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2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299 / p 877.818.6620 / f 502.588.3170 / AutoSuccessOnline.com/AutoSuccessPodcast.com / info@autosuccessonline.com

leadership solution DavidLewis the worst reason in the world

KevinMcMillen Importance of entrepreneurial energy in auto dealers

RebeccaKon three common mistakes of your sales team’s follow-up process

RussellGrant five reasons your marketing and sales training need to work together

Hannah Philpott, Media Director hannah@autosuccessonline.com


JeremyAnspach how to”win the click” with mobile


BruceThompson Isn’t it time for a new car vehicle management tool?

RosalindVazquez how you can use artificial intelligence to sell more cars

ScottPechstein when price is the focus, everyone loses

MarkTewart has social media become an excuse?

DebbieDrury five prescriptions for sales success

AJLeBlanc focusing on video provides thoroughbred results

EdLouis keep your customers close

PeterMartin e-Mail marketing for the future

Brian Ankney, Account Manager super6@autosuccessonline.com

SeanV.Bradley dealerships and natural selection, part 2

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

DealerPanel the role of service in customer retention, part 1

JonBerna the inbound call pre-snap read

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.

Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director design@autosuccessonline.com

ChrisHill vendors need to connect to the ground level

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

marketing solution

The Telephone “arms Race” The New Technology That Is Changing Everything

26 28 36 40 56 64

sales & training solution


24 30 34 50 58 62

JimmyVee & TravisMiller top 10 ways to screw up success, part 2

54 60 66 68

SusanGivens The Industry’s Best Event. It’s the oscars of the automotive industry


Susan Givens, Publisher sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com


a key question for these times: are you pricing cars or customers? 42

DennisMcGinn reconditioning by the numbers

20 32

GlennPasch as we move forward, so we move backwards


12 feature solution


marketing solution

The Telephone “Arms Race” The New Technology That Is Changing Everything Dealerships are always looking for the “Next Big Thing” in marketing to bring customers into their stores. The dealership that can best handle telephone calls will often beat the competition and win the sale. So, the question is, how to make the simple telephone call more powerful for both the dealership and the customer? For many years, dealerships have been using ad-tracking telephone numbers to identify which advertising pieces work and which are underperforming. When this service became commonplace, the best service providers initiated new telephone services and additional functionality for dealerships to turn telephone calls into profitable customer relationships. A Telephone “Arms Race”

The “Arms Race” started when call monitoring and alert services were introduced that would examine each incoming call and enable staff to save what would otherwise be a lost opportunity for sales or service. Soon after, other products followed that worked in a similar fashion, but instead of monitoring every inbound call, new services focused more on the sales side of the business and, using technology, identified troubled calls only. Management would then receive alerts to their e-mail. More and more companies also successfully entered into this telephone “arms race.” Not only is this service necessary to save deals, but it can also save a dealership’s reputation. By allowing dealers to catch mistakes early, they can ensure that their most valuable customers — those who have already bought from or serviced at their dealership — are attended to properly. The Front Lines

As with any arms race, though, it’s essential for dealers to stay ahead of their competition with the latest technology, and not fall behind. To be effective, these solutions need to work with the individual dealerships and their unique circumstances. One size certainly does not fit all. “It’s essential that our team gets alerts on their cell phones via text,” said Roger S. Penske, Jr.



As with any arms race, though, it’s essential for dealers to stay ahead of their competition with the latest technology, and not fall behind. To be effective, these solutions need to work with the individual dealerships and their unique circumstances. One size certainly does not fit all. “Not all my people have smartphones, and most of them aren’t behind a computer all day.” The information provided to management is critical to the success of a call-tracking system. “We need more than just the audio — we need a short synopsis of the call,” Penske said. “We just don’t have time to listen to every call. We also need a recommendation for the next steps to take for the sale that I can track, so I can make sure these alerts are responded to, and I understand what the outcome was. The customer information also needs to update our CRM system, so we can not only measure and improve our calls, but make sure that every customer is followed-up with, not only today, but in the future.” The Next Technology

The most recent development of this arms race is the addition of what is called “equity alerts.” This next level of technology shifts the telephone call from a reactive action (making sure no mistakes are made) to a proactive one (where the dealership and customer is provided information to move them further down the sales funnel). Now, when a customer contacts the dealership, their identity is automatically verified to see if they qualify to upgrade into a newer vehicle for a better payment. Once verified, an equity alert is sent to a designated staff member. The customer’s vehicle is then checked against a database of vehicles in inventory, and gives a comparison of the payments they’re making on the current vehicle verses potential payments on a new vehicle. This technology also includes the recommended next steps, and extracts an e-mail to forward to the customer showing a side-by-side comparison of their current car to a new car, and showcases the advantages of upgrading. This information is also integrated into the CRM, so if the customer comes returns in the meantime, it can be shown to them again. “This is a game changer,” says Richard Bustillo of Rick Case Honda of Davie. “In addition to sales customers, about 40 percent of our service database qualifies for some type of offer each month. Being able to identify an incoming caller as an existing sales or service customer who is in equity and having that information texted to our phones so that we can take immediate action gives us a huge competitive advantage.” Gaining Ground and Moving Forward

Call-monitoring services first only dealt with measuring marketing efforts. But now, they equip new dealers with alerts to save deals and provide information allowing them to move the customer forward in the sales process, set appointments and deliver vehicles. Interested dealerships should check with each call-monitoring company to see what the latest technology is that they have to offer, as technology quickly changes and upgrades. Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com.


leadership solution

AS we move forward, so we move backwards

It seems like an odd concept, but as we move towards better efficiency with technology and the Web, some leaders seem to forget how to run their businesses. It seems as though they are looking for a quick solution to this new age of technology or — even more defeating — they feel they have to stop how they did business in the past. The shame of it is, what businesses did in terms of sales or customer service in the past is exactly what they still need to do today. In the past, you had to focus on great service because you realized you had a finite customer pool in your area. You could not afford to deliver poor service

