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I sold my first car for profit in 1969 . I was 18 years old and getting ready to ship out for Vietnam. I served in the United States Navy as a recruiter for 16 years in San Francisco and San Jose the heart of Silicon Valley. I learned from the Navy sales and closing the deal. I was successful in my field and realized this could be transferred over to civilan life and with a extra tool social media. I have witnessed many dealerships closing their doors and many of the older dealers refusing to even try internet sales or marketing. The basics of a successful website using seo, key words, etc cannot be overstated. The following is an example of two car dealerships: LOT #1 This dealership has been in business for 25 years and has a steady flow of customers. However, the customer base is not expanding and the dealership feels that walk'ins and expensive newspaper ads are the answer to their marketing plan. They markup vehicles and shoot for a 1000. to 4000 profit per unit.
LOT #2 The dealership has only been in business for 5 year. The dealership has 1/2 the number of salespeople as lot #1 seldom uses expensive newspaper ads, continues to build a new younger customer base using social media, websites, and a monthly newsletter. Markup on vehicles $1000. -$2000 sells 4 times the number of units per month as Lot #1 at a lower cost with less manpower.
The question I have for you which lot is yours #1 or #2 : The car business is headed in the same direction of ebooks: 5 years ago you could not buy a new book for less than 19.95 now you can buy a kindle edition for .99. Dealers are going to have to lower cost make less profit but be more customer friendly and sell more units to survive.
I have leaned that in order to reach your customers a website is not enough. I use tweeter, operate a blogspot, and recently started promoting my dealership through the new photo sharing site pinterest. The idea behind social media is that a few contacts from each source will convert to sales at the end of the month. The dealership website might stir interest in your inventory but your blog or your tweet might close the deal.