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Internet Department? You Just Don't Get It...

Yesterday I read a Ward article by Steve Finley, ‘Biggest Crock I Ever Heard’. This was follow up article containing rebuttal comments from disgruntled internet mangers taking offense to an earlier article “Are Dealership Internet Departments Obsolete?”.
This is so ironic I had to laugh, the very people that stuck their noses up in the air in and said “You just don't get it” 8 years ago now… just don't get it.

On Kain Automotive Idea Exchange I made a comment that the lines between the floor and the Internet Department are blurring, the fact is they are gone.

The internet customer has changed, really I shouldn’t say they have changed it’s just that the internet customer now is not just an elite group of tech savvy engineers who are playin around on their new fangled computer to find the cheapest car possible. It’s now Joe Everyday Customer who, while price is a concern it’s not the primary driver or their reason for being on the internet shopping for a car.

So what's an Internet Department Manager to do?

Well let’s try managing the internet.

The days of the internet manager managing a group “Internet Salespeople” are over the fact is if you’re a salesperson in a dealership and you can’t use a computer, answer an email or talk on the phone you shouldn’t be employed by the dealership.

Here are 5 things Internet Mangers should be doing instead of trying to mange salespeople the sales manger should be managing, and yes you're going to have to be a sales manager again NOT A DESK GUY (I HATE THAT TERM) the days of the desk manger are rapidly coming to a close as well, but that’s for another post.

1. Keep your website up-to-date and making sure it is simple easy and useful for you customers. – I can’t tell you how many dealerships websites I go to with out of date content, links that are broken, stupid pop up coupons that have not meaning and the list goes on longer than I can put I this post.

2. LISTENING – social media isn’t about pushing a message it’s about listening to your customers engaging them with Transparent, Authentic and Genuine(TAG) HELP about what they want to accomplish with the brands you sell and your dealership.

3. Blogging…not about how low the dealerships prices are or the specials but useful things like the best day to set a service appointment, how can we improve your experience with our dealership here are our ideas what do you think? This kind of content engages customers and makes them a part of the conversation not the unwitting recipient of a pushed message.

4. Managing Facebook content and posting useful offers and information there. How do you know it’s useful… how many people shared it?

5. Managing the content for the dealership Reactive Marketing Application Stack (see the picture below).

This stack depends heavily on Landing Experience Management it’s why that is at the center. Matching the message to the ad and the customer expectation is the most important thing you can do for conversion, and ultimately no matter how long the tail is or the conversation, it will come down to conversion ratio.
Like it or not the “Internet Manager” will start to manage the Internet not the salespeople, that’s what sales managers are going to have to do and salespeople will learn to mange more interaction on the lot, phone and internet the right way or you will parish.

In some ways the Internet Foreshadowers of Doom for the car salesperson back in 1999 were right. The internet was going to replace the car salesman… the Traditional Car Salesman, the Traditional Car Dealership and now the internet is even replacing the Traditional Internet Department.
The internet adores inefficiency and middle men so if the Traditionalist above don't get in and add value they will be replaced.

Hope this helps,

Larry Bruce (@pcmguy)

Views: 172

Tags: internet, manager, marketing, people, sales, sem, seo, web, website


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Comment by Larry Bruce on January 2, 2010 at 5:46am
Friel is there a point here? Perhaps you can share with us how your marketing integrates so we don't screw it up.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on December 31, 2009 at 8:02am
@Bruce: Happy New Year to you, too!

Comment by Larry Bruce on December 31, 2009 at 6:49am
@Shatterly good point! Happy New Year!
Comment by Keith Shetterly on December 30, 2009 at 11:30am
@Larry: Very cute blonde is all I noticed. What are you talking about?? ;)

Comment by Larry Bruce on December 30, 2009 at 11:16am
@Tom don't tell google that!

Comment by Larry Bruce on December 30, 2009 at 6:16am
@Shetterly Wow! certainly doesn’t believe in white space.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on December 29, 2009 at 11:29am
Yep, Larry, you are 100% correct.

The future ain't Internet Salespeople. It ain't an Internet Department. And it sure ain't an Internet Dealership (unless you are abandoning brick and mortar).

The future is a COMPLETE dealership where the phone, floor, and Internet are handled equally well for the most sales! (thanks again Trace, for this link!)

I just can't quit these guys! ;)

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