How to Arm Your BDC Team So They Can Set More Appointments

How to Arm Your BDC Team So They Can Set More Appointments

Your BDC team is often the first point of contact the customer has with your dealership. And as the saying goes, you never get a second chance at a first impression. So ask yourself, what impressions are your BDC teams giving off?

The mission of the BDC team is to set appointments for each inquiry that comes in, whether by phone or email. The key to being successful is equipping your team with all the information they need in order to build quality, value—and most of all, excitement—about the car (and your dealership).

Thanks to the internet, buyers are more informed than ever. Ninety percent of consumers research cars online before visiting a dealership, and they conduct an average of 14 hours researching vehicles before they buy. On the flip side, it is very rare that your BDC team will be experts on all of the cars and their respective features, especially off-brand vehicles. They may also be working at an offsite location and be managing 10, 20 or 30 dealership locations at once.

By pairing up a well-informed consumer with a BDC rep who isn’t knowledgeable on the vehicle, the results can be disastrous. To level the playing field, dealerships need to give BDC teams the tools and technology to turn them into “instant experts” on every car in their inventory, both in-brand and off-brand.

To win more appointments, make sure your BDC teams can answer the following 5 questions, proactively and with ease:
1. Is this car right for me?
2. Am I buying a lemon?
3. Why is this car better than others I’ve seen?
4. Is this a fair price?
5. Why should I buy from this dealership?

Remember: customers want facts. They don’t want to be sold to; rather, they want to be educated. They want product experts, not salespeople.

With technology like the MAX Digital Showroom, BDC teams can quickly and easily pull up each vehicle and educate the customer on what they might not already know about the car, such as:

  • The vehicle’s OEM packages and the value of those packages
  • J.D. Power Crash Test Ratings
  • Carfax Vehicle History Report
  • Kelly Blue Book Pricing and market average
  • Warranty information

“MAXDigital has been a game changer for our BDC team which is offsite and manages 30 stores,” said one General Manager. “It gives the phone reps a ton of confidence to have the car product information readily available to them.”

If the customer wants to think about it or talk it over with family and friends, MAX Digital Showroom allows BDC reps to send the information directly to the customer via e-mail or text, creating transparency, while also capturing their contact information.

A technology-enabled, repeatable process allows BDC teams to answer the customer’s questions intelligently, and overall build that excitement to get them in the door. It creates BDC teams who are instant experts on every car on your lot, and customers who see the value of their next vehicle.

5 Ways Dealerships Can Reach the Decision Maker: Women

5 Ways Dealerships Can Reach the Decision Maker: Women

By Anne Fleming, President & CEO, Women-Drivers.com

Female buyers made up an estimated $445 billion of new car sales in 2017 alone. With women now buying 4.5 out of every 10 vehicles, the average dealership is selling 819 total new and used vehicles annually to this audience. The data doesn’t lie: women are making extraordinary differences in terms of gross margin dollars and sales achieved at car dealerships.

How can your dealership increase business with female buyers and referrals? One way is by leveraging new ideas in advertising and messaging.

Even in 2018, most dealer’s advertisements’ fail to speak directly to the female audience. There is an overemphasis on both gender neutrality and price point. This is because advertisements are focusing less on what she wants and more on what a dealership thinks she wants. Like price cuts. Does price matter? Yes, but only to the extent that it buys her more of what she wants: a positive pre- and post-sale experience.

One Size No Longer Fits All
Diversification isn’t just good for investment portfolios. It’s good for the car business. Consider this: University of California at Davis researchers found that women influence 85 percent of all car buying purchases. Advertising directly to women makes good financial sense.

Cast a Wider Net
Lawyers. Doctors. Financial Managers. Per the U.S. Dept. of Labor, women fill a wide range of professional roles. In addition, 38 percent—or more than one-third of them—are earning more than their male partners. It follows, then, that their overall purchase experience would reflect upon those achievements. Dealer ad campaigns can be more effective when they account for the diverse professional choices and delivers messages to this audience.

