Is being an Internet Manager a Thankless Job?

Gary Sanders
Today, if you ask a customer where they located a vehicle before they arrived there common response is “On-Line”. I am a Lexus dealer and if we sell a 2004 Honda Accord, they were not just driving by. Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled the store sold it, but it gets logged as a “Fresh Up”. Internet Managers duties are to drive traffic; online and in the store. We handle website adjustments, used car inventory updates, marketing and custom used car comments. As ISM we want to know what sites are working and which are not. (CARS, AutoTrader, Home Site, etc…) What are you doing that helps source the customer with the floor Sales Consultants?
Jared Hamilton
Gary - Welcome to DrivingSales, good topic... Personally im not a fan of sourcing walkin customers. (not that I dont want the data, ive just never seen it reliable) We use to do showroom surveys of all the customers in finance. I remember customers telling us they came in thanks to our TV ad, but in reality we hadn't been advertising on TV... Its just not a very exact science. You can do amazing sourcing by watching your referral URLs, your Google Analytics and call tracking numbers, but even those tools dont really help when someone walks in the door without having submitted a lead or called. Are there pay plans at the store where someone gets paid more or less depending on where the deal originates?
Michael Gwillim
Gary- As an ISM, I also deal with these scenarios daily. Sure, I would like to capture 100% of what I work for, but have come to the realization that no matter how hard I try; customers simply are not always going to ask for me or my department. I do however, have some pretty good verbage as well as extra savings that are posted on all sites that make it more inticing to do so. Yes, a thank you would be nice for those customers that made it to the floor. Just keep doing what you are doing, and make sure you are learning something everyday and the rewards will be far greater than a "thank you". Keep up the good work!
Bart Wilson
This is a great question and a problem that is common in most dealerships. It also continues something thats been a topic of debate for quite a while. The problem may be that you have an internet department instead of handing the leads out to the sales floor. As the internet becomes more of a factor in the decision making process amd more of your customers do research online, the time will come when every customer is an internet customer. Where do you draw the line?
Susan Burgess
What was it that I heard at DD7- that in five years we need to be sure our magazine sales departments, our fax sales departments and our internet sales departments are all combined into one department- sales department. I CAN'T WAIT! Still looking for more of those kind of sales reps to hatch- Jared and the rest won't share their crop with! However, I've found some restaurant and hotel folks that would be willing to change and they've got AWESOME customer service skills. At that point I'll be freed up to be able to work with our programmer to build a program that helps accurately "source" advertising and be able to divert more energy to dealership community building and website marketing and designing new ways to make my dealer pull more of his hair out over the "new fangled" technology that I talk!
Gerald Hand
Gary- I too tired quickly of the "drive by" sale when someone was over 40-50 miles away. Sure, he was just driving by. What I do is detective work. Certain vehicles hit Internet customers more than others, but that is a diminishing trend. Before I start each day, I retrieve the sold log from the desk, make a copy, and scrub information from CRM, the DMS and then look at inbound calls from our SEM campaign and reports from and autotrader. I constantly find a large number of deals each month I can attribute to Internet sales. If there is no connection, I will call the customer and thank them for the business and see if there are any questions before asking how they found us. This also doubles as a pre-CSI check to address potential problems. Another tact is to price them accordingly. For example, we priced a car ending with $xx,x88 as an Internet deal while a $xx,x75 price was print/radio what have you. In one instance I had to fire Autotrader when we were spending $5,000/month and could only attribute 2 sales/month to A/T. Once the well dried up, the sales guys started being more judicious in their reporting.

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