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There are plenty of dealers out there who feel that their current website is not performing up to standards. This is often enhanced by poor customer service, errors, down time, and a "grass is greener" attitude whenever a dealer sees one of their competitors changing to a new platform. We all want what's new. We all want the latest and greatest.

It's possible that a website doesn't necessarily need to be replaced, just improved. This concept is less popular today because of the incredible array of website options available to dealers, but that doesn't mean that fixing or improving a website isn't the right approach. In this article on DrivingSales, we see these perspectives and a third one expounded upon.

The first important point is that almost all dealer websites are either underutilized or incapable of being utilized at a high level. Here on DrivingSales the readership is more aware of this than the general dealership body, but even the people reading this article now have a good chance of falling into this category.

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The Point has Moved

Anyone who has sold cars is probably familiar with standing on "the point." If someone is hungry for an up (or if their managers tell them to be hungry for an up), they'll go to the places on the lot where they're most likely to find someone interested in buying a vehicle. This often yielded the concept of "drive time" when being out on the lot was an imperative. These high-traffic times drove sales for a long time, but today the point has moved. It's online.

Dealers that want to be dominant must address the concept of being where their customers are online. That means search. That means properly managed websites. That means social media. In this article on DrivingSales, Christine Robertson explores the concept of being on the digital point during a 24-hour drive time period.

The points have moved. There are several locations to post up, and none of them are on the sidewalk. First, you need to be present in search results pages on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, on page one, at the top and/or right hand column, in the sponsored results. Some people click the first result they see. Be that. But that’s not nearly enough. More savvy shoppers look past the paid ads, to the organic listings, these are also your points. You need to back up your paid ad with organic listings because the combination instills confidence in the shopper that you are, in fact, an authority on the matter. Imagine all 10 organic listing on page one are your points, you should be stationed at as many of them as possible during drive time.

Read more on DrivingSales.

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Do Rich People Buy Car Warranties?

The appeal of F&I products like warranties and gap insurance is in protection from the unforeseen. It's sort of like a bet that if something goes wrong, the car owner won't have to fork over direct cash to fix the situation. This can be appealing to those who do not like big expenses hitting them when they least expect it, but what about those who can afford any expense that a car might generate? The affluent customer has a hard time seeing the value in paying for something that will only benefit them if bad things happen.

In an article on FI Magazine, Ronald Rearhard breaks down the situation and comes up with a solution to selling products to affluent customers.

Jon, affluent customers don’t live paycheck to paycheck, so they can easily pay for that unexpected repair if and when it occurs. Hey, money may not buy happiness, but it definitely makes life easier. When you have plenty of money, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your bills this month, or pay for unexpected car repairs or a deficiency balance if your car is totaled.

Read more on FI Magazine.

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Modernizing the Sales Process

If you've been in the car business for long enough, you've probably seen the changes that have been happening to the way people buy cars. Thanks to the internet, people are armed with more knowledge about the vehicles and the dealerships that sell them. This can be a bad thing, but it can also be a tremendously great thing when a dealership embraces the changes and empowers their team to do the same.

In this article on AutoSuccess by Joe Clementi, he breaks down the modern process and offers tips to dealers to not only cope with the way the business is today, but to thrive in it.

The consumers' destination is determined by several elements up to and including dealership customer service ratings and customer-written reviews. Once the dealership becomes a destination, the dealership experience, and not just price indicators alone, will be the final denominator.

Read more on AutoSuccess.

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Controlling Vehicle Pricing

We're big fans of the concept of using market data to guide your advertising. It makes sense to know where the buyers are, what they're buying, and how much they're paying in order to make educated decisions about how to spend your money.

On the other hand, we're not as big of fans to the concept of pricing automation using tools that dive into the market prices. Here's the problem with the theory. If most dealers are using the same tool (and they are) then how can any of them get the upper hand with their pricing? Those who believe that nobody should have an upper hand with their pricing isn't understanding what's made the car business so special for so long. Ours is a model that wasn't built on parody but on competitive drive.

We like controlled pricing with effort put into it rather than software and market driven pricing automation.

In this article from iCarBusiness, Michio Hasai takes a deeper dive into the concept and offers insights into why controlled pricing is better than automated.

There is a shift happening in the automotive industry. It’s been happening for a while and the majority of consumers have no idea. A good chunk of the used cars sold by dealers are priced based upon the market rather than the value.

Read more on iCarBusiness.

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Customers for Every Department

Customer loyalty is hard to come by these days. Those of us who have been selling cars for long enough remember a time when the majority of customers would work with a single dealership for a long time, perhaps even their whole lives. Those days are behind us to some extent thanks to the internet, but there are things you can do to win those customers back.

In this article on Automotive Digital Marketing by Jon Lamb, he explores some of the options that dealers have in order to try to make their service customers buy cars from them and to have their sales customers get their cars serviced at the dealership.

We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately, the habits of the general population has changed over the last decade to create a separation between where they buy cars and where they have them serviced.

Read more on ADM

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