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

  • 2015 Most Valuable Insight Finalists Announced

    The Most Valuable Insight Competition is designed to reveal and showcase never-before released data and research unique in the automotive industry. The competition was created in the spirit of progress and industry thought leadership. Here are the 2015 DrivingSales Most Valuable Insight Finalists...Read post

  • Navigating SEO: 4 Google Quality Guidelines You're Probably Not Obeying

    Navigating SEO is a DrivingSales.com exclusive series by Timothy Martell, CEO of Wikimotive. Each Friday, Tim breaks down ways dealers can improve their SEO and offers insight into how it will benefit business.   As a website and business owner, you can do whatever you want with your website as long as it's not illegal. But in order to rank on Google and reap the profits associated with organic traffic, you have to abide by their set of quality guidelines.   What are Google's Quality Guidelines, though?   Google's Quality Guidelines are a set of principles the company presents to website owners and administrators to give them a better idea of the qualities that Google looks for in a quality website.   It's in Google's best interest to send users to pages with the most relevant, high quality content that also provide a clean user experience.   Without that, Google's own quality and user experience would be called in question.   So far, however, Google has been the...Read post

  • Craigslist Numbers are Simply Too Good for Dealers to Ignore

    In an atmosphere where dealers are rightfully searching for demonstrable ROI, it's our task to make sure they understand the numbers behind sites like Craigslist, eBay Motors, and posts on social media. We dive into the numbers constantly and if there's one unquestionable trend we've seen, it's that Craigslist results are better now than they've ever been. Is the site getting more popular? Did many dealers stop using it when they started charging for the listings? Are consumers relying more on classifieds today than they have in the past? The answer to all of these questions is, "yes." The site continues to grow. Despite its age and the way that the internet tends to like newer sites and services, Craigslist has remained in the upper echelon of sites like eBay, Amazon, and AutoTrader as maintaining strong numbers regardless of age. When Craigslist started charging $5 per listing, many dealers left. For a while, its free listings meant that many companies were able to "spam" the li...Read post

  • Catch Spring Fever with St. Patrick's Day

    Ok, so I’ll admit it. It’s pretty hard to think about spring with the looming winter season still abundantly here. But you can’t deny the idea of green grass, flowers, and warm weather entices you to think about the spring season ahead. The month of March presents a great opportunity for you to help your customers catch spring fever. This week’s campaign idea is all about promoting your dealership and driving traffic by leveraging St. Patrick’s Day. Get the Luck of the Irish This twist on St. Patrick’s Day marketing is a fun one. All you’ll need is some green construction paper, a pair of scissors, and a marker. Cut out several of four-leaf clovers, then depending on your March goals, write vehicle incentives or service savings on the back of each one. If you decide to promote vehicle incentives, tape the clovers to the windshield of your new vehicle inventory and allow customers to redeem upon purchase. If you decide to promote service savings, tape the clovers to the f...Read post

  • Necessary VDP Elements

    A big first step toward revamping a dealership website for better lead generation often involves cleaning up the VDPs (Vehicle Display Pages). A good strategy is to strip off anything unnecessary and/or distracting, leaving only what the customer needs to get information, build trust and move down the purchase funnel. Below are some VDP elements that can help enhance the customer experience without giving them an opportunity to bail. The first pieces of a VDP are great photos that show off the vehicle's features. This is the most basic of VDP elements. Having actual photos of the vehicle described in the VDP, rather than a stock photo, is always highly preferred. In addition, the VDP should accurately describe everything about the vehicle including MPG, any extras or features, and any other technical specifications a customer might want to know. Showing alternate similar vehicles at slightly varying price points can keep a customer on your site if they like what they see on the VDP, b...Read post

  • Jared Hamilton to Unveil Compelling Research on How to Close Today’s Shoppers

    At this year's Presidents Club Jared Hamilton, Founder and CEO of DrivingSales, will share exclusive insights from DrivingSales’ 1-year, $1 million research project into how dealers can tap into the true emotional drivers behind the behavior of today’s auto shoppers.Read post

  • 4 Reasons Your Dealership Should Hire a Millennial Workforce

    Generation Y has gotten a bad rep over the past few years, however there are some distinct characteristics that should not be overlooked when considering them to be a part of your dealership’s staff. The following characteristics are advantages that could increase your bottom line, so listen up!     All About That Tech   Millennials are tech savvy. They grew up during the birth of the World Wide Web, and they aren’t afraid to use it. Computers, smartphones, tablets. Websites and Apps. If it’s digital, they’re masters at it. As automotive retail becomes fully immersed in digital engagement, it’s more important than ever to have people on your team who know how to use the digital tools to engage with their own generation, the people of older generations who are picking it up, and those who come after them. Whether you’re looking for a marketing professional to ensure your dealership’s name is forefront in online consumers’ minds or a Salesperson who could up...Read post

  • CarStory Market Reports Selected for DealerInspire’s Award-Winning Dealer Website Platform

    DealerInspire’s network of dealers now have immediate access to CarStory’s unique reports, which are based on analysis of millions of used vehicle listings and millions of real-world, real-time searches by online shoppers.   Austin, Texas – March 3, 2015 – CarStory, the industry’s largest provider of crowdsourced data and analytics on used vehicle pricing and preferences, today announced another partnership with a leading provider of dealership websites, DealerInspire. An advanced website platform for the automotive industry, DealerInspire has integrated CarStory Market Reports, a free merchandising tool and lead source, into its award-winning website platform. To date, over 3,000 dealers now have access to CarStory Market Reports.   “Today’s auto shoppers use 24 research touch points in their car buying process. Every time a consumer leaves a dealer website to find more information, it is a lost opportunity. Keeping consumers engaged by delivering information and ...Read post