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Category Archive: Marketing

Emily Johnson

From the Customer: 4 Car-Buying Lessons

Couple in car

My husband and I have purchased so many cars recently that we should probably start a club for people who love to car shop. (Facebook group, anyone?) In this blog, I will summarize our past shopping experiences and explain the four internet marketing and sales techniques that got us to buy.

In the last two years, we have traded in and purchased four different cars. Throughout all the vehicle juggling, we’ve done our fair share of online research, pricing, test driving, dealership visiting, and negotiating. From a large conglomerate “no haggle” dealership, to the small store with fully commissioned sales staff who will aggressively sell you any vehicle on the lot, we have seen it all. As someone who works closely with the automotive industry, I can imagine these four lessons might prove helpful in YOUR dealership.

1. “No haggle” and “ease of access” reign supreme.

Our first and second car trades were almost identical because we used the same dealership and salesperson. We wanted to trade in our gas-guzzling “college cars” for svelte hybrid or electric vehicles.

Each purchase was as smooth, stress-free, and “no haggle” as the dealership’s advertising touted. We found our cars online, test drove the exact cars we would take home, sat down to do the paperwork, and left with smiles on our faces. The paperwork period was a tad lengthy but was tolerable overall.

While my husband enjoys haggling and negotiating (i.e. the “typical car buying process”), I prefer this easy, stress-free approach. And I’m not alone, only 17 out of 4,002 customers surveyed prefer the typical method of buying a car. That’s only 0.5%!

Given that most shoppers seem to be like me, you should evaluate how your dealership handles customers’ online experiences. Consider letting customers shop, negotiate, and sign their paperwork online, and use the online experience to lessen the pressures of the process and keep it low-key. Give your customers the power to choose, pay for, and drive away their new car on THEIR terms. To further ease the buying process, some dealerships have employed tech-savvy tactics such as a virtual document signature capture desk or test driving cars from a massive vending machine! While I don’t think it’s essential to go THAT far, a few simple digital changes could drive more business to your dealership.

Learn from our encounters …

Six months after we purchased the hybrid and electric cars, we decided the full-electric wasn’t the right vehicle for us (range anxiety, anyone?). Instead, we wanted a cheap car that we could run into the ground, a true workhorse. Like before, we used our trusty smartphones and began looking online in our area for a used vehicle that was inexpensive but would last for many years to come. After trolling many car lots trying to find the cars we had bookmarked online (or looking for cars that weren’t online), we found an SUV and a sedan at a small dealership in a “dodgy” part of town. Once we rolled onto the lot, a salesperson appeared at our window—in the rain—asking if we needed help. My husband and I looked at each other, and we braced ourselves as we got out of the car.

Not only was this buying process longer than the first two, but the dealership strung us along for DAYS before we finally crawled out with an SUV at a decent price. While this was not ideal, there are a few things the dealership got right: They had a significant and well-advertised online presence, and all vehicles were merchandised online with their best prices prominently displayed.

2. Being online matters.

My husband and I use online resources in every one of our car buying endeavors and have become car-searching powerhouses. Unsurprisingly, we’re not alone in this. On average, customers spend 14.75 hours shopping online for just one car (so for four cars, we shopped a total of 59 online hours?!), and 59% of an average customer’s car-buying research is done online as opposed to in-store, word of mouth, or in print. Shoppers tend to use smartphones when searching but also utilize desktops, laptops, and tablets, depending on where they are (home, work, out driving around). In fact, 46% of average customers use multiple devices to search online during their car buying process.

What does this mean for your dealership? Own a strong online presence. Post your best prices online to entice customers to come in and not be disappointed when they do. Utilize SEO (search engine optimization) to improve a buyer’s chance of finding YOUR dealership over another. Show your inventory online, on your site AND third-party sites. Ensure your dealership address and hours of operation are prominently displayed on your homepage, and in a Google search. Your customers are shopping online: Help them find what you want them to find.

Enter the shiny blue truck …

A year after the SUV buying experience, we (my husband) decided we needed (he wanted) a truck. So, we went truck shopping! (Note my sarcasm …) I’m pretty sure we visited every dealership in a 50-mile radius of our home over the course of three weeks.

