Leading an Appointment Culture – Part 5
TRANSCRIPT: Every CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is a little bit different. That said, there are some commonalities and there are some things that you can make sure your managers are doing throughout the day, by living in the CRM, that will help drive an appointment culture.
The first thing that they need to do is have it open throughout the day. Not just their appointment log but, also, their desk log. They need to do a constant toggle between the two. Now you want to keep your desk log accurate to within five minutes. What does that mean? It means that if you have someone sitting in the F&I department, they’ve been on the lot for two hours and you are just now putting them in the CRM tool, that’s a problem. Here’s another problem that happens in the desk log all the time and that is someone who was entered in the desk log yesterday was never closed out and so our CRM thinks they’ve been trapped in our dealership for fourteen hours. So, you want to make sure your desk log is accurate to within five minutes. I want to be able to look at the desk log and the CRM and if it says there are five people on the showroom floor, I want to be able to look out on the showroom floor and be able to count five people, five different groups of people who are working with my sales team.
So, it’s important that your sales team enter the folks in the CRM accurately and that you keep track of the activities as they go through the meet and greet, as they go through the needs analysis and the trade appraisal, the touch desk, the turnover; whatever pieces are important to you and that you have put into your CRM that you want to track. You want to make sure that those get logged properly as they go through those steps.
Finally, you want to make sure your appointment log is accurate to within one minute. Remember, appointments are everything. So, if I have a 12:15 appointment and its 12:15, I want the salesperson on the phone with that prospect to find out where they are. We don’t call them up and say, “Hey, where the hell are you?” We call them up and say, “hey, Steve Stauning, calling from Century Toyota. I just want to make sure you are able to find our facility.” They’ll tell you, “yeah, I’m on my way” or “I forgot”. I need to have the notes from that phone call put into the CRM by 12:16. I want to know, within one minute, what is happening with every appointment in my appointment log.
Every manager needs to serve as an expeditor in your dealership. If you’re in the restaurant business you know an expeditor is the person who works between the kitchen and the wait staff to make sure that if you have a table of ten and one person ordered a steak and one person ordered a pizza and another person ordered a salad, that those items are not all created at the same time but, rather, that they all come out at the same time. That’s what an expeditor does in a restaurant and middle managers serve as an expeditor in your dealership. What I mean by an expeditor in a dealership is a liaison between the prospect and the salesperson who set the appointment. They are the liaison between the prospect and the lot porter who’s going to get the vehicle ready and the liaison between the prospect and, maybe, the salesperson who’s going to sell that person a car. They need to do real confirmations. They need to make sure that the confirmations are made but, also, that they are real. They also need to inspect the pre appointment preparation. Is it being done? Is it being done on time? If I have an appointment for 2:45 this afternoon, and its 10:00 A.M., I don’t need the lot porter working on that vehicle right now. Heck, we may have someone else who wants to see that vehicle and they may buy it. I may not even need to get it ready for the appointment because, maybe, I’ll be getting it ready for delivery at some other time.
You need to make sure there is a no-show investigation happening for every single appointment that’s scheduled to be here and isn’t here yet. So, a 12:15 appointment who isn’t there at 12:15 needs to be investigated. If you’re the manager, you need to act as an expeditor and make sure the no-show investigation takes place. I don’t mean you make the call because you don’t make the call. The person who set the appointment makes the call but you need to expedite that. You need to make it happen.
And, finally, you need to make sure that there are status updates throughout the day on all of these appointments. Every middle manager needs to serve as an expeditor.
The last thing you do throughout the day is you do activity management. You look in the call log. This is only in the CRM. Remember, we also do this in real life, but, I want to look at the call logs throughout the day and manage the activities. I was just at a dealership recently, and this is very typical. Within five minutes, one of their salespeople had made 41 calls the day before and had contacted each person, according to the notes they put in the CRM. Now, do the math. You cannot make 41 calls in five minutes. Heck, you can’t even dial 41 people, get it to ring and just hang up on 41 people. You cannot do it in five minutes. It’s just not possible. That’s how you manage in the CRM; you manage by looking at the call logs throughout the day. So, I can look at the call logs and if it says Bob just made ten calls and I look over and Bob is outside, goofing around, or I never saw Bob on the phone, I can call Bob over and this becomes another training opportunity.
So, I’m going to do the activity management by looking at the call logs to see when people are making calls and, specifically, the notes they are leaving on each call. I, also, need to watch the showroom log. The showroom log tells me who is in the showroom at that exact time. See, the desk log is a record of everything that happened throughout the day, the showroom log tells me what is happening right now, and if it says that we’ve taken Mrs. Jones on a test drive, and that we’re about to take her into F&I, but we haven’t done a trade appraisal, then our showroom log is not accurate. You might say, “Steve, what does it matter as long as we sell the car?” It matters a lot, because, what we need to understand is, how long does it take to do a trade appraisal? How long, after the customer arrives, does it take to do this? What percentage of customers do we appraise their trades? What percentage of customers, whose vehicle we’ve appraised, don’t sell us their vehicle? This is all great data to have but if we have garbage in the CRM, we’ll get garbage out of the CRM. So, I want to make sure my showroom log is up to date and accurate. That’s how I’m going to manage some activities.
Finally, I’m going to look at current notes. Current notes on anything that’s happening. If I’ve got an appointment coming in I’m going to look at those notes. If someone just spoke to someone, I want to look at those notes. I want to read the notes because I want to understand what’s happening in the dealership without having to ask questions. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to interact with them throughout the day, I am, but our CRM tool is there for us, as managers, because some of those salespeople aren’t going to be with us in a month, a year or three years.
Wouldn’t it be great if the people who worked for us three years ago had perfect data in the CRM? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a name, address, phone number and email address for every UP who walked onto our lot three years ago today? Wouldn’t it be great if for every UP who didn’t buy from us three years ago (let’s say there were 450 people who didn’t buy from us that month), we had all that information plus we knew where they bought, why they bought it and why they didn’t buy from us? If we had all that data in the CRM and we had it going back ten years, we would never have to spend another dollar marketing outside our dealership again. We would just live in our database.
That’s how important great data is in our CRM, and for an appointment culture, dealers who are leading an appointment culture, they get it.