October 15, 2020

Are you failing instead of sale(ing)?

Marketing can only take you so far—Identify the points of failure in your sales strategy that could be costing you sales

Picture it: you’re slumped at your desk, scrolling through last quarter’s sales numbers for the millionth time. The results are less than inspiring.

Enough is enough, you think as you jump to your feet. It’s time to kick my marketing strategy to the curb!

Not so fast, cowboy; ease on back into your saddle and think this over: maybe your marketing strategy isn’t the issue.

You see, marketing is a huge component of sales, but it isn’t the only component; there’s a lot of other pieces to the sales equation than just having a snazzy marketing strategy.

Think of it this way: your dealership is a lot like the cars that you sell. Just like a car is made up of parts, such as an engine, transmission, battery, alternator, and more, your dealership is the same way, composed of a marketing strategy, sales team, customer service, website, etc.

If one of your cars starts acting up, do you immediately throw away the engine even if it might be your transmission that’s the problem? Of course not! You always troubleshoot before coming to a final decision…do you see where I’m going with this?

When you start seeing your sales numbers plateau—or even decline—your marketing strategy could very well be the issue. However, you can’t be 100% sure until you do some digging, and making a decision without being certain can do more harm than good.

So, what’s your next move? How can you identify your dealership’s point of failure? Is it even possible?

Of course, it is, it just depends on how your dealership decides to approach the problem.

If you want to take a specified approach to finding your dealership’s point of failure, try breaking down one of your typical marketing campaigns—from ad all the way to final sale—in order to trace what worked and what flopped.

If when going through the steps of this campaign it seems that the first two phases—message (what’s said) and media (how it’s delivered)—produced little to nothing for you to follow-up on, your marketing strategy could be your point of failure. However, if after these steps your dealership is generating leads, getting positive traffic on its website, and your Google Analytics is showing improvement in your overall customer engagement, your marketing team probably isn’t your issue and it’s time to start considering other options.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How were the generated leads handled?
  • Who handled them? Is my BDC representative up to my dealership’s standards?
  • Is my team—from sales to IT—on the same page with what to do with each lead?

If not, a simple issue of miscommunication could be leading to a larger problem—bungled leads and missed opportunities.

If working your way through a marketing campaign for your point of failure seems too tedious, try looking at the issue from a broader approach by reviewing these areas:

Website Accessibility:

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world. Gone are the days of prospective customers waltzing through your door, pen and checkbook in hand. Instead, a customer’s interest is usually shown by his willingness to visit your website and fill out a lead. With this in mind, it’s your dealership’s responsibility to make sure this process is quick, simple, and efficient. If dealing with your site is the equivalent of pulling teeth, your point of failure could be your website accessibility.

Customer Service:

This just might be the heart and soul of your dealership, because it’s here that your customer gets a glimpse into how much you actually value them. Playing the blame-game when they call in with a problem? Sending them straight to hold and leaving them there for an hour? Sounding like you’d rather have a root canal than answer their questions? Not exactly the way to a customer’s heart…or his wallet. Allowing a bad day to impact your dealings with a potential client can have disastrous effects—like costing your dealership a sale and maybe even a lifelong customer. Make sure that your customer service is staying on par with your dealership’s high standards when dealing with clients, because if they’re letting the ball drop, they could be letting your sales numbers drop, as well.


Okay, let’s say a couple walks into your dealership. We all know the drill: they want a car. You sell cars. Should be a match made in heaven, right? Well, that all depends on if you actually have the car they want to buy. See, just having a lot full of cars isn’t enough to hook a customer and make a sale; it’s all about the quality of your inventory. If your inventory is unvaried and out of date, customers coming to your dealership looking for a thrill might start looking for the door instead. Make sure your dealership is offering an updated, wide variety of options for its customers—if not, your inventory might be your dealership’s point of failure.

Planning (Or Lack Of):

Waiting until the last minute to come up with your sales plan is like throwing a pitch with your eyes closed; yes, there’s a very small chance you’ll hit the strike zone, but there’s an even bigger chance you’ll clobber the batter. Establishing a strong strategy each sales quarter heightens your chances of reaching your goals for several reasons:

  1. When you take the time to lay out what you want to accomplish in advance, you’re more likely to see the picture from every angle, whereas it’s easy to miss something when making decisions during crunch time.
  2. Having a set plan ensures that everyone—from your sales to your finance department—is on the same page, leaving less room for error by miscommunication.
  3. Finally, having a comprehensive strategy helps to avoid pitfalls—big and small—that could potentially derail your quarterly goals, as you’re following a pre-established path instead of floundering around in the dark.

In short, Michael Jordan never stepped up to the free throw line unprepared. Tiger Woods never took a shot without taking that same shot 100 times during practice the day before. If your dealership is attempting to hit its sales numbers without a plan of how to do so, lack of planning could be your point of failure.  

While these are only a few general areas where your business might be falling short, your point of failure is unique to your dealership; however, so is your point of SUCCESS. At ACI, you won’t get lost in a pile of generic mumbo jumbo; we focus on your SPECIFIC objectives and goals and we’re willing to put in the time, research, and work to get your sales numbers moving in the right direction in 2021!

Questions about your point of failure? Interested in getting back on track? Have questions, comments, or input into what you’d like to read next?

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