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the game has changed.

Keeps us on top. — Alison Spitzer, Spitzer Automotive Group, Cleveland, Ohio

Once it was clear that the used car buying world was undergoing a radical transformation, dealerships faced a dilemma. Either continue to cling to the old ways or evolve to face the new reality. To remain competitive, Alison and the team at the Spitzer Automotive Group chose to approach the challenge head-on with Provision®. Now, today’s readily available information is actually their greatest competitive advantage. Provision has planted Spitzer’s used inventory right where consumers are searching, and the results don’t lie. Over the last two years, gross revenue is up 36%, while group sales volume has seen a 32% jump across Spitzer’s 15 locations.

Just another example of how the best dealerships run better. Get your personalized demo at vAuto.com/demo or call 888-365-1032.

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AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or info@autosuccessonline.com. Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299.

Hannah Philpott, Media Director Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement Strategist hannah@autosuccessonline.com shorne@autosuccessonline.com jwarner@autosuccessonline.com



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Keys to peer leadership: An Unlikely Source

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iPad Desking: Leveraging the Mobile Advantage



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Brian Ankney, Account Manager super6@autosuccessonline.com

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Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist ddavis@autosuccessonline.com

2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299 | p 877.818.6620 / f 502.588.3170 | AutoSuccessOnline.com/AutoSuccessPodcast.com | info@autosuccessonline.com Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director design@autosuccessonline.com


seven must-have apps for the modern automotive professional, part 2 the four ways to bring your dealership back to life, part 1


Five mistakes dealers make with their owner marketing and how to avoid them


knocking on doors persistently pays off team, training and technology, part 2


so you have a review platform – now what?


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putting a vseo strategy in place


sales & training solution three questions to soften the spring-fed impulse to acquire inventory DealerPanel

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Family-Owned Neil Huffman Auto Group Continues Traditions While Confidently Stepping Into the Future


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10 16 26 DennisMcGinn



leadership solution the road to a sale is broken – revisited MarkTewart

Susan Givens, Publisher sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com

feature solution


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iPad DeskinG:

Leveraging the Mobile Advantage

A lot has been written about how iPads can increase customer engagement during the sale. While dealerships are increasingly incorporating mobile technology into their sales process, iPads tend to be used primarily in the vehicle presentation stage. A frequently overlooked opportunity is using iPads during one of the trickiest parts of the sales process — making the deal.

make it easier for the sales manager to structure the deal, they don’t have much impact on the way a deal is presented to the customer. This is how a mobile desking tool is different. By changing the way the negotiation process is conducted, iPad desking provides a breakthrough in the customer experience and helps to differentiate the dealership through enhanced efficiency and professionalism. There are three key ways mobile technology provides an advantage in the negotiation process: 1. Speed – Electronic communication allows the sales team to respond more quickly to counteroffers. Eliminating the walk to and from the sales desk saves time, and the sales manager is able to work multiple deals at once, with less waiting between each offer.

One of the most frequently heard customer complaints is about how long it takes to buy a car. Customers typically spend upwards of four hours in the dealership, more than an hour of which is spent on back-and-forth negotiation. Not only is this seen as wasted time by consumers, but it is risky for dealerships as well, for the several reasons: • Leaving customers unattended can diminish the initial excitement about the vehicle purchase. The longer the wait time, the less engaged the customer becomes.

2. Transparency – Presenting the numbers directly from the iPad — rather than on a piece of

• Time spent waiting for a quote can lead to the customer having negative thoughts and second-guessing about whether or not they are getting a good deal. It is not unheard of for a customer to contact another dealership for a competitive quote during this time. • A tedious negotiation process focuses customers on the price of the vehicle, rather than the value they are receiving. While most desking tools are designed to

paper — looks more professional, and gives customers greater confidence in the process.

3. Flexibility – Offering customers a range of choices keeps the focus on which option best

meets their needs, rather than the price of the vehicle. Having choices reduces the feeling of being pressured and results in a higher level of customer satisfaction.

Paris Blohm, GSM of Lexus of Glendale, said, “Customer relationships are at the heart of what our dealership is all about, and we’re always trying new things to improve life for our customers and our team. When we decided to take our sales process mobile, our goal was to equip our people with tools to enhance those relationships. We see mobile desking as an important way to do that.” “Customer engagement is essential in every step of the sales process, from presentation to delivery,” said Jim Hughes, co-founder of IntellaCar, the iPad selling system that’s integrated with Market Scan’s mobile desking used by Lexus of Glendale. “Plus, being able to conduct a negotiation without ever leaving the customer is a huge step forward.” Steve Smythe, CEO of Market Scan, said, “By streamlining the sales process and empowering sales professionals to never have to leave a customer unattended, a dealership addresses the leading customer satisfaction survey complaints: ‘The sales process took too long,’ and ‘I hate the running back and forth to a manager during negotiation.’” Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com.

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the road to a sale is broken

­— Revisited

GROSS PROFIT IN 5 DAYS Subaru Dealer Jan. 2 - 6 444 ups/69 sold/$340,000

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Attention dealers: Take the time this week to review and rethink from scratch every step in your routing procedures. Review these steps from beginning to end, and review all team members involved both on the front line and behind the scenes. Review all the technologies you have and determine what is the most effective use and integration of each one. Do not allow status quo thinking of “We have always done it this way.” Every week in dealerships, I witness customers walking in who are several steps deep into the sales process but are then shoved back into step one. The customers get frustrated and the process becomes disjointed. For what seems like forever, we have taught a sales process that emphasizes moving a customer through three stages: • Emotion • Logic • Character The standard process emphasizes getting rapport and allowing the customer to satisfy their assessment of your character, then giving a presentation that creates strong emotion in the customer and then the customer moves into the final stage of logically deciding how to purchase the vehicle. All of these stages are still necessary; the order, however, has been inverted. Today, an average customer has spent significant time in education and research. Obviously, by the time the customer contacts a dealership they are heavily into the “logic” stage of buying. Because of the significant time spent in advance of buying, the average customer now walks into one dealer and buys. In the past, a customer was visiting closer to five dealerships before they purchased. Because a customer is still in a “logic” stage upon entering the dealership, what can you do to take them even deeper into that funnel before and after they arrive at the dealership? You will, in essence, be the anti-salesperson. You will be giving information and sharing logic-based criteria that will allow the customer to automatically judge your character as the person and place to do business. Now, you have allowed the customer to move effortlessly through the process in a way that they want, and not a cookie-cutter system based upon outdated models of selling. Everything should be based upon TLC: Think Like a Customer. What technologies do you utilize in your dealership that would assist you as you use it with the customer? If you use trade-in technology, why not use it in conjunction with the customer? If you utilize CRMs, why not involve the customer in the explanation of how this will affect them? If you use other communication technologies, get customers involved to tailor everything to them. Next, think of who at your dealership will perform which duties. The next generation of selling will provide more and more specialization, where there are less “superstar, do it all” salespeople. Think of building your staff and process in a way that does not violate human nature. Most people are good at a couple of things, but few are good at all things. Design your process around the idea of your staff doing a few tasks really well, and then holding them accountable to those things. Your Internet sales staff will function based upon strict criteria. Your floor salespeople may become product specialists designed at giving customers an incredible “wow” factor from the meet and greet through logic and then presentation/demonstration. Your managers could become sales specialists/floor managers/facilitators who assist the product specialists from the beginning to end of the process. Think of how to move the managers up the sales channel, rather than at the end. You should try to eliminate the uncomfortable “Hello T.O.” that often occurs at the end of the sales process when the deal is either lost or near dead. It’s way past time to bury the traditional sales process based upon what you want and not what the customer wants. It’s way past time to base your sales process upon what a customer thinks and needs before they go into a dealership. Sometimes you just have to let things go before you can allow yourself to move forward. Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at mtewart@autosuccessonline.com.

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What Can G&A Do For You? $340,000

Many years ago, I wrote an article titled “The Road To A Sale Is Broken.” Well, it’s not only still broken, it’s fractured beyond recognition.


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An interesting question, however, is why do most dealerships not train their people? When I say “do not train,” I am talking about other than basic or OEM training. It is astonishing how we can be in a multi-billion dollar industry but we wing it on a daily basis. Dealers spend the vast majority of their budget on advertising trying to drive “fresh ups” to the dealership, but spend little or no budget in training to evolve their greatest asset : their human assets. Dealers know this, but why is this still a reality? Why is this still an epidemic in our industry? Some of the excuses dealers give include: • Training is too expensive — A trainer with actual experience and a proven track record charges a lot of money — anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 a day (plus expenses). • Previous bad experience — Past trainers came into their dealership, charged them a lot of money and didn’t deliver. So, now dealers are reluctant to invest in training because they fear losing the investment again. • The “Rock Star” let down — The dealer gets entranced with a national personality and decides to take the leap of faith and hire a training company. Unfortunately, they are completely let down when they find out the founder / CEO (The “Rock Star”) isn’t actually doing the training; instead, they get a rookie to do a “Rock Star’s” job. • The “after” effect? — The dealership invests a tremendous amount of money in training and they bring in the “Hot Shot” trainer for two or three days. The trainer evangelizes the message, and gets everyone fired up, but what happens after the trainer leaves and the “ether” wears off? • People learn differently — People learn and think in different ways; visually, kinesthetically or by auditory. Not all trainers will work or fit for all of your employees. • Lost 0pportunity — The time employees are driving or flying to a workshop is time away from selling. The time showroom sales consultants, Internet sales and/or BDC reps are off the floor, off the Internet or off the phones and in training is time away from making money. So, let’s stop and think for a minute. What should we truly be training our people on? I believe it should be areas including: • Showroom Sales Basics (“The Road To The Sale”)

• Advanced Showroom Sales Tactics • The Art of Prospecting (How a sales professional can create and grow their “own business”) • Entrepreneurship • Time Management, Organization, Goal Planning and Projecting • Leadership (in the FranklinCovey style) • Phone Sales • Communications • Statistics, Data, Trends, Benchmarks and Composites • Internet Sales • Business Development • Follow Up • Digital Marketing (SEO, VSEO, PPC, social media, Websites, online reputation, e-mail marketing) • Data Mining • CRM • Sales Management (basic and advanced) • Human Resources (recruiting, interviewing, hiring, pay plans, schedules, etc.) • F&I • Female Certification (How to market to, sell to and retain female shoppers) • Customer Service Imagine if dealers invested in training their people in some, most or all of these subjects? Think about what that would do to the “bottom line.” I can see how we can increase the average (or “mediocre”) 9.6 units sold per sales consultant to 12 to 15 units, take the 15-car sales consultants to 20 to 25 units per month and the 20- to 25-car sales pros to 35 to 40 or more units per month. Why wouldn’t it? Why is it not possible? Why is it not probable? I challenge you all to try. Train your people. Give them an opportunity to be more than “ordinary.” Give them the opportunity and resources to be “extraordinary.” Dealers need to make their people the No. 1 priority. The better your people, the better your business. Well, the automotive sales industry now has solutions to the age-old dilemma of “To Train or Not to Train?”One of these solutions is the Automotive Digital Training (ADT) Network, a comprehensive, 24/7 Video-On-Demand (VOD) training, tracking, testing and certification platform. While ADT’s Learning Management System (LMS) is the most powerful in the industry, what makes the system unique isn’t the technology; it’s the trainers on the platform. The training you use for your dealership should be filled with as much talent, experience and credibility as possible. The ADT platform has simply one requirement: Only the absolute best of the best can be included, because, when learning about efficiently running an Internet sales department or BDC, it’s critical to get training from professionals who have worked in, built and managed those departments. Why should a dealer choose and pay for one platform with one trainer with only one specialty, but who talks about other things? Would you go to the dentist if you had heart problems, because they’re both in the medical field? Of course not, and it should never happen at your dealership.

According to NADA, there are approximately 17,580 franchised dealerships in the country. The average dealership sells approximately 96 units per month with a team of 10 salespeople, meaning the average salesperson sells approximately 9.6 units per month. NADA statistics show the average cost per sale in advertising is more than $600 per car. If we take a closer look and break these numbers down, 96 units x $600 per unit = $57,600 each month, or $691,200 annually, is spent on advertising. The average dealership invests $5,760 per month per salesperson or $69,120 annually per salesperson in advertising dollars. This means dealers spend more in ad dollars per salesperson versus what salespeople actually make.

ADT has a combined experience level of more than 160 years and the team has trained over 250,000 automotive sales professionals.