Use Your ‘Aha’ to Connect with Women
What’s your dealer’s DNA message and ‘aha message‘ that women will remember? Is it really through ads and campaigns such as:

  • Get the Best Price Here at Our Dealership
  • We Match Any Competitor’s Price
  • Drive Here for the Best Results

For the most part, these gender-neutral, bland, catch-all statements don’t share what your compelling aha is, nor are they appealing to women.

Connect Dealership’s Message to Your OEMs
From Facebook to Pandora, zero in on your female audience and age group. Dedicate dollars to advance your market space by running monthly campaigns to reach a captive audience with sponsoring ads on mobile apps to women and family-oriented interests.

Be a Destination Dealer: Time to Progress
Understanding that female buyers are looking for a connection will help you and your creative team. Expand your message to be relationship-based with tangible value-adds. Think “What’s in it for her?” It’s not enough to have a female spokesperson or pitch woman.

1. Women use dealer reviews 50% more than men, and reviews influence women three times more than price, according to ReviewTracker. In addition to your current ads and promotions, include statistics about your reputation and reviews and show any Dealer of the Year awards.
2. Connect visually by including images of women and families’ car shopping at your dealership throughout your print and online marketing campaigns and website.
3. Communicate long-term service and maintenance care with a WiFi-enabled waiting lounge equipped with refreshments and desk stations for computer work. Loaner cars are the top concierge item requested by women, so if your dealership provides loaner cars, be sure to include this in your advertising. Other services that often appeal to women buyers include:

  • Free car washes
  • Free oil changes
  • Free state inspections
  • No-hassle return policy
  • Non-commissioned sales advisors

4. Develop relationships with guests and shoppers before they walk through the door through social media and informative articles designed to to engage and build trust.
5. Host educational seminars and advertise them via social media/newsletters.

Applying any one of these strategies can instantly position a savvy dealership as an authority and a trusted advisor. Dealerships that don’t begin targeting advertisements to the female decision maker are losing out on her lifetime value, which is estimated at $517,000. That’s a big miss!

 

Anne Fleming is the President of Women-Drivers.com, the leading review company amplifying women’s cutting edge experiences at Certified Trusted Dealers. The company helps dealers by providing solutions that foster trust, engagement and sales. For more information visit www.women-drivers.com or Twitter @Womendrivers.

How Your Automotive Merchandising Can Reach In-Market Buyers

How Your Automotive Merchandising Can Reach In-Market Buyers

In the information age, auto consumers have taken a more active role in their buying decision than ever before. In fact, there are shoppers looking for the cars on your lot right now. They’ve just moved their search from the dealership to the internet. The key to success in this new market is gearing your digital automotive merchandising strategy toward reaching consumers who are already interested in buying.

Adjust Your Automotive Merchandising Strategy to Attract Customers Who Are Ready to Buy

Targeting in-market customers offers the most ROI for your marketing strategy because these buyers are more likely to convert and are cheaper to reach than other consumers. Here are some tips to help you appeal to these buyers.

Know What Your Customers are Looking For

A good start to crafting your automotive merchandising strategy around the modern customer is being aware of how they search for vehicles. Our research has shown that the early stages their searches are fairly basic. They probably have a few models that they’re interested in. Within these few models, they’re also looking at the following:

  • Mileage
  • Model year
  • Price
  • Color

At this stage, they’re not interested in trim levels or options. What they really want is a good value vehicle for a fair price.

Take advantage of consumer search patterns by optimizing your ads and vehicle display pages (VDPs) for these buyers. Make sure the information they’re looking for is up front, well organized, and clear.

Perhaps the most important part of your content on these new pages will be the price information. Customers don’t want this information hidden behind a wall. Display the price clearly and justify it in your on-page content.

Know How Customers Make Their Decisions

Once you have a customer on your website or in your dealership, knowledge of what drives their decision-making will help you convert. Price is still significant here, but you can’t win sales by simply lowering your price because someone will always undercut you.

Luckily price isn’t the only point of data shoppers use in their decision. So what does drive customer’s decision to buy? The following factors play a major part in their choices:

  • Perceived value
  • Excitement
  • Trust

For this reason, you should have VDP’s that go above and beyond the basics. They need to show why your car is a good value and a great fit for them. This can be done by spotlighting special packages or features. If you’re successful, the customer will begin to become excited about the vehicle.

