The Internet is the New Showroom

With up to 99% of people going online to find their next vehicle, the Internet is the new showroom. It used to be that folks would walk the lot and utilize the showroom sales consultants as their information source. Long gone are those days! Salespeople no longer come in at the beginning of the process. Folks are now utilizing the Internet to gather information to make a buying decision and your website is now the new showroom. Your internet sales should equate to at least 50% of your total business and if it is not, you are missing out on massive opportunity, sales and profits. Below you will find the most common Internet Sales challenges that exist in the automotive sales industry today, and if applicable to you and your dealership, how we can assist in solving the challenges:

1. Lack of Post Pandemic Internet Sales Strategies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people prefer to shop and communicate and that preference is to do both online, and car sales is no different. Many dealerships tried to conduct business as they always did and lost a ton of sales because they weren’t able to accommodate their customers and did not have the right strategy and processes in place. Questions arose when processes failed and dealerships just didn’t know how to adapt. It was those that adapted quickly that no only survived, but thrived during these unprecedented times. As horrific as these times are, customers have enjoyed the convenience of being able to handle most of their car buying needs online, from the comfort of their own home, and for many, this is now the expectation. Are you prepared?

If a lack of a post pandemic internet sales strategy is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Provide you with a virtual "Road to the Appointment" process & script.
  • Provide you with a virtual "Road to the Sale" process & script.
  • Provide and train your people on post pandemic rebuttals & objections.
  • Set up your CRM with pandemic processes/action plans.
  • Set up your CRM with pandemic email templates/scripts/voicemails.
  • Train your people on post pandemic strategies and T.O. process.

2. An Improperly Designed Infrastructure.

Even though Internet Sales is the lifeline of the dealership, most dealerships don’t have the proper Internet sales infrastructure. Most dealerships are upside down and invest more HR on the showroom sales floor and neglect the Internet Sales team, even though that is where the business is. Other dealerships understand that Internet sales is an area they should focus on, but only place one person in the department and make it a “one-man show”. The problem is that if your dealership is getting 500 internet leads and you have a one man show, how can you really expect one person to handle all of those potential buyers? If there were 500 people walking into the showroom, would you only allocate 1 person? Other dealerships have their Internet leads round-robbined to the showroom sales floor, which is way better than a one-man show, however, what happens when those sales people are doing product presentations, demo drives and deliveries? Or it is their day off? Who is handling those leads effectively? Do you have enough people to follow-up and engage with your customers the right way, based on your lead volume? Do you have the right mix of people? To succeed, you must customize your infrastructure based on your dealership situation and needs to sell more cars.

If an improperly designed infrastructure is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Identify and create the best infrastructure for your dealership.
  • Recruit and hire the right people.
  • Design the best mix of people, placed in the right seats.
  • Create the best schedule for your people.
  • Determine the appropriate lead allocation.
  • Create the most effective processes for your Internet Sales initiatives.

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3. The Wrong People Handling Internet Leads.

Unfortunately, many dealerships have the WRONG people handling their Internet leads. Too often, dealerships have the inexperienced, extremely basic, front line people handling the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the business. If statistics show that 99% of people go online first, why are we making the most inexperienced individuals the face of the customer first impression? Others have someone running their Internet Department that has absolutely no management experience, or has no car sales experience, or even worse, a salesperson who has failed on the showroom floor and they are given an opportunity in the internet department, before being fired. If they didn’t make it on the showroom floor, we can promise you that they will not do a good job in the Internet Department. It is a sad truth that dealership management will put more faith in salespeople and sales managers, than in their internet coordinators, their BDC reps, and their Internet Directors. They really should be equally important and If you want to grow your internet sales business, having the RIGHT people in place is KEY!

If having the wrong people handling your Internet leads is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Interview your current staff to determine the fit.
  • Create ads to attract the right people.
  • Place ads in highest visited places.
  • Screen and interview potential candidates.
  • Hire the right people to handle your Internet leads.
  • Train your current staff to train your new staff.

4. Lack of Internet Sales Training.

The automotive industry is plagued with a 70% attrition rate and a large factor in that devastating statistic is a lack of training. If a training investment is made by the dealership, it is usually in the areas of showroom sales, F & I, service, etc., rather than Internet Sales. If a dealership has untrained, or barely trained, or improperly trained people handling their Internet leads, chances are, they are experiencing subpar Internet Sales results. It’s not good enough to hire a bunch of people and put them in a room and have them simply take care of the leads. There is a real science to handling Internet leads based on communication, engagement, and follow-up. Additionally, every dealership needs to have the Internet sales processes required for Internet operations in 2020, including digital retailing, the virtual sales process, inbound/outbound phone-text-email- social-video-chat communications, the road to the appointment process, TO process and more. In order to perpetuate those processes, it is essential to have CRM training designed around those particular operations. It is also extremely important to know what to say, when to say it, how to say it and why to say it, in order to overcome objections, identify, meet and exceed expectations, and close appointments that actually show.

