It happened again. And it continues to happen. A dealer questions the geographic makeup of a behavioral marketing list, thinking that we have gone astray in our analysis of where his sales and service business lies, only to be shown a record of his history that shows he does not know where his business is coming from.
We have been doing scientific analysis of dealer’s sales and service historical business for several years now. We take that analysis and then look to our behavioral data to find people who have been looking at vehicles to buy and then create a marketing list based on that. Almost 50% of the time, the dealer questions our selection based on a ‘gut’ feeling that we have somehow wrongly directed our marketing geographically. In each of these cases, we give them a record derived from their own DMS, showing where their business has been coming from and they are surprised. Why is this?
A dealer pays thousands of dollars each month to maintain ADP, Reynolds and Reynolds or some other brand of DMS. Each of these companies has tools to extract reporting on sales and service history, but rarely do these tools get used. Instead of relying on actual factual records, dealers want to go on their gut feelings and so often those ‘gut feelings’ are wrong.
I guess this is human nature. When empirical data shows that something historically works or doesn’t work, it matters little to those who want to believe what they want to believe. This is true in ‘gun control’, minimum wages, social spending programs and a myriad of other areas where emotion and media hype make ‘low information’ a virtue.
But let’s be serious; you are running a business here, not a political campaign. You have access to factual material, isn’t time you used it? Companies like V Auto, Edmund’s and Cars.com have provided data that is valuable to running with ‘high information’, yet it seems to be falling on deaf ears. Is is because the louder voices are the only ones that are being heard? The voices that tell dealers to run ‘event sales’, ‘tent sales’, over use of DMS marketing and anything else that someone wants to sell you? Think about it. You want sizzle instead of steak and then you wonder why you’re still hungry when you don’t get steak.
This goes for the way you train your salespeople as well. You keep telling them to take control and every study shows that people do not want to be taken control of, they want to feel like they have control of a purchase as big as a new or used vehicle.
So, back to the geographic make up of your historical customer base. Use the tools you have to do your own analysis of where they are coming from and quit trying to make them come from where you want them to come from! Hey, gravity is gravity. Flapping your arms doesn’t make it go away.