CEO of Dealer Synergy, Sean V. Bradley, shows you how your actions lead to rewards or consequences. The number of ups you take has a direct impact on the number of cars you sell. If you up 80 people, you'll sell 20 cars. When you up more people, you will sell more cars. Conversely, when you don't create enough leads and up enough customers, you will not sell enough cars. Check out this edition of Make Money Mondays now and enjoy the automotive tips!
Automotive Internet Sales Version 3.0 is Coming - Automotive Sales - Car Sales - Internet Sales
** I was asked by the President of the Massachusetts State Auto Dealers Association (MSADA) to Speak at the New England Auto Show yesterday. I had no idea that Grant Cardone was going to be speaking there as well. Even though I have been in the industry for 15 years it was the first time I have ever heard Grant Cardone speak. I went on right after Grant did-
As I was talking strategy with a good friend of mine who is a GM of two rooftops we got into a discussion about which strategy is most effective in the automotive internet sales world i.e. coordinators vs. floor sales people making the calls.
We all know that the hardest part in the Internet Dept. is getting people on the phone. As you know you have what is called connection percentage or ratios that prove that less that 20% of the calls that are made on a daily basis actually result in getting the customer on the phone. The day-to-day mission turns into e-mails and phone calls and some really progressive departments have implemented video e-mail.
As I discussed into detail with the GM it really takes a dedicated person to be on the floor taking ups and having the opportunity to have Internet leads sent to him/her. What happens unless this person is very dedicated is that he/she makes 10 phone calls in the morning if you're lucky and then an up walks through the door. Now doing fact finding with the customer, caring the customer up, building value, presentation/demonstration, silent trade appraisal and my favorite working numbers, F&i then a through delivery and hours have passed by. Equally relevant, while all this is going on Internet leads aren't waiting for him to get finished they're coming in while all this is happening and by the time the sales person gets back in front of the computer after taking lunch when the deal was complete his/her response time is around three hours!! Now I haven't even mentioned the follow up month to date that should be going on during this time.
My friend's response was the cost of having coordinators which I understand affects the bottom line. What is interesting to me is that we'll spend $150K on advertising for the month now when the sales person sells that customer we don't split the deal or put an additional pack on the deal to help recoup the cost of advertising. And even better yet we all know the customers that we don't sell that most of these customers are never logged into the CRM or they leave without a T.O. and if they are logged the notes read "showroom up" not detailed notes of why we couldn't put the deal together.
Having people who's job is to pound the phones all day with a experienced director there for a T.O. and/or to work numbers for the customer that want's the "best price" is the most effective strategy I have seen unless the sales people that get leads aren't allowed to take ups. I would rather have 5 coordinators making a total of 500 calls a day versus 5 sales people barely making 100 calls per day. The numbers don't lie the more calls you make the more people you're going to get on the phone, the more people you get on the phone the more appointments you're going to make, the more appointments you make the more people are going to show, the more people that show the more cars you're going to sell!! Appointments sell cars....
This is Internet sales 101 however, unless there is leadership in place that understands the dynamics of a E-Commerce Dept. there will be a struggle between the owners and those that understand the basics of Internet Sales. What's even more funny is when I asked how many appointments his sales people set per day he was angry and tells me that they don't set enough appointments and that's why they aren't selling more cars. Duh, how can they set more appointments they're selling cars, waiting for an up and making 10-20 calls a day. Sounds like a oxymoron to me.
Good luck and good selling!!
It's been a great year for car sales, and if you're like most dealers, you want to close out the year strong. What is your Internet marketing department doing to ensure that ready-to-buy customers will choose to visit your dealership?
By now most of us have read or heard the statistic from J.D. Powers and Associates, that customers visit an average of 1.8 dealerships in person before purchasing a vehicle. I believe this one statistic is the most transformative statistic in terms of its impact on Internet marketing and the sales process. Quite simply, it means that you win the customer before they set foot in your showroom.
Ideally you want to accomplish this by outshining your competition along every step of the customer's purchasing journey. You want to have presence where consumers are conducting research on various makes and models; you want to have useful information and conversion tools on your website; you want to give great customer service and prompt communications if they call or e-mail your dealership to gather information; you want to be able to give them accurate pricing and payment information, and you want to have great online reviews when the customer researches dealership reputations.
But at crunch time, giving customers an extra incentive to visit you before the end of the year may be just the thing that gives your dealership the edge. Incentive offers like ShowProSM offer a small financial incentive to a customer if they come in and take a test drive.
