More often than not, people think that graphics and texts are independent. An average person will post a great image, but neglect the text or on the other hand, post powerful text with no accompanying graphic. So what if we could combine powerful text and a helpful image to create a graphic that provides information? We can, and the result of this combination is called an Infographic.
Infographics are great considering the short attention span of the average content consumer; in fact, you’ve got just seconds to catch someone’s attention and inform them of the information you want to convey.
While we generally try to avoid idioms, the phrase “killing two birds with one stone” is more than appropriate when talking about infographics. You can convey information, while maintaining your company's brand and land them at the end of a great graphic with a better hook. Infographics are not just important important to catch your reader’s attention but, they’re huge for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). All of the words on the infographic will be read by search engines and used to help place you hire on organic web searches.
Other Perks of Infographics:
• They can be recycled. The research you’ve used to create an infographic can turn around and generate a press release.
• It is easier to explain complicated data in the form of a picture
• They get shared more than just regular text.
Are you still not sold yet? Maybe you will be once you see how easy it is to make an infographic. There are sites like infogr.am and visual.ly that take you step by step through creating your infographic from the beginning stages of deciding what content you want to feature, through the end final touches making your ingoraphic design stand out!
Try it out and see if you get the ROI you want for your business.
~CB and BL
Having worked in the dealership for the last 15 years I have firsthand experience with all these things and then some. Immediately prior to joining iMagicLab I made a conscious decision to enter the vender world, just as I made a conscious decision to enter the retail auto industry so many years ago. It wasn’t happenstance, wasn’t “a job” but is a career fueled by a passion. It's amazing to me when talking with dealers how many times they don't expect me to understand these things simply because I’m a “CRM Vendor.” Here’s a fun list of some of the more common highlights your CRM vendor doesn’t know or understand.
1. How to load a navigation disk. – Okay some manufacturers are getting away from them but still how much of a PITA is this? Don’t get me started on setting up Bluetooth or a rolling code garage door opener…
2. Contracts in Transit and what it really means for the Dealership!! – Every Finance Manager just broke a sweat!
3. They don't know what to do when the Internet is down. - Do you even know where to start to type or hand-write a contract? Do you know how to get used car values without using the internet? This leads us to... #4
4. They don't know how to appraise a trade. – Sure they may have tools that pull numbers from KBB and black book, but we all know that’s NOT "appraising." To them recondition cost is just a magical number. I know that wad of gum stuck in the driver's side carpet is going to cost $65.00 and the cracked windshield will be $133.50. No tool is going to have that info on the fly!!
5. They don't realize what an early model trade can do to a cash position. – We had a great weekend, sold 28 cars with 10 early model trades and sales people were mad because I wholesaled them all. We couldn’t floor them and we needed to preserve our cash position.
6. They don't know how to sell a car. – Sure, they can rattle off a preprogrammed road to a sale but can they create their own? Based on your store, your market, your brand and your team? Do they know how to switch a customer from an F250 Crew to a used Malibu?
6.5 They never stood on point. – Enough said…
It’s my opinion that the key to working with dealers and providing the level of service needed to facilitate positive and sustainable change is understanding their business. Helping dealers find the right solution that matches their needs is what makes this job amazing. I understand more than most of my contemporaries that cookie cutter approaches simply don’t work.
'Do you know the average click-thru rate for the tweets your brand sends? If not, you can easily find out here. According to the research, the average rate is a little more than 6 percent. While this may seem low, it's still higher than the industry average click-thru rate for banner ads, which is between 1 percent and 2 percent."
However, there are three steps you can take to help improve the click-thru rate of your brand's tweets, which will ultimately drive more traffic to your website:
1. Use your headline to pique interest and prove the value of your article.
One of the best pieces of advice I received when it comes to using Twitter is, "Don't tweet boring stuff." While this may seem obvious, many brands aren't sharing content in a way that piques the interest of their audience. The best way to connect with your audience with social media is to share content that will add value and enrich their lives. By enticing your followers with a line helps them believe that by clicking on the link, they will learn something valuable, you'll make sure that the tweets you're posting are interesting, engaging and "click worthy."
