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Today’s Women’s Wednesday focuses on women’s reviews, and why they MUST be a critical, daily and intentional component of your business practice – both with the sales team and in the service drive.

As the #BigDataAuthority on women’s dealership experiences, we have shared that this powerful buying segment will purchase 27 million cars at new and used car dealerships this year. That equates to over 75,000 vehicles a day. What is your share of this?

Did You Know?

1. Women rely on and use car dealer reviews 50% more than men. This makes sense as they don't want to get it wrong.

2. JD Power reports that women leave higher scoring dealer reviews than men.

3. Women go to 2 dealerships before buying a car. If they leave your dealership and don't buy - 70% of them will NOT return.

4. The top reason women buy from your dealership is NOT price. The way she is treated is paramount.

Market your trust and transparency via the positive reviews you have received. Women especially trust other women reviews and experiences. This helps them narrow down their choices on where to buy a car.

How to Be the Go-to-Dealership for Women

  1. Dealers that market reviews have women walking into the store with an expectation of trustworthy and respectable service. And they get it.
  2. Stop marketing on price alone. Advertise your CERTIFIED logo in TV ads, classifieds, and lead gen sites (AutoTrader, TrueCar, Cars, etc.)
  3. These dealers are report selling 10 – 15 more cars a month – a huge increase to monthly sales performance.

So stop selling exclusively on price alone.

Begin advertising to women+families on what matters to them: they are treated exceptionally and are provided a tremendous value in the product they are buying. And, reviews reinforce that your shoppers can count on that.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women? Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download.

Read more…

Most reliable car brands

There was a great article published by Motoramic about the most reliable car brands which you can read here. The author determined the most reliable automotive brands by looking at almost 350,000 appraisals performed by “professional car buyers who are trained to detect mechanical and structural issues” with no biases. The study is beneficial because most reliability studies are on new cars within the first 90 days. Longer term reliability studies don’t usually go beyond three to five years.

We wanted to come up with our own algorithm to determine reliability and see if our findings matched Motoramic. We analyzed over 500,000 cars, model years 1995 to 2014, listed for sale on MojoMotors.com to determine the average selling price depending on a vehicle’s mileage. Using a linear regression model, we were able to calculate the dollars of value lost as mileage increased and ultimately, the number of miles until a car lost all value.

In other words, we found out how much mileage could be racked up before a car became valueless. Less reliable brands will lose value quicker since they have a greater chance of breaking down with fewer miles on the odometer. Make sense? One thing to remember – just because a car is considered valueless beyond a certain number of miles in this study doesn’t mean it won’t drive for another 100,000 miles.


10. Mazda – 177,729 miles until worthless

Mazda has been known for building economical cars. Their lineup has expanded in the last few years as they now offer compact, midsize and full size crossovers that have fared well in reviews. Go here to learn more about the different used Mazda models and reviews.

9. Acura – 178,947 miles until worthless

It doesn’t hurt that Acura is the luxury brand powered by Honda engineering. It should also be noted that Acura is the only luxury brand to squeak into the top ten most reliable car brands. For further reading, read reviews of used Acuras here.

8. GMC – 188,584 miles until worthless

GMC has been building quality pickups, SUVs and crossovers a very long time. Since GMC splits many parts with Chevrolet, repairs aren’t usually too expensive. This is why you’ll see Sierra pickups with miles well into the hundreds of thousands. Read more here for used GMC reviews and research.

7. Subaru – 189,370 miles until worthless

It isn’t too surprising Subaru is on this list. According to Polk’s auto data, 95% of Subarus sold in the last ten years are still on the road. Pretty impressive. So are their all wheel drive systems and boxer four cylinder engines. For additional Subaru reading material including Subbie reviews and different models, go here.

6. Nissan – 195,593 miles until worthless

Nissan is consistently one of the most Followed brands on Mojo Motors, but they usually aren’t perceived as being one of the most reliable brands on the road. They should be. Nisan vehicles, especially their cars, are among the most reliable shoppers can buy. Learn more about the best Nissan rides and read reviews here.

5. Chevrolet – 195,754 miles until worthless

If you’re a prisoner of the present, you might think Chevrolet is anything but reliable. Ahem. Recalls aside, the last few generations of automobiles built by Chevrolet are their best ever. Especially Chevy pickups, SUVs and crossovers. For reviews and research on a variety of Chevrolet vehicles, keep reading here.

