Opinions & Advice

Would You Rather….

Let’s all gather ‘round for a nice Internet Sales version of the game, “Would You Rather”.

It’s easy to do… just pick one situation (or all of them), and tell us which outcome you’d go for, and why. And remember folks, this is all hypothetical, so don’t go getting your britches in a bunch about having to choose one or the other. I don’t want to see any “well I’d do something entirely different” or “I have a solution for both”… just put on your crisis management hats and pick a side, okay?

Trust me, it’s good for the brain.

Would you rather…

A. Get three third party email leads
Or
B. Get one phone lead

A. Spend $2,000 on PPC
Or
B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO

A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high”
Or
B. Get an email saying “you don’t have what I want”

A. Have a Service Appointment form on your site that never gets responded to
Or
B. Have no form at all

A. Have a competitor directly under you in the SERPs
Or
B. Have a negative consumer review directly under you

A. Have a payplan that pays out for previous Internet customers
Or
B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue

A. Remove all the phone numbers from your site and rely only on the email forms
Or
B. Remove all the email forms from your site and rely only on the phone numbers

A. Lose your domain name
Or
B. Have your mail server blacklisted

Remember…it’s either one or the other. None of this.. "I’d do something entirely different". You have to choose form the given situations. Give each "Would You Rather" some deep thought and share your feedback. Have FUN!!

Guest posting by Mitchell Turck
Internet Consultant with
WebNet Services

M
  • M
    Mike- Phoenix Metro
  • May 4, 2008
3 E-mail leads- I would rather have three opportunities than one even given the fact that I do better with phone leads.

$2000 on High Level SEO- I work in a highly competitive market and we moved our location within the last six months, I need to have people find me when they search.

Your Price is to high- time to justify why my price is high!

No form at all- I have never seen a store in this market that
actually does this right, no buy in from the top in the fixed arena.

Payplan that pays on Internet Based Service revenue

Here is where I become a walking contradiction- I would rather take all the forms away, I would rather talk to all of those who are interested, besides we have caller ID and I always get the phone number to reach them back on. E-mails are great, but if not given the 3-1 ratio in the earlier question I would go with the phone.

I would rather lose my domain name, that seems like a much easier fix than having my mail server blacklisted.









E
A. Get three third party email leads | More is always better...

B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO | That's what works best for us...

A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high” | We can usually prove them wrong...

A. Have a Service Appointment form on your site that never gets responded to | Simple process fix; at least we know the form works.

B. Have a negative consumer review directly under you | Transparency can be a good thing; this can be responded to...

A. Have a payplan that pays out for previous Internet customers
Or
B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue | Sorry Mike, not my area - I can't answer this one

A. Remove all the phone numbers from your site and rely only on the email forms | Silly question - but I'll bite regardless. People want information in the easiest format possible - the form makes it easier for them.

A. Lose your domain name | Both would suck; this would just suck less.
A
1. B. Get one phone lead | That's almost a sure sale.

2. B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO | PPC doesn't have the lasting effects SEO does.

3. A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high” | I'd take either, but this one is easier to deal with.

4. B. Have no form at all | Just some cool graphics and a compelling page at least letting the customer know we are here.

5. A. Have a competitor directly under you in the SERPs | I agree with transparency, but what about the good words? You know, all those websites the happy customers make to say great things about you - haven't you seen those? Where is that one happy site to cancel-out the upset site?

6. B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue | We perform a marketing service much more than we perform a sales consultant job.

7. I can't answer this one.

8. B. Have your mail server blacklisted | I have been through domain losses and the battles it takes to get them back. I would much rather be blacklisted - if you change your email domain, nobody notices.
M
I'll answer a couple...


I'd much rather have a competitor below me than a bad review. Once a consumer has written malicious content about your store, you're guilty until proven innocent... and it ain't likely you're going to be proven innocent. Consumers looking for you may be enticed by the competitor's link, but a lot of them will bounce back out of the site once they realize it's not the franchise location they were looking for.

