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You, Your Website And Your Sales Don’t Need To Participate In A Down Market

More often than not, pennies are saved by dealers, especially when things are perceived to be or becoming “tight”, while stepping over dollars in the effort to cut to a profit. First, you can’t do either and win. Second, down markets are bought into therefore they don’t need to be participated in.

It used to be that businesses looking to thrive took a combination of calculated risk and finger-in-the-wind chances to stay ahead plus create new opportunities. Now days, the largest emphasis is on making dealerships more of the same at lower investments (or net investments after co-op and incentivized funds), through digital programs, heavily copied traditional advertising, misguided conquest/target advertising and risky moves in completely unproven/unmeasured arenas.

Smart operators must make the commitment to invest their own time, learn new skills, understand and look for accountability in measurement and get to non-OEM, non-vendor events. In auditing websites, CRM, paid search, sales management and more, what is painfully consistent is the lack of inspection, understanding and forethought. Those are hallmarks of the path to failure. Investments must be made to combat the easy road.

Dealer 20 groups, dealer academy and online courses are limited parts of the equation to properly leading a business today. If you can acknowledge that business changes dramatically and constantly now (as you pan through your smartphone apps and social media posts while listening to a regional conference call), what are you doing to keep up with those changes yourself? Blind faith in duplicative vendors, custom reporting that isn’t accountable and that your OEM has your back? Hopefully not…

There is no such thing as a “down market” as there are ALWAYS winners. It takes time, effort, money and, quite frankly, an unbiased set of eyes watching the operations with you. if you are missing your unit objectives by 20, 30 or even 40+ units per month, are you measuring the right things and which vendors are misrepresenting what you are getting?

Step one is always tearing things apart until you understand what the fundamental issues are. A high percentage of the time, what is discovered is a combination of sales efforts and marketing with an emphasis on the latter. If you spent $5,000 for an event that supposedly drove customers and sales and, realistically, the 7,000 visits to your website were under 3 seconds, didn’t generate leads or phone calls, were from mostly desktop devices (unlike the majority of your real traffic) with the majority not landing on another page, such as inventory, your “successful” campaign was a fraud. Did you catch that or did you stoke the check?

The first thing that IM@CS does when assessing any partner is looking at the underlying data. One of the benefits of consulting that nearly everyone misses in a world of product reselling, friendly (commissioned) product referrals and people in nice suites regurgitating Google/Facebook/Instagram/Bing/marketing study speak is understanding “the why” along with the associated error mitigation. Our consulting not only moves a dealership forward with best practices, we also have a focus on “we’ve seen that fail before”. Our clients understand. Sure, they may not remember the exact path to find it, we hope they do over time, however they do end up understanding “why” it looks good on the surface however, ultimately, doesn’t work.

Down markets are built on foundations on mistaken identity, misgiven trust, reliance on misguided perception and blind faith in what the factory feeds everyone. Be your own market. Be your own momentum forward. Be your own growth. Be your conduit to the next level. Growing market share in the only way to measure when your competition is down. Take more, make more.

Be smart. Actually, be really smart, in the coming years and watch for opportunities with the right set of eyeballs watching with you.

Best Practices: Professional Insights, Powerful Results.

2017 New Trends: What You Are Missing Is Sales

Let’s face it. The more you hear about new trends, the more you are likely to invest. The more new trends, the more investment. At what point does a new trend matter as much or more to your business than what works consistently? One constant in Automotive over the past nine plus years of IM@CS’¬†existence is that trends have never given a bigger yield over strong fundamentals. As a matter of fact, we have never guided a client to any significant investment with new trends, however we have with defined trends.

Do you hop on the new trends?

Trend. Merriam-Webster defines a trend as either to “extend in a general direction” (which we call a define trend) or “to veer in a new direction” (which we call a new trend).

It is a significant new trend, and worth while, to leverage text massaging for sales and service. It won’t, however, replace email in the immediate future. We have heard speakers, trainers and consultants recommending dealerships drop email in favor of text and other messaging forms. Does text/messaging tend to receive higher open rates? Yes. Have we seen the same for sales responses? Some lift, in general, yet nowhere close to pervasive. Have we seen those eclipse results from responding to emails and communicating properly, measured in dealership CRM systems? Not yet.

It was a hot new trend to jump into Display Advertising a few years ago, which we have never recommended or had a client spend more than 5% of their budget on. Results? Negligible, at best. Dealership return on investment, reviewed by those NOT taking a commission or fee, was poor at best. Lots of explanations erupted, including the “branding” argument, however the new trend diminished and many dealerships got sensible on their spends, relying more on effective search advertising, better CRM follow up on unsold customers and educating themselves on Google Analytics and other tools.

New, hot trends have shown, year after year, that too much or misappropriated attention causes lapses in core business values, efficiencies and results. We do discuss all types of trends with our clients, and at the same time keep them focused on what drives more efficient spend, while recommending small investments in new tools and technology.

Dealerships need to focus on better digital operation, more efficient showrooms, streamlined and engaging delivery, consumer feedback and top-down management with consistent measurement and accountability.

Hottest new trend for 2017: More dealerships getting real on human capital, education, accountability and customer engagement. We hope…

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results