Unfortunately, most salespeople don't think about their sales pipeline, but the successful salespeople do. In fact, one of the keys to their success is their sales pipeline. We are conditioned as car salespeople to focus on selling a car now. We don't want to hear excuses like “I will be back” or “I have to think about”. Not to mention the all too common “I am not ready yet” or “I am buying next month”. Or any number of reasons they give for not buying now.
Of course, we want to sell them now, but sometimes they won't pull the trigger now. They have a plan and as hard as we try, they just won't buy today. These customers or potential customers are buyers, but not now and maybe not from you. So these are the customers you want to include in your sales pipeline. But that's only the beginning of filling, working and keeping your pipeline flowing.
Your sales pipeline should consist of all the customers that gave you the above excuses in the showroom. Plus Internet leads that gave you excuses, past customers, referrals, and prospects. Many salespeople feel if they don't have a deal today in the next few days they don't have anything. This is a mistake and one that will cost you money because there is lots of money in your pipeline if you work it correctly.
The sales pipeline is what helps create a steady flow of customers and income. One of the most common complaints of car salespeople have is the ups and downs of their paychecks. The car sales pipeline can help level that out if you work it properly.
Working the Sales Pipeline
In order to work a sales pipeline correctly, you need to record and track all of your past customers. Plus all of those full of excuses and all your prospects and referrals. Then you need to schedule follow-ups with each and every one of them based on their excuse, reason, etc.
It might be easier to picture your pipeline as a calendar. Whether you track your pipeline in your CRM, your phone or on a paper calendar it doesn't matter. As long as you track your potential opportunities and work them. Daily you will be calling your unsold customers from the past week unless they tell you differently. If your customer tells you they are buying next month you call them in two weeks. They say 3 months, you call them in a month and a half. You don't have to be annoying, but touch base and ask if they need any information or the current incentives.
Then you need to add and track your prospects the same way. Someone may have told you they will be looking for a car in the spring or summer. You record that information and keep in touch with them regularly. Let them know when there is a big sale or new incentives without being a pest.
Then there are your past customers which can be a great source of business. Stay in touch and ask if they know anyone that looking for a car in the near future. I can't tell you how many times I was told that their son, daughter, niece or nephew will be graduating in June and they will be needing a car. I tracked many of them in my sales pipeline, stayed in touch and sold them cars. I have tracked, stayed in touch and sold cars for as long as a year.
Sounds like a lot of work doesn't it? Well, it is, but it sells cars. Once you create and work your pipeline it only takes a few minutes every day to maintain the process. Soon it will become a habit and you won't even realize the extra work. A good pipeline can yield up to 50% of your sales if you work it correctly. It's a lot better than standing on the curb and waiting for fresh ups along with six or more other salespeople.
One of the most common complaints among car shoppers is that the salesperson or BDC didn't call them back. This is from customers that visited the showroom and from customers that called in and from Internet leads. Unbelievable, but true. Talking about leaving money on the table. Those complaints were just from current shoppers, you could just imagine how many newer receive a call or email from salespeople looking for new business. A sales pipeline is your ticket selling more cars.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot