Friday, April 28, 2017

What To Do When Dealership Sales Are Slow.

I recently visited a dealership and I talked to the general manager and asked how the store was doing. He mentioned that their sales weren't where he wanted them to be. As I discussed with him more he was given me his reasons that leads and traffic were down, and that they weren't selling as much. As I listened to him, it didn't sound like he had a defined solution yet. I felt more that he was just planning to wait till things change. This got me thinking about what I would recommend and this is what I came up with.

1. Get better pre-owned inventory. If you dont have the right inventory it will not bring people into the dealership and it will sit on your lot. Don’t wait for people to trade their vehicles in, find what vehicle you have had success selling in the past (High Gross + Low Days to Sell), and get more of those. Look to people you sold those vehicles new, and get those owners in to get their trade you know you can sell. Those people will need to vehicles too. This increases your serviceable customers as well. If someone comes in looking for a car you don't have, don't tell them you will call them if you get one and let them leave. Look through your sold database and try and find someone you sold that car new and get them to come in because you have a buyer.

2. Reach out to anyone who is in equity position. Find people who own the previous body style, and getting toward the end of their warranty that you can get into a new car for $0 down and keep their payment relatively the same payment. Look at your service drive. If anyone is bringing a car in that is out of warranty they will most likely have a costly customer pay RO. Let them keep that money and use their car as a trade to get into a new one. Call people who are in an equity position on their birthday and offer them a Birthday Special. This will also help you get more inventory.

3. Stop focusing on getting new business. Your dealership doesn't really need more customers. Your DMS and CRM are loaded with them. Quit focusing on trying to compete for those new customers that are in the market to buy a car. Use you own data and proactively reach out to people before they start shopping. If they have submitted a lead, they have probably submitted leads to other dealers as well and the only way to win that deal is by lowering the price and your gross.

4. Lower your web lead response time. Make sure that you are quick to respond. Customers are still experiencing 45 min to 2 hour response times at some dealerships because the lead goes to the wrong person. Make sure the leads are going to the right people who are working and available. Try and respond while they are still on your website. If a lead goes untouched for 15 minutes, every rep and manager should be notified and someone should jump on it. If you have to call the customer back after you talk to them make sure you tell them how long it will take and call them back as they are waiting for your call.

5. Incorporate texting. Make sure your customers know they can communicate with you via text. They might be in a meeting when you call them back and more likely to respond. Make sure you are using a compliant opt-in and opt-out texting tool. Otherwise you are putting your dealership at risk of a costly lawsuit. Using a texting tool allows you to track what is being communicated to the customer.

5. Make sure you are keeping your salespeople accountable. Make sure people who are visiting the store get put into the CRM. Have the receptionist keep track how many people they see pull up, walk the lot, walkthrough showroom, and even come over from service. Often salespeople only put customers into the CRM when they think there is a chance to sell them. But they came in, there is a chance. Make sure you are capture that data so that your reporting will be more accurate to tell you what is bringing people in. If there is something that is working but they are being put into the CRM you may stop doing it. Also make sure that your reps ask, “what brought you in?” or “how did you hear about us?”. You want to do more of what is working and you need to know so make sure they are asking. Make sure they are making their calls. Listen to their calls. They should be asking for an appointment and not just to come by whenever. If they are not with a customer they should be trying to get people to come in. Salespeople love the easy walk in versus working to get someone in.

6. Get managers more involved. Have them call and confirm appointments. This makes sure the salespeople are setting quality appointments and introduces them to the manager earlier vs at the end when tensions are high and patience is low and they come in to close the deal. Hold your manager accountable that they are managing their employees, talk to every customer, doing their one-on-ones.

7. Speed up the sales process. The biggest frustration consumers have with the car buying process is it takes too much time. Look for areas you can shorten the time the customer is at the dealership, it takes to desk a deal. Also keep the time away from the customer to a minimum, when the salesperson goes to the desk this is when they either start talking themselves out of the deal or shop your competitors.

8. Create the ideal customer experience. With so many dealers nearby that sell the same vehicle for the same price, why should someone buy from your dealership? It should be about the experience. What are you doing to make it the experience the customer wants? What do they want? Something quick, easy, transparent, helpful, and without stress. For most, buying car is the 2nd most expensive thing they will ever buy and comes with a lot of emotions. Understand their concerns and issues and deal with them before they come up. Bad reviews and surveys are OK. They tell you what you need to fix. Often dealers are more concerned with the manufacture CSI survey then they are of actual customer satisfaction. Reach out to customers who give positive feedback and surveys to go rate you on google, yelp and Facebook. Don’t ask everyone, just your happy customers.

