Appointment-Driven Communications – Part 3
TRANSCRIPT: Appointments must be the goal. Appointments have to be the goal with every call you make, every email you send out, and every time you leave a voicemail. In your mind you have to remember the goal and, so, I want you to always start with the goal in mind. One of the ways we do this is to treat every incoming lead and every call like it’s an order. So, anytime someone inquires about a specific vehicle, we need to treat this as if they’ve just ordered that vehicle. Someone calls about a 2013 Camry we have on the lot. Guess what they just did – they ordered it. Someone submits a lead on a brand new Honda Accord we have on the lot. Guess what they just did – they ordered it. That’s the way we need to treat everything. If we treat it like an order, we’re much more likely to gain the appointment, and if we gain the appointment, remember, we’re better than four times more likely to sell the car.
That is where this becomes critical. We need to treat every lead and every call we get as if they ordered the vehicle. Now, we need to remember one thing: when we are talking to someone on the phone we can only sell the other guys car on the phone. Case in point: if we give too much information about a vehicle; if we just blather on and on about how great this used car is or how great the Accord compares to the Camry, whatever; once we give someone all the information about a vehicle, the fact is – they don’t need to come see our vehicle. We’ve probably painted such a good picture of our vehicle, they can now take that picture and go look at comparable models and maybe save themselves a little money in their mind.
So, we’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to create a sense of excitement around the vehicles that we have, but we can’t give out every last piece of information. One other reason, by the way, that that’s important is stats show us that people do about 19 hours of research online before they ever set foot on a car dealers lot or even before they call you or send you an email lead. So they’ve done plenty of research. Our job is not information. Our job is to get an appointment that shows, so, if we have to talk, we’re going to ask for the appointment. We need to remember that there is an inverse relationship between information given and appointments shown. The more information we give to someone, the less likely they are to come in for an appointment.
Remember, from our ‘Creating an Appointment Culture’ class, the concept we called ‘Bury the Dead’. You need to remember to bury the dead. Now, I’ll give you a quick lesson on what that sounds like and what that looks like. This is ‘bury the dead’: you get a call from a guy and he wants an “out the door” price on a mid-level Camry, Accord, whatever it is you sell; brand new, mid-level, and he lives 150 miles away. He swears to you, “Hey Steve, if you give me the very best price, I’m gonna drop everything. I’m gonna drive all the way across the country. I’m gonna come buy the car from you.” Fact of the matter is, we know that’s not going to happen. All that person is doing is using us as an anchor price so they can leverage their local dealer. They are just shopping around, getting the very best price that they can. Hey, I don’t fault them for that. What they are going to do is: they are going to take your price, print it out if you sent it to them via email, write it down if you gave it to them over the phone. They are going to take your ‘out the door’ numbers and they are going to walk (drive) over to their local dealer and they are going to buy a car there. Their local dealer may come close or maybe it doesn’t matter but we’ve got to bury the dead and here’s how we bury the dead: we call their bluff.
So, we get a call from someone. They want us to build ‘out the door’ numbers. They want payments, they want interest rates, they want to know what we’ll give them on their trade on a mid-level Camry we’ve got on our lot and, if we’ll give them the lowest price, “I swear I’m gonna drop everything and come drive to see you guys” . Here’s how we call their bluff: we say “Hey, listen Bob, I’ve got a deal for you. How about this, you’re not gonna buy the car from me…” “Oh no, Steve, I swear….”No, no Bob, that’s okay, listen, I don’t mind. You’re just going to use my price, you’re going to beat down your local dealer and, if they come close you’re going to buy the car there but I’ve got an offer for you and this is a good offer. This is the way you can guarantee the very lowest price, Bob, and this is how it works: you get your very best written offer from your local dealer and you call me. You call me back with that best written offer and you make an appointment with me. You show up for that appointment with the written offer. If we can’t meet, or beat, their best written offer, Bob, we’re going to fill your tank with gas and we’re gonna give you a $100 gift card to the Olive Garden. How does that sound?” What can Bob say? We called his bluff. We’re offering him $150 basically. $50 to fill his tank and $100 gift card to the Olive Garden if we can’t meet or beat the best written offer he can get locally.
The fact of the matter is we’re not going to sell Bob anyway. If we give Bob ‘out the door’ numbers, I guarantee you we’re not going to sell him. But, let’s say on the off chance that we do give him ‘out the door‘ numbers, that we’ve billed out the payment, we tell him what his car is worth, and we are the lowest and he keeps his word and actually does come drive to see us. Well, a couple of things happen here. It usually takes about two hours to build true, good, out the door numbers because we’ve got to go back and forth with Bob to have him fill out a credit application, right? We’ve got to give that to the F&I Department. They’ve got to run the credit. They’ve got to talk to some banks. They may have to make sure they can get him bought and then, if he’s got a trade, we’ve got to get him to take 30 – 40 pictures of his vehicle and send them to us so we can give him a good offer. A good, solid offer for that trade. Now, there are trade tools that he can probably use online to get an estimate, but, to build out to those numbers we’re going to have to do a lot of work. We’re going to do a lot of work and we’re not going to make any money on the deal. See, the only way that we’re going to be the very best price is if this deals a mini, or worse, if we’re losing money on the deal.
So, let’s say on the off chance that Bob does come buy a car from us, we don’t want that deal. We don’t want it at all. Two reasons: One, he doesn’t live in our market. So, if we’re the very lowest price on the deal and we’re not going to make any money on the deal and he’s not going to service with us because he doesn’t live in our market, why make the deal? We’ll never see him again.
The second reason (and sometimes we forget about this) what is that guy, that guy that needs ‘out the door’ numbers, whether he lives in your market or 150 miles away; what is that guy, that price buyer, who absolutely must have the lowest price, that doesn’t care about service, doesn’t care about anything else; what does he usually do to you on CSI? He crushes you.
So, it’s a mini deal. You’re going to make almost no commission. The dealerships going to make no money and they’re not going to have him for service and, finally, he’s going to crush you on CSI. Why do you want the deal? Bury the dead.
Now, I want to caution you: everybody who calls you from 150 miles, 200 miles away is not the dead. We don’t need to bury everybody. Let’s say we’ve got a minivan, a five year old minivan on our lot. It only has 10,000 miles on it. We’re going to get calls from the local church or somebody 200 miles away, or 500 miles away who wants that vehicle because they need a good, used, low mileage minivan for their church, their school, their club or their family. We’re going to build ‘out the door’ numbers on that van and here’s the reason: it’s a unique vehicle and we’re going to make all the money. See, in that mid-level Camry or Accord Bob called about we’re not making any money on the deal and he’s not going to service with us and he’s going to crush us on CSI. If you have a unique vehicle, be prepared to build ‘out the door’ numbers but if you don’t, if your vehicles not unique, be prepared to bury the dead because you’ll sell more cars that way.