There’s only one thing worse than training your staff and having them leave, and that’s not training them and having them stay. - Zig Ziglar

With a powerful VOD training program, the training objections and obstacles discussed earlier in the article are answered: • Training is no longer cost prohibited. For less than the going rate of an intermediate trainer to spend one day in your dealership (about $2,500), you can have a 24/7 comprehensive VOD training, tracking, testing and certification platform for your entire showroom sales team, Internet department, BDC department, digital marketing and management team (including F&I) for an entire month. • Bad experiences are a thing of the past. With a great VOD system, you know you’re getting the best of the best. • With a high-powered VOD platform, you will always get the “Rock Star.” You know in advance who you are getting: trainers you respect — and no bench warmers. • What happens after the trainer leaves? One of the best things about a VOD platform is that sales consultants, Internet and BDC reps, managers and others can train 24/7 anywhere. They can train at work, on break or lunch, at home, in the gym — anywhere. Also, with an accountability system in place that tracks who is watching the videos, when they are watching them, what videos were watched, how long they were viewed and if they were they watched to completion, you can track progress (or get progress back on track). Testing for each and every video watched is also available to measure retention to the information. • People do learn differently. That’s why VOD platforms are so much more powerful than “old school” training resources like outdated workbooks or video tapes. The ADT platform, for instance, is full multimedia; not only does it consist of training videos by elite trainers, but there is interactive learning and “role playing” capabilities on the platform, as well. VOD platforms can also be updated to include new modules from trainers — as the industry changes and evolves, so does the information and education. Plus, there can be different trainers for different students, different styles and different cultures. This is total customization learning. • There is no more “lost opportunity.” Because of the 24/7 video on demand capabilities, the training is done when and where you choose as the dealer. Not only can you can schedule time to train accordingly, you can also provide the resource for your people to immerse themselves additionally on their time. The best way to understand a VOD platform is to think of it as a television network, where you can have different “channels.” Each channel has a specialty; for example, “ESPN” is the sports channel, “MTV” is the music channel, “CNN” is the news channel and “HBO” is a premium movie channel. With a VOD platform, you can “tune in” to the channel you want your team to focus on, or the subject that they need the most help with, on your terms, on your time. It’s an exciting time to be in the auto sales business, with tools available that allow the best in the field to help your team with what they specifically need at any time. There are now no excuses to not give your sales team the best, and expect the best from them.

The Automotive Digital Training “Core” Channel: • Internet Sales • Business Development • Phone Sales • Objections, Rebuttals and Word tracks • Digital Marketing (E-mail marketing, online reputation, CRM data mining) • Female Certification (How to market to, sell to and retain female shoppers / buyers) • Entrepreneurship • Time Management, Organization and Goal Planning/Projecting • Leadership (FranklinCovey) • CRM • Communications • Statistics, Data, Trends and Benchmarks/Composites • Video and Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) The Trainers: Sean V. Bradley, CEO of Dealer Synergy Sean is one of the top automotive trainers and consultants in the country and is currently one of the most sought-after subject matter experts for Internet sales, business development and digital marketing. Sean has more than 14 years automotive sales experience. Beginning as a sales consultant, Sean learned the business from the ground up, holding positions at dealerships as sales manager, Internet sales manager, special finance manager and business development director. Sean has spoken to more than 90 NADA, NCM and Internet Sales 20 Groups, and has been noted as one of the highest-rated NADA Convention Speakers for three years in a row. Sean was a General Assembly speaker for several Digital Dealer Conventions, and was also an expert on the JD Power & Associates Internet Roundtable. Sean has guided Dealer Synergy to become a two-time winner of the Auto Dealer Monthly’s Dealers Choice Award for “Best Internet Trainer,” and was also voted “Best of the Best Internet Training Company” three years in a row by Dealix. Besides his wife and partner, Karen Bradley, Sean is the only certified FranklinCovey trainer and facilitator in the automotive industry, and is a proud member of the National Speakers Association. Sean also is the creator of the popular NCM/Dealer Synergy Internet Sales Boot Camps, the Synergy Sessions events, Internet Director Immersion Program and the hugely successful Internet Sales 20 Group. Additionally, he is the founder of AutomotiveInternetSales.com and the co-creator of Dealer Battle Plan. Most notably, he pioneered the field of Automotive Video Search Engine Optimization. Sean writes for more than 13 national and international magazines, and is a contributing writer on numerous automotive blogs and networking sites. Sean has had his own column in AutoSuccess for more than five years. Sean V. Bradley has personally trained more than 2,000 dealer principals/GMs and 5,000 sales professionals and managers, for a total of more than 7,000 automotive professionals.

Peter Martin, President of Cactus Sky Communications Peter “Webdoc” Martin is renowned for creating innovative and cuttingedge programs, systems and tools to facilitate the auto dealer’s success in today’s market. Peter is the co-founder of ADT (Automotive Digital Training), a comprehensive Web-based video on demand (VOD) training and testing platform for the auto industry.

syndicated magazines. Karen is an instructional design and curriculum development expert who has made a huge impact on numerous dealerships through her trainings. She is also recognized by the National Speakers Association for her skills in public speaking. Additionally, as a certified Franklin Covey trainer, Karen inspires dealerships across the country as a facilitator of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity” curriculum.

Peter is also currently the president of Cactus Sky Communications — a company that helps businesses acquire, manage and retain customers online. He has leveraged more than 27 years of sales and marketing experience to become a business leader, speaker, writer and trainer, with a focus in e-mail and online marketing. Cactus Sky is recognized as one of the premier digital marketing companies in the country.

Karen’s unique background and expertise make her an exceptional asset on the ADT team. Karen will be training on “Female Certification,” dealing with how to market to the female shopper, how to engage the female prospect and retain the female customer. Karen will also be training on topics including time management, leadership and organization.

Peter is a digital marketing expert, nationally recognized as the “Webdoc,” and is the technology correspondent for ABC 7 News, where he provides technology advice, Website reviews and product news. The “Webdoc” currently has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter. Peter is also a regular speaker and trainer for NADA, NIADA and Digital Dealer, as well as other business organizations. As a contributing author to Digital Dealer, AutoSuccess and other publications, he provides training and education on a variety of topics, including e-mail marketing, Website design, sub-prime marketing, database mining, online reputation, automotive marketing, social media marketing and how to sell to women. The “Webdoc” is the technology correspondent for the National News Team, a syndicated radio and television network. He began sending out “Monday Motivational” in 2005 and currently has more than 21,000 subscribers who tune in to jump-start their workweek. His first book, Monday Motivationals, will be released this year. In 2006, Peter founded AskPatty.com, the No. 1 automotive advice site for women. He created the Certified Female Friendly Training Program, which was designed to assist car dealers to sell, as well as provide exceptional customer service, to women. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1987, Peter started his automotive career with the Ricart Ford organization. He was part of the management team that took the dealership to the No. 1 ranking in the nation for Ford. His extensive background in the automotive industry provides him with a keen insight into advertising and marketing. Peter Martin has personally trained more than 10,000 automotive sales professionals in his career. Karen Bradley, President of Dealer Synergy Karen is a Drexel University graduate with a strong background in business management and customer service. She currently owns four companies, and has appeared on the covers of nationally

Karen Bradley is also the co-creator on the Internet Sales 20 Group, and was instrumental in developing all of the composites, workbooks, curriculum and instructional design of the acclaimed workshop.

Karen Bradley likes to remain behind the scenes, but will be at the front of the classroom on the ADT platform. Her curriculum, instructional design and workshops have served more than 3,000 automotive sales professionals. Ziegler Super System Channel: • Sales Management • Showroom Sales Success • Desking • F&I • Success and Wealth • Objections, Rebuttals and Word tracks • Motivation, Inspiration and Leadership • Objections, Rebuttals and Word tracks Trainer: James A. Ziegler, CSP, HSG For more than 37 years, James A. Ziegler, CSP has researched, studied and trained in the retail automobile business, as surely as if he were studying for a masters’ degree in any other profession. He’s the ultimate student of our industry. Jim exhibits intellectual dynamics and an incredible ability to perform at levels far above the industry standard. Jim’s future forecasting has been more than 90 percent accurate for predicting industry trends and events before they happen — the best record in the industry. As a retail consultant working with manufacturers and more than 15,000 dealerships nationwide, Jim is respected for his expertise internationally.   Jim is often interviewed, featured in articles, and quoted as an industry expert by Reuters, Automotive News, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Dow-Jones, Wards Dealer Business, F&I and Showroom, Entrepreneur, Success, Newswire, Automotive Executive, RV Executive Today, Auto Age, AutoSuccess, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB television, BBC International Radio, Detroit News, and has also appeared on CNN. Jim Ziegler has personally worked with 15,000 dealerships nationwide, trained 100,000 dealers, managers, executives and been the featured keynote speaker at 79 State Automobile Dealer Association Conventions.

Automotive Digital Marketing • Best Practices and Strategy • • Search Engine Optimization • • Retargeting • • Social Media • • Focus Sites and Micro Sites • • Mobile Marketing

Channel: Advertising and Marketing Pay Per Click Websites Display Advertising Blogs

Trainer: Ralph Paglia Ralph has been in the automotive sales industry for 32 years. He is an established automotive marketing practitioner and a highly respected auto industry operations consultant and thought leader. He has written dozens of articles published in major magazines, and has been referenced and quoted by many others. Ralph is the creator of the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community and has served as vice president of digital at Tier10 Marketing, director of digital marketing solutions at ADP Dealer Services, Reynolds Consulting Services practice leader and OEM partnership executive at The Reynolds and Reynolds Company.  He led the Courtesy Chevrolet Digital marketing and BDC teams from 2005 through 2007, when the dealership retailed more than 11,000 new and used vehicles in 2006. For the past 15 years, Ralph has led the auto industry’s adoption of digital marketing strategies and tactics while designing programs for Ford Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz USA, American Honda Motor Company, Toyota Motor Sales and retail enterprises such as AutoNation, Group 1 Automotive, Penske Automotive Group and others. Ralph has personally trained more than 55,000 automotive sales professionals in his career and his Automotive Digital Marketing (ADM) blog has had more than 1.8 million visitors in the last five years. AutoMax Channel: • Human Resources • Screening and Interviewing • Recruiting sites and portals • New Bee “Get Started” training

• • • •

How and Where to recruit Job descriptions and ads Schedules Pay plans

Trainer: Craig Lockerd Craig is the founder and CEO of AutoMax Recruiting and Training, the most requested recruiting and training firm in the United States. An auto industry veteran of more than 30 years, his philosophy is simple: “It all starts with, and ends with, people.” A highly sought after speaker, Craig has spoken at numerous 20 Groups, dealerships and industry conferences. Craig has worked with dealerships nationwide on more than 11,000 recruiting/training campaigns, and placed more than 100,000 people

into the automotive industry, with more to come with AutoMax’s “Porters to Presidents” staffing program. When it comes to “cutting edge” recruitment of top talent for the auto industry — and how to develop and retain that talent — Craig is the best. Craig has worked more than 11,000 recruiting/training campaigns, received in excess of 1,000,000 resumes and placed over 100,000 people into dealerships — that’s why he is the absolute best resource for anything and everything automotive human resources related. R.B.I. Channel: • Showroom Sales • Redefining Basics • New and Advanced “Road To The Sale” • Qualifying and Identifying Wants, Wishes and Expectations • How to Exceed Expectations with a Unique Value Package • Proposition (“Why buy from us?”) • Objections, Rebuttals and Word Rracks • Developing Customer Commitment • Closing the Sale • Engaging the Customer and Securing the Connection • Success and Wealth • Time Management and Organization • Prospecting Trainer: Danny Alkassmi, President of Rising Beyond, Inc. (RBI) Danny has been serving the auto industry for more than three decades. His successful career includes retail sales, sales management and general management for auto dealerships from Southern California to New England. He then went on to become a national figure in training and consulting. Danny has been conducting sales training seminars and management workshops from coast to coast, in every major market for both the manufacturer and the dealer. Some of his recent sponsors include General Motors, Mazda Motors, Volkswagen of America and Autobytel, in addition to some of America’s top dealers. As an expert in instructional design, Danny continues to provide fresh ideas and highly effective solutions for the auto industry. He is the founder and developer of many award-winning training programs and business models. Danny is the creator of RBI Score, the industry’s most effective sales process. Danny has literally re-invented the “Road To The Sale.” He has a unique way of explaining and training anything from “Car Sales 101” to advanced tactics and strategy that lead to profound success. Danny has a unique background as a successful dealer principal, and has a successful track record as a national trainer that has evolved countless dealerships and individuals to success, teaching them how to sell more cars, more often and more profitably. Danny has personally trained more than 2,000 automotive sales professionals in his career.