9. Reduce employee turnover. Our industry has always been plagued with turnover. Most people leave because they are not happy and successful. Often, we hire anyone, even someone with no experience and have them watch some trainings and then throw them on the floor to sink or swim. Have your managers take time to train them on how to be successful. Give them tools that will help them to do their job. Managers need to make sure they are setting goals with the salespeople, going over their metrics, coaching them, and helping them realize the tools management has in please is not be “big brother” but to help them be successful.

10. Automate as much as you can. Let your software do as much work for you as possible. Most processes you set up and forget and let it keep you organized, in contact with everyone and that nothing falls through the cracks. Run lots of campaigns that are very targeted and specific with both the audience and the message.

11. Reward loyal customers. Do you know your most loyal and long-standing customers? Use your CRM to identify and segment these customers to receive notifications when they call or visit your business. Create a customer appreciation campaign to thank your loyal customers and reward them for their repeat business. Offer discounts to entice them to continue to do business with you. Offer incentives for their referrals. Invite them to special VIP events, such as new product introductions or a customer appreciation party.

Thoughts? Do you agree? What else would you suggest?

Hunter Swift

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dealers, You've Got Options: Alternatives to 3rd Party Leads

Why do we pay for third-party leads? For years, dealerships have complained about the high cost, low closing percentage, and negative profit of third-party leads. Dealers also see that leads from their own website close at a far higher percentage, for more money, and far less cost.

Why not pull the plug on these disappointing third-party leads that we compete with other dealerships to win?
The most common answer I hear is that dealers can’t get the same quantity of leads anywhere else. But, that isn’t true — besides, quality is more important than quantity anyway.

Search Engine Optimization

There are several proven and effective ways to drive in more leads without paying tens of thousands of dollars on third-party leads. The first is search engine optimization. Buyers start car searches online — not in the store. When they begin to look for local dealerships selling Hondas or BMWs, your website better be at the top of the search results. Customers always start their searches at the top. The further down your dealership is in the results, the less chance you have of winning their business, opting instead for a competitor. Make sure your website is SEO-rich, that you have blog posts driving up your rank, and that you are active on social media.

Social Media

Social media is still one of the tools most underutilized by dealerships. It gives dealers a place to interact with both past and future customers. The best way to get a lead is through referral, and there is no better way to get referrals than social media. Encourage customers to post about their new car. Cultivate an online community their feedback is welcomed. Put on contests, post customer shout-outs, hold community events … you name it. The more you interact, the better off you will be.

Blog Posts

Blogs are another great way to engage people. Customers often take their questions to the internet for answers. Whether they want info on local community events, where to get winter tires, great new vehicle accessories for Christmas, or the optimal amount of time between services, your blog can be the one with the answers. When you blog, you are seen as the expert, and customers want to do business with the experts.

A Unique Website

After engaging customers, you need to keep their attention and get them to submit leads. This is what makes a custom website so important. People are attracted to something that sticks out from the crowd, yet is easy to use with familiar layouts. They want pictures, pricing, and descriptions on each car. There are great inventory tools available with easy-to-use apps that give you access to as many pictures as you want seamlessly integration onto your website. They also allow you to upload descriptions and pricing in bulk. When you have a beautiful website that stands out from the competition with easy-to-use functionality and individual vehicle listings with pictures and descriptions, leads will follow.

Equity Mining

Besides driving people to your website, there are other ways to garner leads. Equity mining has proven to bring in customers who don’t even realize they should be in the market. Equity-mining customers yield higher grosses and increased satisfaction because they are loyal and trust you. Smart technologies use equity information, bank programs, and incentives to find customers who are prime candidates to get into better payments or APR situations on newer models. These tools also help optimize another area where most dealerships fall short: lease and finance term ending campaigns. Pulling our own customers back into the market gives us more leads, more happy customers, less customers shopping our competitors, and more referrals.

Once we get leads, we need good people, good strategies, and good processes to get them into the store and buying a car. But, that is an entirely different topic for another time.

What success have you seen making the switch from third-party to first-party leads?

Written by Hunter Swift via DealerSocket:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I was going through some old stuff and found my High School Transcript...

1.58 GPA and ranked 182 out of 184!!!

Those were some bad times. I had no motivation or goals in my life and only cared about the present. I ended up getting my GED and was more concerned about me and about partying more than anything else. 

17 years ago this month, I quit drinking, stop doing drugs and decided to get baptized. I turned my life around and served a two year mission in Chile for my church and started college when I returned. 11 years ago this month also, I started working at DealerSocket at entry level position making $13/hr. I met a beautiful and amazing girl who became my wife. Tina saw my potential even when I barely had the means to support her... we will be celebrating 10 years in November. 

