2300 Hurstbourne Village Drive, Suite 1200 Louisville, Kentucky 40299
With everything that’s changed for dealers, one thing remains the same: You’re here to win. And helping dealers win is at the heart of everything we do at vAuto. With Provision® for your used inventory and Conquest™ for your new. Get vAuto in your corner today, and you’ll soon find you don’t have many systems …
YOU HAVE WON.
Introducing the First Customer Management System Real-time Management that can make a real difference in sales… and your business Customer relations management (CRM) programs are computerized systems that help dealers stay in touch with their customers by providing automated reminders, customer follow-ups, appointment scheduling and other information. While first-generation programs generally do an adequate job, they tend to be costly to purchase, set up and maintain. They can be limited in scope and often may only be used on the dealership’s networked computers. These restrictions have left many dealers longing for a system with greater capabilities, and have even prevented some dealers from setting up a computerized CRM in the first place. Not just a CRM, but a CMS The next-generation systems have arrived, and are not your ordinary CRMs. Rather, they are tightly integrated, easily managed Web-based systems that meld customer relations, inventory, service and sales management into extremely costeffective, user-friendly tools that can be used not just at the dealership, but practically anywhere in the world. This new customer management system (CMS) takes advantage of the latest advances in computer and Internet technology to offer, and can include: • Vastly improved ease of use • Greater flexibility • Adaptability to the needs of the individual dealership • Integrated dealer database management • Access from any computer with Internet access • Real-time sales and customer tracking • Advanced customer contact, follow-up and scheduling procedures • Excellent brand development capabilities • Internal messaging and email • Daily work plans • Full scalablity and customizable operation • Online technical support, 24/7/365 • Text communication components • Digital displays for appointment boards and sales reports • VOIP Telephone Integration A Complete, Integrated System During the installation and beyond, technical professionals work closely with the individual dealer to adapt the system to meet the company’s needs. Since these systems are generally integrated with all major dealer management systems, this usually requires a minimum amount of customization. Dealers can usually choose from a number of modules, including customer reports and
records, inventory management, dealer group reports for multiple dealer groups, business development center (BDC) and Internet lead programs. The majority of customization is usually performed in the reports modules, adapting them to each dealer’s culture and processes. In fact, many function as time-saving, automated versions of the reports the dealer uses on a day-to-day basis. The difference is that the information is updated automatically, in real time. Management obtains up-to-the-minute information on the operation of the entire dealership. The reports can be as broad or as detailed as the dealership requires, and can include dealer group reports for single and multiple dealership groups. On most of these next-generations systems, dealers need never be concerned about their system being out-of-date. Most of these systems provide regular, no-cost upgrades automatically for the system software, making sure that they deliver the maximum performance and reliability. The new CMS can also help in ways a dealer might not have even considered. For instance, any dealer knows what an industry achievement award can mean for the dealership. These new systems have been designed specifically to help dealers earn manufacturers’ awards such as Ford’s Blue Oval, Lincoln/ Mercury’s Premier Dealership Award or Chrysler’s Five Star Award. They make it far easier to meet award-winning customer service standards and maintain those standards year after year. General Sales Manager Billy Worden, of Bill Collins Ford in Louisville, Kentucky has been using a CMS, and had been impressed with the results. “We’ve been able to cut our marketing budget by more than 35 percent because I can generate direct mail and email materials targeted specifically to the requirements of individual customers,” Worden said. “If a person is looking for a particular type of SUV, I can refer to that specific vehicle in my letter to him or her. It’s a far more effective way to hook the customer’s interest and get him or her back in our showroom.” With a cutting-edge customer management system, a dealer can go from the 20th century to the 21st century instantly by leveraging the very latest technology. David A. Martin is the Vice President and CTO of e-PULSETrak. com. He can be contacted at 866.517.1766, or by email at email@example.com.
Call for a Demo Today. 866.517.1766 - e-pulsetrak.com
2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299 / p 877.818.6620 / f 502.588.3170 / AutoSuccessOnline.com/AutoSuccessPodcast.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
leadership solution 14
ScottJoseph between a rock and a hard place: The Increasing Concern of Data Security
Three Ways to Maximize A Viable Market Segment
The questions essentially boil down to two queries: Are factory CPO programs really worth the price of entry? And, if CPO programs do make sense, how can I consistently make money selling CPO vehicles?
DennisMcGinn recon workflow from purchase or trade to deal funded
sales & training solution MarkTewart
is time on your side?
DonO’Neill the inherent danger of utilizing “static” data in a soft pull bureau pre-screen application
Hannah Philpott, Media Director email@example.com
KassDawson Auto in 2014: Embracing the Customer Lifecycle
GlennPasch common paid search mistakes that are wasting your money
Make sure your app is not an “app solute” waste
Function is the key to an app and should focus on what customers will find value in and not what you’d like them to find value in.
RobbAzaren Phone Skills: The Lost Art
JeremyAnspach 2014 spotlight: The Digital Showroom Experience
SeanV.Bradley one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words
Brian Ankney, Account Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Too many people are looking for the magic pill or the magic person or the magic moment. All magic is created with a lot of less-than-magical actions.
Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist email@example.com
DealerPanel the evolving marketing mix, part 1
Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.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.
Susan Givens, Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org
factory certified pre-owned vehicles: DalePollak
Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement Strategist email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
PeterMartin responsive design email campaigns: A Must-Have for 2014 Marketing
29 32 34 44
EdLouis the stickiness effect
18 20 24
MarshBuice Stop receiving the T.O.
TomRalphs why entertain children?
SusanGivens Consistency, personalization and automation: How to Keep Your Customers Active
SteveCottrell are you properly protecting your customers’ datA?
38 40 42
RobDunn does your bodyshop office have enough people?
12 feature solution
sales & training solution
consistency, personalization and automation: How to Keep Your Customers Active The strongest method of keeping your DMS customers active within your dealership is to provide consistent messaging and regular communication. The ideal process involves the integration of these moving pieces to the puzzle within sales and service, while still making sure that each customer receives a personalized message for their needs. However, this can prove difficult with a large database of customers and a fluctuating sales staff. One solution to this problem is to implement a strategy of communication revolving around software that will handle these concerns for you. Equity-mining software exists that goes beyond just finding customers in equity — it can also reach out to the customer with service alerts, current vehicle appraisals and new vehicle quotes. New alerts for each employee are provided every morning, as well as for the dealership as a whole. Through the use of automated reminders and pre-crafted messages, employees can more easily manage their incoming customers, and the dealership can make sales and service appointments with customers they already have, rather than just conquest customers. By reaching out to previous customers in the market preemptively, a dealership is able to make an offer before the customer is ready to browse the market and make transactions with competitors. Software such as this is particularly helpful for dealership employees. The database keeps track of all of an employee’s customers — sales or
THE CONTENT KING 1,000 reviews per day and over 1.3 million reviews Dealer-embraced with 5,000 Certified Dealers Reviews integrated on KBB.com
x 12 = 72 more cars sold annually On average, Certified Dealers sold 6 more cars per month in 12 months after joining our Certified Dealer Program.* * 2012 Polk Study
service — and automatically sends monthly personalized messages to each customer in the market. The sales associates also have the option of prompting a sales message to a customer, which is particularly helpful when presented alongside an alert that employees receive which tells them a customer will be in for service within the next week. A system such as this can also reassign “orphaned” customers, whose original sales associate has left the dealership, to other current sales personnel so that the customer is always taken care of in a manner tailored to his or her needs. Customer and employee relationships are crucial for both retaining and attracting customers to the dealership. The program is also useful to the employee when it comes to how they communicate with customers — it gives them information to use in this interaction. This software can also offer a refreshed view of the total vehicle inventory of the dealership, designating certain inventory as “fresh,” keeping track of sold inventory and noting the age of each vehicle on the lot. Relevance is the most important factor of this messaging, other than the efficiency of employee usage. By using a system that maintains a record of all vehicles in a customer’s garage, which includes their monthly payment, the APR on the loan, estimated mileage, the term remaining and the calculated equity, your sales messages stay personally relevant to each customer. Software is available that takes all of these factors into consideration, and combines them with AAA cost of ownership estimates, as well as Edmunds ownership data, to present the customer in equity with a new vehicle quote, which analyzes their current cost of driving versus the potential cost of driving the same vehicle, but the newest model year. The message lists the advantages of upgrading to a new vehicle, such as a refreshed warranty, lower mileage, better fuel economy and the fact that the consumer can drive a brand new vehicle at a lower cost. This messaging can offer both lease and purchase pricing on various trim levels available, beginning with the most affordable. The customer’s message is specific to their needs, and showcases exactly what they could pay, based upon current conditions. These numbers are updated daily, and the offer received expires at the end of the month. This serves for appraisals as well. This type of software can calculate the accurate appraisal value of a vehicle based upon its current bluebook value minus the cost of reconditioning, which is taken care of by the dealership. Even if the customer is not ready to sell, they become aware of their vehicle’s worth, and gain perspective on the opportunity at hand. If a customer does not qualify for an appraisal quote, or a new vehicle offer, then the system can still serve to send out service appointment, anniversary and birthday alerts to remind the customer that the dealership continuously has them in mind. By taking the initiative with customers nearly ready to enter the market, your dealership can cut out the competition while increasing your market share, as well as increase the number of two- to three-year-old trade-ins within your inventory. You can be proactive with new sales to current customer leads while maintaining a solid pre-owned inventory; this keeps CPO sales thriving and customers servicing with your dealership. This type of software system allows for consistent, accurate and personalized messaging to your DMS while remaining nearly effortless. Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by email at email@example.com.
