As a 22 year industry pro I took the past 4 years off from the auto biz. I have been lured back in by a great dealer with a big sales slide problem. I agreed to come in and help build his internet department. What I am hoping you can help me find is some stats that show some industry averages on the internet such as:
- Lead to Appt ratio%
- Appointment Kept %
- Appointment to sale ratio
I know I need something to base projections on, and I need help gathering some number
Your time and assistance is appreciated.
Jon Hageman II
Internet Sales Manager
Mike Whitty over at Salesperson Inc. shares his view of the 3 different types of basic shoppers and their thought process.
The Click ‘N’ Order vs Click ‘N’ Brick vs Brick ‘N’ Mortar Customer –
For the longest time, customers purchased items in one of two ways: either by walking into a store or mail ordering from a catalog. Well, in many cases, the store is still there, but the mail order catalog is slowly being replaced by the Internet. It’s less costly and can be updated more frequently by providing this information on the web, then having our poor mail carriers lug these heavy catalogs around, and reproduce them with the high cost of printing and stamps.
So, to help you understand where your customer future lies in relationship to the Internet, I’ve placed customers into three main categories, and attempted to provide a description of each.
Click ‘N’ Order Customers
Click ‘N’ Order customers usually purchase items based on price, information, and service. A dealership appealing to Click ‘N’ Order customers usually needs to provide all three or be so superior in one facet, like offering special
internet pricing, that they don’t mind less concentration on the other two factors. In reality, many people don’t expect to necessarily save money by shopping online, especially by the time shipping costs are factored into the
final price. They do expect value-added sellers, and they love buying from the comforts of their home. For example, automotive dealerships that have online parts and accessory pages on their websites provide a great deal of information, selection, and customer service through their website and this can appeal to many Click ‘N’ Order customers. Click ‘N’ Order customers expect their online experience to be fast and extensive, painless, with more options than Brick ‘N’ Mortar. If there are any problems with their online experience, they can immediately click away to another website. In a few words, Click ‘N’ Order customers expect speed, flexibility, and options; they are generally very savvy shoppers. Plus, they just have a lot of fun buying things in their pajamas and having them delivered directly to their front door in just a matter of days.
Click ‘N’ Brick Customers
The Click ‘N’ Brick customer is on the way to becoming a Click ‘N’ Order customer, but hasn’t reached the point of feeling comfortable doing financial transactions online. Though they find the Internet exciting and spend a lot of time surfing the web, they feel that putting a credit card online is unsafe. But they do love doing a lot of research to determine what and where to buy. The Click ‘N’ Brick customer will gather all the information on the RV of choice, print it out, and take it right to the dealership to begin the buying and negotiating process. It’s this fact alone that makes the Click ‘N’ Brick customer feel more special than the Brick ‘N’ Mortar Customer when they come into your dealership. They just know more and feel they have the upper hand when it comes to buying a new vehicle. It used to be that salespeople hated to see these customers come into the dealership (like with their Consumer Reports) since they were more knowledgeable with facts and figures than the typical Brick ‘N’ Mortar customer. Sometimes they may even know more about the features of the vehicle and its competition than the salesperson (which isn’t a good thing!)
Brick ‘N’ Mortar Customer
Brick ‘N’ Mortar customers are a slightly different breed. They may not know how to search the internet, or may not even have a computer yet. If they do have a computer, they’re afraid to use it. They can and will take more time enjoying the “shopping experience.” A Brick ‘N’ Mortar customer is not as likely to leave an RV Dealership because there are a lot of customers in the showroom, as an Internet customer will click off your site if they don’t like the experience. A Brick ‘N’ Mortar customer at ABC dealer can’t search 10 other dealerships in 10 other states just to verify that ABC dealer has the lowest price while they are in the showroom. Once a Brick ‘N’ Mortar customer receives personalized attention, it is likely they will come back to the same place again. Brick ‘N’ Mortar customers like to “touch and feel” and are more likely to pick up parts and accessories they didn’t originally intend to purchase when they left home.
The descriptions for each might not be totally accurate with every customer, but I think you can see that there are differences with each, and they each have their own idea on how to shop. Since you already have a process in place for the Brick ‘N’ Mortar customer, it’s time to begin concentrating on the other two for increasing your future Internet sales. – Mike Whitty
Thanks for your article Mike.
Mike Whitty is President and Owner of Salesperson Inc.
Your can contact Mike at
http://www.mikewhitty.com or (800) 453-2787
I’m completely new to the internet side. I’m the first person in this position at a Toyota Dealership. So I’m carving the way here but not sure steps I should be doing. I know we need an ISM tool ASAP but I don’t want to make a mistake on what one to choose. I have been looking at:
- AVV Webcontrol
- Rey Rey Contact Management
I have heard that AVV doesn’t have the best support when you run into problems. To be honest I’m really not sure exactly what I should be looking for in a tool, because any tool would be better then no tool at all, which I’m at right now. Any help would be great. Thanks!