I ended up getting two associates degrees and my bachelors in Business, all while working full time. I have been blessed with 3 beautiful kids. I have progressed to a many roles at my company and now hold a Director position. I work hard now to support my family. My wife and I bought a nice home with a big backyard. I serve in my church as a Sunday school teacher every Sunday. 

I really have been so blessed and content with my life. I have learned that life is more enjoyable when you care more about others than yourself.

Looking back it has been quite the journey. It is crazy to think of my young, immature me. I really am so grateful that I was able to change and given a chance to move on from my past. I am thankful for God, my wife, my family, friends and those that gave me a chance and believed in me. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The "Who's Your Danny" Show with CRM Expert HunterSwift

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tune in:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Digital Dealer Interview

Friday, June 26, 2015

"CRM: The 'R' Stands For Retention" Presentation by Hunter Swift

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Listen to my interview with Auto Dealer Live at Digital Dealer
If you have 9 minutes, check out my interview with Auto Dealer Live where I discuss how dealers should be using their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Join me in Seattle June 9-11.
Jim Ziegler's Sales Management Super Conference

Friday, January 30, 2015

Becoming An Expert In Your Field: 

This August, I will have worked at DealerSocket for ten years. During this time I have worked with many dealerships via support, consulting, and through sales. With these experiences I have become knowledgeable with our product and I am often the “go to person” at the company when fellow employees have questions. Frequently, employees and even dealers refer people directly to me for help and advice. 

The automotive industry is filled with both vendors and dealers who are very knowledgeable people. A couple years ago I decided that I wanted to be more than just an expert within DealerSocket. One of my goals was to become an expert in the automotive industry and share my knowledge with others in the industry. I began getting involved on industry websites and I became more involved with Twitter and social media. Now I noticed that some vendors often use the industry websites and social media to constantly push and promote their product. I decided that instead of duplicating that, as a vendor, I would share and offer dealerships my knowledge to help them succeed. In just a few months I was able to generate a large amount of “followers” on twitter and industry websites. I was asked to write articles and blogs, I was featured in interviews and podcasts and invited speak at trade shows. I created a place dealers can go to access all of my content ( where I created an audience and I am receiving much traffic and positive feedback. I try to talk about things that can help dealerships, involving ways that can benefit the dealerships. The articles that I have written have brought much exposure to my company but also helped build credibility to myself as an expert in the automotive industry. 

The automotive industry is full of other great knowledgable people who can really help others and I hope those people will do what I have done. Now I am not saying to go out and start blogging and tweeting and speaking at conferences, but everyone should continue to learn and strive to become an expert. 

Being an expert helps you: 
- Establish yourself as an industry leader 
- Help others 
- Become a trusted resource 
- Get mentioned 
- Gain access 
- Convert followers to sales 

I remind my salespeople that it is their responsibility to be an expert with the product they sell and the industry they work in. There are many people that I trust simply because they know what they are talking about, and they are not trying to sell me anything. These are people that I learn from, but also whom I would buy from because I trust their expertise and knowledge. What are you doing to be an expert with your product you sell? It is one thing to know the product or how to demo it; it is another to completely know how your product can benefit the customer. Are you actively trying to improve yourself on sales, customers service or dealership processes and learn more about the industry you work in? 

Only a fool assumes he knows everything and can’t learn more. No matter how much you know, ideas and content are changing. News happens, ideas shift, people try new things. It is important for you to stay on top of the latest updates. Are you up to date with what is going on in the industry? Are you visiting industry websites? Are you reading books to help you learn more? Do you talk to your existing dealerships and see what works for them? Every time you are in a dealership, do you allow it to be a learning opportunity? There is nothing better than seeing firsthand how the dealership operates. Keep your main goal of becoming an expert to help others. I have gone to many conferences and noticed a lot of the experts were far more interested in themselves than in sharing their knowledge and helping others. It takes time but, as you build your knowledge more people will come to know you as an expert and look to you for advice and this will convert it to more sales.

Monday, December 1, 2014

AutoSuccess Magazine Podcast: Hunter Swift
Listen to my Podcast on AutoSuccess Magazine: "How To Hold Salespeople Accountable For Proper CRM Usage"

LISTEN HERE: Hunter Swift's AutoSuccess Podcast

Criss Castle Interviews Hunter Swift at SMSC
Sean V. Bradley Interviews Hunter Swift at SMSC
Featured Speaker at Jim Ziegler's Sales Management Super Conference
DealerSocket CRM Director of Sales Development, Hunter Swift at the Sales Management Super Conference in Atlanta in November.
"CRM: The Backbone of a Successful Dealership” by Hunter Swift
Why dealers should be focusing on their CRM to drive success.
How to use your CRM to drive new traffic new traffic versus traditional web leads and advertising.
How to successfully create the ideal experience for your customers.
What specific processes dealers can change in their CRM to drive… Higher conversion rate, Higher CRM usage, Increase accountability, Assist with the sale, Integrate Sales & Service, Maximize front and back end, and mobile.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Proven CRM Best Practices Presentation by Hunter Swift

Friday, September 12, 2014

Internet Sales 20 Group Boston #IS20G

Monday, September 8, 2014

Danny Benites talks about Hunter Swift.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Join me at Digital Dealer in Las Vegas

I just found out I will be presenting at Digital Dealer September 25th 10:00 am to 10:50 am.

