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The Challenge of being a car dealer today

Car dealers have always faced challenges meeting sales quotas. Regardless of the era, some common issues are:

  • How to drive more sales without increasing budget
  • How to leverage technology to create an advantage
  • How to turn the shopper into a buyer

Today’s dealer has an advantage over their predecessors.  The battle is no longer fought exclusively on the actual car lot. But with the increase in areas where leads can be generated from, there is also an increase in knowledge that is necessary. There’s no shortage of information on the internet telling dealers what they need to do.  But if information was the answer, then every dealer would be optimized with the latest technology.  Sometimes change can be so painful, it makes more sense to keep doing things the familiar way.

The basics of online selling may not be so apparent for dealers who have been successful relying on traditional methods for achieving the majority of their sales. The main things necessary to compete online are:

  • Competitive Pricing and Current Rebates
  • Detailed Vehicle Descriptions
  • Vehicle Images

Dealers missing the basics will waste money driving traffic to a site that won’t convert.  It’s surprising the number of opportunities dealers gain by focusing on these 3 areas.  What’s even more surprising is the number of dealers who ignore the basics and live with the results.   It’s not uncommon to see dealers with an advanced digital marketing campaign using SEO, SEM, PPC and retargeting, but driving more traffic to vehicles not optimized for today’s modern shopper.

AIM Experts has created technology to ensure that the basics are automatically always on your website. By providing these essential elements, we can prevent marketing dollars from being wasted by giving your shoppers what they are looking for.  To learn more visit the features section of our website. For a complementary inventory audit, click here.

One of the challenges of owning an automotive technology company

 

The only thing tougher than managing a car dealership with 100 employees is managing a software company with 300 car dealers as clients. Fortunately, we’ve been growing because we focus on solving difficult problems others avoid. We embrace the motto, “if it was easy everyone would do it”. But growth brings more staff. With more staff comes a learning curve, which can bring a mistake. Recently I had a situation where a new hire’s mistake created the potential for five figure expense. The error was corrected with limited impact, but the lesson gained was far more valuable.

When automotive dealers are your customers it’s critical that you say what you’ll deliver, then deliver what you say. Word of mouth has become our best form of marketing, strictly because we deliver what we promise, without excuses. So when the mistake was the result of the new employee trying to please a dealer, but it backfired, it created an opportunity for everyone to learn. One of the most time intensive aspects of leading is investing in people. Businesses don’t fail, but leaders can fail their business.

Here are a few principles I’ve adopted to guide me:

  • Create a culture of “ownership” with the staff
  • Own our successes and failures – without failure success is rare
  • Encourage ongoing education
  • Listen actively to feedback
  • Stand by Your Staff
  • Make decisions swiftly
  • Be flexible
  • Look forward not back

To be a leader in technology requires a culture of creativity and innovation. To serve our dealer clients requires an environment where employees have the ability to make decisions quickly. Creating a culture where there’s no margin for error and people are afraid to make mistakes limits potential. If we aren’t making mistakes we aren’t doing anything of value. However, had the employee tried to cover up the mistake or hide it, that would be a different circumstance. We addressed the mistake, rectified it and moved on. No need to let it linger. When it’s all said and done we are a better company on the other side.

In the long run, mistakes provide an opportunity to analyze where something went wrong. Each employee was hired for a reason and giving them the freedom to do what they do best is part of our growth. If the error is in the best interest of our dealers, it’s much easier to tolerate. Growth can only come with by giving the people who work with you the autonomy to do what they do and stand behind them whether their decision was a success or a learning opportunity.

How Car Dealers Can use Data to Improve their Bottom Line

AIM Automotive Data

AIM Automotive Data

Data is the new gold of the internet age in most industries, but this is especially true in the automotive industry. It is not just a matter of prospecting data for new leads, but also how a dealer is able to collect, mine and use data to sell more cars.  Where dealers were once only competing on price, now they must compete using data to keep ahead of their competitors.

Auto dealers have always used data to help make their decisions, but now the tool box is much larger and much more precise. From pricing tools that accelerate sales to quoting tools that deliver personalized price quotes for customers, dealers are leveraging data to grow revenue.

You can make the term “data” as impressive as you want (analytics, metrics, business intelligence), but it is still worthless if it is not actionable for the dealer. So it’s not only vital to get the data, but you must also have an easy and straightforward way to use it.

For example, most dealers appreciate that price and aged inventory are related – the longer the vehicle sits the less money dealers make. A pricing tool may update the website, but without automatically transferring the vehicle to a specials page, the data failed to improve the dealer’s chances of selling their aged units.

Dealers should tackle data management head on, because if they don’t provide the data then the buyer will find someone that does. Buyers use data to decide which vehicle they are interested in. They want to see all the relevant pricing incentives and will no longer “call-for-price” or click on the “e-price” button. You have literally seconds to either engage the buyer or send them off to another site.

As a former dealer myself, I recognize that the role of the physical car lot is in transition and the role of the “virtual” car lot is becoming more important lot. It is much simpler to determine what the requirements of the physical lot are – just look out your window! The virtual lot, however, can be quite overwhelming with all the many choices out there. The needs and results are not as obvious either with your online presence. Are your dollars getting you what you need to become or stay competitive? Is the thought of changing how you currently manage your data just too overwhelming?

The AIM platform was created as an all-in-one solution, to automate and control the syndication and management of data.  The AIM platform unleashes the power of your data with automation to give dealers a competitive advantage for managing their inventory. AIM makes every vehicle you sell more profitable.  To schedule a free trial, click here.

Dealers Waste Money on PPC with Listings that Do Not Convert

     Let’s be real, a majority of shoppers that visit your website won’t convert. Low conversion rates are bad but low conversion rates on PPC are deadly. The PPC gurus are quick to tell dealers their problem. You don’t have “long tail keywords” or your “ads aren’t keyword matched”.   No doubt these are important considerations but the underlying issue on low PPC conversion is less ad copy and more landing page content. For dealer’s relying on numerous third party vendors, PPC becomes an expensive proposition.

If your keywords match the search query but your vehicles are missing comprehensive content, it takes more clicks ($) to convert. The less comprehensive the vehicle content is the more you have to spend. The more you spend, the more your competitor’s win.

If you were a shopper, which listing would you call on?

The listing on the left is similar to what most Canadian dealers display for their new vehicle listings. The listing on the right gives shoppers relevant information that would encourage an engagement. Driving traffic to listings that look like the one on the left is a wasted effort. All the long tail keywords or spending more money on PPC won’t produce enough engagements to justify the spend. Relevant and specific content, that includes updated incentives and specials, is the solution.

If you’re caught in this dilemma and are looking to improve your dealership’s competitive advantage, it can pay to listen to AIM Experts. AIM’s technology can AUTOMATICALLY create vehicle specific content on your website.The AIM platform has been described as an automotive platform for dealers looking to “step up their game”. To learn how AIM Experts makes every vehicle you sell more profitable contact an account manager today.

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