Marketing is a Waste of Money

Are you ready to throw away some money? Are you ready to waste some time too? Great. Here is the simple formula: Develop an awesome marketing campaign; support it with television, radio, social media, and search marketing; follow up with having no people to handle the calls and leads. That sounds crazy but businesses, specifically your local automotive dealerships, do it every  month.

The disconnect is especially evident when a consumer sees a high energy television commercial and then calls and speaks with an untrained and unmotivated so-called salesperson or receptionist. The caller usually hangs up without proceeding with setting an appointment or making a purchase, wasting their time, the company’s time, and wasting those advertising dollars. There are ways to avoid this massive money pit.

The easiest way to avoid this is to hire quality people, train them, and compensate them well. Easy, right? At the very least you should always be training. At the very very least you should be training on what the advertisement is and what people should say when customers call or come in. Phone training is difficult because it is not just the words you want people to say but how they say it. A great script delivered with no feeling or excitement is the same as having no script.

It really comes down to training. Who is training your people? Who trained the trainer?

If you want to stop wasting your advertising dollars feel free to email me at dtcarguy@dtcarguy.com

PS. I really dont think that advertising is a waste of money because once you get trained people they need something to do, but which comes first? Join me next time.

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You Hire Who You Attract

Companies often think of marketing and hiring as two different and unconnected jobs and departments, but I propose that hiring is your biggest advertising need if you are trying to grow a business. If your marketing department is not involved with attracting job applicants you are wasting the money you spend advertising your jobs.

It may only be one thing that ruins your job advertisements.

I had been noticing that our recent pool of job applicants for our sales department seemed younger and less experienced than the previous batch of young inexperienced applicants. As I pulled up the online job posting that our hiring manager had posted everything seemed fine until I reached the end, he had posted a salary of $20,000 a year.

If you want a job where you make $1600 a month that is fine, but I wont expect you to be my top producer in my sales department, or my BDC, or as an advisor or mechanic in my service department. If that amount of money is my top producer in any of those positions I am going out of business quickly.

You get what you pay for is as true in hiring as it is anywhere else. When you advertise for people who are satisfied with a minimal amount of money every month don’t be surprised when those same employees give you a minimal amount of work every month.

Motivating people who are success and money oriented is pretty easy, reward them with recognition and money and they usually work on their own to achieve whatever goals are set before them. Motivating people that are not success or money oriented usually ends up being a guessing game and who has time for that?

Advertise BIG for employees, don’t be afraid to use your top producer as the template for your job ad. Does your top salesperson make $300,000 a year? Advertise that instead of advertising to attract more of your worst producers. Get marketing involved in the way you advertise your jobs and you will get better candidates.

Posted 04/06/18 on https://www.advertisingboss.com

 

February Strategy

Welcome to February, what is your play this month? It is a short month for sure but typically if you work in any kind of production based job you have the same goals as any other month so how you handle the first few days really is the difference.

Auto dealerships and anyone in the automotive business should have already been working in January getting ready for tax time, but if not it is not too late. You may not have control of the inventory at your dealership so getting the right mix of cash cars and lower priced vehicles for financing is not something you can fix. How you respond to what inventory your dealership has is totally something you control however, so make sure that you do what you need to do to sell the inventory you have.

Many salespeople will spend the first half of February complaining about inventory and how management does not provide the right inventory and how the competition is so much better at having the right inventory. Many salespeople will waste time complaining instead of just making it work.

The first February tip is that the month is short, hit the ground today with gears engaged and every day in February remind yourself that this month is short and you have no time to be negative you only have time for selling this month.

Marketing Mix

No question, as a business owner or marketing manager there are endless choices of how to burn your marketing budget. In many markets an effective televison campaign can be the entire marketing budget of a small company. How does a small business choose the balance between marketing mediums? What are the options that are available in competition or in unison with digital advertising? Consider these options.

1. Print. In most local markets this would be the local newspaper although in larger markets there may be multiple newspapers or other local magazines. Does print media make sense? In some markets there may be a reason to be present in print but overall this is an aging demographic that may not be the best choice for media dollars. Consider that every part of print media companies are in decline.

“This overall decline in circulation coincided with a double-digit decline in advertising revenue for the industry as a whole. A separate Pew Research Center analysis based on the year-end financial statements of seven publicly traded U.S. newspaper companies suggests that advertising revenue across the industry declined even more sharply than in recent years: a 10% decline, which outpaces the 8% decline in 2015.” (Barthel, M., Pew Research Center, 2017)

2. Television. An obvious favorite of all advertisers television is the “big dog” of most traditional advertising budgets. The real determination of how effective television is often depends on frequency and reach but in reality the effectiveness of television is held in the message. If a business has a strong and unique message the cost efficency of television can make the decision to advertise here simple. The danger of relying totally on television is that similar to print it is a shifting and shrinking media. Even events that usually are ratings and advertising rockstars are slipping in popularity and revenue, the rating estimates for the 2018 Olympics are down 28 percent from previous years.

“The user behavior that cable TV providers fear most — cord cutting — is projected to accelerate over the next five years. EMarketer estimates that by 2021, over 81 million U.S. consumers will have either cut their cords or never signed up for one in the first place, up 64 percent from today.” (Willens, M.,https://digiday.com/media/state-tvs-decline-five-charts,2017)

Both of these major competitors of digital advertising are worthy of consideration in any advertising budget but both are slipping in reach and both can be extremely expensive. Although it would be simple to say that traditional media such as print or television should be eliminated they do have a place in any media plan.

#mediamix #advertisingboss

Jump Off the Train

This has been sitting in my Draft folder long enough so it is time to post.