2. Find the right time to tweet.
Once you've identified the kind of content that resonates with your audience, the second step is to find when they will be most likely to see the tweet. By identifying the optimum time to send your tweet, you can ensure that you're sharing your content during the highest traffic time for your audience. There are some great apps that can help you identify the peak time for your specific brand, one being Buffer. Along the same lines, don't assume that just because you shared a link once, your entire audience saw it. If you want to drive traffic to a particular blog post, share the link multiple times throughout the day, intermingling it with your other content.
3. Optimize by measuring.
The only way to learn is to experiment. Maybe there'll be a certain time which people are really receptive. Maybe there's a certain topic that isn't resonating with your audience. As with any marketing tactic, you can't improve what you don't measure. Almost every social media tool offers some sort of analytics for its users. By measuring, you'll learn and optimize. And you'll make your tweets and content more engaging.
What tools are you using to improve the click-thru rate of your tweets? How have you seen it improve your overall traffic and sales?
Have You "EMI'd" Lately?
Calling for my hero, my mentor, my first manager.
Way back when, on Dec 19th 1980, I got my first start. It was with Kearney Mesa VW & Peugeot in sunny San Diego, California. Rick Rodriquez, or “Rickyyyyyy” as I called him every time I needed help, jumpstarted my career in the auto industry.
Rickyyyy! Do we have this?
Rickyyyy! Do we have that?
Rickyyyy! Where is this? How much is that? What do I do now?
You get the point.
But Rick never ignored my persistent requests. Not only that, he was always there with a smile, always polite, and always to the rescue.
Of course my customers always appreciated me calling for Rick’s expertise. Granted, some were a little frustrated with my broken English, but Rick’s willingness to help me always impressed them.
“Yes, Danny” he would say, and then immediately greeted the customer:
“Hello and thank you for coming in! You are in excellent hands with Danny.” The customers and I could both tell this was to build my confidence, which had an excellent effect on the customers, and an even better one on me. “Danny will show you around and hopefully find you exactly what you are looking for.”
And that was my cue! I promised to take care of the rest, and after a couple trials and errors…
“Rickyyyy! They like this one!”
I sold my first car! A 1980 Dasher Diesel, earning me my first commission of $132.00.
From there, it only went up. My English got better, my commissions got higher, and Rickyyyy got a whole lot busier trying to keep up with me.
EMI (Early Manager Introduction) was a cornerstone in my foundation as a young salesman, and continues to be a cornerstone in every sales environment I am involved in.
Would you try EMI today?
Shortly after meeting a new prospect on your showroom floor, after personal connection and before going to product selection, just wave to your manager and call for your “Rickyyy”!
…Or whatever his or her name may be!
Note: If you are going to try EMI, be sure to:
- Look for/create the perfect moment.
- Don’t make an announcement, Just do it.
- Invite the manager to come to you. Don’t go to him/her.
- Introduce the customer first & the reason for the visit.
- Introduce the manager and pay him/her a compliment.
For more information on this or any other RBI strategy:
Email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
AUDUBON, N.J., Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GSM of Alan Vines Automotive & AutoSuccess Magazine September Cover Story, Durran Cage Will be a Speaker at the Internet Sales 20 Group Workshop in Chicago, October 23-25th.
Sean V. Bradley, Creator and Moderator for the Internet Sales 20 Group, is quoted as saying, "It is an honor to have Durran Cage as Speaker at this year's Internet Sales 20 Group. Durran brings a unique perspective to our community. He started as a Chrysler OEM rep then he got recruited to a dealership as an Internet Director and he took that department from 25 units online to 95 units online. He did such an incredible job in the Internet Department that the Dealer Principal, Mr. Alan Vines promoted him to General Sales Manager of the entire dealership. I think Dealer Principals, GMs, GSMs, Internet and BDC Directors alike will get a tremendous amount of information and value from Durran's presentation."
The upcoming Internet Sales 20 Group will be held in beautiful downtown Chicago at the Hilton from October 23rd, 24th and 25th.
This is a major industry event with some of the most prestigious companies in the Automotive Sales industry sponsoring the event, such as:
- Social Dealer
- AutoSuccess Magazine
- Cactus Sky
- Dealer Synergy
Additional Speakers at the Internet Sales 20 Group are:
- Sean V. Bradley – CEO of Dealer Synergy, Founder of www.AutomotiveInternetSales.com, Creator of the Internet Sales 20 Group, a Certified FranklinCovey Trainer, a proud member of the National Speakers Association (NSA). Sean has spoken to over 80 NADA and NCM 20 Groups. He has also been a top rated NADA convention Speaker 3 years in a row.
