Internet Marketing For Auto Dealers
The Internet Sales Process
There are three steps to having a successful auto dealer web site:
- Attracting Visitors To Your Web Site
- Converting Visitors Into Qualified Leads
- Closing Leads Into Sales
With JD Powers & Associates quoting that "80% of automotive buyers are shopping on-line" before they make the decision to buy, it is ironic that most dealers spend most of there advertising dollars on promoting their bricks and mortar facilities versus promoting their on-line presence.
ASL Internet (Aged Stock Ltd) continues to poll thousands of online shoppers every month to further define effective advertising strategies for its member dealers. In February 2004, after polling over 5000 on-line vehicle shoppers, we compiled the following statistics regarding how Internet shoppers found dealers' websites.
- 35 % - through the Internet
(links on websites & search engines);
- 08 % - were referred by a friend;
- 35 % - through traditional advertising
(Newspaper, TV & Radio);
- 22 % - through contact with the dealership
(Business cards, email, etc);
Although most car buyers have made the transition to the Internet, most automotive dealers have not. This creates tremendous opportunity for dealerships that wish to gain a larger share of the market. The secret to success, however, is not just having a website that is effective in turning visitors into qualified leads but also having the strategies in place to drive traffic to your website in the first place.
Click here for more information on ASL's marketing services to drive more traffic to your website.
Converting Visitors Into Qualified Leads
We can help you ethically capture MORE qualified leads from your web site along with complete contact details on each and every customer. These are NOT just your average leads generating requests for more information. ASL gives you highly targeted leads.
Closing The Sale
The critical third step to succeeding on the Internet is having a proven and duplicatable process to closing those leads (or "ups" if you prefer) into sales. In order to close the sale you must first know who your customer is:
- Cross section of the Internet shopper, 45% are under the age of 35.
- 53% shop for vehicles online between 8AM to 5PM (a large majority from work). Most will revisit the website in the evening with a partner and 68% will generate a lead between 6PM to 9PM.
- 47% are women and 49% are male (the remainder have cross-gender names so we are unable to determine gender).
- 22% will put in an erroneous phone number but a correct e-mail address to make sure the only way of contact is through e-mail.
- 76% of Internet shoppers are interested in finance.
- Because of the way the Internet has affected automotive shopping both the consumer and the dealer are looking for the quick sale but it rarely happens.
- The Internet shopper is using the Internet to extract as much information as possible on vehicles before he or she generates a lead to the dealership. The more information the consumer has extracted . . . the more serious the lead.
- Internet shoppers are using the computer as their wall. Protected by anonymity safe from the hassles they think will be awaiting them at the store.
- Generally the Internet shopper is a higher educated more experienced shopper and has access to more disposable income.
- 30% of Internet automotive shoppers will purchase from one of the dealers they have e-mailed, yet fewer than one in five leads are responded to properly by a dealership. This creates tremendous opportunity for a dealership that has the right processes in place.
JD Powers & Associates reports that 58% of dealers do not respond to on-line inquiries, and from those that do respond, only 17% of the responses to the inquiries were complete. Even of those that were complete, most were found to be unprofessional with spelling and grammatical errors. Most Internet consumers had less than 10% of their inquiry answered. They were left with feeling they were dealing with a stereotypical "used-car-salesman".
The lead is like an "up". Just like an actual customer who is visiting your lot, if you give him the right information he will respond back to you in the way you want him to. Rapport building techniques are as crucial on the Internet as in day-to-day (face to face) dealings.
Each and every person must buy into the dealership's Internet marketing strategy for it to succeed. Without a properly implemented strategy it could take months to figure out how it all works with everyone running his or her own individual plan.
Would you rather buy something from a machine or a person? Creating a process for successful rapport building and Internet follow-up is one of the most important aspects of your dealership's success or failure on the Internet.
OUR EXCLUSIVE COURSE
The Internet sales system that we have developed exclusively for our dealers gives you the information, tools and templates to develop a professional but personal rapport with each and every potential customer. It's geared to build a relationship and get a positive response from your Internet customers.
You are given this marketing strategy complete with template responses that you can use to build report with the customer for each specific type of lead. ASL can train and monitor your e-sales staff so that you can see results from the get go. We believe that your website should generate dollars not just cause more expense.
Quick Response With Wireless Text Messaging
A common trait among successful "Internet dealers" is that they respond to email requests and leads within one hour. In fact, many franchises including Volkswagen have recognized the importance of responding back to customers' online requests quickly. Volkswagen has now mandated that their staff must respond back to all emails within two hours.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Of course it is hard to offer this level of service if you don't have systems to back it up. Most staff members don't check their emails often enough to guarantee a response time. ASL has recognized this and has created a text messaging system for cell phones and pagers to let you know, immediately, when you have a sales lead or credit application. This system works with virtualy any wireless cell phone or pager in the market.
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