This is an industry first. This is the first time ever a team of this caliber has ever linked up to create something this incredibly impactful for the automotive industry. If you have any questions or if you would like a free test drive on the Automotive Digital Training Platform, please contact Sean V. Bradley at sbradley@autosuccessonline.com.


leadership solution

managing reconditioning as a business

A 60-day average produces only six turns per year, while a 21-average produces more than 17 turns. By comparison, a 21-day turn is a money machine, while a 60-day turn, unless you have a very profitable fixed operations, is just not sustainable in today’s highly competitive, Internet-driven marketplace. The biggest difference between these two extremes is that the 21-day dealership needs a way to hold to their 21-days-or-less schedule, while it appears that the 60-day dealership has no process automation to do so — but desperately needs one. Whether you are at 21 days, 45 days or even 60 days, reconditioning is such a significant factor in turning inventory it warrants being managed as a business. The bottom line incremental



profit over cost in my experience is between 10:1 and 20:1. Another fact is that a 21-days-in-stock supply results in 17 turns, but by reducing just one day, to a 20-day supply, you move to more than 18 turns. Here are the steps I recommend to bridge sales and recon, keeping them working to a single objective each week and every month: • Setup a single-click recon workflow system that links current processes to your recon staff, and even sublets. • Monitor your actual Time to Market for 60 days to create a baseline benchmarking. • Set a “Time to Market” performance target, once you see where you stand.  • Eliminate bottlenecks using the real-time data produced by your workflow reporting.  • Establish monthly team and/or individual incentives to meet the target.  • Let the system keep you and your recon team informed of their performance metrics — and the exceptions that need attention.  Passport Automotive Group, operating in the highly competitive Washington DC metro market, has a Time to Market goal of 72 hours across their seven dealerships. Steve Gerhartz, Passport’s director of pre-owned operations, needed a way to drive accountability and consistency across all seven dealerships; in November, he decided on a Time to Market workflow system. “I can see exactly where we stand, compare results across stores and spot bottlenecks that are starting to constrain our workflow at any given store,” Gerhartz said. “In addition, since it is a database application, steps can be changed immediately to respond to our changing business needs.” Successful businesses have to have well-defined roles, responsibilities and success measures — you can’t manage what you can’t measure. By making the commitment to a workflow system, you take the first step in converting reconditioning into a set of interdependent steps that have common, visible and measurable objectives. If everyone is doing their part, it becomes glaringly evident to everyone when someone isn’t. One last point: Sometimes in these conversations, I hear the phrase, “We are already doing that.” This is a sure sign of resistance based on previous ill-fated attempts at fixing reconditioning. You can’t really blame them for digging in. Deploying a workflow system, however, is not just another patch; it results in less work, not more. One single click from any device, when a car completes a step, is all it takes. Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by e-mail at dmcginn@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

Over the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to speak with numerous dealers who are looking to get a handle on their complete reconditioning process. Before recommending a course of action, we usually begin by establishing their particular average for used cars’ days-in-stock, which can average from a low of 21 days to a high of 60 days, with most trying to hold to 45 days. In all cases, these dealers were looking for ideas to improve their monthly turns. They also understand you cannot manage what you cannot measure, and have tried many times to fix their existing recon problem within their own shop with no long-term success. Through our conversations, they became extremely encouraged to learn there is now an easy-to-use external solution to help them drive down days in stock in order to help increase inventory turns.

Outsourced BDC + BDC Training + Retargeting


Rescue Leads’ staff of professionals will convert leads into sales. Let your people focus on your hottest prospects, we will handle the rest.


800.730.2488 + www.RescueLeads.com

Email + SEO + Websites + Social + Conversion Optimization



marketing solution

tools to connect with your customers While the industry continues to climb back steadily towards its pre-recession sales levels, running a successful dealership today is tougher than ever. Digital marketing offers incredibly precise tools for reaching customers, but the sheer number of options and their complexity can be daunting. When I talk with dealers around the country, they often tell me the most challenging aspect of today’s digital landscape is actually the customer, not the technologies we’re using to reach them. Today’s auto shopper can access almost unlimited levels of information about pricing, inventory, features, competitive comparisons, reviews, financing and the buying process itself. All of that information enables today’s customer to control their path to purchase, making influencing their purchase decisions incredibly difficult. In a world where customers have control, dealers need better methods for reaching the right people in the right places, but these environments are often extremely competitive. Third-party shopping portals and search results all present consumers with a vast array of brand, nameplate and dealership options. Breaking through that clutter can be extremely difficult. One of the other challenges with these channels is that you don’t know who you’re actually reaching with your marketing. Search and third-party portals are essential channels, but they don’t alone guarantee a successful digital strategy. In some cases, your paid search dollars are spent on converting people who are already intending to contact your dealership. Studies also show that even leading third-party sites don’t reach a majority of shoppers in-market. At Facebook, we believe the Web is increasingly organized around people, not just content and information. Marketers like Ford, Hyundai, Subaru, Walmart and Samsung have recognized this and are developing marketing strategies that build relationships with key customers and provide significant return on investment. We believe these strategies will be better for both the businesses that create them and the end consumer.



We’re working on tools that will specifically enable dealers to develop more customer-focused marketing strategies. Custom Audiences and Partner Categories are two we’ve introduced recently that are already driving tremendous results for businesses across industries. Custom Audiences let businesses upload their customer databases to Facebook to reach their loyal customers in a privacy-protected way. Given that 69 percent of U.S. Internet users are on Facebook, we frequently see match rates higher than 50 percent, and sometimes up to 95 percent. Dealers can also further segment the audiences created by matching those customer lists with Facebook, thereby enabling targeted strategies for new owners, loyal customers, potential service defectors, off-lease customers and any other group important to your business. Partner Categories is another tool we’re developing that will enable dealers to target segments of customers from third-party providers like Polk and Datalogix. Polk utilizes more than 350 data points to build industry-leading models by leveraging historical vehicle purchase patterns at the household level (from all 50 states’ DMVs, several OEMs and dealers). While Custom Audiences is all about matching your own customer list on Facebook, Partner Categories will enable you to reach large audiences of potential customers in a variety of segments with strategies such as: • Support a launch by targeting people in market for a midsize car in the next 180 days • Conquest owners of specific makes with competitive comparisons or offers • Increase your service customer base by targeting customers in your area who own your brand but aren’t in your database • Target a green auto buyer segment with information about your hybrid lineup Facebook’s geo-targeting capabilities also enable you to reach only customers in these segments who live in your primary marketing area. Combining geo-targeting with Custom Audiences and Partner Categories will enable dealers to reach the right customers (both current and potential) at the right time, with marketing that increases loyalty, grows service revenue or acquires new customers. Reaching the right customers at the right time is half the battle. Reaching them in the right place with the right message is the other half. On Facebook, the right place is the News Feed, where people spend 40 percent of their 6+ hours each month. People are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume content from a business in the News Feed than on the business’s page, making it one of the most effective places online for engaging your customer. Advertising in the News Feed also opens up another important channel: mobile. On mobile devices, the News Feed is the entire Facebook experience. Given the percentage of shoppers who access automotive content through a mobile device has increased eight percent in just the last two years, reaching your customers on their mobile devices isn’t just critical — it’s essential. In the end, all transactions in any industry consist of two components: a customer and a product or service. For the last hundred years, marketing in the automotive industry has focused almost exclusively on the product. The control and influence customers have over shopping in today’s environment necessitates that you know who you’re reaching, not just where you’re reaching them. With new tools like Custom Audiences and Partner Categories, dealers now have the opportunity to tailor their marketing strategies to their customers, as well.

Doug Frisbie is head of automotive, global vertical marketing, at Facebook. He can be contacted at 866.662.2433, or by e-mail at dfrisbie@autosuccessonline.com.

When your customers search online,

CONTENT IS KING. Be relevant. Get found. (855) 600-0750



sales & training solution

tweak the minors to prevent the majors With the exception of your home security system, success is not predicated on a “set it and forget it” mentality. Pilots don’t just set a Boeing 767 in the air and then go have a drink with the passengers until it’s time to land. Coaches don’t design a game plan for tonight’s game and head off to watch it from the owner’s box. Waiting until you actually see the mountain before deciding to take action will be too late; deciding to stick with and run the same plays even though you are losing by 27 points — you might as well chalk it up as a loss; and if you decide to wait until the final week to declare you are having a disastrous month, the missiles have already left the silo — BOOM! Your month is history. Whether you are flying, coaching, driving or even selling, it is imperative that you tweak and make the minor adjustments to prevent a major catastrophe. There is an interesting phenomenon in sales called “momentum,” which is a lot like pushing a stalled car: It’s easier to keep it going than it is to get it going. The problem with momentum

is once you notice it’s gone, it’s too late, and it takes weeks to get it back on track. Picture this: You start the month on fire — everyone you up seems to be buying from you. At this point, life is good; you are a lover of all of humanity. “Who could ask for a better job lead by the best managers in the industry today,” you graciously think. Two weeks into the month, your success begins to sputter; your efforts seem to backfire, and a few days later you are standing outside in the Humbug Ring theorizing to the other unsuccessful salespeople how you started out leading the board and why, today, you couldn’t even give a sale-price loser away. You end the month covering your draw, yet not enough to cover your bills. With the dawn of a fresh, new month you waste the next week holding court on the blacktop, telling stories of last month’s trials of how an entire family known as The Bogues (poor credit customers) seemed to attach themselves to poor little ol’ you. Adding to your misery, you tell the story of the one lay-down that would’ve pulled your month out. Your story depicts the little old lady with an 800 Beacon score, receiving $900 a month in social security retirement, who reluctantly agrees to buy a $40,000 truck for her prized grandson — the same grandson who couldn’t buy smoke off of a fire. Your “full pop” dream gets awakened to the harsh reality that you have no deal, thanks to your jerk F&I manager. “All they had to do was give her a raise,” you cry out! Finally out of desperation — exhausted of excuses and only two weeks remaining in your month — you grudgingly go back to work and end up pulling your month out. Up, down. Down, out. Maybe, maybe not — the mindless momentum cycle goes on and on throughout our sales career. Sound familiar? Your luck didn’t end when you lost your lucky rabbit’s foot; as a matter of fact, you were never lucky at all. You simply got away from the seemingly minor details of your days that inevitably led to a major shortfall in your month. One of the downsides to having a great month is averting your eyes from what made you successful in the first place. There is a tendency to get away from the minor tweaks called fundamentals. Adhering to those fundamentals, even when they don’t instantly pay off, is what builds your cyclone of momentum. With newfound success, you begin to change the rules of the game: looking the other direction when you see an Up in overalls; working a payment over the phone instead of setting an appointment; asking a customer what kind of payment they are looking for instead of qualifying their needs; taking a two-hour lunch because the lot looks like a ghost town. Infractions are like eating fried foods: Do it once and it bears little consequence; make it a habit, however, and it could be fatal to your career. Never allow the days of your month to become blurred; focus each day on your efforts, no matter how microscopic in nature, in order to achieve healthy results. Great salespeople are scorekeepers. Keep score daily of how many appointments were made and kept, how many Ups (fresh Ups, repeats/referrals, orphan owners) you worked with, what were your demo and write-up percentages and how many sales were converted to deliveries. Those who know the score drive their month; those who don’t drift into mediocrity. When you drove to work today, you had to make minor corrections and adjust to the conditions of the road; refusing to make those subtle adjustments would invariably lead you into a ditch. Treat your month as if you were traveling on a 26-mile (26 day) journey; make minor course corrections to your month to prevent a major calamity in your career.

Marsh Buice is the sales manager of Mark Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep. He can be contacted at 866.535.5006, or by e-mail at mbuice@autosuccessonline.com.



podcast interviewee

I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.


sales & training solution

knocking on doors persistently pays off Whether you are a auto salesperson trying to get more cars, a manager trying to find the right hire, or just the average Joe trying to get the most out of existence, your life will be a lot easier if you understand some basic, yet often disregarded principles in the art of persistence. Keep in mind that, whether you are a salesperson or not, you are always knocking on some kind physical or mental door, and your level of success and happiness will depend on how good you are at getting through them. So, as you go on knocking at the doors of bigger and better things, keep these five ideas in mind: 1. Be Patient. No door was ever built with the purpose of being closed for eternity; otherwise a wall would have been erected on its place. If you have been knocking on a door for quite a while and nobody has answered, be patient. However, do not confuse patience with laziness. Laziness is doing nothing. Patience, on the other hand, is actively waiting; it’s suppressing negative emotions like complaints, restlessness or annoyance while confronted with the universe’s timing.     You must understand that the world doesn’t revolve around your timing; you revolve around it. The universe will reward you handsomely once you learn to be patient and respect the fact that some things just take a little longer to materialize.  

