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What’s the difference between a lead and a customer? You and SCI MarketView.

Join the more than 2000 dealers who trust SCI to help turn their leads into their customers. Want the full story? Visit our site.

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leadership solution

DalePollak a goal for 2014: win without fighting ­— and sell more new/used vehicles DealerPanel to go or not to go: decisions about attending conferences, part 2

DennisMcGinn personal performance metrics puts meaning into time to market

DavidLewis why the average salesperson only sells 8 to 10 cars per month

JimmyVee & TravisMiller top 10 ways to screw up success, part 1

GlennPasch why we should run our business like a sports team

Hannah Philpott, Media Director

AJLeBlanc video strategy crucial to byer’s success

to text or not to text, that is the question

AaronSchinke vdp views and car sales — interpreting the data

JasonChurch how to get hot leads from facebook

JeremyAnspach winning the click — retargeting

AlanBird portals aren’t the only thing changing the game

DebbieDrury Risk and Reward: new fcc telemarketing regulations could have you at risk, but don’t miss out on the reward

Brian Ankney, Account Manager

SeanV.Bradley dealerships and natural selection, part 1

Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist

RobDunn what is your bodyshop really fixing?

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 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.

Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director

SusanGivens the importance of keeping your message consistent

Susan Givens, Publisher

EdLewis the right push

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why your best conquest sale isn’t a new customer RussellGrant

Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement Strategist

marketing solution

08 10

sales & training solution 20

National data outage = power outage BryanAnderson


28 30 34 44 46 48 50

MarkTewart Three things that you can do to make new salespeople successful


12 feature solution


marketing solution

the importance of keeping your message consistent With the continuing growth of technology, there are so many different ways for people to inform and entertain themselves. For example, mobile and tablet usage has increased by 35 percent year over year. And, just like with television, radio and newspapers, these new sources of information and entertainment can also serve as a new avenue for advertising and marketing. This is both a blessing and curse. On the one hand, you have more ways to reach people. In addition to TV, radio and print publication, you have a new audience to capture, brought in by social media, online videos and Web searches available on a wide range of devices, such as tablets or smart phones. This rapidly changing technology is tricky to understand, so the simple solution — especially for established dealerships — seems to be to hire a company to handle it for you. For example, you already have a company that handles your television and radio spots. You also have another company who handles all your dealership’s print ads. Now you want to get into pay-per-click advertising, so you hire a company that does that. You also want to be more active on social media, so you hire another company to do that. This is when it can become a bit of curse. In the example above, that dealership has four different companies managing five different avenues of advertising. While there is nothing majorly wrong with going this route, it may lead to some issues down the road. Four different companies means four different philosophies and four different approaches. This situation makes it easy for your dealerships to have four different messages coming from your advertising and marketing approach — not to mention that managing this approach is time consuming and difficult. While the main goal of marketing and advertising is to ultimately sell cars and bring customers in for service, it also helps with brand awareness in the local marketplace. Having an inconsistent message would greatly hinder your dealership’s ability to gain brand awareness. The average shopper turns to 24 places to research their next car before making a purchase. In essence, it will not seem like it’s coming from the same source if the look and feel of your social media, televisions spots, print ads and other marketing differs. “People consume media in so many different ways, an integrated look and strategy that falls across all mediums is vital and necessary,” said Scott Fletcher, co-founder and vice president of client services at Tier10, an automotive advertising agency that specializes in a multi-platform approach for some of the largest automotive dealer groups and associations in the nation. Fletcher calls this approach “cross-media frequency,” which includes a single company handling everything for its clients: creative, production, planning and executing full digital and social media strategies, media buying and planning, reputation management and everything in between. In today’s technological age, cross-media frequency is important for every dealership. Staying ahead of the curve on the trends and technology — especially within the industry — will allow your dealership to stand out from your competitors. It also won’t feel like you’re playing “catchup” with everybody else. In other words, we know that it’s always better to be proactive than reactive, especially when it comes to your multi-platform marketing and advertising strategy. However, it’s even more important to make sure your multi-platform marketing and advertising strategy has a singular, cohesive message with consistent look and feel that is distinctive to your dealership.

Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at


David Pierce, Used Car Manager



Jeff Mayer, President/General Manager





marketing solution

video strategy crucial to byer’s success For this month’s dealer video marketing profile, I interviewed Chad Azeltine of the Byers Automotive Group. Byers, which has 16 new car franchise locations in central Ohio, is currently ranked No. 1 in their region for various brands. Founded in 1897, Byers Auto is also one of the oldest dealer groups in the U.S. Below is a transcript of our conversation: AJ LeBlanc: Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy and philosophy? Chad Azeltine: We have several philosophies

in our marketing strategy. First, we do not generate demand for our OEMs; we fulfill the demand generated by our OEMs. Our marketing strategy focuses on building the dealership’s brand instead of the manufacturer’s. In a competitive market, “why buy from us” messaging, along with creative that breaks through the clutter, is crucial for our success. We are also extremely “discoverable” online. When someone is searching for a vehicle, our presence is apparent. Some tactics are highly targeted, while others have a very broad reach. Regardless of what channel we are using, we try hard to remember that “the bait has to be appealing to the fish, not the fisherman.” AJ: What type of marketing efforts do you implement in the stores on a consistent monthly basis? CA: We mainly use television and digital. TV

casts the broadest net, while digital can be as sharp as a hook. We have found these to be the most effective means for delivering brand messaging to our audience. Leveraging video

online magnifies the impact of our traditional media spend and creates opportunities for our video content to be shared online. AJ: Why is it important for a dealership to have Video SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy? CA: Video SEO is crucial for several reasons. It allows us

to own more real estate on Page One of a Google search. Conquesting videos give us a presence in search queries that our site would not otherwise have the relevance to appear in. Finally, video as a medium is more engaging and allows us to speak to our audience directly. The impact of a video drastically outweighs any other media. AJ: Can you explain what Video SEO does for your dealership? CA: Video SEO gives us an edge over our competition that is difficult to overtake. It is not a

scenario where a competitor can just throw money at the situation and make it go away.

AJ: How has a Video SEO strategy impacted your sites’ visibility on search engines? CA: Video SEO is one of our cornerstones to being “discoverable.” Google likes seeing our Website

mentioned in other places online. It helps create and maintain relevance in the online world.

AJ: How do you measure the effectiveness of your Video SEO strategy? CA: We don’t look at Video SEO in a standard ROI metric. We look at the number of searches

we are appearing on, how many would only be achievable with Video SEO and, finally, how many times our message was heard. Each video is like a television commercial. We look at how much that spot would have cost to run on air and we at least know the video was actually viewed. AJ: Lastly, when did your dealerships implement a Video SEO strategy and what is the average increase your group’s stores have seen in sales/market share since implementing this strategy into your overall marketing plan? CA: We began our Video SEO strategy towards the end of 2012. In the last year, we have seen

significant increases in organic search placement, and our organic search visibility for competitive models. We have several thousand subscribers and well over two million video views. Video has been crucial to our success in the digital space. Start using video marketing today to help your dealership gain additional exposure online to inmarket automotive buyers. AJ LeBlanc is the co-founder of He can be contacted at 866.795.9094, or by e-mail at

What dealers want…

“Simplified reporting”

“To crush our competition”

“Active account management”

“To see the ROI”

Call 855-830-9966 today to see how PCG can address the things that will make your dealership shine. 446 Route 35 South, Building C, Eatontown, NJ 07724

“I called PCG”

Visit us in New Orleans, Jan 24-27 at NADA 2014, booth #7218


”To not be treated like a number”

“An understanding of our local market” • • • • • • • • •

SEO Content Social Media SEM PPC Video Website Design Consulting Digital Audits Training

Once upon a time, consumers spent six months dreaming, thinking and researching their ultimate automotive purchase. All 16.9 million buyers in 2008 dragged their feet through a funnel of thoughts, planning every angle of the process. Like the remix to a song, the new process to car buying has sped up and developed into a three-month shot glass. Today, there are 33 percent fewer people in the market than in 2008; the number of buyers, however, is only slightly less. These new car buyers are not dreaming. Three out of four customers who enter your showroom will likely drive one of your vehicles off the lot that day. So why is the buying process shorter today than it was three years ago? One answer: Interactive media has made it easier than ever to obtain information and has compressed the time it takes to purchase. Digital media, such as video and search advertising, shows up on tablets and other mobile devices and traditional media, such as TV, print and radio, is now being used in combination with these more untraditional forms of media. Since the majority of the battle happens before customers walk in, dealers need to be prepared to make full use of media. There are a few eye-opening results from this list, and one common denominator — ­ the areas where spending is up — involves targeted marketing. One trend is as clear as crystal: The merging of targeted traditional and digital marketing is working for the automotive industry. Successful dealers are using targeted and digital mediums that are less expensive, more measurable and give a better return on investment than traditional mass marketing. The key to their success is implementing a targeted marketing strategy to maximize their results. This allows dealers to spend smarter and get a better return on investment by targeting consumers who are most likely to purchase.


a new (media) shift in strategy


The average shopper turns to 24 research points before they purchase a car. These points vary from television to online to word of mouth, and many more. A crutch that looms over the doors of dealerships is that they hire different vendors for different areas of focus. For example, they may use one company to manage their television ads, and another to manage their point of sale efforts in their service department. Sound familiar? Unfortunately for dealers, these different vendors don’t talk — nor do they want to. Dealers might as well hire a consistency manager to run these vendors. This is why leading dealers like Wesley Gregg at Gaudin Ford now use a single company to manage the marketing of all profit centers.

The Big Shift in Advertising


TARGETED *Source: Borrell Associates


The Marketing

Consumers have changed the way they research, shop, buy and service their vehicles. The majority of automotive advertising is spent on traditional mass marketing, yet only one percent of consumers exposed to TV, radio and print will buy a car this month. Targeting customers based on where they live is the smarter, more measured way to spend. Attracting the one percent of “in-market” consumers begins by researching your audience. Analyzing your historical sales and service transactions to determine customer trends and then comparing them to consumer patterns within the local market will give you a good idea of your market. “These consumers have the greatest probability of buying or servicing with your dealership,” said Budd Blackburn, owner of “Dealers should segment their audience into their purchasing patterns and market to them accordingly,” he added. “Drilling into your DMS to determine who is most likely to purchase with your dealership and targeting those audiences is very concrete,” said Melanie Spare-Oswalt of Sayville Ford, who works with “This strategy is the easiest to administer and produces the greatest results.” Sayville Ford is the leading Ford dealership in Long Island, New York.

months from purchase

6 dreaming

29.9 million people

Digital Media Compresses the Car Buying Decision Timeline


5 radio thinking

4 magazines

3 researching

29.9 million people

local magazines




2 deciding


16.9 million buyers

“We’ve woven our messaging together in all of our pieces,” Gregg said, “from video to search engine marketing to direct mail and more. This allows us to get more from every area of our marketing.” From an ROI standpoint, this approach to marketing is particularly effective because it comes from one vendor and is both measurable and consistent. “A dealership can’t afford to have different messages in different media; they need streamlined, coordinated and trackable marketing campaigns,” said Sean Wolfington, owner of “They architect the creation, production, planning and executing of traditional, digital and social media strategies, media buying and planning, reputation management and everything in between.”

