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If My Ads Won't Bring Them, Santa Will (and other misguided beliefs)

If the auto industry is living on one thing right now, it's hope. Not that hope isn't good, quite the opposite. But if your plan to drive traffic, sales and retention is based on the hope that people will see your ad, or that people will stop right off the freeway because your sign is there, please stop and think again.

Recently I was at a client, talking with a "non-Internet" salesperson. This person was complaining about the prospect of taking web leads since they were 'already responsible for about 600 orphans' in their system. Talk about kicking a gift horse in the mouth, but game on!

What you believe and what you perpetuate will, like it or not, manifest itself for you. Why is a person who contacts you via an email any less of a customer? Between 15 and 20% of Internet leads buy from the first store they contact. About 70% buy from a subsequent store. What are we doing or better yet not doing with our customers?

In a meeting last week, an OEM National Manager related a story about a neighbor of theirs. This person had submitted leads to all their area stores and was told by everyone that responded (not all did) that the request was for a vehicle that was not available in the entire region due to allocation not being built that way. Well, a dealer about 300 miles away got this person's next lead, found the car inbound to a dealer about 1,700 miles away, traded for it, shipped it in, the person flew in one way and drove their new car home (over 7 hours).

You could have the 'best' ads in the world (even online!), the 'best' inventory and even the 'best' facility, but you can't count on those to deliver customers (especially completely satisfied ones) to you...and neither will Santa (my sincere apologies to the jolly one).

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

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Tags: CRM, IM@CS, Internet, advertising, auto, best, consulting, customers, dealership, delivery, More…follow, online, practices, price, retail, sales, salesmanship, satisfaction, up

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 1, 2008 at 9:32pm
Amen...

Check out the Forum post i published in the Reputation management section about the Ford Expedition i bought today...
Comment by Ray McGowan on December 1, 2008 at 8:54pm
Hi Gary,
Your story about the customer driving 7 hours in not to be taken lightly. Most frequently many ISMs' and salespeople just don't work hard enough for business. I know this all too well because as someone who worked for a dealer delivering 1400 new per month, we never, ever left any stone unturned. If we had to ship, swap or fly a customer into the dealership we did it. Customers drove away with our nameplate and we built our reputation on doing what was needed to satisfy a client. It amazes me how many deals slip through when all they have to do is work smart.

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