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Tag Archive: Internet Management

Jessica Kain

Three Tips to Improve Your Digital Marketing

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Are you spending a lot of money each month on your digital marketing and internet operation but not getting the return on investment you want? It’s a common problem.

Without the right plan, marketing investments fail

Every day, dealers spend thousands of dollars to improve their website, do search engine marketing and buy every lead source and product in the market. Sadly, though, most dealers struggle to break even on their investments— their close rate is poor and morale broken!

Understand how clients shop to improve your marketing

None of us can argue that 100% of our opportunities come from our marketing; however, all of our results come from having an effective and fail-safe process. Process and communication tactics are not always the shiny objects that dealers chase or want to talk about, but they are the only way we will meet and surpass our goals for our internet operations.

When creating your tactics, remember that the internet has changed the way we all live and operate. And, especially for auto shoppers, the wide availability of information about products has made customers extremely smart and selective buyers.

3 ways to immediately improve your digital marketing

Fortunately, you can capitalize off these trends and make an immediate improvement to your digital efforts with the right strategy.

Here’s what I recommend:

1) Go where they are. There are more than a billion websites, so discovering where your clients spend their time and putting your marketing there is key.

2) Recognize the wealth of information available to them. Buyers research—a LOT— before making a purchase. Your marketing should speak to them respectfully and give them information they need.

3) Be real. Social media plays a large role in the purchasing decision, with most people relying on their social networks to guide their choices. Don’t be afraid to include social media in your marketing mix, but be critical about choosing the right channels and voice for your dealership.

 

If you or your team members are looking to improve your internet or BDC operation for the better, then please join the NCMi and Kain Automotive for a workshop on Mastering Internet Sales. We will provide you with an understanding of today’s digital-savvy customer and how to really read the leads that hit your system. Working together, you’ll learn a proven, fail-safe process to improve digital marketing, and come home with the best communication tactics to engage your customers. The basis of this course is to set your dealership up to better connect, appoint and sell today’s internet shoppers.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/12/three-tips-to-improve-your-digital-marketing/

Mark Shackelford

How Well Do You Understand the Internet Process in Your Dealership?

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As e-Commerce continues to play an ever increasingly-significant role in your dealership’s operations, how well do you understand the tools your potential clients are using in the purchase of and subsequent maintenance for their new or pre-owned vehicles?

More and more information tells us that your customers have already moved towards buying and paying online. Today, and more importantly, tomorrow’s millennial consumers are sourcing their purchases via the Internet where products are now shipped directly to their homes. These transactions are mostly generated as a result of reviews found online or through a Google search where reviews are part of the results.

What if, after doing an Internet survey of more than 200 dealership customers recently, I was to inform you that over 50 percent of the customers shopped on the Internet, the dealership did not ask the online consumers for an appointment, and over 60 percent of the shoppers did not even receive a price! Are you shaking your head in disbelief, or is this what customers are experiencing with your dealership, too?

Simply put, there are high-value customers out there looking on the Internet for products and services and they are willing to use your services, even if you’re not the cheapest price in the marketplace. That’s right…the lowest price doesn’t always get the deal. What these millennial customers are looking for is engagement from your business!

Your presence on the web is vital to that engagement (as well as to your future success in the automotive industry). Your image and reputation are a big part of that engagement strategy; so, too, is your ability to be found by the shoppers you most want to attract.

What is your marketing strategy relative to the markets around you?

Some consumers shop online within a 20-30 mile radius while others are going out as far as 500-1,000 miles out, depending on what they are looking for. Focusing on certain geographical areas for targeting your message and directing your marketing, such as Equity Alerts, have been found by many dealers in NCM 20 Groups to be very successful and quite possibly the key to your continued and future success!

Although buying third party leads may have resulted in delivering a vehicle to a consumer, many of NCM’s 20 Group member dealers are finding that by analyzing Google Analytics and having the right SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SRP (Search Results Page) and VDP (Vehicle Display Page) plan for their websites, they are able to drive more organic searches, thus minimizing or even eliminating the need to buy these types of leads.

Most of you have probably figured out that these leads are in your market already, or in your current database. Doing a better job of mining your own customer database, both in sales and service, will yield many opportunities in those departments, and the Internet can and will play an important role in helping you accomplish just that.

