You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

Around this time last year I wrote a series of blogs on lead handling which I am posting again for the benefit of those who did not read them. Then, as they do in Hollywood all too often, I am going to post the “sequel” blog, “How to Kill a Prospect with Poor Lead Handling, Part Deaux” and we will see how the follow-up is a year later.

Part 1: How to Kill a Prospect

1) You are not getting the lead in the first place or the lead was not received in a timely fashion
When is the last time you sent out a test lead?
Did you get a phone call from another dealer trying to sell you a car? If so, maybe you are not the only one getting your leads, unfortunately some free sites have been known to do this.

2) Your dealership has no process in place to handle leads as they come in
How soon do you have to respond after the lead comes in?
What information is required in your response?
Is your response by email, phone or both?
What are your additional follow-ups and when?
If your store does not have a process in place, then make it a priority to develop one immediately! Even if you are the only one working the Internet leads, having a process to follow will keep you on track and focused.

3) You have a process in place, however it is not being followed
Look at training new personnel when they start and retraining your existing personnel.

Over the past several weeks, I have “secret shopped” 10 random dealers on this very topic. In my next few weekly blogs I will go into my findings in detail. I will not be addressing problem 3 above because you already know what to do there. I sent in email inquiries via the dealerships website, Autotrader.com and Craigslist. Please read my next few blogs to view the results and see if your dealership was one of my random 10. I am sure the results will shock you as they did me! In the meantime, re-evaluate where your dealership stands in regards to the 3 lead handling scenarios above.

Please be sure to leave your comments, feedback or questions on this subject, and don’t forget to follow Liquid Motors on our blog, Facebook and Twitter today!

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Can you top this for a bizarre story? Imagine John Onak’s surprise when it was brought to his attention that there was a dead man riding in his passenger seat! Tuesday morning the driver “unknowingly” struck a pedestrian along Interstate 45 in Houston. Not only was the impact strong enough that the victim’s leg was left at the scene, but the rest of his body smashed through the windshield and landed in the front passengers seat. As astonishing as it seems, Onak was unaware of the gruesome body in the car beside him and continued driving down the road! Two miles from the accident, a county constable spotted the severely damaged front end of the Mazda, pulled the car over, discovered the victim’s body, and questioned Onak about his “unusual” passenger. Unbelievably, it wasn’t until then that the driver even noticed the dead body! title=”Gruesome Ride on the Gulf Freeway!”>http://bit.ly/lOj43B

While it is extremely important to monitor what people are saying about your dealership, it is also just as important to make sure that all of your reviews online are the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, five-star ratings are what we are shooting for, however, even the world’s most admired companies cannot please everyone all of the time. Personally, the first thing that I do when I look at a company’s online reviews is to take a look at the ratio of positive and negative ones. It would seem obvious to me that a company with 394 five-star ratings and only 2 one-star ratings simply had a couple of crabby people, who are never happy with anything, visit their store. Now, to be fair to those two negative reviewers, perhaps the sales rep at the store was having an equally bad day and dropped the ball on providing outstanding service which in turn led to the negative review.

No matter what the situation, the purpose of online reviews is to provide consumers with a transparent look into how companies treat their customers and the perceived experience that the customers thought they had. It is up to the consumer to decide whether or not to factor in a few negative reviews into their purchasing decision.

At any rate, work hard at providing consistently exceptional service in all that you do and everything will take car of itself!

Today I am reaching out to YOU, the dealer, for interesting blog content. What do you want to read? What interests you? What questions do you have? How can I, or Liquid Motors, help you? I am always trying to give you the best suggestions to make your business even better…how to take better pictures, how to write captivating notes, how to optimize your website….and I will continue to write this type of blog, because until I see 100% of my dealers doing 100% of what is suggested, there is still work to do! However, I want your input as well! What do you want to improve upon? Where do you want to see change? Or, how about letting me (us!) know what suggestions YOU have? What have you done that made a difference in your website traffic or Internet leads or sales? There is nothing that makes me happier, as I sit here in my cubicle gazing upon the computer screen, then to see a dealer that has implemented one of our suggestions….and to see it is making a positive impact on their dealership! Talk about SATISFACTION!

With the recent launch and the automatic enabling of facebook’s facial recognition on your facebook account you may want to opt out.

Here is how the application works:

1. Friend uploads a picture to their facebook account with you in it.
2. The software recognizes your face
3. Then suggests to your friend to tag you in the photo

So for those of us who don’t want to be tagged automatically here is what you need to do.

Steps:

1. Select “Account” from the top right menu on your facebook page

2. Go to “Privacy Settings”

3. Choose “customize settings”

4. Scroll down to the “things others share” it is the second section. Click Edit Settings for “suggest photos of me to friends”

5. Then you will see a toggle that is either “enable” or “disable” set to “disable to turn off and click OKAY

You should always take time to monitor any changes to your social media sites policies and privacy changes as well as all new applications that are added especially those that are default ENABLED.

Thank you for following Liquid Motors and I encourage you to comment link this blog to your Twitter, facebook or MySpace accounts to help your friends be aware of this change. Thank you again from your friends at Liquid Motors.

In this digital world, customers have powerful technology on their side. The Internet has fundamentally changed how automobiles are bought and sold. Car buyers have infinite choices, instant access to information about every potential purchase, and the ability to competitively compare prices. Customers are gaining more control of, and contributing more to, their own consumer experience and decision making process – making it more difficult for sales people to engage and making every deal more competitive. These are the most empowered consumers in history, and make no mistake, THEY are in the driver’s seat!

