Tim Wegge

Editor’s Note: The following column by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Chairman Tim Weggeappearing in the April issue of RV Executive Today, stresses the need for follow-up by salespeople on digital leads.   

Well, here we go. The RV shows have wrapped up, and the campgrounds in my neck of the woods open up in mid-April. With the current flood of interest in what appears to be the Golden Era of RVing, digital is king. So ask yourself this – how much value do you place on all those leads you receive from your website? Wait a bit before you answer.

Did you know that almost half of your sales start out as a digital lead, and that how and how quickly your dealership responds greatly impacts whether you get a shot at those customers …or not?

This issue of RV Executive Today contains a wealth of information on today’s market and has a couple interesting items regarding lead follow-up at the dealership. Sales expert Bob McCann, who is a familiar face at RVDA conventions as a workshop presenter, reports that in his recent mystery shopping experience, only 52% of dealerships ever responded to his team’s Internet inquiry. The average response time for those that did was 30 1/2 hours, or more than a day to get back to a direct inquiry. Really?

Mark Sheffield of Spader Business Management conducted an interesting mystery shopper exercise with a couple of 20 Groups and found that 25% failed to respond within 96 hours of his Internet inquiry. I know first hand about his research. We’re in one of those 20 Groups, and my dealership was among those he shopped.

Mark’s a smart guy, and he knew that if he told us he was doing this, it would skew the true results, so we weren’t aware we were being shopped. Upon revealing what he had done, Mark asked us all to rate how we thought our dealerships had performed.

I don’t recall what my exact response was but, like many dealers, I was somewhat confident my dealership did a pretty good job of following up. I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared for what he shared with me about my stores’ responses.

In the interest of time, I’ll spare you all the details and just say that I was shocked. I think we all were. Mark had made his point – we all train for walk-ins but fall woefully short in training for what is truly the most important part of the sales process in the digital world.

We all need to truthfully examine what we are doing to manage our digital leads. What steps have we taken to serve those customers who used to load up the car and drive to your store to start the process of finding a new RV for the family but who now do their research online and reach out to you digitally to start the buying process? This is the reality of the way people shop today, so where should our training time and money be spent?

If you need help (like me) in measuring your team’s customer follow-up, RVDA can help by providing access to a revamped customer tracking and reporting system, made available through Customer Service Intelligence (CSI).

CSI’s new system is a customer follow-up tool for RV dealers and their employees to use in the sales, service, and parts departments and to ensure that customers are engaged by someone at the dealership. You can also track, measure, and manage customer interactions with the dealership and its employees.