ends up purchasing a unit at the second store.

At this dealership group, because the salesperson at the first store “logged” the consumer — placed him and his contact information into the lead manager — the commission for the unit sale is split between the two salesmen at the two stores.

That’s right — a split commission. Why? Because the dealership group understands that the best salesperson closes about 15 percent of his deals, meaning eight or nine out of every 10 consumers he talks to don’t buy. And by incentivizing its sales personnel to log that contact information, the dealership group is ensuring it will have a second, third and numerous other shots at getting that unit sale.

By the way, if the salesperson at the first store did not log that customer, and that consumer bought at the second store, there’s no commission split.

No log, no commission.

Even better, let’s say that consumer did visit both dealerships but in the end, didn’t pull the trigger. No unit sale. A week goes by and the salesperson at the first store does not call, email or contact that consumer. And as luck happens, that consumer buys a unit the following weekend at the second store. Because the salesperson at the first store did not follow up — even if he originally logged that consumer — he does not share the commission.

No follow-up, no commission.

How can that system work in a single-store operation? Replace the multiple stores with multiple sales personnel. So if a consumer comes in, talks to one of your sales folks and that person doesn’t log them, then he cannot split a commission when that same consumer comes in later and buys from another salesperson at the same store.

No log, no commission.

It’s a simple fix to a complex issue, one that has the ability to be better than sliced bread.

Neil Pascale is the Business Development Manager for Dominion Powersports Solutions, a dealer service company that includes PowerSports Network, Cycle Trader, Traffic Log Pro, Ziios and Dominion Insights. He can be reached at neil.pascale@dominionpowersports.com.

 

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