2. Reasons make more sense on paper. From time to time, you might grow weary. If this happens, it’s because you are getting too caught



up on the mere routine of knocking on doors. It helps to have a list of at least 10 reasons why you must get through this door. Keep this list in a place you see frequently, like on a refrigerator door, bathroom mirror or even in your wallet. This will fuel your daily knocking with purpose. 3. Knock with Confidence. As you would probably regard a couple of soft knocks in the middle of the night as someone knocking on the wrong door and ignore them, your knocks, if done reluctantly and infrequently, will also be ignored. Your frequency and loudness will broadcast a message about whether or not you believe you are knocking on the wrong door. If you are ever concerned about turning off a prospect by your high level of confidence or eagerness, look back on specific instances when someone in the past rejoiced that you didn’t give up on them.  4. Affirm Yourself.  Before you knock on any door, repeat this statement aloud and with enthusiasm at least 10 times: “Whatever brought me to this door I am currently knocking on understands that somehow I possess something of immense substance which only I can deliver.” At times, affirming yourself is more important than the actual act of knocking for the frequency of your state of mind usually arrives days before you ever get to any door. 5. Have Faith. If getting through the current door you are knocking on will help you create relationships that will make your wildest dream come true, would you ever stop knocking on this door? Believe that something bigger than yourself brought you to this door. And remember that faith is the beginning to every accomplishment.   

Call to Action: Knock on every door today with extreme confidence, as though a positive response is awaiting you. Approach the day as though the opportunity of a lifetime is right behind one of the doors you are going to be knocking on and, since you don’t know which door it is, treat every door with the upmost respect. Constantly affirm yourself with statements like, “The opportunity of a lifetime is waiting for me behind a door.”  Fuel your daily efforts with purpose by seeing the list of reasons why you are doing what you are doing. When all else fails, remember to be patient and that “not now” doesn’t mean “not ever.”     These concepts can be summarized with Calvin Coolidge’s statement: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Andres Lara is an international-selling author and motivational speaker. He can be contacted at 866.883.4221, or by e-mail at alara@autosuccessonline.com.

GE Capital

Credit is extended by GE Capital Retail Bank. Š 2013 General Electric Company. All Rights Reserved.

leadership solution

Generation Family-Owned Neil Huffman Auto Group Kim Huffman ShaneHuffman DowHuffman In the field of car sales, family-owned dealerships are a fairly common occurrence. Doing business with family, however, can always be a tricky affair, especially if the ground rules aren’t firmly established from the beginning. The Neil Huffman Auto Group, a sixroof (soon to be eight-roof) dealer group headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is no exception. Established in 1969 with a Volkswagen dealership, the family knew it had to make some hard decisions when founder Neil passed away in 2007. One way would have been to split the business up into separate dealerships. Instead, after some planning — and after ground rules were laid down — two of Huffman’s children, Kim and Dow Huffman, and Neil’s grandson, Shane Huffman, decided to keep the business together and in the family by becoming co-owners of the group.

my job. From there, I went into parts delivery and the service department. When I came home from college, I went into sales.

Kim: I didn’t know I was going to. My father didn’t want me to go in this direction. He said you had to put in very hard hours. He didn’t know if it was an area for a woman to go into, but he knew that I liked to work. I started working at the dealership, in the office, when I was 15 or 16. When I went to college, I had a lot of part time jobs. I went on to get a degree in marketing, and got a job in advertising. Dad thought, “She’s safe — she’s not going to go in this direction.” My mom, though, said, “You need to bring her back in.” So, Dad asked if I’d come back and work in the marketing area of the business, and that’s where I started. AS: Kim, describe what happened at the dealership after Neil passed away. Kim: I had worked at the dealership until I was about 32 years old, and then I “retired” when

my kids got a little older. A few years later, my father passed away. When he made me the trustee of the estate, I asked what that included. He said “Let me send you to the attorney, and they’ll give you the information.” I went down and talked to the attorneys. They introduced me to the trust department and gave me a class about being a trustee. Dad then made me the successor for the Nissan store, and the lawyers told me more. I asked him “what do I do?” and he said “Don’t worry about it — the managers are all here; this is what you have to do.” We went through the information and I thought, “OK, I’m qualified.”

So far, it seems to have been the right move. The business, which sells Volkswagen, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Honda and Acura vehicles, is getting ready to expand. Construction on a new 10,935 square-foot Subaru superstore has just been completed as part of a multiphase project to expand the group for new generations of the family.

And then he passed away, and that’s when I knew that I really didn’t know what I was doing. Fortunately, Dow stepped in and said “I’m going to send you to the NADA school.” It’s a yearlong program, with trips to Virginia for a week here and there, and it teaches you everything you need to know about every department in running a dealership. After going through that, I knew I could do it. I was the oldest person in the class, and one of only four females. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. Fortunately, they walked me through the entire process, and I came out with one of the highest grades. I knew I could do it, then. I’m sending my son there right now, and periodically I send different managers to different classes.

We recently sat down with Kim, Dow and Shane to ask them what it was like growing up in the car business, how they decided to go forward with the company, how they keep it running smoothly and where they see it going in the future.

AS: Shane, you moved into your grandfather’s office after he passed away. Shane: My office was across the hall from his, and he was still coming in once a week. When

AutoSuccess: What are your first memories of the dealership? Shane: One of our service advisors, who’s still

AS: Describe the family dynamics in your business. Shane: We’re on the same page as far as wanting to grow the business and the family name.

working here, would hang me by my ankles off the balcony of the Volkswagen store.

AS: Growing up, what did you think of the dealership? Kim: I was proud of the fact that my parents

created something, they were working at it and that they made it theirs. I was very proud of them, and I was very respectful of everything they gave us, because I knew what they had to give up to give to us. I never took it for granted. AS: When did you decide you wanted to be a part of the dealership? Shane: As a kid, my mom would drop me off

at the Nissan store, and I’d wash cars on the weekends and through high school. That was



he died, a short time later I started moving my office into his, but I didn’t really want to change anything. It’s still got his old notes, and pens and rubber bands that have turned old and are falling apart. It didn’t seem right to change it, so, with the exception of a drawer and a file cabinet, I just left everything the way it was.

Where we used to not talk as much to each other; now, we communicate almost every day, so it’s actually brought us closer together.

Dow: The family dynamics do change a little. Shane and myself have worked together for several years very successfully. With Kim, now, it rejuvenates me because I get to watch her blossom into a wonderful “car guy.” AS: What are some of the advantages of working with family? Shane: We’ve got two other people to bounce ideas off of and talk through business scenarios and

planning. You’re not in it alone. You’ve got your partners, and you can trust them because they’re your family. They’re looking out for your best interests. AS: And what are some of the disadvantages of working with family? Kim: The disadvantage in the past would have been one

person thinking they had a little more knowledge, power or entitlement, which is why we brought in an outside company to help us put together this management partnership.

nal Drive:

Continues Traditions While Confidently Stepping Into the Future AS: When you decided to come together and keep the auto group one entity, what went into that decision? Kim: In my mind, it’s been four years in the making of how I wanted to do it. Because I knew

I didn’t have the ability to put this together, we reached out to a professional company to put a legal corporation together. I knew what I wanted and what I did not want. We needed everything to be set where we were starting out equals, so that there wasn’t any entitlement. When we started out four or five years ago, I didn’t care, because in my mind, I was learning everything. Whichever family member was in place had the right, because they were already there. We’re at this point right now, however, where we’re all equal. We’re going forward, and we’re all equal. There’s no disadvantage anymore. AS: How do you handle the inevitable disagreements? Shane: We disagree through them. Each person may have their sticky point, so you know it’s

coming. You know where each person’s going to be, so you talk through it and you have respect for one another’s opinion. You’re not going to win every disagreement. Everyone wins some, and you just go on with it. We communicate well, and that’s important. We give everyone a chance to talk about it. You wind up finding out that you’ve come to an agreement and didn’t even realize it. You’ve just talked your way into it.

Dow: Handling disagreements is still work for me. Since Dad’s passing, I really haven’t had too many to deal with, but when they occur, I do have to bite my lip on occasion. Let’s just say, I’m a work in progress. AS: What is your training philosophy? Kim: When I got involved and came back from NADA School, I figured the best way to give

customers what they needed was to have employees who knew what they needed. For instance, in fixed-ops, I went back and made sure all of technicians had the most training they could get. I made my service advisors and all of my technicians get what they could get. Nissan provides a lot of training online. I made sure everyone was certified to their standards. We send a lot of our technicians to Nissan training — we pay their way, and it can be expensive. I also send my service manager to training. I started doing that three years ago — it was necessary. If you don’t train them, you’re not giving your customer the best. AS: How do family values translate to business values? Dow: Family values are our business values.

Always. There isn’t a day when I don’t approach a situation thinking, “Is it the right thing to do?” and “How would Dad handled this?” Family values are everything. Period.

From the Past to the Future:

Neil Huffman’s office has been kept largely as it was by his grandson, Shane, who now uses it. The family has continued Neil’s legacy by not only keeping the company together, but expanding it with the new 10,935 square foot Subaru Superstore.

Shane: The biggest thing is taking care of the

customer. That is what’s been pushed into my head the most. You’ve got to take care of the customer, because it’s not about the first car you sell them, or the first time you service them. It’s about the second time and getting them to come back and do business with you. If you don’t take care of their problem quickly, when they arise, they’re not going to come back and do business with you. If you don’t have them coming back to do business with you, you’re not going to be in business very long.

AS: With the next generation starting to work at the dealership, what do you want for the future? Kim: When we put the legal corporation

together, we knew that we needed it to be fair, and we knew that we needed it to be long-lasting, so that the third and fourth generation could at it and say “this is equal; this is fair.” We needed to have the structure for our generation to be the same for the next generation and the next. Shane: You bring young people up

and they’ve got new ideas and different technologies, views and thoughts. You see them add more resources to the table to strengthen the dealership into the future.


marketing solution

gross profit renaissance

Today, dealerships are focusing a lot of attention on the online marketplace. Yesterday’s front line is now online, and that front line is seen on many reputation sites — or so we think. Do thousands of cars not drive by our stores every day? Should dealers stop spending thousands of dollars a year to light their lots so passersby can see the inventory? Cars are still exciting and can still be an emotional purchase, but many buyers now look at cars as commodities and shop and buy them this way. These are the customers who are driving down grosses and will find you online. What about the family out shopping on a Saturday? Does no one walk onto the lot to see a car on the front line anymore? Of course they do.

It is important to remember that some people still get excited about cars. These are the people who buy today and don’t shop every last dollar out of the deal. How do you attract these buyers? How did you attract them 20 years ago? Your physical dealership and your people are still your greatest sales and gross profit assets. Use them. Don’t forget — you spent millions of dollars to build your facility, and you spend millions of dollars paying your people. Help them pay you back. Put hard-to-find cars in the front. If you have ramps and special displays, use them. If not, get some. Balloons have survived in our business longer than antennas on cars for a reason. Create some excitement. Just because half the

world won’t let you make a gross profit doesn’t mean you must give away your cars to the other half. Reallocate some funds from under-producing traditional media in order to spice up your lot. Remember when selling cars was fun? Get your people excited and dress up your store. Don’t be just another tired-looking store on dealership row. Be the most exciting looking place on the street. Balloons, ramps, flags, inflatables… whatever your guilty pleasure; put them all to use. Put a grill out front and give away hot dogs. Hot dogs and sodas don’t cost $20 each, and you can only hand them to people who are standing in your showroom or on your lot. This approached has survived for more than 100 years, and is thriving today. The only people who don’t get excited about a new car are the people who sell them. Families with children are your best used car customers, and children love fun. So do their parents. So should you.

It is important to remember that “ some people still get excited about

cars. These are the people who buy today and don’t shop every last dollar out of the deal. How do you attract these buyers? How did you attract them 20 years ago? Your physical dealership and your people are still your greatest sales and gross profit assets.

You should still sell commodity cars for minimum gross to online customers. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Maybe grinding out these deals will keep the lights on. Just don’t forget about the emotional buyers who provide for everything else. These are the people who will let you make a profit and still give you great reviews. These are the people who go home and tell their friends about the great people at the great dealership that helped them get the car they always wanted, instead of how they got the best deal in a four-state area. Have fun, make money and have happy customers again. Harry Siskind is the director of sales and marketing for AutoSpin. He can be contacted at 800.936.2319, or by e-mail at hsiskind@autosuccessonline.com.

Don’t get treated like just another number. Successful dealers know that great customer service is the key to building long term relationships with customers. When you work with PCG Digital Marketing, you’ll get the same treatment. Our dedicated client teams are always available to answer your questions, give you status updates and make sure you are getting the best results possible.

