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,
Visible Customer, Dealer Synergy and Towbin Dodge are inviting (and sponsoring) you and a guest to a Towbin Dodge Event during NADA Friday Feb. 2nd.
will have an opportunity to see some “Chopper Edition” vehicles, tour
the dealership and be a special guest of the “King of Cars VIP tent.”
Naturally all the Towbin Dodge “Characters” will be there too.
Group #1 6:00 PM – 8:300 PM
Group #2 9:00 PM – 11:30 PM
I’ll be attending the 9:00 PM Group. Apparently there are Limited Spots so be sure to RSVP ASAP.
Find the RSVP information on the invite below or call 1-800-952-0168 and ask for Angela.
Thanks Sean Stapleton and Sean Bradley for my personal invite AND for inviting my readers!!
Looks like JMsolutions has bought DealerUps and their CRM program. I guess JMsolutions badly wanted a CRM to complete their over all package for dealers. I personaly was never too impressed with DealerUps CRM. When I had used it, it lacked a lot of ILM features.
"The DealerUps CRM enhances JMsolutions’ mission of
helping dealers achieve greater success through innovative products and
services," said JMsolutions President Scott Barrett. "It assures our ability to
support a dealer through all phases of the sales process- beginning with our
award-winning AAXT used vehicle inventory management solution to our ProFiT
F&I Menu product –we are there from start to finish."
I think we’ll stick to using their aaXchange software, which is actually a great product.
"Starting today (Jan 15th 2006), AutoTrader.com will highlight every Carfax One Owner vehicle listed by participating dealers. When used car shoppers search
inventory listed on AutoTrader.com, they can immediately identify cars with only one previous owner."
I think this is actually a good idea and something I was going to have
implemented on our new dealer website, but using the Blue 1 Owner logo you see on
the actual online CarFax.
I forget where but I think I recall reading that 1 Owner vehicles can bring
an average of $400-$600 more front end gross.
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?”
I sat down with Mercedes-Benz USA for quick interview. Nothing earth
shattering here but a decent read if you like. Short and to the point.
You can read the article below or
follow this link.
Jeff Kershner, Internet Sales Manager at Mercedes-Benz of
Hagerstown, Maryland, has witnessed the rise of Internet marketing and
the importance it now plays in his business.
MBUSA.com sat down with Jeff to discover how his dealership is so
Q. What percentage of total vehicle sales can be attributed to your
Internet marketing efforts?
A. We are at an 18-vehicle-per-month average. There have been a few
spikes. One month it was 48 percent of total sales but the average is
close to 30 percent of total sales being attributed to our Internet
Q. How are you tracking your leads and how has it helped your dealer
with your Internet process?
A. We’re using the eLead evolution Customer Relationship Management
(CRM). eLead software does a good job of managing our Internet leads,
and showroom and phone traffic all in one CRM. eLead looks and functions
a lot like Microsoft Outlook, so it’s easy for most people to use.
Q. What is your Internet lead process?
A. All leads come through me first, and then I’ll personally follow up
and make contact by phone and email. I will then schedule the
appointment and greet the customer myself.
If I am unable to get the customer on the phone right away, I’ll send
the lead to one of my trained salespeople.
Q. What is your dealership doing to ensure that shoppers have a good
experience on your dealer website?
A. Information! Generation X, my generation, is now making up a large
percentage of our buyers, but most of the dealer personnel — especially
in upper management — are of the Baby Boomer generation.
Baby Boomers are accustomed to "push marketing” which is achieved
through TV, radio, and print advertising. Today we’re selling to a "pull
marketing" society and of course, the Internet has had a huge influence
on this change. The Internet allows one to pull information, research,
compare, and read other people’s reviews of the same product before they
make my decision.
Q. Is there anything you are doing on your website to convert
shoppers into buyers?
A. I don’t think there is one thing that you can do here. The focus of
your website is to convert shoppers into a lead. Again, this is done
with information, a little persuasion, and the right amount of calls to
Q. What are you doing to ensure customers find your dealer website?
A. We have a very strong presence in the search engines, incorporating
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). You
have to be careful, though.
I also get my inventory to all of the free listings like Google Base,
Oodle, Craigslist.com, and a few others.
Q. Are you still using third party lead providers?
A. I’m currently down to using only one lead provider. The quality of
the leads was getting worse and the time I was putting into the leads
was not making any sense.
I quickly found that the typical Mercedes-Benz buyer in my area are
different from what I had experienced in the past. Before, I could get
someone to travel over 50 miles to save a few hundred dollars. So when I
started here, I was buying leads from all over — even the metropolitan
areas that are just over an hour away. After about six months of
tracking, I found I was wasting my money.
So I cut back on buying leads from those areas. My closing ratio went up
and my overall ROI increased.
Q. How has the Internet changed the shopping process?
A. I think it has changed the way many people shop dramatically. For
example, I never go to the store and buy something before researching
it. When I shop for anything, I try to remember that I’m now the
consumer and I track my thoughts and the process that I go through
before making my purchase. I’m very conscious of this and always compare
how consumers are purchasing vehicles.
I just heard through a source that Reynolds & Reynolds (ReyRey) or UCS (Universal Computer Systems) whatever name they were going by, has bought or acquired The Cobalt Group AND Who’s Calling.
I heard they will drop the Cobalt name and go by "The Reynolds Company" ??
I would think they could potentially own the majority of the market. What will they do with the wonderful Nitra platform websites?
I’ll be sure to post something official once I get a solid word.
*Yes..this could be just a rumour!!
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.
This article popped up in my Gmail alerts this morning. Apparently this was old
news that finally came to a settlement. Not a huge deal here I just thought it
was slightly interesting to see two 3rd Party Lead vendors duke it out.
Autobytel and Dealix Enter Settlement Agreement
The Agreement Provides for Total Payments of $20 Million to Autobytel, Mutual
Releases, and License of Autobytel Patents and Patent Applications.
Here is the settlement article.
In 2004, Autobytel announced that it had filed a patent infringement suite
against Dealix Corporation. The company claims that the competitor is infringing
upon a patent it received in 2001 for matching customers and sellers in
purchasing goods and services over the Internet.