I work as a sales and marketing manager, and I've worked in the car business in the past.
How to Sell More Cars Using the Internet
If you're an automotive sales professional who has found yourself charged with handling internet leads, then this article is for you. If you're the Internet Manager or Internet Director, you need to differentiate yourself and your store from the competition. Here's how. Also, if you're not in the car business but work online with customers via the internet and email, then some of the tips you're about to see will work for you, too.
My Sales Career
In my current position, I am a sales and marketing manager for Cardone Training Technologies. Prior to this, I was in the car business. Very early in my career, I would be handed internet-generated sales leads—not because I was any good at selling, mind you, but because management at the time just really didn't know what to do with them. When you got an internet lead back then, you were pretty much 50/50 on a deal. If you were nice, had the car in stock, and were able to give a decent price, you were pretty much going to sell a car. It was easy.
That was early 2003. Now, years later, the internet has advanced, and so has the consumer, and therefore the internet lead is no longer the same lead we used to get back in '03.
Or is it?
Understanding the Internet Buyer
Consumers will always be "more educated than ever before," and the reason for the heavy price shopping is that we (the auto industry) created it. Maybe not on purpose, but we created it nonetheless. The sooner we take responsibility for it and stop looking at the internet buyer like a total mooch, the sooner we can overcome that mindset and get back to earning a decent living.
As you look at these tips, there is one thing you must believe in and agree with me on; otherwise, you're not going to get it:
A customer will pay more for a great attitude than a great product.
If this sounds foreign to you or if you disagree with me on this, I understand and feel your frustration; I have been there, too. That being said, often, the truth hurts, and pain is a necessary part of growth. So consider your own attitude while moving forward, and then consider implementing these tips to adjust your own attitude.
Below the video, you'll find some success tips that you can use to create more appointments, loyal clients, referrals, and, subsequently, more deals.
Use YouTube to Introduce Yourself
Here's you're first idea and tip. What's the first step in any sales cycle? The greeting, right? A customer walks into the showroom, and what do you do?
"Hello, welcome to ABC Motors; my name's Dave. What can I get you information on?"
Just because you're online now doesn't mean you get to skip a step. You still need to greet your customer. Human contact still needs to take place, so go and get yourself an inexpensive, easy-to-use digital video camera and shoot a video of yourself. Put that video on YouTube and send the link to your customer in your opening email.
What makes a good intro video? A good introduction video should be:
- 60 seconds or less
- Include your name and number
- Welcome and thank them for considering you
- Offer service, information, and assistance
- Mention your hobbies
All of a sudden, you will go from "just a car salesman" to "human being" in under 60 seconds.
YouTube for Virtual Walkarounds and Presentations
Using YouTube to market yourself, your dealership, and your product is one of the best ways you can compete and separate yourself from the competition.
It is also an amazing way to maximize SEO for cheap. Meaning that linking your dealer's website to each and every video you do and including some quality tags and keywords will help your SEO campaign.
More importantly, it's fun. Let's face it, folks, if you're not having fun and making money, what's the point really? You know? Life is way too short to be sitting at a computer all day pounding away at the keyboard and wishing one of these people would just call. Forget coming in. You're so far gone you're just praying for a phone call.
Well, you've got to give them a reason to call. YouTube allows you to sell yourself, your name, and your mug, and then you also get to sell the product and the location. I've got some nice examples here of the possibilities you have available to you.
Let's take a look at some tips though for effective video:
- Feature the product
- Personalize it when appropriate (To the camera, "John, I just got your inquiry on this '08 Hyundai Sonata, let's go take a look!" Now do your presentation as if John was there.
- Keep in under three minutes
- Sell your name and number
- Ask for a phone call or appointment
- Be silly when the urge strikes you (keep it clean, though)
There are tons of great examples peppered across the internet if you only just look around. Ironically, it's still a really safe bet that NONE of your competition has even thought of this, so it will really separate you and your store apart in the mind of your consumer.
It is always better to give than to receive, they say. We might be able to successfully argue that point but what is for sure is that you need to give before you get. Back in the day, they told you that if you got a $15,000 car, you needed to do a $30,000 demonstration. This is a fundamental rule and principle that gets violated in internet sales daily. Just because the customer is online doesn't mean you get to skip the steps.