You can also foster trust by being transparent with the information you display. Include customer reviews of the model and the vehicle history report. This is information they’ll already be looking for, so providing it to them will show that you’re confident in your own vehicles.

Meet Your Customers Where They Are

Car buyers no longer start their searches at nearby dealerships. They usually begin their search on third-party websites, where they work to whittle down their choice to just a few vehicles at even fewer dealerships. To get feet in your store, you need to make sure their third-party research leads them to your website.

By distributing ads for your vehicles out to third-party websites, you can get them in front of in-market consumers. Make sure that the ads are well-made and informative enough to stand out.

Make Automotive Merchandising Easier

Need help optimizing your automotive merchandising strategy for consumers who are already prepared to buy? MAXDigital makes the process simple.

Our digital marketing platform helps you enhance your VDPs to appeal to the modern in-market customer. It also automatically creates ads and distributes them to third-party websites.

Schedule a demo of our dealership software solutions to learn how we can help you, or contact us at (888) 841-0884.

What is Automotive Merchandising and Why Does it Matter?

What is Automotive Merchandising and Why Does it Matter?

In today’s incredibly competitive and increasingly digital automotive market, dealerships need to do whatever they can to set themselves apart from their competition. Chances are there’s a dealership a short distance away that also sells the same vehicles you do, and at similar prices.

So, how can you make sure shoppers come to your dealership when it is time to buy? That is where having a strong automotive merchandising strategy comes in.

What is Automotive Merchandising?

The most simple definition of merchandising is any behavior taken to promote and sell a product. This includes more than you think, as every form of contact between your dealership and your customers, from ads and your website to speaking to your sales staff, fits under that umbrella.

A strong automotive merchandising strategy means optimizing as many of these interactions as possible.

Why is Strong Automotive Merchandising Important to Your Dealership?

Unfortunately, your cars don’t sell themselves, and others are trying to sell similar vehicles to your potential customers. Employing a strong automotive merchandising strategy helps you by:

    • Helping your dealership be discovered by shoppers
    • Convincing those shoppers to come into your dealership
    • Converting prospective buyers into customers
    • Encouraging those customers to return to your dealership

What You Need to Know to Have Strong Automotive Merchandising

As we’ve mentioned, strong automotive merchandising encompasses many aspects of your business, including:

  • Marketing and ads
  • Your website content
  • Your website’s design
  • Sales-customer interactions
  • Customer interactions with any member of your staff

Keep these in mind as you learn some strategies for strengthening your own merchandising

Consumers Make Their Decisions Online

People used to shop around at multiple dealerships to find the cars they wanted. Now 46% of people only visit one dealership. They’re not doing any less shopping. They’re just changing the location. The average buyer spends more than 16 hours researching their automotive purchases online.

To be found by these shoppers, you need to be where they’re looking. Place ads on the third-party websites they research on, like Cars.com and Autotrader.

Consumers want transparency. Your online ads, VDPs, and other merchandising pages need to have thorough and detailed information on each vehicle. It is paramount that this content includes price justification, which lets customers know they’re getting a good deal.

Don’t expect this online shopping trend to slow down. If your dealership does not have an online component to your merchandising strategy, you will get left behind.

Trust is Important, Make Sure You’re Accurate

In past decades, auto salespeople have developed a reputation for being untrustworthy. Consumers just accepted dealing with this as an occasional part of life. With the increased emphasis on information and transparency, building trust has become a huge part of merchandising.

Customers can verify the information on your website, so make sure it is all accurate and up to date. They also expect similar accuracy and honestly from your sales team. If your facts are off, you run the risk of losing trust, and people will not buy from you if they do not trust you.

Visuals Can Be as Important as Content

It doesn’t matter how much online content you have, if your website looks unattractive or is difficult to read or navigate, potential customers will lose interest.

Web pages need to be well-designed and intuitive. The information should be organized in a way that is easy to digest and understand. Use of good photos and other visuals can also do a lot to enhance a page.

