Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flushing Your Olympic Marketing Down the Drain of Bad Processes

The OEMs and the vendor/consultant marketplace are more and more teaching dealers all about modern marketing, and I get why:  Generating good traffic these days requires lots more than a newspaper, radio, or TV ad.  We’re all being shopped on the Internet by customers, and we need to be there, and be there strong, in order to win sales.  
And, so, if we train and execute our dealer marketing to be at Olympic levels across all our media, including the Internet, then we’ve greatly improved our business, right?


If your marketing generates $300 calls being bungled by your $8-an-hour receptionist, if your sales staff lot-quals and drops your ups without a T.O., if your sales managers lose deals over $150, if your finance managers hit good-credit customers too high . . . if any of these, and more, happen, your processes are losing you sales.  And the same is true in service, because how many appointments don’t get set because you rely on busy writers and low-paid receptionists to set them?  How many up-sells don’t happen because they aren’t even asked for?

As you attend conferences and bootcamp training this year (the more the better!), don’t just look for new “Olympic” marketing for your sales and service, look for tools and services to help you make more money from better processes.  And processes benefit from the installation AND use of things like great CRMs, ILMs, and Service Drive CRMs.

There are a lot of “Internet Rainmakers” in the car business to help your marketing, but do your processes allow a sales-destructive and uncontrolled race of all that rain straight down the drain--or do your processes and tools channel all that water into a beautiful pool to get the most sales possible?

Because it’s no use being the “Olympic High Diver of Marketing” if you and your sales just get flushed!

P.S. I apologize for the, er, "graphic graphic", but it was so funny I couldn't resist!  :)

By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 11, 2011

RM: A Great Reputation Earned Must Also be Heard

As a business, you always want the great reputation that comes with great sales and service experiences for your buyers, and that always begins at your dealership with great customer service before, during, and after the sale.  However, before they get to a business,  82% of consumers say they have been influenced by online reviews.  And those reviews—and your dealership—have to be found online in search engines for the shoppers to see.  The Internet search engines reward high “find-ability” to dealerships that have customers tell people about their great experience!
These days, the Internet's answer to the old philosophical riddle “If a tree falls in the forest with no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a resounding “NO”—there is no great reputation if no one's there to hear it!  And any bad customer experiences can take on a life of their own to be heard and lead sales downward.  You need to get on top of your reputation for the best sales, 24 x 7 x Internet.  How is that done?

Start with great customer service, and then ask your customers to review you (and tell them how to do that), which is all part of Reputation Management (RM).  And when is it best to ask for a review?  I personally believe that it’s best in this order:  at your dealership, later on their cell phone/smartphone, then lastly back at their home—but, regardless of where, get the review every time as soon as you can.  If you ask for it at the dealership, using reputation portal tools like PrestoReviews, the sizzle taste of the steak you sold is still in their mouths.  For Google Reviews and other review tools like DealerRater, you can give your buyers QR cards or review URL cards to take home, and/or collect their emails for review reminders, etc.  And don’t forget to ask about Facebook!

Besides the “sizzle” factor, however, why should you first ask for reviews while the buyer is at the dealership?  Because the benefits are huge!  Buyers will likely give happier reviews closer to purchase time rather than several hours later—and having a “review request” spot within the timeline of your sales process is a GREAT moment to hear about and defuse any negative issues with your buyers.  Which is much better than getting a bad review online later that you didn’t expect.

With RM as described here, you’ll not only get great reviews, as a fantastic by-product you’ll also get the great SEO advantages of all that well-placed and easily-found information about your dealership!  And be sure to claim your Google Places to further enhance your reviews and dealership SEO.

So, don’t be quiet about your reputation!  Earn those great reviews with great customer service and then use smart on-property and off-property RM tools and processes to get them online and visible—and also get your dealership more find-able online, where all your buyers really start their shopping.

Because, remember, in the Giant Forest of the Internet, your great reputation is not just earned.  It must also be heard!

By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
 P.S. I took that picture in Montana!  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Next Best Thing Won’t Fix Your Old Wrong Thing

Allowing bad processes and paying for more marketing is much like another American Classic:  How many homes do you know where there’s a nice automobile sitting in damaging sun and weather in the driveway while $300 worth of junk sits protected in the messy garage?  We do the same thing as dealers; buying new shiny things for our marketing and letting them sit outside our garage full of bad processes.  There’s money on that garage floor—let’s clean it up!

Where do we start?  First, let's say you are marketing "okay" today and getting shopper traffic . . . . and vendors and consultants are talking to you about how to make your marketing great and drive even more traffic to your lot.  Sounds fantastic, and necessary, but what if you could improve your business significantly at this time by just fixing your processes?  You’d not only make more money today, you’d also make even more money when you have that great marketing!

Here are just a few examples where tools and processes are possibly failing your business today:

CRM:  Have you already paid for a CRM and not implemented it properly around good, solid processes?  Is it still possible that you have no idea how much of your traffic is not entered into the CRM?  And how about follow-up?  Your CRM is likely telling you every day that few salespersons are calling for bebacks if you look.  Your CRM can help you make more money if you motivate your sales staff and managers with conditions of being paid that include proper CRM use.  If you don't do that, why not?  Why are you paying for a CRM just to kill it's value with poor processes?

Phones:  Do you pay $8 an hour to a receptionist who fumbles the call you paid $300 to get?  If the call still gets to a salesperson or service writer, do they know how to best convert the call to an appointment?  And do you pay for a forensic tool like WhosCalling, etc. that can tell you (IF you listen!) how bad your staff is on the phones—and yet you do nothing to correct that situation?  This can also be fixed, by training and, again, conditions of being paid (even the receptionist!) that include good phone skills, or you can also consider a dedicted BDC (on-site or off-site).

Lot/Floor:  Do you require a manager TO on every shopper?  Do you require salespeople to “touch the desk” at critical points of the sale?  Do you train your salespeople on the Steps to the Sale, especially—but NOT limited to—your green peas?   This can be fixed, same as the others, by training and, again, conditions of being paid that include TOs and desk touches.

Service Drive:  Do you have busy service writers fumble trying to answer appointment calls, or do you have a dedicated person/BDC take care of those?  Do you have a true online scheduling page with alerts via email and text to folks waiting for cars?  Do you train your writers on up-selling?  Do you monitor their production?  This can be fixed, too, just like the sales side, by training and, again, conditions of being paid that include # of appointments and production quotas.

And you can all surely add to these items and to this list yourselves, once you consider all this.  Better marketing, especially the right online marketing woven into your current marketing, is as necessary to your business as oxygen is to the body.  Let’s just get our dealer bodies in better shape so that the oxygen really makes our business boom!  The first place for exercise?  Why, your messy garage of processes, of course.

By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

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Friday, April 1, 2011

My Videos--Check'em Out!

Video of attending ADM members at Digital Dealer 10 in April, 2011, in Orlando, FL

Teaser for in April, 2011, in Orlando, FL

The Internet Is Your Business!

By Keith Shetterly,

All Videos Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

Visit Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community