4. Dodge – 198,266 miles until worthless

Dodge, like Chevrolet, is known more for their pickup trucks than cars. Thanks to the resale value of a Ram pickup, the brand makes it into the top five of this list. Our advice? Stick to a high mileage Ram pickup or Grand Caravan minivan, the same can’t be said about Dodge cars. Go here for reviews of popular used Dodge cars and trucks.

3. Ford – 198,409 miles until worthless

Unlike other American automakers, say Dodge or Chevrolet, Ford has both reliable trucks AND cars. The Ford Focus compact and Fusion midsize, along with Ford’s lineup of crossovers make them the most reliable American automaker on this list. Having the best-selling vehicle in the country, the F150 pickup truck, doesn’t hurt either. Learn more about used Ford vehicles here.

2. Honda – 209,001 miles until worthless

While Dodge and Chevrolet excel at the big trucks, Honda excels at pretty much everything. Look at the ‘miles until worthless’ stat because Honda and Toyota boast a 10,000 mile lead over Ford. If the average driver puts 12,000 miles a year on their car, that 10,000 mile difference is almost an entire year! For reviews and research on used Honda vehicles, keep reading here.

1. Toyota – 210,705 miles until worthless

The public perceives Toyota as one of the most reliable automakers and our study concurs with this perception. While Toyota might not build the most eye-catching cars, they are certainly reliable and efficient. A Lamborghini it is not, but a cost-effective car it most definitely is. Keep reading for reviews, research and pictures of the best used Toyotas.

Graph of How Toyota Depreciates Overtime

Please note that while this data is a great way to understand how vehicle prices correlate to reliability, no study of used car reliability and its value is perfect. This is a make-specific study, not a breakdown of models, trims or years. There can be a large variation between each model’s trims and there are many factors that go into the price of a car. Things like color, options, warranties and whether a car is a certified pre owned or not all greatly affect a cars valuation. Our study did not account for these variances.

Read more…

Today’s Women’s Wednesday is about becoming new leaders in the growing and dynamic market of women consumers.

As competition tightens, the need for exceptional leaders at dealerships couldn’t be greater. Wayne Gretzky, the hockey legend, explained the key to his success, “a good hockey player knows where the puck is – however, a great hockey player knows where the puck is going”.

To be an exceptional leader like Gretzky, a proactive and anticipatory approach is important. Currently, the industry is dynamic, producing great opportunities to differentiate. It is imperative to take strategic risks and be proactive about tapping emerging trends that pertain to women+families.

Did You Know?

1. Women in the U.S. buy 50% of vehicles – about 75,000 a day at new and used car dealerships

2. According to the U.S. Census, over one-third of women out-earn their husbands

3. More and more children are born to single moms

These may seem like just numbers but they are real money-making and business performance boosting statistics for dealers who want to be positioned as the go-to dealerships in their market. How?

1. Recognize Women have the Buying Power: Break from the traditional model and make the store more women+family friendly. Since women are propelling sales, cater effectively to this buying segment by hiring more women sales and service advisors. Hire qualified people that relate and look like your customers for a more comfortable and successful sales experience.

2. The Changing Family: Women are the breadwinners in over one-third of family households. There are many homes with stay at home dads, same gender parents and multiple generations living under one roof. Cater to each potential customer with ultimate respect.

3. Meet Your Customers Where They Are:

a. Problem Solve: As more children are being born to single moms, it is important to know that all parents appreciate a child-play area.

b. A Caring Company: The #1 requested concierge service item from women is an overnight vehicle. This shows you understand the inconvenience of having a car repaired overnight and are willing to go the extra step to do something about it; providing hassle and worry free service.

c. Have women WANT to BE THERE: Have fun services like a boutique fitness and yoga studio with changing area, shower, and rest rooms. (Not everyone wants to sit and watch TV.) How about Play Stations for mom gamers while their car is being serviced? Sound silly? At one time your grocery store simply sold food. Now it has services like banking, café, childcare, dry cleaner, pharmacy, and health and wellness, and other conveniences.

d. Install vending machines with healthy food options and beverages (not just M and M’s & Pepsi) and provide Starbucks coffee and tea. How about a manicurist in the store, part time?

e. Free car wash policy is a winner for you and your customers as they will stop in a lot more frequently – different and more lasting relationships will be created.

f. Engage and Educate: assist customers in getting to to know their new car better with a specialist 1 on 1, or spend time checking out the latest safety+tech features of your top 3 models being featuring this month.

