Categories
Business Development Retail Car Lot

7 Ways to Win Google’s “Near Me” Search Wars at Your Dealership

“Near Me” Searchers Buy the Same Day

Did you know that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit that business within a day?
Interesting is the fact that 18% of those visit will make a purchase that same day. Even more stunning, is the fact that Millennials will buy 29% of the time on the same day. So it stands to reason that your business should ensure that it can be found in a “near me” search for all the categories and products you sell.

1. Being mobile compatible is not good enough.

Finding a product or service nearby used to require a combination of the Yellow Pages, a paper map, and a telephone — not the most convenient solution. Thanks to the powerful devices in consumers pockets and on their wrists, buyers can now quickly and easily find things around them. All you have to do is sit at a coffee shop or commuter train and you will see consumers figuring out where to go next, where to buy the products they are interested in and where to get service, all from their smart phones.

“Turning to our smartphones when we need something — a forgotten word, a better (used car) price, a movie time— has become a reflex”, according to Matt Lawson, ‎director of search ads marketing at Google.

Words like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” are increasingly common across the billions of search queries on Google every month especially in Automotive research. Searches like “Used Honda’s near me” and “Closest used car lot” are quite common. According to Google, search interest in “near me” has increased a staggering 34 times since 2011 and nearly doubled again since last year. The vast majority come from mobile — 80% in Q4 2014.
In a new article on Think with Google, Matt Lawson, says,

“We want things right, and we want things right away. As a result, the consumer journey looks markedly different than it did just five years ago. Instead of a few moments of truth, it’s a series of ‘micro-moments’ when we turn to mobile to act on a need.”

He call’s them “I want to go” moments, read more http://bit.ly/Iwanttogo

2. Make Micro-Moments, Awesome Moments

Consumers have become fast at Google “Sniping”. They are expecting the answer right away and expecting the site they find to provide those answers in an instant. In other words, we have become less tolerant of poorly designed websites and sites with a bad customer experience.

For example if a customer searches for “Oil Change near me” or “Service in Alden NY” they expect to find sites they recognize. Then when they tap into that site from their mobile device you better take them to a site where they can find service and oil changes and it better be an awesome mobile experience.

3. Embrace Google’s New Mobile Experience.

In Google’s latest round of changes to their awesome search algorithm they focused on rewarding sites with amazing  mobile sites. You can test your site by going to http://bit.ly/SEOFriend

Make sure your websites are “Mobile Friendly” or “Near Me” compatible. Think about it, if 80% of “near me” searches are preformed on mobile devices, which makes sense, what do they see when they search for your brand “near me”. In other words test it against the mobile tools out there such as Google’s mobile friendly tag

4. Taking Advantage of “Near Me” Search

I was at a used car super store last week, (Auction Direct USA) speaking about this subject with Scott Harvell and his team. I asked if he’s store was “Near Me” ready? He beamed back at me and said, “Go ahead and check.”

So I pulled out my smart phone and searched “used cars near me.” Auction Direct  was listed on page one, with the “Mobile Friendly” tag.

Looking around his showroom at the many customers, I realized how important it is to have a great website fully compatible with Google’s latest search.

5. Focus on Your Google Business Listings Again.

I was visiting a large dealer group the other day, while waiting in the showroom I searched “Nissan Dealer Near Me” and was horrified to find that the very store I was standing in somehow was listed as “permanently closed” by Google maps.

How much business is that costing them. You cannot loose focus on the importance of Google’s Business Listing. You should have someone at your company reviewing them monthly and adding photos and videos as often as possible to keep it fresh.

6. Focusing on Localized Search with Special Websites

Consumers seldom know where they want to buy a car, they tend to search for things like “used cars in Alden NY” or “Charlotte Used Trucks” as their opening volley. You will notice that Autotrader.com and Cars.com are dominant advertisers in that space. For good reason. Customers search for the product they want in the town they want it, twice as often as a business name.

However, buying a domain like UsedCarsCharlotte.com and pointing it at your main site does not work, because in the past black hat SEO heathens ruined this technique. They built hundreds of phony one page landing pages with static content to game the old Google algorithm. Google now penalizes businesses that use this technique and in some cases have practically black balled victim dealers using into obscurity.