Like before, we started by using digital devices to find the perfect truck. During our search we scoured the web, our budget rose and fell, and we test drove every truck we could. Finally, we agreed that our favorite truck model was WAY outside of our budget, so we found another option that was just the truck for us.

Our research into this chosen truck model eventually landed us at a dealership in a neighboring suburb. We arrived at the lot, saw the truck, (which had only been there for two days and was balloon-clad on the rotating pedestal out front, with a radiant light surrounding its shiny, blue physique) and asked for a test drive.

3. Test drives are not the end all, be all.

When my husband and I bought our hybrid/electric vehicles, we only test drove the cars we would purchase. This is typical, 52% of average customers only test drive one vehicle when they’re car shopping. From my research, I confirmed that “car shoppers are influenced about what to buy and who to buy from. The time to influence and convert them is online, where car buyers spend the majority of their shopping time making decisions.” This couldn’t have been truer during our truck shopping experience. We test drove many vehicles during our SUV and truck searches, but ultimately we made up our minds based on the deals and information we found online. We didn’t care who we talked to at the dealership; we just wanted to get the deal done.

My takeaway? If your sales team currently throws all its effort into making the sale during the test drive or after, perhaps utilize that selling talent on your company’s Facebook page or website instead.

4. In-store does not mean offline.

Even after my husband and I made it onto a lot in any of the above scenarios, we were still on our smartphones searching for the next best deal. When looking for the SUV and the truck, we drove through many lots, many dealerships, scouting for that one car, that diamond in the rough. We armed ourselves with statistics and features, the prices and current sales, anything we could before we spoke to a salesperson. 63% of shoppers report using their mobile device at the dealership.

To keep those customers on your lot and urge them to engage with your sales team, you need complete online transparency. What do you want shoppers to buy? The balloons and rotating pedestals are a nice touch, but invest in online advertising, social media sponsored posts, website banner ads, and third-party website top spots; THAT is where customers are looking, not in the skies above your dealership.

For more tips on internet management, check out the NCM Institute’s two courses Mastering Digital Marketing and Internet/BDC Operations Management.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/05/from-the-customer-4-car-buying-lessons/

Lindsey Quinn

5 Reasons Why You MUST Attract Digital Car Shoppers

Headline after headline tells us that the internet is playing a huge role in new vehicle sales. But just how important is it to the bottom line? NCM staffers did the research, and the results are clear. Your dealership is missing out on profits if you are ignoring your digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing InfographicDon’t miss out on online car buyers. Get even more insights on how to build a high-performing digital presence for your dealership.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/5-reasons-why-you-must-attract-digital-car-shoppers/

Chelsea Magee

Dealership Blogging: Does it really work?

Businessman thinking

Everyone loves free information. And free information brings in customers. In a fact, 90% of future car buyers report that they search online for answers to their questions about their next vehicle purchase or service.

Three strategies for blogging success

Because of this push for knowledge, blogs are no longer a luxury. But you have to do it right if you want to get the best results for your dealership.

1. Become an industry expert

Defy the stereotypes! Show future buyers that dealing with car dealers actually can be better than eating worms! Online research can frustrate customers, partly because we often let third-party sites educate them with inaccurate and confusing information.

Blogging is one of the best ways for your dealership staff to establish authority and expertise. Once Google realizes you’re an authority on the topic(s) customers are searching for, you’re going to see increased traffic from search engines. And who doesn’t want to drive more traffic to their website?

2. Stick to a schedule

I often see dealerships post a few blogs and end up quitting. You have to blog regularly and remain focused on providing high-quality information. Did you know that Google knows the difference between high and low-quality? This is one of Google’s 200 ranking factors!

Make sure you create a schedule you can maintain by creating an editorial calendar.

3. Tackle current issues

Talk to your staff and find out the “top ten” questions they answer on a regular basis. You can do this for both Sales and Service. Make sure to write posts about your local area and events because this will also boost your local relevancy. Another hint? Review everything! Customers often add the word “review” to many of their searches.

Keep in mind that you must write fresh content instead of copying and pasting from your manufacturer’s website. Google and your customers know the difference.

