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2013

JANUARY


Visit vAuto at NADA 2013 — Booth #842

Changed everything. the performanCe managers didn’t just teaCh us to run software. they taught us to win. — Jason Frampton, Ken Garff Automotive Group, Salt Lake City, Utah

There’s plenty of used inventory management software out there. But successful dealers have learned that it takes more than software to get results. It takes a proven process. That’s why Jason and the team from Ken Garff —  an automotive group with 40 locations in six states — chose Provision® and the Velocity Method of Management.™ This powerful combination, coupled with vAuto’s process-focused performance in used vehicle sales management, has resulted in with Provision® a 16% increase in used vehicle sales across all Garff locations in the past year.

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

Get vAuto Founder Dale Pollak’s new book. Visit vAuto.com/overdrive or buy on Amazon.com today.

Provisioning

Get a demo at

vAuto.com/demo

Appraising

Pricing

Call for a demo

888-365-1032

Merchandising

RealDeal


THE #1 SALES-IMPROVEMENT MAGAZINE FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONAL

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

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does your 2013 business plan include used car turns or lowering average reconditioning expense? GeorgeNenni

58

dealers, managers...you must immerse

is this the year to answer the ROI question?

BrianPasch

video and marketing strategy

AJLeBlanc

finding the right app for your dealership

AndrewPrice

Pump Up the volume: Create the Soundtrack of Your Sales Career

Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement Strategist shorne@autosuccessonline.com jwarner@autosuccessonline.com

build your brand

RobertWiesman

how technology and transparency build confidence in every used vehicle deal

DalePollak

dealers on facebook: As Always, Putting People at the Center

DougFrisbie

marketing solution

22 24

rooftop or Results?

RickMcLey

what’s in your sales tool kit?

Brian Ankney, Account Manager super6@autosuccessonline.com

DennisMcGinn ScottJoseph

sales & training solution

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

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

are you running last decade’s software? KevinMcMillen

26 30 32 48 66

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The Industry’s Best Event: It’s the Oscars of the Automotive Industry

20

VictorArocho

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how to plan an effective and sustainable growth strategy for 2013

40 50 52 SusanGivens

habits of the successful salesperson MarkTewart

do you have any idea how to make money in your internet department or bdc? It’s all in a name: The Curse of the Car Salesman

SeanV.Bradley

plan your work and work your plan, part 1 PaulAccinno

disaster preparation

20 28 38 DealerPanel

don’t try, be deliberate MarshBuice

So How Does Anyone Keep Up With All the Changes

10

JimmyVee & TravisMiller

08 36 60 62 68 SusanGivens

leadership solution incentive management: GregKelly

Susan Givens, Publisher sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com

feature solution


SusanGivens

sales & training solution

what’s in your sales tool kit?

So, how can you give your sales team the tools to deliver the kind of experience that will improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy for your store? The research points to three influential factors: The Sales Process

In the 2012 Maritz Research CEBenchmarks study, customers rated their experience with the sales process as the most important aspect driving their level of satisfaction. An effective sales system can facilitate a credible, engaging and transparent interaction from start to finish, while adapting to the needs of individual customers. Vehicle Information

Customers are more knowledgeable than ever before. The 2012 J.D. Power & Associates Automotive Mobile Site Study found that of the

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autosuccessonline.com

31 percent of in-market vehicle shoppers who visited automotive Websites via their smartphone, 53 percent access automotive content while physically at the dealership. The sales team needs to be prepared with tools that give them instant access to information to empower them to respond quickly and accurately to these well-informed buyers; a mobile system is key so information is always at their fingertips. The top categories of information that these shoppers are looking for include: • Pricing (66 percent) • Model information (54 percent) • Photo galleries (53 percent) • Vehicle reviews/ratings (52 percent) • Vehicle comparisons (47 percent) Delivery

Surprisingly, in the Sales Satisfaction Index Study noted above, the measure showing the greatest gain was the delivery process, despite the fact that the average length of time to complete the delivery of a new vehicle increased. A big reason for the longer delivery process is that dealers are providing more in-depth demonstrations of technology in newer vehicles. Buyers appear to appreciate when the salesperson spends additional time with them, as long as that time provides added value and helps them to better understand their new vehicle. Tablets are a great way to let customers experience technology videos while sitting in the vehicle to learn hands-on. Andy Wright, VP at Lehigh Valley Acura, has equipped his sales team with an iPad selling system because he believes that the most critical factor in making the sale is to engage the customer. “We are committed to giving our customers the best possible experience,” he said, “and tablets help us do that right from the moment they walk in the door.” “To be competitive in today’s market, you need to actively build value for both the vehicle and the dealership,” said Jim Hughes, co-founder of IntellaCar, the iPad selling system that Lehigh Valley Acura uses. A quality customer experience throughout the sales process is increasingly important. As dealerships start to recognize how providing a good experience can create a loyal customer and benefit the bottom line, they will see the value of a sales system that truly reflects what today’s customer is looking for from the car-buying experience. Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

Today’s automotive dealerships are understandably focused on the customer experience. A recent Maritz Research Automotive Customer Experience Payback Study provided hard data to support the longheld belief that stores making an investment in improving the customer experience reap higher profits. What is happening in the marketplace bears that out. According to the latest J.D. Power & Associates Sales Satisfaction Index Study, customer satisfaction has improved notably vs. the prior year (+13 points), suggesting that dealers are placing renewed focus on providing buyers with a satisfying retail experience, and that they are investing resources toward that goal.


Latest Verified Sales Event Results!

GregKelly

leadership solution

incentive management:

So How Does Anyone Keep Up With All the Changes

DLR-ST

DAYS

GROSS PROFIT

UNITS SOLD

Week of August 25 Honda - WA Kia - OH Chevy - MO Buick - IL Chevy - NY

5 5 5 5 5

29 42 28 26 28

$109,973 $134,304 $136,316 $ 91,341 $168,213

Week of September 1 Chevy - CAN Nissan - CO Hyundai - OH Chevy - MO

5 6 5 5

20 40 50 25

$104,421 $201,339 $160,821 $130,221

Week of September 8 Chrysler - OH Subaru - WA Chevy - MI Indep - IN

5 5 5 5

38 35 25 31

$204,188 $224,762 $119,893 $172,113

We’re probably the only company that will tell you that every event we do isn’t perfect. 81% of our clients are very excited about the results we generate for them. The other 19% aren’t great, but our clients don’t lose money!

NOTE: We value our clients’ privacy. If you are serious about putting G&A to work for you, we are happy to provide all the references and details you can handle.

GUARANTEED RESULTS STAFFED EVENTS DIRECT MAIL & MARKETING CONTACT MATT BAKER 800-688-1370 mbaker@gamarketing.com

Accountability. Reputation. Results. Since 1994

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Every day, many dealers are faced with an incentive reject. Why? The complexities associated with all the offers are just too difficult to keep up with. So why do some manufacturers seem to overcomplicate this important aspect of selling cars and trucks? It’s a complicated answer, but the truth lies between the marketing geniuses and financial wizards. On one hand, manufacturers want to design a compelling offer resulting in increased sales, but, on the other hand, they worry about the millions the program will cost. The end result: a program that contains too many twists and turns, leaving the poor dealer attempting to decipher it all. The impact of incentives and rebates has a huge impact on the cash flow with certain franchises. Consider a Chevrolet dealer who sells a 100 new vehicles a month; if the average incentive load on each vehicle sold is $4,000, the result is a $400,000 hit to the cash flow for one month. So, it’s obvious that keeping an eye on the incentive account is vital. Manufacturers are in a hyper-competitive market and are always looking for different ways to sweeten the pot for the consumers. The domestics top the bunch when it comes to the sheer number of potentially available offers. For example, currently there are around 19 different offers on a 2013 Malibu LT/LTZ, plus four additional GM credit card programs. The challenge becomes, first, how does the dealer learn about all the offers and, second, how do they use them in the best possible way? The best combination of offers can change payments drastically. Many stores can only afford to take time to crank out four or five payment options; the reality is there are dozens of choices, but who has time to pencil 50 to 80 different options? The dilemma is if you do not take the time to explore all options, you stand to lose the deal. If you do sell the vehicle, it is possible you lost valuable income because you did not structure the deal to generate the highest gross and keep the payment the same by taking the obvious route to get the vehicle over the curb. In the old days, the customer with a GMS number (a GM Employee) always got a great deal and the dealer made great gross. Not any more. Sometimes, structuring the deal as GMS is not the best way to go. Sure, a few manufacturers offer a “VIN Look Up System” that does some of the work, but unfortunately does not automatically optimize for the best combination. These systems are good at allowing the dealer to use a “by guess and by golly” approach and hope for the best. This approach requires the user to re-enter information numerous times, using different assumptions, such as “sale type/deliver type.” Some non-domestic manufacturers do not offer any system at all, and simply communicate via a PDF document and expect the dealer to make sense out of nonsense. Many times, the PDF documents do not contain clear language explaining the compatibility aspects or these guidelines are contained in other documents that are separate from the actual supported APR and/or lease announcements. There are a few things to consider to avoid the pains in the day-to-day grind of incentives: • Appoint an individual to check the manufacturer portal on a daily basis and look for new or enhanced incentives • Develop a “cheat-sheet” that is easy to understand for the sales team. Make sure the person responsible for this task is well-versed with the incentive rules. • Create an internal incentive recap form that would be used for each deal. This form would include programs used in the deal, instructions to get paid for each program used and required documentation to keep in the deal to prevent a chargeback (in case of an audit). The good news is that more and more desking applications are including rebates and incentive offers inside their software, making it much easier for dealer personnel to avoid the pitfalls of a rejected incentive claim. At the end of the day, a dealership can easily have $400,000 per month in real cash flow locked up on the incentive and rebate merry-go-round. The wise dealers must have a solid process in place to avoid a financial meltdown.

Greg Kelly is the director of sales and marketing for AIS Rebates. He can be contacted at 866.390.6358, or by e-mail at gkelly@autosuccessonline.com.


We’re selling 20 to 45 units per month with bLinked. It’s the best thing we’ve done in 2012. —General Manager Mike Hills, Acton Toyota of Littleton

DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Award:

Highest Rated in Owner Marketing

www.jandlmarketing.com/bLinked 800.346.9117 | bLinked@jandlmarketing.com Scan for the solution now


The most profitable dealers are getting more aggressive in 2013 and are utilizing innovative digital strategies to attract, sell, service and retain more of their customers in a way that is more profitable. Many of these dealers have either created new technologies or utilized other companies’ technologies to improve their business. This feature showcases the Top 10 Companies in 2013 that are helping dealers increase their profits by driving down costs and driving up revenue.

Ten Hot

In this feature, you will learn about companies that lower marketing costs by effectively targeting in-market shoppers, that increase the

Digital Companies

power of your dealership’s brand by delivering consistent messaging across all marketing channels, that increase repeat sales by shortening

That Are Helping Dealers Dramatically Improve Their Profitability.

trade-in cycles, and that increase the value of your marketing dollars by reducing lead loss. You will also learn about companies that deliver no-cost, pre-approved appointments, that turn your dealership’s mobile app into a profit-generating marketing channel for sales and service, that use video search strategies to put your content on top of your competitors on the search engines and that build and maintain low effort, lasting and relevant social media programs that produce trackable results.


Dealers waste too much money targeting consumers who are not likely to do business with their dealership. Team Velocity uses their proprietary Perfect Prospect Technology to deliver custom offers via e-mail, text and mail to prospects who are statistically most likely to purchase or service now. The targeted campaigns drive customers to a campaign Website that converts prospects into e-mails, calls and traffic to the dealership, resulting in more sales and service business for less cost.

Many of the most successful dealers in the country — Penske, Paragon, Hendrick, Herb Chambers and others — work with Tier 10 Marketing to implement integrated marketing strategies that promote all of their profit centers — new, used, finance, service and parts — with a consistent message delivered through all 10 tiers of marketing: traditional, digital, mobile, social, reputation management, publicity, targeted direct mail, niche marketing, merchandising and retention.

TM

Social media marketing can help dealers market to thousands of in-market consumers for free, but it’s hard to manage campaigns across hundreds of networks without dedicated staff that cost too much to hire. Social Dealer is a media management tool that helps dealers create, distribute, manage and monitor their entire social media strategy and reputation through one easy-to-use platform.

Car-mercial pioneered Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO). Their strategies help dealers appear on top of the search engines with videos that promote the dealership and the vehicles they sell. Car-mercial’s proprietary software is used to produce, distribute and optimize videos that promote all of a dealership’s profit centers by improving their placement on major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Through VSEO, Car-mercial dealers dominate page one search results with positive videos while also removing third-party lead providers and competing dealers.

PMS 269 + 50% Black

Build C = 78 M = 100 Y=0 K = 40

PMS 269 + 50% Black

Black

Driving Loyalty combines next-generation equity mining with a fully automated loyalty marketing system that identifies ideal prospects, executes targeted Web, e-mail, direct mail and mobile marketing campaigns, and presents customized offers based on each customer’s unique equity position and credit history. These offers include side-by-side comparisons that highlight the cost-of-ownership savings, safety improvements and warranty advantages associated with upgrading to a newer vehicle for the same payment.

CallRevu is a full-service call monitoring system that reviews all inbound calls and alerts a dealer whenever a customer is mishandled so deals can be saved and customer concerns can be addressed right away — before it’s too late. CallRevu is able to keep dealers informed as calls happen with Real-Time text Alerts. Dealers can finally know when a call goes wrong or an opportunity is lost in time to save a deal or a customer.

Reversed VANTAGE

DealerAppVantage.com is the creator of the most popular mobile application used by the nation’s top dealers to increase retention, sales and service revenue. Their mobile marketing platform combines sales and service targeting capabilities with beautiful, dealer-branded mobile apps that allow dealers to deliver service reminders and sales promotions directly to the pockets of their customers. Every app is customized for each dealer, so that Longo Toyota (No. 1 Toyota) is different from JM Lexus (No. 1 Lexus), which is different from Paragon Honda/Acura (No. 1 Honda/Acura).

CAR-Research XRM reduces the cost and effort associated with managing multiple vendors by giving dealerships a single enterprise solution (and single point-of-contact) for ILM, CRM, Service CRM, BDC, call monitoring, Websites, inventory management, desking, data mining, digital marketing, direct mail and training. Their “single-solution” approach increases visibility between departments and gives dealerships the ability to align the efforts of all their profit centers in order to maximize the lifetime value and satisfaction of their customers.

Business Rater helps consumers find great businesses and helps dealerships build and promote their positive reputation while also identifying areas to improve their customer experience. Business Rater helps dealers attract, sell and service more customers by generating and promoting positive dealer reviews on top search engines, the dealer’s Website, social networks and blogs.

AutoAmigo is a membership-based Hispanic buying program that leverages America’s largest Hispanic media network to drive no-cost, pre-approved appointments exclusively to participating dealerships. This revolutionary new program is a joint venture between GroupCars, makers of the world’s most downloaded automotive mobile app, and Univision, the nation’s most powerful Hispanic media company. This program uses Univision’s vast TV, radio and digital network to drive traffic to a Spanish-language call center where automotive experts gather customer information and schedule appointments exclusively with certified AutoAmigo dealerships.


