How Ryan Helps Automotive Dealerships Increase Sales By 20-50% (Customer Story)

Nick Kozmin and Ryan Cruise

Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:01):
All right guys. So I'm here with one of my customers, Ryan Cruise from Winnipeg, from cruisedealeraccelerator.com and he specializes in helping automotive dealerships increased sales anywhere from 20 to 50% through their programs and strategies and tools. So Ryan is, he has a lot of experience with outbound prospecting and and prospecting. He's gonna share some of his tactics and some insights that could apply to the automotive dealership or the do apply to the automotive sector, but may also apply to to other sectors as well. So, Ryan, thanks for being here.

Speaker 2 (00:41):
No problem. Thanks for having me. Cool.

Speaker 1 (00:43):
So let's start off with a background story. Why don't you give us a quick background on yeah. How you got to this point, your your, your, your career so far and how you arrived into this niche in solving this problem?

Speaker 2 (00:56):
Yeah, so very young age, I always just wanted to be in business for myself and I started, I had like a painting business. I had a lawn fertilizing business and I had a couple of real jobs. I took one corporate job that I did through three years. I did pretty well at that. I was a surgical specialist, which meant we sold surgical equipment. During that time I started investing in technology during the first sort of tech boom and wherever like a.com type of scenario situation came up, we would, you know, put some money into some of those plays and put some money into some early startup software companies. And so I started took my healthcare background and then, you know, created a digital health network. And then from there we created an advertising agency and a social media agency, a video production agency.

Speaker 2 (01:43):
And then so through it all, I wasn't like necessarily good at all the things that an advertising agency needed to do for the customer, but I was good at selling the services of an advertising agency. So I kind of became like, I guess the pitch man or the, the presentation guy, the, the closer guy for the business. And then our team would sort of take that account. We'd onboard the account. They they'd actually do the work. So I always looked at myself as the business development guy. Yep. So getting in front of the right people and, you know, figuring out the best way to do prospect.

Speaker 1 (02:21):
Got it. And so how did you arrive to the automotive niche? How did, how did you get there?

Speaker 2 (02:27):
I was working on a project. We were doing this wifi marketing play, and I have a pretty successful tech tech investor guru guy down in the States that we were friends. And so we working on a project and he brought this technology to me that automated these types of communications. And we started looking at a couple things and he actually, he owns an Indy race car team, part owner of one. And so he he wanted to take this concept to the big automotive dealerships in the States. We went to a couple, the big monsters there, and we hadn't worked with a single dealership. And so he was like, he only likes to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park. He doesn't want to lay down any bunts or base hits. So we ended up kind of parting ways, or I said, I think there's a real opportunity here. I'm prepared to do the dirty work, to sort of lay the groundwork and do that. So I did that and he went on, moved on to another project. And so we ended up acquiring the, you know, the tools and technology to sort of build this out. And we got to work on, you know, exploring the auto dealership landscape with this technology.

Speaker 1 (03:32):
Got it. And so how, I guess, describe the solution, like how are, how are you helping these automotive dealerships improve the sales and their appointments and how you bring traffic into the dealership?

Speaker 2 (03:43):
So with the, the ad agency background, we ended up having a bunch of dealerships as clients when we were setting them up on social media and stuff like that. We ended up working with some of the OEMs as well. And even though I thought we were doing some fantastic work with the social media and building their networks and building their platform and getting engagement and, you know, producing videos, whether it was a vehicle walk around, whatever, and, you know, they'd get lots of views and they get lots of engagement, but they're always like how many leads did it generate? They only cared about the leads and the whole businesses. Like they spend money, they spend lots of money and they want to measure it by leads. So through it all, you know, we would get into these conversations where they didn't feel maybe some of the, the ideas or creative we were doing, wasn't converting into the leads and through the analysis, it was determined that all these efforts that they're doing, we're generating a lot of leads too many leads.

