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Lead Status

by Art Little

Transmission Digest Magazine
This article appeared in the May 2013 issue of Transmission Digest.

A transmission shop manager will make a minimum of 100 important decisions a week . Let that settle in for a moment . Now, understand that these decisions will determine the shops financial success. Every wrong decision he makes has a consequence. Now days it can cost upwards of 3,000 dollars per mistake. If you are a shop owner, that makes it hard to sleep at night if you are the worrying type. However, the good news is, there are time tested policies and procedures that help keep sales and production mistakes to a minimum.

It is logical to say, if a manager is going to be a good manager, he needs to know what's going on. First off, in order for a manager to make informed decisions, he needs be informed. If he does not know where he is now, how can he know where he is going ? He needs to be able to quickly access the information he needs in order to make an informed decision. The idea here is that, the more current and accurate information a manager has at his disposal, the more good decisions he makes. That is the game. And the game starts with lead control.

Every lead has to be recorded by the manager. Then, he must categorize the status of every lead. He accomplishes this by breaking down all leads into seven different lead categories. The lead categories become the lead status of the lead within the lead cycle.

The manager enters every lead and moves it from category to category as the lead status changes and progresses through the lead cycle. All leads are broken down into different categories so that leads can be quickly identified and attended to.

Once the leads are in their proper category, that becomes their leads status. The manager can now easily identify leads that need to be attended to by looking at lead status categories. This procedure organizes the manager and enables him to be sure that all leads are being attended to in a timely manor.

Here is the list of 7 categories found in the lead cycle and their definitions:

Lost Lead

These are customers that have not made an appointment

Follow Up

These are customers that have made an appointment but have not shown up yet. Their appointment time is at a future time.

No Show

These are customers that have made an appointment but have not shown up yet. Their appointment time has passed and they need to be rescheduled.

No Problem

These are customers that have showed up for their appointment but, after the diagnosis, no problem was found.

Failure To Authorize

These are customers that have shown up for their appointment but, after the diagnosis,did not authorize any work.

Working

These are customers that have shown up for their appointment and, after the diagnosis,did authorize work. These are work in progress.

Delivered

These are customers that did show up for their appointment and have picked up their vehicle.

Every lead must be recorded and categorized. Then, each contact with the customer needs to be documented by the manager . Moving the lead into the proper category as it passes through the lead cycle keeps the lead status current. That is a good start but, that is only part of the job. The manager must also record brief conversational notes every time he has contact with the customer.

Notes regarding customer contacts must be clear and concise. The notes should be documented by the manager in a way that anyone could come in , if the manager is not there, and understand the status of the lead and the contact notes of the manager. If that procedure is followed, the manager and everyone else in the shop will always know the status of every lead in the shop.

As a shop owner, you can be the greatest advertising genius in the world but, if your manager does not record the leads, how would you know ? You can not even figure your cost per lead if you don't know how many leads you are getting.

It is the shop owners responsibility to supply the manager with leads but, it is also in your favor to supply the management tools he needs to manage the leads you are paying for.

Once the shop owner gets the leads coming and has a system set up to record the leads in place ,his part is done. Now, it is the managers responsibility to retain and convert the leads. Everyone is accountable.

The manager only needs a couple of basic tools to be successful at retaining leads

  • A telephone procedure that makes the customer want to bring his problem to you
  • A system to record leads that is easy to manipulate . One that allows the manager to add notes and easily manipulate the current lead status of every lead.

Knowing the current lead status and attending to the lead in a timely manor is the key to lead retention and lead conversion.

Lead control is worth the effort. The results yield an informed manager that makes fewer 3,000 dollar mistakes. It also results in a better informed shop owner. First of all you will know how many leads you are getting. And, if you track where the leads are coming from, as well as the end results of the leads, you can start making informed decisions on your advertising choices as well.

Lead control will put a little more money in your pocket for sure. That should result in less worry and make it a little easier for you to sleep at night. I wrote an article on telephone procedure that you can read on the TransTeam website that might help you get started up. Sales techniques and workflow policies and procedures work together to increase lead conversion percentages and expedite the lead through the lead cycle .

Having an informed manager is critical to a shops financial success. Knowing the lead status of every customer is a good start but, that is only the first part of the game. Only when the manager knows the "lead status" and the "work status" of each customer , does he become truly informed and in control of the shop.

Next month we will break down work assignments into categories . This will give the manager an additional management tool that allows him to know the current work status of every lead . Once the manager knows the current lead satus and work status of every customer, he becomes informed and incontrol .Then, he can better manipulate the best use of labor time to maximize work flow in the shop.

See you next month. Until then , why not set the policy in your shop to record every lead, starting today.

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