Targeted

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Team Velocity Marketing continues to be one of the fastest growing targeted marketing companies in America. Their 360 Sales & Service Marketing system is used by many of the country’s top dealers to attract, sell and service more customers for less cost than traditional mass marketing. Team Velocity’s “Perfect Prospect” technology identifies those consumers who have the highest statistical probability of buying and servicing now and in the future, thus generating the most lifetime revenue and return on a dealer advertising investment. Each quarter, a dealer identifies perfect prospects within their market. Then, they implement an integrated campaign through search marketing, e-mail, text, calls and direct mail with custom offers that relate exactly to the customer’s needs at that moment, while also promoting all of the dealership’s profit centers:

new, used, finance, service and parts. These perfect prospects receive “perfect offers” based on where they are in the ownership cycle of their vehicle, whether they are eligible to upgrade into a new vehicle for the same payment, need a major service, or their warranty is about to expire. Customers are driven to a campaign Website that provides more information on the offers, captures their e-mail and drives them to call and visit the dealership. When customers arrive at the dealership, the POS merchandising validates all the marketing messaging they have received up to that point with posters, hang tags, table toppers and window clings. After they take delivery, Team Velocity communicates with the customer through a 360 communication process that starts with “Thank You for Buying” and continues through service reminders, sales promotions, lease renewals, equity alerts and custom offers that bring customers back more often to spend more money. Website: www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com Phone: (877) 832-6848

TM

Social

Social media marketing can help dealers market to thousands of in-market consumers for free. However, most dealerships lack the knowledge and resources required to manage campaigns across hundreds of social networks. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, many top-performing dealers are using Social Dealer to help them

M ed i a

Mar k etin g

monitor social networks, improve their online reputations and turn their social reach into a profitable long-term marketing channel. Social Dealer is part of the Top 10 because they give dealers the ability to create, distribute, manage and monitor their entire social media strategy and online reputation through one easy-to-use social marketing platform. This platform monitors more than 200 social media sites and automatically alerts the dealer when it detects something that needs attention. This significantly reduces the cost and effort associated with managing social media by allowing dealers to launch marketing campaigns, monitor activity and respond to all of the top review sites from a single location, without requiring them to juggle multiple screens or logins. Website: www.SocialDealer.com Phone: (877) 326-7624

The Top 10 Companies to Watch in 2013

This unique combination of monitoring tools and marketing tools gives dealers the ability to make educated decisions regarding the content they post online and allows them to automate the timing and distribution of ads, stories, tweets and posts so that weeks worth of content can be preloaded in a single session. To assist with the production of relevant content, Social Dealer gives it’s dealers access to a vast library of pre-produced content that it can use to increase interaction with their followers. “With our social media platform, dealers can automate the work of hundreds of people for very little money per month,” said Joe Casle, CEO of Social Dealer. “This allows them to measure everything they spend so they can see what’s working and what’s not.” Social Dealer empowers its dealers to strengthen relationships with their customers, target in-market prospects, attract new talent to their stores and expand their social reach by leveraging the social media networks of their employees. Best of all, they do all of this from a single, dealer-friendly social marketing platform.


Inte g r ate d

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Dealers spend too much money working with too many vendors on disconnected ad campaigns that are often confusing for customers and the dealership staff. This is why Penske, Paragon, Hendrick and other top-performing dealerships are working with Tier 10 Marketing to implement integrated marketing strategies that promote all of their profit centers — new, used, finance, service and parts — with a consistent message delivered through all 10 tiers of marketing: traditional, digital, mobile, social, reputation management, publicity, niche marketing, targeted direct mail, merchandising and retention.

messages, look and feel, and now we work with one company who ties it all together with one integrated approach. I spend less, make more and it works,” said Brian Benstock, co-owner of Paragon Honda & Acura in Queens, NY.

Tier 10 Marketing has a proven track record for elevating the performance of its clients. A perfect example of this is the strategy they executed to help Paragon Automotive become No. 1 in every brand they represent — Honda, Acura and Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. When Paragon began working with Tier 10, their best month was 36th in the country with Acura, and 17th with Honda. Within nine months, both stores were No. 1 in combined new and CPO sales in the country and have remained on top for over a year, while also setting records for profitability, CSI and customer loyalty. “We were spending way too much money with 15 different companies who had completely different strategies,

Tier 10 Marketing’s proven formula for designing and implementing effective marketing strategies has made them the agency of choice for many of America’s top dealers and continues to demonstrate how those with an integrated marketing strategy that connects their traditional advertising with the other nine tiers can spend less money to attract, sell and retain more customers.

In addition to helping dealership clients dominate their markets, Tier 10 Marketing also works with associations. In 2012, they increased market share for 100 percent of their association clients, even with brands that decreased in market share on a national level.

Vide o

With manufacturers, dealers and third-party lead providers all competing to secure the same real estate on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, it is becoming increasingly more expensive and difficult to stay on Page One for the search phrases customers use most. Because Google gives video content 55 times the search authority over text, many successful dealers are using Car-mercial’s patented VSEO (video search engine optimization) technology to increase Page One visibility on search engines, increase Website traffic and capture conquest customers from their competition.

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Car-mercial.com, “because we deliver targeted videos directly to customers who are actively searching for the car that the video is about.”

Car-mercial’s VSEO helps dealers dominate the search results with positive videos while also removing third-party lead providers and competing dealers from the most important Page One rankings. These videos protect and promote the dealer’s positive reputation so customers looking for a car in their market find videos that educate them about the benefits of doing business with the dealership along with Car-mercial is the pioneer of video search engine attractive offers that drive optimization. They help dealers appear on top of traffic to their Website, phone the search engines by creating, optimizing and and showroom. distributing positive videos that promote their dealership and the vehicles they sell. “We call it ‘targeted TV’,” said AJ LeBlanc, co-owner of Website: www.Car-Mercial.com Phone: (877) 431-5292

Website: www.Tier10Marketing.com Phone: (703) 552-4140


Ret ention

Although there are a number of equity mining products in the market, most are difficult to consistently execute on a monthly basis. This is why many successful dealers are automating their equity mining and marketing processes to help them increase market share and gross profits. DrivingLoyalty.com combines next-generation equity mining with a fully automated loyalty marketing system that identifies ideal prospects (those that can upgrade into a newer vehicle for the same or lower payment), executes targeted Web, e-mail, direct mail and mobile marketing campaigns. The program presents customized offers based on each customer’s unique equity position and credit history. These offers include side-by-side comparisons that highlight the cost-of-ownership savings, safety improvements and warranty advantages associated with upgrading to a newer vehicle for the same payment.

Mar k etin g

P r o g r a ms

“DrivingLoyalty.com automates what our dealerships historically couldn’t or wouldn’t do” said Chris Branchide, director of marketing for Muller Automotive Group. “Our Toyota store has delivered 45 units a month using this program and has done this for 34 months in a row.” In addition to identifying and marketing to in-equity opportunities, DrivingLoyalty.com also performs a number of other services that help their dealers generate consistent results. This includes creating personalized Websites for each of their customers, generating Web banners and links, automatically generating call lists, and automatically notifying

the sales and service teams 90 minutes before an in-equity customer is about to arrive for service. “Loyalty and frequency are the keys to increasing market share and gross profit” said Scott Davis, founder and CEO of DrivingLoyalty.com. “Shortening the trade cycle leads to increased sales and more high-quality, low-mileage trade-ins. That leads to more certified pre-owned vehicles. More certified pre-owned vehicles means more service revenue. More service revenue leads to higher gross profits. Everybody wins!”

Website: www.DrivingLoyalty.com Phone: (877) 553-1112

M obil e

Re te ntio n

App

VANTAGE

According to Nielsen Data, 48 percent of all car buyers now carry a smartphone. To take advantage of this, the most successful marketers are using DealerApp Vantage to help them design their mobile marketing strategies and cultivate this new marketing channel.

Meter Alert, a Car-finder (to help customers find their cars in crowded parking lots), a Gas Savings Navigator (that helps customers find the lowest-priced gas station) and other practical tools that enhance their daily life. Dealers love the app because it gives them a low-cost marketing channel that allows them to deliver service reminders and sales promotions directly to the pockets of their customers. When a customer receives an offer, the dealer’s mobile app gives them a faster and easier way to schedule service, buy parts, and get vehicle quotes, or view dealer inventory and specials. Because the delivery rates and open rates for pop-up messages and text messages are much higher than e-mail, dealers are having a great deal of success with this platform.

DealerApp Vantage has become popular with Longo Toyota (No. 1 Toyota dealer), JM Lexus (No. 1 Lexus dealer), Paragon (No. 1 Honda/ Acura dealer) and other top-performing dealerships because their comprehensive strategy combines sales and service targeting capabilities with beautiful, dealer-branded mobile apps that include a lot of features that customers and dealers DealerApp Vantage creates an exclusive marketing both love. Customers love the app because it environment for every one of its clients. Every app gives them Roadside Assistance, a Parking is customized to fit the dealer’s particular brand and DealerApp Vantage does not allow third-party advertising on their apps, so there will never be competitor pop-up ads. Website: www.DealerAppVantage.com Phone: (877) 531-2777

The Top 10 Companies to Watch in 2013


Call

According to a study of more than two million calls, only 12 percent of incoming calls result in an appointment. This is a huge problem. Yet, with more than 50 percent of incoming calls terminating before the customer is connected with the person they intended to reach, most dealerships are completely blind to the fact that this damaging customer relationships and costing them tens of thousands of dollars every month. Penske, Rick Case, Germain and other profitminded dealerships have turned this challenge into a competitive advantage by using CallRevu to increase the value of their marketing dollars by helping them capture, convert and keep more of the customers that call their dealerships. CallRevu, the pioneer in call monitoring for the automotive industry, gives dealerships a comprehensive opportunity management system that addresses all three of the key areas where profit leaks occur. First, CallRevu increases the number of customers who connect with the dealership by monitoring 100 percent of sales and service calls and sending real-time text alerts to management when a customer has been lost in the system or has been mishandled. This allows dealers to quickly reconnect with customers before the relationship has been damaged. Second, they increase the

number of sales opportunities with accurate contact information by automatically cross-referencing every incomplete customer record against the dealer’s CRM, national cell phone directories and NCOA (National Change of Address) databases. Third, they increase the number of opportunities participating in follow-up activities by loading and properly assigning up to 100 percent of incoming sales calls into the dealership’s CRM. “Before we implemented this strategy, I connected with 45 percent of my incoming calls and generated approximately $266,000 in gross profit,” said Richard Bustillo, General Manager of Rick Case Honda Davie. “Now, I connect with 81 percent of my incoming calls and generate approximately $478,000 in gross profit from the same 3,500 calls — all without spending a single extra dollar in advertising. That is $2.5 million a year that I would have otherwise left on the table.” Website: www.CallRevu.com Phone: (866) 796-0227

R eputati on

More than 90 percent of customers who shop online use search engines to find businesses and determine where they will spend their money. In this competitive environment, businesses with better online reputations not only win more customers but they also capture the lost opportunities from competing businesses who are unintentionally using their advertising dollars to promote negative ratings and reviews. This is why the most successful marketers are using Business Rater to find, sell and keep more customers and take control of their online reputations.

mo n ito r in g

Manag ement

any issues they may have before the customer leaves the dealer. If it is a 5-Stars review, it is immediately syndicated on the dealer’s Website and social networks, and optimized to appear on top of the search engines like Google and Yahoo for many of the most popular search phrases that consumers use to shop for a car. If a customer indicates they did not receive a 5-Star experience, management is alerted to can make things right before it becomes a CSI issue. To prevent fraudulent reviews, BusinessRater.com uses a patent-pending filter process that confirms the validity of every customer review to ensure it is credible before it is published. If a review fails the process it is permanently filtered in the system. Since most customers are happy, this process results in a lot of positive reviews and consumer feedback reflecting a great online reputation.

BusinessRater.com certifies dealers who agree to invite their customers to tell them how they can deliver a 5-Star experience. Certified dealers use POS merchandising that says, “Help us give you 5-Star service and Win a Free Car by filling out a survey that helps us serve you better.” After customers complete the survey and review, management is alerted on their cell phone so they can immediately thank the customer and address Website: www.BusinessRater.com Phone: (619) 800-4692

The Top 10 Companies to Watch in 2013


C u st o m e r

Increasing a dealer’s closing rate is the fastest way to increase gross profits. This is why many of America’s most successful dealers are now using CAR-Research XRM to increase the value of their marketing dollars by capturing, closing and keeping more of the opportunities they generate. CAR-Research XRM reduces the cost and effort associated with managing multiple vendors by giving dealerships a single enterprise solution (and single point-of-contact) for ILM, CRM, Service CRM, BDC, call monitoring, Websites, inventory management, desking, data mining, digital marketing, direct mail and training. Their “singlesolution” architecture increases visibility between departments and gives dealerships the ability to align the efforts of all their profit centers in order to maximize the lifetime value and satisfaction of their customers. Bruce Glascock, owner and general manager of Spring Chrysler Jeep Dodge, sites CAR-Research XRM as one of the biggest factors behind his dealership’s ascent into Chrysler’s national top 10 rankings. “Before we bought this store, it was selling 70 units a month,” said Glascock, “Now we are selling 400 units a month and have sold as many as 700 a month using CAR-Research XRM. It has allowed us to build a culture in our store

Re l atio nship

Man ag e me n t

that centers around serving our customers and is developing our staff to a level our competitors are not able to match.” One of the biggest differentiators for CAR-Research XRM is the way it has integrated its enterprise software with its on-site call center. This marriage significantly reduces missed opportunities by allowing the CAR-Research XRM call center to serve as a backup for the dealership’s internal BDC or Internet department or take over 100 percent of the outbound call activity associated with Internet leads, service opportunities and unsold showroom traffic when needed.

B uyin g

P r o g r am

The Hispanic market is the fastest growing population in the U.S. AutoAmigo is a membership-based Hispanic buying program that leverages America’s largest Hispanic media network to drive no-cost, pre-approved appointments exclusively to participating dealerships. This revolutionary new program is a joint venture between GroupCars, makers of the world’s most dow nloaded automotive mobile app, (CarFactor) and Univision, the nation’s most powerful Hispanic media company. Here’s how AutoAmigo works

The Top 10 Companies to Watch in 2013

Website: www.Car-Research.com Phone: (800) 376-5918

“The third-party follow-up calls to our unsold customers deliver 50 to 60 additional units for us every month,” said Shahin Salehoun, general sales manager for Fred Haas Toyota World (No. 1 Toyota store in the Gulf States Region). “They (the CAR-Research XRM team) have been in our position and know how to connect the dots from the software to the showroom, all the way from F&I to Service.”

H i sp a n i c

Website: www.AutoAmigo.com Phone: (800) 339-0452

In 2012 CAR-Research XRM continued its 18-year tradition of innovation by introducing a new technology that monitors Internet shopping behavior on more than 10,000 automotive Websites and automatically sends alerts when customers inside the dealer’s database exhibit buying behavior online. This innovative technology called CAR-DealFinder gives dealers visibility into the exact makes and models being considered by their customers and allows them to proactively engage and close these customers before competitors know they are shopping.

Step 1: Univision uses its TV, radio and Website network, which reaches 93 percent of the Hispanic market, to promote the AutoAmigo buying program through Don Francisco, one of the most influential personalities in Hispanic media. Step 2: Customers use the AutoAmigo Website and mobile app to research and shop for the car they want.

