Article

Herb Chambers Creates own Regional Online Buying Service

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Sean Wolfington - Also by this author

Herb Chambers began their regional online buying service by creating an e-CRM Business plan to outline their goals and strategy. We helped them create a detailed blueprint and action plan to clarify everything they needed to do and assign accountability for each action on their way to reaching their goals. Below are some parts of the strategy they created that you may want to customize for your dealership.
Technology: Herb Chambers implemented a complete digital marketing system with a custom Web site, a prospect management tool and a suite of multimedia Buzzmails. As a result, the system drives more foot, phone and internet traffic and automates e-mail activity so their team has more time to use the phone and to sell cars.
 
Marketing: Herb Chambers added their URL to all traditional media and incorporated digital marketing into the mix. With online advertising and search engine optimization, they’re able to lower traditional advertising costs, reduce expenses for 3rd party lead providers and as a result, they’ve reduced cost per sale.
 
People: Herb Chambers recruits people with previous automotive sales experience, great phone skills and the persistence needed to follow up. They employ dedicated Internet sales people to sell the appointment and the car.
Process: Herb Chambers started by mapping out their process for turning leads into appointments and sales. Automation has simplified the e-mail follow up process, enabling the staff to focus their energy on using the phone to set appointments and freeing more time up to sell cars.
 
Pricing: Herb Chambers realizes that selling cars on the internet is not about giving cars away. They put together a pricing philosophy that is competitive while preserving gross profit. As a result, they’re selling approximately 600 additional units per month at a higher gross profit than some of their showrooms because they do not sell price. The Internet staff works to build value in the dealership, the people and the process while highlighting advantages of doing business with them rather than the competition.

Training: The leadership team sees the value in training and works with every one in the department to build the phone skills, follow up skills and sales skills their people need to increase appointments, sales, gross profit, csi and loyalty. In addition, Herb Chambers has an extensive training program for new hires.
 
Measure and Manage: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that everything is measurable. At Herb Chambers, the management team measures everything and holds regular meetings to discuss progress and ways to improve. BuzzTrak reports give the team the information they need at a glance. The most important results to track are: The number of leads by lead source, response rate and time, appointment ratio, show ratio, closing ratio, cost per lead and cost per sale. By tracking this information closely, they are able to make small adjustments to any component of their strategy, determine the impact and make smart decisions.

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