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

sales accountability
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 hunterswift1@gmail.com and on Twitter at @HunterSwift.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Have you seen a DealerSocket Demo?
Email me at hswift@dealersocket.com 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.
https://www.ringlead.com/crm-customer-satisfaction/

"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: http://ringlead.com

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"


http://thedealerplaybook.com/dpb-009-drive-car-sales-crm-whunter-swift/




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.

RELATIONSHIPS
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.

DATA VS LEADS
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?

CRM AND YOUR BRAND
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
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.

CRM EXAMPLES THAT DRIVE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
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.

NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES
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.

REWARD LOYAL CUSTOMERS
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 hswift@dealersocket.com 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 hswift@dealersocket.com 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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.
The Importance of Clean Data 

There has been much talk recently about “Big Data” which, to me, only emphasizes the importance of "Clean" Data. According to Kurt Bollacker, “Data that is loved tends to survive.” Having clean data is necessary for you to extract revenue from your most precious resource: your customer and prospect database. Clean data increases opportunities, saves money, and helps you maintain a positive reputation with satisfied customers. 

Luckily, there are tools available to dealers that can help keep data clean and updated with the NCOA, CASS, DNC, Phone/Email Validation and Phone/Email Append. Increased Opportunities Come When: The mailer you recently sent doesn’t go to the customer’s old address, as your customer recently moved to a new address. Your mailer arrived at the proper address because your data has been updated with the National Change of Address (NCOA). Your mailer for the huge tent sale this weekend is received prior to the event, not after, because your data has gone through the CASS Standardization process with the USPS. 

Your BDC or Salesperson can set that appointment instead of throwing away the lead due to lack of phone numbers. Ensure you have appended cell numbers and landlines that are incorrect or missing in your database. You are able to append/add email addresses to customer records, helping your next email marketing campaign be successful. 
 

Money Is Saved When: You recently sent a mailer; a few weeks later, you don’t have a huge pile of returned mail sitting on your desk because your data was scrubbed against the NCOA. Your BDC or Call Center is not wasting time calling bad numbers because your database has had the phone numbers validated. You can now send an email to your customer/prospect instead of a letter due to the appended email addresses you now have because of email appends. 

Your Reputation is Maintained When: Your mailers are making it directly to their intended recipient, rather than being forwarded from their previous address, or thrown away by the new homeowner at the old address. Your Sales or BDC Team is not calling on customers and prospects that are on the “Do Not Call List.” Invalid email addresses are eliminated, effectively reducing the number of “hard bounces” on transmission. The email validation process helps protect the broadcasting IP from domain-level filtration and IP “blacklisting.” 

If hundreds of thousands, even millions, are spent annually to market to prospects and get them in your database, shouldn’t a fraction of that money be budgeted to show your data the love? 

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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.
CRM Processes by Hunter Swift

CRM Managing the Customer Relationship by Hunter Swift

AutoCon CRM Panel
 

Vehicle Inactivation in CRM 

I was recently talking to a dealer about how to handle his "No longer owned" vehicles in his CRM. I was surprised to learn that his CRM didn't have this feature. In my opinion, having a CRM with the ability to automatically Inactivate Vehicles, is one of those features that is a must have. 

DealerSocket has 4 ways we recognize a vehicle as “No longer owned” (inactivated) on individual customer records. 

1. Vehicle Trade In - Customer Trades in their car that they originally purchased from the same dealership. Ex. Bob buys a 2003 GMC Yukon from ABC dealership, 5 years later… I decide to trade that same vehicle to ABC dealership and buy another car. The DMS sends DealerSocket this information as part of the Sold Transaction and we recognize that the Trade In was a car Bob previously purchased and we “Inactivate it” as a vehicle that is no longer owned on that customer record. 

2. Closed RO - A Service Customer closes a repair order on a vehicle that another customer originally purchased from the dealership. Ex. Bob buys a 2003 GMC Yukon from ABC dealership, 5 years later… Bob sells the vehicle privately to John. John decides to service that vehicle at ABC dealership. DealerSocket recognizes that a different customer now owns that vehicle and “Inactivates” that vehicle on Bob’s customer record. 

3. Email Marketing - A customer receives an Email from the dealership and clicks on a link telling the dealer they no longer own the car referenced in the email. Ex. A dealer might decide to enable a campaign targeting customers that purchased 3 years ago, offering to purchase their vehicles. When customers click on the link stating they no longer own their vehicle, DealerSocket knows to no longer market to customers based on that Year, Make, and Model that was inactivated. All ongoing service reminders, recall notices, and tailored messages based on that vehicle will be stopped. 

