o attending the Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition for years to come.
I came with our owner, GM and service director, so it was good for them to get a better sense of the impact of our evolving business. It is nice to have the "experts" explain the digital world to them.
D'Arcy Buick Pontiac GMC Volkswagen Hyundai
The speakers and the information at the conference were so relevant to everyday business at the dealership. There is so much presented that an individual can't possibly take it all in. You can only absorb so much at each conference. I attended my first conference in April and everything was so new I know that I missed a lot. I went back this fall to build on what I had already learned. I was amazed that not only did I build on the foundation I had learned before, but so many things had changed that I was learning the new trends of the last six months. Wow!
Hollyann M. Brown
This conference was one of the best learning experiences I had in many years. The sessions were great and I was able to pick up a lot of best practices. I could not wait to get back to the store and start using some the techniques that I had learned.
Tri State Nissan
Exceptional. Learned more in two days than in two years. I appreciate the gathering of true professionals in this field of automotive retail. Can't say enough about the sheer power of this conference.
Draper Chevrolet Toyota
I really appreciated looking into the future. Each session looked ahead into 2010 and gave tremendous tips, advice, and realistic ideas. My business, once I implement all the new ideas that I have brought back to the store, will be leap years ahead of my competition...now and in the future. I gained tremendous insight on practical ideas to grow my store...not just the Internet department. The conference is 100 percent worth my time and money. I will attend again!
Casey Jenkins Combs
Jenkins & Wynne Inc.,
il replies from various sources between 10:34am and 10:45am. He was inundated. No wonder our customers are frustrated by the time we get them on the phone, I would be to.
On a side note, I have been surveying our TrueCar customers. I am asking them questions about buying timeframe and comparason shopping.
1. The first group of responders are an OVERWHELMING number of customers admitting that they were working a deal at another dealership and used TrueCar because the commercials say that you can get a 'best price' and they wanted to see if the price their dealer quoted them was competitive. We were not able to come but within $50 or so on most quotes. And most of our TrueCar leads are 50+ miles away so not much motiviation to drive for $50.
2. The second group of TrueCar customers are the builders; they build vehicles we don't have on our lot, they build vehicles we don't have in our region and some build vehicles we don't have on our planet. In these cases, most leads do not contain package discounts and correct incentive dollars and the invoices don't match anything we can find. The price quotes are typically off by about $3,000. So not only do we need to rebuild the vehicle, but we have to level the customers expectations. They had been lead to believe that they could buy the vehicle they built for the price quoted and in a LOT of cases it's just not realistic, it isn't going to happen.
3. The third group are the nosy neighbor shoppers, people who say "Who are you and where are you from" when we call. Then proceed to tell us that they aren't buying a vehicle they just wanted to see how much their neighbor/boss/mother/brother/pastor/butcher/baker/toilet seat maker paid for their new car.
This lead source provider has mis-lead the consumer into believing that there's a magic number, a deal of a lifetime, a miracle out in cyberspace and all they have to do is submit their information and they can get the magic number. The consumer will eventually realize that your best price, your best deal, comes from sitting face to face with your dealership salesperson/sales manager; That there is no magic number in the cyber heavens.…
n ADM for years now and never felt I couldn't express my ideas and opinions, even when they are contrary to others, including Ralph. Passion is sometimes mistaken for pompous or condescending. And many of us here on ADM are very passionate about what we believe.
But I also want to address your concerns about privacy and Facebook because they are very realistic and relevant. I also agree with many of them. I take my privacy very seriously. But a Facebook member who shares their total information with anybody is making their information "PUBLIC". Public information is just that. Marketers have a right to utilize public information howerver they desire to target their audience.
My concern would be that Facebook utilizes "private" information to share with marketers to target you. I believe this is happening and have real concerns about it in terms of ethics. This is coming to a head in Congress and will eventually be dictated by the government.
But I have to say that it is not just Facebook. Even direct mail marketers are using technology to target customers in ways never imagined 10 years ago.
Finally, I want to addres what struck me most about Ralph's article... "the Kool-Aid being served by some social media pundits who like to hang their hat on getting more Fans for a dealer's Facebook Page without qualification of who those Fans are". I've been approached by so many people wanting to sell me on the idea that this game or this sweepstakes will get me more fans. I've seen dealers with 100,000 fans who don't give a sh#$ about the dealer but love what game is playing that I can't count them. The spiel is always the same and usually includes "but you can market to all these people".
The question is, "Do I want to market to THESE people?" I hope I don't lose my way on this and forget that we're talking about "conquest and retention".