ONLINE Online marketing continues to rise and is the reason for the shift in the car-buying funnel. When in-market consumers aren’t in your store visiting, they are online making decisions about the car they will buy. Relevance in search engine optimization and online display ads will win customers.

VIDEO SEARCH A recent Google study says that 61 percent of auto purchasers visited a dealership after viewing an auto video. In search engine marketing, a video has a 55x greater chance of getting clicked on than any static text listing. Because video is rich in content and it’s still not widely used by marketers, it’s more likely to rank higher in search results. Many successful dealers are using technology to increase Page One visibility on search engines, increase Website traffic and capture conquest customers from their competition. “With Video SEO, I often end up with several links on the search results page for customers who were not initially shopping for my brand. These clicks are free and they result in the searcher being shown a video with a few highlights of my cars. Now they have read, heard and seen me and my competing vehicles. Boom — we now have another potential client,” said Jesse Walker, Internet marketing director of Lexus & Subaru of Pembroke Pines. On the Lexus side alone, from 2011 to 2013 Pembroke Pines doubled the average monthly amount of trade-ins from the three brands they con-

15.6 million buyers

quest. “Video SEO helps dealers dominate the search results with positive videos while also removing thirdparty lead providers and competing dealers from the most important Page One rankings,” said AJ LeBlanc, co-founder of, the first automotive technology company to ever be featured in a case study by Google. “These videos protect and promote the dealer’s positive reputation so customers looking for a car in their market find videos that educate them about the benefits of doing business with the dealership, along with attractive offers that drive traffic to their Website, phone and showroom.”

RETENTION MARKETING Customer retention is an important part of all marketing strategies, as it is better to have a deal rather than just the possibility of one. A good retention strategy leads to a longer relationship and, therefore, extended revenue and, as an added bonus, more customer referrals. Brandon Honda in Tampa, Florida increased consistency and performance of their sales team by implementing a loyalty marketing system that automatically delivers personalized upgrade quotes via direct mail and e-mail on behalf of each individual salesperson and automatically reassigns “orphan owners” if a salesperson is no longer with the dealership. “Customers aren’t afraid of buying a car. They are just afraid of making a mistake. To overcome this fear, we built our processes around making it easy for our customers to buy a car,” said John Marazzi, owner of Brandon Honda. “We’ve seen a 31 percent increase in sales volume with this strategy,” he added. “When a dealer replaces their equity mining tool with a holistic loyalty marketing strategy, great things happen. It’s not surprising they’ve seen such dramatic results such as this,” said Scott Davis, founder of, who works with Brandon Honda.

TECHNOLOGY-BASED SELLING Mobile and tablet usage has increased by 35 percent year over year. It’s no surprise that the majority of automotive inquiries are coming from connected devices. In addition, a recent study by J.D. Power indicates that sales satisfaction among new-vehicle buyers is five percent higher when their salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process than when the salesperson does not. The new-car-buying shot glass displays that the majority of the battle is won before the customer walks into the dealership. However, because of connected devices, this becomes a double-edge sword. As many as 67 percent of smartphone users now use their devices to access competitor’s information while they are visiting a dealer’s showroom.“The modern consumer doesn’t like to wait for information; they don’t see the need for it, and they will often seek to get it from another dealership if they can’t get it from yours,” said Jim Hughes, co-owner of The point is, marketing does not stop when a dealership gets a lead; it must be continued throughout the sales process. To combat this, many dealers are now using technology-assisted selling as a competitive advantage. “We have strong competition in our market. They have bigger facilities and larger inventories, so we incorporated iPads into our sales process to make superior customer service our competitive advantage,” said Criss Castle, director of sales operations for Leader Automotive Group in Long Island, New York. “We get more productive hours out of every work day, generate more sales from the same number of salespeople and get quality information into our CRM.” Castle’s staff never has to leave their customers’ side because all the information that the sales team needs is literally in their hand. This shift in consumer buying begs a shift in automotive advertising spend. It’s important for dealerships and OEMs to understand that the more consumers research, the more prevalent and necessary it is for consumers to be armed with useful information from advertising. The common denominator of targeted marketing allows dealers to depend less on outside data and sell more cars to the customers they already have.

*Source: Borrell Associates


social media


marketing solution

to text or not to text, that is the question Here are three items to consider: 1. Consumers are accessing automotive data on three different devices — desktops, tablets and smartphones. Tablet usage is heaviest during the evening while consumers are watching television, smartphones get steady use throughout the day and desktops are becoming more of a daytime work device most often used in the morning. 2. An estimated 67 percent of new vehicle buyers own a smartphone. 3. The average mobile consumer will make 164.5 phone calls in a month while sending 764.2 text messages. And text messages are read more often, and in a timelier manner, than e-mails. Because of the popularity of text message communication, some dealers have encouraged their sales staff to pick up their personal smartphones and text Internet leads if they can’t get in touch with a consumer via e-mail or phone. This raises two significant issues: The phone number may be a landline and incapable of receiving a text message, and this “renegade” approach to texting outside of any dealership CRM, DMS or other similar tracking system could result in lost sales, as there is no documentation of the conversation for follow up or any real protection from a salesperson continuing to communicate with that customer if they no longer work at the dealership. In addition, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, along with CAN-SPAM, generally lumps text messages into the same category as phone calls, which are covered by specific rules and best practices — one of which is to give a consumer a clear method to opt out of further text messages, such as the ability to text “STOP” to block any future messages. Without a system to track all text communications and accept “STOP” requests, the dealership could be opening itself up to significant fines and penalties. Based on all this information, the answer to this article’s headline would probably be “not to text,” but that would prevent dealers from engaging with customers in a manner the customers prefer and negatively impacting business in the process. So how can we


continue to do business with consumers who prefer to text while at the same time preserving records of text communications and complying with opt-out requirements? Below are four best practices to consider in connection with any text messaging program:

1. Text messages should be initiated by the consumer, not by the dealership. 2. All text messages should be stored in a system. Beyond maintaining a record of the text

communications for compliance purposes, this also helps document the text conversation for your CRM/DMS. 3. The storage/message system should recognize “STOP” or other methods of opting out of future text messages and automatically lock out any further text communication with that consumer. 4. Text messaging should be performed within a secure environment. Can you sell a car and get a consumer into the dealership solely by texting? Perhaps, but more importantly, you can establish a trusted relationship with a consumer via text, which allows you to ask permission and, in return, receive confirmation that it’s OK to call the consumer. This is critically important. So, how do you get a consumer to initiate a text message to your dealership? The obvious first step is the have “Text” links on both your desktop and mobile Websites. It should be prominently displayed with inventory listing, “Request a Quote” forms, and as an option on how to contact your dealership. But this is just the first step. By employing text message marketing campaigns, you can open many more opportunities to have a text dialogue. Put keywords and short codes within all of your advertising campaigns. Put it on all your window stickers, such as “Text STATE (keyword for State College Ford) to 50123” or “Text 2SELC2 (keyword for last 6 digits of a VIN number) to 50123.” Beyond responding to the initial text message with links to your mobile content, you can now offer another opportunity to text — again, initiated by the consumer. It sounds simple enough, but it’s essential to do it correctly. You need a complete mobile strategy that coordinates your text processes with your mobile site and/or mobile app and one that also incorporates text message marketing campaigns. Most importantly, remember that consumers expect a timely response once a dialogue starts. It should be a steady back and forth. Consider appointing a dedicated BDC or Internet staff member who is always available to chat (at minimum during your normal business hours). If you can’t, consider outsourcing your texting processes, just like you might outsource your traditional Web chat processes. How many consumers leave your site once they get to that lead form now? And how many more will drop when they are being asked to key in their personal information on a smartphone? Technology always leads to change. The Model-T made the horse less valuable. Cell phones made landlines less valuable. And texting is making e-mail less valuable. From a 2012 Accenture Automotive Consumer Study, 68 percent of consumers welcome the ability to chat with a dealer. You need to have the ability to communicate with consumers in a manner they are most comfortable with — texting — and with systems and processes to help ensure legal compliance. Scott Pechstein is the vice president of national sales at Autobytel. He can be contacted at 866.423.9019, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

the right push

It’s with you during breakfast, while you’re at work, on your commute home and even when you’re tucking yourself into bed. Users typically keep their smartphone on them 24/7. Nearly 142 million people in the United States own a smart phone (59 percent mobile market penetration) and that number is increasing fast. Twenty-five percent of American households have dropped landlines and replaced them with the use of mobile phones. As the world is going mobile, a new generation of apps is changing every aspect of our daily lives — from how we shop to how we communicate with others.

are bringing them. This allows your customers to connect with your company in a manner that’ll make their lives better, easier and more productive. Push technology builds a personal relationship with your customer, resulting in an effective way to drive brand loyalty.

A new, innovative communication channel through apps has been created to elevate the opportunity to serve customers and increase their brand loyalty; it is called push technology. It creates direct access to customers, allowing direct communication. Push technology serves as the voice of the app and it can deliver value at the right time and right place.

It can be argued that push notifications are the most powerful communication channel out there, and will soon be the primary engagement vehicle for consumer interaction. There is a 97 percent read rate within 90 seconds after the pop up. Push allows you to reach out to your customer no matter how deep they are in other apps. Customers will see push as a key benefit in providing them information effortless.

