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I like having all the facts. And I like making money. The problem was, before Conquest, our new car department was short on both. We thought we knew how to order … we knew we needed some SUVs and we thought we knew which ones. But with Conquest we can say, “Order three limited editions in black, two in silver and four sport packages in white.” We even know that one sport package needs a sunroof. These facts matter — because now we’re only stocking what matters to shoppers. Sales and front-end profits are up. Floor plan expense is nonexistent. And, for the first time in a decade, we’re consistently making money in the new car department.

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leadership solution DalePollak THREE KEYS TO MAXIMIZING GROSS AS TRANSPARENCY GROWS IN 2015 DealerPanel HIRING: Making the Right Choice, PART 3




Hannah Philpott, Media Director



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EdLouis A LONG, HAPPY ENGAGEMENT: Using Apps to Connect With Your Customers


Brian Ankney, Account Manager

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Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist


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.

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18 22 26

JohnDobrick WHEN A LITTLE LATE — CAME A LITTLE EARLY: A Manager’s Rule of Five, PART 2

20 28 42

SusanGivens IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE SALES: How to Succeed in a Rapidly Changing Marketplace

08 14


10 24 32 34 36 38 40

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IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE SALES: How to Succeed in a Rapidly Changing Marketplace Mobile technology is now standard for the average consumer; more than 90 percent of adults in the U.S. have cell phones, of which 66 percent of those are smartphone owners. Approximately 42 percent of adults own tablets. The majority of consumers now have the ability to look up anything from anywhere, and that level of information availability has drastically changed the path people take to make a car-buying decision. This has left dealerships with a new set of challenges: • Knowledge Gap: New cars become more complex every year, limiting the ability of sales consultants to remember the details of every vehicle. At the same time, the average car buyer does 11 hours of research from at least 20 different sources on potential cars and dealerships before leaving their home. Because of these facts, salespeople are at a greater disadvantage than ever before. • Showrooming: While at a dealership, nothing is stopping consumers from looking for better deals elsewhere on their mobile device. In fact, 63 percent of customers use their smartphones while on a car lot. What are they looking at? Comparisons, primarily. This trend of virtual “shopping around” is costing individual dealers a lot of business, especially those with unfavorable reviews or smaller selections. While mobile technology has created these new challenges, it also makes existing challenges even worse: • Lack of Trust: Car salespeople have a bad reputation; that’s just how it is. A recent survey showed that only members of Congress and lobbyists are trusted less than car salespeople, with 9 percent of respondents saying they trust what car


salespeople tell them. Combine that with the credibility lost when a customer turns to their phone when a salesperson can’t answer a question, and trust becomes even more of a problem. • Turnover: About 62 percent of car salespeople are fired or quit every year. With such high turnover, it is hard for dealerships to build a team of well-trained employees and provide a consistent, positive experience. Turnover only contributes to the increasing knowledge gap and, in turn, the lack of trust that is so prevalent. • Technology Utilization: Dealerships pay a substantial amount of money every year for technologies such as CRMs to help run their business; it’s in their best interest to utilize that software. However, 89 percent of phone leads and 60 percent of showroom leads are never entered into the CRM. Dealerships pay thousands of dollars for software they aren’t using. So what can you do about this? Fortunately for dealerships, tablet-based selling platforms have recently emerged, and dealerships that are utilizing them have been successful in addressing a lot of these challenges, including the knowledge gap. These platforms have all the information salespeople need, which means they never have to make a guess or leave a customer to get the answer. This factual presentation of information also tends to have a domino effect, allowing the salesperson to gain the customer’s trust and keep them engaged so they stay off of their phones. This also enables you to meet the customer’s needs on devices where they are already comfortable. As consumers continue to change, new sales approaches will become essential for dealerships to stay competitive. Dealerships that have already embraced tablet-based technology and integrated it into their sales process are seeing the benefits. Sam Swope Honda World, a leading dealership that uses an iPad-based selling system, is just one example of a dealership that embraced mobile technology and has seen incredible results. “It’s amazing,” said Mike Porro, VP/GM at Sam Swope Honda World. “With the iPad, it gets the customers engaged and makes them feel like they are in control of the entire process. It turns our sales consultants into confident product presenters, and that has contributed tremendously to the experience our customers have here. Our close rate, productivity and gross are up significantly.” Many dealerships are seeing positive results from the implementation of mobile platforms, and current trends show that in the next couple of years, the use of mobile technology in dealerships will be the norm. In fact, Sonic, BMW and Honda recently embraced tablet-based solutions. “Dealerships that have made the commitment to change the way they do business and made tablet-based selling a part of their culture have made a smooth transition for today’s consumers” said Jim Hughes, co-founder of IntellaCar, the tablet-based system that Honda endorsed and Sam Swope is using. “Keeping an eye on customer expectations helps create a winning experience.” Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by email at


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Workflow automation is an area of process improvement in which businesses benefit from high efficiency, better time management and a higher level of performance. Automation eliminates errors in routing, completion and delivery, and creates an environment where the processes can be completed in a fraction of the time. Basically, work is done faster and smarter with workflow automation.

Hundreds of recon teams across the U.S. have embraced this real-time solution by switching to a workflow process system to meet the needs of each dealership or dealership group. There is now sufficient data verifying that “standardizing” recon on a workflow tool, with user controlled and verifiable metrics is the correct way to establish accountability and drive recon performance. Reconditioning is the last department within a dealership where standards have yet to be secured. Recent technology advances can change this fact, though, and reconditioning is ripe to embrace it. Incorporating


human workflow into automated processes is an obvious and natural fit for recon operations. Technicians, for example, genuinely welcome the opportunity to be visible and accountable, and real-time automation eliminates guessing and finger pointing. Now, with mobile messaging capabilities, techs, managers and the UCM can instantaneously communicate and recommended repairs can be approved or revised from anywhere. There is no going back from this. Dealer groups who started out by trying workflow in only one or two of their dealerships are now adding it in their other dealerships. Dealerships, from stand-alone stores to large groups, all have realized the benefits of workflow. To get started, the GM needs to plan and communicate the decision to standardize on workflow as the recon tool. With workflow, there is an inherent capability to adapt to each dealership’s existing processes. Changes then easily evolve as the needs of the dealership change. Next is the real-time transparency and accountability measurement tool. This tool can be used to create a positive work environment by measuring work accountability for individual success and the success of the overall business. The transparency and mobile tools make this easy. After your workflow processes are in place and warmed up, management performance will be a reality. You will be tracking all cars through recon from start to finish, and your time-to-market metrics will give you and your recon team real, actionable data. If you are not convinced about the proof, give me a call and I will make sure you get the facts by seeing first-hand from live customers. Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by email at

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“We succeed by upgrading customers into Hondas before they ever see the new Camry or Fusion.” -Andy Guelcher General Manager Ciocca Honda

HOW WE DID IT The Data-Driven Strategy That Launched Ciocca Honda into America’s Top 100 Despite a tough year for Honda sales in the U.S. and competitive pressures from other brands, Ciocca Honda, located in Harrisburg, PA, is outpacing their competition in all three key categories — market share, retention and profitability. Currently, they are No. 1 in their district for both market penetration and service retention, and their numbers are continuing to climb. In September, the service department had a larger increase in customer pay ROs than the region did, the new car department outsold the market by more than 7 percent and the used car department climbed back into the nation’s top 100 for CPO sales — something the company had never done prior to 2014.

Clearly their strategy is paying off, and this article explains how they did it.

Ciocca’s New Strategy “We reorganized our marketing, our people and our processes. This lead to improved sales, retention and CSI, which exponentially increased our profitability,” said Andy Guelcher, Ciocca Honda’s general manager. Guelcher refined the dealership’s processes to create a better customer experience and shifted their marketing strategy from less-efficient marketing to targeting in-market consumers who have a higher probability of buying or servicing a Honda. “Google says consumers now spend 63 percent of their time online crossshopping vehicles and dealerships,” said Guelcher. “To address this, we implemented a strategy that brings customers into our dealership before they start to shop. We understand that some competitors have new models that look good online, but bringing these customers into our showroom before they shop allows them to compare our new 2014 Accord to their old Accord, rather than to the new Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion.”

“Gross profits on Team Velocity deals are 70 percent higher than deals from my other marketing sources.” -Andy Guelcher

GM, Ciocca Honda

Retention Strategy Honda has an amazing brand, but Honda loyalty rates have made a significant shift in the last year. In 2013, Honda loyalty rates were the fourth highest. This year, Honda fell below the industry loyalty average. “Our first goal was to increase our sales by increasing retention because our customers are our most valuable asset, and it’s easier and cheaper to sell a Honda owner than to someone who is unfamiliar with the brand,” said Guelcher. “We compete with six other Honda stores within a 40-mile radius. We needed to do something different that would distinguish us. I started to read industry

trends and eventually I realized I had to stop reading and start doing. That’s when we ran into Team Velocity Marketing (TeamVelocityMarketing. com). They told us about their vehicle exchange program and we implemented this for our Honda customers.” This retention program implemented by Ciocca notifies all their customers when they can get a better car for a better payment before they begin to shop. “We succeed by upgrading customers in Hondas before they ever see the new Camry or Fusion.”

