BDC reps, calling Internet leads should be able to connect to leads 60% of the time. This may not occur on the first attempt, but should be occurring when you look at an overall view of connections, compared to leads as a percentage. Cold calling is lower, connecting at an average of 30%.
by Steve Laureys, VP of Sales
There’s a touch of irony that accompanies outbound phone calls in a dealership. Outbound calls are the least monitored calls, but the most measured! Many dealers believe that what they’re doing in their CRM is enough. Most CRMs will track when a team member marks a task as complete. They may even have a follow-up checkbox to verify when a staff member leaves a message or there was no answer. While self-reporting is a start down the road to better visibility, it won’t get your team to improve at much except checking boxes.
Many CRMs have call tracking features to validate that a call was made. This is usually done by adding an entry on the customer file, with the recording link. That helps. A manager can review calls to see if they were handled appropriately, and a team member can listen to their own calls to evaluate how they can improve. This is usually a very affordable option and should be the minimum standard for call monitoring. Imagine this as your 15 pieces of flair for dealership phones.
But the real question involves the actual application of this process: Who is going to listen to all of those calls? The answer: No one. The reality is that intentions are good, but it’s not a sustainable model. Some listen to calls for a short while and then get inundated with other priorities. Think about the math of it. If you have ten sales reps, making 25 calls each day, that’s 250 calls per day. If the average talk time is on the lower side, each call lasts two minutes, which translates to 500 minutes a day. That is literally a full-time job with overtime. Even if you cut that in half, there is still time needed to take action on what you’ve learned from your call review.
Efficient call tracking software can save you and your team that time and human expense. Often, the investment is a comparable expense to just regular tracking lines. In addition, a click-to-call component may be available for your CRM. This is an extremely easy change that is vitally important. Without it, you are taking a chance on every call that someone on your team is mistyping the phone number or other information into the system.
If they do not realize they have made a mistake, then follow-up calls are dead ends and marked as a bad phone number. All future communication options for that phone number are stopped and the real customer, who actually provided you a good number, feels ignored. Click-to-call resolves that, giving your viable information and enabling a better customer experience.
But what about metrics and ROI?
The goal for outbound calls is simple: Help the customer find you , get to know you, discover they like you, and trust you so that they will spend money with you. There is a roadmap to phone sales, just as there is with showroom visit. The metrics are simple and a phone tracking service should provide these to you in real time.
This is dependent on the TYPE of calls your personnel are making. BDC reps, calling Internet leads should be able to connect to leads 60% of the time. This may not occur on the first attempt, but should be occurring when you look at an overall view of connections, compared to leads as a percentage. Cold calling is lower, connecting at an average of 30%. Ask yourself, what is preventing the connection? Is your staff leaving poorly constructed or no voicemails? Is the number viewed as SPAM by the customer? Is the number not using the local area code, etc?
Of the calls that connected, what percentage of your staff asked for customers to make an appointment? You can’t get it if you don’t ask for it. The average store only requests an appointment be made 75% of the time. This number is higher than on the inbound side. Why? Big thanks to our BDC and ISM friends out there for making this curve higher, but the discrepancy lies in the expectations of your staff. Chiefly, the team member is more prepared when making a call because they know what the primary objective is, compared to when they accept a call with an unknown purpose.
Of those callers that requested customers make an appointment, what percentage of those calls resulted in an appointment being made? An appointment should only be counted if a firm time is determined and it is added to the appointment schedule. If a customer says they will be in at some point on Saturday, that is considered to be a soft appointment and shouldn’t be considered in your count. However, if you can measure both soft and firm appointments, that is a big win. If you cannot, then it is best to only count firm appointments‚ specifically, those with a clearly stated date and time and a mutual understanding that the customer will be there. When dealers ask for an appointment, the average store sets appointments 80% of the time. That results in 60% of connected calls.
Appointment Show Rate
Simple enough, did they show or not? If they are late, the appointment still counts toward your assessment. If the customer is a no-show or doesn’t arrive until the next day or on a different day, you have to question if the problem was the product or how the call was handled. Despite a customer’s intentions, the average outbound call only results in a 60% appointment rate, even when those appointments are scheduled. This number drops to 48% when appointments are not confirmed by a member of the dealership.
Ultimately, this is why you are here. Measuring your sales back to the phone call is powerful and gets the attention of every member of a sales org (service is a sales org too). If the dealership is prepared for their visit, appointments that show will close at a rate of 60% on outbound calls, a lower rate when compared to inbound calls. There are a lot of behavior differences on the customer’s side when you compare inbound to outbound calls. Further, if the car is not pulled up and ready, or the person they are there to meet is not prepared and informed of the customer’s expectation, this number can drop dramatically to 30%.
Each step helps you identify an area of opportunity for improvement. To truly understand the ROI of your outbound phone calls, you must set the expectations and then measure the outcomes. Let your sales personnel know
- How many calls they are required to make per day.
- The metrics you’ll be using to measure whether they are accomplishing that (for example, are you only measuring between 9-5?).
- How often these calls should be to new clients and how often they should be contacting existing customers.
- When they are required to leave a voicemail.
- What time of day they should be targeting for different groups of customers.
- What is the purpose of their call, to make appointments, follow up on service, or connect with buyers, etc.
Understanding your team’s skills is the only way to improve them. They need to be measured consistently and remain a focus of leadership at all times. Of course, this helps to increase sales in fixed and variable. But when done properly, this also creates deeper relationships with your team in a continued learning environment, which helps build the future leaders of our industry.