4. Service Scheduler - Service Appointment Scheduling Process Ex. A customer decides to either book an appointment through the mobile garage, website, or over the phone. As part of that process, the customer can easily tell the dealer through that process that they no longer own certain vehicles. 

The true value of a CRM is its ability to send TARGETED RELEVANT messages to customers/prospects. The result of doing CRM right through automatically inactivating vehicles: 

1. Improves Campaign ROI by helping dealers spend less on collateral 
2. Opt outs are decreased due to more relevant targeted messages being sent 
3. Customer CSI goes up because customers aren’t annoyed 
4. Database management is improved by having ongoing updates to vehicle ownership on customers.


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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.
Slow Sales Can Equal High Revenue

Turn slow sales months into high revenue with CRM best practices. Auto dealers, like most businesses, face months that are traditionally slow in sales. If you can predict sales downturns in advance, you are in an advantageous position to focus resources on other areas of potential revenue. 

You can create revenue during slow sales months by mining your DMS and marketing to customers who may be in a position to spend money. The most productive non-sales searches include: 
1. Sold, Not Serviced 
2. Serviced, Not Sold 
3. Declined Service 
4. Lost Service 
5. Unsold Follow-Up 
6. Happy Birthday Phone Call 
7. Lost Service Customers 
8. High Dollar Customer Pay RO’s 
9. Service Contracts or Extended Warranties 

Dealerships can integrate these search categories into their annual business practices, implementing them when the traditionally slowest sales months inevitably rear their ugly heads. Use this calendar foresight to alert general managers, service managers and sales managers that the time has come to focus on bringing in revenue from the above non-sales categories. Below are statistics and advice. 

Serviced Not Sold: 
An average-size dealer can generate five to fifteen more deals per month when a dealer offers to purchase a prospect’s vehicle that was recently serviced but not bought from the dealer. Acquisitions of these vehicles can be far more profitable than buying the same model from an auction. This scenario is a win/win, benefitting the customer and the dealer. 

Unsold Follow-Up: 
I have observed an increase of 33% of be-backs when someone other than the salesperson from the dealership, or an outsourced third party, is used in the unsold follow-up process. Prices, products or salespeople are the most-often referenced issues cited by customers when a deal is not made. Customers are more apt to speak candidly with someone other than the salesperson. 

Happy Birthday Call: 
Although most salespeople fear this call, it is an effective way to reconnect with the customer. It’s important to make non-sales calls; it really does thrill the customer to get the call. Lost Service Customers: Marketing through multi channels (e-mail, mail, phone call) can generate $20 to $35 per customer record. Potentially, 1,000 lost customers brought in through multi-channel marketing can result in a $20,000 to $30,000 service revenue gain. 

Information from DealerSocket's CallCenter, based on typical results from a campaign list of 1,000 customers in each category:

No Service X Months • 100-120 leads (appointments/hot leads/call backs) • Service Revenues $50,000 within six weeks • Retention of 15%

Vehicle Buyback (Equity) • 80-100 leads (50 appointments, the rest call backs and hot leads) • 8-10 sales within six weeks

Serviced Not Sold• 100-120 leads (70 appointments) • 8-10 sales within six weeks

Sold Not Serviced • 160 leads (53 appointments) • 15-20% retention within six weeks

Declined Service • 130 actionable leads generated (28 appointments) • $85,000 in service revenue generated within 6 weeks 

Remember that implementing non-sales DMS-mining into your dealership’s annual business practices during slow sales months works. Now get back on the floor and make some money!


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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.
It's things like this that make it all worth it.

Made both lists again this month.

#24 in the "Top 100 Leadership Experts to Follow on Twitter".
http://www.evancarmichael.com/Business-Coach/4492/March-2014-Top-100-Leadership-Experts-to-Follow-on-Twitter.html

#32 in the "Top 100 Sales Experts to Follow on Twitter".
http://www.evancarmichael.com/Business-Coach/4492/March-2014-Top-100-Sales-Experts-to-Follow-on-Twitter.html
Emerging Email Best Practices by Hunter Swift

Mobile CRM

10 years ago “Web-based” was the buzzword. Fast forward to today and now it’s “Mobile”. Almost everyone now has a cell phone. Over half of those are smartphones. Society has come accustomed to never leaving home without their smart phone. For most, their phone is the first and last thing we look at each day. More email is read on mobile now than on a desktop email client or via webmail. 

I recently attended Ralph Paglia's AutoCon2012 event in Las Vegas. Almost every keynote speaker mentioned the word "Mobile". One even reference that the future is all about "mobile". For the first time dealers are seeing that "mobile" is the future. Smart dealers are investing in mobile websites, mobile friendly email templates, texting, service scheduling apps and more. Another important area for improvement for dealers regarding "Mobile" is for their CRM. 

