Automotive Digital Marketing

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Are you marketing the Brands within your Brand?

The Question: What do Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, SoBe, AMP Energy Drink, Propel, Mug, and Aquafina have in common with your Sales Team?

The answer: They are all Brands within a Brand! It doesn’t matter to PepsiCo, the parent company, whether your Sales Manager grabs a Mountain Dew or an AMP Energy drink on their way to the dealership.  Some people “Do the Dew” and others prefer to get “AMPED UP,” PepsiCo has a brand for both and makes a sale either way…

As a dealership you are PepsiCo and your Sales team members are your brands within your brand. How well are you marketing YOUR BRANDS to assure that you get a shot at every sale?

Consumers do a surprising amount of research before making a vehicle purchase. They research the vehicle they are interested in, they research the dealer they are interested in purchasing from, but would it surprise you to know that they now research the sales team member that they want to work with before coming to the dealership?  It’s true. Nothing about the internet era changed the fact that this is a people business so it shouldn’t really surprise us that the people that represent you to the consumer have become a very real part of your online marketing effort. People will always buy from people, not a business, right?

One very important thing however, HAS changed... An effective greeting may no longer occur on the lot; the greeting may occur ONLINE!


If you want to be truly competitive in the research phase of the buying cycle and improve your lead-to-appointment ratio, your Salesperson’s online greeting needs to be as polished as their lot greeting. Here are a couple thoughts to help you effectively market your brands within your brand.

  • Your Staff page must include more than a fuzzy picture and phone number.
    • Encourage your staff to sell themselves in the bio section of your staff directory page and link prospects to their information. Make it light, fun and engaging. Video is a terrific medium for an introduction. If you don’t have a bio, you don’t have a brand.
  • Differences make the difference!
    • Do you speak 3 languages? Do you rally race the same models you sell on the weekends? Do you personally own the model I’m interested in buying? What makes you different that should make me want to work with you? Tell me your story.
  • Show me your Stars!
    • What have your previous customers said about working with you? What will I find if I Google your name? Digitize your "Why Buy Book" or "Evidence Manual" and use it to win the appointment AND the sale. I can buy from a lot of sales people, convince me you are better than the rest?


Remember, some customers want to “Do the Dew” and others are really craving a quality bottle of water. If you are helping your staff to be the brand within your brand you can be all things to all people!

PS. Here is a GREAT example of this concept in action from a store that is North of the Border. Click on any of their sales team members on their DealerRater Page: 

Views: 882

Tags: introductions, pages, reviews, staff, video


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Comment by Tom Gorham on December 7, 2012 at 4:03pm

I love the individual employee pages.  Unfortunately my dealership is not certified.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 7, 2012 at 2:39pm

Michal Lusk - I am with you... The individual employee pages in DealerRater are a very powerful asset when used properly, and too few DR Certified dealers take advantage of them.

Comment by Michal Lusk on December 7, 2012 at 10:36am

It is just interesting to me to see how few U.S. certified dealers even make use of the staff pages feature in DealerRater. It is a fantastic tool for so many uses. After loading a photo and bio for each employee in DealerRater, I crafted signatures in our CRM for each sales person, sales manager, BDC employee, finance manager, and service advisor that contained their photo, job title, contact info, and a link to their DealerRater page. But I suspect that most dealerships don't have a person who has that sort of function, so it just doesn't get done. 

Comment by Ryan Leslie on December 6, 2012 at 12:58pm

Thanks Michal. It is interesting! We hold basic training webinars three times a week and now have an internal team taking care of 90% of the setup of individual pages etc. That comment wasn't really planned by the way. I get in trouble when I go off script and start speaking from the heart... ;)

Not sure what it is, but I see more cool stuff coming from the Canadians lately. Maybe it's the climate? ;)

Here is an example of a Cool Canadian leveraging his digital why buy book on Twitter:

Comment by Michal Lusk on December 6, 2012 at 12:08pm

Great webinar, Ryan! Thanks for sharing the link. Your comment about Canadian dealers making better use of DealerRater's certified features than U.S. dealers is interesting. I suspect that most dealerships just don't have anyone who can implement the features and train the staff on how to make good use of them. 

Comment by Ryan Leslie on December 6, 2012 at 9:32am

Thanks Tom. I'm really passionate about this. It makes me angry that some of the people that I call friends are lumped into second class citizen status by a Gallup poll.

I want to believe that the efforts of "sales professionals that happen to sell cars" can eventually supersede the negative perception of "car salespeople." Credible consumer stories vetted and authenticated through a 3rd party have an extremely high trust factor and consumers are seeking out the content... We haven't shared this number as much as we should, but DealerRater is averaging 1.4 million eyeballs on our content through various distribution channels each month. The tide has simply got to turn.

If I can't have that I want my friends to be cleaning the clocks of those "car salespeople" referenced in that Gallup poll. Promoting your personal "Why Buy Book" digitally to win appointments and sales is the equivalent of bringing a machine gun to a knife fight. Actually, that may not be a strong enough analogy. It's more like winning a fight the other guy didn't even know he was in!

Here's the link:

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on December 5, 2012 at 11:00am

Ryan, I would like to show you a series of videos taken in 2007, with the permission of the dealerships GM and salesperson, detailing how a sale is conducted at the dealership from on lot greeting to delivery. This was unscripted and no influence from GM and salesperson. I was given full access. Each dealer can do a much better video now but it just goes to show that what you're saying about a brand within a brand is true.

Comment by Tom Gorham on December 5, 2012 at 10:35am

Ryan, a great presentation.  I was wishing all of our sales staff was watching it.  I will send you an email asking for a copy of it!  Thank you!

Comment by Tom Gorham on December 4, 2012 at 5:16pm

Ryan, thank you.  I signed on.  Looking forward to it!

Comment by Ryan Leslie on November 30, 2012 at 6:08am

ADM Friends, I'm holding a webinar at the request of a few DealerRater certified stores next week and have some open slots. The webinar is going to expound on some of the themes of this post so I thought I'd open up the registration for anyone here that is interested.

Your unsold prospects research the car they want to buy and the dealer they may want to buy from, but would it surprise you to know that they research the salesperson too? The "meet and greet" no longer happens on the lot; the "Meet and Greet" happens ONLINE!

This market update will give you and your sales team critical insights into the mind of today's unsold prospect as well as four real world strategies you can implement today to better use the reviews you are currently collecting at NO cost.

Please join me Dec 5th for what is certain to be a a lively and informative discussion... Becoming the Brand Within the Brand. Click here for the registration link.

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of selling in a forum so I want to be really clear about this webinar... I created the content and strategies I'm going to discuss with DealerRater's staff pages in mind. The webinar WILL feature the staff pages we offer at no charge with certification. If you are a DealerRater certified store this will be PERFECT for you. If you don't work at a DealerRater Certified store you may be able to adopt some of these strategies, but I don't want you to be surprised to see a heavy focus on DealerRater tools if you join.

PS. AJ, How much are the royalty fees on the phrase "It's the about the people, people!"?  ;) It's hard to talk about this topic without mentioning you!

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