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The Revolution Has to Start with an Evolution

By October 2, 2015 No Comments

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Conversion Means Sale….as in SOLD Them a Car

I’m a staunch proponent of anything that enhances sales and profitability.  I think wearing two different color socks increases salesman performance, consider it policy.  I think though, that all too often we accept measurements that fall short of the mark, and frankly don’t hold us in the industry to the highest accountability when it comes to success.  I mean vendors and dealers alike.  But I’ll start with my group, like it or love it we can manufacture some amazing catch phrases to elude the only question that matters.  “Bob you had 1100 consumer engagements through our tool this month,”  “We touched 330 consumers on your site,” and one of my favorites “you had over 11,000 impressions this month.”  One quick question.  How many did we sell?  How many of your consumers that came from your efforts and our spend did we sell?  That’s all that really matters isn’t it?  I mean, when was the last time you high fived your GM and said “Hey we were only 28 units short of our factory number this month,”?  No need to answer, not even silently in your head.

So when did we collectively start accepting the horseshoe approach to success measurement?  Pretty close, good job Bill.  It begs the question, how many people are really searching for the right tools, and not just shiny new tools or objects.  I think I know the answer to this one, agree silently by shaking your head…. It was the minute our consumers went from sheep to wolf.  One big, scary, educated wolf.  Remember the first time your sales person came up to you and asked if you had ever heard of ZAG, or USAA?  It was like someone just found your hiding spot, report card day all over again.  Well, let’s be blunt about this, the “education” was merely a series of events that allowed the consumer to gather data.  Data on your dealership, data on trade value, data on invoice pricing.  No pixie dust here.  Just plain old technology on the consumer side catching us off guard.

DATA SHOULD BE INFORMATION I CAN USE

Big Data… what a catch phrase.  Let’s be honest, in our industry we have enough trouble getting people trained and effectively utilizing our CRM, yet alone have them breakdown or understand Big Data.  I am a firm believer, that data rules the day.  Trends, patterns, frequency, it’s all there, and math doesn’t lie.  But, if I don’t know that 2+1=3, than all the numbers and data in the world mean nothing.  So what am I saying?  I am saying that data is for us, the technology companies, the vendors, it is OUR job to decipher whatever data we collect into an easy, readable format that tells the dealer a story, and this story should end in a car sale.
Let me give you an example I use every time I speak on Data Mining.  If I find a customer that my data tells me I can upsell into a new vehicle, and get another RDR with about 1,000.00 in profit, that’s good right?  Well, maybe, this is where the data comes in.  Did you sell them the car, if yes are they a service customer, if yes what is the service spend value on that consumer under your rooftop?  If they purchased multiple vehicles, than what truly is the SSV on that consumer?  The answer is in the data, but you might not have seen it.  So if that customer represents $1000.00 in gross profit and an RDR, what if he or she would have represented another $2300.00 in service gross over the next 18 months.  Is it still a good transaction?  You see this is where the data matters.  Telling you, the dealer a story that can easily be interpreted to make a calculated decision.  Had you had that data, you probably would pass on the opportunity.  Let’s face it, if you wait 18 months to sell the car, and still book that $1000.00 profit for the sale, that’s a $2300.00 swing.  Batter up.

Combining Data Sets to Tell the Whole Story

We rely every day on the data provided to us in leads, CIT reports, vendors, and internals.  We use credit data to determine the deal structure, and which bank to send the deal.  We use vendor data, and consumer provided data to attempt at selling more units.   I want to present you with a use case, and tell me what you think.  Customer A jumps on your site, or a third party portal and submits an information request.  Now, the data you have at this point, is what vehicle they looked at, vehicle of interest, and any ancillary tracking data your vendor may provide, if at all.  Is Customer A 25 or 45?  Does Customer A make 25,000 or 250,000.00?  Do they own their home or rent?  Did they just have a child, maybe just got married/ divorced/retired…you get the picture.  Your engagement with Customer A from the data you have is limited to what information you can squeeze out of a customer without offending them or violating their rules of engagement.  Now ask yourself this question, what if I had ALL of the data points listed above before I contacted the consumer.  What if I knew if all of the information listed above before the first phone call, email, or text.  Do you see a road map forming here?  You see all of that data is available (albeit from one vendor right now), but it is available.  I venture to say that while every client interaction is a courteous, pleasant reach out, imagine the consumer experience if you knew to email them first, text second.  What if you knew to hit them on Facebook, first, then a phone call.  Or maybe old school just wants that phone call.  The engagement based on that consumers unique demographic, gives you the edge to follow THAT consumer’s rules of engagement, and thus not stumble through a first customer interaction.

GET TO THE POINT

My point is this.  Times have been changing in our industry for some time.  But the speed at which it is moving is exponential.  There is no time for catch up.  Consumers EXPECT you to know how to engage them, on their terms, and provide the data they need to make not only an informed decision, but to give them a reason to do business with you.  So if the data exists, let’s use it, and use it correctly.  I’m ending this not with a pitch, but a promise.  We have always strived to become the leading data provider in the credit space.  Lord knows I blow that horn every chance I can.  I am proud of my company, and what we have achieved for this industry.  But more important than that, I challenge you at this Digital Dealer to come and see the future of what data holds in this industry.  Come to every booth (mine also of course), but find that solution that helps you make sense of the data.  Math never lies, money always spends, and I promise you winners find a way.   Safe travels to Vegas, and go find that data.