Unlike other communication channels such as radio, television and print advertising, push messages directly connect you with your customers on their likings. Many users think of their smartphones as an extension of their body, as a personal assistant to their daily lives, helping them set events, look up information and alert them with reminders. With push notifications, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing strategy by creating a system that allows your company to provide them with their own simulated personal assistant. It’ll be a way for you to tap your customers on the shoulder and remind them of the value you

In recent research, push notifications can lead to: • a 540 percent increase in daily app opens. • a response time three times faster than e-mail. • a 30 percent increase in social sharing on Facebook and Twitter

More and more smartphone users are opting into push technology and dealerships are taking notice. Out of all users who downloaded the Jim Click Automotive app, 89 percent opt in for push notifications. Ralph Schomp Automotive has also seen a great opt-in rate for push technology. Out of the 12, 835 users who downloaded their app, 8,725 of them opt in for push notifications. Dealerships aren’t the only ones seeing an increase of customer engagement from push notifications. Walgreens has seen an improvement in their customer service and productivity from the use of push notifications. Walgreens uses push technology to remind customers when a prescription is ready for pick up, when photos are ready for print and even reminding people when to take their medicine. This has not only improved Walgreen’s service, but also benefited customers, making their lives easier. You can do the same with your dealership. There are plenty of amazing things you can do with push notifications that’ll make your customers’ lives easier. You can customize each message so that customers can schedule service, view inventory or even follow a link. You can run specials or highlight a particular year, make or model using your inventory data so you can create better sales and service for your customers. You can even include a coupon or operation code in your service specials so when a customer schedules service, you can quickly identify the special and track it. With this kind of great service, customers will want to reference your company, and this system makes it simple to do so. Customers can share your message with their friends and family through e-mail, text or a social network such as Facebook. With this, you will greatly increase your outreach to customers without needing to spend more time, energy and money on advertising. Push notification allows you to get your customers’ attention as they live their busy lives. As customers become accustomed to the constant reminders and alerts they get, the more it will enhance their lives. If dealerships are looking for an effective marketing strategy that will reap benefits and bring significant results, push notifications are what they’re looking for. Ed Louis is the CEO and co-founder of DealerApp Vantage. He can be contacted at 866.604.6710, or by e-mail at


Stop the New Car Madness. Today’s new car market is ever more transparent. Every day, consumers have greater knowledge of what they should pay before leaving home. Traditional dealer claims of “low-priced leader,” “nobody sells for less” and the like are less and less convincing to consumers. Low-ball and lossleader advertisements create confusion in the market, dissatisfaction for consumers and a race to the bottom for dealers. It is a condition where no one wins and new car department profitability grows more and more elusive. It’s time to stop the madness! I’ve thought long and hard about this problem and I believe there is a new and better way forward for our new car market. My vision is premised on two beliefs: 1. Consumers will reward dealers with their patronage and loyalty when dealers properly price and credibly promote their new vehicle inventory. 2. When dealers order and stock more vehicles with colors and configurations that are in high demand and low supply, they will make more profit. If you agree with these two beliefs, if you are ready to depart from the old practices and begin properly pricing and promoting your new vehicles, if you are ready for more thoughtful ordering and stocking, then you are ready to embark on a new way forward for the new car business.

Dale Pollak Founder of vAuto






New car inventory management and pricing for the dealer who’s ready to win without fighting. NO MORE PRICING GUESSWORK. Know your pricing is competitive, with real-time intel on every in-brand and off-brand competitor. Attract more shoppers to your showroom who won’t do battle with you.

NO MORE INCENTIVES CHAOS. Every available discount and rebate is dynamically reflected in your pricing.

NO MORE STOCKING MISTAKES. With a new, live view of what’s really moving, under your rooftop and across your entire live market, you can make smarter stocking decisions.

NO MORE UNNECESSARY MARGIN CONCESSIONS. Close with the manufacturer’s money — not your own.

NO MORE RACE TO THE BOT TOM. Properly purchase, price and promote every vehicle in your inventory — easily, efficiently and automatically — and win the race to the customer.

Win the new car market the new way. Premiering at NADA Convention 2014. Visit vAuto at booth #2318. Be among the first to experience a live demo. To register, call us today at 888-536-4086, or visit


sales & training solution

why we should run our business like a sports team Let’s paint a picture: You pay good money to go watch your favorite sports team, but when they begin to play, they are horrible. Their execution is sporadic and sloppy. They seem to have a lackadaisical attitude — an “I did my part” mentality — and the coach is nowhere to be found on the sideline.

Let’s look at a typical day for those who have daily video training: The team comes in and watches the video. The team takes the test together, checks off the list and heads out to work. What is missing? Well, did each person take the test? No, the group did. So, how do I know if anyone got the information?

What would you think? How long before you left the game or asked for a refund?

So how was that useful?

Studies from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) state that 57 percent of workers want on-site or off-site training, but most actual training is video, if it happens at all. Many have a manager on site who has not been educated in how to train effectively, but is expected to teach others. Again, seems strange. As much as we need training on product knowledge, we need to have training on…well, training. What do sports coaches do? They map out strategies and each day they practice. Their teams are put into situations and rehearse how they will execute.


Did they set up any follow-up to anchor in the training? No.

Take the sports analogy: • The coach draws up the play and goes over it. • The coach asks the team if they understand what needs to be done. • They all say “yes.” • They go out and play the game. • The coach goes back to his office. It seems funny when you put it that way, yet we do it all the time in our workplace. Why do we hire a trainer? We need someone to hold us accountable. We need someone to push us. Why not bring in someone to do this if you know your team cannot do it without him or her? Look at it as an investment in your team’s health and success, not as a cost. Think of the cost of not doing it. What is the lost potential revenue for not investing wisely? What is the cost of replacing an individual if they leave because you are not helping them succeed? The cost of replacing a team member is 1.5 times that of his or her yearly salary. Think of the time taken away from your management when they have to continually train new people because of turnover. What would a consistently trained workforce mean to your bottom line? If we invested the same amount of time and training into our own teams as a sports franchise does, just think how far ahead we would be of our competition. Glenn Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing and a national speaker and trainer. He can be contacted at 866.611.0998, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee

If we change “sports team” with your business, could we draw parallels or find similarities? Why do we expect our favorite sports team to hire a head coach whose job it is to train the team on skills, look at execution and refine the processes until the team excels, but many of us would never do that for our own businesses? Our training is short term and self-motivated — sometimes it is just on video — but we expect world-class results. Seems a bit silly to me.

Did they take the time to relate what they learned to what they go through each day? No.

We’re selling

20 to 45 units

per month with bLinked. It’s the best thing we’ve done this year. General Manager Mike Hills Acton Toyota of Littleton 800.346.9117 | Scan for the solution now

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leadership solution

three things that you can do to make new salespeople successful tend to have an image and self-confidence problem. Most dealership managers do not believe they can recruit high-caliber people. Most dealerships do not have a plan to continually recruit, hire, train and retain quality people; therefore, they act out of need. Needy people and needy businesses never get what they want.

I recently listened to an interview with an industry leader and one of the questions posed was “What can dealership leaders do with new hires that can help ensure a better rate of success and reduce turnover?” The answers from the industry expert to the question were have a manager stay full time with the new salesperson for 30 days, make sure the salesperson reads a lot and make sure the salesperson picks up all the trash and cigarette butts they see to ensure attention to detail and a caring attitude.

1. Do you have a written and executed plan to recruit team members

After hearing this, I thought I’d give you my answers to this question.

2. Does this plan include multiple channels to reach people, including

First of all, if you hire a monkey and you have that monkey stay with a manager for 30 days, six months or a year, read a hundred books and pick up all the trash he can find, at the end of the time spent, you will still have a monkey. The root of all problems and evils in the retail auto industry is, and always has been, in who, how and why we hire. The vast majority of dealerships still hire the same way. See if this scenario sounds familiar: The manager wakes up and realizes that, all of sudden, he needs salespeople. Somebody quit or was fired and now the manager realizes he has a sale coming up and he is down one or more salespeople than what he needs. The manager calls the newspaper in a panic and asks to run the usual help wanted ad. Who usually responds to the newspaper ad? Retreads, people who cannot find a job and lesser-qualified people. In the retail industry, we

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I strongly disagree with the industry leader and his answers. You can hire people using industry standards, have them shadow managers, read everyday and pick up trash and they will still fail miserably. We have not taken personal responsibility in this industry. This is our problem, not the potential salespeople. Stop making excuses that you can’t get good people. Stop saying that young people won’t work. Stop saying people no longer have good work ethic. Stop it! No excuses!

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newspaper, newspaper inserts, pay per click, Website, referrals, online recruiting sites, traditional recruiting services, on-campus college recruiting and more? 3. Do you know what you are looking for? Have you created an “Ideal Employee Profile”? If you were to hire the perfect person for the position you are looking to fill, what would be the complete detail of that person? In other words, what do you want? 4. Do you have at least 50 questions to ask that will allow you to get a complete picture of that candidate? Or, do you ask them if they like cars and people and then drool when they say “yes”? 5. Do you utilize any logic-oriented tools to qualify candidates, such as personality profiles, sales success predictors, background checks and qualifying periods of employment? 6. Do you have a complete introductory training program that includes classroom training, showroom floor training, department introductions, role-play and testing? 7. Do you have ongoing training that includes classroom, online, video, audio, coaching, reading, mentors and outside sources? 9. Is your new person given a work plan to follow that includes complete daily action plans on how to prospect, market, follow up and set appointments, along with phone skills and sales skills? 9. Do you do daily one-on-one coaching sessions with this person to guide him or her? 10. Do you have specific success measurables for new hires to let them know how they are progressing? 11. Are you requiring new hires to set their own goals, and then guiding them on how to do that? 12. Are you giving the new hire a period where they can concentrate on learning and growing without feeling intense pressure to make a sale to pay their bills? 13. Do your managers or leaders have any skill sets or education around any of these functions? Turnover in the auto industry is, and always has been, horrible. The reason is, as an industry, we do not have a plan to recruit, hire, train and retain people. We hire less-than-desirable people, give them little-to-no training and guidance, tell them to sink or swim, blame them when they don’t succeed and then fire them — if they haven’t quit already.


every day?


Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee



Boost the Visibility of Your Service Center

If you are a dealership manager or leader, let me ask you a few questions:


leadership solution

national data outage = power outage We take electricity for granted. It powers things we use in our everyday lives and quite frankly, we feel pretty helpless without it. Even temporary blackouts cause us tremendous pain and inconvenience. Temporary fixes such as a backup battery or portable generator help a little, but the end result is we end up sacrificing something when our access to electrical power is interrupted. Similarly, your dealership’s data is the power (the so-called “electricity”) that drives so many of the tools that you count on each day. Without a steady stream of current data, applications become “underpowered” and oftentimes totally useless. So who is responsible for keeping the lights on? Let’s face it, when the “power” goes out and your data access is interrupted or limited, everyone typically stares at each other and then the blame game usually begins. Of course, it’s the troops in the trenches who rely on the applications from hundreds of vendors nationwide that are powered by your data who suffer. Their ability to sell and service more cars is impacted and, ultimately, the bottom line suffers. In the middle of any data “power outage” is your own IT staff, trying to figure where the tree went down and what lines are blocked. The pressure to turn the lights back on is high. Questions are asked, fingers are pointed, and a dealer’s valuable business relationships are put at risk. The Grid

As citizens of this country, we expect access to certain basic things such as electricity to run our businesses and to heat our homes. We “own” the right to the electricity; the public utilities are required and regulated by our government to make sure they deliver you power in a consistent manner. The data that powers your dealership can be compared to this system, but sadly, while the “electricity” of data power is owned by your dealership, the grid is controlled by “unregulated” third parties. They can, and often do, stop your data power from reaching the intended recipients. When the grid shuts down, the recipients are in the dark and will often ask you or their sub-station to help them get back online. Unfortunately, the sub-station operators (companies like Authenticom, DMI, and Integralink) can also be held at the mercy of the big utilities providers — for example, DMS companies like Reynolds and Reynolds or ADP. Your Electricity

