I just stumbled over your web site. Your the first person / site that seems excited about internet sales and help. I just took over the internet side of a growing Toyota Cadillac dealership in Iowa after 6 years of sales. The goal is to create a department.
The sale steps are the same however I am looking for tools of training and lead management that does the kind of email and web site editing you talked about on your page.
What do you recommend for lead management and training or advice for getting past first and second emails without price.
I will book mark your page and review often any help you might be willing to give is awesome.
Ever since I started this website/blog I have had the opportunity to meet some great people in this business. I often receive several emails a week from ISM’s just getting their feet wet. Every now and then you meet someone that really sticks out from the rest of the crowd. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with Jake Wirth, ISM for a smaller Suzuki dealer in Indiana. Jake was just getting started at the dealer as their new Internet sales manager, we were talking about everything from Dealer websites to follow-up process to CRM/ ILM software.
Jake put his thoughts and some of his beginning experiences on paper and asked me to share it on DealerRefresh.
When was the last time to typed in your dealers name in Google or Yahoo to see what other competitive dealers are buying ad space by bidding on your dealers name as a keyword? Do you think it’s fair to do this? All the 3rd Party Lead vendors do it, even many of the Manufactures do this this to drive traffic to their shopping service sites like gmbuypower and forddirect. This topic will get more heated as dealers and the Manufacturs become aware of the issue.
Have you ever been curious to what would happen if you erased ALL of your internet presences? Shut down your website, turn off your auto-responders, neglect to answer customer emails, pull your inventory from AutoTrader and turn off your Adword campaigns.
Would your dealer actually feel the impact? And if so…would it take 1 month or more? Would your sales drop by 5%, 10% or with the aggressive internet sales manager, maybe 20-30%?
I sometimes wonder what would actually happen. Would it really have an impact or would the dealer go on selling cars as usual? Would the local customer stop by the dealer anyways? Would you still eventually sell that used Honda Accord to a “walk in” customer?
Just how important is it to have an Internet sales and/or marketing department? Of course I want to say it’s very important since I have an "invested interest"…but I still get curious sometimes to know what would happen.
Many cookie cutter dealership website vendors don’t allow for additional wording on your Homepage and sub-pages other then the usual default generic text they supply. And if they do, most dealers never take advantage of having the power to change or add text. Below is an example of a generic writing that I copied from a another dealerships websites credit application page.
“For information on your personal financing options, please fill out the information requested below, and then click on the “Submit” button.”
BORING!! There’s nothing persuasive about this. Not to mention, the dealership website that I just copied this from used a size 8 font; too small for most people to even read.
Here is what I would suggest:
“We here at ABC Motors offer the Best financing options available for our customers. Our team of in house financial consultants work EXTRA hard, hand in hand with the largest and most competitive banks to be sure you receive the truly competitive rate. So before you visit your local bank LET US WORK FOR YOU!
Take a few seconds and fill our Secure Online Credit Application. We’ll have you an answer in less then 1 hour! -during business hours of course.
Come ‘on…does this really makes a difference you ask? Of course it does! It can and does effect your websites overall conversion.
Another area that copy makes a HUGE difference is in your vehicles description page. This can be a tough and overwhelming task for larger dealers but if you have the ability to do so…take the time to write a descriptive paragraph about the vehicle you have for sale.
We are confident that you’re going to love this Honda S2000 Convertible. You’ll be taking the long way home to experience its razor sharp cornering, high revving VTEC engine producing 200HP, world class gear box with F1 inspired racing cockpit and one of the shortest gear ratios on the market. Excellent power to weight ratio, excellent acceleration, excellent chassis stiffness and balance, excellent suspension, everything about this car is EXCELLENT!!
Showcased in the Beautiful Grand Prix White on Black Leather. This S2000 comes equipped with the standard features along with the optional 8 Disc CD Changer, XM Satellite Radio and Security System. This 1 owner, Garage Kept and Dealer Maintained S2000 has a clean CarFax to back it up!
Confidence is your end RESULT when you purchase from ABC Motors. Don’t let this one slip by! Give us a call at 1-800-ABC-1234.
It’s a great idea to have every page on your dealership website with wording that is personal and enticing. Be creative and distinguish your dealership website from all the other run of the mill dealership websites.
If anyone knows me or even after speaking with me for a few minutes about my job, they know I’m not a huge advocate of segregated “Internet Sales Departments”. I hate it when I hear…oh, their “Internet customers”. There is no such thing as an “Internet Customer”. If you read the newspaper and respond to an ad, are you a “Newspaper customer”? Or maybe you’re a “TV commercial customer” because you saw the dealers’ latest ad on TV.
