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Transforming The Dealership Part 2 - A Live Week By Week Case Study (Dealer eTraining)

Welcome to Part 2 of what is a major real live hands on case study.  Last week I wrote Part 1.  For those of you that missed it, click here to catch up on what you may have missed.

We ended last week with starting to get more social media plans installed.  We also started a picture and video policy.  However, The major thing was CRM and digital marketing this week. 

CRM:

I narrowed down three choices of CRM companies that integrate with the DMS that dealership is using.  It is not a common DMS like ADP, Reynolds, or Arkona even.  We learned that the DMS only works properly with only 3 CRM companies.  The CRM Companies are eLead, VinSolutions, and CAR-Research.  All three companies have something great to offer.  We made the decision to stop being the pilot for the DMS company that was using this dealership to develop their CRM.  They are light years away from where everyone else is in the marketplace.  I came to a conclusion that we have no accountability in the dealership and nothing can be measured.  I noticed that the sales desk does a great job and so do F&I.  Now with processes, accountability, and reporting I think that this store can sell and additional 10-20 units per month.

After numerous conversations and demos of CRM products we decided on eLead.  I have been a customer of eLead in the past and have great relationships.  I wanted VinSolutions because Vin had some cool features that no one else has.  However, the owner of the dealership liked the functions of eLead and felt that it was simpler for the showroom.  Their opinion was that Vin worked well for someone on a high level like me.  I liked CAR-Research too but we all agreed that for what we need eLead would be the right fit.  Also, eLead has agreed to do install in the beginning of November where no one else could accommodate the owner's quick need.

Next --->

Website:

So we signed a contract for the CRM and that is in the works.  The next aspect that is important is to really make the dealership website great.  The challenge is that it is OEM mandated and certain things are not able to be done while others are being developed as we speak.

We have begun the process of changing and updating employee pictures and bios.  The way that we get employee bios is that we have a questionnaire in their employee packet that they need to fill out when they start employment here.  I revised the questions to make better bios.  The owner liked how another dealership on the West Coast had their staff page so we started to research how we can get a similar page built.  If I can get the owner to agree in the near future, I would like to add videos next to the employee picture and bio of each employee.

We are reconfiguring buttons on the website to make it easier to navigate and have better call to actions.  We want to stand out from competitors and really be unique.

Other best practices that I started working on are basically because I love the way that Checkered Flag in Virginia Beach has their website providing major transparency with things like a "women's page" or a page explaining "taxes and fees".  This dealership is active in the community so we are working on making these efforts stand out as well.  I have been working on content because I do not want to be a copycat but I love the ideas and would love to use them since very few (literally) dealers on this planet are that much outside the box.

I noticed that the dealership had no specials for pre-owned and service.  I got with the used car manager and we had 8 vehicles that are aged units that he wants to just sell and move on.  I created specials with comments.  The page got filled up nicely and now the site has more great content.  After that I got with service manager and went over some promotions that he gave me.  The site now has 7 service specials.  That's right I said "SEVEN".  Dealerships miss out on opportunities by not updating service specials or keeping 1 generic special.

Social Media:

I have not begun to focus on Facebook, twitter, and G+ but will add my focus when I get back from Internet Sales 20 Group next week.  However, I have created a blogging strategy that I love.  It includes content syndication and it spreads the content virally.  For those of you that would like to know how I do that, just take a look at how I have been marketing my own business (Dealer eTraining).  I believe that content needs to be visible and easy to find.  I have employed the same strategy to brand my own name and get known by industry people at conferences in the last 4 years.  The strategy is to connect multiple social networks and blogs together using one platform.  For blogs, I use posterous, blogspot, wordpress, and tumblr.  I will have the dealership outsourced graphic designer work on designing these blogs so they look amazing.  We have been adding content that includes videos, pictures, spy photos, community events, celebrity information, interesting news, dealership information, and just anything that will catch people's eyes and create engagement.  It has only been 1 week so I cannot report changes yet.  However, over time we should see a big increase.  Every blog is optimized with proper keywords, backlinks, and content.

I got the dealership signed up with Pinterest and read a lot on it.  I saw what Jim Ziegler has been teaching and saw how major Pinterest players operated to drive traffic.  I implemented the strategy and it took me all of 2 hours.  The Pinterest profile now has over 50 images and some were re-pinned while others were originally and strategically posted to drive traffic to the dealership website.  As time progresses we will continue to optimize the profile even further.

