Archive for the ‘creating content’ Category


New Age of Technology; have we lost the skill to speak with customers?

So many amazing devices and tools we now use to communicate with customers digitally have been a large benefit at the touch of our fingers. We seemed to have lost the skill on how to speak directly with a customer in person.

Having this benefit of communication creates a dismay in speaking skills & customer service when coming face to face with the customer themselves. Why? Is it because we have become so lazy to take advantage of technology that we overlook the customer’s voice? Do we assume that we know what they want & need?

I feel we have in my opinion. Just like we fail to take a moment to send a hand written card to a customer but instead we send an email. Customers still want that interaction in person from a live person; it’s the original way of life to be living social.

During my time of being an Internet Sales Manager one customer comes to mind. I received a lead on a 2004 Dodge Ram. I responded and the gentleman and I hit it off. Great conversations and after about 2 days of consistent emailing he wanted to meet and purchase the truck. At that point I assumed I knew everything about him. What did I know? He arrived to the dealership, we shook hands and exchanged a few words & that was it. I tried to strike a conversation with him but he was not about it at all. Only about 10-15 words were spoken by him. Did I assume I knew too much about him as our emails were in depth of great conversations but his goal was to purchase and leave with his truck. Never assume you know everything about a customer as they can surprise you.

Assuming the customer’s needs can bite you in the behind before you know it.  Listening to the customer and reacting in a positive way can help you achieve the best customer satisfaction because you had taken the time to LISTEN. Failing to listen will create negative results in your customer service skills.

Text Messages, Emails, Skype, Facebook & all those types of digital communication can be interpreted in a wrong way as you are dealing with a live customer LIVE CUSTOMER! Don’t forget that. Online consumers are smart and they deserve to have live customer service.

Have you found yourself in a position of forgetting how to take on the live customer since technology & digital communication has taken over our lives to make it easier?

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only – Jennifer Schrader


Are you viewing your website as the customers see’s it? 8 out of 10 times the answer is NO. Online shoppers are a breed of their own and if you don’t show them what you are made of (website) then you lose out on a valuable customer.

Our minds are so warped in sales we fail & forget to see what type of online presence we are giving to the consumer. Regardless if you sell cars, shoes, cosmetics and so forth. We are the seller not the consumer. Don’t forget that you are giving the impression of your business to the online consumer which still relates to the good ole’ saying “First impressions are the best impressions”. Why fail your consumers now?

During my time training dealers for website best practices & their website management tool, I asked them when the last time it was since they last viewed their website. The top 3 answers were “I am too ashamed to look at it”, “I don’t have time” & “That is the Internet Managers Job”. I lightly tread on the subject to have all the management including  sales to take a few moments a day to review their website as errors can be noticed that are overlooked. Your team can offer the feel of presence & most important of all critical feedback. Don’t prevent them from being involved.

Before trainings I would ask all the attendees to take a moment to step back out of their sales shoes & visualize themselves as a customer, A TRUE CONSUMER and clear their minds of sales. Our minds are so polluted with sales & are soaked up with Buy Buy Buy & Look at me I can sell a car but you need to take a step back. Having this clear mind approach while stepping into a website review can be beneficial not to yourself but most important “YOUR CONSUMER”.

Typing in your website address is one step, seeing your online image is another and the most impressionable one. Relevant images related to your home page is similar to a new customer walking into your showroom floor & seeing polished tiled floors, shiny cars, clean desks, spiffed up sales team and such. Giving that same impression to your online consumer needs to be the same.

Your website home page is more geared towards new cars & welcoming the consumer to your website. Keep those website images (banners) relevant to that specific profit center! For example if you sell cars and there is a banner with bananas for sale, a little over the top & exaggerated, however you get the point. Used or Pre-Owned needs to stay relevant to the pre-owned department only not posting new car ads to that specific page. Consumers are geared to relevant information & images for what they are looking for.  Confusing them will cause you to lose them!  This goes to the same for Finance; keep it finance geared along with Specials, Service & Parts. Don’t push them away for sales, sales, sales! They have a motive in mind; don’t force them to shut your website down & move to your competitor.

Keeping your profit centers separate for advertising will be beneficial to your consumer when they are viewing your website & looking for what they are searching for.

Below are valuable tips to help increase your impression to be the best impression for your online consumer.

