Best Practices

Five Rock-Star Ways to Brand Your Dealer’s Internet Sales Department

Do you brand your Internet sales department so that every customer feels compelled to ask for you when they arrive at your dealer?

There’s nothing more frustrating then looking across the showroom floor only to see YOUR customer sitting at another sales persons desk signing the paperwork for their new vehicle. This is the same customer you had been corresponding via email and phone over the last several days. Why are they buying from that guy? Why didn’t they ask for you? This happens every day, and many times results into a heated conversation between the salesperson, sales manager and the Internet sales department.

Walk the higher road and let the sales floor have the deal. Take responsibility for the customer not asking for you, and instead find ways of branding yourself so when one of your next potential customers arrives at the dealer, they want nothing more than to work with you and your the Internet sales department. Here are five proven ways that are quick, easy and will help brand your Internet sales department like no other:

1. Sharpen your Image with Great Photos

Potential customers are initially on your site for one reason: Inventory. When the customer finds the vehicle they are looking for, the first thing they gravitate to are the photos. Use this opportunity to grab their attention and start branding your department.

Slide a photo of your Internet sales team members in the line of vehicle photos between the exterior and interior shots. Be sure your team photo radiates professionalism while also portraying that you’re easy-going and fun to work with. Don’t forget your glamour smile on the day of the photo shoot.

2. Leverage the Dealer-Rating Websites

A strong WBFM (“Why Buy From Me”) message can give you the competitive edge. Your customers love you — you hear it all the time about how great of an experience they had. Why not get them to share their positive experience for everyone else to read?

Condition yourself to ask every one of your customers to share their experience on one or several of the consumer or dealer-rating Web sites, such as dealerrater.com and insiderpages.com. As you build enough positive customer comments, you will now have a tremendously strong WBFM message that you can talk up to all of your potential customers.

3. Be Fearless and Build Transparency With Video

Video is yet another way of gaining the competitive edge, since most people shy away from the camera. Nothing builds transparency quicker then a few short videos of you and your team. Commit to filming several videos that distinguish the difference between you and the competition. Let your customers know you and your team are the solution to their vehicle-buying needs. Consumers are looking for the right car, just as they’re looking for the right dealer and the right person with whom to do business.

Video is easier then ever. You can certainly go high-end, buy a simple Flip Video Camcorder from Amazon or your local electronic store will do the trick. Check out videospin. com for free and easy-to-use video editing software that works great with the Flip camera.

Take your filming to next level and get your positive customer testimonials on video, as well.

4.  Master your “About Us” Page

What is the real value of your dealers “About Us” page anyways?

When a customer clicks on your “About Us” page, they are looking for a reason to do business with your dealership. For lazy reasons, most dealers ignore this page or use the default text provided by the Web site vendor.

Take advantage of this page and brand your Internet sales department to another level while cementing a relationship between you and your potential customer. Let customers see a more human side of your dealership. Remember, just because the page is labeled “About Us” doesn’t mean you get to talk the “Me, Me, Me” message. The key to great marketing is not what you say about yourself, but what your customers say about you. This is a great place to display those customer testimonial videos.

5. Don’t Forget Your Sensational Signature

This might seem like a no-brainer, but believe me, many sales people overlook this effective element for branding themselves. Every e-mail you send is yet another opportunity to brand yourself and your Internet sales department. Before you hit “send” one more time, make sure your signature line says all it needs to about you and your Internet sales department. Your signature line should include your name, job title, the name of your dealership, your direct phone line along with your cell phone number and your Web site URL. These are, of course, the obvious elements — but why not take it a step further? Include a photo of yourself, a dynamic tag line and/or a P.S. note linking the customer to your consumer ratings profile page or your new “About Us” page.

Many Internet sales managers are left to believe that you need special “Internet pricing,” a “Benefits Package” or a “Free Give Away” in order to get the customer to ask for you. Instead, sell something larger than the price of your vehicle. Sell your brand, sell your image and sell your customer what they are truly looking for. Be the rock star you are — take full ownership of your Internet sales department and find every opportunity to brand it to the max.

Don't be laughing at my wannabe a Rockstar photo!
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That picture is classic!
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Does that mean you are a Lefty!
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    Ian Statler
  • October 31, 2008
Nice post Jeff. I don't usually comment but I have been reading dealerrefresh.com for about 2 years. I'm sure not everyone finds value in "best practices" articles since there never seems to be a lot of comments but this was my favorite one and made me revisit my dealer photos and my signatures. Never though about getting comments on the dealer rating web-sites. Thanks. Great pic too.
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    Jon Groenig
  • November 1, 2008
Jeff, help me out here, is that a picture of you or Billy Idol????
@Ian - thanks, most of the "best practice" posting are articles that I have written for different magazines. I guess since they are not as conversational, they don't get a lot of comments. Glad you get something out of them. :)

@Jon - Billy and I are distant cousins.
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    Richard
  • November 1, 2008
Can you really play or is Guitar Here the limit?
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    Richard
  • November 1, 2008
I meant Guitar Hero.
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Jeff will probably get mad at me for linking his followers off of his site but....

Here are some other classic photos of that crazy night of Rock Band madness.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30843&l=f4fee&id=529187371
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  • November 5, 2008
Jeff, while I think those are all great ideas, I've had a horrible time getting salespeople to do their own videos. I personally don't like the vids of an internet sales rep in front of a computer unless they are entertaining and engaging. Kinda reminds me of the videos Microsoft is showing on the "I'm a PC campaign" now. "I'm a machine" :)

What I have found to work best is filming a walk-around on the vehicle the prospect inquired about using the flip. Some of the guys are top-notch on the walk-around with extensive product knowledge and can do well personalizing an email with the video.
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    nik
  • November 5, 2008
Nice pic rok star

great advice Jeff
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    Stan Sher
  • November 29, 2008
Nice pic indeed. Looking at David's pics it looks like you all had some fun. That is awesome. I am not great at this game but I am good at guitar. I somehow get confused with those buttons where on a real guitar I can play 20 notes per second...
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    annamarie sandoval
  • February 26, 2009
LOL .. LOVE THE PIC . AND MY CUSTOMERS LOVE THE FACT THAT WHEN THER ARE IN MY OFFICE EVEN THOUGH I AM GOING THROUGH MY PITCH FOR MY SALE IT HAS PERSONALITY . SALES PEOPLE FORGET THAT A CUSTOMERS WANTS TO HAVE FUN YET TREATED WITH ENOUGH RESPECT TO MAKE THE EXPERIENCE WORTHWHILE . AND AS A FINANCE MANAGER I HAVE TO REMEMBER WHAT IT FELT LIKE TO BUY MY CAR ..
  • Anonymous
  • March 26, 2011
Awesome stuff!