A “lead is a lead” and a customer is a customer. The process should be the same no matter where the customer comes from. It kills me when a dealer establishes an “Internet Department”. It’s like having a special department that does everything right but it’s ok to continue to allow our showroom sales people and managers to do things the wrong way.
As I said, I don’t believe in segregated internet sales departments. I tell my sales people and dealers..if you’re going to make this a profession, then you need to be where your customers are and be willing to communicate with them in the manor they desire. A new generation is rising and these old school dealers and the GM’s that are managing them need to step up to into the times or your gonna get smoked!
I was actually working on an article about my opinion on how dealers need to realize that your Internet Sales Department is/are your showroom sales people. BUT..after reading Leo Hillock’s latest article in Jan. 2006 Digital Dealer magazine, I could not have said it better myself and decided to just forward a link to a copy of this article.
In this article David writes about "Relevance and Timing" and offers several pointers on how to get that potential customer to open your email. He touches on the importance of your Subject Lines, including your Logo in every email and of course the actual body of your message.
Several weeks ago I decided to refinance my house due the attractive rates and sudden increase in the local housing market. Pay off some debt and get a few things done around the house that have been well over due.
I decided to click over to Lending Tree after seeing a banner ad and one of their TV commercials. I figured why not, let’s see what this Lending Tree is all about. Within minutes my inbox was filled up with auto responses (none too impressive either). Within hours I was getting phone calls from several different banks quoting me rates, terms and fees. After a phone call from the seventh bank, I was lost in a pool of information. It quickly became very overwhelming.
If anyone has been in the automotive dealership business long enough, you then know that the last thing you have is time. I didn’t have the time to sit down and go over all the terms, rates and fees that had been quoted from all the different banks. And though it was something that I wanted to do, it just seemed as if time was not allowing me to pick up the phone and make the call back to the banks.
Throughout the weeks I continued to receive phone calls and emails
from two of the banks. Both banks had aggressive rates but the bank
that received my business was the bank that kept touching base with me via phone and email. They kept the process simple and kept in touch, and were not pushy.
After the process was over, I was realized that many of our customers are taking the same steps as I did for their car shopping.
They want a product, competitive price, simple process and great
service. Today’s generation consists of busy people and families, both
parents working to hold down the fort. During all of their daily
routines, they are also shopping for their next vehicle. They don’t
have the time to drive around dealer to dealer. They use the Internet
and make their first contact via email or phone, just as I did with
Lending Tree. The difference between the bank that earned my business
and the others was the consistent FOLLOW-UP. They never gave up!
So when you wonder why that customer has not called you back or responded to your email; call them, and then call them again and again (rotate your call times from morning to afternoon and evening). Follow-up each time with a "just tried to call you" email until you get some type of communication from the customer. Create some urgency, schedule the appointment, confirm the appointment and make the sale.
If you’re an ISM at the average dealership, then you know too well you usually need all the help and support you can get. Especially when it comes to getting upper management to swing a few dollars (from the thousands they spends each month for ineffective print media) over to the internet department for additional leads, online advertising or even a lead management tool.
I’ve found there is nothing that speaks more volume then the hard NUMBERS. As an ISM, it’s your DUTY to keep track of the performance and progress of your Internet marketing efforts. Tracking your ROI will ultimately yield support from upper management and will keep your department heading in the right direction.
These reports are in an Excel Spreadsheet. Fill in the “0’s” with your departments numbers and the spreadsheets will calculate your results.
Feel free to leave some feedback, comments or ideas.
Internet Lead Performance Report:
This report will track of the Cost Per Lead, Cost Per Sale and Closing Ratio of your individual lead sources. Track EVERY LEAD; email leads, phone calls, even showroom ups that came in to see that car they saw on AutoTrader.
DOWNLOAD my Internet Lead Performance Report
I’ll be adding more reports throughout the next few weeks.
I just got back from one of Jack Simmons training courses held by AutoTrader. This is the 2nd one I have attended and I must say…I’m ALWAYS very impressed. I’ve been doing this Internet Sales/Management thing for over 6 years and I still walk away with some great ideas to implement after one of Jack’s trainings. Jack…if you ever need "anything" or want someone to bounce some ideas off of…please look me up. I’ll be at NADA this year, a drink or 4 is on me!