Before they step foot in your dealership, today’s average car shopper has thoroughly researched and educated themselves on everything to do with a possible car purchase, in fact, the need to actually visit the dealership is sometimes completely eliminated! In some cases, they just may know more about the car they are considering to purchase than the salesman that greets them at the door with a smile and extended hand!

This new generation of Internet-empowered car buyers is tough, the negotiation advantage is now in THEIR corner! They are demanding greater transparency in the buyer-seller relationship. They expect consistency and value, quality and service. The sales focus has shifted from price haggling and payment to consumer needs and value. Your sales force must quantify the advantages of owning your brand versus the competition. Differentiating your competitive value is key, and will allow you to shift from selling “price” to selling “value”. Gone are the days of the stereotypical pushy, hard car sell – these “Vigilante Consumers” will not be intimidated! They are smart, savvy and informed, and perfectly willing to go elsewhere to get what they want.

It’s a jungle out there – dealerships that recognize this empowerment and the importance of developing relationships and delivering a consistent customer experience will gain and maintain the competitive advantage!

Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, or maybe it’s just me, but I am an “urgent” person. When I want something done, I want it done at that very moment. When I ask my husband to take out the trash, I mean for him to take it out NOW please, not 2 minutes from now and certainly not 2 hours from now! So when I tell a dealer that their website is down and I contact their IT person and he says, “I will look at it tonight when I get home”, you can imagine my frustration! I have another dealer that has absolutely 0 pictures of any of his vehicles on their website. Yes, you read that correct, ZERO! When I talked to him about it he said, “The guys here have no real sense of urgency”, and he would get them uploaded when he could. REALLY? And there is more, I have dealers with no notes on any of their vehicles, websites without coupons, cars without prices and the list goes on…. To me these are all urgent matters!

My goal, as an Account Manager, is to make dealers better tomorrow then they were today, and I try my hardest to do just that. We reach out to our dealers via phone and email every single day and send out monthly reports with recommendations on areas that could use improvement based on industry standards, as well as from what we see is working well for other dealers. So, I am sure you can understand, it can get a bit disheartening when we try our hardest to stay on top of our accounts and notify our dealers when something looks incorrect – only to get a response from them that is less then interested. I mean, where is the sense of urgency? Are these things not important to a dealer? Why wouldn’t you want your website to be working, or have pictures on your vehicles or prices on your cars? How are they making money? I just don’t get it!

The other day as I struggled to get my car off the highway while it silently broke down, I thought about how I had been planning to take it in to a mechanic for a while but just never found the time. I knew I needed new tires badly. I also knew from the last time I changed the oil the undercarriage was filthy with dirt and oil which may have been a leak or may just be from years of use and lack of cleaning. There just always seemed to be something more important to be done so I never got it looked at until after it was too late.
If you have ever broken down, you know the awful feelings that ensue. Coupled with these was the knowledge that I might have avoided the whole situation with some more preventive maintenance. While it turns out this wasn’t the case – it ended up being the fuel pump which would not likely have been caught ahead of time – it got me thinking about preventive maintenance and how you hear about it but don’t often listen. What if I had been incentivized to take action rather than just having the thought in the back of my mind? How many of your potential customers are just like me?
We often concentrate on how to help our customers improve vehicle sales and attract customers through that gateway but we don’t realize parts and service can also be an effective gateway to more customers. Are you maximizing this potential? Studies have shown that the coupons sections of websites are one of the most popular destinations for visitors. By having strong compelling coupons for your Parts and Service Departments, you could capture these visitors. Many of these could be visiting your website for this exact reason; not everyone that hits your site is looking to buy a new vehicle.
Of course, websites are not the only place you can reach out to people. Consider including offers in any newsletters or emails you might send out. And there are always radio and tv advertisements. The point being to give people a reason to not only think about getting maintenance done but to give them that extra push to do it right now.
This time of year can be very hard on vehicles. With the increased temperatures and vacations or road-trips, cars may be stressed more than they ever are on a normal basis. My car is a perfect example of this. Normally, I don’t drive it more than going to work and back but this weekend I was returning from vacation and was approaching the two hour mark of highway driving. Take this opportunity to not only increase customers to your dealership but also help prevent those in your community from getting that terrible sinking feeling as their car coasts to the side of the road.

I know I have mentioned the Schonda Blog before and I have to mention it again cause it is that good! I was reading their most recent blog, http://scondablog.com/2011/05/23/scott-selects-haggling-is-so-80s-campaign-is-a-hit/, about their new marketing campaign and just could not get enough. They are so creative! At one of their locations, I love how they take something like trying to implement the “no-haggle” sales approach, and turn it into into a fun “throw back,” if you will, to the 80’s! Once again they take their marketing to a whole new level and prove that anything can be fun even something as un-fun (I don’t think that is a real word!) as haggling. What is even more impressive is that they get the point across in a way that you can’t help but smile!

Ahh summertime! Don’t you love it! I know I do. I am sure many of your are especially thankful that summer is here due to the crazy winter weather that seemed to linger long into the Spring. To most people summer means cookouts, swimming, the lake and family vacations and in the car business it means car sales picking up and cars breaking down. Why is it that your a/c always goes out on the hottest day of the summer? We just got done with sending out May reports to our dealers and one of my recommendations was to update their website with weather appropriate offers. Especially in service. Make sure you have a/c specials, coolant specials, window tinting coupons and fuel economy specials, to name a few. All are services that people will definitely need in the hot summer months!

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