Here is a preview of my Digital Dealer session:
"Proven CRM Best Practices to Drive Traffic and Increase Productivity".
Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Prospecting Calls: Stop asking questions and start pitching your product.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sales Tip of the Day
I get asked a lot for tips on how to be successful in Sales.

One tip... just make the calls. The number of calls is more important than what you say or know.

I’d rather you make 50 calls that "sucked" versus no calls at all. Why do I believe this? Well, you might just get lucky and call someone in the market, having a bad day with their current product or looking for a change.

So go test your luck and make some calls. Over time and lots of calls, it will become easier to make calls, you will become better at pitching your product and setting appointments. You will be more confident, and it will be easier for you to overcome objections. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Top Sales Expert To Follow On Twitter

How to Hold Your Salespeople Accountable with CRM

My first job out of high school was selling cars. At that time, I remember my sales manager telling me and the other salespeople to make our daily follow-up calls. Some salespeople would say they completed their calls, even when they hadn't. It became a constant battle. Apart from not making the calls, these particular salespeople were notorious at finding ways to cut corners and cheat the system. While this may not be the norm, how do we hold our salespeople accountable for their daily, weekly and monthly activities?

CRM Ensures Accountability 

In today’s dealership, 80% of the leads received come through the phone and/or Internet. That means that 80% of their business is dependent on the salesperson’s ability to schedule appointments that drive people into the showroom. CRM utilization becomes critical when managing these processes. CRM allows salespeople to achieve new levels of production with unsold and repeat customers, thereby increasing their personal incomes. CRM enables salespeople to work more efficiently, be better organized, and better manage time and relationships. Managers now have access to reports that enable them to monitor all activities, and can help coach and motivate each salesperson.

Accountability was low at that dealership because the managers were not monitoring the daily actions of the salespeople at the dealership. What they thought was being done in the dealership, often wasn’t. They had no concrete way to show that it was or was not happening.

Tracking Opportunities

In order to improve accountability, utilize reports to track the number of new opportunities that your salespeople are entering into the CRM. Nothing is worse than seeing someone take multiple customers without entering those customers into the CRM. One common rule from dealers is: “If it isn’t in the CRM, it didn’t happen.” If data is not entered into your CRM, it throws off your marketing and ROI reports.

Tracking Phone Calls 

The second key metric is phone calls. It is important that your CRM is integrated with your phone system in order to track outbound phone calls. Having salespeople mark all of their calls completed is one thing, but it's even better to have proof that the call was made, and how long they were on the call. The top salespeople are constantly those who take the time to make the most calls. If your state allows it, record your calls. This is great for managing quality and training. 
Make sure to monitor inbound calls as well. Most customers are calling multiple companies, and this is often the first contact the customer has with your business. If your salespeople don’t handle inbound and outbound calls correctly, it will ultimately affect your conversion rate.
Email and web lead tracking is also important. You need to know how many emails the salespeople are receiving and sending out, as well as how long it is taking them to respond to their web leads. Salespeople love people that come in and buy, but what about those that don’t buy, or those who are hard to get in touch with afterward? Make sure you are looking at reports that reflect this data. 

Pipeline Management

Pipeline management is key for success. When salespeople get busy, the first item taken off their plate is prospecting. When salespeople stop prospecting, the pipeline eventually runs dry. Make sure that as part of tracking calls, you know the type of calls the salespeople are making. Ensure there is always a focus on prospecting. Salespeople also have a tendency to move people to “lost”. This is a way to get the CRM follow-up to stop or to hide those customers that didn't work out. Do you have a review process in place for a manager to look at each “lost deal” and try to “save a deal”?

Activity Reports

Some CRM tools have a daily activity report or check out report that shows everything the salesperson has done for the day (opportunities, appointments, calls, talk time, emails, etc.). When I worked at one dealership, I noticed they had a problem with accountability, so they instituted a new process. Before a salesperson left for the day, they would print out a report and give it to their manager to check out. The report told the manager everything they had done as well as all of the calls they didn’t complete. Quickly, managers were able to see what had been done and what had not been done. Often, the manager would send the salesperson back to make more calls before they left. Salespeople began to feel ashamed when they handed in their sheet that showed low call volume. It motivated them to make more calls. The dealership drastically improved their follow up process and began to see an immediate increase in their sales.