Women visit two dealerships but they buy from just one! What plays are you making to ensure she picks your store? Leadership paired with strategy is a better game than luck in capturing new business.

For more on Leadership and to read about Wayne Gretzky type of Dealers, click here.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women? Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download.

Read more…

With this Women’s Wednesday we will focus on the Service Drive at your store.

Women buy a car about once every 6-7 years, but they visit the service lane several times a year. The good news? This is where on-going loyalty is developed. The not-so-great news is that 42% of women report they no longer go to the service department where they purchased their vehicle. And, you will never know it is their LAST visit, because they may smile, pay the bill, and never say a word, even though they have made up their mind not to return. As the Big Data Authority on women's dealership experiences, the top 6 reasons are:

  1. Not satisfied with the experience
  2. Did not like the way they were treated
  3. Inability to get the problem fixed to their satisfaction
  4. Cost to service the repair
  5. Hours + Location not convenient
  6. Lack of concierge services
DID YOU KNOW?
While 79% of women would recommend the service department to friends and family, less than two-thirds report not receiving follow up communication. Are you and your web provider optimizing platforms to provide educational tips and stay connected with your customers, post visit? Stay in touch by being her trusted advisor 365/24/7 – not just the 3 days a year she is in your store. How? Visit here.

Increase loyalty by paying attention to the little things, like:

  1. Provide Ultimate Respect: Provide respect+treat women graciously every single visit. This builds rapport, trust and loyalty.
  2. Key Concierge Services: The #1 requested concierge item from women is a courtesy car. This shows you understand the inconvenience when the car is undergoing maintenance and repair overnight. Services like Wi-Fi/TV, café and play area for children also help deliver a quality dealership experience while women+families wait.
  3. Best Ear Forward: Your top listeners are the Service Advisors - or, should be. Why? To hear what women are saying and not saying. Your best listener behind the service counter makes female customers more comfortable to ask questions concerning repairs and, when triggered or upset, provides a space to problem solve and get the issue handled and move on.
  4. No Threatening CSI “Requests”: Careful about strong-arming your clients with comments that sound intimidating regarding CSI, like: “Leave all 5’s or call us first before submitting”. This can sound completely inauthentic and uneasy to women.

For the Top 2014 Brand as Rated by Women when Servicing their Vehicles, click here.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women? Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download

Read more…

Buying a Car? Look at the Benefits of Leasing!

Did you know that last year, women purchased an estimated 27 million vehicles? That is the equivalent of 75,000 cars a day at new and used car dealerships. Women are now the fastest growing segment of vehicle buyers and car dealerships are taking notice. To that end, there is much more flexibility when buying a car more than ever!

It seems that women are still more reluctant than men when it comes to the advantages of leasing a car. With the car industry back on its feet after the recession, leasing is at a high of 28% of all new car purchases.

This educational article from Women-Drivers.com offers insights into some “traditional” objections as well as provides a more updated, informed perspective on leasing and its benefits for anyone considering going to the dealership soon. (And, for those that believe ‘buying a car outright’ is the only way to go, consider that over one-third of car purchases today are leased for 72 months. Just because you buy a car does not mean you own your car. You only “own” your car, when the title is in your hand, i.e. the loan is paid off.)

Marlena McCoy, Sales Manager at Moon Honda, a Women-Drivers.com Certified Women-Friendly Dealer, shares her thoughts about leasing “Leasing is just another way to pay for a car, a less expensive way. With little or no money down, you can have an affordable payment, a warranty, free inspections, free car washes, and so much more! Why not pay less and get more.”

Below are the most common objections:

1) “The idea of ownership is important to me.”
Cars depreciate and then have service repairs and costs. Most women who lease don’t pay for brakes or tires because they don’t keep the car long enough to wear them out. If you finance a car for five years or more, it will most certainly need tires and brakes plus other repairs; budget $1,000 a year on maintenance.

2) “I have little or no ownership equity in the leased car.”
The trade-off for a lower or manageable monthly lease payment is that there is no trade-in value. It is fairly common that the market value of a vehicle at lease-end is higher than the purchase option price specified in the lease contract — which means there is some equity trade value there.

3)”I don’t understand how leases work, and I’m afraid of getting ripped off.”
Dealerships – and their sales advisors – are conscientious and will take the time and effort to help you understand the leasing process and the intricacies of the contract.