Ciocca Honda Vehicle Exchange Program “Consumers have options to upgrade their phones, hotels, rental cars and flights, but no one has offered a program for the automotive industry,” said David Boice, owner of Team Velocity Marketing. The vehicle exchange program notifies every Honda owner that they are eligible to upgrade to a better Honda for a better payment. Customers are notified via email, mail, phone and when they come in for service. The dealership also receives alerts when eligible consumers are scheduled to have their vehicle serviced. “The program is our most profitable strategy because we sell a new car and generate a Honda trade that we can certify with an internal repair order and quickly retail for a good profit,” said Guelcher. “The program is not a hard sell; we simply notify consumers that they are eligible to get a newer vehicle for a lower cost of ownership,” said Guelcher. “We present them with an upgrade analysis that showcases the benefits of upgrading, including lower repair costs and free maintenance.” “While not every customer buys the first month, they continue to get monthly statements that lets them know all the vehicles they can get for a similar or lower monthly payment,” said Budd Blackburn, a partner of Team Velocity Marketing. “Each customer also gets their own personal portal where they can view all the vehicles they can upgrade into for a lower payment, and they can sort them based on what they are looking for.” “I have never seen anything like this,” said Guelcher. “Everybody just gets it. When a customer comes in, the deals are easy because all the terms are pre-calculated and are on the mailer or email that they print out and bring in. Since the customer can get a better car for a better payment, there is little to no negotiation. “I can’t tell you how good it is to have a marketing partner you can truly trust. They do what they say and they only take credit for the deals they generate. I verify the numbers every month and the reports are always spot on. For example, last month gross profits on Team Velocity deals are 70 percent higher than deals from my other marketing sources.” Guelcher said that the program has also been a great source for quality pre-owned inventory — which has virtually eliminated the need to purchase vehicles at the auctions. “A year ago, we purchased more than 20 percent of our used cars from auctions,” he said. “Today, 99 percent of our used car inventory comes from trade-ins. This has increased our used car profits and has had a positive impact on our service department.

The Ciocca Honda Vehicle Exchange Program notifies Honda owners when they can upgrade into a better Honda for a better payment. Customers are notified via email, mail, phone and when they come in for service. The dealership receives alerts when eligible customers are scheduled to have their vehicles serviced so they can present an upgrade analysis that shows the benefits of getting a newer car for a lower cost of ownership. Team Velocity Marketing, the administrator of the program, provides Ciocca Honda the technology, tools and training to implement the program.

Our average internal RO to recondition a CPO is approximately $1,350, which is considerably higher than the $200 per RO average for a customer pay.”

A Better Customer Experience “We monitor and measure every single ad campaign and call that comes into our dealership, whether it’s for sales or service,” said Guelcher. “If the call isn’t handled properly, my management team is alerted within minutes to save the deal before it’s too late. Advertising is expensive and we get more calls than showroom visitors, so we don’t want any opportunities to fall through the cracks.” Ciocca uses a call-monitoring system that tracks their advertising, employees, and how their customers are treated so they can improve their people and processes and contact customers who get mishandled. “We receive daily, weekly and monthly reports from CallRevu (CallRevu. com) that help us adjust our ads and make the most of every opportunity,” Guelcher said.

in each ZIP code, which has allowed us to be much more strategic. For example, we deliberately spend more in specific conquest ZIP codes on a cost-per-sale basis to acquire new service customers.”

Employee Enthusiasm “It is great to be number No. 1 in anything that you do, especially in a competitive business like ours,” said Guelcher. “Our people work very hard; they understand that when they work this program correctly, it’s a game changer, and together they make this work. We were good operators, before, but this program has put us much farther ahead than where we would have been. We will continue to improve our people and processes to deliver a world-class customer experience. We are extremely happy with what we have accomplished, especially with our entrance into the top 100 CPO dealers, but we know that this is only the beginning.”

Reporting and Teamwork “Team Velocity’s Perfect Prospect reporting completely changed the way we spend our marketing dollars,” said Guelcher.“For example, we never knew that 73 percent of our business comes from 15 ZIP codes. We also were able to nail down our cost per sale

Perfect Prospecting technology allows Ciocca Honda to focus marketing dollars on ZIP codes with the highest close rates and lowest cost per sale.

To learn more about Ciocca Honda’s retention strategy scan QR code to learn more.


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INVESTING IN THEIR FUTURE AND YOUR FUTURE I got my first job in the car business as a salesman at a Ford store in 1999. I was fresh out of the Army and had no skills that could be applied to a civilian job. Ever since I was a kid, though, people told me that I would make a good salesman, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I was 25 years old, with two kids and one on the way, so I was certainly motivated to make money, and willing to work as hard as necessary to support my young, growing family. I should have been a sales manager’s dream: a young man new to sales, with no bad habits

Once I passed all of the manufacturer’s tests to prove that I knew the products, I had one day of sales training and was let loose on the sales floor to sink or swim.

I sank.

and plenty of drive to succeed. I spent the first week at the dealership getting “Ford Certified,” learning everything that there was to know about the Taurus, Explorer and F-150. Once I passed all of the manufacturer’s tests to prove that I knew the products, I had one day of sales training and was let loose on the sales floor to sink or swim. I sank. I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. I had followed the process I was shown to the letter, and I knew more about the products I was selling than anyone else in the dealership. I knew that my problem wasn’t effort; I was an Up-taking machine, often working a couple of deals at a time. My results, however, were average at best. The only thing that kept me from being shown the door was a GM who liked my willingness to hustle. Rather than fire me, he tasked his best salesman to take me under his wing (and promised him $100 for every car I sold for three months). Over the course of those three months, I learned how to listen and consult, rather than just pound people over the head with features and benefits. By the time I was let loose on my own again, I was only taking half as many Ups, but selling twice as many cars. All it took was one guy believing that I was worth investing some time into; it literally changed my career. I spend the majority of my day speaking to general managers and dealer principals about their sales staff. At some point, almost all of them get around to complaining that there just aren’t many good salespeople left in the car business. While that may be true, the sheer number of people who come into the business for the first time every year dictates that there are plenty of folks with the potential to be great. I know that taking the time to train people who may or may not work out (or even stay at the dealership if they turn out to be good) can be a frustrating endeavor. We would all love to hire folks with a ton of experience, no bad habits and a contact list full of previous customers who are almost ready for their next purchase. Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of those guys running around looking for jobs, so the next best option is to look for people who you can mold to be what you need them to be. It can be hard to teach effort, so look for people who are willing to work hard and learn, and make the investment in their success. If you can engage your current superstars in the process, that’s even better; the end result will be a strong team who also has an emotional investment in each other’s success. Bob Harwood is the vice president of Voisys. He can be contacted at 866.286.1339, or by email at

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Although marketing campaigns and strategies go back a long way, most dealerships used to rely on generic means to attract potential customers and gain loyal ones. Before the dawn of CRM, most dealerships were not ingenious when it came to having personalized customer relationships. The Dawn of CRM

CRM emerged in the 1990s and this early version was called “database marketing.” Not as intricate as today’s CRM, it comprised of tools to print letters and basic reminders for users to complete specific tasks. Although helpful, it wasn’t a seamless process and information in the database tended to be unorganized and hard to track, update and retrieve real-time activities. The Rise of CRM

The 1990s saw great improvements in CRMs, and dealerships began to see the benefits of using a tool that offers a method of sales force automation (SFA). Dealerships began to regard customer service as a continuously evolving skill, rather than something to be used whenever necessary.

Today’s CRM

Today, CRM allows dealerships to maximize their own data and achieve maximum customer retention. More advanced tools are available, and managers now enjoy benefits including desking tools, service MPI, “save a deal,” finance menu, data mining marketing tools, owner loyalty rewards, Up systems, portfolio management tools and many other systems. With the CRM’s online capabilities, storage issues for huge databases can now be resolved, which is especially critical for large dealer groups. Most dealerships have adopted the Internet as a source of channeling data back and forth. The next challenge for CRM providers was to make all systems and software work together. CRM/ DMS companies began to purchase companies that have specific functionality and integrate them together with their legacy software. This fulfilled the need of an all-inclusive system that set on top of their DMS system.

The Next Generation of Sales and Service Management System

In the last four years, we have seen a dramatic increase in tablet and smartphone utilization from both consumers and dealership staff. The number of people in the U.S. using smartphones/tablet in 2010 was 62.6 million users. According to Statista, it is expected to grow to 220 million by 2018. Your customers and staff are using the smartphone and tablet on an average of 150 times a day to look at emails, social media and other tools. Now, bring in the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT), which ties all devices into one data source or application. IoT is expected to generate large amounts of data from diverse locations that is both aggregated and high velocity, thereby increasing the need to better index, store and process such data. Some CRM and DMS companies are trying to adapt their solutions to be mobile- and tablet-friendly by designing a responsive version of their Web-version tool or building a dumbed-down version of their software to work as a native application. The problem here is the speed in which their data is retrieved within their native application. The answer would be to rebuild their data structure or build a responsive page that will access the same data as their online Web tool. The drawback here is that Web browsers update their code weekly; a software company would need to update code just as often. With the movement to smartphones and tablets, a staff member is more likely to use a tool that is optimized similarly to the Web version. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios of the old software system. A CRM has an average data entry efficiency of 55 percent, primarily because a sales or service person must stop their process to input or look up customer information. Employees, on average, utilize only 10 percent of the software’s features in a system. With the use of smartphones and tablets, this should not even be an issue; the mobility of software allows for real-time, on-the-spot data input and access. The question is: Does the software allow for this? Today’s systems should allow inventory management from anywhere, lead management from the lot, desking from a tablet, lease negotiation from the customer’s home with an instant response from dealership, daily work plans from a mobile phone, service shop loading from a tablet and service estimates on the service drive. The key to speeding up processes is finding a solution that is allencompassing to the transparency the customer is demanding. AutoNation and Sonic have announced they are trimming the buying cycle down dramatically to improve customer experience. Although customer experience is important, let’s look at logic. We have grown up in the industry learning that, if I turn my parts inventory more times in a year, I have fewer obsolete parts and my profit goes up. If I turn my new or used car inventory faster, my profit goes up. If I write more hours per RO and keep my effective labor rate in line, my profit goes up. Despite knowing all this, the time it takes a customer to purchase a car has been flat for the 30 years I have been in the industry: four hours. What would it look like if we could incorporate a transparent sales process that would allow the salesperson to have figures available after the demo drive on their PC, tablet or smartphone to show the customer? To be able to make an offer from their desk and know if the manager accepts the offer without leaving their desk? With the average profit per deal staying steady, what would it look like if a salesperson could cycle a customer through the “meet and greet” to the finance process in half of the time? Dealerships need to recognize that the more customers a staff member can process, the more profit they’ll make. By providing a CRM that can help them shorten the buying process, you’re helping the customer, the salesperson and your bottom line. For your free copy of “Getting From a Four-Hour Delivery to Under Two,” please email me at the address below. Rick McLey is the founder and CEO of Interactive 360, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.438.9808, or by email at





