What Are The Most Common Objections Given By Customers?

by Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales 8. January 2014 07:43

AutoUSA recently completed its 2013 auto dealer Internet Marketing survey, in which we asked "What is the most common sales objection you are hearing from customers?" We summarized results from 147 respondents, including Internet sales managers, sales managers, BDC managers, marketing managers and senior management.

According to our survey, these are the most common sales objections:

·      Our price not in line with customer expectations (28%)

·      Customer can't get financing (19%)

·      Consumer confidence with economy (14%)

·      Customer can't afford a new vehicle (12%)

·      Customer doesn't have time/too busy (10%)

·      Dealership didn't have desired model available (5%)

·      Customer didn't like dealership sales process (1%)

When we include other answers such as "customer wanted price before coming in," "need to talk to husband/wife," "not offering enough money for trade-in," it’s evident that affordability and pricing are key to the decision-making process. So how can we deal with affordability objections?

It starts with understanding the customer’s process. Thanks to increased transparency on the Internet, and to the numerous e-commerce sites out there, today's consumer is used to being in control of the purchasing process. If we want to buy something, we use the Internet to conduct research, read product or service reviews, do some comparative price shopping and then finally, click a button. Purchase complete.

When it comes to buying a vehicle, the consumer attempts to follow this same path. For the most part, they can. There are sites that provide information in abundance, reviews of both vehicles and local dealers, and pricing guidance. When it comes to detailed affordability options, like finance or lease payments, those sites often fall short and customers either target the wrong car or seek out the dealer for answers.

You can help the consumer by giving information they can’t reliably get anywhere else. As dealers, we understand that many factors go into giving a price quote - it's not always an easy, cut-and-dry number to give. It’s OK to educate your customers on this, but you also have to give them information, and proactively at that.

On your website, include real payments using payment-quoting tools such as Payment ProSM. When you receive phone calls, answer questions about pricing directly and be prepared to follow up with key questions that will help you shape the conversation and identify if the customer is on the right vehicle. In the showroom and on the lot, don’t be afraid to have conversations about payment ranges or even post them on cars.

Today's consumer feels entitled to information. If you can help the customer find the information they are looking for instead of stonewalling them, you build trust. And trust is the key to overcoming objections and gaining the sale.

I'd like to hear from Internet sales managers and sales managers. What are the most common objections you are hearing, and how do you overcome these objections? What has worked and what hasn't?



Come visit us at booth # 3514 at NADA and ask for a demo of Payment Pro!


AutoUSA | Best Practices | Internet leads | NADA 2014 | New Car Leads | Payment Pro | Used Car Leads

Sales Trends in 2014: Q&A from AutoUSA's STAR Leader

by Phil DuPree, President 1. January 2014 11:58

1. Sales wise 2013 seemed like a strong comeback year for the industry.  What activities or trends do you think helped dealers this year?


This year has been great and the auto industry will probably finish with an annualized selling rate of close to 16 million vehicles. This strength is due to several reasons; consumers replacing their aging vehicles, a slowly improving economy leading to more consumer confidence, discounts and incentives offered by manufacturers and the increasing availability of credit to customers. The fact that banks have eased lending standards has really helped; to learn more about how dealerships can take advantage of current credit trends, click on Josh Vajda's video as he explains "Three Credit Trends to Help Sell More Cars."


2. We know consumers are engaging with dealers and shopping for cars in new ways. How does AutoUSA see their programs help dealers during these shifts?


Today's consumers can use the Internet to research and buy just about anything online; from music to electronics to researching homes and booking travel. So you can imagine their frustration when it's time to shop for a car and dealerships aren't giving them the information they need to progress further in their shopping process. This is one reason why so many customers still visit independent car-shopping websites like Kelly Blue Book and cars.com. They research various brands and models to decide what they want; and then they look for pricing or payment information so they know what they can afford. Unfortunately this is where so many dealerships fail to capture customers.


