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After watching President Obama's speech to the Ghana Parliament, there was a CNN special report on Business Opportunity Fraud... There I was on Saturday morning listening to this report when the thought occurred to me that many of the same warning signs that consumer fraud investigators advise people to be aware of are uniquely applicable to digital marketing sales pitches I have received, witnessed, and try as I might to avoid, even participated in! Hyper-inflated promises of "sales results" are intrinsically bullshit in that each dealership still has to close the sale, negotiate a deal and then get car buyers approved for financing... It is my contention that no matter how good a marketing plan, startegy or tactic is, they simply do not actually sell cars... At best, a great marketing partner for a dealership will cause an increase in sales opportunities.

This is why the same marketing solution will help Dealer A increase sales by 50% can be applied to Dealer B with the result being a mere 5% increase in actual sales... Same marketing plan, same cost, same sized market, same make of vehicle... The difference is the dealership's sales OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY to convert increased sales opportunities into actual vehicle deliveries. So, what are some of theses bullshit sales pitches for marketing solutions? There is another post in this forum which attempts to explain the hype around search marketing false promises, but let's expand on that... I would like to list the claims that are primary indicators of sales pitch bullshit in the area of dealer marketing solutions, here's my list, and I would like to get some of yours!

1. Dominate the Search Engines -
Yeah, right... Just give me lots of money up front and I will make sure your dealership DOMINATES the largest and most valuable brand on the planet... Uh huh... for $5,000 a month YOU can dominate a $100 Billion plus company's listing of search results. The Bottom line is that the word DOMINATE in a supplier sales pitch is equal to BULLSHIT.

2. These Ads Sell More Cars - Has anyone ever seen an advertisement that actually sells cars? because I have been selling cars AND creating, and selling, advertising for for over 28 years and have yet to ever see an ad that sold a single car... If advertising could sell cars, what would we need car salesman and sales managers for? And, likewise, if a dealer is buying advertising based on clicks (CPC and PPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), column inches, cost per spot, cost per ratings point, etc., then where does the promise of buying sales kick in... The Bottom Line is that when any company that sells marketing or advertising claims that ADVERTISING SELLS CARS this is an immediate red flag indicating BULLSHIT... So, why do so many solution providers say this so often? Not because it is the truth, but because it is what dealers seem to want to hear!

3. We Have The Secret Formula For Success - If something is a secret and you actually sell it to enough dealers, who in their right mind would ever believe that competing suppliers would not get access to it? The reality is, there are more unique variations in techniques used to pitch and sell dealers than there are in dealer marketing and advertising to sell cars to the public! Most recently, I have seen this applied to the concept that if a dealer's website has more pages indexed by search engines, this is guaranteed to result in higher placement within organic search results... OK, so I have tried this myself and seen several disasters... For example, most dealers have redundant inventory, or more than one car with the same window sticker list of options and prices. This results in many multiple pages of redundant content. Multiple pages of redundant content result in a lower search engine ranking... BUT, it sure works great when I show a dealer his current web site has 200 pages indexed and a different dealer with my website has over 1,000 pages indexed. THEN, what happens to these inventory pages when the search engine spider comes back a month or so later to check for changes? If the vehicle has been sold, the URL is now a dead link... Wham, more hits to the dealer's search engine ranking. More hype... More BULLSHIT. Real content is like this article, the words and the sequence they appear in are unique and not repeated on additional pages just to create more page count. Lastly, since Google will only allow 3 pages MAXIMUM from a single domain to be listed within the overall search results for each search term... Well, wouldn't a microsite based strategy make a lot more sense than hundreds of pages within the dealer's web site that each contain the exact same content, except for the VIN and stock numbers?

OK, the wife is calling and I must get cleaned up for an outing to the Newport Music festival... What are some of YOUR favorite bullshit sales claims when it comes to suppliers pitching their wares to dealers?

