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Tag Archive: Internet Sales

Jessica Kain

Three Tips to Improve Your Digital Marketing

typing

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 is 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 efficient 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 vast availability of information about products has made customers incredibly 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 the information they need.
  3. Be real. Social media plays a significant 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 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 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/

Alan Ram

Is Your Dealership in Conflict?

Chess

Here’s the problem at many dealerships: In our heads, we know what we want our people to be doing on a daily basis, but our actions and processes (or lack thereof) contradict what our heads are thinking, and we end up sending our staff conflicting messages. What do many of you see as you walk through your showroom? You might see five salespeople standing out on the point for three hours, waiting for one customer while discussing their upcoming fantasy football draft. As a dealer, that should make you crazy. What do you want to see? You want to see your people working the phones EFFECTIVELY and driving better quality traffic to the dealership.

Here are a couple issues I see at play at many dealerships:

First and foremost is your open floor. There is absolutely no benefit to you as a dealer in having an open floor. NONE!! All an open floor does is encourage your people to stand around and do nothing while they wait around for a floor up that was coming in anyway.

I see this happen all the time; a dealership has my training and their people are excited to work the phones. A couple salespeople, who don’t necessarily think it’s part of their job to actually follow up or generate anything, continue to stand out on the lot…and wait. Luckily for them, they don’t have to compete anymore for floor traffic with all the salespeople who are doing what you want them to do on the phones. Let’s just say that one of the salespeople standing around happens to bump into a customer that buys a car. Pretty soon the salespeople who are on the telephone, doing what you want them to do, start realizing that they’re not having a chance to even get an up. Now human nature takes over and they start the migration back to the front door. They indirectly feel that they are being punished by doing what you asked them to do. Your open floor is hurting productivity and needs to go.

Have you ever had to bribe your kids to get them to eat their candy and ice cream? “Now Billy, if you don’t eat your ice cream, you’re not going to get any candy.” I doubt that’s a conversation that happens at anyone’s house. It’s more like, “If you don’t eat your Brussels sprouts, you don’t get dessert”. You don’t need to convince them to eat their candy and ice cream. They were going to eat that anyway. To me, spiffing your salespeople for selling your floor ups is the same thing. They’re going to take your floor ups whether you spiff them or not! If a salesperson that sold 25 cars off strictly floor ups was to leave tomorrow, how many deals would you lose? Probably none. Why? Because those customers would still come in. They would just be distributed differently. What about that salesperson that sells 20 cars a month off primarily their own efforts to repeat and referral clients? If that salesperson was to leave, how many deals would you lose? I would say all of them. Therefore, a salesperson that sells repeat and referral customers is far more valuable to you than one that sells floor ups. If you’re going to have a spiff program, let’s spiff them for what you want them to do versus what they were going to do anyway! A referral spiff for example. If it really is a referral your salesperson generated through their efforts, wouldn’t it make sense to spiff them for it?

We also all want our sales staff doing a better job at working (mining) their sold customer base. What if we spiff them for selling repeat customers or for turning service customers back into sales clients. Now you have your salespeople thinking, “I make more money by selling a repeat or referral client than I do a floor up.” That’s when they’ll start focusing on those things you want them to focus on. That’s when you’re using your spiff money to change their behavior and ultimately change the culture. You will not sell one less car by eliminating a unit bonus, but you’ll sell a lot more cars by instituting a repeat and referral spiff.

The key to this coming together and getting the results you want is obviously training. Your people need to be trained on how to get results on the phone. When they’re trained it gives them confidence. When they have confidence, they’re much more likely to be successful and they gain momentum. It all starts with training and having processes in place that are consistent with, and not in conflict with, what you want to see happening on your showroom floor.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/07/dont-let-business-development-kill-your-business/

Ali Mendiola

40 Percent or More of Your Website Traffic Comes from Mobile. Are You Ready?

mobilesite

You build a website thinking that customers will take the time to go to a computer and do their research. After all, they’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a new or pre-owned vehicle, so you want the experience they have on your website to be scalable, colorful and rich in content and tools.