And Alex, regarding your comment about those elusive "positive" reviews from consumers... that's pretty much on you, the dealer, to solicit. Consumers aren't going to write good things by their own accord. Sorry for the plug here but check out my blog post regarding making the most of dealer review sites: dealers.dealerdex.com/what-can-dealer-reviews-do-for-you/

I'd rather have no Service Appt. form at all than one that doesn't work. A submitted service lead that disappears into oblivion is very unnerving for customers, and in all likelihood, they'll never visit your site again. Better to have nothing there and hope they call the Department or just stroll in. But then, if Service is that uninterested in generating business, what the hell do i care.

Losing your domain name is killer, if you've done any serious marketing with it. I could've been clearer but the idea is that the domain isn't just expired, it's lost.... meaning someone else has it. And if someone else took the time to buy up your expired domain name, you can be damn sure they're either a competitor who won't give it back, or a local squatter who will charge you $20k to get it back. Give me a blacklisted mail server over that.
B
I have more questions for the survey
craigslist vs ebay

cars vs autotrader
M
I answer the Cars vs AT question on the iMagicLab community forum a while back... it's basically all about market supply (which you can check by running a broad search on each site), your competitors, and your combination of inventory size and correlation to your brand.


If you're a big store with on-brand stuff that people want, go with Autotrader.

If you're a small store, or have good off-brand stuff but a low-demand franchise, go with Cars.

And if you search both sites and find that in your radius, AT has 3,000 cars listed and Cars has 1,500, take that into heavy consideration.
B
running a little test at the present time to see what will be the best place to market this semi truck thing
http://swopetoyota.cms.dealer.com/featured_vehicles.htm
J
  • J
  • May 5, 2008
@ Brian in Etown:

Not sure what your test consists of, but commercialtrucktrader.com will be your best bet on something like that. Let me guess, someone traded it in for a Prius? :)
B
kind of debating that very thing now, the problem I have is finding what category that thing fits in..... any ideas? medium duty, semi truck or box truck? I see that commercial truck trader has about 216,000 visits a month according to compete. Thanks for the feedback but it was actually a trade on a Sienna van....go figure.
W
@ Alex Synder- Don't know if this was posted yet but Congratulations on being voted #1 Dealer Website by Auto Dealer Monthly. Your group site is very impressive!!
J
Ok guys, lets get this one back on track.

1. B. Get one phone lead - I'll take a phone lead over 3 emails leads any day.

2. B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO - SEO becomes residual sales and income.

3. A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high”. - I can overcome a pricing objection.

4. B. Have no form at all for service - No response to a form can make the customer feel unimportant and give a bad first impression.

5. A. Have a competitor directly under you in the SERPs - Assuming the customer did a keyword search for my dealer, I'll take a competitive dealer under my dealers URL in the SERPS any day.

6. B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue - Residual on a previous customer in the sales department is nice but making money on service could be several times a year per customer rather then once every 3-5 years.

7. B. Remove all the email forms from your site and rely only on the phone numbers. - I know I'm breaking the rules a little here but this would depend on the manufacturer. Mercedes = PHONE, Honda = Forms

8. Lose your domain name - This is a tough one. If you loose your domain you could loose all of your placement in the SERPS but being blacklisted prevents total email communication, like cutting the phone line. But of course I might answer that one differently if I never had a form on my website like in question 7.
M
"6. B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue - Residual on a previous customer in the sales department is but nice making money on service could be several times a year rather then once every 3-5 years."

Right, and besides, who stays at one dealership for 5 years? Fuggedaboutit!
E
B. Get one phone lead - of course the disclaimer is that if the three email leads came from my highest closing ratio provider...

B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO - nobody with any smarts clicks in the paids

A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high” - not having what they want is almost always insurmountable

B. Have no form at all - agree with Jeff on this one...only get one chance to make a first impression

A. Have a competitor directly under you in the SERPs - hate bad reviews!

A. Have a payplan that pays out for previous Internet customers - there is something to be said for being able to garner repeat and referral from the mooches :-)

B. Remove all the email forms from your site and rely only on the phone numbers - again...the phone is the gold.

B. Have your mail server blacklisted - Mail server is replaceable - domain is not as easy to replace.

W
I'll take my crack at these. It's interesting, I look at this from a Internet Marketer perspective rather than a dealer insider so there could be some differences of opinion here.

