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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Mike Gorun

Mike Gorun Managing Partner/CEO

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Want to Know Why Consumers Don’t Trust Us?

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The reason that consumers don’t trust us is simple… the messages we send them aren’t believable.

 

Point in case: Doug Demiro, a former manager of Porsche Cars North America, and now author of a popular column on automotive website Jalopnik, answered a reader’s question in his column that illustrates this point very clearly.

 

The question essentially boiled down to this: “Do those letters and e-mails from dealers saying they really want your trade-in actually mean anything? Do dealers really want your trade-in? Are they going to pay top dollar for your vehicle because they have some customer who desperately wants it?”

 

His answer: NO

 

Go ahead and read the article. It’s pretty much how consumers perceive these offers. The comments are also rather entertaining. It’s all consumers sharing experiences in which they received a similar offer and actually wanted to take the dealership up on it -- until they found out the dealer couldn’t deliver, or that the offer was unobtainable. And now, in general, they assume ALL offers are simply ploys and conspiratorial plots to entice the customer into the dealership.

 

Are they right? Is that what we’re doing?

 

Well, that all depends on how responsible a dealership is in handling their marketing. Dealerships who turn over their entire DMS to outsourced BDCs, direct mail companies, extended warranty companies, or any other vendor without first segmenting out and vetting that database to ensure that it is correct for that targeted message; that the recipients of the message qualify for the offer; are in fact, for the most part, doing more harm than good.

 

All this type of poorly thought out, uncoordinated mass blanketing of promotion does is create an aura of mistrust with existing customers. By blasting them with irrelevant messages you make it more difficult for the customer to believe ANY message they receive - even if it does apply to them. This practice, which is still more widespread than many realize, in turn gets projected onto the retail auto industry as a whole.

 

That being said, smart dealers understand the importance of segmentation and relevant messaging. When a dealership realizes that “spray and pray” hurts more than it helps and takes the time to segment its database and send relevant messages to those customers most likely to be interested, the campaigns - no matter what form of marketing it is - will always perform better. Why? While you may be marketing to less people, those people are more likely to take you up on your offer. They’re more likely to convert when they come in, since they will actually qualify. And you’ll spend less money to achieve better results. The side effect of segmenting your marketing messages is that you will start to earn your customers’ trust. They still may not believe everything you send them (even if it’s true). But, when they come in and discover that you can actually fulfill the offer, not only will you win their business, but also their trust. And that’s something all dealerships and our industry certainly needs to do.

Adam Thrasher
But how else are dealers to get good quality used cars Mike?
AJ Ibrahim
It seems the main point is to qualify the leads you work on internally when farming your database then simply mass emailing everyone and hoping for the best. There are some great programs to help you do that. We use Dealersockets Revenue Radar.
Earl Stewart
The main problem is the lack of an ethical culture that prevails in most markets with most car dealers. Most dealers, many who would prefer to compete ethically, believe they must "fight fire with fire" to be successful. The retail auto business needs a BIG SHAKEUP from the outside to force a "sea change" in the way cars are sold. Without this the franchise system will collapse and manufacturers will sell cars directly as in Tesla.
Jim Dykstra
Consumers hate the process of being "priced," and for all the improvements made, dealers still price people rather than products.
Joe Henry
"See, car companies are just liars" says one of my friends who is a typical consumer. Lesson here: regardless if it is failing ignition switches, air bags that kill, pollution cheaters, or some report on the local news about how some auto repair company is holding a consumer hostage, 99% of the public see us all as one big mobster gang, praying on buyers everyday. So what do they do to protect themselves from Car Sharks? They turn to the firewall and anonymity of email and texts. If you were not in the business and thought like the 99%ers, wouldn't you?So I see in the future (the future is here) where each lead regardless of source, how likely interested they are, they all must be thoughtfully and delicately handled on an individual basis withOUT can responses to hopefully build some trust with the individual on the other end. If so, better staff up because if this is going to work, you will need a lot more personnel to keep up the confident building in the person on the other side of the lead.

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