We Did It Again New Redesigned Apps with a fresh navigation system, contemporary image design, and more advanced notification system plus videos, real time payments, and new retention features

or else you would get a bad name. With the Internet breaking down walls and broadening the reach of some companies, there is a feeling that there now is an endless pool of consumers who will want your product, so service has taken a backseat because of the high volume of customers. Long-term solutions or long-term slow growth is not in style anymore. Some of this is due to our quick thinking, our greed at taking market share and, in some cases, impatient shareholders or board members. So how does a business bridge this gap between the new digital world and the past? How do they bring that sense of great service back to a place of importance, along with attracting more customers? As consumers, knowing as much as we can about people, places and businesses fascinates us; we always want to make sure we are prepared. The Internet has allowed customers to do this research where they are comfortable and on their terms — not a place where businesses are comfortable. If we can embrace this new, wiser customer and turn the focus to being more consultative versus sales focused, we will, in turn, end up selling more. If we know our value, if we believe that our product is better than another’s, then we should have a sense of calm, not panic, when a customer asks us a question.

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This confidence comes from training — not from watching a video and checking it off the list, but by having a process where training is brought out of the classroom and onto the floor. The team is trained and trained and trained until they feel there is no question that a customer could ask that they would not feel comfortable answering. People are looking for confidence, humility, honesty and expertise in this overwhelming information age. That, coupled with a caring execution of service, gives you the proper mixture needed to excel in this new arena of business. Digital is not an answer but a tool. Yes, there is a new arena to play in, but those businesses that understand the customer is still king will win in the long run. Glenn Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing and a national speaker and trainer. He can be contacted at 866.611.0998, or by e-mail at gpasch@autosuccessonline.com.

I already know what sold last month. I need to know what people want right now.

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g Is your n i R CRM

missing someone?


leadership solution

reconditioning by the numbers Are you measuring your reconditioning time to market? If the answer is “no,” then your actual all-inclusive number is probably double what you would like everyone to believe it is. And even worse, you may not even know what your recon team already knows about those numbers. Every 2.5 days of recon time adds another inventory turn, and the starting average at the low end is typically 10 days when it should be five days. My previous AutoSuccess articles have focused on the importance of knowing where all your recon cars are at all times, which is possible to do with a new workflow technology and your mobile phone. Having this time-sensitive information made available right in the palm of your hand enables decision making to be done anywhere, any time. The next level of recon control is responding to the “load,” or available manpower, across your resources. The first order of business would be balancing the load across your techs, followed by detail, photos, parts and even subcontractors. The importance of this load, or balance, is having a plan to get all the work completed without having any bottlenecks, which cause delay. Below is one workflow example of how this may be accomplished: 1. Purchase/Trade Intake 2. Initial Photos 3. Waiting Shop Dispatch (10 to 30 cars) • Matt (one to three cars) • Jason (one to three cars) • Shane (one to three cars) • Bill (one to three cars) • Main Shop (Back-up) 4. Parts Hold 5. UCM Approval 6. Bodyshop 7. Detail 8. Final Photos 9. Front Line Ready/QA Four techs can each handle 35 to 40 cars/month, be dedicated to recon, share customer pay work or rotate into recon to support the intake rate. Cars in “Waiting for Shop” are completely visible and color-coded based on hours in that step. Each tech performing inspections will electronically communicate the recommended repairs to the UCM in sufficient detail, including costs, for the approval of all or a subset of the repairs. The UCM, using a mobile phone, can respond in minutes from anywhere, which puts the UCM in the ideal “sense of urgency” position. At this point, the tech then pulls all parts and completes the mechanical work. An interesting point that has been uncovered with this approach is that the techs like the ability to control what is displayed as “complete.” This also allows them to compare their averages against other techs. Management can then adjust the number of techs needed to minimize the number of cars waiting for dispatch.

Flip to learn more

This past year, more dealers have found more success by replacing their ineffective spreadsheet with a real-time workflow system. These dealerships have taken a huge leap forward, allowing each of them to fine tune their individual reconditioning processes. This online system provides an automatic data feed which ensures accountability and transparency at each step of the recon process. All this gets measured for a true calculation of time to market. Armed with this real-time data, management can now establish measurable goals to incentivize their recon team to make sure that everyone shares a visible component of the goal.

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.



podcast interviewee

If so, you could be missing your next sale.

Tweet Ring Ring

Ahem Click Click


When your next sale could come from anyone, you have to

connect with everyone.

VinSolutions seamlessly connects the systems and tools across your dealership into our industry-leading CRM. It delivers detailed insight into how every customer shops, how they choose to contact you and what will make them buy. And it evolves as customers evolve, so you’re always connected to what matters most.

Demo our dealership software solutions today. Call 800.980.7488 or visit vinsolutions.com/connect

See what’s new with VinSolutions! Visit us at the NADA Convention 2014, booth #2427.


sales & training solution

isn’t it time for a new car vehicle management tool? We’ve had used car inventory management systems in our industry since 2001. A dozen years have passed and still dealers are forced to manually manage new car inventory operations. We need tools that help identify which vehicle packages and colors perform the best. We need to understand days supply in our markets and how our competitors are pricing their new inventory. We need stocking tools to manage ordering and allocations, and we need tools that provide leverage in pushing back and negotiating with the OEMs. Used car operations have been totally transformed since 2001. Now is the time for innovation in the new car space. The market is for the taking for the company that is the first to market with a comprehensive tool. The amount of insight dealers have into their new car operations is extremely limited due to a variety of factors that are currently forcing dealers into buying the wrong units at the wrong time. External and internal pressures to acquire units that are truly surplus to the



dealer’s needs are serving the desires of OEMs and hindering the dealer from running the most profitable and efficient business possible. Meanwhile, these surplus units simply sit on the lot collecting dust and costing you money. It’s time to turn the tables in favor of the dealer, and ultimately, the automotive industry as a whole. I’m proud to write that new car inventory management tools and analytics have finally arrived in the industry. There is simply no reason for this vital component of a dealer’s operations to have been ignored for innovation for this long. Finally, there will be a product on market that will put the power back in the hands of the dealer to streamline their new car operations and take it to the next level. Vital metrics and KPIs measured for any dealer or dealer group should include: 1. Current day supply, days supply to target 2. Turn time 3. Top colors 4. Top vehicle packages 5. Top trims 6. Units on the ground vs. in transit 7. Profits, profit per day