Speaker 2 (04:39):
In fact, that their biggest problem was they weren't converting the leads they did have. So the ones that didn't convert, they just kind of forgot about those. And they went to work, trying to generate more new leads, right? So through the analysis, we identified a few problems in a couple of areas we could really help them with. And one of the things with the retail automotive sales team there a lot of downtime in the dealership, like waiting for the customers to come in. And I think the rule is rule of thumb is about 70% downtime of the sales team, but they don't use that time effectively, you know, building their own personal brand or their own networks or doing any prospecting to their database. And through the interviews of us doing our and doing our research, some of the more aggressive dealers were having their sales teams, you know, do prospecting where they were given a list of 20 or 30 names each, and they might have a sales team of 10 people.

Speaker 2 (05:32):
And they had to call, you know, those customers, but, you know, 90% of the time it ended up in a voicemail and they weren't leaving a very good voicemail. It wasn't following a script. It didn't have a call to action, didn't create any urgency. And they didn't really have a reason, a defined reason to be calling the customer. So it was more of like a courtesy call, more than anything, and they weren't getting results and salespeople hated doing it and they weren't getting, so we thought there is probably a better way to do it. So we wanted to automate that process. So we built these different campaigns and strategies, and I like to think that we've perfected the direct and immediate inbound response. So we use a sequence of communications to trigger the response back. And if we started a campaign, so, sorry, I'll step back.

Speaker 2 (06:19):
We have the dealerships have pretty large databases, like a small dealership in Canada might have, you know, six to 10,000 customer contacts in their database, all the way up to like a hundred thousand customers in their database. And they tend to run a lot of like third party sales events. We get confused as a sales company or a private sale company, but we're not, we're just a prospecting system that they can literally run at the exact same time as any one of their sales events. And because like, through our studies, we've been able to prove that most of the marketing or advertising they do is always about a sale, a promotion or an incentive, but 11 of our 13 top campaigns, we never mentioned a sale, a promotion or incentive. In fact, if we do the response rate drops by 50%. And unfortunately for us in sales, we always think that our message or our promotion is the most important thing to get across.

Speaker 2 (07:16):
So we've taken sort of like what's in it for the customer. How can we help the customer? What, what can we do to get the customer engaged? And so we do have a lot of access to data and conversation. So we know what works and doesn't work with the customer psychology. And this is a stat. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it makes sense to me that from the time you wake up in the morning and you get to work, you've been exposed to a hundred thousand brand images and it's like death taxes and the auto dealership has a sale on, so the messaging of we've got another sale on, of course you've got a sale on all the time, and everybody knows that sort of customers have kind of closed their mind to that type of messaging. Right? So what we think we've really unlocked is the key to the customer psychology to get them to respond.

Speaker 2 (08:03):
So when we work the customer's database, we break it into different segments in different chunks, based on where they're at and their product, their buying cycle, if they're a leased or a finance vehicle, or if they were service only customer or body shop, only customer, we break that into different campaigns. We create the right message for them. We deploy the outbound message. We create inbound response and for us, because I like to think we're pretty good at it. It's become very, very predictable. So if we launched the campaign at one, I can tell the customer, the phone will start to ring at one 27.

Speaker 3 (08:34):
Got it, got it. So you perfected the messaging, the hooks to the, yeah.

Speaker 2 (08:42):
The tone, the style, the pace, the delivery we even found like 90% of the time, like if we're doing like a voicemail recording drop for the customer, we'll record it on their behalf, like 95% of the time, because we've perfected the tone, the style and the pace we purposely put the ums and AHS into the message, even the occasional word flub in no way. Does it ever sound like a radio broadcast message or like the marketing department at anything to do with it, right. It's the more real and authentic it is. The more the customers actually respond to it. Got it. So that's where a lot of the dealership dealerships marketing folks or the dealer groups, marketing teams struggle a little bit with our program because they want to make everything look good and sound good. And they do a great job at that. But if we do that with our program, the response rate drops.