Real People. Real Strategies. Real Results.

www.pcgdigitalmarketing.com 28


One Dealer’s Lost Lead Is Another Dealer’s Customer. Join the more than 2000 dealers who trust SCI to help turn their leads into their customers. Want the full story? Visit our site.


seven must-have apps for the modern automotive professional

Last month, we started looking at apps for your smartphone or tablet that you can put to use today to stand out from the competition and will help you sell more cars and make more money. There are literally a billion smartphones and tablets in the U.S. alone, and a lot of apps available for them. So, instead of slinging weird looking birds at green pigs heads, or Facebookstalking the girl or guy you met last night who gave you a bogus phone number, let’s check out some apps that can help you sell more cars. 4. iMovie

Sorry, non-iPhone/iPad users, but this is one that gets used at the dealership by me on a daily basis, so I had to put it on the list. iMovie is video editing software for your iPhone or iPad that is both easy to use and helps produce professional-quality videos in the blink of a eye. You can have a high-quality walk-around video on one of your vehicles recorded, cut, edited, e-mailed and posted on social media or your personal Webpage in minutes. Your customers and viewers, however, will think you spent hours on it. You don’t have to be tech savvy at all to use this, so don’t worry. All you need, in addition to the app, are fingertips. Whether you’re producing walk-around videos or custom video greetings to e-mail a prospect, iMovie makes it super easy and lightning fast, and your videos will look great. 5. Extras for iMovie

OK, please, all you non-iPhone/iPad users, don’t hate me or turn the page. You never know when you might switch to the iPhone, and I promise this is the last exclusive Apple app. Extras For iMovie is another app I use on the front line on a regular basis, and it is a must for anyone who is using iMovie. Extras For iMovie gives you the ability to add some pretty cool “extras” to your videos. The one I think that makes it all worth it — and why I use it daily — is the ability to add many different background options. When I say background, I’m speaking of any color you can imagine and using them at the beginning or the end of your video. I use mine mostly for the end, and for what I consider to be the most important part of the video: the “call to action.” This app allows you the ability to have the end transition into any



Part 2

sales & training solution

color you want and also add text informing the viewer of what action you would like them to take next. (“Please like and subscribe,” “Opt in,” “Book an appointment,” “Share on Facebook,” etc.) You can choose the style, size and color of text you would like, as well as if it is scrolling, flashing or any of many other options. This is a must to step up your video efforts, because if you’re a professional, you are, without a doubt, shooting videos, right?

There are literally a billion smartphones and tablets “ in the U.S. alone, and a lot of apps available for them.

So, instead of slinging weird looking birds at green pigs heads, or Facebook-stalking the girl or guy you met last night who gave you a bogus phone number, let’s check out some apps that can help you sell more cars.

6. The YouTube Capture App

This app is also to help you with your video strategy. I was excited to hear about this app, and YouTube really knocked it out of the park. YouTube Capture makes it easier then ever to upload your video content to YouTube. In just a few taps, you will be able to upload 1080p videos, do some basic adjustments, add music and post to all your social networks that allow video. This app will help you take your YouTube game to another level, and we all could use help with that. 7. NADA, Edmunds, KBB, AutoBlog, MotorTrend, etc.

This is another catagory that I bunched together because they all do the same thing: educate. Not only does it educate you, but they are also educating your customer. Remember, with more than a billion smartphones and tablets circulating in the U.S., the customer is packing them, as well. Before they come to the dealership, while you’re pulling a car around or getting figures from the desk, they are using these apps to educate themselves, and we all know it. That is why they are a must for us. I don’t know about you, but I want to know what my customer is seeing. Think about it: How valuable would it be to know what these apps are saying about your products, as well as the equal model from your competitor? That can only help you. If you know these apps are all pointing toward your make and model, it can help in your product presentation and negotiations. You may not need to download them all — maybe you know your customer is using one more than the other — but if you ask me, it is not going to hurt having them all and knowing them all. Get them all. You will sell more cars. So there you have it — seven must-have apps for today’s automotive professional. We have this amazing, powerful tool on us, day in and day out. Grab these apps and maximize this tool for more then text messages and phone calls. If you are interested in any more apps, have an app you’ve found valuable not listed here or need any help or more information with the seven we’ve gone over, feel free to get in touch with me. Good luck!

Robert Wiesman is an automotive professional at Massey Hyundai, in Hagerstown, MD. He can be contacted at 866.667.0919, or by e-mail at rwiesman@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee




marketing solution

Putting a vseo Strategy in place

For this month’s dealer video marketing profile, I interviewed Ron Jackson, Internet sales manager of Toyota of Wallingford in Wallingford, Connecticut.

AJ LeBlanc: Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy and philosophy? Ron Jackson: Our philosophy is to focus our marketing efforts

to the point where we can accurately measure and get our best ROI. For us, this means digital advertising. We do not advertise on TV or in the newspaper. About 85 percent of our monthly budget is digital, and the remaining is traditional advertising. Toyota of Wallingford’s No. 1 priority since we opened in 1999 has been to “wow” the customer, which is why our dealership’s URL is wowtoyota.com. Taking care of our customers and giving them a “wow” experience is what sets us apart from our competition. The digital age has shifted from “word of mouth” to online reviews and social media. Our early adoption and management of our online reputation has been a vital part of our dealership’s success. We have more than 600 positive online reviews, and we’ve been DealerRater.com’s Connecticut Dealer of the Year for 2012 and 2013.

AJ: What marketing efforts do you implement on a consistent monthly basis? RJ: On a monthly basis, we utilize SEM — both desktop and mobile — along with display/

remarketing. In addition to the SEO that our Website company provides, we use an independent SEO company. Video SEO is also an essential part of our digital marketing strategy. AJ: Why is it important for a dealership to have Video SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy? RJ: With the steady increase in online searches, it has never been more important to make sure

our dealership shows up on Page One. The fact that YouTube is the second-largest search engine goes to show that people like videos. Consumers would rather watch a video than read type on a page — it’s more engaging and keeps their attention longer. My goal is to get away from using thirdparty lead providers and drive higher-quality leads to our own Website; Video SEO is helping me attain this goal.


AJ: Can you explain what Video SEO does for your dealership? RJ: Video SEO allows us to consistently come up for keyword search terms for all the profits



centers at the dealership, including sales, service and parts. It allows us to own Page One and push competitors and third-party lead aggregators off. For example, if you search “toyota oil change wallingford” on Google, our Website is first, followed by eight different videos. This domination not only gives us great branding, but it drives traffic to our Website with a lower cost per lead and a higher closing ratio. AJ: How has a Video SEO strategy changed your Website’s search engine visibility? RJ: It has allowed us to dominate and come up on search terms that, despite our ongoing traditional

SEO efforts, we would have never appeared.

AJ: How do you measure the effectiveness of your Video SEO strategy? RJ: We review our analytics and monthly reports outlining where our videos are showing up for

our keyword search terms. I also review and adjust our videos monthly to meet our goals and objectives.

wilkinmarketing.com 866-513-6685

more than 25 percent. Also, our service department just finished its best month ever.

Start using video marketing today to help your dealership gain additional exposure online to inmarket automotive buyers. AJ LeBlanc is the co-founder of Car-Mercial.com. He can be contacted at 866.795.9094, or by e-mail at aleblanc@autosuccessonline.com.



podcast interviewee


AJ: Finally, when did your dealerships implement a Video SEO strategy, and what is the average increase your dealerships have seen in sales/market share since implementing this strategy into your overall marketing plan? RJ: We have been using Video SEO since 2011 and our Internet sales department has increased

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marketing solution

so you have a review platform – now what? For many of you who have followed my writings or have heard me speak, you have heard me talk about the “Zero Moment of Truth.” For those who may not know what that is, it is based on a book by Jim Lecinski for Google. The term refers to the space between initial stimulus of marketing and interaction with the brand. Simply put, it is the research phase we all do when we “Google” something. I have asked the question many times to audiences, “What do your potential customers see when they Google you?” Some of the audiences have done the research; others are unaware. I have also preached that businesses have an obligation to be involved with what they find, and they can actually influence what is written by customers. What I am finding is that businesses are buying new technologies or signing up for the newest social media platform without understanding what to do with them. They think that showing up to the party is enough. They do not understand that getting to the party is just the



beginning. It is the interaction you participate in at the party that creates the great experience. Do you remember being a wallflower and saying, “Wow that was a great time?” It’s just not the same as being an active participant. The question is not “How is digital marketing or social media selling more products or services?” It should be “How are digital marketing and social media leveraging the experiences I am delivering for my customers?” How are you guiding people through the cycle of “Stimulus” to “Research” to “Interaction” to the use of your product? Lastly, but really most importantly, how are you helping to encourage feedback? I just finished reading Brian Solis’s sensational new book What’s the Future of Business, in which he coins this point of impacting feedback as the “Ultimate Moment of Truth.” What your customers say about your service, product or experience of doing business with

you will feed the influence pool for the next group doing research. I had always discussed this important step for businesses in my workshops, but now, thanks to Brian, having a simple term helps convey the message. There are some businesses that can alleviate the human factor, but there will still be feedback expressed. It is why we are fascinated by reviews. We desire feedback to make sure we are making the right decision. We have been trained to ask for comments from friends, family and, now, social circles. We don’t go to a movie without reading reviews so, of course, this is very important for bigger purchases. One problem is that dealers and businesses join a review platform, get people to post and think that is enough. Maybe they respond to a review, but are they taking this information and going back to see how they can change the experience they delivered in the first place? People will talk; there’s nothing that you can do to prevent it. If you are invested in finding out not only what they are saying but how this feedback can improve your business, then you need to invest in tools so your team can review, plan actions and train so that you can continually refine the experience delivered.

Glenn Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing and a national speaker and trainer. He can be contacted at 866.611.0998, or by e-mail at gpasch@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee



Zombified: Deprived of energy or vitality.

Many car dealers today feel like they are “walking dead”—they’ve lost their enthusiasm and zest for the car business. They’ve fallen into a “zombified” state of just “getting by.” Has this happened to you? We understand. For one thing there is just not enough traffic, so you see salespeople staggering around aimlessly waiting to bump into their next victim. Plus, you have vendors sticking you with long-term contracts and then not delivering on their promises. Your customers demand no profit pricing, and then still leave bad reviews. It doesn’t have to be this way. Rich Dealers® can bring your business back to life! Whether you want to drive more traffic, sell more cars, improve CSI, increase profit or just have more fun coming to work everyday, we can help you create the life and business you have been looking for. Rich Dealers® gives you the strategies and systems you need to create a reliable traffic flow, allowing you to sell more cars, with more profit, have happier customers and have fun in the process. Join the living again! Get on your path to a business and life that are ESP®—Enjoyable, Simple and Prosperous—today.

REVITALIZE YOUR DEALERSHIP TODAY! Go to ZombieAwaken.com now to watch the complete oncamera interviews of dealers who took control of their dealerships, increased traffic, sales AND profits without competing on price! Plus, you can instantly download our latest eBook, 4 Ways To Bring Your Dealership Back To Life.

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marketing solution

five mistakes dealers make with their owner marketing and how to avoid them

Remember, there are only three ways to grow a dealership: • Increase your number of active customers • Increase your profit per transaction • Increase your customers’ return frequency The most effective way to accomplish these goals is with a well-planned and sustainable owner marketing strategy. Over the years, however, I’ve heard some of the same responses again and again when discussing owner marketing. It doesn’t matter what part of the country I’m in, the size of the dealership or the OEM. They’re the same five mistakes, and they have the same damaging results.

No. 1: “I need to focus on new business.”

Dealerships often concentrate on bringing in new customers — and that’s important — but the fastest way to grow business is to focus on previous customers. More than two-thirds of consumers have two or more vehicles, yet fewer than one-third have purchased them from the same dealership. If a dealership builds on relationships it already has with satisfied customers, it can increase driveway share and see that percentage rise much more quickly and cost-effectively than with traditional conquesting. This strategy also has the added benefit of improving retention, which means being able to close a higher percentage of deals with higher profits. Because it’s a proven fact that previous customers are willing to pay more and negotiate less. No. 2: “I already have a marketing plan.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a dealer tell me he’s running a promotion because, “I’ve got to make my month” or “I need to hit my numbers.” That’s not a marketing plan — there’s no strategy, there are limited targeted communications and virtually no data mining. If you’re lucky, it might get you out of a tight month, but it’s not a sustainable growth strategy plan. Dealerships need an owner marketing program that’s strategic and data driven. Fortunately, dealers have an enormous amount of data about their customers’ sales, service and F&I histories, which means they can develop extremely competitive offers, communicate them via multichannel campaigns and target those customers who are most likely to respond. A dealer needs to communicate with his customers when it best serves them, not when it best serves him. No. 3: “My CRM does that.”

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Sure, a CRM can identify customers with good equity. It can generate birthday reminders and supply e-mail templates. It provides resources and information, but it doesn’t create a strategy. It can help dealers communicate with customers, but it doesn’t help them motivate customers. And that’s a critical difference. Data should serve as the foundation of a dealership’s strategic plan, driving its marketing decisions. But data alone is not the plan. The data needs to be used to develop compelling offers that get customers to take action. And for that, a dealership needs an owner marketing strategy — not just a CRM. No. 4: “My service lanes are already too busy.”

The easiest way to activate a customer is through the service drive, and it should be a part of any owner marketing strategy. Period. Not only for the service revenue, but because an active service customer is six times more likely to buy their next vehicle from that dealership than a non-active one.

