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24/7 Chat Case Study - Toyota of Irving

This was a case study I recently posted on my blog: Automotive Marketing . We ran this study on Dealer Refresh for 2 months. Below you will see the results before adding Car Chat 24 and after. Anyone on that would be interested in a 30 day free trial, feel free to reach out.

05 Oct 2010

Toyota of Irving – Success Story w/Car Chat 24

Car Chat 24 Case Studies, Edit No Comments

increase sales with car chat 24

I’m happy to report that we have yet another fully satisfied customer using Car Chat 24. Toyota of Irving’s Internet director took part in our latest case study on DealerRefresh.

The #1 Hottest Thread on the popular DealerRefresh forum is none other than “Free 24/7 Live Dealer Support, Staff, and Leads (Case Study).”

Here is what Maria had to say after her 2 month trial:

You can see that Toyota of Irving after adding Car Chat 24 was able to increase their conversion by 60-70% and their website sales by over 40%.

Here is what Maria Jones had to say about her experience:

As you can see the addition of a chat service (Car Chat 24) has yielded great results. At Toyota of Irving we are converting more visitors into valid leads and increasing guest satisfaction. It is truly amazing that we are capturing visitors as they are live on our site 24 hours a day! Some of them even get a response from us while they are still on-line after the chat. I will say however, this study focused on sales leads but I can’t tell you how many service leads came over as well and I know that we enjoyed some pretty good tickets from those leads as well! I hope that this data is helpful to you”.

I thought it would be important to display the data before adding chat and after.

Conversion Rate: The percentage of absolute unique visitors who submit a form on your website.

Numbers Before Chat:

Feb 2010

Unique Visitors: 4370

Web Leads: 94

Conversion: 2.15%

Sales: 24

Closing: 25%

March 2010

Unique Visitors: 7409

Web Leads: 219

Conversion: 2.9%

Sales: 42

Closing: 19%

Numbers After Chat:

Final numbers for June 2010 from Toyota of Irving:

Total Unique Visitors: 3728

Total Website Leads without Chat Leads: 87
Lead Conversion % without Chat Leads: 2.33%
Total CarChat24 Leads/Appointments/Queries: 62
Total Conversion % with Chat Leads: 3.99%
Total Lead Conversion % increase: 71.24%
Total Website Sales without Chat Leads: 22
Total Chat Lead Sales: 9
Total Sales: 31
Website Sales % increase: 41%

July 2010 Case Study Results (Final)
Total Unique Visitors: 4487
Total Website Leads without Chat Leads: 154
Lead Conversion % without Chat Leads: 3.43%

tal CarChat24 Leads/Appointments/Queries: 92
Total Conversion % with Chat Leads: 5.48%
Total Lead Conversion % increase: 59.76%
Total Website Sales without Chat Leads: 32
Total Chat Lead Sales: 14
Total Sales: 47
Website Sales % increase: 43.75%

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Free Apple iPad Contest

Are you interested in the opportunity to win a Apple iPad? For a limited time, Automotive Internet Sales is giving its members the opportunity to win a free Apple iPad with their registration to For more details see the rules and regulations outlined below.

Rules: To be eligible for a chance to win a free Apple iPad, participants must sign up for a free account at After signing up, participants must upload a profile image and maintain weekly activity. The winner of the free Apple iPad will be announced once Automotive Internet Sales reaches a minimum of 1,000 members. If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-888-814-0429.

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Is The Special Finance Department a Thing of The Past ?Shortly after the crash and sub prime meltdown in the automobile industry in 2008 Auto Dealerships were even dealt a more severe blow to their internal operations that most people do not realize unless you are the Special Finance Manager at a new or used car dealership that offer bad credit auto loans.Over night almost every single sub prime lender that most dealerships had on board that offered secondary loans were out of business without little advance warning and the only remaining lenders that would approve a loan were limited and the approval's were considered a left handed turn down meaning that the conditional approval would be impossible for the dealer to sell a vehicle based on the conditions of the stipulations and advance amount.Some sub prime lenders have revamped there lending criteria like Americredit, Chase Sub Prime and Santander & CPS and have re emerged in many dealerships as a result of the new lending criteria and advances dealers were forced to change their way of thinking inventory buying habits as well as procedures and staffing.Industry Fact 7 Out of 10 Customers that make their way to showrooms across the county will not qualify for conventional financing under the new banking guidelines now in affect.So I think its safe to say that the Special Finance Manager will survive but this will require the Special Finance Manager to be a more avid hunter in the quest to attract the right customer for the right car and the right lender. another result of the crash of the automotive industry has affected countless lead generation companies that harvest non prime leads for bad credit auto dealers with a special finance departments thousand of car dealers canceled all third party lead generators as they were "marketing a target that had no market".So as the playing field has changed the players have as well auto dealers now look for new ways to promote their special finance department there are lead sources available that charge per lead fees ranging from $5.00 to $50.00 for a qualified Special Finance leads.Also dealers are starting to look closer at companies that offer No Fund No Fee Special Finance Leads as they never have to pay for a lead unless they produce a sale says Mark Hergert CEO of Auto Credit Financial Services.www.AutoCreditDealerMarketing.com866*976*9922
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Social Media: What will it do for me?

