Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

By Jared Hamilton on Dec 1, 2009

Why your Internet Sales Process matters more now than it ever has, and the 7 Process Points you must execute to be successful: masters-series-logoAdvanced marketing tactics like SEO and Social Media Marketing are a big focus in the industry right now. These marketing tools are very successful at moving the bar forward and YES your dealership needs to be involved.  However, if you are growing your arsenal of marketing tools you are also being more wasteful if your process is not nailed down.  Your store should not be investing more marketing dollars unless your customer funnel is proven to convert the customers into deals.  As the economy rebounds and you look to grow your marketing it's a perfect time to do a dealership process check up.  How does your store stack up? The Correct Internet Sales Process A successful Internet sales process is not rocket science.  There are 7 things every process should accomplish.  By executing these seven points consistently and with your dealerships brand, you will maximize your close rates.  Use this as a checklist to grade your dealerships process: 1. Quick Response time Yes, this concept has been beat into the industry but in this age of immediacy it continues to be one of the largest separators of success.  An hour to respond to an email is NOT acceptable.  Your response needs to be within minutes, if you cannot do this consistently restructure your department or use technology that can respond with YOUR price quote immediately. Do not measure, average response time, it's a bogus measurement.  Instead measure what % of the time you responded within 15 minutes.  Face it, if you don't respond quickly the chances of closing the deal drops dramatically. 2. Transparency in price, availability and trade Customers can get whatever information they want.  If they don't get it from you they will get it elsewhere.  Don't let that happen.  If they ask for a price give them a price.  If they want to know what their trade is worth talk to them about it.  Don't ever avoid a question.  Be transparent, be engaging, be a place they want to do business, answer their questions and give them a reason to come see you. 3. Provide multiple options When customers go online the regularly add features or submit requests on vehicles out of their price range.  They are curious, they are hopeful and they are human... trying for something better than current reality is just what we do.  Once you realize they are unlikely to buy the vehicle they submitted a lead on you realize the importance in providing options to them.  This helps engage the customer with you as they explore their options and come to reality of what the best car for them really is. 4. Sell the advantages of your product Again, customers regularly DO NOT buy the product they submitted a lead on.  Many even switch brands or bounce from new to used and vice versa.  Clearly the MYTH that Internet customers know exactly what they want is FALSE.  You need to "sell" your product. How do you do this?  Provide links.  Send them to your product landing pages, micro sites and the pages that tell your brand proposition.  If you don't have these pages built and optimized put that on your list of things to do.  Use OEM sites, outside news stories, social media profiles and your dealership ratings and reviews to boost your brand proposition. Do be cautious sending customers to sites you down own, you have less control but added 3rd party credibility.  Balance the pros/cons appropriately. Track these links.  Your CRM should be able to tell you who is clicking on what, replace the links that get no action and keep the content fresh. 5. Phone call to request appointment If the customer provided a phone number you have permission to use it.  Call them.  Confirm they got your email, start a conversation to get to know them.  The one piece of your product another store cannot is your relationship with the customer, be sure that relationship is strong.  Use a phone script, set an appointment and track your shows. 6. Long term follow up Most 3rd party leads close AFTER 30 days.  If you are a dealership that does a great job at following its customers for 3 weeks, congratulation!  You could double your closing rate if you could extend that follow up/engagement process follows for an additional 60 days.   Long term follow up should be more than automated emails or a dealership newsletter.  Include regular phone calls into the mix.  You are most likely better at building and maintaining relationships on the phone than you are at email.  Use this to your advantage. 7. Differentiated "customer friendly" sales process After you have done all this work to get the Internet Customer to the dealership, don't blow it with a bad "in person" sales process.  Continue to be transparent, answer questions, be a resource and over come objections.   You should close an exceptionally high number of your Internet appointments that show up.  It's ok to sell and be a closer, just maintain your customer relationship through the process and you will be fine. Dealership Internet Sales Success If there is one thing I would I would emphasis is consistency.  We are in the business of doing the little things a lot of times.  Measure every step of your process and report with your management team in weekly meetings.  Reward the process by keeping spiffs and awards focused on execution.  You cannot manage results but you can manage the activities that get the results.  The 7 activities listed above will get you results but most stores struggle in the execution of their process.  Hitting all 7 points consistently is an uphill climb.   Where does your store excel and where does it fall short?  What is the biggest tip you could offer your fellow dealers about executing your process correctly?  Please share...

