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There has been a lot of talk lately about the process that buyers go through before making their final decision to purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle from a dealership. Back in the old days of the car business it was as simple as the potential buyer hearing or seeing your ad on the radio or in a newspaper, getting in the car and driving to your dealership, test driving the car, negotiating a deal and ultimately diving off in their new car. While this is still a part of the car buying process a bigger piece has been thrown right smack in the middle of it all. This new trend referred to as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT for short), relates to how buyers are now more than ever utilizing as many forms of media (digital, print, radio, television) to make their final decision. While the ZMOT theory relates to pretty much any industry and the process buyers undergo, it is even more important than ever when you consider the financial and emotional impact of buying a car.

Take a look at the chart below from a Google/Shopper Sciences study on the sources that buyers use in the car buying decision. According to this same study the average buyer visits nearly 18.2 sources when researching their next vehicle purchase.

 

So what does this tell us? The simple fact of the matter is that buyers are spending more time online to obtain as much information as they possibly can before making a buying decision. If the above numbers hold true it tells us that a dealership now has to focus their efforts on everything from search engine optimization, website design, 3rd party advertising sources, social media and reputation management and more to stay in front of potential buyers. Dealerships with poor search engine rankings, negative reviews, poorly designed websites and a disregard for the importance of social media are going to fall behind their competition of who understand this is the new way of marketing.  

At Liquid Motors we offer dealerships a consolidated approach to getting their hands around all aspects of their online marketing. By streamlining processes and speeding their time to market we are able to help them tackle the Zero Moment of Truth and increase their visibility across the multiple online channels that buyers are using when buying their next car.

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So much effort is placed now days on our digital marketing efforts that it seems that some stores are almost “expecting” for people to just simply show up and buy a car from them. The overall goal of any marketing activity is to produce some sort of call to action. While the end goal is of course a conversion/sale there are many activities that must take place after a web event takes place and before a sale can be made. The shift of how dealers find new customers has definitely changed from more traditional forms of advertising to digital ones (even though traditional advertising is still important). However, the sales people, finance managers and dealership staff are effective in turning that Internet lead into a car deal. If your dealership is missing the basic fundamentals of selling and customer support then all of the effort and hard earned money you have put into getting that buyer to your store will be wasted. So as you are investing in driving more buyers to your lot make sure you are taking the time to invest in sales and customer service training and I guarantee you will see your conversion rates increase!

A few weeks back I went to a local service shop near our house to get my oil changed. Pulling up to the shop I could immediately tell I was in for a pretty good wait. After walking inside and up to the front counter I was greeted and asked what I was in for. Telling the representative I was there for just a simple oil change he looked down and then back up to me and said it would be about a 30 minute wait. I told him no problem, handed over my keys and took at seat in the waiting room.

After about 35 minutes or so I realized that 30 minutes was probably going to turn in to an hour. Growing a little impatient I walked back up to the counter and asked if they were close to getting started on my car. The representative at this point looked a little flustered and after apologizing told me it could be another 30 minutes. Getting a little hungry at this point I told him that I would just come back another day. Realizing that I more than likely would not be back and would probably end up getting my oil changed somewhere else he asked me to wait one minute and walked to the office at the back of the building. Walking back he had a small piece of paper and handed it to me. He said if you are willing to wait another 30 minutes you can go next door to Chick-fil-A and lunch would be on them. He handed me a coupon for a free meal deal and said when I got back my car would be ready to go. Shocked by the display of great customer service I grabbed the coupon walked next door and enjoyed a quick lunch.

When I got back to the shop my car was pulled around front and ready to go. After checking the representative then gave me a coupon for a FREE oil change on my next visit for the inconvenience. This kind gesture was without a doubt above and beyond the small amount of extra time that I had to wait and a reason for securing my future business.

Good companies recognize that the only way to grow their business is to go above and beyond in creating the greatest amount of satisfaction for their customers. Furthermore, the service shop above has not only gained me as a future valued customer but they have tapped in to my personal network of friends and family of which I have recommended their business to. An oil change is really nothing special, thousands of shops across the country perform the same services day in and day out; however, it is the ones that go above and beyond in creating a memorable experience that continue to thrive.

Creating compelling descriptions for your inventory can be one of the most time consuming task that you perform when merchandising your inventory. This is especially true when it comes to creating descriptions for your used car inventory…those units you might not be 100% familiar with all the options, awards and details of thus, make it even more challenging to come up with quality content. I work with several dealers whose pictures rival those of the actual manufacturer yet when you look at their listings not a single one of them has a description tied to it. It is not only important to have descriptions on each inventory item to help provide potential buyers with more information…but it is also a critical component when it comes to getting your cars found on both the major search engines as well as your third party advertising sites. Without relevant content these sites will have nothing to look for and will ultimately bring your competitors site to the head of the pack.

With advances in technology comes the ability to automate processes that once were a time consuming burden on the dealer. Products such as our OMG (Optimal Merchandising Generator) give dealers the ability to take key vehicle data and populate pre-defined custom description templates across their new, used and certified inventories allowing them to spend more time taking better pictures of their inventory or simply focusing on selling more cars.

So whether you use an automated tool such as OMG or enjoy taking the time to write your descriptions on your own make a point to ensure that they are all compelling, complete and as accurate as possible.

To say that Smart phones have changed the way consumers shop is completely FALSE.

 

Smart phones have completely revolutionized the way consumers shop. They are everywhere buyers go. Whether at home, in their car, plane, store, coffee shop, beach, mountain top…you name it people simply do not leave home without these “mobile computing devises”.

