If you write out the core formula for Internet car sales it looks like this:
Yep, that simple. When broken down into its most elementary ingredients Internet-based retail automobile sales turns out to have just 2 primary components.
Listed in order of importance they are: 1). Process, then 2). Content.
PROCESS: As used here the word Process means a logical, timeline-based prospect follow-up system that cues the salesperson to which prospects need a follow-up call or email each day and what message needs to be delivered to each.
Some of you reading this might remember back to the day when we tracked our prospects on 4 X 5 index cards kept in a small box on our desk. We separated the cards with tabbed dividers that read “Monday” “Tuesday” “Wednesday” (etc.) or maybe “1” “2” “3” (days of the month, etc.). Consistent, high achieving salespeople relied upon this card system to organize their prospects so they would know (you guessed it) who needed a follow-up call each day and what message needed to be delivered to each.
Today, your CRM (Salespoint, VinSolutions, ADP, Reynolds & Reynolds CM, Dealersocket, and many, many others) takes the place of the index cards and box. It does everything the cards did and so much more. If set-up correctly, your CRM successfully mates a logical, prospect follow-up Process (like the index cards and tabbed dividers used to provide) with email (and sometimes phone) scripts (i.e. Content) you can employ when making the follow-up attempts. Plus, the CRM maintains prospect activity histories, enables you to send bulk email blasts to the database, and allows us to run reports that we couldn’t even dream of before technology arrived. But the tool is not the Process; the CRM is the sophisticated software system that manages your Process for you. The Process itself is something that you must provide.
The trick to Process is that it must be followed daily; a Process that is not enforced is no Process at all. There are no “days off” from Process.
CONTENT: This is the information you are giving to your prospects via email and/or phone. Some or all of your email replies might be hand typed and personalized. Others, for the sake of timeliness and efficiency, might be “canned” (pre-written) email messages commonly called Templates. If your prospect responds to your initial replies you may have no use for templates content at all. But if the prospect is non-responsive (and the majority are), templates will allow you to stay in front of him/her without having to hand type a personal letter every single time.
Note that Process trumps Content: you can have a good Process and bad Content and still sell cars. But if you have good Content but no Process you will have mediocre results at best.