A Toyota dealer called me this week to ask what I thought was a simple question. The eventual answer to his question opened up a can of worms. All auto dealers, especially larger volume stores, need to take action immediately. Today is the best day to get this done and I have documented the steps to complete this task below.
So let me start with the question that was asked:
“Brian, the hours for my parts and service departments, on my Google My Business (GMB) page, are not correct. When I go into my GMB dashboard, there are only one set of hours. Where is Google pulling this incorrect data?”
To answer him I looked at the GMB hours for his store, and indeed the hours for sales and parts were different, see blue arrow below.
I looked at another client’s GMB dashboard and you can see that GMB only allows one set of business hours (see blue arrow below). The “Add special hours” feature (red arrow) is not for parts and service. It is a feature to set special hours for holidays, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Mystery Solved: Someone Created More GMB Listings For Your Dealership
Instead of offering GMB with three sets of hours, someone decided (not the dealer) to create one or two additional listings for each dealership (of size). Some dealerships I tested only have their primary GMB listing, which now I realize is not a benefit.
Why did this happen? I’m not sure but for some dealers, a previously unknown Service listing has been created at the same business address. For other dealers, unknown Service and Parts listings were created.
This is good news and bad news. The good news is that your store hours can be quickly fixed and you have two new GMB listings to optimize for service and parts. The bad news is that dealers are not aware of this flaw and ANYONE can claim these secondary listings and hold a dealer hostage, for a time.
Demonstration: Checking Your Dealership for This Flaw
The steps I will list below have been repeated for dozens of dealerships, of all OEM brands, and the results are the same. I urge you to share this article with your OEM dealer boards, 20 Groups, and peers in the industry.
This new recommendation will be added to the 2018 Digital Marketing Playbook, which now has over 101 specific “plays” to help dealers improve their sales and profits.
1.Search your dealership name on Google, as I did for a local Ford dealer that is close to my home in Florida. Click on the map in the upper right hand corner, shown by the red arrow below. Do NOT search your dealership name on Google Maps.
2.Notice that the Google Maps listing shows the dealership location accurately and the GMB listing is claimed. The yellow arrow shows that the dealership is closed and based on the number of customer reviews, this is the dealer’s active GMB listing.
3.What they didn’t know is they had two other Google My Business listings that were UNCLAIMED. Google using these phantom listings to determine service and parts hours. If you zoom into your map listing, you will see something that amazed me.
4. For this Ford Dealership, there was a Ford Service listing and a Ford Parts listing at the same physical address. When I clicked on the map icon for Service, the “new” GMB listing was shown. This listing is UNCLAIMED as shown by the yellow arrow.
5. This is not a Ford problem. Here is a listing for a local Toyota dealer that has two extra GMB listings:
6. Some dealers will only have one additional listing, like Gunther Mazda shown below:Some dealers will only have one additional listing, like Gunther Mazda shown below:
7. If you have extra listings, CLAIM the listings immediately. Set the correct hours, add the parts or service phone number, load photos, and complete the new profile. You can claim a listing by clicking on the link shown by the orange arrow below:
8. Update the name carefully. You can leave the name as it stands (i.e. Toyota Parts) or you can update it to say Toyota Parts: Lipton Toyota.
9. Repeat this process for each phantom listing that you have. Some dealers may also have a body shop also shown on their property map.
10. Make sure each business unit has a complete Google My Business listing. I cover how to optimize GMB in Play #12 contained the 2018 Digital Marketing Playbook.
11. Changes may take a few days to be updated in live search.
Share This Play With Your Peers
Take time to fix your GMB listings and share this tip with your peers. This is just one of over 100 plays to help dealers succeed. What is your game plan for 2018 to improve sales?
I realized that dealership managers don’t like to read long books, but they want to improve. So I created 100 ways to improve in simple steps, like demonstrated above.
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One fork full at a time.
Author: Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch is the founder of PCG Companies and is a popular author, conference speaker, and educator. Brian wrote the book on automotive digital marketing called “Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing” and is the host of Auto Marketing Now, a popular weekly show on automotive marketing.