Step 3: Customers are directed to call a Spanish- language call center where they are welcomed by Don Francisco and connected to an automotive expert who gathers information about their current and desired vehicle gets the customer pre-approved when possible and schedules an appointment with a certified AutoAmigo dealership. Step 4: Customers visit a certified dealership where the dealership’s program manager uses AutoAmigo’s mobile app to scan the manufacturer’s window sticker to provide the customer with the retail price, the average market price and the AutoAmigo price that is set by the dealer. Step 5: The Certified-Dealership delivers the vehicle for a fair, pre-discounted price to a customer who has a high probability of telling their family and friends about this exciting new way to buy a car.


4

Companies to watch in 2013

C u st o m e r

E ngage men t

Being the first to contact a new lead can mean the difference between closing a deal and missing it. InstaQuote helps dealerships engage and close deals by giving them an easy-to-use, cost-effective way to quickly engage customers with accurate, compelling offers. InstaQuote uses its proprietary response engine to quote all leads received from OEM Websites, third-party providers,

D e a l e r s h i p - F r i e n d ly

3 rd

VehicleTests.com is a leading provider of independent, third-party video road tests to auto dealers nationwide. Included in its broadcast quality videos are each model’s actual fuel economy as tested, quarter-mile track test results, and a full review of each vehicle’s key features and benefits along with editorial commentary during actual driving tests. These powerful sales tools are exported to dealers

T e c h n o l o g y Ass i st e d

b uy i ng

Website: www.GetInstaQuote.net Phone: (877) 371-9070

Proprietary multi-point information matching ensures quotes are generated accurately. However, if for any reason a quote cannot be generated, the customer is invited to visit a Website configurator page for more information.

Part y

Co nt e nt

for use on their Website homepages, inventory pages, e-mails to sales leads, and in the showroom for display on iPhones, iPads, desktops and more. These videos are proven to help build the brand, grow visitors’ time on the dealer’s Website, and increase sales conversions among prospects by pre-educating them on the model prior to purchase.

Website: www.VehicleTests.com Phone: (407) 388-4120

Sel l ing

One of today’s growing challenges for dealers is the increasing knowledge gap between customers with extensive information and high expectations, and sales personnel who are often not up to speed with facts about the latest and greatest technology in the vehicles they are selling. IntellaCar is a mobile sales platform built to equip sales consultants with easy to use iPad tools that

Car

inventory pages, and quick quote forms with instant quotes within seconds, and customized e-mails to prospects with printable quotes in two minutes or less.

assists them throughout the sales process by helping them gather customer information, fact find, select and present the right vehicle based on a customer’s needs. Top-performing dealerships like JM Lexus (No. 1 Lexus store) and Rick Case Honda (No. 1 Honda store in Southeast) are using Intellacar to empower their sales teams and create an “Apple Store” experience for their customers.

Website: www.IntellaCar.com Phone: (805) 241-5000

dealers. GroupCars will begin accepting applications from dealerships in June and will begin its national rollout in Q4 of 2013.

Website: www.GroupCars.com Phone: (800) 339-0452

Progra m

GroupCars is the general market version of AutoAmigo (see feature on AutoAmigo). This unique, membership-based buying program works with media companies and affinity groups to send pre-approved appointments exclusively to certified GroupCars

No Compre Solo.

The Top 10 Companies to

Aprovéchese de las ventajas de comprar en grupo para conseguir el mejor Watch inprecio. 2013 DESARROLLADO POR


JimmyVee & TravisMiller

leadership solution

it’s all in a name:

The Curse of the Car Salesman

You know when you enter the store and they’re all standing on point, waiting for the next sucker to walk through the door. They immediately pounce on you, “Welcome to XYZ Furniture! Can I help you find something in particular today?” The obligatory response (say it with me): “JUST LOOKING!” In some stores, they’ve gotten more sophisticated. They let you walk around for a few minutes, and then they pounce. But they’re never welcome. They’re always an interruption. A pest. Come to think of it, this seems a lot like a car dealership…. But something happened this past weekend that really got my gears turning. After visiting several high-end furniture stores in one day and feeling worn out and disillusioned, I walked into one store that did things differently. When I entered, there were no salespeople — only a woman sitting at a desk in the back of the store. I browsed for a few minutes, then approached her (imagine — I approached her). We had a casual conversation. She asked about our style preferences and about our family (we had the kids in tow). She asked about our house. We talked her ear off about our new house and about our struggles with the designer. She then offered a potential solution. “We have a wonderful designer here on staff,” she said. Really? “Sure. He’d be happy to come out to your house, take a look at your rooms and your current furniture, and help you come up with a design plan for your whole house. As long as you’d be willing to consider getting some of the pieces from us.” Howdy Doody! “Great! Where is he?” we asked. “He’ll be in tomorrow. I’ll have him call you when he gets in.” The next day, the wife and I make a beeline

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for the store, loaded with pictures of the rooms and the current furniture and printed blueprints for the house. We eagerly wait for a few minutes to meet the designer. He listens closely to our story of trials and tribulations and battles lost with the previous designer. It’s a truly epic tale. He empathizes. He feels our pain. He relates. He cares. We begin to trust him. He walks us around the store and we discuss various styles. He asks us questions about our tastes. He has us try out various pieces for comfort. He hand traces our blueprint and starts sharing some ideas and parts of his vision. He asks us to give him a couple of days and then he’ll deliver a full plan. At some point during the three hours we spent at the store, it occurred to me that this guy really isn’t all that different from the salespeople at the other stores. Gosh, maybe some of them had some design sense and could have made good recommendations. But they all presented themselves as salespeople. And we rejected them. They never had a chance. But this guy was presented to us as an incredible designer, and we approached him with respect and eagerness, hopeful to find a solution (by the way, we never even mentioned our problem at any other furniture store). We waited patiently for him (something I never do). He listened to us and we listened to him. And in the end, I know for sure we’ll buy a whole house worth of furniture from them. In the end, this “designer” will be the best salesperson of the bunch, without ever acting like one. There’s a big lesson here. This entire idea is the subject of our latest project, which is a new book titled The Last Up (expected to be available early 2013). But let’s explore a few ideas right here, and consider what could be done differently in your sales process. First thought: The title on his business card was “designer,” not “sales associate.” This is a pretty big deal. Further, he was introduced to me as something other than a salesperson, so his reputation preceded him. It completely changed how I received him. What could you call your salespeople other than “Sales (blank)”? And, what could you do to bolster the reputation of your salespeople before their first interaction with a customer? What would happen if your salespeople weren’t standing on the steps waiting for the customer, and instead, the customer had to wait for a minute or two for them? How would that change positioning and the balance of power? Next thought: Both the designer and the manager (whom I had met the night before) spent the bulk of the time focusing on us, not their product. They asked questions and they listened. They acted like they were interested, like they actually cared. How could your salespeople change the conversation they have with customers? How could they begin the relationship like no other salesperson? How could they demonstrate genuine interest? What would happen if they were focused on the customer, not the car? I realize that I’ve presented more questions than answers, but this is an ongoing exploration — one that I hope you’ll participate in and be a part of finding a solution to. Let’s break the “Same Is Lame” sales approach. Request your free copy of our book Invasion Of The Profit Snatchers, go to www.ProfitSnatchersBook.com and use the coupon code ASM1301. Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are founders of The Rich Dealers Institute and the authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers and Invasion of the Profit Snatchers. They can be contacted at 866.867.9618, or by e-mail at jt@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

I would prefer a trip to the dentist over a trip to a furniture store. I loathe furniture shopping. I never seem to find what I have in mind, I’m always frustrated with the selection, and the salespeople annoy the tar out of me.


RickMcLey

marketing solution

rooftop or results?

While there is a lot to be said for buying local, to some people this is merely a catch phrase. Few people really understand the meaning of the term “local.” Local does not necessarily mean just the “mom and pop” store on the corner; it also means stores that do not follow the cookie-cutter model that larger corporations have determined to be successful.

quality customer service usually brings a larger quantity of customers. This “big box” versus “boutique” concept applies to businesses online, as well. Auto dealerships in particular seem to be stuck in the “big box” way of thinking, when the reality is that they need to open an online “boutique” to rise above the competition.

This “big box” philosophy of setting up stores and inventory does create consistency and saves time when it comes to decision making, but it says nothing about the company’s integrity, business or customer service practices. These companies base their success on the numbers of locations and volume of customers they have, not the quality of their customer service and the variation in customer base.

For those who have recently browsed for a new vehicle online, you may or may not have noticed something: Dealership Websites for the same manufacturer look alike. This is because a “big box” company that has a set standard for the manufacturer’s Websites creates most auto dealership Websites. While it is not a requirement for auto dealerships to use these “big box” companies, it creates an easy, convenient way to have a Website.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the “local” or “boutique” type of stores that may have only one or a few locations. Their emphasis is more on the quality of their customer service than merely convenience. While this theory may be old school to some, better

Manufacturers should have some standards set for the way dealerships portray themselves online, but by creating copycat sites, they are missing potential sales. This uniform way of thinking was acceptable a few years ago, when most people still thought the only way to

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buy a vehicle was to drive from dealership to dealership. Today, however, this is just not an effective way to draw traffic. Internetworldstats.com reports that as of June 30, 2012, approximately 274 million of the 348 million people in North America were Internet users. That means that almost 80 percent of the people in North America use the Internet for some purpose, such as researching and shopping for products, including vehicles. Why does the “big box” Website plan not work in this age of Internet dependence? Think about that old cookie tin of buttons your mother or grandmother had. What happened when you shook it? The smaller buttons rose to the top, did they not? Think of “big box” Websites as the large buttons and the “boutique” Websites as the smaller buttons, with the search query as the “shake.” Now, which buttons would you want your dealership to be? Obviously, you want to be the smaller buttons that rise to the top and stand out, and creating a “boutique” Website is the only way to accomplish this.

Rick McLey is the founder and CEO of Interactive 360, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.438.9808, or by e-mail at rmcley@autosuccessonline.com.


March 19, 20 and 21st 2013 “As the Publisher of AutoSuccess, I am invited to, and support many events in our industry. After attending the last Internet Sales 20 Group in Chicago, I was blown away with the information, discussions and knowledge that was packed into one room. It truly was a 20 Group packed with the highly skilled industry leaders who enlightened us with cutting edge information. The next one is scheduled! If you have not signed up, do so now before seats fill up. You can get an incredible discount by using the code below. If you have questions about the event, please contact me personally. My email is sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com�

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DalePollak

marketing solution

how technology and transparency build confidence in every used vehicle deal There’s no question the Internet has changed the used car business. In the not-so-distant past, used vehicle shoppers did their research at dealerships. They visited several stores to find cars that fit their driving needs and preferences, prices to match their budget and salespeople they felt they could trust.

BREAK THE ICE WITH

Today, of course, used vehicle buyers comb the Internet to satisfy this used vehicle transaction trifecta. In a few clicks, they can ascertain available vehicles, get a sense of the “market” for specific cars and check out online reviews and ratings to determine the dealer (or specific salesperson) best suited for their business. By the time many of these buyers visit a dealership, they’re pretty much past the point of kicking tires. They’re looking to close a deal on the car they found online — unless they encounter a reason not to make the purchase. This new retailing dynamic begs two key questions: What are the issues or items an Internetinformed buyer might encounter that could undo what’s largely a done deal? And, what can dealers do to ensure their sales teams don’t turn a prime prospect into a missed opportunity? I believe the answers to both questions lie in the mix of transparency and technology a growing number of dealers apply in their used vehicle sales processes to affirm and validate what their customers have already found online. In essence, these dealers are saying, “If the ‘road to a sale’ starts online, we must make it continue from the showroom to the curb.” Here’s a look at how dealers can blend transparency and technology to meet the three fundamental needs of every used vehicle buyer: Satisfaction with the vehicle. Today’s online buyers land on a used vehicle for a reason, and it’s usually something specific about that car that catches their interest (in addition to price). At some dealerships, the initial rapport-building with customers is focused solely on understanding the factors that led customers to a specific vehicle. With this knowledge, sales teams use mobile and desktop tools to call attention to specific equipment/options, condition, mileage, ownership history, third-party ratings/reviews and other factors that affirm and validate each vehicle’s unique “story” in the context of a buyer’s wants and needs. For some customers, this part of the sales process may be perfunctory, but it’s a primary step that puts the buyer’s preferences – and the car – in the best possible light.

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Satisfaction with the deal. Dealers who proactively price their used vehicles to meet the market find that they don’t need to spend as much time as they used to justifying a unit’s asking price. For them, a presentation of real-time market and third-party comparisons of available cars/prices effectively validates what buyers already know — the unit’s asking price represents a “fair deal” in the context of the broader market. This blend of technology and transparency also helps these dealers “hold gross” when customers ask for discounts. “Our customers know we aren’t playing pricing games, and that’s exactly what we tell customers who want to negotiate our prices,” a Midwest dealer told me. “It’s a rare day when we allow a discount and, if we do, it’s never more than $100 to $200.” Satisfaction with the dealership. Just as they research a vehicle’s pricing online, today’s online used vehicle buyers take similar steps to determine what it’s like to buy a car at your dealership. This makes it absolutely essential for dealers to actively court online reviews and testimonials from customers — and use the positive feedback in your sales presentation and process to make the case why “it’s better to buy here than from another dealership.” I’m told that it’s more powerful to “show rather than tell” this story with customers. “We go right online and show what other customers are saying about us,” the Midwest dealer said. “A lot of times, the customers will say, ‘I know. The reviews are why I came here today.’” In many ways, the Internet has brought a great deal of clarity to the used car business. Online buying behavior tells us what factors matter most to today’s buyers, and it gives every dealer a framework to craft a technology- and transparency-minded sales process that boosts confidence on both sides of the sales desk. Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at dpollak@autosuccessonline.com.

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podcast interviewee

DRIVE


DougFrisbie

marketing solution

dealers on facebook:

As Always, Putting People at the Center

The automotive industry has experienced tremendous upheaval over the last 10 years: bankruptcies, mergers, brands exiting the market, new brands entering the market. Fortunately, it’s roaring back. A lot is improving — from new vehicle sales, to increased dealer profit and employment, to vehicle consumer satisfaction across the board. While the auto industry is undergoing change, one thing has remained the same over time: The car business has always been a people business. Buying a new vehicle is one of the more significant purchase decisions a person will make, and it’s often triggered by real-life events — changing jobs, having a child or moving across the country. It’s also the relationship between customers and their dealers that drive the industry. Those dealers who excel in satisfying people and building strong relationships with customers are almost always the most successful ones.

1. Build Your Facebook Page

Millions of businesses use Facebook every month. If you don’t already have one, create a Page for your business on Facebook. In very little time, you can put up a cover photo and profile picture for your business; you can then fill out relevant information like location and hours. Think of this just as you would the showroom in your dealership. Make sure to create a URL for your Page that is easy to remember and can be put on marketing collateral, receipts, etc. That way, you can get your customers to become fans of your Page. 2. Connect With Customers

On Facebook, this means getting people to like your Page. Since 84 percent of new vehicle buyers use Facebook, that means that most of your customers are already on the platform. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make on Facebook is using contests, giveaways and gimmicks to acquire fans just for the sake of building a high fan count. Part of the misplaced thinking here is that once someone becomes a fan you can then get them to become a customer. Instead of converting fans into customers, focus on converting customers into fans. How to do this? Ask new customers who are feeling good about their purchase to fan your brand from their mobile device. Put your Facebook Page Web address on signage in your dealership. Facebook also recently introduced a new tool called Custom Audiences, which allows you to reach your real-life customers on Facebook via a privacy secure method. By combining Custom Audiences with Facebook ads via Power Editor, you can ask your actual customers to fan your dealership and keep up with the latest news and specials you have to offer.

