Automotive Digital Marketing

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1) Keep it simple
It’s easy to come away from a conference like this with information overload and a sense of being overwhelmed and asking yourself where do I start? Keep it simple. This was certainly the underlying message at many of the most recent sessions. Stay focused. Remember to Crawl, Walk, Run (thanks VJ). Stop Chasing Shiny Objects (thank you Mr. Stauning) get the basics under control first. Don’t go it alone. Remember your team mates within your dealership (Waldo), recognize them, support them and work with them.

2) Have a foundation
Make sure you have a foundation to build your success upon. Start by making sure your store or group has a clearly defined and mapped out Lead Management Process (LMP). Identify who is responsible for this and how it is managed. What happens after day one? Be sure to have a long term follow up plan in place (90 days or more). Done properly this will nurture your leads, and seemingly out of nowhere, you will have customers walk into the showroom, insist on working with you and then buy when they are ready to buy. All this while members of the sales floor watch wondering why you get all the lay downs. Having a defined Lead Management Process in place will help you to have the support and buy-in of upper management. Their support and buy-in is essential because without it your foundation will have a hole in it.

3) Time Management and Goal Setting
In order to keep it simple, while maintaining a solid foundation, time management is critical. Look at your day, your week, your month, map out what you want to accomplish and when will be the best time to accomplish it. Now you can block these times out and set out to accomplish your goals. Keep track of how you are doing and make the needed adjustments to stay on track.

4) Manage and Cultivate your On-line Reputation
We are all sharing on-line more and more everyday. Are your customers sharing their experience with your store? Set up a Google alert so that you can stay on top of the conversation as it happens. Be a part of it. Do not sit back and watch it happen. This is today’s CSI and just like any sale you have to ask for it. Be proactive, reach out to build and cultivate your stores positive reputation. Determine which review sites will work best for you and direct your customers there. You can leverage this content by posting these positive testimonials on your site. This content will enhance your SEO, generate more page views, extend a visitors time on your site and give your sales team an excellent tool to use while selling future prospects. Sound good to you?

5) Participate and Be a Student
I don’t know if it’s ever been truer than today but you can never stop learning. Be a student of the game. Read magazines like Digital Dealer consistently and, as Tim Jennings pointed out in his sessions, make sure you find your take away with every read. Join our professions on-line forums and communities, such as Automotive Digital Marketing, Dealer Refresh and Driving Sales, and participate in them. Share your knowledge.

What are your take aways?

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Tags: 7, Automotive, Conference, Dealer, Digital, Driving, Goal, Jennings, LMP, Lead, More…Management, Marketing, On, Process, Refresh, Reputation, Sales, Setting, Stauning, Steve, Tim, Time, VJ, line


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Comment by Susan Burgess on November 10, 2009 at 2:55pm
One bite at a time- that although I know from going to DD7 what direction I should be going for certain now, and what obstacles I may run into, I have a firmer resolve to excel at one thing at a time rather than being overwhelmed with all the new, innovative and very distracting points all at once. I am so excited to actually be a store that's a sponge and will be ready and willing to use a CRM to its full advantage- the waiting is what's getting me...however it gives me time to research what campaigns are going to work for our store and market. It also gives me time to redesign the website for a better consumer experience and evaluate my team to see what points need some polishing and what training is needed in the very near future.
Comment by VJ on November 9, 2009 at 1:38pm
Chris: Thank you for your post. And thanks again for referring to my Crawl-Walk-Run approach. It is what it is. When you don't have your processes in place and don't know what to do with your leads on a daily basis with a long-term follow-up approach, don't begin to chase the "shiny objects (Stephen Stauning) - it doesn't matter - you'll set yourself up for more disaster to come.
I agree also with Ralph that the evolving dealerships on the Social Media end do have to see their fans, friends and followers as their "90+ days out" leads. Foster them - build your reputation around them, and when time is coming to looking into a new vehicle, the engaged dealership will get the first shot and a "hot lead" inquiry through getting a "tweet" and / or something written on their "wall".

My take away...Social Media is at this time "not the Silver Bullet" we are hoping to get and to resolve current issues for not selling more and profitable cars. I love the aspect of Social Media, engagement and the trust building when done right. So, as I always say....Rome wasn't build in one day...get your roadmap planned first (process), pick the right architects (traditional media vs digital media tools selection) and then have a reliable contractor to start the building process (ISM, eCommerce Director, BDC, etc).
Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 8, 2009 at 3:23pm
Chris - Thank you for the insightful post... I would like to add another take-away that I brought home with me from Nashville:
Never Underestimate the Ability of the Top 20% of Car Dealers to Evolve, Adopt and Master New Marketing Strategies

After my General Session Presentation on Social Marketing and Reputation Management on Tuesday morning, I was approached by multiple dealers who have implemented variations of what I presented, and some of which are doing things I had not yet seen, and which seem to be highly effective according to what these dealers told me... One of the fundamental eye opening realizations I took away with me, and I can't say why I did not realize this previous to Digital Dealer 7, is that if Web 1.0 for Car Dealers was all about getting "Sales Leads" and there was a monetary value attached to those Leads, then Web 2.0 is about getting connections... And, the equivalent of a "Lead" is now a "Fan", "Friend", "Subscriber", "Follower" or "Connection" and whatever the term that network or site uses to describe when a consumer connects, or accepts a connection request with the dealer or dealer's representative.

As it turns out, less than half of all emails sent in response to conventional Internet Leads by Car Dealers are actually ever delivered to the customer's in-box... Spam filters, bad bulk email practices by dealers and other factors have reduced the deliver-ability of the average dealer's email to less than half of what is being sent one email at a time, and worse for bulk broadcasts.

With Social Network and Web 2.0 connections, messages are sent within a closed system and deliverability goes to 100%... And, several networks, including the Dealer Sponsored Communities that my team has been building, Facebook and a few others allow members to send messages to all their connections at once, providing 100% deliverable bulk messaging services. The value that many companies get from Twitter is that 100% of their Tweets reach all followers.

When you add the communication channel reliability to the fact that with many of these social network connections we get to see a far more robust set of information about our customers and potential customers... Such as where they live, went to school, where they work, how many children, what cars they currently drive, what their passions, past times and hobbies are... Well, the value of a conventional sales lead can pale in comparison. Anyways, this was something I somehow not really realized on a monetary basis until several dealers and ISM's pointed it out to me at DD 7, and it is a valuable take-away, for me...

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