Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
I had the pleasure this week, during my visit to Amsterdam with my son Connor, to speak with Koops Furness, a successful automotive group with 11 OEM brands and 25 retail locations throughout Holland.
The company also has business interests outside of retail car sales, which includes a dominant position selling trucks in Holland.
I was expecting that the processes for connecting with consumers and selling cars would be different than in the states, but actually the processes are very similar. Google's Zero Moment of Truth research applied perfectly in Holland.
There are a few distinct differences about selling cars in Holland, as you might guess. The biggest one is a "tax" on cars that are not fuel efficient.
Smaller cars and some hybrid models, like the Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid, have zero tax. The Outlander Hybrid is a hot seller since it receives the zero tax status.
Larger cars, that most American's drive today, can have a 15-25% tax per year based on the sale price of the car. Can you imagine buying a Jeep Grand Cherokee and paying $20,000 extra in taxes a year for the privilege to drive a luxury SUV?
Here are some other observations; Kia is a very popular brand in Holland, and the top selling American brand is Ford. It seems that Chevrolet and Chrysler do not have a strong presence here in Holland. The streets have recharging stations for electric vehicles, so Holland is ahead of the US in making hybrid cars a reality for every day driving. I'll have more to share in a follow-up article once I have a few more visits under my belt.
To my surprise, the people of Holland speak English very well. It was easy to communicate with the automotive professionals at my workshop as well as the staff at local restaurants, tourist attractions, and bars .
I was blessed to be welcomed with open arms at a meeting with the executives from Koops Furness as well as the online car sales juggernaut www.Nieuweautokopen.nl, started by Paul DeVries. The latter is a powerful Internet website that allows consumers to purchase any new OEM vehicle online, with a discount.
I was hoping that my presentation and insights to the 30+ executives in attendance would apply to their business model. I did some research in advance with the help of Paul DeVries, a passionate professional who regularly attends NADA and other automotive conferences like AutoCon and Automotive Boot Camp. The workshop turned out to be very engaging! I learned that some of the same challenges facing US dealers are the same here in Holland.
To no surprise, these DMS platforms do not talk to each other. The CRM platforms in the stores do not have the ability to present a customer history that spans purchases from stores in their group as well as service. Sound familiar?
Staff usage of CRM systems, just like the US, is also a challenge. Logging phone ups seems to be problem worldwide based on our conversations at the workshop.
Some of the stores reported that less than 30% of phone ups were being logged into the CRM with clean contact information that included an email address. I'll be bringing Jerry Thibeau back to Amsterdam to conduct some phone training workshops, but only if he can handle the nightlife here!
My opinion is that sales professionals, in the US and abroad, do not understand that the CRM system is their best friend. Our industry needs to rethink our failed attempts to educate sales professionals how to leverage the CRM systems to sell more cars and increase customer satisfaction. Dealers should be selling more cars with the leads that they already generate.
As you can see from the screen shot below, the Koops Furness organization and their affiliate companies are using retargeting to keep their brand in front of consumers during the Zero Moment of Truth. ANWB is the equivalent of our AAA, and Koops Furness has a special arrangement with AAA to provide a discounted car buying service like TrueCar in the US.
When I looked at their digital strategy, it included SEM, Display, Retargeting, and Video Preroll. The group is primarily spending their budget on digital marketing, with some traditional marketing in the budget as well. I was very pleased to see that they were leveraging the online advertising channels to sell more cars. Google is the dominant search engine in Holland and the group is very visible during the Zero Moment of Truth.
The group was very interested in my presentation slides regarding "Turning Dealers Into VDP Factories", which readers can watch on the video recording I created from a recent webinar on this topic. Dealership professionals in Holland are keen on determining which online investments were generating the most VDP views. I showed their IT and Marketing team how to setup Google Analytics to measure VDP behavior based on advertising investment. It will be interesting to follow along with their analysis in the coming days to help them sell more cars at a lower cost.
I look forward to working with dealers in Holland to improve their digital marketing strategies as well as their sales processes. With so much low hanging fruit to pick, and with such warm personalities in Holland, I'll be coming back to help dealers who want to significantly increase their sales.
Now, I'm going to get an espresso at a local coffee shop! The coffee in Amsterdam is excellent.
Brian Pasch, CEO