- Bill Finocchiaro – President of Peruzzi Toyota. Bill has built an Internet Sales Department in his dealership that went from 30 units per month online to over 125 units per month online. Bill's Internet Sales department is responsible for over 50% of his entire dealership's business.
- Robert Wiesman – Sales Consultant at Massey Hyundai. Robert delivers 30+ units per month and has more online visibility than the average dealership. He has literally created his own online business at the level of an entire department.
- AJ Leblanc – Co-Founder of Car-Mercial. AJ is one of the pioneers of Video Search Engine Optimization and is the leading subject matter expert on the topic.
- Ralph Paglia – Founder of www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com and www.autocon2012.com. Ralph Paglia is one of the top Automotive Digital Marketing Experts in the country.
- JD Rucker – Vice President of Digital Marketing at KPA / TK Carsites. JD is one of the absolute best Social Media experts in the country in any vertical. JD has a special workshop presentation on the subject "Social Signals".
- Peter "Web Doc" Martin – CEO of Cactus Sky and Former CEO of AskPatty.com. Peter is one of the top experts on Email Marketing and Data Mining. Peter has an incredible workshop presentation combining both subjects.
- Susan Givens – Publisher of AutoSuccess Magazine. As publisher of the #1 Magazine in the Automotive Sales Industry, Susan has access to a tremendous amount of information. Tips, Tactics, Strategies, Secrets, Experts etc... She will be presenting a workshop based on best practices at the Internet Sales 20 Group.
- Stan Sher – Editor of www.automotiveinternetsales.com As well as a speaker for The Greater New York Dealer's Association" Stan is a subject Matter expert on Automotive Internet Sales and Social Media.
- Fran Taylor – President of Taylor Techniques. Fran is the "Undisputed Prospecting King". Fran Taylor is one of the absolute best Sales and Sales Management Trainers in the country.
- Karen M. Bradley – President of Dealer Synergy. Karen is a Certified FranklinCovey trainer / facilitator on both the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" as well as the "5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity". Karen is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA).
** The first 20 Dealerships to sign up before September 15th will receive a FREE consulting Package worth $1,500. Package includes:
- 2 Mystery Shopping Calls (At two different times). The calls will be recorded and graded on a "report card" with the attached MP3 of the call. The calls will be graded on both qualitative and quantitative measures.
- A thorough assessment of your dealership's Social Media initiatives. We will use analytics and software to evaluate your Social Media visibility and relevancy.
- A thorough assessment on your dealership's online reputation.
- A thorough assessment on your dealership's website.
- A thorough assessment of your dealership's Search Engine Optimization presence and penetration.
** Once all of this data is complied from all 20 different dealerships we will then create a powerful "Internet Sales 20 Group Composite". (Which will be given to the entire 20 group at the workshop".
If you want to register for the Internet Sales 20 Group you can use this registration code DSIS20 to save $500 off Registration.
For more information on the upcoming Internet Sales 20 Group in Chicago, October 23rd, 24th and 25th please go to www.internetsales20group.com or call 267-319-6776.
Contact is Amanda Melendez
SOURCE Synergized Media
GSM of Alan Vines Automotive & AutoSuccess Magazine September Cover Story, Durran Cage Will be a Speaker at the Internet Sales 20 Group in Chicago, October 23-25th
June 20th -
I am in Ft. Lauderdale getting ready to go to Karry's memorial service (Thank God, they are not calling it a funeral). I feel like I am moving in slow motion. This is such cliche to say, but I feel like this is not real, this is not really happening. But, I know as soon as I step foot into the service and see everyone else, when I see his family... it will become all too real.
I brought my wife and kids to say goodbye. Lil Sean is too young to understand the finality and magnitude of the situation but my daughter understands completely. She is 11 and has known Karry for over 5 years now and she herself has some pretty cool memories of him herself.
I am very sad but I keep thinking to myself that no matter how sad I am, it pales in comparison to what his family is going through. His children (Zoe included) and Nora...
Here is the post I put on FaceBook on Father's Day when I found out Karry Passed away. (I used a picture of my wedding, because it was literally one of the happiest days in my life and Karry was a big part in it... he was a Groomsman!