For customers who are seriously in the market and in the process of narrowing down which dealership to buy from, visit or test drive incentives have been proven to increase the show rate for appointments. Almost every dealership we work with reports closing rates over 50% for Internet appointments that show, so we know: if you get them in, you make the sale.
While most dealerships will see a spike in lead volume the last week of December, they’ve also seen a drop-off in sales from leads over the last 3 months. See that as an opportunity to recapture customers right now. I recommend using incentive cards as a tool to re-engage "dead" leads and target customers who may be interested in key vehicles. Here are two campaigns you can put together right now:
1) Create a list of prospects from the last six months who did not purchase a vehicle. Send them a holiday message with an incentive card of $25-50 to come in and take a test drive.
2) Is your manufacturer offering any incentives for particular models, or do you have any models that are overstocked right now? Some manufacturers are offering bonuses to dealerships that sell a particular number of a certain model. Offering a financial incentive to come in and test drive that particular model is a very cost-effective method for helping your dealership to reach this goal. At an average price of less than $50 per show, and an average close rate on appointment shows of nearly fifty percent, this more than pays for itself.
This time of year many people are grateful for every extra dollar they can get; and $50 is a tank of gas, a dinner out, or an extra gift for a loved one. Incentive marketing works best when the reward is time-sensitive, so end-of-the-year sales offer a great opportunity to draw new customers who might have otherwise chosen a different dealership to visit.
"How To Sell 30+ Cars & Make OVER $130,000 Per Year" Workshop For The Greater New York Auto Dealers Association
Make Money Mondays With Sean V. Bradley - Automotive Sales - Showroom New Hire Tips & Advice
Automotive Internet Sales Interviews New Automotive Sales Professional, Joseph Argento Of Burns Honda in Marlton, New Jersey
Asides from being a GSM, I will always be a trainer at heart. Over the last 10 years I have trained thousands of new hires, especially when I was with AutoNation. One of the things I always do during new hire training is to put on the board the three reasons why many new hires can be successful right away:
1. They have a great attitude
2. They get in front of customers
3. They follow the process
The other day I as training with my veterans and one of them asked me what the key to long term success as a salesperson was.
What do you think I told him?
We ran into an awesome customer, Cathy that left Pine Belt Nissan of Keyport with a new 2013 Nissan Altima. Check out this video and let me know what you guys think of her.
As a follow up to my recent blog on Internet Lead ROI, I would like to discuss another important metric for dealerships to track: the percentage of a store’s sales that can be attributed to Internet leads. Just like Internet lead ROI is not a simple formula that everyone can agree on, the percentage of sales that can be attributed to the Internet is not easy to measure.
In a recent survey we asked 184 dealership personnel this question: What percentage of your store’s overall sales is generated by the Internet department? Fully half (50%) of the respondents reported they were in the 20-40% range. Only 15% of respondents reported less than 20%, while 35% of respondents reported their dealerships attributed more than 40% of their sales to Internet leads.
Why such a disparity? I’m guessing that not every dealership answers the following question in the same way:
How do you define an Internet customer?
Since roughly 90% of your customers use the Internet before coming into the dealership, you could argue that 90% of sales are coming from the Internet, and that many of those customers don’t e-mail beforehand—they just call or walk in. But the opposite can also be true. One dealer group I know of, Homer Skelton dealerships in Tennessee, recently created a promotion for their new Payment ProSM feature on their website. The dealer group ran a radio campaign and produced a television commercial promoting that customers could pre-qualify for “real payments” without giving their social security number or date of birth. When the traditional ads ran, Homer Skelton saw a huge spike in visits to their website, which then turned into pre-qualified website leads. So are these Internet leads, or should they be attributed to the traditional ad campaign?
Although it may be difficult to arrive at an industry standard for what the definition of an Internet sale is, your dealership should have its own definition. Just as important as a standard measurement is tracking the performance over time so you can identify growth opportunities.
Best Practices for Improving Closing Percentages
The most effective way to increase the percentage of sales attributed to Internet leads is to improve the closing percentages of your current Internet lead volume.
From the same survey I mentioned above, we filtered responses from the highest-performing dealerships based on the metrics they shared. The most successful Internet departments claimed the following best practices were critical in order to make an Internet department successful:
1) Quality & Speed of Lead Response (72%)
2) Website search visibility (66%)
3) Management Buy-In and Support (61%) and Staff Training & Accountability (61%) tied for third.
