“He came in, asked for Mike Columbus, and someone pointed out where I was… and he says ‘I know where he is, I know what he looks like…I’ve seen him all over the internet.'” – Mike Columbus
That… is the POWER of personal branding.
There is a Toyota store in Alabama and the number of Google reviews for the store has exploded in the last year, they have over 1400 reviews now.
This seems to be improving its search engine performance with Google search. Our stores’ experience is that getting customers to submit Google reviews is not easy. I am curious if anyone is aware of best practice methods for getting customers to leave Google reviews?
Like to get the community’s opinion on whether reviews on certain review sites are more important than other review sites.
Without a comprehensive human resources (HR) system, keeping track of your current employees’ payroll and adding new employees in the system can be difficult. It’s fair to say your stress levels probably increase with the thought of the next pay period or the implementation of new compliance regulations.
Your dealership’s reliance on an outdated dealer management system (DMS) could be the reason for your continual struggle during the HR process.
Take a step in the right direction by incorporating a more conducive way to complete recruiting, hiring, onboarding and payroll. A DMS has strong suits in areas including inventory, sales and service operations, but it also possesses glaring flaws.
It is time for your dealership to consider an integrated HR system. Rather than putting up with tedious programs to complete payroll and administer benefits, your dealership can reduce inefficiency by incorporating an integrated HR system. For those dealer principals that are still on the fence, consider these limiting factors associated with your current DMS: [Read more…]
We hear it time and time again, that digital marketing and social media are two of the most important ways to catch the eyes of your customer and interact. But the car industry is still notoriously behind in these aspects, for the most part. So where are we missing the mark? Here’s 5 important things about business social media that you may not know, but that will help boost your company and take you to the big leagues.
1. Interaction is everything. Social media is about just that, being social! Just posting a few times a day or week isn’t enough. You need to interact with commenters, be willing to answer questions, and be a real presence on social media. It’s the perfect way to let your customers know that you aren’t some faceless company, but that you are real people doing real work.
2. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Being regular and consistent with the number of posts, the tone of your voice, and the daily posting schedule is so important! Making sure that you aren’t overwhelming your audience, but also ensuring that they get to see posts from you regularly, is a fine balance, but one that you can achieve. Test what time of day your posts get the best interactions, find out which tone of voice gets the best responses, and then be consistent with your findings!
3. Schedule posts. Make sure that overnight and weekends aren’t a dead spot for your social media. Schedule out posts to go out after you leave the office in the evening, over the weekends, and over holidays! You don’t have to have people working at their computer on Saturday, but you can ensure that your social media is working for you even when nobody is in the office!
4. Promote your posts. Don’t just post on social media, make sure you are utilizing your social media by promoting your posts. For just a few dollars, you can get a lot more eyes on your ads and posts. These small promotions can expand your audience and help you gain new followers. You can target local people, certain age categories and other demographic information!
5. Create great content. All of your social media efforts will be in vain if you aren’t creating valuable content. Make sure you have creative, interesting, visual and easy-to-read content. Filling your content with lots of numbers, too much jargon, or not using images won’t help you on social media. Find creative ways to make people laugh or think, and don’t be afraid to be different than your competition! Most people don’t know the price of a specific vehicle, so if you’re using numbers talk about discounts or rebates, rather than the exact price.
Following these social media tips will help you utilize this valuable tool, and reach a whole new audience that you didn’t know you could have!
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Artificial Intelligence used to be something you’d only see in science-fiction novels, comics or movies. But these days AI isn’t just for Terminators and space ships with an axe to grind. Car dealers are now able to use AI to improve personalization on their website and engage customers more fully – engagement that can be turned into conversions if you know how to use the tools properly.
Personalization is the newest way to connect with customers and stand out from the sea of advertisements and content jockeying for customer attention. By using AI technology, dealers can create smarter pop-ups, customized advertisements and better search engine results that place their dealership front and center.
Did you know that?
Learn how to apply AI to every step of the shopping process!
As AI develops, it will dramatically scale dealership customer service to reach a larger market, provide excellence to every customer, foster loyalty and return business, and increase revenue.
You’ve heard me talk about embracing a “new mindset” when it comes to the used car business. Some would argue there’s nothing new at all, but I believe there is, particularly in how dealers source used vehicles and how they should be marketing to consumers. I had the opportunity to recently to get with a few top pro’s in the field and explore these ideas and see how they are embracing a new mindset within their used car departments.
During this recent discussion with Vehicle Acquisition Network Founder Tom Gregg (a DealerRefresh Sponsor) and Guests Aaron Gomez of Epic Auto Sales and Gary Wade of Morrie’s Auto Group on “Buying Used Cars from Private Sellers,” we concluded that based on our observations, there are only about one in five dealers that deploy a proactive strategy designed to source vehicles outside of auctions and vehicle trades.
Did you know that e-commerce sites spend on average only $1 of their advertising budget on converting website traffic for every $92 spent driving website traffic [Source]? This could very well be one reason that more than 38% of website visitors leave a website due to poor design and layout? If you’re looking to maximize your ad spend, these might be two specific areas to consider.
