It was a fast and furious start to Grudge Match II for Sheehy Ford, in Ashland, Virginia.
The store went up against MileOne Chevrolet of Chesapeake, in a heated inner-state contest. Although Sheehy was short-staffed and ultimately eliminated after round one, General Manager Kevin McLaughlin and his team saw the tournament as a wake-up call. Going forward, they plan to use Car Wars as a core tool for phone improvement.
Kevin Dougherty, the internet sales manager at Sheehy Ford, is a calm and collected character. He conveys a sense of seasoned professionalism - something that is demanded from all those on Sheehy's payroll. Dougherty says that Car Wars reporting has been a key topic of discussion at weekly managerial meetings for some time now, even before Grudge Match II.
In these meetings, Sheehy managers identify and analyze phone slip-ups, in order to help sales agents avoid mistakes in the future. Car Wars insights, such as individual staff performance, are at the forefront of Sheehy's managerial minds, as well as some standout sales staff. However, the managers at Sheehy have been on the lookout for ways to get the rest of the sales staff more involved with the platform too.
Dougherty said, "If we were to do [Grudge Match] again...if there is a seasonal thing, where this happens again, I would set up a reward system within our own dealership for it." He added that Grudge Match II overall has been an effective yardstick for judging how committed Sheehy sales personnel are to Car Wars.
At the onset of the tournament, Dougherty said his crew knew exactly which part of the phone-handling process needed the most work: requesting the appointment. Request is one of the key focuses of the phone-handling strategy, CRISP, which stands for Connecting, Requesting, Inviting, Setting and Pursuing.
The team at Sheehy recognizes that Request is an area where a little improvement can go a long way. Customers rarely say 'no' to an appointment offer - in fact, they do so only 12% of the time. Simply asking prospects to stop by virtually guarantees an appointment. When a prospect comes in, the sales team has a much better chance of making a sale.
Dougherty says he sees CRISP as a positive tool, and was pleased to see his staff "continuing to strive to improve their skill level by utilizing it."
The fact that Sheehy is focusing on ways to improve sales team participation in Car Wars, as well as implement all aspects of the CRISP philosophy, reflects the group's natural competitive edge - an edge which earned them a spot in the tournament in the first place. One thing's for sure: after Grudge Match II, the guys at Sheehy Ford aren't resting on their laurels.
When asked if simply being a spectator for future Grudge Matches seemed valuable, Dougherty promptly replied, "If I were able to look at what other dealerships are doing to improve their sales, and how they are doing it...and mimic it if possible at our store...absolutely." We're looking forward to seeing how Sheehy takes phone-handling to the next level.