Have a Plan and Set Goals

Having a plan and setting goals are essential parts of improving accountability. It is crucial for salespeople to establish a set of daily, weekly and monthly benchmarks that help them measure and manage their ultimate goal. If the goal of each salesperson is to sell “X”, don’t focus on the end goal. Monitor the activities that will help them reach that goal. It also helps if the salespeople are included in setting the goals. If you do this, they should have a personal stake in the outcome. Without inclusion, salespeople will figure out the best excuses in the world about why they can’t meet their goals.
If you have a salesperson who isn’t taking responsibility, then you may need to mentor them individually. Focus on their behavior and the issues at hand. They need to be held accountable for their actions, which can include low prospecting activity, not meeting sales targets, or low margin sales. As accountability grows, your salespeople will form a good habit of doing the things they must do on a regular basis. With a few changes, you'll help them get on their way to becoming a top producing salesperson. 

Hunter SwiftHunter Swift is the Director of Sales Development at DealerSocket, a CRM company for car dealers. He has been with DealerSocket since 2005. In addition to his current role, he has fulfilled the responsibilities of customer support, consulting, training, and sales. Hunter is recognized as a leader in CRM best practices and specializes in helping businesses improve sales and follow-up processes through the use of CRM technology. He is known for his ability to connect with people and demonstrate his knowledge to help others solve their problems. Hunter honed his selling and CRM skills as a car salesperson prior to joining DealerSocket. He also has earned a Business Degree from Pepperdine University. Hunter can be reached at and on Twitter at @HunterSwift.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Have you seen a DealerSocket Demo?
Email me at to set up a DealerSocket CRM demo from me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reception of my CRM article 

Auto Dealer Live
I will be on Auto Dealer Live tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to Grow Customer Satisfaction with Your CRM
Read my article on the RingLead Blog.

"Branding is not just a marketing responsibility; it's a company-wide sport. Whether it's positive or negative, any interaction a customer has with your business is a reflection of your brand. Hire the right people, train them the right way, and give them the right tools. This will ensure a great customer experience as well as brand and customer loyalty. One of the most influential customer service tools businesses can use is your CRM..."      (Read more)
RingLead creates data quality applications for SalesForce, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot and more. For more info visit:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Focus on Your CRM to Drive Traffic And Increase Productivity Presentation by Hunter Swift

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Listen to my Interview on "The Dealer Playbook"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Listen to my Interview on Auto Dealer Live.
In Sales, price comes up a lot. I love this quote. 

"Common Sense vs. Nonsense: It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. But when you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better." John Ruskin (1819-1900)
CRM and Your Brand

Why you should focus on your CRM to tell your Brand story. 

A dealership’s reputation is often determined by the customer’s last experience. If they had a positive experience, they will most likely be willing to share it with others. The same is true if they have a negative experience. Thus, it’s important that dealerships strive to create a positive experience for everyone who interacts with their dealership. Any interaction customers have with your dealership is a reflection on your brand. Branding is not just a marketing responsibility, but also something that everyone at the dealership needs to be part of. That’s why hiring the right person, training them the right way, and having the right tools available are essential to not only give your customers a great experience, but also to help build your brand and customer loyalty. One of the most influential tools dealers can use that affect a customer’s experience and branding is your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

The days are gone when dealers relied on their CRM to simply manage leads and customers. Today, the most progressive and successful dealers are using their CRM to manage the relationship with their customers. They are using their CRM to tell their “brand” by developing and managing long-lasting positive relationships and creating the ideal customer experience, while making customers for life. This is only accomplished by offering a positive customer experience through marketing, prospecting, the entire sales process, the sales follow up, and service.

Dealers often neglect their customer database and spend too much time, money and effort into acquiring new leads through advertising and third-party lead providers; leads that often have very little information, and do not even have dealership exclusivity. If dealers focus only on attracting new customers and don’t serve their existing clientele, they run a serious risk of losing the loyal customers they previously worked so hard to acquire. The use of CRM allows a dealer to capture a valuable database of information that it can use to better the way it interacts with its customers, and increase customer retention. Today, we know more about a customer than ever before. We know every call, email, letter, and text that has been sent. We know where they live, their phone numbers, their email addresses. We know every lead they have submitted, every vehicle they have ever looked at. We also know what vehicles they own or have previously owned. We know their service history and average repair order cost. We know the estimated mileage, trade value, and if the customer is in an equity position. We have all of this data, but are you using it? Do you have processes in place to know and understand who your customers are? Dealerships need to access this data to cater marketing and follow-up to their customers with relevant and timely messages, through the customers preferred method of communication. Are your marketing efforts aimed at the 2 percent of people who are in the market for a new car or the 98 percent that are not?