And you’d be right. Your website must offer lots of brilliant content in a design that makes your cars shine, and with digital retailing tools you must connect the online world with your in-store shopping experience. Your website must be a digital conversion machine.

There’s only one catch: That picture is changing, and fast. Today, according to comScore and Mobile Metrix, around 80 percent of people in the U.S. own smartphones. So when it comes to car shoppers, it makes sense that many are actually using a smartphone, or tablet, to visit your site, search inventory and conduct those all-important first purchase steps. In fact, according to traffic on the Dealer.com network, more than 40 percent of visits to dealership websites come from mobile devices.

That’s four out of ten potential buyers looking at your inventory on a screen that could be as small as a business card.

That’s not a trend. It’s a fact. Mobile shopping behavior will and is continuing to gain momentum, to the point that your sales and marketing solution must accommodate the differences. Check out this interesting article from Dealer.com on the most important differences between Responsive, Adaptive and Seamless mobile design. Part of that design approach must also include retail tools that help ease the process of conversion from shopper to buyer.

It’s not enough to have a search-and-user friendly mobile experience; the same digital steps that dealers count on to help speed car buyers through the initial purchase steps of a website should do the same on the mobile equivalent. From searching inventory to calculating payment, checking realistic finance offers and trade-in values, these types of efficient digital tools – when designed correctly – are more valuable because they’re available when and how consumers want to shop, and when they want to buy. That sort of on-demand and mobile-first approach to digital retail is a significant difference maker.

It’s critical that dealers provide consistency across their sites and apps, no matter what device is being used to access the information. That’s not only about the look, feel, and information displayed on a site, but also when it comes to providing an online shopping environment. Too often, in fact, talk of a mobile experience ends at the research phase when what dealers need is a complete package which includes mobile and tablet-ready Digital Retailing tools. From trade-in to finance, those tools empower shoppers to find the perfect vehicle, serve up pricing and payment solutions in line with your dealership criteria, and even provide trade-in offers based on your inventory needs.

The reason? Convenience amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. The reality is that people want to complete more of shopping transaction wherever and whenever they can – sitting in the carpool line before the school bell rings, between meetings, or waiting at the doctor’s office. Those spare 10 minutes are valuable opportunities to get shopping and research done via whichever type of device consumers wish to use. Dealers and their staff, as a result, have to be ready. Those that are ready will improve sales and the overall buyer’s experience.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/03/40-percent-or-more-of-your-website-traffic-comes-from-mobile-are-you-ready/

Alan Ram

To be or not to BDC? That is the question.

Phone

Here’s a question for you:
Is your BDC the result of a failure in training?

That should have your attention.  If I’ve ever written an article that will be misconstrued, this will be the one! Let’s get this straight; your people don’t suck on the phones because you don’t have a BDC! They suck because you haven’t properly trained them! As I’ve talked to dealers over the years, I’ve seen many BDC’s spring up out of knee-jerk frustration. While there are obviously exceptions to the rule, this is something I’ve seen repeated in the industry over the past several years.  A dealer says, “We tried training our salespeople, but they’re still terrible at handling phones, so we’ve hired three people and all they’re going to do now is handle our inbound sales calls, as well as Internet leads.” I have a number of different problems with this thought process, and I’m happy to tell you about them:

1) So you’re telling me that the people that you’ve hired to sell Lexus in Chicago are capable of talking to a customer that walks into the dealership, but for some reason, it blows their flipping minds to talk to that same customer on the telephone or communicate via email? I’m not willing to accept that.

2) I have trained tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of salespeople and BDC reps over the years. In that period of time, I have found that it takes every minute as long to PROPERLY train a BDC rep as it does a salesperson. The operative word in the previous sentence is “properly.” As a matter of fact, it takes longer to train a BDC rep. Why? Because while the sales staff already knows the product, the BDC staff is starting from scratch. I’ve asked BDC reps specific product questions before, and you may as well be asking some of them the gross domestic product of Bolivia. So while you think you’re solving one problem, you’re really creating another. Most of the calls I listen to that are made into BDC’s do not represent an improvement over the sales staff. At most, it’s the “get the customer’s name and number” department while trying to set up an appointment without giving the customer an actual reason to come in. I’m not trying to be harsh here. This is fact. We are creating an unnecessary level of specialization at many dealerships.