Videos/Pictures:

I got started on a basic cost effective VSEO strategy.  Last week we implemented a strategy to have sales people fill out a form.  We revised the form to have 8 questions with a waiver.  We have started gaining traction and filmed a few happy customers.  The testimonials got uploaded to not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 of the most power video search engines out there.  We took these testimonials and created blog content on our syndicated channels as well.  We used sites like youtube, vimeo, daily motion, and metacafe.

I did some research the other day to see which photo sharing sites are best for seo and everything else and as always Flickr was the choice.  I started a Flickr account and had 40 pictures optimized for starters.  I also connected Flickr with Pinterest as they work well together.  I discovered this by researching it and reading about it.  We take pictures of guests at delivery time.

Traditional Advertising:

The dealership advertises in the local newspaper on weekends.  Last week when I was given the advertisement I saw a few major things missing.  The dealership advertised their local number and there was no call tracking to see how many calls we get off the advertisement.  Well I noticed that our current call monitoring solution has 2 extra phone numbers not being used so I placed one of the numbers to start tracking those calls.  I also saw no QR codes (no surprise).  A lot of dealerships still do not know much about it.  I looked over the ads for all competing dealerships in the area and no one else had QR codes.  I created a QR code for new car inventory on the dealer website as well as a separate one for used inventory and placed them on the add next to new and pre-owned.

Local Brochure:

The owner of the dealership was getting her nails done and saw a plain brochure at the salon.  She brought it to my attention and would like something similar but created.  I started working on ideas on how to digital enhance it with QR codes, social media, and an online reputation, all in a fold-able brochure.


Dealership Process and Operations:

Last night I was handed a book from the OEM that goes to the owner of the dealership.  It talks about performance of sales, internet lead management, and service.  It has national averages, store averages, and goals of what needs to be accomplished.  I even got to read the customer comments to gather an idea of what practices that I need to fix and train on in the store so that we can improve the customer experience in the store while creating better communication.  In the next few weeks I will be training various departments on CRM, communication, and best customer practices.

So far...that is all we have for the first 2 weeks.  I feel like we have already come a very long way.  It is exciting for me because I get back to my roots of not only digital marketing and managing Internet operations but I get to focus on store processes.  I really love what I do and I am passionate about it.  If anyone has questions, always feel free to contact me. 

http://dealeretraining.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dealeretraining

http://www.drivingsales.com/ratings/companies/dealer-etraining

Views: 331

Tags: automotive digital marketing, automotive internet consultants, automotive internet trainers, automotive reputation management, automotive seo, dealer etraining, stan sher

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Comment by Stan Sher on October 22, 2012 at 10:10am
Thanks. My goal is to really show the industry what gets done, how it gets done and to understand the importance of it. Too many experts out there can pitch and talk about how great they are. I wanted to do something different. I wanted actions to speak louder then words.
Comment by Todd Vowell on October 22, 2012 at 8:40am

Stan The Man, one of the best batch of blogs ever on ADM. When you started this great idea last week and got all that "doom and gloom" from "Eeyore Alley" , I was afraid you would pull it. This week’s report is even better, filled with so much meat. KEEP IT UP! Car dealers can observe someone so confident, you are willing to pull the curtain back basically in real time for all to see (good or bad). Here's to you and I am rooting for you big time! Rock n Roll Stan, ROCK N ROLL!

Comment by Stan Sher on October 21, 2012 at 11:25pm
Thanks. Sarah, I don't just pin car stuff. I made it diverse.
Comment by Steve Duff on October 21, 2012 at 7:47pm

Great stuff Stan!!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 21, 2012 at 2:13pm
Stan, thank you for the continuation of this series. This is a highly informative look into the process of improving a dealership's marketing, lead generation and sales opportunity management. Keep this series going and you have the makings of an all time classic! Regardless of the rate of progress, or how much actually "sticks", it is enlightening for all ADM members to be able to see the issues and how they are resolved.
Comment by Sarah Lee Marks on October 21, 2012 at 10:51am

nicely done. Great suggestions and alot of work for one person. Will you have eleads handling your  seo-sem on the website? As for Pinterest, I am wary of looking too spammy when my "love" for cars makes me want to post such content. 

Comment by Stan Sher on October 20, 2012 at 8:20pm
Thank you
Comment by Tom Gorham on October 20, 2012 at 6:03pm

Stan, very impressive.  I, like you, would have chosen VinSolutions for the CRM (and website).  But the dealer always decides what's best on his/her criteria.

I think you have a great plan.  I'm waiting to see how it implements.  Kudos for checking Jim Ziegler's Pinterest page.  He's a bull dog.  I love everything he's doing there but you have to adjust for what he's doing as a consultant and what a dealer would do with customers. 

Love it all and am waiting for the next update.

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