Think about it, if the guy was in the showroom, would you start talking numbers before presenting your product? Sure, the Internet has changed the order of things a bit, but there are a few constants that you, as a salesperson, owe to yourself and your client, and one of those is to present your product.
The customer is still in the showroom, VIRTUALLY. The internet, your dealer's website, and all things associated with your company online are your VIRTUAL SHOWROOM. The basic steps of selling are still in effect.
Read the Inquiry
Sorry if this seems like a no-brainer, but this seems like a very common oversight. Case in point, my wife and I have a small SUV, and the lease is up this month. We are looking to either going to lease a new one or buy out the one we have because we like this one, and it has everything we need, and the residual is in line with the Blue Book. So we're in a good spot. I reached out to several dealers to see what kind of response I would get. Here's what I found:
- Salespeople are more concerned with me shopping them than actually concerned with helping me decide to re-lease or buy out.
- No one really knows what's new for the 2011 model versus 2008.
- I got pricing, but not right away. Nothing specific or based on actual inventory
- A lot of requests to "just come on in"
- Questions like "What payment do you need to be at?" and "How much are you putting down." NOTE: If these questions don't work well on the lot, what makes you think they will be effective online?
Bottom line, only one dealership gave me a straight answer. Originally, I was going to go with the first person to reach out to me, but they blew it when they wouldn't answer my questions without me first coming in.
The guy who got the deal first and foremost responded to my initial inquiry, offered to help me decide what to do, gave me all the information I asked for, and was happy to do it. At this point, I'll pay a little extra because he made it easy and was cool about it.
That goes a long way, people.
Don't Just Send One Price
When a quote request comes in, show the buyer multiple options. If you're selling Hondas and the guy's looking for a Civic EX, send that price and then send an LX, an Accord, and a used one. All in one email. Choices support decision-making and reduce the need to shop. In addition, it shows you're easy, transparent, and flexible.
How many times has a customer come in looking for a black four-door sedan and driven home in a white convertible coupe? Every day this happens. Just because your buyer is online doesn't mean they've settled on a car. Especially now. Seven years ago, an internet lead usually meant the buyer was ready to go. Nowadays, your internet shopper is just that, a shopper. Just because they say they want a price on one thing doesn't mean they're not open to something else. Savvy?
By showing them multiple options, you're showing them you're looking out for them, and you're here to be of service.
If you'd like a great template for an internet price quote, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll send you one that you can use regularly.
Remember the Golden Rule
Keep in mind that the person on the other end of the computer is a living, breathing human being. Email, Texting, Facebook, and Twitter, are all new forms of human communication and interaction. Not as high quality and interactive as a phone call or in-person face-to-face communication but interaction and communication nonetheless.
How do you want to buy a car? How do you want to be treated when you go to the dealership? The way you look at others and the way you treat other people will be in direct proportion to how you are seen and treated by other people.
So, first, remember you're a human being, just like your client who needs you to help them purchase a vehicle.
If you need to, "what if" yourself. What if this was my mom? What if this was my daughter or son-in-law? The best what if is what if this was the owner's daugher-in-law.
Grant Cardone'll tell you, "Treat 'em like a millionaire." Every customer, every time, every situation.
Observe The Golden Rule at all times and watch the magic happen. Everybody wins.
Send a Credit App
In your quote, make sure you have a link to your dealer's website for a Credit Application. Make it easy for them to do business with you and give them the opportunity to move the process along themselves.
Convenience, speed and high levels of service is what make customers happy now. Trust me, if you're in a decent size area, there is always someone willing to sell it cheaper. If you're a Toyota store, how many White Camry's are in a 30-mile radius? Seriously. This is why you need to grasp that a customer will pay more for a good attitude all day long when they won't drop a penny for the other dealership.
Be of service, be speedy, be convenient.
Know this: a happy person will tell one or two people and then recommend you when the subject comes up, but a pissed-off customer tells EVERYONE!
So you've got some happy customers out there, or you should at least. How are you sharing that with the world?
Now we all know you can't please everyone, and dealing with that might pop up in another article really soon. That being said, the best way to make sure the bad reviews don't sting so bad is to make sure that you have more good ones than bad ones.
The first thing you got to do is ask for it! Then once you got it? Then what?
Low Tech Ideas
- Happy Customer Binder, where you have actual letters on paper.
- Polaroid pictures at the time of delivery for a Happy Customer wall.
