Are any of you using embedded video clips within your emails for your internet sales process? If so, where are you hosting the videos?
Are you running into problems with spam filters?
What do you put in your videos?
Many thanks for any insight!
eCommerce Director – Jeff Wyler Automotive Family
Corey Mosley is apparently declaring a state of emergency for automotive dealerships across the country. After completing a series of mystery shops nationally, Corey said “It’s enough to make a guy want to retire and run the other way”.
I’ve never performed a nationwide mystery shop but do shop several of my local and competitive dealers and it’s amazing to find how inconsistent most dealers are. The 3 day rule seems to be the average follow-up time frame most dealers / sales people stick with. I know some of my sales people are at times guilty of this. This is where a strong BDC effort needs to come into play, just a simple 5 day PR phone call can make a nice difference.
Here is the complete article and a
link to the original.
Internet Sales State of Emergency – by Cory L. Mosley
This month I bring some grim news, after completing a series of mystery shops nationally I must declare a state of emergency for automotive dealerships across the country. It is seriously alarmed that an overwhelming percentage of dealerships do not brand their dealership, make phone calls to contact prospects, don’t believe in follow-up past 3 days, and just plain ole’ don’t get it! It’s enough to make a guy want to retire and run the other way. The icing on the cake however was the amount of general managers and dealer principals that did not want to see their stores results and/or didn’t want to do anything about fixing the problems. Deficiency of knowledge is one thing, but a desire to not fix a problem that in the long run will cost a dealership millions of dollars in lost front end, back end, and service grosses is just plain ole’ astonishing. The one fun part about having your own newsletter is that you can be as direct as you want, so here it is.
10 questions to ask yourself regarding your commitment to Internet sales success:
- Does my dealership have a clear vision of the expectations for the Internet?
- Other than buying products from vendors, what investment have I made to
ensure the success of my dealerships Internet department?
- What investment have I made in my Internet personnel (for dealer or GM)?
- What investment has my dealership made in me? (for Internet/BDC sales professional)?
- On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, what is the overall value I put on the Internet department at my dealership?
- Do I believe we are maximizing our Internet sales opportunities and if not what am I doing to change that?
- What is holding me back from embracing the Internet customer or taking my Internet sales efforts to the next level?
- If I am not going to invest in building a successful Internet operation
then what is my game plan to control the sales I will be losing to my
- Is it possible that I have to reevaluate my belief system in regards to the Internet customer?
- Do I want help filling the gaps in my Internet sales results?
The industry is gearing up for the summer selling season, let’s make sure we make the most out it! Don’t we all deserve it?
I do apologize, I need to make a more conscience to inform everyone of up and coming training seminars, whether it’s online webinars or actual seminars. So, to start off this new effort I want to let everyone know the Dealer Synergy “Internet Sales Bootcamp”. Here are the details:
Dealer Synergy is very excited to announce its alliance with NCM 20 groups, the most prestigious 20 groups in the country. Sean V. Bradley is the official Instructor and designer of the new NCM Bootcamp, "Internet Sales Bootcamp".
May 15 – 17th in Atlanta Georgia, its going to be an intense two and half days.
“We guarantee that if you attend this seminar and implement our solutions, you will sell more cars, more profitably and more often.”
Until Monday, NCM is offering an early bird special at $1995.00. After Monday the price goes up to $2495.00.
I have no doubt it will be worth every penny. Sean is an excellent speaker and really knows his stuff.
I’m curious as to how various dealerships are counting Internet deals for pay?
We use a simple system: If a customer submits an Internet Inquiry, we require either a direct phone conversation with the customer be logged into our CRM or have two email responses from the customer. We also count phone calls that originate from various web sites/lead generators as deals worthy for compensation in the Internet department. Basically, it is an Internet deal when either two emails or a phone call are logged in the CRM. My staff is only paid on sold units that they had a provable hand in selling, and we audit the inputs into the CRM.
From speaking to many other dealers over the past few years it sounds like we are a bit more stringent in this area than others.
