AutoSuccess January 2011

Page 1





AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 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, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220.

Brian Ankney, Account Manager

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

AutoSuccess: the podcast



want to sell more? eat more!



paragon honda and acura recognized as the cpo dealer Of the year at the national cpo conference in san diego, california


10 18 32

rebirth of a smarter bdc



a good mobile website can significantly increase consumer engagement


36 38

call tracking is key to keeping up with leads


the solution is right in front of you...


Resolving Customer or Co-Worker Conflict in Six Simple Steps

measuring hype

growing hispanic demographic urges bi-lingual marketing in automotive industry

why online reputation management should be your no. 1 new year’s resolution

Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist



conquering confrontation MattBaker

marketing solution DaveDavis


an improved detail department is all about change BudAbraham

One More Tool to Get a Jump on the Competition

what non-verbal messages are you sending women?


internet sales 20 group review, part 2

creating ‘vision 2011’ with a four-step approach SeanV.Bradley

20 22 24 30 ErikStuttz

sales & training solution 26


single provider simplifies complex dealership overhaul StephenBeamish

14 16




leadership solution the death of the traditional dealership, part 7 MarkTewart

Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director

2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville Kentucky 40299 | 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 | / |


Susan Givens, Publisher

feature solution


marketing solution

paragon honda and acura recognized as the cpo dealer of the year at the national cpo conference in san diego, california

Brian Benstock and Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura’s cohesive marketing strategy helped them grow from 17 to the No. 1 Honda and Acura retailer, selling the most new and certified pre-owned sales of any retailer in the country.

certified pre-owned vehicles of the secondplace Honda Certified retailer, and broke both Honda and Acura’s all-time records by selling more than 300 Certified Hondas and 100 certified Acuras in one month.

This year, Benstock and Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura were selected to receive Auto Remarketing’s inaugural CPO Dealer of the Year Award, presented by Dale Pollak from vAuto. “Brian Benstock is exceptionally deserving of being recognized as the Certified PreOwned Dealer of the Year,” Pollak said. “With intelligence and boldness, Brian thrives in an urban environment where few could survive.”

Benstock, the minority owner of Paragon Honda in Queens and the Vice President and General Manager of Paragon Acura, has mirrored his work ethic after that of the late Paul Singer, the founder of what is now the Paragon Auto Group that also includes White Plains Honda in White Plains, N.Y. and is headed by majority owner Edith Singer, wife of the late Singer.

breaking the all-time record for both brands. Paragon’s vehicles are front-line ready in less than 72 hours, and their average turn is less than 30 days. The dealership has zero 60-day vehicles, not due to wholesale policies, but rather to better retail marketing. Paragon promotes their certified pre-owned vehicles online and through targeted e-mail, text and direct mail. When customers visit their Certified Pre-Owned Center, they are surrounded by the value message of Paragon’s Certified Pre-Owned marketing materials, which include posters, brochures, table tops, hang tags and window clings, so it is easy for consumers to learn about the their certified preowned vehicle process. “We give every customer an ‘auto-biography’ that includes the vehicle’s history, lemon check, service history and pricing information on competitive vehicles so our customers have a lot of confidence when they buy a certified pre-owned vehicle from our dealership,” Benstock said. “Paragon also gets most of its certified vehicles from customer trade-ins because they have dramatically increased their new vehicle sales to customers who are eligible to trade quality two- and three-year-old vehicles as a result of a customized targeted marketing strategy,” added Sean Wolfington, owner of the marketing company that Paragon uses for their CPO and other profit centers.

"Paragon gives every customer an ‘Auto-Biography’ folder with lemon check, service history, positive reviews and five comparable vehicles that have a higher price to show their vehicle’s relative value," said Sean Wolfington, owner of, the company Paragon’s integrated marketing strategy that created the folder and does all of Paragon’s marketing. embraces both traditional and social media “We’re proud to honor Edith Singer, Brian Benstock and the entire family at Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura with our inaugural CPO Dealer of the Year Award,” said Bill Zadeits, Associate Publisher of Auto Remarketing, during the 2010 COP Forum in San Diego. “Paragon’s innovation in the certified space over the last year has been industry-leading, and their stores’ success in CPO sales is reflective of that.” Paragon Honda sells more than twice the


After more than two decades of working alongside the Singers, “this business is in my DNA,” said Benstock, adding “Edith is the perfect business partner; it’s great to have someone intelligent who knows and lives the business and cares about our people and customers.” With drive, determination and an innovative approach to selling certified pre-owned, Benstock and Paragon Honda and Acura will sell more than 4,000 CPO vehicles in 2010,

platforms that have proven phenomenally successful. They implement results-oriented marketing strategies that include in-depth market research, traditional advertising, digital marketing, targeted direct mail, publicity, reputation management, niche marketing, in-store merchandising and sales and service retention — all key components that contribute to their on-going CPO success. Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at

Control you need. Experience you trust. Service you expect. Meet Henry. As a member of our 800+ field specialists around the country, Henry is committed to delivering professional, consistent and quality service every day to local dealers. You define staging parameters, frequency of visits and photo requirements. And let Henry do the rest.

Service Excellence is Our Business. With 20+ years of experience, Dealer Specialties is committed to putting our system, service and support in your control. With our innovative inventory management system, dealers can take advantage of the industry’s most rich, integrated and real-time data distribution network. Our proven system combined with professional and experienced local specialists, like Henry, are committed to delivering countless hours of service and support to local dealers every day.

Service excellence is our business. So you get back to the business of serving customers and selling cars. Visit:

or call 888.242.1762


marketing solution

rebirth of a smarter bdc Dark clouds descended upon the automotive industry two years ago. The strong winds of change blew, the credit temperature dropped and jobless rates rose. Many were not prepared to manage the storm. It forced dealers to reanalyze budgets, re-evaluate spending and re-consider what constituted a true business need. Because of this storm, the comfortable landscape we once knew quickly changed. One change in landscape was the numerous closures of Business Development Centers (BDCs). Looked upon as a luxury by some, it seemed to be the first choice when cuts were made. While most dealers saw the value of a CRM, many thought they could live without the call center. But they made this choice at what cost to the future? When organized and managed properly, a BDC is the epicenter of customer interaction, bringing to light areas of opportunity that basic sales follow-up might never uncover. The persistent and tenacious efforts by a strong


BDC rep provide a constant flow of business to both fixed and variable ops pipelines. Without these efforts, valuable customer data — though available in the CRM — is rarely translated into business. Many dealers have woven the management of Internet business with their business development strategy. With the appointment as the central point of focus, the smarter BDCs have used fully integrated ILM and CRM solutions to standardize how large quantities of leads are qualified and moved through the store. This provides the BDC with total visibility across what formerly were silos of sales, Internet and service business.

and will change over time; however, when reviewed consistently, documented accurately and organized properly, the CRM data hub is leveraged to its fullest potential. Above all, as the smarter BDC uses a strong CRM to bring balance and organization to the dealership; it helps to make everyone’s jobs more manageable. A well-designed BDC provides a support that naturally drives performance throughout the organization. Smarter design means stronger efficiency. Stronger efficiency means increased productivity. And increased productivity drives incremental sales and a quantifiable return on investment. While remnants of the storm remain, the skies are beginning to clear. Clean-up and rebuilding efforts are in full swing. As an industry, we have learned from many challenges and are making better decisions for the future. One such learning experience is the smarter design behind business development. Bringing the BDC back to life in the CRM at your dealership or starting one anew is the beginning of that solid footing.

Additionally, the overall health of customer data in the CRM is stronger when managed and maintained by a BDC. Due to such high levels of human involvement, the BDC offers far greater data cleansing — data that is absolutely Bryan Anderson is the founder of Autobase. vital in the marketing that drives additional He can be contacted at 866.667.9659, or by e-mail at sales and service. Customer information can

The landscape: So many providers, so many different technologies. Each dealership has an astounding number of tools, each with their own purpose and specific set of best practices.

the resources to continually monitor and understand these changes, the average car dealer can quickly fall behind. There are many resources a dealer can call on to assist with this strategy; understanding the basic premise and goals of SEO, however, is essential to selecting the right service provider.

The challenge: Understanding where to focus and how to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. Are you reaching the customers you should be? Is each and every advertising dollar going as far as it could? Are these many separate tools competing against each other, or working in harmony?

PPC, at first look, is much simpler and easier to digest. You bid on a set of keywords intended to drive high-quality traffic to your dealership’s Website and only pay when someone clicks on your ad in the auction results. It’s pretty straight forward. PPC, however, has come a long way in the last few years. Below are some must-haves for a successful PPC campaign: 1. Deep linking. When someone clicks on your ad that was placed because you bid on “2011 Ford Edge,” they should be directed to an internal page that shows them the Ford Edge, not your home page. 2. Inventory-aware PPC systems will bid on your used inventory based on actual units in stock. Gone are the days of bidding on every make and model because you “might” have a used one on the lot. This is a huge advance in PPC technology and has been proven to save dealers thousands in advertising spend. 3. Granular, transparent reporting, down to the keyword. You should be able to answer the question, “How does model A perform in paid search results compared to model B?” PPC can track all shopper activities, from clicks to forms to calls. Proper optimization of these campaigns depends on this level of reporting. Insist on it. 4. Bid scheduling. It’s important to have the ability to schedule your ads with Google and others based on your business needs. 5. Dynamic Ad Text. Ads should include the keywords that a searcher used in their query.