Mid Tech Ideas
- Digital Camera photos on Website
- Testimonials pasted in from emails on the website (see example in links over there)
- Copy and Paste reviews from Dealer Rater, Yahoo Autos, Edmund's, and Yelp.
High Tech Best Practice
- Get a 30-second video clip of your happy customer (whether they buy from you or not) answering the following question: What's it like dealing with ABC Motors?
- Get that video on YouTube straight away. Upload it to Facebook and then tag the client. while you're at it.
- When you got enough video testimonials, put together a 2:30 reel of happy customers for your website.
- Take digital photos as well and put them on the dealer's Facebook page and tag that too.
- Tweet and Facebook "Congratulations to John and Jane Doe on their new Nissan Maxima" Make sure they see it. Copy any positive response to the testimonial page.
Now that you actually have some quality testimonials of other happy clients make sure all your new and potential clients are fully aware that you are a Rockstar in your field.
OK! So there you have a few tips on what Successful Internet Salespeople and Sales Managers do to stay on top and ahead of the game.
- What did you think?
- What did you learn?
- What will you try?
- Want more?
Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Benjamin Gardner on November 26, 2018:
Thanks you for the advice David. I’m new to sales I’ve been an internet sales consultant for two months now without much success. I will apply these tips to see if they can help me!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on May 07, 2018:
THANK YOU for the kind words Robin - happy to help!
Rockin Robin Hinds on May 03, 2018:
Yes, Yes, Yes! Thank you for getting me fired up! I am only 2 months in Car Sales but I love it so much!
Thank you so David!
Rockin Robin Hinds
Orr Cadillac of Shreveport
FedMo on October 16, 2017:
Looking for make an e shop for used autos . I am in the right place ?
Phyllis on April 24, 2017:
Hi, interesting article. This might be a good source of leads. On Wantedz there are always people posting wanting to buy cars in particular used cars - no fees to post, reply or join. might be worth checking out https://goo.gl/2dDtXR Cheers Phyllis
Great Ideas! on February 22, 2017:
Looking to get into internet sales after 20+ years on the floor!
Chad on December 01, 2016:
David, your are an Amazing Individual to take time out of you day to help total strangers on here. Thanks for the tips!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 16, 2016:
@Annonomous, consider giving more than one price. Grant Cardone calls it information overload. There's a really good change your buyer is on the wrong car or product. Last year, went in for an iPhone, left with a Galaxy S6. Send them pricing on the one they wanted, PLUS a model up, a model down, a package alternative and something preowned that fits. Offer figures on their trade as well. Your customer WILL get this information and the dealership that provides it will get the opportunity to do business. The ones that don't give a price become the highest price. Over promise, over deliver, exceed expectations, and leverage all that to get into communication with your buyer so they know you're real and a good person to work with and buy from.
Annonomous on October 11, 2016:
Any suggestions for not giving pricing over the phone? How to avoid it? BDC Rep and we don't give pricing over the phone. When we have no choice, and follow script. Then it sits on managers desk sometimes for days. Just get them in!.....I guess my question is. How do you say, we don't give pricing over the phone other than just saying it. Because we can't say that either....lol
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on January 20, 2016:
@Ashley Thank you for your kind words - my advice would be to be certain in your ability to add value to the company. That you're willing to learn and that you're looking for something long term. Let me know how the interview goes and how I can help further.
Ashley Followell Easterling on January 19, 2016:
Thank you! This article has been so helpful. I have a interview tomorrow for a internet sales manager position. The ad for employment stated no prior experience was needed, thst they would be training. I have no experience. My tatic for acing this interview tomorrow is doing as much research as I can tonight , so I can be prepared and atleast somewhat knowledgeable of the industry. Do you have any tips for me? This is my dream career.
Joy Luke on December 17, 2014:
I love all the great ideas - I'm already doing some of these and one of the most active is my Instagram account - has way more views than YouTube. I'm getting more appointments to show cars off of Facebook but I have yet to realize a sale yet from all of my social media. But just for fun, I googled my name and all of these images from my YouTube and Instagram popped up - so it's worth it to Brand Me. I've become Queen of the Selfies(I consider myself extremely unphotogenic) - I've gotten over it - I post pictures all the time - I've got one tagline I use a lot too - Just another blonde - and only at Johnson Dodge. Love, love, love all your Grant Cardone material too - I own about four of his books and I listen to "Sell or Be Sold" every morning - that's 6 days a week on the drive to work. May God richly bless you and I'll be calling you soon.
