We’ve all been there. The honeymoon phase is over. You had expectations for the kind of results you’d get from your website provider, whether you set them yourself or they were set by the person who sold you the website. Maybe it’s happened before and you’re thinking, “are my goals just not realistic? Or is it time I switch website providers?”
Take it from us: the right partnerships (combined with the right strategy!) can help propel your dealership to new heights. But there are a few things you need to be thinking about if you’re considering making a significant change like this.
Do you need a new website provider that actually listens to you? Is there a slow turnaround time on your requests? Are you moving away from the OEM’s recommended picks like Dealer.com or Dealer Inspire because they just aren’t working for your dealership? Think about what’s driving the change you’re looking for and consider what the new website will provide that you don’t feel like you’re currently getting. Make a list of pain points and ask any prospective new dealer website providers how they’ll address them.
Your first thought might be to look into the solutions that are cheaper than what you’re currently paying, but this is the wrong approach! The value you get from your partnership doesn’t strictly come from price. It’s a good idea to consider how much attention is getting paid to your dealership overall. If the website provider works with thousands of other dealerships, how are they going to spend enough time learning about your business and aligning their strategy with what’s happening in your store?
It might be more expensive, but ask yourself how far your expertise truly goes. Consultation is invaluable! If you’re only in contact with support agents or account reps who don’t really understand your issues, or you get forwarded to forums and help articles to get answers on the questions that matter, it’s probably time to switch.
If you’re not sure, we’re happy to provide a free consult and help you save some money, no obligation!
Look at all of the services you’re currently using your website provider for. If it’s just the website, do you get to keep full access to the Google Analytics account that’s been tracking website data? If they’re running ads for you, do your ad accounts come with you when you leave? Do you own all of the website content that was written for you? If your web provider is withholding access to data, information or work that you paid for because “that’s our policy”, then you need to find a new partner that actually cares about your growth.
It stings at first, but you’re setting yourself up for the future here! If you can get access, that extra data will help the right website provider set you up for success. Make sure you take it with you if possible.
When you’re struggling with your dealership’s success, it’s easy to look at everything you’re doing and be over-critical of it. Even if you like your website, spending 30 minutes with your team staring at it will send you down a rabbit hole that leads to the website being the problem.
This is an important decision, so look at the other parts of your business and other solutions you’re paying for and consider whether you can reinvest that money. Are leads from Cars.com or AutoTrader costing too much? Is your BDC department strong enough to handle the leads you’re receiving? Are you missing out on sales opportunities because you’re outsourcing live chat to a solution like Gubagoo instead of hiring someone to do it in-dealership?
Look at other dealerships and connect with people you admire in the industry to get an understanding of what your dealership could be doing better. It’s not always the website.
Want to connect with someone in automotive who’s seen (and solved) similar issues as the ones you have? We can find one for you to chat with.
At the end of the day, a too-good-to-be-true sales pitch is often exactly that. In fact, with the biggest website providers, sometimes the salespeople are also the ones who build your website… from a template! Not even a designer? Yuck.
When you’re shopping for a new dealer website provider, you need to be wary of big statements and unrealistic promises. People have a habit of cherry-picking data or showing you what you want to see in order to make the sale. Focus on the features and whether they align with what you want. Avoid people who use a bunch of marketing jargon, and speak to friends in the industry who aren’t incentivized to sell you a certain website because of affiliate deals or corporate partnerships. Community is one of the biggest strengths we have in the automotive industry.
Whether it’s your CRM (DealerSocket, VINSolutions, DealerPeak), automotive inventory software (PBS, vAuto, AIM Experts), or tools that come into play during customer acquisition (AutoVerify, AutoFi, DealerTrack), you need to make sure that it doesn’t become a hassle to log in and get to work. Ideally, your website provider should be able to integrate easily with other tools you use every day. Make sure that the new provider you choose can make life easier by doing things like:
Feeding leads automatically into the CRM without issues
Managing multiple inventory feeds without failing or bugging out
Adding custom code for website tools without the headache of being told “no” or getting bounced around.
… or anything else that makes it easier to focus on what matters - selling cars.
There are a few excellent website providers in automotive, but not every one of them will be best suited to YOUR dealership’s needs. FlexDealer’s average client stays with us for 8+ years, so we know what it takes to build a strong partnership. From hosting your dealer website to building the entire thing from scratch to managing your monthly creative and paid ads, to working with you on a comprehensive marketing strategy, our team is here to support your team.
If you’re not sure about your next dealer website, or what tools to invest in, we can point you to a service provider that’s the best match.