Tags: =, Bullshit, Guaranteed, Pitch, Results, Sales

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How right you are Ralph. I love seeing "GUARANTEED RESULTS" in sales pitches to dealers and when you check the fine print the guarantee is clearly defined as "virtually" and results may vary or similar bullshit.
Bottom line is dealer pays $X amount for a # of leads in a period of time to a vendor, and dealers need to justify their investment based on the lead conversions from that vendor.
It's pretty simple math in my book.
Hey Ralph

Vendors that do this, have no experience in the auto industry. I still remember my first day in the Difeo track sales school. The trainer told us the first thing not to say to a customer is trust me. Guaranteed is just another way to ask you to trust them.

I took this lesson with me in all my positions held in the dealership, and as a vendor. It's actually not all the vendors fault. Dealers ask for a guarantee all the time. I tell them the only guarantee they get with me is if you don't sign up with me, you won't get any leads from me.

When it comes to vendors all have a use and a nich. You have to see if it fills your nich and or how it is made, produced, and or generated.

It may be frustrating to listen to these pitches (and as a consultant, we here them daily in hopes of "reselling" their pestilence, but I must say, it makes me smile when I do here someone regurgitating these bullshit lines to me.
I also very much enjoy writing the word 'bullshit' opposed to just saying it - I get to type it so very rarely in this industry.
LOL, that was funny Joe
Yeah Joe... Although Ralph may have gone over the line, yet again, we are wondering if the keyword "bullshit" in the title will allow ADM to DOMINATE the search engine results when people are searching for bullshit!
Joe, I am surprised you don't use it more it more often, since we all know you are full of it, the bullshit that is :)
Just for that smart-ass comment, Jon, you can expect a high-school football sized wedgie next time I see you at DD conference in Nashville. No more hugs for you...just tugs. Wait...scratch that. I meant 'tugs' in a non-weird way.
Hey, that was a one time thing, I thought we agreed what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas
Nice work Ralph - well said. The idea that bullshit claims come from e-business marketers or consultants is really just the tip of the iceberg. Dealers cannot seem to resist the stuff. I heard one dealer comment about the whole class of (or social higherarchy of) auto dealers as being RAVENS (you know the dumb birds who cannot seem to resist bright shiny things). I personally do not cotton the philosophy that all dealers are like this, most are GREAT business people - but looking at what gets sold to them...?
This AGAIN really puts forward the notion that proper execution is the key to selling cars. No matter how a customer or prospect gets to you the blocking and tackling happen in the showroom and an improvement there will yield great and lasting results no matter how you advertise or how much - OR WHERE.
Matt, you bring up several interesting issues... One of your points, that dealers are GREAT business people gets reinforced on a daily basis for me when ever i describe the reality of what digital marketing strategies will actually produce for a dealership. Most dealers embrace realistic descriptions and seem to genuinely appreciate brutal honesty about what they are being asked to invest in, and what it is NOT. Which leads me to wonder... Just how effective are BULLSHIT sales claims like "dominate your market" and "this will sell more cars for you" and "we have the secret recipe, but wait, there's more!". I know there are some dealers who fall for the seductiveness of unrealistic claims, but is this diminishing over time as more people become knowledgeable about what digital marketing is, and what it is not?
Ralph, I love it. As you might imagine I don’t get to use “Bullshit” as often as I did in the store. Helps me get back to the good ole retail days, I mean the 80’s when the car business was a lot of fun. Its still fun now just not like then.

No question we as dealers are always looking for the “Silver Bullet” I actually wrote an article on this way back in 2002. As we know there isn’t one, so why do we do it? Well my theory is that there is that come out of nowhere store in every market. You know the one I am talking about; one that was in last then it seems almost overnight they’re first. Invariably we as dealers start to look for THE reason, I capitalize THE here because we always seem to rationalize it as one thing they did when in fact its always a combination of many things they did to get to that position. Many things we are not doing if we’re not in that position.

In the end marketing or advertising can only take someone that wants to buy a car and put them in front of someone that wants to sell a car, that’s it. You as the salesperson still have to do all the things you are supposed to do to sell the car or the marketing is all for not.


You know how I feel about the Microsite thing so I won’t go into that, except to say in my opinion it better than your dealership website for marketing. Hope the festival was good.
One last follow up for those on this site that were not arround to experience car sales in the 80's. Go to this link and you can get an idea, of what I meant by a diffrent kind of fun.


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