In Memory of Karry Moore
I do not know where to begin... My heart is heavy and I am filled with such confusion and anger. Today is Father's day. Today is a day to honor Fathers and show our love, respect and appreciation for them. However, today a Father was taken from us... Karry Moore. Karry had become a good friend of mine over the last 5 years. And anyone that knows me, knows that it isn't easy being Sean V. Bradley's friend. God knows, at times, I drove him crazy but for whatever reason he saw something in me. He always told me that he had a lot of respect for me and admired me. He also knew that I had a lot of potential. Karry took the time to further develop me. I have to say that I learned so much from Karry directly about business, relationships, technology and more. I developed a strong trust and respect for him. I admired how much he enjoyed life, how much of a good friend he was to everyone, how patient… the man had a LOT of patience! And what really impressed me was his love for his family. How much he loved his kids and his fiancé Nora. He was so happy when he talked about his kids and Nora. I am very glad that they had the opportunity to fly up to Philly / NJ and stay with Karen and me. We took a Limo to NYC to go see the Rockets (front row) and lived it up ☺.
I was right there in the very beginning with Karry and AJ when they launched VSEO Inc...which turned into Car-Mercial. I am proud that I helped build that company with them. As much as I shared with Karry and AJ, they included me and shared with me. Car-Mercial has been good to me, to my family, to Dealer Synergy and to my clients. A lot of the subject matter knowledge on VSEO I learned came from Karry (And AJ).
When Karry first told me that he had Cancer, my heart dropped. He was so young, he was such a good person, he had a fiancé and kids. I was perplexed… How can this be??? But, none of that mattered. Cancer did not care about any of that. It got him. At first I was so scared for him but Karry sounded so positive and strong and so sure he was going to beat this thing. I believed he could fly… I would speak to him pretty often and whenever we spoke, he was positive and giving me updates of success. Then things started to go the wrong way… the cancer traveled to his brain and he was having seizures… Yet, when we spoke he was lucid, positive and CONVINCING!
Funny story… I asked him what he was going to do when it was all over and he beat Cancer…? He said that he was going to get a BIG tattoo on his back throwing up the finger to the Big “C”. We both laughed!
On May 29th, He called me to tell me that he and Nora set a Wedding date in November (the 18th). He wanted me and my family to come and be a part of it. We were all so happy and excited for him.
Less than 1 month later he is gone… On Father’s Day.
I just spent the last hour reading all of his texts and emails to me in the last couple of months…
Its such a damn shame. So random, so ferociously final and with no mercy.
All I can say is that he was a good man. He really was… not because he is no longer here but because he was a good man, a good father and a good fiancé. He was a great friend, Karry was always there for me. Whenever I needed to talk to him, whenever I needed help. Again, he was always patient. He was a good friend.
I am very glad that I not only got to know Karry Moore but I can say he was a friend to me and my family and because of our friendship I am a better person.
Please remember, that we NEVER know when it all comes to an end… but we all know it will end. Do not waste time with the stupid B.S. that life throws at you. In the end NONE OF IT MATTERS. What matters is family, friendship, relationships and love.
I do regret that I didn’t spend more time with him. We talked in the past of visiting each other more but I live in Philly and he lived in Florida and we both ran national companies and we both had families… we had great reasons. And when he got sick, I wanted to visit him but he said that he thought I should wait until he got a little better. Every time I asked, he said he wanted to get a little more healthy before I came and visited with him. I am upset that I didn’t book a flight and just go!
Just Google "How To Buy a Car" or YouTube "How To Buy a Car" and what you see on the FIRST page is THIS video (The Original One). This video is from 2007, its HORRIBLE, ITS Filled with lies and misconceptions. The speaker is obviously NOT an Automotive Sales Expert...
What seriously disturbs me is that NO ONE is doing anything about this... NO ONE? No OEMs, No Dealer Groups, No Dealerships, No Automotive Managers, No Automotive Sales Consultants... No one.
There is this stupid propaganda video LOCKED online and it just sits there without challenge? I am not sure about you but this video offends me, it has always offended me. Because it is so one sided and so filled with mistruths and straight out lies...
What is sad is that the PUBLIC sees this as REAL, as the TRUTH. Why...? Because it is on the FIRST page of Google and the First Page of YouTube!!! Most people are NOT subject matter experts. They are going online for some information, some direction and then they stumble into this type of trash... What is SAD is that they actually believe it. And why shouldn't they...? Its not like there are other, more compelling videos that tell the REAL story.