Most dealerships' websites are designed to capture leads from visitors with chat windows and pop-up lead forms; and many salespeople still insist on trying to set the appointment without giving the customer anything in return. AutoUSA provides dealerships with tools that generate leads by giving the customer incentives and information. Giving something greatly increases your chances of getting something in return. For example, ShowPro incentive cards result in more appointments set, more shows and higher close rates. Payment Pro is a cutting edge payment-quoting tool that gives the customer monthly payment information based on their individual credit rating, without requiring them to fill out long credit applications. Our dealers using Payment Pro are reporting higher average closing rates and lower cost-per-sale. The more dealerships adjust their sales process to help the customer complete as much of the shopping process online as possible, the more likely those customers will ultimately buy from them.


3. Do you see any new trends emerging in auto retail for next year? 


We hope that more dealerships will focus on the customer, as discussed in the last question. Many dealerships spend a fortune on SEO/SEM programs, yet according to a recent survey that AutoUSA conducted, Internet departments reported "not enough leads" as their primary challenge. Although SEO/SEM can deliver thousands of visitors, with paltry conversion rates dealers should be focusing on what their website offers the customer. Providing useful information, engaging blogs and videos, and conversion tools designed to walk customers through the buying process will result in higher volumes of leads.


4. Will AutoUSA be highlighting special initiatives at the NADA Convention and Expo in New Orleans?


We will be showcasing our entire suite of website conversion tools at booth #3514. We are also interested in hearing what is working for Internet departments, so we're running a little promotion at our booth: come by and share a "best practice" or marketing or sales tip on video, and receive a $25 gift card in return. We'll be sharing more information about this promotion next week, and we're looking forward to New Orleans!



This article is re-posted from the December issue of AutoUSA's STAR Leader


Win the Customer Now to Maximize Your Year-End Sales

by Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales 17. December 2013 05:41

It's been a great year for car sales, and if you're like most dealers, you want to close out the year strong. What is your Internet marketing department doing to ensure that ready-to-buy customers will choose to visit your dealership?


By now most of us have read or heard the statistic from J.D. Powers and Associates, that customers visit an average of 1.8 dealerships in person before purchasing a vehicle. I believe this one statistic is the most transformative statistic in terms of its impact on Internet marketing and the sales process. Quite simply, it means that you win the customer before they set foot in your showroom.


Ideally you want to accomplish this by outshining your competition along every step of the customer's purchasing journey. You want to have presence where consumers are conducting research on various makes and models; you want to have useful information and conversion tools on your website; you want to give great customer service and prompt communications if they call or e-mail your dealership to gather information; you want to be able to give them accurate pricing and payment information, and you want to have great online reviews when the customer researches dealership reputations.


But at crunch time, giving customers an extra incentive to visit you before the end of the year may be just the thing that gives your dealership the edge. Incentive offers like ShowProSM offer a small financial incentive to a customer if they come in and take a test drive.


For customers who are seriously in the market and in the process of narrowing down which dealership to buy from, visit or test drive incentives have been proven to increase the show rate for appointments. Almost every dealership we work with reports closing rates over 50% for Internet appointments that show, so we know: if you get them in, you make the sale.


While most dealerships will see a spike in lead volume the last week of December, they’ve also seen a drop-off in sales from leads over the last 3 months. See that as an opportunity to recapture customers right now. I recommend using incentive cards as a tool to re-engage "dead" leads and target customers who may be interested in key vehicles. Here are two campaigns you can put together right now:


1) Create a list of prospects from the last six months who did not purchase a vehicle. Send them a holiday message with an incentive card of $25-50 to come in and take a test drive.


2) Is your manufacturer offering any incentives for particular models, or do you have any models that are overstocked right now? Some manufacturers are offering bonuses to dealerships that sell a particular number of a certain model. Offering a financial incentive to come in and test drive that particular model is a very cost-effective method for helping your dealership to reach this goal. At an average price of less than $50 per show, and an average close rate on appointment shows of nearly fifty percent, this more than pays for itself.


This time of year many people are grateful for every extra dollar they can get; and $50 is a tank of gas, a dinner out, or an extra gift for a loved one. Incentive marketing works best when the reward is time-sensitive, so end-of-the-year sales offer a great opportunity to draw new customers who might have otherwise chosen a different dealership to visit.