Brandon@CrownNissan on November 29, 2014:
Wow this is a great article. I am in my first month as an internet sales consultant at Crown Nissan in St. Petersburg Florida and upon reading this I have started creating my own Facebook profile(The Nissan Guy) my own Youtube account, of the same name, that I will start updating. I know this will be more work than what I am currently doing but if it equates to more sales then how could it not be worth it. Thank You Very Much!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 14, 2014:
@Cboyd, don't watch it - just send it - keep in under 2 minutes - feel free to call the office if you need to 310-777-0352
Cboyd on November 13, 2014:
Love the article.!! Thanks a lot. I've learned so much by reading this article. I'm a car saleman and we just got assigned Internet leads and I just couldn't figure out how to engage my clients and set appointments. Hopefully this is my answer. I have great confidence with a fresh up but I just hope I can have the confidence to send the video after I watch it. I always pick out something wrong when I review it. Any advice to help me over come the "it's too long" "I should of done this" ..."They may think it stupid" kind of thoughts??
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 31, 2014:
@Thank you George - let me know how I can help!
George Vanos on October 31, 2014:
I just found this, brilliant ideas. Going to try all of them to up my game! Thanks!
rachel rose10 on July 01, 2014:
I love your article. So many helpful tips, though my company Autoxloo is not selling cars, but we work in automotive industry as DMS providers. And after reading your hub, I'm absolutely sure that any business can benefit from these advice of yours. I especially like the idea about You Tube introduction video. Thanks for great article
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on September 26, 2013:
@Angela, thank you for chiming in - Really glad this helped! YouTube is the number 2 search engine after Google. You'd be surprised how it can help drive traffic to you and your dealer's website. Feel free to forward this on to anyone in your organization. Templates can help, but not at the expense of loosing site of the fact that there's a human being on the other end... all the best to you!
Angela on September 25, 2013:
I was just recently offered an internet sales position, which I accepted soon after. Now, I feel kind of lost, but this article really helped! I wonder if the internet director would be open to any of these ideas... he's been in the business for 20+ years and seems to have templates for EVERYTHING. Seems like an easy way out..
Also, most of our clients are seniors, which don't seem to know much about YouTube and other social media!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on September 17, 2013:
I'm approving the comment from ragnar, simply because of the humor factor - if anyone engages with High Priest Ashra, please let us all know how it went as I'd be curious to know how fast your ex-lover was returned to you and if you can break the 48 hour mark!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on June 26, 2013:
@Virtual Call Tracking - if you need help marketing your product and creating engaging content for your opportunities, call me direct at 310-777-0352 and in 12 minutes, I'll show you a program that will help you create more business than you'll know what to do with. How would you like it if you were actually revealed when an appointment cancelled because it allowed you a little breathing room because you have SO much going on?
Virtual Call Tracking on June 26, 2013:
Just Log On To:- http://mcube.vmc.in/
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on May 02, 2013:
Right above me is an example from Call Tracking Software of what not to do when marketing yourself and your company on line. Engage in the discussion and don't send a spider to do a person's job!
Call Tracking Software on May 02, 2013:
Nice Post….. Wana Know More About That Just Log On To:- http://mcube.vmc.in/
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on April 30, 2013:
@BobGuzinski - feel free to call me for help if you need any! 310-777-0352!
BobGuzinski on April 30, 2013:
Having just taken a position as a BDC Manager at a Dealership that sells about 350+ cars a month, a few hours into it I found the internet department was ran through the BDC!?!?! The insight here will help me A LOT Thank you for all the tips!
Paolo Cross from Philippines on April 13, 2013:
Thanks for sharing us some good ways to make money using the Internet. I will be looking forward to more of your posts.
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on March 30, 2013:
Damion, I used the Flip editing tool mostly or Windows Movie Maker - simple, fast and not too complicated - as far as your area, you're creating an on-line presenece for the one's who are on-line - know that sooner or later people will catch up and you'll want to be there. Just curious, what part of the globe are you in that's a "lower end tech market?"
Damion on March 30, 2013:
I loved it!!! I have a few questions about breaking barriers in lower end tech markets. Not everyone where I am is online and the ones who are are limited in ability. Should I launch a campaign promoting not only myself, but also social media? Also, what are the best tools to download to make simple videos?