No. 5: “The OEM doesn’t give good enough incentives.”

A dealer’s strategy shouldn’t be based on something he can’t control — incentives alone won’t give his dealership a competitive advantage. He needs to dig deeper. Talk to customers sooner. Say something different. Everyone may have the same incentives, but only a dealership has its customers’ data. The dealer can use that to create multi-channel communications that motivate customers by displaying their new payment versus their old payment — without even showing the incentive. That’s a marketing strategy that puts the dealer in control. If you have any questions about developing a strong owner marketing strategy that avoids these five common mistakes, please use the information below to contact me. Russell Grant is the vice president of sales for J&L Marketing. He can be contacted at 866.503.8397, or by e-mail at rgrant@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

One of the best things about my job that I get to talk to so many owners, GMs, dealers, sales managers and service directors about their dealership’s owner marketing strategy — or, in some cases, their need for one. That’s when I find my work the most rewarding — when I’m speaking with dealers who are ready to reap the benefits of developing and implementing a strong, sustainable owner marketing strategy.


leadership solution

three questions to soften the spring-fed impulse to acquire inventory who don’t see such dramatic swings in their used vehicle performance. They roll through the spate of increased sales in the spring and resist the temptation to stock up on more vehicles.

Every spring, dealers get flush with confidence and excitement as sales and profitability pick up in their used vehicle departments. This year is no different, and it seems dealers are especially buoyant. Here’s a quick sampling of comments from recent e-mails and phone calls: “I think we’ve cracked the nut, Dale. We’ve finally figured out how to make the Velocity philosophy work!” “My metrics are spot-on and we’re on track for a record-setting March. Bring it on!” “I’ve sent my buyers out to get more cars. You can’t sell ‘em if you don’t have ‘em.” But something bothered me amid all the springfed enthusiasm — call it a sense of déjà vu. It didn’t take much digging to connect the dots: Many of the bullish comments were coming from the same dealers who, last fall, were struggling with aged cars, diminished profits and slow inventory turns in their used vehicle departments. A little further research showed that many of these dealers had gone on a spring fever-fed buying spree in April and May — increasing their inventories and adding cars that proved problematic in late summer and early fall.

On the other hand, there are plenty of dealers

Here are three key questions these dealers ask before they send their appraisers and buyers out with a “we need more inventory” directive: 1. How well do we meet our target metrics? In today’s market, it’s nearly impossible for dealers to always align their market days supply, cost-to-market, price-to-market and time-in-inventory benchmarks to their dealership targets. Stuff happens — whether it’s a sudden shift in the market or a breakdown in the people and processes entrusted to manage used vehicle operations. But even with such risk and volatility, some dealers recognize that, unless they consistently meet their target metrics, they really have no business adding more cars to their inventory. They believe it’s better to focus first on fixing the reasons behind the deviations from their target goals to achieve consistent performance before they raise the bar. 2. Does our inventory turn rate justify acquiring more cars? When dealers consistently hit their target metrics, they typically achieve better-than-average inventory turn rates. It wasn’t that long ago that a six-times-per-year inventory turn was considered a best practice. In today’s market, however, I believe an inventory turn rate of 12 to 13 times a year is the new performance benchmark. Dealers who have not consistently met this standard should not be increasing their inventory levels. Why? Because they likely have people and process issues that haven’t proven capable of handling the pressure additional inventory will bring. By contrast, dealers who consistently achieve this new inventory turn rate benchmark have demonstrated the necessary metrics-minded discipline and operational capability to accommodate increased inventory — should they choose to do so. 3. Are you up for the challenge? This question really helps dealers mitigate the competing needs of desire and discipline as they consider increasing the size of their used vehicle inventories. Velocityfocused dealers who meet their metrics and turn objectives will find a “sweet spot” for their stores and local markets. These dealers could add more inventory, but they don’t — largely because they’ve determined the additional cars would disrupt the delicate and disciplined balance they’ve achieved that optimizes their goals for inventory turn rates and profitability.

Taken together, these three questions should help remind dealers that the spring-fed impulse to acquire inventory should be met with an equal degree of operational introspection. Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at dpollak@autosuccessonline.com.

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THE 38

+ Our new Dealer Panel gives voice to dealers, GMs and sales professionals to share their experiences — sales techniques, new technologies and ways to motivate staff — giving our readers the benefit of their experiences.



see page 40

podcast interviewee

On one hand, this rollercoaster dynamic is completely understandable. Dealers are blessed with DNA that blends optimism and risktaking in roughly equal parts. These qualities, when enhanced by a month or two of strong sales, translate to a “we can do no wrong” mentality that spurs decisions to acquire more cars and extend their sales streaks.

I’ve realized that the difference between these two groups of dealers boils down to discipline. The second group of dealers applies a more even-keeled and steady hand as they navigate the seasonal up and down shifts in the market. They don’t ignore market opportunities that present themselves, but they take a more reflective approach as their retailing impulses and instincts suggest they should increase their used vehicle inventories.

the dealer panel

Chris Saraceno Tony Provost AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Team, training and technology are the tools successful dealers use to forge their future, and the targets less-successful dealers can blame for failure. Last month, for the AutoSuccess and DealerELITE.net Dealer’s Panel, we looked at what goes into our panel’s hiring decisions. This month, we’ll examine the role of training at their dealerships. Again, our panel this month is made up of Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania and Florida; Brian Benstock, vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; Tony Provost, president and dealer THE for Nissan of Bourne in Massachusetts; and Andrew DiFeo, principal general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida.


AutoSuccess: Describe continuing education at your store. Brian Benstock: We hold training three times a week. This is often

a place where questions come out from the staff regarding technology. We have many tools in our store, but these are only aids in selling the vehicles. It still comes down to following the sales process and using the tools as a way to move through the transaction more efficiently. Currently, we work closely with out vendors to ensure all aspects of our tools are embraced and understood. Dealerships today have a lot of technology, but it is only great if it is used.  Andrew DiFeo: For continuing education, there’s a lot on new products that come from Hyundai. Each month, they’ll focus on a different aspect of the brand, whether it be Blue Link technology, new CSI surveys, and so on. We also try to utilize material from our partners. For example, we try to get someone from AutoTrader in here once a quarter. They’ve done phone skills and trade appraisal training, as well as “consumer’s path on the Internet” training, so we like to use them. We also like to send people to our vendors for training; TrueCar, for instance, has a lot of that classroom-type of training for our salespeople. Tony Provost: Over the years I’ve been involved with the auto sales

industry, one thing I’ve realized is that continuing education is like a horizon — it’s never done; you never reach it. It’s always going to be something that’s adjusted and changed. A process we might have done years ago in a sale that took 45 minutes might only take 10 minutes now. A perfect example is that, these days, everyone’s walking around with a smartphone in their hands looking up stuff as we’re talking with them. We make sure we’re on top of our game with what’s being said about our product — not only from our manufacturers, but from other manufacturers — so when someone brings something up, we can show them our information, and use the “show and tell” method of sales. Through that process, we build a relationship.

team, training and technology Part 2 19 sales consultants voted at the end of the month on who taught the best workshop. The first-, second- and third-place teachers received a monetary reward. We’re always doing something to keep it interesting. AutoSuccess: How has the role of technology changed at your dealership in the past few years, and how do you get your people “on board” with new tools and ideas? BB: Technology has had a significant role in our dealership, but we


always try to understand how it is going to impact the customers’ experience before we integrate. It’s easy to get excited about new successful solutions provided by technology, but we believe it’s more valuable to evaluate how it could enhance the customers experience. With any technological integration, we try to visualize how this will impact the customer and then gear all training around the customer’s value proposition.

AD: The newer technology in most, but not all, cases has made us more

organized and efficient as a dealership. As the leader of the organization, I’m the one rolling it out, so I am the biggest cheerleader to get people on board with those new tools and ideas. The speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. If people have questions, they can come directly to me. And I’ll be the first to say, “This isn’t working for us — we’re going to cancel.” Some new technologies were shiny objects, but, at the end of the day, didn’t really increase our sales, CSI or shorten time of transaction. I want to make sure that we gave 100 percent in terms of utilizing the new technology; if it doesn’t meet our objectives with why we got the new tech, though, we’re not afraid to say, “OK, we’ll look at the next piece.”

TP: There are two of us at the sales desk (myself and the sales manager), and we answer all e-mails that come through the store as quickly as we can; we also have two people who get e-mails after hours on their iPhones, and they e-mail them back — that’s something we weren’t doing three or four years ago. When people come into the store, we automatically get their information and send an e-mail minutes after they leave the store, thanking them for coming in. Our salespeople also have tablets, in addition to their desktops, so they can know what’s going on and input information with their customers, e-mailing them on their birthdays, thanking customers for coming in 90 days later, and doing all thethe different things we need to do. All the reminders are there for them. dealer panel CS: One major change is every Kelly dealership uses a DealerPeak CRM. Everything can and is monitored. For example, our sales consultants are assigned 10 to 15 tasks everyday. Each day, they enter their tasks, and their plan to accomplish their objectives. Four or five years ago, this wasn’t the case. Our service team has a handheld device or an iPad for customer walk arounds. With used cars, we’re using vAuto, so we have an inventory system to see day’s supply, and how many people are searching (SRP) and viewing each vehicle (VDP). For rating systems, we’ve got DealerRater, Google Ratings,Women Drivers, etc. Everything you do, good or bad, is magnified and posted online by customers. There’s so much technology that’s come out in the last decade; it’s a different business. That being said, hiring and training the right people is a key to success of any business, so our relationship with our recruiting company “Hire The Winners” is crucial to our growth.

Chris Saraceno: Today, our sales consultants all have to go through manufacturer certification. Almost every manufacturer monitors the process to make sure the sales consultants are passing the tests on Chris SaracenoIn addition, Tony Provos t AndrewDiFeo BriantoBens t ock every product. we require every sales consultant take 15 online sales training workshops each week. We also do internal, oneday workshops every other month, where we talk about areas such as prospecting, attitude, closing, leadership, etc., and have outside trainers come in quarterly. Also, every morning each dealership Next month: The changing role of technology at dealerships. starts the day with a half hour of sales training. For example, last month at our Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Mitsubishi store, each sales consultant taught If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered a half-hour workshop on a topic of their choice. All for the panel, please contact us at thepanel@autosuccessonline.com.



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sales & training solution

work your plan Call/Click/Visit

The phone is the most effective, yet most underutilized tool in the toolbox. According to the ADP/Cobalt study, only about 30 percent of the stores that responded used the phone at all in their follow-up attempts. I like to use a technique called “Call, Click and Visit.” Here’s how it works: A lead comes in and I pick up the phone and try to reach the customer immediately. If they don’t answer, I leave a message thanking them for considering our dealership. I let them know I am sending them an e-mail with some pricing alternatives, and if they don’t receive it to call me on my cell phone or send me at text with their name (so that I can capture their phone number). I also let them know I will be calling the next day to follow up (setting expectations). I continue this procedure until I get a response or they tell me to go away. So, I always precede an e-mail with a phone call explaining what is in the e-mail, to please look for it and to get back to me. Also, each e-mail gives them a compelling reason to schedule an appointment and visit the dealership, or at least contact me. The pre-call is also important because a good portion of your e-mails go into junk mail. Now they can look for it and add you to their safe sender list, or pull it into their inbox. Content is King, but Short is Sweet

While we don’t really have enough space in this article to thoroughly discuss what you should say, the essentials include answering all questions, including pricing and availability, plus why they should buy from you and your dealership (include your ratings and reviews, if positive). Also, you should provide any information about the vehicle they can’t obtain from your Website. Short e-mails that drive



calls to your cell phone are also effective — something like, “I have some important information regarding the 2013 Malibu you inquired about. Please call me, so I can explain the details.” 90-Day Follow Up

As I mentioned earlier, most of the dealerships I have worked with understand the importance of responding to all leads as soon as possible. However, what I also encounter is that after the initial response, the follow-up procedures vary greatly. What I can tell you is that, unless you are following your shoppers for at least 90 days, you are missing incremental sales. Actually, this is not that difficult, given the tools that are available on most CRM systems allow for long-term follow up via templates and occasional phone calls via setting phone appointments. And here’s a little tip: The older a lead gets, the more likely it is to turn into a used car prospect. What happens is the shopper determines they can’t afford their first choice, so now they are considering used vehicles. Start mixing your follow-up with used car messages like, “I just found this beautiful certified pre-owned vehicle and thought of you. I know we will have a lot of interest in this, so contact me for details. This also qualifies for special financing. Call me.” The Basics

Here are some basics that we will use to develop our plan: 1. Respond to 100 percent of your leads — 20 percent go unanswered 2. Respond in less than one hour — Be a first responder 3. Call first — Catch them shopping and slow them down 4. Call/Click/Visit — Call before you e-mail, set expectations, remove your e-mail from junk mail 5. Price Quotes — Use triple price quote 6. Answer all questions — Be transparent, but keep selling 7. 90-Day Follow up — Use the tools in your system to follow for 90 days The Plan

It is important to keep shoppers highly engaged at the beginning of the process, because many of them will close in the first two weeks. However, a substantial number of prospects will take longer, so you need a system that follows them for at least 90 days. You should have different messages/templates with different subject lines prepared for your follow-up. Here is a simple plan to follow: Day 1: Auto Responder/call/e-mail triple price quote Days 2 to 14: Call/e-mail every day Days 15 to 30: Call/e-mail once a week Days 31 to 90: Call every 14 days/e-mail once a week

After a Sale

Day 1: Send a “thank you.” Day 30: “How’s your car?” Day 90: “Just checking up.” Six months to 36 months: Call and send a service reminder every six months. There are several different methods to effectively run an Internet department. Regardless of the method you choose, one thing remains constant: You need to plan your work and work your plan. This means developing a successful plan and sticking to it by implementing it the same way, every day. Paul Accinno is the president and CEO of WorldDealer Advertising. He can be contacted at 866.319.6284, or by e-mail at paccinno@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

Last month, we looked at the importance of developing a plan to make sure you are at the top of the list for Internet prospects. We looked at the importance of responding fast and responding first to Internet leads. This month, we’ll look at some other ways you can engage the customer, and then put together a plan for following up, setting the appointment and making the sale.

