More Time For Crunches: A Look At New Technology

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Maxwell D. Skynard - Also by this author

5 minutes a day. . . . apparently, that’s all it takes to have a six pack stomach, eat perfectly cooked pasta or speak the foreign language of my choice. All I need is just 5 minutes a day.

It seems that many great things can be accomplished in life simply by combining a little discipline with a small amount of time. However, instead of spouting Spanish or flexing my perfectly sculpted muscles I sometimes settle for having a southern accent and wondering why the “cool” clothes never come in my size. I am well aware of what just 5 minutes a day could do for me if I committed to taking action. I just don’t do it. As a result, I sometimes have to face the unpleasant consequences of my inaction.

Luckily, I rarely cut corners when it comes to work. However, I am constantly corresponding with dealerships that could see significant business growth simply by committing to a few minutes a day online marketing. Like me (when it comes to crunches), they just don’t do it. Most (approximately 87 percent) consistently neglect their virtual dealerships - then call in to find out why they aren’t producing.

The truth is that I used to offer little hope is such matters – thinking that fortune only followed those focused on success. However, technology is now leveling the playing field. Although there is still no substitute for a creative and diligent ISM or BDC manager, there are now ways for those with more limited human resources to compete with more complex organizations.

Use Home Page Specials

Put specials on your home page. Next to inventory, promotional areas are the most visited sections of dealership websites. Having your web host display these on your home page (the first thing users see) can significantly increase traffic to these areas and will usually result in more leads.

Sell Old Units First

Use dated inventory to fuel your promotions. Technology can now allow you to apply business rules to your new and pre-owned inventories. These business rules can monitor how long your units have been in stock and automatically offer promotions. They can reduce the retail price after 30 days or offer one thousand over cost after 60 days. There are many possibilities but the important thing is this – the technology automatically makes these units stand out from your other listings and adds them to the promotional section of your website. The new product offerings from Dealerskins (2005 Dealers Choice Award Winner for best websites) will automatically pull these promotions onto your home page and shuffle them each time a user visits your site or refreshes a page.

Generate Opt-in Opportunities and viral marketing

Once again, there is no substitute for manually building broadcast emails. However, placing opt-in opportunities on key areas of your website can allow your dealership to build email databases without lifting a finger. These e-mails brand your dealership, offer links back to lead generating areas of your website and encourage users to forward offers to their friends (and others in their address book).

And there you have it. At least 3 things you can do to save an additional 5 minutes a day. Obviously, the effectiveness of these tools will depend on those managing the leads or calls as they come in. However, they can generate opportunities.

You can choose to investigate these tools - or not, to take other action - or not. The important thing is not that you spent 5 minutes doing crunches, cooking pasta or even taking care of your online marketing. The important thing is that you have the opportunity to do any or all of these things. The choice is up to you.

Good luck with your decision.

Vol 2, Issue 5

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