Appointment-Driven Communications – Part 15
TRANSCRIPT: So many teams, in automotive, lack discipline. It doesn’t make you bad people. You just are so easy to get off the phone. Someone says they’ll be in Saturday morning and your team doesn’t want to screw up that deal, they think they’ve got a Saturday appointment, so they say, “Great, be sure and ask for me.” Then they rush to the CRM and put in 9:15 Saturday because they lack the discipline to schedule a strong appointment. It takes discipline to schedule strong appointments.
If today’s Monday, and they tell me they will be in Saturday morning and they are inquiring about a particular vehicle, I need to tell them, “Mrs. Jones, just so you know, that vehicle is not going to make it to Saturday. It will be sold by then. Now, I have two test drives open on it today. I have a 5:15 and a 5:45, which one works better for you?” I’m going to explain why that discipline matters. The person who said they would be in Saturday morning is not going to show for their appointment. In fact, they didn’t even set an appointment, right? In their mind, there is no appointment because they said “I’ll be in on Saturday morning”, and you said, “Great, ask for me”. There’s no appointment there.
I’m going to give you a real world example. I worked with two dealerships recently; two sister stores, about 100 miles apart and both selling the same brand. Both sister stores had been through my training, in person, and they both thought they had an appointment culture in place, but one store had discipline and one store did not, and that was the difference.
We looked at the first 100 appointments each store had set for the last month that I worked with them. In store A, the store that lacked discipline, of the first 100 appointments they set, 33 showed up. They had a 33% show rate. That is a terrible show rate. Even an average dealer that‘s not doing anything special in their appointments generally has a 40 to 50% show rate. So, they had 33 of their 100 appointments show up. These people didn’t even realize they had an appointment and their team didn’t realize they had appointments, even though they tried to do the perfect appointment. They got the cars ready, they did some other things like that. They tried to give VIP treatment. The fact is, they couldn’t. If Barbara Jones did show up on Saturday morning, it was a complete shock to the salesperson who put her in the CRM as an appointment. He knew he didn’t have an appointment, right?
So, what happened was those 33 people showed up and their closing percentage for those 33 was 21. 21%. They close their traditional Ups at just under 20%, so why are they closing their appointments at 21%? It’s simple: no one knew they had an appointment. The customer didn’t know they had an appointment. The sales rep didn’t know they had an appointment. No one was ready for the appointment, so the car deal took four hours like normal, the customers weren’t happy, the grosses suffered and CSI suffered. Let’s look, graphically, at the first 100 appointments they set. They set 100 appointments, they had 33 shows and they sold 21% of them. Do the math and you’ll see they sold 7 cars to the first 100 appointments they set.
Now, let’s look at their sister store. One hundred miles away, selling the same brands in a similar market, small town market, if you will. For their first 100 appointments, in that same month, they had 82 people show up. They had an 82% show rate because they were setting strong appointments. They had the discipline. When we listened back on the calls from store A, we heard things like, “When would you like to come in?” They tried to set appointments; we heard, “I’ve got two appointments on that. One at 5:15 and one at 5:45. Which one works better for you?” and the customer comes back with, “Well, how late are you open?” Then the rep says, “We’re open until 8:00.” And the customer says, “Great, I’ll see you before 8:00”. Sure enough, we go look at the CRM and the salesperson had put in an appointment for 6:45, and the customer never showed. That’s store A. They lacked discipline.
Store B, the one who had 82 show up for the first 100 appointments set, stuck to the talk tracks. They set appointments. They said, “I’ve got a 5:15 and a 5:45. Which one works better for you?” They customer came back with “I don’t know what time I can make it. How late are you open?” The rep replied, “We’re open until 8:00 but our last appointment is 6:15. I have a 5:45 or a 6:15. Which of those works better for you?” Then, if the customer was unwilling to set an appointment, they made sure they understood what they were giving up if they wouldn’t set an appointment. So, if you’re not willing to set an appointment, Mr. Customer, that’s okay, but I’m going to show you all the things you’re giving up. And, they had 82 of their 100 appointments show up and they closed 80% of the people that showed because they did a perfect appointment. So, let’s do that math: 100 appointments set, 82 people showed up, they closed at 80% of those 82; 64 units out the door.
Sixty-four units versus seven units. Each on their first one hundred appointments and the only difference between the two stores was discipline. Discipline matters.