Home Page: New car banners. Amazing finance offerings for the new car purchase. Why they should buy from you including the incentives they receive. (Customer Satisfaction, Free oil chances with new purchase etc)

Pre-Owned Page: Banners of aged inventory, anything that is over 60 days old on the lot, highlighting those specific vehicles can help turn that inventory over for the pre-owned interested consumer.  Certified finance offerings and / or finance offerings for pre-owned.

Service / Parts & Accessories: Banners with Certified technicians, rewards received for customer satisfaction, discounts on service, parts or accessories.

Finance: Banners that shows offers given by the OEM or for pre-owned, you can even include local credit union finance rates that are being offered.  Easy process for credit applications (applying online) and special finance offerings.

Specials: Banners specifically highlight aged inventory for both new & used inventory to help push them out and off your lot. Service, parts and/or accessories discount pricing, finance rates.

Why Buy or About Us: This page should have banners relevant to why they should buy from you. Why buy banners, incentives of being a new customer, Rewards, images of facility with customers.

Take a step back to view your website as a consumer can make a large difference that you may not realize at this time. Get your team involved with providing feedback as each profit center is online!

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only. Jennifer Schrader


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As we dabble in the wonderful world of social media we find ourselves conversing more with our co-workers, boss or internal departments more than our own family at times. We tend to get so mixed up with our social life digitally we forget the consequences that can follow while being social after hours. What can you do to prevent a Social Media Meltdown?

Friending your Co-Workers is a great way to know more about them & their families. We learn so much about a Co-Worker during the day it is turning into a pure habit to friend them on Facebook, Twitter etc. Why not? You know a lot about them from talking & working with them during the day, it can’t hurt to friend them… Can it? This also falls upon the boss when either you or they decide to request a friend request.

Has this gone too far? Do we find ourselves more involved with our Co-Workers & Boss’s Social Life then our own?

I am guilty of taking just about every moment of my life and posting about it on Facebook & other social networks. I enjoy my life, my daily activities along with having no shame of sharing my fun, crazy & wild moments with my social friends, family & clients. There is an advantage of me being a freelancer. Many social buddies, family & friends know I live to have fun & go all out when doing so but at the same time keeping my work professional to ensure that quality comes with fun.

I don’t miss working in an office with management hanging over my shoulder & watching everything I do Imagehowever with individuals that do need to be careful with posting crappy, moody or downright ridiculous comments, status updates & remarks on Social Media sites as they can come back and bite you in the behind!

Yes there are a handful of social media buddies that seem to be very angry most of the time & it reflects in their postings. You scratch your head & think “Wow, life can’t be that bad can it?” but when it is consistent you may have to remove them which can cause a Social Media Meltdown within an office or work environment. Trust me 99% of the time you will be approached by your Co-Worker or Boss & them asking you why? (DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS LOOK)…..! All you have to say is that you are getting away from social media or just having your close friends & family on social media. Work is separate from play!

Taking pre-cautions before hitting the accept button may be the best thing to do! Below are 5 tips to prevent from a Social Media Meltdown when friending your fellow Co-Workers or Boss!

SEPARATE PROFILE: creating a secondary profile for social media can be a great benefit for your professional career life. Limiting your co-workers & boss to see what you do after hours. Yes there are times when you like to kick back and have a few pints each night or kick it up a notch during the weekend but what does your boss think about that or your co-worker? Keeping a separate profile specifically dedicated to your day life during working hours can alleviate them from seeing your personal life as much as possible.

DENY REQUEST: yes this can be hard to swallow to deny request from your co-worker and /or boss Imagehowever explaining to them you are not comfortable with accepting their request as your life outside work is personal or you only use social media for your family & close friends.  If you explain with sincerity they will understand. Another option you can take advantage with Facebook & it’s latest & greatest feature is unsubscribe from them within your news feed. This can be helpful when you are dealing with a Co-Worker that is consistently posting every 15 minutes about how life sucks & such.

LIMIT POSTING: when you have accepted the friend request from your Co-Worker or Boss, limit your postings during the day. If they see you posting every ½ hour they will wonder if you are actually working at all. Limit the posting to 3 times during the day; 1 post before work, 1 during lunch & 1 after work. Doing so will prevent them thinking about your work ethics along with your dedication to your work, not just socializing during working hours digitally.

ImageAVOID CONFLICTS: by all means avoid any and all conflicts! If you see your Co-Worker posting negative post about fellow Co-Workers or your boss…. AVOID IT! If you comment or even get involved with the comment thread regardless it can come back and bite you! If your Boss or fellow Co-Worker approaches you about it, simply reply “I haven’t had the time to see it”… This response can prevent you from getting questioned even more about conflict that is happening between them.