Last February at NADA, DealerSocket CRM customers began downloading their native MobileCRM app on Android, Apple, and Kindle devices. This mobile app allows salespeople to search for customers, input customers, create a deal, push to 3rd parties including DMS, check inventory, and access key reports and dashboards. Having access to your CRM from a phone has its advantages. Salespeople can enter in customers on the lot. DealerSocket customers are seeing a 30% increase in Fresh Ups using the app. 

Dealerships are having more success in capturing prospect information because people feel more comfortable providing information to a salesperson who is not behind a desk. Once information is captured, salespeople can send vehicle ebrochures in real time to the prospect. They can surf inventory and look at over 50 pictures for each vehicle which cuts down on walking the lot with customer. 

They can also input trades by scanning the barcode of their VIN which notifies managers of prospects that are currently interested those trades. This is a great way to turn one deal into two deals and have happier customers because you can give more for their trade if you have a potential buyer for their trade. 

You can also push the deal to the DMS which allows desk managers to be working on numbers and have them ready even before the customer returns from the test drive. The app also helps salespeople manage their daily work plans. Salespeople can quickly see the calls they need to make, their appointments, as well as web leads. Salespeople can call directly from the phone and have it logged into the CRM. 

They can also send the customer email templates and even text messages. Another feature I like is that with the devices Talk-to-Text function which allows salespeople to talk their notes into the app to save time. It is also good for managers who can see what is going on at the dealership at anytime even when they are away from the dealership. 

Built into the DealerSocket MobileCRM app are push alert notifications, which allow you to be notified instantly on your mobile device when you receive an email, web lead, or a "To Do". You can even be notified when a customer opens your email (the best time to call a customer, because you know they are looking at it). 

DealerSocket's MobileCRM recently won Brian Pasch's AWA Award for Top Rated Mobile App. Here is what dealers are saying about DealerSocket's MobileCRM: “Our people self-train themselves on how to use the MobileCRM. It’s incredibly easy to use.” "Managers are involved and logged into MobileCRM inspecting the sales dashboard which has added another level of accountability." “Salespeople no longer have to leave the customer to log information in the CRM. Customers feel more comfortable giving information to someone with an IPad vs. someone sitting behind a desktop.” "Some of our stores have even replaced their desktop kiosk w/ an iPad." "Our solds have gone up because we have more people to follow up with… because more information is being logged in the DealerSocket MobileCRM App." I am sure we will continue to hear more about "Mobile" at the upcoming DrivingSales Executive Event in Las Vegas next month. 

If "Mobile" is important to you now or will be in the future, I highly encourage to check out DealerSocket's MobileCRM. 


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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.
Negative Selling

With every election I noticed that the majority of elected hopefuls often use negative selling and mud-slinging attack campaigns. It has grown to something I expect from politicians but not from salespeople. Yet recently I experienced some negative selling tactics that I thought I would share. The first occurred when I was a shopping for a new car a couple months ago. 

I had decided on what make and model car I was planning to buy but wanted reassure myself that I was making the best choice by looking at some other vehicles. When I visited a different dealership and I mentioned I was doing some research on two vehicles, I was surprised at the salesperson's approach. He immediately began to negative sell by talking about how bad the gas mileage was, that it didn’t score the highest safety ratings, and weaknesses in its performance while failing to point out any of the strengths of his brand. It was a big turn off for me and I ultimately bought the car I was original looking at. 

I know this isn’t always a common occurrence but for some salespeople they get fearful and defensive as soon as the competition is mentioned. It is ok to acknowledge that you have competition but there is a fine line between negative selling and pointing out differences between two products while focusing on your strengths. Knowing your competitions weaknesses is important, but this information should be used in a tactful informative way that is not offensive to your consumer. Too many sales people forget to focus on the strengths of their own product and services. Salespeople that trick themselves into believing that they can make up negatives about a competitor are kidding themselves. 

The second occurrence of negative selling happened last week in my own job. I work for a CRM company and often get the impression that some of our competitors negative sell on occasion. Recently a dealership I was working with was told by another CRM company that the integration we had with a particular DMS was not great. To resolve this concern, I immediately conferenced in a person from the DMS company that was referred to who reassured the customer of our great integration. We ended up getting this customer, but not because of our integration or us negative selling. The dealer said that the moment he knew the competitor had lied they lost all trust and began to doubt the positives of their product. Spare the negative talk. Henry Ford said, “The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” 

Focus on you, your company, your strengths and most importantly your customer. My business and my reputation are built on ethical standards and selling my company’s superior service, not bad mouthing rivals. Just because you are my competitor doesn’t mean we can’t be friends either. We can chat and talk about industry issues at trade shows, conferences, and through social media. I have referred dealers to others when I thought they were a better fit. And in turn, other companies have sent business my way. 

