Third-generation car dealers and brothers Doug and Andrew MacIver own and operate Ride Time, an independent auto dealership in Winnipeg, Canada. Their grandfather, uncles, father and now they have operated dealerships in the area and they have a track record of success. Ride Time specializes in custom trucks, but retails vehicles in every category. They run about 50 / 50 subprime to prime deals and generally carry nothing older than seven model years. Doug said that he and his brother are self-admitted “tech junkies” and love to try new things to drive sales to the dealership. They both recently spoke at DrivingSales’ Canadian Dealer Forum.
Dealerships have a constantly expanding group of lead sources available to them today. With so many choices, it can be difficult to decide which to try. While considering lead sources, it is important to consider the cost per lead, lead volume and the quality of the leads. At the end of the day, it is deliveries that matter — not the number or cost of the leads — so quality stands out. ROI is the most important statistic because, after all, we are in business to make money.
As third-party lead providers lose their stranglehold on automotive searches and research, dealers have the opportunity to capture shoppers earlier and eliminate the need to buy back the customers from their own backyards. This is due both to search engines placing greater value on local businesses and the rise of social as a lead-producing giant.
For decades, auto dealers have combed the Earth in search of the ever-elusive sale or tool or marketing program to steal car buyers from their competitors’ backyard. For years, direct mail salespeople by the dozen have promised to have the secret proprietary formula for success. Dealers have tried and sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed, but one common theme has always stayed true: What works today will likely work a little less each month until finally it no longer returns an adequate ROI to continue.
The only way to succeed is to keep your eye on what is coming and be prepared to adopt new techniques and platforms, all while optimizing what is working best now.