These contracts can be complex and difficult to understand, so a dealership’s F&I manager should encourage customers to take their time and read the fine print. Leasing is not as complicated as it was years ago nor is it limited to just luxury brands.

4) “I don’t understand the leasing lingo. I don’t know what cap cost is or what comparison pricing means.”
Again, dealers will explain exactly what these terms mean – and in ways you will understand. Dealers who skim over these terms do a real disservice to a buyer and compromise any future dealings they may have with the dealership.

5) “I don’t want to be making car payments forever. I’d rather pay the car off early and have several years without a car payment.”
While you may not have a payment anymore, you will still be spending more in repairs to keep an older car on the road, with fewer safety features than newer cars, and more likely to break down. Your dealer can show how a lease provides a safe, more reliable car at all times, not just when the car is new, and a car protected by manufacturer warranty and with few repair bills.

6) “My car payments will be higher.”
Not true. Depending on a number of factors, monthly lease payments are considerably lower than a purchase loan for the same car and same term today.

7) “I’m worried about any early termination costs. What if I lose my job?”
To break a car lease means breaking a contract, can result in tremendous fees, as well as negatively impact one’s credit rating. Dealers can help customers find other buyers to assume the remainder of their lease, which would take them off the hook, while gaining a powerfully loyal customer. Such transfers are now made possible by companies like Swapalease.com or Leasetrader.com who help car lease owners find people interested in taking over the payments. The fees for both buyer and seller are reasonable, and save the seller from the early termination costs which could amount to thousands of dollars.

8) “I am concerned with excessive mileage charges.”
If a car buyer exceeds the mileage allowance in her lease contract, she will be charged for the extra miles at a specified per-mile rate, usually $0.20 per mile. Your dealer can help you reduce your exposure if you “buy” the extra miles you expect to drive at the time of lease signing. If you choose this option, you will be refunded for any unused miles.

9) “I am worried about excessive wear-and-tear charges, especially with the children and multiple drivers.”
If a buyer returns a leased vehicle at lease-end with dents or scratches, she will be charged. Dealers can explain what is “excessive” so that she knows to get the car repaired before she returns and avoid being charged. Also, it is best to clean the car or have it detailed for the best evaluation.

McCoy further explains,” You may have never leased before, you may not understand leasing, or you might just say that you would never lease a car. No one likes to go car shopping. No one likes to deal with the “typical car salesman”. I am not that “typical salesman”. I treat customers the way I would want to be treated — really. It’s important to be completely informed on all aspects of the car transaction – and that most definitely includes leasing!”

Read more…

Apple’s recent announcement of CarPlay which will integrate the iPhone, Apple maps and Siri into the car dashboard, is a move meant to compete directly with Google’s Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), and Microsoft’s Sync platform. This means big changes are in store for how shoppers driving, commuting and traveling by car will find and learn about your business.

The fast moving map space plus local-search is attractive areas for innovation for software developers. One of the more interesting innovators taking advantage of the mobile trend is YILLIO which takes maps and local search to the next step by offering a patented ‘route-based’ search.

Launched in January, users using YILLIO are able to search for businesses, information and value along their entire route, may it be 10 miles ahead or 150 miles ahead. See our article: Don’t Just Go…… YiLLiO!

What’s cool for your biz is it aims to give users the right information; at the right time, by looking at signals such as where the user is located, their daily habits, their preferences, where they’re going (via their routes), and what they want to do when they get there.

See YILLIO’s user experience video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2igf9WOazo

For brick-and-mortar businesses, YILLIO’s innovation improves marketing relevancy and efficiency. See the short video which explains YILLIO’s route-based search and marketing platform: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noJ4UE7b7AM

Take a few minutes to add your dealership on the YILLIO map to reach mobile shoppers, everyday commuters, and travelers – for Free!

Is route-based marketing and advertising the next mobile innovation? We think there is value in this for you.

Read more…

Welcome to Women’s Wednesday!
Dealers who “get it” know that the key distinction in optimizing sales to women is having exceptional sales advisors who offer exceptional service. But what does that really look like?

Women tell us directly through our car dealer review platform what works for them when interacting with a sales agent.  Below are their top 5 reasons for buying a car from them: 

  1. Trust  52.3%
  2. Being Respectful  52.1%
  3. Likeable  47.8%
  4. Knowledgeable  45.6%
  5. Understanding  40.6%

These percentages add up to more than 100% because reviewers can submit multiple answers.