But, as the car industry has always inherently had people at the center, marketing cars to people hasn’t kept up. The one-way “push” advertising approach that used to work doesn’t apply to the new way people are shopping for cars.

3. Engage With Your Customers

A study by McKinsey entitled “The Customer Decision Journey” shows that people are starting with fewer models on their shopping lists than they used to, and then they are expanding those lists as they encounter information online such ad customer reviews, vehicle comparisons and opinions from friends and colleagues on social networks. At the same time, the old ways to influence car purchase decisions — such as e-mail marketing and direct mail — are declining in performance rates.

And once you start engaging your customers in their news feeds, they have the opportunity to engage back. A study by Dealer.com, GFK and DriverSide showed that among vehicle buyers who used Facebook during the shopping process, 30 percent report posting a comment about a dealership on Facebook, and 77 percent of those comments were positive.

At Facebook, we know each year millions of users ask their friends for car shopping advice. In order for the auto industry to continue to thrive in today’s changing world, it needs to start putting people at the center of its marketing efforts.

When people are engaging with your brand on Facebook, you have the opportunity to influence their friends using sponsored stories. When your fans interact with your Page posts, those Page posts have the ability to be shown in the news feeds of your fans’ friends. Using sponsored stories, you can significantly increase the likelihood of friends of your fans seeing your posts.

How to Make This Shift

Facebook is a platform that more than a billion people use to connect with each other and share the things — be it from people or from businesses — that they care about. In order to understand exactly how social media can play a role in helping car dealers reach their customers, we took a look at successful examples in the auto business and identified four key steps to social media success.

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Engaging means publishing content from your Page and interacting with customers. Once you connect with your actual customers, you have the opportunity to reach them directly in Facebook’s news feed, automatically both on their desktop computers and on their mobile devices. This means that when you have a Page and are engaging with customers on Facebook, you instantly have a mobile marketing strategy.

In order to keep your customers engaged – post regularly – at least one or two times a week. Post compelling content: photos, videos or exclusive specials using Facebook Offers to engage your fans all work well in driving engagement. Castle Chevrolet, for instance, used Facebook Offers to promote a “buy one, get one free” oil change special. For a cost of about $500 they generated $12,000 in oil changes and other maintenance. 4. Influence Friends of Your Fans

Facebook recently conducted a study with Polk that showed that 19 percent of the Facebook audience is in the market for a new or used vehicle in the next six months, so many of the friends of your fans are real prospects, as well. Simply put, sponsored stories are an opportunity for your best customers to recruit your next customers. Word-of-mouth Marketing at Scale

Given all of the changes we’ve seen in the last 10 years in the auto industry, it’s difficult to imagine what the next 10 have in store. One thing we know that won’t change, however, is the importance of people — it’s the way your customers make decisions when it comes to buying a car, choosing a dealer or finding a deal. If you’re in the car business, you know how to put people first. Now you can do it at scale using social media. Doug Frisbie is head of automotive, global vertical marketing, at Facebook. He can be contacted at 866.662.2433, or by e-mail at dfrisbie@autosuccessonline.com.


successful solutions provided by

+ THE

DEALER PANEL

Chris Saraceno Tony Provost Jim Evans Brian Benst ock

Disaster Preparation To say that Hurricane Sandy made a lot of dealers assess or reassess their disaster planning would be an understatement. For our January and February installments of the AutoSuccess and DealerELITE.net Dealer’s Panel, we’ll look at what steps a dealer can take to deal with a natural disaster, both before and after, along with problems on a more manmade scale. For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Jim Evans, owner and president of Evans Motorworks in Dayton, Ohio; Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania and Florida; Brian Benstock, vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Tony Provost, president and dealer principal for Nissan of Bourne in Massachusetts. AutoSuccess: How important is it for all dealers prepare for a natural disaster? Chris Saraceno: It’s very important that you prepare, because a

natural disaster is going to happen almost anywhere you live.

Brian Benstock: It is extremely important. Not only is it important to prepare, but you need to take the time to review your safety nets regularly should a natural disaster happen. What parts of your dealership are at risk? What is the plan should a natural disaster occur? How will you keep business moving forward after the event? Honestly, it should be a primary focus that is reviewed at a minimum every year. Jim Evans: In Ohio, there’s not a lot you can specifically do. When

I was a dealer in Florida, obviously, there were specific hurricane preparations you could make. In Ohio, tornadoes can pop up, so we keep aware if there’s the possibility of them popping up, and then we can take steps relative to inventory, but there’s not a lot you can do in this part of the country.

Tony Provost: The importance for preparation for a natural disaster is

a business decision. We make it on an annual basis, when our renewal for insurance is due. The biggest issue is the deductible per vehicle. Most dealerships have the option to take as much as $10,000 per vehicle in a major loss.

AutoSuccess: What are some ways a dealer can prepare for a natural disaster? Jim Evans: Part of what we do, relative to vehicles, is that we are

constantly making sure customers are picking up their cars on a timely basis, especially if we have advanced notice of bad weather — even if we have to valet them back to their houses — so we don’t have the responsibility for those vehicles on our property. For our own inventory, we will load them into the shop, the detail department and the service area to protect them — starting the higher ticket items. We also download our computer records off site every night, so if there would be an ultimate disaster, we would at least have the records somewhere else. Chris Saraceno: We have an emergency plan that we’ve discussed with all the team member and managers, so everyone knows where to go if it happens while we’re there at the store. If it happens after hours, our

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employees know to call their managers, and we all know where to meet after the disaster and do a head count to know everyone’s safe.

Brian Benstock: The best preparation you can have is protection. At the end of the day, things happen, and ensuring you are properly protecting the dealership’s assets are the most important steps that any dealer can take. Tony Provost: I’d say, for dealer preparation, get a five-year analysis on

insurance premiums with various deductibles. What can your company sustain monetarily in a big loss? Also, try to have offsite storage that can hold up to 200 vehicles. You will never go wrong with a real estate storage investment.

AutoSuccess: What steps would you take after a major destructive event? Jim Evans: We’ve had minor instances of hail damage. So far, all

we’ve had to do is assess the damage and determine if we even want the insurance company involved — in some cases, it’s not worth it to make claims on minor stuff that would affect my experience rates. After a major event, the first concern is for our own people — the human side of it. I’ve been a dealer in south Florida, and after Hurricane Andrew, we had employees we couldn’t get a hold of for three or four days. The human side is always first. After that, we’d look at the inventory and buildings.

Chris Saraceno: Before Sandy, we all knew what our plan was. Depending on how bad the storm was, we all knew what we were going to do and where we were going to meet, if we were going to open or not open, and who was going to come in; even if we’re closed, there are people who come in to check the stores out. Brian Benstock: I believe the first step is to ensure that all your

employees and families are OK. Business is certainly important; however, for many, the family is first. Then, once you evaluate that portion, it is important to look at what parts of the business were impacted by the event, and what parts of the business can continue without interruption. Keep consistency where you can, and fix what was broken immediately and correctly. Do not take shortcuts. You also have to be a leader and a resource for your team. Everyone will expect you to have a plan. With that plan, you must ensure that everyone understands their role.

Tony Provost: Our first step dealing with the business side of things is

to contact my insurance provider, walk him through our plan, ask for his professional advice, and then write down and e-mail him our meeting. The second step is to have a plan with our employees both before and after the disastrous event to make sure we’re all on the same page and everyone knows what to do. Next month, we’ll take a look at the issue of theft and vandalism at a dealership, and how a dealer can best prepare for dealing with insurance.

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


An Easier Way To Get Customers ’ Perspective On Marketing in the Modern World A Dealer’s

W

hy does marketing to get customers seem so difficult and daunting? Why do so many dealers fail in their attempts to drive a consistent flow of traffic? With all the new tools and tricks available in the Internet age, you’d think it would be easier than ever to get customers to come to your dealership. But that’s not the case. Finding the right customers, and enough of them, seems harder than ever. To get the latest on real-time marketing trends, we caught up with Tom Ring, from Brown Daub Kia, part of a dealership group that’s been around since 1936. Brown Daub Kia is well known for having nearly quadrupled sales in the last few years.

’ Brown Daub Kia So what’s doing differently than other dealerships? Our growth has largely been driven by improved marketing. But marketing today is a strange paradox: with all this new technology we’re able to be more connected with our customers than ever, through email, social media, video, chat, etc.—yet we’re also more disconnected from our customers than ever. The trend is for customers to view dealerships as “all the same” and make decisions solely on price. And why not? With all this new technology, communication is faster, but there’s less of a relationship. You can’t build a genuine relationship with a customer through text or email only. Having been in business for decades, we place a lot of value on customer relationships. We truly believe our dealership is the best choice for our customers, regardless of price. So our focus is on giving our customers unique reasons to visit us, face to face, so we have a chance to build a relationship with them and truly help solve their problems. That’s proven to be the best way to attract and convert customers and maximize our gross and net profit. Jimmy Vee & Travis Miller at Gravitational Marketing have helped us develop the marketing strategy that puts a priority on relationships and solutions over prices.

It drives you nuts when it doesn’t work! Nobody likes wasting money, and so many of the marketing “ideas” aren’t much different than gambling. The other frustrating part is when you find something that works once or twice, then it stops working. The start and stop breaks your heart and demotivates your staff. Ultimately, we have worked hard to create a winning strategy that works consistently and improves over time. The secret to that is focusing on something other than low price because it’s always easy for another dealership to out-price you. Instead, with the help of Gravitational Marketing, we talk about the value we provide and the problems we solve.

Why do customers choose Brown Daub Kia when there are so many other options?

In the end, consistency of results is what matters most. Jim and Travis helped us apply Gravitational Marketing to our store and we got results immediately and have continued to see results, consistently, for four years now. They have a complete plan, not just one or two quick fixes. It takes effort, hard work and commitment, but that’s how we knew it was the real deal. There’s really no “easy button” in life. They call their group of dealers “Rich Dealers” for good reason—when traffic increases, money increases, and the business gets better all around. It’s enriching in more ways than one.

Any advice for dealers who just can’ t seem to get any traction in their market? Move! Or hire Gravitational Marketing! Seriously—stop thinking that you have to come across like every other car dealer. Start focusing on what makes you unique, on the true value you offer your customers. I think most dealerships don’t place a high enough value on the service they provide. When you shift your perspective from low price to high value you unlock a lot of new opportunities.

People hire specialists like financial advisors and personal trainers to help them get ahead in life. So we chose to position Can other dealers ourselves as specialists. We specialize in helping duplicate your success? people drive the car of their dreams. When a customer needs an “expert” to help them with a As long as they’re willing to commit to the new or used car, they choose us. Jim and Travis process and apply the effort. I know of are always saying “Same is lame,” which helped about a hundred dealers in the country who use us realize that if we look and act like other a similar approach and have similar results. It’s dealerships, then customers won’t have any not for everybody, but it may be for you. reason to choose us unless we offer the lowest price. So rather than price ourselves out of business we went in the opposite direction and Get in touch with became the first choice for our customers.

You mentioned Jim and ’ the biggest Travis and Gravitational What’s frustration dealers have with Marketing. What makes them any different than other marketing these days? marketing companies?

Gravitational Marketing

at 407-641-0248 or RichDealers.com/tomring to see if you can become a “Rich Dealer.” That’s the advice I give most dealers who ask about our success.


RobertWiesman

marketing solution

build your

brand

Every time you turn around, you see marketing techniques for dealerships to differentiate themselves to the consumer and make their dealership really “stand out.” Why, as salespeople, would we not want to use these techniques to our own personal advantage? You are the dealership. You do the business. You are the business. The business is you. So, why not market yourself like you, yourself, are the dealership? Simple and selfish, maybe — but definitely effective.

These days, consumers are more educated than ever (thank you, Google). They are looking for a fast, efficient and easy way to their product and service provider. They want an expert who is knowledgeable, trustworthy and professional. They won’t stop their search until they feel that they have absorbed enough content to feel like they can make an educated decision with the professional with whom they are the most comfortable with. The objective of personal branding is to turn yourself, literally, into a brand just like any other popular item or service. You want them to feel as comfortable buying a car with you as they do when they are at the supermarket buying their dependable, everyday household items. Think about it: When you find a certain type of toothpaste, laundry detergent, cleaning product or deodorant that works for you, what do you do? As long as that product consistently meets your needs the same way every time, you’ll stick with that brand. What’s even better is that you’ll tell others about that particular brand that has never let you down. And they’ll tell their friends. And their friends will tell their friends. Fortunately, these days, that happens faster than ever due to social media platforms.

So how do you get started? Well, start with you. Sounds simple, but you have to do it right. People want to rely on a real person, not a manmade marketing tool. Just be yourself. Easier for some people than others, but if you have to, just spend some time getting to know yourself and who you really are. Being genuine goes a long way, especially in this business. Next, you need to understand exactly what it is that your brand does. Chances are, your dealership has a “mission statement,” and this is simply your individualized take on that. It defines what makes you different from every other salesperson in your market. What do you have to offer that makes you stand out about the rest? Is it speedy process, free vehicle delivery to the customer’s residence or place of business, 24hour customer help line…? Find out what is most sought after by the customers in your target market and figure out a creative way to offer it.

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866.618.8470

What is the first thing that pops into your head when someone mentions a common, popular brand? Their logo. Is a logo absolutely necessary when developing your own personal brand? No, but I think that they are really a lot of fun, and they definitely set you apart from the rest of the competition. People love and recognize logos. Choosing your logo can be tricky, considering it is what ultimately represents you as a brand and service. It can be something as simple as incorporating your name or initials into something, or as elaborate as the carpet in the Taj Mahal. That all sounds great and pretty easy, right? But here’s where it may get a little bit tricky: consistency. Your mission statement and what you decide to offer has to be done the same way. Every time. Every day. To every prospect. No exceptions. Without fail. For as long as your personal brand is you. If you don’t follow this rule, there is no brand called “you.” You’ll still be outside, chasing fresh ups, just like “every other” salesperson. You also have to be patient; this doesn’t happen overnight. However, if you do execute this rule correctly, you will have an inbox full of prospects, and customers lined up out the door to see you. Keep exercising this rule, and you will become the brand who they (and all of their friends and relatives) depend on. As long as you are as dependable and have the same consistency as that favorite household product, the customer will return again and again and again. In the business, we all know that return customers have the highest closing ratios, pay the most gross, and give the best CSI. Still thinking about taking your chances standing in the huddle, outside in the cold, waiting for the “up bus?” I didn’t think so. Robert Wiesman is an automotive professional at Massey Hyundai, in Hagerstown, MD. He can be contacted at 866.667.0919, or by e-mail at rwiesman@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

While the other salespeople at my dealership were freezing, chasing fresh ups outside on the blacktop, I was warm and cozy, tucked away in my office — glasses-first into my MacBook building my personal brand. It’s not that I don’t enjoy following customers around in the cold at a 20 percent closing ratio; it’s more so that I wanted to focus on customer loyalty and presenting myself to the general public in a manner that would bring them directly to me — without all of the chasing, that is. So why did I choose to build a personal brand? What made me feel that this was the best course of action?


