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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell National Sales Executive

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New Car Intenders....Are You in the Game?

Kbb.com just released a study recently that they did on the online shoppers: New Car Intenders. There are a few things that really took me back and have to make sure that I was actually doing it right to fall in line with their results.

They found in their research that the average person will research for their next new vehicle for an average of 2.5 months. I then started thinking about some of the leads that come in that we think are "junk leads" just because they won't respond to us. This is an important number so that we don't just drop that prospect that isn't responding to us for some reason. People request for information to keep themselves anonymous. We need to keep our name in front of them in our ongoing marketing and sending them relevant information on the vehicle that they requested information on. Stay with them for 30, 60, and 90 days and beyond. How many times have you had a customer just show up out of the blue that you have emailed and called and just left messages for several months and ask for a certain salesperson?Just like your walk-in traffic, stick with them until they fly or die.

The next thing that took me back was that 70% of those shoppers see a dealerships's website as valuable. Take away on this one is to make sure that your site is customer friendly. We are car people and chances are the people that designed your website are car people. Look from the outside looking in and make sure that there is no car lingo on your website. Make sure that prospective customers can find things easy. Have your links clearly defined and any call to actions on your site to stand out.

Photos on new cars are beginning to become more valuable year after year. Prospective customers want to see the actual vehicle they are looking at on your website. They can see stock photos on any website. They want to see actual photos of the new car just like the used cars. KBB found that the shopper like to see an average of 18 photos. 76% of the shoppers were more likely to go to the dealership with actual photos of their vehicles. 61% were more apt to purchase from the dealer that had photos. 51% would email or call over a dealership that doesn't have photos of their new vehicles. The take away on this one is pretty obvious....get new car photos on your website and make sure that you push it out to your third party sites.

I had to conduct a survey with all of my Twitter followers that are in the automotive business. I was shocked at the results how many dealers were merchandising with real photos vs stock photos. I found that 63% of my automotive followers that completed the survey were using actual photos vs stock photos on new vehicle merchandising. (I was thinking it was going to be much lower or I have some top dealers following me.) What this tells me is that people in the automotive business are seeing the importance of what a consumer or future customer wants to see online. On a personal level, we have been taking photos of new vehicles for a year now. Have I seen an increase in leads? No, not really. Have I seen an increase of vehicle detail pages? Yes. Have we seen an increase in sales? Most definitely. 'Nuff said.

You can view and download the KBB report here.

Bryan Armstrong
HA! Glad I took that survey. :) Jim you bring up some great points. It's funny, but when I took over this new Store I'm at last Month, I fired Tasks on all leads that were older than 60 days and had no activity for 30 days. Oddly enough,we ended up selling 21 of them and at 117 new VW's launched from #19 to #7. We also had one of the most profitable months ever for the Store (we had already PAID for those leads in most cases). So your follow em longer strategy is an absolute MUST. Interestingly enough, Cars.com lists all our new inventory for FREE with our used pkg. and is one of my top NEW lead provider because of the photo's we put on our new cars. Preach on my friend, but I'm sittin in the choir singin the chorus with ya! :)

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