As business owners, we need to fine-tune our people and processes to ensure we are giving the consumers what they’re looking for. Make sure your e-Commerce strategy is incorporating those Internet management best practices that will drive the engagement your online customers want – and your dealership needs!

KAIN

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/08/how-well-do-you-understand-the-internet-process-in-your-dealership/

Garry House

Are Some of Your Used Vehicle Deals Really “Special”?

specialsI have always believed that there was a very valid reason why dealership website designers decided to include a “Used Vehicle Specials (UVS)” page in their master plan. Because if I were a used vehicle prospect, cruising dealers’ websites, when I clicked on “Used Vehicles” (or “Pre-Owned Inventory”), and a drop-down appeared, with one of the choices being “Specials” (or “Featured Vehicles”), I would certainly go there first, before taking a deep dive into the overall used vehicle inventory. However, most dealership managers must not think that the normal used vehicle prospect is like me… If so, they’d pay more attention to their UVS page, if the dealer even still allows them the luxury of having one!

I’ve always encouraged my client-dealers to regularly maintain and update this particular web page. (And most of my clients know that when I use the term “regularly” in the used vehicle arena, I mean “daily.”) I also harp on my clients about letting the browsing internet prospect know WHY we say a vehicle is “Special.” Is it the price? Is it the scarcity? Is it distressed merchandise? Are we overstocked in this year/make/model? Our UVS page must clearly define and SCREAM what “Special” means for each vehicle listed.

Before taking the time to write this article, I decided to conduct some research. Although I accurately predicted the results of this brief study, I had sincerely hoped to be wrong. From my list of nearly 500 past and current client-dealer rooftops, I checked out 30 dealership websites… big dealers, small dealers, private mega-dealers, public cap dealers… and looked at their UVS pages. The sample size was statistically significant to me. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Only five of the dealerships (less than 20%) did, what I considered to be, at least an adequate job on their UVS page. The positive components on those pages included statements such as, “Must Go Now, Note the Huge Price Drop”, ”Lowest Price on Like Vehicles Within 500 Miles”, ”All Vehicles On This Page Eligible for Additional $500 Coupon Discount! Click Below”, ”Bad CarFax, Bad Paint, A/C Not Cold, Runs Like a Top, And Really, Really Cheap!”
  2. Three of the dealerships (10%) no longer had a UVS page. When I called the Dealer Operator (or GM), each said, in his/her own way, “I just couldn’t make it happen on a continuous basis. Poor accountability management on my part! So rather than have a ‘Bad’ UVS, I decided to eliminate it completely.”
  3. When I clicked on the UVS on six of the dealerships, the resulting message took a form similar to the following: “Look for great Used Car Sales coming soon!”, ”See all 82 vehicles in inventory.” or  “Sorry, no specials are available at this time. Please check back later!”
  4. The remaining 16 rooftops (more than 50%) had a myriad of different offerings on their UVSs, none of which were “Special.” A few examples: Copies of their display ads (one was unreadable)…a half dozen pictures with year/make/model, stock number, and price…a reproduction of their normal used vehicle listings with 25+ vehicles featured.

In which above category is your dealership? If you don’t know, check out your UVS page! I hope you won’t be disappointed. If your page is in category #1, congratulations! If not, I suggest you GET IT FIXED immediately! Next week, January 7th and 8th, NCMi will be conducting a 1½ day regional training program in Orlando Florida, titled How to Make the Phone Ring and the Door Swing in YOUR Used Vehicle Department. To learn more, click here. Enroll now if you want to Jump-Start your Used Vehicle Department in 2014!roadshow_orlando

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/12/are-some-of-your-used-vehicle-deals-really-special/

Rebecca Chernek

GM’s Shop-Click-Drive Program Drives Home Need for Improved Online F&I Service

typingIn a world where 85 percent of consumers surfing the Internet have made a purchase online, General Motors is hoping its new Shop-Click-Drive program will pave the way for satisfying car buyers who may be craving the opportunity to avoid dealership showrooms and purchase their next vehicle online.

GM’s program is on pace to roll out across the country by the end of 2013, allowing customers of participating GM dealerships to purchase or lease their new ride online.

Meeting consumer demand

But what impact will the ability to avoid the showroom have on dealerships anxious to provide financing and other F&I products to new buyers?

