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Online Shoppers

The majority of consumers search for and research powersports products online before walking into the dealership to buy. As a result, the more progressive dealers are educating themselves on how to handle those Internet quote requests when they arrive.

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“Hey Boss, these Internet leads you gave me from last month suck,” said the salesperson at Re-Active Cycles. “I’ve been making calls and every one of these people has already bought!”

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“Yeah well, we can’t make any money off of those damn price shoppers anyway,” responded dealer principal Tom Tyrant.

Across town at Pro-Active Cycles, the handling of Internet leads is going a little differently. General manager Steve Systems has one salesperson named Suzanne that is dedicated entirely to generating and handling Internet leads. That doesn’t mean that Suzanne never handles floor ups and phone ups, but it does mean that she is the key stakeholder in the Internet lead handling process, from beginning to end. In fact, according to Suzanne’s weekly IPR (Internet performance report), she converted seven of her 24 internet leads into sales last month.

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Most dealer principals and sales managers are now aware that the majority of consumers search for and research powersports products online before walking into the dealership to buy. As a result, the more progressive dealers are educating themselves on different marketing channels for Internet lead generation and, more importantly, on how to handle those Internet quote requests when they arrive.

I remember when I first signed up for Powersports Network and got our dealership’s websites up and running. I was so proud that we had a modern looking site with up-to-date unit information that I didn’t really take those quote request things very seriously. And why did the OEMs keep sending me these things as well? I had more important things to do than play e-mail games back and forth with some 12-year-old from who knows where looking for a CR 85.

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Well, as technology continues to progress and more and more Gen X and Gen Y buyers enter the powersports pipeline, it is becoming quite apparent that learning to play the Internet game is becoming a crucial part of doing business.

“Fifty-five percent of leads turn into a sale of something, somewhere, which is an indication that consumers who submit requests are not playing around,” says Kevin Root, vice president of product and marketing for Dealix Corporation. “More than half buy something, 42 percent buy within 30 days and, of that group, more than half buy within 10 days.”

By now, you’ve most likely heard me get off on my tangent of “you can’t improve upon what you are not tracking.” We know that we should measure how many showroom visitors we have, how many write ups and how many closes. So what kinds of measurements should we have for our Internet Department? (That’s right, I called it a department!)

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Let’s take a closer look: How was the Internet lead created, and what is your return on investment? For example, If we have 375 showroom visitors with a 15 percent closing ratio then we sold 56 units. Now if our total traditional marketing (billboards, TV, radio, yellow pages, direct mail, etc.) dollars spent for the month of July is $5,000, then it costs us $89 in traditional marketing per unit sold.

Now, let’s say we invest in the more progressive digital marketing that is pay-per-click, and it costs you $200 for a monthly web banner. You then buy 30 leads from www.powersportstv.com at $10-per-lead for $300. Your total investment for digital marketing is $500. Your pay-per-click generated 10 leads plus the 30 you purchased, and you have 40 Internet leads. You follow your Internet lead handling process for those 40 leads and get a 60 percent appointment ratio. Of those 24 appointments, only half show up. With a professional sales process you convert 50% of your 12 kept appointments into sales. Six unit sales created by your Internet department divided by $500 equals a comparable $83 per unit sold for your digital marketing.

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So why invest in digital marketing if it costs just as much as traditional marketing? That’s a great question, and one that I would like to have MPN readers comment on. Perhaps it’s the fact that Internet marketing is much more quantifiable than traditional marketing, or it may be that the additional six sales in the above example simply wouldn’t have happened without it. But one thing is for sure: The game is on, it’s time we learn how to play it well. Email [email protected] with your Internet marketing success (or failure) stories.

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