Speaker 1 (09:30):
Got it. So how would one, like, let's say for someone who's not in the automotive dealership industry how would one come up with messaging using your processor? Like yeah. How, w how would you D how would you duplicate this in another industry? What steps would you take?

Speaker 2 (09:48):
Yeah. See, we've been asked several times and I have some successful friends in the technology space. And I know you speak about it a lot, actually, a question we have internally is, is it niche or niche? I think it depends on where you are. Yeah. I think the Americans, a lot of Americans are Americans. They niche and the Canadian say niche, but we know. Yeah. So we've been asked like through friends and whatnot to go into other verticals and other spaces, but we just, we put the blinders on. We're going to just only do automotive. So but with friends that come to us and the most important thing is to have good data and what we like good customer data. And in our space, the, the accuracy and completeness of the data in Canada is about 60%. And in the States, it's 80, 85%. So our American clients took their data a lot more seriously and put a lot of resources towards cleaning up their data and updating it frequently. And this

Speaker 1 (10:41):
Is customer customer data, and

Speaker 2 (10:43):
Yes, yes, their customer data inside their CRM or DMS systems is making sure that they're, you know, people's email addresses, change their phone numbers change, you know, it's constantly customers are coming and going, and it just like, they don't speak to their customers. Frequently enough, just to gather Intel on where they're at. Like quite often, when they do reach out to customers, like I sold that vehicle two years ago. Right. You know, and, or they don't have the correct information. So the key for us is to treat your database like super that, like, it's put a lot of attention into it, spend the money on making sure you've got a good team management database, so it's complete and accurate. So it all starts with that. We like, we, we don't like to say, but if it's, it's kind of like, if, if you put garbage in garbage comes out, if you put golden, you know, you win.

Speaker 2 (11:30):
So that's really important. And the message has to be clear and concise, short and sweet to the point, provide value, a strong call to action, create urgency. You've got to get, you know, that message has to be short and tight. And, and like, again, that urgency is, is so critical. And for us, what we've found is it's actually the sequence that creates more urgency. So we'll start with a voicemail followed by a text sometimes by an email and all of a sudden, wow, they're really trying to get ahold of me. This must be something really important. Sometimes they'll call back without even actually reading the message. Right. So we've, it's, it's like that sequence of events that gets the customer to take action.

Speaker 1 (12:15):
So right away, like what is the time between the events?

Speaker 2 (12:18):
So like our, like the campaign, we started everybody off with it's, we take up to a thousand customer contacts and a lot of the dealers want to run more than that. Because it's like more, they'd see more value, but that's, it's the actual opposite. The dealers we work with frequently, they actually use less and less data and we convert higher and higher. So it's more of a sniper approach than the shotgun approach. But to start, we'll take a thousand customer contacts and spread it over four days. And so the 250 contacts, we'll spread it out over four or five hours. And we start the drip of, you know, automated outbound, and then like, so our stat is if we reach a thousand customers, our average response rate is 36.6% inbound response rate. So for direct marketing, anybody that's in that space, normally you're like five to 10%.

Speaker 2 (13:04):
You shot the lights out. The worst campaign we've ever had is a 21% inbound response rate and the best we've ever had as a 72% inbound response rate. So it's crazy. So on average, that means to the dealer, two to 300 inbound leads or opportunities with their existing customers from there, with our coaching, those dealerships should convert those conversations into, you know, it's about 30, 35% of those conversations will end up in appointments. So the rule of thumb in our industry in automotive is if you booked a hundred appointments, 50 of them will show up. If 50 show up, you'll sell 25 vehicles. Now, most of the dealerships that are running a really good sales team, their close ratios will be between 60 and 70%, a little higher than average of the 50%. But my first question always was what happened to the 50 people that booked an appointment and just didn't show up and nobody had any answers.