A look at GM’s new program provides some insight into whether or not demand for online vehicle purchasing is a trend likely to stay. Earlier this year, a successful pilot for the Shop-Click-Drive program was launched in Michigan, and it is currently available through about 100 participating dealerships in Alabama, Arizona, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

GM company spokesperson Ryndee Carney says the program works like this: customers visiting a dealership’s website select the vehicle of their choice, and are then prompted to “create” their deal. Participating dealers must provide concierge service for customers wishing to test drive and possibly take delivery of a vehicle.

Announcement of the program comes at the height of a legal battle where luxury electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla Motors, is battling accusations it is violating state franchise laws with its direct-to-consumer business model. Tesla’s retail strategy, which allows consumers to buy directly from the manufacturer online, has come under fire in several states.

But Carney argues that GM’s program differs from Tesla since customers are buying vehicles from dealers, not directly from the automaker itself. “So, the vehicle sales transaction must be completed by the dealership. The dealer controls how the application works on his or her dealership website, so it’s compliant with franchise laws,” she explained.

Meeting online demands

About 56 percent of transactions initiated during the program’s testing phase were completed online, a significant amount, but one that shows plenty of room for dealerships to differentiate themselves in the marketplace with updated F&I customer service.

While streamlining the online vehicle shopping experience may help to build brand loyalty, bypassing the showroom may also have some unintended consequences for local dealerships, primarily by way of lost revenue via finance and insurance (F&I) products.

The stumbling block is likely to be in the form of F&I managers not ready to embrace the online buyer than from consumer unwillingness to examine options offered by dealers, even in an online buying scenario. That could be a big problem, eating away at dealer profits as consumers quickly click away to one of a growing number of popular auto financing sites.

It isn’t just GM dealerships at risk, either. Other automakers, eager to stay competitive and build brand recognition with consumers, will likely follow suit in rolling out similar programs.

Risk and Communication

Accepting the reality of the online buyer is the first step dealerships can take in managing risk and realizing return on the growing trend of online purchasing. Dealerships that think offering an online loan application will satisfy the Internet’s vehicle buyers will need to rethink their strategy. Gone are the days when F&I managers could hide behind the curtain, too. Today’s F&I staff need to fine-tune their customer service skills and prepare to communicate with the online buyer, whether through chat window, email, Skype or similar platform.

Begin by reviewing and adjusting your company website to make online purchasers feel welcome and confident about the experience. If current F&I managers are unwilling or incapable of connecting with online buyers, consider dividing your F&I team into F&I online managers and F&I face-to-face managers.  The idea is to make the department accountable- not fight against each other.

Keep in mind, online vehicle buyers — like most online consumers — are looking for the best value and are used to finding it online. Be prepared to be factual and straightforward about a customer’s options, a practice that should spell success for F&I managers on the showroom floor as well as online.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/11/gms-shop-click-drive-program-drives-home-need-for-improved-online-fi-service/

Russell Grant

Traditional Dealership Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

digitalmarketingAs I speak to dealers and GMs a common question they struggle with is: “How much of my budget should go to traditional marketing and how much should go to digital marketing?” It is an interesting question because everyone is trying to find the magic formula.

The first part of this question is easy for dealers to answer, as most dealerships are going to stick with the traditional media that works best for them. The tougher issues are how much to spend on digital, what is the correct ratio and where to invest those digital dollars. This becomes even more difficult as digital marketing is expanding into new and innovative products — and also blending with our traditional media. This is where it becomes trickier to calculate the correct percentages, as you have to drop your media into one of the two buckets.

Brand and Impact Marketing

I would like to look at this from a different perspective. I was speaking to Jared Hamilton of DrivingSales, and it is his opinion that dealers should measure it in two ways. Your marketing dollars should be spent on brand and impact marketing. The bottom line is that you should either be building your brand or driving response. Building your brand creates awareness, and impact marketing creates the response a dealer needs to excel. I thought this was a brilliant idea because the most successful vendors and marketing concepts will combine traditional and digital strategies.

For example: all of your TV campaigns will tie back to your dealership’s website. In fact, most if not all of your marketing spend will include your dealership’s website. Digital marketing, as we see it today, will be become traditional in the next 10 years, if not sooner. We also see direct marketing becoming more effective by using digital components, and vice versa. As this trend continues, it will become more difficult to decipher which of your spend is digital and which is traditional.

What Do We Measure?