So here you are with your data power, but no way to deliver it to the applications that power your dealership. The sub-station operators are at


a loss, with some even saying “we can no longer help you.” The end result is the great solutions that you contracted for are underpowered or totally dead — just like someone flipped the “off ” switch. Without power, they all will lose their value to you, the dealer, and can no longer provide any return on your investment. Your sales teams and your service teams are heavily impacted, and your IT staff is simply tired of the pain and fire drills when the lights go out. So what is the answer? Will all of the great technical solutions nationwide be willing to pay a tax to use the big utilities grid to get electricity—your data power? Unfortunately, most can’t sustain bringing you valuable products and services that are subject to a “tax” unrelated to their relationship with you and your business. Others will refuse to pay these fees or taxes and work with dealerships using DMS providers that do not tax the dealer’s data because these additional costs would make their solution unmarketable. Taxing your Data is like Taxing your Electricity

Let’s look at a real-life example. I visited a large dealer group recently that happened to be delivering data to nearly 100 different places. The costs to get that data delivered to the different solutions can be broken down into three different buckets: • Grid Fee — The vendor chooses to pay the grid provider for your electricity (certified solutions). • Off-grid Fee — The vendor chooses to pay a sub-station to connect for you. • IT Man Hours — There is a tremendous amount of work to transfer your electricity yourself directly to your vendors (application providers). Sadly, these fees are often hidden between the lines. For vendors who choose to pay the certified tax or grid fee, it is forbidden for them to show the tax they are paying to move your electricity. For off-grid fee vendors, you might actually see the tax on your electric. From an IT perspective, it is simply a matter of man hours and pain. When you start adding up all of these costs, the simple fact is you are getting heavily taxed on your own electricity. So what happens if the utility company becomes the only way to access your electricity? Like any monopoly, you can expect significant increases in costs from all of your vendors. Unfortunately, many of the vendors will simply vanish, leaving fewer choices and even higher prices. The current outlook is dark. Let there be Light

Given the options, there may be only limited solutions to the current problem. For some large dealer groups, it has been a matter of taking their data into their own hands. They are investing heavily in cloud resources to create large data stores where they can distribute their “electricity” freely. Ultimately, this solution is straightforward and logical. Move your data to the cloud where it can be normalized, secured and then distributed without any additional costs to your vendors. Unfortunately, the costs associated with this type of system are prohibitive for all but the largest of groups. Dealer-Driven Solution

The concept of a dealer-driven solution has numerous benefits and has recently been investigated by NADA as a way to comply with the guidelines they published on September 18, 2013. • It gives you the ability to manage all of your non-grid data movement to ensure you’re adhering with all federal and state law. • It increases your data security. • It gives you total control of the exact data you are distributing. • It lowers your overall vendor costs because you are giving them the electricity/data they need at no cost. The bottom-line is that it is time to tackle this problem. Blackouts, brownouts, blockages, disabled profiles, you name it, are all extremely costly to the involved parties. We simply cannot depend on the utility companies to come up with a solution that will meet the needs of everyone. While these companies claim to be regulating the flow of your data power to protect the dealer, there is no evidence this is the case. When data is released out of these so-called certified programs, all dealers have faced those fines and consequences without insurance or contribution from the provider. It seems these programs are clearly meant to protect the company controlling your data power and take advantage of another source of revenue from data assets owned by you, the dealer, by taxing those who use your data power. Bryan Anderson is the president and CEO of DealerVault. He can be contacted at 866.667.9659, or by e-mail at

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marketing solution

vdp views and car sales ­— interpreting the data In a hyper-competitive automotive sales space, dealerships are constantly searching for an advantage. As of late, that advantage has been the utilization of data. The most recent bit of data making the rounds is vehicle detail page (VDP) views. It is being used as a core key performance indicator (KPI) for many dealerships, as its correlation with sales numbers has been revealed. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

description pages were viewed, the more vehicles they sold. This is a great piece of data. Unfortunately, it is not actionable information yet. Nevertheless, this data has been disseminated down the ranks from vendors to OEMs to consultants to dealers. Dealers hear this bit of data and get excited. Vendors jump at the chance to use this excitement to create a new line of products to sell, with the promise of more VDP views and, thus, more sales.

One of the issues with data is that there is a ton of it in the auto industry. There are a lot of people who know that they should be using it — but there are very few who know how to interpret it. If there is anything to know about data, it’s that it means very little without thoughtful interpretation.

All too often, however, amidst the excitement and dollar signs, no one has really stopped to examine the data. The fact is, the most pertinent pieces of information to be derived from this data is why more VDP views correlate to more sales and what makes shoppers want to go to a VDP. While there has been no definite research published on the topic, a few things may come to mind.

Without Interpretation, Data is Nearly Worthless

VDP views as a core digital KPI is a prime example of data misinterpretation that is happening in the industry right now. Somewhere along the way, there was a pattern detected: The more times a dealer’s vehicle


Actual inventory selection — Is it possible that the reason people view a VDP is because they

found a vehicle that closely matches what they were looking for? If so, then is it also fair to ask that, if they found a vehicle they like, are they are more likely to buy it? Buying Stage — Actually drilling down to a VDP is a signal that a shopper has done enough research to consider an individual car. So, isn’t someone further along in the buying process also more likely to buy a vehicle? These are both potentially valuable pieces of information that could be derived from that bit of data. But neither suggests that you start pumping visitors to VDPs as quickly as possible. Again, this is one of the scenarios that happen time and time again in the industry. It’s the nature of a competitive person, or industry, to take a chance and potentially leap before looking – but perhaps it’s time to begin thinking before jumping.

Aaron Schinke is the vice president of product development and marketing at DealerFire. He can be contacted at 866.263.5696, or by e-mail at

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leadership solution

a goal for 2014: win without fighting — and sell more new/used vehicles As I look ahead to the coming year, I see a trifecta of potential trouble for dealers: First, dealers will want to continue the pace of renewed new/used sales volumes and profitability they’ve enjoyed in 2013. Second, consumers will get even hungrier for the best deal, heeding calls from TrueCar and others to not “overpay” when buying a vehicle while getting a guaranteed, no-haggle price and experience. Third, we may well see a softening of consumer demand in new and used vehicles — even as factories want to maintain higher levels of production, and lease returns help normalize supplies of used vehicles. Taken together, I believe these factors will put more pressure on dealer margins, and accelerate the shift in our business from highly competitive to hypercompetitive. My fear is that many dealers will run headlong into this challenging environment without re-assessing their game plan or strategy. Like they’ve always done, the dealers will go toe-to-toe with other dealers and their customers to win more deals, even though such battles ultimately mean less for the bottom line. This thinking has led me to Sun Tzu’s concept of “winning without fighting” and a key question: How can dealers win without fighting in their quest to sell more new and used vehicles and make more money?

For sure, part of the answer lies in knowledge. The dealers who are most astute about supply and demand data for new/used vehicles in their markets will have an advantage. As Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” The good news here is that technology and tools are available to help dealers mine the market data and spot their strengths and weaknesses in the context of the competition. In new and used vehicles, it’s easier now than it’s ever been to see all the competing cars and their prices — and execute your retailing strategy accordingly. I don’t believe there will be a single strategy that will help dealers win without fighting. Dealers are too different and distinct for that to happen. However, I do believe the most successful strategies will share four common elements: 1. Proper pricing. Most dealers understand the necessity of market-transparent pricing in used vehicles, and many are essentially “transaction transparent” when they put asking prices on cars. In new vehicles, however, it’s still mostly a crapshoot for dealers. I’m convinced transactionlike new vehicle pricing will be the next new frontier for dealers — an evolution that occurs as dealers “know the enemy and yourself.”

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




3. Proper purchasing. Dealers are well aware of the battle to acquire the “right” used vehicles for their inventories and markets. There’s far less analysis and implementation of the “right” inventory profile in new vehicles. It should be readily understood by dealers that those who purchase and stock a higher number of indemand vehicles will get more deals. 4. Proper processes. The rising tide of transparency will only climb higher in the coming months. While they don’t like to admit it, I suspect most dealers recognize that traditional sales processes are running out of relevance with buyers. The key here is recognizing that the buyers will reward dealers who make the transition to transparency in their showrooms.

I would encourage dealers to use the coming holiday season to reflect on the year ahead and ask their teams, “What can we do in 2014 to win without fighting and sell more new and used vehicles?”

Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at



2. Proper promotion. With new technology and tools, dealers can now tell the exact equipment and features that appeal most to new and used vehicle buyers. Moving forward, the challenge will be showcasing each car’s specific “value factors” in the most compelling way (via descriptions, photos, videos, etc.) to catch a buyer’s interest. On top of that, buyers will increasingly want to validate you as a dealer who truly offers a superior, less timeconsuming experience.

podcast interviewee

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“Prove “ProveMe Me Wrong, Wrong,Guys” Guys” showed TheyThey showed me me When disaster struck . . . In. .fact, when When disaster struck . In fact, when to commandJoplin howhow to command was was hit by tornado in 2011, I wasI was Joplin hita by a tornado in 2011, the actions the actions able able to literally be on of a forklift to literally bethe on back the back of a forklift ® ® him ws wstohim to of potential of potential allo allo for five months. I had a strong enough for five months. 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I’ll I’ll FREE FREE Traffic Traffic ScaleScale Report Report will will expose expose havehave much much to risk, to risk, so I gave so I gave it a shot. it a shot. caution caution you to you “hold to “hold on tight” on tight” because because it’s it’showhow much much untapped untapped opportunity opportunity there there is is “Prove “Prove me wrong, me wrong, guys,” guys,” I said. I said. the ride the ride of your of your life. life. Before, Before, monthly monthly in your in your market. market. It’s no It’sstretch no stretch to say tothat say that traffic traffic to the to store the store was was at 200. at 200. NowNow we wethe information the information in the in report the report could could easily easily Reluctantly Reluctantly I dragged I dragged myself myself to a to Rich a Richsee 600 see 600 plusplus customers customers eacheach month. month. lead lead to antoextra an extra $1 million $1 million in additional in additional net net ® ® Dealers Dealers meeting. meeting. 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HowHow could could these these two two timetime to find to find those those “A” players “A” players that that you you Snatchers. Snatchers. It’s aIt’s little a little controversial, controversial, I’ll I’ll guysguys know know something something nobody nobody else else did? did? dream dream about about having having in positions in positions at your at your admit, admit, but you but will you know will know quickly quickly that that Jim & Jim & dealership. dealership. Before, Before, I wasI was always always at the at the Travis Travis know know our industry our industry inside inside and out... and out... 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the dealer panel

Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Danny Benites Tony Provost In last month’s installment of the AutoSuccess and Dealer’s Panel, we asked our panel about the factors that go into the decision of whether or not to attend industry conferences and, if they do, who for their dealership should go. This month, we’ll finish our discussion of what makes a conference valuable, and how they bring the information home and put it to use.

