Meeting with an Auto Dealership -$1500/mo?

29 replies
Hey, I'll try to keep this short, I'm going into a small auto dealership in my town tomorrow afternoon to talk about them getting a website up, and claiming their Google Place page.

Now, my town is small, under 12k, and I've checked the competition, and I can easily rank them on the 1st page for relative keywords. I know for a fact they don't do any selling online, so I am going in there not just to sell them a website, but I want to completely handle their online sales.

I don't know how much dealerships make off of every sale they make, but I feel as though I can easily bring this guy 10-15 extra sales a month. I plan on charging $500 for the website, and then charging $1500/mo to handle their entire online campaign.

And what I'm thinking is, get their website ranked for 5 relative keywords in my town, claim their google place page, post craigslist ads weekly for their entire inventory, and put up some of their vehicles on ebay.

I came up with this idea about 15 minutes ago, and to me it sounds very plausible, but I wanted to get a few extra opinions, so that's where yall come in.

So, any advice on other ways to bring them sales via online would be greatly appreciated, and any thoughts on my price points would be great.
#$1500 or mo #auto #dealership #meeting
  • Profile picture of the author mcfcok
    Good luck to you mate, let's hope you can pull it off!

    My advice, since they are virgin to online marketing etc perhaps pull them in gently by that i mean don't scare the living day lights out of them by giving them too much at once. From zero to $1500 might put them off.

    Sort them the website/google places for x amount, make them feel trust in you them cream them for everything else you can offer.

    Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Stranger Danger
    12,000 is not a lot of people. How many other dealerships are in your town? Before you start thinking about your price points and profit margins, you should discuss with your client their figures - how many vehicles they sell in a month/year, how many inquiries and how much traffic they get as well as their profit margins/spending budget etc. Your confidence will mean nothing if your price points are not pragmatic. The ROI must make sense to your client. You need to figure out what that is without selling yourself short.

    A few things to consider regarding ebay; if you handle this yourself, each listing will increase your overhead and you will be required to handle all emails and inquiries (inquiries of which you may not be able to answer immediately - and may become a hassle for your client). Will you be receiving a commission (affiliate or other)? Who will handle the logistics (shipping, if needed)? Photos, vehicle information (possibly carfax etc.) will also have to be supplied (ebay or not). Will you be handling that, too?

    Regarding SEO - why only target 5 keywords? If the competition is anything like what I think it is, you should have no problem ranking many, many keywords with and/or without local modifiers. If I were you, I'd create several pages and/or videos and totally dominate the entire first page for your primary keywords.

    The only thing is, I'd build everything out as my own...protect my assets and create some job security in the event that they decide to bail after all of the hard work is done (but that's just me)...which is another reason why I prefer the lead-gen/site-rental models.

    Regarding Craigslist - you may not be able to publish their entire inventory each week unless you outsource this or use software due to CL's limitations.

    In summary (opinion, only):

    1) I would stay away from Ebay for this particular client. If you want to target a larger market and/or sell high-end cars with commissions, then it can work wonders. But I just think, for this particular client, it will be too much of a hassle with very little reward.

    2) A website and google places - definitely.

    3) Craigslist, if they aren't already doing it - definitely.
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  • Profile picture of the author philipdwyer
    I agree with @mcfcok, Take it slowly and become essential to their business before going for big.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Usually a car dealer makes the most money off of used cars, and financing.
    If I were you, I would also incorporate sms into your marketing.

    Have a different number, like the stock number or first 5 of each vin, for each car.
    Then people can text 12345 to CarDealerShortCode for more information.
    Because people browse the car lots after they are closed so they don't have to deal with the sales people.
    Then, the next day, the sales people can follow up with the leads. They know the number of the person and the exact vehicles they were looking at.
    Just put a small disclaimer that by texting to receive more info, they may be contacted by SmallTown Car Dealer
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    • Profile picture of the author Jerry McGough
      You might want to test putting QR codes on a portion of the inventory.
      See if that portion of the inventory gets more action.

      Definitely be aware of how much work you're taking on with listings on eBay and cars.com
      Most of the dealers around here have extensive listings on both sites.