Strong competitors drive me to be even better at what I do. The automotive technology space is growing and I love the idea that more players are joining in. Yes, it is more competition, but I think there’s enough business to go around and it grows the overall performance of automotive industry.  


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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.
My Car Buying Experience 

One of my first jobs out of high school was selling cars and I have worked as a vendor with a CRM company in the industry for 7 years. I enjoy working in the auto industry and take pride in helping dealerships be more successful either through the products I sell or through the processes I teach from my experience. 

About every three years, I find myself as a customer in the market for a new vehicle. Recently, that time had come and I was looking for a new vehicle. I am not loyal to a particular dealership, but I usually buy my cars from the dealership that has the vehicle I want, and at the best price. 

Since I am only in this situation every so often I thought it would be wise to document my experience, with the hope that dealers and industry specialists could use it to improve their processes. I sold my car to a private party and needed to buy a vehicle within the next day or two. In deciding my next vehicle, I did my entire search online. I looked at manufacture websites, read reviews from Car & Driver and other respected publications. I searched videos on YouTube and jumped on vehicle-specific online forums where I could read what owners of the vehicle had to say, both positive and negative. 

Once I knew the vehicle I wanted I went back to the manufacture’s website and built that exact vehicle. An inventory search showed that five dealerships within a 50 mile radius had the exact vehicle (model, features, packages, MSRP). 

The Phone Up
I began calling these dealerships, asking if I could get some numbers. I knew that they would have to work on the numbers so I gave them my cell phone number and told them to call me back. I was surprised by the following: 

Dealership 1: Called me back two hours later. 
Dealership 2: Called me back in twenty minutes. 
Dealership 3: Called me back an hour later, only to ask what vehicle I was looking for again. 
Dealership 4: Gave me my numbers over the phone. 
Dealership 5: Never called me back with an offer!!! 

It just amazes me that there are salespeople who don’t call customers like me back! What also makes me concerned is that not one dealership that gave me pricing has called me back since to follow up. One dealership I called answered with an automated service, telling me that “the call might be recorded for quality assurance”, only to ring to another automated service “call is being recorded” two more times! By the time I got someone on the phone I was pretty sure I wasn’t talking with anyone at the dealership, but to someone at a call center. I gave my information to them, only to be transferred to the actual dealership where I had to give all of my info again. 

The Deal 
I ultimately went with the dealership that offered me the best price, which happened to be located an hour away from my home. An hour before I got off work, I told the salesperson at the dealership that I was going to come up that night. He told me that he was leaving early but to talk to his counterpart in the internet department. When I got off work I called and told him that I was planning on driving up and that I would have my two kids with me (3 year old and 8 month old). I asked if I could give my credit info over the phone to get all of the paper work started, so my wife and I didn’t have to spend all night there with our kids. I told him to also make sure I qualified (credit) and everything was good before we drove up. We got the kids all ready and waited for the call. An hour and 15 minutes later he called me to ask if I own a similar make product: No. If I am currently leasing a vehicle: No. If I am active Duty Military: No. Then he says to me that the original salesperson misquoted me and included all of those rebates in my price he gave me. Now my lease payment would be $120+tax more a month! This was higher than two other dealer’s quotes I had received. 

I understand mistakes happen but I think the lesson I learned is about managing customer expectations. If he originally told me a fair payment I would have been happy with it. Instead, he quoted me a very low price and got me to expect a low payment just to get me in the store, and then at the last minute the price changed. Now this may have been a mistake, but it also sounds like it could have been a dirty business tactic. I was shocked to say the least. I was sure glad I called ahead of time instead of driving all the way there with my kids only to find that the deal was too good to be true. I ultimately had to call the manager at the dealership. I felt uncomfortable by putting the dealer in this position but it seemed as though the dealer could honor the misquoted price and have a happy customer or not honor it and have an unhappy customer. 

Unfortunately, it was only after a heated discussion, that the manager was willing to work with me. We eventually meet at a price we both felt comfortable with and I picked up the car. Looking back, it was an interesting experience. One I hope that by sharing others can improve their processes. I still am surprised, it’s been 5 days and I still haven’t received a follow up call from the dealership.


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 hswift@dealersocket.com and on social media at @HunterSwift.