These questions are not easy to answer. Today’s digital marketing is the traditional marketing of yesterday — essential. What are the core strategies, and how can you levy them for continued success? Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is comprised of two main strategies: pay per click advertising (PPC) and “organic” search engine optimization (SEO). They are the drivers of traffic and the awareness tools. Much like print, radio and direct mail were the staples of driving showroom traffic in the past, these are now the drivers of digital traffic today. Organic optimization is a much-embattled, ever-changing process. The basics, however, have remained the same: 1. Search engines rank sites based on keywords in your Website’s text, the ranking authority of links into and out of your site and the geographical location of the searcher. 2. Creating a robust Website which houses content that serves the needs of customers in every profit center is, and will remain, a best practice. 3. Organic search results now offer many different resources and content types for a single query, such as video-hosting Websites (,, etc.), news results, local business results, press releases, social media updates and review sites. Being aware of and optimizing these resources is a must. One of the single greatest challenges in organic optimization is keeping up with the changes made by the major search engines. Without

PPC is a technology-driven service. In 2011, the technology that drives your paid search campaigns will ultimately determine your success. The days of manual management of PPC campaigns are over. As with SEO, there are many opportunities for a dealer to get in the game. Ask the right questions and select the right provider. The Dealer Website

So you’ve got your SEM strategies in place; what now? Traffic is flowing into the Website; what should you do with it? Is the site ready? There are a bevy of Website-oriented best practices, checklists and vendor audits available to you the dealer. Here are some highlights to focus in on: 1. The Home Page

4. Specials

2. Inventory Pages

5. Must have Dealership Pages

• Custom dealership photos • Featured vehicles • Simple navigation

• Have a clear call to action • Pricing displayed • Custom photos • Video for each vehicle • Convenient access to CPO

3. Profit Center Pages

• Must differentiate you from your competitors • Hold custom photos and video • Link to corresponding specials • Have a clear call to action

• Have specials for every profit center • Have a clear call to action • Specials must align with offline messaging

• Contact Us with clear call to action • Staff page with photos of staff • Testimonials • About Us • Special events pages

Although not as alluring as social media or paid search or SEO, proper management of the dealer’s Website is the foundation of digital marketing success. Social Media

Touted as the newest form of marketing, social has been the topic of conversation everywhere for the last 18 months. It’s the newest digital frontier and, because of that, it can be intimidating. It’s important to remember that before there was Facebook and before every customer and prospect had a digital voice, they were sharing their thoughts and opinions at the water cooler, at the dinner table, the grocery store, the church and everywhere else they traveled. Dealers have been managing their reputation in their communities since there were dealers. The difference? This is a visual and highly accessible medium; it requires thoughtful management. Some simple pillars of social media: 1. Listen. Being able to monitor the conversation around your brand online is extremely powerful. There is no need to go out and create 25 dealership profiles at every review site if your customers are not there or will not use them. Reputation-monitoring tools will allow you to find out where the conversation is happening in your neighborhood, so you can focus your efforts. 2. Talk. You’re listening, and so is everyone else. Put your voice out there and make sure that you are heard. Facebook is one of many ways to tell people who you are; syndicate your message and interact with your customer base. Give people a reason to keep you top of mind by offering up engaging, valuable content. 3. Connect. Reach out to your active users and let them know how valuable they are. It’s not about one-way conversation or getting lots of “likes” on a specific post. It’s about building a team of customers who support your brand and voice their positive sentiment on your behalf. Connections are the fruit of a well-thought out and executed social media strategy. The basic belief that we hold about social media is that no one has more potential to deliver the engaging, valuable content than the dealer. Photos of deliveries, videos of happy customers in the service department and new model year video vehicle walkarounds are content that can’t be delivered by the third-party management service, and can’t be matched. Make your content genuine and passionate — the community will form around you. Service Marketing

As the battle to retain service customers rages between dealers, local mechanics and national repair chains, a few dealers are quietly winning the war on their dealership Website. The keys to winning this billion-dollar battle in 2011 begin on your service pages: 1. Service content. If the Service Department has goals to reach the coveted 100-percent absorption rate, then why is only 10 percent of the Website dedicated to service? Take the time to create pages on your site that cover the services offered by your dealership; we all know that content is the key to Web traffic. 2. Targeted, personalized e-mail messaging based on vehicle information. Make your messages relevant and timely. 3. Give your customers control of their experience. They should be able to access and interact with content specific to their vehicle. What services do I need and why? What is included in that service? It’s about demystifying the service process and building trust. 4. Differentiate yourself. What makes your service department unique? Use photos and video to showcase happy service customers and introduce your friendly sales staff. You are merchandising your vehicles; why not merchandise your services? 5. Specials… again. This topic has been reinforced numerous times over the past several years. Your Website has to have specials up for every profit center, and service is no different. This is basic automotive digital marketing. Dealers can claim this revenue and attract more returning customers to the service bays by turning their digital prowess on the service department. Analytics

What are analytics? Are they gobs and reams of PDF and XLS reports that you pour through every month? Notice the word “reports” in there? Reports are data streams that you have to interpret, and then act on. Analytics guide you to the right answer and can suggest your next move. The right analytics platform is another employee — an extremely smart and intuitive employee. The challenge that any analytics platform has is being able to see and understand the data from all of these different tools. Unless all of the tools are on the same platform this may, in fact, be impossible. 2011 will bring the need for better vision across multiple tools. Dealers should expect and vendors should deliver this capability. Without a proper analytics platform, there are too many opportunities for inefficiency in the form of wasted ad dollars and the potential for misaligned priorities. These are things that dealers cannot stand for and cannot afford in a market of shrinking grosses. Matt Murray is the director of digital marketing at He can be contacted at 866.389.5430, or by e-mail at

leadership solution

the death of the traditional dealership

“The more things change, the more things stay the same.” This quote can be an accurate reflection of most industries. With all the massive changes underway in the automotive industry, the majority of the industry operates in much the same way as it did 50 years ago.

One small part of an industry begins to change and reaches what Malcolm Gladwell termed in his book the “tipping point.” That tipping point allows the change to gain momentum and become norm for an industry. This change usually occurs in one small segment and can be isolated. If you examine the business or industry as a whole, you find that even with the change being influential, the rest of the industry or business remains intact adhering to traditional thoughts and norms. With dealerships there are a couple of old sayings: “The front-end sells the first car and the back-end makes the next one,” or “the frontend gets the customers and the back-end keeps them.” There is a lot of truth to both of those sayings and to the importance of understanding




the roles both areas play in your business.

I find the majority of emphasis is still placed on customer acquisition in most dealerships. If you want to build a solid business, you must emphasize acquisition and maintaining — this is how to experience exponential versus linear growth. Here are a few tips in making that happen: Tip No. 1 - Create continuity, loyalty, rewards, VIP or recognition programs with enough real teeth in it to motivate a customer

Every time I shop at Kroger’s grocery store I love putting in my reward number and then watching the total bill go down as my rewards points are deducted. At Panera Bread when I give them my rewards card, I usually get something free and build redeemable rewards for the future. I love when I make flight or vacation reservations for free using my airline and credit card rewards. I love when I get a free car wash after my tenth visit.

from continued business and referrals that the amount spent on retention is paltry compared to a typical dealerships advertisement budget. Tips No. 2 – Create forced continuity programs

A forced continuity program is a program that forces your customer to use your service department in exchange for something of value they receive at no charge. Over the last several years I have asked more than 100 dealers what their long-term service retention as a percentage of their sales are, and only one dealer knew the answer. The answer to that question a vital sign to the future of your dealership. When conducting sales training sessions, our trainers tell salespeople that in the beginning of their sales career they should spend 80 percent of their time on customer acquisition and 20 percent on customer retention. However, as time progresses, salespeople should work on flipping those percentages. A dealership is no different than a salesperson.

Do you get the point? People love to be rewarded with free bonuses and will be motivated more to get that free bonus than to get a discount on something. Rewards and loyalty programs influence shopping patterns and behaviors — bottom line, end of story. Stop making lame excuses like “rewards programs get expensive,” “loyalty programs take away my profit” and “I am giving away profit I don’t have to give away.”

A product our company provides for dealerships is lifetime power train coverage. I have witnessed firsthand that with the right underwriter for this product, lifetime power train programs are worth their weight in gold. It is simply amazing how much this forced continuity program provides in increases to sales to service retention, new and used sales, gross and net profit, vehicle maintenance and vehicle service contract penetrations and repeat sales. Just like the loyalty and retention programs mentioned earlier, I have heard every fear-based excuse dealers have for not having programs like this in their dealership, but nothing in well-executed experience proves those fears are real.

Most dealers spend vast fortunes on getting customers and little on keeping them. It would be hard to spend too much effort and money on customer retention. Your profit creation for long term is so great

To receive my free Special Report, “Putting an Iron Cage Around Your Customers,” e-mail me with the term “Iron Cage” in the subject line at the address below.

To quote one of the greatest marketing lessons I have ever learned, “You must put an iron cage around your customers.” If what you do and what you provide is exceptional, your customers will want to continue to do business with you. Your goal must be to stop further commoditizing a commodity business and become a category of one.

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

Visit vauto at NaDa booth #800S


percent increase in gross profit 2009 to 2010


percent increase in CPO sales 2009 to 2010


used inventory turns 2010


solution to master the market Brian Benstock and Paragon owner Edith Singer started using vAuto in 2007 and immediately saw positive results. But this year was their best yet. How’d they do it? “We moved beyond just managing our inventory, and started being more efficient, more empowered in negotiations and more visible to the market. Our record numbers are the result.� With vAuto, Brian and Edith are now Market Masters. You can become a Market Master, too. Visit or call 877-828-8614 to learn how.

