What would you think if I told you there was a “brand new” way to sell cars, and make customers happy...
It goes like this –
When customers come on your lot you must stay hidden inside the store, lock the doors, and send no one outside. The customer will wander your lot for a bit, and sometimes they find something they want. Make sure not to interrupt this process! Do NOT attempt to give the customer(s) a reason to decide on driving your particular vehicle, other than the vehicle itself. If the customer selects your vehicle they will eventually come inside and pay more for the vehicle then you would ever hope.
I think most managers with some time behind the desk would not buy into this story, no matter who was telling it. A lot of things have changed about our industry, and about our customers. There is however, ONE thing that will never change in our business: If you don't slow the customer down and build value in yourself, your store, your methods, and your vehicles… if you ever do sell that vehicle, it likely will not be a very profitable sale for your company.
This is one of the fundamental truths of the car business, and it will never change. But in our industry a lot of other things have changed in the last ten years. Our customers are all online and many dealers are falling behind trying to understand all these changes, rather than just applying the simple fundamental truth of our business to these new virtual storefronts. The principles the auto industry was built upon, will be the same principles sucessful dealers will use to dominate in the new marketplace.
If your store is currently experiencing more prospects walking on your actual lot in a day than you have on your website in a day - then you either have one terrible website, or one heck of a store! For most dealers, they have at least 10 times as many prospects experiencing their products online in day than they have in the store. Many dealers spend an average cost of $500+ on each customer that drives onto their lot. They account for this hefty investment in just a single opportunity by training their staff, and by designing all elements of their business to build value in everything they do for the customer. They never let the car's inherent value alone dictate the price of the deal, they go on service walks - and they sell, sell, sell the dealership. . Most successful stores understand that in fact BUILDING VALUE is what they actually "do" for a living. And they do it so well that they can afford to pay $500 per opportunity and still make a profit!
(think about it,)
Studies show 80% of prospects will visit a company’s web site before going into a dealership for a test drive. Dealer's main websites are literally packed with prospects that are virtually being turned away. In terms of building value adding content for their "virtual store",(the one packed with opportunities) most dealers currently invest literally nothing in content like this. Industry leaders have addressed the need to build value at this point in the process, but many of them also stop short of explaining exactly “how” to do that.
If stores have found a way to convert a $500 investment in each opportunity on the lot, surely there is already a way to apply these fundamentals online and build value for these hundreds of extra opportunities, right? Surely as managers we have already committed to spending at least $5 dollars per hit on our websites - putting the content THERE for them to access, content that will build value in the rest of our processes. I mean there is no way we are just letting the customers wander our “virtual” lots and pick out their own cars online, right? Sadly, in most markets this is exactly the case. Dealers are not unleashing the value of their store until after the customer has picked their dealership, or not at all if the customer picks the competition’s dealership instead. Why is that?
For many dealers, they are experiencing hundreds if not literally thousands of hits already on their website every month. Those hits are not accidents, or a random number - they are missed opportunities. That number, minus your set appointments is the number of prospects that were not impressed with your presentation online. That should alarm you. It would be hard to overstate how wasted that traffic typically is... I have seen desk managers levitate from their seats, and explode at the site of a missed prospect driving away on the lot. (at $500 it is hard to blame them) Yet these massive numbers of missed opportunities seem to stun no one, they seem to bother no one. The answer to every problem online for dealers - is the same answer as it is on the lot. Build More Value!
Video is the way to do this! With the power of well messaged videos, your managers can be everywhere all the time online. They can be there, sitting in every car you advertise on the internet ready to help your store SELL whenever a customer takes an interest in that car! They will always be available – and available in a great mood, wearing their favorite tie, giving their best presentation to the customer, perfectly! This will affect not only the 80% of your customers that already swing you website by before deciding on an appointment with you company - but also for every customer that searches for a car that is in your inventory. Every single car your store advertises for should return the favor, and be out advertising on behalf of your store, even if that unit is sold already.
This type of distribution for video is not only FREE, it is designed and presented to your actual prospects at the Zero Moment of Truth, where it matters! (http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/) There is already a group here on DealerELITE about the Zero Moment of Truth. I joined the other day - I was only the 2nd member... this is a sad testimonial about the state of our awareness as an industry on this issue that will ultimately shape our collective futures. Please join in at this group and have a look at the video series above that GOOGLE produced about this imperative moment in the customer decision process. The dealers that understand this, and grasp it - will be the dealers that find success in the next 5 years.
The question is WHY hasn't this happened everywhere already? It surely seems like an obvious thing to do for dealers. The problem is that production companies that produce videos are usually very expensive, they charge per-video (content piece), and the videos are not very well messaged. Many video companies are great at making videos, but they are NOT salespeople at heart and they don't understand which messages the dealer needs to convey to be effective with the potential customer. When it comes to video,” the quality of your videos, directly reflect the quality of your brand or business”. Many dealers have recently tried low budget ways to produce content and drive sales. Compared with not making videos, this can be very effective. However compared with quality videos, that actually enhance brand value and are delivered at the "zero moment of truth" – truly amateur videos hardly scratch the surface of the potential effect of video on customers. In some cases, they may actually even hurt dealerships when the quality of the videos is poor.
----If your videos are two star, what does that say about your store?-----
My company currently makes these types of videos for Auto Dealerships exclusively and the response has been phenomenal! (www.whatsnext.pro) We custom design entire video programs for dealers across the country and produce the entire program at once leaving the dealer with an immediate jolt of content to power their SEO, and enhance brand building. Our programs consist of individual component videos for dealerships and dealer-groups under specific topic headings like Brand Statements, Products Presentations, Department Statements, Testimonials, etc. We also help dealers understand how to feature these videos not only on their websites, but also at the other points of sale online. This allows dealers to affect the customer’s perceptions BEFORE they have decided what they want already. This also allows dealers to give prospects every last reason to select their store out of all the available options. The market for what we do for dealers has been amazing, but we will not be able to help every store in the country even if we wanted to. Savvy dealers need to learn how to produce these videos for themselves, and either hire or outsource the editing element. Every dealership with a website should work to understand effective messaging with video, and take advantage of those empty video players on Autotrader.com, and on all those other fancy websites dealers have been buying up for the last 3 years.
What's Next Media is announcing now that we intend to be a FREE resource for all DealerELITE members regarding the producing of this content. We are going to give dealers the tools to understand how to make real videos with real messages, and how to actually get these videos in front of your customers. The greatest thing about investing in video for your business is that videos cost NOTHING to maintain. They will be there for years working on the fundamental principle of "building value for your store". Soon to come will be instructional videos on how to acquire basic equipment and how to make very SOLID videos and testimonials for your store, and for your customers. Also, we will be doing many more blogs about how, and where to put these videos so that they go out and find customers for you and bring them back to the “virtual lot” with them. We want to help you experience the same results with video and proper messaging as our customers here in Seattle have. (www.whatsnext.pro). The opportunity in your market is huge! If you still don’t believe me go ask your internet manager how many hits, actual hits you get on the website every month. Ask yourself, “What would setting appointments on even an additional 10% of those opportunities do for your monthly outlook?” For most of us, it would be more business then what we are currently doing in the main store.
So stay tuned… This is how dealers can band together and fight “TRUE-CAR”, and similar outfits- by doing our jobs and building value in our products where the customers are: ONLINE. If we don’t build proper value in our products we can’t expect someone else not to sell them too, for less money! We CAN build gross online, and so can YOU! Join the Fight at www.whatsnext.pro!
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