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Dealer Website Best Practice: "Talk To The Dealer"

Does Your Dealership Have a "Talk to the Dealer" Website Page?

Recently I was contacted by Darin Wade, the owner of the new Power Ford of New Mexico in Albuquerque to assist in the development of a BDC and Digital Marketing Strategy.  One of the key differentiators that Darin had already implemented, which I became aware of during my visit was a feature installed on his website that is titled "Talk To The Dealer". 

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like:

Here is where it gets interesting... As I was meeting with Darin and John Fachko, his GSM, I submitted the form from this page and asked Darin if he received it... Nope.  However, I did receive an automated response telling me that my inquiry had been assigned to a Power Ford salesperson...

Huh? I thought I was "Talking to the Dealer"?

We contacted the Power Ford website provider and rerouted the form submission to Darin's personal email and his cell phone email. As they were instructed when the page was requested...

Every hear the acronym "QA"? It is an acronym for "Quality Assurance" testing, a process that technology providers are supposed to implement after a change is made to verify that it works as intended. 

This is a great example of a well designed and thought out tactic which could have easily been determined to be a failure had too many customers submitted the form and then received an automated response from Power Ford's Contact Management system informing them of the salesperson who has been assigned to their "Talk to the Dealer" inquiry... This would have been perceived by most customers as being what a Twitter user would describe as an "#EpicFail". The "Quality Assurance" process from the dealership's website supplier SHOULD have uncovered this point of failure, but it is also incumbent on the dealership to verify the quality of the work being delivered by their suppliers... Which we did, within 15 days of the new website being launched.

Lesson Learned? Periodically validate each and every online lead form and customer inquiry tool. Ensure that you know each customer inquiry is being routed to the right place.  I recommend that dealers submit a test lead via each every Call to Action online form offered to website visitors each month and then evaluate any automated responses for optimum messaging and how appropriate they are relative to the nature of the customer's inquiry, as indicated by the location and intended use of the online form.

BTW Bonus... Take a close look at the "Copy and Paste" from the Power Ford "Map & Location" page I posted below.  Then, use the comment form to tell me what you think is the most interesting element. If you look closely, you will see something that I believe every dealer website should provide, but which I have never before seen on a dealer's website...

Be the first ADM Member to tell me what it is (using the comment form below) and I will pay for your registration to attend AutoCon 2013, an $895 value.

Power Ford
1101 Montano NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
 505-766-6600 FREE  
Send Address to Mobile Device

Departments - Click to display

  • New Sales
  • Used Sales
  • Finance
  • Service
  • Parts

Views: 758

Tags: Best Practice, CRM, Dealer Website, Internet Lead, Lead Routing, Power Ford, Talk To The Dealer, forms, lead, lead form, More…leads


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Comment by Alexander Lau on December 21, 2012 at 9:52am

As for RSS Feeds, I'm surprised at the lack of dealers blog power with RSS Feeds attached. Syndication still matters. Create a subdomain and install WordPress at something like SEO value being under the same domain / IP.

There are ton of third party automotive websites that will accept your RSS Feed and potentially the ability to build relevant and credible backlinks / inbound links to your site and inventory. Example: Although, a PR of 2, I've always suggested our clients apply their inventory feeds to the area.

Comment by Alexander Lau on December 21, 2012 at 7:51am

I see this approach being taken by many dealer websites and most of the large OEM-approved providers, such as and Cobalt ADP provide a simialar mechanism, however, that usually goes for child sites. Dealer portal sites are the real problem. There's plenty of this out there in the form of annoying pop-ups and chat mechanisms. Ex: Talk to Us or the Dealer, etc., etc. Most of these annoy the user and it's just a bad usability approach in general.

BTW, if anyone is looking for a reliable and cheap alternative to do this for you, JotForm works very well and a great support team. Drag and drop functionality and all you do is add your E-mail or BDC's E-mail to receive the passing of form variables, one line of code to emed the application on your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. *See below:

Comment by Kristi Alguire on December 20, 2012 at 6:22pm

Thank you Ralph!  And I'm contacting Dealer eProcess first thing tomorrow.  Great post and info!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 20, 2012 at 5:34pm

Tom Hawkins - It is very easy for any website provider to create RSS feeds for any content on your website that is updated on a fairly regular basis, such as inventory.  Just send an email to them. I would use as an example of what you are looking for.

Comment by Tom Hawkins on December 20, 2012 at 4:52pm

Oh....I see.  The red lettering and the grey bar made me think that the image ended right after the parts phone number.  So all I need to know is how I would do to my website provider?

Comment by Tom Hawkins on December 20, 2012 at 4:49pm

I was I didn't see anything referencing RSS on your image above.  However, how would one go about making this work?  Is there SEO benefit from this?  Would Homenet export to an RSS feed?  Sorry to sound confused, but this interests me....

Comment by Tom Gorham on December 20, 2012 at 4:41pm

I like the Send Address to Mobile Device and the RSS. I also like that all the numbers are separate tracking numbers (maybe Callbright).

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 20, 2012 at 4:39pm

Regarding Comments by Matthew Heath and by Tom Hawkins on the Send address to the mobile device... I agree with you that this is an outstanding feature and should be required on all dealer websites, however it is something I see from many dealer website providers and seems to be already much more prevalent than offering up RSS feeds for various dealer website content items that are regularly updated, such as inventory, specials or incentives.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 20, 2012 at 4:35pm

Congratulations to Kristi Alguire!

Kristi correctly identified the RSS feed from the new Power Ford website as the feature I was referring to in the post above. Kristi, please send me your contact information via ADM direct message and I will get you registered for AutoCon 2013.  You can see the dates and location at

As old school as "Really Simple Syndication" (RSS) is, I am still amazed that dealer website providers have not done a better job of creating RSS feeds for customers, enthusiasts and dealership employees to use in any number of ways.  The Power Ford RSS feed features used inventory, as each unit is added to their inventory it is then added to the feed. Each vehicle shown in the RSS feed has call to action buttons that appear in my Google Reader to push the vehicle description to Google+ and other social networks, as well as to email addresses. This RSS feed provides an exceptionally useful tool for Power Ford's overall Digital Marketing Strategy:

As easy and zero cost as this old school technology is to implement, I simply do not understand why so many dealer website providers resist and push back on the request by dealers to provide RSS feeds.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 20, 2012 at 4:24pm

Scott Klein _ Bob Turner Ford was sold and the new dealership is Power Ford.  The previous owner's website which you referenced will be kept live for quite awhile as it was well established, the page I copied and pasted is at as referenced by the anchor text link.

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