Brian Benstock Paragon Honda Queens, New York


leadership solution

single provider simplifies complex dealership overhaul

Because of the economic conditions of the past few years, the opportunity to buy embattled dealerships has never been higher. When Denver-based Booth Creek Management, as Summit Automotive, expanded into the automotive retail field, they found a buyer’s market and rapidly started buying and overhauling dealerships across the United States. While this was an exciting opportunity, it also posed some interesting challenges.

One of these challenges was that vehicle manufacturers place limits (72 hours, to be exact) on the time a dealership can be shut down for the change over. One of the significant challenges was the data and phone infrastructure. BCIT, the centralized IT arm of Booth Creek, had to integrate voice and data for the new dealerships, as well as enable their custom DMS. And, since voice communication is often the first point of contact between customers and the dealerships, it’s vital to get this step right from the beginning. Chad Griewahn, the CTO of BCIT, remembers retrofitting a dealership in July 2009 clearly. “Reimaging more than 200 PCs, setting up the network, and reconfiguring the phone system in one weekend was extremely difficult,” he said. “We managed, but we clearly had to find another route forward.” BCIT started to look for outside experts to lighten and streamline this load, and eventually turned to a company that provides


communications software and solutions. The two companies then worked together to create solutions that would allow the dealerships to be refitted in the tight time constraints provided.

technology was simplified to the point that the IT staff could focus on training. This allowed the staff the time and attention they need to get up to speed.

An adaptable and resilient network was created using Oracle’s class of ultra-thin clients that work in conjunction with remote servers. This provided simplified and secure authentication for both voice and data. Because of this, BCIT didn’t have to deal with an assortment of PCs at each location, but rather could set up a scalable network to which each new dealership could be connected. Not only did this provide a standardized experience, but because the thin clients are much more reliable than PCs, BCIT believes that the savings under the thin client model is $270,000 when compared to a conventional PC environment over the sevento eight-year lifespan of the thin client.

Having a network based on the same technology across the board also had benefits in the voice communication field. Capabilities such as network-wide six-digit dialing have helped the company completely revamp their workflow, Griewahn said, and has allowed them to be more creative in their efforts to streamline. When Summit purchased five dealerships within 100 miles of each other in New England, they were able to pool phone operators together in one location, reducing expenses while improving flexibility.

The advantages of this new system became apparent once Summit acquired Denver Mazda and converted the voice and data infrastructure. “Standardizing on the Mitel Unified IP Client at Denver Mazda was a game-changer for the whole industry,” Griewahn said. This unification and standardization had other benefits, as well. Because Summit has a customized DMS, the staff of dealerships Summit acquired would have to have a crash course in the new system to be effective after the dealership opened under new management in 72 hours. Because of the standardization, the

The result of calling in outside experts has made the business of doing business quicker and easier in some cases, and simply possible in others, Griewahn said. “Enterprise-grade solutions are about more than the right architecture,” Griewahn said. “With a single point of contact, everything from ordering to professional services and support is extremely simple and scalable.”

Stephen Beamish is the vice president of marketing and business development for Mitel. He can be contacted at 866.387.9064, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

measuring hype

Requesting (and measuring) betterment from a new vendor is something very few dealers do. But when it’s done, it is very revealing of the vendor’s true capabilities. If you are switching vendors because they tell you they will put you head and shoulders above your competition, then make them prove it. If they backpedal and say things like “market conditions affect this” and “we can’t guarantee that,” you should hear these words in your head: Make ‘em guarantee it. If they can’t, it may be the beginning of many things this new vendor won’t be able to prove. Website development companies — small or large, startups to giants — need to be asked (at a minimum) the following questions and must be held accountable for the answers. If you can’t get good answers, you need to take a closer look. You should measure your current provider by certain statistics and ask the new vendor to guarantee an improvement by a stated amount.

to your site every month. That number should exclude Web crawlers of any kind from search engines, and exclude your own dealership’s IP addresses. This increase should also be accomplished using the same amount of money spent on search engine marketing (SEM). Don’t increase your SEM spend and allow the new vendor to claim victory. Visitor’s time onsite should also increase, number of pages visited should increase, conversion rates should be higher and bounce rates should decrease. No change means no real results, and no measurement means you probably just bought the hype. Hype won’t sell cars – ask for the measurements. As a given, the site should look good and function well. If the vendor tells you how “self-adjustable and workable” the backend of the site is, make sure you have a full-time staff member to do this and calculate their time into the total cost of operation for the “selfadjustable” site.

and support policies. When you call them and need help, will you get a real, live person with whom you can quickly resolve the issue? Ask for a guarantee of their policy. In fact, ask for a guarantee of anything I’ve written about in this piece. In the end, you should have a functional, attractive site that is optimized correctly and requires the least amount of your time to keep it that way. If the organic SEO is working correctly and your pay-per-click marketing dollars are being spent wisely, customers will be able to find you quickly in the appropriate, popular searches. This is the No. 1 priority of any site and the ultimate test of any Website vendor. In the end, you have to make sure you are selecting a vendor for the right reasons for your store — their products work as advertised, they can back up their claims of increasing your business and they’ll be there when you need them. Also, don’t believe the “we are the biggest” or “look at our long reference list” hype. It is irrelevant. Many dealers are selecting vendors for the wrong reasons these days — don’t be one of them. Let’s all be like our new breed of Customer smarter and well-informed about our decisions.

Bill Phillips is the president and CEO of Automotive Internet Management, Inc. He For instance, the new vendor should be able can be at 866.593.7212, or by ShipCarsNow-UsedCarDealer-1/2 p horizontal Jan 2011 issue, sent 12/10/10 AM p 1contacted of 1 to increase how many unique visitors come You should also ask about the vendor’s service e-mail at

Time to rethink auto transportation! SIGN UP TODAY WITH YOUR AuctionACCESS ID

Call 1-866-207-3360 or register online for our lowest rates ShipCarsNow is a Union Pacific Company


� Nationwide � Door-to-Door � Online � Easy


leadership solution

creating ‘vision 2011’ with a four-step approach As we conclude another year, and reflect on the past few years, it truly has been some challenging times in our industry. History shows that there have been many incredible leaders of our industry who have had to make decisions to make the best out of the challenges they faced. They, too, had to rally their people towards a common goal by creating a vision that all could be inspired and willing to follow. It’s clear that a leader creates vision by beginning with the end in mind. History also shows that leaders without vision fall an easy prey to worry, fear, trouble and self-pity, all of which indicate weakness and serve as precursors to failure. While success cannot be sustained without vision, vision is not enough to achieve success. Why do some visions succeed and others fail? Why do some visionaries enjoy fleeting success only to fail in the end? A true leader who treasures a grand vision is more likely to realize his or her lofty ideal than someone who merely wishes for an outcome. But a vision does not guarantee success. A vision requires action. What determines the staying power of any leader’s vision? Recall Henry Ford; he cultivated a vision of affordability, and he mass produced it. He had a vision and he accomplished what he not only believed in, but more importantly he had the determination, firm resolve and commitment to become a change agent to inspire others to see his vision — he became a catalyst of change. When we look back at automotive history, there have been many automotive leaders and pioneers like Henry Ford, who have shared some of these same common traits; they were people who dared to set out and accomplish a central purpose and a vision for not only their business, but even more importantly a clear vision for the people they have rallied and led. Think of the visionaries you know or have known personally within your automotive journey, and I’ll bet that they were persuasive, persistent individuals and were fueled by a burning vision of what could be, rather than having run from what pained them.


Over the past few months, several of our dealers committed to make 2011 their best year ever and lead their organizations with a clear vision and direction; thus, with these dealers, “Vision 2011” was born. These committed dealers have found it to be critically important to have an accountability partner, helping them define their vision, document action plans and measure their success. To start, each dealer completed both an indepth variable and fixed operations assessment. When examining their holistic business through the answers to these questions within these assessments, they saw clearly their areas of success, as well as a need for a plan to correct the areas of needed improvement within their perspective dealerships’ seven profit centers. From these assessments each dealership created a strategic action plan, and more importantly a vision for those involved to execute the plan. The outcome, thus far, from each dealer has been very successful. Here’s how it works: After completing their assessments, meetings were held with all key personnel involved within a series of strategy sessions. Through facilitation, everyone looked with intensity within their seven profit centers: • Showroom process • Phone process (inbound/outbound) • E-commerce (holistic Web presence/ initiative) • Sold/Unsold follow-up process • Prospecting abilities by leveraging their CRM (data mining) • Loyalty renewal process (lease/retail) • Complete fixed operations From these seven profit centers, each were rated on a scale of 1 to 10. Then, with the rated number of each profit center completed, they explored why they determined how they arrived at that number or consensus. Lastly, while conducting these strategy sessions with key personnel, each of these seven areas within the dealership was approached by following a proven four-step approach.

The Four-Step Approach

Step 1: As a team, what are our goals? What do we desire or wish to improve upon in 2011 within each of these seven areas? (Over a series of sessions, we ultimately explore all seven automotive profit centers within a dealership) Step 2: What are we currently doing within each of these seven areas? (Honesty and humility is critical here) Step 3: What are the challenges, obstacles and roadblocks that are standing in our way to accomplish our goals? (People, process or communication) Step 4: When do we start? (Execution of an action plan is created) The reason why this four-step approach is so powerful is that we should never start out an assessment by asking the Step 2 question first. Because of human nature, people sometimes will become defensive of what they are “currently doing,” with comments such as “This has been our policy,” or “This is the way we have always done it” — they never allow themselves the opportunity to explore the Step 1 questions first. The key here is to remember to start by asking the first question (Step 1) within an assessment. It has become clear to us that all leaders who create success for their organizations must first clarify the vision, but more importantly inspire others on the vision. All that a leader achieves, and all that he or she fails to achieve, is the direct result of the clarity of his or her own vision. Take this time to clarify your vision for 2011 so you’ll increase the staying power of your own success, as well as the success of those you lead within your organization.