“It was a no-brainer partnering with ELEAD1ONE. ELEAD CRM blows away our previous CRM system and our business results speak for themselves! We have first-class reporting, and best of all I can login at any time, with any device, to monitor our day-to-day business. Since signing up with ELEAD Virtual BDC, the customer information and feedback we receive has been invaluable, and there is no doubt that the call center helps us pick up an additional 20 to 25 units a month! Our business has grown 60 to 70 percent with ELEAD1ONE - I highly recommend them!” Richie Ruscitti General Manager South Chicago Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram
ELEAD1ONE provides the industry's most advanced dealership management platform that helps dealers achieve unmatched results in increased sales and profit, lead generation, communication, sales processes and complete lifecycle management. The company’s automotive-only virtual BDC and CRM are the foundation of their unique and successful profit-building strategies. No other company in the automotive industry has ELEAD1ONE's resources or ability to be 100% focused on training, teaching and support after the sale.
Top Rated CRM, ILM, Owner Marketing
Top Rated CRM 2011, 2012, 2013
CRM Superstar and Marketing Innovation Awards
Power 250 List
888.431.6928 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.elead-crm.com © Data Software Services, L.L.C. 2014
sales & training solution
is time on your side?
Let’s say you start working as an adult at 19 and continue until you retire at 65. In this example, you would have accomplished the following: • 46 years of work • 2,300 weeks (based upon 50 weeks a year) • 11,500 days (based upon five days a week) • 92,000 hours (based upon eight hours a day) • 5,520,000 minutes Now, let’s break it down per day: Eight hours a day, or 480 minutes I know many of you reading this may say things like, “I never take a vacation,” “I work 12 hours a day” and “I work seven days a week.” I understand some people work more and some people work less. However, my point is that this is just as an average for a starting point.
Too many people are looking for the magic pill or the magic person or the magic moment. All magic is created with a lot of less-than-magical actions. What I am saying is that if you say you want to make more money or have more success or do better in your career, then it will take a deeper commitment with different actions than you are currently doing. If you make a New Year’s Eve resolution for more and you do not change your current habits, the only thing that changes is the calendar. If, in your definition of success, it means to have better results and to make more money, then it is a fact that you will have to be more productive. You will have to also get more bang-for-buck for each action you take. The bottom line is that you have to get busier doing the right things at the right time. Spending hours on the job is not enough. Working hard is working a lot of hours. Working smart is getting results in whatever hours you work. Success is a based upon a series of habitual actions that are, by themselves, often small. “Big doors swing on small hinges.” Too many people are looking for the magic pill or the magic person or the magic moment. All magic is created with a lot of less-than-magical actions.
Now, can we all agree that nobody is truly productive all of the 11,500 days or all of the eight hours a day or all of the 480 minutes a day? My question to you is, how many minutes of each 60-minute hour are you truly productive? Be brutally honest. Are you productive 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent of the time? I think if we all were to be analyzed scientifically we would be shocked how low our total production is.
You must quantify to qualify. Quantify what you are doing to qualify the results and actions that create those results. Take an hour and truly break down what you have done and accomplished. Take a half day, take a full day, take a week, take a month and honestly monitor what you are doing.
I am not trying to tell anyone how to live his or her life. I am not telling you to work more or work less. I am not trying to convince you of what is right or wrong or what the correct values are for you personally.
People who waste the most time seem to be the most unsuccessful, the unhappiest and the most bitter — and earn the least money. I cannot think of a harder way to work or live. The question of how much time you have is simple. The answer of how you want to live in that time is a lot more difficult. 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 email at email@example.com.
SEO changes. So should your strategy. Strengthen your online strategy with PCG’s new advanced SEO service.
EAR EO (S
R Y AD ISPLA
BY JIMMY VEE & TRAVIS MILLER / Gravitational Marketing
PROTECTING DEALER PROFITS FROM THE SCUM OF THE UNIVERSE!
hese days, being a car dealer is rough. The government keeps piling on regulations and red tape. Customers want every car below invoice. The media has convinced the public that you’re ripping people off. It seems impossible to find good help that you can trust. Rising fuel prices, dwindling used car supplies, technology-forced “transparency,” an endless maze of new high-tech tools that, for the most part, seem to slow things down rather than speed things up … it all makes this business less fun, less rewarding, less fulfilling, less lucrative and less interesting than ever before.
The Profit Snatchers are here to take your money. They’re here to destroy your business. This is bad. What’s worse, even many vendors, who presumably should be on your side, to whom dealers pay small fortunes, are on a mission to eliminate dealers from the landscape (and why not … they figure they can hijack your profit as their own). They view dealers as middlemen who extract profit without adding value. If they had their druthers, people would buy cars from a Website (maybe it would be called www.carmazon. com). There would be free two-day shipping, financing arranged through Visa and virtual test drives. Then nine out of 10 dealers could take a hike, and the sole survivor could stay open merely as a service station. It’s a regular wild-west stagecoach holdup. Or perhaps like a terrifying scene from an H.G. Wells book where towering threelegged “fighting-machines” descend from the heavens and start shooting the place up.
These are the Profit Snatchers. And they’re coming for you. Actually, many of them are already here, living in and among us, posing as your friends and “partners,” showing up at stores with donuts, glad handing and acting like they care. They don’t. But you already know that.
Are You Ready to Join The Fight?
All this has been neatly disguised as “value pricing” or “one price” or “transparency.” This slop is being peddled to unsuspecting dealers who know there must be a better way, who desperately want to sell more cars. Dealers are being persuaded to believe the only way to sell cars these days is to offer a low price. Often, the lowest price. Dealers, generally speaking, believe the car business is about merchandising vehicles (taking pictures, displaying inventory, pricing competitively, buying low). Simply put, that is a lousy, lame and broken model that’s being pushed on you by the Snatchers.
“But why oh why would they steer me wrong?” Consider this: The Profit Snatchers make money when you buy cars or pay for services. Not when you sell cars for a profit. They believe that the lower your prices are, the more cars you’ll sell. Who cares about your profit? Not them. Best-case scenario for them is for you to sell the cars at dead cost and figure out how to make money some other way. The last thing they want is for your profit to stand in the way of a sale. Consider this, as well: The gear heads don’t understand the business, but they want to poach the business for some easy money. The car business is a huge business, and the private equity firms that back these tech companies want a piece of your bounty. Nothing wrong with that — as long as they add value and help make your life better or easier or make the business run more smoothly. Too many of these firms, however, are only out to use technology to disrupt the business. Terrifyingly (ironically and comically, too), many dealers have decided to break rank and side with the Snatchers. They’ve been brainwashed, possessed and are actually hastening the destruction of the business, including the eradication of their own dealership. There’s only one force strong enough to compel someone to willingly act in a way that will bring about their own demise: fear. Take the case of the man who spent 127 hours caught under an 800-pound boulder at the bottom of a canyon. He cut off his own
arm because there appeared to be no other option, and in his situation, there wasn’t. But what about your situation?
Dropping your prices and sacrificing profit is no different than cutting off your arm. Most dealers only resort to such extreme measures after deciding there’s no other way out. Never mind that the action they hope will save them only brings them closer to their own extinction. They feel trapped, and they act instinctively, out of fear. Like lemmings following one after another, dealers look around and see that everyone else is apparently cutting their prices, shrinking their margins and offering cars for zero profit (hoping to make it up on the backend or in future service business). So they do it, too. Do you believe there’s no other way out? Or are you still hoping that things will go back to being the way they were, and that the Profit Snatchers will head back to their home planet? Sorry to bear such bad news, but the Profit Snatchers are here to stay. And they’re out for blood. Frankly, staying in the business of selling cars with all this going on is crazy. Stark-raving-paddedwhite-room-one-flew-over-the-cuckoo’s-nest crazy. So what about your options? Is cutting your prices (amputation) the only way out of this mess? Truth be told, there is another option, but it’s not well-suited for most ordinary dealers. In fact, a lot of dealers probably should just cut their prices and hang onto the life raft for as long as they can. Realistically, you can probably survive that way (but certainly not thrive) for another 10 or 20 years. And for you, that may be enough. Maybe you can at least survive between now and then off the scraps left by the “below invoice” mooches and whatever profit the Snatchers deem appropriate for you to make in any given year. Hopefully nobody will come up with some new Website where dealers offer to pay customers to take the cars. As long as they don’t do that, you should be OK for a while. What’s that, you say? You’re not comfortable merely surviving for the next 10 or 20 years? Wait, you actually think you deserve to make a profit? (Hysterical and sinister cackling erupts in the evil lair.)
“Hell no!” you say? You’re willing to arm yourself and fight back against the profit snatching men from Mars? Good! Then know this: You are not alone. We’re here standing right by your side, and we’re not alone either. We’ve created our own army, our own weapons, and we’ve discovered the Snatchers’ weakness. If you have the gumption, the strength and the desire to fight, we can show you how to not just survive this battle but come out better, stronger and richer than you could ever imagine. And not just financially rich(er), but personally rich(er) as well. The invasion may be underway, but the war is not over. Let the Profit Snatchers gobble up the weak, meek and lame, and let’s get busy building a new car dealership business where dealers are heroes, the business is fun and profit is naturally and abundantly earned by dealers who provide real value, not just low prices. The future of the car business is yours to create. We, along with our vast network of like-minded dealers, are here to help you and support you and share our unique methods for transforming your business and building a profitable dealership that will sustain far into the future. Take the first step and order your free copy of the hardcover book, Invasion of the Profit Snatchers.
This FREE BOOK will show you: • A little-known way to make the car business fun again •
A new, growing paradigm where car dealers are viewed as respected and influential members of their communities
A simple way to differentiate your dealership so that price is no longer the chief concern of your customers
A complete system for marketing yourself in a way that produces more profit from every sale and increases repeat business and improves customer satisfaction
A source of highly desirable, highly profitable customers who are seeking your real value and are willing to pay more to buy from you
How to make your message appeal to 35 times more prospects
Ultimately, how to build a business and live a life that’s ESP®—Enjoyable, Simple & Prosperous.
