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2008/2009 has to be making the most of what we already do!
I think its safe to say, that as an industry, we are not going to sell more cars. If that's the case, how do we make sure that we get more than our share? Are there things we can do so we get more than our share or do we have to just take what the industry gives us? I think we can all agree, when the going gets tough, the dealers/salespeople that are on top of their game, get more than their fair share! What can you do to make sure you are one of them?
What we need more than ever today is to be better at what we already currently do and the products we already use.
CRM/ILM......Take a good CRM/ILM. What a POWERFUL tool. Does it help us sell more cars? Over and over again! But only if we dig into it, learn it and use it to its fullest capability. In fact, the more we learn the features and functions and start to use them, we find that we start selling more cars in so many different ways. A good CRM/ILM is a powerful tool and I will go so far as to say that a GREAT CRM/ILM can and does take an average dealer to good, a great dealer to excellent and an excellent dealer to unstoppable - its that powerful but only if we REALLY use it and understand it. The problem for many salespeople and managers is they don't even begin to use their CRM/ILM to its fullest capabilities. Is it because of lack of time? Lack of training? Maybe its hard to understand and use? At the end of the day, who will that effect the most? Its time to dig in.
Websites......Over the last two weeks I have spent hours, upon hours looking at websites, inventories, specials, etc and I have to say...what a disappointment!! There are soo many cool new things that we can do but for most of us, we just don't have a grip on what we are already doing. How often do you update your specials? Is it a page where people want to click to see what your specials are because its always changing? Or is it a page that says "coming soon" or better yet "no current specials available at this time"? Or maybe its the same special that you have had for the last two, three, four months. Maybe you just upload the newspaper ad which doesn't give you an SEO advantage, and in most cases you can't read the ad very well. Have you taken the time to build up each page on your website or is it just filled with a bunch of default text? Are there a bunch of pages that are just filler pages and adds more confusion than anything? Its time to dig into your website, make it your own and make a process on how you are going to update your specials, weekly or monthly.
OEM Website.......If you have your own website that you market and also have an OEM website, do you keep up with everything on that site as well? Specials, the different pages, inventories, etc? If a consumer is shopping Ford, GM, Subaru, Saturn, etc.....at the manufacture level and they click on visit dealers website, they don't end up on your website, they end up on your OEM website. What do they see when they get there? Standard, default text, inventories missing, no specials or do they see a website that has exactly what they are looking for? I won't even get started into what I found on these sites over the last few weeks. There are some great dealers out there that when you go to their OEM site, its terrible. Is that a good idea??
Used Car Inventory.....When was the last time you looked at your used cars on your website, AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc?? How many pictures do you have? Are you just at the average of 12?? Maybe you upped the ante to 15?? Try 20++ and see what happens!! Try taking your own and see what happens!! Whats the quality like? Blurry pics, crooked steering wheel, floor mats crooked, some other dealers sticker still on it, just a lack of attention to detail in general?? Do your pics look uniformed? Do you have branding in the background of at least your first shot or the dealership in the background? Are you just simply sending a feed to AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc? Thats it? Wait for the calls and emails to come in?? There is soo much more to it! Do you write comments on your vehicles? Write text on the pictures, I could go on and on.....
Emails.......When was the last time you went through your templates and looked for grammar errors, misspellings, etc? Are they engaging, call to action? Are they the same templates from five years ago? Do they have your dealership contact and branding on them? Do they look like EVERY other dealers templates out there??
Process.....Does your process match the buyers shopping habits? Does it provide the info they are looking for at the right time? It is triggering the right tasks that are needed? Is your response time where you want it? Do you offer alternatives with every buyer? Maybe you are too focused on response time and your content is lacking. Are you over looking what the customer typed in, the questions they asked because you are too focused on sending the email out and not pausing, looking and really trying to read into what this buyer is looking for? What and where is their how button?
Incoming Phone Calls.....you aren't still blowing through incoming phone calls, are you? You have the right people answering the phone, right? If they don't, you take them off the phone, right? You know where the calls are coming from and track them, right? You know what type of ROI you have, right?
ROI.......Do you do a great job of tracking ROi with 3rd party leads, 3rd party websites, etc and make adjustments, cancel and change to better ones?
Is this too basic?........Maybe for all of you reading this, everything is exactly on point and just how you want it. Is it? I think if you spend some time looking through these areas you will find things to fix and improve. If you do, they will make a difference. I hope it makes you think of other areas that you have been meaning to fix but haven't taken the time to do so but now you will because you know it will mean one, two, three or several more cars next week, this month and every month after.
I will take some of these areas and give you more details of specific things that you can do that will give you an edge in the following weeks.