Other choices and responses included: quality of leads (58%); quality of staff (42%); tracking & measurement of leads and ROI (33%); online reputation (33%); quality of online merchandising (33%); written policies and procedures that are closely adhered to (22%); lead mix (17%); social media involvement (14%); and number of leads per person (14%).
Dealers continue to stress how critical it is to have a process in place to prevent salespeople from closing out their own leads. It’s too easy for them to say “this lead is bad,” or “that lead isn’t valid,” and simply close out those leads, which results in a higher reported closing percentage—albeit a false one. It’s no different than if 100 customers walk through the door and 10% of those customers are lot drops, and then you calculate the closing percentage of 90 customers instead of 100.
At most dealerships, a valid lead is one that comes in with good contact information; but I have heard some salespeople say a valid lead is one that returns their attempt to contact within three days. How many customers return a single call or e-mail? Most of the time, it takes repeated attempts to get through to a customer.
So I bring up many questions here, and I’m looking forward to everybody’s responses. I think it’s important to discuss metrics so that eventually, an industry standard or benchmarks can be established, to which all dealerships can compare themselves.
Google has entered the New Car Lead business with the recent unveiling and introduction of the Google Commercial Unit For Cars (CUFC). There is very little information regarding this new lead program for dealers, but here's what we know:
- Essentially, Google will pull the new inventories of dealerships (those participating in the program) in the area of the consumer and display the search results
- However, these unique search results with dealerships' inventory will only pop up when the consumer types in what Google calls "low funnel" search terms.
- Here are an example of a few "low funnel" search terms: "New Honda Civic", "Toyota prices," etc..
- This new program is still in BETA mode, and therefore, dealerships will have to pay per lead. It is unclear/not known whether or not this will change once in the future.
- Worth noting: Some states deem it illegal to pay per lead, so we shall see how it plays out.
What do you think of Google's New Car Lead Program?
Google Enters New Car Lead Generation Business
Another prediction that I wrote about has come true. Change is in the air again at Google. Paid Search just took a big step forward or backwards, depending on how you think. It's called "Google Cars"
In November 2011, I wrote about a product called "Google Advisor" which will change the landscape of paid search marketing for new car sales. It has taken a very long time for this product to get off the ground. This type of product has been around in the mortgage lead generation business for years.
Well the Google Advisor product for automotive leads is here and it has a name: Google Cars.
I finally was able to see the product live today and so can you. Just change your browser location to Zip Code 94301 and conduct a search on Google with this phrase:
Palo Alto Toyota
What you will see might shock you, as Google has clearly entered into the new car lead generation business. I created a few screen shots to explain how the model works, and I am sure this will be evolving. I would love to get your opinion on this strategy and if you would be interested in testing this new service.
San Francisco Bay Beta Test of Google Cars
Currently, this product is only available in the San Francisco Bay area. We will find out when this will open up to other markets. This is only for new cars and it requires a dealer to provide and inventory feed of their new cars.
Google Cars Inventory Model Results Page
When you Click on the first photo of the Toyota Camry in the red box above, you will be shown this page
Google Cars Pricing Info
If you click on the "Google Price Info" link, you might get a chill down your spine, like TrueCar did for car dealers.
The Google Price popup box is shown on the right. If you click on the "Learn More" link, you can read about how these prices are determined.
The "regional price paid" data according to Google comes from data shared by dealers to the DMV in their state. Here is what Google says:
Regional price paid tells you how much the vehicle you want tends to sell for in your area. It is calculated from real new car sales in your area over the past 90 days, as reported by dealers to the DMV.
Regional price paid is specific to the make, model, trim, packages, and options shown. It includes destination charge; it excludes taxes and fees. It may include incentives and other promotions running at that time that may have impacted the average price paid."
Google Cars VDP
When you you click on a specific vehicle, you will be taken to a VDP page that looks like this:
Google Cars Email Contact Options
And when you click to contact the dealer, you have three options. Clicking on the "Email Dealer" choice reveals this screen.
Notice that the consumer can easily select other local dealers to quote on the same vehicle. Today, I have no details on how this advertising product works and the costs associated with it. Give me a few days.
Q & A About Starting a BRAND New Internet Department (From Scratch)
I had a great conversation with a NEW Internet Director. She was a "rep" but this is a whole NEW venture in becoming a NEW Manager etc...