As dealers, we want to have measurable results for our spend. That is the same now as it was 10 years ago. It is my opinion that dealers should be educated on all the new ways to reach customers, but not limit themselves to trying to find the correct percentage of traditional vs. digital. The goals of marketing have not changed. All we have to do is figure out the best way to brand our dealership and the best way to have immediate impact. So, the next time you get pitched the latest and greatest concept, you will have a better way to decide if you should move forward. More importantly, as the market continues to redefine itself, it will be easier to keep your marketing aligned with your true visions and objectives.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/08/traditional-dealership-marketing-vs-digital-marketing/

David Kain

It’s Time for 3rd Party New Vehicle Lead Providers to be Transparent

fishbowlThe 3rd party new lead providers I know are operated by genuinely good people who want to provide a valuable service to the auto shoppers, dealers and manufacturers they serve. For more than 15 years in some cases, companies like Autobytel have worked diligently to bring car buyers and car dealers together using the magic of the Internet. Like Autobytel, AutoUSA and Dealix are also very well-intended companies that realize in order to grow their business they must also grow the businesses of the dealerships that write the checks for their leads. Beyond the well-known 3rd party new vehicle lead providers are other new vehicle lead providers that don’t have the marquee profile of these industry stalwarts, but send leads in the thousands each month to dealerships all over the country in the name of vehicle manufacturers. These companies are Shift Digital and Urban Science and their new vehicle leads show up in your CRM or lead management tool as Manufacturer 3rd Party Leads.  All are necessary and generally beneficial to the healthy growth of new vehicle sales across the country.

However…if they want to thrive in the future (not just survive), they need to be totally transparent with the originating source of the leads they sell to dealers. The business model used by most 3rd party new vehicle lead providers is that of a lead aggregator. They sell leads to dealers and manufacturers from their own sites (AutoByTel & AutoUSA) and sites they own (Dealix owns InvoiceDealers), as well as leads they buy and then “aggregate” to dealers from root lead sources.   There are literally hundreds of these root lead sources that are not well known to dealers, but you can easily find them if you search for your brands’ current make and models in your community.

These root lead sources typically show up on the side bar with the other pay per click advertisements just to the right of the organic search.  A recent search I conducted on Google using the terms “2013 Ford Fusion Lexington KY” returned several pay per click options, including one that said Ford Fusion with a sub-message that promoted “Don’t Pay $21,700 for a Ford Fusion – Submit Form for a Free Quote!”…A click on the link took us to a site where the headline reads, “Did You Know Every New Ford Fusion Has a Secret Price?” Once I filled out the form to obtain my Secret Price and hit submit, I was then provided the option to get additional pricing on a Mazda, Honda and Chevrolet.  Wow, four quotes for the effort of filling out the form just one time! Sadly, four dealerships will now receive this 3rd party new vehicle lead from a presumed buyer interested in their brand, but the salesperson will likely not know the original root source because it will be masked as a well-known source; in my opinion, too often as a manufacturer 3rd party lead.  Oh…these four dealers that received my test lead…they will each pay for the lead even though none of them will know whether their brand was the primary selection of the auto shopper.

Here’s where we come in. We teach dealers each day how to effectively respond to their leads and how to motivate car buyers to come in to their dealerships. One technique is to read the lead and identify the source.  When the source is identified as a Manufacturer Partner Lead or a Manufacturer 3rd Party Lead or even one of the Big 3 lead providers (Autobytel, AutoUSA and Dealix) the salesperson or Business Development Center agent can’t be sure of the original source and therefore, they will not know what the customer experienced during the lead submission process.

We encourage dealers to take electronic field trips online with their Internet sales team to click where the customer clicks so they can have a clear understanding of their experience before they hit submit. When a dealer knows what the customer experienced, the dealer can respond in kind knowing what the customer was told during the shopping process. This helps buyer and seller appreciate one another more, especially when a salesperson or agent states during the call or email that they are the preferred dealership representing the root lead source. This works great when the sources are clear-cut such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com, but they are confusing when the source is called Manufacturer Partner or 3rd Party leads.

There is no good reason why this root lead source isn’t clearly identified to the dealership that buys the leads. The reasons for not providing the names of these obscure sources are likely to keep the dealers from being concerned with the quality of individual sources, but that’s not fair to the ones who are writing the checks. All dealers appreciate that leads are scrubbed for working phone numbers and email addresses before they are sent to them. The leads I am concerned about are the leads that get through the filters without telling the dealerships they are likely the 3rd brand choice, or that a price has already been provided below invoice. This would be great for the salesperson or agent responding to know so they can provide a more valuable reply to the auto shopper.