On the other hand, Google loves content rich websites that complete their main goal “Relevance.” So the way to help customers find the car they want in the market they are shopping in, is to have fully functional websites. Similar to car.com or craigslist.com that list your inventory and allow a great mobile and desktop experience for your customers.
UsedCarAd.com ($499 per year) is a perfect example of an inexpensive way to get yourself a “localized” web site. It provides a full inventory search, specials, aged inventory and 10 separate contact points including an awesome stepped credit ap.
It go as far as to allow the consumer to stay within your localizes site including VDP (vehicle detail pages) or allow the user to jump over to your branded VDP and continue their shopping experience on your main website.

7. Follow Google’s Rules and They Will Love Your Site

At our company, Dealer Simplified, LLC, we study Google and their rules on a daily bases. We read their blogs, we watch their learning center videos. Why? Because we learned if you embrace their rules, Google will love your sites. Let me say that again in a different way. Stop fighting them, instead do what they say and they will index your site beautifully.

An example of how great Google lays out the rules is this site: http://bit.ly/MobileSeo devoted to helping you make your mobile site compatible with Google’s latest search algorithm.

Categories
Business Development Car Auction Dealer Software Wholesale Lot

It’s Time for Digital Marketing for Wholesales Cars

If your dealership survived the recession of 2007-08, you understand the value of Digital Marketing for Retail and the importance of getting your cars online fast.

You probably have all the latest and greatest tools for selling cars to the retail public, the best pricing tools, beautiful SEO efficient websites and the latest apps.

You insure your retail inventory is online by day 3 at the latest. We have all become, what I call, “Online Dealers with Local Delivery”

This leads me to the following questions:

  • Wholesale Cars online Day 1Isn’t time to do the same for wholesale?
  • Why is it OK to wait a week or two before selling our trades at auction but we require our managers to have our retails on-line in three days?
  • Why do we not digitally marketing our wholesale inventory to our wholesalers on day one?
  • Why did we kick the wholesalers and independent buyers out of our stores? (Don’t jump to conclusions on this one, really think about it, because it is the root cause of some wholesale loss.)
  • Why do we send our prime wholesale money makers to off site auctions only to give up profits to fees, transportation and travel time.?
  • Why do we pay those sellers fees at all, even negotiated fees still add up?
  • Why is it ok to pay for shipping? And if it is free, who is actually paying?
  • Why don’t we run our own wholesale auction?
  • Why not digitally market your Wholesale Inventory?

Take a 22 minute meeting with us and we will show you how!

Call me now 716-818-4444 (my cell phone) or 877-877-4511 touch 1 for sales.
You have nothing to lose, its free to sellers (no fees, no software expense whatsoever.)  One dealer we spoke to said he “averaged $312 more per car at his private bid sale” Is it time you took a hard look at that profit center

Kevin Leigh
Co-Founder
Dealer Simplified, LLC

Categories
Business Development Dealer Software Retail Car Lot

The Important Question To Ask Dealer Software Vendors? Hint:Not DMS Integration

The Core Question?

If you draw concentric circles around your dealership accounting office you will probably find several software packages attaching themselves to your DMS. Everything from inventory managers, compliance software to CRM’s and service schedulers.

Each supplier probably had a booth at NADA where they showed off their bells and whistles and colorful graphs and functionality. We all get sort of mesmerized by the experience, taken by the flashiness and chrome.

Dealer Software is too complex
DEALER SOFTWARE IS TOO COMPLEX:
This is an actual training slide from a software vendor. I hid the brand to avoid the embarrassment for the company in question, but you know who you are.

As the long time Director of Variable Op’s for a large dealer group in Upstate New York,  I used to look forward to returning to the group to show of the latest and greatest software that could “revolutionize” our dealer group. Usually very early on in that meeting someone will ask , “does this integrate with our DMS?” I would say that is one of the least important questions early on. What dealers need to start asking is “How often are those shiny features actually used?”