A. Get three third party email leads
Or
B. Get one phone lead - Big time. There is all sorts of controversey around 3rd party leads, across lots of industries these days (look up news with a stock VCLK). Further, someone that calls the dealership is likely to be further through the buying process and has already expressed an interest in your particular dealer.

A. Spend $2,000 on PPC - Absolutely here as well. SEO is a process that can take time and it's hard to find decent SEO work for under $1,500 per month. BTW - Ranking for your dealer name isn't decent SEO work, you wouldn't believe how many people want to argue with me on this. So, at best you would get about 1 month of SEO, where solid SEO work usually requires about 12 months. Further, for $2,000 you could buy a lot of clicks to your site. A lot dealers say PPC doesn't work, but I often see PPC being too poorly targeted - too broad and too early in the buying cycle - to be effective.
Or
B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO

A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high” - If the price is "too high" then you have what the customer wants so they are emotionally tied in to you, the price might just be an excuse for other emotional triggers they are having about a major purchase. Good salesmanship and consulting seems like it would frequently overcome this - if you actually have what the customer wants.
Or
B. Get an email saying “you don’t have what I want”

A. Have a Service Appointment form on your site that never gets responded to - YOU HAVE TO HAVE FORMS - Internet users expect forms. If the form isn't getting responses then you can always test and alter it until you are closer to the performance you wanted for it.
Or
B. Have no form at all

A. Have a competitor directly under you in the SERPs - Absolutely. Customers expect competitors - there are 10s of thousands of dealerships in the US. Negative customer reviews can really harm a business - just Google 'Husker BMW'. These guys have been slaughtered on the Internet for a problem they had on eBayMotors.
Or
B. Have a negative consumer review directly under you

A. Have a payplan that pays out for previous Internet customers - This one is out of my league.
Or
B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue

A. Remove all the phone numbers from your site and rely only on the email forms - I would have to say remove phone numbers. A lot of Internet visitors don't want personal contact for their stage of the buying cycle, but they do want to ask questions through email at 2am. Once the email dialouge is good, they will want the phone number or you could send it to them.
Or
B. Remove all the email forms from your site and rely only on the phone numbers

A. Lose your domain name - A good email marketing campaign is crucial. Domain names can change.
Or
B. Have your mail server blacklisted


A
Mitch -

"And Alex, regarding your comment about those elusive "positive" reviews from consumers... that's pretty much on you, the dealer, to solicit. Consumers aren't going to write good things by their own accord."

That was a joke - I've never seen a customer create a happy website about a car dealership.
R
I Have to place my 2 cents worth and it would be spend the budget on PPC & SEO. 2k on PPC will get you the immediate results and SEO will eventually take over, of course that is if your existing site is optimized and continually updated. So I would recommend a vendor that offers website design as well as PPC with the testimonials to back up the results. So to conclude my 2 cents with past and current experience what we have found is that direct hits to your website have the highest conversion and we all know Owners and GM's like high ROI!
- Ron (DealerFire)
J
I'll think I'll go over to Ron's blog and post an ad for a used Chevy Trailblazer.
M
Ha, I know you were joking Alex... just wanted to spin it so people would realize you can actually get positive reviews out of customers. It's just that you can't wait for them to do it themselves.
L
1. Definitely phone leads.

2. Spend $2,000 on PPC - I like instant gratification, especially if you put money on keywords that convert the best. SEO is important, but I think most of us who read this blog are constantly optimizing our sites by creating relevant content and keywords that are appreciated by consumers and indexed by search engines.

3. “your price is too high” Can't sell what you don't have.

4. Have no form at all - lack of response is a buzz kill for converting first time unique visitors into returning visitors and getting bookmarked. If you're gonna spend money on service PPC campaigns to drive customers to your website, you better answer their online request. If they put out the effort of giving their real name and a valid phone number/email, they deserve an immediate response. Otherwise, delete the form and convert to a phone lead.

5. Have a negative consumer review directly under you - curious customers will still click on your weblink. Bad press is better than no press. Negative reviews give more attention to you than your competition dominating the SERPS. How many people are aware of Husker BMW now? The great thing about feedback, positive or negative, is that you can respond to it, blog about it, refute it, YouTube it, provide "happy customer" testimontials to counteract it, and use it as a launch pad for even more press.