So, if you are watching this video or reading this post with distain... DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Here are a bunch of ideas of articles, blog posts or VIDEOS you could write, record and POST all over the internet:
* How To Buy a Car?
* How to Buy a New Car
* How to Buy a Used Car
* What to expect from Car Dealership
* What makes a GREAT Car Dealership
* How Do you Choose a specific Car Dealerships
These are just some basic ideas. The point is CREATE CONTENT, INFORMATION to the PUBLIC. Stop just thinking the internet is a "Point of Sale" resource... You need to capture people at "Point of Interest" and CULTIVATE the opportunity.
If you are as pissed as I am when watching this video... Let me know your thoughts-
**ORIGINAL Video is titled "4.1.5 Rob Gruhl - How to Buy a New Car - Ignite Seattle 2007.mp4"
And this COMPLETE Idiot! "Automotive Executive Breaks Code of Silence" (Way Too Many Mafia Movies Dork)
Schedule your priorities, Not prioritize your schedule
“Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Have you ever looked at the clock and seen it was the end of your shift and you thought to yourself, “Wow — where did the day go?” Or worse, “Uh oh, I got absolutely nothing done today.” Well, you are not alone; most people in our industry feel the exact same way. Automotive professionals sometimes describe working at a dealership as “chaotic,” “a constant fire drill,” “not organized,” “overwhelming,” “stressful,” etc.
A lot of dealerships feel like they are grinding to sell cars, but wonder why they constantly fail to hit their objectives. They are confused why they are not selling as many units as they need to, even though they have their team working bell-to-bell most of the month. There is a logical reason of course: They have no understanding or training when it comes to proper time management. Remember, there are only 86,400 seconds in a day. When they are gone, they are gone. For the most part, most dealerships just “react” versus being “proactive.”
You can get up and have a positive attitude and want to work really hard, but if you have no plan, you can’t expect to be tremendously successful. Don’t get me wrong — I am sure you can have some success. It will only be short lived, however, or not at the full magnitude that you are capable.
Here is an example: If I said to everyone reading this AutoSuccess article that I am giving away $1,000,000 to anyone who can drive from Houston, Texas to Philadelphia, would you be in? Of course you would be. But here is the catch: You can only use this map that I give you. Are you still in? Of course you are. But there is more to the catch. The map is of the city of San Francisco. Uh, oh. That changes everything, because the rules of the $1,000,000 giveaway is that you have to use this map and only this map.
So how in the world are you going to get this easy million dollars? Oh, I know: You can have a great attitude. You can think positively, and you can be happy about the opportunity. Is that going to help you accomplish that goal? No. A positive attitude is great, but it is not enough in this example, and it is not enough in the real world at your dealerships.
OK, how about working hard? If you work really hard at looking at this map of San Francisco, maybe you can unlock some secret rout to Philadelphia from Houston? No, you can’t. So, working hard is important, but it is not the sole answer. You need to have a map; you need an internal global positioning system (GPS). You need to begin with the end in mind. Car dealerships are awesome, but they are hectic; there is a lot going on. Plus, it is a month-to-month business. I get it. You need, though, to take control of what you have control of — yourself.
We all have multiple roles in our life. We are not just automotive professionals. Some additional roles that you might fall into include:
• Parent • Son/daughter • Brother/sister • Manager
• Leader • Owner • Trainer • Motivator
• Analyst • Friend • Volunteer • Veteran
• Paramedic • Athlete • Pet owner • Community activist
• Baby Sitter (which can have multiple meanings…)
So, now take into account how busy your day is, how hectic a dealership is, how intense our industry is and now add all of the roles you play in life. How are you juggling everything? Are you even trying to juggle or are you neglecting important things?
There is a better way.
Internationally respected leadership authority Dr. Stephen Covey says that the most effective planning is weekly planning — not monthly or daily. It is truly best to pick a time once a week (my wife and I prefer Friday, after work) and map out the following week. The key is not to overload or “pack” as much as possible into a short amount of time. Rather, you want to identify your priorities — a.k.a. “must do’s” — and schedule them first. This should include your different roles. You want to make sure that you put first things first. Here are some examples:
• Showroom appointments
• Training sessions (can be from the dealership or on your own)
• Phone call and follow-up time
• Breaks, lunch, etc. (it is important to refresh yourself and “sharpen the saw”)
• Any days off
• Clients anniversaries, birthdays or other important dates
• Personal friends’/relatives’ anniversaries, birthdays or other important dates
• Special time with family (and or friends)
• Health appointments (doctors etc…)
• Relaxation time
If you have any questions about this article or would like some advice on how to create a powerful weekly planning road map, please feel free to call me or e-mail me.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 267-319-6776, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The rules have changed in automotive SEO. In fact, they've changed for the entire search engine optimization world. It's no longer a function of quantity that determines rankings. More content, more links, more social signals - that's fine, but it won't help you as of April 24, 2012, the way it used to.
