Take a moment. Think about why we do what we do. Dealers? GM's? GSM's? SM's? Some of us have been around the block. Others are new to the game, but one thing seems certain; most have realized the need to focus on the needs of our consumers in ways we never thought we might have needed to prior to the new millennium.
But, in all the hubbub, have we forgotten why we do what we do? Have we forgotten why consumers come to us? There are amazing advancements in technology and marketing gadgets and widgets and process and buzzwords... When you step back and look at it, its a wonder we even have time to sell cars anymore.
One fundamental will never change as long as the automobile is the primary form of transportation. People buy cars from people they like.
With all of the experts, guru’s, trainer’s and advice though, it seems there are still a few dealer’s lost along the way. I was reminded of it when I saw a Facebook post from a sales person this morning. It was in no way special, a simple question. “What do y’all think about the new Nissan Altima? Do you like the body style?”
For some reason, I decided to comment, “Who doesn’t live the Altima? Now “Bob” (name changed to protect the innocent), the next time you post on Facebook about the #Nissan #Altima use a hash-tag or two and a link to your dealer’s website like this one: “website.com” then you’ll be upping your #onlinemarketing game!”
“Bob” then privately messaged me and said, “Thanks for the advice, Tim. Now how would I do that AND make sure the website visitor asks for me? If they go to that site and put in for info, it gets turned in to an “internet lead” and the Internet dept gets a customer instead of me.” One of the most powerful marketing platforms today - social media - and here is a salesperson that actually wants to help the dealer sell more cars, but can’t because he’ll lose income by doing it. Let that sink in for a minute.
The “Internet Department...” This made me wonder. How many dealers still have an “Internet Department?” Hmm.. How many dealer’s have a TV department? A radio Department? Newsp...Ok no one reads the newspaper. But seriously, what sort of delusion have we crammed down dealer’s throats to make them believe that people who shop via the internet are from a different planet and need special people to help them buy a car? The internet isn’t another planet, its just marketing; no different than the traditional medium that have been around for decades.
I’ve got news for you - the entire store is the internet department! I know, somewhere in North Dakota no one has a computer and they just happen to ride their horse down the road and “WOAH! A car dealership! Maybe I oughta trade this horse in and get me one a dem auto-mo-biles.” And that becomes a “traffic source.”
Fact is, it doesn’t matter if they’re 16 or 106. They’re aware of a technology called the internet and have been exposed to it in some form or another. Even if you’re a Jag dealer and all you’re customers are on the last time buyer’s program in Boca Raton, FL - THEY’VE SEEN THE INTERNET! OR They have kids who’s seen it... Or grand kids... Whatever. They have a connection to online marketing in some way. They may not go there themselves, but they’ll ask someone who will. Just accept it. Its 100%. I know how much certainly freaks out people who need stats so 99.99999% if that helps you sleep at night.
Wait, I already know what you’ll say next. My demographic is older folks. Even if they know how to use the internet, my salespeople can’t even send an e-mail let alone do it in whatever response time my OEM demands! Or I’m in the inner city and some of my sales people can’t string a coherent sentence together.
Seriously? Thats your excuse? So when the shovel got replaced by the bulldozer did we not use bulldozers to clear land because the shoveler’s were afraid to learn how to operate the bulldozer?
Its time to evolve again folks. If your salesperson doesn’t care about his trade enough to learn what is necessary to practice it successfully, you don’t need them. If they are willing, TRAIN THEM!
Don’t misunderstand. BDC’s are very necessary. The talent of selling an appointment via phone or email is very different than the talent of closing someone in your store. So find the talent and delegate. But the idea that some sales person is qualified to work with someone who wants to buy a car and didn’t bother to submit a lead online but not one who does isn’t just stupid, it might very well be discriminatory. And lets not forget to mention the fact that by adhering to this ludicrous practice, you’re subverting the innate desire of your greatest asset - your sales people - to sell the way they always have - by networking - which they can now do ten thousand times over via social media - for free!