BE CONSIDERATE WHEN POSTING: being involved with your Co-Workers social life let alone your boss, be considerate when posting to their status updates. Everyone has a bad day however many nowadays run right to social media to vent out. Being sympathetic to their frustrations can be a benefit to you as you are trying to help them through their negative mood and alleviate them from posting further negative remarks, bad mood status updates etc.  When management sees you trying to help your Co-Workers work through an issue you can be a rock star in their eyes and being positive over a negative post.  Being helpful & considerate can be helpful. Don’t post “GET OVER IT” etc this can stir a pot of SOCIAL MEDIA MELTDOWN!

Taking these 5 tips can help with preventing a Social Media Meltdown within a working environment & prevent you from getting involved with personal issues a Co-Worker or Boss may be having. You hear enough of it during the day by being with them.

What is your opinion about friending your fellow Co-Worker or Boss? Have you had great success or has it cost you your job?

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only Jennifer Schrader

jenschradergraphics@aol.com


Seeing this on a daily bases when I was in active sales 9 out of 10 times there is a middle man blocking your way to the decision maker. What do you do when this happens? Many & this is how you can take advantage of reaching out to make an impact for the middle man may be blocking your efforts to provide quality tools for the owner’s quality business.

The Middle Man can be a variety of positions within a dealership. The Internet Manager, BDC Manager, E Commerce Manager etc. The one that really gets me is the Finance Manager. 9 out of those 10 times they all claim they are the decision maker…….! If you think that you are going get them to sign the contract you better think again. Those words “I am the decision makers” gets you geeked up and ready to provide a killer product demonstration. But when it comes down to it, they are not the decision maker. Go to the main decision maker, Owner, Dealer Principal or CTO.

I am not throwing now hate on the Internet Managers, BDC or E Commerce, but what I have found is 99% of them are not the decision maker. Now what does that mean to you? Take advantage of these helpful tips to get to the decision maker and keep them in the loop with your products as they can be valuable for what the owner wants to have for their business, not the position of the Middle Man.

Introduction: You get a lead, you respond and of course you speak & communicate directly with the Internet manager. Ask them point blank “Who is the decision maker?” if their response is “I am” don’t buy it. Be blunt and request that the Dealer Principal, GM or CTO be involved with the product demonstration. If they push back on that, request for their managers name.  It doesn’t hurt to ask and call for the order.

Conference, Conference, Conference Call! Always set up a conference call after the follow up of the product demonstration with all parties that were involved. This prevents from mixed information, mixed communication and again gives the opportunity for you to CALL FOR THE ORDER. Having management & all decision makers can help make a larger impact for your success at closing a deal.

Follow Up…. Did I say Follow Up!  Yes we have all been there, ignored emails, massive amounts of voicemails. No worries. All departments within a dealership are very busy and don’t let that kill your confidence of earning their business.  If you provide that you are active in following up and requesting for the order to return your call or even an email can get a response from them. Respect their decision making time.

EDUCATE with Follow Up! This falls into the Follow Up listed above. If you were able to compile the contacts for the decision maker(s) you can provide valuable and educational information to them. This helps give the impression you are consistent on keeping up with the market trends, analytics, new data and whatever you can your hands on!

Don’t Give Up! If it comes down to being ignored or pushed off to voice jail (voicemail) then do a bit of research. Check out their website, you can find out a lot of information from the staff page or about us page and take the risk of contacting the owner. What do you have to lose? Nothing!

Taking advantage of the opportunity to reach out to the decision maker is half the battle but getting over the middle man is another.  Ask for the order and you will receive it. Like I said it don’t hurt to ask!

All opinions are solely based upon the author only. Jennifer Schrader


When was the last time you had taken advantage of Direct Mail or did you kick it to the curb like a one night stand? Direct Mail is NOT DEAD it’s just not taken in the proper advantage for the best results.

I always observe my mail within my mailbox and the only direct mails from dealerships are for service. Service this and service that but what really turns me off is the unattractiveness & plainness of the mail piece. I am 32 years old, conservative but also am a wife & mother of 2. Why in the world do I just want a mail piece that is black, blue and white?

With this in mind to answer the question above you will see my point from this article. There are many insights on how you can approach Direct Mail and properly market it to your existing or future customers THE RIGHT WAY!