 

According to Google 66% of all smart phone users access the Internet on their smart phone at least once a day and 57% perform some sort of search.

 

So with that said it is even more important than ever that your dealership is optimized for this ever growing community of “mobile shoppers”. Just like it is important that the desktop version of your dealer’s website is easy to navigate and quick to load, the mobile version of your website is no different.

 

In fact according to a Compuware study on “What Users Want fromMobile” in 2011, 71% of users expected a mobile site to load as fast as a desktop site. In this same study 57% of the respondents said that they would NOT recommend a business with a bad mobile site!!

 

23% of these adults have cursed their phone when a site doesn’t work.

 

My recommendation is that you visit the following website and take the test for yourself. It is completely FREE and I feel it will be a true eye opener for many:

 

http://www.howtogomo.com/en/d/test-your-site/#gomo-meter

 

For questions about how Liquid Motors can help your potential and current customers “not curse at your website” give us a call. We would be more than happy to help.

There are a lot of benefits in finding a single, full-cycle inventory management provider. The main benefit, that I cannot stress enough, is time to market. After talking with a handful of dealerships the other day, I was amazed at how many different service providers they were using to manage everything from pricing, lot services, inventory management and distribution. After taking a long hard look at their current processes, I saw it was taking up to 3 days (and sometimes longer) from the time a car hit their lot to the time it was showing up on their 3rd party marketing sites! It might not sound like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but in the marketing world where time is money these dealers are losing nearly 10% of potential leads they could be generating over the course of a 30-day period. Just think…if you are one of those dealers, those 3 days might have caused you to miss the perfect buyer or a potential buyer…who bought a car from the competition down the road simply because the car they were looking for from your dealership was nowhere to be found.

To learn more about how we are helping dealerships across the country speed their time to market give us a call.

The other day I was working with a dealership that was in an SEO contract with a local marketing company. The company had an arrangement with this

particular dealership that for a certain price per month they would guarantee at least 12 top page results for their website. The second I heard this

the flags started flying up. After reviewing his latest invoice with the 12 keywords they achieved top rankings for it was instantly obvious what was going on.

The keywords and phrases had hardly any competition and ZERO monthly local or global searches for any of the terms and phrases on the list.

While guarantee sound nice in theory as they relate to SEO there is almost always a catch. If you ever have any questions about anything that relates to your current

website provider or search engine optimization give us a call.

The Internet has definitely changed the way people shop for products and services. Instead of having to get in their car and drive around to get information about their next product or service everything is now right at their fingertips. It is this simple fact that has made prices for goods and services even more competitive than ever. They days of having a captive market you could sell to at any price are pretty much over. Buyers are in some cases even more knowledgeable about your products than your own sales personnel. So if all things are equal why would someone buy from a company if the price is identical at a store 10 miles closer to home? This is where the wonderful world of Social Media Marketing comes in to play.

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter started out as a way for individuals to information amongst the people they know and trust. I use the keyword TRUST here strategically. Soon social media made a shift into the business world. If individuals can communicate amongst each other it only made sense that businesses could share the latest and greatest about their companies. Now just like before we ever had these networking sites or even the Internet for that matter people tended to buy goods and services from people they trusted. They did not have elaborate sites such as Facebook to instantly share their experiences they communicated with the people they know around their towns.

The main benefit of going social is that it gives businesses a way to become more visible not just to the masses but to the people’s most inner circle within these masses. By building a level of trust with one person that “fans” your page you instantly gain the trust of the people that trust “their” opinion.

Social media marketing needs to be a conversation, a natural process people use to communicate and connect with one another.

With Thanksgiving around the corner I wanted to use this chance to blog about how thankful I am to work with such an amazing staff here at Liquid Motors. I am often asked by potential customers what differentiates Liquid Motors from all of the other providers in the marketplace and my number one answer is that the support our company provides our stores is unsurpassed by anyone. It is this simple fact that allows me to go out and sell our products and services and know that I can 100% backup everything that I promise. So with this in mind I’d like to wish the staff here at Liquid Motors and all of our customers a Happy Thanksgiving.

Being in sales, I call on dealers and customers everyday. I am often amazed at the turnover in personnel that takes place at a dealership. This seems especially true when it comes to the Internet department.

What I have found in many cases, is a store’s current initiatives rest on the person currently in charge. What happens when your Internet Manager decides to move to another store or gets promoted to a new position at the dealership? If your digital marketing processes are not clearly defined, you will find yourself scrambling to try and put back together all of the pieces.

In my opinion, a sound Internet department should run in some ways like the military. I’ve heard from a few good friends who have served and moved up in the ranks, that the man below you should always know how to do your job, and how to do it well. This basic philosophy ensures that the next person in command can hit the ground running without any downtime should any situation arise that calls on them to fill the position.

One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to take an inventory of all of the systems that you have in place that relate to your digital marketing. This can include inventory management systems, data distribution partners, website providers, lot service companies, pricing and appraisal systems, third party advertising sites, and more. I have seen stores, in many cases, using up to 4-5 different providers to accomplish what they could with just one company. By consolidating vendors and working with one company you will not only reduce the amount of time spent training employees on multiple systems but you will also help streamline your processes, speed your time to market, and be better prepared should any changes arise at your store or group.

I know that this seems pretty basic in nature, but once you step back and look at the big picture, you will be amazed at how many loose ends you will be able to tie up!

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