Customers are loyal to a company or a business because of the quality of their product and/or the excellent customer service they receive. Because dealers do not have exclusivity on the products they sell, customers have many options when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. With multiple dealerships selling the same cars, the distinguishing characteristic is often how you treat your customers. It’s not so much what you are selling, but how you are selling it. CRM technologies allow dealers to distinguish themselves by the service they provide. Dealers often talk about how they are dedicated to customer service, but applying it is an entirely different matter. As mentioned before, your brand is determined from the relationship between the dealership and its customers. This evolves from hundreds of small interactions (leads, phone calls, emails, visits, service). These interactions add up to build or destroy the dealership’s brand. Since a majority of these interactions originate in the CRM, it is important that the CRM matches the brand or image you are trying to portray. A positive customer service experience must be applied to every customer touch point. To your customers, branding is largely about faith; believing in something they can’t see, and trusting you when the dealership says, “We care.” Ultimately, people don’t trust companies, they trust people, making it critical to build this trust. When a salesperson says they are going to call the customer back tomorrow, the CRM needs to prompt the salesperson to call them. If a customer says they don’t want to receive any calls at home, that should be respected. They expect when you email or send in a lead that the dealership will be quick to respond. They trust that when they give you their email address that you are not just going to spam it, but give them something of value.

Today’s customers do not want to be “sold.” Most often, by the time they’ve contacted a dealer, customers have done their due diligence. They just want someone to engage with, to help them, and to celebrate with them when they make their decision. Customers are more likely to do research on the company’s brand, such as looking at online reviews or social media posts regarding past customer experiences. Apart from price, why should customers buy from you? It should be all about the experience. With the use of CRM technologies, dealers can better serve their customers, speed up the sales process, and create a positive experience.

Use CRM Desking multi-payments to present numbers and allow customers to choose their payment versus being pushed into a payment. This speeds up the negotiation process, improves CSI, and helps you hold gross. When someone comes in looking for a used car you don’t have, instead of letting them leave, search your CRM with your prospect for customers you sold that vehicle to 3-4 years ago. Offer the owner of the possible trade a free car wash or oil change for bringing their car in. Create customized business campaigns designed to send the right message, to the right person at the right time. Integrate sales and service by introducing recently sold customers to the service department and to your website to set their first oil change. Then meet them in the service drive when they come in to follow up with the sale and ask for a referral. Use the CRM’s data-mining tool to find specific customers in an equity position that could qualify for a lower payment by getting them into a new vehicle. Incorporate a mobile CRM to allow your salespeople to be 24-hour salespeople, where they can enter and follow up with customers wherever they may be.

We can’t control every interaction, and negative experiences are bound to happen. But you can control how you react to negative experiences. You should make sure you have a way to uncover negative experiences through surveys. If you receive a negative survey you should quickly enroll those customers into a campaign where it notifies those that can correct the problem, and immediately reach out to resolve the customer’s issue. Communication is key to great customer service. Surprisingly, these customers become some of your best customers after you have spent time listening to them and resolving their issues. Learning from your mistakes is also an important aspect of good customer service. Documenting heated issues into the notes in your CRM helps to ensure you don’t make those same mistakes again.

Do you know who your most loyal and long-standing customers are, those who have bought more than four vehicles, or spent over $100,000 at your dealership? Use your CRM to identify and segment these customers so it will notify you when they visit your store. Create a customer appreciation campaign to thank your loyal customers and reward them for their repeat business. Offer sales and service discounts to entice them to continue to do business with you. Offer incentives for their referrals. Invite them to special VIP events, like new model introductions or a customer appreciation party.

Using a CRM will help you stay on top of your customers and ensure you’re being proactive in maintaining positive relationships, not just responding when something goes awry. Your CRM will be taken to the next level when combined with marketing, branding, and customer satisfaction. Dealers will be much more efficient when they use their CRM for more than just a storage bin for contacts. Fully utilizing your CRM to manage the relationship with your customers will help create a better overall experience for your customers, increase your CSI, and ultimately grow your brand. 