6. Have a payplan that pays out for previous Internet customers - the internet has changed owner loyalty and it's important that we don't forget about the customer after the first sale. We spend all this time trying to buy leads from third parties, optimize our websites, implement SEM, just to get new prospects. We should spend at least half the time we do on current customers as we do prospecting. These customers can be a huge referral base, regardless of geography. We should get back the investment we put into advertising so hard to acquire the "internet" customer in the first place!

7. Remove all the email forms from your site and rely only on the phone numbers. PHONE LEADS rock! The biggest challenge of our bdc is getting customers to give us their phone number. It takes a lot of effort - we average between 5 and 10 emails back and forth to a customer - before they finally give in and share their phone #. How many of you get ebay local "best offers" on a car, and all you have is their ebay id? ? No phone number, no email address, no customer name. How much time is wasted trying to respond to these leads? In "internet lead triage," the ones with phone numbers are always treated first.

8. Have your mail server blacklisted. Their are tons or legit, whitelisted email marketing firms out there who are happy to host your email marketing campaigns. Losing your domain name or getting blacklisted by the search engines is sure death for a website and it can take years to get back into Page 1 of SERPS.
B
1. One Call vs. three 3rd Party leads - If 3rd party leads close at around 8% then you have a 25% shot at selling a car where a good phone salesman can close 1/3 or 1/4. I'll take the phone lead because it’s pre-qualified for location and dealer appeal. I don't believe people call too often to waste your time, and ask for lease prices and deals, if they don't like your dealership.

A 3rd party email lead may be out of your PMA and just price shopping and often is a blind lead (they don't know where the lead is going). Thus if the consumer had a bad experience at your dealership in the past, they will not respond to your email quotes or calls. So, some of the 3 could be bumped out once they see who you are either by location or past experience.
_______________

2. $2,000 PPC vs. $2,000 SEO - SEO wins if dealership has a longer term strategy to sales development. PPC is designed for instant gratification so if the owner of the dealership gave me $2,000 and expected me to pump up this month's sales volume, it would have to go PPC. If he wanted me to invest in the future, SEO is always the smarter choice.
________________

3. Price is too high vs. You don't have what I want - Always easier to work on the price argument since in the second case they may need to purchase a car quickly and getting a car from another dealer (if possible) may delay and lose the sale. In most cases, everyone is in the same ballpark. With lease pricing it may be due to how the deal was written with drive-off costs and fees. Take the time to walk through the numbers and make the deal work.

_____________

4. Broken Form vs. No Form - The choices was not to fix the form so my answer would be to have no form. It will only frustrate the customer and when they show up for an appointment, that they thought they booked, the experience will alienate a customer.

__________

5. Competitor Under Your Name or Bad Review - Competitors are always around SERP's when you do state and local searches so I'd take that any day. A negative comment on a site like "Dealerrater.com" showing under your SERP can blow up a sale. I have found ways to push all negative comments off page one and two for my clients. That has been a blessing since it is very easy for consumers to post negative and harmful posts at no cost at all that stay indexed forever. Also, dealers need to get their positive reviews posted on Yahoo Local, Google Maps and Dealerrater which will balance comments if negative articles are found or if consumers visit sites like Dealerrater directly.

_______________
6. Pay Plans - I think I would want to be paid for today's performance since the longevity of most sales professional is short and the "annuity" life model in the question may never pay off for past Internet customers.

_________

7. Phone vs. Email - Without reading too much into this, the question would seem that a site could operate in a vacuum and not have a phone number on the site. This would mean that people would have to use 411 or the yellow pages to find their number and call after visiting the website. If other dealers did not have to abide by the same rule, it would soon become obvious that you would have frustrated customers who go to the website to call “service” or “support” and find no phone numbers on the website. So, since I would never want to anger my customer or shoppers, email would come off.

8. Lose Domain vs. Blacklist Mail Server - You never want to lose a good domain, especially one that has been indexed and ranked for years. It takes one phone call to godaddy.com to get a new domain name that you can use for email. So, if your site was www.circlebmw.com, you could create a new URL for email which could be www.circlebmwsales.com.