part 2

to go or not to go: decisions about attending conferences I’ve seen, I’ll try to reach out to that speaker or vendor to provide us with more follow-up items, or even conduct a Webinar for my team that we can view. DB: Another phrase that I live by is, “List, categorize

and prioritize.” Once we’ve decided on the ideas that For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Danny Benites, general manager of Greg will be most impactful, we develop an action plan. We Lair Buick-GMC in Canyon, Texas; Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly then try to set aside time each week at our manager Automotive Group in Pennsylvania and Florida; Tony Provost, president and dealer meetings provided to gauge the successful solutions by progress. THE for Nissan of Bourne in Massachusetts; Brian Benstock, vice president and principal general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Andrew DiFeo, BB: We collect everyone’s notes and sit down amongst general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida. the leadership team and describe what happened and what we got from it. Then, at our managers’ meeting we have every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we’ll AutoSuccess: What factors make a conference valuable to your particular dealership? What type of subjects or topics make the most sense to attend sit down and share what we learned, how it can impact for your specific circumstance? the store and our business. Andrew DiFeo: I try to look for conferences that provide more topics that are related to strategy, both short term and long term, versus conferences that are focused on tactical TP: If you send someone, you want them to get five things that are being done at the dealership. As the leader of the organization, I have to be facts, and have six or seven related benefits for each the visionary and look out one, three and five years from now as to what our business is fact. When you ask them about a fact and they have to going to look like then. drill down like that, they’ve really got to think about it. What ends up happening is that they know they’ll Danny Benites: I’m more interested in a “workshop” atmosphere, rather than a “lecture” have to give us five facts and six related benefits — that’s 30 things that can benefit the store. And, if you setting. Interactive discussions allow attendees to share actual situations that apply to them and get valuable personal feedback. In these types of conferences, we tend to learn as send different people, they’ll come up with different twists on it. much from the fellow dealers as we learn from the moderators. This proves to be a fertile growth environment. Currently, BDC innovations, ROI on lead providers, lead handling, SEO/SEM and video innovations are high on our list of specific topics we are pursuing. CS: If we’re going to spend time and send people to a conference, we typically have a pre-strategy meeting and look through the entire agenda before we even go. Brian Benstock: It’s really where we can go to get a wide array of things, such as the We have a “divide and conquer” mentality of “who’s Automotive Leadership Roundtable (ALR), where you have the president of the NADA going to go to this seminar, who’s going to go to this and some of the largest dealer groups in the country represented. When you can get workshop, and what do we want to accomplish from yourself around people who look at the business differently and who have a lot of depth, it?” We meet at the end every night, have dinner that’s what we look for. When we come back with pages of notes, that’s when we know and talk about what we’ve learned. At the end of the we’ve had an impactful meeting. If you’re going to put the time into it, really understand who’s going to be there, clearly define what your expectations are and what you want to get conference, we get together and have a 30-60-90 day strategy of what we’d like to accomplish, and what out of those events. the dealer panel we’d like to accomplish by the end of the year. We then choose a “champion” for key areas. We realize that Tony Provost: The biggest thing we look for is anything dealing with retention. we can’t do everything at the same time; you come Customer retention is where it’s at today. What can we do without paying through the back from the conferences so excited — there are 20 nose to improve retention? How do we treat people? What are they looking for? Our things you want to do. We decide what we truly want retention is good, around 65 percent after four years of ownership, but we can always get to accomplish, and what we feel is realistic. You can’t it better. We’d like to be around the 80 percent level. How do we get there? It’s great to do more than two or three major initiatives in a 90-day get our personnel out of the usual working environment to engage and stimulate their period, and if you have a champion for an initiative, thoughts by interacting with other people in the field. you can get updates and see what resources are needed to accomplish that goal. Chris Saraceno: It really depends on the need we have at the time of the conference. Over the years of going conferences, we always have aBrian different need. Chris Saraceno Tony toProvos t AndrewDiFeo Bens t ockIt all depends on what we think we most need to improve on at the time. If we thought we needed the biggest improvement on Internet sales, we would go to a conference that was focused on that. If it was recruiting and hiring, we’d focus on that. It’s what we feel we need at the time as a company.



AS: How do you take what you’ve learned back to your dealership to put it into action? AD: We don’t have set methods. If there is something that I like that



If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at

successful solutions provided by


“Is Your Dealership Struggling?” There is great news for you and your dealership. The car market is booming, sales are great and profits are better than ever.

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?


• Sell More Cars Now • Make A Lot More Money • Gain Market Share • Feel Better about Your Business • Build a Team of Champions & Attract Winners • Reach & Close More Customers Conventionally & Digitally • Have Your Team Perform at Record Levels • Create a Culture and Environment of Winning Can you see the above in your mind? Can you hear more satisfied customers raving about you? Can you feel the difference in your business? Can you touch people’s lives? Can you smell the money?

Stop looking for a magic button. Stop looking for a new shiny object to fix your problems. Stop thinking that just training your people will fix everything. You Must Address ALL 4 P’s of Your Business – People, Process, Product and Market Positioning. Mark Tewart and Tewart Enterprises Inc. is the ONLY Total Dealership Solution Provider in the business.

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“We increased our gross profit $300-$800 per vehicle at our all of our dealerships immediately when we started working with Mark and Tewart Enterprises Inc.” - Evan Martin, Bloomington Ford

First, go to 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 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!

Mark Tewart

President and author of the Best Seller “How To Be A Sales Superstar”


marketing solution

how to get hot leads from facebook In 2010, Courtesy Chevrolet had only 1,000 Facebook likes. Every speaker at every event said dealerships need Facebook, but none could explain how it would sell more cars. The trick is with apps: free games, rewards apps, listing inventory, specials, content, engagement, communication, game plan…. Lost yet? When you are a huge Internet dealership, you need to have a strong presence in all areas, and Facebook is a huge opportunity many are missing. The amount of leads we are currently getting from Facebook would cost from $4,000 to $5,000 per month from pay per click. We are getting 300 to 500 Facebook leads each week, and constantly have customers pull out their Facebook coupons on the showroom floor. We classify our leads as “cold” (game players), “warm” (inventory searches) and “hot” (coupons or requests for additional information from inventory). Game players make up 80 percent of our leads. Our 80 to 100 monthly coupon leads are pushed directly into our CRM. I check our Facebook page four to five times


every day and review comments, reviews and relevant information, and I am seeing true customer engagement. In the old days, there was word of mouth; today, there is Facebook. Now customers share pictures of themselves with their new car. It is important to have a good online reputation to convert this into sales opportunities. We have a five-star rating on DealerRater, and work to maintain our reputation. We choose to be proactive rather than chasing bad reviews — we stop bad reviews before they happen. We invite customers to post their new car and positive experience on Facebook. Now, the customer is committed to the positive review and they get rewards based on how many friends like the photo or leave comments. We are then provided with the name and e-mail address of these people. Talk about a strong list of the “people you know who might someday be in the market for a new or used vehicle.” Many dealerships will post to their own page. We post to the customer’s page so their friends see and are linked back to our page. With 117,000 likes, we have a huge audience to engage. When someone likes you, you are provided with their e-mail address. We have collected more than 200,000 e-mail addresses, with 160,000 available for e-mail blasts. From Facebook, more than 40,000 people have opted-in for our newsletter — and this number goes up every day. We have a competitive advantage in our market. No other dealership in our area uses retargeting and links to their Website to get the clicks, links, likes and views.

Jason Church is the sales director for Courtesy Chevrolet. He can be contacted at 866.869.4711, or by e-mail at

! o d e w t a it’s wh


leadership solution

personal performance metrics puts meaning into time to market

There is a strong connection between workforce analytics and the ability to manage more effectively and precisely. Performance measurement, in real time, not only provides a common language to determine an organization’s effectiveness and operational efficiency, but also validates the fact that your strategy is working. Analytics supply the power to access, analyze and drill down through a wealth of critical data leading to effective decision making with bottom-line benefits. Finding and keeping skilled talent is one of the auto industry’s largest challenges, especially in service and reconditioning. Your best bet is developing, training and relying on your own talent first. Therefore, getting the right information into the hands of the end user at the right time is vital. This data then becomes actionable when a technician is given reliable information with which to do his or her work — they will understand their role and why it is important to the whole process. The employee makes better decisions knowing their work matters and is automatically transparent to all. All of a sudden, accountability has legs. Workers become self-motivated knowing their effort is visible. Workflow in reconditioning brings this same level of accountability by connecting your recon steps together by using real-time with mobile and text notifications. The average time to market (TTM) determines the number of inventory turns your used car business is producing, and a higher number of turns, of course, creates more sales and added profit opportunity. The average time to market is the sum of all times for the work completed at each step, and each step has a responsible individual(s) and manager. Workflow also displays the average time to market for each step and every car.


A dealership’s time to market includes every hour of every day, until a car is on the frontline and available for sale. Winning in the used car business means that you are getting your cars through recon consistently faster than your competition, and that takes individual accountability, which is visible as part of the team score, or TTM. For decades, some dealers have manually tried to keep an up-to-date tally/scorecard for their workers by using a spreadsheet. This rudimentary practice may have gotten them by for many years, but it can no longer do so. It is impossible to keep up-to-date spreadsheets when entering data by hand. Spreadsheets provide no visible transparency or accountability; therefore, workers become less motivated and less accountable to complete their work in an efficient manner. A workflow system that has management oversight, and where individuals feel properly recognized for their work, overcomes all the deficiencies of a spreadsheet. The implementation of a workflow system is straightforward. First, existing processes are captured in a template that identifies who is responsible for each step and all notifications required for accountability. Second, the DMS inventory data is connected to the workflow so the entire used car inventory is synchronized at least daily. Third, the training of users is accomplished using Web conference technology. Finally, after 45 to 60 days, a time-to-market baseline becomes visible somewhere in the seven-to-10 day range. From this point forward, a target is set and the scoreboard is used to maintain a three to-five-day average. The chart below is based on two years of data and 200,000 cars.