Speaker 2 (14:02):
So we created an automated followup system to re-engage. The people didn't show up, which can be annoying to a customer. If they had maybe three touch points to trigger a call, they booked an appointment. They don't show up. Then maybe they get another three or four touch points from, you know, from the dealership. We don't want to annoy the customer at all. So what we actually ended up doing was inventing or building a little three point system to dramatically increase the appointment, show up rate. And it's three steps that doesn't take more than 90 seconds to implement. And when the dealership sales teams do that, we see about a 70% increase in the appointment, show up rate, obviously more appointments show up, they'll sell more vehicles.

Speaker 1 (14:43):
Got it. And what does that show up? Rate increase sequence look like

Speaker 2 (14:47):
It's really simple and nobody just does it. So if the agrees to it. So in our training, we say, if the customer's interested, make your first attempt, same day to book. If you're talking to them at one 30, try to book the appointment for three 30, chances are they won't make it. So then your second attempt should be at 10 in the morning. You don't want them to have a lot of time to sort of overthink things or overanalyze things, right? Or go online and start price, shopping, everything, or dealer comparing. You want to get them into the appointment as quick as possible. So when you, you tell them, I'm going to send you a calendar invite, then about 10 minutes after you get off the phone, you've confirmed an appointment for 10 30 tomorrow morning, send them the calendar invite most customers for whatever reason, don't actually accept the calendar invite.

Speaker 2 (15:32):
So then we've just said, give him a call back, shoot him a text and say, Hey, I sent you the calendar invite. Can you just do me a favor, go ahead and accept that. I don't want to waste your time. The second you show up at the dealership, you don't want to be here ready to take good care of you. So just please make sure it's in your calendar. Like, Oh, sorry. Yeah. I saw the invited and accepted. So they go ahead and accept it. Then the morning of the appointment, it is give them a call or shoot them a text and just sort of double, triple confirm that they're still good to go for 10 30 and those three little steps show a 70% increase in the appointment.

Speaker 1 (16:03):
Nice. Yep. It's so similar to what we do with like in the software industry in high tech and service, right. What's unique is the, like the blitz. And I teach my salespeople that like, I think we arrived at the same sort of conclusion, right. To create that urgency. We want to go email LinkedIn phone, call texts all within like a few minutes to create that urgency. Yeah. And then I liked that. So you're saying if someone, if somebody misses an appointment, try to reschedule as fast as possible. Don't don't wait. Yep. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (16:39):
Yeah. And what we found like for us, when we're booking download, we use Calendly and you know, we get, we send out, I think inquiry two reminders for the demo, but our, our reps that have the best show up rate, they have that automated sequence, but they also will make a personal call or send another email, even though they already have the link in the calendar invite. They'll just include the link in an email. You know, just again, we that's how we've been getting a higher show up rate, but in the dealership world, they don't have a lot of access to technology and tools. They tend to be really behind. There's a lot of technology in the space, but the adoption of the technology, isn't really there. For example, when we're doing demos to the dealership, a lot of them don't have cameras or Mike's at their works workstation. So when you're going to the virtual appointment world that we're in now, and you're trying to sell a vehicle virtually, but you don't have a camera, Mike, you know, that that's a challenge. So I see that as a big opportunity for the automotive space to get ahead of that. So

Speaker 1 (17:41):
Got it. So yeah, no, I think that's really useful. It's about like the demo booking rates and the show up rates have always a problem even for our customers. Right. what other, what other nuggets can we provide the viewers, how to, how to craft an initial message. Maybe do you guys do like pure outbound instead of inbound response? Like you must have some experience with outbound.

Speaker 2 (18:06):
We are outbound, so our messaging is outbound and it's just designed to trigger the inbound response. So when we did our analysis on sales, as you know, pretty much every sales rep is pretty good when the customer is sitting right in front of you, the, the part that people struggle with is prospecting consistently having a consolidated, consistent effort towards prospecting. So we want to build that machine for the salespeople to make their life better. Like the dealer principal or the owner, or the general manager will say yes, but really who they're helping is the sales reps within we're making their life much easier.

