The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 505 ยท 5 months ago

Paul de Vries: 6 Steps To Successful Lead Handling

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Paul de Vries is the founder of DCDW (Digital Car Dealer Network), ambassador for Marktplaats (Holland), and a brand new owner of a Ligier franchise dealership in Holland. He is an expert at lead handling and works with several OEMs in Europe to improve their lead handling and appointment show percentages. In this episode of The Dealer Playbook, Paul breaks down his 6 steps to lead handling that can help any dealership increase their car sales opportunities.

Key Takeaways From This Episode:

03:39 - It's very easy to analyze lead responses in a PowerPoint or spreadsheet, but when the reality of the day sets in it can be very difficult to manage. Dealers need to be practical in understanding why leads are important and that no matter how they arrive, they represent another human being who is expressing interest in the dealership's vehicles, parts, or services.

05:05 - The goal is to remove the 100% dependency on BDCs and outsourced agents and train salespeople to be better at working with leads on their own. If we can move the need so that only 10% of car salespeople are better at lead handling, we will make a bigger impact than we make our BDC agents. We can't get away with not knowing the product we sell. It's imperative to know the product so that we can quickly answer all the questions that customers have.

07:15 - The dynamic of the car shopper is changing rapidly which means that we need to continue training to keep up with their ways of doing business. Today if we don't answer the lead within one minute, customers get angry. In Europe, WhatsApp is typically the preferred method of communication because other systems are seen as outdated. In contrast, to the USA or Canada where SMS messaging is the holy grail (outside of the phone).

12:46 - Paul shares his experience being a car dealer again and opening a Ligier franchise experience store in Holland.

26:55 - Paul breaks down the six steps to successful lead handling. When put into motion, car dealers can see an increase in leads to appointments and appointments to demos by training car salespeople to properly handle leads.

Listen to the full episode for even more insights and context from Paul de Vries!

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Thanks, Paul de Vries!

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Get Your Google vehicle adds up and running fast with FLEX DEALER DOT COM. The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo and together we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealership and life in the retail automotive industry. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed to help you grow. This is the dealer playbook. Alright, gang I am sitting down now with a DP B alum guest, my good friend Paul de Reese. He is an ambassador of marked Platz. He is a dealer of a Liege Franchise, brand new, by the way. We're gonna talk about that. He is an international speaker, he's the founder of the digital card dealer workshop and he has been making waves ever since I met him many, many years ago. Good friend of mine, Paul, thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast. Happy to be here and the fairy honored to be here for the first time. So is this number three? I thought it was four. I thought free. Okay, maybe maybe it is three. Well, you always, you always share very practical information and I love it. Um. Recently you and I were together in Kentucky at David Kane's event, where I listened to you speak. was also your unofficial photographer. I've lost the pictures. Oh, that's good, that's good, Um, I'm glad she does. Happy Birthday to her. By the way. Have you asked her how it feels to be twenty nine? No, thirty four, I said to her. Yeah, if I stay under the four and then it will be fine right from now. Oh, man, I um, I always enjoy listening. Do you speak like I said, because it's so practical. Here you are where everybody's got, you know, their slide decks and power point presentations, and you asked me, you said, I just have a big notepad. Do you think that's gonna be okay? And I said I think that's gonna be fantastic. He because it's different. Be because it to me. What I really drew from this, and what I want the listener to understand, is how well you have to know your stuff when the canvases blank and you have to fill it in while you speak. Um, you spoke about what, what I can only suggest is the science of how to manage and handle Um leads and appointments that come through your online properties and stuff, us a brief synopsis of the Subject Matter You spoke about at David's event and what you're seeing now, perhaps now that you're a dealer, where your mind is going on how to handle leads effectively? Yeah, of course, the supect matter we be touched upon this Um wide lead handling is so difficult. It is so easy in the power point, it is so easy in excel or in a white campus how to how it should how it should work, but in in in the panic of the day, in the madness of the day's work at the dealership, it is not. It is not a ball game. So you have to be very practical to help dealers to understand why leads are important. And sometimes I'm very tired to say that again and again and again, because after all, we are saying that for the last twenty years. A lead, it doesn't matter how it comes in, but it is still a human being asking some some in formation Um and I touched upon...

