| by David Metter, President of AutoHook powered by Urban Science
As part of Urban Science, it’s in our blood to question everything. Not only do we look outside the box to solve complex problems, but we then question each element that makes up the box, down to each individual line, 90-degree angle and the composition of positive and negative space that define the constraints of the box. Better yet, approaching a problem from a true scientific perspective means questioning why the box even exists in the first place. While the process can be painstaking, making observations through the unbiased lens of science can also lead to accidental discoveries.
Granted, for someone who started in the business as a car salesman and later managed dealerships, using scientific methods to make decisions in the showroom isn’t the first and most natural inclination for many of us. And when I say science, I mean actual science – not the junk out there that claims to be science (remember when everyone threw around the term “big data”), but the kind of science that has no skeptics, that sees trends within a data set that not only others don’t, but that no one’s even thought to look for before.
When we hear a number or statistic over and over again, especially one published by a known source, we believe it to be true because…why wouldn’t we? We all know not everything we read on the internet is true, but this example is perhaps the ideal case in point of one widely accepted “truth” the automotive industry has come to accept without any empirical evidence whatsoever.
Automotive leaders in search, analytics, digital advertising and consumer behavior have all published findings stating the number of dealerships customers visit before purchasing a vehicle is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.6 dealerships. This number has been kicked around at conferences for years. So naturally, we decided to challenge the claim that customers visit less than two dealerships before buying a car.
In May of 2018, AutoHook and Urban Science decided to conduct our own survey. We asked real consumers we know bought a car within the last year how many dealerships they visited prior to their purchase. Out of 2,748 responses, what we found is people are visiting more dealerships than we thought. According to the survey results, people on average visit at least 2.4 dealerships before buying a car.
Furthermore, 70% of customers surveyed visited two or more dealerships before purchasing. Almost half, 46% to be exact, said they visited three or more dealerships before purchasing, and 26% said they visited four or more dealerships. The unfortunate reality is that we’ve all been thoroughly brainwashed with the misconception that people only go to about one dealership before buying a car which we now know is not the case.
Regardless of whether customers visit two dealerships or five dealerships, the takeaway here is that everything we’ve been told about consumer buying behavior in the digital age is skewed. The truth is that today’s car shoppers go to at least 2 dealers before purchasing. What’s so significant about this finding is that it proves people have a choice and decisions are being made both on AND offline. The blindly accepted notion that the majority of car shoppers have already made up their mind on what to buy and where to buy before ever stepping foot in a dealership is completely false. In fact, in another study completed by AutoHook and Urban Science, 78% of over 66,000 respondents said they were still shopping multiple brands before visiting their first dealership.
The underlying message we’ve all come to believe is that customers are making buying decisions based largely if not solely on what they read online…which by the way conveniently plays to the ultimate gain of the big publishers, search and media companies. Maybe they are doing this so dealers and OEMs will continue to spend more and more money with said companies on their digital advertising, but we don’t have the science to back that up just yet.
Anyways, down here in the real world, cars are still bought and sold in physical showrooms and the process is still dependent upon a positive exchange between two living, breathing people. The only difference between today and 50 years ago is that customers walk in armed with information and salespeople need to provide a less painful buying experience. Other OEM-specific customer surveys AutoHook conducts on an ongoing basis show that when asked why they didn’t buy a car from a particular brand, the overwhelming majority of respondents selected “bad dealership experience” as their #1 reason for not purchasing.
So, if you think people are going to fewer dealers than they were ten years ago, it may be because the experience they expect to have when they’re at a dealership is a negative one. Not always – I know plenty of dealers who recognize the importance of their people and the in-store experience they provide, and I also know these dealers sell much more effectively as a result. This alone makes the argument that dealers need to focus more attention on hiring and retaining better salespeople who understand the value of relationships if they’re interested in repeat, loyal customers.
Another common misconception is that millennials are taking over the market and they buy everything online; therefore dealers need to move towards models where ~99% of their selling happens online, and their salespeople just need to walk the customer through the paperwork upon arrival. The first part of that statement is true in that Millennials are quickly overtaking the market as they now account for almost 30% of all new vehicles sold. By 2020, JD Power and Automotive News project they will account for 40% of all new vehicle sales.