The icing on the cake? Ongoing communication is like marketing: You have to stay top of mind with your clients. How else are you going to provide customers with a steady stream of information without scaring them away? Customers may ignore your ads, but blogs include content they actually want to read. Supplying this content gets them to your website and helps humanize your dealership.

Join Chelsea for Kain Automotive and NCMi course, How to Lead in the Digital Marketplace, for more actionable insights and strategies for digital marketing.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/dealership-blogging-does-it-really-work/

Adam Robinson

Recruitment Best Practices from DrivingSales’ Most Valuable Insight Competition

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Recently, Hireology was fortunate to speak and present at the DrivingSales Presidents Club 2016 event as a finalist for the Most Valuable Insight Awards. As a way to share our “most valuable insight,” Hireology presented the findings from an in-house study on how effective employment branding drives quality hires and improved store performance at dealerships. After conducting our research, we found something to be true across all retail automotive dealerships: employment brand matters.

Strong employment branding, when combined with a data-driven evaluation process, is one of the best investments a dealership can make. When dealerships build a strong employment brand and utilize procedures to manage the recruiting and hiring effort, the results are staggering.

How we did this study

(Short on time to read? Jump to the results and learn how to use them.)

While conducting our research, Hireology studied two control groups (for easy reference, I’ll refer to these as “Group A” and “Group B”). Group A consisted of a six-rooftop dealer group from the Mid-Atlantic region, and Group B was composed of a three-rooftop group located in the Midwest. Management teams were surveyed electronically, which covered their approach to employment branding and recruitment process as well as their results from such efforts.

Before diving into the results, let’s take a look at some of the industry-wide data related to human capital:

Therefore, we anticipated a correlation between the way dealerships present themselves as employers to today’s younger workforce online and the harmful effects of their staff turnover.

What we found: A branded career site yields better candidates

Our survey exposed numerous challenges facing the automotive industry when it comes to finding and hiring employees. Hireology discovered that there was a clear difference between utilizing job boards and a company career site when it comes to recruiting talent. Here are our results.

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Applicant conversion by source

We analyzed the rate at which inbound page traffic to Group A’s career page converted into candidate applications and found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site substantially over-performed the conversion rates generated from paid job board traffic:

  • 0.2% conversion rate from job boards
  • 11.5% conversion rate from organic traffic

Candidates by source

In this analysis, “candidate” is defined as someone who has applied for an open position via the career site and who has been deemed qualified at the first review so that a next step, such as an interview, is warranted. What Hireology found was that nearly 94% of candidates who applied for an open job were attributable to a paid job board, versus organic traffic due to a career site.

  • 6.1% career site
  • 93.8% job boards

Hires by source

Our analysis of Group A data showed that 77% of all hires resulted from organic traffic generated by the dealer’s career site versus job boards. This insight, when examined against conversion rate and candidate source data, shows that even though organic traffic attributable to a dealer career site generated just 6% of all candidate traffic, the career site cohort produced a whopping 77% of all hires. In other words, 6% of traffic generated 77% of hires.

  • 22.7% job boards
  • 77.3% career site

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Quality of hires by source

Our analysis defined “quality hire” as “a hire who was able to meet or exceed 75% of their states production or performance target.” In sales roles, this might be a monthly vehicle unit sales quota. When controlling for the candidate source, 75% of all “quality hires” originated from the candidate pool generated via organic career site traffic. Just 25% of Group A’s quality hires came from a paid job board.

  • 25% job boards
  • 75% career site

Turnover percentage by source

Most importantly, the results show that turnover rates diverge substantially based on the cohort. The new variable ops hires that originated from a candidate attributable to a branded career site turned over at a rate two-thirds less than the industry average.

  • 25% from Group A
  • 72% industry average

Group B (Three-rooftop control group—Midwest)

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For this second control group, we similarly analyzed the rate at which inbound page traffic to Group B’s career page converted into candidate applications. Hireology found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site substantially over-performed the conversion rates generated from paid job board traffic.

Applicant conversion by source

We examined the rate at which inbound page traffic to this dealership group’s career page converted into candidate applications and found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site significantly over-performed the conversion rates that came from paid job board traffic:

  • 1% came from job boards
  • 13% came from the dealership’s career site

Candidates by source

In this analysis of Group B data, we defined “candidate” as someone who has applied for an open position via the career site and is a qualified applicant warranting a next step, such as an interview. Hireology found that nearly 82% of candidates who applied for an open position were attributable to a paid job board, compared with organic traffic due to a career site.