Erik Stuttz is the founder of Automotive Legends Group USA. He can be contacted at 866.386.0661, or by e-mail at

leadership solution

internet sales 20 group review

One of the reasons 20 Groups are so crucial to the success of dealers today is that they provide a yardstick by which to measure yourself and your dealership. Last month, we reported on what we found from a survey we took during our recent, successful Internet Sales 20 Group three-day event. This month, we’ll continue to take a look at what’s working for other dealers around the country — see how your social media and display strategies stack up to the information below. How has your use of social media changed in the past year, and what’s the best use you’ve seen (or experienced) in this area?

• Last year, we had none. This year, all salespeople have their own page, as well as the dealership. We communicate with our customers and upload videos on products and testimonials from customers. • Social media is steadily moving and changing at a rapid rate. We update constantly on YouTube with customer video



testimonials, and constantly update Twitter and Facebook.

Describe some eye-catching displays for the front or lot of your dealership that you’ve noticed worked better than others.

• Tents, balloons and a “party” atmosphere.

• We’ve lifted a truck on a crane and hung it over the 45 bypass, with a “40 percent off” banner hanging from it. • Signs offering free services (car wash with service, gas card with car purchase, etc).

• Social media (Facebook) changed, and we had to keep up with privacy concerns. New people • We’ve used an electronic sign (looks like a are cautious, so we give incentives just for road construction sign) with service specials being a fan to get people to “talk” to us. and sales specials. • Flip videos, daily update to social sites, and relationship management. • We have just added social media five months ago. We now have 538 friends. The best use of social media is to keep in touch with our new customers and old customers. The best part, though, is that you are building a relationship with people who have never done business with you. Content best used, we’ve found, is safety tips, community events and recalls on vehicles. • YouTube and Facebook are used much more prevalently, but Facebook seems to reach people quicker and permeates more because of the sheer number of people on the site.

• Our specialty vehicles like the F150 Raptor or Shelby Mustang seem to bring people in the most from fresh off the street. Next month, we’ll finish up by looking at the qualities dealers are looking for in new employees, and ways dealers have built identities to separate themselves from the competition. Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at

AutoRaptor CRM

• • •



leadership solution

an improved detail department is all about change

One of the most important principles for success is a willingness to make changes. In its simplest form, success is accomplishing what you set out to do. But, there are also times that real success is admitting the direction you’re going is the wrong direction. The way you were doing things really was not making it right; it was not what you really wanted.

Obviously, the detailing department in most dealerships is not what the dealer wants, but to get what they want, they have to admit that things are not working the way they should and changes need to be made. How about you? Are you willing to do what it takes to change and improve your detailing department? Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity was “doing the same thing, the same way, over and over again and expecting a different result.” If you are not getting the results from your detailing department, why not make a change? Why not do something different from what you have done in the past? Making Change

Here are some examples of things that you need to change if you want to improve your detailing department: • Put a competent manager, not a detailer, in charge. • Assign a competent supervisor, not a service manager who doesn’t want the


responsibility, to monitor the department.

exists is to help you achieve certain dealership goals. You should make sure this department is helping to achieve these goals and not being a drain on the dealership and you personally.

• Hire quality people to staff your shop — not the typical “transient” detailer — and then train, monitor and review their performance.

If your shop is not profitable and not operating as you would like, admit it and do something about it.

• Set performance standards for the department that also apply to the supervisor and the department manager.

• Invest in new equipment to increase production, quality and reduce labor. Get control of your chemical and supply purchases and costs. • Invest in training for you and your staff. • Hire a consultant, if necessary.

• You must take charge. It is the only way to change the reality of your detailing department. Doing something is usually better than doing nothing. If you fail at your first attempt, try again. Running On Empty

Maybe you have a detailing department that is running you instead of you running it. You are no doubt spending too much money, you have employee headaches and it is stressing you out. Then step back and admit that you have neglected this part of your dealership. Commit to analyzing the department and then decide what you want to do — an action plan. It can be as simple as committing to hiring a consultant to evaluate your detailing department. The only reason the detailing department

Failure Breeds Success

Maybe you are worried that by making changes, the results will be worse than before. That is possible, but think about this success principle: Failure is required for real success. Success does not happen by accident. You may have heard how “success is not a destination – it’s a journey.” When you think about it, the real joy, the real success, the real life lessons, are not usually gained by “arriving” at your destination. They are the experiences you have along the way. Obviously, to improve your detailing department will require many changes. Your willingness to make these changes is a key element in the success of the department. Find out what needs to be done.

Bud Abraham, is president of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems. He can be contacted at 866.205.8499, or by e-mail at


sales & training solution

what non-verbal messages are you sending women? How can your business improve non-verbal communication skills with female customers and create a better overall experience? Reputation management and creating positive word-of-mouth with women begins and ends with how effectively you communicate with her both verbally and non-verbally during her entire experience with your business. Let’s look at some non-verbal ways to communicate with women more effectively: 1. Smile and look women in the eyes when you greet them; keep your gaze above the shoulders. 2. Pay attention to her non-verbal “cues.” She

came to do business with you and wants to feel “in charge” — try not to rush to open doors and be the gentile escort. Instead, ask her if she would like you to get the door for her. Being the “gentleman” is appropriate behavior on a date; however, these gestures may undermine her confidence and dilute her feeling in control during the sales process.

3. Provide a wide variety of women’s

magazines in your waiting rooms that reflect the demographic of the lifestyles of the women in your local market.

4. Have separate, clean and pleasant restroom

facilities that include a changing table for young mothers with small children. Keep it well-stocked with supplies.

5. Women want to be respected as savvy

consumers; support and educate her during the sales process, rather than take the role of the “know-it-all” automotive expert using acronyms and terminology that she does not understand.

6. When women come in to your business with

their husbands, greet, speak and make eye contact with both husband and wife equally, rather than direct all your questions and comments to the husband. In many cases she will actually be the one to make the final buying decision!

7. Go at her pace during negotiations, rushing

her to close the deal “today” might backfire, women generally take longer to make a buying decision. However, once satisfied with their purchase and experience with your business, women statistically are more loyal then their male counterparts, and more apt to go online and write a positive or negative review.

“Advertising for cars and trucks is still heavily male oriented, dominated by images of wild speed, trucks pounding up mountains and lots of mine-is-better-than-yours,” said Marti Barletta, a specialist in marketing to women who has consulted with major auto companies. “There is very little indication of any attempt to understand what types of communications women respond to. I just find myself astonished that the largest consumer industry in the world doesn’t know who its primary buyers are.” Women influence 85 percent of automotive purchase decisions and represent 73 percent of service and repair customers, and are a huge revenue opportunity for your business to focus on to gain market share. What non-verbal messages are you sending women? Jody DeVere is the CEO and president of She can be contacted at 866.849.9973, or by e-mail at

Don’t Advertise, Engage Customers Interactive Marketing for dealers that want to sell more cars

877.489.3347 26


sales & training solution

AutoSuccess: The Podacst One More Tool to Get a Jump on the Competition At AutoSuccess, our goal is to give you — automotive salespeople, managers, GMs and dealership owners — as many tools as possible to be as successful as possible in your career. The print magazine is certainly the focus of those efforts, but we decided a long time ago that ignoring other methods of getting that message to you isn’t an option. We revamped our Website at the beginning of 2010, and made the entire magazine available online at Another method we’ve used to get selling tools to our audience is “AutoSuccess: The Podcast,” which is freely available on our Website and on iTunes. Dave Davis, the editor of AutoSuccess and the producer of the podcast, recently answered some questions to explain how it was started, the goals of the podcast and how listeners can take advantage of it. AutoSuccess: Before we get started, explain what a “podcast” is. Dave Davis: In simplest terms, a podcast

is just a series of sound files (in our case, an MP3, just like a music file you would

download) that are released on a regular basis. One way to think of it as a radio show with a very narrow focus; you might not get a huge audience, but you really don’t need a huge audience when you can get the right audience — those few hundred or thousand who want to listen to what you have to say.

AS: How was it received? DD: We’ve seen a lot of steady growth since

AS: Describe the AutoSuccess podcast. DD: The podcast is really a continuation of the

2007. We’re finishing up our third year, have had 164 episodes and we’ve gotten nearly 75,000 downloads, which works out to about 450 downloads per episode. While that might not sound like a lot of listeners for each episode, keep in mind that the goal of the podcast is to reach the right audience. If you just get one new idea a week, how could that change your career? There are 450 sales professionals receiving extra tools and getting a jump on their competition. This is the AutoSuccess target audience.