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In the past, studies showed that dealership visits were down to a range of between one and two during the shopping and research process. When you consider that one visit is necessary for consumers to take delivery of a vehicle, this data is compelling. However, recent data shows that the number of dealership visits is actually higher than this range. J.D. Power’s 2014 New Auto Shopper study shows the average number of dealership visits is on the rise, based on Website visits and time spent online. The Next Generation Car Buyer Study supported these findings, demonstrating that Baby Boomers visit 1.9

dealerships, Gen X visits 2.5 dealerships and Gen Y visits 3.1 dealerships. The dealership visit used to sit at the very start of the research process, but the Internet changed that. Now, dealership visits sit at the end of the process. Today’s consumers go to dealerships to reaffirm, or to get clarification, about what they already learned on the Web. What’s hard to refute from any study is the increasing time consumers research vehicles online, and the increasing number of Websites they visit. Like a merry-go-round, they stay on the Internet until the ride stops, and then visit a dealership. If the ultimate goal is to get consumers into your dealership, your Website should be the last they visit before they visit you. But how can you stop the merry-go-round and get them from the Internet into your dealership? Make sure both your laptop and mobile Websites are easy to navigate, with rich content that includes videos, product reviews and reviews of your dealership. Calls to action must be prominently displayed, and your site process needs to move the consumer closer to a sale by providing helpful tools and services. Your Website — or “virtual lot” — should mirror the experience of your physical lot. Visitors to your virtual lot must have a way to engage in a two-way conversation. Enabling consumers to communicate with you in realtime, whether by phone, text, audio or video dialogue, improves your chances of engaging them all the way to the point of sale. Virtual showroom technology also enables your sales team to observe what customers are doing on your Website in real time. Your team can actually “co-browse” with visitors to your Website — with their permission — by adding their mouse to the screen so they can guide the customer to pertinent information such as options and equipment information, current deals or service specials, or to assist them in completing a finance application. Your Website probably has all the information consumers want, but virtually guiding them to key products and services improves engagement. Use virtual showroom technology to provide the information they’re seeking and to put a stop to the Internet merry-go-round. Scott Pechstein is the vice president of national sales at Autobytel. He can be contacted at 866.423.9019, or by email at


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part 2

WHEN A LITTLE LATE — CAME A LITTLE EARLY: A Manager’s Rule of Five In November’s issue, we provided a 30,000foot overview on how to improve on some of the time-management issues occurring in dealerships today. This month, we’ll begin to provide a more detailed look at five steps a manager should be completing everyday. A More Consistent and More Productive Approach

Experts agree: A consistent approach is more effective when overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. One method to develop greater consistency is by utilizing huddles. Here’s how it works: • Establish three or four daily huddles. These huddles will support your current processes. - A huddle is short gathering (10 to 12 minutes). - A huddle is uninterrupted. Plan ahead for potential interruptions. - A huddle puts a plan in motion. - A huddle should start the same time every day. • You will need a timer; the timer on a smartphone will suffice. • The dealer principal or GM should conduct, at minimum, one of these daily huddles. The Manager’s Five Every Day Things: 1. Prepare Every Day (10 to 12 minute

manager huddle)

Abraham Lincoln once made the following case for preparation: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first six hours sharpening my axe!” The “preparation huddle” should be implemented as a first thing in the morning task, at the same time every day. The preparation work required for this huddle should not be the responsibility of one individual; all managers should contribute to the content of this huddle. The GM/GSM will identify who is responsible for specific information. Each member of the management team will “take ownership,” providing specific information and results. A few examples of what your dealership might want to prepare for include:


• Who is responsible for the “Up” count? “How many Ups did we have? - How many deals were worked with figures and not closed? - How many deals were worked without figures? - How many demo rides were given? • Who is responsible for the trades appraised? - What vehicles did we traded for? - How many vehicles were appraised but “missed”? • BDC/Internet appointments - Appointments set? - Appointments shown? - Appointments sold? - How many “no-shows”? • Who is “on point” today for early management involvement (EMI)? - How many people did management meet yesterday? - How many went on a demo ride? - How many were delivered? 2. Train Every Day: (10 to 12 minute huddle

with all sales personnel and F&I)

Training should not be an event; it needs to be part of your process. The training challenge is to provide impactful, effective training every day. Below is an example of how to conduct one of the most effective training sessions a dealership can have — in 10 to 12 powerful minutes. A. Remember, we are attempting to create a habit, so this huddle should begin the same time every day. B. Hand pick one or two deals from the previous night. We are going to dissect these deliveries in a way that we can teach various skill sets. C. It should go something like this: “Okay, Joe sold a vehicle last night and he did a really nice job. Joe, tell the group, how did you meet the customer?” D. Joe will proceed to talk about his genius approach to this sale. E. The manager leading the huddle should “lead the conversation” to certain specific steps that the team needs to improve upon.

Consider some of the positive sets of circumstances that occur every day in your dealership. For example: A salesperson or BDC person takes a phone call from a prospect inquiring about a specific vehicle they found online, and the following actions take place: • The salesperson/BDC rep sets the appointment. • The prospect shows up at the agreed time. • The salesperson presents a “back-up” selection. • The salesperson creates desire by giving a dynamic presentation and demo drive. • The salesperson works a deal that started $80 per month away. • The salesperson works the prospect for an additional $2,500 down. • The salesperson bumps the prospect another $25 per month. • The salesperson closes the deal and delivers a car. The manager leading this huddle is ultimately looking to convey the following message: “Why can’t we do this every single time?” Also, consider the impact this success story has as the salesperson gets to tell everyone how he or she accomplished this actual deal from yesterday. Not only are the other salespeople seeing how it’s done in their dealership, it also creates accountability within the group. This method of training also packages a multitude of subjects in one scenario: • Phone skills • Introducing a “back-up” selection • Presentation/demo • Money down • Negotiations Is it possible that some in attendance would be able to use an idea or two with their next prospect? Next month, we’ll finish up our list of the steps a manager should be completing everyday. Please email me at the address below for a complete copy of “A Manager’s Rule of Five.”

John Dobrick is the vice president of sales and marketing for The McDavid Group. He can be contacted at 800.901.2860, or by email at



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Win cash for your customers’ beyond-the-call-of-duty car care stories. The Engage With Car Pros Contest is a way for Synchrony Financial’s CarCareONE program to recognize auto service professionals who go beyond the call of duty to keep our cars and trucks on the road longer. From December 15, 2014, through February 15, 2015, ask your customers to share their stories. If a story about you is voted the winner, you’ll receive $100,000*. Plus, there are other cash prizes for our Car Pro and First Prize winners.

Go to to learn more. SAMPLE STORY EXCERPT:

... “It was Christmas Eve and my car wouldn’t start. Mario stayed until 11 at night to fix it, and I made it to my mom’s house after all. That’s why I love the guy.”

*Awarded in the form of a check. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY IN MD AND CT. Void where prohibited. The Engage With Car Pros Contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, who are, as of date of entry, at least 18 years of age or the age of majority in their state of residence, whichever is greater, and have a valid email address. Sponsored by Synchrony Bank. View contest rules at Contest begins at 3:00:00 p.m. ET on 12/15/14, and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on 2/15/15. Contest voting and the Voting Sweepstakes will begin at 12:00:00 a.m. ET on 3/9/15 and end at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on 3/30/15.


marketing solution

A LONG, HAPPY ENGAGEMENT: Using Apps to Connect With Your Customers Dealer-branded apps work well to attract new customers, sell vehicles and service and retain customers. How well they work, of course, depends on three major factors: 1. A well-designed app with relevant functionality 2. Consistent promotion of the app to increase the number

of app downloads

3. Engagement through push notifications

It’s true that the number of apps available in the apps stores increase daily (there are currently more than 1.5 million available). However, dealers should not fear that their customers or prospects will delete the app. Stats show that as long as the app has relevant and useful information, not only will they keep the app on their phone but the chances of business engagement increase considerably. This is the case for both sales and service. Sales Engagement

Dealers are in business to sell cars; it’s all about generating as many leads as possible and closing deals. According to Google Analytics, apps excel in this category. Approximately 42 percent of app usage revolves around inventory. People use dealer apps to search and research their next vehicle purchase. Whether new or used, they are searching for the

next best deal. They read reviews and watch videos. They save cars as favorites. They share their favorite car through social media. When a dealer uses an app as part of their marketing strategy, they will get more leads and sell more vehicles. Service Engagement

Because of the convenience of scheduling service through an app, the number of customers who use apps to schedule service increases every month. Customers love using the app to schedule their next appointment. With a built-in communication system that allows service writers to send pictures and videos, the number of phone calls, as well as the voice mail and email “tag,” is reduced significantly. It has helped many dealers upsell more service and increase their dollars per RO. General Engagement