  • 82% job boards
  • 18% career site

Hires by source

Our analysis of the data showed that 71% of all hires resulted from organic traffic generated by the dealer’s career site versus job boards. When evaluated along with conversion rate and candidate source data, we concluded that even though organic traffic attributable to a dealer career site generated just 18% of all candidate traffic, this cohort produced a whopping 71% of all hires made. In other words, 18% of traffic generated 71% of hires.

  • 29% job boards
  • 71% career site

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As previously mentioned, Hireology defined “quality hire” as “a hire who was able to meet or exceed 75% of their states production or performance target.” When controlling for the candidate source, 70% of all “quality hires” came from the candidate pool generated via organic career site traffic; only 30% of quality hires resulted from a paid job board.

  • 30% job boards
  • 70% career site

Turnover percentage by source

What’s essential here is that the results show that turnover rates deviate significantly based on the cohort. The new variable ops hires that came from a candidate attributable to a branded career site turned over at a rate that’s nearly 50 percent less than the industry average.

  • 21% from Group B
  • 70% industry average

A branded career site for improves hiring and turnover

So, what’s the value in having a branded career site for your dealership? Here are four things to consider:

  1. Organic applicant traffic and process is over 5x more cost-effective
    1. Organic cost-per-hire: $245
    2. Third-party sources cost-per-hire: $1,700
  2. Organic applicant traffic and process yields the majority of hires—20% of the traffic yields 80% of the hires
  3. Hires sourced this way are 2.5x more likely to be an A or B player
  4. Hires sources this way have higher retention rates—
    1. 27% versus 67% industry average

Key takeaways for dealers

Retail automotive dealers who want to build better teams and reduce turnover should invest in employment branding and adopt a data-driven hiring process. The financial benefits of such an approach far surpass nearly all potential operational improvements through which dealers can generate a return on investment.

Assuming your dealership has 55 employees (the average) and a turnover of 67% per year, turnover is costing you nearly $600,000 per year, every year.

                        37 turns (67% x 55) @ $16,000 cost-per-turnover ea.  = $592,000

Based on our study, dealerships can anticipate dramatic changes in turnover after adopting a structured hiring process and creating a branded career site. As soon as you produce a turnover rate similar to the cases studies discussed above (i.e., 25%), your dealership turnover calculation would improve:

                        14 turns (25% x 55) @ $16,000 cost-per-turnover ea. = $224,000

That’s a profit add-back of $368,000 per store per year. Dealers are hard-pressed to figure out a more straightforward way to generate a higher return in this amount of time.

The bottom line is that dealers must take charge of the hiring challenge by taking control of the recruitment process. Strong employment branding, when combined with a data-driven evaluation process, is one of the best investments a dealership can make.

If you’re not already taking this approach, it might be time to reconsider the way your dealership hires employees because your employment brand most definitely matters.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the results of their study. Learn more about Hireology.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/05/recruitment-best-practices-from-drivingsales-most-valuable-insight-competition/

NCM Associates

#askNCM: Why should I market a vehicle before reconditioning?

Marketing and detailing vehicles for resale are primary processes for any successful used vehicle department. But how should you time these activities?

The answer comes down to marketing. If you wait out the reconditioning cycle time, Robin Cunningham warns, you’ll slow down the sales process … and reduce your profits!

How do you time your reconditioning and marketing activities? Tell us below! Want to #AskNCM a question? Leave a comment below, and we’ll answer it!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/04/askncm-why-should-i-market-a-vehicle-before-reconditioning/

Chelsea Magee

Intimidated by digital marketing? Don’t be!

mobilesite

It doesn’t matter what amazing deal, video or article you have, unless someone sees it! That’s why digital marketing is so important. It drives traffic to your website, and that traffic to your website drives leads to your CRM. Sounds easy and not super complicated, right?

It all starts with search

Fortunately, Google wants it to be that way. Most traffic starts with search. After all, whenever someone has a question, what’s the first response?  I ALWAYS say, “Just Google it!”