8. Floor plan interest and credit control 9. F&I cycle times 10. Stocking recommendations 11. Real-time forecast to targets 12. Integrated descriptions 13. OEM incentive and market pricing tools 14. Trading tools for groups

Your decisions, when it comes to ordering from the OEM, will no longer come down to the “golden gut,” but rather real-time analytics and key performance metrics providing a solid foundation to your reasoning. After the system does all the heavy lifting for the dealer from an ordering and stocking perspective, we still need new merchandising and pricing tools. Look for a tool that integrates with tools such as Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) algorithm for every unit to allow a dealer to truly master the pricing of their new inventory. Also, look for auto-pricing tools based on formulas, algorithms and real-time market data that will take the guesswork out of new car pricing. New car managers and dealer principals have been waiting for this type of technology for a very long time. I’m happy to say that it has finally arrived. Bruce Thompson is the founder and CEO of RedBumper. He can be contacted at 866.613.1344, or by e-mail at bthompson@autosuccessonline.com.




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sales & training solution

three common mistakes of your sales team’s follow-up process You’ve got leads, leads and more leads. Now, what do you do with them? Your sales follow-up process must exceed expectations in order to avoid shopper abandonment. Therefore, I’ve highlighted three common mistakes in this article that sales teams often make when following up on a lead. I’ve also provided you with more effective follow-up methods your team should have in place to increase their chances of closing the sale. Mistake 1: You Have a Slow and Robotic E-mail Follow Up

Your follow-up e-mail should be specific and address the shopper’s needs, especially if they already filled out a form where they elaborated on a question or problem. You do not want to use automated responders for your e-mails. Automatic responses will make the shopper feel like you do not care to personally take the time to answer their request. Be personal, and your shoppers could thank you for your time with a purchase. Also, you need to reply quickly. Remember, today’s shoppers are impatient, and when they are ready to buy, the dealership that gets back to them the fastest will reap the rewards. Mistake 2: You Called a Shopper Who Doesn’t Want to Talk on the Phone

Many shoppers who use live chat prefer to be contacted via e-mail instead of by phone. Make sure you are reading your live chat transcripts

It doesn’t matter how many leads you get; if you aren’t following up with all of them and making sure to address their needs, then you are losing any chance of a sale with those you do not contact. in case this request has been made. If they said do not call, then do not call, unless, of course, you want to lose a lead. Also, if you are calling a shopper after you’ve received a live chat lead, you need to ensure your conversation does not repeat anything already discussed. Read each chat transcript thoroughly before you call. Then, use the details in the transcript to either confirm an appointment or further discuss your shopper’s needs. If the shopper has submitted a lead without a request, remember to always be polite and helpful. Ask questions before trying to get them to come into your store. Phone conversations are a great way to learn about your shopper’s interests and needs. Don’t forget: The valuable information you gather while talking and the connection you make during that conversation can be extremely helpful in closing the sale. Mistake 3: You Didn’t Contact All of Your Leads

Do not cherry pick your leads. Each shopper is in a different stage of the sales funnel. Identifying where shoppers are and being attentive to their needs at every step can further encourage them to become loyal customers. Realize all of your shoppers are important for your dealership’s brand awareness and referral process. You never know what kind of connections they have, and who they might talk to about the good — or bad — impression they received from your store. It doesn’t matter how many leads you get; if you aren’t following up with all of them and making sure to address their needs, then you are losing any chance of a sale with those you do not contact. Also, cherry picking can turn into losing many sales opportunities if a complaint is made on a review site or through word of mouth. Rebecca Kon is a communications specialist for activEngage. She can be contacted at 866.485.7071, or by e-mail at rkon@autosuccessonline.com.

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marketing solution

how to “win the click” with mobile

More than 47 percent of all automotive searches come from mobile devices. Are you effectively engaging all 47 percent? Failure to reach the constantly connected consumer is now synonymous with lost opportunity. Your organic search results do not give you much coverage on mobile searches, so dealers usually rely on pay-per-click advertising through Google and other search platforms. Dealers often outsource their pay-per-click advertising spending to vendors that attempt to provide relevant results. However, after conducting thousands of searches, we have concluded that mobile searches typically lack relevancy and are not winning the click. To win the click with mobile, you have to understand how customers are searching from their mobile device, and target those shoppers accordingly. In November 2013, Google exposed that 44 percent of mobile searches are done while a customer is comparing data directly from a dealer’s lot. Wouldn’t it be convenient if your ad — along with testimonials and other relevant content — appeared to give them price assurance? Of course. However, many dealers are lacking this type of mobile ammunition in their digital strategy. How do you effectively market to the mobile-savvy, engaged buyer and convert them into a solidified sales opportunity? The answer is

