Times are tough but there are some great opportunities to be had right now. The traditional media advertising channels are dead and most dealers are feeling the drive to the web. The web is at a stage where skills, not sheer dollars, are winning. Meaning the big dealer up the road with a seemingly unlimited budget can spend all he wants, but if they don't have the skill to execute online they wont get anywhere. The web has leveled the playing field!
With the slow economy all dealers are being forced to the web 2 main reasons: 1st its completely traceable, no more guess work in computing ROI on an ad. 2nd most Internet advertising options are scalable, meaning they are pay for performance. Take PPC for example, you don't pay unless you get a click; 3rd party leads, you only pay if you get a lead. The newspaper on the other hand, will take all your money up front regardless of results. IE: you pay for your ad and pray for results... more on that later.
The point I want to bring up today is that if you are trying to focus your team on web marketing, but haven't adjusted your pay plans you most likely wont get great results. Typically GMs or GSMs are paid to manage the traditional media spend. Who is paid to manage the results of your web campaign? Most ISMs are paid a variation of a sales person pay plan... that might be a mistake for your store. If your ISM is paid a per deal, or commission only pay plan, they may stay focused on closing the lack of traffic that is out there rather than generating leads. The market is shifting so much today you have to have someone actively managing the "virtual lot." If the ISMs are paid on deals how motivated are they, for example to keep fresh content via specials on the site? Static content is the death of a website. Your content needs to be updated daily, as do your SEM campaigns, your site links, pictures, pricing etc.
Now, in theory, if you pay them on deals you would think they would focus on all the indicators along the path to a deal right? Wrong. This is the real world and I’m sorry, it hardly ever works out like that. (How many commission only sales people manage their walkin/demo/write up and closing rates? Few.) Motivate your team to stay focused on the activities that drive results to keep them focused on the positive wins along the road to a sale. If you would spiff a sales person for Demo, spiff your ISM for fresh content, a higher placement in the SERP or an increase in conversion on your site. If you are wondering if your store might need some additional focus in these areas simply Google your name, calculate your conversion rate or simply look and see the last time someone updated the specials page on your site. If you are less than happy with the performance on any of those indicators, ask yourself who is in charge and are they compensated so their goals align with yours?
The market is tough; lets not make it tougher than it needs to be. Keep your team focused on the activities that lead to results and celebrate the little wins along the way! There is so much business up for grabs right now! Seriously, I know it sounds out of touch but I'm telling you, most stores could gain so much business because their competitors are asleep at the Internet wheel. If your team is talented, and focused on the right things you have a great opportunity right now despite the horrible market.