NOTE: Coming in at 34% was the ‘price of the vehicle’. It is important, but ranks 6th overall. Clearly, connection and relationship are pivotal, outranking price.

  1. Trust:  Women buy from those they trust.  It’s essential to build trust – that rapport can take just a matter of minutes to create. The best way to build trust is to provide valuable and relevant information, quality guidance and advice. Be honest and never try to make a forceful sale because that is a complete turn off. 
  2. Being Respectful: How women are treated matters. In fact, it’s the only thing that matters. Without respect, nothing else gets too close to a purchase.
  3. Knowledgeable:  Women buy from those who are knowledgeable and informative. Since they may not have purchased a vehicle in a number of years and  technology has changed dramatically, they want to be provided with complete and comprehensive information.
  4. Likeable:  Likeability is definitely a trump card. Studies show that women buy from sales advisors who are likeable and friendly. It is easy to talk to a friendly person rather than someone who  is dismissive or doesn’t listen well. Maybe even lightens thing up during a stressful purchase with a smile or a joke. 
  5. Understanding:  Being understanding is vital to meeting a buyer’s expectations. Women buy from those who are concerned and empathetic rather than pushing their own opinions or ‘spiffs/bonuses” on them. Successful sales ambassadors listen to women needs and wants. They are also extremely cooperative and patient.

Want more information on this all important topic, Click here to read. 

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here to learn more.
 
Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download

Read more…

Welcome to Women Wednesdays!

Have you ever walked into a store or visited their website and seen an award that says “Voted #1 in 2010”?

Doesn’t that beg the question and make you wonder what happened since then; who has won it this year?

This situation can be likened to when car dealers have a lapse in (getting) consumers reviews on dealer review sites

– like Google, Yelp, Dealer Rater, Women-Drivers.com etc.  On our site, we have some dealers with great overall scores, but they haven’t had a single review in months. That sends mixed signals and red flags to customers.

Why?

Think about it...having an exceptional score has a lot less credibility to your prospects if there is a huge gap in time with the reviews last posted. It certainly is an indicator that something has changed and could even be detrimental to your business!

Did You Know?

67% of women say they are less likely to purchase a product they were considering after reading negative online reviews – and old reviews can have the same effect.

Here are 15 Best Practices to put in place with Women and Your Reputation, Click here to read.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download.

Good selling!

Read more…

Welcome to Women’s Wednesday. When women perceive they are not treated the way they expect at car dealerships, 65% leave and do not return. That’s a lot of business walking out the door and buying down the street. What can your dealership do to turn more browsers into buyers? We compile a lot of data from dealer reviews, and below are the top three reasons women buy from the dealership they do.

1.Treatment by Sales Person

How well women are treated is the single most influential factor when it comes to buying from a dealership. Women typically evaluate cars on the same grounds as men like price, mileage, design and safety features. However, the deciding factor of whether to close a car deal is greatly dependent on her interaction with the sales advisor.

Treating her with respect is paramount. Show her that you are glad she’s come into your store, acknowledge her presence, put the smart phone away, and listening to her questions are all part of a winning formula. All this may not matter quite as much to men, but it is highly effective in selling to women car buyers. These little things go the distance in winning a customer for a long-time, maybe even a life-time.

2.Best Price or Deal

The second reason women buy from a dealership is the price of the car. Women prefer to buy from dealerships that understand their needs and budget and don’t try to push them into buying cars that exceed their budget.

3.Car Dealer’s Reputation

The car dealership’s reputation really matters – especially to women – as they are more apt to research and use car dealer review sites than men. They want to make an informed decision where they shop so they don’t waste time and have no regrets.

Did You Know?  

Women are 3 times more likely to leave a review – and, a higher scoring review – than men. So, be sure to ask for reviews from your female customers! If you want to be the go-to-dealer in town, deliver the ultimate car buying experience to every woman who walks in your store.

For more on this topic, click here.

Women are the fastest growing segment of buyers. Market to them before they walk into your store by showing your transparency with your Certified Women Friendly logo.

Sign up and learn more here.

Ps - Did you get your free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here.

Read more…

Whether it’s the film industry or the auto industry, the shift in lead roles is hard to miss. The 2014 Oscars that took place a couple of weeks ago was truly a revelation of the changing gender role trends in films. More than one film nomination had strong female leads, enjoying almost all the air time as opposed to their male roles.