Q - Where to start:
A - You want break it down to 4 main elements, Products, People, Process & the Promotions.
- Department will be inside the showroom, deeply tinted, blinds for privacy.
- 5 workstations PLUs to for future evolution (You are going to want to make sure that you INCLUDE an ISC in the mix).
- Computers... Do you have dual monitors, head sets, What are you going to do for Digital Media? I suggest a separate computer for videos, pictures, articles etc... Maybe an external hard drive.
- ILM / CRM - Dominion... AVV Webcontrol. Mac Haik will be designing its own CRM (Microsoft CRM).
- Need Scripts, Templates, Voice Mail, Automation, Integration
- Reputation Management
- Social Media
- Video / Photos
Happy New Year !! Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful New Year! 2011 is going to be a great year! Wishing everyone good health, success and happiness in the New Year. From my family to your family HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
These girls rock! (and even Sponge Bob think so too!) We just got done some great phone training, and I have to stop and say: Great job Kelly, Kassandra and Sarah in really taking advantage of the holiday season spending, stressing urgency to come to the dealership while the deals are unbelievable, and they are having a GREAT month going into the last few days! These girls are very focused on their goals, and have truely MASTERED the process of making a great phone call, and having an answer for everything...and your results show!
We also discussed how it has really been a great start of the last week in December for them, and they all understand that there are only a few more days to buy a car in 2010! Don't let up now!!
I personally have sold 3 cars on New Year's Eve before, so don't take it lightly! There is plenty of business to be done. The party don't start until AFTER business hours, and what better way to bring in the new year with a NEW vehicle!! :)
Happy Selling, and I hope everyone has an exciting and safe New Year!
VP of Training
New car sales expected to grow by 1.1 million in 2010 - Repost from NADA Newsletter / Dayton Daily News By Tim Tresslar, Staff Writer
Pent-up demand is driving new vehicle sales to their highest level since 2008, an auto dealers trade group said.
Sales of light vehicles, on the decline since at least 2006, have accelerated this year, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. Paul Taylor, an NADA economist, said Tuesday that NADA officials look for sales to reach 11.5 million vehicles this year. In comparison, new vehicles sales reached 10.4 million in 2009.
In 2008, dealerships sold 13.2 million new vehicles while in 2007 they sold 16.1 million, the NADA said.
Taylor said improvements in the stock market and pent-up demand created from consumers putting off purchases will push up car purchases next year.
The period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day tends to be one of the briskest for dealers, Taylor said. A combination of consumers armed with time off from work and cash given to them as gifts, along with heavy promotion by the auto industry fuel the increased demand, he said.
An upturn in the automotive industry is good news for Ohio, which remains one of the nation’s largest producers of motor vehicles. Additionally, Ohio’s new vehicle dealerships generate $17.8 billion in sales and employ more than 38,000, according to NADA figures.
Larry Taylor, vice president and general manager of Beau Townsend Ford in Vandalia, said his dealership is on track to sell 260 new and used vehicles in December, compared to 156 in December 2009. He also anticipates higher sales in the first quarter of next year.
He attributes the gains to pent-up demand by consumers, who have put off buying cars as long as possible, and by consolidation of local dealerships.
“I think I’m getting a bigger piece of a smaller pie,” he said.
Jeff Reichard, vice president of Reichard Buick GMC, said sales this year of Buicks have increased 17 percent while GMC sales have climbed 131 percent, compared to a year ago. December sales also are higher than the same month in 2009, he said.
Demand for the Terrain, a compact crossover SUV, and to a lesser extent the Acadia have helped drive gains in GMC’s sales, Reichard said Tuesday.
New auto sales by year
2007 16.1 million
2008 13.2 million
2009 10.4 million
2010 11.5 million
Over a foot of snow in Philadelphia! Funday Monday....and back to work! Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, I know I had a very eventful 3 day weekend, and ready to finish the year strong!! We have 5 days to get in all that we can...STAY FOCUSED!! :)
We just added "Groups" to the website, and will be continuing to better the website with some enhancements coming into 2011. Click on the section on the bottom left side of the page, and take a look at some of the topics that interest you. As always, I encourage comments, feedback and questions so we can all "synergize" to get better at what we do.
I'm proud to say that not only will Sean Bradley be a featured speaker all 3 days at the NADA conference, but we will also be holding a MAJOR Press Conference with some exciting announcements for Dealer Synergy for the New Year!