Speaker 1 (18:42):
But as far as your, but as far as like these, the, the, the initial, the initial outbound message that lead already existed in the CRM. Yes. And what about applying some of these strategies for leaves that don't exist? A completely cold people? Is it mostly advertising in the automotive space? Are our reps doing outbound prospecting? How does that work?

Speaker 2 (19:03):
So like, they're trying to generate leads through social media or, you know, Google or Facebook, Instagram leads are big for us with our system. We're where you have to be like castle compliant, you know, in Canada, it's castle compliance. So we can't communicate with somebody that's not an existing customer. Right? So like, so with our system, with the loyalty retention, we have to have an existing business relationship. So it, that's why it's the loyalty retention play. With the other products we've been developing and we're still in the early stages of that is if, if the dealerships generating leads through whatever lead source they are and they have a BDC team, they can't even handle the leads they have. So we've been developing AI and chat bots to engage those leads and sort of, you know, bring them down the road until we can get a live person on those leads to book an appointment. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19:55):
Cool. No, that's really useful. I think there's some good nuggets in there.

Speaker 2 (19:59):
Yeah. And actually funny thing we built our own LinkedIn prospecting system and what was super funny when I came across your content. And then you started going into your case studies and you want your case studies with copilot? Yup. I think it was literally the day before we did a demo with copilot. Yep. So I just thought, like, it was really funny how this all came together.

Speaker 1 (20:21):
Yep. The LinkedIn prospecting, there's a heyday now they're tightening up a little bit, but yeah, there was like, it was a heyday for LinkedIn prospecting. Yeah, go ahead. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (20:31):
I was just gonna say about that. And prospecting in general is I love automation. I love technology, but I do find like me, myself. I get bombarded with people trying to pitch me stuff all the time and I can tell instantly it's automated. So I've come by. I call it internally. We have to automate authenticity. It can't feel automated in any way. So it's the words we choose and it's maybe doesn't come across as the most professional, but it comes across more authentic. And even though it is being automated, I find that the response rate is if you're a real person, you're really, you know, human about your automation, then you get a better response rate. Right.

Speaker 1 (21:11):
So what would be the, what would be an example of that? Like you've mentioned like maybe flip flooding the words and the tone or tonality, maybe it using colloquial language. What what's, what would be a good example of,

Speaker 2 (21:22):
Well, for like, just like text messaging or, or email messaging type stuff. We just, it's very casual and it's like, yeah, like you, like, you already know the customer, you know, you already have a relationship with the customer, even though you've probably never spoke to them. And it's like, they kind of, if you speak to them a certain way, they go wait, maybe I did meet this person. I'm just not remembering, but it's, and it's just being, I find like letting your authentic personality sort of come through and not be so proper. And like, I know like you, in your sales letter talking to, you know, you said people making spelling mistakes and stuff like that. We try not to make spelling mistakes, but we do try to make it come across, like your, your personality and more authentic, you know? Like, so it's a little tricky to sort of get into, cause we'd have to be looking specifically at a campaign on what that called action was.

Speaker 2 (22:12):
But yeah, I'd like to in a voicemail, cause one of our technologies that we use, which actually was invented in Canada is a ringless voicemail. You haven't heard of ringless voicemail to text the carrier, provided voicemail system deposits a voicemail into their system without calling their phone, which is really cool because nobody answers the phone anymore unless they know exactly who's calling and why. So we deposit that message. Well, for example, when we're doing the message, we'll leave a message and go, Oh hi, like you're surprised you got the voicemail, even though you're running a voicemail message. So it's like, they don't feel like it was an automated campaign in any way. And w we make it feel like we're speaking directly to them, even though we don't mention their name directly because we did just call a couple hundred people.

Speaker 1 (22:57):
Right. Got it. Yeah. Those are that's. Those are some interesting points

Speaker 2 (23:01):
Making it feel personal without being personal.

