>Series – "Internet Sales How To" #1: Support Your Price Quote!

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I taught at Brian Pasch’s 2011Automotive Marketing Bootcamp, and  I didn’t get to everything in my class because of time, of course.  However, besides ALWAYS having calls to action (more on that later), I have another tidbit of many tidbits for you to get response from your Internet leads:  Support your price quote!  How do you do that?

“Here’s my great price on a great xxxxxx, $__________, which with tax, title, and license gov’t fees is $_________.  And here’s our great <reviews, videos, etc.>.  Please call me ASAP to discuss a test drive!”
In other words, send the shopper support for your price that is “buyer generated content”, e.g. your buyer reviews and buyer testimonials.  This is a great way to consistently beat the competition that always submarines you by a few hundred dollars to get the deal.  People care about reputation when they are shopping!  And here’s something else to add to make them buy from you:
“Here’s my great price on a great xxxxxx, $__________, which with tax, title, and license gov’t fees is $_________.  And here’s our <reviews, videos, etc.>.  Please call me ASAP to discuss a test drive!
Additionally, while you are shopping, at the bottom of my email is a list of consumer-advocate questions to help you shop.”
And, so, at the bottom of your BRIEF email, you put:
“Consumer Advocacy Questions to Ask All Dealers:
  1. Do you have an online reputation presence for yourself and/or your dealer that I can look at? (know who you are doing business with)
  2. Do you have any hidden fees?  (this will scare off bad-practice dealers)
  3. What is your total price with tax, title, and license gov’t fees? (otherwise, you can’t do an apples-to-apples comparison)”
Make sure you handle all those three well yourself and that you have a price supported by other buyers–and you will get the shopper’s call and the appointment.  And your competition is left behind!
For those of you who don’t have great reviews, go get them.  No great videos?  Go film them.  Because your competition IS going to make these changes, eventually.  Don’t you want to be first?
Who wants to win?
by Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
www.keithshetterly.com
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>Flushing Your Olympic Marketing Down the Drain of Bad Processes

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The OEMs and the vendor/consultant marketplace are more and more teaching dealers all about modern marketing, and I get why:  Generating good traffic these days requires lots more than a newspaper, radio, or TV ad.  We’re all being shopped on the Internet by customers, and we need to be there, and be there strong, in order to win sales.  
And, so, if we train and execute our dealer marketing to be at Olympic levels across all our media, including the Internet, then we’ve greatly improved our business, right?
NO.
If your marketing generates $300 calls being bungled by your $8-an-hour receptionist, if your sales staff lot-quals and drops your ups without a T.O., if your sales managers lose deals over $150, if your finance managers hit good-credit customers too high . . . if any of these, and more, happen, your processes are losing you sales.  And the same is true in service, because how many appointments don’t get set because you rely on busy writers and low-paid receptionists to set them?  How many up-sells don’t happen because they aren’t even asked for?
As you attend conferences and bootcamp training this year (the more the better!), don’t just look for new “Olympic” marketing for your sales and service, look for tools and services to help you make more money from better processes.  There are a lot of “Internet Rainmakers” to help you, but do your processes allow a sales-destructive and uncontrolled race down the drain–or do your processes and tools channel all that water into a beautiful pool to get the most sales possible?
Because it’s no use being the “Olympic High Diver of Marketing” if you and your sales just get flushed!
P.S. I apologize for the, er, “graphic graphic”, but it was so funny I couldn’t resist! 🙂
By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
www.keithshetterly.com
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

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>RM: A Great Reputation Earned Must Also be Heard

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As a business, you always want the great reputation that comes with great sales and service experiences for your buyers, and that always begins at your dealership with great customer service before, during, and after the sale.  However, before they get to a business,  82% of consumers say they have been influenced by online reviews.  And those reviews—and your dealership—have to be found online in search engines for the shoppers to see.  The Internet search engines reward high “find-ability” to dealerships that have customers tell people about their great experience!

These days, the Internet’s answer to the old philosophical riddle “If a tree falls in the forest with no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a resounding “NO”—there is no great reputation if no one’s there to hear it!  And any bad customer experiences can take on a life of their own to be heard and lead sales downward.  You need to get on top of your reputation for the best sales, 24 x 7 x Internet.  How is that done?

