(Very rarely do we ever share other’s material or blogs, but Will Harris put together an amazing recap of the Canadian Digital Dealer 5 as well as a glowing review of Joe Webb’s session (see below). While it is self-serving to re-post, it’s just about the best advertising possible and we thank him for including us in his write-up.)
Ever wondered what to expect at your first automotive conference?
For a first timer this can be an exciting and possibly intimidating endeavor. The dealer conference circuit is one that is populated with seasoned pros and veterans. Months leading up to my first dealer conference, I anxiously followed various automotive personalities and looked forward to meeting them in the flesh. I longed to understand what all of their Tweets, blogs and #’s were all about.
And I finally got my chance on Feb. 20th, 2014. Ryan Thompson, Kijiji’s head of sales gave me the nod. The Dealer Geek couldn’t attend TADA’s CDDC #5 (Canadian Digital Dealer 5), so I was given the chance to represent Kijiji Autos and take in the conference.
This would be my first chance to interact with REAL LIVE people in the car industry. It was time to trade in the phone calls and GoToMeetings for handshakes and smiles.
Mr. Thompson, never lacking for insightful advice, said to me “have fun, take it in, avoid the rubber chicken, and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t be a fool on the Tweet board”. Hopefully I didn’t let him down.
itsharristime tried to be respectful on the CDDC#5 Tweet board, but some things just had to be said
Easy enough. I took his advice whole heartedly as this certainly wasn’t his first conference rodeo.
Brent Weese was our MC for the day. Brent did a great job introducing and kept the audience engaged with each speaker by asking insightful questions and encouraging the crowd to become involved.
Without a doubt Joe Webb stole the show at CDDC 5
Without a doubt, Joe was the highlight of the day. Joe talked about creating the BDC for his dealership, and possibly one of the first in the USA.
|And how did he get the ball rolling? Joe was the only sales guy on the floor (many years ago) that grabbed the feared and much misunderstood internet lead.
Whether this was a stroke of luck, misguided youthful exuberance or brilliant foresight, it sky rocketed his career.
Joe focused his talk on the importance of your internet department. This department should not be used as an IT department, or loaded down with menial tasks. There should be specific processes that are enabled to ensure that all leads are handled accordingly, and the roles are clearly delineated for the BDC or an internet manager. They should be focused and dedicated to quick and meaningful responses to customers. An e-mail up should be acknowledged within the hour. This response should be personalized and specific to the vehicle that the potential customer is inquiring about.
Is your internet department treated like an island or a place that future managers are bred?
What is the point of having a dedicated internet manager or an entire BDC if you are just auto generating generic responses? Any run of the mill CRM can do that for you. Separate yourself, don’t replicate.
Another focus of Joe’s talk was the importance of txt messaging customers and making your staff available via their cells. Couldn’t agree more with Joe and the stats back it up. The chances of a txt message being read is 68%. A response from a txt would up your open rate to around 35%. Impactful numbers.
What is your dealership’s cell phone strategy?
Where I see the importance of having your staff available via cell is for both before and after hours of a dealership. Any sales person worth their salt will take the time to respond to a txt or e-mail after hours if it leads to a potential appointment or sale. I’ve seen this model many times with successful dealerships while working at Kijiji. Dealerships and sales staff that make themselves available will gain more customers and business with their availability and response time. Customers expect major corporations to respond to their social media posts in an hour. You better bet they are expecting your hungry sales people to get back to them as fast as they put out that inquiry.
Joe’s video of the “evolution” of the internet manager role was hilarious. Working with many of these managers, I know that they face some of the problems that Joe takes the liberty to go over in this video:
Joe was in touch with his Canadian audience. Joe gave me the feeling that he was the type of guy that could keep teaching you all day. After hearing him speak, he gets my full respect and someone that I follow in every possible medium. I suggest you do the same.
Another must follow that I experienced at CDDC 5 was Stuart Bendall. The Tweets he was serving up were priceless pieces of info. For anyone that took the time to read them, they were absolutely priceless. Instant respect for this man and the knowledge he was serving up.
Stuart Bendall’s insightful and honest Tweets kept me in tune with the presentations and also gave me some great ideas.
Next up was Jim Flint, President and Founder of Local Search Group.
Jim Flint breaking down “Money Puck” to the crowd
Jim presented to the CDDC crowd how we should be looking at the dealership much how Billy Bean looked at the Oakland A’s in the late 90′s. Instead of focusing on stats such as RBI’s,home runs and pedigree that so many other scouts and teams were looking at, Bean focused on another strategy.
