Sunday, July 24, 2011


They don’t trust you.

We both know it’s largely unfair, but they don’t trust you.

You’ve seen all the polls where buyers say if they could bypass the dealership and buy directly from the manufacturer they would.  They trust the OEM, but they don’t trust you.

A couple weeks ago, I heard a Ford maven say this (I’ll paraphrase): “The more your outgoing emails resemble Tier 1 emails, the more prospects trust you.”   By gawd, he’s on to something.

Ignoring, for the moment, issues like quality of content, font selection, correct spacing & spelling, etc. etc. what is the simplest and most powerful thing we can do to make our outgoing emails resemble Tier 1 emails?

Shared graphics, right?

For example, this month  has “The Best Place To Be” sales event plastered all over the home page.  “The Best Place To Be” is a simple graphic; easy to copy, easy to manipulate, easy to paste into numerous settings.

What happens if a Ford dealer incorporates that image into the graphic header on all its outgoing emails this month?
 - The store piggybacks on all the $$$ Ford is spending driving that message home on the web, on TV and in print. 
 - Prospects, consciously or unconsciously, now align the dealership with the trusted manufacturer.

In the prospect’s mind, the dealership is now perceived more to be an authorized extension of the trusted national brand.  The gap between Tier 1 (OEM) and Tier 3 has just been narrowed.  And the cost to the dealership to accomplish this?  $00.00.

You are already thinking, “This idea Ordiway is proposing is so simple, and so obvious that’s it’s almost no idea at all.”  And you are right.

So how come (to my knowledge) none of the stores in my region are employing this stunningly effective little trick?

Shame on me.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Our team’s official Ford Motor Company job title is Digital Marketing Consultant.  Sounds cool.  I like it.

But it’s actually a misnomer as it suggests that we want to sell you SEO/SAO, website development, lead generation and other services.  And we don’t.

For some time now I’ve been telling people that our real title should be Best Practices Consultant: Internet-based Retail New Car Sales.  But besides being too long, it’s also inadequate because it suggests (to me, anyway) that the job entails walking into a dealership and pulling out a new car Internet sales best practices playbook.  If there is such a document, I’ve never seen it.

At the end of some dog tired days I think we are really a combination of things:  
 - eCommunications skills teacher +
 - eProspect management practices instructor +
 - Art of salesmanship coach and trainer.

Isn’t Internet-based new car sales really all about those three things?

COMMUNICATION: Many of us in the car sales game consider ourselves to be excellent communicators, and when we’re facing a prospect one-on-one this is often true.  But when we switch from face-to-face communicating to computer-to-computer communicating, we usually come up short.  Here’s an email template communication effectiveness test: print out your templates (if you don’t use them, print out some recently sent email examples) and, pretending there is a prospect sitting across the desk from you, read the templates aloud, in sequence.  How natural do they sound?  How sincere do you feel reading them?  Did the content help you in your quest to meet + greet + qualify the imaginary prospect sitting across from you?

PROSPECT MANAGEMENT: In my region, on average, 35% - 50% of the eProspects who buy do so within 5 days of submitting their lead.  But without a viable, formal eProspect long-term follow-up process built into your CRM, staying on top of last week’s eLead is as difficult as locating last week’s Facebook post.  Here’s an eProspect management success test: log into your CRM and locate all the new car eLeads that came in 6 days ago.  Now look: how many received phone and/or email contact from your store in the past 24 hours?  Past 48 hours?  What scheduled futurecontact activities are shown in the prospects’ profiles?  Any at all?

SALESMANSHIP: If you’ve been in the sales business very long you know that you can never attain perfection in that discipline known as salesmanship.  It’s equivalent to the yogi’s quest for nirvana.  Yet constantly working to improve one’s salesmanship skills is the one guaranteed thing a salesperson can do to insure that his/her sales continually increase.  Which means if your BDC and Internet sales department people are hamstrung by flawed communications and poor prospect management they have no time to improve their salesmanship skills.  Here’s a third and final test: how happy are you with the results of the communications and prospect management tests above?

‘nuff said.