Blacklisting only applies to outbound emails, so people could still email you and you would just respond with the new URL name until everyone was aware of your new email address. Remember, your URL is what is ranked by Google and Yahoo and not the mail server. If you unfortunately sent out a bunch of spam and got blacklisted, you will still have your domain rankings unharmed.

W
Brian wrote:

"I have found ways to push all negative comments off page one and two for my clients."

Hi Brian, I'm currently focused on this and was curious what ways you are using. I'm using PRs right now. Last week I submitted two PRs and they filled up 4 positions on the front page of Google results the very next day. Thanks
M
  • M
    Michelle
  • November 6, 2008
ooohhhh I love this game..But lets try this version:(just for fun guys..
Would you rather-
1)Be an ISM
or
Wear a purple gorilla suite and wave in customers?
2)Call tech support
or
Bite your own arm off and eat it?
3)Ask your GM why it is that you generate the sales you do every month and get paid less then the clean up guy
or
Have sextuplets?
4)Have your new car salesmanager ask you AGAIN why you are GIVING away a car for that price
or
fight a bobcat in a paper bag?
5)Have someone who does not even know how to turn on a computer tell you they picked out your NEW crm that you will start using tomorrow
or
Get a large gun for them or you, at this point it does not really matter?

Ah yes, I remember now why I NEVER said "I want to grow up and be an ISM"..just needed a little reminding..Hey guys, maybe one day I can be promoted to villege idiot..just kidding, I really do love my job and since I'm the only one crazy enough to do it at our dealership, maybe I won't have a heartattack. I wonder if workers comp would cover it if I did...
M
  • M
    Michelle
  • November 6, 2008
ooohhhh I love this game..But lets try this version:(just for fun guys..)
Would you rather-
1)Be an ISM
or
Wear a purple gorilla suit and wave in customers?
2)Call tech support
or
Bite your own arm off and eat it?
3)Ask your GM why it is that you generate the sales you do every month and get paid less then the clean up guy
or
Have sextuplets?
4)Have your new car sales manager ask you AGAIN why you are GIVING away a car for that price
or
fight a bobcat in a paper bag?
5)Have someone who does not even know how to turn on a computer tell you they picked out your NEW crm that you will start using tomorrow
or
Get a large gun for them or you, at this point it does not really matter?

Ah yes, I remember now why I NEVER said "I want to grow up and be an ISM"..just needed a little reminding..Hey guys, maybe one day I can be promoted to villege idiot..just kidding, I really do love my job and since I'm the only one crazy enough to do it at our dealership, maybe I won't have a heartattack. I wonder if workers comp would cover it if I did...
S
Would you rather…

I would:

1 - B. Get one phone lead : I have the customer on the phone right now and I have more chances to take control of the situation.

2 - B. Spend $2,000 on high-level SEO : I need more traffic at my website because I have a better closing percentage with leads from my site.

3 - A. Get an email from a customer saying “your price is too high" : I know the customer is a buyer and if we can come to agreement we have a deal. It gives us an opportunity to keep working with them and grinding them to make a deal.

4 - B. Have no form at all: Those leads are often ignored and they clog up the CRM/ILM. Although the choice of having the service form would work greatly if a process can be created for those leads to come directly to the service department. Perhaps it might be a great idea to create a service CRM?

5 - A. Have a competitor directly under you in the SERPs : Keep the competitor under me so that dealers can see how great my site and dealership are and they can look at the other dealership to see how much they such when compared to my store. I do not want to sound like a sales person marketing the company that I represent. However, even if and when I stop working for this company I will keep believing in the product because I think it is genius. I think that when you keep it on your site you are more likely to impress a customer because they are seeing something different. This is why I want the competition right below me. I want to stand out and be different.

6 - B. Have one that pays out for Internet-based Service revenue : It would be nice to earn residual income a few times per year from retaining and keeping a loyal customer. It takes work to keep them loyal so why not get paid for the work?

7 - I have to agree with Jeff on this one. Being that I have worked with hiline and most of my career was with Honda. I will say that you are more likely to reach a Honda lead then a BMW lead that comes in. It is much better to have a hiline lead on the phone then as a form lead whereas Honda will work well both ways. So it depends on the brand you represent and you need to use your discretion.

8 - A. Lose your domain name : This is better then having a bad reputation.
S