If a lack of Internet Sales training is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Train your people on the road to the appointment.
  • Train your people on objections and rebuttals.
  • Teach your people the most important processes for operations in 2020.
  • Train your people on CRM processes, action plans, statuses & follow-ups.
  • Train your people on closing skills.
  • Teach your people how to build value for appointments that show.

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5. Lack of Tools & Resources.

In this era of advanced technology, it is crucial to have all of the necessary Internet Sales tools and resources to close more appointments and sell more cars. Most dealerships have progressed enough to at least possess phones and a CRM, however many lack the necessary tools and resources to dominate in today’s market and really differentiate themselves from the competition, such as video email, video text message capabilities, CRM integrations (social media, inventory, video, text), web cameras and headsets, video conferencing software for Internet team members to be successful, graphic design, social media tools such as Hootsuite, BombBomb, etc. While not having these Internet Sales tools and resources won’t be the demise of the dealership, they will help the dealership save time and money, be more productive, retain team members, sell more cars and increase profits because they will help everyone to be more productive, efficient and effective. Someone can walk to work and someone can drive to work. While the result is the same, the means to get there and the time it takes are worlds apart.

If a lack of tools and resources is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Identify which tools and resources you currently have.
  • Perform a SWOT assessment of your current tools and resources.
  • Identify which tools and resources are needed to be more effective.
  • Find the best vendor partners in the industry for those tools and resources.
  • Liaison with potential vendors to consult in the best setup of tools and resources.
  • Assist in training of your tools and resources and provide best practices.

6. A Broken, Misused & Underutilized CRM.

90% of dealership CRMs are broken. They have either never been set-up correctly, have antiquated templates and scripts, the staff has no idea how to even use it and has never been trained, they aren’t held accountable, or all of the above. Dealers are spending thousands of dollars on expensive CRM systems and don’t even know how they work, or have knowledge of all the capabilities the tool possesses. We estimate that dealers LOSE 1.4 MILLION dollars a year because people are NOT using the CRM correctly. Additionally, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Most dealerships use their CRMs to store data and don’t even do that correctly, nevermind use it for relationship management. Do you really believe that your employees including your sales, management, or BDC employees are actually developing & cultivating healthy/powerful relationships with your customers? Do you believe you are maximizing your be-backs? Do you believe that you are maximizing your prior customers? Do you believe that you are maximizing every service opportunity?

If a broken, misused, and underutilized CRM is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Consult on your current CRM setup, content and usage.
  • Design CRM action plans to handle your specific leads.
  • Provide content such as email templates, scripts and voicemail scripts.
  • Set up your CRM with processes to maximize follow-up on your Internet Leads.
  • Train your team on using cutting edge work flows, statuses and processes.
  • Support your team and hold them accountable to an effective CRM program.

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7. Animosity Between The Showroom & Internet Departments.

A lot of dealerships face animosity between the Showroom and Internet Departments. The Showroom floor may feel like the Internet Department is taking all of their leads and the Internet Department may feel like the Showroom floor is lazy and doesn’t convert well after appointments are set and show. They may feel that skating is going on between the departments. In severe cases, instead of working together synergistically, or even “tolerating” one another, there is actual sabotage happening between the showroom sales floor and the Internet Department, even going as far as salespeople and sales managers deleting showroom visits. Arguments are had and unprofessionalism gleams brightly both in the office and on the showroom floor, in front of customers.There may not be proper management involvement, or the communication structure may be broken. The Internet/BDC members should be involved in the daily sales meetings. The Internet Department should be given all information regarding incentives, current advertising plan and examples. Sales managers should be reviewing the overaged units with the Internet team. The Internet Department may feel neglected and/or under appreciated and may not be taken seriously. We can promise you that if you get your Internet and Showroom Sales departments to not only get along, but actually look out for each other and work together synergistically for the same common mission and goals, your dealership will sell more cars, more often and more profitably!

If animosity between the Showroom and Internet Departments is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Consult on the current situation between the Showroom and Internet Departments.
  • Create processes to bridge the gap between the Showroom and Internet Departments.
  • Provide team building exercises for the Showroom and Internet Departments.
  • Train on communication skills.
  • Train on accountability skills.
  • Provide processes for management meetings, sales/incentive/unit updates, etc.