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BrianPasch

marketing solution

is this the year to answer the roi question? For years, dealers have been told that the Return on Investment (ROI) for digital marketing is easier to track compared to traditional media investments, such as radio, TV and print. If so, why are so many dealer principals and GMs still telling me that they don’t understand the ROI of SEO, Google Adwords, display marketing, retargeting, social media or video pre-roll advertising? Of course, there is a subset of dealers who have taken the time and energy to dive into their budgets, Website analytics and CRM systems to calculate the ROI of their marketing investments. However, many dealership executives are still scratching their heads. I know this because dealers continue to make knee-jerk reactions and cancel digital advertising strategies that are really working, in favor of those that they understand better: traditional media 2013 Automotive Marketing ROI Study

So, to finally put this matter to rest, I am going to present the readers of AutoSuccess with a challenge. I will personally guide a group of 50 dealer principals or general mangers in 2013 to setup the framework to document, track and measure the ROI of all their marketing investments. For these dealership executives, I will provide software tools, Webinars, coaching and mentoring to track the ROI of the current investments. I will show the group how to inspect the impact of changes they make to their marketing strategy during 2013. The goal of this study is to give dealership executives the knowledge they need to make better business decisions independently. I will document the success stories from this project in my columns on AutoSuccess during the 2013 calendar year. This will allow AutoSuccess readers to benefit from the knowledge and feedback that I get from dealers who commit to running their dealership with a focus on measuring the ROI of the marketing strategy. Study Requirements – It Is Not For Everyone

Because of the significant investment in time and money that will be given to dealers, AutoSuccess readers who want to participate in the 2013 Automotive Marketing ROI Study must comply with some basic guidelines: 1. Study members must be a dealer principal, managing partner or general manager. 2. Study members will provide one franchise dealership and one Website to submit for the study. 3. Study members must allow access to their monthly marketing vendor reports, advertising budget data and access to Google Analytics for their Website. 4. Study members agree to be interviewed by AutoSuccess during or at the end of the study. 5. Study members will attend a private kickoff workshop at the 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Orlando (February 5-7), along with a special discounted rate for attending. 6. Study members must commit to a one-hour strategy Webinar per month. 7. Study members must commit to one coaching call per month. 8. Study members agree to be part of the coaching process from February through May 2013. The study will guide dealers on how to setup their marketing strategies for better tracking and accountability. Dealers will be provided with online reporting and analytics tools that will give them better insights into their data. It will be an eye-opening experience for all dealers who want to be the master of their data, rather than being buried by their data and vendor reports. Register Today If You Qualify

If you’re ready to get the answers on the ROI of all your marketing investments for 2013, I suggest that you act quickly. This study is limited to 50 dealership executives, and it will fill up fast. To register for the 2013 Automotive Marketing ROI Study, please call Matt O’Such at 732.450.8200 ext. 93. Matt will collect your information and confirm your participation in the study. The live kick-off meeting for study members at DMSC will also include setup and training on software tools to help manage your vendor data during the study.

Brian Pasch, is CEO of PCG Digital Marketing and the founder of the Automotive Internship Program. He can be contacted at 866.849.1560, or by e-mail at bpasch@autosuccessonline.com.

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podcast interviewee

Due to potential client conflicts, I reserve the right to approve dealership participation in the study. I look forward to helping AutoSuccess readers make the most of their marketing investments for the year ahead. This is an exciting project that is long overdue for dealers who want to use data to help guide their marketing decisions to sell more cars at a lower cost.


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MarshBuice

sales & training solution

don’t try, be deliberate

Mary Kay Ash said, “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.” Today, you are standing in the hallway of Life; one hand is pulling the door of yesteryear, the other hand is pushing open your door of tomorrows. This past year, some of us were guilty of sitting on the sidelines watching the game of Life unfold. We warmed up, stretched and prepared, vowing to be ready when the right opportunity presented itself — and we are still waiting today.

Instead of limping into another “New Year,” take the deliberate steps, place your stake and begin to move forward toward your “New Your.”

Whether by will or by force, there were others of us who ran alongside of Life’s speeding train and took the leap. Ignorant of the fears of being crushed between the tracks of trials and wheels of adversity, we envisioned a better future, took the risk to make it happen — and it did. The rest of us, and there are many, kept our heads down, and scratched and clawed from one month to another. As the bombs of burdens were silenced with the murmurings of good wishes and joy; as the monotonous grind was swapped for merry’s and glad tidings, with cautious optimism, we lifted our heads up just in time to see the eclipse of another year, wondering aloud, “Where did the year go? What happened?” Your life’s treadmill is set at 30:12, — 30 days, 12 months — and before you know it, your life is over. Would have, should have, but didn’t. Refuse to stroll casually in life; lace up and walk by choice, not by chance, towards your destiny. You will take more than two million steps this year — just imagine if those steps taken were deliberate.

Obstacles

You’ve arrived on the street named Today as a result of trying. It is noble that you’ve broken away from those unfortunate souls who’ve elected to play it safe; individuals who’ve remained complacent — never bold enough to have tasted success nor licked the flames of crushing defeats. However, you’ve allowed erosion to creep in, permitting yourself to coast, attempting only what is necessary and nothing more. Before plowing, a farmer would place a stake in the ground and point his team of oxen toward the target — careful not to become distracted to that neither behind nor beside him for fear of getting off track and ruining his crop.

Our lives are peppered with sorrowful moments; some of those lost are close to us by relationship while unknown others are relationally close to our hearts. Death is revelation to those of us still living of just how precious life is. The richest place on earth is the cemetery — untapped potential, dreams, cures and ideas are buried with those who elected to watch and wonder, becoming a bystander in their own lives. True achievement stems from continuous Growth, the removal of the Obstacles hindering your progress, the Application of positive principles and Living your life to the fullest — nothing left in reserve. To me, that is true G.O.A.L. setting. “Well done” is better than “well said.”

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Growth

The more you know, the more you will grow. Instead of creating a to-do list for your “New Year,” create a growth plan for your “New Your.” You are surrounded by new opportunities everywhere just waiting to be discovered. Many people become cynics of life because they’ve allowed themselves to arrive with no future destination. You wouldn’t dream of stopping in the middle of a freeway, yet many of us throw our lives into park and just sit while life’s opportunities fly by. Success is uncomfortable — remain uncomfortable with your surroundings. Complacency begins by being comfortable. Napoleon Hill said, “Strength and growth come from continuous effort and struggle.” You’ll never touch what you’re not willing to stretch and reach for. Do you know what is standing in your way? You. You’ve allowed the force of vices and selflimiting beliefs to stand in your way. Just because someone gave up on their dreams is no reason for them to talk you out of yours. You are not a tree; if you don’t like where you are, change it. Les Brown said, “If you can’t bring the people up in your life, don’t let them bring you down.” Who and what you surround yourself with will determine how and why you arrive in your future. “Impossible” is an opinion — what’s yours? Application

Medicine is only effective when applied. Possessing a certain idea or talent will not guarantee success; you must go to work and apply yourself. Whether your knowledge is vast or small, stop waiting on optimal conditions. There is no better time than now — there will never be a perfect time to begin. Change your imperfections to “I’mperfection” by taking action. Fortunes are made in severe economic downturns, and marriages are saved before the final decree; it’s never too late to try again. As long as you are still breathing, you’ve got another chance. Live It

Now that you’ve created a growth strategy, have begun the task of removing those obstacles standing in your way and applied a positive course of action, begin living your future now. There will be days you won’t feel like your life is changing — there will be times you don’t know whether you are 12 inches or 12 miles from achieving a breakthrough — but be assured. If you stop, if you turn back, you’ll never know what you were capable of. If you are going to fail, fail forward.

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

L IKE !

a Look On Z

podcast interviewee

I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.


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imagination at work Dealership Solutions


SeanV.Bradley

leadership solution

do you have any idea how to make money in your internet department or BDC? It is a simple enough question to ask. I am disappointed to have to say that most dealers do not know how to make money in their Internet department or BDC. Some dealers know how to sell cars from their departments, but they don’t know how to build value, which means they cannot make gross on these deals — so they give units away. Even if they are making a little bit of profit, it’s not because of some thought-out strategy, business model or action plan.

than 200 units online. He has zero conventional advertising, and his average cost per sale is less than $100 (NADA says average cost per sale is $600 per car). That is how it should be. You should be able to sell more cars, more profitably, more often with Internet sales. I have built hundreds of Internet sales departments all over the country that are ridiculously profitable. It doesn’t matter what franchise you have or what region of the country you are in. As long as you set up the business model for your Internet department or BDC the right way, you will make money, and lots of it.

If you are reading this article, it means that the world didn’t end. The Mayan calendar had no effect on us. It also means that it is January 2013. 2013. I was selling 110 units online and making gross profits in 1999/2000. If you aren’t crushing it online, it is not because…

it’s higher, then that means you have a problem. You either have a problem with your digital marketing or advertising initiatives, or you have a problem with your people not converting the right way. It might be a training or process issue.

• … of the election. It’s over. • … of the economy. People are buying vehicles, and we are having record months. • … you can’t make money with Internet prospects. Everyone is an “Internet prospect” to some degree. More than 90 percent of people go online before they ever step foot in your dealership. If you can make gross on the showroom floor, you have no excuse not to hold gross with Internet or BDC customers. • … you don’t have the right manager. If you actually don’t have the right managers, find them. • … you don’t have the budget. Make changes with your antiquated marketing and advertising strategy. • … you don’t know how or where to even start. Join an Internet Sales 20 Group or hire a consultant — do not settle for mediocrity. I have a friend who is the dealer principal of a domestic dealership in Chicago. He sells more

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Here are some things that you need to make sure you are doing and tracking; if you’re not, you’re probably not making money in your department, or as much money as you should be. 1. Make sure your average cost per sale with your Internet customers is $200 or less per car. If

2. Make sure that your gestation period is around 20 days, meaning that the average Internet

prospect is a 45 to 90 opportunity, but most dealerships’ “average selling ratio” is only seven to 11 days.

Here is how you can check your status. Take your last month’s Internet sales (let’s say you sold 50 “Internet deals”), then add three additional variables to track: the date the lead came in on, the date the lead closed and the “window period.” Now, go and track that for all 50 Internet sales from last month. Now, I want you to add all 50 Internet sales’ window period, then divide that number by 50. This will give you the “average window period” or “the gestation period.” You want to make sure you are not just selling to the “low hanging fruit.” Think about it: If the average buying cycle for Internet prospects is 45 to 90 days, then why is your average selling ratio to Internet prospects only seven to 11 days? Exactly!

3. Make sure that you are attempting to contact prospects during prime time, which is between

6 and 8 p.m. I am shocked that dealers all over the country close at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. This is like making it to the Super Bowl and saying “no, thank you,” or making it to the Super Bowl halftime and saying “Thanks, we have had enough; we’ll try to see you next year!” This just doesn’t make any sense. Think about it: What do you expect if you keep calling someone’s home number during work hours and they are at work? Exactly — you will not reach them. Now, does it matter if you are calling them for 30 straight days, numerous times a day? No, it won’t. Please remember, its not just about working hard. It is also about working smart.

I can seriously go on and on about this subject, but at the end of the day, it’s about making money. If you are not making money in your Internet department or BDC, or if you have no clue if you are really making money or not, e-mail me or call me ASAP.

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 sbradley@autosuccessonline.com.

On


It’s the Oscars of the Auto Industry Each year, the industry’s most influential leaders gather in Miami for the Annual Automotive Leadership Roundtable (ALR) & Awards Dinner. The Roundtable brings together the best and brightest minds in automotive to share best practices and recognize the No. 1 performing dealers from each franchise. Last year’s event was a dynamic 24-hour period that kicked-off with a six-star dinner concert and reception at Miami’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens with performances by the legendary Tony Bennett and Alejandro Sanz, the most Grammy Award-winning Spanish artist in history. The following day guests engaged in a high-level Executive Roundtable where the No. 1 Dealers in the world and the industry’s top thought-leaders shared best practices, followed by a second sixstar Awards Dinner at the Versace Mansion honoring the No. 1 selling dealers from each brand and Dave Power, the founder of J.D. Power and Associates, recipient of the 2012 Automotive Leadership Legacy Award. The evening was hosted by NADA Chairman Bill Underriner, Owner of Underriner Motors. The celebrated top-selling Dealers for 2012 stayed at the iconic Versace Mansion in Miami Beach while other ALR guests enjoyed accommodations at the famed Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel, also in Miami Beach. Guests were transported to the opening event at Miami’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for a private dinner concert with Tony Bennett and friends hosted by Giselle Blondet, the host of Univision’s “Nuestra Belleza Latina” program, the Hispanic version of American Idol. The gala was sponsored by the Rosewood Mayakoba Resorts, one of the most exclusive luxury destinations in the Mexican Riviera, and Mollydooker Wines, one of the world’s most decorated vintners and makers of Velvet Glove (99 point award-winning wine) and The Boxer, the No. 1 rated Shiraz by Consumer Reports. Tony Bennett has become a favorite of the ALR. For its New York Fall Series event in 2011, ALR participated in Tony’s 85th birthday party concert, hosted by former President Bill Clinton and attended by celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric, Regis Philbin and Richard Gere. The festivities included a dinner concert with Elton John.


No. 1 Dealers Share How They Became no. 1 The Roundtable, which was held in Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel’s famed Pompeii Ballroom, one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite venues, featured several speakers including the top-selling dealers from several brands: Garth Blumenthal, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, the No. 1 selling Mercedes dealer; Brett David, Prestige Imports, the No. 1 selling Audi dealer; Jim Dunn, JM Lexus, the No. 1 selling Lexus dealer; Brian Benstock, Paragon Honda & Acura, the top certified pre-owned dealer in the country and Honda and Acura’s top new and used combined dealership.

Jim Dunn, JM Lexus, No. 1 Lexus Dealer, presented at ALR Miami 2012

Other speakers included Doug Frisbie, the Global Head of Automotive for Facebook, Google’s Kim Stonehouse, Scott Painter, CEO of TrueCar, Cesar Conde, President of Univision Networks, Sarah Marquis, Co-founder and CEO of Mollydooker Wines and Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Dame football player who provided the inspiration for the movie Rudy. The Roundtable also heard from leading dealers including Bill Underriner, the Chairman of NADA and Owner of Underriner Motors; JJ Jackintalle, President and COO of the Rick Case Automotive Group; Richard Bustillo, who runs Rick Case Honda Davie, the brand’s most profitable dealership since 2007; and Bob Murray, head of marketing for the Asbury Automotive Group.