While there is no guarantee that some customers won’t delete your app, statistics show that there is steady usage throughout almost every feature. Dealer apps can provide useful and practical information to customers. It’s more than the purchase of a vehicle and the occasional visits to the dealer for service; it’s about engagement, useful information, utilities and referrals. Apps can provide information such as recalls, how to videos, specials, events, announcements, roadside assistance, tradein data and the list goes on and on. With increased functionality, the stickiness factor of having an app improves over time. Message Engagement

How do you get more of your customers to engage with you and reach out to you more? The answer is through powerful push notifications. This type of communication does not exist anywhere else. You can’t engage your customers through your Website the same way you can using the app. Suppose your service department is slow on a Tuesday morning and you’d like to generate instant business. Create a push message and offer your customers a special for that morning only and tell them there is no wait, come in and get a quick oil change for $9.95. Within minutes you can have customers arriving. Use geo-targeted push messages to create a message around a lube, oil and filter shop down the street and, if any of your customers visit their shop, they will receive a special coupon good towards an oil change at your store for the same price or better. Push messages are extremely effective at customer engagement. Findlay Chevrolet recently increased their in-app user activity by more than 300 percent after sending out one push message. Zeigler Auto Group sent out a service push message and saw an increase in activity by 220 percent within the first 10 days after creating the message. In addition to your customers responding to the messages you create, the messages serve as a reminder to open and explore your app. A customer may be reading a sales special you just sent, and then go into the inventory section of your app and see that you now have that 2015 new model they were interested in, and it’s the color they like. The possibilities are limitless. If you already have an app, invest the time and effort to take full advantage of it by marketing your app. If you are considering an app for your store, what better time than the present to start off the new year with a fantastic engagement tool?

Ed Louis is the CEO and co-founder of DealerApp Vantage. He can be contacted at 866.604.6710, or by email at








NADA Booth #6438W


leadership solution


It shouldn’t be news for dealers that margins in new and used vehicles are under pressure. As we look ahead to the coming year, there are few, if any, signs that margin compression will abate. On the new vehicle side, there are predictions that a push to sell more cars will drive higher factory incentive spending and, in turn, press down front-end margins for dealers as they retail the vehicles. On the used vehicle side, an expected (and ongoing) rise in wholesale supplies will put dealer margins at risk unless dealers are able to maintain their inventory velocity while carefully controlling costs as they acquire and recondition used units for retail. To be sure, the effects of margin compression will be most problematic when dealers stock the wrong new and used vehicles. The right cars will always fare better, gross-wise, than less desirable units. Thankfully, many dealers today use technology and tools to help them identify the new and used vehicles that align best with market demand and acquire them in a cost-effective and efficient manner. But even when dealers have the right new and used vehicles, they often lose margin as they follow traditional pricing formulas and sales processes. The problem is that the traditional, negotiation-based methods are out of step with today’s buyers, who increasingly want (and will pay for) a far more transparency-focused purchase experience.

In recognition of this reality, big dealer groups like AutoNation and Sonic are choosing to let go of traditional pricing and sales practices. Instead, they are adopting pricing and sales models that limit, if not eliminate, negotiations and aim to provide a more efficient and satisfying experience for their customers. At the same time, these retailers are placing their bets that these transparency-minded processes will help them retain, if not increase, their front-end margins as market conditions continue to put them at risk. As dealers map out their goals for new/used vehicles for 2015, I believe they would be wise to consider three operational strategies that help them satisfy customer desires for a more transparent experience and minimize the harmful effects of margin compression: Align asking prices to the market. I believe 2015 will be a watershed year for market-based pricing of new vehicles, thanks to the advent of

new vehicle inventory management tools that help dealers easily identify competitor pricing and allow them to find the pricing “sweet spot” for every new car. In many ways, this trend mirrors the shift toward marketbased pricing of used vehicles that has occurred during the past five years. With more transaction-realistic asking prices, dealers effectively convey a fair market price to potential buyers that mitigates their desire to negotiate. In simple terms, buyers are less likely to push back if they perceive you’re offering a fair price for a vehicle. And, if they do ask for a better price, you’ve got the market data to stand behind your offer. Promote your pricing strategy. When dealers price their new and used vehicles to the market, they sometimes overlook the next step — telling customers, right up front, about the way they arrived at their asking prices. This runs counter to traditional sales practices that use craft and cunning to avoid the price discussion, and typically only deepen a buyer’s resolve to press for a better deal. By contrast, dealers who make the price discussion a primary part of the conversation find it builds buyer confidence and trust because it speaks directly to their desire for a more transparent experience. Help your managers hold margin. I recently spoke with a Pennsylvania Toyota dealer who attributes a $400 increase in his front-end margin for new vehicles to two sales process changes. First, he set a “bottom-line” price for every car (typically 1.5 percent to 3 percent above invoice, depending on the unit). With this knowledge, managers can more honestly convey “this really is our best price,” and customers respond favorably, the dealer says. Second, the dealer tracks the amount of discounting that occurs for every new/used vehicle. He estimates the oversight has cut the average new vehicle discounts from $400-plus to $150 or less. (Note: This dealer plans to roll out compensation plans that reward managers and sales associates for reducing the discounts even further in 2015.) As dealers employ these transparency- and margin-minded pricing and sales practices, they begin to notice another positive outcome: It takes less time to complete every new and used vehicle deal, which means managers and sales associates have additional capacity to sell more cars — an operational efficiency that also helps the dealership maximize its profit margins. Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by email at

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HOW TO RANK AT THE TOP OF GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS Last issue, I discussed the cost of not ranking at the top of Google’s search results. The response was so overwhelming, with questions on “how to get to the top,” that I decided to give you the recipe. The truth is every recipe is slightly different, but there are some core ingredients you can master that will get you to the top. The first ad displayed by Google on a search results page has become even more valuable with the rise of mobile searches. A significantly larger share of traffic goes to the first ad displayed on mobile and tablets, compared to desktops. On average, 39 percent of clicks go to the first ad on smartphones, 36 percent of clicks go to the first ad on tablets and 30 percent of clicks go to the first ad on desktops. Even more important for dealers and digital marketers is the actual click-thru rates (CTR) by ad position. The chart below shows the disparity between ad positions and CTR.

Ad Rank on Page

CTR Smartphone

CTR Tablet

CTR Desktop

1 2 3

4.9% 2.2% 1.9%

4.3% 2.0% 1.6%

3.2% 1.9% 1.5%


Aptus Websites

Market Strategy

SEO and Social

Targeted Marketing


Ad relevancy: Google expects you to provide an ad that matches a consumer’s search terms or keyword. If the consumer’s key search term was for a specific model — and even option — display an ad that addresses that request.

Landing Page Experience: This could be the most important part of the equation — and most overlooked by most dealers and agencies. Landing pages should be clear, useful and relevant to the consumer’s search terms. Using the example above, if a consumer was searching for a Chevy Tahoe LTZ with third-row seating, and you landed that consumer on your complete inventory listing page or, worse, your Website homepage, Google would not reward you for a good landing page experience. To improve your quality score, you would need to land that consumer on the inventory page that has all the Chevy Tahoe LTZ’s with third-row seating. If you can master these basic “blocking and tackling” skills, then you can move onto to more advanced techniques of enhanced campaigns, bid strategies, site extensions and more.


Protect your customers. Get more of theirs. | 888.841.8130 | © 2014 Naked Lime Marketing. All rights reserved. 11/14

You can also factor in site extensions as a wild card to improve quality scores. The user’s device should also be a consideration when constructing your PPC strategy. Make sure your Website is optimized for a mobile experience, and try using separate ads and landing pages specific for mobile devices.

Expected Click-Through Rate: Google describes the ECTR as an estimate that the search term will match the keyword exactly. They also take into consideration how well that keyword has performed in the past and how it compares to other keywords.

One platform. Multiple devices. Infinite possibilities. #ThisIsWeb

Reputation Management

The Google quality score is made up of three key factors: 1. Ad relevancy 2. Expected click-through rate 3. Landing page experience

Search term: Chevy Tahoe LTZ (in my city) with third-row seating. Result = Lease a new Chevy Tahoe LTZ with third-row seating for as low as $499 a month.

by Naked Lime

Digital Advertising

Your Google Adwords account is one of your most important online marketing investments. This account should be managed by a trained and/or certified agency or individual who has the time needed to manage all the complexities on a daily basis. In order to rank at the top of the Google search results, you need to master their algorithm and the variables that affect it. Google’s “Quality Score” is one of the key components to optimizing your Adwords account. Although the actual quality score number that is in your Adwords account is not used in the ad quality calculations, all the components to the quality score are. Google rewards advertisers with higher quality scores and, in turn, penalizes advertisers with lower quality scores. Higher quality ads can lead to lower cost per click (CPC) prices and higher ad placement.

For a complimentary evaluation and “scorecard” of your online ad presence, please email me at the address below.