Get it now at www.ProfitSnatchers.com or call us at 855-363-3303.
To request your FREE COPY of this revealing, results-generating book, Invasion of the Proft Snatchers,
visit www.ProfitSnatchers.com and enter code ASM1404 or call 855-363-3303 and speak to Becky.
between a rock a hard place: and The Increasing Concern of Data Security Data security is becoming an increasingly public concern as databases from large retailers continue to be breached and consumer information exposed. Congress has been holding hearings with top data security professionals to discuss how best to prevent future breaches. The concern is so high that Congress is considering implementing national policy to better safeguard consumers. Data security certainly isn’t a new topic to dealers. In fact, there have been some very high-profile automotive vendors that have felt the backlash of dealers when the dealers felt that their customer data was being used for purposes other than what they thought it should be used for. In the automotive space, data is necessary in almost every aspect of operations. You think Target had it rough when it was breached? The thieves in that case managed to compromise 110 million consumers’ credit and debit card information. Dealerships have exponentially greater liabilities when it comes to data security. In addition to processing credit card payments, dealerships collect much more in-depth personal information from consumers — perhaps second only to financial institutions. Consumers trust that dealers will protect that data, which includes hyper-sensitive information like their addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, driver’s licenses and more. Dealers are simply stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side, the FTC mandates that dealers not share nonpublic personal information with anyone without receiving the customer’s permission. The other side sees the necessity of dealers partnering with vendors to facilitate customer data management, targeted marketing pieces and inactive customer follow up (just to list a few) — yet to do so, the dealer needs to share nonpublic customer data. According to a recent article in Automotive News, now OEMs are demanding (yes, demanding) data from their dealers — even to the point of threatening to withhold quarterly incentive payments if their dealers fail to do so. These financial penalties could amount to literal “fines” from the OEM to the dealer for non-compliance.
Nobody is debating the need for data security or the necessity of dealerships sharing data with vendors in order to help dealers facilitate operational and marketing efforts. Dealers need to know, however, that ultimately the FTC is going to hold them responsible for any data breaches that expose their customer information, regardless of whether the breach happened within their systems or not. Compliance and data security issues will only continue to escalate. As the U.S. federal government gets more involved, dealers will have to ensure that they are not only in compliance with their state laws, but also with any federal laws; and it seems like that hammer is about to fall — hard. Dealers need to be aware of who they are sharing their data with, exactly what data is being shared and what is being done with it after the fact. The days of carte blanche DMS access for vendors are gone. “Dealers should never let vendors have full access to a dealership management system or customer-retention data without knowing what data fields are being pulled,” advises Brad Miller, director of legal and regulatory affairs for the National Automobile Dealers Association. We recognize that sensitive customer information is needed to create and deploy powerful, targeted marketing over many channels. Without access to a dealership’s data, many vendors simply could not remain in business. Our jobs as vendors are to assist the dealer while ensuring that in no way do our services expose them to liability. On the other side of the coin, dealers need vendor technology to increase revenue through customer retention and acquisition marketing in the same way it needs CRM and DMS systems to operate. Dealers need to have confidence in the partners that they choose. Choosing vendor partners based on price could prove to be more expensive in the long run if data security issues arise. Knowing who you are working with, what data they need, what you are giving them and what they are doing with it is an obligation you assume the minute a customer hands you their credit card or fills out a credit application. You have to understand exactly what data the vendor needs and ensure that you are not providing additional data that isn’t necessary for them to complete the service you’ve hired them for. The public’s hyper-awareness of data security and heightened concern regarding it due to the recent incidents of data breaches make it even more important than ever for dealers to ensure that they are doing their due diligence by partnering with vendors that have appropriate security processes in place to protect consumer data and, by extension, the dealership. Even the vendor with the best intentions can put a dealer at risk without written process documentation and adherence to the strictest data security standards. Scott Joseph is the president of J&L Marketing. He can be contacted at 888.835.1689, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
sales & training solution
why entertain children?
There are more dealerships than ever adding children’s entertainment areas. Some manufacturers make it mandatory to incorporate a children’s area. Everyone wants happy, satisfied customers, so that aspect is obvious, but there is also a financial benefit. Children don’t buy cars but, unless you are selling Ferraris, they may have a real impact on the sales process. After a long day of comparing models and prices and going on test drives,
It’s Time iDrive
Personalizing the connection to your customers!
By providing an area where children are safely occupied, you can eliminate any negative impact they may have at the time when it is most critical.
customers are tired and stressed; children are tired and bored. By providing an area where children are safely occupied, you can eliminate any negative impact they may have at the time when it is most critical. Customers can relax, and spend the necessary time with your sales rep if they know that their children are safe and happy. The more time prospects spend in your showroom, the more likely they are to become customers. If you are considering a child’s entertainment area, here are some points to consider: • Location and proximity to an exit are important for security reasons. Choose a site where they must go past a desk to exit.
› Turn-key Rewards Program
• Sound control and visibility are also major considerations. You will want to enclose the area, so use as much glass as possible.
› Real-time Service History › Service Reminders
• A big box of toys might be a cheap entertainment option, but who is going to clean up each day? Will the kids be entertained or will they still be underfoot? Is there a safety risk from small pieces? Will items go missing? Play tables and television, too often, will not capture their interest.
› Service Coupons › Sales Inventory
Kids today play on electronic devices. If you want to be sure they will be occupied, give them what they want. There is a wide range of family-friendly electronics that will occupy children from ages 3 to 13. These can be purchased in safe and secure cabinets, eliminating missing articles and cleanup for your staff. There are many game options available that are far better than the stereotypical violent games that concern many parents. Some very entertaining games also have various benefits ranging from the development of fine motor skills to improved short-term memory.
iDrive™ Mobile App
Scan the code to learn more
If you’re selling a car to a family, always remember that the kids are a part of that family. Providing them with entertainment can turn what promised to be a stressful day into a day where they have fun, and the parents can give you their undivided attention. Tom Ralphs is the vice president of sales and marketing for Kidzpace Interactive. He can be contacted at 866.662.9959, or by email at email@example.com.
the stickiness effect
There is no doubt that there’s a seismic shift to mobile, and it’s changing every aspect of business. As a dealer, you want to find a way to keep customers coming back. You want your dealership to be memorable. You want to make it so memorable that it can create change and spur your customer into action. This is the quality of making your dealership “sticky.” The stickiness factor involves how effective your dealership stays in the minds of your customer. If you are to make your dealership memorable and brand it into the minds of your customers, an app for your dealership is an essential element to achieve the stickiness effect you want. People take for granted many of the things they see every day, but subconsciously it has a large effect on them. With an app, your dealership’s brand can be seen every day, appearing on the home screen of your customer’s mobile device. In this mobile era, one can’t deny that users have a habit of pulling out their mobile device and playing around with the content on their phone, especially apps, when they have idle time. If one of them was your dealership’s app, you are automatically contributing to your stickiness effect on them. By incorporating useful features and an appealing aesthetics into your dealership’s app, you can successfully achieve this stickiness effect upon your customers, build your brand and enhance your marketing strategy. Features That Make Your App Sticky
Users are engaged by successfully sticky apps, so having useful features
and an eye-catching appearance is important, as it compels users to continuously revisit it. An app for your dealership should include a service scheduler, a messaging system (a way to send personalized as well as generic messages and notifications to your customers), inventory browsing, monetary service (“payment gateway”), a useful tool kit, contact information and other convenient amenities. Also, keep in mind that looks matter. Just like you are inclined to pursue things that catch your eye, apps that are visually appealing are more likely to be sticky. With an attractive app that allows customers to schedule service appointments, complete daily tasks and allow them to find what they want quickly and easily, it not only helps your customers’ busy schedules, but also helps you keep your customers coming back. Having a robust messaging system will make your dealership’s presence known to your customers anywhere, anytime — and presence is key for obtaining the stickiness effect. Like never before, you can take advantage of mobile technology with location services and push notifications, giving you the ability to reach customers exceedingly faster than emails. With various integrations, you can alert customers who are due for service or notify them that their vehicle is ready for pickup. Your dealership’s app can have the ability to send pictures and videos of needed repairs for transparency and upsell opportunities, as well as incorporate a monetary service to it so your customers can make payments through the app. This eliminates complexity in their ownership cycle, and keeps them coming back.
Branding and Marketing
An app for your dealership develops the stickiness effect because it enhances your brand and your marketing strategy. Having an app will have the greater effect than placing a billboard in a strategic area or advertising regularly in a newspaper or commercial. Unlike before, your dealership has app real estate on a customer’s or prospect’s most prized technological possession — their mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.). Not only will an app build your dealership’s brand, but it improves your marketing strategy because it gives you unique data mining capabilities that allow for targeted marketing. Dealers can use demographics and patterns to attract new buyers and resell to existing customers. Before, email or direct mail were the method of choice to deliver, but now an app can help dealers reach out to a more refined audience. So not only will you have a sticking effect on your existing customers, but an app gives you the opportunity to spread that stickiness. Time For Action
It’s time to take your customer retention to the next level. As a dealer, you already have a mobile site and the stats look good, but to create the much-needed stickiness effect that all businesses crave, you should think about incorporating an app into your dealership’s marketing strategy. You already know mobile is here to stay, so take your mobile strategy seriously and create a stickiness effect like never before. With an app, you have the power to make your dealership unforgettable.