Hagen Durant, Classic Chevrolet, No. 1 Chevy Dealer, presented at ALR 2011 seated with Grant Cardone

“I’ve been to a lot of different events like this, and I don’t think there has been an event that has kept me as engaged as the ALR did. I was glued to my seat and took close to 25 pages of notes,” said Underriner, who is the long-time Owner of Underriner Motors, a four-franchise dealership in Billings, MT. “The Automotive Leadership Roundtable is one of the best industry events I’ve ever attended.” “It was a pleasure to hear from guys that compete with each other sharing ways we can all improve. There are a number of things I’m taking away that will help us immediately, as well as into the future,” said Joe Wilkins, COO, Pohanka Automotive Group, one of the top dealer groups in the country. Doug Frisbie gave an eye-opening presentation on how much customers are using Facebook in their research for a new vehicle. At least 88 percent of new vehicle buyers are on Facebook with almost 30 percent using it to research vehicles and dealerships – and that number continues to climb. He also provided examples of how dealers are leveraging the platform to sell and service more cars while reducing their costs to attract customers.

David Boice; Garth Blumenthal, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, No.1 Mercedes Dealer; Brian Benstock, Paragon Honda Acura, No.1 Honda & Acura combined new and used; Sean Wolfington

Courtyard at the Versace Mansion, one of Miami’s most iconic venues


Tony Bennett with No. 1 Dealers and VIPs including Doug Frisbie, Facebook; Hugh & Judy Hathcock; Carolyn & Phil Delzatto, No.1 Nissan Dealer; NADA Chairman Bill Underriner & wife Mary; David & Joan Power, founder, J.D. Power; Kate Balingit, Google; Bob Murray, Asbury Automotive; Grant Cardone; Mark Hersh, No. 1Infiniti Dealer; Ken & Debbie Smith, No.1 Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealer; Brian Benstock, No. 1 Honda Acura combined Dealer; Brett David, No.1 Audi Dealer

Jack Randall, Univision, with Peter Marlow & Syvetril Perryman, J.D. Power and Associates

Jordan Starcher with Garth Blumenthal, Fletcher Jones MotorCars, No.1 Mercedes Dealer and presenter at ALR Miami 2012

David Boice, Team Velocity; Ron Morrison, Tier 10 Marketing, with Bob Murray, head of operational marketing, Asbury Automotive Group (sitting) who presented at Miami ALR 2012

ALR Host NADA Chairman Bill Underriner with wife Mary on the Red Carpet


“It’s one of the best I’ve ever been part of, having attended many industry events,” said Frisbie. “I was impressed by the diversity of attendees and speakers. There was a multitude of perspectives.”

Ana & Sean Wolfington with Joan & Dave Power, the 2012 Automotive Leadership Legacy Award recipient

Kim Stonehouse shared how innovative dealers are using Google and social media to stay ahead of their competition. Video walk-arounds of the vehicle are becoming popular with consumers as are Google hangouts and Google circles. Scott Painter talked about how technology is creating more informed customers and how dealers can sell to them without losing profitability. Cesar Conde provided attendees a glimpse into how important the often-ignored Latino market is to automotive. One example he provided was how the nation’s top Kia dealer, Fuccillo Kia in Cape Coral, FL, leveraged the Latino market to vault to No. 1 in less than a year.

Bill Clinton with Tony Bennett and wife Susan at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable Fall Series in New York

Brian Benstock, Paragon Honda & Acura, the country’s top certified dealer and the No. 1 Honda & Acura new and used combined dealer

Conde also announced a partnership with AutoAmigo to launch the first U.S. Spanish Auto Buying Program, that will launch in 2013. Certified AutoAmigo dealers get exclusive access to appointments generated by Univision’s new program. The program targets the Hispanic market in the U.S., which at more than 50 million people, is the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. A pilot is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013 with a full launch slated for the second half of the year. Rick Case’s Richard Bustillo attended ALR in Miami 2011 and returned this year as a speaker. “I was blown away last year by what I heard from the other dealers, vendors and speakers to the point that I changed my entire business model and plans I had for the dealership last year,” he told attendees during his presentation. After implementing one of the strategies I learned, we increased our average monthly repair orders from 3,000 to 4,100.” Rick Case Honda also became the top-selling Honda dealer in the U.S. in June using what Bustillo picked up at ALR.

Mayakoba Resort in the evening to which ALR attendees received two complimentary nights

Jim Dunn, a 40-year veteran of the industry (JM Lexus, No. 1 Lexus Dealer), like Bustillo, has attended multiple ALR events, said it is an event he would recommend everyone attend. “I was just blown away hearing all of the inspirational stories today,” he said. “And you get all of this information to take back to the dealership from successful people in our business. From the people you meet, to the events – everything is over the top.”

NADA Chairman Bill Underriner (2nd from left) with wife Mary, Scott Painter, CEO TrueCar, Dave Power, Founder, J.D. Power and Associates


Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto, presented at ALR Miami 2011

Mark Hersh, Pepe Infiniti, No.1 Infiniti Dealership

Sarah Marquis, CEO, Mollydooker Wines, one of the world’s top winemakers

Tony Bennett performing at the Vizcaya Museum during the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

Richard Bustillo, Rick Case Honda, presenting at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

Debbie & Ken Smith, No.1 Ram Dealer, No.1 Chrysler Dodge Jeep combined Dealer, at the Versace Mansion

Automotive Leadership Roundtable Awards Dinner by the pool at the Versace Mansion

Cesar Conde, President of Univision Networks, presenting at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

Rudy Reuttiger, of Notre Dame’s Rudy fame


Brett David, Prestige Imports, No. 1 Audi Dealer

Doug Frisbie, Head of Automotive for Facebook, presenting at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

David Boice, Team Velocity; Sean Wolfington, ALR; Kim Stonehouse, Google; Kate Balingit, Google; Cliff Banks, ALR

Top dealers received a bottle of Mollydooker’s award winning Velvet Glove wine

Grant Cardone, a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world’s leading sales experts, called the Automotive Leadership Roundtable & Awards event, “The Oscars of the Auto Industry.” He has spoken at multiple ALR events including the latest one in Miami. In typical Cardone fashion, he urged attendees to stay positive but also to focus on their employees with training and motivation.

Kim Stonehouse, Google, presenting at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

DealerApp Vantage; CallRevu and Social Dealer. Some of the sponsors were given the opportunity to share their innovative strategies and technologies in five-minute presentations as part of ALR’s Product Showcase. Dinner at the Versace Mansion

“The energy here has just been phenomenal,” said Cliff Banks, ALR’s Director. “Our focus at ALR isn’t just about helping dealers sell more cars and make more money. Now that’s important, but we want to help dealers and leaders in the industry impact their businesses, their communities and their families in positive ways. The last two days show that our sponsors, our speakers and the attendees have the same mindset.”

Following the Roundtable on Tuesday, ALR guests were transported by luxury busses to the infamous Versace Mansion. The dinner, hosted by NADA Bill Underriner, provided the perfect ending to the Annual ALR Awards event. Attendees were serenaded by Miami’s top Cuban band and were treated to a concert by Tiffany Alvord, an 18 year-old singing sensation who recently cut an album in Nashville after getting 160 million hits on YouTube.

Event sponsors included Univision; the Rosewood Mayakoba Resorts, one of the most exclusive luxury destinations in the Mexican Riviera; Mollydooker Wines, one of the world’s most decorated winemakers; ELead1; TrueCar; Team Velocity Marketing; Tier10 Marketing; BusinessRater; GroupCars; Driving Loyalty;

A celebratory toast presented by Underriner and Sarah Marquis recognized Dave Power, the founder of J.D. Power and Associates as the recipient of the 2012 Automotive Leadership Legacy Award along with the number one selling dealers from each brand.


Top dealers also were treated to a private tasting of Remy Martin’s Louis XIII cognac presented by Brand Ambassador Matthieu Levy.

Robert De Niro & Regis Philbin in NY celebrating Tony Bennett’s 85th birthday with the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

Ralph Paglia, founder of Automotive Digital Marketing, with Doug Frisbie, head of automotive for Facebook

“It’s a great opportunity in a casual setting to get to sit down with folks to hear what’s really going on,” said Scott Painter of TrueCar, one of the event’s sponsors. “I was impressed at how dedicated everyone was to giving it the time to have the serious conversations. No one was rushed or spending time on the phones.” Jack Randall, head of automotive for Univision, said he appreciated the intimate nature of the event. “I got to meet people and really get to know them and learn what makes them tick,” he said. “The ability to connect with people is what the ALR is about — sharing ideas, best practices, learning from each other and getting to know people in a setting that is inviting. It’s an inspiring and uplifting event where people can pull what they need to from a business aspect, but also pull from personal motivation in terms of what they’re doing in giving back to the community.” For Underriner, seeing that interaction was critical. “I think the most important part was hearing and seeing ways we can treat our guests and employees with the utmost respect,” he said.

Platinum Sponsors Hugh & Judy Hathcock, ELEAD One, at the Versace Mansion for the Automotive Leadership Roundtable Awards Dinner

All event attendees received a complimentary vacation at the luxurious Rosewood Mayakoba Resorts in Mexico, known world-wide for its lavish villas that include private pools, electric boats and extraordinary amenities. Its lush mangroves, free-flowing waterways, and sparkling beaches offer a stunning eco-diversity. Guests also received a gift bag in their rooms that included a bottle of wine courtesy of Mollydooker Wines. The number one car dealers received a bottle of Mollydooker’s Velvet Glove, a 99 point award-winning wine, along with signed footballs by Rudy of Notre Dame fame.

The entrance to the Vizcaya Museum where Tony Bennett performed for the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

Due to limited capacity of exclusive venues, space is limited for all ALR events. Thus, ALR events are by invitation only. However, most ALR events have wait lists for invitation requests in the event invited guests are unable to attend. For more information, visit: www.AutomotiveLeadershipRoundtable.org.

Phil & Carolyn Delzatto, Garden City Nissan, No. 1 Nissan Dealer


AJLeBlanc

marketing solution

VIDEO AND MARKETING STRATEGY

This month, I am interviewing Tommy Russell, GSM at Hudson Nissan, located in the Charleston, South Carolina market area, which comprises a population of just under 700,000 people.

AJ LeBlanc: Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy and philosophy? Tommy Russell: We try to get across to our customers how great of

an experience they will have by shopping here at Hudson Nissan. We pride ourselves on the truly exceptional customer service we provide. We build value in the dealership and in ourselves by setting the expectations of our customers from the very beginning by telling them about the experience and why other customers enjoy it so much. We don’t play games with our customers. We have a huge online presence and maintain a response time of less than 10 minutes on more than 800 leads a month. We understand customers have dozens of options when shopping for a vehicle, and we want to stand out from the competition by giving them all the information necessary in a timely fashion to make a wellinformed decision. We have a 12-person BDC department that has one unified vision: Provide truly exceptional customer service 100 percent of the time.

AJ: What type of marketing efforts do you implement in the stores on a consistent monthly basis? TR: We have a large SEM spend on Google, Yahoo and Bing. We also get SEO support from other

vendors for our market and the two other biggest markets closest to Charleston. We use a Video SEO platform provider to make sure our videos show up in relative keyword searches for Nissan and for our two biggest competitors — Toyota and Honda. We also use pre-roll video, which gets thousands of views each a month and helps generate hundreds of Website visitors a month. We also post our vehicles in several markets linked to relative landing pages on our Website. We have continued to grow our online advertising and marketing budgets with one goal in mind: Increase Website traffic. We understand once we get customers to our site, our aggressive prices, quick response times, detailed descriptions, customer pictures and testimonials (Google and Video testimonials) all provide us with a competitive edge against our competition.

AJ: Why is it important for a dealership to have Video SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy? TR: More than 50 percent of consumers will view a video before reading text on the same search

engine page. Video increases engagement more than text on the same page.

AJ: Can you explain what Video SEO does for your dealership? TR: Good video drives better quality traffic to our Website while leading to increased page views,

increased time on site, a lower bounce rate, and ultimately better quality leads.

AJ: How has a Video SEO strategy impacted your Websites’ visibility on search engines? TR: It’s had a huge impact on when and where we show up on search engines. Based on Google’s

placement, our videos show up in the second or third spot on a search page. This placement not only increases our exposure but also pushes other dealers’ ads off the first page. This helps us dominate SEO in our market.

AJ: How do you measure the effectiveness of your Video SEO strategy? TR: We have consistent monthly phone conferences with our Video SEO provider to recap the

previous month’s performance. The reporting is based on exposure in relative keyword searches, placement and video views. We also get a monthly binder e-mailed and physically mailed to us by our Video SEO provider with screenshots that represent hundreds of keywords that returned first-page listings for us.

sales have increased more than 15 percent.

AJ LeBlanc is the co-founder of Car-Mercial.com. He can be contacted at 866.795.9094, or by e-mail at aleblanc@autosuccessonline.com.

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podcast interviewee

AJ: Lastly, when did your dealerships implement a Video SEO strategy and what is the average increase your group’s stores have seen in sales/market share since implementing this strategy into your overall marketing plan? TR: We implemented our Video SEO strategy in April of 2012. Since this implementation, our


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Stop by and experience docuPAD live at NADA, booth #1084. Learn more by scanning the QR code, visiting http://rey.re/docupad1, or calling 866.424.0548. © 2012 The Reynolds and Reynolds Company. All rights reserved. 1006329 12/12 docuPAD is protected by patents 8,194,045 and 8,228,299, with other patents pending.


KevinMcMillen

leadership solution

are you running last

decade’s software?

Recently, thousands of dealerships were surveyed and scanned regarding their use of basic PC office software and technology. In a survey done by Microsoft Cloud Services, information was collected on how many PCs/ laptops were at a dealership and what operating system and software was installed. In addition, dealers were surveyed on the number of unique e-mail addresses and how those addresses are being utilized. The results aren’t pretty. This will give you the opportunity to see where your dealership fits in. Dealerships, on average, have 80 PCs with 100 e-mail addresses, along with a variety of other devices (cell phones, tablets, etc.). The software on the PCs had, for the most part, been neglected. Operating System (OS): • The majority of the stores had more than

90 percent of the Windows PCs running Windows XP. Unfortunately, XP is more than 12 years old. Microsoft stopped selling and licensing Windows XP in 2008. For now, Microsoft offers some limited support; next year, however, all support for Windows XP — including security and updates — will be terminated. Oh, and of the Windows XP PCs, more than half were running “Home Edition” versions of the operating system, which is less secure and is not legitimate for use in a business setting.

Software: • More than 70 percent of dealerships that had

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.) installed on the desktop PCs were running Office 2003. A quick glance at a calendar will tell that’s now 10 years old — Not to mention that almost half of those were unlicensed versions of Office.

Anti-Virus: • Anti-virus software was generally ineffective

or surprisingly overlooked, as nearly every dealership PC scanned had a virus, multiple spyware programs and toolbars.

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E-mail: • Many of the dealership personnel are using Gmail as their professional e-mail addresses when

communicating with customers — essentially forwarding their business e-mail to a Gmail address and communicating with customers with a non-branded address (i.e. salesguy@Gmail. com). Gmail is free for individuals, easy to use and pretty compatible with all devices. But, if your staff is using a Gmail address to represent your store, the employee owns the data in the e-mails. Your store is disconnected from all communication and, when the employee leaves your store, they retain the relationship with your customer.

