competition

Two Tips to Differentiate Your Dealership from 99 percent Of Competitors

by Brian Cox

In order to decrease bounce rates, if a customer clicks on an ad – whether that’s a banner ad, PPC, email ad or one specifically targeted for a mobile device – it is not a good practice to simply take that customer to your home page. Forcing a consumer to then do a second search for the information promised in the ad is a recipe for failure. Best practices prove that creating landing pages relevant to the ad itself result in higher conversion rates.

Wistia Co-founder and CEO, Chris Savage, revealed in a recent blog that out of the estimated 375,000 landing pages in existence, only 0.25 percent use video. That statistic could offer an immediate opportunity for dealerships. By simply incorporating video content into a landing page, you’ll be differentiating yourself from 99.75 percent of not just the automobile industry, but ALL industries, according to Savage’s study.

It’s a well-known fact that video converts better than any other medium. Consumers love video content and businesses are working hard to create it and get it published. Social media platforms are begging popular music artists, news media and other top video content publishers to publish directly to their platforms. In exchange, these platforms offer a reach beyond what these companies can expect to get through simply linking to a video on YouTube, or any other video publishing platform. Because consumers are responding so positively to video content, it makes perfect sense that delivering that content on a landing page engages your customers better and increases conversion rates.

Just as important, however, is to ensure that the video content is engaging. Another tidbit revealed by Mr. Savage is that you are just as likely to lose a viewer’s interest in the first 2 percent of your video (the nose) as you are in the 96 percent that is the body. His advice is that viewers prefer jumping right into useful content and will drop off when introductions and brand offerings flood the beginning of the video.

So, if we look at this data, an effective video marketing strategy that could set a dealership apart from its competitors should incorporate video content into landing pages. This video content must be relevant, engaging and begin with the content promised, rather than lengthy intros or branding. These two things could very well result in dealerships seeing higher conversion rates, more leads and more car sales.

Don’t Let Your “House Of Cards” Get Knocked Down By Your Competition

by Tim James

“We work too hard to come within arm’s reach of the prize only to have our hands cut off just before we seize it. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there is but one rule – hunt or be hunted.” – Frank Underwood, as played by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix television series, House of Cards.

This quote epitomizes the struggle that car dealers face daily – whether they are trying to close a deal, struggling with a vendor or battling their competitors. However, that quote also contains valuable advice. To succeed in this industry – whether you’re a dealer or a vendor – you face daily challenges throughout every aspect of your business. These range from acquiring new business, to providing exceptional customer service, to the day- to-day management of your employees. You must not stall your efforts before you reach your prize, as there is always someone breathing down your neck just waiting to snatch it before you can.

There are a lot of pieces that comprise the puzzle that, when completed, leads to success. Company culture, efficient processes, training, and customer loyalty, are some of the foundations that no business can survive without. Dealers rely on their managers, managers rely on their employees. One weak link can wreak havoc within an organization and result in a lost sale, a lost (valuable) employee, or worse – a lost customer.

If you’ve ever built a house of cards in real life, you know that they take patience, a steady hand, a strategy and that every card is dependent on the other. Just like building a house of cards, all of these things are necessary to succeed. And each level in the house needs to be sturdy and well thought out. For, if they’re not, the house will fail to reach the height it is capable of and will probably come crashing down for you to rebuild.

The first level will always be your staff – from the dealer to the porter. They are the foundation. Each subsequent level comprises of an additional component from administration, service, marketing, technology, and sales. And each of these components brings something to your table to assist you in climbing to the top of the food chain in our industry. It is important to have a strategy, have patience and put any plans in place with a steady hand. Failure in any of these areas could very well prevent your organization from achieving its full potential.

Pay attention to trends. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Watch what your competition is doing, but don’t chase after shiny new objects just because your competition is doing it. Your success isn’t dependent on you doing the same things that your competition is doing, it’s dependent on you going above and beyond your competition, creating an entirely higher standard of expectation for your prospects and your customers. This is the effort required to become the best, and equally required to stay the best, and keep your house of cards from falling down.

Winning Is Knowing The Rules Better Than Your Competitor

by Brian Cox

On January 11, the New England Patriots faced the Baltimore Ravens in a contest that would dictate which team moved onto the AFC Championship game. Going into the game as heavy favorites to win, the Patriots quickly found themselves losing the game 14-0 quickly. Undeterred, they powered through trading touchdowns with the Ravens for the remainder of the game to ultimately win. The real story that comes out of this win, however, is how the Patriots reached into their bag ‘o tricks to achieve what they had come to – win.