Comments

Great info what ideas do you have for the first email should it be price?

Apr 9, 2013

Comments 1 - 1 of 1

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Jared Hamilton's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Do Unto Others...

    There's making donations to the community. And then there's this. See what happens when a marketing and community relations strategy gets tied in with a video strategy.Read post

  • Presidents Club 2014: Most Valuable Insight Competition

    This grouping of ten-minute presentations is intended to give speakers an opportunity to reveal new data and research techniques or findings germane to the automotive industry. Kevin Root, President of Driving Sales explained that, “Research, it’s a word that’s tossed out a lot and it means a lot of different things to different people.”Read post

  • Further Changes to Twitter Interface Looking A Lot Like Facebook

    The new Twitter profile look features a header photo that spans the width of the page, appearing very similar to the Facebook cover photo. The new profile also has an in-set user photo above the bio summary, which is also similar to the design of Facebook profiles. Read post

  • Help Your Dealership Bloom with Purchase Options

    Have you ever really explained to your customers the difference between leasing and purchasing a vehicle? Do your customers really understand all their purchasing options? Are your customers opting to purchase a more economical vehicle because they don’t understand they could pay practically the same monthly payment by leasing a higher quality vehicle? Well, don’t you think it is time to explain to them the difference between buying and leasing the vehicles on your lot? Today, you’ll learn some important things to communicate to customers to help them understand their purchasing options. Driving Style Another thing consumers don’t typically think about when purchasing or leasing a vehicle is their driving style. For consumers who will drive their vehicle to work and around town on the weekends, a lease is the perfect option for them. If the consumer wants to use their vehicle for vacation trips, weekend trips, or commutes a long distance to work, they’ll probably want to opt...Read post

  • Stealing Customers From Your Competitors Showroom

    Mobile is all around us, digital technologies are changing faster than we could ever imagine, and smart marketers are faced with the task of using this to our advantage! Along with the rise of smartphone usage, GPS enabled devices and location based services, smarter apps, and our seemingly overwhelming desire to share every move publicly (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare) has resulted in a massive amount of behavior-based-geographical-data. Let it be known, wherever there is big data in play, it’s not too long before it’s leveraged using the latest technology for marketing!Read post

  • Dealer Service & Loyalty Boost Highlights Importance of Customer Experience

    The recently released J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Customer Service Index Study produced some interesting, and very promising, results. The report concluded that customer satisfaction with dealer service has increased across the board with overall CSI increasing from an average score of 846 to 855 in luxury brands, and from 789 to 797 in mass-market brands. The study noted some especially impactful trends when it came to customers that have complimentary or prepaid maintenance programs. In mass-market brands, where complimentary maintenance programs are less common, the study found that buyers of prepaid maintenance jumped from 15% to 46% over the past 5 years. The study shows that customers are gravitating towards the convenience of worry-free maintenance costs. According to Chris Sutton, senior director of the U.S. Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power, “Maintenance packages – whether they’re complimentary or paid for by the owners – create a long-term relationship between the ...Read post

  • Improve Your Results with these Top 5 Best Practices for Following Up

    New month, new blog series. This is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts -- following up on leads. Sure, we deliver car buyers to you, but we that's as far as we can take it. Then we have to put these consumers into your capable hands and let your sales process take over from there. (Any sales rep will tell you that this is where the real magic happens.) We've come a long way from our humble beginnings as 1-800-CAR-LOAN in 1989, and during that time we've collected some recommendations for best practices that will give you, our dealer partner, the best results.Read post

  • Want the REAL Reasons Women Buy from their Salesperson?

    Welcome to Women’s Wednesday! Dealers who “get it” know that the key distinction in optimizing sales to women is having exceptional sales advisors who offer exceptional service. But what does that really look like? Women tell us directly through our car dealer review platform what works for them when interacting with a sales agent. Below are their top 5 reasons for buying a car from them: Trust 52.3% Being Respectful 52.1% Likeable 47.8% Knowledgeable 45.6% Understanding 40.6% These percentages add up to more than 100% because reviewers can submit multiple answers. NOTE: Coming in at 34% was the ‘price of the vehicle’. It is important, but ranks 6th overall. Clearly, connection and relationship are pivotal, outranking price. Trust: Women buy from those they trust. It’s essential to build trust – that rapport can take just a matter of minutes to create. The best way to build trust is to provide valuable and relevant information, quality guidance and advice. Be h...Read post