simple. Run localized, geo-targeted pay-per-click ads, similar to geofencing, with an aggressive message that will dominate the competition, regardless of your vehicle’s price. Geo-fencing delivers highly relevant ads based on a shopper’s exact location and delivers higher conversion rates. A more relevant ad will overpower a competitor’s lower price and win the click. This is just one of the many digital approaches that forward-thinking dealers are attempting to execute. Mobile usage rates are increasing exponentially. More than 70 percent of the consumers who populate metro markets use the convenience of smartphones and tablets to make purchase decisions. Dealers who embrace this shift in consumer behavior will better understand it, overcome it and profit from it. Thus, we need to seriously focus on mobile Website optimization. Dealers have Internet managers spending countless hours on their own desktop Website but fail to give equal attention to their mobile site. The most progressive tech companies build their mobile solutions with responsive design to ensure their clients never have to manage two separate sites. You can quickly determine if your Website is responsive across all devices by zooming in and out on your browser to see if the content restructures to display properly. The result of responsive design technology is one site to manage without losing mobile optimization. And yet, a vast majority of dealer Websites are still not responsive and oftentimes have a sub-domain of the desktop site such as: mobile. yourwebsiteurl.com. This results in digital marketing that is extremely complicated and cumbersome. In order to win the click with mobile, it is critical to have an advanced, integrated digital approach. Dealers will often run a paid ad and their provider will mark it as a “mobile” ad in their Google AdWords platform. Since most providers are different than your Website provider, they will link the ad to your desktop site which recognizes when a consumer is using a mobile phone and will then redirect them to your mobile desktop Website. This is inefficient, and above all, irrelevant. At the end of the day, we have to think about the mobile shopper and exactly how they shop. Mobile consumers begin with search and end with a purchase. In their consumer behavior study, “Mobile Path to Purchase,” Google concluded that 93 percent of shoppers who use mobile devices to conduct research will go on to make a purchase. Yes, you read that right. That’s 93 percent of all mobile searches will result in a purchase. It is 100 percent necessary to optimize your ads and landing pages to maximize your relevancy with these mobile users. Realize that mobile searches are very serious, driven by a specific goal, and a huge percent of them are conducted on a dealer’s lot. With geo-targeting and geo-fenced targeting, you can distinguish your advertising from your competitors’ and influence customers before they do. The future is mobile and it’s escalating quickly. With great change comes subsequent opportunity. Be adaptive, be relevant and win the click.

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



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marketing solution

has social media become an excuse?

First of all, let me state that I think social and digital communication is fantastic. I think it should be a part of everyone’s day if you want to share, engage, market and tell your story. Social media and digital communications allow you to reach and connect with audiences you could never reach in ways you could never do without these media. However, I also think for all the good that social and digital media do, they make it easy to create unintended consequences. One of those unintended consequences is that it becomes too easy to not try more direct communications that are — and always will be — more personable and powerful.

I see more and more people hiding behind a keyboard or a mobile phone, scared to death to actually engage with people in an intimate, personal way. Yes, social/digital is easy and can even be preferred by many, but you are a human being and human interaction has dynamics that social and digital cannot replace. Social media has made it easy for people to get lazy and avoid the work that must be done. Social media does not replace selling or shaking someone’s hand, looking them in the eye and asking questions while utilizing empathy and compassion expressed through the human body. I recommend you think “in person first, phone second and all other media next.” Never forget the power of the human desire for connection. Social media has connected more people than anything in history. At the same time, it has disconnected more people than anything in history. Do not get lazy and use social and digital media as an excuse to hide and be lazy. Think of emotions that can be created with an in-person visit. Think of emotions that can be created with a personal phone call. Think of emotions felt from reading a hand-written card or note. I promise you that those emotions are more intense than from an e-mail or text. This crosses generations. Young or old, we are all people. The whole new vs. traditional media argument is a farce. It’s a false argument. One does not replace the other but, used wisely, augments and supports the other. Use social media as a tool and not the solution. You may use different tools to complete a job, but your rarely use only one tool. If you don’t have all the tools, you cannot complete the job. Use all your tools. For a free special report titled “5 Major Social Media Mistakes and How They Hurt Your Business” send me an e-mail to the address below with the title “5 Major Social Media Mistakes” in the subject line.

Social media and digital communications, for all their power and ease of use, do not replace in-person communications. They do not replace a personal phone call. Social media should not replace personal hand-written notes and cards. Social media should be used with, but not in place of, traditional media.

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

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podcast interviewee

You’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and more everyday. You post comments, pictures and comment on others posts and pictures. You post articles, surveys, look for affiliations, market yourself and work to create engagement with others. You text, e-mail, FaceTime and do Google Hangouts. You do all of this and yet most of you are truly trying to run and hide.


sales & training solution

five reasons your marketing and sales training need to work together

A New Kind Of Customer

Floor traffic is at a higher premium today than it’s ever been, with customers visiting only 1.3 dealerships before purchasing a car. So, while is it important to drive traffic, it’s just as important to capitalize on those opportunities. Here’s why:  1. The customer is a more educated and sophisticated buyer.     2. The customer has more ways to respond.  3. The definition of traffic has changed — it used to be that traffic was considered dealership Ups.  4. A customer is just a click away from your competing dealership. 5. The customer is simultaneously talking to multiple dealerships. Generating Opportunities

It is a must for dealerships to capitalize on all the opportunities generated. As a marketer, I know the dealer is holding me accountable for generating traffic. As a marketer, we are counting on the dealership to be able to sell cars from the traffic generated. 



Do You Have A Plan To Maximize Opportunities?

I was speaking to a GM at a very successful Honda Dealership recently, and he told me that his dealership is up 30 percent. He needs to add six additional salespeople on top of the six he has already added in the past year. The challenge now is how to get these salespeople up to speed with the customer and marketing strategies that are already in place. He told me that he won’t spend any new dollars on a program that doesn’t have a plan or strategy in place for capitalizing on leads created. Tips For Aligning Marketing And Training 1. Discuss with your vendors the best practices of successful dealerships for any lead

generator you have. Set up monthly calls to review progress and discuss areas for improvement.

2. For your promotional advertising, make sure you have a detailed plan on how to capitalize

on traffic before, during and after. Remember, a successful promotion can have 20 percent of the traffic before (RSVPs) and up to 50 percent after the campaign. Have specific training for the event and watch your ROI soar.

