Working hard and taking care of the customers within your brick and mortar operation should always be the priority and are critical to every dealer's success. However, to be successful in today's market requires more than just hard work; it requires working hard and working smart. Just as systems and processes must be put into place to handle the customers coming into your store, key systems and processes must be put into place for the digital side of your business. At the 2008 Dealer Expo, Paul Leinberger, Ph.D and founder of Tdi Consulting gave a presentation for the MIC members in which he stated that to thrive and survive in 2008, one of the key components would require making "Digital Strategy" the heart of your business. Let's take a look at seven powerful digital strategies that when implemented correctly will improve dealership performance.
While recently performing a live training session for a major OEM, I had an attendee raise his hand and ask a very simple question: "Do you feel that a website is really necessary?" I was flabbergasted... this question should have been asked in 1988 not 2008, right? But then I put myself in his situation: My office manager called in sick, the floor checker has shown up and wants someone to hold his hand, I've got a customer in service who is upset, three sales people in a 'huddle' smoking on the front sidewalk and two customers on the showroom without anyone assisting them. The deposit needs to go to the bank, and I really need to look at cash flow to see if I can pay the floor checker. Oh yeah, my wife just called to remind me that I have a dentist appointment that I've already cancelled three times and swore I wouldn't miss. "Don't forget Kylie's game tonight, you promised you wouldn't be late," she says. Now that I had put myself into this dealer's perspective, I realized that maybe his question wasn't that absurd after all, and perhaps he was putting first things first. But then I came to my senses that was still an absurd question!
Website & E-mail
The percentage of customers visiting OEM and dealer websites prior to purchase is staggering. Not only must you have a website and e-mail account, your site should have current model information, easy-to-print brochures, a quote request interface, and most importantly, your site should be updated regularly. Many strong third-party providers can handle your website and e-mail for a reasonable amount.
Internet Lead Management
You can generate Internet sales leads from your website and the OEM sites, but you can also generate leads from third-party sources such as cycletrader.com. According to a recent study by Smart Revenue, more than 70% of Internet shoppers will look for alternatives if they do not receive a timely response to their online quote requests. Internet lead management is here to stay and a great way to dig out an extra five to 10 units per month, but it requ...