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Does your dealership have a “walk-in” department? How about a “call-in” department? Do you have an “ups” department? These departments are obviously absurd, but the concept of an Internet department is still widely accepted. The Internet is just another way a potential client is reaching out to your dealership. It just so happens that the Internet now accounts for something like 87% of your customers! Sounds like your Internet department is becoming your dealership…
Walk-ins and call-ins don’t always tell you where they found your dealership. Most of them probably found it online. Even if they saw a commercial or a billboard, they still probably Googled the dealership for your address. Your website deserves more than an “Internet department.”
Isolating your website and squeezing all your physical departments into the hands of an “Internet manager” is not effective. The strategy for success is to kill the idea of an Internet department altogether and bring every department into your Internet efforts. For example, your pre-owned manager is probably obsessive about the way the cars look on the lot. At any given time you can find him driving past the dealership, walking the lot and adjusting the cars. Shouldn’t the pre-owned manager have a say on the way his inventory displays online? He should have not only a say, but the responsibility to make sure that inventory is displaying correctly and that it displays accurate information.
As I’ve said before, your service guy should also be your Internet service guy, your pre-owned guy should be your Internet pre-owned guy! What is the logic in compartmentalizing up to 90% of your business to one small department? Your business belongs in your dealership. That is what your website is for.
So make sure you’re furnishing the best possible information to your customers by encouraging company-wide website buy-in.