...the sixth step program we developed by accident with Toyota. The Netherlands here um where they ask us to help them with their lead follow up. And the first thing that we we talked about why our BBC, I'm also the CO owner of BBC in Holland, how the BBC can work together with the dealers to perform better on lead handling. And when we talked about it, we said with each other, while in the hell is it possible that we can teach and BBC Rep with a minimum salary in comparison with the car salesman that we can teach? We can teach him or her how to do it, and we cannot teach the sales people. And that changed the whole dynamic of the conversation, because the O em has one D and five dealer stores, about three hundred fifty sales people. If we can move the needle of that sales people for only ten percent to be better in lead handling, we will make a bigger impact then we make our BBC agents, five is them better in handling leads. So we change the dynamics and we and we developed the six steps program where the sales people were the diamond, the centerpiece of all, and we developed tools, we developed manuals, processes, training, coaching, but we emphasize a lot about the sales people and how to handle leads, because I don't know how this in America, how this is in Canada, but o e m s in Europe are spending a lot of money to train sales people about the product, everything about the product they should know, but how to handle leads, of how to handle an objection. It's something they don't teach upon, only at school maybe, or in one podcast or in one book or whatever, and that's almost lost our because back in the day, fifty years ago, they were saying, Hey, an online lead, online customers are different, we need other people to handle those people, and that's that's wrong in definition. So my press station was going about six steps and what we started with and where we ended last year in conversion and white worlds. Let me ask you this to to give some context, right, because, especially an automotive, we want everything now. Yes, but you said you developed this with your Toyota. Um, Oh, we M in Holland. How long, and I'm sure you're still, you know, iterating and getting new ideas and stuff, but initially, how long did it take for you to formulate the plan and start to implement it. We're working now on the plan for the last four years and still not finished, because the consumer is changing all the way and because the dynamic of the consumer four years ago is different than it is now. If I don't answer the lead now within one minute, they are anxious, they are angry, they are not satisfied and all those kinds of things. And also, if you don't have and WHATSAPP integration follow up system in Europe, then you are toast as well, because the private email is not is your last resort of communication and not your first or your second. You can do better on postal cards. Then then send an email to a private private email at address right. Talk. Talk to me about what's APP for a little bit. I mean I know pretty much everywhere else in the world, old except for North America,...

...has adopted what's APP. When you're talking about what's APP integration into your follow up process, are you saying that there's some way for somebody to just click what's APP and it opens up and a conversation starts? Yet it can be, it can be first started. We perceived in your SMS or text as an old, old platform, and that's something you did with the Nokia and you don't do it with an iphone. And that's the way we that's the way we see it. Um and when what'SAPP, what's coming up? It was actually free because you only need an uh a data stream, you need only to have a Wifi and then you can text each other. Back then you have to pay the telecom provider for every text. So that's why it went from nothing to every thing in in six months or so. And now if you if you don't have WHATSAPP integration in your lead management system or in your on your website or whatever the case will be, then your follow up will not be that effective. Then it should be if you are using it. On the other hand, if you're using our text, because text is still used by the banks, is still used by the dentist, is an virging platform. Nobody is using it, so there's not many messages, messages going around that platform. So your message will will pick up maybe faster than WHATSAPP, because in whatsapp you can have two hundred messages in a day of your friends and friends groups, etcetera, and whatever the case will be. So maybe it will shift again, but we don't know. So we have to be agile in it kind of reminds me of direct mail versus, you know, email. We got to a point where email marketing's adoption was so broad that people were finding direct mail became effective again because it stood out there wasn't as much direct mail happening. I think that's interesting that you're noting that. Also, then, I would just like to note for those listening, when I asked Paul for his phone number to update his phone number, he let me know that I was a dinosaur using SMS, text messaging. Um, and I think you correct me if I'm wrong, but you even said the only reason I have it is because you and David kine still text me. Yeah, yeah, that's the that's the only one. That's the only person, yes, which I have a text communication flow with. First we started through Facebook Messenger. I fall right and but, but, but, it is true. The American friends I have is text dominant. But even Brian is, Brian Patti is learning to use WHATSAPP on the regular basis because it's it works like dynamite in Europe, point, Italy or whatever. Right, that makes sense. But also to your point, though, I'd like to just highlight that a broken clock still tells the time correctly at least twice per day. Yeah, maybe, to your point, Paul, if things start to switch back to SMS, maybe I was just ahead of the curve. You can be ahead of curve again again. No, but it's it's never to be right or wrong or or this. which communist communication channel the customer uses. We have to use and we have too much emphasis on platforms,...