      They might have some employees standing around looking for customers to wander in.
      Maybe train a couple of those to do some listings and photos.

      Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnm1141
    I always wanted to a method like this but was worried of it crashing. Thank you OP for giving me inspiration.
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    • Profile picture of the author kat57
      Definatley incorporate sms with the program.
      It is a win/win, very profitable, and can keep your cutomer loyal to for
      years to come.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Hawke
    JT,

    I have a friend that owned a buy here pay here car lot. They typically make about 50% on a car. Sell one for $3000 and make $1500.

    You can easily make them the $1500 back with just a sale or two.

    Just be sure to talk about the money. How much is an average new customer worth? Multiply by 10 and they should see the value.

    If you have proof of what another client gets off the web that would be great. If you don't I may be convoked to put up an example you and others can use. It almost always works for me.

    Good luck and let me know if you want the client example. It's an example of Google local results I have for a client here in Tennessee.
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    David Hawke
    Local Marketer Marketing Velocity

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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Depending on the size of the dealership $1500 is too much since you say small.

    Dealership will likely be making $500 to $2500 on most cars.

    Also you have to remember the internet shopper means lower margin buyers so they will be more in the $500 to $1000 range.

    If you can bring in 10 to 15 extra sales that is fine but how will they replace their inventory? See selling at a lower margin is fine if they have a supply of used cars.

    A smaller used only dealer here and one of the best locally sells like 20 a week. if this dealership is less than that and I fear it is they just don't have the stucture in place to handle more business. They are selling on margins not on volume. And $1500 to get more prospects who are low ballers? No thanks.

    Basically I just gave you their arguments. To sell this kind of customer you need figure out how they run their business and how you can help them make money. They don't want more customers they want higher grosses.

    I don't own or work in a car dealer but I sell RVs and know car dealers so these are real world numbers and the real world thinking you may have to face. $1,500 isn't a lot but if you are looking at a smaller mom and pop used car dealer that might be 25% of his profit for a month.

    I would need to know more about the size of dealer and the market to give you better advice.

    As for running their online world it depends on what you wanna do rather it makes sense for you.

    Even the website has question on how will their inventory be put up. Who will be taking pictures of it. Loads of questions here. I have said it before and will say it again the one niche I don't think offliners here should go after is dealers. There are large companies in this niche that can do it better and cheaper. That are familar with website and dealer system integration and such. That can feed invetory to car.com and ect.

    The larger dealers often are already working with one of these companies. The smaller ones turned them down for reasons like i spoke about above. The cost vs benefit doesn't make sense. If I am a small dealer with cheap cars I don't get my business off the net. My business is from referrals, repeats, and drive bys. Once i get a bit bigger I start TV ads and such on programs that have a lot of poor people watching and I put up bill boards in areas with poor people and near and on buses.

    For really really small lots with cheap cars all they need online is maybe a cheap website and some craiglist listings. And I'd honestly forget the website for a lot of them. People look on craiglist for cheap cars.

    But if you can tell me more about the dealership. Price of cars, lot size, average vehicals on lot, number sold per month if you know(I can guess it based on lot size and using a 60 to 90 day turn), etc. If you can tell me that I can give you a better idea of what you need to pitch.

    But in the end as devil's advocate I don't think you will get $1500 a month from them unless they are bigger then you make them sound. Them selling more just means more work for less gross. It's not the name of the game for a lot of dealerships.

    David Hawke:

    Buy here, pay here is another animal from normal car dealers. The dealers and the customers know the cars are over priced and crap. But they have no other choices due to credit. Also buy here pay here makes a lot of money on selling the same car to multiple people. Inventory gets repo'd a lot which means less of their cost is in getting cars for the lot. It is very profitable but a lot of repo in the business model.

    car dealers do not make 50% on cars unless they are dirt cheap cars. Most dealers make less than 10%. Most will not sell a car for less than $500 to $1000 profit even if it is cheap(thus some are 50% or more).
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  • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
    Hey guys, quick update, things went very well, we talked for a long time about his business and how much they actually make and the misconception people have about how much they make per sale. They weren't doing any online advertising at all, so I offered to completely setup and manage their online presence for 30 days, setting up a Google Voice number, so I can track all the results they are getting, and after 30 days if they are happy, I'm going to go ahead and charge them $800-$1000/mo.