Several players on the Ravens were quoted as follows in an article in the Boston Globe

“They pulled out every trick play in the book” – Chris Canty, Ravens defensive end.

“They couldn’t just drive the ball down on us regular. They had to do something tricky.” – Ladarius Webb, Ravens cornerback.

“You’ve seen one gimmick, you’ve seen them all.” — Terrell Suggs, Ravens linebacker.

And the most profound…

“It’s not something that anybody’s ever done before.” – John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach.

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens were not just upset that they had lost, but that they had done so because of what they deemed trickery on the part of the Patriots. Their anger, however, was misdirected as the Patriots did nothing wrong, according to the NFL rules.

New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, summed it up best in his reply to their criticisms when he said, “Maybe those guys got to study the rule book and figure it out? We obviously knew what we were doing.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did. Any other team in the NFL could have pulled off the plays and formations that the Patriots did which helped them win that game – but nobody ever had. By knowing the rules and using them to his team’s advantage, he was able to throw unexpected plays and confuse his opponents enough to win. On the other side of the field, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, was complaining about the rules and how the Patriots won. He was so incensed during the game that he even, literally, cried foul (and got one) when he ran onto the field to argue with officials.

Being successful in business and marketing is no different. Dealerships have so many rules placed on them by so many different regulating bodies, it’s surprising that they can say anything more than “Here is our car. You should buy it.” To win in the automotive industry, you have to be a leader.

Business leaders are creative. They find ways to innovate and do things that their competitors aren’t. They know the rules of the game backwards and forwards. They find strategies and incorporate plays that nobody else does, and then use them to win. Whether that’s winning a new customer, a star employee or simply sales volume, they have thought about all scenarios and crafted strategies to achieve them. There are plenty of books that tell you how to be a successful leader, run a successful business, have success in marketing and hire superstars. Every business has access to those resources. Success lies in not only knowing the rules but in knowing the rules so well that, when you pull out that trick play, your competition doesn’t know what hit them.

Building Rapport Before the Lead Is the Way to Win the Sale

By Tim James

In my last blog article, I discussed the importance of building rapport with leads through the use of “Why Buy From Me” and “Lead Response” videos personalized for each customer. Now I would like to take this one step further — Building rapport should in fact start much earlier than simply upon the receipt of a lead.

Think about the first contact a customer has with your dealership. Chances are good that they either went to your website, or found a vehicle that matched their interest on a third party site. At this point, detailed descriptions, images and video walkarounds can certainly make your vehicle stand out from the others. But how about further increasing the probability that the customer chooses to deal with you over any competition? How about building trust and rapport at this first entry point instead of waiting for them to put in their personal information and enter your CRM as a lead?

Just as you can integrate video walkarounds of the vehicle on VDP pages, you can also integrate your “Why Buy From Us” or “Why Buy From Me” videos into your vehicle display pages, as well as your most visited page on your website – your homepage. Sell The Dealership, Sell Yourself, Sell The Car…This simple rule can have a significant impact on the number of shoppers who see your online advertisements and ultimately trust you enough to reach out to you and inquire about a vehicle. And a HUGE impact on your sales once the customer arrives on your lot.

These actions help to build rapport and establish trust prior to receiving a lead, making the process of contacting the customer and engaging them that much easier when you do receive a lead. The fact is that you can build so much likeability and trust with a shopper that they decide that “you” are the dealership or sales person that they want to do business with, even before they have landed on a specific vehicle. You will even have shoppers who call you, email you, or even just show up at your dealership, without having settled on an exact vehicle, simply because they like and trust your dealership, or one of your salespeople. They thus reach out to you to help them find the right vehicle. Combine the above actions with walkaround videos and personalized video e-mails and you’ll find it much easier to win over a customer, leaving your competition in the dust.

Start creating rapport at the first touch-point, otherwise you could find yourself competing with four other dealers for the potential customer’s attention. A successful sales career is all about building relationships. The earlier in the car buying process that you can accomplish this, the easier it will be to engage a customer, more customers will show up for test drives, and you will haggle significantly less over price. You will get more sales and higher gross, because you are the good guys and the shopper wants to do business with YOU!