How To Sell Cars Online or Offline (PART 22)
TRANSCRIPT: “Steve, don’t we have to start doing online sales first to make it happen?” No. We’ve actually had a hybrid system, this hybrid online/offline buying system for a long time. It’s called internet sales. For most dealerships, though, you’re just collecting and responding to leads. You didn’t treat it like an online/offline hybrid buying system but top dealers are using the information that they get from these types of forms to start the deal and shorten the road to the sale.
Some even follow my perfect appointment which we’re going to review a little bit today but results in an 80% close rate for dealers who follow the perfect appointment. That means you’re selling 80% of the people who keep their appointment and show up on time for their appointment. You’re closing them because you have that continuity, that online to offline continuity.
The key to internet sales and online/offline hybrid sales is everything they did online has to be captured, stored, and acted upon before they arrive. That last part’s critical. Acted upon. Credit application completed online should mean that I have zero credit application paperwork when I arrive. Is that happening in your dealership today? Customer completes a credit application online, your BDC sets an appointment, they show up at the dealership. Is everything already completed for them and they just have to verify the … No. they have to start over again. You’re just collecting leads. You don’t have an online/offline hybrid. It’s got to be it.
Same experience with trade appraisal. If I’ve already completed your Black Book trade appraisal form on your website, then when I come into the dealership, all of that information should be entered into the CRM properly and your own tools should have been used or Black Book, where you’ve already created the value.
It doesn’t mean your sales person doesn’t walk the trade with the customer and downsell the trade a little bit but it does mean they don’t have to reenter anything except mileage because it’s all been taken care of. In fact, even just an e-lead should mean that whatever vehicle they wanted is clean, it’s gassed, it’s ready to go when they arrive. This is all we mean, by the way, with an online/offline hybrid, it’s just acting upon all that information we got before they arrived at our dealership. It’s nothing complicated. It just means that whatever the customer has told you already is not rehashed ad nauseum in store.
When I gave you guys that 80% close rate on the perfect appointment, I gave you the 80% close rate and somebody like, “Steve, that’s crazy! We close our internet deals at 40% or 30%.” That’s because I have to start everything over when I get into your dealership. That’s the problem because you’re not doing it online/offline hybrid. Everything I did online, I have to restart when I get to your dealership. I know dealers who are closing their internet appointments at 20%, just like their traditional UPs. Guess why. Because they treat the internet appointment just like a traditional UP. The customer starts back at what? Meet and greet. Product selection. Feature presentation. Needs analysis.
Listen. I prefer an effective hybrid model, the online/offline hybrid because it lets the customer do some of the heavy lifting in advance of the visit. I also like it because it reduces the amount of in-dealership paperwork that we have to do. It reduces the time, by the way, that F & I managers spend chasing stips or funding. Think about it. If we can have someone start on a product like AutoFi, we can tell them in advance what kind of stips or what sort of information we need before they arrive. It tells customers what they need to bring in in advance like proof of insurance, driver’s license, proof of employment. When we can have that contact with them in advance, I love these sales because we can be in control.