...on online retailers, where they want to funnel the consumer in their funnel. And I want to be fascinating the funnel the customers choosing. If you choose to to send a letter, that can be as well. Yeah, that makes sense. I wanna, I want to have you break down, if possible, the six steps, or maybe a few, maybe the first four, whatever you're most comfortable with. I'd love to learn more about the six steps. But before we go there, DPB gang, I'm dying to know. Paul, what what has your experience been like becoming a dealer again? Oh, it is. It is horrifying and satisfying in the same at the same time, in the same time. I want, for for example, Um, we are building out the leadership right, the building right, and French people asked me to set up a light box and I don't know the English word, but outside Uh and and pull of six MS, etcetera. And I asked my my guy, which also makes all the signing on all all my buildings for the last twenty years, what does that cost me? So he sent me a quote of fifteen thousands, with the same uh, with the same colors, with the same everything is the same. Then the then the French are saying no, it has to be through our supplier. I said that's fine either. Forty, I said, where's the difference? But we are paying with the other one as well. We are giving you and and and uh and bonus for that. I said, okay, how much is that? Bonus? Of Twenty Five? Thou them five hundred and then you know, okay, we didn't change that much on on the other hand, it's very satisfying that it starting the dealership again, because I was a former song young dealer and Korean brand and the Christly dealer back in the day in two thousand and nine, and then I started the new autocope and dotor l website which assaulted ebay. After that and when you were writing a lot about how dealers should work, it is a very good example to say I'm right and you can prove it that you are right. It's very expensive way to say I'm right, but still it is something I love to do, Um, and I can have all my ideas in place to work it out, to try to pilot it, and then can write an article about how it works, why it didn't work or white why it's what's a good idea to begin with? Yeah, well, I have to say congratulations, because I know ever since you and I have known each other you've expressed your goal of owning a dealership again, and so the fact that you're making that happen, I think, is nothing short of tremendous. So congratulations, Um, and also the bonuses. You're already bald, so you don't have any more hair to lose entering. Does she agree with me? You know she didn't like that. I was you know, well, look, some people, if all goes still here, let me offer some fresh perspective. Hi, this is the way I say. You're you're not losing your hair, you're gaining more face. That's a good one. Well, that's fantastic.

Good to see you, Um. Well, certainly congratulations. I love that. Now and, by the way, I'm keeping all of that in because I love that we got some face time with your beautiful wife. Um. Now, in that light, knowing now that you're a dealer, has that changed? I want to get into these six steps, but first I'm curious if your thought process about these six steps is changing as you're thinking about your dealership. Yes and no, because the proof and putting was already our numbers at Toyota, at the you, at Kia, etcetera. So the proof of the pudding was that it worked, that we have success within higher conversion, better a better customer satisfaction because the lead where hand, will probably et Cetera. But on the other hand, Um, for the not so successful deals we help, there are always people over there at at the dealership, seals, people which always want to argue with you why it doesn't work. And I want to have a place where everything is going to be my way and if I'm doing a consultancy job, when I'm leaving the building, then they can do whatever they want and I want to be that example that say hey, I'm I want to teach you something, but I can show you also that I'm doing the same stuff over my dealership as well, and that's one of the forms. I wanted to try out, the new the dealership, but also try out different things. So one of the things we developed is the life store. So on the website in business hours, and business hours are from nine o'clock in the morning ntil nine o'clock in the evening. Um there is a button on the website which will say a live store and the live store will trigger, with one click on the bottom a facetime conversation with the people in the leadership and the people in the in the leadership will have a facetime conversation with the consumer. On the other hand, and because the experience center should not be the experience center as a building, but foremost it should be the studio for the website. So the website is going first and the experience center is going seconds. So the experience center has to build the build the trust for the website, not the other way around. So people can have a facetime conversation, asking for the models to call us, etcetera, in real time without entering information like name, phone number, etcetera, but only one click on about face stand conversation and you and you can't talk to people face to face and show them all the colors. That's one of the things I want to try out before I'm going to introduce that to free and the sales people. But with by the way, to and the ninety people will be against it because they don't trust themselves in a facetime conversation. Right, if I can prove that first, that's not that hard, then we have a better conversation. Yeah, and I was going to say that that's going to be a huge departure from what we're used to, because it's like, no, I gotta, I must capture the consumers information so I know who I'm speaking to and what they're engage their interest level. You're saying, no, let's bypass all of that. I want to clarify something. You're saying that the experience is to line up the website. Is that because you're thinking about an online transaction? So the thing? Yeah,...