We founded Dealer Simplified after sitting through three dealership website meetings. In one case I was shown a really cool bar that allowed customers to track searches. It looked great and was presented as a “Killer Feature” of their website. When I asked, “how much is it actually used by customers?” the salesperson actually gasped and stood there for a moment like a deer in the head lights. I pushed and finally he said 1-2% of the time.

I realized right then and there, Shiny Features are much different from Usable Features. The core question is, why are we always focused on the shiny bells and whistles instead of the features that make us money.

Lets take CRM for example, vendors love to show how you can make lists of customers to call and fancy reports showing our failing salespeople. The programmers that designed these features never sold a car in their life. Reports don’t sell a thing, until the salesperson learns to love his/her CRM.

In CRM the real questions are:

  • How does it help me retain customers?
  • Will my sales team use it and why?
  • How does it identify potential clients?
  • Can I speak to a satisfied 50 year old salesperson using this CRM every day?

In my opinion, the evolution of dealership software is not to add more bells and whistles or better DMS integration but to remove unused features and work towards higher utilization.

Utilization Through Ongoing training.

I really believe that software utilization comes through training. I think dealers spent way too much time showing their sales team every bell and whistle of the new software package they’re trying to launch. In my training classes I focus only on the items that salespeople and sales managers are going to use. Especially early on.

The key is to have multiple meetings over multiple months, because the sales people and managers have no idea what questions to ask until they use the software for a period of time. They also should have the cell phone number to the software vendor so they can ask questions on the fly as they are using the dealership software.

Require Quarterly Training Revisits as Part of the Contract:

One of  the least mentioned and most important lessons I have learned with software vendors is to require in their contract that they revisit and retrain your team at least once a quarter. Again it is my believe that ongoing training is an essential part of software utilization.

Categories
Business Development Retail Car Lot

Top 10 Tips to Encourage Employees to Utilize the CRM

It’s Sad, I Know, But Your Average CRM Utilization is:

28%

Getting Your Team to Use Your CRM

Having a new customer relationship management system (CRM) won’t grow your business until you figure out how to get everyone to use it. Your CRM needs to be EASY and make sense for your manager and their team. CRM is probably one of the most valuable systems that any small business can implement. It is as important as the employees and will have a more significant long term effect than any one individual.

1. Don’t bombard users with features. 

Change is hard enough for most users, the manager does not need to spend a majority of the training class showing off feature after feature of the new system. Especially at the beginning, keep it EASY for the user. Display only the features the employees need to do their job. After the basics are understood by all employees, hold weekly meetings where you can show off additional benefits of the CRM.

The Easy CRM is not Bloatware2. Hide the Complex Features at First.

“Make sure your CRM is as simple as possible for what the employees need,” says Maggie our head of customer service, “If you think you need a full blown bloated CRM system with every feature possible, then plan on failure. Bloated CRM’s are almost always under utilized and under appreciated. Think about the phone system in your office, it probably has many great features, but most of your employees only use it to make calls.”

3. Make sure the owner uses the CRM, too. 

Nothing is more effective than when an employee knows the company owner is using the CRM, especially if they email questions to the employees about their utilization. Example: “I was looking in the CRM and did not see….’ Insert your ending here. When everyone uses it, it will become a trusted source.

CRM Trusted Source4. Make the CRM your trusted source of information?

Companies that also use Outlook or other contact management software often find themselves torn between two systems. If you can find a CRM that does it all, like the EASY CRM consider using it as your only source of customer info and customer detail. Most great CRM’s integrate with Gmail and google contacts, the user will not have to worry about an inability to access information. All of the info will be at your fingertips when you are off site.

5. Make it fun (and competitive) and reward the use of the CRM. 

Turn it into a game–with leaderboards, rewards and public recognition. Use competitive nature to encourage use of the CRM. Spiff’s and incentives work great, especially during the install phase of the CRM.

6. Play up CRM benefits. 

We all love top 10 lists, you are reading one now! Consider creating a top 10 list for the features that are most valuable to the team. The CRM sales top 10 would be completely different than the Customer Service Team’s CRM top 10 list. Keep it simple, and focused on the things they will actually use.