Speaker 1 (23:04):
Yep. We try to do that without bound prospecting. We've noticed like, if, if it smells like a robot doesn't work, like there needs to be even in the B2B space, like this is you're you're, you're in the consumer, like you're marketing and B2B it's. It has to be really, really personal or, or it's

Speaker 2 (23:20):
It's send relevant, relevant to you. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You get those, those automated metadata prospecting people and you look right away and I know there's no fit at all. And if they would've spent one second looking into us before sending a message, they would have known that there was no fit either. Yep. So I went automation like makes you look dumb. That embarrasses me. Yeah. So how long have you guys been around?

Speaker 1 (23:46):
How long, how old is the business and what are the goals for the next couple of years?

Speaker 2 (23:50):
We, well, we've been doing this now for four years and the first year was like, proving the technology, you know, like making sure that worked. And it was communicated as a bunch of different technologies and softwares all put together to make this all happen. So we have to make sure they're all communicating properly and the sequences were all working as they should. So it took us a while to sort of perfect that now the technology we feel is really robust, then we had to get a lot of clients on board. So I think we've actually been pretty successful at that. We we've got about 1300 dealerships that have that work with us. Like in Canada, there's roughly 3000 dealerships. And in the States, there's about 30,000 dealerships. So, you know, we're still getting started, but we had to start at the ground level with a lot of dealerships.

Speaker 2 (24:34):
It was a lot of sales meetings. And our, our, you know, the reps that we started with, we were pretty good at getting a yes. And then we had to, you know, change the program and build it like that. So COVID really did set us back like, and it also opened our eyes because we took a step back and invested more time into developing our strategy and our, you know, our content plan. And then we came across you all. And then we went back to the drawing board and we're starting from scratch again, but we didn't have our own outbound BDC before we didn't have our own LinkedIn automation system in place before. So we really taken that step back and sort of a building the process and systems and content to, to get to scale. And the reason we reached out to you with, like I said, your ad about tiring straight commission sales reps.

Speaker 2 (25:22):
So we, we can see like the, we can fill a calendar for a rep now. So we're going to need to recruit, you know, sales reps to handle all the demos we're booking. So that's what drew me in, but then that I look, I probably watch devote four or five hours of your content before I reached out for the demo. And Oh, by the way, to Alex who did our first demo, he did a great job. I thought he was a great guy and, you know, let us, he didn't know. I was already saying yes before we had the demo, but, you know, he did a good job. And so sorry, I've just, yeah, we had to take a big step back with it, but we know what we need to do now. And I think w we're seeing like the market is coming back, there's a higher demand.

Speaker 2 (26:06):
The dealerships are working with less salespeople with less resources. So there's a more demand for partners and tools and technologies like ours. So we plan on at least doubling our for the next couple of years, for sure. And then I, I think we have a very lean team, so we, we're going to need to put a lot of, like, we're going to have, that'll be a big job for us as recruiting the right people because we're a very flat organization. So we're going to double your for the next couple of years, then I think we'll be in a really strong position to sort of ramp that up.

Speaker 1 (26:39):
Got it. And so where can one reach you if they want your services? Where can a what's the site and who should they contact?

Speaker 2 (26:48):
Our website is I guess, okay. For reaching us it's cruisedealeraccelerator.com. It happened to fit with automotive and I wasn't creative with the name, but it worked out. Okay. Ua lot of people reached out to me through LinkedIn. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. I have a pretty decent sized network on LinkedIn. So a lot of people will reach out on LinkedIn. And my email is [email protected] Cool.

Speaker 1 (27:16):
Well, for those interested in up in your sales by 20 to 50%, those are significant numbers. Reach out to Mr. Ryan, Ryan. I appreciate the time it's been pleasure. We learned a lot and yeah. Thank you for doing this interview.

Speaker 2 (27:30):
No problem. Thank you.

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