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Failing to Increase Online Car Sales Opportunities? Here's Why.

Discover this often-overlooked reason why you're failing to increase online car sales opportunities at your dealership.

Now that you’re a decade or more into marketing your dealership online, I think we can agree on one thing: if you build it, your audience won’t necessarily come.

I don’t blame you. In digital retailing today, there are so many options to choose from, and even more mandates. Considering the current climate of digital retailing in the automotive industry today, it can be overwhelming to make anything you do stick.

What if there is a deeper reason? What if the software, and website, and CRMs and processes have nothing to do with it - at least not at first?

Let me share an analogy with you – tell me if it’s as ridiculous as it sounds!

You walk into Home Depot (Bunions if you’re in Australia), and purchase the most expensive hammer you can find. You bring it home and lay it on the table. After a few minutes, perplexed, you wonder why in the world all of the pictures haven’t hung themselves. After all, you just bought the tool you needed to hang pictures.

Sounds ridiculous, right?

The missing link isn’t the tool. The missing link is the person using the tool.

People are your most valuable asset, and if they are unhappy, the ripple effect can be detrimental to your dealership’s overall health.


When people are unhappy, they tend to pay less attention to detail. They don’t care as much. Which is an interesting catch-22 because employees come from one of two camps. They are unhappy because they hate their job OR they have become unhappy that the job they care so much about doesn’t seem to be evolving or growing for them. They’ve lost confidence or trust in the leadership team because they may feel unheard or underappreciated.

Whatever the case may be, cheaper or more expensive tools will never combat or compensate for unhappy people.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand entirely how easy it can be to forget about employee happiness, especially when there are a million and one things flying at you day in and day out.

However, I’ve also experienced the positive effects on culture, productivity and profits when my team knows that I care and that their efforts are appreciated.

In short (if this is where you decide to stop reading), stop wasting your time and money sourcing new tools when at first, they won't make a difference.

In a recent interview on The Dealer Playbook Podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kris Boesch from Choose People. She talked about the effects of employee happiness - both positive and negative.

“As the leader of your dealership, you have a million different things that you're juggling. You're considering different strategies - there is a lot that you're trying to make happen, so why does this matter?


The first thing you have to know is that there is a substantial financial return on investment with having happy employees.


Now you might be thinking; I'm not responsible for making my employees happy. I would agree, you're not. However, you are responsible for creating and empowering context within which they can be happy. That's culture. It's the context within which your people work. It's the air they breathe while running your marathon."


She goes on to say,


"If you have an employee who is earning $45,000 per year and is unhappy, they will conservatively cost you an additional $39,000 per year in addition to their salary. Now if that same employee is happy, they will benefit your bottom line by at least $21,000 or a 1.5 multiple of their salary.


Happy employees make 26% fewer mistakes. Now it's not like your employees are out to get you, but if they're unhappy, they care less. When we care, we pay more attention to detail."


How many employees do you have?

One of the most eye-opening exercises you can do as a leader is calculating the profit/loss of your people. Based on that same 1.5 multiple that Kris mentions you can get an idea of what your team is costing per year based on their happiness level.

Let’s say, for example, that you have 40 employees with an average salary of $45K per year.

First, rate their collective average happiness out of 10, with 10 being perfectly happy.

Using a 7/10 happiness rating look at the resulting numbers.

Positive financial impact of your happy employees: $450,000 per year

Negative financial impact of your unhappy employees: $450,000 per year

Potential positive financial impact of indifferent employees: $225,000 per year

Not only would you be killing $450K per year in this scenario, but there is also a leftover unleveraged potential impact of $225K. You are leaving $675,000 per year on the table (actually you’re flushing it down the toilet).


Think about this for a minute. How much money are you killing or not currently leveraging because your people are unhappy or indifferent? How many times have you switched your tools because you assumed that was the answer to all of your problems? Notice that no matter how many times you've swapped out a tool for the next bigger better one, that you're still in the same boat as before?

Tools are like Exercise

In my recent adventure of losing more than 30 lbs, I’ve learned so much about what it takes to lose weight and keep it off. At the beginning of my journey I envisioned having to spend two hours per day in the gym, the task seemed daunting, scary, and expensive.

Scouring the web for the best information I could find, I began to realize a universal message from some of the world’s leading fitness and health experts. No amount of exercise will compensate for a lousy diet.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Exercise is crucial to healthy living, the effects of which are extremely valuable. However, that’s why exercise is like the tools you keep buying. Alone, they will not compensate for lack of strategy (i.e., your healthy eating plan) and the happiness of the person you’ve delegated to execute it.

FlexDealer is like your digital nutritionist. As a digital marketing and SEO agency, we specialize in helping you leverage the tools and your people by creating and implementing strategies that your customers won’t forget.

We’ll work with your team (or be your team) to finally get those pictures hanging on the wall so that your target customers can see them and take action. That way you can focus your time and energy where it matters - with your people. Helping and empowering them to provide the most incredible customer experience possible.

Doug Lipp, former head of training at Disney University turned Global Consultant said it best.

"Marketing and Advertising is the vehicle that draws your ideal audience in the doors. Customer experience is how you retain them and keep them coming back."

If you're serious about growing your online business, let's start offline with a phone call about your goals OR drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you and help make your dealership marketing the best it can be.

Michael Cirillo      

Michael Cirillo      

Michael Cirillo is the CEO of, a leading provider of innovative inventory and marketing solutions for the retail auto industry. He is also the host of the top-rated Dealer Playbook podcast and an acclaimed author and speaker. With his passion for creative thinking and a growth mindset, Michael helps dealerships develop and achieve their digital goals.

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