Leading an Appointment Culture – Part 3

Leading an Appointment Culture – Part 3

TRANSCRIPT: Now, we’ve talked about an appointment culture being a top-down proposition and it absolutely is. If the owner doesn’t believe in it and force it through to the general manager, and the general manager doesn’t believe in it and force it through to the middle managers, they’re not going to believe in it as well. But, the middle managers are the key. They need to ‘own’ the processes.

Maybe I wrote these processes as the owner, maybe I had a team write them for me and I’m the one who finally approved them; they’re not my processes. They are the middle managers’. They need to own the processes so they can ensure that these processes are followed consistently. They need to own these processes so they can drive accountability because they know what the processes are asking for.

And, by the way, we talked about what processes were in “Creating an Appointment Culture”, but they’re just the activities, so let’s not get hung up on processes, and that’s the last thing: they need to manage the activities. They can’t manage the activities if they don’t own the processes and they can own the processes by what we call ‘living in the CRM’. This means having their CRM tool up and open all day long and we’re going to talk about a CRM in a dealership in just a minute. Having a CRM tool up and open on their screens all day long, and managing what their team does through the CRM as well as getting up and actively managing the activity.

So, there are three times that they need to do this. One is first thing in the morning. First thing in the morning, when you come into the dealership, the first middle manager in the door needs to look at the appointment log. They need to look at the appointments that are going to occur in the first 90 minutes of opening.

Now, why do they need to do that? They need to make sure that they are ready and that they can put on the perfect appointment. So, you need to review the notes in those first appointments. You need to click through on the appointments, look at the notes and make sure that the notes are copious enough so that you, as a manager, knows without going around asking anybody, what you need to do to get ready for an appointment. Now, here’s a great training opportunity; Let’s say you click through on some notes for an appointment scheduled for 60 minutes after the store opens, but you can’t tell by the notes whether the customer wants to see a truck, an SUV or a four door sedan.

See, that’s a problem and that’s a huge problem, and so, what you need to do is you need to call that salesperson over right away or if it’s a BDC agent and you need to ask them, “Looking at the notes, can you tell what the customer is interested in?” If they can’t tell you, just by looking at the notes what the customer is interested in, then they need to leave better notes.

So, you review the notes for the appointments we have for the first 90 minutes of today. Have all these appointments been confirmed? If they haven’t been, and it’s late enough in the morning, say after 8 AM, we need to call these customers and confirm their appointments. Have the vehicles been prepped? Are they staged? Are they in the area they need to be? Remember, in the perfect appointment, we have that vehicle, cleaned, gassed, parked out front and ready to go 30 to 45 minutes before the prospect arrives.

We’re looking 90 minutes ahead so maybe not all of the vehicles are prepped and ready to go but certainly the ones that are needed in the first 45 minutes we’re open, need to be clean, gassed and parked in the designated area, ready to go.
And, finally, do I have the deal jacket at the sales desk and are the keys with the deal jacket? See, I need to meet and greet the prospect when they come in for their VIP appointment, if I’m the manager, or it’s not a VIP appointment.

Now, I’m going to look at any open appointments for the previous day. Once I have the first 90 minutes of today’s appointments taken care of, I’m going to look at yesterdays and say, “Wait a minute, are there still open appointments from yesterday?” If there are, I need to get statuses for those appointments immediately.

Remember, we’re supposed to be calling these appointments the minute their appointment is due. If their appointment is for 12:15, and at 12:15 our customer isn’t on that lot, our salesperson or BDC agent, who set that appointment, needs to call them right away. So, if I have open appointments from yesterday, and it’s today, then that’s a problem and we need to solve that right away. So, I’m going to get statuses for those appointments and, then (this is another coaching opportunity), I’m going to make sure the salesperson who set the appointment knows he should have put a status on that appointment yesterday. That appointment shouldn’t still be sitting on my appointment log.