Integrating the internet sales department and business development center
New Vision Sales Automobile Dealer Sales Training – Article Series
Integrating the Internet Sales
Department and the Business
For some reason, when the word ―Internet‖ is put in front of the
word ―sales,‖ it becomes something different than car sales. But
it shouldn’t; it’s still selling cars. By integrating the
Internet sales department and business development center,
Internet sales should become more efficient. Why would you have
the two departments separate, or why would you have one without
the other? I suggest configuring the two together, so all leads
are properly handled in a consistent manner.
There are two methods of integration—process integration and
physical integration. Process integration is a must, and
physical integration is recommended. With process integration,
you ensure all leads are going through the same processes and
systems and are being followed up with consistently. Physical
integration is literally merging the departments into one war
room and one department. Your Internet sales process – obviously
there are different variations – may dictate whether you
physically integrate the departments.
Regardless of which method you choose, everybody in the Internet
department needs to be cross-trained to learn BDC and follow-up
processes, along with training and coaching on communication and
persuasion skills. Your Internet salespeople must be able to own
the phone! One dealer I work with makes all new employees begin
in an entry-level business development role and work their way
up from there. His philosophy is if a person is not capable of
developing business and mastering follow-up, they shouldn’t be
out front waiting on ups and dealing with customers, and his
sales force is stronger for it.
The most successful Internet sales and business development
process is to convert an e-mail into a phone conversation as
soon as possible. Too often, the Internet sales process is
typing e-mails, which is very soft selling. I believe in calling
an Internet lead the first day and calling them every day until
you reach them. Your goal should be to convert e-mails into
phone calls in 24 hours or less. Consider how most people shop
online for a product. They go to multiple sites to compare
products and pricing. You need to convert e-mail inquiries to
phone conversations quickly because the person who submitted a
lead on your site probably submitted leads to several other
dealerships. You are missing the boat if you’re not trying to
turn that e-mail into a phone call, because there could be 10
other dealers e-mailing the customer, all trying to build
rapport. You have to build rapport with them first, and that
opportunity to build rapport is over the phone.
E-mail is easy to track, but if you rely solely on e-mails,
you’re severely limiting your communication with customers.
Consider how communication is transmitted—63 percent of
communication is transmitted through body language, 30 percent
is through tonality and only seven percent is made up of the
actual words you use. With e-mail, you limit yourself to seven
percent of communication transmission. You need more than that
to build rapport and set your dealership apart from the others.
Sure, there are ways of emphasizing words in an e-mail with
italics or underline, and there are a lot of neat tricks with
video virtual walk-around or product presentation. However, if
you consider that most customers are totally freaked out by the
car buying experience, it’s going to take more than e-mail to
build rapport and differentiate your dealership. You must
instill trust, confidence and comfort in prospective customers,
and you must do it before your competitors.
Another common mistake made in Internet departments is that
people attempt to sell the car over the phone. What you’re
really selling while on the phone is the appointment. That’s why
Internet sales representatives need the same skill set as
business development representatives.
Now is the time to bridge the gap between the two departments.
You don’t have a sales team that handles only customers who come
in from your radio ads and another sales team that handles only
customers who come in from TV commercials. When an Internet lead
comes in, dealerships that operate with a BDC and a separate
Internet department always run into the question, ―Whose lead is
it?‖ Well, it’s the dealership’s lead. That’s whose lead it is,
and it should be handled the same way as other leads—with the
same process and same system.
It all comes down to what’s best for the dealership, and having
an integrated department (or at least two departments that are
cohesive) is going to lead to more appointments and ultimately
more sales. Who is paying to generate the leads, and who is
making decisions on how to handle them? How many deals are
missed because the word ―Internet‖ changed the landscape of true
New Vision Sales Inc.
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Fort Mill, South Carolina 29708
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