This begged the question, “Why do dealers have these issues?” Why would dealers let such an important business tool become outdated? Two words: cost and convenience. Let’s take a look at costs: To go out and purchase the software required for each PC to be updated, current and licensed, we’re talking more than $30,000. Quite an amount, until you realize how important it is for your business to have current, competent and functioning tools. This would provide you with today’s most secure and fastest version of Windows ever, the most current suite of Office software, and current and competent virus protection. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fix your e-mail. Letting a search engine/ad company run your business e-mail is not best for your business. Moreover, there are discussions out right now about the liability on the dealer when customer information is shared in personal e-mail. To fix this problem, you need to implement a viable corporate solution that is easy to use, inexpensive and compliant with privacy laws. As for convenience, as you can imagine, updating all those computers is not a simple task. Someone then needs to monitor software updates and purchase and install updates as necessary. This is easily overlooked and why dealerships are currently so outdated. Fortunately, there’s a better solution that can provide all this and more. Microsoft now offers “software as a service” (SAAS). Rather than buy the software and have to update it, the software is now available as a subscription. Costs: Rather than spending more than $30,000, a dealership could have all this and more for around $1,000 a month. Convenience: All software is constantly and automatically updated. This would bring all computers up to Windows 7 or 8, and would include a full anti-virus, antimalware and Windows update solution. When Windows 9 comes out, it would automatically be available at no extra charge. You could update the computers to Office 365, which includes Office 2013 and Microsoft Exchange in the cloud. With Exchange, the dealer owns the e-mail and data, and can add or disable a remote device anytime. Also, Exchange works on all devices and allows staff to sync e-mails and calendars. What’s more, you’d get dedicated staff to handle every I.T. need and manage your store from the cloud. Passwords can be reset, printers added and software installed at no charge. SAAS is being embraced by large businesses — Toyota just updated its 200,000+ worldwide employees to this. Outdated software means that you’re not getting the most from computers. Slow, virus-laden PCs zap everyone’s productivity. Update your operating system — XP is going away. Update your software — Office is now 2013, and anything less is an old program with fewer features and security. Keep your virus protection current and complete. And, finally, own your e-mails. Consider SAAS for controlling cost and maximizing convenience. Hey, certain items in you dealership can be left unattended to, but software isn’t one of them. SAAS allows you to mind your business knowing that the technology running it is always up to date.

Kevin McMillen is the CEO and founder of MS Cloud Services. He can be contacted at 866.393.3919, or by e-mail at kmcmillen@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

Running a dealership is a complex business and requires computers to manage operations. Sure, there’s a DMS to handle inventory, accounting and OEM requirements, but we’re talking about the day-to-day business that requires multiple devices and PCs, with licensed operating systems and office software. Unfortunately, most dealerships aren’t keeping their PCs current, licensed and legal.


ScottJoseph

leadership solution

how to plan an effective and sustainable growth strategy for 2013 If you’re still working on your growth strategy for 2013 — or if you’re continuously looking for ways to improve it — here are a few things to consider. In order to achieve the end result you’re seeking, you must stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that increasing your showroom traffic and boosting your closing ratio with Internet leads are not end results. They’re examples of goals you will achieve when you accomplish something much greater. So, when planning your dealership’s strategy for growth, start with the big stuff. The reality is, there are only three ways to grow your dealership — or any business, for that matter. Begin with those: 1. Increase your number of active customers 2. Increase your average profit per transaction 3. Increase your customers’ repurchase frequency More Customers

When going after more customers, dealerships often make the mistake of spending the lion’s share of their resources on new customers — without realizing that their best conquest opportunities are their previous customers. By working to improve retention, you improve your chance of future purchases to replace a customer’s current vehicle. But you also have the chance to increase driveway share when that same customer goes to buy a second or third vehicle for their spouse or child. And,

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because you already have a relationship established with previous customers, you’ll be able to close a higher percentage of deals with less negotiation. More Profit Per Transaction

Improving customer retention doesn���t just increase the number of your active customers; it also increases your average profit per transaction. How is that? It’s a proven fact that previous customers are willing to pay more and negotiate less. So when you retain more customers, you attain more profits. More Frequent Sales

Not only do you want more customers, you want those customers purchasing more often. One way to accomplish that is to increase driveway share, which was addressed above. But just as important is to get customers to buy from you sooner than they normally would, because over the course of a year, that adds up to a significant difference in units sold. Don’t overlook the service drive, though. You’ll want a strategy to drive customers there, too. Not only for the service revenue, but because an active service customer is much more likely to buy a car from a dealership than a non-active one. Consultants Versus Vendors

As you decide where to focus your resources in 2013 for an effective and sustainable growth strategy, there are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing which vendors to partner with and which products to incorporate. Actually, these are questions you should ask whenever you’re considering a new vendor — or reconsidering an existing partnership. • Which vendors best align with your growth strategy? • Which vendors offer solutions that will work with your systems and staff to achieve your goals? • Which vendors approach your business as true partners — acting as consultants instead of simply providers of products? Ideally, you’ve developed an aggressive and highly integrated growth strategy that incorporates proven solutions with vendors who serve as consultants, working with you under a sustainable plan that spans the entire year and effectively grows your dealership. If, after reading this article, you have any questions about developing a sustainable growth strategy for your dealership, please contact me for a free consultation. Scott Joseph is the president of J&L Marketing, Inc. He can be contacted at 888.835.1689, or by e-mail at sjoseph@autosuccessonline.com.


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DennisMcGinn

leadership solution

does your 2013 business plan include used car turns or lowering average reconditioning expense? 2011 and 2012 were breakthrough years for dealers installing real-time reconditioning workflow advances. Similar technology has been successfully implemented in the manufacturing sector, including automotive, to simultaneously reduce cost and improve quality and flexibility, while also increasing volume. Automated workflow management in reconditioning includes the integration of smartphones and tablets with real-time used car manager repair expense controls. It provides a state-of-the-art tool to identify and resolve inefficiencies while creating a culture of accountability.   Until now, the answer to improving recon has always been human-driven, with more meetings, new team leaders, new procedures and a time-consuming manual-entry spreadsheet. After two or three months, users revert to ignoring spreadsheet updates and asserting accountability in favor of getting the actual work done.    This old-school rationale that recon can be

efficiently managed with homegrown solutions no longer makes economic or business sense at any volume. With more than 180,000 cars processed in 24 months validating real-time recon workflow technology, this new technology is no longer an exclusive club for early adopters.   Systems can now be created using an individual dealership’s DMS inventory updates in only a few hours. These systems can be designed to work for groups of multiple stores with or without shared recon services, such as body, PDR or detail. In addition, vendors can participate on a controlled basis and their performance can be measured.   Established benefits include: • Transparency and Accountability — Fixed ops, body, parts, detail and marketing departments can defend, justify and improve their individual real-time performance to the GM, GSM and, most importantly, the used car sales manager. • More Selling Days — Mobile functionality has taken the used car manager’s approval or disapproval of repairs from 12 hours to 1.5 hours, increasing selling time and reducing parts and labor expense. • Lower Reconditioning Costs — The used car manager’s immediate response to the list of possible repairs limits unnecessary repairs or makes possible a timely decision to wholesale. • Accelerate Monthly Profits – Eliminating 2.5 days of recon time adds another inventory turn. For example: Dropping from eight days average to 5.5 days for 100 cars per month is an increase of 100 sales per year, or eight per month. At $1,750 per car, you add $14,000 in new gross profit each month for about five dollars per car, or an ROI of 28:1.

20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Average Days in Reconditioning

HIGHEST

STARTING

AFTER

BEST*

Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by e-mail at dmcginn@autosuccessonline.com.

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podcast interviewee

Highest Starting = 18 Days for single store volumes up to 400 cars/ month Average Starting = 9.5 Days After five to six months = 5.5 Days *Best (@ 201 cars/month) = 2.7 days   If you want to see for yourself how this technology is achieving breakthrough results in dealerships, please let me know so we can schedule an online session (Please note that this technology will not be available at NADA in Orlando).


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GeorgeNenni

leadership solution

dealers, managers...

you must immerse One of the biggest challenges facing dealerships today is the rapid pace of technological innovation. Just when a dealer or manager obtains a grasp on where digital marketing technology is, new developments emerge in the market. For many dealers, this results in either indecisiveness or uninformed decisionmaking. Progressive dealers attend training at conferences, read articles and try to ensure that, as “the next big thing” develops, they take part in the discussion.

you must approach “eating an elephant one bite at a time” definitely comes into play when gaining an understanding of technology.

My new book, Unfair Advantage, is co-authored with some of the most respected names in automotive retail. Brian Pasch, in his gripping introduction titled “The Fear Stops Here,” outlines the challenges of keeping up with digital marketing technology and assures the reader that the book will help them remain more educated and informed. He advises dealers to “take one step at a time,” and embrace the change. Brian is right. The old adage that

Dealers and dealership managers should resist the urge to outsource this process to IT, or those who already understand the technology. By outsourcing this, you miss out on the true confidence to make informed decisions and the experience of learning something new. In addition, if that person leaves the dealership, your knowledge goes with them. New technology is not tough necessarily, but it takes a commitment.

goes far beyond reading, “Knowledge attending conferences and listening

to informed consultants. You could attend a dozen seminars about Twitter, and still not understand how it can help a dealership. In order to truly understand, you must immerse.

Knowledge goes far beyond reading, attending conferences and listening to informed consultants. You could attend a dozen seminars about Twitter, and still not understand how it can help a dealership. In order to truly understand, you must immerse. Immersing means saying goodbye to any fear of the unknown and diving right in. In order to understand technology, you must experience it. You must sign up for — and use — Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Facebook, recognizing that it may not be easy. There will be periods of confusion, misunderstanding and frustration. Over time, however, immersion leads to osmosis. Without even realizing, you will begin to “get it.”

So what exactly do I mean by “immersing”? First it means stop saying, “I don’t Tweet,” “Foursquare is a waste of time” and “I’ve got better things to do than be on Facebook.” Go online, sign up for these services, and begin experiencing them. Don’t be worried if everything seems confusing at first. On Twitter, for instance, you can start out by simply setting up an account, picking 20 of your favorite automotive industry folks (or others), and commit yourself to following them daily. I guarantee that it will only take about 10 to 15 minutes per day. At the same time you’re learning about Twitter, you will be reading the latest developments in the automotive industry and following automotive trends. Over time, the “hash tags” and “@” symbols will begin to make sense. It is only by immersion that you can understand the latest technologies your customers are using, and communicate accordingly. This also sets a great example for the rest of the dealership personnel. If you are asking them to embrace technology, then their boss needs to do the same. Lead by example. Brian was right: The fear needs to stop here, and it needs to start with embracing and immersing yourself in technology before you’re left behind.

George Nenni is the vice president of operations for Dominion Dealer Solutions. He can be contacted at 866.382.8622, or by e-mail at gnenni@autosuccessonline.com.

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PaulAccinno

sales & training solution

plan your work and Part 1

work your plan Following the Plan

What I have found is most dealerships are pretty good at getting that first response out. What is concerning is what happens after that. Sometimes, there’s nothing. Sometimes, there’s a hit-or-miss attempt at follow up with some e-mails and maybe a few phone calls. Sometimes, there are lots of e-mails — two per day, with no phone calls. What is apparent, however, is that there is no plan. The best practices and procedures for handling and responding to Internet leads are pretty simple, but again, the challenge is developing and following the plan every day, the same way, all the time. I don’t know if it is due to boredom, distraction or confusion, but once implemented, many ISM’s simply don’t follow the plan. I have conducted quite a few Internet training sessions, and the participants all seem to understand the material during the training. They go back to their stores, follow the plan for about 30 days, see results, and then, for some unknown reason, fall off the rails and don’t follow the plan on a consistent basis. So, unless you are just killing it with a 20 percent closing ratio, you need a simple plan you can follow, which we will provide here. But first, let’s review some basics. Timing is Everything

Research indicates that timing is everything. According to the ADP/Cobalt 2011 Automotive eShopper Experience Study, the average response time in 2003 was 7.5 hours, and 30 percent of dealers they surveyed responded in less than one hour. In their most recent study, the average response time was 3.2 hours, and more than 60 percent of responding stores came in under one hour. The top-performing brand had more than 90

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percent of their stores breaking the one-hour time window. So, improving response time needs to be the first part of our plan. Auto Response and Price Quotes

There is a lot of controversy on whether to use auto responders, if dealers should provide price quotes and how to respond to the first inquiry from the customer. Let’s address them one at a time. On the subject of auto responders, I like them because it does nothing more than indicate to the customer that “the pipes are working.” In other words, you’re letting the customer know you received their e-mail. Almost any inquiry you make online today comes with an auto responder that lets you know the company simply received your communication. Now you can also use that auto responder to set expectations by telling the shopper you have a three-step Internet purchase process that is quick and easy. You can explain you offer a lifetime engine warranty (or other program that sets you apart) and you can include links to your new cars, used cars, finance application, specials, maps and directions and other areas of engagement on your site. So I recommend auto responders. I also recommend price quotes, especially when the form they have completed said “Price Quote” or “Quick Quote.” If you don’t, you appear to be hiding something; also, if you don’t, your competition will. There are many other factors to determine if we are going to make a sale, such as the trade value, financing, the test drive, etc. Providing an initial price quote is just one of them. Some feel that providing a price leads your prospect to shop around for the best price. But so what? They are going to do that anyway, and if you don’t provide them the information, they will just cross you off their shopping list. I like the “triple price quote,” where you provide the customer with a quote on the specific vehicle they requested, a lower-priced alternative and a similar pre-owned vehicle with low mileage. Most people are expecting a big discount on the Internet, so their first choice may be more than they can afford. However, most shoppers won’t tell you they can’t afford it; they simply delete your quote. But when you provide them with three options, now instead of asking “Will this work?” you are saying, “Which alternative works best for you?” They will gravitate to the option that fits their needs, which will increase your chances of getting a response. First Responders

If you have ever called a customer seconds after they have submitted a lead, while they are still at their computer, you know what happens: The shopper is amazed and you usually get them in the store. I like using the quick first call as a technique to “wow” the shopper and stop them from further shopping. Here’s how it works: You are working on something at your desk, a lead comes in, and you stop what you are doing and start dialing. It doesn’t matter if you have read the lead or if you have the car; the whole point is to get the shopper on the phone immediately. What I usually do is simply introduce myself, verify that I have received the request, read back the information I have received, and attempt to schedule an appointment. Obviously, this doesn’t always lead to an appointment, but what it does do is establish me as the “first responder” and gives me more information than I could have hoped for from an e-mail. Next month, we’ll look at more ways you can engage with your prospects, and then build a followup plan to put you on top of their list. Paul Accinno is the president and CEO of WorldDealer Advertising. He can be contacted at 866.319.6284, or by e-mail at paccinno@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

These words apply to many things in life. In preparing for a football game, you watch film on the competition and develop a game plan to accentuate your strengths and exploit the other team’s weaknesses. Although you may adjust your plan during the course of the game, you still develop a plan and follow that plan. The same can be said for how you handle Internet leads.