Hello Jeff and DealerRefresh readers,
My name is Nathan Trimble, I am currently working with a Chevrolet – Cadillac dealer in Monmouth, IL.(a rural city of aprox. 10,000) where we are in process of establishing an Internet sales dept. along with a crm/bdc dept. also. In my quest for help in accomplishing this I came across your website. There are so many companies available to assist in a project of this sort that it’s overwhelming!
I have found that there are companies that exist just to help implement and train you on this process; i.e. Dealer Synergy & Mosley Auto Group. Then you have companies that provide websites, ilm and crm/bdc solutions.
Finally there are those few companies that seem to provide all of the above; i.e. BZ Results, Higher Gear, etc.
Would you please be as kind to help advise me in this situation? With so many companies to choose from which way should we go? Possibly hire a few like Mosely for set up and training, then iMagicLabs for
web, ilm & crm, or hire one to do it all? By no means am I asking anyone to endorse specific companies, just hopefully point me in the correct direction!
I thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter and look forward to hearing from you soon!
My Best to You,
I wrote a quick guest column for the Mosely Automotive Newsletter this month, 3 Tips for 2007.
You can read it below or read it here.
Here is the quick column;
Every year I review, reevaluate and make the necessary changes to my internet marketing and sales efforts. Of course I’m doing this throughout the year as well, but my yearly mark is where I tally my TYD reports and make the major adjustments and forecasting.
Now let’s take a look at 3 of your online marketing efforts and see where we can make some adjustments for 2007.
- Your Dealer Website
- Search Engine Marketing
- 3rd Party Leads
1. Your website! Last year chances are your dealer website was nothing more then an inventory merchandising portal. You have your used inventory, new inventory (some not) with some photos and a nice description about the vehicle (hopefully), a contact us form and your phone number listed. The “About Us” page is usually blank or still reads the general copy your vendor uses for all their websites. I bet your credit application is too intimidating for most to fill with their personal information.
This year, take your dealer website to the next level and start branding your dealer and your message. This can be achieved with the right copy on the right pages (like your About Us page). Think about some videos on specific pages like the credit application to help consumers feel more confident with leaving their personal information on your secure credit application. It’s time to use your website to merchandise your dealer and not just your low price inventory!
2. SEM (search engine marketing), Ad Words, whatever you prefer to call it. IS SEM REALLY WORKING FOR YOU and if so, how do you know?
Are you landing your shoppers on a specific landing page that can be tracked for conversion? Is your SEM vendor able to show you what search engines and keywords the consumer used to find and fill out your contact form? If so..start tracking what keywords are converting into a leads and more importantly what keywords are converting into sales. Track the demographics of these leads and sales and see what area of consumers you are converting into sales. This might be area you should be targeting in other marketing efforts as well.
Tip: get your dealer listed in the “Local” listings of the major search engines. Many times it’s free and only take a few minutes to sign up. Keep your eye open for SMO – Social Marketing Optimization.
3. Have you been tracking the overall performance of your 3rd party leads? Not just your cost per lead and cost per sale but also your total ROI for each specific lead provider. Maybe your closing ratio for the particular lead provider isn’t setting the world on fire but how much front and back end are you making on your customers from this lead source? I have a lead source that only sends me 5-9 leads a month and most of the leads are from customer that are not that serious about buying, but I have a great ROI with these sold leads, averaging over 3K front and back.
Take the time evaluate where (as in distances) you’re buying your leads from. Is there a particular geographic area of customers that you can’t seem to get in the door? How much time are you spending on these customers only to find out they bought from their local dealer? Maybe you’re buying leads from too far away and it’s messing up your total ROI. Determine your ROI for leads coming from that area and make the necessary adjustments.
Sean over at Dealer Synergy wrote a great article for Digital Dealer last month titled “Mastering Objections, Expectations and Rebuttals”. If you have not read it, I do suggest doing so.
Sean gives some insight on how to deal with those objections that we hear all too often;
“What’s your best price?”
“You are too far away”
“Is it on your lot?”
It’s hard enough to compete with all the other dealers on AutoTrader, now I have to compete with Dan Marino loosing 22lbs?
I find these non automotive related ads to be annoying. But, I’m sure they’re making the money from it.
Here’s another gripe. I pay big money for the Partner Listing with AutoTrader. This package includes top placement for my Mercedes-Benz inventory listings, it gets me additional photos, the notorious “Dealer Search” feature, and a rotating banner ad in the Mercedes-Benz search results. However, after doing several searches I started to take notice that the only banner ads I was seeing were for “Land Rover”..over and over and over again. So..I thought I would see how many refreshes it would take before my dealers banner ad showed up. It took 73! Amongst that I bet I saw the other Mercedes Partner dealers banner ad about the same amount as mine. The rest were for Land Rover.