I have been selling cars for almost ten years. I have been through numerous training sessions on how to sell a car. Ask anyone in the automotive industry and they will tell you the same thing. Between manufacturers, "sales Gurus", heck even our Human resources rep has at least two training sessions with us a year. The question that I always leave with is how can I use this for the benefit of my customer. Or in my head I pretend I am the customer and ask what will this guy's training do for me.

That brings me to the point of this post. Social media is the cool name for it. It consists (but not limited to) Facebook, myspace, Twitter, linkedin,I could go on and on. So what does Facebook or any of these others do for you, the consumer? Why are dealerships spending hours of precious time developing blogs, and fanpages? The simple answer is to engage you. It is our feeling that if you like me enough and I offer you a connection to my dealership there is no need to go anywhere else. If I make us more "human". It hopefully takes out the bad stigma car dealerships sometimes have. Im reminded of that sleezy car sales guy portrayed in any tv show. I certainly hope that I am not percieved to be that guy!

I could go into all the ins and outs in Social media, but thats not what I want to do. I just wanted to tell you what it does for you, and how you the consumer can use it. I want to let you know what is does for me. Having you engage us is what it does for me. That's what Social media is all about. Its about you having a friend here,and me having an advocate in you out there. It's about us engaging into a nonconfrontational relationship that can be built and last a long time, and all it costs is time. I look forward to seeing you post on our fanpage, because the last piece of this is that Social media gives you a voice. Whether its a complaint about the lot guy scratching your car ,or a glowing review of how well we treat you. You have a voice and it is very effective.

My favorite of the "Social Media" is Facebook. In my opinion it is the easiest for anyone to use, and the huge numbers of people with facebook pages back that assumption up. Our Facebook fan page has been a moderate success. We have the most fans of any dealership in the area. I believe it is only because we use it. It is here where i ask you to go to the link here again and become a fan of us too. You will get to see pics of happy customers, (maybe yourself?). I also put info about upcoming models, info you wont get anywhere else! Last month to the chagrin of my service department I offered a $5 oil change! But, you have to be a fan of us to get the benefits. You have to engage us.

Social media is here to stay. My only wish is that I use it to help you more. From giving advice on tire pressure, to purchasing your dream car. Thats what it will do for you.

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DealerRater 101 - Intro for Canadians

18 Oct 2010

DealerRater your new Ally?

DealerRater, Social Media No Comments
DealerRater Revie page

DealerRater Dealer page

Just last month my girlfriend and I made a last minute decision to drive to Manhattan for the weekend. Without months to plan the trip we needed to book a hotel quickly. After spending only one night scouring, Trip Advisor, Travelocity, and another dozen sites, we settled on a destination. The hotel turned out to be great and the user review sites really helped us make the right decision in choosing our crash pad for the 3-day excursion.

Enter the car dealership. When I was on the sales floor I quickly understood that referrals and word of mouth were a big part of our business. Dealers should realize that it is just as important to be aware of what potential customers are reading and writing about their dealership. If you want to do a quick test, try typing “Toronto Toyota” in a Google search and make note of the dealers that appear beside the map (7 pack in geek terms). You will see that beside the phone number, the reviews of these dealerships are showcased. Such powerful reviews are just one click away from your potential customers. Ratings can be posted directly on your Google Place page or extracted from various review sites such as DealerRater. Want to see a dealer that has hit it right out of the Rogers Center on to Front Street? Try typing “Toyota dealer MA”. The last time I checked this dealer, Acton Toyota, it had 1,019 reviews associated with their dealership listing, with the vast majority of reviews coming directly fromDealerRater. Since Google Maps is so visible, it is critical for a dealership to have their page loaded with positive reviews from their customer base.