MarkTewart

sales & training solution

habits of the successful salesperson

“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken” – Samuel Johnson If you were to follow the most successful salesperson you know for a week and then follow a failing salesperson for the same amount of time, the differences would be glaring. It boils down to successful habits. What you do habitually in small incremental actions adds up to huge differences in results by the end of just one week. Recently, I was visiting a dealership where some of the salespeople had attended a sales seminar I had conducted. One of the attendees of my seminar was their top salesperson. He has been in the business for only a year and a half, but was selling more than 20 units a month, with a large portion of the sales coming from referrals and business from his database of customers. The salesperson was showing me his daily plan and the system he was using to produce the success he was achieving. As with most things, it was not rocket science, but rather simple in nature and just required habitual execution. The eye opener was in observing what many of the veteran salespeople were not doing, and the lack of results they were getting as a result of bad habits. It’s simple to discover the foundations of success. You can break success down into the categories of goals, game plans, execution, review and attitude. All of these items seem to be intertwined. One tends to beget another.

2. What is your daily game plan on how you will spend your time? How will you break down your day based upon self-education, practice, customer acquisition/marketing, customer followup, face-to-face selling time, etc? 3. What are all the ways you market yourself? “Lead generation equals dollar creation.” I had expressed in my seminar that all salespeople should have refrigerator magnet business cards and personality-based business cards with pictures or caricatures, call-to-action information utilizing both sides and different ways to enter your marketing web, such as your own Website, social media sties, etc. All cards should also offer something informational for free. “One” is a horrible number in sales; if you rely on one method to acquire customers, you will experience uneven to bad results. 4. What are your personality-driven methods to follow up and engage with customers? The top salesperson was using a software program to follow up sequentially with all sold customers prospects, unsold customers and referrals. He had a game plan and executed. The top salesperson is a not young man born in the computer age and has no outstanding technical skills, and yet has set up his own CRM system that benefits him. He is open to using any and all technology that benefits him. I showed him a simple but robust e-mail system to add to his plan and he immediately invested in it and began a plan to use it. 5. As noted above, the salesperson was immediately willing to invest in his education, tools and anything else that would advance him. The universe will not move towards you until you move towards it. In any economy, the single best investment you will ever make is in yourself. Successful people practice this habitually and unsuccessful people make excuses, such as “I cannot afford it.” The reality is that you cannot afford not to. Successful people never say they cannot afford; instead, they ask “How can I afford…” and find the answer. There is a Hindu Proverb that says “Pray, but move your feet.” 6. Have faith, but be willing to adjust. You cannot quit taking action because you did not get results in a week or a month. Persistent equals consistent. However, you must monitor and measure everything and adjust accordingly. Do not quit, but adjust. 7. Be aware of the intentional congruence when you add goal setting, game plans, actions, reviews and attitude together. One feeds the other. When you set goals and seek them habitually, you will have a better attitude. More options will reveal themselves and allow you to review what you do and how you do to become better. The more results you get, the more you want to quantify and qualify your actions. Action begets more action, and good habits create good attitudes that create success. Everything is intertwined and dependent upon another.

podcast interviewee

Do you believe in yourself, and do you have faith in your actions? Successful people may have, as the song says, “moments of doubt and pain,” but they still keep believing that they are worthy of success. Successful people take action There is an old saying that I call the “Tree of Success.” Thoughts lead to words and words lead to based upon their beliefs and keep at it. actions. Actions create habits and habits create results. Results shape your character and character creates your destiny. Examine this daily to create your habits of success. Try this checklist: 1. Do you have written goals for you and your For the free Special Report “Habits” e-mail me at the address below with the word “Habits” in the subject line achievements for the week, month, year, five years and even your life? If not, stop making Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best excuses and sit down and write them out. Your seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or brain is a natural goal-seeking computer, so by e-mail at mtewart@autosuccessonline.com. use it.

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AndrewPrice

marketing solution

finding the right app for your dealership There’s no escaping it — mobile app usage is on the rise. With 50 billion downloads projected by year’s end, it’s imperative that dealerships incorporate app technology into their business. Implementing a mobile strategy isn’t as much about increasing sales and exposure as it is about stepping into a new age of technology and communication. If you don’t figure out a mobile app strategy, your dealership might as well sell horses and buggies. Knowing that you need to incorporate an app into your business is one thing — actually implementing one is another. There are several ways to go about getting an app, which can get confusing and expensive. That’s why you need to determine what type of app fits your business plan, and how much you’re willing to spend. What Type of App is the Right Type of App?

The app field is ripe for harvesting, provided you know which seeds to plant. What that means is that developing an app takes time and money — and there’s no guarantee of success. Instead of developing an app that might gain traction with potential customers, why not pay much less for an app that helps your dealership generate more business? You’re probably thinking of creating an app that provides helpful research and shopping tools for consumers. There’s no doubt that your dealership should strive to be helpful and convenient, but does a research app really help generate more sales? Most people conduct their research on tablets and computers, as opposed to their smartphone.

There are several consumer-driven automotive apps that assist in research, but what about apps that help the dealer drive sales? Apps aren’t just a one way street from the consumer to a business. More and more dealerships are using apps to set appointments and capture consumer information. Before your dealership starts developing an app, know that branded apps have a small success rate. According to a recent Deloitte study, 80 percent of branded apps had been downloaded fewer than 100 times. You need to zero in on attaining apps that help you, the dealer, generate sales. Why put all of your eggs in the consumer’s basket when you can make a better omelet? Apps are thriving because they offer convenience, which is why technology that frees you from your desk so you can increase your bottom line and eliminate inefficiencies is important to your personal well-being and your dealership. Save Resources by Renting Apps

Developing an app is not cheap. Expect even the most basic apps to cost more than $100,000, and that’s on the small side. To truly maximize your resources, you’ll want to get in on the action instead of creating it. You can pay top-dollar and hire a third party to develop an app for your dealership, or you can take advantage of the existing app market. It takes extreme amounts of time, research and resources to create an app that will benefit your dealership. When you start development on an app, you are married to it — for better or for worse. You can’t guarantee it will be a success, and you can’t get that money back if it tanks. That’s why it’s wise to pay for time-tested apps that can be utilized for a nominal monthly fee. There are automotive-specific apps that specialize in assisting dealerships move their fleet and connect with consumers. And the great thing about these apps is that they’ve already been developed and have a successful track record. Imagine if there was a specific mobile app that could help drive your bottom line, while offering life-changing convenience. Imagine an app that captures missed sales calls and alerts you via smartphone. You could access this app while making your morning coffee from home, on your lunch break, at a little league game and during the weekend. Instead of being tied to your desk for hours on end, you could free yourself from the lot and endless rows of cars. Think of it like this: Apps are fruit. You can buy some land, till the soil, plant the seed and cultivate the crops until they bear fruit. Or you can buy the finished product at the store. Considering the cost of farming for fruit versus buying it, it’s a no-brainer. Andrew Price is the president of automotive at CallSource. He can be contacted at 888.821.3770, or by e-mail at aprice@autosuccessonline.com.

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VictorArocho

sales & training solution

pump up the volume:

Create the Soundtrack of Your Sales Career Salespeople know that the number of things the necessary to close a deal can be staggering: prospecting, information-gathering, research, pitches and demos, follow up and a host of other activities. It’s easy for salespeople to get burned out. Sales success depends on having the proper mindset, and that includes being motivated, educated and pumped up to perform all aspects of the sales cycle — even the parts you don’t like. How do top salespeople keep the mindset to outperform their peers? Often, it all comes down to the mes-

sages they feed their brain. to take your sales career to the next level, it’s time to create your personal sales success “soundtrack.” Music to Motivate

Music is much more than just background noise. Studies conducted by sports psychologists have determined that music has a great impact on an athlete’s performance level. If the right kind of music can help improve athletic performance (which also requires a lot of mental stamina), it can certainly help improve sales performance, as well. Create a playlist for all aspects of the sales cycle. For example, when you’re about to do a sales pitch, listen to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Immediately after closing a sale, listen to “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. And when you’re feeling low, listen to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” a song about overcoming your fears of failure. Stay Inspired

Staying motivated is certainly important, but sometimes you just need some inspiration to keep your spirits high. This is when listening to uplifting stories or inspirational quotes can help. This offers you mental discipline and can help you by giving you a fresh perspective. Many inspirational books are available in audio format so you can listen to them on the go. You can even find many “classic” inspirational sales messages in audio form from greats like Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and Dale Carnegie. Options for inspirational messages are limitless. Educate Yourself

You wouldn’t go to a doctor who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1971 but hasn’t done any continuing education since. You’d want a doctor up on the latest innovations and technologies. Your clients expect the same level of continuing education from you. For salespeople, education can come from listening to sales trainers and turning on business radio, podcasts and audio books. Another technique is to listen to an audio book while reading the printed book. Highlight the printed version and bookmark certain pages you want to reread later. The key is to never stop learning.

Winning the Greatest Game of All

Sales can be stressful and challenging, but also rewarding and profitable. It requires mental agility; you have to keep your mind in tiptop shape. When listening to music, inspirational messages and educational subjects, you’re keeping your mind well-fed so you can always be at the top of your game. Victor Arocho is a sales development expert, sales trainer and managing partner with Potential Sales & Consulting group. He can be contacted at 866.885.9779, or by e-mail at varocho@autosuccessonline.com.

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Success Story

First Team Toyota Up 41% in Sales in Just 6 Months, First Team Toyota Increases Profitability with New Integrated Marketing Strategy

It’s no secret that the car business is a highly competitive marketplace and with the ever-changing world of advertising many dealers face the ongoing challenge of how to effectively reach the right customers with the right message, bring those customers into their showrooms and service bays, and keep them coming back again and again.

As consumer shopping habits continue to shift, so must the means by which car dealers reach their audience. The appeal of traditional mass media platforms like TV, print and radio, continue to wane as more effective targeted and digital mediums that include targeted email and mail, and internet prove to be more effective at attracting consumers. Dealerships that do not understand targeted and digital marketing continue to see diminishing returns with traditional mass marketing that continues to be costly and nearly impossible to measure. Ă… CONTINUED INSIDE


Success Story Ä CONTINUED FROM THE COVER

Today, the most successful dealers are using targeted and digital mediums that are less expensive, more measurable and give a better return on investment than traditional mass marketing. The key to their success is integrating all their targeted and digital advertising to maximize their results, however, this can also present a challenge as the average dealer works with multiple vendors to execute their entire marketing strategy which results in different strategies, messages and designs that too often are not integrated with one another. First Team Toyota, serving the Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach regions of south eastern Virginia, has found a solution by implementing an integrated targeted and digital marketing strategy across multiple mediums using one marketing partner to attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost than traditional mass marketing. “Since implementing this program our new and used sales are up 41 percent overall,” said Gerry Reust, President and General Manager of First Team Toyota. “We’re up even more in our top 20 selling zip codes, an average of 53 percent, after focusing on and defining our target audience within our primary marketing area.” First Team Toyota began with a comprehensive five-year historical analysis of their sales and service transactions to determine customer trends. Those findings were then compared to leading third-party and industry data to establish consumer patterns within the local market. The results enabled First Team Toyota to identify vehicle owners with the greatest probability of buying or servicing with their dealership, as well as identify same-brand owners who had never visited First Team Toyota, and off-brand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to Toyota.

“Our campaign site is a definite online driver. It houses all our sales and service promotions and is automatically updated at the start of each month by my marketing company so it’s always current. It’s proving to be a great resource and a definite traffic booster.” GERRY REUST President and General Manager FIRST TEAM TOYOTA

Once First Team Toyota had more clearly defined their market, they implemented a comprehensive targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct email and mail campaigns that consistently speak to customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle with custom messaging that includes: a thank you and welcome message for recent purchasers and ongoing targeted email and mail sales communications to customers in an equity position. First Team Toyota also targets conquest service customers within their primary marketing area who own Toyotas but did not buy from them. This is unique because most dealers use the manufacturer’s service marketing program which often limits a dealer to only communicate with customers that have purchased directly from their store, but also limits the dealer from contacting numerous conquest opportunities within their market. If a dealer only has 30 percent market share, they are essentially missing out on an additional 70 percent of the area’s service market. First Team Toyota recognized the opportunity to broaden its service marketing program with conquest and has greatly expanded their reach of potential service customers.

First Team’s strategy also includes an online Campaign Conversion Site that not only displays the featured promotions of the email or mail campaign they have just received, but also shows them every sales and service offer that First Team Toyota is currently running. Every outbound email and mail campaign directs the customer to First Team Toyota’s campaign conversion site, www.FirstTeamToyotaOffers.com for other available offers. So, if a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they just received they can find something that fits their needs with just a couple clicks online. “Our campaign site is a definite online driver. It houses all our sales and service promotions and is automatically updated at the start of each month by my marketing company so it’s always current. It’s proving to be a great resource and a definite traffic booster,” said Reust. Part of what ties all First Team’s campaigns together is their point-of-sale merchandising. When customers visit the dealership they see current campaign merchandising throughout the store that validates the advertising message they recently saw online or received in the mail, further building credibility and helping increase the closing ratio. In addition to their targeted and digital campaigns, First Team Toyota also recently implemented a unique strategy that specifically targets vehicle sales within their service lanes. This program, the “Vehicle Exchange Program” is integrated across First Team Toyota’s web site, campaign conversion site, the showroom and service lanes, as well as their direct mail. The key to this program is the confirmation call that First Team places to confirm the customer’s service appointment. If a customer is in an equity position, they are informed that they are


First Team Toyota eligible to upgrade into a new vehicle for the same payment as their old vehicle. First Team Toyota proactively sells to their customers in service before they enter the market and begin shopping the competition. Since starting the VEP strategy First Team is averaging 20 vehicle sales a month out of their service lane. “The best customer that any dealer can find is one they already have because customers who have an active service relationship with a dealership are seven times more likely to purchase with that dealership,” said Budd Blackburn, owner of Team Velocity Marketing, the company that First Team Toyota uses for their sales and service marketing.

An added benefit to this integrated sales and service marketing strategy is a healthier trade pattern. Since switching strategies First Team’s late model trade pattern, 2006 or newer, has significantly increased for same brand trades. “This is ultimately a big savings for us, not having to overpay at auction,” added Reust. Once a customer takes delivery, First Team Toyota stays in contact with them by thanking them for buying and asking for referrals and online reviews, which helps to build their reputation when consumers search for them online. Having a positive online reputation is critical. According to a Group M Study 2011, 76 percent of consumers use a combination of web search and social media as their first

step before making a purchase and 70 percent of online consumers report that they consult reviews before purchasing according to Business Week 2011. To measure the effectiveness of all their marketing strategies and ensure quality customer care, First Team Toyota uses a call-monitoring system to track their advertising, employees, and how their customers are treated by listening to every call that comes into their dealership. They receive daily, weekly and monthly reports that enables them to see which ad campaigns generate the best response and preempt any potential customer concerns before they escalate – which improves their overall CSI and helps create lifelong satisfied customers.

Success Story


Success Story

First Team Toyota

“Since implementing this program our sales are up over 41 percent compared to the same period last year. We’re up even more in our top 20 selling zip codes, an average of 53 percent, after focusing on and defining our target audience within our primary marketing area.” -GERRY REUST | PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF FIRST TEAM TOYOTA

41% INCREASE

53% INCREASE IN TOP 20 SELLING

ZIP CODES

IN SALES

IN A NUTSHELL Up 41% in Sales in Just 6 Months, First Team Toyota Increases Profitability with New Integrated Marketing Strategy •

Define their ideal local market by finding the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with their dealership now and in the future.

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

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

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

Establish a sales-in-service program to sell vehicles from their own service bays for in-equity customers before they shop the competition.

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

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

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

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AutoSuccess January 2013