Se Habla español?


Many dealerships reap the benefits of employing staff that speak fluent Spanish for the simple reason that an increasing number of Spanish speakers frequent today’s dealerships for both sales and service. Language barriers can be a problem when it comes to service recommendation upsells or relaying the value of a vehicle, its features and, ultimately, a deal the customer can understand.
If you cannot communicate fluently with a significant demographic portion of your market area, your dealership could be losing a considerable amount of money in revenue from service declines and lost sales.
It’s one thing to have a Spanish speaking employee who can converse with customers in a way they understand. But what about engaging them when they aren’t at the dealership? How do you do that? Via your website!
According to the 2016 Census, Hispanics comprised 17 percent of the population of the United States; that is around 55 million people. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2060, Hispanics will make up 28 percent of the population. As a result, there will soon be 119 million U.S. residents of Hispanic descent, some of whom will speak English as a second language and perhaps need assistance from a Spanish-speaking employee.
Today’s car buyers conduct a majority of their research online, and that is sure to increase. If Hispanic-speaking customers cannot understand the messages on your website, it’s the same as if they are standing in your showroom unable to comprehend your salesperson. However, in this case, you may never have the opportunity to correct that situation.
If you have a large Hispanic market and do not already have one, it is time to consider a website built from the ground up dedicated solely to the Spanish language.
There are plenty of website providers that offer Spanish language websites to their dealer clients. However, be careful who you chose, as many just rely on Google’s translation tool when the customer has their browser set to Spanish. If you’ve ever tried to translate anything with this tool, you will have probably found that it does the job to some degree, but it’s not perfect. Also, if you chose to use Google-translated websites, the content isn’t indexed, so you essentially gain no benefit.
There is a better way: a SECOND website built organically from the ground up in Spanish. You can then deliver your messages directly to your customers in their native language with proper syntax and grammar. These customers will better understand you and, as a bonus, feel that your dealership cares about them and their ethnicity, and can genuinely assist them for all their sales and service needs.
Aside from those benefits, which are huge and can earn more sales and service business, there are considerable SEO benefits as well. First, as a second site, Google will fully index it. Whereas it does not index a site that is simply translated by the Google translation tool. How big of a deal is this? I’ve seen instances where a dealer’s SPANISH website outranks their primary ENGLISH website in search results! As an additional bonus, Spanish language websites aren’t under the scrutiny and policies of the manufacturer when they are true secondary websites, so you do not have to worry about compliance issues with your OEM.
It’s well worth looking into. A secondary website dedicated to the Spanish language produces extra website traffic, more leads and, ultimately, more sales.


In this modern age of transparency, dealers can get somewhat confused on the subject of pricing. Should they provide upfront pricing on their website, or ask customers to engage with their site first before receiving the dealership’s best price?
 
The industry is pretty divided on this topic, with consultants, trainers and others on both sides of the fence. On one side are those who feel that providing the best price on the dealer’s website without asking the customer for any engagement (no call-to-action), will cause the consumer to appreciate the transparency and choose that dealer. On the other side are those who feel that providing pricing without first requiring some form of engagement can, in fact, hurt sales.
 
First Theory: Provide Price Upfront – Those who have this opinion believe that today’s consumers are accustomed to fast information access. Consumers want immediate gratification and results, the same as they get from Google searches or browsing most other retailer’s websites. They can then take that information and make buying decisions. Those dealers perceived as the most helpful and transparent will win the business – especially with a significant purchase such as a new vehicle.
 
Second Theory: Get the consumer to engage before you show price, such as with an automated pricing tool on the site. Those in the industry who subscribe to this opinion feel that if you provide pricing upfront, shoppers will merely use it to price shop other dealers until they find the lowest price. By giving pricing information up front, without some form of engagement first, the dealer risks consumers price shopping without having a chance to first consider that dealer’s unique selling propositions including customer experience, amenities and other benefits such as free loaner cars, car washes, etc. Getting a consumer to engage first, perhaps with a quick price tool on the site, can increase leads and provide more opportunity to sell the vehicle than full pricing transparency.
 