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on November 09, 2012:
Jason, give me a call at the office today and we can talk - 310.777.0352
jason on November 08, 2012:
i am doing a paper on how to maximise your online leads ??? what help can you give me on that ??
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 24, 2012:
@malvarez4867, thanks for finding this! All the best to you in your new adventure! If there's anything I can help with, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com or 310.777.0352!
malvarez4867 on October 24, 2012:
Great article and helpful suggestions! I've just accepted a position as the Internet sales manager for a fine car dealership and was browsing the internet for some fresh ideas and proven successes, and I found you! I loved the Video clip idea and will create one asap, I agree putting a face, personality to the emails and name will only increase the chance of having a set appointment. Thank you for sharing!
I look forward to reading more ..
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 06, 2012:
@Adam T, love that question! " at what point do I gently lead the interaction from online to in person?" And this will probably vary per client, but would suggest a couple things. 1. Be willing to go to them. 2. There will be an organic point in the interaction/discussion where you'll know it's the right time. 3. Assume the sale and therefor everything that comes before it.
I imagine, if this is the Adam T I think it is, that these suggestions are already in your arsenal...
Adam T on October 06, 2012:
Great material on the Hub! Just last week I started incorporating video into my internet leads and the response rate skyrocketed. People are telling me they love the videos. I guess my biggest obstacle at this point is this: at what point do I gently lead the interaction from online to in person? I'll figure it out. Thanks for this hub, it really helped me!
Robert Wiesman on June 22, 2012:
Awesome read! This is right on the money. I do most of these things and the little extra effort not only yields results but is fun and gets you lot of attention ! Even better some HATERS!!!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on October 20, 2011:
Thanks a lot Thomas, I appreciate you reaching out! Keep us posted on your progress and success.
Thomas Givens on October 20, 2011:
David, These are some REALLY great ideas and tips! I appreciate you putting them out here for everyone to use!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on September 29, 2011:
Clark, thanks for the 2 cents and the dual perspective. I appreciate the fact that you've been on both sides of the coin and your insight.
Clark Heintz from Bow, NH on September 29, 2011:
I liked the 'Read the Inquiry' part of this the best. I am an auto tools and equipment dealer, own my own shop and in business for 38 years. Don't ever push something someone doesn't need/ask for. From the consumer perspective, that says high pressure, and it's not a postive experience when you feel like someone is simply reeling you in, without any concern for your needs. And as you state above, if you are working with a customer, ALWAYS BE DIRECT.
Sean Lucas on May 25, 2011:
Very good Stuff Dave!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on April 29, 2011:
Atoz Car, thanks for chiming in. I managed internet dept's for 4 years and sold cars for 8. These are just a few of the things I did to increase sales, appointments and response. Currently, I'm a Sales & Marketing Manager for Cardone Training Technologies where I get to help my fellow sales professionals become more successful!
Atoz Car on April 28, 2011:
It's applicative guide from practions. I believe you're a professional in auto sales. Good luck, buddy!
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on April 17, 2011:
Jerad, love this: "Thinking about doing it does not yield results." A-Flippin-Men brother!
Vernon Bradley from Yucaipa, California on April 17, 2011:
Wow, Dave, You really packed it in.
I am not even selling cars, let alone selling on line, but I am selling and I do probably more on line selling than I realize. I NEVER, I mean, I never look at the ads on hubs, but I looked at every single ad for the flip cameras and will do a few clicks after I write this comment.
What stands out for me is the line, if I am selling a 15,000 car, I want to give a 30,000 presentation. Wow, that really hit me between the eyes in terms of how I sell my product. So I charge 150 per hour and I need to be giving at least a 300 dollar presentation, if not a 3,000 or 30,000 presentation. Thanks for that. And I also liked the What if segment.
GREAT HUB and excited when I read your stuff knowing that I got to be a little piece of it at the beginning and then when you became internet sales manager. THOSE ARE VERY VERY FOND MEMORIES TO me and often motivate me when I'm dragging my ass in selling my services.
Jerad Spencer on April 17, 2011:
This is a great article with a lot of things most people think about but never do. Thinking about doing it does not yield results.
David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on April 17, 2011:
You're welcome. Glad you found it. Are you in the car business?
meshantha on April 17, 2011:
wow...great details..i've been searching for this...thanks