Today is the world of SEO quality over quantity. These changes have been anticipated for some time but only now are they really becoming apparent. Some dealers are dropping in rankings based upon their (or their vendor's) SEO efforts. As a result, others are moving up. Which side of the fence do you want to be on?
Here are some best practices to help you get on the right side of the fence. Click to enlarge.
Sean V. Bradley is Training a HIGH LEVEL Automotive Internet Sales / BDC Director on "How to Identify LOST Opportunities" and how to EVOLVE her Employees
Ok... You saw that video. Now watch the previous video. I am SO proud of this team. They went from Not feeling comfortabel, not being able to clear the whole 10 steps to CRUSHING it.
But that is STILL Not enough... I want my team to know the phone process inside and out, forwards and backwards. They will get there!
Mercedes-Benz Dealership Drives 200+ Website Leads Per Month With PPC
A Mercedes-Benz dealership, who is part of a large auto group in North Carolina, invested in online Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising with ReachLocal in November 2010. Their goal was to reach potential car buyers in their metro region, and to win business that might otherwise buy a vehicle from a competitive Mercedes-Benz dealership, or buy another Make of vehicle altogether.
The dealership worked closely with their Internet Marketing Consultant to build out a comprehensive list of keywords that a car buyer might use in searching the web for a vehicle. This list included every model of new and used vehicle they sell, as well as competitive keywords that might attract other buyers online. Their final keyword list was comprised of hundreds of keywords, both stand alone, and those paired with the major city names their customers likely come from.
Text ads were created to describe the dealership’s strengths and to create a compelling “call to action”. Effective text ads work by attracting the right searchers, and deterring the wrong ones. These ads were then mapped to the appropriate pages within the dealership’s website so that the searchers experience was seamless.
Once all of the elements of the PPC program were created, ReachLocal implemented them across 98% of where people search, including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, AOL and Ask. Tracking was set in place to identify any phone call lead that came in through the campaign, as well as any email or request for more information.
The program ran for 12 months, averaging 157 inbound leads per month for the dealership. After the first 12 months, they were so pleased with the performance that they increased their budget. After the budget increase, they experienced an average of 220 inbound leads per month. This averaged out to be an $11 - $12 cost per lead. Not only was the volume of leads impressive, but they were also highly qualified leads. People searching online for a vehicle are doing their research and have a better idea of what they want when they do make contact. So the leads that came in through their PPC program were better quality than those they were receiving from offline forms of advertising.
The Mercedes-Benz dealership not only grew their own PPC program, they also expanded to create similar programs for the other dealerships within their automotive group. Currently their entire group is advertising online with ReachLocal to generate qualified, inbound auto leads.
To learn more about how you can implement a successful online PPC program for your dealership, Respond to this post-
Automotive Internet Sales and Google’s ZMOT for Car Dealerships
By now, nearly everyone has heard of ZMOT and how it might possibly be relevant for the automotive industry. In case you haven’t, ZMOT stands for “Zero Moment of Truth,” a concept developed by Google. It states that today, decisions on brand selection are happening before a consumer arrives at a store to make a purchasing decision. This also applies to how consumers shop for a car. This might not sound like anything new; we have all heard from NADA, JD Power & Associates, Cobalt, Autotrader and the OEMs that almost everyone goes online before they step into the dealership. Personally, I’ve been immersed in Automotive Internet Sales for more than 13 years. So, the fact that people are going online first isn’t a huge revelation — it is what it is. However, what has evolved is what is happening and why. People are finding out about a product or business (whether they know the URL or not). To be specific, more than 72 percent of all transactions start online, from one-dollar transactions to jet engines. The first place people go to is search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), or they may something on TV, radio, see something on a billboard or in a newspaper, magazine or hear about a product from a friend. In any event, they wind up on search engines relatively quickly. People believe that they will get the “real deal” on what they are looking for. “If it is on Google, it must be real,” they think. So, the consumer will do the initial research on the product or service online. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are accessing the Internet from a home computer or laptop. They can be accessing the information through their mobile device like an iPhone or Android. The next logical step for the prospect is to validate that information even further. Prospects can (and do) go to a myriad of review sites such as Google Places, Dealer Online Reputation, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Edmunds Dealer Reviews and Cars.com Reviews, just to name a few. The consumer wants to make sure that they do not waste their time with bad choices. They have access to too much information for them to have to deal with headaches. Take for example a couple choosing where to go eat out for their once a week “date night.” If you only had one time a week you were going out with your spouse because you have three kids, a puppy, a career, etc., try to imagine how someone will feel when they are spending $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or more. That is why 80 percent of consumers say that peer reviews influence their buying decisions. An automotive purchase is usually the second most expensive thing the average human being will ever buy in their lifetime, next to a home. But there is another variable: social media. Consumers will also go to their social networks and ask their “friends and followers” thoughts, opinions on products or services before they ever go to the store or the dealership.
