Manage the Internet

One of the most advanced dealers we’ve seen when it comes to the Internet is Link Rec (Ranked 22 in 2006). Noted for a best practice in this year’s Top 100, Link employs an Internet manager whose job is to oversee the “Web process.” This includes a weekly metric of closing ratios by salesmen and percent of inventory by store owned vs. what is on the Web site. “At each store the sales person who has the highest closing rate agrees to carry a cell phone that rings when leads are assigned,” says Bob Steinway, president. “We believe speed in answering is a key to success.”

In the first seven months of 2006 alone, nearly 8,000 consumers contacted Link as a result of its Web site, and nearly 6,000 people e-mailed the company directly.

All of the company’s Internet leads are tracked and measured through Channel Blade’s Footsteps CRM program, and according to Link, the provider tells the dealer that it has one of the best Internet strategies in the marine industry, closing 8 percent of all its leads.

And the effort has paid off. Since 2002, Link has grown the market share of each of its boat lines and has taken a company on the verge of bankruptcy to a growing, profitable dealership.

This best practice can also be found under the Internet and Sales Department categories.

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