Like a lot of people, I tend to get complacent when lead-handling processes are working well.
It's easy not to take the time to review them to ensure everything is working at peak capacity to gain appointments and sales.
But then a client will alert me of a letdown and I will adjust and get back on track. Wouldn't it be great to make process adjustments before snags frustrate someone, especially a customer?
Here are a few ideas you might want to consider so you can be proactive instead of reactive.
- Review the process step by step.
“It's the way we've always done it” is very prevalent in business and you have a chance to validate whether doing it that way is still valid.
Many dealerships have steps in their process that have never worked and yet they have staffers repeat them with each prospect. Look at each action and ask yourself if they generate the desired result. If the answer is “no,” adjust it, measure it at a point in the future and repeat this until you have the best possible results.
- Be sure technology supports your process before you add more staff.
We tend to want to hire more people when our task list becomes unmanageable. This is expensive and can create more work instead of less work for Internet and business development center managers.
Many of the things your team does each day in the lead-handling process can be automated.
This is especially important as lead ages and you want to spend more time on the fresh prospects. You don't ever want to give up on a prospect, but given the reality of time constraints it is unrealistic to think you can give the same energy and effort to every prospect.
To ensure every prospect gets contacted, consider technologies that can keep communicating in an automated fashion until the prospects either respond or unsubscribe. This saves time. And when used with well-crafted emails, they seem like personally written communications.
- Involve your team and develop process improvement experts.
As the boss, you may tend to think it is always your responsibility to improve processes. This can lead to a great deal of frustration for you and your team.
Be considerate of the talent within your team and charge them with the responsibility to come up with ideas for process improvement. A simple request to ask them to review their actions and make suggestions for improvement will get the ball rolling.
Be prepared to take some risks but ultimately this open-idea concept works great and pushes innovation.
Imagine the benefit of having a whole team of process-improvement experts trained under your guidance to always be on the lookout for ways to improve. Of course, it is always a good idea to offer a reward if ideas significantly improve results.
- Consider doing things your competition doesn't do.
The automotive industry tends to focus inward, as we look at our competitors and duplicate what they do even if we have no proof it works.
Look outside the industry and see what leading Internet retailers are doing that you can weave into your process. This will give you a new stream of ideas and allow you to do things your competition may not consider. Until of course, they start following the new leader — you!
- Test it, make sure it works and then put in play.
With new ideas it is always best to run it parallel to your current process so you can make sure you validate that it works without risking any letdown from the switchover.
By running the new actions side by side on every other lead, you can safely test them and mitigate the risk that the new idea is going to be an issue.
Bottom line: Don't be complacent, be innovative, be flexible and you'll lead the market. If you have any questions I would be glad to help. Just ask.
David Kain is president of Kain Automotive Inc. He can be reached at [email protected] 859-533-2626.
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