The Other Dodge

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Quote requests from online shoppers are common enough, but have you heard of a “No-Quote Request?”

That’s when a salesperson responds… with NO QUOTE!

In other words: Ask, and you shall not receive.

Really?! Who still does this in 2013 when we all go online first to buy anything?

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True story: some dealers believe they can get more business by dodging shopper’s quote requests.

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They don’t think shoppers know they’re getting the runaround when the salesperson answers with: “Well, before I can get you a price, I need to get some more blah blah information…”

What the shopper hears is something like, “Say there, pardner! What’s an attractive and smart person like you wanting a price fer? Dontcha know that’s a bad idea?! Well sure! Now that I’ve set you straight, why don’t you come on down and we’ll see if we can’t rustle up some of that new car smell for ya! <wink>”

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OR they’ll try to slide this one by: an AUTOMATED response that tries SO HARD to sound human. “Here is your price!* It’s not the actual price* because I’m a machine that’s trying not to get my dealer sued. I can’t verify reality or any real* information. Just a range* at best. Also, if you included a color preference or trim request, I couldn’t identify that information and skipped it.” A rude near-human, is more like it.

In-The-Market-Shoppers see right through these dodges, like it was an email from a “prince” who needs money deposited into a bank account right away so you can share millions with him later.

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Move these quote requests forward and get more buyers on your lot today with SalesCatcher. The test drive is free, and the low month-to-month will make you smile. 888-319-1276

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We Got Rated

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An actual email we received today from one of our GM’s:

“Stanley,

My guys seem to be using the system more all the time. Is there a report somewhere I can run to view utlization by salesperson? Or can you run one and send it to me?

Also we added 3 new salespeople. I need (login) ID’s for _____, _______, and ________.”

(Of course, we showed them where the report could be found on the SalesCatcher menu bar, under Miscellaneous.)

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Okay, maybe we felt more like this:

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Which Internet Managers Are Lazy?

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I’d be lazy about running locates too if it took me 20-30 minutes* to put together a decent quote!

The heck with that, I’d just quote a car on my lot, even if it had an option package that raised the price $1200 over what my competitors will quote – you can’t win them all, right?

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And I certainly don’t want to think about the fact that the shopper might have ultimately bought my car with the option package if I could have just gotten them on my lot.

Because it’s just too much trouble to cobble together a quote.

Caesar

I’m not an HTML expert.

A lot of my photos have too many bytes** and get stuck in spam – what am I supposed to do about that?

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If I only had a TOOL that could just GLANCE at an invoice and IMMEDIATELY transform it into a handsome-looking quote in two seconds flat!* THEN you could call me lazy!***

* SalesCatcher’s proprietary software takes 5 seconds to create a quote from an invoice just by using “Copy and Paste.”

** SC’s “On-the-Fly” Image Resizing feature ensures bytes are reduced. Many dealers therefore use SC to create their email blasts as well.

*** Most Internet Managers are not lazy, they just don’t know how easy quoting can be with SalesCatcher, especially with locates.

Simply

My Big Fish Story

bigfish1I admit, I was excited to receive this particular email. It was a confirmation to demo SalesCatcher to one of the biggest auto groups in the country.

Obviously, this would be a good get. I suddenly had visions of SalesCatcher being in all their stores overnight, greatly improving our bottom line, and when their sales spiked as a result, they would buy us out and make us millionaires.

So am I currently writing this from my new mansion in Beverly Hills?

Read on.

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Going in, I thought I had a good enough chance. I had already been assured by two of their regional managers that our product was a superior quoting tool to their current system (which I easily verified through some mystery shopping). But because “corporate” makes all the decisions, these managers weren’t even allowed to sample it for a free 14-day trial in any of their stores.

So Thursday arrived (March 28th, 2013 to be exact). Although we were in different time zones, our webcams put us in the same room, as did his ability to see my computer desktop on his computer.fishing_rev

I appreciated the fact that he had invited two associates to join him – the more the merrier. After I was introduced to these pleasant gentlemen and we had a round of making fun of their ridiculously long titles, I began the demonstration.