    He was really into all that I had to say, and he seemed excited and glad that I came by. He said he was gonna talk to his partner about everything and for me to come in Monday.

    So, Monday the plan is to get the payment for the web design and claiming his Google Place page, and also get them started with some craigslist ads. I told him I'd go in and take pictures of their inventory (only like 20 cars) to put up on the website, so I'll probably get to do that as well.

    Anyway, I think it went great, and I'm looking forward to Monday!


    (Also, they said they were spending $1600/mo on the Penny News in my town! Hah so actually I might end up charging what I originally had planned at $1500, if they are happy with the results)
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Good job.

    And if you can get them to move their advertising budget you will be able to get a good amount if you get results. Not sure what Penny News is but $1,600 a month for a dealership that sells 10(20 cars, day day turn rate) to maybe 20 a month is crazy unless it is producing a great ROI.

    One thing I worry about is how you worded it. From the sounds of it you agreed to do the following for free for 30days

    1. Build a website
    2. Set up google places
    3. Take pictures of units on lot and upload them(20 cars on lot at any time, likely turns 30 to 60 days)

    If the results come in you will charge them going forward but you don't sound like you talked about price completely yet. i hope you hammered out a range.

    Here is how I believe you should price it out.

    1. Monthly website maintance and hosting fee $500
    2. $50 per car to take photos and upload(they are responcible to have the cars detailed). This will happen once or twice pure week to get the new cars that have come in. You'll need to figure out the timing.

    These two alone should cover you to $1000 plus per month. And it should cover your time and pay you well. You may toss in some SEO with the $500 originally but I would upsell major SEO(if needed) later and social media management.

    And if you word it this way you will get paid more for your time and get paid more as they sell more. And the $50 per car is easy for them to add into their cost setup on cars just like prep or anything else they include in cost. The biggest reason though why I want you to charge per car for pictures and uploading is it will be time consuming and I want you to get paid for your time. Depending on how easy the website you make is to upload inventory to I am guessing with pictures and processing you will be about 30 mins per car.

    The $500 per month will handle you changing the staus of units. You will need them to email you a list each night that sold and which were delivered. Sold units need to be shown as sold. And delivered you will likely want to remove from the website.

    In time you will want to learn about his dealer inventory system and figure out iof you can get it to update your database automatically eeach night to do this for you. But I would do it manually at least for the first few months as website and dealer system integration is a pain even for the big companies. About two weeks ago a correupted inventory file got pulled by our website and we noticed it about noon and it took them till about 3pm to fix it.

    We pay them less than $1,000 a month but handle pictures and uploading in house. Our fee also includes them putting our inventory onto their main RV market website and dozens of smaller brand RV websites. It also includes them feeding our inventory out to other RV inventory websites(we pay each other those a few hundred a month to have our whole inventory up, only the feeds to them in a format they can handle, including pictures is part of our service fee with our host).

    And we sell a lot more then 10-20 a month. I personally sell 10-20 per month other than winter.

    I think those prices I gave you are solid and sellable. But you are looking at a lot of hands on work here especially if you bring them more business and get them a better turn rate.

    If you really wanna be the dealerships web guy and think you can sell 10 plus per month you would get paid better being a sales person there. Maybe get them to give you a salary plus commision like i get.
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      Good job.

      And if you can get them to move their advertising budget you will be able to get a good amount if you get results. Not sure what Penny News is but $1,600 a month for a dealership that sells 10(20 cars, day day turn rate) to maybe 20 a month is crazy unless it is producing a great ROI.

      One thing I worry about is how you worded it. From the sounds of it you agreed to do the following for free for 30days

      1. Build a website
      2. Set up google places
      3. Take pictures of units on lot and upload them(20 cars on lot at any time, likely turns 30 to 60 days)

      If the results come in you will charge them going forward but you don't sound like you talked about price completely yet. i hope you hammered out a range.

      Here is how I believe you should price it out.