Ed Louis is the CEO and co-founder of DealerApp Vantage. He can be contacted at 866.604.6710, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auto in 2014: Embracing the Customer Lifecycle
We live in a time where access to information is at our fingertips, where consumers can quickly research their major purchase decisions with a touch of a button. Just like other businesses, the auto industry must change the way it communicates with consumers in order to fit into the new consumer lifecycle in this fastpaced, always-connected culture. Because of digital, the way people shop for cars has changed. The consideration phase has extended and general “awareness” is now a shorter, but still important, phase. Mobile is incredibly important to stay top of mind and the access to (and use of) “shopper data” is incredibly helpful in targeting the right people who are in market. With the global growth rate projected to decrease over the next few years — according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 2014 global growth is predicted at 3.5 percent vs. 5.2 percent growth in 2013 — the environment for automakers will continue to be increasingly competitive. As a result, now more than ever before, it’s urgent to make your media work smarter (not harder) by reaching the right people at the right time. Nowadays, no one buys a car without researching first on the Web, and ownership is being documented online at an increased rate, as well. As a result of these increased digital automotive behaviors, online platforms are growing in scale and capability to address this consumer need. This growth has helped improve targeting capabilities (due to the collection of all this online data, and the ability to connect it with offline data) for automotive
marketers. Improved targeting means that auto marketers’ can now — better than ever before — reach consumers at every stage of the customer lifecycle. People Shop: As more people shop for cars and conduct research online, marketers have never had a greater opportunity to influence their decisions. The ability to present your audience with the right product and information at the right time is crucial during the car-shopping experience. Where do I find potential customers? The Web has allowed people to curate their own personalized “news feeds,” where they control the content they consume daily. These feeds can be prime real estate for marketers to relevantly reach out to consumers likely to be interested in their brand and products. In addition, mobile is a powerful channel, and a necessity, as more people are using multiple devices to consume digital content. Auto marketers should target these people who will respond to their messaging in order to more efficiently drive the passive “shopper” to become an active “buyer.” People Buy: The digital world has created more people-centric, data-driven platforms, enabling marketers to put people at the heart of their marketing. Targeting is simple to use and effective in reaching and analyzing your potential and existing customers. This makes creating “clusters” of in-market consumers who are likely to buy now a reality today, and is a critical component to making marketing budgets more efficient and effective. People Care: People love their cars, and this love extends to the overall brand as well. With all of these targeting capabilities, marketers can consistently deliver the right message, offers and/ or service reminders to the people who will act upon them. When correctly utilized, this allows marketers to manage and deepen relationships with customers. By tailoring their message to influence the lifecycle of the customers, marketers have a tremendous opportunity to improve awareness and consideration of their brands, move cars off the lot and even drive revenue from their existing owners. To take full advantage of this opportunity, automotive marketers must embrace these new targeting tools to help them understand where people are in their customer lifecycle, and how to relevantly put the right message in front of the right customer.
Kass Dawson is the head of automotive global vertical strategy for Facebook. He can be contacted at 866.599.9162, or by email at email@example.com.
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the inherent danger of utilizing “static” data in a soft pull bureau pre-screen application Since “soft pull” or “pre-screen” credit bureau data is becoming the fastest growing tool of choice by dealers and dealer groups across the country, I thought it was appropriate to talk about this emerging technology that can change the way we do business. If utilized properly, it is a game changer. Unfortunately, as is with most emerging technology, most GMs and dealer principals don’t understand the difference between a “real-time” soft inquiry product and “static” products. As is with most products in our space, the wrappers often look the same, but what comes in the box is without a doubt a different animal.
Real-time bureau pulls, soft or otherwise, are a true-to-the-moment snapshot of a consumer’s credit profile. Static pulls are dated — at times as old as 90 days. Most dealerships are overwhelmed with enthusiasm at simply having the ability to pre-screen a customer without the utilization of SSN or DOB. What they fail to ask is, “is this real-time data?” To be clear, there are three players in the market space that have the ability to provide real-time soft bureau data — and there is a big difference. When you pre-screen, if the consumer qualifies, you must, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), provide a firm offer of credit. The credit provider or facilitator must honor this offer, along with the specified terms and conditions, if credit parameters are met. Say you require a minimum of $2,000 monthly income, no late mortgage and no repossessions; if your pre-screen model delivers a green light, you are obligated to provide the offer of credit.
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Here is where it gets interesting. If I am utilizing static data, which can be anywhere from 31 to 90 days old, how many payments can a customer miss in two months? How much revolving debt can a consumer devour in two months? That static 710 credit score can actually be a real-time 590. Guess who is holding the bag when you can’t get the deal bought, or if you can, but at a rate substantially higher than that which you provided? You guessed it — you, the dealer. Given the current environment of regulatory oversight and intervention, I think we all would rather avoid the phone call from any agency asking “why” on behalf of a consumer. As with any technology, this application can only evolve. But in its current form, it can truly double conversion rates, and make a real impact on PVR and bottom-line profitability. The applications are truly endless — as long as the data utilized is correct and current. So I will leave you with this thought, and hope to see some discussion: Would you let your doctor evaluate your prognosis with 60-dayold blood? Well, at least in that case, the doctor would be liable.
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Don O’Neill is the vice president of sales and marketing for CreditMiner. He can be contacted at 866.469.9770, or by email at email@example.com.
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common paid search mistakes that are wasting your money In our continuing “Back to Basics” series, I wanted to review some common mistakes I am seeing when I evaluate automotive dealership paid search campaigns. Right now, the four dealerships I reviewed are spending thousands of dollars a month to advertise but, in many cases, the results are not as effective because of some basic mistakes. Here is the short list of four common mistakes. 1. Generic text 2. Click path is not correct 3. Landing page problems 4. Bidding against yourself
Let’s break down each one. Generic Text
home page of the Website. They take me to the inventory page, but not for the vehicle. I have seen specific offers for a lease special and it does not take me to the specific page describing the offer. All this does is confuse the consumer or makes them aggravated because you have inserted an extra step or two into their process. Make sure that you know and test where each ad goes to on your Website and make sure that it is a one-step path from ad to delivering what you promised. Landing Page Problems
If we have created the proper click path for an ad and we have created a landing page for the consumer to land on, you need to make sure it is correctly laid out. Make sure that it is focused only on the offer or model that the ad described. I would recommend it be very simple and clean in design — perhaps a video on the page describing the offer. I would have a photo or two, depending on what the offer is and, lastly, a clear call to action. What do you want to customer to do? Call? Fill out a form? Click on another button? Whatever the action is, having a clean clear page that is uncluttered and focused will result in much more engagement for your campaign.
The next time you do a search for a specific model car, “2013 Dodge Durango,” take a look at a few of the paid ads that run across the top and along the right side of the search results page. What you will see is very similar generic text for many of the ads. How is your business supposed to stand out when all of the ads look the same?
Bidding Against Yourself
“Check Out Our Inventory!” “Find the Lowest Price” “We’ve Got It. Call Today”
If you have two sites and have to use different vendors, I would recommend making sure you monitor the keyword strategy for each vendor so they are focusing different campaigns for each site.
The dealer needs to be more involved with the creation of these ads in the same way they would approve a newspaper ad or a radio script. What makes you different? Come up with something other than what everyone else is saying.
If these things are a bit overwhelming or if you need assistance, then please do your due diligence and partner with a trusted company that will offer you ongoing strategy, versus just a set of ad campaigns package that may not be focused on your specific needs.
Click Path is Not Correct
When I click on the ad, where does it take me? I have done this during assessments and I find that ads for a specific vehicle take me to the
This is, from my experience, unique to the automotive industry. There are cases where a dealership will have a manufacturer’s Website that is mandated they use, as well as having a second Website they use for other marketing purposes. What happens is the dealership may have two different vendors running paid search campaigns directed at each of these two sites and they end up bidding for the same keywords, thus increasing the cost. I have seen many times where both of the dealerships Websites come up in search right next to each other because they are bidding against themselves and costing themselves money.
Paid advertising can be very effective, but it can also cost a lot of money if not managed effectively. If you have any questions or would like me to review your reports, feel free to reach out to me directly. 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 email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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does your bodyshop office have enough people? One of the most common questions I get asked by dealers is “How many people do I need in my bodyshop office?” It’s a great question and not a simple one to answer. My observation is that most dealers do not have enough administrative staff in their bodyshops. It seems as though many dealers take pride in pushing a large volume of work through their collision center with minimal office staffing. On the surface, this seems like a wise way to control costs. This minimalist approach, however, generally creates many problems that cost the dealership more than an additional salary would. The ideal is to find the level of staffing that will allow their shops to meet important performance metrics, without saddling the dealership with excessive overhead. In this article, I’ve identified a range of administrative staffing that high-performing collision centers maintain, and will provide you the information needed to calculate your own administrative labor performance ratio. Here’s the information you will need in order to calculate your administrative labor performance measurement: 1. The number of administrative personnel (i.e. receptionists, estimators, production manager, dedicated parts manager, department manager, etc.) 2. The hours they work per day 3. Your average monthly sales volume (including parts)
What if My Bodyshop’s Administrative Labor Performance is Low?
If your bodyshop’s administrative labor performance measurement falls below the acceptable range, you are not alone. In fact, most dealer-owned bodyshops do not have an adequate number of administrative staffing. They often believe that by keeping a minimal staff, they are reducing overhead, and thereby increasing the profit potential of the facility. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. An understaffed bodyshop office is very likely to have the following symptoms: • Poor customer service • Poor profit margins due to incomplete estimates (estimators not having time to thoroughly prepare a sheet) • Poor direct repair program (DRP) scores • Poor customer CSI • Employee burnout The list goes on. But each one of these symptoms carry a large cost, both in current profit margin, and long-term sustainability of your bodyshop. What if My Number is High?