3. Consider an accountability manager. I heard this idea from a dealer in the Northwest. He

told me his dealership had plenty of leads and Internet traffic, but had struggled to get those customers to the dealership. With an accountability manager, their primary responsibility is to track and monitor progress on all leads and traffic sources and to work with the BDC, GSM and salespeople to ensure all processes are being followed.

By aligning marketing and training, your dealership will be better positioned to capitalize on the traffic generated and truly connect with the consumer — and not be overwhelmed as campaigns continue to become more sophisticated. As one GM told me, “It’s a mad scramble to reach the consumer.”

Russell Grant is the vice president of sales for J&L Marketing. He can be contacted at 866.503.8397, or by e-mail at rgrant@autosuccessonline.com.

podcast interviewee

I always ask dealers what their No. 1 concern is with selling cars, and the most common answer I receive is “traffic.” It’s my favorite response, because it leads right into a discussion about the different types of marketing campaigns that can help dealers meet and exceed their projections.

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TheyThey everything everything I hadI worked had worked so hard so hard for. Ifor. I energy in sales the sales department energy in the department wentwent don’tdon’t ask you ask to you come to come up with up with the ideas the ideas didn’t didn’t know know if theif bank the bank was was going going to call to call through through the roof. People excited the roof. People werewere excited to to eacheach month. month. Every Every month month theythey develop develop a a and say, and “Lock say, “Lock it up.” it My up.”kids, My kids, my wife, my wife, come to work again. phones come to work again. The The phones werewere fresh, fresh, new,new, winning winning campaign campaign based based on on my life my. life . . it. all . . itpassed all passed before before my eyes my eyes as as ringing, ringing, the showroom busy—we the showroom was was busy—we wereweretheirtheir formula. formula. What What a relief! a relief! I watched I watched salessales all but all disappear, but disappear, and any and any bursting bursting leads. withwith leads. profit profit I hoped I hoped to make to make vanish vanish completely. completely. Other Other dealers dealers ask how ask how me they me they can can We were We were selling selling between between 30 and 30 and 40 cars 40 cars But how But how would it last? I’m happyget similar longlong would it last? I’m happy get similar results. results. I send I send themthem to Jim to Jim a month a month and and really really struggling. struggling. to report it’s been to report that that it’s been overover threethree yearsyears & Travis & Travis for afor FREE a FREE Traffic Traffic ScaleScale Report Report ® and® every and everythat’s I first joined Dealers sincesince I first joined RichRich Dealers that’s customized customized for their for their store. store. 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We broke We broke records records againagain in 2012 in 2012 quantity, quantity, to your to your direct direct competitors, competitors, and and I listened I listened to their to their pitch, pitch, which, which, quitequite and as andfar asas far2013… as 2013… well,well, it’s going it’s going to crush to crush to other to other dealerships dealerships around around the country. the country. frankly, frankly, sounded sounded like alike lotaoflot hot of air. hotIair. I all the all records. the records. We now We now average average 140 to 140 to didn’t didn’t believe believe therethere was was anything anything out out 160 cars 160 cars a month a month and and we’re we’re nownow making making The The proof proof is inis the in pudding. the pudding. YourYour therethere I hadn’t I hadn’t already already tried.tried. But IBut didn’t I didn’t moremore net profit net profit thanthan everever before! before! I’ll I’ll FREE FREE Traffic Traffic ScaleScale Report Report will will expose expose havehave much much to risk, to risk, so I gave so I gave it a shot. it a shot. caution caution you to you “hold to “hold on tight” on tight” because because it’s it’showhow much much untapped untapped opportunity opportunity there there is is “Prove “Prove me wrong, me wrong, guys,” guys,” I said. I said. the ride the ride of your of your life. life. Before, Before, monthly monthly in your in your market. market. It’s no It’sstretch no stretch to say tothat say that traffic traffic to the to store the store was was at 200. at 200. NowNow we wethe information the information in the in report the report could could easily easily Reluctantly Reluctantly I dragged I dragged myself myself to a to Rich a Richsee 600 see 600 plusplus customers customers eacheach month. month. lead lead to antoextra an extra $1 million $1 million in additional in additional net net ® ® Dealers Dealers meeting. meeting. And And somesome wild wild ideasideas profit profit overover time.time. werewere flying flying around. around. It seemed It seemed to betothe be the The The bestbest partpart is, not is, only not only did did opposite opposite of what of what mostmost people people werewere telling tellingtheythey helphelp me increase me increase salessales 400%, 400%, Tell Tell themthem “Jack” “Jack” sentsent you and you and you’ll you’ll me Ime should I should do—for do—for example, example, howhow to price to pricebut they but they convinced convinced me to meslow to slow down down also also receive receive a complimentary a complimentary copycopy of of my cars, my cars, where where to list tomy listcars, my cars, and even and even and and appreciate appreciate life more. life more. NowNow I have I have theirtheir audio audio book, book, Invasion Invasion of the ofProfit the Profit whatwhat cars cars to buy. to buy. HowHow could could these these two two timetime to find to find those those “A” players “A” players that that you you Snatchers. Snatchers. It’s aIt’s little a little controversial, controversial, I’ll I’ll guysguys know know something something nobody nobody else else did? did? dream dream about about having having in positions in positions at your at your admit, admit, but you but will you know will know quickly quickly that that Jim & Jim & dealership. dealership. Before, Before, I wasI was always always at the at the Travis Travis know know our industry our industry inside inside and out... and out... I figured I figured I hadI had nothing nothing to lose to lose and and store, store, trying trying to figure to figure everything everything out. out. and Iand guarantee I guarantee a fewa good few good bellybelly laughs, laughs, too. too. everything everything to gain to gain by following by following theirtheir Being Being therethere so much so much was was burning burning me me advice. advice. So, ISo, didIwhat did what theythey told told me to me do— to do—out, out, and Iand wasI was missing missing quality quality timetime withwith Want Want results results like like mine? mine? Request Request ran the ran ad thethey ad they gavegave me, priced me, priced my cars my cars my wife my wife and two and two daughters. daughters. NowNow I know I know youryour FREE FREE Traffic Traffic Scale Scale Report Report and and get get using using theirtheir strategy strategy (higher, (higher, much much higher higher I have I have people people in place in place that that can handle can handle youryour FREE FREE audio audio book, book, Invasion Invasion of the of the thanthan everyone everyone else)else) and made and made simple, simple, things. things. It’s aIt’s very a very secure secure feeling feeling knowing knowingProfit Profit Snatchers, Snatchers, by visiting by visiting yet important, yet important, changes changes to the to way the way we we that that you have you have really really goodgood people people in place in placewww.TrafficScale.com www.TrafficScale.com and use and coupon use coupon positioned positioned our dealership our dealership to customers. to customers. and you and can yougo can and go do andwhat do what you want you want to do.to do.codecode ASM1312, ASM1312, or call or 888-255-2720. call 888-255-2720.