If Trilogy SmartLeads and TrueCar can provide the sources of their leads, so can all the 3rd party new vehicle lead providers. It’s time to help car buyers and selling dealers by reducing unnecessary tension.  Let the buyers know that a dealer will likely be calling them to provide a price, and tell selling dealers that a buyer has selected their vehicle, it was their second or 3rd choice, and they already know the invoice and were told they should pay less. It’s only fair and it’s also the best way for your business and you’re paying dealers to thrive. Just my two cents.

This article was reprinted with permission from KainAutomotive.com. David Kain is a well-known speaker and trainer on Internet sales and management best practices for automotive dealers and he also moderates NCM’s Internet 20 Groups. To find out more about NCM 20 Groups for Internet Directors and Managers, call 877.803.3627

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/05/its-time-for-3rd-party-new-vehicle-lead-providers-to-be-transparent/

Garry House

It’s Time to Raise the Bar for Automotive Internet Closing Ratios

In the second quarter of 2012, the NCM Institute (NCMi®) formed a training partnership with Automotive Internet Management (AIM). As of last week, AIM has conducted four “Bridging the Internet Sales Gap” training workshops under NCMi sponsorship. After personally auditing two of these sessions and receiving client-dealer feedback from all of the sessions, I’ve become convinced that dealers and their sales management teams need to “raise the bar” on their expectations for Internet closing ratios.

At NCMi, we have always believed and taught that a 12% to 15% Internet closing ratio was a really good job. Most of the OEMs, Internet consulting firms, and “best practices” dealers have paralleled our belief. However, after experiencing the AIM training, and talking with a number of the AIM clients, I sincerely believe that the “true” Internet closing ratio metrics that define a “really good job” need to be raised to 18% to 21%. Here’s how I see these metrics being developed:

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It’s also interesting to note that there is no “silver bullet” required to achieve what may appear to be very lofty objectives. According to Bill Phillips and Greg Elam at AIM, these metrics are attainable by doing the following:

  • Effectively organizing and managing your Internet lead data
  • Employing tenacious and quality lead follow-up
  • Ensuring greater involvement by sales managers in the eCommerce process
  • Thoroughly documenting lead management activities
  • Working smarter, rather than harder
  • Implementing and executing the Six Elements of Effective Accountability Management that we talk so much about at NCMi

The folks at AIM believe the automotive Internet sales process is really pretty simple. People will always sell vehicles. When used properly, technology is only an aid to selling. Internet consumers are the same as other customers; they are just communicating with you electronically. Just as with floor retail business, implementing basic, proven sales processes and management techniques will improve your eCommerce business. You CAN generate more gross profit from your eCommerce business if those proven principles are applied.

The General Management Executive Program is one of the NCMi training curriculums that focuses heavily on eCommerce marketing and management. Enrollments are now being accepted for the 2013 class that begins on March 4th. Learn more about the GMEP by calling Brandiss, Kara, or Cassie at 866.756.2620.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2012/11/its-time-to-raise-the-bar-for-automotive-internet-closing-ratios/

Garry House

Are You Closing 20% (or More) of Your Internet Leads?

H--REK-Pictures-Email campaigns-AIM Internet Sales-Fotolia_39667104_XL ecommerce word cloud-thumb_A sound Internet/BDC operation is a key component of every successful automotive dealership. The question is, what makes a sound Internet/BDC operation? When the NCM Institute decided to sponsor a dealership Internet/BDC training program earlier this year, we decided upon one of the recognized e-Commerce experts in the retail automotive industry, Automotive Internet Management (AIM), because we found their definition to be consistent with the needs expressed by our clients.

The operative words in my last sentence were “one of.” There are many recognized e-Commerce experts, some being generalists and some being specialists. However, in discussions with clients involved in our 20 Groups, who are using our Retail Operations Consulting programs, and who regularly attend NCM Institute classes, most said that what they need is to better understand Internet lead management (as oppose to lead development). These clients told us that their priority was to improve their Internet closing ratios, rather than increasing Internet lead volume. AIM’s “claim to fame” is to achieve world-class lead management effectiveness, and that’s why NCM selected Automotive Internet Management as its “specialist” training partner in presenting Bridging the Internet Sales Gap, one of NCMi’s newest training programs.