What’s NOT true is the assumption that Millennials want to buy their cars online. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The test drive experience is more important to the Millennial generation than ever before, so much so that they want to extend the test drive experience to get a solid feel for how a vehicle will fit into their everyday lifestyle. Millennials also spend more time on the buying process and are less brand-loyal than previous generations. As a result, we see more and more extended test drive programs popping up like Toyota’s Try Before You Buy program which allows customers to take home a vehicle of interest from anywhere between 24 hours to a full week.
Again, whether the total number of dealerships visited before a purchase is 2.4 or 3.4, the more important point is that people have choices and if they go to a dealer ready to buy and have a negative in-store experience I can confidently say based on data (and common sense) that they’re going to leave and buy from someone else.
I’m not saying everything we know about digital is dead, and I’m in no way trying to tell dealers to kill or even cut their digital ad spending. But what I am saying is we as an industry need to seriously reevaluate the amount of time, energy, and most importantly, money we spend on what we know is vital to selling cars and the ongoing growth and success of a dealership…good salespeople.
At AutoHook, we believe the value of our solutions is most powerfully defined by the dealers that use them. We’ve been fortunate enough to have an arsenal of dealer testimonials we’ve collected across all brands over the last few years. Out of our current customer client base, we have a total of 150 real dealer testimonials.
Five common trends remain consistent after analyzing all the feedback we’ve received. So, we figured we’d share these top five trends and allow our dealers to do the talking for us when it comes to what AutoHook does for their stores…
1. AUTOHOOK LEADS CONVERT.
“I have been an AutoHook client since 2015 and I utilize their Web2Show and Lead2Show solutions at both my Kia and Buick GMC stores. Our AutoHook leads are by far my best lead source and practically close themselves, averaging around 25-35%. The biggest difficulty in the industry is getting someone to walk through your door – this is where AutoHook excels. With AutoHook’s solutions that are enhanced by Urban Science’s industry data, I am able to pull in customers from competitors’ backyards and gain market share where I otherwise would not be able to do so with ease. I look forward to continued results in the future and continuing my great relationship with my dedicated Client Services Specialist.”
- John Speights | Digital Marketing Manager, Gay Family Auto Group
“We love AutoHook here at Gettel Nissan of Sarasota. Not only does it work well with the default settings, but we incorporate specific targeted offers to markets we see as high opportunity and bring those customers past our competition to come and see us. We also use Issue Rewards as a closing tool to help seal the deal. For 2018 thus far, we’ve seen a show rate of 55%. AutoHook continues to be a great way to convert people from our website into the showroom!”
- Ashley Palasz | Internet Manger, Gettel Nissan of Sarasota
“Since beginning with AutoHook, our third-party lead conversion rate has increased dramatically. Our website conversions have also increased using their web overlay incentives. We’ve been very happy with the level of support we get from the team, and we’re looking forward to continuing our relationship and seeing more great enhancements come down the pipeline.”
- Andrew DiFeo | Chairman, Hyundai National Dealer Council and General Manager, Hyundai of St. Augustine
2. AUTOHOOK INCREASES SHOWROOM VISITS.
“AutoHook has proven to convert our new inventory leads directly into showroom visits at a rate of 53.88%. The redemption process is seamless, and the interactive reporting allows for instant proactive follow-up. We’ve been able to attribute multiple sales to the AutoHook Lansing LMA Campaign and look forward to future results.”
- Dan Dowker | Internet Business Manager, Shaheen Chevrolet
“I utilized AutoHook’s Web2Show at my previous dealership and liked it so much that I signed my Ford store up when I moved locations. There are many dealerships in our area, so the competition is always going to be high. We know the biggest struggle in the industry is getting a customer to visit your showroom, but this is where AutoHook far exceeds anyone else – we have the data to prove that a customer visited us because of Web2Show’s test drive incentive. We are excited to see what the future holds for David Stanley Ford and AutoHook!”
- Kenneth Starlin | Digital Marketing Director, David Stanley Ford of Midwest City
“Oxmoor Chrysler had a huge first quarter of 2018 and AutoHook played a pivotal role in our success by bringing customers into our showroom. Using Web2Show for our website traffic and Lead2Show for our 3rd party leads has proven to be a combo that really works well together. Things are going great and we look forward to continued success with AutoHook in the future.”
- Shawna Johnson | Internet Sales Director, Oxmoor Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
“We recently started AutoHook’s Web2Show solution to target specific models on our website. We had a customer come in this past weekend, take a test drive, and then purchased a new 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC. We have been successful in using the solution for service promotions as well, promoting $25 for our Happy Hour service campaign from 3-5pm daily. We look forward to utilizing their geo-targeting and other customization options in the future.”
