|How does a car dealership that has only been in business for six years become the No. 1 Kia dealership in California? It holds honesty and faith to a high degree and institutes excellent customer service, a great Web site and Internet team, and a strong desire to help its customers.|
Hi Desert Kia in Victorville, Calif., owned by Carl Rossman and John Scott, is making use of its virtual dealership, www.HiDesertKia.com. Internet Director Talmage “Teddy” Hughes said the average visit to the site, designed by BZ Results, is about nine minutes, which is six to seven minutes longer than visits to the dealership’s old site.
Hughes believes customers appreciate the thoroughness of the Web site. All the information is at their fingertips, the inventory is updated weekly, and employees give quick responses to customers’ questions. In fact, the site has an automatic responder that sends out an e-mail after a lead is generated, and the customer will receive a call within an hour.
When a consumer visits the site, but doesn’t come to buy a car, the dealership sends the lead 25 e-mails over 35 days. This aggressiveness ensures that Hi Desert Kia stays on that potential customer’s mind, and Hughes said that’s a major factor in the dealership’s high closing ratio. In the last five months, Hi Desert Kia has increased its Internet sales by 60 units a month.
In March 2008, the site generated 443 leads, 364 appointments were set, 154 of those were kept, and 74 units were sold. Before the new site went online, the closing rate for online leads was five to six percent. Now the average has jumped to 24 percent. The goal is to sell 150 units per month by the end of the year and to capture 10,000 potential-customer e-mail addresses.
Hughes said it’s the employees that set them apart from the competition. They work well together and communicate well. They are all cross-trained in different aspects of online needs, so they can help or cover for each other when needed.
Keeping Track of the Numbers
Hi Desert Kia also uses its virtual dealership as a tool to help customers obtain financing. The number of people who use the tool outnumber those who fill out a quote request.
But honesty is really what drives customers to come in, Hughes said. He believes that honesty is the best policy. Customers who trust you feel a tighter bond with the dealership and are therefore more likely to recommend your Web site, which equates to more leads. They don’t use any third-party lead providers to supplement their Web traffic.
The success of Hi Desert Kia’s Internet sales is about more than just hard work. “If you have no faith, you have no success,” Hughes said. “Have faith in yourself and in what you do. Faith gives you confidence.”
Vol 5, Issue 5