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Monday, July 25, 2016

Focused Marketing for Empowering Car Salespeople

What would happen to the car sales industry if it changed it's focus to begin marketing with the sales representatives, rather than the dealership? According to Auto Alliance, in 2015 there were 1.65 million Americans working at car dealerships. Just think of the the untapped resource of marketing individual salespeople as well as the dealerships.

The majority of time customers spend during the car buying process is with their salesperson, and 71% of customers say they bought their vehicle because they liked, trusted and respected their salesperson, according to Jeff Kershner of Dealer Refresh. Now imagine fostering those relationships before the customers even walk on the lot.  

With a personal website, regular blogging, emailing, and social media integration a salesperson can do just that. It is a win for the dealership too, as all leads and sales through their reps ultimately come to them. Failure to encourage and help their salespeople to do so means the dealer is not maximizing their advertising dollars. Remember, buying a car is one of the most expensive and personal purchases that people make, so focusing on building a rapport between a customer and their salesperson is really a no-brainer. Why do you think most dealers don't embrace this potential?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Call-to-Action Recommendations for Automotive Websites

It's no secret that mobile device manufacturers are in a highly competitive market. So many options, and most people only pick one device every couple of years. I don't pay that much attention to the latest phone coming out, unless I'm actually in-market for a new one. When I am in the market, I spend some time researching what's available at that time (or within the months that follow) to see if it makes sense to wait. More on this in a minute.

As someone with a degree in psychology and who is, shall we say, heavily involved in marketing, I don't see advertisements like most people do. The average person listens to what the advertiser says; I pay more attention to how they say it. Sales is a process of skillfully guiding a prospect down the path you want them to go. If you've ever been in sales, you've likely heard the saying that the #1 thing that kills a sale is that the salesperson never actually asked for the sale.

From the standpoint of a website, a call-to-action is essentially "asking for the sale". It may not be an actual purchase, but let's look at a car salesman's website as an example. Let's say you're car shopping and end up on an auto salesperson's personal website. You learn a bit about the sales rep, how they grew up in the area, have 3 kids, and whatever else they present through their personal branding. Once you become comfortable with that salesperson and decide to enlist their services, what do you do next? Most people will say "head to the dealership", but that's only because you're reading this and imagining a page with a bunch of words on it, describing who the rep is. Imagine if the biography of the salesperson you just read also has a form on that page to schedule your personal appointment with them, or even a "click-to-call" button. Such a "call-to-action" is a logical "next step" for the website visitor, and helps to guide them where you want them to go. A call-to-action is essential.

In this case, the sales rep wants to collect that person's info. Doing so enables them to, at a minimum, follow up by email, phone, etc. If they can show their manager at the dealership that they had been working the lead when the prospect arrives at the dealership, that sale goes to them. If the prospect had simply learned about the sales rep then drove to the dealership, the prospect will most likely end up with another rep because they probably (1) forgot the sales rep's name, (2) forgot to ask for them, or (3) was simply approached by the hungriest rep at the store.

So what does all this have to do with mobile phones? I'll bring it home for you. I was recently on Twitter and noticed a pay-per-click ad from LG, promoting their new G5 smartphone. I'm not in the market for a new phone, but curious, I clicked on it and then the link they posted for info about the phone. It brought me to a decent micro-site for the G5 phone, complete with great photos and features. And that's it. No way to request more info, no way to pre-order one, and no way to even follow LG on social media for that matter. So I'm supposed to think of LG when I'm in the market for a new phone 3 months from now. With everything else going on in my head. And all the other ads I'll see between now and then. A simple form to submit an email for a reminder when it's available, or better yet, a form to pre-order the G5 would likely result in more sales. Even if it only generated one extra sale, the 10 minutes it would have taken to add that form to the site would have been worth it.

LG G5 Marketing Micro Site

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Personal Branding for Car Salespeople, It's PERSONAL!

It's the new year, and many people use this time of year to set personal goals including the classic "I'm going to join a gym and lose that weight I've been meaning to lose." Last year one of my family members paid $750 for a half-price gym membership with good intentions and only used it twice. Those were some pricy workouts! Seems crazy, right? Is it the gym's fault that their client didn't gain VALUE? Of course not. In fact, they contacted my family member and encouraged them to use the membership they had paid for. My family member knew he wanted to lose weight but apparently wasn't willing to put in the work. At the end of the year he was disappointed and exactly where he started a year ago.

So what does this have to do with a car salesman or personal branding? A lot, actually. At least based on what I see almost daily. I got a call from an automotive salesperson client this morning who has been using our services for only about 6 months. He has a great website, he's motivated to sell cars, and he takes all his own photos to manually upload vehicles to his site for his customers. So what's the problem, you ask? Simple: his personal branding website is "just another website."

It's great that his site contains vehicle inventory to show his clients, an online credit app to get the financing started at the dealership he works for, directions to his store, contact forms, etc. While evaluating his site this morning I noticed a very important piece missing, content. You would think that over the course of six months he would at least put a sentence or two on his "about me" page but to my dismay, it's still completely blank. For a site that's intended to help a salesman with personal branding, there's not much personal about it. Just like the gym example above, just having a personal website is one thing; it's another thing to use it.

Unfortunately this is quite common with our clients. We try to beat it into their heads that the site is all about YOU and people want to get to know YOU before they hand over large sums of money for a vehicle purchase. Being able to view the inventory is great but without any personal touch, the site is just another dealership-style site that provides the same info to the shopper they can find elsewhere. As a salesman you don't want to compete with the dealership site because that's a battle you'll never win. It should compliment the dealer's site. In other words, there's no real value that sets it apart from the dealership site itself.

We'll keep badgering our clients to write a few sentences about themselves, and we'll keep seeing heightened success by those who take the 5 minutes to do so. Remember, personal branding is personal!