In the Oscar nominated film “Gravity,” Sandra Bullock played the lead role while George Clooney played the supporting role. According to an article in the New York Times, Ms. Bullock occupied almost 87 percent of the film’s running time and was the life of the film. This was an industry first and did not go unnoticed.

Women taking over lead roles is a step towards breaking the “stereotype” and reducing the gender gap. Just like the film industry, the auto industry landscape is also experiencing significant shifts where women are becoming the fastest growing car-buying segment.

Analysis on Professional Women at Dealerships

There remains a tremendous and visible gap in the number of women working in dealerships compared to the number of female buyers. The percentage of women working at dealerships is between 18 percent and 20 percent, while women represent over half of all purchasers.

Yet, many of the women are largely working behind the scenes at car dealerships in business development roles, service, social media, advertising, Internet and office administration. Women in sales roles are fewer in number.

The era when men sold cars to men is over. Today is the genesis of a diverse customer base. How can the needs of these buyers be met, and exceeded?

It’s Time to Mentor & Develop Women Leaders at Car Dealers

Who would have thought that male actors like Clooney would be playing a supporting role while the actress would be the lead? Just like this gender gap is being bridged in film, now is the perfect time for dealerships to implement the same strategy and groom women to be take on leadership roles.

According to CNW Research, of the 17,540 new-car dealers just under 3 percent are women-owned — a significant, grossly disproportionate under-representation.

By having women in leadership and executive positions at car dealerships, it will open up options for buyers to have more choice. In 2010, CNW Research found that when asked, 47 percent of women car shoppers would prefer to do business with women dealers — a huge upside for female-run businesses.

This leads to the bold question: Who will take on recruiting, training and developing women to become GSM’s, board members and dealer principals?

Read more…

Welcome to the inaugural Women’s Wednesday blog. As the leader in connecting women+families with Certified car dealers, look for brief educational tips and nuggets from us to weave into your sales and service practice to expand your sales to women. With our deep vertical expertise, we are here to assist with suggestions to make doing business with women a natural, core value and expression at your dealership. With that, let’s begin:

While women influence over 80% of all car purchases, they actually bought 27 million vehicles last year – most at car dealerships. That is almost 75,000 cars a day! How about at your store? Are you optimizing sales to this powerful buying group?

Did you know?

Women visit 2 dealerships prior to buying a car. When women leave dealerships and don’t buy, 2 out of 3 do NOT return! Ouch -- better ask the right questions and treat her exceptionally the first time. Chances are, there is no second chance. The number one reason women report they did not return is, “I didn’t like the way I was treated.”

How well a women is treated is the most significant and important factor for her staying at, staying engaged, and buying from your dealership. Price is secondary! Stay tuned for the more including the top 5 reasons women buy from their sales advisors. Again, it is NOT price!

Women are the fastest growing segment of buyers. Market to them before they walk into your store by showing your transparency with your Certified Women Friendly logo. Sign up here to learn more.

Ps - Did you get your copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here

Good Selling!

Read more…

2013 is shaping up to be a good year for auto retailers, with sales expected to top 15 million for the first time since 2007. Several contributing factors to this success are credit-related, with more consumers qualifying for loans, lengthier terms and rising interest rates.

 

In its June 2013 State of the Automotive Finance report, Experian documents that subprime loans are on the rise again and that consumers within all credit tiers were able to obtain financing in Q1 of 2013. Most notably, loans going to consumers with credit outside of prime jumped to 45% percent of the overall loan market in Q1 2013, up from 44% percent in Q1 2012.

 

Many car buyers were taken out of the market over the last few years thanks to tight credit standards, and they may not understand that the market now provides them with options they didn’t have before.

 

Here’s how to leverage the latest credit trends:

 

1) Consumers Qualifying for Loans with Lower Credit Scores

 

If you track why people don’t buy from you, now is the time to go through your CRM and contact all prospects that were rejected for loans in the last few years. Create an e-mail marketing campaign letting them know that lenders are easing up on credit conditions and that your dealership may be able to help them finance a new or used car now.

 

2) Lengthier Loans Becoming the Norm

 

According to Experian, 63% of car loans in Q1 of 2013 were for more than five years, and about 20% were for more than six years. Lenders are finding that consumers are less likely to walk away from their cars than they are from their homes, and therefore auto loans are less risky.

 

Showing a low, teaser-style payment is attractive, but a comparative payment helps consumers make a decision. Show prospects a comparison on how extending the length of a loan may help to lower their monthly payment, and it’s both helpful to them and a “forced choice” close.