Once everyone is using the CRM, then show top new features each week to highlight the parts they may not be using yet. If an employee asks for a feature, make sure to use their name in your feature list. “Nancy asked the other day how to log a hand written note mailed to a customer? That feature is found in the ….”

7. Involve everyone in the early CRM rollout process. 

Make sure that the system is simple to learn for new users, and that your users can easily teach themselves as they work. Make sure employees have the opportunity to tell you what features do and do not make sense. You do not want to change workflow and make things take more time than before the CRM was implemented.

8. Find out who Hates the CRM

Figure out why and fix it early. “Naysayers do more damage to a CRM rollout than a power outage” says Kevin in CRM development. “Find the haters, help them, heal them and make them your evangelists.“

How to find them? The site Switch & Shift says, “They [users] will love the CRM or hate it based on its functionality. Let’s assume that your CRM is easy to use and provides them with essential information – a big assumption, but work with me. No matter how cool the functionality of your CRM system, your people may still hate it. Here’s why.

If your people love your CRM, it’s because it makes their jobs easier. If your people hate your CRM, it’s because you’re using it as a whip to ride them with.

It all comes down to this: do you look at your people as wayward children whose time and activity must be controlled tightly so they don’t slack off? Or do you see your employees as mature, responsible adults who are eager to do their work to the best of their abilities?”

CRM Is About Me9. It’s all about me

As a salesperson, the mentality will generally be “all about me”… that is what makes them good. If you didn’t take the time to involve them up front in the decision making process, why would you try to convince them now? After all, the salesperson will be the primary user of this new system. ‘Buy in’ occurs up front, not afterwards. If possible, try to rally your team to be onboard with the software before you even receive it.

10. Keep Training CRM

Driving CRM (or any software) adoption requires relentless and extended training. Training the CRM users once, having a few follow-up meetings and then having CRM fail, is an organizational execution failure, not a software failure.

Finally, have patience, give employees time, offer help.

“As leaders we all want to launch new procedures and policies, but it takes time for the average person to make them a habit. Be patient, be kind and be understanding. You are only truly successful with CRM implementation when the computer illiterate and the naysayers can use it to do their job. Just because they are not ‘computer savvy’ does not mean they cannot become CRM Savvy,” says Kevin.

TIP: Sales Buy-In is critical. In your sales meeting, ask for a CRM tip of the day. Spiff the person with the  $50. Then teach the whole team how to preform the tip. Or better yet ask the salesperson to demo his/her suggestion. ‘
Kevin Leigh, Dealer Simplified
Kevin Leigh

Categories
Business Development Retail Car Lot

44 Questions to Ask Before Buying A CRM

I have compiled a list of question to ask before buying a CRM. Comment below to add any I have missed. 

  • How fast does support answer the phone?
  • What is you typical support response time?
  • Does each of our locations get a dedicated (non sales) rep?
  • How does the CRM work with e-leads and Internet inquiries?
  • Is the CRM certified with my brand?
  • Will I be able to import my contacts from Outlook or Excel?
  • Will I be able to import my contacts from my Gmail?
  • Will I be able to keep meeting notes in the CRM?
  • Will AutoRaptor integrate with my current DMS (Dealer Management System)?
  • crm-must-be-useful-usable-valuable
  • Will I be able to attach documents, scanned business cards and contracts to contacts in CRM?
  • Will I be able to access my contacts on an iPhone or Android phone?
  • Will I be able to set a follow-up task after I enter a note?
  • Will I be able to keep track of the last time I talked to someone?
  • Will I be able to import contacts from my Mac address book?
  • Will I be able to get task reminders via email/SMS on my cell?
  • Will I be able to access my contacts if I’m in someone else’s office?
  • Will I be able to keep important emails in the  CRM?
  • Will I be able to easily export contacts, notes, and emails from the CRM?
  • Will I be able to attach a signed contract directly to a contact?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to remind me of a client’s birthday?
  • Will I be able to store all my contact’s contact info in the CRM?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM together with my co-workers?
  • Will I be able to see a map of where a contact is located?
  • Will I be able to see a list of everyone I know with a single area code?
  • Will I be able to tag a group of contacts so I can easily find them later?
  • Will I be able to keep some tasks to myself and share others with everyone?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to keep track of conversations with vendors?
  • Will I be able to forward important emails directly to the CRM?
  • Will I be able to set a reminder to call someone back in 30 days?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM on a Mac? A PC?  An iPad?
  • Will I be able to keep some contacts private so only I can see them?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to remember who I talked to last week?
  • Will I be able to comment on a co-worker’s conversation notes? And collaborate.
  • Will I be able to categorize my tasks, emails to send, calls to make?
  • Will I be able to store background and biographical info on each contact? And link them with others like spouse coworker etc.
  • Will I be able to see a list of all the CEOs I know in a town?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to remind me of someone’s anniversary? Yea and any other memorable date you would like to remember.
  • Will I be able to find out what time it is in a different time zone?
  • Will I be able to see a list of all the people within a company we’ve talked with?.
  • Will I be able to keep related notes together in one place in CRM?
  • Will I be able to integrate CRM with mailchimp.com services? It was the first thing we built into our CRM.
  • Will I be able to capture data from a web form and send it to the CRM?
  • Will I be able to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel any time? Yes and you can export your data at any time as well.
  • Will I love the CRM?
Categories
Business Development Retail Car Lot

