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(Note: As a practice, IM@CS has not written in the first person. We try to not call people out or make examples of them directly. This is a slight departure from the past two years of blog writing for dealers. We hope you enjoy it or are at least compelled to comment on this aspect as well)
After talking with Internet sales staff and leaving messages for management over the past months, I visited a prominent LA-area import dealer recently to see about getting a few minutes with the manager responsible for their web and eCommerce presence. After finally having the courtesy to recognize that someone was trying to talk with him (understanding two things very well: one you're busy and two you likely have a lot of people calling on you and trying to sell you), he gave me 45 seconds.
In that time, he was able to share that the "departments are going through changes so it's not the right time and we'll be able to put our eCommerce and Internet efforts on the schedule next Spring". Not only is this one of the best qualifiers, it is also a great indicator of how removed from reality most dealers really are. This is not a judgement, we'll leave that to the customers, staff and factory. But as a litmus test, that's just bad. Flat out bad.
Let's say you ignore every automotive publication. Let's say you never attend a "digital" event in the industry. Let's assume you're not in a 20 group. Just for kicks, let's say you never talk with your staff. Considering it's 2010, if you have spent any time on the Internet, bought an airplane ticket, hotel room, checked a sports score or weather conditions, how can you allow yourself to be ignorant of what ALL consumers do?
By next Spring, your competition will be significantly ahead of you. And maybe by my or another consultant or vendor's doing. Maybe even intentionally. When you send that kind of signal out, it's hard not to either try to convince you (unless the manager was intentionally being dismissive) or leave the store and run to the next closest store. I say this because it's being done. Every day.
While I can't speak for others that may walk into the store I'm referring to, I can guarantee you that if I take the time to engage you, your website, templates, social media (if it exists), phone skills and other aspects of your operation has been assessed. Don't even think for a second that mine is a traditional "pitch", again understanding that everyone that walks in with a briefcase is likely trying to get money from you in exchange for services.
Just know that sometime, really soon, your traffic will go somewhere else.. And with what your using for website and more, it won't even cause a drop of sweat to fall.
With all the best intentions,