What the heck is DealerRater? –

Founded in 2002, DealerRater® established the first car dealer review website worldwide. As a social network and user review website, features more than 30,000 US and International car dealers, 190,000 user reviews and over 1,000,000 classified ads. The site attracts more than 3 million consumers every year who visit the site to search for car dealerships, read current reviews, write their own descriptive reviews, and find car deals – all for free. Car dealers are rated on the criteria of customer service, quality of work, friendliness, price and overall experience. In addition, both consumers and car dealerships may post free auto classified ads. DealerRater’s users may request vehicle quotes and the company’s Certified Dealers receive free vehicle leads.

Source –

How do I make DealerRater work for me?

With more than 250,000 people joining the DealerRater user community each month, DealerRater is quickly becoming an important online resource for anyone seeking third-party information on car dealerships. The site is equally important to today’s car dealers for a number of reasons. DealerRater helps Dealers stay in touch with customer feedback and also gives Dealers access to an ever expanding market of potential customers. In addition, the content on DealerRater’s site is jam-packed with customer reviews and classified ads, all of which appear in organic Google Search results. As a result, as a dealer you are able to expand your online presence and achieve higher search engine ranking across the Web with the help of DealerRater’s user-generated site content.

But what about negative customer reviews that may pop up from time to time? Through DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, DealerRater offers qualified dealers the opportunity to actively monitor and respond to customer reviews and save relationships. Certified Dealers can take advantage of a two-week reconciliation period to communicate with unsatisfied customers through a privatewebsite panel before negative reviews are publicly posted. Given this key feature of DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, as a Certified Dealer you can actively manage your online reputation and address customer feedback, enabling you to retain more customers and generate increased business.

Automotive Marketing

Dealer Panel

Another interesting feature DealerRater offers its Certified Dealers involves complete integration with the popular social networking site, Facebook. This recent addition offered by DealerRater allows a Dealer’s most recent positive user reviews to automatically feed to a custom tab on the Dealer’s Facebook Page, which is updated real time. A Dealer’s classified ads also can feed to a custom tab on the Dealer’s Facebook Page, and are updated daily. As a result, as a Certified Dealer, you can draw leads directly from your Facebook fan page.Additional Program Highlights

  • Positive Review Testimonial Feed – As a Certified Dealer, your most recent 10 positive reviews feed to your website and automatically update as new reviews are added, enabling you to gain instant website client testimonials that are labeled “Powered By”.
  • Unlimited Vehicle Leads - Certified Dealers receive instant email alerts for all leads generated for their brand in their state. Leads can be fed directly into a CRM system.
  • Employee Review Pages - Certified Dealers have “MyReviews Pages” for your employees to showcase their respective reviews.
  • Unlimited Auto Classified Ads -As a Certified Dealer, you can place an unlimited number of auto classified ads on DealerRater’s website. Ads also appear on and in organic Google search results. DealerRater provides inventory upload management from your Dealer Management System to the DealerRater database. Dealers can list vehicles with multiple photos and Dealer notes to generate leads on specific vehicles in your inventory.

There are a number of user- based review sites all over the Web that dealerships can utilize. DealerRater has created a model that works for both the buyer and the seller. Stop storing those thank you cards on your desk and start getting those positive reviews in front of potential customers.

By: Ryan Thompson

Ryan is an active on-line marketer, blogger, and Canadian Account Manager for Car Chat 24

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If your hairstylist told you they were the authority on marketing, would you believe them? If you tried to cut your hairstylist’s hair, would they let you? The answer to both is probably no, and for good reason. I know that if I picked up a pair of shears, it would be more sheepdog than chic for my unfortunate client. I’m not an expert on haircutting, and my wonderful stylist is not an expert on marketing. We stick to what we know, which is exactly what you should do in social media.

A common social media pitfall is dabbling in the unknown, or what I like to call forgetting your brand. A car dealer should talk cars. A real estate agent should talk houses. Here at TaCito, we talk marketing. But anyway, back to my salon analogy. Whenever I get my haircut, I ask my stylist for her opinion. She references popular culture, shows me pictures, tells me anecdotes. I’m always sold on her opinion, and I let her do whatever she wants to my hair (no small feat for a woman, as most of you know). In other words, I listen to her because she is both authentic and an authority; those traits have changed me from her client to her evangelist.

