Yesterday I had a conversation with a small west coast dealership that had attended one of our Digital Fixed-Ops and SEO workshops. We were just checking in since our last conversation and just happened to mention that his internet sales team had gone from one to four salesmen in the last year and a half. I was, of course, shocked and ecstatic for him and the dealership, but I really didn’t think of the implications of it. We continued to chat about the business and how sales were doing and I promptly forgot about his big news.
Suppertime, it hit me. Why was I shocked? Why would anybody be shocked? Shouldn’t that be standard for every single dealership in the country? As I write this, one decade ago Facebook didn’t even exist; neither did Craigslist, twitter or the viral video. I don’t even need a statistic to convince you that the last decade has changed EVERYTHING about the way we get information. And not immune to this change is the auto industry. See what should shock me is any dealership that hasn’t increased their Internet Sales Team by 4 fold in the last decade.
STOP. Before you think this is a gimmick to the newer, slicker…genius bar salesman, it’s not. I assure you, I am a fan of the way things used to be as much as anyone else; the neighborhood car dealer who built his company through consistent service and a solid customer/salesman relationships. And I’m not making any judgment of a dealership that has perfected those admirable traits. But the way those customers are getting to your dealership has fundamentally changed. And it is here to stay.
Radio and TV ads… what would a dealership be without them right?! Get your brand out there. Create community buzz. Write a snappy jingle. Drive Customers to the store? It’s just so easy.
Actually, your internet sales team should kiss your GM’S feet for every penny your dealership spent on Radio and TV. A radio ad doesn’t bring someone to the dealership anymore, it brings them to a computer, a search engine, and if you play the game well, your website. The companies that are doing this well have sales teams that are growing like weeds. If yours is lagging behind, you should really be asking why? And it’s time to drop the “let’s see if this fad wears off” attitude and begin to seriously content with your communities online presence.
4 “Biggies” to a Faster Growing Internet Sales Team:
- Google makes the rules of the search engine world. Love it or hate it, you will play by them or be irrelevant. The new king to Google is a dagger to a lot of car dealers, but is one of the most simple. It’s content. Consistent, relevant, updated, and unique content stands as one of the single biggest factors for your search engine placement. Action plan for you: Write some. And then wake up tomorrow and write some more. Repeat this process for a couple months and you will be well on your way. Not the “quick fix” you were hoping for? Yeah. Me Neither.
- This one completely baffles me. Dealerships will spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars getting people to their site…only to spend almost nothing converting them to leads. Whether it is that techy guy you hired or a full blown SEO company, do not be satisfied until they can display increased conversion rates on your site. It is the only rate that really matters. How do you do that? Start small by improving your graphics. Updating your specials. Hold promotions. Engage users with a chat feature. (but NOT a popup on every page…this drives traffic AWAY) Do you have multiple Landing pages . Good ones? Not just a little box in the corner that says “contact us” on the last page.
Titles and Keywords
- Most folks don’t realize their website images have zero search engine value if you haven’t titled them correctly. All those JPEG oil change specials? Useless to someone who searches, “Oil Change Special in your town”. Complete a thorough (or pay someone to do it) audit of the title tags, Image titles, internal and external links. A simple purge of bad links, adding proper titles and some new quality links can make big changes to the notice Google gives to your dealership website. Combine this with the content changes you are already adding and let it do its magic!
Google Analytics and Google Plus Local
- Google Analytics. It’s free and if you don’t know what a “Conversion Rate” or “Bounce Rate” is a little reading on Google analytics could be revolutionary.
I know a lot of these concepts are basic, but if your internet sales department doesn’t have a serious growth trend behind it…then I’m willing to bet basic is where we need to begin!