Your customers use Google to look up certain vehicles, your dealership reputation and much more. In fact, the search engine giant receives more than 3.5 billion searches per day. A solid digital plan makes their searching easy and quick, like a drive thru window.

You don’t need a web developer

So often, I find that dealerships think digital marketing is a super complicated thing. Many are concerned that they need to have—or hire—someone with extensive technical knowledge, like a website developer. You’ll probably be surprised to read that the best online marketing strategies aren’t about understanding computers, but understanding people!

People are the secret to digital marketing

Expanding your online presence starts with learning what online shoppers expect so you can get consumers’ attention.

Think about what grabs your attention at drive thru windows. Is it the price? Probably not—it’s about the tantalizing photos and descriptions. Digital marketing is about offering the right content, images and offers in the right places. Once you understand how your customers interact with the web, you can identify the best mobile strategy, website design, and social media presence. Then you learn how to use performance metrics to gauge your results. This part is a little technical, but with many resources to guide you, you don’t need to worry!

You can do this

Really, the biggest takeaway I want you to get from this blog is that digital marketing isn’t all that different from skills you already have: understanding what customers need and knowing how to talk to them. It’s just that you’re doing it in a different way. When you focus on people, not the technology, you can see that the digital landscape is really all about relationship building … with a few extra bells and whistles!

Join Chelsea for Kain Automotive and NCMi course, How to Lead in the Digital Marketplace, for more actionable insights and strategies for digital marketing.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/01/intimidated-by-digital-marketing-dont-be/

Laura Madison

Salespeople Social Selling Under the Dealership’s Umbrella

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Social selling is sweeping the automotive industry. A quick search for the terms ‘social selling’ will bring a bounty of articles, training offerings, and tips for salespeople leveraging social media to win business. All this social media mania is leaving dealerships wondering how to empower and control their employees who want to participate in this social realm.

The best strategy for this social movement is NOT to ignore the power of individual presences on social media or to prohibit salespeople to use social to promote themselves altogether; the best solution, for both dealerships and salespeople, is to create a social media presence where salespeople can participate under the umbrella of the dealership. This allows dealerships to benefit from any brand equity created by salespeople but also contributes to a larger, more cohesive marketing effort. It’s both empowering and controlled.

Uploading Under the Umbrella

Executing on this strategy is relatively simple. For example, a dealership can encourage salespeople to upload personalized videos to the dealership’s YouTube page. Simple videos filmed by salespeople with a smartphone highlighting the best features of a top-selling vehicle or the changes to a recent redesign, can provide great visibility for both the salesperson and the dealership. This upload can be facilitated very simply by a marketing director or whoever is presently running the dealership’s social media sites.

Salespeople can also participate on the dealership’s Facebook page in a number of ways. An effective social media presence highlights the humans behind a brand, so featuring photos of salespeople and tagging them in these photos can be a powerful way to add a human component to a dealership presence and also become more visible to these salespeople’s connections. Another way salespeople could contribute on Facebook is by providing content to post to the dealership Facebook page, like interesting product or customer photos.  Mining salespeople for Facebook updates could add incredible variety to posts and allow a dealership to show the faces behind the business.

There are a few big benefits of executing on this umbrella strategy:

  •  Increased visibility. Leveraging salespeople to create content, including automotive related photos or short videos, can boost activity on social channels and exponentially increase a dealership’s online reach. The more active a dealership can remain on social media the more prospective customers they’ll reach over time.
  •  A human component.  The key to an effective social media presence is creating human connection. Consumers want to know the people, and the story, behind a brand. Incorporating content from salespeople and featuring them in posts adds a dynamic and human component to a dealership’s social channels.
  •  Improved search engine optimization. Increasing videos, posts, and activity on certain platforms can catapult the organic search engine optimization of a dealership’s channels. For example, salespeople uploading content to YouTube will boost the likelihood of those videos appearing on the first page results of a Google search.

This umbrella approach on social media will result in a less fractured, more cohesive online presence for dealerships and dealership employees. Creating an environment where salespeople can contribute to the dealership’s social presence provides a fierce and powerful online visibility advantage in today’s competitive automotive space.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/11/8049/

Jody DeVere

Socially Conscious Brands Win with Women

Optimistic Female In Car

Auto dealers continue to increase their level of giving to charitable causes, according to a recent survey data from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Ally Financial.