If your administrative labor performance is too high, it could be an indicator inefficient management methods or practices. On a positive side, a high administrative labor performance measurement could also mean you have the potential to grow now. If your goal is to increase bodyshop volume, a high administrative labor performance measurement is important. Additional Factors to Consider
Direct Repair Programs: One of the most important is the role of direct repair programs in your shop’s operation. DRPs often place a large administrative burden on your collision repair center’s office. Typically, these programs require your staff to handle many of the administrative steps that an insurance company’s field personnel would be responsible in non-DRP situations. Therefore, DRP-intensive shops should maintain an administrative labor performance measurement on the high side of the acceptable range. Experience and Cohesiveness of Staff: Generally speaking, the more experienced your staff, the more likely that you can maintain a high-preforming bodyshop with staffing on the low end of the acceptable range.
If your bodyshop is suffering from poor customer retention, poor margins and general underperformance, perhaps it simply does not have enough office staff to get the job done. At the very least, take a few minutes to do the calculation of your own bodyshop’s administrative labor performance measurement. The Formula 1. Number of admin staff x hours worked per
day = Administrative hours worked per day 2. Administrative hours per day x 21 = Admin hours worked per month 3. Average monthly sales / 1000 = Y 4. Admin hours per month / Y = Administrative labor performance measurement
Role of the Parts Department: If your parts department is responsible for placing, tracking, receiving and delivering parts to your bodyshop, your collision center can then effectively operate on the low end of the acceptable range. However, if your bodyshop is asked to handle their parts more like an independent shop, you would need to maintain a higher administrative labor performance ratio.
There is no simple answer for appropriate bodyshop administrative staffing. However, I hope this article has made you think about your own shop’s performance. If your bodyshop is suffering from poor customer retention, poor margins and general underperformance, perhaps it simply does not have enough office staff to get the job done. At the very least, take a few minutes to do the calculation of your own bodyshop’s administrative labor performance measurement. As always, feel free to email me with any questions you have about the results.
What’s A Good Range?
An acceptable administrative labor performance for a dealership bodyshop is between 3.5 and 5.0.
Rob Dunn is the lead instructor and dealership consultant for Masters School of Autobody Management. He can be contacted at 866.386.0042, or by email at email@example.com.
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make sure your app is not an “app solute” waste Launching a mobile app as part of your marketing mix is not a pursuit you can approach timidly. It’s too expensive for that, and you would be leaving too much opportunity untapped. If you are in, you need to be all in. Here are some important questions to ask yourself to determine whether you are ready to take on a mobile app: • What do I want to achieve with my app? • Can this app integrate and “talk” to my database? • How will I launch and promote my app? • Who will manage my app? • What is the value to my customers? • Am I all in? What do I want to achieve with my app? Function is the key to an app and should focus on what customers will find value in and not what you’d like them to find value in. Why do customers download apps? A recent Responsys survey finds that three of the top five reasons are “access to special or exclusive offers,” “to review and manage a loyalty account” and “to receive timely notifications.” Simply linking to telephone numbers or browsing Web pages already contained on your Website is not enough. Your customers need to receive value they would not have received without the app, such as rewards, frequent valid coupons and readily available service history. The No. 1 thing your app needs to do is to enhance the service experience, thereby increasing service traffic. It can do so by building the relationship between dealer and consumer, increasing the perceived value of what the customer receives at your dealership as opposed to what they would receive somewhere else, and creating more traffic in the front or back end of your store. • Can this app integrate and “talk” to my database? The app is a pipeline between you and your customers that helps them access information they need. If they are looking for a vehicle, make your inventory easy to
search and explore. If they want access to their service history, provide the information instantly. When properly connected to your DMS, your app can send very targeted push notifications and personal messages. Consider how these statistics from a Responsys survey apply to your app and your customers: Approximately 57 percent of consumers have downloaded apps from their favorite brands and, of those, 68 percent have enabled push notifications. Seventy percent or more of consumers found all types of push notifications to be valuable. More good news from the survey: “Marketers witness 50 percent higher open rates on push notifications versus email, with click-through rates up to twice as high, as well.” Without the DMS connection, you are just sending broadcast messages that miss the mark. • How will I launch and promote my app? An app is only as good as the number of users you have using it. Sounds simple, but how do you design an app that will encourage your customers to download it when they first hear about it? Will it remind them of their next service need, motivate them with loyalty rewards, track their service records easily and speak to them specifically about their vehicle and ownership life cycle? Will you promote it via your service drive, email, and direct mail? Another interesting statistic from the Responsys survey is that “43 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase when mobile messages are part of an orchestrated marketing experience that unfolds over time and across channels.” • Who will manage my app? A managed app is key to return on your investment. With an app, you have the opportunity to alert customers of service specials and to provide information relating to specific model recalls and technical service bulletins. These alerts and push notifications need to be continuously planned and executed. This isn’t something you will be able to spend time “getting up to speed with.” You need an expert to manage the data, timing and content of your push notifications to engage your customers. The app is simply another communication device and value-add for doing business with you versus your competitor. • What is the value to my customers? Keepers! Many apps get deleted in less than 90 days because app users decide they are not worth the real estate on their phone. Making an app a “keeper” is essential to making it useful in driving service profits. “A dealership app must provide value to customers so they use it and keep it on their mobile devices,” reports Auto Dealer Monthly. What features will your app have that your customers will use at least once a month? If the app is focused on new car sales, how often would customers need it? Maybe once every five years, at most. Make it more valuable by allowing customers to use it to earn discounts or rewards that are only available through your app. Make it a virtual glove box so they can store information about their vehicle and service history. Make it include coupons that are available without them having to seek them out or search for them. Mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate compared to coupons distributed via the newspaper, and 34 percent of people use their mobile devices for coupons. Customers will respond when you offer them value and convenience. • This is the most important question to ask yourself to make sure your app is not a waste: Am I all in? A mobile app is an ongoing endeavor. Having a strategy in place before you dive in is essential to making your investment pay off. Not fully planning the launch and execution of the app is probably the No. 1 mistake dealers make. A Website that you get up and running and make occasional updates to will still work for you if it’s ignored for a bit; not so with an app. Choose a company that will plan your push notifications and contact strategy, design your launch and ongoing promotion of the app, develop your email campaign and continue your ongoing education on the benefits of the app. If you are ready to be all in, then you will be ready to dive in. Tricia Patton is an owner and managing partner of Traffic Builders, Inc. She can be contacted at 866.859.8520, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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responsive design email campaigns: A Must-Have for 2014 Marketing
It isn’t news that email marketing is a must-have for your budget. The return on investment in this category is through the roof. For every dollar spent, Experian calculates the average ROI is $44.25. But it isn’t enough to just send out emails through your CRM. It is becoming increasingly important for these emails to have a responsive design to reflect the changing times. So what does “responsive design” mean? It means if Joe Buyer opens an email on his iPhone, he should get the same viewing clarity as Sally Consumer opening on her tablet or PC. Your email message needs to be adaptive so it’s clean — no matter which device it’s opened on. Across the nation, people are starting to use their devices to not only communicate on social networks, but to check their email and browse the Web. An average of 51 percent of people are opening their emails on a mobile device. In larger city areas, this number jumps dramatically. A recent study conducted on a 90-day campaign for the largest dealership group in Boston found that 73 percent of the emails in their market were read on a mobile device. This includes smartphones and tablets. The click-through rates on email campaigns that are responsive saw an increase of 63 percent over ones that aren’t. The impact of mobile on your email marketing efforts is complex, with a lot of variables to take into consideration. The best way to tackle this is to optimize your campaigns so they look good on multiple platforms. It’s simple: if your emails are not responsive, you’re losing money. So what exactly does a mobile-responsive design look like? Let’s take a look at a few examples. An example of a non mobile-responsive email would look like one you’d open on your computer, except that the same information is rendered on the (by comparison) tiny screen. In order for the user to view the email, they have to pinch and zoom to read the text. The small buttons are hard to click on and the functionality is just not good. A recent survey asked more than 1,000 consumers across the U.S. what they would do if they received an email like this. Not only did 70 percent say they would delete it immediately, but 18 percent said they would hit the “unsubscribe” button, regardless if they had previously subscribed to the mailing. Now let’s look at a mobile-responsive email design. This version of the email is clear to read without the need to pinch and zoom, because it is formatted for the screen the recipient is using. The buttons are sized perfectly for easy finger clicking. If there’s a phone number included, it will be click activated so the receiver doesn’t have to do anything extra. It’s clean and appealing. Conversion rates for this type of email are impressive, as well, with 40 percent of people clicking. When you consider that 64 percent of decision-makers read their email via a mobile device, the importance of having a mobile responsive design cannot be ignored. Along the same lines, not only should your email be responsively designed, but your Website needs to be upgraded to match, especially if you are providing links back to your site through the email. There is nothing worse than discovering an offer you really want to learn more about, clicking the link and not being able to seamlessly navigate the site it links to. This makes the offer almost instantly forgotten, as the user will almost immediately do something else that requires less effort. Today’s mobile-centric world requires a bit of change in the way we write emails and convey information, as well. With so many people owning high-powered devices and the expectation of
browsing the Web in a lightning-quick fashion, we need to make sure our emails are quick and to the point. With non-responsive design, email not designed for mobile devices can seem very text-heavy. People in this day and age don’t want to have to sit down and read a big long email to get to the selling point. They want the information up front in an easily scanable way. This type of smartphone behavior is referred to as “snacking.” It doesn’t tolerate dull moments of unimportant information, but rather relies on instant gratification. Responsive email meets the needs of a fast-paced world. It’s short and simple. The user gets exactly what they’re looking for as soon as they open the email. If your CRM provider doesn’t give you the ability to develop emails that are responsive, you really should enlist an outside source to do this. I also recommend that you test your emails before they go out in one of two ways. You can sign up for a platform that allows you to load your email in a preview pane and see what it looks like in various browsers and various email providers. A good one that we have found is Litmus. It’s simple to use and saves a lot of time. Or, you can set up different email accounts in Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL and test it yourself. Whichever you choose, always remember to test your email before you hit the “send” button. Simple mistakes and design flaws can easily be corrected before a mass mailing is sent out. So, if you’re looking to boost engagement rates, increase your ROI and optimize your sales message, then it’s time to get on the mobilemarketing train. I guarantee you will be happy with the results.