- Amy Rothenberger | Director of Marketing and E-Commerce, Dream Automotive Group
“Fuccillo Chevrolet of Nelliston recently participated in the Albany LMA AutoHook Test Drive Campaign and after seeing the results, we decided to become a subscription-based client of AutoHook after the campaign concluded. Being able to attribute showroom visitors directly from AutoHook allows us to adjust our internal processes and handle the Web2Show leads accordingly. I'm excited to continue this and close more sales!”
- Heidi Schmidt | BDC Manager, Fuccillo Chevrolet
"We have discovered that not only is the AutoHook technology an important part of our website strategy but is also very effective in our Event Marketing Campaigns, Microsite Campaigns and Permission Based Marketing. We use it to attract clients to our showrooms and to anchor appointments… perhaps, one of the best things we have done in a long line of eBusiness strategies over the past few years!"
- Shawn kNIFFin | Marketing and Technology Director, Germain Motor Company
3. AUTOHOOK ATTRIBUTES THEIR SOLUTIONS DIRECTLY TO SALES.
“During a slow month, we decided to aggressively target specific models of opportunity on our website using AutoHook. Since then, we have seen considerable amounts of traffic from those custom offers and can attribute sales directly to those customers visiting us to test drive one of those specific models of opportunity. The best part about AutoHook is being able to tailor it to best suit my dealership’s needs on a real-time basis.”
- Antoine Thomas | General Sales Manager, Gettel Toyota
“Here at Gettel Acura, AutoHook’s Web2Show solution is a tool we truly trust. Our team diligently follows up with these leads and we set appointments at a very high rate. Over the last four months, our show rate for these customers is roughly 60%. Not only do these leads generate traffic on our showroom floor, they are in-market shoppers looking to purchase a vehicle with us. We are able to attribute a consistent volume of sales to these leads on a monthly basis.”
- Ray Kahn | Business Development Manager, Gettel Acura
4. AUTOHOOK PROVIDES US WITH ACTIONABLE DATA.
“I went over my first presentation of AutoHook’s Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA) today and to say that I am extremely excited and impressed would be an understatement. The breadth of data that is available via the Urban Science® DataHub™ is truly remarkable; TCA takes it to an entirely different level – especially considering this is my CRM data. From TCA, I was able to identify new areas of opportunities for our stores and I learned that a same-brand dealership located 35 minutes away was our top source of defections; without TCA, I would have never known this. I look forward to putting the extensive, invaluable data to great use moving forward and having a successful 2018.”
- Michael Strasburger | Marketing Manager, Planet Automotive Group
“We are utilizing AutoHook's Web2Show, Lead2Show and Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA). We are just scratching the surface with TCA by deep diving into our lost opportunities. Once we have identified the lost opportunities in our own CRM data by model, zip code, lead source and individual salesperson, we can create targeted offers to drive customers into the showroom and gain back market share. There is no other suite of solutions available that can identify these problems and provide the resolution so seamlessly.”
- Patrick Kyes | General Manager, Morrie’s Automotive Group
"We entered into our first meeting with AutoHook searching for answers. After reviewing our initial Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA), we left our meeting with a detailed game plan. From the moment we hung up the phone, we got to work implementing new strategies in areas we were able to determine specific weaknesses. We are extremely confident these changes will undoubtedly grow sales in 2018. We look forward to reviewing our analysis on a monthly basis in order to consistently stay ahead of the competition."
- Joshua Clinton | General Manager, Gunther Kia of Fort Lauderdale
5. AUTOHOOK IMPROVES DEALERSHIP SALES OPERATIONS.
“The insights that AutoHook’s Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA) provides allows me to determine which lead sources are the most successful as well as validates my decisions to cut ties with underperforming lead sources. I can see areas of opportunity for individual models all the way down to a specific trim level. I can continue to evaluate my salespeople by looking at their individual performance and use that as a very effective training tool. TCA is a groundbreaking solution that I look forward to continuing to aid in the success of my dealerships.”
- Jim Henne | General Manager, Performance Toyota Volvo
“After seeing our first run of AutoHook’s Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA), I am engaged and excited for more. This has allowed me to evaluate the performance of my third-party lead sources, identify the salespeople with the greatest opportunity to improve, as well as use the model performance to determine appropriate inventory levels. To top that off, I can use AutoHook incentive solutions to target specific areas of opportunity by lead source, model and geography to win back market share.”
