Friday, November 18, 2011

The Road to the NO SALE!

Everyone selling vehicles or managing others selling vehicles should know the meaning of "The Road to the Sale" - and you should also be aware that too many of us, all too often, know that phrase but instead follow "The Road to the NO SALE!"
I've often likened the chain of events that produces a vehicle sale to that old Bugs Bunny cartoon where the sawmill reduces a large tree down to a single toothpick - there's so much effort and waste!  In our case, it's waste from neglect:  Neglect of our processes, neglect of our advertising, neglect of our training, and most of all neglect of simply executing on what we already know will sell more cars.
We know that phone calls get mis-handled.  We record them.  We often don't listen to them.  When we do listen, we don't do anything effective to correct the way they are handled.
We know our traffic is up or down, but we don't put the traffic into the CRM so it can be monitored and our advertising adjusted for results.  We know our customers' information is in the CRM, but we don't pursue them for sold-to-service.  We know people service at our dealership that never bought from us, so we know we're convenient to them, but we don't pursue them for a vehicle sale.
We know we need to regularly train on phone and the sales process, but we don't.  Or, if we do, we don't effectively train for the results we want.
We know online pricing is important, but we can't find time to price properly.  And we have Autotrader/ for our used cars, but we don't take enough pictures for our own website much less for that advertising.
We know the Internet has forever changed how our sales funnel gets filled, but we don't adjust our advertising to focus best online.  And we know that reputation is the OLDEST advertising, and we know that everyone comparison shops online, but we pay no attention to the poor online reviews we get and we make no effort to get more online reviews from our happy customers.  Or, we know that we have a great online reputation that shoppers have to find, and we make no effort to proactively advertise that great reputation!
And so on.  Does any of this, or perhaps most of it, sound like your dealership?
If so, take action, now:  Make a list of your top five items that send you wrongly down "The Road to the NO SALE", and start improvements with that.  You'll sell more cars and make more money.  In many cases, almost instantly.
But, then, you already knew that, didn't you?

(Many thanks to Jim Ziegler for his blog Is the Road to the Sale Obsolete? that inspired this article.)

by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If a Review is Written in the Great Forest of the Internet, and It Makes No SEO, Does Anybody Read It?

This is a simple editorial:  STOP supporting the review sites that make you or your customers jump through hoops in order to use them.  Despite what the review site companies and some of your peers claim, NOT EVERY REVIEW SITE IS IMPORTANT FOR DEALERS.  
If you sell a hundred cars a month, we don't want to risk losing even ONE because of a bad review, right?  We have to fix that, right?  Even if the review site is ridiculous?  Even if the review site is not used much by car shoppers?  EVEN if our 2-stars on some random car-shopper review site is crushed by our 4 stars on five other indexing (SEO) car shopper sites?  Let's still help the review site fix their market, right?  Send all your customers THERE so that it BECOMES relevant to the search engines AND is an established Consumer Advocate review brand for car shoppers?  NO.
Does anybody else see how silly this is?  If not, I'm launching in some dusty corner of the Internet, getting reviews from folks claiming to be your customers, not allowing you to participate without paying me, making it hard for your customers to give real reviews, and sending all the negative reviews right to your dealer principal.
Oh.  Wait.  Except for the website name, that's already been done! 
Sheesh.  Please stop the madness!!!!!

by Keith Shetterly,

Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First, Do No Harm

We are not doctors, but I love the idea of “First, Do No Harm” for working with dealers.  Even though that phrase is the common, but incorrect, quote of the Hippocratic Oath for Physicians, it still conveys a lot for the proper doctor/patient relationship—and it also means a lot for vendor/dealer, consultant/dealer, and even blogger/dealer relationships.  And, so, I’m establishing it here as the cornerstone of a vendor/consultant/blogger creed for working with dealers.
When any of us (peers, dealers, vendors, consultants, etc.) are working with, critiquing, or advising dealers—or even affecting the readers on this and other online forums by what we write—we need to remember up front to not over-state and/or overreact:  Help for a hangnail shouldn’t be amputation!  Not even for a frantic, and possibly hypochondriac, patient. 
Next, we need to remember that the “patient/doctor confidentiality” from medicine goes a long way towards the trust we also need in place to really help a dealer--so neither a minor outing nor “going tabloid” on a dealer issue to the public (especially online) will do anything to help that dealer and may in fact hurt.  The “facts” online for dealers are all too often a frustrating mix of good and bad information already, and singling out particulars (even wrong ones) in public--even if you mean well!--can just lead to a cascade of bad feelings mixed with possibly-damaging SEO effects:  For example, customers should NOT be able to search a dealer and find links on SERP 1 pointing to automotive professionals writing negatively about the dealer.  Or on any searchable page, for that matter.
So, as a simple reminder to all that, Shetterly’s Creed is hereby founded for vendors, consultants, and bloggers in the automotive professional space:  First, do no harm; second, seek to fairly assist as can be agreed; third, deliver on what you promise.

by Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved