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Tales from the Trenches – Don’t let a vendor hold you hostage!

This week’s Wednesday Workshop shares another crazy story from the trenches… This time, it’s a scary story about a vendor holding a dealership hostage! You’ll have to watch the video to get the full story – but make sure you’re not letting any of your vendors dictate how you run your dealership!


Welcome back to another Wednesday workshop from DealerOn. This week we’ve got another true story from the trenches, and it’s a good one!

Me and the Beard talk to a lot of dealers about digital marketing and as you could guess, many of those conversations focus on SEO and SEM.

After years and years of these conversations you might think we’ve seen and heard it all, but this story proves that we have not.

Not long ago, the Beard and I were working with a dealer who was interested in our organic and paid search capabilities. Our teams conducted audits for the dealer and the beard and the hair went to meet with the dealer in person to discuss.

The dealer loved their website. Mostly because of the way it looks.

Unfortunately, the site was kind of like a billboard in the desert… beyond direct traffic, the dealer needed serious SEO assistance – and they knew it! They called us because they had seen us present at conferences and they wanted to see what we could do to help.

Blah, blah, blah. yada, yada, yada. Fast forward to… And this where the story gets good or maybe bad… you decide.

The dealer signed up for SEO and SEM, but decided to stay with their website provider. No problem, we have tons of dealers who use us for digital marketing and have a website with someone else.

So the dealer informs their website provider that they’ve chosen DealerOn as their new SEO and SEM provider and the website provider responds by immediately cancelling the dealer’s website contract. And tells them they have 30 days and then the site will be shut off. WTF?!?

As you might guess, the dealer panicked. They didn’t know what to do and after about 24 hours of stress they called us and asked to cancel their contract because they had decided to remain hostages of the evil company that wants to dictate which partners they can work with.

Not cool. (there’s an emoji for this kind of stuff)

There’s a couple of takeaways from this story:

First – if any of your service providers hold you hostage like the example in this story you should consider this a RED FLAG. We allow our dealers to use other SEO companies and these companies are given access to our websites, so they can do their job.

Second, you have to take the power back. This kind of decision making shouldn’t be left to your vendors. If you take the time to research and prove the value of a product or service, make that sh…tuff happen. Especially when you know it’s going to work!

When we tell these stories from the trenches, some of you may put the pieces together and figure out we’re talking about you. Please know that we NEVER use names of dealers or vendors because we have no interest in embarrassing anyone. We share these stories to elevate awareness of practices that could be harmful to your business.

And that’s all the time we have, so… come back next week for another Wednesday workshop from DealerOn!

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

More posts by Greg Gifford

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