I am going to focus on online reputation for the rest of this article, and the next article I will dive deeper into the other parts of automotive ZMOT strategy.
Dealerships need to make it mandatory to collect client reviews and testimonials from both sales and service. It is not enough to simply “suggest” to your team to try to get a review or testimonial. You need to make it part of the standard operating procedure. You might want to create incentives for your team, for example:
• Whoever gets the most reviews wins a reward (gift card or cash, etc.)
• Whoever gets the most video testimonials wins a reward
You can create a mini-survey (maybe three to four questions) at delivery (mandatory). For example:
1. How would you rate your experience at the dealership from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest)?
2. Did I (sales consultant) exceed your expectations? If so, how?
3. What did you like (or appreciate) the most in this experience in purchasing this vehicle?
4. Would you recommend me and this dealership to everyone / anyone?
You should then have at the bottom of the survey a legal disclaimer (have an attorney draw up a simple disclaimer) that says that they (the customer) give you full permission to post (or use) this (review/testimonial) anyway and anywhere you want. By doing this, you can repost or repurpose all of these reviews to all of the relevant reputation sites like:
• Google places
• Merchant circle
• Edmunds reviews
• City Search
• Yellow Pages
• A review blog you’ve created yourself
It is TRUE that some review sites are IP Address specific and do NOT allow a client to post a review at the dealership, Here is the reality... there are a LOT of ways around that.
*** Please understand what I am saying here... I am NOT advocating using fake reviews or irrelevant reviews. I am saying ONLY to use REAL reviews that REAL clients give you and give you permission to use.
Try to image if every salesperson and service writer made 100-percent attempts to collect testimonials both in text as well as video, and you posted (syndicated) them to all of the relevant places online. In a short matter of time, you will be able to dominate the search engines with a ton of positive reviews.
I want to show you a quick example of a highline dealership that has bad online reputation. I happen to think they are an awesome store (and they are not a client). I serviced my brand-new vehicle there and I was so impressed with their service that I felt bad for their bad online reputation. On my own, as simply a customer, I shot a quick positive video review and posted it to YouTube and did the proper video optimization. Now, when you Google them, my video shows up prominently on the first page of Google (just Google “Cherry Hill Porsche”). That is just me as a client — can you image if this dealership did what I did? Their online reputation will turn around very quickly!
Here is another screen shot:
If you have any questions about this article, Google’s concept of “Zero Moment of Truth” / automotive ZMOT or how you can better equip your dealership (or individual sales consultant) to dominate with a positive online reputation, please feel free to call or e-mail me.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 856-264-0564, or by e-mail at Sean@dealersynergy.com.
Courtesy of Insignia guest blogger Delia Passi, CEO of WomenCertified Inc., home to the Women’s Choice Award.To learn more about how you can get women to recommend your dealership, email Delia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A popular quote often attributed to George M. Cohan (and others) is “I don't care what the newspapers say about me, as long as they spell my name right.” It’s an interesting perspective but it is definitely not my advice, especially in this information age. What is said about you in the global forum of the Internet is very critical to your success.
A recent study by Cone Trend Tracker (Aug. ’11) found that “80% of consumers have changed their minds about purchasing a recommended product or service based solely on negative information they found online.” This figure is a significant increase from the prior year’s 67%.