Larry Barditch is the vice president of digital strategy and innovation for MSA Advertising. He can be contacted at 866.590.1624, or by email at


The Tewart 24/7 Automotive Online Training Channel is the most advanced up to date information in the automotive industry. This Information is based upon real world application and not just theory or motivational jargon. Mark Tewart, one of the top sales, management, marketing and automotive industry experts and author of “How To Be A Sales Superstar”, developed the information. The Information available on this channel ranges from sales, people, life, marketing and process skills. The information is continually updated.

call 888 283-9278 or

email with a time for a demo! |


sales & training solution


The auto industry is an ever-changing landscape. Last month, I wrote that many franchise dealers were adding “Buy Here Pay Here” departments and explored the new challenges they have faced because of it. They have found that the only things the franchise business and the BHPH business have in common are cars and people — and even those are not the same cars or the same people. Everything is different. The landscape is changing. What does your landscape look like? What are you up against? What’s your game plan? Is your team performing in the top 1 percent? • Would you like them to be? • • • •

One of the greatest advantages savvy dealers have today is that most dealers are sitting around enjoying — or tolerating — the status quo. They are doing the same things they have always done, and depending on the wind, pretty much getting the same results, at best. You cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. This gives the savvy dealer a great opportunity to dominate their marketplace. Trainer Eric Melon said the problem is that most do not have the systems or processes in place to do so. The problem is aggravated because turnover is killing our industry. We spend thousands of dollars trying to recruit salespeople and once we have them, we are not making sure their training and development are priorities. Dealers are banking way too much on finding the right individuals and not enough on implementing the right processes. Are dealers constantly hiring the wrong people? Or, are they hiring the right people, but because of the lack of development, accountability and structure in their own organization, they become the wrong people? According to NADA, the No. 1 reason a salesperson leaves a dealership is due to sales managers. This is the nature of our industry. The majority of salespeople are looking for customers who they don’t have to sell. They


want the easy sale because they are not confident enough dealing with the educated buyer. That’s why the closing percentage of many dealers continues to decline. Sales mangers keep looking for salespeople who they do not have to manage — “If I could only find salespeople who could do their job.” The fact is, if you want to slow down your turnover and create a higher level of success in your organization, you must develop your middle management. Do you have a business development center (BDC)? Many dealers want it and the factories are pushing it. Yet most BDCs are a failure. Why? Because in most stores, they are the overlooked stepchildren, where the entire dealership has to make a behavior change to utilize. Managers must become proactive instead of reactive. To thrive, they must manage the process daily. The BDC not only has the responsibility to manage phone and Internet traffic, but also must follow up with the customers who left without buying. What about your customers who are not using your service department? Who is calling them? What is your plan to get them back in? If training is important to you, and if you want to optimize your business for long-term, continued success, allow me to share some learnings from decades of experience: 1. Find a company that provides a full curriculum of courses, not just general training. This

allows each specific dealership department to be addressed, giving you and your staff the tools you need to excel in any market condition. This will give your dealership cohesion, instead of having multiple training companies for multiple issues. Your store will no longer be made up of isolated teams, but of one team working in concert with each other.

2. Find a company that has a full-time formalized training center for your staff, with

classrooms, role-play rooms and a BDC. Online training or training held in hotel rooms and conference center rooms cannot compare to a state-of-the-art formalized training facility.

3. Make sure trainers provide digitalized course notes. Your staff can have these notes available

at a moment’s notice to refresh, encourage and reinforce. This insures lasting results.

4. Make sure the training facility has the capability for you, the dealer, to join in and/

or monitor any training session live via the Internet. This ensures the highest level of accountability, and allows you to know what your staff is learning.

5. Find a company that provides proven professional trainers with experience working in

retail within their respective departments. Trainers without real-life experience may deliver a good sounding pitch, but cannot hold a candle to trainers who are actually qualified to step in and do the job they are training you for.

If you are looking to dominate your market, it’s vital to make some changes. Training and development of your personnel with a system that teaches, cultivates and encourages cohesiveness will lead to greatness. Everyone has product, and most think they are good. However, “good is the enemy of great,” says my friend and automotive business guru, Dave Anderson. Strive to be great and you will dominate the landscape.

Tim Byrd is an author and founder and president of DealerRE. He can be contacted at 866.347.6022, or by email at

Joe Seppa, General Manager. Morrie’s Cadillac & Morrie’s Luxury Autos








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.


marketing solution

MILLENNIALS, MOBILE DEVICES AND MOVING METAL To borrow Mark Twain’s famous phrase, rumors of the Millennials’ disinterest in owning cars have been greatly exaggerated. During the Great Recession, many surveys highlighted how Millennials were fundamentally different from previous generations, in that they simply didn’t want to buy or own cars. Glum news indeed, since this population of 77 million Americans is, after Baby Boomers, the single largest generation. In fact, according to a 2014 Nielsen report the number of Millennial households is expected to increase by a whopping 62 percent by 2018, to 26.2 million. It turns out, however, that some of that Great Recession gloom-and-doom research was perhaps flawed. Millennials, like the rest of the population, were suffering during a spectacularly bad jobs market. Being young, new to the labor force and saddled with debt, it’s no wonder that cars weren’t their top priority. Today, in an improving economy, Millennials are showing up at the dealership in healthy numbers. But Millennials are different from the preceding generations, so connecting successfully with these vehicles shoppers may require a different approach. Here’s how: • Millennials are mobile. Actually, they’re smartphone mobile: About 85 percent of 18 to 34 year olds own smartphones — more than any other age segment. That’s good news for dealers, since a smartphone can easily display ads and videos, manage email and text communications, and even transactions. The rise in mobility means that dealers need to invest in “responsive ads” — those that can display well in a variety of online formats — for laptops, tablets and smartphones. • Millennials are big on research. The August 2014 Autotrader survey found that Millennials are spending an average of 14.4 hours online for car shopping, vs. 11.6 hours for the overall population surveyed. To attract these shoppers, dealers need to show up wherever Millennials are shopping, and that means having a robust advertising presence on third-party Websites. • Millennials value transparency and direct engagement. OK, so who doesn’t? But in this case, the takeaway for dealers is to meet Millennials on their own terms. I call this a “give to get” strategy. Most of us in the automotive business know that inventory searches form the biggest portion of the car buyer’s online process. So, rather than forcing a Millennial car shopper to fill out a lead before they get information on your vehicle inventory, why not just show them your cars? This is such a radically simple idea, it takes a moment to digest: When a Millennial searches for a specific make and model, why not show them exactly what you’ve got — including your vehicle details page (VDP)? Shopper targeting enables just this kind of online “give to get” advertising strategy: The vehicle buyer enters in his or her ZIP code, along with desired make and model and, in return, is rewarded with the relevant VDPs (VIN included). The benefit to dealers? Actually, it’s a winwin: Vehicle buyers love this, and dealers feel that love with high-value visits to the dealership’s Website. Here’s how: Shopper targeting advertising takes the shopper’s click right to your dealership’s Website, and from there, you have the opportunity to form the relationship. No intermediaries, no annoying lead forms — just a direct interaction. Dealers who use this type of shopper targeting are seeing a dramatic increase in net new shoppers to the dealership — in many cases, as much as a 95 percent net of new shoppers. And with more “high-intention” shoppers, sales velocity is boosted, as well — between 44 percent and 58 percent faster. What’s not to love? Millennials actually have a lot to teach the rest of us about thriving in the 21st century of mobility and moving metal. So, the next time you worry about your sister’s 20-something offspring who is still living at home and seemingly doing a lot of couch surfing, remember that he and his peers are the future economic engine of our great country. Your Millennial nephew likely has a job and is spending his online time plotting his next car purchase. Dean Evans is the CEO of LotLinx. He can be contacted at 866.467.3861, or by email at


From: Jane Consumer

My new car is GR8!! Telling Kathy 2 txt u! She needs a car. Cya!

Take control of your texting and get more customers. Nearly 76% of U.S. mobile subscribers use text messaging on their mobile device — which means a powerful texting strategy could dramatically impact your business. The Autobytel Texting Platform gives you a comprehensive program to help you grow leads, increase sales, monitor texts, and protect you from problems. All at a price any dealership can afford.

Text better. Sell more cars. Want info: Text "ABTL” to 50123 or call 800-825-1042. Visit Stop by NADA Booth # 2435S for special show offers. Data Source: November 2012 comScore U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share © 2014 Autobytel Inc., all rights reserved.

the dealer panel

part 3


Making the Right Choice

Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Danny Benites Joe Clement i Hiring team members is a critical step in building a successful dealership, but is one that many dealers and managers are less than comfortable in tackling. Last month, we asked our dealer panel how they get new hires off to a good start, and this month, we’ll conclude this topic by looking at how our panelists got their start in the industry and get some parting advice from them about hiring.

is a question I have asked myself over and over again. They must have seen something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. I think they thought I was relatively smart and extremely confident. Convincing them to hire me was one of my best closing efforts. The last laugh was on them as I proceeded to sell one car my first month. I had the determination, though, to make it in the auto sales business.

For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Danny Benites, general manager of Greg Lair Buick-GMC in Canyon, Texas; Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania THE and Florida; Joe Clementi, general manager and sales trainer at Sacramento Kia in California; Brian Benstock, vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Andrew DiFeo, general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida.

AS: What’s the best advice you’ve received about making hires, or what advice would you give someone new to successful on solutions by management hiringprovided employees? JC: Well, I’ve certainly had my share of misses and busts, but I think the


AutoSuccess: Looking back at your first job in the industry, what qualities do you think won you that position? Andrew DiFeo: I was a management trainee for Toyota Motor Sales.

