Best Practices

I hate the Internet Department

Lately I’ve become very frustrated with dealer’s Internet departments.  It’s not because the people who staff these departments aren’t with it or on their game, quite the contrary.  These people tend to be some of the most progressive, smartest individuals in the dealership.  I think that many of them are the general managers of the future.  What I hate is the department, not the people.  The Internet department implies that every other department of the dealership isn’t the Internet, what a joke.

Specifically, the used car department is most certainly the Internet department.  Too often, used car managers and GM’s don’t take responsibility for the quality of their Internet merchandising because it is the “job of the Internet department”.  This is a serious error.  I’m sorry, but if your name is attached to the used car department’s performance, the quality of your virtual display is your responsibility.  If I hear one more excuse from the used car department that it’s not their fault, I’m going to go postal.

Used car managers and GM’s would never tolerate a used car lot with empty spaces on the front line, cars not parked straight and covered in dirt.  Yet, the disorderly way that their vehicles are displayed on the Internet is tolerated, or perhaps more disturbingly, not even noticed.  It’s past time for any GM and used car manager to take responsibility for making sure their vehicles are on the Internet quickly with prices, quality photos and compelling descriptions.  I know that many who read this post will assume that their virtual display is well represented in this regard.  The sad fact is however, that if you could see what I see using vAuto’s virtual view tool, you would not be happy.  If you’re a vAuto client with the virtual view tool, take a look at your on-line display through this lens and tell me how satisfied you are now.

  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • April 9, 2010
Oh the insanity. I sometimes believe we will have to wait it until until the guys that don't get it fade away.

My right side says, take the time to work with these people. Train them, educate them and get them to see the light. YOU CAN DOOO IT!

The left side -- having experience in direct peer to peer training, says it's not happening or it takes too much energy for a 10% success rate. Yeah, they are on board for a few weeks but 90% resort back to their old ways.
Reading Dale saying "I hate the internet department" is good. Seeing and hearing Dale yell "I hate your internet department" as he did at 100 dealers in New Jersey this week is great!

The point that the used car department is ultimately responsible for how many used cars are sold should be obvious. Yet it's amazing how many used car managers abdicate all responsibility for their online marketing.

When more people research, locate, and make the decision about where to shop for a car TONIGHT online than in any other medium, how can a used car manager not be completely immersed and involved in their dealerships online marketing?

I remember 20 years ago used car mangers spent hours every week working on liner and display ads for print. They knew how important their ads were for driving traffic into the store. The GMs and UCMs that devote energy and time to the internet today, that show the level of engagement they used to show with print, are the ones that are winning in this market.