As a former Internet Director, I understand the “I need more leads!” mindset that can permeate a sales environment. It is engrained in us by our management, the manufacturers and of course, third party providers whose businesses exist to generate leads. In the world of car sales, the lead is gold. Honestly, I think the time has come for a change in that mentality. Leads, as we know them, are slowly fading out of style.
Customers are smarter than we’re giving them credit for. They approach buying a car armed with even more information than they had the last time they bought a car. This means that they are less likely to give out their information so that you can contact them. They know how that process works and don’t want to be subjected to relentless sales calls and inbox spam.
I’m shocked when dealers post on their website phrases like “call for price.” It’s a bit of a stretch to think that someone is really going to call you when all they have to do is search the internet and get the price from another dealer on a similar used car. Consumers in today’s market are information gatherers and researchers. They will get the details they want either from you or from your competitor. Here are four steps to begin improving the information you provide potential car buyers.
Step 1 – Evaluate your store’s website
Is it clear of distractions or is it littered with pop up ads for this discount or a coupon for that service? Does your site have a floating toolbar with links to Twitter, Facebook, and Google +, etc.? Remember why the customer is on your website – they’re shopping for a car, not trying to find your social media profile. All of these extra things are competing for your customers attention and drawing them away from what you want them to see, which is your CARS! Take a look below and name the site you would rather browse?
Step 2 – Take high quality photos.
Cars are what you are selling and they need to be presented well. We’ve written about this before because pictures are a representation of your dealership. It’s first thing the customers sees and they immediately begin to make a judgement on the car; where it’s been, who owned it before them, etc. The picture starts the sale. If you take a picture of your car before it’s detailed then the customer will think that the car is dirty…and they’d be right. Clean your cars! Take the pictures in a well lit and professional looking area, not out in some mud and gravel parking lot.
Once you have the car detailed and set up in a nice area, take lots and lots of pictures. I’d say you want a minimum of 30 pictures per car. The more photos of the car that are on your website, the longer the customer looks at it, and the longer they look at it, the more they can imagine themselves in the car. This is the same idea that is behind the walk around and demo drive. The more time you spend on those two aspects of the deal, the less time you spend at your desk negotiating. The same is true for those pictures on your website. Pictures are a reflection of the way your store does business.
Step 3 – Evaluate where you’re advertising online.
Are you on websites that resemble walking billboards with ads for other companies? OR, are you on clean sites that prefer to devote their space to larger images of your cars? In this area, I would encourage dealers to think creatively. Don’t be afraid to try something a little new and different. The web is constantly changing and this is the perfect time for internet sales departments to step out of the routine and capitalize on the ability to reach more and more customers than ever before. The goal of the department is to generate traffic to your dealership. Don’t end up stuck in a rut with you and your dealership using the same old, antiquated advertising and promotions. If you expand and look to new tools and ideas, I can guarantee your sales will expand as well.
Step 4 – Optimize your car ads and descriptions.
This is also something we covered in the past and you can read that post here. For a quick recap, here’s what you need to know. Stop using silly flowery descriptions of cars and focus on the core information someone needs, effectively turning them from a shopper into a buyer. Highlight a car’s packages, premium features, the crash test rating with links to reviews, pricing history and reviews of your store. Forget calling the car a ‘beauty’ or ‘hot ride.’
If you have anymore questions, let’s talk.
Written by Bryan Jennings