Director of eCommerce – Checkered Flag Motor Car Corp.
Cars.com is hosting a Free Webinar tomorrow at 11AM centeral time, April 13, 2007. That’s 12pm (noon) for us East Coast ISM’s.
Cliff Banks will be hosting this Cars.com webinare and the topic will be "Tips from the Ward’s e-Dealer 100 and The Secrets of Their Success".
It’s supposed to be about an hour long and the descriptions reads:
"In April, Ward’s Dealer Business publishes its seventh annual e-Dealer 100—a nationwide ranking of dealers with the highest internet sales. Join Cars.com for a special DealerADvantage LIVE in which Cliff Banks, Ward’s editorial director, will moderate a panel of the top dealers from this year’s e-Dealer 100. Tune in to hear these leaders discuss how they use the Web to drive traffic to their stores and sell more cars. Among the issues we’ll discuss:
- What online tactics do the top e-Dealers employ for sales success?
- How do the most successful dealers improve close rates?
- How do these dealers track and measure internet-generated sales?
I like Cliff’s editorial pieces in Wards Dealer Magazine so I thought this might be a decent webinare to share with everyone.
Here is the link to register.
Once you register, you’ll get an email with the rest of the detials.
UPDATE: If you attended the Cars.com Webinar, please share your thought here.
5 quick reasons why I hate CRM software for automotive dealers.
- Lack of strong ILM utilities – Most CRM software fail to include a strong ILM (internet lead management) utility.
- Workflow never works right - when I say “workflow” I mean your pre-determined automatic scheduled follow-up that you set up in your CRM tool. This might be a scheduled phone call on day 1, 3, 5 etc. or
scheduled emails and/or letters. I have yet to find a CRM that is able to change its follow-up on the fly according to where a sales person determines what phase the customer is in.
- Sold deals get LOCKED – If your CRM updates your Sold customers by pulling from your DMS, many CRM’s “lock” the Sold opportunity, making it impossible to make necessary changes to the customer or vehicle information.For example; you title the car in the business or company name and this overwrites the customer’s name that you have entered into your CRM. Now your “after sold” follow up letters are addressed to the business name rather the customer. Another example; a front end or back end gross changes but the CRM doesnât allow you to edit this since the opportunity has already been updated by the DMS.
- They allow dealers to SPAM! – Yes..it’s SPAM. If you’re using your CRM to broadcast email specials to customers that inquired about a vehicle from your website or a 3rd party lead you bought from Dealix, AutoUSA, Cars.com, etc. and they have not opt-in for your specials email, you ARE SPAMMING! Remember, SPAM is the customer perception. (I’ll write more about this later).
- Too much maintenance – You almost need a full time person to handle the administrative duties and the phone calls to tech support.
I could go on with another 5-10 more reason why I hate most CRM’s software. I’ll keep that for another continued post someday.
I guess it’s time to establish some rules for commenting.
I started DealerRefresh as a place to write about my thoughts, opinions and daily obstacles as an Internet Sales Manager. Over the course of the last year or so, DealerRefresh has become quite the popular site and is now being looked upon as a resource for Internet Sales Managers and others in this business.
It’s been a tough call for me..do I keep the site geared towards my personal opinions and thoughts (while allowing others to comment) or do I try and stay neutral and allow DealerRefresh to transform itself into a unbiased resource? I’m torn! Maybe it’s possible for both to coincide?
I don’t know if I have the answer right now, until then I think it’s important to establish some rules.
So here they are:
- No advertisements inside your comments. (If you want a vendor profile, contact me).
- No Slandering – especially on a personal level. If you have had a bad
experience with a company and their product, please share your thoughts
but keep it tasteful and give examples to back up your opinions and
comments (I would recommend including something positive about your
experience with the product or vendor as well).
- No anonymous posts (unless I authorize) and no “free” email accounts
(yahoo, msn, aol) unless you provide a valid full signature.
