As the longest-serving Mercedes-Benz dealer to the greater Houston-area of Texas, Star Motor Cars has an enduring commitment to excellence. For General Manager Tim Jinks, achieving excellence in selling and servicing luxury vehicles requires dependable partners. That's why he uses Mercedes-Benz certified CRM and website provider, DealerSocket, to power his sales and marketing departments.
Star Motor Cars first opened their doors in 1970 in the Houston area with the illustrious Mercedes-Benz brand. Fifty years later, and they are still going strong as a powerhouse dealer group with four luxury brands, including Aston Martin, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.
Thriving in the digital space is always a challenge in the Houston market. There are plenty of dealerships, especially those that pull in luxury car shoppers from all over the state, so competition is fierce and Star Motor Cars needed to up their game in order to maintain top position in the market.
When investigating choices for digital vendors, the biggest consideration was connectivity and integration. After all, the dealership houses four brands under one roof, so everyone from the sales team to the general manager need to be connected and in lock-step on a daily basis.
Between website, marketing, CRM, inventory, and DMS, there are a lot of choices to drive sales process efficiency at the dealership, and Star Motor Cars had a tall task to achieve integration and communication between their already existing systems.
Eight months ago, Tom was faced with an incredibly challenging yet all too common scenario. “Our in-house IT guy – a guy who did everything from our maintenance to email blasts - one day left without notice. All of a sudden, we didn’t have him, and I didn’t know what I was doing.” It was then that he turned to his DealerSocket Customer Success Manager (CSM), a seasoned representative dedicated to consulting him on best practice technology usage.
Like most dealerships, Tom has his fair share of employee attrition. While new hire onboarding has its own set of challenges, one thing Tom doesn’t worry about is system training. “On the sales side, you have more turnover than you do in other departments. It’s very easy for someone who may have come from another industry or even another dealership to learn DealerSocket because the training and help line are so good. So, I'm not spending my time training people how to use a CRM or website; DealerSocket does that for me, which is huge.”
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When selecting a website and digital marketing provider, DealerSocket’s DealerFire was a natural choice for the Star Motor Cars team. DealerFire’s Mercedes-Benz certified websites are fully responsive and come equipped with an industry-leading vehicle merchandising suite and hands-on SEO (search engine optimization).
The CRM and website connect to enhance experiences for retail staff and consumers alike. Seamless integration matches customers between platforms, providing a real-time view of the buyer journey. “The integration with our CRM alone makes DealerFire worth it. The key is we know when one of our leads in DealerSocket is on our website. And what car they’re looking at. That’s huge. If that’s all that was offered on it, that would be worth it,” says Tom.
DealerSocket has a very large luxury automotive customer base, which means that strategy and integration for high-line dealers is baked into the platform. The DealerFire website platform was created specially for dealers to have more control over their online presence and convey their beautiful brand in a way that's different from competitors.
In addition to the website platform, digital marketing was utilized to influence secondary markets, like Dallas. In the high-line automotive world, your traffic doesn't necessarily need to come from your local PMA, as most shoppers are willing to travel far distances to get the luxury car they seek.
Using a combination of local SEO and comparison content on their website, the dealership was able to increase their presence in the Dallas metro area by 7% over a 90 day period.
The DealerFire marketing team was instrumental in organizing a plan of action, then executing the plan to attain and retain traffic to those areas of influence.
INCREASE IN WEBSITE TRAFFIC
INCREASE IN ORGANIC TRAFFIC
INCREASE IN DALLAS METRO AREA TRAFFIC
"We work with plenty of vendors. They all promised great support, but none of them had over-delivered on that promise before DealerSocket. DealerSocket really has over-delivered in supporting me."