Start with great customer service, and then ask your customers to review you (and tell them how to do that), which is all part of Reputation Management (RM).  And when is it best to ask for a review?  I personally believe that it’s best in this order:  at your dealership, later on their cell phone/smartphone, then lastly back at their home—but, regardless of where, get the review every time as soon as you can.  If you ask for it at the dealership, using reputation portal tools like PrestoReviews, the sizzle taste of the steak you sold is still in their mouths.  For Google Reviews and other review tools like DealerRater, you can give your buyers QR cards or review URL cards to take home, and/or collect their emails for review reminders, etc.  And don’t forget to ask about Facebook!

Besides the “sizzle” factor, however, why should you first ask for reviews while the buyer is at the dealership?  Because the benefits are huge!  Buyers will likely give happier reviews closer to purchase time rather than several hours later—and having a “review request” spot within the timeline of your sales process is a GREAT moment to hear about and defuse any negative issues with your buyers.  Which is much better than getting a bad review online later that you didn’t expect.

With RM as described here, you’ll not only get great reviews, as a fantastic by-product you’ll also get the great SEO advantages of all that well-placed and easily-found information about your dealership!  And be sure to claim your Google Places to further enhance your reviews and dealership SEO.

So, don’t be quiet about your reputation!  Earn those great reviews with great customer service and then use smart on-property and off-property RM tools and processes to get them online and visible—and also get your dealership more find-able online, where all your buyers really start their shopping.

Because, remember, in the Giant Forest of the Internet, your great reputation is not just earned.  It must also be heard!

By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
www.keithshetterly.com

 P.S. I took that picture in Montana! 🙂

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>The Next Best Thing Won’t Fix Your Old Wrong Thing

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Allowing bad processes and paying for more marketing is much like another American Classic:  How many homes do you know where there’s a nice automobile sitting in damaging sun and weather in the driveway while $300 worth of junk sits protected in the messy garage?  We do the same thing as dealers; buying new shiny things for our marketing and letting them sit outside our garage full of bad processes.  There’s money on that garage floor—let’s clean it up!

Where do we start?  First, let’s say you are marketing “okay” today and getting shopper traffic . . . . and vendors and consultants are talking to you about how to make your marketing great and drive even more traffic to your lot.  Sounds fantastic, and necessary, but what if you could improve your business significantly at this time by just fixing your processes?  You’d not only make more money today, you’d also make even more money when you have that great marketing!

Here are just a few examples where tools and processes are possibly failing your business today:
CRM:  Have you already paid for a CRM and not implemented it properly around good, solid processes?  Is it still possible that you have no idea how much of your traffic is not entered into the CRM?  And how about follow-up?  Your CRM is likely telling you every day that few salespersons are calling for bebacks if you look.  Your CRM can help you make more money if you motivate your sales staff and managers with conditions of being paid that include proper CRM use.  If you don’t do that, why not?  Why are you paying for a CRM just to kill it’s value with poor processes?
Phones:  Do you pay $8 an hour to a receptionist who fumbles the call you paid $300 to get?  If the call still gets to a salesperson or service writer, do they know how to best convert the call to an appointment?  And do you pay for a forensic tool like WhosCalling, etc. that can tell you (IF you listen!) how bad your staff is on the phones—and yet you do nothing to correct that situation?  This can also be fixed, by training and, again, conditions of being paid (even the receptionist!) that include good phone skills, or you can also consider a dedicted BDC (on-site or off-site).
Lot/Floor:  Do you require a manager TO on every shopper?  Do you require salespeople to “touch the desk” at critical points of the sale?  Do you train your salespeople on the Steps to the Sale, especially—but NOT limited to—your green peas?   This can be fixed, same as the others, by training and, again, conditions of being paid that include TOs and desk touches.
Service Drive:  Do you have busy service writers fumble trying to answer appointment calls, or do you have a dedicated person/BDC take care of those?  Do you have a true online scheduling page with alerts via email and text to folks waiting for cars?  Do you train your writers on up-selling?  Do you monitor their production?  This can be fixed, too, just like the sales side, by training and, again, conditions of being paid that include # of appointments and production quotas.
And you can all surely add to these items and to this list yourselves, once you consider all this.  Better marketing, especially the right online marketing woven into your current marketing, is as necessary to your business as oxygen is to the body.  Let’s just get our dealer bodies in better shape so that the oxygen really makes our business boom!  The first place for exercise?  Why, your messy garage of processes, of course.

By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
www.keithshetterly.com

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>My Videos–Check’em Out!

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Teaser for http://www.AutomotiveMarketingBootcamp.com in April, 2011, in Orlando, FL

The Internet Is Your Business!
By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
www.keithshetterly.com

All Videos Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

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>Faith-Based Dealerships?