- Excessive self-promotion or promotion of a website or other entity will
be deleted. If it reads like you are mad or getting paid by someone for
your words, your comments will be deleted.
- No hyperlinking to your website for promotional purposes within the body of your comments.
- Take full ownership of your comments. Always re-read your comments and feedback before hitting the post button. Don’t call me 3 hours later asking if I’ll remove your comments from the thread because you said something that maybe you shouldn’t have. This is the Internet, take ownership for your actions.
Best to all to DealerRefresh readers. It’s because of YOU this site is what it is!!
Last week, Google added a few new features to its Local Business Center. This is the place where any business with a physical location can go to essentially plant themselves on Google Maps. If you have not already done so, get your dealer listed in Google Local. This has clear SEO benefits for local search.
- Sign up for a Google account www.google.com
- Go to Google maps http://maps.google.com/maps
- To the left of the map you will see link for Add/Edit Your Business. This will take your to the admin portion of google local. Use the link for “Add a new business”.
- Enter your dealers name and continue.
- You should then see your dealer name from a list of possibilities, if
not, use the option “ My business doesn’t appear here”.
- From here you can fill out or edit your dealer information.
After you have edited your information, you now need to confirm your dealer for Google to authenticate. Google provides 2 ways of doing this (I recommend the phone call – it’s faster).
- Receive a phone call at the number provided
- Receive a postcard at the address provided
Once you have authenticated your dealer, it usually takes about 3 weeks or more for Google to go live with your new or edited local business listing. Google even allows you to add coupons to your listing; I usually rotate a service department special coupon.
If you’re paying big bucks to a vendor for your dealership website SEO and they have not already done this or informed you about this, ask them why.
Cliff Banks over at Wards Dealer Business wrote an article with Lisa Keller of eValuation Inc. on how we, as Internet sales managers, need to be careful that our leads are not “evaporating”. Basically saying; it’s always possible for technical problems to arise (like servers crashing) and not allowing leads from our website to make their way into your Internet lead management (ILM) software, and never knowing about it.
I’m sure this could be a possible concern, but how would someone on “our end” track this unless a server went down for hours and it became obvious? I would hope that the vendors providing dealer websites realize the importance of a dealer receiving every lead and have back up measures in place to prevent such a
What I found more interesting are the statistics that Lisa is able to gather with their mystery shopping service. We all know the longer it takes a dealership to respond to a lead less chance you have of selling that customer. BUT it’s nice to see some hard numbers proving it.
The article also touched on the importance of strong email responses.
The quality of the response is an area many dealerships fail at. According to Keller, strong e-mail responses should include the following six things:
You want to thank the customer for the opportunity and introduce yourself and the store. Pretend the customer is in front of you.
Provide at least one alternative vehicle
Two or three are better. Always include a certified pre-owned alternative. A pricing range also should be included. Studies show most customers have not decided on what they want when they contact the store. More information may help you set that appointment and close the sale.
Give the customer a reason to buy from you.
Keller calls it a value proposition statement. According to a Cobalt Group study last year, more than 90% of online automotive shoppers buy from a dealership other than the first one they contacted.
Ask two qualifying questions
Provide reasons why you are asking the questions. For example, determine the trim level of the vehicle they are interested in. Why? Different trim levels can change a vehicle’s by as much as $10,000.
Be direct and ask for the appointment.
“We see many responses in which the salesperson says, ‘Let me know if there is anything else I can do,’ and leaves it that,” Keller says. “Seeing that is like nails on a chalkboard.”
Provide your name, e-mail address and phone number along with the web site address and physical address of the dealership.
My question to Lisa; does a dealer include all of this information in 1 email or do you spread this information over a few emails?
I personally spread the information over a few emails. When writing email I think you have to be quick and too the point. Long winded emails will quickly loose your readers’ attention. AND using a few emails to get your point across gets your name in front of the customer a few more times. It makes it easier for the customer to find YOU in their inbox.
Lisa, if you read this..contact me!