It Won’t Be Much…and We’ll Throw That In!

Call me forgetful, I can't remember the last time in a website vendor/dealer meeting where the phrase "it won't be much" was used, let alone "we'll throw that in".  Not that dealer service providers don't offer value, discounts or other benefits.

It's just that in a world of "you have to pay more for that" and "we don't do that", having a partnership with vendors really makes sense.  As things go down the 'tougher' road for a while, maybe that will change.  My overall message won't change though, at the end of the day the dealership has to use to products and services they buy.

Today was about getting some SEO and traffic items going to improve results.  Having a client that's receptive to new ideas (like video and text marketing) is helpful, getting everyone to understand what needs to be done hopefully won't be much of a challenge.  Next on the agenda will be marketing their pre-owned cars better on their own site.

Reputation marketing is brand new here and dealers really have the opportunity to start out where many US dealers haven't.  Right now that's limited to Google and Yahoo as the main sites like CarFolks and DealerRater are not up here yet even though that will likely change in the short term (but there is complaints.com).

The 'main' Internet department member is off yesterday and today in training.  Leads are in his queue.  Like with most stores I come in contact with, it always begs the same questions about how prepared and planned we are.  The GM or sales managers are typically (and nearly constantly today) gauging their sales staff with "what's happening" or "do you have someone you're working with right now" or another question that basically asks "are you selling a car right now?".

What do you do when you're staff is off?  How do you plan for when someone is sick?  It's not like the 'old days' where you had the floor sales staff and that was it.  Customers are 'entering' your store 24/7 now.  When is the last time you had a defined strategy for your Internet process other than if you send templates or one-off emails?  What happens when your Internet leads are not touched for 2, 3,4 or 5 hours?  You might have an answer, or a band-aid.  But seriously, what are you doing to always be available?  Customers think car sales people are always available.  We've acted for years as if we are with…"can you come down to the dealership right now?"

It doesn't matter if you have a dedicated Internet staff, or the floor get the leads, or if you have an actual or virtual BDC.  What are you doing to control your business rather than have your business (and your customers) control you?  You must have a plan to be successful.  Take time to understand it.  Make the changes now that need to be done.  You have to pay now for the success that comes later.  Trust me, it won't be much..

2 Comments

  • Gary May (IM@CS) says:

    You are absolutely correct. The purpose was not necessarily to feature some and not mention others, it was to draw attention to the fact that the sites don’t exist in Canada and that dealers up there have a great opportunity. John has a good product with MyDealerReport and has gotten attention lately. As of right now none of the US-based dealer ranking sites have made public plans to launch north of the border.

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