Do Your Salespeople Know Their Inventory?

Have you ever had a customer leave your showroom without buying a car? Of course you have. It happens every day at dealerships all over the country. We know that not everyone shopping is ready to buy today and some customers can even wait months or even a year before they make their buying decision. While some of the reasons customers don’t buy are out of your control, some may have bumps on their credit, others owe more on their trade than it’s worth or maybe you just don’t have the car that fits their needs. Or do you?

If you have customers leaving over selection you may need to ask yourself, do the salespeople know the inventory? It may be time to start training on it and if you are asking how to get that done I would suggest running a used car bullpen. Getting your team in front of the cars they need to sell will help you pick up sales and stop customers from leaving over selection.

So what is a bullpen and how does it work. A bullpen is no more than taking your fresh trades, off lease or auction cars and showing them to your sales team in an organized meeting, before you offer them up for sale. Now that’s the short answer, so lets talk about what makes up a bullpen. Well, the first thing you are going to need are some cars. The next thing you need are your salespeople. This one can be tricky, some of the team, and you know who I mean will think it’s a waste of time. Others will show up just because you told them to and some will get engaged and participate in the exercise. You will have to show them why this is a best practice in todays industry and what it will do for them. Once you have buy in from your team its time to set up your bullpen.

Here are a few tips to pull off a great bullpen.

Start by running the bullpen first thing in the morning, and I would have them twice a week. You want to keep them somewhat short, maybe 4 to 5 minutes per car and depending on the size of your store anywhere from 5 to 10 cars per meeting.

Picking the cars you are going to talk about doesn’t have to be hard. The sales managers should be reviewing all the fresh cars everyday. Using an inventory stock sheet will help to weed out the cars that you can’t sell (Bad cars or junk cars) and whatever is left goes in to your bullpen.

After you have picked the cars for the bullpen put together as much information about each car that you can. If you use pricing software print out the market data and what you think you can sell them for. Make sure you have a history report about the cars and any service that has been done to the them. This is good if the vehicle was a trade or lease turn in. It’s always a good idea to have the salesperson that took the car in on trade to tell the team about it and the customer. Having a good story goes a long way when it comes to selling used cars.

Organizing and running the bullpen can be done by a few different people.  Having the used car manager or an inventory manager run the bullpen makes the most sense. However having anyone on the manager team will work. It is essential to have as much interaction from all the managers on the team to show how important the bullpen is. As well as having the veteran salespeople’s participation will help make the most out of the time. You may even want to invite your service manager to join in, this will give service an idea on how much work may be coming their way. Plus having a service opinion on the cars may help you from putting problem cars on your lot saving you money down the road.

Remember you can stock your lot with all types of cars, but if the salespeople don’t know what’s out there your inventory will sit like boat anchors.