Two Must-Have Videos In Your 2014 Marketing Plan

by Admin 11. December 2013 07:59
Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales with www.autousadealers.com shares two types of videos for your 2014 marketing plan that are guaranteed to get your dealership noticed.

Three Credit Trends to Help You Sell More Cars

by Admin 20. November 2013 10:59
Many car buyers were taken out of the market over the last few years due to tight credit, and may not understand the market provides them with new options. Josh Vajda, Director of Internet Sales for www.autousadealers.com shares tips on how to leverage the latest credit trends.

Financing Tools Deliver the Most Valuable Website Leads, According to Auto Dealer Internet Marketing Survey by AutoUSA

by Admin 11. November 2013 07:34

Fort Lauderdale, FL – November 11th, 2013 — AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions (www.AutoUSADealers.com) today announced the results of its 2013 annual auto dealer Internet Marketing survey. Financing tools such as online credit applications and trade-in calculators deliver the most valuable website leads, according to respondents. Other significant results from the survey identify pricing and affordability as the most commonly heard sales objection from consumers, while Internet departments' biggest challenges include lead volume and staffing issues.

"We believe the most successful dealerships have effective Internet marketing strategies, and this annual survey helps to identify how well some of those strategies are performing in current market conditions," said Phil DuPree, President of AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions.

The survey was conducted during September and October and summarizes results from 147 respondents, including Internet sales managers, sales managers, BDC marketing and senior management.

Customer Sales Objections

When asked what the most common sales objection is from customers, the top response was "our price not in line with customer expectations" (28 percent). Other responses were "customer can't get financing" (19 percent), "customer confidence with the economy" (14 percent) and "customer can't afford a new vehicle" (12 percent).

By contrast, in AutoUSA's 2011 Internet marketing survey, not meeting the customers' price expectations was the least-common objection (10 percent). Also in 2011 "didn't have desired model available" was the most common sales objection (25 percent), followed by "can't afford a new vehicle" (14 percent).

"The difference in sales objections compared with two years ago is consistent with what we see in the marketplace; consumers are finding ways to work themselves through the process and further down-funnel," said DuPree. "And while the economy may have improved somewhat, pricing and affordability are still major hurdles for many consumers."

Internet Department Challenges

Survey results indicate that dealership Internet departments are facing a new challenge in 2013. "Not enough leads" (26 percent) is the most cited challenge for Internet departments, which is quite a turnaround from two years ago, when "keeping up with lead volume" (31 percent) was the number one challenge.

According to this year's survey, Internet departments' biggest challenges behind lead volume are related to staffing. Twenty-one percent of respondents cited "not enough staff" as the biggest challenge, while 19 percent stated "quality of staff," and another 18 percent chose "staff does not adhere to processes." Additionally, 18 percent complained their "marketing budget is not large enough to meet objectives," and only 17 percent cited "keeping up with lead volume" as their number one challenge.

"It's interesting that while Internet departments appear to be spending more than ever on search optimization for their websites, they are not getting their desired lead volume compared with two years ago," said DuPree.

Lead Volume and Quality

When asked, "which website conversion tools or add-ons results in the most leads (including phone calls) from your website?" respondents ranked the following: online credit applications (52 percent); chat applications (50 percent); trade-in calculator (37 percent); coupons (20 percent); online service appointment scheduler (19 percent).

Survey participants were also asked to rate the value of leads that they received from their websites. The most valuable are "VIN-specific used vehicle leads" (76% rate as "the best" or "pretty good"); credit application leads (73% rate as "the best" or "pretty good"); new vehicle leads (66% rate as "the best" or "pretty good"); chat leads (51% rate as "the best" or "pretty good"); trade-in leads (45% rate as "the best" or "pretty good") and lastly, general contact info (27% rate as "the best" or "pretty good").

"Inventory leads and leads from financing tools appear to be the most valuable to dealers, which makes sense because once customers start engaging with a website conversion tool they are probably serious shoppers," said DuPree.