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leadership solution

the worst reason in the world

Living in Central Florida as I have for many years, it is hard to not be influenced in some way by “the Magic of Disney.” This is especially true if you have children like I do and live within 50 miles of the No. 1 tourist attraction in the world. It is hard to go anywhere, from a shopping mall to a gas station, where some Disney item isn’t being sold — from trinkets to t-shirts. The genius of marketing and the consistent innovation that takes place within the Disney culture is what makes all of that happen. People from all over the world travel day in and day out to joyfully spend their time and their money to have a taste of the Magic Kingdom. Those in the retail automotive business could learn a lot from the things they do at Disney World, especially in the area of innovation. If it’s new and exciting and potentially lucrative, Disney is right there at the forefront inventing or adapting to it for their next marketing strategy. They do it all without turning their back on the initial vision of Walt Disney and his best friend Mickey Mouse, always keeping in mind that it is the customers who drive all of this innovation and success. In an industry such as automobile manufacturing, where innovation is the key to staying in business, why do those of us who sell cars keep relying on old and outdated methods for delivering our products to the customers? Go to most dealerships today and observe how they do business. Besides the inventory and an onsite BDC, salespeople and managers are still doing and saying pretty much what they have for the past 50 years. Pull them aside and ask them why they do what they do and the answer will usually be the same: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it!” I cannot think of a worse reason than that for doing anything in business or in your personal life. This invokes the great quote that is often attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This certainly seems appropriate for much of the retail automotive industry. Today’s thriving companies don’t look backwards for direction; they are forward focused. The workplace culture is an environment where customer demand drives innovation, and the employee is a respected part of the creative process. They don’t gather at the table on Monday mornings to write the sales expectations for the month on a whiteboard. Staff meetings in today’s hottest companies are brainstorming sessions where everyone is involved and every idea is reviewed and appreciated. Employees are the main source of both innovative ideas and criticism, and

nothing is sacred. Whatever works best makes it to the final production line, regardless of who thought of it. It’s a team mentality and it works. This doesn’t mean we should throw out everything we have learned and start from scratch. What it does mean, though, is that we cannot do anything just because it is the way we have always done it. There are many proven processes that have made the retail automotive industry a centerpiece of the American way of life. But, there are also some that have caused the public to view us in the “people to avoid” category and not trust except when it is absolutely necessary to buy a new car. The fact that most people would rather have a root canal than go to a car dealership to shop speaks volumes about our reputation in the public eye. Even given this fact, many of our sales practices still rely on bullying, pressure and false statements designed to manipulate the customer. Those who believe that “all buyers are liars” can still find a job in our dealerships and operate the way they always have if they can put numbers on the board every month. I’ve written before about the powerful role that real leaders play in the changes that must take place in our business model. Leaders are the ones who make the difference and set the direction for where we must go. If those who sit at the helms in dealerships across America do not adapt to some new and effective strategies, our results will never grow. Having taught and trained salespeople and leaders across America and Canada for the past 27 years, I have learned one thing above all: Doing things the way they have always been done will give us the same results we have always had, which to me is just a daily exercise in futility. It’s a new world out there and, if we want to continue selling our products to the people who drive it, we have to adapt to the new paradigm of the informed customer. Those who don’t do this may soon become a thing of the past like the ideas that they refuse to leave behind.

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




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sales & training solution

the inbound call pre-snap read

It’s the third down with 12 yards to go and, after the quarterback relays the play from the offensive coordinator to the team in the huddle, everyone gets into formation. As the play clock ticks down, the quarterback identifies the defense shift into a blitz formation. He signals the receivers and offensive line to make the required adjustments for their individual routes and protection assignments. He turns to the tailback and lets him know his blocking assignment. With everything set and ready he approaches the center hikes the ball, drops back and hits an open receiver for an easy completion and a nice gain for a first down, not to mention making this entire process look relatively effortless to the casual observer. The pre-snap read and audible in football is one of the ultimate expressions of teamwork under pressure in all of sports. As fans, we typically applaud the individual, almostinstinctive decision the quarterback made — not the effort that went into being able to make the decision. The pre-snap read was the effort of hundreds of hours of film study, coaching and overall preparation by the entire offense. By knowing the play the defense was running, the offense has the advantage, but this opportunity can only be seized if the entire system works together. Luckily for dealerships we, too, have many opportunities to have an advantage. However, before I identify these advantages, please understand your customers are not the competition. Your competition is the level of preparation, training and execution of the other dealers with whom your potential customers are also communicating. Your dealership is receiving calls from a vast array of sources for new vehicles, used vehicles, marketing campaigns and voicemail returns. How can you organize them to go to the right person at the right time so you can diagnose the situation correctly? Before I answer that, you must first understand what “one-call resolution” truly means. It means stop transferring calls, stop paging and stop making people wait. The person who answers the initial