- Stephen Markham | General Manager, North Park Subaru at Dominion
Want to share your dealership’s success story? Email our dealer support team at DealerSupport@UrbanScience.com. For a limited time, dealers that submit a written testimonial will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or a $50 Amazon gift card for a video testimonial!
HYUNDAI DEALER CASE STUDY
After recognizing success with the national Hyundai Test Drive Program, Route 46 Hyundai was looking for additional ways to drive even more showroom traffic and incremental sales.
- AutoHook+: In addition to the incentives offered on Hyundaiusa.com and their website, Route 46 Hyundai added the AutoHook+ solution, giving them the ability to incentivize existing, unsold leads in their CRM. They leveraged the Triggered Links function within AutoHook+ to deliver incentive offers via email and attribute showroom visits and sales back to this initiative.
- Post-Lead Solution: Route 46 Hyundai used AutoHook’s Post-Lead Solution to maximize their incoming leads from their other sources. The Post-Lead Solution automatically scored their existing leads to identify and target the highest intent-to-buy customers with a test drive incentive via email.
Click below to see all the results and how we made it happen!
3 Steps to Reduce Lost Sales
by David Metter
1. Use Data That Tells a Complete Story
The only way to know exactly where you stand in your market is to have a clear view of what you’re losing. The problem the automotive industry has faced for years now, is that both CRM and DMS data is one-sided, one-dimensional, and only shows your effectiveness against your own sales. But what about the sales of competing dealers or brands in your market? Wouldn’t it be easier to grow your market share if you knew what percentage of it you actually owned compared to your top competitors?
The other problem exists within the reporting provided by some third party vendors, as these reports only show you one side of the story – their side. In other words, what you’re winning. If you think about it, what is the most vital piece of information to have in terms of improving your dealership’s sales operations? Is it how many clicks your VDPs got or is it how many actual vehicles you sold…or didn’t sell? You be the judge.
2. Accurately Quantify Your Lost Sales Opportunities
What if you could know which dealerships you’re losing sales to? How many units per day or per month are you losing to competitors? How many of your customers purchased from competing dealers or brands in your market?
It is critical for dealers to not only look at their own data and sales and defection trends, but also the sales trends of their biggest competitors. Know where you stand. If you have a clear view of what and how much you’re losing, then you have a clear view of what you need to win back.
3. Identify the Source of Lost Sales & Adjust Accordingly
There are several factors that play into each and every lost sale. What dealers need is the ability to recognize if sales are lost due to internal or external factors. For example, is there an internal problem with your sales staff or with a specific salesperson? Are your lost opportunities tied to a certain model? Or, is it an external problem such as one of your lead providers consistently delivering leads that are no longer in consideration? Look into your website traffic and the traffic providers you work with. Are these sources driving low-funnel buyers to your showroom, and can they prove it?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s because you’re not seeing the full picture. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know the problem exists. Similarly, you can’t make smarter decisions with your marketing budget if you don’t know which sources are driving bad traffic or causing high defection rates.
Now that we’ve identified all these potential problem areas, allow me to leave you with the light at the end of the tunnel. The good news is that the tools and data needed to complete the story of your market’s sales trends already exist. I know this because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I’ve worked as the CMO of a large dealer group, and I’m currently on the vendor side of the car business. Therefore, I can say with confidence that attempting to grow your market share without a complete view of your market in today’s complex landscape is asinine. I can also say based on factual, proven stats that Urban Science has the fastest, most accurate sales match data in existence. So at the end of the day, you can go with your gut, or you can go with prescriptive science-based conviction. (I suggest the latter).
To learn more about identifying and eliminating lost sales, visit DriveAutoHook.com/TCA.
A How to Guide for Dealers
Why Social? Marketing 101 says if you want to effectively reach your customers you have to be where they are, or “in the right place at the right time.” Social media represents the most widely utilized communication channel in existence. Salesforce reported 66% of all Internet usage occurs on social sites. Facebook takes the cake as the most widely used platform with 80% of Americans using it on a regular basis (talk about being where your customers are).
Why AutoHook Incentives? That’s an easy one. In order for a customer to redeem an AutoHook incentive, they have to physically walk into a dealership. We all know the chances of selling a vehicle drastically increase when you’re able to get shoppers off the Internet and into your store. But what AutoHook does that’s even more important than driving more showroom visits (yes there are more important things), is we use the most up-to-date sales match reporting to prove exactly which incentive offers resulted in a sale.
