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From: Jared Hamilton
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Amy Taggart

Amy Taggart Marketing Manager

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Throwing Marketing Money Out the Window? What's Your Process for Follow Up?

It's a given that auto dealers have to spend money to make money. What's become clearer in recent years - as the effects of those dollars have become more and more traceable - is that there are some marketing channels that are more effective than others.

You'll still find the die-hards who are convinced that they have to do print and television advertising at a minimum, regardless of whether they produce quantifiable results.  And unless the dealer is asking absolutely every warm body that wanders onto the lot how they heard about the dealership, he's going to attribute the lion's share of those ups to the intangible brand awareness generated by those ever-present ads.

These days, savvy dealers augment those warm bodies in any way they can:

  • SEO for the dealership website (another given)
  • direct mail partnerships with local banks
  • targeted email campaigns to former customers
  • leads from their OEM
  • 3rd party leads

and just about anything else they can think of, short of dialing for dollars through the phone book.

(Though I'm sure there are some who considered that last one as a real possibility when things were really bad a while back.)

That's all well and good, but unless there's a process in place for turning the interest generated by all that activity into sales, you might as well open up the nearest window and chuck your money out.  It doesn't matter where the prospect comes from – if they don’t hear from you in a timely fashion after they’ve raised their hand, you’ve just wasted the money you spent on the channel they came in from.

If you’ve got a marketing program that isn’t working the way you expect, get that vendor on the phone to talk it through. But before you do that, take a look around your store to see what your team is doing with those prospects. We've covered the top 5 best practices for follow up, but here’s a refresher:

  1. Make contact quickly
  2. Sell the appointment
  3. Don’t prequalify
  4. Work your process
  5. Be consistent

You may have identified your own, based on what works for your store. But if you’re missing one of these, you’re not getting the most you can out of what you’re paying for.

What do you do to ensure that your sales team isn't losing money for you?

Marc McGurren
Great post and things to think about Amy. One of the great things with the age of digital marketing is that much of the generated leads are 100% trackable. I think what most dealers struggle with quantifying where and how customers are coming in. We do a mix of TV, radio, a little print for used cars, and a ton of digital marketing. With ~ 70% or more folks coming to our website and then just showing up on the lot - how do I quantify that lead? Did they see my print, tv, or radio, then go to my site, then show up? Did they see my vehicle on autotrader.com or cars.com and then go to website, then submit lead or call or just show up on lot? I agree 100% in doing are darndest to track where our money is going - but in reality I don't think we will ever be able to get a true grasp of ROI on every avenue of advertising. We can get a pretty good idea - but with so many ways to communicate with the customer, its hard to put a finger on exactly what generated that lead. Your thoughts?
Amy Taggart
The good news there Marc is that your prospects are seeing you all over the place. There are multiple channels pushing them to get in to see you. It is tough to get accurate data on what motivated the buyer - that's why I encourage dealers to take a look at their process, the one thing they do have control over. It almost doesn't matter where they come from, as long as the sales team is giving the prospects attention consistently -- to make contact in order to DQ or sell them a car -- whether they're there in person or online.

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