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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Dave Page

Dave Page Owner

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Recently I had a candid conversation with a dealer regarding his “weathering” of our recent economic storm. He emphasized that he was able to keep his stress level to a minimum due to his experience and forward thinking and execution of a sound plan in good times.

He shared with me that the 5 years prior to this recession he put his past experiences to work and created a plan to cultivate and maintain a strong service department. As he put it “I had seen as a young professional in this industry the power of a strong service department in tough economic times and its ability to carry a store until the storm had passed. I took that first-hand experience and when I obtained my own store made that part of my long term business plan and it worked again, just as it had in the past”

As I listened to his strategy in a nutshell; marketing, advertising, appreciation of solid service employees and follow up along with his monetary investment in building the service side of his dealership- there was not even one mention of his using his website as a service revenue generating tool. He used the standard old school techniques which in the grand scheme of things capped him from an affordability standpoint on the size of the market he could capture. Old school advertising and marketing using print, radio and mail could not reach the size audience he could have reached using the Internet. In spite of this though, he was successful. I can only imagine how much more successful he could have been had he placed priority on using his website as a service revenue generating tool.

This got me to thinking- how many dealers out there really give the marketing, advertising and development of their service departments the attention they deserve? When you take into consideration that 20% of people who walk onto a showroom floor buy and 100% who walk into a service department buy- might make sense to pay this red headed stepchild of a store a little attention.

When is the last time you saw a dealership website emphasize it’s service department on the Internet and focus on driving traffic in with it? For grins, go to Google and search “oil change” or “brakes” or “automotive repair”…….if you find what I found you will be hard pressed to find a dealership on the first 1-2 pages and most likely not at all in sponsored links. You might as well have a banner in the desert at this point, considering 87% of all Internet shoppers never go past the first page, 4.4% will go to the second and less than 2% will flip to the 3rd page on a search engine result page.

When you search these keywords or key phrases you will see nothing but aftermarket service providers, Jiffy, Midas, Merlin…these are the guys that are taking your service business and doing quite well with it thank you very much. As a dealer, you have the advantage with a customer who has bought a vehicle- and statistically you keep 11% of your sold customers as service clients. REASON- the only thing the general public has ingrained in their heads is that a dealership charges more and takes more time than an aftermarket “service providers”.

Time to change that, give the attention to your service department that it deserves after “carrying” you more times than not. Market, advertise, educate consumers as to the value, features and benefits of using your service department versus one of those “other guys”….and whatever you do- USE YOUR WEBSITE…that’s where consumers are looking and from what I have seen that’s exactly where your competition is corralling them to their bays…….while maybe yours sit empty…

Just a thought.

Bryant Gibby
Watch what you are posting about man. I'm a readhead!
Brian Pasch
@Dave I agree with your points and have created a Fixed Operations Marketing microsite package ($395/month) for car dealers to attract more online shoppers looking for oil changes, brakes, tires, etc. Most car dealer websites only have two pages set aside for service and these pages often have little SEO content to compete against established websites like Jiffy Lube, GreaseMonkey or Meineke. So we create a platform that creates service optimized web pages for the most popular services and the towns in the dealer's PMA. This gives the dealer hundreds of optimized pages that can have videos, coupons and appointment forms created for their local market. I think that a great video on each type of service page is the ultimate bonus. Checkered Flag has created specific videos for oil change, brakes, fluid changes, etc. You can see some of these videos on http://www.virginiabeachcarrepairs.com . Watch the video on the home page and then also watch the video on the oil change page. I also like the video created by Mac Haik on this link: http://www.austincarrepairs.com/ Dealers can compete against local independent shops however they will not win on the SEO front with two pages of content on their website. Do It Yourself Dealers Dealers who have platforms with Page Building capacity, like Dealer.com, then they can also create additional service optimized pages on their websites. We have been very successful with adding pages on Dealer.com sites using Pagebuilder for service. They key is to get started and make the commitment to compete for high margin Fixed Operations services.
Dave Page
Here is a new product that you might find interesting for service - http://www.virtualserviceconsultant.com We have just partnered with them you can see an example of it here - http://www.grossingerhyundai.com/page/custom/en/Service-Appointment./

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