About Hunter Swift
Hunter Swift is the Director of Sales Development at DealerSocket and has been with the company since 2005. In addition to his current role, he has fulfilled the responsibilities of customer support, consulting, training, and sales. Hunter specializes in helping dealerships improve sales and follow-up processes through the use of CRM technology. He is known for his ability to connect with people and demonstrate his knowledge to help others solve their problems. Hunter honed his dealership skills as a salesperson prior to joining DealerSocket. He has earned a Business Degree from Pepperdine University. Hunter can be reached at and on social media at @HunterSwift.
CRM Best Practices by Hunter Swift

Drive Traffic From Your Existing CRM Database by Hunter Swift

Why You Should Focus On Your CRM To Drive Traffic

I was recently reading an article on DrivingSales from Keith Shettery called Traffic Is Everything about the focus and solution for most dealerships in driving more traffic. Although I agree with Keith that driving traffic is important, I think an important part that is missing, is that most dealers look to drive traffic through "online reputation, SEO, PPC, CPM, websites, cable TV, radio, print, direct mail, email", etc and then we hope salespeople will use the CRM or even enter the traffic that comes into the dealership in the CRM. There always seems to be this focus on leads and traffic that cost dealers money for a lead with little information and not even guarantied exclusivity.

At every tradeshow I attend, almost all the speakers talk about driving more traffic. I agree with Keith that "traffic is everything" I wanted to write this article becuase I feel dealers should be focused using their CRM and driving traffic from existing data. In your CRM you now know more about your customers than any time before or with any lead. We know: Every Call, Email, Letter, Text… Mailing Address, Phone Numbers, Email. Every Lead and Vehicle they have looked at. What Vehicle they own, have owned. Service History, Average RO. Estimated Mileage. Trade Value, Equity. Previous Deal Structure. Communication Preference. Bank Programs, Manufacture Incentives. plus more. If you have access to all this data you should be using it to cater marketing and follow-up to that customer to drive traffic. Instead dealers are spending the majority of the effort and money to drive traffic marketing to the 98% that are not in the market versus focusing on the 2% that’s in the market.

Just look at the comparison between a Floor Up, Internet Lead and a Repeat Customer:
Fresh Up: Closing 10%, Gross: Average, CSI: Average, Ad Spend: 70%
Internet Lead: Closing 40%, Gross: Low, CSI: High, Ad Spend: 15%
Repeat Customer: Closing 60%, Gross: High, CSI: High, Ad Spend: 5% 

But where do most dealership focus their attention? Driving new traffic. Most dealers don’t even know how to handle the traffic they do get. If 80% of your leads come from the phone and internet that means 80% of your “Success” is dependent on Appointments. And according to a DealerSocket research study of 346 dealers and 1,956,624 calls only 6% even included an attempt to set an appointment. Talk about missing huge opportunities with new traffic! It doesn’t get any better on the lot. I attended Keith Shetterly’s session at Automotive Boot Camp this year where he said, “Only 25% to 35% of dealership visits get put into the CRM.” Dealers, Yikes! This means your marketing and analytics data could be off by over 75%! 

If you initiate traffic from your CRM your salespeople are more likely to use it. Get your salespeople to think of their CRM as a pump; where the more they work the CRM the more that comes out of it. Driving traffic is important. You have to look at what you are doing to drive traffic and manage the traffic efficiently. CRM's have an important role in this. I believe it is all about sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time. 

Here is a list of marketing campaign ideas that yield high traffic returns: 
A customer life cycle (customer for life) 
Finance termination 
Extended warranty 
We want your trade 
Declined services 
Aftermarket accessories 
Customers in equity 
Bought elsewhere 
service introduction 
High customer pay RO to new vehicle 
Future model introduction 
Lead escalation 
Sales notification of a customer in service
 and the list goes on… 

I would love to talk with any dealer who is looking to successfully drive more traffic to their store through the use of their CRM, regardless of which vendor. Thanks Keith for sharing and inspiring me to write something. Hunter 

About Hunter Swift 
Hunter Swift is the Director of Sales Development at DealerSocket and has been with the company since 2005. In addition to his current role, he has fulfilled the responsibilities of customer support, consulting, training, and sales. Hunter specializes in helping dealerships improve sales and follow-up processes through the use of CRM technology. He is known for his ability to connect with people and demonstrate his knowledge to help others solve their problems. Hunter honed his dealership skills as a salesperson prior to joining DealerSocket. He has earned a Business Degree from Pepperdine University. Hunter can be reached at and on social media at @HunterSwift.
Panel at Internet Sales 20 Group in Atlantic City

Why You Need Mobile CRM NOW! 

Current technology is geared toward mobility, convenience, easy accessibility of information, and staying connected. I can still recall a time when a cell phone was something of luxury; a commodity that only a few select considered a need. Today, according to Erin Touponse, President of the ElmGroup Consulting, “92% of adults in the U.S. own smart phones.” Society has gone mobile! This is something of a phenomenon when you consider how dependent we have become to our mobile devices. If you’ve ever gone a day without your mobile device, then you must know the anxiety that begins to set in from feeling a sense of disconnection from “the world.” Technology has also empowered consumers by allowing them the amenity of information at all times. 

