Sunday, 8 January 2012

Transparency Sells!!!!! PERIOD

 How much longer are car dealers going to keep doing the same things with the expectation of getting better results?  So many things have changed over the last few years, but car dealers still have the mindset that customers are going to keep falling for the same old tricks.  Ridiculously low priced ads on cars that have fine print a mile long, high-pressure sales tactics, and the refusal to embrace the Internet as the norm rather than the exception. Going....Going... Going...Gone!!!! I repeat Gone are the days of being able to bait you hook with fine print and 18 requirements to qualify for a $19000 new car for $99 per month.

Consumers are demanding transparency and their requirements to pick you as their retailer of choice have surpassed your ability to keep pace with new age consumers.

It's time to wake up people.  The roles of who is control of our car deals has changed, consumers are smarter than ever, thanks to the Internet.  People research everything!  The economy is getting better, but lean times over the last couple of years have forced people to think about every penny spent.  Online reviews are used by millions of people on a daily basis to determine where and what consumers are going to purchase.  Third party sites such as Edmunds, kbb and now the likes of TrueCar enable the average consumer to look up invoice price on a new car in a matter of seconds.  Autotrader,, craigslist and eBay allow people to search for thousands of used cars all in 
one place.  Smart phones and tablets will very soon overtake thePC for a preferred means of accessing the Internet.

Many dealers are changing on to the tactics that worked back in the good ole days of selling cars.  TV, radio and print.  DVR's and YouTube are making your TV commercials irrelevant.  Internet radio sites like slacker, Pandora and Spotify don't play commercials.  Tablets and smartphones have news apps that allow you to be up to date on all the latest news. I haven't even mentioned Facebook or Twitter.

If you are lucky enough to get a person to submit a lead through your website, you need to act fast.  Answer the lead as quickly as possible.  Treat the Internet customer as if they were standing in front of you.  Don't treat them like a second-class citizen by responding when you get time or by using a “just get them in” mentality. People aren't stupid.  You aren't the only game in town.  If you think the person who submitted that lead only visited your website, you are sadly mistaken.  People are looking at dozens of sites and looking at dealers hundreds of miles away to get the best deal.  You need to respond quickly and provide value.  If you don't take the leads seriously you will miss out on the business.

The days of cramming down your message down people's throats are over.  Society is changing.  Car dealers need to start communicating with people the way they want to communicate.  People want information and they want it 5 minutes ago.  They don't have time to sit and wait for an answer.  They will search until they find it.  Car dealers need to provide information to the people.  No more games, no more BS.  If you provide the information in a timely manner and provide a good value, people will do business with you.  If you want to play games, they will go elsewhere.

Are you still the guy in this photo?

Moral to the story...get with the times.  If you don't you will be sitting in an empty showroom wondering what the hell happened.  The dealer down the street who “got it” and embraced the Internet will be laughing as he drives past your lot on the way to the bank. Unlock the power of emerging technologies, embrace the Internet and bring back the connection between your dealership and your customers.  

written by  Jay Radke – cDemo Director of Business Development can be reached by email, on Twitter as @JayRadke or by phone at (780)977-5341

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