All was going well, particularly when I showed them SalesCatcher’s unique ability to make a quote out of an invoice in 5 seconds by just using the “copy and paste” functions (I always swell with pride over this). lake-trout-girl

But a few minutes in, I noticed something strange: they weren’t asking the questions that general managers and internet directors usually ask. So either they weren’t interested from the get-go, or they were coming from a totally different place.

When I was finished, I was grateful that he didn’t take long to say “no.” Even though I was deflated, at least he ripped the band-aid off quickly.

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It was what he said next that caused me to temporarily forget my sudden case of mild depression: that regardless of what their stores were currently putting out as quotes, those will all change because they have something similar to SalesCatcher “in the works” now and that it would be rolled out at some future date. big-fish-got-away-vancouver

Then it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe… IT guys in charge of this very function for their auto group would be the last people to make me a millionaire (my fantasy) by buying SalesCatcher outright. Or anything close to that. If that’s the case, I still didn’t waste their time: I don’t think they minded seeing the currently available cutting edge technology we’ve perfected over the last three years.

He said one more thing: that SalesCatcher is excellent for individual stores or smaller groups who don’t have millions of dollars to pour into developing tools… like SalesCatcher.gante pesce biggest fishes fish  world pesce enorme gigante big fishes of the ocean of the sea big fish of the world best monster trophy record monde mongolia

I believe him. Their loss (no SalesCatcher for them!) is everyone else’s gain (free trial too!).

So in the end, we can still continue bringing dealers’ quotes into the 21st century one by one, and I didn’t have to lie about the big fish that got away because I still have a pretty good story to tell.

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Top Ten List: Transparency

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I came across a great article on the profitability of price transparency from Jim Radogna of Dealer Compliance Consultants.

In brief, here are “10 Things to Consider Before You Blow Off the Idea of Transparency:

  1. Increase Lead Conversion – Not being upfront about details used to have its benefits until consumers got all the information we have. If you resist answering customer’s questions, chances are you’ll never hear from them again.
  2. Increase Closing Ratios – Higher levels of satisfaction with the selling process result in higher closing rates and higher sales. canoes-lg
  3. Improve Your Reputation – A dealership’s reputation is impossible to maintain when staff members use “old school” practices, especially now that they can tell thousands of possible customers about you online.
  4. Avoid Legal Problems – State & federal regulators frequently target “non-transparent” dealer practices as unfair and deceptive. Who needs the negative publicity anyway? fully_transparent_smartphone_image_title_cuzrs
  5. Increase Customer Satisfaction – At the end of the day higher customer satisfaction translates into more repeat and referral business.
  6. Increase Customer Loyalty – Customers only have loyalty if you earn it from them. Transparent processes help build customer loyalty and retention. You’ll find that customers will be willing to spend more when they feel they’re buying from a business they can trust.
  7. Your Customers Have Unprecedented Access to Information in Real Time – Customers simply have too many choices and too much access to good information and will quickly discard dealers they feel are hiding something. Holding back information will only make them trust you less. transparent-toaster
  8. Reduce Chargebacks – The percentage of chargebacks and cancellations is directly related to transparency in sales and finance processes.
  9. You’ll Stand Out From Your Competition – Progressive dealers can easily differentiate themselves by marketing their transparent processes and demonstrating their honesty.
  10. Transparency is what consumers have been begging for so why not treat them the way they want to be treated? – Here’s a hint: it’s happens to be the right thing to do. In my opinion, subjecting customers to old-school processes doesn’t give them the respect they deserve. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

The good news is that transparency can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A transparent business model can greatly enhance your sales, reputation, customer retention, and bottom line. But first you must find the vision and courage it takes to break down deep-rooted stereotypes and embrace transparency.bugatti_veyron_transparent_body_1600x1200

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Transparency is not a dirty word but complacency is. Do you have the vision and courage it takes to embrace transparency and go from being good to being great?”

See the whole article here: http://tinyurl.com/cf39wo8

 

Human Interaction Trumps Automation

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Some things shouldn’t be automated.

Like art.

Music.

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Kissing.

Love, for that matter.

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Tech support shouldn’t be automated.

Neither should cooks. Or police.

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Or receptionists. Or nurses. Or war.

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Or your job engaging online shoppers with quotes.

Humans respond best to humans. It’s a biological fact.

Our species depends on it.