I bet Land Rover is paying big money to have their banner ads to rotate (and having a permanent banner ad on the right) throughout the Mercedes-Benz search results. Apparently enough money to bump out the Partnering Mercedes dealers from the normal rotation.
Could this be a double edged sword for AutoTrader? I’m sure they hard sell this ad space to competing manufacturers and figure most dealers won’t pay attention to it anyways. I’m paying attention and I don’t really like it. Then again, maybe Mercedes-Benz had their opportunity to buy this ad space and didn’t do so. Either way..the Partnering Dealer banner ads should receive equal rotation.
Let’s say (hypothetically) my dealer was using a dealer CRM program that was signed on with before I had started. As most CRM programs, it lacks ILM (Internet Lead Management) features and the whole email set up was a total mess and was obviously an after thought. Maybe this CRM program happens to use the dealers own email client which is an in-house MS Exchange server.
This hypothetical dealer CRM just happens to base it’s opportunities on each vehicle the customer is interested in. So, let’s say a customer was on your website and submitted a lead, then on Google found a website to get a price quote, and that lead was sold to Dealix then resold to your dealer. Take it one more step (only because it does happen), this customer was on Edmunds and submitted for another price quote and AutoUSA resold the lead to your dealer. Now you have 1 person and 3 requests and the CRM sees it as 1 person that wants 3 different vehicles of interest. You now have 3 opportunities for 1 customer! Still with me?
OK..so this CRM sends out 3 auto responders to the same customer since it has no way of differentiating the 3 leads are from the same customer for the same make and model. So you sent out 3 auto responders, no harm in that, right? Unless you have automated follow-up emails set up. And now your customers are getting 3 emails for every automated email follow-up that you have set up in the CRM.
Here is where it gets real good. Let’s just say this CRM program makes some changes to their email program portion of the CRM. They think they are bettering it but somehow some poor programming and coding takes your email with any HTML coding and strips out the HTML code and places it into a .txt file and names it “unknown1.txt”. So now every one of your emails going out to your customers has this unknown file attached to it.
You see where I’m going with this?
Now you have this CRM sending out emails that providers like AOL, Yahoo, MSN and others think you’re sending a virus (the unknown file) in each one of your emails. Take into account your automated email follow-up and all the customers that had multiple opportunities / vehicles of interest are now receiving 2-3 emails of the same with the same unknown attachment.
Can you say BLACKLISTED??? That is exactly what happened!
Let’s say hypothetical this CRM was Higher Gear.
I’m not here to slam any one product. BUT in this case, we got screwed hard and now our email account is toast.
BUT…you know, I’m sort of glad this happened. I learned a lot of things during this mess.
It’s posts like these that really get my wheels turning. I sometimes get
caught up in the moment when reading something like this. It’s not easy for
someone like myself to read this and not wonder a few things like;
Where will my job be in 5 years?
Where is the dealer going to be in 5 years?
Will everyone want to purchase their car like buying something off the shelf
Will it take 5, 10 years or longer for huge changes? (it is going to change)
I have several more thoughts about this that I think I will share in another
posting. For now, take a few minutes and
read this then come back and leave some comments and thoughts on how you
feel when reading it.
I often think the Internet Sales Manager position is the toughest job in
the dealership! Would you agree?
We are constantly defending our department, fighting for larger budgets
and overall respect for our department. We are often the one that establishes
any form of process for sales and follow-up within the dealer.
We have to interact sitting behind a computer, know how to send effective
persuasive emails, get customers on the phone, schedule appointments, manage our
inventory, update our websites, post specials, deal with lead providers and
other 3rd party companies, track statistics from our websites and sales (that
the typical floor sales manager would not even understand the concept of).
Then the very next minute we have to put our game face on to meet and greet
a customer, demo and close a sale.
Ohh, I could go on and on. Just keeping up with the technology is a job by
itself but then you have to understand Search Engines, ILM or CRM software too.
Then you have a month where everything comes together, reaching some crazy
high percentage of over all sales only to cause the RED FLAGS to rise.
You’re questioned.."how you could sell as many cars" and are they all really
You have to LOVE IT!! You know why..because you track everything and you
have to ammo to prove that every customer you sold using internet marketing was
indeed a sale that is fully creditable to your efforts.
Split personalities is what you have to have in this realm. That is what
makes a true Internet sales manager so different and such a commodity. We are
a rare species.
So this leads me to a POLL…As an Internet Sales Manager, are you paid what your
Take the poll and share with others some of your thoughts and comments!