Internet Marketing Budgets

In spite of the commonly cited statistic that more than 90 percent of consumers begin their search for a vehicle on the Internet, the survey found that most dealers do not allocate a majority of their budgets to Internet marketing. In response to the question, "What percentage of your overall advertising & marketing budget is spent on Internet marketing?" survey participants shared the following:

  • Ÿ 50 percent of dealers spend less than 30% of budget on Internet marketing
  • Ÿ 37 percent spend between 30-60% of budget on Internet marketing
  • Ÿ 13 percent spend more than 60% of budget on Internet marketing

On the extreme ends of the scale, 10 percent of dealers spend less than 10% of their budget on Internet marketing, while only one percent of dealers spend 90-100% of their budget on Internet marketing.

However, in response to the question "do you plan to increase your Internet marketing budgets in 2014?" 59 percent of respondents responded "yes."

Survey respondents were also asked, "In which areas do you plan to allocate the majority of your Internet marketing budget in 2014?" The responses were:

  • ŸWebsite SEO/SEM (54%)
  • ŸLeads from inventory sites, i.e. Cars.com, Autotrader.com, etc. (51%)
  • ŸIndependent leads from AutoUSA, Dealix, Autobytel (33%)
  • ŸSocial Media (23%)
  • ŸE-Mail Marketing (22%)
  • ŸVideo production and marketing (17%)
  • ŸReputation Management (14%)
  • ŸOnline ads (14%)

Finally, the majority of dealerships are optimistic for a profitable 2014. When asked if they believed they would sell more vehicles in the coming year, 85 percent of respondents claimed "yes, my dealership will sell more vehicles in 2014 than in 2013."


About AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions


AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions brings the best-in-class tools to increase Internet sales and lower costs for automotive dealerships. Leading products include Payment ProSM, a payment-based pre-qualification tool for dealer websites; ShowProSM incentive program, proven to turn more leads into shows; Leads&ListingsSM, providing the highest quality, new and used car email and phone leads from 100+ sites; PowerListingsSM 2.0, helping dealers increase traffic to—and leads from—their social media sites; and AVA Virtual Sales Assistant, helping dealerships manage more leads at a reduced cost. AutoUSA products are currently benefiting thousands of active dealers all across the U.S.


For more information, visit AutoUSA’s web site, subscribe to our blog at http://blog.autousadealers.com, follow us on Twitter @AutoUSALeads and “Like” us on Facebook at /AutoUSADealers


Financing Tools Key to Moving From Online Marketing to Online Sales

by Admin 24. October 2013 07:30
Customers are demanding more convenience in the car buying process, including shifting more of it online. One of the keys to moving the sales process online is financing. Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales with www.autousadealers.com shares the three features that every online payment marketing system should have in order to capture and convert online shoppers.

Payment Pro℠ Delivers Better Closing Rates and Lower Cost-per-Sale Than Other Lead Sources for Nielsen Auto Group

by Admin 14. October 2013 06:46

Booth #326, Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition

Fort Lauderdale, FL – October 14th, 2013 — AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions (www.AutoUSADealers.com) today announced that Nielsen Auto Group is achieving better closing rates and lower cost-per-sale on leads generated by Payment Pro than on leads generated by any other source. The five-store group based in northern New Jersey delivers closing rates from twelve to twenty-five percent on Payment Pro's credit-analyzed leads, with an average Cost-Per-Sale (CPS) of $200 per vehicle, compared with an average $400 CPS for leads generated by traditional advertising methods.


"Payment Pro is the best new product I've seen in fifteen years," said Robert Boff, IT Director for the Nielsen Auto Group. Boff oversees Internet spending for the group, including selecting and analyzing lead sources for three Chrysler franchises, one Hyundai franchise and a used-car-only center.


Payment Pro is a payment-based conversion tool for auto dealer websites. When Boff heard about it in the fall of 2012, he liked the simplicity of each vehicle on a website having a payment button next to it. He tried it out initially in three Chrysler stores. "Seventy to eighty percent of customers are payment driven, and they like seeing the different payments next to each vehicle. It allows them to comparison shop in a payment range they're comfortable with."


