From the good old free ads section in the local paper, to the infinite possibilities with that thing called the internet – there’s not one way of selling cars any more.
‘The internet has grown inexorably over the last few years, and will continue to grow at an impressive rate,’ says Phill Jones, Motors.co.uk’s commercial director.
Now is the time for dealers to embrace the internet as fearlessly as possible – and one way of doing this is by using advertising portals on the internet.
‘The biggest reason for poor response of a car is no photo’
‘The advantage of an advertising portal is that it has a mixture of stock on there, so users are going on there because they want to see different types of cars,’ explains Jones. ‘There’s no denying that there is a market and a need for a dealer’s own individual website, but a portal exists because people want choice and this is exactly what portals offer. A portal can also generate enormous economies of scale, by taking the money from dealers and investing that in marketing.’
Advertising portals like Motors.co.uk couldn’t be simpler to use. Not only is the website incredibly fetching for customers to look at and search on, but the portal can increase dealers’ sales significantly. But it’s the way you use it which makes the difference.
Jones says: ‘The simple rules for dealers are make sure you have photos of your stock. The biggest reason for poor response of a car is no photo, and the second biggest reason is a poor quality photo.
‘There’s simple things dealers can do to take a good photo. Park the car in front of something pretty; take it on a sunny day; and take a photo of the interior and of the tyres. Dealers should be taking as many photos as they can in the time available to them – nine to 10 high-res images is a good average.
Jones’ second piece of advice is pricing: ‘Dealers should be using portals in the same way consumers are doing by making sure their stock is priced properly. Dealers should not only be using CAP and Glass’s valuations, but also comparing their stock with other dealers both locally and nationally.’
As with most things, there’s always another side to the coin. It’s not all only the practice of capturing leads that dealers should be concentrating on, but knowing where the leads have come from is just as important.
‘If dealers don’t know where the leads are coming from, then dealers are spending blindly on marketing and that is a waste,’ says Jones. ‘We feel that dealers should have a mix – this can be different portals, the dealer’s own website, Google Ads, and local press. ‘But dealers need to know where their leads have come from and the great thing about portals is that they show the number of phone calls, and the number of clicks, and emails their stock has had.’
Motors.co.uk’s software will report back to the dealer on how many times their cars appeared in search listings, how many times it has been looked at, how many times a customer has printed the details, and how many times a customer has called. And the advantage of this? ‘The dealer then knows how much they spent on advertising – “I got this number of phone calls, and each call was worth this much to me”,’ says Jones.
‘Investing in marketing is the right thing to do’
However, one of the best tips Jones can give to dealers is call tracking software. ‘There’s many products – including ours – available where a dealer buys a bank of telephone numbers and then they place each number on a different form of advertising. The software will then automatically aggregate how many phone calls each number received.
‘Investing in marketing is the right thing to do. More and more customers are becoming savvy – they do their research and they know exactly want they want to buy when they enter a dealership. Customers are more confident and it makes the buying process more likely to happen, and by investing in marketing, customers will come to your showroom just to touch the car and perhaps buy it.’