AS: How did the podcast get started? DD: I’ve always been a computer geek, and

AS: Describe the process of creating the podcast. DD: First off, we got lucky when we were

philosophy of the printed magazine. We want to get helpful, how-to information about sales, selling and leadership into the hands — or in this case, the ears — of automotive salespeople and dealership leaders. We interview leaders in the industry, service providers, trainers and other professionals. We also try to keep it short and to the point. We know that our audience is made up of busy people, so we try to keep our episodes in the 10- to 15-minute range.

have tried to keep up with the trends and cool new technology. Podcasting really started to take off in 2004, and I had several shows, usually with a technological theme, that I kept up with (“This Week in Tech” and “Mac Break Weekly” were, and still are, a couple of my favorites). I started at AutoSuccess in 2006, and about a year later, as I was editing some articles for the magazine, it dawned on me that a lot of the information we were giving to our readers could be adapted into a podcast, which would be great for people in automotive sales who might not have time to sit down and read a magazine, but may be able to listen to a podcast while they were on the go. I also realized that some of our writers would make great interviews (the nice


thing about people in the sales game is that they are rarely shy). So, we had a built in audience and a steady stream of guests. I had an interest in how podcasts could be produced, so it was a pretty simple path after that.

putting the podcast together because, while AutoSuccess has a small staff, we were fortunate enough to have someone with a real “radio” voice. Our creative director, Thomas Williams, was drafted to be the host of the show pretty early on, and he’s one of our best assets. Often, we’ll look at that month’s issue and see who we can interview based on a particularly interesting article that could be expanded upon, or someone who has an interesting viewpoint. We conduct the interview, usually via telephone through Skype, and then release it on our Website and through iTunes. The podcast comes out weekly, and is free of charge. You can stream it directly from our Website, or subscribe to it from iTunes to listen on the go. AS: Where do you see the podcast going in the future? DD: I’m always on the lookout for new

recording technology and software that will make the podcast sound its best, so we’re only going to get better on that front. As far as substance goes, we’ve recently had a couple of interviews with people who, while not technically in the automotive industry, had good information that our audience could definitely put into practice. I think it’s good to go outside every now and then and get a fresh point of view that is still applicable to our audience’s needs.

Dave Davis is the editor and podcast engineer for AutoSuccess. He can be contacted by e-mail at

What day does your inventory go to work for you? Day 1

(while at auction)

Day 3-4

(vehicle arrives at dealership)

Day 5-10

(after vehicle prep)

Day 10-20

(after Knucklehead gets to it)

Why Wait? Same day posting with HomeNet’s Inventory Online helps thousands of dealers by automating the conversion of raw vehicle data into compelling, interactive, and engaging online ads. With real-time updates, live video, and unlimited photos and distribution, HomeNet gets your inventory working for you on Day One. When you’re ready to save time and sell more cars, call HomeNet.



leadership solution

conquering confrontation

Resolving Customer or Co-Worker Conflict in Six Simple Steps Whether you’re a salesperson, manager or dealer, there’s one thing we all have in common. At some point in our careers, each of us will be faced with tough conversations. Be it with a co-worker or a customer, disagreements can be detrimental to personal progress and company performance — unless you’ve mastered the art of conflict resolution. In reality though, few of us have. Instead of strategizing our approach, we hastily enter into difficult conversations, not knowing what direction the discussion should be heading. As a result, we sacrifice additional sales opportunities, good employees, promotion potential, dealership growth and more, often without ever recognizing it. So what could you gain by becoming more secure in your ability to resolve conflicts? This article will explore the fundamentals behind a proven conflict resolution strategy, and will introduce role plays designed to help dealers, managers and salespeople better utilize this powerful technique. Conflict in a Dealership

If you’ve been in the car business for any amount of time, you already know dealerships can be packed full of conflict. “Car guys,” as well as most people in general, don’t like to be told what to do, proven wrong or belittled. Because of this, confrontational conversations often start out with both parties believing they are 100 percent correct, never considering that there are two sides to every story. The Conflict Resolution Process

Just like any other technique, the conflict resolution process I’m about to share with you is only one of many options to consider when trying to diffuse differences. This particular process involves six simple steps to help you reach a resolution: Step 1: Name the Meeting. There’s more to this step than just giving the meeting a name. The true purpose here is to set the right tone. To be successful at resolving the conflict, you need to determine the appropriate approach. Different types of conflicts call for different types of tone. The tone of your meeting may vary between one of two types. These are:

Fact Finding: Fact finding meetings are neutral in tone. At this stage, show no emotion. You’re giving the other party benefit of the doubt and your goal is just to determine what’s really going on. Confrontation: Confrontation doesn’t have to


be mean. It’s all about getting to the point. This tone is often a result of lacking information on one or both sides, and often creates the most intense emotions. Step 2: Speak Directly to the Issue. This is

where being direct really makes the difference. Open up this portion of the conversation by stating something like, “Here’s what I know…” Then fill in the blanks with pertinent facts. Step 3: Ask, “Is the Info Accurate?” A lot of the time this crucial step is left out. Many assume they know the whole story without asking the other party if there is more. Step 4a: If the Response to Step 3 is “No.”

This is the opportunity to let the other party share their side. By giving them the chance to air their version of the story, you will reduce the drama dramatically. This is because the other party now gets to call it as they see it. Sometimes new information may be revealed to you in this stage that can change your opinion. Here’s a sample scenario to help you better understand what a conversation at this step should look like. Let’s say a salesperson leaves the dealership early three nights in a row. Manager: “Here’s what I know; the last three nights you have left early. Can you help me out and tell me the rest of the story?” Salesperson: “I didn’t leave early three nights. I only left early once because my son had a baseball game I wanted to see.” Manager: “Why couldn’t I find you on the lot the last two nights?” Salesperson: “Because both nights I happen to have had a previous customer in the service department who I was talking to about whether their vehicle should be fixed or upgraded.” Manager: “Oh, that’s new info to me. How did that go?” Salesperson: “One chose to fix their car. The other is on the lot looking at upgrade options right now.” Step 4b: If the Response to Step 3 is “Yes.”

Make sure you establish full understanding and traps for future behaviors. Using the same scenario above, here’s what a sample conversation would sound like:

Manager: “Here’s what I know; the last three nights you have left early. Is that accurate?” Salesperson: “Yes. It is.” Manager: “Here’s what I’m looking for. I have 10 salespeople and they all have to work until 7 p.m. everyday unless you ask me to leave early. Is that agreed upon?”

Salesperson: “I guess so.” Manager: “If it happens again what do you think the consequences should be?” Over the years of utilizing this approach, I have found that people tend to be tougher on themselves than their managers would be on them. Instead, many will take on more responsibility and won’t think that their boss is just being mean. Step 5: Say, “Here’s What I’m Looking For/Hoping Can Happen.” This is your chance to clarify what your expectations are. Step 6: Ask, “Is It Doable?” This is the point where the pressure transfers. If the other person responds with “yes,” be sure to set a trap to hold them accountable. Traps are behaviors that are expected and if not done there is a consequence. For example, if a salesperson shows up late, he/she will not get to take an “up” until all other salespeople have had one.

If the other person responds with “no,” there are a few different solutions to consider. First try responding with “I’m uncomfortable with the way things are. How do you propose we move forward?” If the conversation makes no progress towards a resolution, ask yourself if this may be as good as it gets and how willing are you to live with it the way that it is. As a last resort, let the other party go. Sometimes small issues can be dealt with the way that they are. Other times it may be best to cut ties. Putting the Strategy to Work for You

While the six-step process above is designed to address the majority of general disagreements, not every conflict you encounter will follow this example. Depending on the topic, the person and the tone of the meeting, different tactics or styles may be necessary. For additional role-plays/word tracks catered to more specific management and sales scenarios, as well as information on using rescues to defuse and prevent unnecessary battles, please send an e-mail to the address below with the subject “resolution” to receive a free informational packet titled, G&A’s Guide to Improving Sales Talent: Conflict Resolution.

Matt Baker is the vice president of sales for G&A Marketing. He can be contacted at 866.618.8248, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

growing hispanic demographic urges bi-lingual marketing in automotive industry Some may argue that it is a dealership’s location that requires its leaders to lend so much attention to prospective Hispanic consumers. But with approximately 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S., they are the largest and fastest growing demographic in the U.S., and experts are quick to point out a nationwide need to engage in Hispanic marketing opportunities. Marketing to the Hispanic demographic has multiple benefits that reach beyond just those initial consumers exposed to an ad. According to a 2007 Univision More Auto Sales Focus Group, Hispanics hold different attitudes toward purchasing a vehicle than do their nonHispanic counterparts; purchasing a vehicle is an event — a proud celebration. Treat this perfect prospect with understanding and respect, and they will be likely to point their family and friends in your direction. Mario Murgado, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brickell Motors in Miami, Florida, is credited with reviving each of the ailing dealerships for Pontiac, Buick, GMC and Honda within the Brickell organization. In 2000, after serving almost 20 years with one of South Florida’s largest and premier automobile dealer organizations, he left to run Brickell Motors in 2001, ready and eager to apply his knowledge and expertise to change the direction of the fledgling group. Under Murgado’s leadership, the Brickell organization has sold more Honda and GM vehicles in the last 10 years than in the previous 30 years, and Murgado attributes much of the success to embracing the local Latino community. Located in Miami’s “Little Havana,” Brickell Motors is immersed in the Hispanic community as the neighborhood’s name implies. Immigrating to the U.S. as a young boy, Murgado remains closely-tied to his Cuban heritage and the Hispanic-immigrant community, and he has succeeded in marketing to this growing community where others have not.