Workflow Value Proposition Time to Market Days 0




Incremental Selling Days



5.5 3.5

Starting TTM

45 Days

180 Days


Another advantage of workflow performance metrics is that it scales with volume, process and user changes. It also works with external vendors, who can be held accountable for their work in areas such as glass, paint and body, wheels, and even photos and outside detail. For every day the time-to-market factor is reduced, another selling day is added. For every 2.5 days of reduction — based on 100 cars per month — another complete inventory turn is created. Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee

Nothing motives a workforce like real-time performance measurements. Therefore, four words — “real-time performance metrics” — may be the only thing standing between you and much greater performance and effectiveness for your reconditioning. Think about this.


sales & training solution

why your best conquest sale isn’t a new customer Over the past 20 years, one of the most common questions I get from dealers is: “What can you do to get me some conquest business?” My response is, “Why is conquest business so important to you?” They usually respond by saying they need new business to grow their business. Their statement is true, but that approach is also much more expensive per vehicle sold. Many dealers miss out by not focusing on customers who are lost or inactive. Sales Departments Sell the First Car; Service Departments Sell Vehicles Two Through 10. Most dealerships have touch points with service customers while they are active, but not with lost

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customers — and if the dealers do reach out to lost customers, they use techniques similar to those for their active customers. The problem is, you can’t approach lost customers with the same plan you use with active customers and expect the same results. There’s a Reason Customers are Inactive or Lost. Most customers become inactive and defect at the point their warranty expires. They leave because, in most cases, the value proposition from an independent is more appealing to them. This is usually a perception issue, because dealers often have competitive pricing, are just as convenient, employ factorytrained technicians and use genuine parts.   Do You Have a Value Proposition? Dealers need to address the value proposition with customers to make sure they understand the difference between what an independent offers and what the dealership offers. In order to do this, you need a marketing strategy that communicates this effectively using three important techniques:    Target the best customers — Defining an inactive customer will not be effective by just segmenting your data. You can’t just target customers who have not been to your dealership in 12 months. Every customer has different driving habits, so a customer who drives 7,500 miles per year may still be active, while a customer who drives 30,000 miles per year may have become inactive six months ago.  Employ multi-channel marketing — The customers you’re targeting are important, so contact them in multiple ways. Consider social, e-mail, mail, digital and mobile techniques. Provide multiple ways to respond — Your marketing strategy must make it easy to respond. Building microsites for each customer is an excellent way to do this.   Make it an event. After identifying which customers to target, invite them to a service clinic that includes a free inspection of their vehicle. The goal isn’t to just get the RO, but to keep the customer coming back. To do that, you need to sell your value proposition to the customer. If you’re successful, then not only will they keep servicing, but they will buy their next vehicle from you. Customers are six times more likely to replace their vehicle at the same dealership if they’re an active service customer. That’s why it’s so important to develop a multichannel marketing strategy to win them back. Russell Grant is the vice president of sales for J&L Marketing. He can be contacted at 866.503.8397, or by e-mail at



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marketing solution

winning the click — retargeting

Have you ever encountered online banner ads that seem to follow you around after you have visited certain Websites? These sites are using a new digital marketing technique called “retargeting” to re-market their products to consumers who have previously visited their Website. Most of us are familiar with retargeting because automotive manufacturers regularly use it to reach in-market consumers who are actively shopping for a new car. Retargeting is effective for manufacturers because these display ads remind the shopper of their vehicle brands while they are researching multiple products from various competitors. Currently, these manufacturer-sponsored retargeting ads are brand-focused and have little relevance to the specific model the consumer is investigating. With new developments in digital marketing, that’s all about to change. Branding is important, but when in comes to “winning the click” for your dealership, relevance trumps all. Here’s how you can use retargeting to deliver a higher level of relevance and realize increased sales for your business. Your dealership typically has a mix of both new and used inventory and a service department that is highly profitable. It is likely that these crucial assets to your business are underrepresented when it comes to digital marketing. Retargeted display ads can be used for all aspects of your dealership. For example, a retargeted ad that features specific information, including make and model based on your buyer’s previous site visit, becomes more that just an ad; it’s also a steady and potentially welcome reminder to the consumer who is actively engaged in the car buying process. These ads show the consumer the exact vehicle they might buy, and it also keeps that specific car at the top of their mind as they continue to research the market for other available vehicles. Retargeting is a powerful weapon — and it is not uncommon for these types of ads to deliver four to five times the average click-through rate of a standard banner ad. When it comes to choosing a vendor that offers retargeting advertising solutions, be sure to ask

Follow 38

some detailed questions as to how relevant their ads will be and where the ads are directed after the click. For instance, there are inventory-listing sites that sell retargeting. These sites direct the clicks to their own Websites, not yours, exposing customers to many other vehicles available for sale, most of which you do not own, and will not profit from. Let’s focus on how to use retargeting from your actual Website, featuring your own inventory and available services. In this case, your agency will retarget customers who visit the various pages within your own Websites. There are many considerations: What part of the site do you want to retarget? Home page, SRP, VDP, new, used, service or parts? Your agency will take you through the many viable options. Since it’s all about relevance, the retargeted display ads you serve up should exactly match the customer’s previous browsing history. For example, if a consumer only visits your dealer homepage, they should be retargeted with your dealer brand and brand message. If the buyer goes deeper and actually searches for a vehicle, the retargeted ads should feature the specific make, model and trim level previously viewed online. So what if they looked at both new and used vehicles and multiples of each? Most available technologies aren’t equipped to handle that many variables, so they default to one ad for one specific vehicle. Make sure that when you are speaking with an agency you bring up different scenarios to find out their ability to keep your ads relevant. The best retargeting companies offer a solution that rotates the vehicles within the display ad based on the last X number of vehicles the buyer previously viewed. The next consideration? What happens after you win the click? In other words, where is your customer directed and what do they see? Unfortunately, in most cases shoppers land back on either your dealer homepage or an SRP page that has no relevance other than it’s your dealership offering that brand’s vehicle. The customer is then forced to restart the cycle, searching for the same vehicle all over again. Common wisdom says, “at least they are back on your Website!” I’m sure you agree, though, that there is nothing more frustrating than clicking on a specific ad only to be dumped on a landing page that is in no way related to the ad you just clicked on. In the game of winning the click, the customer should be directed back to a vehicle-specific landing page like a VDP with the same vehicle, trim level and options as described in the retargeted ad. Finally, let’s discuss your service Webpage. What kind of retargeting ad is ideally served to a person looking for service? The right answer depends on their intent. If they only went to your site and looked at your general service pages, a retargeted ad with your service message along with service specials would be best. This ad should click through to a service-specific landing page with offers and printable coupons. If they visited a service specials tires page, the right retargeted display ad would feature a tires message. Post-click, the consumer would be directed to a landing page designed around tire specials or even the original tires page they previously visited. In the end, your Website is one of the most valuable assets in bringing business to your door. Relevant retargeting should be considered as a critical component to your overall digital marketing strategy and a highly effective tool in acquiring and retaining customers to your business. “Winning the click” begins with relevance, and relevance delivers the clicks to win.

Jeremy Anspach is the president and CEO of PureCars. He can be contacted at 877.381.2632, or by e-mail at



marketing solution

portals aren’t the only thing changing the game We’ve talked a lot about how the Internet has changed the game when it comes to selling cars and trucks. Few things have ever had more impact on our business than customers first going online to gather information before they land at your dealership.

hours comparing prices, incentives and deals. They don’t want to negotiate.

But recent reports are painting a picture of change that goes beyond everything we thought we knew. And, more than likely, you’ve been seeing evidence of this new paradigm every day in your stores for the last few years.

This coincides with a sea change in the influence that traditional media now has in the new and used car shopping/buying process. To say it is declining is an understatement.

A study by J.D. Power and Associates conducted in 2012 shows that “79 percent of new vehicle buyers are using the Internet to research their vehicle purchase.” That’s a huge number, no doubt. And, according to an even more recent 2013 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study, “new car buyers who used the Internet in the shopping process reported spending 13.75 hours shopping for a vehicle, a decrease of 5.25 hours since 2011. Similarly, used car buyers spent 15.25 online hours shopping, a decrease of 2.75 hours since 2011.” While this has happened, car and truck sales have gone through the roof. Clearly, car shoppers have gotten much more efficient getting information prior to making their purchase decisions. They’re researching, comparing, locating and deciding everything faster. When they walk in your door, they’ve spent


This can be good or bad, depending on your point of view. On one hand, your people theoretically spend less time per sale, thus upping their profit-per-hour commission potential and ability to serve more customers. On the other, savvy customers are potentially less likely to be sold another model that might actually be a better fit, or choose options that represent more profits per unit.

The biggest declines were seen in print newspapers, television and direct mail. From 2011 to 2013, television use went from 34 percent to 22 percent. Print newspaper use fell from 28 percent to 18 percent in 2013. The use of direct mail dropped from 16 percent to 8 percent. Keep in mind that 79 percent of potential customers rely on the Internet in the buying process. It’s clear proof of the ever-growing power of the Web in our business. I’m not going to suggest dropping traditional media plans and pouring all your marketing dollars into digital. Customers have to know you’re out there before they can find you, and if all you are is a name to someone using a search engine, you’ll get lost in the crowd. If all you’re doing is talking about deals in your ads, however, and not directing your audience to find out more at your site, you should think about changing your messaging. You’ll want to design your Website to be as user-friendly as possible. Make comparisons within your inventory easy and navigating your site simple and clear. Find as many ways to start and hold a conversation with visitors as possible — and please make sure you get back to them quickly. The game has changed. The rules are being rewritten daily, but sales are up and business is booming. Clearly, the best way to enjoy continued success in the days ahead is to take what you know and do best and adapt it to this new reality. Don’t dwell on the past. Being digitally savvy means embracing the new media and changing with the times. It’s how you’ll be ready to win now and take on whatever the next revolution will be. Alan Bird is president and CEO of SCI MarketView. He can be contacted at 866.869.0094, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

risk and reward:

new fcc telemarketing regulations could have you at risk, but don’t miss out on the reward On October 16, 2013, the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act 47 enacted new guidelines requiring an increased level of compliance and documentation for businesses marketing to customers through telephone and text messaging. The Risk

Your business may now be required to obtain “expressed written consent” to call or text your customers — even customers with whom you may have previously done business. Make sure you are compliant. Many dealers are doubling down on “old faithful” marketing programs such as direct mail and are adding new technologies to the mix such as touchscreen kiosks. Customers understand how to use touch screen technology and enjoy having the control that a kiosk provides. Marry technology like this to a promotion and you can approach 100 percent participation. You are already offering these things to your customers to get them on the lot — now take it to the next level. Get every customer in your CRM every time.


The Reward

Kiosks are a great solution for compliance, but can also offer exponential benefits to your sales process. They engage potential customers visiting your dealership using games, prizes and helpful consumer information. Client information is collected through the kiosk and sent directly to your CRM. You are spending a lot of money on advertising to get customers to your dealership, but if you are not capturing those leads into your CRM with a fool-proof way of entering the leads, then your competitors probably are. Potential buyers with permission to contact equals more selling opportunities directly, resulting in increased sales revenue. Do the Math

If you miss an average of five customers per day, six days a week, that is 1,560 missed opportunities for your business. Now, factor in your average closing ratio of 20 percent, and that comes to 312 missed sales. If your average gross per deal

is $2,500, that is almost $800,000 in potential revenue that you just missed out on. Use our worksheet below and do your own math.

Number of customers not logged per day: _ Days per week open X 52 weeks in the year: X _ Average closing ratio %: X _ Total Missed opportunities: _ Average Gross per deal: X _ Potential Missed Revenue: _

Debbie Drury is the president of She can be contacted at 866.872.8150, or by e-mail at


leadership solution

what is your bodyshop really fixing? The late March Taylor, owner of Autobody Hawaii, said one of the most profound things I have ever heard regarding collision repair: “You’ve got to fix the person, before you can fix the car.” No matter how splendid the technical work of a bodyshop may be, customers will ultimately judge their experience based on how the shop treats them as a person. A customer is not doing business with your bodyshop because they want to be there. Pardon the pun, but they are visiting you by accident. Since the average person only needs collision repair services every seven to eight years, they also do not know what to expect. What they do have are very real concerns. They are weary of dealing with an insurance company. They are worried about the safety and value of their repaired car. And, yes, they are worried about dealing with your bodyshop. The aforementioned customer concerns present an opportunity for your collision repair department. Your staff has an opportunity to convert a customer from a frightened and possibly directed (DRP) customer into a lifelong raving fan of your organization. Here are some areas of your bodyshop operation that you should consider evaluating. Reception/Screening

Your bodyshop greeting and customer screening techniques deserve some attention. Do your people convey a welcoming and comforting attitude towards perspective customers? Does your bodyshop reception area present itself as professional? These may seem like basic questions, but experience has shown me that dealers often overlook the importance of the presentation of their bodyshop’s office and reception area.