Anyway, keep on reading and keep on commenting. I will look for them.
u're talking about the really, really small dealers selling fewer than 20 cars a month, I agree. If you're talking about the smaller dealers selling 50 cars a month that are in an area where they have an opportunity to sell more cars if more people were aware of them, then I would say that the extra 1-3 thousand dollars a month to run a good marketing campaign is worth a try. It may not prove to be effective. They may not sell more cars as a result. But if they are able to bump their numbers by 4 or 5 units, it's worth it.
BRIAN - Yes, yes, and yes. There are too many dealers large and small that do not want to waste money going to conferences like DD, DSES, AutoCon, and DMSC, yet it makes me ill when I see a blown up gorilla on their roof or a huge billboard along I-95. I'm not saying that every dealer should get additional help with their digital marketing beyond what the OEM supplies. It's not for everyone. I just want them to make the decision based upon data, trends, and best practices rather than take on the mentality of "I'm too small" or "I know in my gut that it's not worth the money."
ADAM - At the dealership level, you're absolutely right. People considering an Accord are possibly considering a Camry as well and the notion should be to sell the value of the product and the dealership once they're in the store. When they're out there searching the web, taking care of the local market should be handled regardless of website provider or search marketing firm. That's the easy stuff. Those who want to expand their business should strive to be the alternative when a competitor 30 minutes away isn't taking care of business. Somebody is the alternative - no dealer owns all 10 spots on Google when people search for their brand and city. Dealers who want to be the alternative in their competitors' local markets need to expand their reach. That's not to say there's any value in grabbing search terms for dealers 2 hours away, or even an hour away in many competitive markets, but being present for anyone searching within a realistic search radius is simply not done properly by OEM search products.Chip, Tom, Chris, Joe, Martin - excellent points across the board.…
get it! The answer was hidden in the first line of this post and all of the comments afterwards simply confirmed the obvious.
"Every contributing member of ADM knows the answer - or they should; of course we need to give the customer the price. The real question is when, what and how!"
The internet empowered customers to access information - including price - which had previously been under the control of the dealership. Once we relinquished control of this critical piece of information we were obligated to explain how we arrived at our own supposedly competitive price to differentiate our dealership from the next one with a supposedly lower price. That, or we could all race to the bottom and reduce profits to unsustainable levels which would not benefit anyone after we all went out of business. After all, who would be left to service the vehicles we sold?
Of course we can try to explain how we have nicer sales people, better after sale service, more community support and other less tangible evidence to differentiate our dealership from the one's who provided loss leader pricing to get people offline and into their dealerships but you have to open a dialogue before you can add these elements to the discussion. If the price filters you out of their online search then all of the promised added value will never be heard.
If pressed to provide a specific answer to the price question from the dealer's perspective my answer would be to approach it from the customers view. Provide a transparent process that includes vin-specific price as well as other information that the customer may not otherwise have expected to need to make a buying decsion. Interest and lease terms, rates and payments, realistic trade-in values, comparable vehicles and trim levels to the one initially selected, projected vehicle ownership costs, specific unique dealer provided services such as loaner vehicles, included dealer warranties, etc.
Of course people and personality are also a consideration so providing this information in a conversational vs. a presentational mode will also cut through the clutter and promote a relationship vs. a sale. The UI of your website and consistency of your messages across all media - including the delivery on the showroom - must be customer friendly if you hope to overcome many price objections; real or imagined.
hat deals mostly with people looking for jobs but it holds some wisdom that still applies to all sectors of "Social Networking"
Those who ignore the party/conversation/network when they are content and decide to drop in when they need the network may not succeed. Web Strategy by Jeremiah
The biggest message that was delivered to me in this article was to become a contributor before you become a taker. We see lots of contributions in online automotive social networking that look to capitalize conversations in promoting products versus contributing to the conversation. Heck even this post could be considered a promotion effort if you pay close attention.
In a perfect world all social networks would be free of advertising and promotion efforts, but that drives the monetization of any media source. Most companies fail starting social networks, because the of poor planning, over realistic expectations for their efforts and falling into the traps of bells and whistles. While communal standards are often ignored or a second thought.
That is why sites like Myspace have gotten a bad wrap. Porn spammers and MLM marketers have ruined the experience for many. Also there are networks created just for the purpose of self promotion, basically free for alls for people to yell me, me, me. look at what I am doing. So self promotion in these venues is acceptable.
To me the real message is lost when the back end marketing and self promotion glares to the point of being redundant.
My question to this group is when does contribution cross the line from being a part of a community to being absolute self promotion and when it does is it acceptable?
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