My family has an extensive automotive background on the retail side of the business, and I think one of the things that was attractive to the manufacturer was getting someone with a retail background. Also, I find that one of the qualities that’s very important to me, and one I try to instill in all my employees, is the concept of a team working together for a greater good, and not just an individual goal. You can have individual goals, but when you work with your team for the greater good, I think management and leadership recognizes that, and those are the candidates they want working for their organization. Chris Saraceno: It was my persistence. I was a wrestler from second grade through college, and I was used to athletics and being very persistent. My work ethic also got me through. The first place I worked at did not invest in training, but I was persistent. If you’re a hard worker and persistent, it’s amazing what you can work through. I have a desire to win in whatever I do, and that’s what we’re looking for in our organization now. The one thing you can’t teach is a sense of urgency and a competitive spirit. When you see that in an individual, it’s incredible to see how that person excels. Joe Clementi: The few key qualities I had were the desire to create a better future and to succeed. I had a competitive, winning spirit and the passion to learn, as well as the innate desire to help people. Brian Benstock: I started as a salesperson, and found I had the ability

to relate to people well. I also enjoyed helping people with this large transaction and ensuring a seamless transaction. As I began to grow in the business, I tried never to mistake taking activity for completing action. Any activity I did I ensured that it moved forward to create action and accountability. Chris Saraceno Tony Provost AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Danny Benites: Obviously, it was sheer desperation on their part.

Why anyone in their right mind would have hired this lost 20-year-old




best advice is to “hire slow and fire fast.” Take your time hiring the right individual, have multiple people interview the potential hire, call the references and trust your instincts.

AD: Always look to hire when you don’t need someone; that way, you don’t feel the pressure that you must hire the next candidate. It gives you time to go through an extensive interview process, and take some personality and skills testing, to find the right candidate for what you’re looking for. And, even if you don’t have a position open, if you find an outstanding candidate, hire them and find something for them to do, because someone else will get them before you have a position available for them. CS: We’ve used this statement many times: “Hire slow, fire fast.” You take your time and make sure you do your research, do the background checks, and make sure you let people know up front, very clearly, what you expect. As a group, the dealer body doesn’t do a good job overall in setting expectations of what you need to do to stand out and be great in this industry. We pride ourselves at Kelly at taking the time and sharing up front that these are the specific daily activities you need to do; we look them in the eye and ask, “Is this something you’re comfortable in doing?” BB: Don’t trap yourself with pre-conceived notions. Some of the best

hires you can make are people who can bring value, obviously, but who also have the ability to push you as a leader. Sometimes people don’t want to hire those who might be smarter than they are, or could do the jobthe It’s importantpanel to surround yourself with people who push you to be better, and the way to do that is to get people who share different perspectives. You hire character and train skill.

DB: I have two pieces of advice. First, I think it is important to paint

a picture of the first 90 days of their employment. They need to know what that is going to look like and what your expectations are. It is then our job to make sure that picture is accurate. People hate surprises, employees included. Next, I try to hire smart people who enjoy serving. When I take a step back and evaluate a person’s heart and mind, I tend to make better decisions than just looking at their history of numbers. If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at

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leadership solution


Here’s a fact: Dealerships that figure out how to consistently find and recruit the best candidates for their open sales positions are going to win in their market. And here’s another one: Those dealerships that fail to hire high-potential sales talent are doomed to a cycle of throwing bodies out onto the showroom floor, wasting time and money, and losing market share. Which one sounds better to you? It’s a nobrainer answer, yet 95 percent of dealerships report having no predictable, repeatable process for staffing their critical sales roles. Chances are, that’s you. Believe me, I get it. Keeping your sales floor fully staffed can be a time-consuming and tedious process: Post the job. Receive a flood of emailed resumes in your inbox. Call everyone back. Invite people in to speak with you. Put three of them on the sales floor and hope one works out. Repeat. But that’s a recipe for flat growth and high turnover. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three things you can start doing right now to improve your sales hiring results by as much as 40 percent. Follow a Script

In order to pick the right candidate, you’re looking for things that predict the likelihood that they will (or won’t) work out in the role. That process involves asking the right questions and knowing what to listen for in a candidate’s answer. The only way to consistently evaluate talent is to ask the same questions of every candidate every time, and that means following a script. A good interview script will focus on the things that you know lead to success at your store, and those things are different for every dealership. What makes your top salesperson successful? Have you documented the things they do that make them a success? These are the things you’re looking for with the next hire. Formulate a list of questions that ensure you’re


hitting on these points in the same way each time you talk with a candidate. Otherwise, you’ll forget to ask what’s really important. What would happen if State Farm forgot to ask drivers what kind of car they drove before quoting a rate? They’d be out of business in a hurry. No more winging it when it comes to interviews, and no more gut-feel hiring decisions just because you decided to “give ‘em a shot.” You might as well flip a coin and save yourself the time. Hire for Attitude

Research on workplace success overwhelmingly suggests that a person’s attitude towards work is a highly predictive indicator of their future success. In short, those with a positive disposition towards work outperform those with a negative disposition towards work. Start screening for positive attitude. It’s easier than you think: Simply ask your sales candidates to describe their former manager. Ask them how it was to work for them and about something they would change or improve about their management style. Candidates with a positive disposition towards work will go out of their way to speak positively about their former manager, even if the situation ended on less-than-ideal terms. Those with a more negative outlook will likely add in commentary that makes you raise your eyebrows. You don’t want that negative-attitude candidate in your store. Screen for attitude and you’ll be way ahead of the curve. Fish in a New Pond

You’ve heard the statistics before: By 2017, the purchasing power of the Millennial Generation (those born after 1980) will be bigger than that of the Baby Boomer Generation (those born before 1969). They are soon to be your biggest customer base. What are you doing to ensure that your sales teams are able to sell to this new generation of buyers? If you’re like most dealers, you’re screening for previous car sales experience. While that can be effective, in many cases you just end up recycling the same talent from one dealership to the next. Research on Millennials shows that they’re likely to be highly independent, expect quick results and value personal relationships. Doesn’t that sound like someone you want working for you? The problem is, they’ve never sold cars before, and that might make you nervous. It’s time to look in a new talent pool. For entrylevel candidates, start with posting to your local community college job boards or job boards where you might find great service-focused candidates, such as customer service or sales. You will be surprised at the quality of the raw talent that is just waiting to be taught this business. If you hire the right person, they’ll have the competence required to learn the profession and move cars, even if they have never done it before. Change Your Hiring Process Today

These three simple changes to your hiring process can have an outsized impact in your sales hiring results. If what you’re doing today isn’t working, then what are you waiting for? Want an example of an effective phone interview script? Email me at the address below. Adam Robinson is the chief hireologist at Hireology. He can be contacted at 866.455.1671, or by email at

THE The McDavid

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leadership solution


The secret to success is that there is no secret. Most people are looking for magic pills, magic closes and shortcuts. Sorry to disappoint you, but you are looking in the wrong place for the wrong things. The key to success is simply getting out of your own way.

There are enough books on success to teach you what to do. You can find books on success and motivation and “how to” manuals with enough information to accomplish anything. The challenge for you is this: Will you read the books and then take action on what you learn? If the information is readily available for anyone and there are tons of real-life examples of people who have taken the steps to success, then why don’t more people reach high levels of success? The answer is that they won’t get out of their own way. Most people have acquired a lot of negative teachings and experiences in their life that have been emotionally internalized. These teachings and experiences now act as a self-protection mechanism that creates fear. Unfortunately, the self-protection mechanism that helps to protect them from harm now protects them from success. Your brain will tell you how something won’t work, and that there will be failure that will hurt you, disappoint you and make you lose your money. Your protection mechanism will keep you from even trying so you can play it

safe. Imagine on your deathbed saying “What a great life I had; I played it safe.” Are you trying much harder to protect what you have, even if it’s very little, versus going for what you want? My questions for you are, “Why not you? Why shouldn’t you have what you want?” Focus on “Why you?” versus “Why not you?” You must change your questions. Your life is based upon your questions, so start asking better questions. Ask questions based upon abundance, not scarcity. Ask questions based upon succeeding, not failing. Ask questions based upon possibilities, rather than lack. Take one thing you have been avoiding and do it. Take one thing you have talked yourself out of trying and try it. Take one risk you are afraid to take and do it anyway. Be bold. Even small actions can recondition your brain. Train yourself to take action on what you want and to experience the success you can deserve. Remember that you are the same person when you fail as when you succeed; only the result has changed. Don’t allow setbacks to become who you are. Setbacks are simply a vessel you move through to get to a better destination. I have never met anybody who did not in some way sell him or herself short on what they are truly capable of. Everybody is fighting battles in their brain, but some have just become better at the fight. Taking bigger or bolder action is simply about putting your fear of success and failure aside while you take action. It’s not about your competition, who you know or don’t know, education or any other go-to excuse. It’s simply about stepping out of your own way and allowing your true self to emerge with all of your capabilities. Stop selling yourself short! For a free special report, “Ten Ways To Set Yourself Free,” email me at the address below. Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844,or by email at


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leadership solution

TIGHTEN THE LUGS, DON’T LOSE THE WHEEL One thing I’ve always loved about the car business is that there are new opportunities waiting to be discovered each day. These opportunities don’t just magically appear, though; instead, they are hidden under the guises known as “problems” or “tests,” and are only revealed after one has struggled, stretched and chewed on it long enough. As we can all attest, there is no such thing as a problem-free month. Recently, our store was faced with one of our toughest tests — in many respects it was tougher than anything we’d endured during the recession. During the recession (or “resettion,” as I like to call it), we had to make the most out of a little — whether it be a dollar or an Up, we had to stretch every opportunity as far as it could possibly go. We weren’t just fighting for a month; we were fighting for our future. But what made this recent month’s test one of the toughest was not a lack of opportunities, but instead an abundance of them. We had plenty of traffic — we just weren’t converting.