 

Amount Financed

Length of Loan

Interest Rate

Monthly Payment

$20,000

5 Years

4%

$368

$20,000

7 Years

4%

$273

 

 

 

3) Rising Interest Rates Help Create Sense of Urgency

 

The average interest rate for a five-year new car loan is around 4.08% according to Bankrate.com, down slightly from 4.46% a year ago. That’s still very low, but recent spikes in U.S. Treasury bond rates and mortgage interest rates have sparked fears that the Fed may have to raise interest rates before their target date of 2015.

 

If a prospect says they may wait a while to buy, tell them it would be prudent to lock in a low interest rate auto loan sooner rather than later. The media’s your friend here since they’ve been focusing on the effect of rising interest rates on housing purchases. Provide your customers with a calculation of what their desired car will cost them with a 4% interest rate compared to 6% over the course of a five-year loan. For instance:

 

Amount Financed

Length of Loan

Interest Rate

Monthly Payment

$20,000

5 Years

4%

$368

$20,000

5 Years

6%

$386

 

A difference of $20 a month may not seem like much, but over five years the higher interest rate adds an additional $1,200 in finance charges. Car buyers could use that extra money for a vacation somewhere (in their new vehicle!)

 

 

Finally, extend this philosophy to your website to increase your conversion rate. Having payment marketing tools on your website, such as Payment Pro’s Shop-By-Payment, combined with a targeted marketing campaign that shows customers their financing options will help drive buyers to your website. 

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Back in 2009, the team of Mike and Maaike, the designers behind Google’s G1 Phone among other innovations, released a concept design for the car of the future. Lost behind the futuristic glass enclosure and auto-drive capabilities were the reasons they undertook the project: “Freed from the monotony of driving, we can enjoy quality time while in transit: socializing, gaming, movies, business, videocalls, web surfing, sleeping or discovering new places with powerful voice controlled search and navigation.”

 

We’re a car culture. Our manufacturers continue to advertise power, performance, passion, heritage and sex appeal—but the next generation of buyers is less interested in that than they are in engagement, connection, impact and lifestyle. To them, driving is a distraction from their life.

 

In 2010, the millennials (the current 16-34-year-old demographic) surpassed the baby boomers as the largest generation in the United States, with more than 77 million members, or one in four Americans. Inevitably—and soon— they will buy more cars, get married, buy houses and have families. At the same time baby boomers are retiring and driving less, so understanding how to sell to millennials will be critical to your dealership’s success.

 

When you are able to identify the approximate age of an Internet lead, how do you respond to those in the 16-34 age group? Here are a few tips on how to respond to millennial Internet leads:

 

1) Price is Important….: The millennials have had a tough time establishing careers in this down economy, as evidenced by a 16% unemployment rate in their age range. Many also graduated college with student debt. Lack of finances is one big contributor to why many of them aren’t currently buying cars. If you notice their inquiry is on a “budget” car, respond by sending links to similarly priced vehicles, both used and new.

 

You may also want to bring up financing options with millennials sooner rather than later, so you don’t spend a lot of time selling them a car they can’t afford. Fortunately, credit restrictions for auto purchases have been easing lately. Offer to help them become qualified, and send links to whatever payment marketing tools are on your website. If you have a new generation shop-by-payment tool, they will be able to peruse your inventory based on what their monthly budget is.

 

2) ….But Not as Important as the “Feel Good” Factor. Although millennials may be looking for value, giving them the bottom line price is not guaranteed to get you the sale. In general, neither will selling the features of the car. Less than 15% of millennials describe themselves as “car enthusiasts,” compared to 30% of baby boomers,* making a car more of a commodity than an emotional purchase.

 

Most millennials want to “feel good” about what they’re buying. In a 2010 Pew Research Center study, more millennials said “Helping Others In Need” is more important than “Owning a Home.” So if it’s a hybrid, emphasize the benefits to the environment. If your dealership is involved in the local community, try to weave in a conversation about a charity you recently helped out, or other social benefit that your dealership has provided. Another strategy is to share YouTube ads from the brands they inquired about, to help them decide which brands they identify with.

 

3) Let Others Do the Talking. Millennials are extremely active with social media and use the Internet to do most of their research. In general, they trust the opinions of their friends and the masses before they trust recommendations from a salesperson. If possible, let your social media platforms and online review sites do as much of the “selling” as possible for you and your dealership. Send them links to the objective, third-party research sites, to your online review sites and especially to any reviews that may specifically mention you, the salesperson. If you don’t have any video testimonials from customers, get some, then send the links to those on your YouTube channel.