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Too many dealerships seem to practice as “faith-based” businesses—not faith in a higher religious power (which might actually help!), but faith that their GM, GSMs, salespeople, marketing, etc. will work as they always have.  That they can somehow resist modern business changes from sales to processes because they have magical faith both in people who don’t even know that they need modernized thinking and in processes that are breaking every day

The Internet is relentless now, and there’s no going back to the Stone Age of Car Sales where people waited for the UP Bus and dealers only had to have good ad-cars in the local newspaper.  If you maintain operating under that history today, you will soon be history
And the processes in place to convert visitors into sales, from the showroom to the service drive, are more important than ever.  I’m reminded of what my friend, Scott Falcone of World Hyundai and Presto Reviews, says about reputation:  Fundamentally, you have to consistently deliver great sales and service or no one can help you with it.  I’ll add that excellent sales results still ultimately come from people and processes that deliver excellence to the customer.
I only have my own observations, but it seems to be 10% of the dealer body “gets it”, and about 40% of the remaining dealer body will follow as much of what the top 10% are doing as they can afford.  Or stand, really, as oftentimes it’s a “fear factor” that holds them back, not really understanding what they are doing and not wanting to change.  And do their processes still stand in the way of their success, even with all the help from the modern marketing items?
Yes!  Internet marketing efforts, social media, reputation management, QR codes, data mining, email blasts, targeted direct mail—dealerships must modernize around these items, but none of them will overcome the losses from bad processes.  That is the challenge, to modernize and then meet the success of modern marketing with modern sales processes.
Faith will always have its place in human culture, but at dealerships it is no replacement for actions that are necessary for good business.
So, which will really make you successful:  Chanting magic over a newspaper ad in the service drive at midnight, or embracing and implementing modern marketing combined with modern sales processes?
If your answer could involve a stone altar, you need to change.  And soon.

By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
www.keithshetterly.com

Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
P.S. If you are looking for help, consider attending Brian Pasch’s Automotive Marketing Bootcamp just before Digital Dealer 10 in April.  I’ll be teaching a session there there, as will other great folks.  Come learn! 

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>Does Your Software Vendor Support You?

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By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved
Support.  It’s not something that a good product can do without.  Ever.  The best training will not overcome the need for it.  So, with the products you have, do you get Product Support?  Do you know who to call?  And when?
I spent some time last week talking to a dealer who had installed a key, new piece of software at the dealership.  Training had been great.  Software was installed.  Then an issue came up:  Software was failing because of problem at the vendor.  Data was corrupted.  Support was needed.
Except you can only dial Product Support during a set number of hours each day.  And they had no answers except that it was “being worked on”–and are still having that problem, as far as I know.
I had once looked at this same product for one of my clients.  My client selected something else, but I really liked this product.  Who knew support was such an issue?
On another point, I spoke late last year to a great consultant.  A rock star in the automotive market.  I was talking to him about a different product that I’d used for years (inherited it at the dealer), and I found out that he was recommending this product to his clients–which I would NOT do.  I asked why he was recommending it, and he said he’s installed it at several of his clients, and that he was happy with it.
I asked about Product Support, because I knew intimately this had long been an issue for this product vendor.  They had JUST added a Product Support area at their company because they finally realized its importance, but that support was still young and iffy.  Anyway, the consultant replied to me, “Well, I’m not around, typically, when support is needed.  But it’s a great product!!”  Let me explain.
Before I came into this industry years back, I spent many years developing, marketing, and selling software.  Nationally and internationally.  I am still shocked at how little Product Support is understood in automotive.  Or even asked about.  If a vendor won’t invest in product support that fits YOUR needs, no matter how good they seem, walk away. 
So, before you buy a software product that you’re betting your business on, perform these three tasks and review the results:
1) Determine the hours of coverage and whether they close support at 5pm on a Friday–do you want to be down with this product before and through a weekend?
2) Insist on ten current references for the product.  Call all of them and ask them about support issues.  If you can find dealerships that are using the product but are NOT on this reference list, much the better–find out what THEY say, too.
3) Call support yourself and see what it takes to get through.  Do they create a trouble ticket so you (and they) can track the issue resolution?  Surprise!  The second product I talked about above did NOT generate a trouble ticket for reference on subsequent calls for the FIRST FIVE YEARS IT EXISTED.  Yikes!

And choose the software vendors that provide the best answers to these items–they are the ones that will support you.  The ones who know great software needs great support and provide it.  I’m proud to know a few of them myself.

So . . . it’s Friday at 5pm, and the software is down.  You need product support.  Is your vendor there for you?
They better be.

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