Peter Martin is CEO of Cactus Sky Communications, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.859.8052, or by email at email@example.com.
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factory certified pre-owned vehicles: Three Ways to Maximize A Viable Market Segment Dealers have been asking recently about factory certified pre-owned (CPO) programs. The questions flow in part from recent efforts by factories to step up their CPO sales volumes. The questions essentially boil down to two queries: Are factory CPO programs really worth the price of entry? And, if CPO programs do make sense, how can I consistently make money selling CPO vehicles? Before addressing the questions, I should note that I’m an advocate of factory CPO programs. To be sure, some are more dealer-favorable and dealer–friendly than others. But, generally speaking, CPO programs offer value to dealers: They help dealers retail offlease vehicles, attract new buyers, develop brand/dealership loyalty and pick up future work in their service departments. Most dealers recognize the benefits CPO programs can bring to their used vehicle operations. The questions really speak to the mechanics of running a CPO program that will maximize profitability and return on investment (ROI) for every vehicle that carries the CPO designation. On the cost of entry question: Clearly, a factory CPO badge adds costs to a qualified vehicle that can put pressure on the vehicle’s profit potential. On top of that, a CPO-worthy vehicle will typically cost more to acquire and, depending on condition, will require higher reconditioning costs. The key question for dealers, then, is whether the market (as measured by a vehicle’s Cost-toMarket and Price-to-Market ratios) will allow dealers to ask more money for CPO units to achieve their desired profit and ROI objectives. A quick look at recent market data suggests this is currently the case:
• CNW Marketing Research notes that CPO sales helped drive a 6.1 percent increase in the value of used vehicles retailed by franchised dealers in February • CPO sales were up 12.3 percent January and February of this year, according to a report from Manheim Chief Economist Thomas Webb • Used vehicle “profits are on the rise, as throughput per store is higher and margins are stabilizing,” Webb adds. The second question from dealers — how to consistently make money selling CPO cars — is a little more tricky to answer. That’s because CPO units represent a higher investment risk for dealers. As I answer this question, I share three characteristics common among successful CPO dealers, irrespective of their franchise brand: 1. A committed, market-measured approach — “We work the program. If we can certify a car, we’ll do it,” said a Midwest Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealer, whose CPO sales now account for about 50 percent of his retail volume. “But the decision isn’t automatic. We need a reasonable level of certainty that the market will support our investment to make it a CPO unit.” Put another way, every CPOworthy vehicle requires its own market assessment to inform whether the CPO investment is worth it. If this dealer decides to certify a vehicle, the unit’s market assessment travels with the car to the sales desk, where associates use it to validate why the vehicle is worth every penny of its asking price. 2. A wholistic view of every CPO deal — The Chrysler dealer and other successful CPO dealers don’t sweat the occasional “short” deal that’s sometimes necessary to retail a CPO unit. Instead, they view the transaction as the culmination of a series of money-making opportunities in service, parts, F&I and, if the unit was a trade-in, the new vehicle department. Likewise, if the deal brings in a trade, it sets off a new profit-making lifecycle for a fresh car. This wholistic view helps dealers recognize that retailing CPO units, just like other used vehicles, is a carefully managed mix of wins, losses and draws that collectively benefit the bottom line of every dealership department. 3. A 45-day-or-less retail window — Every CPO vehicle should be special, but not that special.
Successful CPO dealers treat CPO vehicles like every other used car — each unit must sell within 45 days or less to maximize profitability and minimize risk. This can be a difficult timeline for some dealers to accept, especially since they paid good money to put the CPO badge on the car in the first place. But today’s market takes no prisoners when it comes to time in inventory, and any car — CPO or not — that hasn’t retailed in 45 days reflects a management failure. As I noted above, some factory CPO programs are better than others for dealers. But I haven’t seen a factory program yet that’s picture-perfect, and the OEM efforts to enhance and protect their brands in the used vehicle arena seem an appropriate way for dealers to differentiate themselves from the competition and invest in tomorrow’s new car customers. Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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phone skills: The Lost Art
The telephone is one of the most important tools we use every day. Most of the time, the telephone is our first point of contact and the first impression we get to make to our customers. Whether we are handling inbound sales calls or making outbound calls to new prospects, Internet leads, advertising source leads, service or CSI follow up, how we present ourselves on the telephone can have a dramatic impact on current and future sales. Considering the phone’s importance, it surprises me how many stores and businesses neglect ongoing regular training for their staff on proper phone techniques. The source of phone calls has definitely changed over the years. I remember my first sales job, more than 20 years ago, at a small Ford store. Back then, the only form of advertising we had was newspaper and maybe a little radio. Most advertising was geared towards getting traffic onto the lot, not making the phones ring. When it came time to prospect for customers, the general manager gave us each a small section of the business yellow pages with simple instructions of “get some appointments.” His goal was to sell more F-150 trucks to local businesses. It was easy to say what he wanted us to do, but he didn’t give us any idea on how to do it. We had no phone scripts to use, and each of us had to learn the best way to make cold calls with effective results. There was obviously a lot of trial and error, and only a few us ever became any good at it. In today’s market, with so many different sources to generate leads — e.g. Website advertising, newspaper, radio, email, Internet leads, trigger leads, direct mail and finance leads — it is more important to make sure that anyone who is handling a phone call for your store is a phone expert. With all of the competition out there, you need to separate yourself from the average dealership and put steps in place to ensure your sales staff or BDC is getting the best results. Every store and each market is a little different, based on people’s personalities. The good news is that the rules for becoming a phone expert remain the same. Here are some simple-to-follow steps that can help you get the best results.
Whether we are handling inbound sales calls or making outbound calls to new prospects, Internet leads, advertising source leads, service or CSI follow up, how we present ourselves on the telephone can have a dramatic impact on current and future sales. Considering the phone’s importance, it surprises me how many stores and businesses neglect ongoing regular training for their staff on proper phone techniques.
Have a game plan — Who are you going to call and what are you going to talk about? Have your scripts and rebuttals ready. Know your current advertising and sales specials. Being prepared will ensure you have good-quality contacts. Have the right mindset — Most people get discouraged when they get a voicemail, bad number, no answer or, my favorite, “I am not interested.” If you are prepared for the different objections, it will enhance your attitude and carry over to the phone call. Most importantly, smile while talking; customers will always hear your smile through the phone. Managers should hold your staff accountable — Go through the scripts with whoever is making the phone calls. Listen to how they sound, ensure the script flowed properly and then give them some positive reinforcement. Go over what they did correctly and offer a few minor improvements to make them sound better and more relaxed. Your staff will appreciate the help. Weekly role playing — This is important since every call is different. Have their manager read the script, allowing the salesperson or BDR to give them some common objections that they hear on a daily basis and show them how you would handle it. This will help build their confidence when they make real phone calls. Remember, in their eyes, you are the expert and they look to you for guidance. The better they feel on the phone, the more confidence they will exude, which yields better results. Timing and frequency — Anyone making calls should know the best time to reach someone and how many times they should try. I always told my employees to keep calling at least three times a day over a 10-day period. At the minimum, we called once during the day and once in the evening. This seemed to get a higher answer rate. Every market is different, so make sure you have some rules in place as to how many times you want each customer called and how many times per day. Your employees need guidelines to follow. Remember, you have only one chance to get this right. Unfortunately, you can’t hang up and then call back and get a redo. There are no mulligans or do-overs in sales. Better staff phone performance means more appointments, a better show ratio and, of course, more sales — so it makes sense to have experts on the phone. Let’s make everyone an expert. Robb M. Azaren is the national lead generation manager Promax Unlimited. He can be contacted at 800.723.2709, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2014 spotlight: The Digital Showroom Experience
In recent years there’s been a huge industry progression, as the vast majority of dealers have engaged in the digital shift. Whether it was proactive or reactive is a different story; however, with great growth can come growing pains. The question of the moment is this: How can dealers stand out from the competition when the tools that previously gave them an edge are now the industry standard? We’ve entered an era where taking more photos, using pricing tools and listing inventory quickly online are all strategies most have in place. It’s now imperative to go the extra mile and increase the relevancy of your strategy. In order to generate more showroom opportunities in 2014, dealers must be willing to stand out from the ordinary and provide customers with an aboveaverage online experience. Do not be comfortable with mediocrity. Accelerate your refinement in 2014 with even more relevancy packed into your digital tactics. Consider the fact that 84 percent of auto shoppers turn to digital not just to learn about their next vehicle, but to guide them in making heavy decisions before they even consider a dealership visit. They rely on 24 or more sources to help them make the right decision, and they now visit only 1.4 dealers before purchasing a vehicle. This is the progression of the digital shift. Shoppers are now significantly more influenced by what they learn online than from your beautiful showroom and energetic TV spots. What we have yet to fully grasp is how much the experience leading up to the sale has changed. The buyer’s
purchase decisions are no longer determined by how they are treated once they arrive at a dealership. It is now officially more important to consider the experience your dealership provides during a shopper’s digital journey. So, how can we create a positive, influential, “digital showroom” experience? Simple. Engage the customer by providing them with what they want to see, where they want to see it, and make it available to them 24/7. CNBC recently announced that due to the large amount of negative encounters during showroom visits, auto shoppers are now seeking an “Amazon-like” experience. The reality is dealers are not Amazon, but we can absolutely learn from them. How do they make online shopping so easy? Why do we go back for more? Amazon has mastered relevancy and they also dominate in transparency. They are the No. 1 online retailer because they provide customers with the relevant information they need to make an educated decision. They also do an exceptional job of giving people what they want and making it fast and easy to find. They don’t filter anything; they provide results that range in price that have both good and bad reviews. They don’t guess at the right message and, as a result, they’ve successfully improved the online retail experience. So here’s what we can take away. Auto shoppers have concerns. The price they are willing to pay is important, but it’s not everything. People want to know if they’re getting a good deal, and if they’re buying a reliable vehicle from a reliable source. Do not wait — I repeat, do not wait — until a customer walks into your showroom to address their concerns. Realize that more than 90 percent of your potential opportunities will never make it to your showroom, so ensure that you are providing every prospect with relevant, mind-easing information and display it where it will be noticed. The most relevant, value-building attributes for your vehicles should be placed above the fold on VDPs and in the first line of your comments. Make sure this information can be found quickly, without having to submit a lead. You want a competitive edge? Display the reconditioning performed on your vehicles both on VDPs and listing sites. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Value really is more than just price. It’s become a proven industry phenomenon that must be understood and promoted digitally. To illustrate this, imagine you’re a customer searching online for a 2010 Black Chevy Tahoe. You find two you’re interested in, from two local dealers, at roughly the same price. One dealer emphasizes their Tahoe has low mileage, heated leather seats, navigation and brand new tires. The other dealer has just listed their “super low” price and comments say “power windows and door locks, short- and long-arm front suspension, antilock brakes.” Which vehicle would you want to test drive? Still think price is everything? Everything we do today and in the future should be completely focused on winning the relevancy race. In 2014 and beyond, the focus should be on attempting to align our strategies with the retailers that have mastered relevancy and transparency in order to deliver a unique, influential, digital showroom experience.