 

4) Don’t Pressure Too Much, but Don’t Give Up. Millennials are in a state of “constant consideration,” so if they don’t respond to your request for an appointment, or stop responding entirely, don’t give up. It may be they’ve backed off the idea of purchasing for the moment. Chances are they will still purchase in the next 90 days, and when they do it will be with someone who they have built a rapport with.

 

5) Use Your CRM For Communication Preferences. Millennials expect companies to do business with them on their terms. This means if they prefer to text, you should be texting them (or your competitor who does text them will be the one to engage with them).

 

 

The millennials now outnumber boomers, and their growing purchasing power will soon be felt. What tips do you have to market to this tech-savvy generation?

 

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*Statistics taken from the Spring 2013 research report “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future” by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

 

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Five Benefits of Shop-By-Payment Tools

I’ve often advocated in my blogs the benefits of quoting a price to customers who submit leads with a price inquiry. If the customer is submitting leads to more than one dealership, not providing the price will likely eliminate you from consideration.

 

Yet, according to CNW Marketing Research, 70.5% of people finance their cars. That means the vast majority of Internet leads will take the price quoted to them and then try to determine what their monthly payment will be. As we all know, monthly payments can vary based on the consumer’s credit score, the dealership’s finance programs and the specific vehicle the customer wants to buy. So the customer searching for the lowest priced vehicle today may still not end up with a vehicle that fits within their monthly budget for the next 60, 72 or even 96 months!

 

If we can move the conversation from price to payments, we can identify the right vehicle earlier in the process, saving the customer time and aggravation, and saving the dealership gross. One way to shift the conversation to monthly payments is to offer and promote payment—and shop-by-payment—marketing tool on your dealership’s website. A shop-by-payment tool allows consumers to search your inventory based on what their ideal monthly payment is and displays inventory based on real, credit-qualified payment quotes. An estimated or teaser quote can set the wrong expectation, but one based on the customer’s actual credit and the dealership’s finance programs sets both the customer and the dealer up for success.

 

Allowing consumers to shop-by-payments on your website offers the following benefits:

 

1)    Keeps Customers on the Dealership’s Website. Customers come to your site to find answers, not more questions. If you are asking the customer to provide all their information, such as what their credit score is or what interest rate they may qualify for, they may have to go off of your website and find the information on another site. A shop-by-payment tool allows the customer to see all the inventory on your website that they qualify for, without having to look for the information somewhere else. The tool is also interactive, enabling the customer to adjust payment ranges, down payments and other information so that it engages the customer, keeps them on the website longer and results in higher conversion rates.

 

2)    Protects Customers’ Privacy. Real payments can be quoted to customers without requiring them to enter in personal information, such as date of birth or Social Security Number, and without having a negative impact on their credit score. This is appealing to customers and allows them to play around with various terms and different vehicles, further engaging them and bringing them that much closer to the sale. Since most good-credit customers don’t want to affect their credit score until absolutely necessary, the result is often more leads from customers with higher average credit ratings.

 

3)    Credit-Analyzed Leads Close at a Higher Rate. The ability to analyze a consumer’s credit online brings them one step closer to the sale. Closing rates for these leads are typically much higher than for unqualified leads, often exceeding 20%.

 

4)    Streamlines the Sales Process. Providing real payment quotes on VIN-specific vehicles sets the customers’ expectation on what they can actually afford to buy, versus what they would like to buy. This eliminates unnecessary time that salespeople spend trying to sell a car that the person can’t afford, while also eliminating the “embarrassment” factor for the customer if they can’t afford the car they really want.

 

5)    Keeps Dealers in Control of Financing. Providing real payment quotes shifts the customer’s focus from what the bottom-line price is to what they can afford to pay every month. This allows dealers to set their own prices and financing terms and gives them more flexibility in negotiations, unlike lead services that force dealers into price wars in order to deliver the lowest price for the consumer. Ultimately, this results in higher gross profit margins for the dealers.

 

 

Providing a shop-by-payment tool helps to engage customers, keep them online and bring them closer to the sale. Today’s payment marketing technology delivers real benefits to both dealers and consumers, resulting in high-quality, credit-analyzed leads that close at rates much higher than traditional Internet leads. To see a demo, visit www.anywheremotors.com

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