Bean focused all his scouting and free agent signings on one thing: how many times on base. This was the stat in which he measured his players.
Flint’s version of Money Ball for auto dealers, focused on VDP views. More often than not, dealers get caught up in the amount of e-mail leads, phone calls and showroom visits that an ad generates. The real focus should be on VDP views and the amount of traffic directed to your dealership web page.
Where things got a bit confusing for me, and it could just be my long concussion history, was when Flint changed his “Money Ball” talk to “Money Puck” for the Canadian audience.
Doesn’t he know that we have this little team called the Blue Jays that won back to back World Series? And also… check out this “powerplay” lineup:
Jim tried to reach out to the Canadian crowd, but don’t feel the hockey spin was necessary. Break it down for us just like a R.A Dickey knuckler- us Canucks would figure it out.
Check out Flint’s entire Money Ball deck here (don’t worry, it’s the baseball one)
Does anyone else in Toronto remember this?
Samantha Cunnigham – Potratz Agency
What is your strategy to market to female car buyers?
Samantha’s talk was about “how to market to women”.
I was a bit dismayed that this was a topic at all. Are we really that stuck in the stone age that we have to be told that women can now buy their own cars? I’d like to think as a culture we are not in a place where we still think that big ticket purchasing is left in the hands of males.
Apparently though, car dealers still need help in this area.
85% of all car buying decisions are influenced by women. I’ve heard this stat before and is not one that particularly stand out. Women also spend about 17 hours online researching their car purchase, again, not a shock and very similar to the amount of time that men spend.
One thing that did stick out to me. It is a bit of a shock that ALL dealerships aren’t doing this cheap and effective ways to appeal to female shoppers. .
If you have female sales or service staff, why not make it a point on your website to illuminate just that? I’d highlight, bold, and circle this fact to help female shoppers feel at ease. I’m not talking just on your staff page- I’d highlight this right on your homepage or on your service/sales tabs. If your dealership isn’t doing this, phone your web provider immediately and make the appropriate changes.
Samantha did dive into the the process of “narrowcasting”. Flint had touched on this as well.
Narrowcasting is where instead of the the typical spray and pay mentality, you actually target users that would be interested in your product. The examples both Flint and Cunningham used were in regards to Facebook campaigns. For example, a Lexus dealer that wanted to target women would be smart to “narrowcast” on women that fit their customer profile. The example Cunningham used was by targeting females in their 30+ that had graduated from a local university and were considered young professionals. Instead of simply just promoting the post to ALL females, narrowcasting allows you focus on prospective buyers that actually fit your target demographic.
Sure the mass impressions will be much less, but, the actual engagement will be increased and conversion is typically higher. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Dennis Galbraith “The Closer” and Maria Espinoza from Dealer eProcess closed out the day. Many of us by this point were anxiously checking the Tweet board to see the updates on the women’s hockey gold medal game.
Galbraith and Espinoza stressed the importance of content in order to establish a strong foothold on Google, as well as to attract your potential customers to engage. There was also a focus on consistent branding and messaging, as well as ensuring that your Google bread crumbs were mobile enabled.
Your website should be focused around customer experience. For example, where are people learning to shop online? Sites like Amazon make the customer experience extremely easy, so mimic this type of user interface and experience when building out your own site. Don’t make it more difficult on the customer then what it has to be.
For example, when people pull up your website in the search results pages of their search browser, make sure that the information is relevant and makes the shopping experience easy for the customer.
And if they do decide to click into that link that leads to a VDP page, make sure you are providing pertinent and relevant information to this potential customer. Leave it all out there – too much info is much safer bet than not giving enough to a customer. Detailed descriptions, overkill on the photos, a walk around video, financing details, contact forms, warranty info, live chat are all musts on the VDP.
There was also a “call to action” by the presenters to ensure that every ad and landing page you build out has a call to action. If you are going to pay for advertising, make it effective and drive the customer to do something. For example, if you are building out a service campaign, provide a form to fill out in order to get a coupon. If it is a finance campaign you are running, ensure that you are asking the customer to fill out a credit app.
Most of this is again common sense.
The presentation ended, and we were able to catch the final minutes of the Canada/USA game. Literally flipped it on as overtime started and was able to watch the “golden goal” as it happened.
Not a bad way to end the “Joe Webb Show” err, I mean, CDDC 5.
Thank you to TADA for putting on a great show and for all the speakers that added value to the automotive world.