We all know that just having a website, no matter how great, is not enough to make sales in the automotive industry. LEARN MORE
I was talking to an internet manager yesterday about their marketing when I brought up Hook Logic. His challenge was that he only gets credit for leads, so while he definitely wanted to help the dealership with our SEO and social media products, he wasn't crazy about the concept of increasing more showroom visitors that did not fill out lead forms or call ahead.
As we discussed Hook and other similar products, he wondered about my angle. What was I getting out of it to suggest a solution to his challenge? Was I affiliated with them? Did I get a kick back?
As a company, we form strategic relationships with those who we feel are the best at what they do. We know we (and every other vendor regardless of size) can only focus on and dominate a couple of arenas in the digital marketing world, so we like to partner with the best of the best. Sometimes, partnerships aren't practical, so we simply make recommendations of products and services we've heard about "on the street" in order to assist clients and even prospects.
That's how it should be. We have no affiliation at all with Hook Logic, but I've always appreciated what their product brings to the table. When the ISM brought up their challenge, I had no partnerships in place that could solve that specific problem.
Two things I've learned over the years as a vendor are that:
When I formed our company, I threw both of those lessons out the window. Everyone should. From the vendor side, much of this industry has been built on kickbacks and relationships. This is the biggest reason that we're in the mess that we're in where the wrong vendors get more exposure than the right ones and the wrong products are forced onto dealers when the better ones are left in obscurity.
To the vendors of the world, please take note. There's plenty of business available for everyone. If you do what's best for the dealers even if it's not necessarily what's best for you, you'll still succeed and will have no problem sleeping at night.
To the dealers of the world, it's okay to question motivations. I am glad that I was called out by this ISM. I'm encouraged that they wondered what I was getting out of the recommendation. Sometimes, we recommend partners that we've selected because they're the best at what we do and we do have an incentive to make those recommendations. Sometimes, we recommend non-partner vendors, not because we have an affiliation but because we believe in their product. In both cases, we make those recommendations because we believe wholeheartedly that it's what's best for the dealership.
If more in our industry did that, we wouldn't have so many bad products being pushed onto dealers for the wrong reasons.