      1. Monthly website maintance and hosting fee $500
      2. $50 per car to take photos and upload(they are responcible to have the cars detailed). This will happen once or twice pure week to get the new cars that have come in. You'll need to figure out the timing.

      These two alone should cover you to $1000 plus per month. And it should cover your time and pay you well. You may toss in some SEO with the $500 originally but I would upsell major SEO(if needed) later and social media management.

      And if you word it this way you will get paid more for your time and get paid more as they sell more. And the $50 per car is easy for them to add into their cost setup on cars just like prep or anything else they include in cost. The biggest reason though why I want you to charge per car for pictures and uploading is it will be time consuming and I want you to get paid for your time. Depending on how easy the website you make is to upload inventory to I am guessing with pictures and processing you will be about 30 mins per car.

      The $500 per month will handle you changing the staus of units. You will need them to email you a list each night that sold and which were delivered. Sold units need to be shown as sold. And delivered you will likely want to remove from the website.

      In time you will want to learn about his dealer inventory system and figure out iof you can get it to update your database automatically eeach night to do this for you. But I would do it manually at least for the first few months as website and dealer system integration is a pain even for the big companies. About two weeks ago a correupted inventory file got pulled by our website and we noticed it about noon and it took them till about 3pm to fix it.

      We pay them less than $1,000 a month but handle pictures and uploading in house. Our fee also includes them putting our inventory onto their main RV market website and dozens of smaller brand RV websites. It also includes them feeding our inventory out to other RV inventory websites(we pay each other those a few hundred a month to have our whole inventory up, only the feeds to them in a format they can handle, including pictures is part of our service fee with our host).

      And we sell a lot more then 10-20 a month. I personally sell 10-20 per month other than winter.

      I think those prices I gave you are solid and sellable. But you are looking at a lot of hands on work here especially if you bring them more business and get them a better turn rate.

      If you really wanna be the dealerships web guy and think you can sell 10 plus per month you would get paid better being a sales person there. Maybe get them to give you a salary plus commision like i get.
      Hey man, thanks for the price points, and the advice.

      I didn't offer to do their website for free, I'm going to charge them $800 for the website and claiming their Google Place page Monday, and then I'm going to manage their online campaign for free for 30 days, and if they like the results, then I will charge them with something similar to what you posted.

      But again, thanks, and all the input is greatly appreciated from everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Oh that sounds great I think $800 is a great price on the website and google places. And offering free services for a month seems like a good way to get your foot in the door.

    If you can get them results you can start doing a lot more for them. Just make sure you can get the results. And they see the value. And of course that you are paid for your time.

    I make $50 to $70k a year doing this in house depending on how many I sell. We have been talking about taking the selling part away and having me focus on marketing completely but a lot of my pay comes from the selling half of my job.
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      Oh that sounds great I think $800 is a great price on the website and google places. And offering free services for a month seems like a good way to get your foot in the door.

      If you can get them results you can start doing a lot more for them. Just make sure you can get the results. And they see the value. And of course that you are paid for your time.

      I make $50 to $70k a year doing this in house depending on how many I sell. We have been talking about taking the selling part away and having me focus on marketing completely but a lot of my pay comes from the selling half of my job.
      What have you found to be the most effective way in bringing clients through their doors?
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  • Profile picture of the author Bredfan
    Don't forget about SERVICE! :-)

    I worked with a high end auto dealer here in northern Virginia for about a year. We did local SEO, no PPC. After a few months I did a newsletter for him. It was kind of a throw away idea - I just did it for him for free.

    I pulled a list of email addresses off of his customer service log. I created a hard copy "newsletter signup sheet" and bought a nice clipboard and left it on his check in desk. I used Constant Contact - created a nice looking template for him. Added a long article about Winterizing BMW's. Added a special service coupon offer.

    He had 9 people bring in their cars for servicing at an average ticket of $800+ off that first email. He was thrilled.

    After about a year, he dropped off the SEO and just is doing the newsletter now.

    His list grows by about 10 a day just by leaving that same clipboard out on the front desk.