Payment Pro analyzes customers' credit without requiring them to enter personal information such as a social security number (SSN) or date of birth (DOB). Payment Pro pre-qualifies customers for payments on VIN-specific vehicles using the dealers' finance programs, then instantly generates a lead that includes the name, contact information, vehicle of interest, pre-qualified monthly payment amounts and credit eligibility information.


Currently the five stores receive an average of fourteen to twenty Payment Pro leads per month. "Closing rates vary based on the skill of the salespeople, but none of the stores close less than twelve percent of the leads and the best store consistently closes around 25 percent of the leads," said Boff. To help increase the volume of leads generated, he is in the process of adding Payment Pro's mobile solution to the auto group's mobile websites. "I've already noticed that the mobile implementation is resulting in greater lead generation and I'm excited about the potential."


To analyze the performance and value of lead sources, Boff relies on CPS as his primary measurement. "With traditional advertising, it costs us $400 to sell a car. With Payment Pro the monthly fee divided by the number of cars we sell every month results in an average CPS of about $200 per vehicle."


Payment Pro's low CPS is currently delivering a greater value than other conversion tools and lead sources that Nielsen Auto Group is using, including chat, Search-Engine-Marketing (SEM) and display advertising. "My chat leads are down twenty to twenty-five percent this year," said Boff. "Customers are in control these days and they want the information quickly. It depends on the salesperson of course, but if customers can't get their questions answered instantly on chat, they won't give your their name or phone number or e-mail, so you can't even put them into the system as a lead."


Boff has also been experimenting with pay-per-click and display advertising on the Internet. "We're spending thousands per month and we're getting fewer e-mails and phone calls than we did last year," said Boff. "It's kind of confusing. On one hand our traffic is up 38 percent, but the bounce rate is astronomical and has increased 80 percent. Customers click over to our page but they immediately leave, and we have to pay for that."


The other lead sources that Boff relies on are independent Internet leads from AutoUSA as well as other providers. "I like buying leads; you're getting people who are shopping on automotive sites who are in the market," he said.


Boff will continue to use Payment Pro on the Nielsen Auto Group websites. "If you're looking to enhance your website for better conversion, it's a product that will increase the number of leads and help you sell more cars at a fraction of the price of other lead sources."


Payment Pro is powered by DriveItNow and sold by AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions. To see a demonstration of Payment Pro visit www.paymentprodemo.com or visit Booth #326 at the Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition this week in Las Vegas, NV.


About AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions


AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions brings the best-in-class tools to increase Internet sales and lower costs for automotive dealerships. Leading products include Payment ProSM, a payment-based pre-qualification tool for dealer websites; ShowProSM incentive program, proven to turn more leads into shows; Leads&ListingsSM, providing the highest quality, new and used car email and phone leads from 100+ sites; PowerListingsSM 2.0, helping dealers increase traffic to—and leads from—their social media sites; and AVA Virtual Sales Assistant, helping dealerships manage more leads at a reduced cost. AutoUSA products are currently benefiting thousands of active dealers all across the U.S.


For more information, visit AutoUSA’s web site, subscribe to our blog at http://blog.autousadealers.com, follow us on Twitter @AutoUSALeads and “Like” us on Facebook at /AutoUSADealers

For additional information:

Holly Forsberg

Carter West PR

Phone: 602-680-8960

Email: holly.forsberg@yahoo.com


Mike Shawd

Vice President Sales, AutoUSA

Phone: 815-262-7109



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Stop Focusing on Search and Start Focusing on Conversion!

by Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales 11. October 2013 05:27

Most Internet marketing experts will agree that driving traffic to your website results in the most valuable leads you can get – if you can convert visitors into leads. Just like the old adage, “volume is vanity, gross is sanity,” your website traffic is only worthwhile if you’re effectively converting it into sales opportunities.