In recent years while the economy struggled, Murgado’s neighbors enabled Brickell to thrive and gain momentum as an expert in marketing to this ever-growing demographic. “From a global perspective, while every other economic power country is down-trending, the U.S. is experiencing an increase in buying power that is fueled by Hispanic growth,” Murgado said. A large part of understanding this demographic involves being in touch with their emotional, cultural and traditional values. For instance, Murgado feels it is important that marketing is reflective of the community. Early on, Brickell partnered with Camillus House, a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian services to men, women and children who are poor and homeless. “Camillus House extended its hands to the first Cubans who arrived in this country,” he said. “Partnering with this organization was a way to tell the community ‘we are here for you.’ Investing in the community brought legitimacy to the Brickell organization as a genuine member of the community.” Advertisers must recognize that the family unit is very important to the Hispanic culture. Part of sharing and being a family unit is watching TV together. “One of the many reasons Hispanics follow more Hispanic media and TV is the way we live in our homes,” Murgado said. “It’s common for grandparents, parents and children to live together.” Thus, television is arguably one of the most essential components in Murgado’s marketing model. Murgado’s team is known for delivering reputable marketing campaigns. They work with a marketing company that helps deliver clear and honest messaging to promote sales and service. “There are multiple strategies as they relate to the products or how to make the products more attainable,” Murgado said. “If the consumer is looking for a way to put less money down, we try to fulfill that and do it in a genuine way with no unpleasant surprises. Bottom line, we’re talking to them, not at them. And we make sure we are listening, which is an important element retailers forget.”

To market successfully within the Hispanic community it is important to understand how Hispanics differ from other immigrant groups. Murgado explains Hispanics are “acculturating” not “assimilating,” and their desire to speak Spanish and maintain their culture is stronger than ever. In fact, a Pew Hispanic Center study discovered that even third-generation youths are speaking Spanish despite the fact that they were born in the U.S to native-born parents who are mostly English dominant. “I believe that, in the past, other immigrant groups’ goal was to assimilate and weave themselves into the fabric of this country,” Murgado said. “Hispanics, however, love this country and also cherish their traditions and language. They will participate in all things American, but will integrate their customs and traditions.” “What I would share with my colleagues, especially those in the Sunbelt and in the South, is to take a look at the growth of the Hispanic population around you. Look at the demographics. Drive the area where people are living and get involved. Only then can you advertise to them,” Murgado said. “If you look at America, you’ll see that there is a definite increase driven by Hispanics, and if you’re going to sell to a growing market, Hispanics have to be a part of your equation.” “There are more Latinos in the U.S. than there are Spaniards in Spain or Canadians in Canada,” said Sean Wolfington, owner of, the company that does all of Brickell Motors’ marketing in both Spanish and English. “It is very easy to work with a leader like Mario Murgado to market Brickell Motors because Mario is so deeply involved in the community and is very in-tune with his consumers, yet he is always cognizant of the big picture and market-trends.” Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

a good mobile website can significantly increase consumer engagement

While much has been written recently about mobile Websites, many retailers, including many car dealerships, haven’t enhanced their Web offerings to include a mobileoptimized version of their Website. Still others have created a mobile version with limited functionality that doesn’t reflect the brand and experience of the dealership’s Website.

Mobile-ready Websites have grown faster than traditional Websites. In 2008, there were approximately 150,000 mobile-ready Websites. By the end of 2010, there were more than 3,000,000. Consumers of all ages are increasingly using their smart phones to find directions to local restaurants, check the latest news, weather and sports, order a pizza, research products and compare prices on the go. For a growing number of adults, the mobile phone is a common way to access Websites. An October 2010 study by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research found that while more than half of all adult mobile users in the U.S. are more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific Websites, only 4.8 percent of all retailers have one. Auto dealerships fare better than most other industries, with 15 percent of dealerships currently providing a mobile Website. That still leaves the majority of car dealers not taking advantage of this technology and missing out on an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. Even more compelling is the fact that the study reports a consumer’s desire for a mobile Website varies by industry. Eighty-

eight percent of consumers who responded to the survey ranked auto dealerships as the top industry they would prefer to have a mobile site. Auto dealerships are not only the industry that consumers would most like to see have a mobile site, the category is more than 20 percentage points higher than the next product category, which is auto parts at 65 percent. Furniture (62 percent), florists (61 percent), and jewelry, luggage and leather goods (60 percent) make up the remaining top five categories. With fewer than a quarter of all dealerships currently offering a mobile Website, but 88 percent of all consumers desiring dealerships to have a mobile Website, it’s easy to see how a properly executed mobile Website can provide your dealership with a strong competitive advantage. But just having a mobile Website is not enough. By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web-access devices worldwide. While more consumers have become comfortable using their mobile phone to access Websites, there are significant differences in how they find and get to those sites. Mobile Web users expect to make fewer clicks on a smart phone than users accessing sites from a PC, so mobile Websites will need to be much more search-accessible in order to be found quickly. In addition, mobile users also expect mobile Websites to be userfriendly, well-designed and provide relevant information. In order to match the expectations of the mobile Internet user, you should strive to mirror the customer experience provided by the appearance and functionality of your

full Website. The study further reports that online retailers who implement a functional, mobile-specific Website can increase consumer engagement by as much as 85 percent.

Strong search engine strategies are a key to reaching the growing mobile audience. A good Website provider can help guide you through the process of creating an effective mobile Website that will give your dealership a strong competitive advantage. Here are some things to keep in mind: • Match the look, feel and functionality of your full Website. • Deliver content in a format that will display optimally on mobile devices of different sizes and shapes. It is important to think about how the content is formatted instead of targeting a specific device’s specifications. Otherwise, you will chase every new device as it is released. • Understand how consumers search using their mobile devices and create content that allows you to be found quickly and easily. • Develop the site with a strong search strategy. Based on this research, it’s clear that consumers are ready to do business with retailers, especially automotive dealerships, who provide a good mobile experience. It’s time to ask yourself — are you ready to go mobile? Joe High is the general manager of Websites for Dominion Dealer Solutions. He can be contacted at 866.362.9786, or by e-mail at

Yet for the last 50 years, the BHPH Industry has accepted this loss as part of doing business.

Flexible Terms - Customers pay for the periodic use of the vehicle with the option to purchase or return at any time. You Own the Vehicle - Your best protection against Customer Bankruptcies, Repossessions, & Delinquent Payers. High Profits - $7,000 - $20,000 profit on each car you lease. We will show you how! Limit Your Risk - We provide Contingent Liability Insurance with collision damage, GPS Tracking, and Warranties. Short Term Rentals - Start with just one vehicle!



marketing solution

Call tracking is key to keeping up with leads Carlito Mojica, the business development director of southeastern Michigan’s LaFontaine Automotive Group, knows how important it is to have a good call tracking system in place. He also knows the three most important factors to look for when hiring a call tracking company — pricing, reporting and service. “The minute prices were very important to me,” Mojica said. “We use a lot of minutes every month and we had to make sure they’re competitively priced. I rely heavily on the reporting of the data,as well, so we can tell how effective an ad source is, and to know when I need to staff my BDC or when can I concentrate on other efforts. I also need to know how flexible the company’s going to be with service. Are they going to accommodate special requests for numbers? What type of feedback will we get from them? Are they going to carry some cutting-edge industry information that I can leverage? All these points are extremely important.” A good call-tracking company can provide a safety net to save potentially missed


opportunities. “Our call-tracking company reviews calls based on criteria I’ve given them, and flags me when, and only when, the criteria hasn’t been met,” he said. An e-mail is sent to key members of my management team so they can take immediate action. That saves deals.” Speed of notifications is critical with call tracking, Mojica said, and modern technology is shrinking that reaction time. “We want people to show up, and in our case, it all starts with an Internet lead or phone call,” he said. “We can’t physically listen to every single call every day, so we have to rely on the call tracking company to help us make sure that we handled calls right, and to correct any mistakes made. We have to maximize every opportunity.” The CRM system also benefits from effective call tracking, Mojica said. “Really, the only true way that you can see all your phone customers is to funnel them through a call tracking number,” he said. “You can’t rely on your salespeople to write everything up perfectly, or make sure everything gets in the

phone log or the desk log.” The effectiveness of advertising can also be judged with call tracking, Mojica said, but only if used correctly. “You can definitely judge your ROI with call tracking,” he said, “but you’ve got to be disciplined and use different numbers with each piece. You can’t get a true gauge on what advertising sources are bringing to the table without that. Having multiple numbers measures everything. Is the ad getting responses? Are the calls being handled correctly? Are they answered quickly? Was the contact information get gathered? Did they earn the right to ask for the appointment? Did they get the appointment? Was the appointment confirmed? These are all key pieces in our process.” For more information about Carlito Mojica, or the LaFontaine Automotive Group, visit For information about CallSource, contact Pogo Parr at 888.559.3073, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

why online reputation management should be your No. 1 New year’s resolution The sheer amount of activity on the online review front in just the last two months of 2010 means it’s time to stop thinking about undertaking online reputation management (ORM), and time to start doing. It should be at the top of every dealership’s 2011 New Year’s resolutions, because those who tackle it will grab more market share this year, while those who don’t will lose it. Four Recent Developments on the Review Front:

Google Places — The most profound change with the new Google Places format (unveiled in October) is the heightened visibility for a business’ online reviews. The new local search layout not only clearly presents a dealership’s total number of reviews and overall one- to five-star rating right on the first-page results, it also displays live links to Websites where your dealership has been reviewed. So, gone are the days when consumers had to navigate to review sites to hunt down what others were saying about your dealership — your aggregated “online reputation” is now intensely visible on the first page. And at your dealership’s “Place Page,” snippets of reviews culled from diverse sites are featured up top, while “reviews from around the Web” are listed below. Google HotPot — In November, Google unveiled Hotpot, a new, easy-to-use interface encouraging consumers to read and post location-based reviews right from their Google profile. Ratings/reviews are tracked at the top of each profile, and users’ “likes” and “dislikes” are remembered in Google’s recommendation engine. It’s social: Google helps users find their friends, and makes these friends’ reviews/ ratings very visible. If a person searches “Honda dealerships Cleveland,” they can opt to view only places rated by their Hotpot friends. Google Boost — Google Places includes a new PPC option called Google Boost; the single premium spot on the results page just above the Place listings (mimicking the authentic look of a “Places” listing). A Boost ad includes the headline (the business’ name) and the map pin (taking people to your Place Page). Here’s where reputation management fits in: it includes your star/review count, if you have more than two reviews and a rating higher than four stars. A dealership would most want to use Boost if they had a solid number of positive reviews, and if they did, that positive reputation would appear on prominent first-page real estate. Boost is being tested in roughly a dozen


markets from San Francisco to Atlanta now, and is expected to launch widely soon. (Google claims it costs “as little as $100” a month.) The New Edmunds — just unveiled its new site, and dealership reviews loom large: Dealer ratings appear in both the new “Search Inventory” and “Find a Dealer” areas. And Edmunds will soon launch a new dealer rating system based on consumer surveys gauging the online shopping experience, with performance measures such as, ”Did the dealer respond to your e-mail promptly?” or “What information were they willing to give you?” Edmunds now serves up lists of local dealers to consumers in various site areas, using a five-star system for both sales and service. Given that Edmunds attracts roughly 16 million (mostly in-market) car shoppers every month, getting a review strategy at Edmunds is critical. Google Places’ Impact on Real Dealers:

When I first saw the Google Places format, it seemed logical that because searchers are now encouraged to click on your Place Page more than your Website — and these Pages make addresses/phone numbers much easier to find — that a dealer’s phone traffic should increase. But it also seemed clear that given the massive new visibility of reviews, that dealers with great online reputations should be grabbing more calls/business.

And this is exactly what we’re seeing. Here are just a few real-world examples of dealerships with stellar online reputations that have tracked their phone traffic since Google Places kicked in. Dick Hannah Honda (Vancouver, WA) completely dominates not just Portland, OR (their closest metro market), but the whole state of Oregon when it comes to having a high volume of positive reviews across many review sites. When a consumer is searching local Honda dealerships at Google, Dick Hannah Honda now jumps out with their 450plus nearly five-star reviews, compared with their competitors’ 20- to 30-odd reviews, and roughly three-star rating. So what happened to Dick Hannah’s call volume from review sites the month after Google Places launched? It’s nearly doubled.

Tracked from review site 800#s

Or consider RBM of Atlanta-North. With a Google search such as “Mercedes - dealerships – Atlanta,” RBM North’s market-dominating online reputation also visually flies out. Their 200-plus nearly five-star reviews are prominently displayed (as are their three main competitors’ roughly 5-40 reviews, with a 2.5-3.5 star rating.) The effect? The dealership has seen a 35 percent increase in phone calls from Google/review sites since Google Places (vs. the three months prior). Dealerships such as Dick Hannah Honda and RBM of AtlantaNorth, with their now super-visible, sterling online reputations, appear to be grabbing some serious market share at the new Google, given that they didn’t do anything different in November. Data from dealerships is just rolling in, and more analysis needs to be done. How will Google Places affect the Web traffic vs. phone call ratio? How many searchers will click on Place Pages vs. a business’ Website? Will dealerships with negative online reputations take a serious hit? After all, if you were researching local Italian restaurants, and one had hundreds of five-star reviews, and the others had a few mediocre reviews, which one might you give a try? The online review innovations have recently heated up, and that will only continue - because local will continue to be the hottest online segment. In 2011, it will be difficult for any dealership to dominate online without a high volume of positive reviews across many sites. In fact, with so many changes taking place on a near-monthly basis, it’s never been more important to focus on the right online initiatives. Richard Winch is CEO and founder of eXtéresAUTO. He can be contacted at 866.476.4389, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

the solution is right in front of you...

Like most dealerships in the country, you probably utilize some type of dealer management system (DMS). Dealerships depend on these systems heavily for their accounting, sales and service information. Customer and prospect information is entered into this system with nearly every interaction that occurs on a daily basis. With that in mind, dealers need to approach their “DMS data” as an asset and discover ways to utilize it to increase incremental sales. Large retail organizations have used this kind of data to target campaigns for quite awhile now. They

Does your DETAIL DEPARTMENT look like this?

It COULD look like this...

Organize your Detail Department & Boost Productivity DETAIL PLUS will provide you with everything you need to help improve your Detail Department’s appearance,

increase productivity, reduce chemical & supply costs, reduce labor costs, and improve work quality.

DETAIL PLUS can Provide you with:

• • •

Consulting Shop Design & Layout High-Tech Equipment

• • •

Personnel Selection Management Training Technical Training

Call us today for a No-Obligation Consultation P.O. Box 20755 Portland, OR. 97294 Tel: 503.251.2955 Fax: 503.251.5975 email: TOLL FREE: 800.284.0123 WWW.DETAILPLUS.COM


track the purchase type and frequency of those purchases. They do this because they know that it is more cost effective to sell to an existing relationship than to acquire new customers. The challenge that dealers face is that it’s often difficult to use their data outside of the platforms that house the data. Additionally, the dealer often finds that, because of human error, the demographic data maybe outdated or inaccurate. Some dealerships house thousands and thousands of records and because of the issues listed above, and never tap into a resource they have at their fingertips. There are now ways for a dealership to automate the extraction of their DMS data and apply cleansing/appending strategies to the dealer data set. This allows for the dealership to use the data for focused marketing campaigns. The most obvious area that these campaigns would be beneficial is in the service department. Creating business rules that provides the dealership with means to communicate with their service customers via email on routine maintenance, rather than depend on the customer to remember you in the world of choices. Imagine taking 1,000 customers who were customers at one time, but haven’t been into your service drive in the past six months, and “re-engaging” them with a personalized and relative offering for the current vehicle. As I mentioned before, big box retailers, such as Best Buy, Target and others take exactly this approach. How about ensuring that your entire database has current address, phone, and e-mail address information? With the changes in the past years in the dealership population, wouldn’t it also be helpful to know who the owners are of your brand, in your market, but are not coming to you for their service needs? Perhaps there are 3,000 Hyundai owners within a 40-mile radius of your dealership, but only 211 of them come to your service department on are regular basis. As you can quickly imagine, it becomes apparent how valuable your DMS data can be with the proper application of technology and strategy. Taking a proactive and strategic approach to the extraction, validation and appending of your dealership data set can easily mean a doubling of campaign response rates. Your DMS data can be valuable if positioned properly and used in a fashion that engages past and present customers. Are you using your customer data to communicate to the right person, the right message, at the right time? Cindy Gentry is the founder and president of Blue Lizard Interactive, Inc. She can be contacted at 866.362.7631, or by e-mail at


leadership solution

want to sell more? eat more!

If your sales career has hit a slump worse than the New York Yankee’s Derek Jeter’s “0 for 32” hitless streak in 2004, let me suggest an affordable seminar available to help get your sales swagger back. In fact, this seminar is offered in nearly every city in America. Can you think of a seminar where you can enjoy a nice meal with a special person, have a glass of wine to unwind from the long day, and get a crash course in sales? Make a reservation, grab your coat, and head off to your favorite fine dining restaurant.

on their clientele’s satisfaction. Let’s look at examples of what great servers do consistently, and the lessons we can learn from them:

server to “try” a succulent appetizer, saying, “Well, I’ll work it off tomorrow.” Join the crowd, my friend; a sale has just been made.

Be Approachable

Lesson learned: Taking care of the small things builds trust and credibility, and influences your customers to want to do business with you. The road to a sale is similar to dating. The person you are dating really appreciates the small things you do for them; your customers are the same way.

Now when I say “fine dining,” I do not mean “two-for-one” food and drinks. I mean the one with candlelit tables, linen napkins and table cloths, all surrounded by your favorite love ballads being hammered away on the ivory keys of a grand piano nestled in the corner. Look at this evening not as an expense, but as an investment in both careers — personal and professional. Servers of fine dining restaurants are great examples of superior salespeople. Like many of us, they make a living based

Lesson learned: No matter how hard you may prepare for a sale, your client may never give you a chance to showcase your knowledge if you approach them in an unprofessional manner. You may have sparred 12 rounds with your last customer, but do not take a negative experience from one client to another. Your clients depend on you to enhance their buying experience, not destroy it. The better your customer’s experience, the more they will show their appreciation (commission).

Servers realize you never get a second chance to make a first impression (or commission). Diners immediately decide if they like you based on how you approach them. A great server introduces and carries himself in a personable, professional manner at all times, no matter how tough the evening may be.

Be Attentive

Phone? Smart! Loyalty Driver E-newsletters are now available on all smartphones

Just another way to reach customers on the go.

Now that’s smart. Really smart. Innovative E-newsletter Solutions For more information, visit our website, or give us a call: | 866-964-6397


Great servers are very quick and attentive to their client’s needs, performing even menial tasks without being asked. Behind the scenes, a restaurant can be a zoo, but a great server never will reveal it. He has an eye for detail and pays attention to the needs of his guests (e.g. refilling a glass without being asked). Aside from being detail oriented, servers assume the sale by offering a nice bottle of wine paired with a savory appetizer and salad. How many times, before arriving at a restaurant, have you promised yourself to only eat an entrée only to be influenced by your

IMN-3.6875x4.875-v4.indd 1

9/17/2010 9:47:58 AM

Obtain your Ph.D.

