As I prepare for an upcoming Workshop, a question comes to mind that I would like to ask. How well do you sell yourself? Or better yet, how well do you sell your website? Driving traffic to your website, no matter whether it is for new business or servicing existing business, will positively influence the bottom line.
JTZ Enterprise had a website owner come to us last month and ask if we would spend some time with them in order to ‘catch up’ their site. This dealer had recently signed up with a new financing source, spruced up the inventory and improved on their public image approach. They were wanting to try some new forms of media advertising and wanted to include their website address in all advertisements. They have been JTZ clients for years and we were only eager to improve their Internet image.
They did a lot of things right that we see other dealers sometimes miss. First, they reviewed their site and realized that they needed to let their Webmaster in on some of the new things going on in their dealership. You should make sure your website always adequately reflects your dealership and its sales approach. You cannot get by with designing a site and never updating it. It is up to you as a site owner to ask your Webmaster to help you keep your site up with the times.
The next thing this dealer did right was that once the site was completely updated, they included their URL in all other forms of advertising including business cards, letterheads, newspaper ads, commercials and road signs. It reminded me of the time a retail site owner proudly showed us their new TV commercial. At the end he asked what I thought and I said, “It looked nice, but why didn’t you mention your website address?” His website includes a dozen pages of information about him, his business and his product that could not possibly fit in a thirty second commercial. It cost him a considerable amount to have the URL added later.
Another area that I see some site owners do better than others is the word of mouth advertising. All your customers should be told you have a website and be given the address. One of our dealer’s sites has an Online Payment Page. It is a BHPH lot and the owner thought the page might be a good idea. After two years and only a handful of payments he had just about given up on the page. He then hired a new salesperson last October and this new employee was excited enough about the site to mention it to all new customers for which he did the paperwork. Now they average 5-10 online payments a week.
Another site owner selling highline vehicles actively promotes his Secure Online Credit Application. Our server’s traffic reports indicate this dealer gets far more completed online credit applications than any of our other dealers, hands down. If you have worked so hard creating and updating your website with your Webmaster, why not show it off?
The last and probably the most overlooked item is with dealers’ signs. Many dealers work too many hours and eventually they all have to go home. When they do that doesn’t mean the customers stop coming. If a customer comes in after hours and gets excited about one of your units, you already know that customer needs to get to you ASAP. If they see your web address in a Window Sticker, written on your office window or included on your roadside sign, you have a better chance of reeling this one in! They can go home to their computer and go straight to your site. Now they are already getting your sales approach and obtaining all the information and photos of the unit they want. Next they can fill out a credit application, look for similar vehicles, e-mail you and all the while they are building excitement about their next purchase. At the same time the dealer is enjoying dinner or time with the family.
Make sure your site sells your dealership and your dealership sells your site. If you have salespeople, instruct them to tell all customers to visit your website. Even if the customer cannot be sold a car now, they will remember your URL and visit your site. They may even tell a friend that is in the market about your website. One thing is certain; your customer will not visit your site if you don’t tell them about it.