...so the website is first in in, in, in uh, in my mind. So that is my most important shop where I can attract the most people, because Internet is never one the miracle. It is just a tool on skill to talk to more people than I can do in a physical matter. So that's the benefit of the online experience. But the only the online website at itself will not sell a car, more or less because you are doing it online with the button buy me now online, because back in the day, in two thousand one I've already had that button buy me now online. So that's nothing new. But on the other hand, Oga has a shop and in the shop the first shop is the instagram shop, the second one is the Marklat shop and the third one is the physical shop, in that order, and instagram will build the physical shop and the physical shop will build the instagram follow up. And that's the same game plan we are going to do with with the leadership, to make the website first, most dominant and experience center users as a studio to develop trust. On that hand, m HMM, because I'm speaking to two people or ten people a day physical in the shop, but I can talk to two hundred people online when they are and if I'm doing all the all the borders, et Cetera, to give information, give information, I'm going to talk to free people and I want to one hundred people right. This is uh, I love the way that you're thinking this through and I think you know giving that option, making yourself more accessible to the consumer in my estimate and can only result in good connections, increased relationship and, to your point, that overall experience that the customer have, I think, is going to be enhanced through that. But you'll have to keep us in the loop on how that how that evolves and what you're learning in that process. And certainly everybody that's listening should be following Paul on linkedin because he talks all about that. Will Link to his linkedin profile in the show notes. No, but on on the other hand we are going to try out so the online offline experience combined. We can call that Omni channel or whatever. But on the other end we are going to try out the dealer and agency model as well. So I have and and I have three big places in my neighborhood. Our Name to him and said it's in my region, which I have to make. I have now free dealers which are going to be my agents, so that there will be my offline marketing. So the cars will be there on their facilities with you up and coach, etcetera, but somebody is going to scan that and we can make an appointment with that consumer there with the facetime conversation or physical or on the location of the consumer. I'm going to pay them and feed. If I'm going to sell the car to them, I'm going to pay them a bigger fee and they are going to do the handoff and the technical um maintenance of the car. If they don't want to do that because they want to sell the car by themselves, they can have an invoice of me. I want to be the hybrid of offline online and I want to be the hybrid of a dealer and agency model combined, because I don't believe a thing about what is doing now, or is the launches are doing now, because it will it will only work when the demand is high and the supply is low, but in the normal circumstances it will not work. Mm Hmm, that's...