Below are 10 ways to boost the revenue driving opportunities already available to you as an AutoHook customer. Simply reach out to your AutoHook Client Service Specialist (CSS) to implement any of the examples listed below. They will help you set up campaigns and make sure these efforts convert into sales or service appointments.
1. PLUG INCENTIVES INTO YOUR EXISTING SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS
Plugging in an incentive into any social campaign is very simple to do. All AutoHook needs to know is the URL of the landing page you want to drive traffic to - whether it’s a specific vehicle, model, service offer, or special. We then provide you with a trackable link you can drop into any Facebook or social campaign. We attach a unique identifier to every offer so we can prove sales attribution for your store. Furthermore, we source out every link separately so that you can differentiate which specific AutoHook campaign converted into a showroom visit or sale in your CRM.
- Customize Time Frame & Offer Amount: All we need from you is the landing page you’d like to promote, the value of the incentive you’d like to offer and the time frame in which you’d like the campaign to run.
- Ex: Boost your new vehicle specials with a $50 offer.
2. USE YOUR CRM DATA TO CREATE CUSTOM AUDIENCES
We know no two dealers and no two markets are the same. Therefore, we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. Despite what vendors try to tell you, no one knows your pain points better than you. The most valuable data you have at your fingertips is your own customer data. Use this to pull targeted lists that address your unique needs and then work with a Client Service Specialist (CSS) to implement the campaign on social.
Here are a few examples to get the wheels turning:
- Pull a list of customers who are in equity and provide an incentive for them to get into a new vehicle for the same monthly cost.
- Consolidate a list of all active leads across all your 3rd party sources and retarget those individuals all in one place.
- Use equity-mining software such as AutoAlert to identify all customers in your market who have upcoming contracts ending on a lease or purchase.
- Target customers who visited your service drive but did not purchase from you.
3. ELIMINATE WASTED TIME & MONEY
Wouldn’t it help to know which leads in your CRM have already purchased so you don’t waste time and money trying to sell them? A high percentage of car buyers are only in market for a relatively short period of time. Through near real time sales data from Urban Science, AutoHook can help you identify which customers are no longer in market for a vehicle. No one (not even the OEMs) has access to this data within DAYS after sales transactions occur (rather weeks or months). Work with your CSS to create a suppression list of all the customers currently in your CRM that have already purchased a vehicle elsewhere.
4. INCREASE CUSTOMER RETENTION
This is a HUGE and often undervalued aspect of the car business. Retention is half the battle. We know 30% of people will defect to a different brand after their lease is up. Use an incentive to ensure they come back to your store to test drive the newest model or any other vehicle they might be interested in. Mine your CRM data to find consumers who are “in equity” or who have a lease coming to term in the next 3-6 months.
5. TARGET UNDERPERFORMING MODELS
Real Dealer Case Study: Germain Ford of Beavercreek
- Using the data found within the MarketMaster tool and Urban Science’s shared sales database, AutoHook identified specific areas of opportunity for Germain Ford of Beavercreek to grow their market share by targeting the top three models they were losing to competitors (including the Ford Focus, Fusion, and Edge). We then implemented a $50 test-drive incentive on all Focus, Fusion and Edge VDPs and SRPs, while running social campaigns to drive traffic to those pages. The result was a 47% reduction in overall lost sales (pump-in). Click here to see the complete case study.
Can’t move a VIN off your lot? Try increasing the dollar amount of the test-drive incentive.
6. TARGET UNDERPERFORMING AREAS
Utilizing Market Master, AutoHook can help you identify the zip codes in which you’re losing the most sales opportunities. We can also show you the areas with the highest levels of pump-in sales and increase the incentive offer to come in for a test-drive in those underperforming areas. This will help you take back market share from the top brand competitors in your market.
Never heard of Market Master? A lot of dealers don’t know this powerful revenue driver exists. Market Master is an Urban Science tool that uses near real-time sales data to identify the biggest areas of opportunity within your market. It’s typically located within your dealer portal through your OEM (currently available for Ford, FCA, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Nissan).
7. CONQUEST TOP COMPETING BRANDS
Go after the models you know you’re losing to competitive brands in your market. Tailor the creative and messaging in your social ads to express why your brand is the better choice. For example, “Before you go back into a new Ford F150 here’s a $50 Visa Gift Card to come in and test drive the Dodge Ram at Hometown Chrysler.”