Last week, NCM sponsored the first such workshop, and as the host, I was privileged to attend. Bill Phillips and Greg Elam of Automotive Internet Management began the workshop by saying, “We know the reason you guys are here is to learn how to deliver vehicles to 20% of your Internet leads.” They then went on to show the class exactly how to do that.  It was all about expectations, process, activities, measurement, inspection, and yes, in a nutshell…Accountability Management. All of this training is focused on what needs to happen after the electronic lead hits the dealership. Bill and Greg did a great job of “downloading their brains” to the audience, without making it a sales pitch for AIM’s services.

The response by those attending this program could not have been more positive. As a result, NCMi has scheduled another Bridging the Internet Sales Gap workshop for November 7th and 8th in Atlanta, Georgia. Because of the nature of AIM’s program, seats are limited, so if you would like to enroll in this training program, please call Brandiss, Kara, or Cassie at 866.756.2620.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2012/08/are-you-closing-20-or-more-of-your-internet-leads/

Greg Elam

Revealing the Gaps in an Auto Dealership’s Internet Sales Process


h--rek-pictures-blogs-greg elam, aim-thumb_Today’s Up To Speed article is contributed by Greg Elam of Automotive Internet Management.  AIM offers an e-commerce accountability solution for auto dealership Internet sales and will be conducting a two-day workshop for the NCM Institute this month entitled, “Bridging the Internet Sales Gap.”

Mystery shops are a valuable tool in assessing an automotive dealer’s performance; we at AIM use them every day in our pursuit of new business and to illustrate real-world, “street-level” performance from our existing clients.  If you are a believer in mystery shops, or have never used them to evaluate your processes, consider the following guidelines on how to do them more effectively.

Of course, we document all information used in the shop, including fictitious prospect names, realistic tracking phone numbers (with local area codes), email addresses, vehicle makes/models, when the leads were submitted, and through which lead source they were submitted (we use the dealer’s website, as this is their best source for leads).  Leads for new and used vehicles are evaluated to check both departments, should they be separate.

A critique of the dealer’s website is not a key component for this exercise because the salesperson has no way of influencing it, and the critique is based partially on opinion—and we base all assessments on real data.  Even on the most challenging of today’s website designs, anyone who can drive a car should be able to figure out how to submit a lead.

We always ask a question when submitting the lead (if the website allows it) and we document if a proper response was or was not provided by the dealer.  If the prospect provides a phone number, they should be called. If they don’t, a phone number and a conversation should be requested. We always aim to elevate the mode of communication. We can sell appointments more effectively on the phone, just as we can more effectively sell cars face-to-face.

Response time is important, and should be less than 30 minutes. However, more important is the call frequency and quality during the first four days.  Real responses are phone calls and personalized emails, not auto-response emails.  In properly-managed dealerships, auto-responders should only be used when the store is closed.

Ultimately, the outbound activity (or lack thereof) generated by our mystery shops reflects the most important part of the e-commerce sales process. Our data has proven repeatedly that proper outbound contact attempts during the first four-to-five days after lead submission (the peak period of the Internet buying cycle) will result in additional sales. Our mystery shops measure this outbound activity with our tracking numbers and email addresses.

We also record and critique voice mails, and take screen shots of the emails we receive. Proper grammar and punctuation is mandatory, and we recommend keeping emails short and sweet, with calls to action for phone calls and/or test drives.

Manager involvement is crucial to a successful e-commerce process. Managers who can desk deals should be available to get involved on calls where the salesperson has made contact with the prospect but could not set a specific appointment, or the prospect demands pricing or other deal decisions before coming in.

Documentation of all actions and information into the CRM or lead management tool is critical.  To work as a team, any person should be able to work on any lead at any stage without asking questions about its history.

Mystery shops are the real proof of how well a dealer’s process is functioning during the first and most crucial stage of the Internet buying cycle.  Doing them frequently and correctly will allow you to turn your attention to your lead management activities and focus on improving the rest of the process.

Is it time to take a closer look at your Internet sales processes?  Consider mystery shopping your operation or better yet, come to San Diego August 21-22 and find out how to expertly asses your e-commerce operation and start improving your Internet closing ratios—and your gross profit—immediately!

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To reach Greg Elam and Automotive Internet Management, call 949.716.7716 or visit www.aimdealer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2012/07/revealing-the-gaps-in-an-auto-dealerships-internet-sales-process/