You Need to Make Each Vehicle Stand Out

Chances are, you’re not the only local dealership selling from your manufacturers, and you’re certainly not the only local dealership selling your class of vehicle. Give buyers a reason to choose your specific car.

People don’t shop based on price alone, and anyone can lower the price of a car. Shoppers want value, and by pointing out what makes your products unique, you demonstrate your value.

Mention unique attributes of the vehicles on your inventory. Maybe it has some luxury or tech package. Perhaps it has very low mileage. Include this information in your ads and website content. These details also help justify when a vehicle has a higher price than a competitor’s.

Make Your Automotive Merchandising Stronger with MAX

No one said strong automotive merchandising would be simple. Fortunately, MAX Digital can make it much easier. Our online auto merchandising platform helps you enhance your online content, create informative ads, and turns your sales team into experts on every vehicle on your lot. Sign up for a demo and learn how MAX can help your dealership.

Reviewing the 8 Most Important Tools at an Automotive Dealership

Reviewing the 8 Most Important Tools at an Automotive Dealership

The most important automotive tools are not a socket wrench or tire jack. They are the ones used to acquire, appraise, merchandise and sell cars.

Below is just a sampling of the many automotive tools you’ll find at MAXDigital.

Does Your Dealership Make the Most of These Automotive Tools?

  • Vehicle pricing tool. A vehicle that is priced based on assumptions and estimations is one that is likely priced incorrectly. A vehicle pricing tool uses actual data to help dealerships price inventory based on market research and sales data. Not only can this tool help you remain competitive, it can provide greater transparency for consumers.

  • Appraisal tool. A trade-in is more than just a blue book value. It’s an opportunity to maximize gross profits. This tool leverages the power of comprehensive and accurate vehicle market data so dealerships know what to buy, how many of them to buy, and what price to pay for them.

  • Vehicle display page. A vehicle display page (or VDP) is perhaps the most important tool in today’s information-centric marketplace. Online visibility is enhanced when all the requisite information such as fuel economy, options and upgrades is visible on a single page.

  • Inventory management. An inventory management tool helps increase gross profits by reducing inventory turnover time and generates data about which cars are right for any given market location.

  • Digital retailing. Easily create web pages, digital showrooms, and relevant ads by integrating this platform with your inventory management tool.

  • Pricing proof points. Accurate data is used to generate reports that justify and explain why a car is priced a certain way. Not only does it protect your bottom line, but it cultivates trust and builds transparency for the consumer.  

  • Online reputation management. Defend your name and business against online attacks. Some 87 percent of car shoppers consulted online reviews when choosing a dealership to visit according to one recent survey. With consumers placing such a high level of trust in social media and online reviews, this tool is critical to reducing or eliminating negative reviews and restoring your reputation.

  • Analytics. Tracking the actions and behaviors performed on your website allow you to customize marketing efforts accordingly.

Open Up The MAXDigital Toolbox  

The key to the MAXDigital automotive toolbox is also the key to maximizing your marketing and sales strategies. Explore some of our other tools, or better yet — schedule a free demonstration to see these tools in action.

How to Monitor Your Online Reputation: What Are They Saying About You?

How to Monitor Your Online Reputation: What Are They Saying About You?

Research suggests that nearly 80 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Close to 90 percent of people trust those reviews as much as they do friends or family.

Today’s business owners have less control over their reputation than ever. But there is still plenty you can do to monitor and shape your digital image. Below are five of the best places to seek feedback about your online reputation.

Online Reputation Management for the Digital Car Dealer

Google

So many consumers begin their search for your business with Google so it only makes sense your search for what they’re saying about you begins in the same place.

If you have a Google account for your dealership, use Google’s “About Me” or “Me on the Web” tools. These resources provide a comprehensive snapshot of almost everything on the Web containing your business or personal name.

Yelp!

Yelp! has become a go-to resource for many consumers to post and read reviews, and it’s a prime destination for a dealership owner to seek out what those customers are saying. Yelp! also has instructions for how to respond to a review so you can take back some control of your reputation.

