Expand your lot size with your website

Jason Cannon

February 11, 2013

What if a well-dressed, well-mannered young man or woman entered your dealership today and said, “I want to help you sell trucks. I don’t want commission. I just want to go around to prospective customers and show them your inventory. The ones who want more information, I’ll direct them to you.”

Sounds too good to be true, right?

No commission? No angle?

They’re going to promote your entire inventory around the clock and you don’t have to do anything other than supply them with current information?

Sounds like a scam, right?

Nah. Sounds like a website to me.

Justin Seibert, founder and president at direct online marketing, told a group of truck dealers gathered at the ATD Convention & Expo this weekend, there are endless marketing opportunities available through the Internet.

He’s right.

How else can you give thousands of potential customers unobtrusive and undivided attention, all at the same time?

I’m not talking about Facebook, either. Facebook is great for what it does, but how many people do you know that are freely willing to invest more than $100,000 in a piece of equipment from a post they saw on Facebook.

I’m talking about targeted marketing.

People come to your website regularly. By navigating to your website, they are telling you, “I am interested in what you have.”

In the art of the sale, getting the customer’s attention is the hardest part, but you’ve just cleared that hurdle. Are you serving them properly?

A picture of your dealership isn’t going to cut it.

Today’s customer wants detail. How many trucks do you have? Will you facilitate financing? Do you have one in red? What does the interior look like?

You can answer all of these questions with a well-crafted website.

Shoot a roughly 2 minute video of each truck model you have. Include footage of the interior and other small details that are important to the driver, but less important to the manufacturer. Engine displacement is certainly a key factor in the buying decision, but that’s easy to find. What’s not easy to find is what the instrument cluster looks like, the interior color and the layout of the sleeper.

YouTube will be glad to host that brief video for you for free.

There is a list of free photo hosting sites, like Tumblr and flickr, that enable to you take multiple pictures of your inventory. Again, the more detail the better.

And keep it current.

You don’t have to update your website every day but it should be done frequently. New arrivals should be categorized as such and any unique offers or customization should be clearly and prominently spelled out.

Also important is clear and easy to find contact information. Email addresses, phone numbers and “contact us” information should be clearly visible on every page.

Real estate is expensive. How much would it cost you to double the size of your lot? Think about the Internet as a new, vast lot that doesn’t cost anything to use beyond whatever you pay for webhosting and domain registration.

Jason Cannon is Online Managing Editor of Successful Dealer. Email him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com. Follow him on twitter at @by_jason_cannon.

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