How much money does your dealership shell out to purchase leads and otherwise drive sales traffic?
According to NADA, dealers spent $4.47 billion on advertising in the first six months of 2019. All said and
done, the dollar cost to create inbound leads, phone calls, drop-in traffic, and Internet leads for handling
by your BDC is considerable.
Whether you’re responding to these opportunities reactively or proactively, your leads generally arrive
inquiring about a specific vehicle. Prospects asking about used cars have in their minds what you’ve
advertised online or in print, so the individual who takes that call or lead had better be able to discuss
specifics about that vehicle. A sales associate not prepared to do so — or who needs to find out first and
then call or email the prospect back — will likely lose the sale.
That vehicle may be on the lot or in recon, but either way, you have a short window to engage that
prospect and provide them with accurate and compelling facts about the car or redirect them to
another model. There’s not a lot of time to earn that customer’s trust — both in your associate and that
particular car — so they will invest more time with your dealership.
If that level of professionalism is to exist, sales associates, whether working the lot or in your BDC, must
have a line-of-sight to the car, whether that is actual sight or virtual via a desktop or mobile device. Not
only that, but they must know key descriptive details about that vehicle— including specific feature
information, condition reports, reconditioning inspection particulars, and repair facts. Furthermore, and
this is particularly valuable if the prospect is to visit, sales must know quickly where the car is located —
whether in recon or on the lot — and where its ignition keys are.
In the stores where sales can answer prospects’ questions immediately and in specific confident detail,
the conversion is double over stores where this is not a focus. For example, with this capability, two out
of three sales opportunities move ahead. That ratio drops to one out of three if sales has to chase down the car information and location and then call the prospect back.
Dealerships with aggressive sales operations have been selling cars out of recon for some time now,
leveraging selling opportunities before the reconditioning is complete, and the vehicle has moved to the
front line. Across our installed base of 20,000 monthly users, the sales and BDC departments are fast becoming
the primary users of their dealership’s time-to-line workflow software. Not only does this tool slash
recon times, but since it provides real-time visibility into vehicle status, location, recon inspection and
repair documents, as well as photographs, sales associates can give on-the-spot details to prospects.
This equips them with the right information and details to present, respond to objections, and sell that
car with more confidence. These dealerships are converting valuable, expensive leads into actual
We’ve been watching this adoption of recon workflow applications from the recon department by the
sales and BDC departments since 2012, when we added a sales and vendor access feature to our time-
to-line (T2L) workflow software. General managers can turn on this feature to give their salespeople full
visual access to their inventory pipeline. With this feature, their staff is always ready to respond to leads
and ups as customers request information. This information sells vehicles.
These sales conversion advantages are icing on the cake for dealerships using T2L disciplines. These
disciplines bring unparalleled accountability to reconditioning and help managers reduce recon cycle
times considerably — from weeks to as little as 72 hours! This new product segment, which we created
in 2010 with the first release of Rapid Recon, gives weight and reality to a dealer’s Average Days in
Recon numbers. Before automation and accountability, these numbers were often a wild guess that
usually was an optimistic notion rather than data based in reality.
A driving force is that we now know what it costs each day in disappearing profit for cars not sale-ready
– between $35 to $50 per vehicle per day, or even more for premium brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz,
Audi, Porsche, and Jaguar/Land Rover. T2L metrics from six million vehicles recently reconditioned
through our system showed that top high-line luxury brands can slash recon time by nearly 50%. At the
same time, popular domestics and imports cut their time by 30 to 40%.
T2L software has given dealers and groups the real costs involved in reconditioning a car, as well as
elevated their awareness in managing recon’s key performance indicators. Using this, they’re able to
increase turn and per-vehicle revenue. What’s even better is that, now, sales departments are working
T2L to improve their ROI as well. It’s a win for the entire company!