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Sonic Automotive Doubles Sales Appointments using AmplifAI

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Customer

Sonic Automotive, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States.

Challange

Maximize their investment of implementing a single, end-to-end, non-commissioned, sales lead called an ‘Experience Guide’, and further increase their number of sales leads and appointments.

Solution

AmplifAI – a single platform with real-time performance dashboards, AI automation, tracking of performance management and social recognition functions.

Results

A 188% increase in average monthly appointments and a nearly 200% increase in average daily appointments set.

"AmplifAI – a single platform with real-time performance dashboards, AI automation, tracking of performance management and social recognition functions."

Customer

Sonic Automotive started when O. Bruton Smith as a young man, fell in love and began racing and building cars in his parent’s garage and subsequently began selling them in his front yard. His passion for building, racing, and selling automobiles led him to open his first used car dealership in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Today, Sonic Automotive, as a public, Fortune 500 company and member of the Russell 2000 Index, is among the largest automotive retailers in the United States. The dealerships offer sales of both new and used cars and light trucks, sales of replacement parts, vehicle maintenance, warranty, paint and collision repair services, and extended warranty contracts, financing and insurance.

Sonic Automotive operates over 100 dealerships spread across 13 states and 25 markets, representing approximately 25 automotive brands with the majority being luxury and imports. brands.  Sonic Automotive is an industry-leading automotive retailer committed to providing customers with an outstanding automotive experience that is delivered with professionalism, integrity and enthusiasm.

Challenge

The more people go to the dealerships, the more cars are sold.  So, for Sonic Automotive the challenge was how to get more people into their dealerships.

They launched a guest experience campaign meant to attract customers who were disappointed or disillusioned with the traditional car-buying experience.

"At Sonic Automotive, we believe that buying a car doesn’t have to be painful. Which is why, starting with our Charlotte stores, we’ve eliminated everything you hate about car buying and replaced it with an experience you’ll love."   www.sonicautomotive.com

Implementing a single, end-to-end, non-commissioned, sales lead called an ‘Experience Guide’, to take prospective buyers, called ‘Guests’, through an efficient, no-stress, car-buying experience, Sonic Automotive evolved dealership car selling into a more consumer-centric and enjoyable process.  

The next step was to drive prospects into the stores, which they did with a two-phased approach; Google AdWords were used to generate leads from internet-searchers clicking on ads, and an outbound telephone sales team called and set appointments for the prospective buyers to visit a dealership.  

The opportunity remained however, to maximize their investment and further increase the number of leads and appointments.

Solution

Sonic Automotive implemented AmplifAI – a single platform with real-time performance dashboards and AI automation and tracking of performance management and social recognition functions.

  • From the Marketing Dashboard, Sonic Automotive was able to identify the Google AdWords campaigns that were driving higher clicks, and the greatest conversions to appointments.  From this, they were easily able to determine marketing adjustments that improved lead generation.
  • From the Employee Performance Dashboard, Sonic Automotive was able to view employees’ current and historical performance, their completed and open coaching commitments, and their status on tasks and training assignments, which easily outlined who needed the most help.
  • The Business Intelligence function in AmplifAI identified and profiled high performers, enabling creation of a knowledge base of top performer behaviors, like overcoming objections, and a library of successful calls.  Using these tools, managers were able to apply a consistent approach to coaching for specific commitments on proven behaviors, thereby increasing their occurrence.
  • AmplifAI tracked and managed everything as well, automating coaching and task reminders and pushing social recognitions that continuously reinforced the culture of engagement and action.

Real-time updates on performance metrics, ongoing coaching and training, daily tasks and automated reminders, all minimized the need for constant oversight and management – and equipped employees and managers with the tools needed to perform each of their jobs with greater confidence and results.

Results

Results data over nine months of 2016 showed a quantifiably positive picture; Sonic Automotive nearly doubled the number of sales appointments set:

  • They experienced a 188% increase in average monthly appointments set in the 90-days post-AmplifAI implementation as compared to the average daily appointments set in the 180-days pre-AmplifAI implementation, going from 286 average monthly appointments to 540 average monthly appointments.
  • They experienced a nearly 200% increase in average daily appointments set, going from an average of 14 appointments per day during the months of March – August, versus 27 per day average appointments set in the months of September – November.
“We know we have a superior customer sales process in our stores, but in a highly competitive industry, getting them IN the store, is the more than half the battle.  AmplifAI helped us get more people into the store, but also let us see the results of our campaigns, and see and take action on our top and bottom performers, all within the one platform!”

Michael Naifeh, Director - Guest Experience Center
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