More than 70 percent of new-car dealers surveyed in September 2014 said they increased their charitable giving in 2014, up from 65 percent last year. About 43 percent of dealers said they expect to increase their contributions again in 2015.

The bulk of this giving is staying in dealer’s local communities, as nearly 90 percent of dealers said their contributions go to supporting community service and local organizations. More than 65 percent of dealers surveyed said they organize staff volunteerism opportunities in their community.

Women consumers view their role in creating social and environmental change as extending well beyond the cash register. Companies can serve as a catalyst for sparking donations, volunteerism and advocacy by giving consumers a spectrum of ways to get involved.

Partnering with women consumers in this way can serve as both a reputation and bottom-line builder.

Cause Marketing Wins with Moms:

    95% find cause marketing acceptable.

    92% want to buy a product supporting a cause.

    93% are likely to switch brands.

    61% of purchased more cause-related products in the past year.

Source: Cone Cause Evolution Study, 2010

According to a study by Research International Ltd., 86% of consumers are more likely to buy a product associated with a cause or issue. About two thirds of Americans have a greater degree of trust in companies aligned with social issues. 64% of consumers feel companies should make cause-related marketing a part of their standard business practices.

Women are more likely than men to believe that supporting causes creates a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s life, makes them feel good about themselves and enhances the feeling of belonging to a community. Men and women are generally in agreement when it comes to which particular causes they choose to support.  For both, feeding the hungry and supporting our troops are among those that rank the highest, and as expected, gender-related health issues like breast cancer and prostate cancer are significantly more likely to be supported by women and men, respectively. 

Women Are Strongest Believers in the Power of Supporting Causes

8 in 10 American women believe that supporting causes creates a sense of purpose and meaning in life; and feel everyone can make a difference through their support.

Women Support Companies that Support Causes

Cause marketers often target the female demographic with campaigns, and with good reason

survey results confirm that American women are significantly more likely than men to show their support of a cause by purchasing products or services from companies who support the cause.

*Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact

Communication findings are part of the larger Dynamics of Cause Engagement study.

Millennials: A Critical Cause Demographic

Millennials, more than Non-Millennials, prefer active engagement in cause campaigns, such as volunteering their time (31% versus 26%), cause-support purchasing (37% versus 30%), encouraging others to support a cause (30% versus 22%), and participating in fund-raising events (27% versus 16%). Thirty-seven percent of Millennials report being drawn to products co-branding with cause campaigns where their purchase is a form of support. 

American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.

Top areas women support most as volunteers and with charitable donations:

1. Health care charities related to women, children or family support.

2. Local youth & family services

3. Education

4. Preserving the environment

5. Arts, culture, or ethnic awareness

6. Help people in need of food, shelter, or other basic necessities

7. Improving neighborhoods and communities

Who you partner with as a charity makes a difference with women on her purchase decisions,  your reputation, positive word of mouth and your local market reach.

Tip: Visit Charity Navigator http://www.charitynavigator.org/ to review charities before you partner with them to determine the charity reputation and how funds are being utilized.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/11/8028/

Laura Madison

Using Social Media to Eliminate the Car Salesman Stereotype

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Let’s face it; the public’s perception of a car salesperson is not pretty. Salespeople are regarded as sleazy, quick-talking, plaid-loving “professionals.” The negative stereotype was formed in a time when salespeople held all the cards—a time when information regarding pricing, the car-buying process, and the product was largely unavailable to consumers. Today, the consumer has the ability to research all aspects of car shopping and the industry is becoming increasingly transparent. The behavior that earned automotive salespeople this reputation has almost vanished, but this negative perception still plagues the automotive industry.

So let’s transform it.

Many dealerships today are staffed by millennials, veterans, automotive enthusiasts and people who are genuinely as interested in helping their buyer make a good decision as they are in making a paycheck. Car salespeople today are genuine, likable people. Our best way to communicate this to the public is by using social media to introduce the real people of our business. We can do this by allowing salespeople to contribute to dealership social media channels. Allowing salespeople to participate in the online movement is both empowering and innovative. You can encourage salespeople to do simple things that show they are helpful, caring resources rather than hungry, front-door vultures. For example, a salesperson could film a quick video off a smartphone of new features on a redesigned model or write up a quick social post that includes tips for the best test drive.