Our poor results were self-inflicted because we allowed ourselves to lose our momentum. Momentum is slippery and elusive; you never see it coming and when you realize it’s gone, it’s generally too late and takes weeks to regain. When it comes to momentum, we all know that it’s much easier to keep it going than it is to get it going in the first place. Keeping momentum going is a lot like tightening the lug nuts on your car; taking a moment to check will prevent a catastrophe. On the contrary, losing momentum is much like losing one of your tires while speeding down the highway — as long as you maintain the same speed you’re OK, but once you slow down, and eventually you’ll have to, the damage is costly.  Don’t wait for your team’s wheels of momentum to fly off before swinging into action. Instead, take a proactive, five-lug leadership approach to build your momentum daily.     Plan

We preach to our salespeople that they should be planning their day, and yet we as leaders don’t plan our own. As a leader, your job is to set the example. Because a new adventure awaits us every day in sales, we as managers often fail to plan our days and, instead, run about reacting to whatever the day may throw our way. Because you are reacting to your day, you are active yet not effective. Instead, try “bookending” your days. You can’t always control what happens during the day, but you can control how your day starts and ends. Plan your days first by planning your meetings. At the beginning of each month, create a calendar of topics that you will be talking about in each one of your morning meetings. It takes no more than 20 minutes to prepare and will hold both the managers and salespeople accountable. Put the bookend at the end of your day by looking at the day’s efforts and adjust tomorrow’s strategy accordingly. What were the wins and losses? Who can be singled out tomorrow for a job well done? What do you have working going into tomorrow? Throughout the day, I keep a sticky note of things that need to be addressed the



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next day. That way, I don’t get to the end of my day and catch amnesia. As a manager, you have too much going on to think that you’ll remember it all. Pulse

When you arrive at the doctor’s office, the first thing they check are your vital signs, because if that’s not right, nothing else will be, either. In a similar fashion, you need to check the pulse of your team. Take an assessment and spring into action based on your team’s vitals — this will prevent them from “suddenly” flat-lining in the days to come. Don’t fall into the fallacy of thinking “it” will just fix itself; trust me, it won’t. A few vital sign questions could be: How is your team’s morale? Some days they need to be built up, other days they need a kick in the butt. Is there a cancer in the group? If so, who is spreading negativity? What do the demo, write-up, and sold-to delivery percentages look like? Check these percentages not only daily but also comparatively week over week. You’ll be able to spot trends of erosions of effort and will be able to get your team to recover more quickly. People

Do you have enough people on your team to win the game? I love the old adage of “2-2-2” that states, in our business, there are always two people coming, two people going, and two people who don’t know whether they want to stay or go. Don’t wait until your people are at their lowwater mark. Not only actively recruit those in the service industry, but also schedule a recruiting company to come in quarterly and have a campaign. NOTE: Before you recruit, institute a training process. Designate a person or persons to train your new recruits on your expectations and processes — otherwise you’re setting them up for failure. Process

We all have processes, but do we require everyone to follow them? A common mistake made by managers is to allow a veteran salesperson to skip parts of a process. Before long, that veteran salesperson has 1,900 different ways of working deals that result in about two sales. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance and skip processes; as a leader, your job is to take the path of most resistance and enforce the processes in order to drive results. Product

If none of your sales staff showed up today, could you sell the product you pencil? Another

misconception among managers is to think that you no longer need to know anything about your product because you sit in a big, black chair and bark out orders all day long. Your salespeople’s level of knowledge depends on your commitment to the product itself. Turn your Twitter account into an education platform. Follow Motortrend, TruckTrend, Consumer Reports, your brand, Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, and others so that when they tweet something relevant to your industry or brand, you can quickly be in the know and use it to learn, teach and even show your commitment to your brand while in on a turn.  Not only will it help you make more deals, but it’ll show your salespeople how committed you are to your craft. Your people are your reflection.  Charles Givens said, “Success requires first expending 10 units of effort to produce one unit of results. Your momentum will then produce 10 units of results with each unit of effort.” Be a proactive leader, not a reactive one. If you focus on building your momentum every day with a five-lug leadership approach, you’ll be playing to win instead of trying not to lose.  I’ll see you next time on the blacktop. Marsh Buice is the sales manager of Mark Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep. He can be contacted at 866.535.5006, or by email at

JimmyVee & TravisMiller

leadership solution


Human nature causes us to constantly search for bigger, better and faster ways to get things done. It doesn’t matter if you sell cars or cakes, odds are you’ll always be on the hunt for that brand new service or technology guaranteed to make life and business enjoyable, simple and prosperous — something we call “ESP.” We’re all susceptible. But beware of what we call the “Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome.” It may be hurting your ability to perform at your best. The often-overlooked “Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome” — “BSOS” for short —cannot be alleviated by wearing shades or taking antibiotics. When it comes over us, we get tunnel vision and practically salivate over the hottest, newest thing —whatever it may be. Cell phones are a great example of this. Every few months, the manufacturers come out with a new model of the same phone, but the new one has a grey back plate instead of a silver one. Big whoop. Even though the improvements are practically unnoticeable, we still flock to purchase them. But why are we so eager to switch so quickly? Because BSOS has captured our attention and, subsequently, our wallets. Our industry is certainly not helping us to avoid BSOS, either. There are a multitude of shiny objects that remain tirelessly consistent within the automotive sales sector: new technology to implement, new software to install, tradeshows to attend, 20 Groups to join and


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thousands of vendors to choose from. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. As business owners, we are constantly bombarded with choices — and often (over)promises — which distract us from the real work of building a solid plan and sound strategy for growing our businesses and committing to that plan.

When we go online to search for solutions to whatever problems we may face, we leap frog from one bright and shiny object to the next, often straying far away from where we started or intended to end up. It’s the perpetual search for “new” that derails us. It’s what keeps people from graduating college or finishing books they’ve started. We just keep switching over to different things before we’ve actually given anything an honest effort. Think of it this way: You can either dig a thousand holes one foot deep, or dig one hole a thousand feet deep. If you were more likely to succeed the deeper you dug, wouldn’t you choose to focus on digging a single hole instead of switching all the time? Of course you would. Plainly stated, there’s too much flip-flopping going on — too much switching. If you suffer from BSOS, you need to figure out a way to improve on what you’ve already got, and stick with it. Buckle down and get to work. But if what you’re relying on right now just isn’t working for you, by all means seek out something that will. When you do finally start to consider throwing money at something, it’s always a good idea to read the reviews. What others have to say about a particular product or service can make or break your budget in a big way. On that same note, if you decide to purchase something, be sure to write your own review afterward. That way, you can help others in your position to make better-informed decisions. Most people don’t realize how little resistance they have toward looking for “better” options. Rather than implementing what they already have, they’d rather chase something down that might not even exist. Implementation is the key to being successful and avoiding BSOS. When you find something you’re looking for, try it. Just don’t make a long commitment. Track your progress and correlating results to find out if the decision you made was a good one. In our experience, there are two basic components to success: preparing to be successful, and working at being successful. Most people do one or the other, but only the most successful do both. If you stop searching and start implementing, you have a much higher chance of actually succeeding. Anyone can make a list of projects, but it takes a true leader to implement and finish them. For a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on, visit and use coupon code ASM1412.

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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 email at


sales & training solution

part 1


During the past 35 years, I have devoted my career to understanding the processes of the retail automotive business and the customers who make it all worthwhile. I’ve studied and practiced many of the things that highly successful people in our industry have passed down through the years and, in the process, I have developed some rules that I stand by as essential for success in this business.

One of the most important things I have learned — and teach — is the value of a structured sales process. While it is true that having an outgoing personality and a way with words can be beneficial to someone who is building a career in sales, this is only a small part of what goes into creating success in this business. What I have found to be far more important is the ability to distinguish yourself from the competition by showing a genuine concern for your customers and by being unique and inspiring in the methods you use. Of course, as a professional trainer and consultant, I have developed steps and rules that I teach others in order to equip them for achieving maximum success in their career. For salespeople, there are “Four Rules of Sales,” which I will share this month and next, that I have found can maximize your potential and create customer relationships that last. Sales Rule No. 1: Never ask a question that

could result in a lie.

The age-old statement that “buyers are liars” should have been taken out of our business


a long time ago. The trouble is that if you say something enough times, whether it is true or not, people will believe it. Unfortunately, in our business, so many believe this statement to be true. On the contrary, what I have found is that if a customer does lie, it is usually in response to pressure questions we ask them that they are not ready to answer. When we make inquiries that invoke fear or defensiveness in a customer — questions such as those concerning credit, down payment or trade value — they may lie if they think we may use their answers to make more money on the deal. For instance, if you ask customers what they want for their trade-in, they will naturally give you a higher number than they really expect to get, thinking that, by doing otherwise, they may be giving their trade away too cheap. This is a way customers protect themselves and it is a natural response to such questions. Stop these types of questions and the customer will not have a reason to lie. Sales Rule No. 2: Never ask a question that could result in an answer you don’t want to hear.

I have long been opposed to the use of trial closes because of the pressure that customers feel when we use them. These questions are geared to make the customer feel pressured to make a decision before they are ready to do so, such as, “If we can come together on terms and numbers, will you buy the car today?” Trial closing questions like this can make the customer defensive and cause them to be uncomfortable and uncooperative with our sales process. The time to ask the closing question comes after the customer has taken mental ownership of the vehicle and during the negotiation process, when they are at your desk and not a second before. When we ask the wrong questions before we have earned the right to do so, we endanger our chances of making the sale and can reverse any forward progress we have made during the demonstration and presentation time. This can make the selling process hard work, rather than an experience of fun and excitement for the customer. When that happens, we usually end up losing them or dropping the price way down just to save the deal. Remember, “No” is easier to say when you feel like you are under pressure or think you are being taken advantage of. Next month, we’ll look at the other rules of sale that can make the sales process unexpectedly enjoyable for the customer and more successful for you. 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 email at

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leadership solution

WHAT PROTECTION DOES A DEALERSHIP HAVE IN PLACE? It continues to be clear that the consequences of an unauthorized use of a dealership’s consumer data are severe. Although there are a number of factors that contribute to an overall data security plan for a dealership, one very important fact is that the dealership needs to understand where its data is going when it leaves the DMS. Additionally, what elements or attributes are being used for the various programs that require DMS data? Often, because of lack of clarity or understanding, the file that is extracted or sent contains many fields not necessary to the success of the intended campaign or solution. As a dealer, you can discuss with your vendors what data is being extracted and when; in most cases, though, the dealership really does not have clear visibility into the data-transfer process. Dealerships should work towards solutions and processes that give them a clear view of what information is being sent and where it is going.

when and where the DMS data is being transported, the dealership’s management should make certain they have protection in place should something go wrong. Much like they would insure their building or property, the dealership’s management should make sure they have insurance in place when it comes to the dealership’s consumer data. Cyber-liability policies are becoming more commonplace in any business that gathers, uses and stores key elements of protected information. Discussions between consumer groups and the federal government continue to take place. Just because a dealership is not as big as Facebook or Google does not mean it shouldn’t take the protection of data seriously.