Glassdoor

What your own employees say about you has as much to do with your online reputation as what your customers have to say. Glassdoor is an opportunity for employees to post reviews about their work environment, and it’s a good way for dealerships to see if any bad reviews may be an inside job.

SiteJabber

SiteJabber is centered largely around reporting scams and fraud and is unique in that, unlike some review sites, businesses cannot pay money to remove negative reviews. Business owners are free to respond and manage their online reputation, though.

Social Mention

A huge percentage of online reviews exist not on dedicated review sites but on social media, where people go to tell their friends and followers about their experience with a particular business. Social Mention collects real-time information about your business from over 100 social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Take Control of Your Online Reputation with MAXDigital

MAXDigital helps car dealerships create and cultivate their online reputations through a variety of proprietary tools. We can even integrate your website with Dealer Rater to show your online ratings directly on every vehicle display page.

Schedule a demonstration to see how MAXDigital can help you gain control over your online reputation, boost your brand image, and improve sales as a result.

How Long Will the Good Times Last? Selling in an Increasingly Digital Marketplace

Dealerships face a constant struggle to sell in a digital marketplace that continues to grow. The vast majority of consumers research vehicles online before ever stepping foot inside a dealership. On average, they spend 12 hours researching vehicles online, and many times are still researching while in your showroom. This new buying process means it is time to reevaluate and adapt your sales processes to make sure you win over today’s digital consumer. Where to start?

MAXDigital SVP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen, will outline how to understand today’s consumer. How do consumers search? How do consumers buy? Can they be separated? Today’s consumers purchase based on a combination of quality and value and consequently want to know they are buying the vehicle at a fair price, but they are not buying based on price alone.

Building trust with your consumers is a crucial step to winning them over and you can only do this by being fully transparent across all information sources.

To hear more from Patrick about how to sell in an increasingly digital marketplace, attend his NADA session:

Thursday, Jan 26

1pm

Room: 201-202

Key Advantages of Co-op Programs and OEM Partnerships

Key Advantages of Co-op Programs and OEM Partnerships

Co-op programs have a reputation in the automotive industry — and it’s not always clearly understood. Too often when we ask someone how a co-op works, they respond: A manufacturer gives a dealership free money to increase their advertising budget.

In reality, it’s not that simple. The money supplied by manufacturers for co-op advertising often comes with guidelines because, by definition, a co-op is a cooperative society, business, or enterprise. Basically, when a dealership opts to enter into a co-op with an OEM, all advertising efforts become a joint enterprise with benefits to both parties.

Find out how co-op programs can actually benefit your dealership when used effectively.

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5 Keys to More Effective Merchandising of Your Automotive Inventory

5 Keys to More Effective Merchandising of Your Automotive Inventory

Anyone with an outgoing personality can be a car salesman, right? While it certainly helps to have a lively disposition when selling cars in person, merchandising your inventory online takes a whole different skill set.

Below are five features of an effective automotive marketing initiative.
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How Car Dealers Can Optimize Used Vehicle Inventory Performance

How Car Dealers Can Optimize Used Vehicle Inventory Performance

If you work at a car dealership in 2016, you’re in a good place. The most recent NADA Data Report says that “the past six years have been the longest period of new-vehicle sales growth since the 1920s,” and this year’s outlook shows the trend continuing.

Here are some of the milestones attached to that assessment:

  • Total dealership revenue across all stores in the US reached a new high of $862 billion in 2015, a 6.9 percent increase over 2014.
  • Franchised new-car dealerships sold more than 17.3 million new cars and light trucks.
  • Average selling price of a new car/light truck: $33,419 (2.5 percent increase over 2014)
  • Average selling price of cars from used vehicle inventory: $19,397 (2.9% increase over 2014)

Perhaps more exciting than growth for the auto industry is growth for local economies. Almost 150 new dealerships opened in the past year, and more than 1.1 million people were on a car dealership’s payroll. That’s a 4.3 percent increase over 2014. Dealerships employed 67 people on average last year.

These numbers are compelling, and they say good things about the health of the auto industry overall, but we know that dealers are always looking to do better. Where is the next big opportunity?

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