Social media can have the same application. Why does this matter? Because customers are fickle, but evangelicals are passionate, loyal, and provide powerful word-of-mouth advertising. Somehow, people see you on social media because something has peaked their interest. Take the next step and engage your customer as an authority. People need to know that you know what’s going on in the world (not the whole world, your world. The car world, the real estate world, the marketing world.) They want to see pictures, they want to hear stories, and they want to believe that you are the expert on whatever you are selling. This does not mean sell yourself constantly. Much like I would be annoyed if my hairdresser only talked about how great she is at cutting hair, your customer does not want to hear about how you are the best dealership/agent/marketer. Plus, that’s dull. Show your customers how good you are at what you do, and then allow them to draw their own conclusions. If you’re as good as you say, they’ll be your evangelist, too. Here are some suggestions for being your brand’s authority:

  1. Be external. Do not incessantly talk about yourself; talk about things that represent your brand. Share photos, links, stories, videos, etc.
  2. Be conversational. No one likes a know-it-all but they do like new information. Share accordingly.
  3. Be polite. This means responding to people even if they are criticizing you. 24/7 feedback has its risks, so keep customer service in mind when dealing with someone that is displeased.
  4. Be interesting. Like I said, it’s not all about you. 85% of information you put online should be external and sharable (see point 1).

For a great example on a company that is an online authority on their brand, check out Anthropologie. Over 200,000 like them on Facebook and they have seamlessly been able to transition the familiar “best-closet-ever” feel of their stores into an online community. Or, check out To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit about supporting people who are at-risk to self-hurt. Almost 800,000 people like them on Facebook, encouraged by not only the wonderful cause but the integration of music, blogs, testimonials, and other media.

Ps- If you’re in the Dallas area and want to be as blissfully happy with your hairstylist as I am, go to Pure Salon in Las Colinas and ask for Ashley. 972.717.9200.

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Overcoming Objections - Share Your Ideas!

Too often during the initial phone (email) interaction between sales reps and customers, we tend to focus on why customers CAN'T come in rather than why they CAN or SHOULD come in..... and SOON!

We are all used to hearing the same things....What is my trade worth? Can you ball park it? Are you flexible on the price of your car? Your store is further away than I realized...and the list goes on. Its very easy to hear things like this all day and get discouraged, but it does not have to be that way. Every single objection you hear over the course of a single selling day can be overcome by a good rebuttal and a positive and enthusiastic attitude.

Ultimately on every phone call one of two things is going to happen. Either you are going to sell a customer on why they should come in and do business with you, or they are going to sell you on why they can't or shouldn't. Mastering some strong rebuttals and constantly maintaining a positive attitude can make all the difference. Be sure you know (and can explain) why customers should buy from you, and build the excitement from the start!

All that being said, once you have the tools and even think you may know what to do with them, it never hurts to have a blueprint.....

There are lots of great rebuttals out there and also a lot of ways to use objections as a reason for a customer to come and visit your store. Please post your best rebuttals and stories of how you set some great appointments using the objection as a reason to come in. Everyone's expertise is what makes forums like this so helpful, so i'll thank everyone in advance for the input!