3) In this day and age, where the number one thing I hear when I do dealer 20 group meetings is “expense, expense, expense!”, shouldn’t the number one expense be hiring a second group of people to do the job the first group should have been doing? We’re talking about communicating with customers on the telephone and Internet here! This stuff isn’t quantum physics. It amazes me that the same dealers who throw up in a trash can when they get a $1000 invoice for training have absolutely no problem adding as much as 20-40k of expense per month in creating a BDC.

4) With that model, no one will want to work for you! Your dealership will compound one of the biggest challenges we already have in this industry, which is the struggle to find good salespeople.  Put yourself in the position of a good sales-person looking for a place to work. You walk into a dealership to interview; it’s a beautiful facility and a great brand. Then the person interviewing you drops the bomb, “by the way, our BDC takes all sales calls as well as handles our Internet leads”. At that point, I would imagine you would stand up, thank the interviewer for their time, and walk out the door to the dealership that lets you handle phone-ups and Internet leads. Do not kid yourself! That is a huge challenge that many dealers hadn’t considered but are now facing. Good salespeople avoid working at those dealerships that severely restrict their opportunities, and those dealerships tend to become a culture of telemarketers and greeters.

Here’s the solution:
Train your people to do the jobs you hired them to do.

If I’m hired to sell cars at your dealership, I should be capable of communicating with customers in person, on the telephone, and online. That would be part of being a well-rounded salesperson. Unfortunately, salespeople don’t necessarily arrive on your doorstep well-rounded. It’s your job to train them. The sad fact is that much of what dealers have bought over the years in the name of training, hasn’t been anything close to training at all. Going to the Marriott and listening to myself or anyone else talk for eight hours is as much training as going to a baseball game is training for baseball. You might get educated, but you’re not necessarily going to get trained. For something to be considered training, three elements need to be present: 1) Education 2) Simulation 3) Accountability. If any of those three elements is missing, whatever you’re trying to accomplish probably isn’t going to happen.

Now I’m not trying to convince anyone to dismantle their BDC. What I’m telling you to do is make sure that you’re not replacing one group of people that you didn’t train properly, with another layer of expense that you’re not training properly either.

BDC’s ARE GREAT and provide a wonderful return on investment when you have them doing the right things the right way. For example, following up unsold customers. 39% of people surveyed say that the reason they would not come back to a dealership is because they didn’t like the salesperson for whatever reason. Too tall, too short, reminded them of their ex-brother-in-law or smelled like smoke. What this is saying is that your sales staff does not have a shot with 39% of what you think are their be-back opportunities. When the customer doesn’t like the salesperson they won’t tell him or her “we didn’t like you”. What will they say? “We’ve decided to hold off” or “We’re not going to do anything right now.” They won’t tell the salesperson, but they will tell someone else. That’s why it is critical that every dealership have someone in ADDITION to salespeople following up on each and every customer that visits the store. That is a great function for your BDC.

Another thing you can do is shift their focus to your service department. I have worked with many dealerships that have amazing success in having BDC representatives schedule both repair as well as recommended maintenance. They can actively be following up on recall notices and generating service revenue.  This is a huge opportunity.  Your service advisors are on the drive talking to customers. They’re in the shop checking on vehicles. Call your dealership. Try to get a hold of the service advisor sometime and see how often you get voicemail or get put on hold for a period of time.

So again, I’m not telling you to dismantle your BDC. Business Development Centers are great when they are actually developing business. Let’s just make sure you have yours focused on the proper opportunities.

ondemand

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/11/to-be-or-not-to-bdc-that-is-the-question/

Jonathan Dawson

5 Unique Questions to Ask on the Phone to Get Appointments

Office Phone

When you take a phone call from a potential customer, how confident are you that you can turn the conversation into an appointment? Many sales people do not treat incoming calls as excellent opportunities for prospects. Some even think, “If they were serious about buying, they’d come in instead.”

I believe the reason many incoming calls do not turn into great appointments is because sales people ask poor questions! I want to teach you five unique questions to ask on the phone in order to build rapport and get better appointments. Here is the list, in no particular order.