With such a shift in the buying process, naturally, businesses must adapt to their customer’s buying habits and mimic the way in which a customer prefers to communicate. For these reasons, dealerships cannot help but to implement a mobile CRM tool, that enables them to mobilize their reps, add convenience to the buying process, empower them with product information, and maintain a connection with their customers. 

Utilizing a Mobile CRM application is helping dealers capture 39% more fresh ups. It also helps creates a transparent and convenient customer experience. One dealer, after implementing a Mobile CRM app, noted that “customers seem more comfortable giving their information to staff when they are standing in front of them with an iPad or smart phone, rather than the employee needing to run to a computer. This allows the dealership to capture more data, more quickly, which leads to better follow-up by the salespeople.” Putting the customer in a comfortable situation to make a buying decision is fundamental, seeing as how people can research to the point of exhaustion when buying a car. 

Touponse states that “individuals will spend a total of 19 hours researching a car purchase.” A convenient customer experience should minimize the time it takes to complete a vehicle purchase, something a Mobile CRM app can help achieve by enabling the sales representative to easily log in information on the lot or on a demo. With more data captured, the follow-up process becomes very effective and allows for improvement by measuring sales results from marketing processes. The Hawthorne Effect which says that “what gets measured gets improved,” rings true in an industry where measuring ROI is a key factor to success and maintaining business doors open. 

By fully integrating the Mobile app with the core CRM, the CRM tool is able to track inbound and outbound calls, linking customer records to such calls and logging in completed activities. A sales representative can also respond to inbound leads and “stop the clock.” By putting a stop to the “clock” sooner with the Mobile CRM app, the dealership can better qualify for special manufacturer incentives and bonuses, which is based on the response time to a lead. Because the Mobile app enables its users the ability to access key functionalities 24/7, it increases the capacity to measure and improve employee and dealership performance. Such key functionalities like: inventory searchability, VIN barcode scanning, quick sales event creation, the ability to receive and respond to new lead alerts and to-dos, the ability to email or text electronic vehicle brochures, and usability of email templates when responding or sending a new email. 

Sales reps should be excited at the fact that they can do what they do best; engage with customers on the lot in a more personable fashion and not be bogged down behind the desk. A Mobile CRM app also assists the needs of managers. With a Mobile app, managers are able to not only manage multiple dealerships with a mobile sales dashboard, but also oversee the activity of the dealership, even to the point of knowing what an individual sales person has pending or up-and-coming on their plate. 

In so many ways, a Mobile app enables dealerships to track and measure multiple actions that are then reflected back on the actual desktop CRM. With a Mobile app, the power of the desktop CRM is now at the palm of the user’s hand. A Mobile CRM should also enable its user to communicate with a customer via phone, email, and text without the need of a computer. Text messaging specifically is something that is not too often considered as a means to improve the customer’s buying experience. Having all three modes of communication puts the dealership in a position to give the customer choices to be communicated with in the manner that fits with their lifestyle. It is plain to see, when people have the choice to communicate using their mobile device, that some people prefer texting, some are more email inclined, and others opt for a simple phone call. 

According to a poll taken by Nielsen in 2012 to 2013, 94.4% of smartphone users send text messages on their devices, while 87% of US smartphone owners regularly send and receive texts on their devices. The same poll noted that US women text on their mobile phones 14% more than men. With such staggering statistics on texting, it behooves a dealership to leverage this technology on their Mobile CRM app for their sales and service departments. Staying with the times and adapting to the communicative trends of consumers is key to, what Ron Willingham, author of “Integrity Selling For The 21st Century,” says is “selling the way people want to buy.” 

A mobile application that gives dealerships the edge in enabling fluid communication, sales, and marketing processes, is the turnkey solution that differentiates “old school” from “new school.” With a reliable Mobile CRM app dealerships can expect to have mobility, convenience, easy accessibility of information, and stay connected with their customers to be a part of their social network. 

Do you have a reliable Mobile app that ingrates with your CRM? Is it downloadable now on iTunes and Android? What success stories have you experienced with Mobile CRM? 

About Hunter Swift 
Hunter Swift is the Director of Sales Development at DealerSocket and has been with the company since 2005. In addition to his current role, he has fulfilled the responsibilities of customer support, consulting, training, and sales. Hunter specializes in helping dealerships improve sales and follow-up processes through the use of CRM technology. He is known for his ability to connect with people and demonstrate his knowledge to help others solve their problems. Hunter honed his dealership skills as a salesperson prior to joining DealerSocket. He has earned a Business Degree from Pepperdine University. Hunter can be reached at and on social media at @HunterSwift.