You are an Automotive Dealership with a DMS / CRM that holds all the valuable information you need. Why not take advantage of every piece of data? IT’S THE GOLDEN KEY to your business!  Within that system you have a large range of information to help you take your first step into creating and distributing Direct Mail to the right crowd the right way!

What information does your DMS / CRM hold?

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle Purchased
  • Vehicle Traded In
  • Service Records
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Etc

*If your business doesn’t update your DMS / CRM, Hire someone to help you keep it maintained & data updated. Accurate data helps a business succeed in marketing!

AGE & GENDER are very important to the list above. Why? The reason why is that age ranges & gender can tell a lot about that specific individual. Hip, Conservative, Traditional, Family, Professional, Business Owner & the list goes on. Every individual is different however you can break it down by category.

A woman wouldn’t want black, red and white colors however what would be more appealing to them is more neutral colors & if they were 20-30 years old they would be more apt to view the Direct Mail piece if it had more pinks, yellows or even pastel colors. Men in their 20-30’s would be more apt to view the Direct Mail piece if it was Black, Red, Green & or blue. I think you get my point.

By looking deeply into this data you can go off on searching for a Direct Mail Company. Once you compile a list of companies you can start by asking them these very important questions!

  • How do you retrieve the data? (Always read the fine print!) Make sure your data is secured and will not be distributed to any of your competitors.
  • Do they look at the data we discussed at the beginning of this article? This is a good question to be asking them during the demo of which data is being pulled! If they just talk about the name and address you may want to research a few more companies. Never go with the first one and if it is “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE”….. Then it’s not the right company to go with!  Lots of false promises. Just drill them with questions and get a list of testimonials so you can reach out to them directly. Not just the testimonials get a good list of about 25. Yes 25 seems like a lot however you want to ensure your marketing dollars goes to making a profit.
  • How do they target the customers? Many Direct Mail Companies just go off the list by Name & Address! Be careful as you are basically throwing money out the door. Anyone can go off a list that has a name & address! During demos you can tell when they research further into the data and go off the actual customer’s data in depth. Targeting is a great way for business success.  I wouldn’t send a Happy Birthday Card to a Funeral…. (RIP DIRECT MAIL) If there is a more upper class neighborhood you would want to stick with something more eloquent. This goes into my next bullet point.
  • Do all the Direct Mail Pieces look the same? Big NO NO! This is where you get shot in the foot and your precious Direct Mail Piece gets tossed in the big bin “THE TRASH CAN”…! Having the same plane old Direct Mail Piece sent out each and every time let alone being sent to the wrong crowd can again be tossed in “THE TRASH CAN”..!
  • Does the Direct Mail have personal written notes? *Companies can take your actual handwriting and print it on the card) Taking this step, as it may cost just a bit more, can show the customers you had taken the time to personally write up a message for them! Handwritten cards & letters seem to have alleviated over the course of years as the wild Internet, Email & Social Media has taken over.  
  • Do they keep track of the returned Direct Mail or do you? If you do please be sure to have someone within your organization to update the addresses within your DMS / CRM data base. It’s no good if you don’t keep it updated.  Reach out to your BDC Department with the list of returns and call the contact numbers to correct the incorrect mailing address.
  • Do they blast the entire list all at once or certain groups at a time? The reason I mention this is I have seen many dealership blast an entire data base with direct mail which flooded the service department causing angered customers & walk outs. Always be sure to do about 50-100 at a time to help alleviate the tension within the service department. Taking this step will help with the Service Manager & their team to ensure the best service visit experience.   Having a great customer service experience helps with your CSI scores!
  • Do they offer you a list of which customers the Direct Mail pieces were sent too? This is always good no matter if you have the data at your fingertips but having a small list of each group they send it too can be very helpful for you as a manager / business owner or your Service Manager. Keeping track of that data can be beneficial to see if the Direct Mail Company is worth the cost.

Finding a company that can work with data to help target your marketing efforts by Direct Mail is a chore however it will be worth every penny spent!

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only: Jennifer Schrader

jennifergene@hotmail.com


Everywhere we look online we see websites. Full of colors, different varieties of products & information; which can be comparable to 52 Card Pick Up. Too many choices & all of them are waiting for you to click on them. But how do you make the most out of your website and make it work for your personal self or business?