phone call must be the best “available” person to handle anything that may surface on the call. This core value requires a combination of training and technology. With customer expectations at an all-time high, you need to separate yourselves from the pack by making your dealership’s customer service look effortless. All things being equal, an organization where customers are routed to the right person faster will enjoy higher conversions than one where the customers have to wait — where calls are paged, transferred and put on hold. Four Areas to Maximize Your Advantages 1. Marketing Call Tracking — For a single dealership, you should have well over 50 toll-free

tracking numbers in use. Each source must have unique ad source assignments. This step is initially a challenge, but if setup correctly, it’s one of the single best ways you can improve your marketing business intelligence. It is also essential for the inbound call pre-snap read. 2. Phone System Call Routing and Skill-Based Logic — Calls can route to the correct person based on logic through an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) phone system. The technology evaluates the source and/or location, then determines who has the highest skill level to handle that type of call who is in an “available” status. By segmenting the calls, the highest performers can receive more calls, the most important calls and the return calls from the voicemails they left previously. In skill-based routing, for example, a rep can be certified to handle specific new or used car questions. Since agents will receive the same type of calls every day, they become increasingly better at their individual focus. 3. Advanced Caller ID and CRM Integration — Thanks to advanced caller ID from a modern ACD phone system, your BDC reps know the advertising source, location, department and the customer’s caller ID information, as well as the previous call history of the customer all before they answer. They can now give a custom response based on each call situation. The BDC rep doesn’t need to ask the source during the call. All the rep needs to add is the additional contact information, appointment and notes. Call logging can now reach nearly 100 percent. 4. Phone Call Handling — Ultimately, your employees need to be trained on how to handle

each situation that may come up on their calls. You can prepare for this by categorizing and scoring a sample of your calls. Build an ongoing report of the most common initial questions customers ask, as well as the questions that lead to the wrong call result, whether it be a hang up or no appointment. You should also set up your phone system to dynamically change the phone scripts based on the type of customer and source. Again, this is possible with most modern ACD phone systems. Your dealership can conduct a pre-snap read and audible to the correct inbound call strategy based on each customer. By doing much of the work before the call is answered, you give yourself the best overall odds for success. The right combination of call tracking, phone technology, CRM integration and phone training is the foundation for every dollar you spend to encourage your customer to call you. Many of the technologies I have discussed in this article are not new and have become increasingly more affordable. In early 2014, make sure you spend time addressing the systems that support your marketing plan so you can provide a world-class customer experience.

Jon Berna is the founder of Driven Data Consulting. He can be contacted at 866.484.0383, or by e-mail at jberna@autosuccessonline.com.

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marketing solution

five prescriptions for sales success Healthy sales growth is elusive for many dealerships, but they are often just a few prescriptions away from thriving. The case of a Nissan Dealership in Texas is a perfect example. In 2012, this Nissan store was able to increase its sales ranking by 342 places over the previous year without changing management or spending more in advertising. How were they able to improve so dramatically in just one year? They instituted a few simple advertising tweaks. At the heart of these changes was shifting the bulk of their marketing dollars to direct mail — their most cost-effective form of advertising. The key to their success wasn’t just spending differently, but planning differently, as well. Use these five prescriptions to ensure you utilize direct mail effectively to achieve your sales success: 1. Identify the Right Target Market — Analyze your sales reports, your surrounding demographics and your brand to determine where to target your campaign. A wellplanned campaign will include your database,



good target lists and saturation mail to your target neighborhoods. You may be surprised the manufacturers do not always have good information for your specific market. A fullservice direct mail company can do this for you. 2. Maintain Consistency to Save

— Consistency is key. Avoid skipping months or switching vendors in the middle of your campaign. Many dealers make last-minute decisions to use the direct mail vendor with the cheapest price or newest specialty piece. In theory, you may think you’re saving money, but planning ahead and working with the right team long term will keep you on target. Putting a budget and plan in place three to six months ahead will actually save you time and effort.

3. Organize Follow-up of Campaign Leads

— It’s important to decide up front who and how all calls and leads will be managed. Setting appointments from incoming calls, IVRs and PURLs is often a training problem for dealers.

Make sure to always check your numbers several times a month to see how you or your vendor is doing. Remember: They are setting appointments, not selling cars. 4.Use Relevant Mail Piece Messages — Make

sure you use well-thought-out mail pieces that work with your specific, targeted demographics. A great mail piece starts with the envelope or mailbox experience. A piece that goes unopened or unread is a piece that will not work. The message or call to action should be custom tailored for your market. Measure the results from each mail piece and your overall plan to see how well a campaign is doing. Make adjustments.

5. Know Your Floor Traffic — Most dealerships only register 40 to 60 percent of their floor traffic. That is leaving potentially millions of dollars in revenue on the table. Statistics show that an effective follow-up program and knowing your customer traffic will result in higher sales. Take advantage of new and easy technology that can help you achieve a higher registration rate.

Great news: The right direct mail vendor will help you plan and execute your campaigns. Coupled with a good follow-up, tracking and registration process, you can dramatically transform the health of your sales. Start your search today.

Debbie Drury is the president of MarketDoctors.com. She can be contacted at 866.872.8150, or by e-mail at ddrury@autosuccessonline.com.


leadership solution

a key question for these times: Are you pricing cars or customers? Here’s a question I believe dealers must ask themselves honestly: If three different customers came into your dealership asking about the price on a vehicle, would they all get the same answer? I’ve posed this question with a lot of dealers in recent months. The answer I get most often is, “Probably not.”

I’m fairly certain most dealers would find this a highly inefficient and unsatisfying experience. Yet, this scenario isn’t all that much different than the experience most dealers ask their customers to endure when they want to buy a vehicle, particularly if it’s a new car.