Converting website traffic is arguably one of the more over-looked and under-utilized practices on dealership websites. Most dealer sites “attack” users with numerous calls to action the moment they arrive, and the barrage is ceaseless.
Considering that this is not an uncommon look for your typical dealership website, what can dealers do today to enhance the shopper experience on their sites and maximize their ROI?
In 2013, we officially introduced dealers to The Appointment Culture as an answer to the dozens of worthless activities we observed managers, salespeople and BDC agents conducting in some effort to appear as if they were truly setting and selling appointments.
In reality, they weren’t setting actual appointments, customers weren’t actually showing up on time, and virtually no one was actually closing “appointments” above the level that they closed their Traditional Ups. (Given this, why even encourage appointments if these won’t improve your close rates?)
For the most part, dealership employees were “box-checking;” that is, they were reporting and saying all the right things, but the needle wasn’t moving. Of course, in the growing market, it was hard for group executives, regional managers or dealer principals to know if their teams were really setting appointments that showed and bought, or if they were getting smoke blown up their backsides.
Earlier this morning, a friend of mine in the real estate business shared a post on FB promoting a petition to eliminate the scraping of MLS listings by sites such as Zillow. Their contention is that Zillow’s “zestimates” mislead homeowners and buyers regarding home values making discussions between realtor and customer very difficult when it comes time to actually arrive at a value when buying or selling a home.
Here’s a common conversation I have heard between sales managers and sales consultants on a fairly regular basis for quite a few years now:
Manager: Your customer’s trade is worth $16k
Salesperson: But, but, but…the customer said KBB valued their trade for $18k
Manager: Tell ’em to sell it to KBB then
Here’s another one I’m sure you have all heard before:
Manager: We’ll sell them that truck for $32,600 plus T’s…
Salesperson: But, but, but…the customer said TrueCar said we should sell that truck for $28k!
Manager: Awesome, tell ’em to roll on over to TrueCar’s lot and buy one…
I got in the car business in 1989 selling a very simple CRM program for dealerships. While the program was great for keeping salespeople organized, the real purpose at that time was to get access to dealer’s databases so we could sell them direct mail programs…the meat and potatoes of that company. This whole program became necessary when we could no longer get full registration data from the DMV.
I’m afraid it has all gone downhill from there. In our never-ending lust for more leads, it would seem that we have basically dropped our proverbial pants and allowed the world to see every aspect of our business. As a relatively new Internet Director at a dealership in Houston, I will never forget the first time a customer showed me an invoice for a vehicle we were trying to sell him. I was furious and ready to set up a firing line for the traitor in our midst…that salesperson was in deep kimchi and I was the Ginsu knife! Turns out, the customer had found the invoice online and I was quite certain our industry was doomed. Was I right?
My cars dot com rep told me the other day that the most pressed button on their search console was the Sort: Low To High button. That’s what this has come to…an absolute race to the bottom and who can drop their pants the lowest and fastest.
Is all this worth it? Can we put the genie back in the bottle and stop letting third party companies scrape our data and publish every invoice, level of holdback and incentive that we ever have? Are online trade valuing tools just #fakenews?
Can we fix this and provide a more reliable source for determining realistic trade values?
Sorry for the long post and all the questions. This has really bothered me for a long time and learning of these tactics in another industry and watching them fight back seems to have given me a little glimmer of hope for our future…and our bottom line.
In a down market, one Ford dealer needed a way to increase their overall market share and reduce the amount of pump-in sales lost to competitors. By leveraging the technique of matching sales data with consumer databases, the dealer was able to determine that they were losing more than 50% of sales to competitors in their market. This is what is referred to as “pump-in” sales.
Using the data that was available to them through strategic partnerships such as that with AutoHook, the alliance was able to identify specific areas of opportunity to grow their market share by targeting people with specific vehicles. They targeted the top three models they were losing to competitors – the Focus, Fusion, and Edge.
Using zip-code level targeting, in-market customers were incentivized to visit the dealerships for a $50 test drive incentive, as opposed to the normal $25 incentive. The incentive triggered at precise moments on the dealership’s website where targeted shoppers were viewing the three targeted models.
Despite a declining market, the dealership was able to significantly reduce pump-in sales lost to their top two competitors and successfully gain market share using AutoHook’s private incentive offers and sales match attribution reporting. By how much? Download the free PDF here to see the complete numbers.
Using targeted offers on these identified vehicles of opportunity, the total number of lost sales across the three models was reduced by 50% or more, and was maintained month-over-month for the following three months.
For more information about this case study, the dealership and the strategic partnerships, follow this link to immediately obtain a copy of the AutoHook Case Study.
Great solutions are a result of knowing what you’re best at and sticking to it. AutoHook’s core competency is in securing their private offer and redemption rail system within dealerships and directly proving the source that led to a sale or a new-to-brand buyer. AutoHook knows their specialty is in delivering the industry’s best sales attribution reporting. Social Dealer specializes in running successful Facebook campaigns, which is why AutoHook chose to partner with them to carry out this initiative.
For more information about the AutoHook partner integration with SOCIALDEALER, read, Is Vendor Integration the New Innovation?
Interview with AutoHook and SOCIALDEALER