...a good point. I want to transition a little bit into these six steps. Can you walk us through? I know those listening are saying Michael promised US six steps ten minutes ago. What are the so can you walk us through what's taken you now, the last four or five years or more to develop and maybe some examples of what that would look like for a dealership to implement? Yeah, of course. So we started now with an other O, e. m U, and they they have a response time, mandatory response time on leads, on a lead for the DALS, of thirty minutes. So they are asking their dealers to be responding to to the leads in thirty minutes Um. And that's the only KPI idea given the dealers. Be Great, be Uh and be fast and and called the lead or respond to the lead within thirty minutes. WE ARE ASKING THEM WHY THIRTY MINUTES? They have surveys, they have and content about thirty minutes. And then we are going to say about the four trays of the consumer nowadays, at the fortress of the consumer. Nowadays we are working with the IPHONE, we are going to bed with the IPHONE, we are going to republic toilet with the IPHONE, et Cetera. The iphone is everywhere or the phone at itself, but if somebody who you don't know are calling you, you won't pick up the phone. So the response time is very is very big because if you are in the moment to submit information, to submit the lead and submit and request, request information, you are in that moment, you have only two minutes to respond. If you are later than that, the chance on the voice of the chance that people are not picking up or no have attention whatsoever is very big. The second trade of the consumer. Nowadays we have no time whatsoever, we have no patience whatsoever. You have children in some ages, when you shut up the Wifi for one second, there are they are screaming for something. And you can say that as well on whatsap. If you send out on WHATSAP, if you're using WHATSAPP and you send a message to your wife where you need the answer and you see the blue remarks and you are not getting the answer back, then your basis is zero because you need that information. So two of the four trades are very important in lead photo work. So we're saying on the first step you need to follow up within five minutes and all that is will be crazy because it cannot work, it cannot happen, it's not workable, etcetera. But we are using an American system, the cold system, and that's is a system which actually and gives you a call, when an inbound call, when somebody SMITT information through an online lead. So it forces you to pick up the phone. So it's actually enforced tole so the five minutes or the two minutes is the most easy step of the sixth step, because that is something which, if you pick up the phone, then it will work. But the second step is that we made on process manual of forty five pages where we lay out the tactics. It's about twenty years of experience in forty five pages about lead handling, about scripting, email scripting, as mess scripting, force, no scripting, what Sep scripting, etcetera, how it should work and it is not the Bible. But on the other hand, if you work the system like that, you will be successful. The step free is making the sales people important, not saying the BBC is there to help. You know, we invested...

...a lot of time and money and efforts on the sales people. You have to be controlling the lead. We think you are important because if I'm calling a dealer in Holland and I asked him physically, I'm interesting in one of your cards, who do I want to who do I need to talk to? He's going to say the sales people, but then I'm going to say hey, but if I'm calling, who should I speak to? Then he will say the sales people, but then when I'm submitting an lead with a form, then it should be a BBC. It makes no sense whatsoever. So we are making it very blunt to the seals people that they are important. The fourth step is the minimum acceptable performance. I'm getting that from clan pass on D M S C where he went to last month. That was about seven years ago. They were talking about the minimum acceptable performance of fairly six percent. So one under leads, you need fairty six percent conversion rate on appointments. So because one KPI is never a KPI. So in Holland, and I know for sure that in America knows such sales people existing, but they're getting the phone call, listening to the whisper, waiting for one ring to go to the to the client and then hung up the phone and then saying hey, I was calling within five minutes, but the client don't pick up the phone. I didn't write you right. So you never trust one KPI sow. You need in second KPI. But if they are sending the appointments, the seal will happen, but if they if they don't send in the appointments, the seal will never happen. So that's the fourth step. The fifth step is inspect what you expect. Of course, listen to all the calls. So we're listened to thousands of calls in the Netherlands, in Germany now and in Belgium. What happened in the coal because the perception of the sales people can have I made an appointment, but without the data and the time it is never an appointment. So the assumption of the sales people I don't trust. I want to know it for sure, because the lead is, in most cases for sales people in the Netherlands in Europe, free, but there is an obligation to do it right and we have another system. So we have to pay salespeople and fairly good salary, we have to pay them sickly, if you have to pay them holiday days, etcetera, and they only have to show up. So we have to you have to push them on the other way to control them actually what they are doing. And Control is fine if you can explain why it happened. The leads are free, but there is obligation to do it right. And the six step is coaching and I always refer to the dry sponge technique. So if you remember, if you can emphasize and dry sponge and yellow one and hard one and you take out a glass of water and you will spit it out. About of the water will spill off. That's the brain of a sales people. If you if you train them for three four hours, it will spless off. It will not go into their brain. But if you train them for every every day, five minutes to listen to his calls and give out your feedback on the call, on the conversation and send them through an email to them through the cold reb system, you will train them every day for only five minutes. So the six steps is North Star. You need to follow up within five minutes. The second lead process manual. Give them the content and free do in text, et Cetera, how to do their...