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Digital Due Diligence

Before the internet, when there were only phone pops, we learned valuable lessons on how to handle calls, such as selling the appointment, creating urgency, not giving shopping numbers and keeping information close to the vest until the customer showed up. It was good advice then and it may be good advice now. But keep in mind that many customer inquiries tend to come online rather then by phone. While the ultimate goal remains the same – to get the customer into the dealership – the rules for execution have become trickier because online communication creates a permanent written record of all interactions with customers.In addition, many dealers are now utilizing social media as an easy and affordable way to promote their products and services. It’s important to understand that even though it may not require writing a big check, certain social media postings may be considered advertising and proper care should be taken to avoid legal exposure. As we are painfully aware, there are plenty of federal and state regulations that govern automotive advertising. For instance, social media postings that list vehicle prices, payments, downpayments or drive-off amounts may trigger advertising disclosure requirements.Here’s an illustration of how an online interaction could potentially come back to haunt you. A few days before this past Labor Day, I saw a posting from a dealer on their Facebook page about a Labor Day weekend special that offered zero drive-off leases. During this time period, several competing dealers ran newspaper advertising on similar lease programs with “no money down, zero driveoff, leave your checkbook at home” and so forth. On closer inspection, many of these ads indicated in the fine print that certain fees were due at signing, such as tax, license, doc fees and acquisition fees.I logged on to the Facebook dealer’s website to check out the actual ad (there were no disclosures on the Facebook posting other than zero drive off). The ad indicated that the customer was responsible for tax and license. I then contacted the dealer online to inquire whether I had to pay for the tax & license or if it was indeed “zero out of pocket”. The dealer representative responded that yes it was zero down, but since it was the last day of the month, I needed to come in before close of business to take advantage of the special lease.Now, let’s look at some possible outcomes if a customer decided to go to the dealership that night.If the customer went to the dealer to lease the car and there was indeed no money down required and they gave her the advertised payment, she would probably leave happy and nothing else would matter.But, if she showed up at the dealership and they informed her that she had to pay other fees to get the advertised payment, a few other things might happen:1. She might reluctantly pay the fees or roll them into a higher payment. The salesperson’s closing ratio would go up and his CSI would go down.2. She might leave and go lease a car from another dealer.3. She might decide to take the written evidence of the transaction to her friendly neighborhood attorney. This could happen the next day or sometime in the future if she decides that she no longer wants the car.Here are some potential claims that an attorney might make. First, I wouldn’t be surprised if an aggressive attorney would try to make a case for Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) for the dealer rep’s little miscommunication about zero down (remember, the customer has an email from the rep that said there was no money required).Next, the dealer’s Facebook posting stated that they were having a “Labor Day Weekend” sale, yet the dealer rep claimed (in writing) that the sale was over the Tuesday BEFORE the Labor Day weekend. Another deceptive act?The attorney might also throw in a few advertising violation claims for good measure, such as that the Facebook posting may have lacked some required advertising disclosures and the disclaimer in the dealer’s website may not have been clear and conspicuous enough to be in compliance.There’s a good chance that an aggressive lawyer would throw all of those nitpicky claims against the courthouse wall to see what sticks. Plaintiff’s attorneys love UDAPs, they can often get multiple damages and attorney fees if successful.So, here’s my two cents: Be careful what you say; even more careful what you write and if you communicate with customers, it’s not a bad idea to get some training in legal compliance.
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Every time I see a certain friend of mine, she ends up singing this song from AutoTune the news. She's downloaded the iPhone app, bought the song on iTunes, and consistently quotes it in normal conversation. It's funny. It's controversial. It's a little bit ridiculous. It's also been viewed over 32 million times on YouTube, was a Billboard Top100 hit, was performed at the BET Awards, and is still an iTunes top download.[youtube=]I also have my own viral video addiction, which is just under 18 million YouTube views, and has it's own song (also by AutoTune the News). The creator has been on Jimmy Kimmel, is featured in a Microsoft WindowsLive Commercial, and is starting a non-profit healing center from funds raised through the video.[youtube=]What is it about these videos that sticks with us? And more important, what do Antoine Dodson and a double rainbow have to do with your business's social media strategy? The answer is simple: authenticity.Both of these videos epitomize real, human reactions and emotions; these videos are honest. Authenticity creates results, so don't be afraid to let loose and lose a little control over your message and your brand. Encourage discussion. Address criticism. Engage in conversation. People will respect your honesty, and in turn, respect your brand. Focus on these goals to get your social media strategy started right.Next time, I'll build on this to explain how respect can turn into evangelism. Stay tuned!Ps- right now, proceeds from the Bed Intruder song and iPhone app are going to Antoine Dodson and his family so they can buy a home in a safer neighborhood. Learn more here: you can buy official double rainbow tshirts here:
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I just wanted to thank everyone for helping us put this site together :)

I am amazed by how much we got accomplished in only a couple of days. The site is going to be completed by the November Internet Sales 20 Group in Philadelphia.

PLEASE remember to add your profile picture... It would be nice for everyone to get an idea of who they are communicating with. Remember this isn't, its not that deep lol!

Continue to add articles, blog posts, pictures and of course video... anything that you feel is relevant and or important to you that you think other people in the community would see value in.

Thanks again for being part of AIS!


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We Are Still Building - Be Patient, It Will Be Worth The Wait! is being created by the top experts in the Automotive Internet Sales Industry. The objective of the site is simple... to create the most comprehensive site for everything and anything related to Automotive Internet Sales.

We just finsished

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