The most common response to anything negative in our lives is to ride the N(egative) train as long as we can, searching at each station we come to for someone to commiserate with us and agree how bad we have it. Soon we have gathered together all of the poor souls we meet along the tracks and have filled the N train cars with gloom and despair. Listen, you can hear sayings like, “Why do things like these always happen to me?” and “It seems like I take one step forward and two steps back.”

Whether you are the conductor or a passenger you can stop the train and get off, but dont believe for a moment it is easy. Trains gain lots of momentum and once they are under way they are hard to stop, but the N train is a little different because negativity builds speed and energy exponentially so sometimes it is not about trying to stop the train, but learning how to jump off the train without getting hurt.

If you are surrounded with negative people in a negative place and dont have the capacity or authority to change the situation dont be afraid to jump off the train. It usually hurts when you hit the ground but there is usually some kind of pain when you make a change, but trading pain for a fresh start is worth it.

Showing Up

There is a direct relation between success and showing up. Showing up wont guarantee a win but not showing up almost always means you are going to lose. I have always thought that if I wanted to be dedicated it meant I needed to be obsessed with whatever, never taking days off, working all day every day. As I get a little older I have begun to realize I was right all along, if you want to be a success at something it means there are other areas of your life that are going to suffer, so get over it.

 

 

 

Generational Fracture

It has always been that older people blame change on younger people and younger people blame lack of progress on older people. While there has always been separation between older and younger generations the generational fracture that has occurred between Baby Boomers and Millennials seems to be more pronounced and talked about than between other generations.

In business, managers, mostly from the Baby Boom, are writing books, articles and social media posts regarding how hard it is to hire and manage those Millennials. Experts are talking about how to redesign, re-engineer the entire hiring, training, and retention process in a way that Millennials will want to come to work. Type in “how to recruit millennials” and you will see 414,000 results in Google.

Is it true that there is a Generational Fracture between Millennials and other generations? Could it be that there is not a millennial problem but a bunch of bad managers and recruiters? I think so. #generationalfracture

 

It is All About the Content

Every post from social media experts seems to boil down to those six words so apparently Content is King. This lesson needs to be learned by salespeople as well as social marketers.

Marketing studies indicate that 71% of customers that purchased automobiles said they bought because they liked their salesperson (Kershner, 2008). I believe that statistic to a point (my debate teacher always used the phrase, there are three kinds of lies, lies, damned lies, and statistics). I think the failure in that logic is the reason why the customer said they liked their salesperson.

Old guard sales trainers spent (and spend) hours and hours with new salespeople explaining how to find common ground with customers by asking questions about family, kids, work, etc… which is all good information and can be extremely useful during the sales process, but here comes the but. The fact that you found out what elementary school your customer attended is probably not the reason that they say they like you.

Customers like efficient, knowledgeable, competent salespeople, regardless of where they went to school or their background. We have now circled back to our point, Content is King. The question whether a customer liked their salesperson does not dive deep enough, the question could be turned around to say, did you tolerate your salesperson because they were knowledgeable and respected your time even though you were from different background?

All of those soft questions about background and family are great when worked in throughout the process but only after you have demonstrated to your customer that you are a professional salesperson that understands their needs and knows how your products will satisfy those needs.

My point, finally, is that salespeople need to concentrate more on having specific content in their presentation that will appeal to their customers. Spending time learning screen resolution or mounting options of televisions, horsepower or safety features of new cars, or features of whatever it is you sell is time well spent.

You want to make money, right? You want to consistently produce for your company and family, right? You will only be successful if you understand that content is king and spend the time to create specific and pertinent content for your customers.

Kershner, Jeff, 2008, https://www.dealerrefresh.com/dealer-showroom-floor-sales-statistics-and-percentages/

Training for 2020: Automotive Armageddon

The year 2020 is on the horizon, and along with it are huge changes for the automotive industry. In 1987 the rock group R.E.M. released a song with the main lyrics “It’s the End of the World as we know it.” That song will be the anthem for the automotive industry over the next three years.

The issues that will force the changes in the car business have been building for years; the continued resurgence of subprime financing, the reappearance of large factory incentives, increased vehicle leasing and the lengthening of finance terms.

With customers increasingly “upside down” this trade cycle may be the last that many customers can follow the normal two or three years between trades. With this in mind the year 2020 may become the year where the auto industry marks a low sales mark worse than 2009. How will dealerships stay relevant and more importantly open? The sad truth is that many will not.

Dealerships and employees must begin today training for 2020. That training must include modern networking methods, inventory planning for the new market, and rethinking how marketing ROI is viewed. An even more difficult question for dealerships is how to begin staffing now for 2020 because the unfortunate truth is that the employee roster in 2020 will only contain 10% of the same names as today.

Correctly hiring people over the next 24 months will be a water mark for dealerships; only those dealerships that choose employees wisely will be around to celebrate 2021.

#trainingfor2020 #hiring #cardealership #dtcarguy

Theory versus Reality: Automotive Product Specialists

I have long supported the idea that the traditional  role of the automotive salesperson is under siege and will soon be replaced; first by a legion of hourly, retail refugees and then by whatever online, kiosk, or other platform that finally cracks the car transaction as a service secret code.

I will admit I was wrong, at least about the first evolution.

Automotive retail giants have tried the product specialist position, someone that is not a salesperson, with limited success and failure. I thought that this shift would be successful because that is what customers wanted. Customers want salespeople, many times they need a salesperson to help guide them to a decision in a way no hourly product specialist could do.

The problem with the specialist is that because of increasingly complex rebate and finance structures and the burden of state and federal regulations a vehicle sale is a very complicated process. Just like a real estate purchase a vehicle purchase takes professional representation in most cases. 

What people do want and deserve is a more professional sales experience which can only be provided by skilled and trained salespeople, not product specialists.