Professional servers have extensive knowledge, and are able to recite from memory what the appetizers, entrees and desserts are for the evening. They do a great job by painting a mental picture of the sauces and preparation of each dish. When dining at a new restaurant, my wife likes to ask, “What is good here?” My faith in a restaurant tumbles faster than Enron’s stock when a server has not taken the time to try certain foods in order to relate them to his guests. They make comments like, “I don’t know, I never ate that,” or “I don’t like fish.” Even if a server does not eat certain foods, they must get feedback from previous guests who have eaten it in order to relate to others. A great restaurant is only as great as the experience a server gives to its guests. Lesson learned: Every sale is an emotional decision followed by logic. If you can appeal to a client’s emotional side, they will make a decision and be able to justify it logically. Being knowledgeable about your product gives you the confidence needed to make a sale. Being knowledgeable about your product allows you to build a foundation of value. The greater the perceived value of the product, the more clients will pay for it. Clients depend on your expertise in order to make an educated buying decision. Also, using clients’ testimonies is another powerful way to gain credibility and trust in your product. In my next article, we will look at more examples of what great servers do and what we can learn from them. What was your experience when eating out? I would love to hear your comments on how a server made you feel.

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

Providing the automotive industry with cutting edge digital sales solutions that utilize technology to stay ahead of the competition.

Are you eectively advertising your products and services?

V-Active gives you the ability to change advertisements, promotions, and specials throughout your store. Let us design your custom campaign.

$1,995 Text VACTIVE To 41411

AutoSuccess promotional oer*

Call today for details.

*$1,995 includes initial production, setup, and required hardware. A signed 24 month contract for $299 a month is also required. This monthly fee includes hosting, repairs, maintenance, and one promotional update a month. Monitor not included. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

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

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

vAuto is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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

Automotive News Advertising File name: 1978_AutoNews_Ad_5.125x3.875_FNL.indd Trim: 5.125” x 3.875” Bleed: 5.375” x 4.125” Live: 4.625” x 3.375” Inks: 4cp File built at 100%


$2/sq ft • Any Size • 13 oz Vinyl • Hemmed with Grommets


Success Story Teddy Nissan Boosts Sales from 30 to 225 in Only 9 Months How did the same dealership with the same brand in the same location increase their sales from only 30 cars a month to nearly 300 cars per month in only a half year’s time during the recession? Teddy Nissan, formerly Cox Nissan, was purchased in August 2009 by Ted Bessen, formerly a partner of Potamkin Automotive Group, and Steve Risso, an automotive veteran who ran multiple stores and NADA 20 groups. This story explains how these 2 guys bought and paid for the cost of the entire dealership within 9 months of reopening a closed point and creating close to 100 new jobs for the local economy in a economically challenged environment.

“We saw the peak of the recession as the perfect opportunity to reopen this point,” said Bessen. “Timing was good with the revitalization that Cash for Clunkers brought to the market.” Bessen and Risso updated the facility and opened their doors August ‘09. “We both have run multiple stores but this was the first time we had to start from scratch so we had a lot of work to do without a lot of time,” said Risso. “Getting the facility right, buying equipment, hiring and training the right people and bringing in enough customers to pay for it all. Generating traffic and revenue was our primary goal because the dealership was out of business for about a year and there was no

customer base. With all we had in front of us, we hired a company to help us create and implement our marketing plan for sales and service.” Below is a summary of the strategy Teddy Nissan implemented to grow their sales by over 200 vehicles a month in the first 9 months of being in business. Marketing Plan Teddy Nissan is located in one of the largest markets in the world where everything is expensive, especially advertising. “New York city has 11 million people and traditional advertising costs a lot, and generates too little, because most consumers watching TV and listening to the radio are not in the market for a Nissan this

Success Story month,” said David Boice from the company that Teddy uses. “We identified 56,000 prospects in the Bronx that had the highest statistical probability of buying and servicing with the dealership so we could execute blended marketing campaigns that had a higher return. We used less expensive, higher impact campaigns that blended the internet, search marketing, email, text, direct mail and point of sale merchandising at the dealership so everything was connected.”

paign integrated on all our advertising, our websites, emails, direct mail and the point of sale materials in the dealership. Many dealers will have one ad on tv, another message in the paper, another on a mailer, nothing about their sale on their website and emails sent with a completely different message. That is why we hired a marketing company who specializes in digital and traditional advertising, so we could have one strategy that is completely connected and consistent…. and it works.”

Teddy Nissan’s marketing is not like your typical car dealer. Their logo is a teddy bear and the design of their materials look more like manufacturer ads than local car dealer advertising. “Customers have a hard time trusting dealers and we wanted to soften the edge and increase the credibility of our brand with high-end designs that build trust with consumers,” said Bessen. “When a customer sees an offer on our banner ads they will see that same message and cam-

The Web “Since most of our customers shop online we have an in-depth strategy for search engine optimization and marketing, email marketing, banner ads on popular websites and positive online reputation management. In a short time, we have built a big following on top social media platforms including Facebook and twitter. Now we can communicate with thousands of customers for free and we drive them to

a campaign microsite where the message, offers, look and feel are consistent with our current campaign. One of our sales microsites is and is a micro site with all of our service offers. We also use to promote our used cars online but the closing ratios and gross profits of our own leads are much higher.” explained Bessen. Online Reputation Management Teddy Nissan has made a lot of progress improving the reputation of the dealership after taking it over. When consumers google Teddy Nissan’s name or the name of the dealer principles they will discover positive reviews from satisfied customers and news and information about Teddy’s positive involvement in the community, like the fact that Teddy Nissan recently sponsored a Bronx Youth Basketball team that competed in a national tournament in Las Vegas and placed 2nd. “We also try

In a Nutshell • Teddy Nissan increased sales from 30 units to 225 in only 9 months. • Teddy Nissan used to implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that integrates all aspects of marketing including, digital, traditional, targeted direct mail, email, text, publicity, social, reputation management, niche marketing, point-of-sale merchandising and retention. • Teddy Nissan used to target consumers with the highest statistical probability of purchasing or servicing their vehicles with the dealership using email, text and direct mail to consumers who buy more, service more, return more and refer more. • Teddy Nissan increased their leads by putting a new dealer site at the top of search engines. • Teddy Nissan improved dealership reputation by asking satisfied customers to share their positive experience on sites like Google Place Reviews, Dealer Rater, Facebook and Twitter. • Teddy Nissan created a Nissan Vehicle Purchase Program for their employees, as well as, a Corporate Vehicle Purchase Programs for large corporations to offer to their employees. • Teddy Nissan updated their facility and use point of sale merchandising that is consistent with all their advertising.

Success Story

Teddy Nissan Promotional Materials

Success Story to take pictures of all our customers with their car, send them the photo and ask them to post it on Facebook so we can get positive exposure to all their friends,” said Risso. Additionally, “all our satisfied customers receive post cards that give them instructions on how to share their positive opinion on popular review sites like Google Place Reviews and Dealer Rater amongst many others.” Niche Marketing We built and advertised a Nissan Vehicle Purchase Program to all our eligible employees and companies that qualify for Nissan’s program. In addition, we build our own program for companies who want to give their employees an additional benefit. Our Corporate Vehicle Purchase Program offers eligible employees special pricing and service and it has helped us attract and sell a lot of customers who otherwise were not considering a Nissan. “We built and sent an information package to the HR departments of the largest organizations in New York to ask them if they would like to offer this free benefit to their employees and we give them a campaign kit to promote it internally,” said Scott Fletcher from Targeted Marketing “One of the highest impact parts of our strategy has been to send targeted email and direct mail to consumers who are in the market now,” said Bessen. “A lot of dealers send multiple emails and mailers from sales and different ones from service, but that costs too much and it overloads the customers to the point where they pay less attention.” Teddy Nissan only sends one set of emails and mailers a month that promote all of their profit centers in one communication and they customize the offers based on the customer’s vehicle, miles and position in their ownership cycle. “If a customer is driving a 3 year old

Maxima with 30,000 miles they may want to trade-in their vehicle or they may need major service and would benefit from buying an extended service agreement,” said Budd Blackburn, co-founder of www., Teddy’s targeted marketing company. “We send a custom email and mailer that includes a sales offer to trade-in their vehicle and we include a service offer along with an option to extend their service agreement all in one contact. It costs less money than sending 3 separate mailers and it is easier for the customer.” Risso added, “we track all our ads with dedicated 800 #s and listen to every call that comes into the dealership to help us identify which targeted marketing campaigns work the best. For instance, we know direct mail generates the most phone calls for sales and service and is most cost effective because everything is more expensive in a big market, like New York, but the cost of email and postage is the same here as it is in the smallest market in the country.” After a customer buys a vehicle Teddy Nissan has a complete communication system to thank their customers, welcome them to service, remind them when they need to come in, when they need an extended service agreement, how they can buy accessories and when they can upgrade into a new vehicle all over again. Every Customer Counts No one knows the value of a customer better than dealers who open a new dealership without any current customers. To make sure their customers are being treated right, they use a call monitoring company to review every call that comes into the dealership to track the advertising and to make sure every customer is treated properly. “We spend a lot of money to make the phone ring and we want to make sure we convert as many calls into customers as possible,” said Bessen. “We

use to monitor and transcribe all our calls and they send real-time alerts to our managers when a customer is mishandled on the phone so we can respond and repair the relationship within minutes. “We get daily and weekly reports that identify what marketing is working, our appointment rates and closing ratios by ad source and representative. It is a great tool for our daily “save a deal” meetings and for our ongoing training to improve our team’s phone skills. Facility & Customer Experience “We go through a lot of effort and expense to bring customers into the dealership so we do our best to make their experience at the dealership a pleasure,” said Bessen. “Part of that is having the signage, clean showrooms and service areas, friendly staff and the right ambiance. We spend a lot of time training our team so we can provide exceptional customer service.” Teddy’s facility is first-class and the point of sale posters, brochures, table tops and balloons are professionally designed and consistent with their overall marketing message to consumers.

Campaign Microsite