If salespeople can begin to brand themselves, provide guidance and context, and show that they are caring people, they have the opportunity to build themselves apart from the shadow of this terrible stereotype.

Beyond the Salesperson

Social media is a portal that allows us to revise negative perceptions even beyond those of salespeople’s. Customers are all online gathering information and doing research before they ever walk into a showroom; why can’t dealerships begin to be the ones to provide this valuable information to their local car buyers?

Dealerships could use Facebook pages to provide answers to frequently asked questions or highlight product comparisons, instead of using them (often unsuccessfully) as an advertising platform. Providing value and sharing information about the product allows people to make real connections to the dealership and the cool things they sell.

These are only a few examples of how dealers can use social media to make people more comfortable walking into the showroom. Social platforms provide an incredible avenue of communication that could transform the way the public perceives the automotive industry. The tools and the audience are online; it’s just a matter if the automotive world is finally going to make a move and take action.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/09/using-social-media-to-eliminate-the-car-salesman-stereotype/

Jody DeVere

Three Quick Tips for Marketing to Women

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One of the basics of marketing to women is that marketing (in the traditional sense), is just one step. You can create a fantastic advertisement or marketing promotion, even incorporate compelling features based on feedback and input from women, but if the experience at the dealership is uncomfortable or stressful, you won’t get the sale.

In their book, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?, co-authors Brian & Jeffrey Eisenberg help marketers understand how to deal with the reality that the customer is in control. They suggest becoming your own customer and going through your own dealership buy process. Pretend that you’re a prospect just at the beginning of a purchase, searching for information. What search terms would you use? What stores would you visit? What questions would you ask the salesperson? Then, how does your business line up to this?

Dealerships that want to succeed must take every interaction into account and understand that for today’s consumers, it’s action not words that motivate. (Especially when it comes to women, who make 80% of the purchasing decisions.)

“The experience becomes the brand,” say the authors, “…it’s about experience… theirs”, and I couldn’t agree more.

According to the authors, like cats, today’s consumers are independent, unpredictable and finicky but many marketers are still approaching them as if, like Pavlov’s dog, all they have to do is create a compelling message. However delivering an outstanding experience for women is the best marketing of all.

Three Quick Tips:

1. Be Patient:

Women consider how a vehicle is going to fit into their long-term lifestyle before making a purchase. They’re a lot more cautious and careful than men are and usually take longer to make their decision. They’re going to buy a car they’re happy with for years. Refrain from high pressure closing tactics, be patient and don’t rush her process.

2. Listen:

Women buyers like to tell “their whole story” to sales people. Having outstanding listening skills help build a relationship, understand her lifestyle car buying needs and create a friendly, enjoyable experience.

3. Trust:

Women have become nearly every family’s chief purchasing officer. She looks for a salesperson who wants to be a part of her buying process, who shares her values regarding honesty, respect and trust.

According to a study called “Elevated Expectations: The New Female Value Equation,” 97 percent of women expect good customer service everywhere they shop. Eighty-three percent buy more when in a store with good customer service. The study also found that 89 percent of women choose one store over another, with similar merchandise and prices, if it offers better customer service.

When women have bad customer service experiences, 80 percent say they will not go back to that store, even if it was just one bad encounter. And 94 percent say they will tell other people about the bad experience. Women expect “Nordstrom-quality” service everywhere they shop, but they rarely find it.

There is great opportunity for dealerships to raise the bar by focusing on how to improve the experience of women customers and increase their dealership’s positive “brand image,” grow market-share and increase positive word-of-mouth, both on and offline.


Jody DeVere is the CEO of AskPatty.com and a new guest contributor to the Up To Speed blog.  Through AskPatty.com, Jody provides automotive education to women consumers and certification and training for automotive retailers on how to attract, sell, retain and market to women. She is also a featured subject matter expert on NCM OnDemand, NCM Associates’ new virtual training and communications platform.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/09/three-quick-tips-for-marketing-to-women/

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