Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

Can Great Data + Great Buying Experience = Great Sales?

By Keith Shetterly on Feb 28, 2012

I've been involved in the TrueCar discussions for months now, sometimes prominently.  And the idea of protecting the dealers'--nay the industry's--data has become very, very important to me.  Thank you, Jim Ziegler, for goading us to pay attention to these issues.

However, lately I've taken to also looking at these points:  Is the "Data Horse" already out of the barn?  Data genie out of the bottle?  Data under the bridge?  Maybe, maybe not.  

And even if we can still just lock all vendors out of the dealers' data . . . well, what ramifications does that have for our business?  Should we just pull that plug with possibly as much ignorance in stopping the practice as we have had during it's birth and growth (when we, admittedly, weren't paying any attention)?  Are there strong and business-REQUIRED positives which we don't even know about that will die without that information?  And hurt dealers' business?  It is very hard to tell just where the data goes in all this, how much is sourced back at the dealer, how much is sourced downstream, and how much is sourced in ways we just don't know about at all.  That's our fault, being taken advantage of by vendors because we weren't paying attention.

Thinking it through, then, it seems to me that dealer data used only to provide buyers--and not giving those buyers a better buying experience!--is doomed to fail.  Call that model what we've seen from TrueCar.  So, forgetting all the emotional errata on that for few moments, I think that "better buying" experience is just what TC left out.  They focused on the "negotiation" but not the sale and used stereotypes to position themselves with consumers as their advocate--I have pointed out many times  that I believe that Painter's anti-dealer position blinded him to who TC's real customers are (dealers!!), so those stereotypes are Cheap & EZ Marketing 101 for those who make that mistake from their own prejudices.

However, these negative car-buying stereotypes exist today, and people are still experiencing them.  Or saying they are.  Cases in point are a couple of articles I read this week about the horrible buying experience some women still have with dealerships, and also sometimes men (one is by Becky Quick at Fortune, and see another in Forbes). Whether this is really still a rampant problem or not, it's a rampant STEREOTYPE.  I've compared the need for Painter's ouster from TC as the same issue that Nixon had--no matter what you thought of the president, politically he Had To Go.

Well, WE are our own "Nixon" here on the buying experience issue, and we can't remove ourselves from the seat in the middle.  We CAN, however, pursue a modern buying method that serves the dealer's bottom line, modernizes the sales staff and processes, and delivers a great experience for the buyers.  Make any bad sales process "resign like Nixon", and right NOW.

On top of that, we have controversies over Google's March 1, 2012 privacy changes, the Whitehouse wanting data privacy standards, and the EPIC/FTC fight about privacy and Google.  We need to know how our own data in our own industry can be protected and put to use for the dealers.

We don't need to focus on the past ("When you let your past go, just make sure it doesn't run ahead into your future." - Keith Shetterly) or we just drag along our own stereotypes.  

IF the data aggregators information could be turned into a positive for the dealers, providing great buyers, and then the dealers can provide a great buying experience, THAT is modernization.  Great Dealer Evolution, not Painter's Dealer Cataclysm.

Is there a vendor out there to do this?  I perceive that Criss Castle, Ralph Paglia, and myself have recently made the point in Jim Ziegler's TrueCar Blog that data use on BEHALF of the dealers for dealer success is certainly a possibility.  A great pro-dealer cause, if you will, especially if the "data horse is really out of the barn."

Who is that vendor that will rise up and make great and fair money for themselves and dealers while promoting--and helping to provide--that great modern buying experience for both men and women shoppers?  Is there one?  Can there be one?

I don't know.  But I know we need one.

 

by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved www.keithshetterly.com
keithshetterly@gmail.com

Comments

Well put Keith. After all the wsrehousing of Data IS important but the utilization of it is wisdom (O.K. slight rip-off on a great quote re: knowledge vs. wisdom).

Feb 28, 2012

Comments 1 - 1 of 0

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Keith Shetterly's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Want to Move More Metal? Make Contact with Your Leads Quickly

    Last week we introduced this month's blog topic, the Top 5 Best Practices for Following Up on leads at your dealership. Today, let's take a look at the #1 Best Practice, "Make Contact Quickly."Read post

  • Is Facebook set to launch a Mobile Ad Network?