Part 2

plan your work and

You Are GUARANTEED to Increase Your Bottom Line in 1 Year by $250,000 or More...

or I’ll Pay You $10,000! Hi, my name is Mark Tewart. I may have had the honor of coming into contact with you through my seminars, association meetings, NADA or NIADA conventions, articles in AutoSuccess or other magazines, my old Automotive Satellite Training Network shows or you may have read my best-selling book How To Be A Sales Superstar. Whether you know me or not, you may be wondering what allows me to be able to make such an outrageous claim. The answer is simple: If a client follows my no gimmick, no BS, full-proof and proven methods, the results are as predictable as the sun coming up every day. That may sound arrogant to some of you, but to me and my select clients it’s just reality. Every year I have many dealers who ask me to work with them to help improve their sales and profits. I reject most of them. I only choose a few each year to work with on such a large scale. There are a few reasons why I carefully hand pick who to work with. The first reason is that it’s easy for you to say you want to improve but most people don’t want to do the things necessary to make it happen. This isn’t some magic-button, pie-in-sky fad. These are real-world and proven methods for massive profit improvements. It takes hard work and lots of commitment.

Mark Tewart, President of Tewart Enterprises, Inc. Author of the Best-Seller ‘How to be a Sales Superstar’

The second reason for me being picky about who I work with on these projects is that frankly I don’t have the time. To create the massive results that you and I are looking for requires a great deal of my time and effort. Because of my time restraints, I refuse to spend time and effort with uncommitted dealers. I only align myself with passionate people committed to winning. The third and final reason for me being selective is my reputation. I can’t write ads like this and make such incredible guarantees unless I can bring the results. My reputation is beyond solid. By the way, the $250,000 bottom line improvement is just an example. I have had some dealers increase their bottom lines by more than $1,000,000. Look at it this way; I don’t take $10,000 guarantees lightly. I put my money where my mouth is.

Call my 24 hour Dealership Success Hotline to receive your “Dealership Success Check List” –

Call Now at 888 612-5884 Ext. 90001 or Go to www.dealershipsuccess.com

***Dealers or General Managers Only*** Sincerly,

Mark Tewart

Info@tewart.com | 888 2 TEWART - (888 283 9278)

P.S. There is one very simple thing most dealers aren’t doing that you can do to unlock an additional 7 figures worth of profit with no extra risk in the next 5 years. I know it sounds too good to be true, but you can see for yourself.

Call my 24/7 Dealership Success Hotline at 888.612.5884 Ext. 90001 or Go to www.dealershipsuccess.com

JimmyVee & TravisMiller

leadership solution

Part 1

the four ways to bring your dealership back to life

That’s why we’ve identified four core essentials that your dealership needs to thrive in to make it in today’s ultra-competitive market: Leadership, Culture, Process and Marketing. For the past 15 years, we’ve identified ways for car dealers to focus on and tweak these four core areas, gaining the clarity needed to revitalize your business. You will no longer be paralyzed by the fear of not knowing the “right” moves to make. By taking action in these four areas, dealerships can avoid the zombie apocalypse and another year of meager growth. We’ll explore these core essentials this and next month. Before you know it, you could be driving more traffic, selling more cars, improving CSI, increasing profit and just having more fun coming to work everyday.

What are the important elements of Leadership? • Effective and Clear Communication. Defining your organization’s goals and making sure everyone understands these goals. • Inspire Others to believe their life and career is bigger than selling cars. • Development, Management and Accountability of Expectations. Knowing, understanding and clearly communicating your expectations is your job as a leader. • Understand the People in Your Organization. Who are they and where do they want to go? Listen. Listen. Listen. • Encourage goal setting for others. Help people reach their own personal goals. • Help Your Team Play a Fundamental Role in the Achievement of the Company Goals. Empower the right people. • Manage and Set Standards for How You use Your Time. Manage your time as you would like others to manage their time. • Lead by Example. Set goals for yourself and your company. Share those goals with your team. Take The Leadership Quiz: • Do you create, write down and achieve weekly and monthly goals for your store? • How good are you at delegating work and being the CEO of your dealership? • Do you regularly meet with other like-minded, positive leaders and share ideas, encouragement

and success strategies that relate to growing your business and reaching your professional and personal goals?

Core Essential No. 2: Culture

If you don’t create the culture in your business, somebody else will — and you may not like it. So, how can you create your culture? First, figure out what your culture is. Make your culture a recipe for greatness — don’t be same is lame! Switch from selling to solving!

Core Essential No. 1: Leadership

To start creating your culture, ask yourself these important questions: • Why are we in business? • Who do we help? • What do we believe in? • What’s our vision for a better business?

The crucial ingredient to being an amazing leader is the ability to effectively lead oneself. You must be able to make the difficult decisions that will move your business in the right direction and dedicate time to constantly improve yourself.

Writing down the answers to these questions is the first step to cultivating the culture of your dealership. Then you can start creating the culture you really want. Talk about it with your team. Embrace it.

Everything starts with leadership. Ideas without leadership fail. If you fail to lead, you fail. Sounds simple, but it’s not. It’s essential for you to understand your job as a leader.

It’s like when you’re sitting on an airplane and the flight attendant reminds you that in case of an emergency, you’d better get your oxygen mask on before you attempt to help anyone else. It’s obvious that you won’t be any good to anyone else if you’re passed out on the floor. It’s the same thing with your dealership — you must have your head on straight with a clearly defined path, or the “plane” will come crashing down around you. So first, lead yourself, and then lead others. Then you can transition into the development of a strong culture, which creates the right foundation on which you build the right processes. With a strong leader at the helm, a rock-solid culture and ironed-out processes in place, you are now properly prepared for marketing and attracting customers.



The problem with culture is that it erodes; it’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Just deciding on your culture isn’t enough. You can’t put a sign up on the wall and expect the culture to change. Just like you can’t plant a garden and walk away from it, you have to constantly revisit your culture, and continually promote it at your business. We believe you should cultivate a solving culture versus a selling culture. That’s what works for our dealers, and doing this can breathe new life into your dealership, while infusing your sales staff with new energy. Take The Culture Quiz: • Do you, your team and your employees know what’s special about your dealership? • Does your team know their role is bigger and more important than simply selling cars? • Do you have a plan in place for continually spreading, building and reinforcing the culture at

your store?

Next month, we’ll continue sharing on the four core essentials so that you can avoid be overtaken by a horde of hungry zombies. Fight back today! For the eBook, 4 Ways To Bring Your Dealership Back To Life, go to www.ZombieAwaken.com, or contact us at the address below. Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are founders of The Rich Dealers Institute and the authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers and Invasion of the Profit Snatchers. They can be contacted at 866.867.9618, or by e-mail at jt@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

Many car dealers today feel like they are “walking dead” — they’ve lost their enthusiasm and zest for the car business. Nothing is more frustrating for a dealer than not knowing what to do to keep your dealership on track and your employees happy.


leadership solution

four ways to maximize use of rebates and incentive offers

Every month, manufactures spend big bucks to entice customers to consider their product with the hope that the “0%” finance offer will actually get the consumer to move. In addition to the “top line” offers, most manufacturers offer additional special programs, such as loyalty and contest offers. Timing is another factor that causes mistakes — programs are often announced at unusual times. So, what are the best practices for keeping track of all this “stuff ”? As an automotive professional, it is important that your dealership’s staff is well informed of all currently available programs. As a starting point, it is important to appoint at least one individual as the “go to” person who is responsible for communicating rebates and incentive guidelines. There are four reasons for charge-backs: (1) vehicle eligibility, (2) program-to-program compatibility, (3) incorrect data and (4) geography. There are also different tools to assist in managing incentive programs: incentive binders, VIN look up systems, rebate summary reports and technology. Let’s take a look at each one:

• The Three Ring Binder — This approach can be a good system to keep everything organized. To be effective, though, you should organize the binder in sections: retail, lease and specials. Here are a few specific tips to consider: - Use page protectors instead of punching holes; your team will be looking at these programs again and again. - Keep different program types together and keep the previous version of the program

in the binder so you can have a point of reference. - Read each program thoroughly, and highlight the important areas or changes from the previous version. Make notes on top or in the margins for easy reference.

• Factory VIN Look Up Systems — Some manufacturers offer dealers a Web application to help navigate through the confusion of compatibility and stackability rules. These systems should always be used and, in some cases, are required by the manufacturer — especially in the case of an audit. The drawback is that generally these systems are not geared to “maximize the best combination” of offers and require the user to manually click and re-click the offers to optimize for the best profit and deal for the consumer. • Rebate Summary Report — Some dealerships will appoint in-house staff to compile a spreadsheet to share the information throughout the dealership. This can be helpful to streamline the information in a consolidated format, especially if you want to bump rates or include dealer cash as needed. Including a rebate/incentive overview is a “must do” for every sales meeting. • Technology — Many software providers offer various solutions that include rebate data: - Website providers often include rebates with their solution. If yours does not, make sure to inquire and make sure their solution is “turn-key” and provides automatic real-time updates. - Having a comprehensive list of offers shows the consumer that you want to help them be informed of all potential offers, and opens the door for them to ask questions about offers. - Several desking solutions include rebates as part of their solution. This can allow you to be sure you are maximizing your profit potential and monthly payment. Because of the complexity regarding the offers, “traditional” thinking may be costing you profit. - Other software services, such as lead auto response providers and equity engine solutions, should always include incentive and rebate data to ensure your message to the consumer is maximized. Make sure your provider includes rebate and incentive data in their solution. Over recent years, we have seen the level of incentive complexity growing — manufacturers are getting more and more strategic in their go-to market strategy so they can maximize their incentive spend budgets. Unfortunately, this will mean that dealer personnel will be constantly challenged with complicated vehicle, consumer and program-to-program eligibility rules. The good news is there is a huge amount of sales and profit opportunity if you invest the time to be a true expert. Embrace the challenge. Greg Kelly is the director of sales and marketing for AIS Rebates. He can be contacted at 866.390.6358, or by e-mail at gkelly@autosuccessonline.com.

At last, Help for the Dealership:

Lead Handling Process Book

• Create the Proper Foundation to Sell More Cars • Setting Objectives • Creating an Initial Benchmark for your Dealership

Based on industry demand for a handbook to help dealers maximize their digital sales, PCG has documented its winning processes for helping dealers increase sales in a new book that is just coming to market.

• Examining the Different Ways Opportunities Are

This book will outline the processes that dealers can implement to improve conversion and how to train and evaluate the performance of their sales team. Selling Cars in the Digital Age focuses on many aspects of handling opportunities for sales.

• Understanding How Your Customers Communicate

Generated • Understanding Internet Leads • Building Proper Workflows • Creating Daily Work Plans for their Team Members • Creating Impactful Email Templates • Best Practices for Phone Scripts

“help dealers sell more cars with the opportunities that they already have”

• Best Practices in Chat • Key Elements of Successful Internet Departments

Authors: Brian Pasch, Marc McGurren, Glenn Pasch, Edward Shaffer http://www.sellingcarsbook.com/order-the-book 446 Route 35 S, Eatontown, NJ 07724 • 732-450-8200



Now available for purchase at $20 per copy, available in paperback or pdf.