According to an advertising efficacy study by Dataium, an average of 55 percent of dealerships’ online advertising budgets are devoted to paid search engine marketing, but just six percent of dealership website traffic is referred by paid search keywords, and less than one percent of this traffic resulted in email form leads submitted on dealership websites. While effective SEO/SEM campaigns are necessary up to a certain point, eventually the law of diminishing returns kicks in. How much more are you willing to spend for a search term that attracts 100 more unique visitors when only one or two of those visitors will convert into leads?


Compounding the challenge of effective SEM campaigns is the cost. Many website vendors and Internet marketing gurus push dealers to pay more for “their” search terms because other parties-- competitors, independent lead providers, auto shopping websites-- are all buying up the search terms and bidding up prices. To some extent, this is true: it's open competition, and automotive retail isn't the only industry subject to it. Companies in every industry must aggressively compete to attract online customers with increasingly sophisticated SEM campaigns.


Since search is now integrated into the consumer’s everyday experience, it’s also important to pay attention to changing consumer behavior and modify your campaigns accordingly. According to a study by Slingshot SEO, more than 80% of search terms today use five or six keywords. Users are becoming more sophisticated with their search terms and demanding results that deliver exactly what they're looking for. If you are a Toyota dealer in Chicago and you think you can attain a page one search engine ranking simply by paying a lot for the terms "Toyota" and "Chicago," or your website content is the same as it’s been since you optimized it for search 5 years ago, you will be disappointed.


As the competition, sophistication, and challenges increase, your ability to convert precious, valuable search-generated traffic must improve. The average conversion rate for dealership websites is estimated to be between two and four percent. Some dealers claim conversion rates more than double this percentage. What if you could double the number of leads you receive from your dealership website, without spending a penny more on SEO/SEM campaigns? Increasing conversion is the key to achieving this goal.


To convert more visitors, try this three-pronged approach:


1) Content. Keep the content on your website engaging, up-to-date, educational, and include "calls to action" on every page. Also be sure that your content supports your brand consistently. If you're a family-owned business heavily involved in your community, ensure that your website content reflects and promotes this.


2) Conversion Tools. An increasing number of tools are available that are designed to engage visitors and keep them on your website. Chat applications are one of the most successful conversion tools; so are payment marketing tools like trade-in calculators and shop-by-payment tools like Payment Pro. Incentives and coupons have all been shown to increase conversion rates.


3) Marketing. Conversion tools will convert, but only to the extent that your website visitors know about them and use them. Don't expect them to just stumble across the latest tool or gadget on your site and start using it, unless they know what to expect. For instance, if you have a payment marketing tool, create a marketing campaign to educate your customers about their credit score and to let them know they can get accurate payment quotes without affecting their credit score. A full-blown marketing campaign might include the following elements: e-mail, a dedicated area on your website landing page featuring the benefits of shopping by payment, a blog, a video of one of your salespeople explaining the benefits, geo-targeted banner ads, and more.


If you have found that funneling more of your budget into SEO/SEM campaigns isn't getting you a proportional increase in website visitors, try focusing on increasing your conversion rate. Customers will stay on your site if they find what they are looking for, so figure out what that is and provide it to them to increase your website lead count and quality.


Survey Still Open! Don't Miss Your Chance to Win $300!

by Holly Forsberg 1. October 2013 08:10

It's that time again! AutoUSA is collecting responses to its annual Fall Internet Marketing survey. Sales Managers, Sales Directors, Internet Sales Managers, BDC Managers, Internet Directors, General Managers, dealer principals and others involved in auto dealership Internet Marketing are invited to participate.


The survey is just 15 questions and will take less than 15 minutes to complete. When all responses are collected, we will randomly select one survey participant to receive a $300 Visa gift card. But you can't win if you don't answer the questions! Please click on the link below to get started, and in less time than it takes to finish your cup of coffee, you will be entered into the prize drawing. In order to be eligible for the prize, you must work at a dealership and be a resident of the U.S. or Canada.


Thank you so much for your time and participation!


Click here to get started: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AutoUSAFall2013BL