    So... don't forget - Service is a high margin business and keeps cash flow going for many dealerships...
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by Bredfan View Post

      Don't forget about SERVICE! :-)

      I worked with a high end auto dealer here in northern Virginia for about a year. We did local SEO, no PPC. After a few months I did a newsletter for him. It was kind of a throw away idea - I just did it for him for free.

      I pulled a list of email addresses off of his customer service log. I created a hard copy "newsletter signup sheet" and bought a nice clipboard and left it on his check in desk. I used Constant Contact - created a nice looking template for him. Added a long article about Winterizing BMW's. Added a special service coupon offer.

      He had 9 people bring in their cars for servicing at an average ticket of $800+ off that first email. He was thrilled.

      After about a year, he dropped off the SEO and just is doing the newsletter now.

      His list grows by about 10 a day just by leaving that same clipboard out on the front desk.

      So... don't forget - Service is a high margin business and keeps cash flow going for many dealerships...
      Great idea, if you could PM me with some more detailed info on what you did, that'd be great.

      And if anyone knows a good looking wordpress theme that would suit a small dealership, let me know. Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
        Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

        Great idea, if you could PM me with some more detailed info on what you did, that'd be great.

        And if anyone knows a good looking wordpress theme that would suit a small dealership, let me know. Thanks!
        Car dealer | ThemeForest

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  • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
    Update:

    $1200 for just the web design
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  • Profile picture of the author believemarketing
    a 'normal' car dealership would understand the importance of marketing/advertising... it wouldnt be hard for you to pull it off... if you could make them like you at hello, you are halfway already...
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  • Profile picture of the author Mobile Tactics
    Every door direct mail to all 12k people, send 3 postcards that sell fuel saving cars, 3 that sell sports cars, 3 that sell safe family cars, and 3 that sell work trucks and vans. Sell one side of the postcard to other local businesses to cut costs.

    Have it where they can send a text message to learn more about any of the vehicles.
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      I found one my man, but thanks anyway!

      Originally Posted by Mobile Tactics View Post

      Every door direct mail to all 12k people, send 3 postcards that sell fuel saving cars, 3 that sell sports cars, 3 that sell safe family cars, and 3 that sell work trucks and vans. Sell one side of the postcard to other local businesses to cut costs.

      Have it where they can send a text message to learn more about any of the vehicles.
      Absolutely genius, great idea! I'm gonna look up the costs of that and get right on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author cnagaraj
    Direct Mail seems to be the best immediate tactic.
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  • Profile picture of the author ex9to5guy
    i think the monthly rate is good however i think that you should charge more for the site...$500 seems low for a site that they will probably use for 12-36 months...especially if you have to do site maintenance
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by futuremills View Post

      i think the monthly rate is good however i think that you should charge more for the site...$500 seems low for a site that they will probably use for 12-36 months...especially if you have to do site maintenance
      Hey man, read my update a few posts up, I'm getting $1200 for the design
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    There are a few good threads already about dealerships, I think even a good one in mobile area.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Bucker
    What I primarily do is get car dealership to pay me $2000 a day for my services. I am a trainer teach coach. I offer a number of services to the auto industry and have 16 years experience. THat being let me say most of advice your getting are guesses and opions. Your doing good with your start. If you want a few ideas on how to get the dealership to pay a lot more and be happy about it pm me. I will give you my cell and be glad to give you some tips. I do like aarons line of thinking here. As you have found there are several myths about auto dealers.
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by Michael Bucker View Post

      What I primarily do is get car dealership to pay me $2000 a day for my services. I am a trainer teach coach. I offer a number of services to the auto industry and have 16 years experience. THat being let me say most of advice your getting are guesses and opions. Your doing good with your start. If you want a few ideas on how to get the dealership to pay a lot more and be happy about it pm me. I will give you my cell and be glad to give you some tips. I do like aarons line of thinking here. As you have found there are several myths about auto dealers.
      PM'ed you man.

      By the way, Conway is such a beautfiul city, my best friend moved up there while I was in middle school, and I've been up a few times and loved it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Saulyx
    This thread is a great read, thanks for the info, gets me thinking that I should be doing more local advertising!
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  • Profile picture of the author befree22
    Track the calls/inquiries they get.
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    The turtle always wins.

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