Just because a dealership is not as big as Facebook or Google does not mean it shouldn’t take the protection of data seriously. I am interested to learn of best practices that dealerships have taken to address the concern of unauthorized release and use of DMS data. Do you have a process that works for you and could help other dealers address these issues?

Beyond ensuring they have visibility into

Steve Cottrell is the founder of DealerVault. He can be contacted at 866.769.1778, or by email at

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Success Story Mike Porro VP & General Manager Sam Swope Honda World

Sam Swope Honda World

Kentucky’s No. 1 Honda Store Has the Best Year Ever Using an iPad-Driven Sales Process

Sam Swope Honda World, located in Louisville, Kentucky, is successful by any definition. They are the No. 1 Honda store in Kentucky in sales, selling 65% of all new cars in their marketplace — regularly outselling Toyota and Ford. This year, they made six million dollars of net profit. One of the reasons they are so successful is that they don’t rest on the methods that worked yesterday to sell to today’s consumers. Sam Swope Honda World uses an iPad based selling system, powered by IntellaCar, to connect with the modern consumer. The results have been incredible. “Individual productivity is way up,” said the dealership’s VP/GM, Mike Porro. “We are having our most profitable year ever and we are doing it with a sales team that is 35 percent smaller.” Why is such a system making so big of an impact on a dealership that was already successful? To answer that, you have to look at the changing consumer.

Today’s EducaTEd coNsumEr

It’s a given that the Internet changed the face of car sales. With so much information available to the consumer, the salesperson/customer dynamic has changed greatly. As much as the Internet transformed the sales landscape, however, the advent of smartphones might be a bigger factor, and change is coming more and more quickly. In May 2011, 35% of the U.S. population owned a smartphone. Just two years later, that number had jumped up to 56%. Studies have shown that 50% of mobile Web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online.

smarTpHoNEs aNd car salEs

What does that data mean when it comes to automobile sales? It means that salespeople now are facing far more knowledgeable customers. Since they usually focus on a specific vehicle, frequently customers know more than your salespeople. Also, when your customer is left

å Continued inSide

Success Story ä Continued froM tHe Cover

alone, 63% of them will pull out their cell phones and 50% will look at your competitors’ pricing/inventory while sitting in your dealership. This is called “showrooming.” And this situation is only going to increase. In 2015, 22% of buyers will be Gen Y, the largest base of potential buyers since the Baby Boomers, and right behind Gen Y are the Millennials. These generations are comfortable with their smartphones — in fact, they’re uncomfortable without them — and they demand a streamlined, transparent and honest sales processes. So, what’s the answer? How can a dealership turn this problem into an opportunity? One of the most promising new solutions available to dealerships, and the one that Sam Swope Honda World uses to increase their success, is by equipping their sales associates with the same tools their customers are already using. They are using an iPad selling system.

sam sWopE HoNda World’s procEss

With Sam Swope’s process, the customer is never left alone – they are always left with the iPad to keep them engaged and off their phones. Whenever a salesperson

4.1 Hours

27% Decrease

In 2015, 22% of buyers will be Gen Y, the largest base of potential buyers since boomers. Other than when Gen Y’s are asleep -- there seems to be little or no time when they’re not connecting to their mobile devices. *2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report

has to leave the customer unattended for whatever reason, it provides the customer an opportunity to disengage from the sales process, or worse, go showrooming.

salesperson conducts the initial interview, both to qualify them and to find out their preferences in vehicles.

At Sam Swope Honda World, the sales process has the following steps, each of which utilizes the iPad selling system to streamline the process:

Once the initial steps are completed, the customer then is shown an inventory search of Sam Swope’s vehicles. Using the iPad, the salesperson is able to drill down to specific vehicles that might suit the customer, using the information gathered in the previous step. The iPad also allows for side-by-side comparisons of different vehicles to allow the customer to see for themselves how different choices stack up against each other.


Getting information about customers into the CRM is vital for follow up and for maintaining relationships. When a customer first comes into Sam Swope Honda World, the salesperson’s first step, after greeting them, is to capture the customer’s information into the CRM via the iPad. Once that’s done, the

22% Increase

3 Hours


Because all the specific information about a vehicle is literally available at the salesperson’s fingertips, questions the customer might have about features and specifications can be answered immediately, thereby increasing the customer’s trust in the salesperson’s abilities. The iPad selling system also allows the salesperson to show the buyer e-brochures and vehicle-specific video content, allowing for a professional presentation.

appraisiNG THE TradE Month 1

Month 4 2014

Transaction Time


June 2014

close rate increased

Once a vehicle is selected from Sam Swope’s inventory, the customer’s tradein is appraised. In this step of the process, the customer and the manager appraise the vehicle together. The manager is able to use the tablet to explain the offer, showing them the research used to come up with the offer. When a customer sees what goes into a decision, they are more

Sam Swope Honda World likely to accept it, rather than an offer that appears to be pulled out of thin air.

WorKiNG THE dEal Once a vehicle is selected, and the question of their trade-in is answered, the main negotiation begins. Again, surprises are the enemy, and the iPad selling system allows the process to run smoothly. Once the salesperson enters the buyer’s notes and actual selection into the CRM, via the tablet, the manager is again brought over and brings the first pencil. The negotiation goes from there, without making the salesperson check with the old-school “mystery manager” — and leaving the customer alone with their second thoughts — repeatedly. Once the deal is completed, the business manager is brought over to the sales associate’s desk and introduced to the customer.


The business manager interviews the customer and reviews the important information with them via the iPad. The customer is then introduced to the delivery specialist, whose job is to make sure customers get what they’re expecting when the vehicle pulls up. They utilize the iPad to go over a video explanation of the features and accessories available, and then are shown an F&I introduction video.

While the customer is excited about the vehicle, they ask them to post their experience on social media from the iPad while they are still at the dealership.

moNiTor aNd improVE

The process has one final step for Sam Swope Honda: monitoring the process and seeing where it can be improved. Again, the iPad is a vital part of this step. Managers can measure the iPad activity against the results in the CRM to see where the process can be improved. Because of the amount of data that can be captured thanks to the tablet-based system, the facts can be introduced at weekly sales meetings to discuss best practices, and information generated can be the basis of the ongoing training the dealership undertakes to improve performance and give the customer an even better experience.

rEsulTs oF THE TablET-basEd procEss

Keeping customers happy by providing them with the service they expect, or didn’t even know was possible, shows up in the dealership’s sales and marketing numbers. Using the iPad selling system, Sam Swope

Hope World has seen impressive results: •units per salesperson of Heavy Tablet users | up 64% •close rates | up 22% •Transaction Time | down 25% •used-car profits | up 40% •social media Friends/Followers | up 900% The results, both in sales numbers and customers who are easier to sell to, have made Sam Swope Honda World’s salespeople quick to embrace this method of sales. “We have never seen such a fast change in our people and our processes,” Mike Porro said. For the rest of this story or to learn more about the strategies used by Sam Swope Honda World, email:

See video.


The F&I representative uses a custom menu presentation on the tablet to present products that might be of interest to the customer, based on the information they’ve already provided in the process, completes the paperwork and then facilitates the hand-off back to the delivery specialist.


Using Honda’s interactive Personalized Selling sheets on the iPad, the Delivery Specialist sets up the vehicle to the customer’s preferences. They also explain all the features/technology and then equip the customer by emailing them a “How To” video library of the key vehicle technologies for later reference.

Success Story

Success Story

Sam Swope Honda World

8% Increase



$1.01 mil

$1.43 mil





unit sales

Total gross increase of almost half a million dollars.

Gross profit

Individual productivity is way up. We are having our most profitable year ever and we are doing it with a sales team that is 35% smaller.

40% Increase

Mike Porro, VP & General Manager Sam Swope Honda World

In a nutSHell

Kentucky’s No. 1 Honda Store Has the Best Year Ever Using an iPad-Driven Sales Process

• Turn showrooming into a sales opportunity by equipping their sales associates with the same tools their customers are already using. • Get more leads into the CRM in real time by gathering customer information upon their arrival via iPad. • Minimize surprises by appraising trade-ins with the customer instead of behind the scene so that the customer is never alone with their second thoughts • Use iPads to outline the features and benefits of a vehicle during the pre-delivery process, ensuring every customer receives a consistent delivery process. • Measure and monitor the iPad selling process by comparing activity against results in the CRM. • Increase sales and marketing numbers by giving them exceptional customer service that they expect, or didn’t even know was possible. å read fuLL Story

AutoSuccess December 2014  

The No. 1 Sales-Improvement Magazine for the Automotive Professional - featuring Tier 10

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