Jeremy Anspach is the president and CEO of PureCars. He can be contacted at 877.381.2632, or by email at email@example.com.
Bring a Touch of Times Square to Your Dealership With Interactive eDisplay Systems It’s no secret that technology has changed the way consumers shop for vehicles. Dealerships not taking advantage of this new way of interacting with potential customers are primed to be left behind. And now, some of the most cutting-edge technology has made its way from the huge displays in Times Square to your dealership’s windows. Touch screen digital displays, both inside and outside the showroom, now offer points of contact with consumers on the consumer’s own terms and comfort level. Add to this new methods of communicating with them — such as Internet hotspots and Bluetooth connectivity — and your dealership will be well-situated for the customers of today and tomorrow. Innovative smart glass technologies allow a digital display to be applied to the exterior glass of the dealership. The consumer can get the information they need to make an intelligent buying decision from you 24/7/365. The displays can also be placed inside your showroom, so that customers can receive information pricing availability, rebates and incentives, current service promotions and anything else you’d like to share with them. Engage the customer in an exciting way that makes you stand out in a crowded field. Digital Wayfinder technologies are a great way to
allow the customer to find their way around your dealership. They can see where they currently are, and how to navigate their way to another department, franchise or rooftop simply by touching the display. Digital Appointment Welcome Boards generate enthusiasm in the customer experience. Customers feel valued when they walk into your dealership and see their name in lights. The board welcomes the customer and shows the assigned salesperson, along with any other customized information you’d like to add. Proximity marketing offers you the ability to market the way the modern customer prefers to be contacted. Send welcome messages and sales and service coupons to them while they are at your dealership via Bluetooth, and offer them the opportunity to opt-in to text messages for recall notices, future sales and other information they’ll find valuable. You also can turn your showroom into a wireless hotspot for your customers while in your store, which they’ll appreciate. The future isn’t a scary place — it’s where you can communicate what your dealership has to offer in ways only dreamt of before. Take advantage of the opportunities available to you and amaze your customers with innovative service that separates you from the competition.
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stop receiving the t.o.
One of the hardest techniques to teach a salesperson is that of the turn over (T.O.). Boiled down to simplicity, the rules for a T.O. can be summed up in nine words: “Before your customer leaves, introduce them to a manager.” That’s it. How hard can that be, right? As it turns out, it’s very hard because we allow our feelings to hijack our disciplines. We walk customers for all kinds of reasons (“walk” is slang for letting a customer leave before introducing them to a manager). Feeling as though we’ve made such a positive impression on a customer that they’ll certainly be back, we bid them farewell instead of asking them to buy now. There are times when we are having a bad day or a bad week — or maybe it’s because we’re halfway through the month and we haven’t sold a single car yet. In any case, we’ll bounce the, “I’m not buying today,” customer so that we can eagerly wait for the perfect lay down customer who will hopefully get our month back on track. And then there are those times we walk a customer simply because we don’t like their attitude (I’m sure the feeling’s mutual). The list can go on and on why we won’t give a T.O., but when it comes to receiving a T.O., we’re all too willing.
Never take a T.O. from a salesperson at another dealership. Picking up where another salesperson left off is like you giving your competitor the PIN to your ATM card and allowing him to play with your money. When a customer shows up, they’re yours. What you do next determines whether or not they will remain that way. Ask any customer if they like to shop for a vehicle and you will hear a resounding “No!” Think about it: If customers hate shopping for a vehicle so much, then why do they continue to shop? Customers continue to shop because no salesperson has taken the time to meet — much less exceed — their expectations. A doctor doesn’t assume to know why you are sitting in their office. They ask a bunch of questions in order to gain a better understanding. Once they know why you are there, they can then diagnose how they will heal you. Sure, your customers may come in weary and frustrated from shopping all day, but that doesn’t mean that you have to continue to add to the frustration simply because you’re the last dealership they visit, instead of the first. They’re still shopping because every salesperson is taking an assumptive T.O. from the previous salesperson. Your customer may have seen many shows today, but they haven’t seen your show. Be unique, creative, fun and positive when determining why your customer is in the market, then you can discover how to select, demonstrate, write-up and deliver based on those expectations. It’s better to give a T.O. than to receive one. I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.
Marsh Buice is the sales manager of Mark Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep. He can be contacted at 866.535.5006, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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See if this sounds familiar. A customer shows up on your lot, hurriedly picks out a vehicle and refuses to go on a test drive, reasoning that they just looked at one “exactly” like it. Complying, you 86 the test-drive, hurriedly
write up the trade, call to get a payoff, present numbers… and they leave vowing to continue to shop. Your business card just got added to the stack of other salespeople who thought the same way as you. If you only remember one thing today, remember this:
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are you properly protecting your customers’ datA? The automotive industry is certainly feeling the impact of the current push by various industries to provide the consumer with more visibility into how their data collected, stored and protected.
customer data is protected from accidental exposure or intentional threats, such as hacking or theft.
There are numerous conversations about the exposures, but for the purpose of this discussion, I would like to address simple steps that can help dealers move closer to meeting the NADA guidelines.
Within the safeguard rule, an important issue to consider is what the regulations define as a “service provider” and how a dealership interacts with them. The main consideration here is that the data shared is limited to only the parts necessary to perform the service. In many dealerships, a service provider is provided files that contain many more attributes than they need to do their job. This is one area that is technically challenging for dealers unless they have a solution that allows them to control which elements are shared and how often they are shared.
Dealers need to understand exactly what is at risk and where the exposure lies within their dealership’s current practices. A complete review of how their dealership collects data, how it is stored and who has access to that storage platform is crucial. Dealers need to create a policy for each of the areas listed above that clearly indicates who should have access to the data, which portion of the data various users can see or use and put in place reporting that reflects the dates and time of that access. Dealers should review the reporting frequently to ensure that the policies are being followed — and understand any situations where the policy standards were deviated. In many cases, this is probably a daily review by an accountable person within the dealership staff. Dealer data is generally considered to be governed by two federal regulations: the safeguards rule and the privacy rule.
Technology is allowing dealers and businesses to collect more and more data on consumers, which can be a good thing for both parties. However, certain steps have to be taken so that there is clarity on what is occurring and what is permitted to occur. Beyond the physical action on the part of the dealer to restrict that usage to only key elements, they should also ensure that agreements they sign contain contract provisions that also define, outline and restrict the use of the data for any other purpose than the defined service. This area continues to expand, and every week there appears to be more examples of how these areas put the dealership at risk. Technology is allowing dealers and businesses to collect more and more data on consumers, which can be a good thing for both parties. However, certain steps have to be taken so that there is clarity on what is occurring and what is permitted to occur. I have had discussions weekly with dealerships and service providers about these concerns and believe there are a lot of good examples out there on how to protect these areas. If you have a thought or example of a way a dealership can protect themselves, please contact me; I would love to discuss it.
Under the safeguards rule, dealers are required to create and maintain procedures that ensure
Steve Cottrell is the founder of DealerVault. He can be contacted at 866.769.1778, or by email at email@example.com.
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the evolving marketing mix Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Danny Benites Tony Provost Few areas have changed as quickly and as completely for dealerships in recent years as marketing. The advent of digital communications has forced dealers to completely rewrite their marketing strategies. While most still include the traditional forms of advertising in their efforts, the mix between the old and the new is a tricky balance to find and maintain. In this month’s installment of the Dealer Panel, we’ve asked our dealers how their strategies have changed over the past few years, and what role their manufacturers play in getting that message out to customers.
