Automotive Digital Marketing

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Shopping for a pre-owned 2006 Trailblazer... What an eye opener...

Hello Digital Marketing professionals... My wife and I are actively in the process of locating a pre-owned vehicle. The experience has been shocking. No, I will not name names, but I will point out a few observations:

I have let my wife do all the shopping.
Watched her process.
Noted the different dealership interactions.
Noted her feedback so far.

First... Like text book she went straight to the internet to find a three seater SUV. (Yes, I said SUV... )
Next...Narrowed her choices to one or two... found (2) local dealers that had similar vehicles...
Followed By... Calling the dealers from our home phone... went to see (drive) the cars...

On arrival to the first dealership we announced ourselves and tried to find the individual who she spoke to on the phone... A salesperson was assigned to us (no mention of the person on the phone) who promptly ignored her and focused on me even after I repeatedly told him she was the decision maker. My wife promptly inspected the choices to determine which model was best for her. Finished with them. I did get a business card, but he did not get our information. No follow up at all.

Moving along I assured my wife that that type of behavior died out of the automotive business 10+ years ago... How wrong was I...

Figuring to have an ace in the hole, we went to a very large dealer who has a pro-active DM system in place... (idea being that with automated follow up they could not miss). The sales rep was polite but did nothing to sell us a vehicle or obtain any information from us... (no e-mail) We even drove their vehicle... it was later on a Saturday afternoon, must be the reason for this one time oversight, right? That must be it... But what about the phone call from home? Systems are in place to monitor and follow up with their auto populating ILM tool with our publicly listed phone number correct? Not a word. No follow up... In the spirit of trying to be a good sport with this dealer I called twice the next morning... Second time I did get a follow up call (after I left my number, different from home) with some basic information about the vehicle. No further contact after that.

Remarkable. My thought on this is that Digital Marketing has entered the dealerships, but it is not part of the fabric of their processes and systems. The human factor in each of these cases made it possible to route around the system / automation and lose an excellent opportunity with a local customer on a vehicle dealers today are eager to sell.

I hope to spread the word of our experience to other automotive professionals to make a positive impression... Is your DM solution engrained in your sales organization's day to day sales process?

What are your DM experiences / feedback?


Views: 44

Tags: automation, crm, floor, ilm, process, sales


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Comment by David T. Gould on August 16, 2008 at 6:48pm
Sarah and Jody,

Thanks for your responses...

I refer readers back to Sarah's "Check out this article" for the statistics...

I'm looking for how dealers are currently dealing with issues similar to mine (success stories) - ASK PATTY sounds like a positive direction... How about dealership / sales floor process / salesperson procedures to insure complicance?

I am still gettng over the disappointment here of what some local dealers showed my family of my profession... I guess this post is an attempt to reach out to other industry professonals with a warning... Automation / ILM / CRM don't replace the people involved in the sale...

Should we be dealing differently with the "Buy In (acceptance) of sales managers / sales people and Digital Marketing / Basic Sales Techniques?

Appreciate this venue for communications between professionals, (thanks ralph)

Comment by Jody DeVere on August 15, 2008 at 1:20pm
Dealerships who want to learn how to be more effective selling to women car buyers can sign up for our certified female friendly training program here:

Jody DeVere
CEO/President, Inc
Comment by David T. Gould on August 14, 2008 at 3:39pm
Frank, thanks for your input...

Written log is a step backward, but, if it works I can't knock it... With all of todays automation, it seems like there should be a better way. I was at a dealer today that had managers logging people by their clothes color until more information could be added to their CRM tool. End of day, End of Week and End of Month they are able to link customers without names to the salespersons who assisted them (even if it was just on the lot). Key here is manager involvement... Places I visited had managers that were aware of our presence and still did nothing to log us into their existing CRM...

Does anyone have any creative ideas they use to incentivize their staff to log every up?

Thanks again Frank!

Comment by Frank Davis on August 14, 2008 at 4:47am
It really is to bad that sales people are just to good at what they do when follow up is not neccassary. So they think anyway. At our store when a deal is brought to the desk it has to jave been entered into contact management to even get a deal# but even that is not fool proof is it, so before a deal is is even penciled the sales person has to put it on a written log, WOW old school huh? Thats in your face old school stuff because even most managers are to un informend to use a system that is in place to benefit everyone. So with that log every customer is called back later in the day or the very next day. We have one manager his name is Dustin Hightower that believes in follow up as he can still sell 40 cars per month if you put him on the floor.
Comment by David T. Gould on August 13, 2008 at 10:54pm
Thanks for your feedback Bryan...

You are 100% correct with your statements particularly the "buy in" (what's in it for me) and Inspecting what you expect... The ability of technology to add alternative fuel to the "be-back" bus is out there... Each of us as professionals participating in environments like will help the cause progress in a positive direction.

Good Selling! DTG
Comment by Bryan Armstrong on August 13, 2008 at 10:11pm
Just read your blog and though it has been over a month since posting I'm sure the behavior hasn't changed and you struck a chord.
Oddly enough, the more the process is automated and new technologies are in place to aid the sales floor, it almost seems as though it has made us as lazy. Now I don't want to turn this into a " I used to walk uphill to school barefoot in the snow..." story,but I fight on a daily basis to train a sales force that information is key and all the gadgetry in the world is useless w/out solid customer service skills and a desire to win.
I think that w/out a management team to buy-off on the fact that the one deal they are focusing on on the showroom floor will not profit them as much as the 5 lot drops that happened while they failed to inspect their expectations, this sort of thing is doomed to repeat.
The "be-back" bus DOES exist and is driven by a guy named follow-up and fueled by committment to your craft.
Good selling.

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