Bill Mason, GSM


Bo Magnussen, GM


Bo Magnussen, GM & Bill Mason, GSM For a Live Look at Magnussen Lexus’ Real Time Process, Go to RapidRecon.com, or Give Us a Call

Photo by Marc Rosebeck





leadership solution

Keys to peer leadership:

An Unlikely Source

As a small business CEO observed a talented window washer at the Atlanta airport one day, she asked what she thought to be a straightforward question, “What’s the secret to window washing?”

“No secret, ma’am,” the window cleaner said as he continued working. “I just focus on keeping on with my tools and my experience. I keep on going.” When the CEO asked what was in the blue water he used, the cleaning professional smiled and said, “I can’t tell you that! If you knew that, you could do my job!” Then, before attacking another pane, he said, “It is very special, though.” When a professional window cleaner uses just the right combination of resources — minimal tools; years of experience; a flowing, non-stop motion; and a secret concoction of suds — his or her work is efficient, engaging, and looks natural — perhaps even easy — to those who observe.

By using the mindset of education, the pressure is removed from his “teacher” so that no question is off limits. This philosophy sets the tone for education and teamwork. If, instead, he were to use his intellectual curiosity to demonstrate that only he knew the correct answer, he could face resentment. The best peer leaders learn to harness their personality to inspire trust and teamwork. 2. Experience gives you credibility. Just as window washers have well-exercised wrists, your team wants to see that you still need and relate to them.

While your team is selling on the lot, setting appointments or prospecting for leads, they want to know that you’re there with them. Sometimes that means that they want your hands working alongside theirs, and sometimes it just means that they want to know that you understand their daily routines, frustrations and joys. Regardless of which approach your team members prefer, they want you to guide them in the next, and right, direction. Your team will remember that you were there with them when you encourage. Today’s culture makes it easy for bosses to find faults, but you will have much greater influence when you frequently ask this question of your team members: “You know what I liked about what you did (or said)?” Be relentless as you look to find the ways that their input, skills and contributions have benefited the entire team. This is always of interest to the receiver; no one has ever responded, “No, I don’t want to know what you liked!” 3. A flowing, non-stop motion is intentional. There are few things more beautiful than a leader who knows how and when to listen and where and when to speak; the times to agree and those to dissent; when to stay with the group and those other times when to go out on a limb. Just as the window washer intentionally follows a specific pattern, the successful leader never allows these moments to be chance events. Instead, they are always intentional. While employees sometimes want to be inquisitive, your peers want to be connected with you. With intimacy comes great trust and loyalty.

Unlike the window washer, many team leaders don’t find their work to be efficient, easy or natural. These leaders often do not have degrees in leadership; they are promoted because they A consistent engagement with your team on a personal level (within the business environment) are good at their jobs. Their former colleagues turns your role from that of a boss to one of a fearless leader, mentor and teacher. This intimacy and friends now report to these “peer leaders.” comes when you go beyond their favorite sports team to learn about their childhood passions, or that their self-directed nature comes from their Eagle Scout training. To the inexperienced leader, There is a skill to leading your former peers these characteristics are mere factoids. The best peer leaders know that an understanding of without encountering resistance, resentment these experiences and traits lead to unbreakable loyalty, an impassioned work-ethic and — most and regret. When your toolbox contains a importantly to the company’s owners — higher profits. simple collection of thinking, communicating and acting that is coherent, ordered and 4. Your secret formula keeps you ever useful. Famous chefs sometimes share their secret intentional, your leadership appears natural. recipes, for they know what many of us have learned after carefully following the same recipe When you’re charged with leading a team three times: there are just some techniques that can’t be explained with words. Food rarely tastes of your peers or former peers, the right the same way twice, and rarely as good as it does in your favorite restaurant. combination of resources makes all the difference. The following techniques should be The window washer humorously refused to share the ingredients in his bucket for fear of being at the core of every peer leader’s toolbox. replaced. The best peer leaders are afraid that their talents and “secret concoction” may go unused, so they focus on how their team is furthering the company’s mission. When leading a group of your peers, you must have a firm hold on the secret formula that lies within you. Ask 1. Minimal tools keep you focused. The your team members what they believe to be your “secret sauce,” and be ready to listen without most effective leaders use only one tool: their judging their responses. You may find that your team wants you to talk more at meetings, even personality. One great peer leader uses his though you might think you talk too much. Your team may want you to consult them but thirst for understanding and information. ultimately make a firm decision, while you may lead by consensus for you fear making decisions When a member of his team enters his office, alone. When your team tells you what they want, find a way to do what they have asked. he asks that person to be the teacher while he plays the role of student. Dolly Parton said, “Figure out who you are and then do it on purpose.” All of what you do as a leader must be naturally intentional, obviously purposeful, yet elegantly skillful. “Any questions I ask are merely a student asking,” he said. “Then, I never use the words ‘I’ or ‘you’ — I only use the words ‘we’ and ‘us.’ I want them walking out of my office feeling Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP, is a facilitator, medical educator, and author. He can be better than when they walked in.” contacted at 866.347.5023, or by e-mail at koconnor@autosuccessonline.com.



Join the ActivEngage sales team! The largest automotive chat software and web analytic provider is actively seeking regional sales professionals. If you have automotive industry experience and a pre-existing account base, send your resume to jobs@activengage.com to join our growing success. We offer competitive salary, great benefits, and commission plan. Learn more at www.activengage.com/careers.shtml.

Automated Virtual Assistant

is hiring in several regions!

• Residual Income • Excellent Compensation Call • Full Training Provided 951.291.2234 • Excellent Support or email your resume to: careers@tkevents.com

Join us in making a difference one car at a time. 1car1difference.com

103347iaa_OCOD Feb Auto Success Classified 1/4/12 11:34 1 AM J&L Marketing is looking forAd_FINAL_4JAN12.indd Business Growth

Strategists to sell our multi-channel direct marketing products and services. They will prospect for new customers as well as manage leads from J&L Marketing’s growing national accounts. This is a full-time B2B outside sales position.

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Provisioning APPrAising Pricing MerchAndising

Do you want to be a part of one of the fastest-growing software companies in the retail automotive market? vAuto’s provisioning, appraising, pricing and merchandising tools are an evolutionary step forward for used car departments. If you have strong retail automotive and / or technology solution provider experience in the dealership industry, then we want you to be part of our tremendous growth.

Apply or learn more at: vAuto.com/careers vAuto is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Success Story

Liberty Buick New Sales Up 21%, Liberty Buick Increases Profitability with Integrated Marketing Strategy The car business is an intensely competitive industry. Dealers search tirelessly for the most effective way to reach the perfect in-market customer with the right message, bring that customer into their showrooms and service bays, and keep that customer coming back again and again. To accomplish this, many advertisers are shifting away from traditional mass media platforms like TV, print and radio, due to high cost and low measurability. Savvy dealers want a better return on their marketing dollars and are trending toward more targeted and digital mediums that include targeted direct email and mail and the internet. Dealerships that do not recognize the value and advantage of targeted and digital marketing mediums continue to see diminishing returns with traditional mass marketing that continues to be costly and nearly impossible to measure.

The most successful dealers are using a combined strategy that includes targeted and digital mediums that are less expensive, more measurable and give a better return on investment than traditional mass marketing. A fundamental aspect to this approach is to integrate all targeted and digital advertising to maximize results. Often, this also presents a challenge as the average dealer works with multiple vendors to execute their overall marketing which results in different messages and designs that too often are not integrated with one another – causing confusion among customers, and even employees. Å CONTINUED INSIDE


Liberty Buick, No. 1 in Buick sales in Arizona and a member of Liberty Automotive Group, found a solution. Liberty put into play a cohesive targeted and digital marketing strategy across multiple mediums using one marketing partner to attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost than traditional mass marketing. “Since starting this new marketing strategy we have steadily increased our service and sales numbers. Our new Buick sales increased 21percent and our pre-owned sales increased 18 percent from the same period last year, and service profits are up 12 percent,” said Autumn Henderson, General Manager of Liberty Buick. Liberty Buick began with a comprehensive five-year historical analysis of their sales and service transactions to determine customer trends. Those findings were then compared to leading third-party and industry data to establish consumer patterns within the local market. The results enabled Liberty Buick to identify vehicle owners with the greatest probability of buying or servicing with their dealership, as well as identify same-brand owners who had never visited Liberty Buick, and off-brand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to Buick. With a more clearly defined market, Liberty executed a targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct email and mail campaigns that consistently speak to customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle with custom messaging

that includes: a thank you and welcome message for recent purchasers, maintenance reminders for newer vehicles not yet in-equity but that may be due for recommended maintenance, and ongoing targeted email and mail sales communications to customers in an equity position. Using high-end creative campaigns, Liberty Buick promotes its best sales offers with custom service offers that reflect the service status of the customer’s vehicle. For example, active service customers who routinely come in for service receive a $29.95 “The Works Oil Change” coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not regularly service with Liberty Buick, receive the same offer but for $14.95 to encourage them to back.

“This site is invaluable. It looks incredibly professional, it ties in with all our sales and service promotions.” - AUTUMN HENDERSON

Liberty also aggressively targets conquest service customers within their primary marketing area who own Buicks but did not buy from them. This is unique because most dealers use the manufacturer’s service marketing program which often limits a dealer to only communicate with customers that have purchased

directly from their store, but also limits the dealer from contacting numerous conquest opportunities within their market. If a dealer only has 30 percent market share, they are essentially missing out on an additional 70 percent of the area’s service market. Liberty recognized the opportunity to broaden its service marketing program with conquest and has greatly expanded their reach of potential service customers. Another key component of Liberty’s strategy is that every outbound targeted email and mail campaign directs customers to an online Campaign Conversion Site that not only displays the featured promotions of the email or mail campaign they have just received, but also shows them every sales and service offer that Liberty Buick is currently running. If a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they just received they can check Liberty Buick’s campaign conversion site, www.LibertyBuickOffers.com, for other available offers. “This site is invaluable. It looks incredibly professional, it ties in with all our sales and service promotions,” said Henderson. “Plus it’s completely low maintenance for us because it’s updated every month by our marketing company.” When customers visit the dealership they see POS merchandising throughout the store that validates the advertising message they recently saw online or received in the mail, further building credibility and helping increase the closing ratio.

Liberty Buick

Once a customer takes delivery, Liberty Buick stays in contact with them by thanking them for buying and asking for referrals and online reviews, which helps to build their reputation when consumers search for them online. Having a positive online reputation is critical. According to a Group M Study 2011, 76 percent of consumers use a combination of web search and social media as their first step before making a purchase and 70 percent of online consumers report that they consult reviews before purchasing according to Business Week 2011. To measure the effectiveness of all their marketing strategies and

ensure quality customer care, Liberty uses a call-monitoring system to track their advertising, employees, and how their customers are treated by listening to every call that comes into their dealership. They receive daily, weekly and monthly reports that enable them to see which ad campaigns generate the best response and pre-empt any potential customer concerns before they escalate – which improves their overall CSI and helps create lifelong satisfied customers. “The best customer you can find is one that you already have,” said Budd Blackburn, owner of Team

Velocity Marketing, the company that Liberty Buick uses for their sales and service marketing. “Active customers are seven times more likely to purchase from a dealership when they have an ongoing relationship with them.” “We were the only Buick dealer in Arizona to become Certified Elite in 2012 for our service and parts department. We have also been No. 1 in the state and No.1 in the Western Region for new Buick sales,” stated Henderson. “This marketing strategy has helped us do this, as well as maintain our spot within the top 3 in the nation for Buick sales.”

Success Story

Success Story

Liberty Buick

“We were the only Buick dealer in Arizona to become Certified Elite in 2012 for our service and parts department. We have also been No. 1 in the state and No.1 in the Western Region for new Buick sales. This marketing strategy has helped us do this, as well as maintain our spot within the top 3 in the nation for Buick sales.” AUTUMN HENDERSON, GENERAL MANAGER LIBERTY BUICK

IN A NUTSHELL New Sales Up 21%, Liberty Buick Increases Profitability with Integrated Marketing Strategy • Define their ideal local market by finding the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with their dealership now and in the future. •

Create dynamic, cohesive campaigns that consistently speak to their customers throughout the 60-month lifecycle of their vehicle.

Consistently target in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive off-brands with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands they sell.

• Drive consumer traffic to a custom campaign conversion site that promotes all their sales and service offers to help increase their internet sales and service leads. •

Build a positive online reputation by asking customers for referrals and online reviews via an online review platform.

Monitor inbound calls so they know what ads are generating better response rates and pre-empt CSI issues before they escalate.

Work with a marketing partner like www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com to implement an integrated targeted and digital marketing strategy across multiple mediums that promote all their profit centers, new, used, finance, service and parts.


Profile for AutoSuccess

AutoSuccess April 2013  

The #1 Sales-Improvement Magazine for the Automotive Professional - featuring DealerSynergy

AutoSuccess April 2013  

The #1 Sales-Improvement Magazine for the Automotive Professional - featuring DealerSynergy


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