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Would You Respond
By Jessica Kain
The phone is ringing, templates need to be sent, Facebook posts need to be written, and phone calls need to be made and tasks are piling up. It is just another day in the Internet Department. We are all working so hard, but why are we not selling any cars?
I talk with our clients’ everyday and my answer is always the same. Let me look at your process. My solution is always the same too. Let’s work smarter. Not harder.
I always tell my clients they should look through their CRM quite often and visually see the process for individual leads. Be the detective of your own dealership. Your CRM is the key to unlocking the question of why we are not reaching our monthly goal. We need to know what emails we are sending and what voicemails we are leaving and our notes need to reflect every conversation. So often we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed instead of focusing on improving the process.
People ask me all the time what type of templates should be going out after the lead comes into our system. My answer is always the same. After our auto- responder, nothing, the only exchange with the customer in the first three days should be personal. We would not have a robot come greet our customer in the show room so why are we allowing our team to manually send templates to our customers from the CRM?
Here are some hints on how to first respond to your customers. Read the entire lead including the comments, be personable and create a relationship, answer their question, ask a question at the end that does not ask them when they can come in, make the email all about them, and most important ask this simple question. Would I respond to this email?
Pin Down Your Pinterest Strategy Today
By Kate Frost
If your dealership isn’t currently using Pinterest, it should. Pinterest, which launched just 25 months ago, has become the third largest social network – behind Facebook and Twitter. It’s an internet superstar in almost all categories.
Here are some fun facts about Pinterest:
- iPhone app downloaded 200,000 time per/day
- 14 minutes average time spent on Pinterest
- 2.3 billion page views just in March
- Over 4 million daily unique visitors
- 83% of Pinterest users in the US are women*
For those of you reading this that don’t know, Pinterest is a photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections.
With Social media and SEO becoming inseparable, it won’t surprise you to know that Pinterest is getting first page placement on Google for some dealerships. Of all the social networks, Pinterest, in my opinion, is the easiest to create content for. Nothing needs to be written, spell checked or grammatically correct. You just need to find an image or video you like. Need Pin-spiration? Check out our Pinterest account by clicking here and start pinning!
Guys, if you’re feeling left out and need a bit more testosterone - don’t despair! A copycat site has come out called DudePins.com.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we’ll show you top boards, creative pins and how dealers across the country are using Pinterest as part of their social strategy.
Hey 3rd Party New Vehicle Lead Providers! Want to Thrive?
Time to be Transparent
by David Kain
The 3rd Party New Lead Providers that I know are operated by genuinely good people that 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 this link www.fordfusion.carpricesecrets.com takes 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 fill get additional pricing on a Mazda, Honda and Chevrolet. Wow, 4 quotes for the effort of filling out the form just one time! Sadly, 4 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 and in my opinion, too often as a Manufacturer 3rd Party Lead. Oh…these 4 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 dealership. 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 dealers knows what the customer experienced they 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, then so can all the 3rd Party New Vehicle Lead Providers. It’s time to help car buyers and selling dealers by reducing unnecessary tension and let the buyers know that a dealer will likely be calling them to provide a price and then tell selling dealers that a buyer has selected their vehicle but it was their second or 3rd choice and they already know your invoice and were told they should pay less. It’s only fair and it’s also the best way for your business and your paying dealers to thrive. I know you want to do the right thing...please just do it.
It's just my opinion,
The Harlem Shake is a meme that has been sweeping the nation. The shake involve filming a dance video where one person, typically in a mask, is dancing alone while the music intensifies and all other bystanders are seemingly unaware of what is going on. Shortly after, the music erupts and the video cuts to a clip of everyone dancing in a ridiculous manner, often in costumes. Think this meme is just for the kids? Think again. Dealerships across the nation are joining in Harlem Shake craze!
Is your dealership brave enough to try the Harlem Shake?