8. Lack Of An Effective Internet Lead Generation Strategy

Another top challenge dealerships face when it comes to Internet Sales is a lack of an effective Internet lead generation strategy. Unfortunately, most dealers’ approach consists of turning on the lead source and then waiting to see what comes through. Dealerships have a hard time identifying which lead source providers to utilize and don’t necessarily understand how to make that determination and end up throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. With lead source providers, every dealership should have a strategy in place for sales operations and the overall goals for the business. When creating the right strategy you must identify, is your dealership a volume store, or a “gross profit” store, or both? The answer will dictate what type of lead source provider that is utilized, which online classifieds your dealership will be purchasing ads from, how much you should spend with those providers, and also how to set up the geo-targeted radii for the PMA or DMA of your specific digital footprint. In addition to that, you must determine if you want to sell more new cars, or used cars, or both? Also, do you want to focus on special finance & challenged credit customers? Volume, gross, new car, used car, special finance, or a hybrid of all these types of focus for your market and your community.

If lack of an effective internet lead generation strategy is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Determine how many leads you need to meet sales goals.
  • Determine the right mix of leads needed to meet sales goals.
  • Determine which lead sources are best for your needs.
  • Negotiate pricing on your behalf with the lead sources.
  • Provide scripting to maximize the lead source opportunities.
  • Train on scripting, objections and rebuttals, setting appointments.

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9. A Subpar Digital Marketing Strategy.

In order to do business, a dealership needs opportunities to do business. With all of the possible digital marketing sources available today, it’s no wonder that some dealerships struggle with having a strong digital marketing strategy. There are many ways and many platforms and mediums to utilize and it can become very confusing for most dealerships. You must consider a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategy, a Search Engine Optimization strategy, a blog creation strategy, a retargeting strategy, a conquest marketing strategy, a display advertising strategy, an OTT/Connected TV (Xbox Live, Vudu, Hulu, etc.) strategy, a social media paid advertising strategy, a YouTube advertising strategy, a dynamic inventory advertising strategy. Once you determine the various digital marketing places to take part in, you must identify your ROI on the digital sources and take the time to review the associated reporting. You should know if you can make mid-month adjustments and if your reporting can be verified through Google Analytics and if your digital advertising is tagged through Google Tag Manager. Additionally, to maximize these opportunities, you must have strong processes and the right people, trained the right way, to ensure maximum conversion.

If a subpar digital marketing strategy is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Consult on your current digital marketing strategy.
  • Advise on which digital marketing sources are best suited for you.
  • Assist in setting up the digital marketing sources.
  • Provide scripting for the various digital marketing sources.
  • Recruit and hire the right people to handle the digital marketing sources.
  • Train your people on the most effective processes to convert leads.

10. Overspending On 3rd Party Leads.

Overspending on 3rd party leads is a common challenge today because most dealers know that they need to create opportunities to do business and are willing to pay for those opportunities. However, you can still purchase 3rd party leads and at a good price. What we have found during the course of our 20+ years of experience in automotive, is that the average number of dealerships are overpaying for leads especially when your OEM’s are making policy for their recommendations.The average cost of a 3rd party high priority lead is roughly between $18-$22 per lead. So if you are spending more than $18-$22 per lead, you are massively overpaying for those leads. Furthermore, another issue we find with dealers is a simple math equation. If you add up all of the money you are spending on your website, your SEO, your digital marketing & traditional marketing to drive traffic to your website, banner ads, display ads, retargeting, conquest marketing, social paid advertising plus add up all your API’s, divide them by the number of total leads that you received that month, the bottom line number would be________. For example: $10,000 Spending Budget=75 Leads Generated= $133 AVERAGE COST PER LEAD.

If overspending on 3rd party leads is a challenge for you, Dealer Synergy can help:

  • Consult on your current 3rd party lead source providers.
  • Identify your ROI per 3rd party lead source.
  • Decide which 3rd party lead source providers to keep.
  • Decide which additional 3rd party lead source providers are needed.
  • Negotiate better rates per 3rd party lead source providers.
  • Assist in setting up the 3rd party lead sources appropriately.

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What We Offer

  • A Complete Internet Sales Training Program.
  • Phone Sales Training
  • Objections and Rebuttals Training.
  • Management/Leadership Training.
  • Goals and Projections Training.
  • A Complete Strategy for Post Pandemic Sales.
  • A Complete Internet Sales Infrastructure Design.
  • Recruiting/Staffing for the Best Internet Sales Staff.
  • Internet Sales Tools & Resource Evaluation.
  • CRM Setup, Content, Support and Accountability.
  • Seamless Internet Sales & Showroom Program.
  • Franklin Covey Training.
  • Internet Sales Lead Generation Strategy.
  • Internet Sales Lead Handling Scripts & Processes.
  • Digital Marketing ROI Assessment.
  • 3rd Party Lead Source ROI Assessment.

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