Looking at your website each and every day can be an issue from the start. You know what it looks like and you can be overlooking simple things that you may not be aware of.  Reaching out to friends, family & co-workers can be a benefit to your marketing efforts online. Having an outside view can help with catching spelling errors, lack of information, confusing layout & much more. Don’t be offended by their critical feedback as some can’t handle it very well.  Yes we all know that you worked hard on setting the website up and it is your pride & joy however you can only be looking at the benefits of yourself without the consumer in mind.

The consumer is your main target, you want to provide them with the utmost information, content & have what they are looking for. Here are some questions you will want to ask yourself when reviewing your website.

Why buy from me? Do you have content that offers the reason why they should buy from you? Consumers are interested in learning about you & your business offerings.  It’s human nature. The more the consumer knows of you & about you; the more likely they are going to purchase from you!

Creative colors; are you matching what your wearing? Maybe your business is all about “Going Green” or “Nature Preserves”; would you have Yellow & Red colors dressed up on your website? The consumer will get scared as they are expecting Green, Neutral & Warm Colors not a Fast Food Restaurant. Being relevant with colors to your business will help the consumer be more inclined to view further into your website and not close out the window to move on to another website.

What deals do you have? Depending on your business structure you may provide discounts, special offers and such but where are they? As this is a common mistake for many companies marketing online is not having any offerings posted on their website. Consumers are coming to you for a deal, why isn’t there any around?

Providing your phone number as the largest text item on your header, footer and throughout each and every page can also be a benefit to your consumer for a quick reach of contact to you and your business.  Consumers are different when it comes to online shopping or researching product & having that contact number at their fingertips will be more inclined to reach out to you.

Having quick response time is very helpful for many online consumers. Answering their request via phone or email will show the consumer your credibility and your business is at full attention to their wants and needs. Ensure your contact forms and email are being forwarded to your cell phone as you then can monitor the incoming leads or contact us forms.  Consumers get excited by your quick action. Remember it’s your business and they are the consumer.

Be educational! As mentioned earlier that consumers want to learn and know more about you. By educating them of your process & how you do it they are more inclined to take on your services. Body shops are a great example; consumers will drop their vehicle off to get repaired then return to their vehicle and it looks like brand new! What happens during that process and how did they make it that way? Having photos of before, during & after are a great piece of education for the consumer on what actually goes on behind those doors at the paint booth. Giving them the information on what particular paints are used, tools, processes etc can create a great educational tool for the consumers.

Can they find you? By creating rich content & proper keywords for your website will help with search results within the search engines and help your Search Engine Optimization.  By having the proper keywords that are relevant to your business & products will help you be more recognized to Search Engines.  If you are a flower shop within a specific town you want to use terms that are relevant to your product and location.  You would not want to have the keyword “Tire Repair” for your “Glass Repair” shop.  The content would then be irrelevant and wouldn’t make sense to the consumer and of course the Search Engines.  Having an “About Us” page you want to ensure that all the content is about you or your business along with Service Specials you want to ensure also that the content matches to that specific page.

With these tools in mind, take a step back to review the results and take all and any feedback as a compliment to help you achieve your goals and that is Your Business and the Consumer.

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only. Jennifer Schrader

(231) 360-0730 jennifergene@hotmail.com

 


As a Freelancing Blogger & Designer, I do get my fair share of negatives involved with some that I feel don’t understand however I don’t take it personal. I tread on it when it happens. The question “Why?” may come up by you & this is my answer! This can be taken full advantage of for yourself & the daily operations of your business regardless of what you do.

As using a mindset that is different, I have found out more positive outcome & business relationships build stronger by doing so.

With myself I am very open minded & will speak freely of what I feel and believe. We all do! It’s just human nature & how we communicate, learn, express & feed off of.  Negative press especially can capture more attention and spread like wildfire through the newsfeeds, social media (more than ever), & receive more involvement from the commentators of our digital world.

Lets’ say that your negative feedback or press is coming back to haunt you. Your blood may be boiling; you can’t stop thinking about it, upset with yourself because you are letting it get to you.

DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN! ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLL!

Any news is good news! They are talking about you!

By being involved with what is being said, is go back and see if there is something missing, find out what they are saying, answer any and all questions. Take it offline through other media outlets, email or Skype, and talk about it! Maybe it’s a simple misunderstanding and you never know as you may just find someone like you out there! By rectifying the negative, you may just find yourself to be wrong.

By taking this mindset and using it to the fullest advantage you will see the positive outcome is more newsworthy that what you thought & you may come out to be the SUPERSTAR!

All views & opinions are solely based by the Author Jennifer Schrader.

jennifergene@hotmail.com (231) 360-0730