Appointment-Driven Communications – Part 1
TRANSCRIPT: Today’s lesson is on ‘Appointment-Driven Communications.’ The talk tracks, the word, the discipline. The How, the Why and the What that you need to say in order to truly drive an appointment culture in your dealership. Now, if you haven’t attended my ‘creating an appointment culture’ class, or you haven’t watched the video for creating an appointment culture, I encourage you to watch that first. So, go back to ‘Creating an Appointment Culture’, watch the videos, and then, come on back and learn about ‘Appointment-Driven Communications’.
Now, there are a lot of keys to appointment driven communication but the one I want you to think about first is, think about the dentist. What if I had a dentist appointment today at, say, 9:15? Around 10:00, 10:15 I’d probably come from the back where I was getting my teeth cleaned. I’d go to the receptionist and she would hand me a card. It looks like a business card, and she would say, “Hey, Steve, how does….?” And she’d pick a date six months from now, “How does July 19th work?” I’d say ”July 19th looks great”, and she’d say, “how about 9:15?” And I’d pick up my iPhone, or whatever, and I’d look at my calendar and (who has something scheduled six months from now?) I’d say,”9:15 is great” and she’d write “9:15, July 19th” on this card.
I’d take this card home and when I got there I’d put it into my calendar, and, even though I travel a lot, do a lot of training, there’s a 90% chance that I’m going to keep that appointment. There’s a 90% chance that I’m going to keep an appointment for, say, a $30 teeth cleaning six months from now. I’m going to block out my schedule. I’m going to protect that day. I’m not going to let anything into my schedule that would keep me from keeping that dentist appointment six months from now. I said a 90% chance, but, you know what, there’s a 100% chance that if I need to change that appointment, I will call them as soon as I know in order to change that. Now, there’s two reasons for that. One, I’ve committed to this appointment, right? I’ve given them my word, and, two, (this is something we can’t do in the car business) its $30 if I go and get my teeth cleaned but its $45 if I miss an appointment and don’t call them in advance. And, so, I’m going to keep that appointment 90% of the time because it’s a hassle to change it, but if I do have to change it, I’m going to let them know right away.
So, when you think you have an appointment culture, ask yourself if people would keep their appointments with you the same as they would at their dentist? If the answer is, “well, no, people sometimes arrive two hours late for an appointment or they arrive an hour early”. Then you don’t have an appointment culture. Think about that. Think about the dentist office. What if I rolled in two hours late? On July 19th, what If I arrive about 11:15? What would they say to me? They’d say, “Well, Steve, come back another day “. What about this: when she handed me that card and asked how July 19 worked and I said it works great and she says “how’s 9:15?” and I say”9:15? I don’t know about the morning. How late are you open?” She says something like “well, we’re open until 4:30”. What if I come back at her the way your customers do to you and say “well, I’ll see you before 4:30”? She would say “get a new dentist”. They don’t work that way. Dentists have an appointment culture. You can have an appointment culture as well.
Think about this: you’re selling a $30K or $45K car, right? And you don’t think people will keep an appointment for six hours from now, yet those same people will keep an appointment for six months from now for a $30 teeth cleaning. It’s because the dentist’s office has an appointment culture and you don’t.
Now, let’s think back. Very quickly, you need to go watch ‘Creating an Appointment Culture’ if you want all these stats again and why they’re important, but, let’s remember what the opportunity is for appointments. Why it’s important to have a true appointment culture. We taught you in ‘Creating an Appointment Culture’, that the average dealer closes 20%, actually 9-20%, of their traditional UPs. Those same dealers close 50%, if they’re average, of their internet appointments that show. They close 60% of their owner-marketing appointments. They close 67% of their ‘be-back’ appointments and we have dealers today who are doing the ‘perfect appointment’ closing 80% of all their appointments that show, month in, month out.
So, the opportunity for appointments is great, right? Your closing percentage is four times better. Most people who schedule appointments in the car business are closing, from beginning to end, within 90 minutes of the time they enter the car lot. Now compare that with the three or four, sometimes five or even six hours that some car deals take at your dealership. It’s just not a good experience for your customer.
So, your question now has to be, “Steve, I’m all in. How do I get appointments?” We’ll talk about that in part 2.