...job on lead handling. The free is making them important, make them feel important as well as their striker, as the quarterback, or I don't know what the striker is in American football, but whatever. Fourth is the map, the minimum acceptable performance. What are we aiming for after the five minutes? And then step five and six is inspect what you expect? We expect for the six percent conversion. If the sales people are saying I have sixty, that's fine, but I want to check that as well. Have from different source with a different set of eyes and ears. And Six coaching. So we started with some o e M S and, for example, we started with eight point nine conversion, sixty leads and we defer to that to seventeen point two percent after three years. And that's on skill, with free on the sales people one stores. So it will work if you do the sixth step. It will never work if you're only implementing a tool. All with the food full, with the tool is still the fool. So and give me a and and Sledge Hammer. I cannot do anything with it. I think we need to make a shirt that says a fool with the tool is still a fool. It's still a fool. I love that. Yeah, Um, is there any in your opinion? Is there any room for a hybrid BBC Sales Department? We have because the BBC I'm owning is the escalation part of the of the O E m. So we're rigging with about six seven O e m s. When the phone call is is coming to the dealership through the cold rib system and nobody picks up the phone because they are all in deliveries. They're all in sales conversation, whatever the case will be. If that's the truth. We are ringing once, twice, through time, four times, fifth times, six times, but the sixth time is going over to our BBC as well because we want to have a structure that the lead follow up will be happening within five minutes. The first chance is going to the sales people, the second chances going to the BBC as well, because the conversation with the client should be happening within the five minutes. So the BBC is still part of the game, but as an escalation, not as as as the quarterback, not as the most important one. And then you can also see the numbers that the really good sales people are doing twice that much appointments then the BBC, because they are better. The efforage sales people is losing from the BBC and that's what we have to train. MM HMM. The other thought that comes to my mind and as we close down here, is I would imagine by implementing and training these six steps, the the sales people are more fulfilled. There's probably less turnover in the dealership because people are more satisfied with the work they do, because they're actually getting results. Yes, yes, you know. So in Europe you don't have to turn off you have in North America, right, because the loyalty and goes two ways. On the other hand, if sales people having conversations with clients within one minute, after two minutes days submitting a lad people are very entisastic about that lead from work. They are starting the conversation with a...

...happy smile. Wow, that's fast, or something like that. That's the fuel you need as a salespeople if the if the other end is responding in a good way, because if somebody is picking up from you, you don't get exciting about that one. You have to pump yourself. But if the customer is actually respondingly happy to you because you are calling as a sales person, that gives you the fuel you need to have the best conversations you will ever have, and that's fulfilling. I love it. One last question for you, Um. Do you have that, forty pages in English? Yes, yes, actually, I made that for the human that Oh m in Saudi Arabia and I cannot Arab I cannot write Arabs, so I made it in English. So yes, I have amazing. Well, we will link to that in the show notes as well. For All of you listening. You're curious what that forty five pages contains and how you can improve. For the lazy ones, I have summary of two pages French and in German. Well, we'RE gonna WE'RE gonna HAVE TO WE'RE gonna have to split test and see which one gets more downloads from the show notes. Um, I already have my guess is. Paul, thanks so much for joining me on the show. As always, it's a delight to sit down and get to spend some time with you, but thank you so much for everything, for your friendship and for the opportunity to be here again and for the for the awesome time we have in Kentucky as well. Yes, we had some experiences. How can those listening get in touch with you and learn more? The best way to connect this linkedin. Paul, the fish seventy two is the name, because this is the most common name in Holland. Wood first so or instagram or facebook or and if you want to see the documentary about the leadership we are doing every month and doc mentally about all the steps we are doing with the leadership at this inductement, you can't see what you I do. I love it. Thanks again, my friend. Thank you. I'm Michael Cirillo and you've been listening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening.

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