Depending on the dealership’s thought processes either could work. But, is there a “right” way that all dealers should follow to convert the most consumers and/or sell the most cars via their website?
 
What do you think is the best theory? Let me know with your comments below. I think this will prove to be a lively discussion!

 

Conference season is upon us. As dealers go from seminar to seminar, and presentation after presentation, it can cause mass confusion about what data really matters. As a dealer, you may well be asking yourself, “What data should I really be watching at my dealership?”
Well, let’s keep it simple! Over the years I have found it boils down to two key things. Here is what you should be investigating:
 

  1. Conversions: Many years ago Autotrader.com was the top lead provider for dealers. As the Autotrader platform became less effective, generating fewer form leads and phone calls, Autotrader told dealers that customers were no longer filling out forms on websites. Also, according to Autotrader, customers were no longer calling dealers. They were just shopping on Autotrader.com, then they would show up unannounced at the dealership. Once Autotrader’s comments took hold, other lead and website providers went down the same path, instead of learning about today’s customer’s and how they shop.  Basically, they took the path of least resistance.

So, is it true that customers no longer fill-out form submissions on automotive websites?  I would say nothing could be further from the truth. Based on the past five years of data I have from working with Toyota, I have seen the exact opposite. Conversions have increased! Customers will still submit forms, and they are still calling the dealership.  Conversions really do matter and below are a few keys to customer engagement:
 

  • Have the right calls to actions on your website and VDPs.

 

  • Use automation to reply to customer’s requests immediately. Customers want immediate gratification and dealerships who respond quickly will often win the business or, at the very least, have the edge over the competition.

 

  1. Analytics: Google Analytics is perhaps the most confusing tool in the industry. For years the “experts” spoke about Time On Site, Bounce Rate, Impressions and more. However, they failed to consider how mobile device usage was affecting the data.

Guess what? Mobile has changed the game 100% when dealing with Google Analytics. Many companies are still talking about and selling Bounce Rate, or how many pages a consumer visited on a dealer’s website. As mobile usage has made double-digit climbs year in and year out, this is no longer relevant data.
It is hard to believe that companies are still making dealers swallow this dated information, as we are approaching over five years of irrelevancy. Case in point:  When a customer visits a dealer’s website on a mobile device and hits the click-to-call button, Google will report this as a 100% Bounce Rate for that visit, as the customer was on and off the website in a matter of seconds. This is entirely wrong information! The customer converted to a lead in just a few seconds. However, Google does not report it accurately. Instead, they label this customer as one who bounced. Bounce Rate does not matter in today’s digital landscape.
The exact same principle applies to Time On Site data. In the above example, the customer was on the website for three seconds and actually converted into a lead.
Most dealers are still wasting time analyzing and looking for the longer visits, assuming a three second visit was nothing but a bounce. When you compare that to a customer who is on a website for six minutes without converting, I will take the mobile customer who converted in three seconds all day long!
This brings me to my final point. Dealers set up Google Analytics on their dealership’s website 5-10 years ago. It is not set up for today’s metrics. Dealers can log-in to Google Analytics and see Bounce Rate, Time On Site, Pages per Visit and more, but this is all outdated information that no longer matters.
In today’s society of mobile-first usage, it is vital to focus on the correct data. This includes metrics on how many VDPs were visited, how many times the click-to call-button was used, and how many times a customer scrolled through photos of an actual vehicle. These data points indicate a very interested customer and are much more relevant than the outdated metrics that dealers are still relying on to make decisions, and that vendors reference as proof of performance.
As we go into NADA and the full conference season, consider this information when deciding where to invest your time. Make it a priority to visit your current vendors and ask them to show you these particular data points. Having full knowledge of and using modern data metrics that make sense will give you a more accurate benchmark, and you can see whether your website is actually performing – or whether the data being fed to you is all hot air. Good luck!