8. PLUG INTO VIDEO PRE-ROLL
Custom links can be embedded directly into your video ads on Facebook. Need to move more of a certain model, try offering $25-50 just for coming in to test-drive the featured vehicle. Chances are, if they’re watching the video, they’re already interested.
9. SECURE MORE FIXED OPS APPOINTMENTS
Running service specials? Why not promote them on social to get more exposure? Use incentives in your service and parts campaigns on social sites. Here are a few examples:
- Schedule a service appointment and get a $25 Visa gift card.
- Buy 4 tires get a $50 Visa Gift Card.
- Get a $10 Amazon Gift Card just for getting your oil changed with us.
10. BOOST HOLIDAY SPECIALS
Memorial Day is coming up! Lift the performance of your limited time holiday offers with a $25 gift incentive (or an amount of your choice). Dealers spend countless amounts of money to get customers in the door. Why not spend another $25 to ensure the sale? This same idea can be deployed throughout the year to increase sales around the holidays and give wings to your current specials and holiday sales events.
To conclude, the opportunities in which you can leverage AutoHook to boost the performance of your social campaigns are limitless. Plus you have the attribution reporting that goes along with it, so you know we’re delivering results in the form of sales and service revenue.
In January of 2017, AutoHook opened up our API so that other best in class technology vendors could tie in our incentive offers to their own existing solutions. SOCIALDEALER is the latest partner to join in our open API initiative. Current and future clients of SOCIALDEALER will see even higher form fill conversion rates on social due to their integration with AutoHook’s API. To learn more about the new capabilities of this partnership, click here.
by David Metter
MYTH #1: VDP views are the metric that matters most.
Since when did VDP views become more important than sales? This is not an attempt to downplay the importance of driving traffic to your VDPs. Reputable evidence exists around VDPs being one of the last digital destinations car shoppers touch before visiting a showroom. But are vehicle details page views receiving significantly more attention than they deserve? Are dealers working backwards? Are we losing sight of our one true goal…to sell more cars?
There’s no argument that with everything our industry is capable of measuring, it all comes down to physical transactions between customers and dealers, specifically units sold and closed service ROs. That’s what you measure before anything else. That’s the reason “big data” exists in the first place – to help you generate more sales and service revenue. Dealers have more data at their fingertips than they realize, and it’s easy to get caught up trying to navigate and make sense of it all. Goals become blurred and dealers lose sight of the end game.
Allow me to remind you of the end game. When it comes to dealership operations, NOTHING is more important than increasing sales, service revenue, and customer retention – and I’m happy to take on anyone who’d like to challenge that statement.
I think our industry has completely overcomplicated the idea of big data. The role it plays is actually quite simple. When you break it down, VDP views are #5 on the “what to measure” list. Below is the infrastructure of the order in which you achieve your end game of more sales, closed service ROs, and repeat buyers.
1. Sales Data: Securing accurate and timely sales match data is paramount. There is nothing more important. Leverage sales match data to see if a customer bought from you or somewhere else? What make and model did they choose? Was it your brand or a competitor’s brand? Monitor your pump in and pump out percent to hold onto sales in your PMA.
2. Service Data: Measure your closed service repair orders – especially during the critical period from after a sale to the first recommended service appointment. This is where most dealers experience the biggest drop off in retention. Did the customer come to your store for their vehicle’s initial scheduled maintenance or to a competitor? Did they order replacement parts from you or somewhere else? How many people made a service appointment on your website? How many of those people actually showed up? What sales opportunities exist among your service customers?
3. Showroom & Service Traffic: Next quantify, how many people physically came into your store or entered your service lane? The majority of people don’t have time to browse around multiple dealerships or visit your service center just for a quote. If they came to you, it’s for a reason. So make sure your staff is in the business of closing deals and ROs.
4. Leads, Phone Calls, & Chats: When potential customers complete an action on your website, whether it’s submitting a lead form or picking up the phone to call you, that opens the door to potential sales. Metrics on your lead, call, and chat volumes are important to analyze, but it’s much more about quality than quantity. Instead of focusing your budget on more leads, calls and chats, focus on the actions that drive showroom visits.
5. VDP Traffic: VDP views drive awareness, familiarity, and consideration. Although they can influence a customer to take further action, they do not directly result in sales.
