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In the hyper-competitive world of selling cars, utilizing every tool and technology at your disposal can be the difference maker in the success of your dealership, and there are few resources more useful and insightful than call tracking.

by Anthony Giagnacovo

Having a tracking mechanism in place will allow you to see the productivity of different ad campaigns that you’re running, whether it’s print, digital, mail, TV, radio, etc. By properly using call tracking numbers and having one toll-free number assigned with each specific ad source, you can see how each campaign is performing.

Even in an economic downturn, people are still buying cars. However, cars are being purchased at a much lower rate than normal; call volume at a dealership is down, people have less money to spend, and ultimately there are fewer cars being sold. That’s why it’s so critical to streamline your process and optimize on your existing call volume.

Call tracking should play a key role in optimizing the customer’s journey by making sure that you secure every opportunity you possibly can to deliver exemplary service. The timely reviewing of your calls will allow you to do so.

If you’re like most dealerships, when faced with an economic downturn, what happens is the ad budget gets scrutinized. If you’re selling 300 cars a month, it’s easy to have a higher advertising budget than when you start selling 200, or 150 cars a month. Simple math, right?

So, as your sales volume tails off, your advertising spend is going to tail off accordingly. As your advertising spend tails off, instead of making assumptions and using your gut to determine what lead sources are generating activity and what lead sources aren’t, you’ll have those call counts to be able to give you insight into advertising sources are producing. You can justify or modify your advertising dollars accordingly based on what you find. That’s what makes call tracking so powerful.

Capitalizing on Missed Opportunities

Call tracking (and call monitoring) can also help you identify which prospects are most likely to purchase so you can handle your hot leads right away. Listening to the call in a timely fashion and knowing what to listen for can really help you identify and extract some opportunities that may slip through the cracks. Any time a customer ends a call without getting all the information that they needed, your opportunity to sell that car is minimized.

We know that simply being transparent and answering all the customer’s questions as they’re asked in a polite and informational way and understanding the importance of the customer experience leads to a situation where roughly 65% of your callers end up asking for an appointment by themselves–you don’t even have to invite them! The callers already know that they are interested, it’s up to you to answer their questions as they most likely could not find the answers online.

On the converse side of that is when you tell a customer, “Hey, let me check on that and give you a call back.” When that happens, you give the customer the opportunity to try to call someone else while you’re getting the information, and if they get the information from that person first, there’s a significant likelihood they won’t take your call when you go to call them back.

Adapting During a Downturn

During an economic downturn you should be scrutinizing your calls even more so for two reasons. One, because you can’t afford to miss any opportunities. And two, you need to make sure that what you’re spending your money on is a good investment and you’re maximizing your ROI on your advertising spend. Call tracking is the best way to do that.

If you looked at your ad budget right now, do you have a way to truly determine your ROI? If you can’t answer that question with a solid and emphatic “Yes” then you have a need for call tracking and monitoring. When you start weighing the amount of the ad source with the productivity that it’s giving you, you could start making good decisions on where you need to go with your money.

That visibility is one of the best ways to safeguard your dealership against the effects of a downturn, mitigate loss, and maintain the service and sales standards that sets you apart.

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