The initial customer screening process is a vital operational touch point. Necessary information is collected at this point, including a customer’s name, contact numbers, address, etc. Additionally, this is also where your receptionist will gather important vehicle and insurance information from your customer. I encourage you to observe the screening technique employed by your collision repair office staff. The goal of your shop’s staff should be to make the screening process as easy for the customer as possible. Does your shop’s information gathering system serve the customer, or is the customer serving the system? One rule I like to remember: The less writing the customer has to do, the better. Estimating/Sales

Your bodyshop gets paid for labor, parts, materials and sublet. Your customers, however, are buying something entirely different. They are buying professionalism and peace of mind. Most of all, they are having a problem, and need your shop to make it go away. Therefore, the approach of your sales staff is vital for the customer experience. Your estimator impacts the customer experience in many ways. During the Sales/Estimating Process: Do your estimators get necessary authorizations and get the keys from the customer whenever possible, or do they buy into the false premise that the customer needs insurance approval before they can authorize repair? If your estimators show this type of sales reluctance, they need training. Great customer service starts with an estimator who takes control of the process for the customer. During the Repair Process: Proactive communication is a vital component of an exceptional customer experience. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked by bodyshop estimators. I recommend contacting a customer with repair status no less than every other day. Southern California Ford Dealer and autobody management instructor Gerry Enders sees proactive communication with the customer as a bank account of trust. Every time you contact a customer with a status update, you make a deposit into that bank account of trust. But every time the customer contacts you to check status, they are making a withdrawal from that same account. The more deposits in this bank account, the better your chances at creating a highly satisfied customer. How important is proactive communication with the customer? Several years ago, J.D. Power and Associates reported that a shop can deliver a vehicle back to a customer with a workmanship flaw, and if corrected promptly, the customer would give the shop experience high marks. However if the customer felt the shop did a poor job of keeping them informed during the repair process, the shop was likely to receive a poor review from the customer. That’s right; the customer takes being kept informed very seriously. At Vehicle Delivery: The customer deserves attention at delivery similar to what they received at the sales end. This may mean that the estimator on the job sets a delivery appointment with the customer to go over work done and, in some cases, resell the repairs. At the very least, ensure that the person handling the paperwork and delivering the vehicle back to the customer is able to speak knowledgably about the customer’s vehicle. Conclusion

I realize that a bodyshop customer’s experience is predicated on many other things than what I have just mentioned. However, I also know that these basic customer touchpoints are vital to establishing a trusting relationship between your bodyshop and its customers. Ensure your staff understands that its primary job is not fixing cars; it’s fixing the customer. 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 e-mail at


"We have been partnered with ELEAD1ONE since 2003. At that time, we looked at four different CRM companies and what set ELEAD1ONE apart was their clean software, in-country call center and unmatched client support. The ELEAD Virtual BDC is spectacular and very flexible to any custom call campaign! ELEAD1ONE provides us with high-level executive trainers and performance teams, all with automotive retail experience that really understand our business. ELEAD1ONE started in one store over ten years ago, and now they are in all 13 locations. Their family-type atmosphere is rare, and something we really appreciate!"

Phil Leone, Managing Partner Premier Automotive Group

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.

The 2011, 2012 and 2013 Dealers’ Choice Diamond Award Winner for CRM Category as awarded by Auto Dealer Monthly

2013 Auto Remarketing Magazine Power 250 List

888.431.6928 | | © Data Software Services, L.L.C. 2013


leadership solution

part 1

dealerships and natural selection that the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships uses a diversified strategy for organic lead generation, while Danny Benites and Eric Nichols said their dealerships subscribe to third-party lead source providers such as Autobytel, Carsdirect, Dealix, AutoUSA, DMN and TrueCar. Danny and Eric said these companies provide consistent and trackable leads that consistently convert into appointments, which they are able to convert into sales.

First of all, I’d like to thank the speakers, trainers, experts and attendees of the fourth National Internet Sales 20 Group for making it a huge success. Over the next couple of issues, I’d like to share with you some of the insights presented at the 20 Group, the theme of which was “Natural Selection.”

Traditional Vs. Digital Advertising

Our Dealer Panel for the 20 Group was phenomenal, comprised of dealer executives who are currently crushing it right now. The Panel was Robert Carmendy, GM and partner of Rancho Santa Margarita Honda in California; Danny Benites, GM of Greg Lair Buick GMC in Texas; Kevin Pruitt, GM of Mike Pruitt Honda in Ohio; Nancy Tonkin-Zoucha, eCommerce director of Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships in Oregon; Chris Carlson, Internet director of Win Hyundai Carson in California and Eric Nichols, Internet director of Apple Honda in New York.

Danny Benites spoke about the culture of his dealership being crucial to its success. He said that the one word his dealership personifies is “servanthood.” They practice servanthood by taking the basic pyramid of corporate structure and turning it upside down. The GM works for his managers — he serves them. Danny makes sure that he provides his managers everything — technology, resources, problem-solving aid and more. He provides emotional support when needed; he is their cheerleader. In turn, the managers work for and serve the sales professionals. The sales team, in turn, works for and serves the customer. That is the structure of servant management.  Danny went on to give examples of “servanthood mentality” at his dealership. If the dealership hits a certain CSI objective, the dealership has a dinner called “Serving those who serve our customers.” Danny puts on an apron that says “Servant,” and he cooks for his team members, literally serving to all his people.  Next month, I’ll share what we discussed about handling Internet leads and incoming phone ups, online reviews and the importance of pay plans. Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at

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podcast interviewee

When deciding to use third-party lead source providers, you have to weigh the pros and the cons. Yes, you have a higher closing ratio and higher gross profit from the leads that you generate organically through SEO or from the leads you drive to your dealership’s Website. Third-party leads, however, are fast, low maintenance and, most importantly, cost effective. Using data gathered by NADA in 2013, at an average of $20 per lead, the cost-per-sale in advertising translates to $200 per car, versus more than $640 per car using other methods. Nancy Tonkin-Zoucha said

Building the Culture of Your Dealership

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The Use of Third Party Providers

Nancy Tonkin-Zoucha presented the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships’ advertising strategy, pointing out that they have completely dropped conventional advertising efforts, including TV, radio and print. At first, she said, some people in their organization were worried about such a radical departure from previous marketing, but she went on to say that it was one of the best business decisions that they ever made — they have not skipped one beat. On the contrary, they sell more cars, more often and more profitably. Nancy’s advice to those considering moving to a totally digital advertising strategy? Just do it.

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leadership solution

why the average salesperson only sells 8 to 10 cars per month Have you ever wondered why the average salesperson only sells eight to 10 cars per month? The reasoning is actually quite logical once you consider the following four reasons: Our Sales Process Has NOT Changed

Though the auto industry has gone through tremendous changes during the past three decades, the mentality that most dealerships use to sell vehicles still remains basically the same. In reality, what could be more pitiful than to settle for average, just because that’s the way it’s always been done? From my experience, nothing cripples an organization or a sales team more than doing something just because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” The truth is, change is painful, and most don’t want to do what it takes to step outside the box and achieve great success. If you want to rise above the crowd and become the exception, it’s going to require that you make a serious commitment to change. That may sound like a harsh statement if you are one of those dealerships that employ salespeople who traditionally only sell eight to 10 cars a month. But ask yourself this question: “Am I really satisfied with our sales results, or do I want to achieve a greater and growing potential than what we have done in the past and what we are selling now?” Consider this: Our sales steps and processes have not changed in more than 40 years. We still utilize the same procedures as yesterday, but expect better results each month and year. Unfortunately, under those criteria, the results will not change. Salespeople Do Not Understand Their Customers

Many salespeople use pressure words that overpower the customer and try at every turn to control them until they finally give in and buy a car. Because of this very thing, most people would rather have a root canal than go to a car lot to buy a vehicle from a salesperson.

it. If you want to grow your business, you need to have a sales force that is different and unique from your competition. Poor Training

Understanding the customer alone is not the only important information you need — it’s learning how to properly use that understanding to better serve those who come to your dealership looking to buy a car. There is nothing that can keep your dealership in the “Average Lane” more than thinking you already know what you need to know to be successful. To quote Coach John Wooden, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Very few dealerships are willing to invest in their sales force by providing the type of training that is available today. They are afraid to let them leave the lot for training, thinking they need to be out on the floor or walking the lot chasing down customers every day. Because most do not know how to properly train their sales force for success, they rely on the salesperson’s natural ability to get the job done. Consider how successful your local sports team would be if they failed to train before games. Our industry is exactly the same. We need to be constantly training our staff — and that means managers, as well. More sales are lost each day because salespeople are so unprepared. Inadequate Leadership

If Albert Einstein was right, the definition of insanity is the idea of doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. This should certainly strike a chord with our management and leadership today. Quality leaders produce better results because they keep abreast of what is happening in their industry and are willing to make the changes required for success. They don’t rule over their employees, but rather guide them in the value and process of working as a unified team, competing for the customer’s business together. The day of the “Boss” is over. Just as the customer is changing and expects to be treated with dignity and respect, so it is with today’s employees. Today’s successful managers lead from the front, rather than drive their team from the rear with intimidation and pressure. They know that an informed customer can easily go elsewhere to buy. Likewise, a quality salesperson can go elsewhere to sell. If the average of eight to 10 cars a month is going to become a thing of the past for our salespeople, it will take a new style of leadership that focuses on quality and service in every aspect of our business. Let’s focus on caring just as much about our salespeople as we do about our customers. When managers make the changes required to become strong leaders, the resulting behavior will affect their salespeople — and customers, as well. This will result in a definite increase of sales and profits in their dealership.