For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Danny Benites, general manager of Greg Lair Buick-GMC in Canyon, Texas; Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania and Florida; Tony Provost, president and dealer principal for Nissan of Bourne in Massachusetts; Brian Benstock, vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Andrew DiFeo, general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida. AutoSuccess: How has your advertising and marketing strategy changed in the last five years? Andrew DiFeo: We opened our store in 2008, so one of our founding
principles was a strong focus on digital marketing. At the time, and even more so today, we believed that our online reputation was extremely important, so we put a strong focus on our online reputation with DealerRater and variety of sources. We felt that having that by strong online reputation and talking about that in our marketing message, it would add credibility to everything else we did — both with digital and traditional advertising — because we had these credible third-party reviews from our customers. Brian Benstock: We began to look at the mix of media and where consumers look to get information about their purchase. You used to have your big three — print, radio and TV — and while those channels are still important, you’ve had more media come into play — such as search, online display and video pre-roll. We’ve tried to have a balanced approach and move towards media that give us transparency and the ability to get our products where the consumers are, with the right message at the right time. Tony Provost: We pay attention to our dealership’s presence on
Google, as well as price pointing our inventory aggressively online.
Chris Saraceno: Branding is still as important as it ever was;
our clientele still need to know us. However, we’ve realized it’s just as important to use data-driven methodologies to develop a deeper understanding of client demographics. Utilizing a specific digital marketing strategy — the RACE (Reach, Act, Convert and Engage) framework — enables to measure our efforts and ROI muchBens bettert Chris Saraceno TonyusProvos t AndrewDiFeo Brian ock than we could using traditional marketing. Danny Benites: Obviously, we’ve become more digital. In the
digital space, we have become more targeted. Messages that we used to shout from the mountaintops, we now speak in a more conversational manner. Our
strategy has become more about forging digital relationships with our customers. When this happens, we are exponentially more likely to retain them. AS: What role does the manufacturer play in deciding how your advertising budget is spent? AD: Each manufacturer has different co-op programs where they
support to some extent the dealer’s advertising spend. Not every dealer for every manufacturer getsprovided that. We’re successful solutions byfortunate, based on our sales volume, to receive some co-op. Obviously, a portion of it has to meet the guidelines of the manufacturer’s co-op program. We feel strongly about those guidelines as far as the brand image and truth in advertising, so all forms of our advertising can be co-op compliant in one way or the other. The important message that we want to get across is the brand statement — in Hyundai’s case, it’s “America’s Best Warranty” — so we want to make sure that’s in every ad, whether it’s television, radio, digital, print, direct mail or anything else.
BB: The one thing we’re really trying to ensure is that our message is
aligned. Manufacturers will tell you that they biggest market gains they see are when Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 match in terms of message. The manufacturer certainly regulates what we can and can’t say, in terms of an advertising and compliance perspective. What often happens is that you have a national message, a regional message that’s something different, and then each dealer is doing something different. So, you wind up with a lot of people who should be on the same team competing for the same customer with different messages. We really want to ensure that the message we’re giving on the Tier 3 local-market level matches that of what the manufacturer is marketing because it gives the consumer a more transparent, believable message.
TP: We pay attention to our manufacturer’s price-point and leasepointed marketing efforts. To maximize our marketing budget, we are always looking to pick various advertising areas where we see we can effectively piggyback their multi-million dollar budget with affordable spots to get bigger and better results for the money.
the dealer panel
CS: It really depends on the OEM and the processes they’ve put in place
to push specific marketing agendas. At the dealership level, we believe our role is to use the OEM’s suggestions and team them with our needs.
DB: They play the roles of contributor and controller. Most OEMs have
co-op programs in which they contribute to the overall ad spend as long as we follow their guidelines. The debate continues on whether these agreements are mutually beneficial. For us, it often makes more sense to forego the co-op funds to remain small and maneuverable. In next month’s installment, we’ll take a look at surprises in the marketing landscape and the changing role of traditional advertising in our dealers’ marketing efforts. If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Does the above statement describe your dealership? Unfortunately, in a booming market, many dealerships are struggling. Many dealers are struggling with sales, lower market share and less than desirable profits all while facing a changing marketplace with increased expenses and greater competition. If the last statement describes your dealership, it’s time for a change. • Do you have a system to recruit professionals? • Are your leaders/managers well trained on what to do every day that gets results? • Are your salespeople trained and executing properly with the customers you spend so much money to get? • Have you called your own dealership and listened to how your employees handle calls? • Do you have a pre-owned inventory system that allows you to turn your inventory once a month and make great gross profit? • Do your managers know how to work deals in the digital age and still maintain gross profit? • Do you have an effective advertising and marketing position in your marketplace that includes digital and conventional?
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First, go to www.dealershipsuccess.com and view a preview video. Second, call for a personal conversation about your dealership and your future at 888 2 Tewart (888-283-9278) or e-mail email@example.com with the words “Dealership Success” in the subject line. P.S. If you are an already successful dealer, are you leaving sales, market share and money on the table? Call me and I will give you two ways to increase all three immediately!
President and author of the Best Seller “How To Be A Sales Superstar”
recon workflow from purchase or trade to deal funded The deal is not done until it’s “metal over the curb.” Ever heard about a sale where the “stips” were not satisfied after multiple attempts with lenders but the trade was already sold? With all the market pressure to continually improve turns, this can — and does — happen. And unwinding a deal like this can be a financial nightmare, accompanied by a CSI hit. So how do you keep this from happening? The answer came from a Nissan dealer in Atlanta, who called me two months ago explaining that this is a substantial problem at many dealerships, but could be addressed by simply adding on a few steps to the recon workflow (as shown in Figure 1). He explained that the only differences between a car that reaches the frontline and one that moves on through F&I is a deal number and an assigned F&I manager. One of the F&I managers is then responsible for preparing the deal for contracting. The next step is scrubbing, usually done by an experienced financing person, who makes
sure the stipulations are satisfied. The final step is to secure funding and then — and not until then — is the deal finalized and funded. If a deal is clean or allcash and no trade, then it’s possible to complete all the paperwork in less than two hours. But most deals are not that easy, leaving the sale pending until the final contract is settled and you have your money, which can take hours, days or even weeks. Using a workflow system to take cars from purchased or trade, cleared all the way to deal funded, ensures that there is accountability all the way through the sale. In addition to time-to-market, you can now measure time-to-funded. Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research has said, “One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.” It sounds crazy, right? It makes a lot of sense, however, when the fact is broken down: There are 60 seconds in a minute, and a standard frames-per-second rate for video is 30. Now we need to explore one of the most famous quotes in our culture: “A picture is worth a 1,000 words.” So doing the math: one second = one picture in video media, 30 frames per second multiplied by 60 seconds = 1,800 frames per minute, or 1,800 pictures. Multiply this by 1,000 words and, unbelievably, you get 1.8 million words.
According to IAB Digital Influence, 96 percent of people shopping for a vehicle start with research online and if we want to catch their attention, which in today’s world is short lived, video is clearly our best bet. More than one billion unique users visit YouTube every month, and those users consume more than six billion hours of video. Sticking with the title of the article, that’s 6.48e+17 (or 6.48 quintillion) words “read” via video every month.
YouTube has changed the game for car dealers. It allows dealers to be able to upload a library of diversified content, including: • Testimonials • How To: • Set Up Bluetooth • Set Up Navigation • Set Up Satellite Radio • Etc. • Walk Arounds • Comparisons There is a science to communication: • 55 percent is visual perception/body language • Vehicle Reviews • Dealership Staff Bios • 38 percent is tone and inflection • Only seven percent is text or the words you use • Advertising / Marketing • TV Commercials The strongest form of communication is visual • Radio Commercials • Fixed Operations perception and body language, and the only way you can have that without physically being • Finance next to a person, place or thing is video. It is Once all of these videos are uploaded to YouTube, then dealers can utilize the video content in a much easier to understand something and myriad of forms, such as: get excited about something through video versus a picture or text. Think about how much • Frame in the video’s HTML code into any and all Websites of interest • Send out video emails information you can articulate, display and • Use the video’s URL to forward the video(s) to any- and everyone explain in one minute of (well-thought-out) video. Now, take that one-minute of video and • Forward all videos to social media platforms add a professional with an awesome personality The “secret” to why video is so powerful and such a craze is its simplicity. People don’t have to do who has ridiculous sales skills. How amazing much. They just have to press “play.” People can forward a video that they like, don’t like or even of a video could that turn out to be? It’ll turn hate by a push of a button. out much better than a print ad or some text, for certain. Most people think that YouTube is the only platform for video. Not true; it’s just the biggest. There are too many video platforms, video search engines and video social media platforms to list in People prefer to watch videos rather than this article, but I want to discuss one new comer to the scene that has hit with massive force: Vine. read books, talk on the phone, text or write letters. We live in a video-driven world Vine is an app with which users can create looping videos that are up to six seconds in length. and, with the advancements of mobile And, believe this or not, Vine videos are shared more than 400 percent more than other forms technology and the ever-evolving Internet of video content. Let me be crystal clear. People will share Vine videos 400 percent more than connections speeds, that’s only going to YouTube Videos. grow. Watching videos on mobile devices is a normal occurrence. Compound that with That’s a pretty compelling case right there. The logic behind the numbers is clear — information the power of social media and you have a can be communicated faster in video, people are more likely to share video content and a recipe for marketing success. Social media growing number of consumers say product videos make them more confident in a purchase. is the No. 1 form of communication on the Approximately 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are planet, with video playing an integral role in processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. in social communication. That spells a lot of opportunities for dealerships for the savvy and What is interesting is seeing the OEMs engage video and social media with such a fervor. Ford proactive. Some of the most powerful social Motor Company has an awesome Vine Channel at https://vine.co/Ford (yes .co, not .com). What media platforms that are dominated by video are you waiting for? Start a video strategy ASAP. include: • YouTube • Vimeo • Vine • Snapchat Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally • Instagram recognized training and consulting company. He can be contacted at • Facebook 866.648.7400, or by email at email@example.com.
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