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

Advertisements

Image

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


There is not a day that goes by without hearing “Social Media, Social Media, Fan Pages etc”. There is nothing bad about it however there are ways you can take social media to the next level by giving it an extra kick for your business regardless of how well you know social media.

Business’s either large or small can rely on their friends, family, new customers & encouraging current customers to share your Fan Page. This surely does help with getting your name out there for your Fan Page however let’s take it a step further.  There is a time when you will exhaust your options of your current fans to share your page to get those extra “Likes”.  But what do you do when that happens?

By following these simple tips you & your business can give your social media efforts an extra kick.

Promo..? What Promo..?

Setting up a promotion is one thing however taking advantage of what that promotion actually offers is another.  For example you run a “Best Photo Contest” for your local area. Don’t just rely on posting it on your Fan Page! List all the photography studios, camera repair or sales shops, publishing department within the school, local mall pin-up boards etc. to notify them of this promotion contest you are running for your business and send them information on it so they can post it within their business for consumers to see the contest. Placing this effort you can really make an impact with your local businesses and you would be surprised they will become your “Fan”…!

Cheap…. NOOOOOOO!!

Free oil changes are nice or certain services at a discount however in reality it is very rare that the individual that won a contest is going to really take advantage of that offering let alone join the contest & become a Fan of your Fan page for your business.  As stated in an example above for the promotional contest offering a prize relevant to the promotional contest you are holding.  A top prize can be either a new camera, $150 off a camera, Free photo session, free photo lessons etc. I think you get the point.  These prizes can be a great way of getting more engagement from new fans & also help spread the word more effectively.

Involvement..? It only takes minimal efforts on your part!

Staying involved with your community can make a large impact locally & internally.  Food drives, charity contributions, Scholarship programs, raising money for awareness, raising funds for school supplies or scholarships.  Reaching out to these local businesses can make a large difference in spreading the word about your business’s efforts to create an impact that will be long lasting.

Communicating with local business’s regardless if they are in the same field of service & or products, is a way of working together to spread the word of your business while they do the same for you.

Social media doesn’t just work with an account set up and limited fans, it works with efforts in being involved with all necessary business relations.  Remember great offerings, creates great shares, creates great feed back!

What’s there to lose?

All views and opinions are solely based by the author only. Jennifer Schrader


There is not a day that goes by without hearing “Social Media, Social Media, Fan Pages etc”. There is nothing bad about it however there are ways you can take social media to the next level by giving it an extra kick for your business regardless of how well you know social media.

Business’s either large or small can rely on their friends, family, new customers & encouraging current customers to share your Fan Page. This surely does help with getting your name out there for your Fan Page however let’s take it a step further.  There is a time when you will exhaust your options of your current fans to share your page to get those extra “Likes”.  But what do you do when that happens?

By following these simple tips you & your business can give your social media efforts an extra kick.

Promo..? What Promo..?

Setting up a promotion is one thing however taking advantage of what that promotion actually offers is another.  For example you run a “Best Photo Contest” for your local area. Don’t just rely on posting it on your Fan Page! List all the photography studios, camera repair or sales shops, publishing department within the school, local mall pin-up boards etc. to notify them of this promotion contest you are running for your business and send them information on it so they can post it within their business for consumers to see the contest. Placing this effort you can really make an impact with your local businesses and you would be surprised they will become your “Fan”…!

Cheap…. NOOOOOOO!!

Free oil changes are nice or certain services at a discount however in reality it is very rare that the individual that won a contest is going to really take advantage of that offering let alone join the contest & become a Fan of your Fan page for your business.  As stated in an example above for the promotional contest offering a prize relevant to the promotional contest you are holding.  A top prize can be either a new camera, $150 off a camera, Free photo session, free photo lessons etc. I think you get the point.  These prizes can be a great way of getting more engagement from new fans & also help spread the word more effectively.

Involvement..? It only takes minimal efforts on your part!

Staying involved with your community can make a large impact locally & internally.  Food drives, charity contributions, Scholarship programs, raising money for awareness, raising funds for school supplies or scholarships.  Reaching out to these local businesses can make a large difference in spreading the word about your business’s efforts to create an impact that will be long lasting.

Communicating with local business’s regardless if they are in the same field of service & or products, is a way of working together to spread the word of your business while they do the same for you.

Social media doesn’t just work with an account set up and limited fans, it works with efforts in being involved with all necessary business relations.  Remember great offerings, creates great shares, creates great feed back!

What’s there to lose?

All views and opinions are solely based by 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