    If the rumors prove true, this would mean that the social networking company with over a billion users is going to leverage, as only they are able, their large collection of user data. Facebook users, by interacting on its platform, actually keep the company updated to some extent on changes regarding what they like and may purchase. That kind of insight is very appealing from a marketing perspective.Read post

  • Why Work Harder For Less?

    Why Work Harder For Less? On this week's Think Tank Tuesday: ✓ Learn how to identify your clients ✓ Find out what you need to be spending time on ✓ Determine key mistakes in your sales process Read post

  • Automotive Management Training: Recycling Your Perspective

    No matter your experience or wisdom, recycle your thinking to the time you were a seedling. Stay green and let yourself grow!Read post

  • What Is Anticipatory Customer Service?

    A fascinating article in Forbes shared a concept that is increasingly winning over customers. In the article, the author described what he termed “anticipatory customer service” as “a customer experience that manages to serve even the unexpressed wishes and needs of your customers through the use of technology and automation.” People are busy. A gesture such as an emailed service reminder that a customer can view when they have time in their hectic schedule, is certainly appreciated by many. However, Anticipatory Customer Service takes this to another level. Depending on the circumstances and the customer preferences, not only would you e-mail the customer, you would also call them, send a text message and then a letter as well. This method works well for customers who want this communication. When a customer drops their car off for service, they want to be kept up-to-date on progress and completion.  If they’re in a meeting, they might prefer a text message. While if the...Read post

  • Is a PPC Service Really Worth 20%? The Math Doesn't Add Up.

    I really don't know who I'm going to offend on this one. We've been researching so many vendors over the last couple of months that work with chat, lead-gen widgets, and website platforms themselves that we haven't taken the time to explore PPC vendors. Maybe that's why I was blindsided to find out that there are at least two vendors out there charging 20% and one that we found who is charging 25%. Is it me or is this insane? We'll put aside the 25% vendor for now. I'm hopeful that it's some sort of accounting mistake or something. Focusing on the 20% charge, it really bugs me that this may be more common than I ever knew. I've always hung around the organic side of search, so PPC hasn't been a focus. With that said, I've managed dozens of PPC campaigns over the years and I could never imagine charging anything other than a flat fee. To me (and again, I might be on the wrong side of this argument and would be very open to some education on this one), if a dealership is spending $10...Read post

  • Benchmarks for internet leads

      We have been making some changes to our internet process lately. We are evaluating our closing percentages to make sure we are capturing enough deals during each phase of the buying cycle. We do a really good job tracking accurate data, so I feel like our closing percentages are close to accurate.   The problem that we are having is that it has been 5 years since we have done a complete overhaul of our internet process. We feel like the data for national averages that we collected back in 2006 is potentially less accurate than it once was. Here are the #'s that we have according to Polk reports:   56% of new vehicle leads will purchase a new vehicle 42% will purchase a vehicle in less than 30 days 16% will buy between 31-60 days 10% will buy between 61-90 days 32 % will buy in 91 days or more   I was hoping you guys could clarify to see if those closing percentages are still accurate. Also, I had a few more questions:   At what point in the buying cycle to they eve...Read post

  • Apple’s Recent Announcement Of CarPlay Means Big Changes For Drivers

    Apple’s recent announcement of CarPlay which will integrate the iPhone, Apple maps and Siri into the car dashboard, is a move meant to compete directly with Google’s Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), and Microsoft’s Sync platform. This means big changes are in store for how shoppers driving, commuting and traveling by car will find and learn about your business. The fast moving map space plus local-search is attractive areas for innovation for software developers. One of the more interesting innovators taking advantage of the mobile trend is YILLIO which takes maps and local search to the next step by offering a patented ‘route-based’ search. Launched in January, users using YILLIO are able to search for businesses, information and value along their entire route, may it be 10 miles ahead or 150 miles ahead. See our article: Don’t Just Go…… YiLLiO! What’s cool for your biz is it aims to give users the right information; at the right time, by looking at signals such as...Read post