Word tracks need to be utilized to reduce the customer’s defensive posture and not increase

Success-Driven Solutions; No Matter the Medium. 48

David Lewis is the President of David Lewis & Associates, Inc. and the author of three industry-related books, The Secrets of Inspirational Selling, The LEADERSHIP Factor and Understanding Your Customer. He can be contacted at 866.834.6074, or by e-mail at





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JimmyVee & TravisMiller

leadership solution

part 1

top 10 ways to screw up success

So you’ve finally got your processes running the way you want them to, and your well-oiled machine is making you some serious green. Life is good and you’re happy. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we told you it was all going to waste? It takes a lot hard work to become successful in this industry, but what most people don’t know is that it can be even harder to keep it that way. It’s like that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where they’re riding in the mine cart. You’ve finally got momentum and it just keeps getting faster, and faster. You start to wonder, “How long can I stay on the rails if I keep going at this rate?” That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile a list of what we think are the 10 most common ways to screw up the success you’ve worked so hard to attain. We make lists like these to monitor our own business on a daily basis, and if it works for us, it can work for you. To make things easier, we’ve broken the list into two so you can focus on a few of these key aspects at a time. Be sure to check for our article next month for the Top Five. 10. Fear

Some people, for whatever reason, believe that they can only reach a certain level of success. Everyone has their own “glass ceiling” of sorts. We start to feel uncomfortable as we grow because success has always been something we perceive as being just out of reach. Subconsciously, this affects us. As we grow more successful, our minds start to make decisions behind our backs in an attempt to bring us back down to earth. But the truth is, if you aren’t uncomfortable, you probably aren’t growing. And if you aren’t growing, you’re shrinking. It’s scary to think about, but subconsciously we don’t want to be successful. We don’t want to lose the normalcy our mind knows it can always revert back to, or the respect of people we know and love. You must lose this fear if you want to stay at your best. Besides, those who love you want to see you succeed. 9. We Stop Doing What Works

It’s hard to understand this one because, most of the time, there really is no reason people remove things that work. If switching from


red to green candy bars increased sales by 75 percent, why would you switch back to red? Our guess is that some people get bored or just plain forget, but you can’t let that happen. You have to recognize and re-implement ideas that have worked for you in the past. You’ll get bored with them long before they actually lose their effectiveness. 8. We Ignore The Basics

Sometimes people get so good at something that they start to ignore the fundamentals. Even we struggle with this from time to time. But Socrates gave us a tried-and-true method of looking at it when he said, “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” It takes a wise man to understand that he doesn’t know it all. Remember to be humble, because the basics never change. As time goes on we have to go back and study the building blocks every once in awhile. Even we can’t remember most of the stuff from our favorite classes in college.

People tend to like building rather than maintaining, and business models are no different. You must find new ways to keep your mind sharp after things start to get easier. You have to find what gives you passion again. 7. We Lose The Fire

We all need a little motivation from time to time. When we started down the path to success, it wasn’t uncommon to have that burning desire that kept us up at night. But as time goes on and our list of achievements grows, it becomes the norm. Success loses its allure, its shine. That thing we used to dream about has become our reality, but for some reason it’s become so…boring. People tend to like building rather than maintaining, and business models are no different. You must find new ways to keep your mind sharp after things start to get easier. You have to find what gives you passion again. 6. We Get Torn Down By Criticism

Being successful means being visible, which means you’ve gotta have thick skin if you’re gonna stay at the top. You’re in a place that most people just don’t understand, which naturally means they will try to bring you down. When things start to get rough, you have to let it go. More than likely, people will not like the way you do things because it is different. But before you decide to change yourself to please the critics, remember that what they don’t like about you is what made you successful in the first place. Well, that’s it for this half of the list. Take some time to ask yourself if you’re guilty of any of these habits and commit to making the necessary changes. Be sure to catch us next month when we reveal the Top Five. Happy New Year! For a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area, visit and use coupon code ASM1312. Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are founders of The Rich Dealers Institute and the authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers and Invasion of the Profit Snatchers. They can be contacted at 866.867.9618, or by e-mail at

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Sayville Ford, Long Island’s Ford Giant How the No. 1 Ford Store on Long Island increased sales by 39% amidst industry setbacks and major store renovation. Did you know that 90% of consumers who can skip TV ads, will? Today’s consumers have shifted their attention away from traditional mass media, making it imperative for dealers to utilize targeted marketing services that capture consumers where they are. This shift to targeted marketing gave Melanie Spare-Oswalt of Sayville Ford an incomparable advantage that fast-tracked her into a leading Ford Dealership position.

After spending most of her career in insurance, Melanie Spare-Oswalt joined Sayville Ford, the dealership that her Grandfather founded in 1957. Her adoption into dealership world happened in 2008, right as the automotive industry crisis began. The automotive industry crisis of 2008 was part of a global financial downturn. Within that downturn, the price of fuel increased amongst various industry setbacks. This put Spare-Oswalt in a fight to grow her business when times were tough. In addition to the industry malfunction, Sayville was due for a store upgrade. The upgrade would be part of a manufacturer initiave to make all stores standard in design and showroom appearance. “When the automotive crisis occured, It was bad. We had to cut people and cut expenses,” said



Spare-Oswalt. “We cut out newspaper, and limited our radio advertisements as well.” Notably, Melanie’s situation does not differ from that of many other dealerships even when the market is not on a downward spiral. Not to mention, manufacturers are applying pressure to assure brand standardization. In an effort to cut budget, expensive and traditional mass media is usually the first to go. The excuse for that is easy– no dollar amount is worth diminishing returns. What dealerships fail to recognize is the value of targeted marketing. Unlike other forms of marketing, this strategy captures inmarket customers, and limits wasting dollars on those who are not in-market. In fact, traditional advertising spend in mediums like radio, TV and newspaper have declined by 16, 15 and 30 percent, respectively, in the last year. Conversely, spend on targeted marketing has increased by 23 percent. Under pressure, Melanie found that it was possible to both cut her budget and grow her business. To this day, her strategy remains the same, even after the trim-down of Sayville Ford.

Sayville’s Pivotal Moment

Consumers have changed the way they research, shop, buy and service their vehicles. The majority of automotive advertising is spent on traditional mass marketing, yet only 1% of consumers exposed to TV radio and print will buy a car this month. Attracting the 1% of “in-market” consumers begins by research. Sayville Ford started by pulling a five-year historical analysis of Sayville’s sales and service transactions. These customers are active with Sayville, and have the greatest probability of buying or servicing with their dealership. Those findings were then compared to industry data to establish consumer patterns and trends within the local market. The result

of the industry data enabled Sayville Ford to identify local vehicle owners. This includes same-brand owners who had never visited Sayville Ford, and offbrand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to Ford. Melanie refers to these as, “conquest” customers.

Building The Future

After Sayville Ford clearly defined their market, they implemented a comprehensive targeted and digital marketing strategy using direct email and mail campaigns that consistently speak to customers throughout the life cycle of their vehicle. These custom messages include a thank you and welcome message for recent purchasers, maintenance reminders for newer, not yet in-equity vehicles but that may be due for maintenance, and ongoing targeted email and mail sales communications to customers in an equity position. Using high-quality creative campaigns, Sayville Ford promotes its best sales and service offers that reflect the status of the customer’s vehicle. For example, active service customers who routinely come in for service receive a $29.95 “Full Service Lube, Oil & Filter Change” coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not regularly service with Sayville Ford, receive the same offer but for $24.95 to encourage them to come back.

“It’s great because once we decide to run a sale, all of your marketing changes, it’s a really great process and clearly communicates to our customers.” MELANIE SPARE-OSWALT Owner SAYVILLE FORD

Every outbound targeted email and mail campaign directs customers to an online campaign conversion site ( As a major component to Sayville’s strategy, this site not only displays the featured promotions of the email or mail campaign they have just received, it also shows them every sales and service offer that Sayville Ford is currently running. If a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they just received, they can visit the site to find what they’re looking for. This offer site boosted Sayville’s internet traffic as high as 330% percent. When customers visit the dealership they see point-of-sale merchandising throughout the store that validates the advertising message they recently saw online or received in the mail, further building credibility and helping increase the closing ratio. Within this overarching strategy lives a unique program that specifically targets vehicle sales within Sayville’s service lanes. This Vehicle Exchange Program (VEP) focuses on proactively selling to service customers who are in an equity position. “When we looked at our marketing, we realized sales and service were doing different things. Service had their campaigns and sales had something different and it was not a uniform look. The Vehicle Exchange Program is one consistent message from service and sales,” said Spare-Oswalt. When customers bring their vehicles in for service, a VEP Specialist greets the customer and explains that the customer is eligible to upgrade to a new vehicle for the same or lower monthly payment. Rather than wait and hope that customers will buy from them when they’re ready, Sayville Ford is taking the initiative to sell customers in the service bay before they enter the market and shop the competition.

Sayville Ford

Sales and Service Hangtags

POS Merchandise Posters

Direct Mail




“The best customer that any dealer can find is one they already have because customers who have an active service relationship with a dealership are seven times more likely to purchase with that dealership,” says Budd Blackburn, owner of Team Velocity Marketing, the company that Sayville uses for their sales and service marketing.

They are ranked 100th nationally for September 2013 sales, number 5 regionally and number 1 on Long Island. “We’re really proud about these rankings. Right now we’re even shooting for the President’s award,” said Spare-Oswalt. This working smarter technique means a higher return in all profit centers Sayville.

“When we began this plan our goal was to increase sales, market share and service penetration. We’re up 39 percent in new car sales and 22 percent in service growth and our active customer base has grown by 11 percent,” said Spare-Oswalt.

Right now, Sayville Ford is undergoing the manufacturer-initiated construction effort that will promote a more customer friendly environment.

Sayville certainly appears to have the advantage in their marketplace.

“We’re excited about the change. Our marketing company has also been really helpful with the project, and has helped us run pre-construction sales. It’s great because once we decide

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to run a sale, all of your marketing changes, it’s a really great process and clearly communicates to our customers,” said Spare-Oswalt. Sayville Ford strives to stay ahead of the curve. They know their market and their customers. With their most recent effort to implement a targeted marketing strategy that promotes all their profit centers by attracting, selling, servicing and retaining more customers for less cost, Sayville Ford is looking forward to closing out 2013 stronger they started.

Success Story

Success Story “When we began this plan our goal was to increase sales, market share and service penetration. We’re up 39 percent in new car sales and 22 percent in service growth and our active customer base has grown by 11 percent,”

Sayville Ford











How the No. 1 Ford Store on Long Island increased sales by 39% amidst industry setbacks and major store renovation. • Defined their local market by finding the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with their dealership now and in the future. • Created dynamic, cohesive campaigns that consistently speak to their customers throughout the 60-month lifecycle of their vehicle. • Targeted in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive off-brands with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands they sell. • Drove consumer traffic to a custom campaign conversion site that promotes all their sales and service offers to help increase their sales and service leads. • Established a sales-in-service program to sell vehicles from their own service bays for in-equity customers before they shop the competition. • Worked with a marketing partner like to implement a targeted digital marketing strategy that promotes all their profit centers, new, used, finance, service and parts. Å READ FULL STORY

Percentage of Website Visits from Mobile Devices Mobile Percentage of Solutions Adoption


82.6% 10.0%

1.17% Nov 2009

Oct 2013

Nov 2009

Oct 2013

Website Calls vs. Form Submissions

65.6% Desktop: Oct 2013


Calls Form Submissions

Mobile: Oct 2013

Mobile Form Submission and Combined Conversion Rates Mobile Form Submission Rate

4.8% .40% Oct 2012 – Oct 2013

Mobile Combined Conversion Rate



AutoSuccess December 2013  

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