MYTH #2: VDP traffic is the foundation for future sales.
In what world does a VDP view hold more value than an actual human-to-human interaction? VDP views are not the foundation. Showroom traffic is. Correct me if I’m wrong, but last time I checked, getting people in the door and speaking to them face-to-face is the best way to get them in a vehicle so they can touch, see, feel, drive and experience it for themselves. Show rates are infinitely more impactful than any ad or page view could ever be. Our industry has become so brainwashed, people believe more time, energy, and money should be allocated to driving VDP views rather than using those resources to drive showroom traffic. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.
MYTH #3: Big data is very complex and requires experts to turn it into action.
Wrong. All too often, dealers allow outside vendors to come in and tell them what they should be measuring. Social marketers will tell you social metrics are most important. Paid search companies will tell you clicks and website traffic are the secret to more sales. Our industry is stuck in this maze of listening to incessant digital noise. But every dealership is different, and there is no one size fits all solution.
My friends, it’s time to remove yourself from the maze and turn the volume of the noise ALLLL the way down so that you can actually hear the music.
You and your staff are the ONLY people that should dictate what you need to measure. Take the data you already have and zero in on the metrics that involve sales, service ROs, and repeat customers. Data is simply a catalyst for determining and reaching your goals. Sales data shows you where you stand against competitors, but more importantly, how you stand against yourself historically. Sales data will tell you exactly where you are, and exactly where you need to go.
March 31-April 3 | LAS VEGAS
By David Metter
The theme of this year’s NADA Convention is defined by one very powerful word: “connect." I couldn’t imagine a more perfect term to define this industry. Everything is connected. From the individual parts, materials, and entities that unite to build a vehicle, to the methods dealers use to connect with their customers. The ultimate goal for manufacturers, dealerships, and marketers is to simply find a way to connect with potential buyers.
The avenues of connection are endless and constantly expanding. Real-time data analysis has connected probability with human intent, allowing us to better connect the dots that will ultimately drive more showroom traffic in 2016, which will also lead to more opportunities for human connection. Digital advertising doesn’t sell cars - people do. Experiences sell cars, and that applies to the online experience you offer all the way to the human-to-human interaction in the showroom. We need to leverage tools that will validate digital to showroom connectivity. It is equally important for our sales staff to be able to connect with customers in person when they arrive at the dealership. People buy cars from people they trust, that they share values with, and that know the ins and outs of their inventory.
Last year, NADA Chairman, William Fox mentioned in his keynote address, “Dealers are the face of their manufacturers in every town throughout America.” Which brings me to the point of how important it is for dealerships to have their digital strategies aligned with their OEMs and third-party partners. All messaging should relate to one another across all channels and be consistent at every level. It’s more important than ever for us to bridge the gap in the relationship between manufacturers and dealers. We’re all traveling along the same railroad. All initiatives should follow a single track as we ride the rails towards a single goal: driving buyers into dealerships.
NADA is so incredible because it provides endless opportunities to connect with and learn from other automotive leaders. This industry thrives on both competition and change, and this event is the cultivation of innovation, growth, and collaboration for all.
3 Ways to Connect with AutoHook at NADA 2016:
1. Ride in Style with our Complimentary Limo Transportation: Thursday, March 31st - Sunday, April 3rd, AutoHook will be providing free limo transportation from the convention center to all your Vegas destinations. Just text “NADA” to 55678.
2. Attend our Old Skool Hip Hop Party: Channel your inner table-turning party-starter at the freshest cocktail reception at NADA on Friday, April 1st at the Sayer’s Club at the SLS Hotel and Casino. Why have a three-hour boring dinner when you can enjoy food and bottle poppin’ at Vegas’ newest hotel? Take our complimentary limo service to and from the party. Regroup with your team and rest from the grind with a drink, or get jiggy to some Run DMC. Don’t forget to capture all these moments on camera at our exclusive hip-hop photo booth. Click here to request your invite.
3. Escape and Relax at our Poolside Cabana Lounge. When you are ready for a break from overcrowded exhibit halls, join AutoHook poolside at our VIP cabana lounges located at the Foxtail Pool Club at SLS. Have a meeting, receive a demo, or just hang out and have lunch or a cocktail. The lounge will be open Friday and Saturday from 10:00am-5:30pm. No meeting required, all are welcome.
For more details, please visit DriveAutoHook.com/NADA16. We can’t wait to connect with you!