Unique Question #1:

Are you familiar with this vehicle because you own something similar?

This question does two positive things for you. The first result is that it will open up the comparison between what they’re driving now and what they’re looking for. Knowing what they drive now will give you valuable information, such as an idea of their financial status and what type of vehicle they’re familiar with.

Another benefit of asking this question is learning about the type of research the customer has done on the vehicle they’re considering. Did they read about it? Do they know a friend driving it who loves it? Have they been looking for this specific vehicle for a long time? Knowing these facts will allow you to add information value, which will motivate the customer to continue the conversation in person.

Unique Question #2:

If I had similar vehicles to also show you, what is most important to you in your next car?

This is a great, unique question to ask in order to test your customer’s flexibility. Are they set on the specific car they’re inquiring about or are they willing to consider similar options, especially if they could save money? The question will also help you uncover the customer’s hot buttons when they share what’s most important to them in their next vehicle. Typical themes in responses can include safety, economy, style, or space.

Unique Question #3:

Are you familiar with our dealership and how we do business?

Most likely, the customer will not be very familiar with your dealership, and it will give you an opportunity to describe your dealership’s unique selling proposition, pricing strategy, and customer service commitment. For example, you could say something like this: “As a family-owned dealership, we are committed to treating customers like family. That promise includes transparent, no hassle pricing. Our reviews and customer satisfaction ratings put us #1 in the entire state …” etc.

Unique Question #4:

Other than getting the right vehicle and a great deal, what else is important to you when you’re car shopping?

This question affirms your primary goal of finding the right car and offering a fair deal. It also invites the customer to share questions or concerns about the car buying experience and to possibly share any negative experiences they may have had.

Unique Question #5:

In order to make this the best car buying experience you’ve ever had, what do I need to know?

This question stresses the importance of customer service and your commitment to providing an excellent buying experience. In many cases, the customer will tell you what will make them comfortable and all you have to do as a sales person is to provide it.

I believe customers call in because they’re serious buyers. It is up to you as a professional sales person to respect and engage them effectively. Start asking these five unique questions today to build rapport and to get better appointments!

FO Roadshow 4

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/11/5-unique-questions-to-ask-on-the-phone-to-get-appointments/

Ron Henson

Quick Response vs Quality Response

response_timeOne of the popular buzzwords (It’s actually two words) in the industry when it comes to Internet Sales is “Response Time.”  Oftentimes dealers fall into the trap of thinking that managing their response times on Internet leads is the Holy Grail of Digital Operations. I was chatting with a dealer recently who was frustrated because they had worked very hard to reduce their response time from an average of 5 hours 35 minutes (YIKES!) to 25 minutes. While 25 minutes is certainly respectable, and a massive improvement from where they were before, it is not anywhere near a best practice benchmark. Anyway, the dealer was frustrated that the improved response time had not had a measureable effect on their conversion percentage to appointments. So he and I began to dig a little deeper into what was going on.

Over the next couple of days the dealer and I started to take a look at what was going on in his CRM. FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have the dealer’s authorization to publish these responses as long as I don’t divulge the dealership’s name or location. That disclosure gives you a pretty good idea as to the nature of the responses you are about to see. (Responses are word for word including typos and grammar.)

Question: What is the “out the door” price on this pre-owned 2010 Civic?

  • The price isn’t important unless you’re paying cah which I sure you not.  How much down?

Question: Do you offer financing for people with credit problems?

  • We can get you bot.  All I need is a 5 liner. What are yor prilems?  (WHAT?)

Question: Dealership XXX has quoted me a slightly lower price on the same vehicle and I was wondering if you price match.

  • Dealership XXX is giving cars away to buy market share.  Go buy it there.

At this point I probably don’t need to write anything more in this blog post to properly convey my message.  While response time is certainly an important and a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to having a top notch Internet process, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Not the only piece. This dealer was astonished and furious over what we uncovered when we just took a peek into the responses that were going out from his dealership.

The key is Quick Response in conjunction with Quality Response.

Take a look at the responses that are going out from your dealership and always inspect what you expect.

Let’s move some metal!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/06/quick-response-vs-quality-response/