It is becoming increasingly easy to find online reviews, comments, complaints (and praise), and blog entries about most products and services, and the companies that deliver them. That is why you need to do all you can to make sure that your happy customers have opportunities and encouragement to praise your great products and services.
Women are even more likely than men to turn to online sources to reaffirm their purchase decisions before they make them. And they’re also quite likely to turn to the web and other sources to offer their opinion of their buying experience after the experience, so make it great.
Your job is to incorporate feedback opportunities into your interactions with your customers, and to make that feedback available to prospective customers. Your website should have be a forum for customers to comment, hopefully positively. (If you get negative feedback then address it immediately. An unhappy customer has many places to complain online other than your website or Facebook page.)
Don’t plant glowing feedback to counter that of unhappy customers. If it is uncovered, the repercussions can be more trouble than the complaint.
Do what you can to let customers both on and offline know that you are doing wonderful things to keep them coming back. That’s the WomenCertified® Way!
If There is ANYONE who thinks Social Media is NOT Important, Valuable, Amazing, Useful, Needed - WATCH THIS VIDEO!
I was BLOWN away by this video!
If they can accomplish ALL of that... You can ALL leverage Social Media for your dealership(s).
*** PLEASE FORWARD THIS VIDEO TO EVERYONE YOU CAN!!
1. Advertise Where Your Prospects are
This seems too obvious to mention; yet many businesses advertise where the ad reps tell them to, or where it’s easy to place an ad, or where they can get a lot of vanity exposure. Make sure you build your ad campaigns in response to prospect behavior, not media convenience.
In search marketing, this is pretty easy. Choose the right keywords and by definition you’ve found your prospects.
Many keywords that seem to represent buyers may not; think about the difference between informational and transactional keywords: “I’m looking for info so I can solve this myself” vs. “I’m looking for just enough info to buy wisely.” Select keywords to target your ideal customer, the one who already agrees with your main value proposition.
2. Advertise When Your Prospects are Receptive to Your Offer
Figure out when your prospects are hungriest, and catch them then.
This also may seem obvious, but do you still get coupons on the back of your grocery store receipt offering a different brand of the thing you just bought? Can’t think of worse timing to make an offer like that.
In search marketing, timing relates to prospect readiness. Pay attention to the “readiness continuum” that goes from “I just starting thinking about this” to “When can you deliver?” Ben Hunt, in his wonderful book "Convert!", shares his ladder of awareness, which I’m pretty sure he’d let me reproduce here:
Place each of your top keywords on a rung on the ladder of awareness. Then make sure that your ad and landing page matches that level.
If your prospect is only just aware of a problem (“migraine pain”), and not familiar with potential solutions, don’t go on about how your solution is superior to the rest. If they searched for your brand name, take them straight to a “buy now” page. And so on…
3. Match Your Offer to Your Prospect’s Immediate Desire
In the AdWords display network, prospects aren’t actively searching for what you’ve got. Your ad must connect your product or service with a latent need or desire and raise the priority of that need or desire to “I gotta do something about this right away.”
4. Focus on ROI, Not Cost
By choosing to stand out in a premium location, you can get the benefit of a much higher return on investment (ROI).
We see this with our PPC clients who pay a premium for the top-rank ad locations (the ones above the organic search results, as opposed to the right column on the search results page). The difference in response is often astounding.
Within the very same campaign, the ads that appeared in the premium real estate were eight and a half times more attractive than the very same ads on the right side (2.49 percent click through rate vs 0.29 percent). Yes, they cost more per click ($7.67 vs $5.69), but they generated 22 conversions, compared to none for the side column ads.
This doesn't mean you should always pay a premium for the most visible ad space; that’s your sales rep’s job. Rather, you should experiment. Make investments that your competition is unwilling to make, then measure the results.
One way to get a premium listing is to pay for it. You may be the only local sewing machine store in your town to advertise on the Super Bowl, but that may not be a good use of funds. You can rent the biggest billboard, buy air time on the most popular morning talk show, and sponsor the biggest booth at the trade show; but that doesn’t mean you’re going to stand out and get noticed.
Ask the question, “How can we do something nobody else is doing?” and hit upon a winning strategy.
As you plan your next PPC campaign, be willing to spend for results, but start by spending your creative energy first. How can you get the right message to the right people at the right time in a way that sets you apart from your competition?
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