Of course, the dealers quickly explain why it’s impossible to give different customers the same answer. After all, every customer’s circumstances are different. Credit scores, down payments, monthly payments, trade-ins — each of these can make a difference on the price a dealer gives a customer. On top of that, a few dealers admit, the end goal is to get as much out of each customer as possible, which means price depends on the person.

The problem, of course, is that today’s vehicle buyers want a faster, simpler and more straightforward way to buy a vehicle — one that the traditional “price the customer, not the car” will never deliver. The fix for this dilemma is obvious to me: Give consumers a more transactionlike price on the car, and spend less energy, good will and time putting a price on the buyer.

With all due respect to dealers with this view, I’d like to call a “time out.”

question years ago when we were talking about the car business. “Dad, how can every dealer offer the best deal in town? That doesn’t seem possible.”

Let’s consider, for a moment, what this traditional “price the customer, not the car” approach means for the customers themselves: 1. It’s far less than straightforward. Let’s say you’re shopping for a

new big screen TV. You’re either online or in a store, and you want to know how much you’ll have to pay to buy the TV you want. However, you can’t trust the prices you see, or get a straight answer when you ask.

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Such success owes, I believe, to these dealers recognizing that times have changed — and that they, too, must change to meet the preferences of today’s customers. For them, the traditional “price the customer, not the car” is a relic of another era of automotive retailing. OK. The “time out” is over. It’s back to business as a key question remains: What kind of business do you want your dealership to be — one where you price cars or you price customers?

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Dealers can rightfully counter that, at least in new cars, they haven’t been able to rise up and meet consumer desires for more credible and transparent pricing, especially given the complexities of incentives and inability to truly size up the competition. But such competitive market intelligence is now available to dealers — and I believe it will help eliminate the conflict and confusion that today’s new and used buyers consider unnecessary and, quite frankly, unwanted. 3. It sends business down the street. A lot of dealers scoff at CarMax or their franchise dealer brethren who have adopted one-price (or “near one-price”) retailing philosophies. But, while we’re in our “time out,” let’s ask how many of these dealerships have gone out of business? (Let’s not confuse the question with the case of Saturn, which shuttered due to factory influence more than the merits of the retailing philosophy or dealers running the stores.) The answer is that there are more dealers adopting transparency-minded pricing and business models today than there has ever been. These guys are buying, not closing, retail locations.

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So it goes today — dealers continue to clamor about “best deal” prices without really offering a price that’s transaction-like, and therefore credible, in the eyes of consumers. (A caveat: This indictment applies more to the new vehicle market more than used; the latter now features far more market-based, transaction-oriented prices). It’s no wonder customers arrive at showrooms armed to essentially battle for the prices they’ve seen on value comparison sites like KBB.com and TrueCar.


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.

podcast interviewee



Boost the Visibility of Your Service Center

2. It sows unnecessary conflict and confusion. I remember my son’s


marketing solution

focusing on video provides thoroughbred results

For this month’s dealer video marketing profile, I interviewed George O’Sullivan, eCommerce director of the Thoroughbred Ford Automotive Group, which has two new-car franchise locations in Kansas City and Platte City, Missouri. George’s career started back in 1996. Thoroughbred Ford is currently ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction and No. 1 in car sales in their market. Below is a transcript of our conversation: AJ LeBlanc: Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy and philosophy? George O’Sullivan: We still do some

television advertising for brand recognition; our focus, however, is digital. We have maintained our Google rankings with a mix of pay per click, social media sites and relentless local SEO. We added Video SEO about six months ago and it has been remarkable. AJ: What type of marketing efforts do you implement in the stores on a consistent monthly basis? GO: We use e-mail campaigns to our current

customers and then we rely on our SEO, Video SEO and PPC to conquest those people who are not yet our customers.

AJ: Why is it important for a dealership to have Video SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy? GO: The search engines are prioritizing Video

SEO. Since there are still so few dealerships using it, the bang for the buck is tremendous.



Video is the media of choice on the Internet and it is growing at a tremendous pace.

AJ: Can you explain what Video SEO does for your dealership? GO: Our use of Video SEO has placed us at the

top of the rankings and at our competitor’s front door. We now show on the front page of searches for competing brands, in neighboring cities and for services that never had us ranked on the first page before — and we are only six months into our Video SEO campaigns.

AJ: How has a Video SEO strategy impacted your Websites’ visibility on search engines? GO: The amazing and immediate effect of this is that people searching across brands keep

running into our name at the top of all the search pages. People looking to service their vehicles keep running into our name. Because of this, the traffic on our Website has jumped by almost 40 percent in our first few months using Video SEO.

AJ: How do you measure the effectiveness of your Video SEO strategy? GO: I measure the effectiveness of Video SEO by the increased number of unique visitors to

our Website (up almost 40 percent), by the thousands of video plays on our Websites and by the increased number of phone calls we get on a daily basis. We can also see it internally, with increased sales and service.

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? GO: This is the only major marketing change we have made in the last year and the effectiveness

is overwhelming. Our sales have been up every month since we began, from 20 percent to 42 percent year over year in both sales and service. Although I would not attribute all of that to the Video SEO, it is a major part.

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.



It’s the Oscars of the Auto Industry

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 to recognize the #1 performing dealers from each franchise. This year, the Automotive Leadership Roundtable & Awards Dinner will take place at the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort on April 6 & 7 with a surprise performance by a Grammy award winning artist. ALR is a high-power 24-hour event that starts with a welcome reception on the beach at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort; a high-level executive roundtable featuring some of the most innovative leaders in automotive retail; and a 6-star awards dinner for the #1 dealers from each brand. Previous awards dinners have included live concerts featuring legendary Grammy winners like Tony Bennett, Alejandro Sanz and Bruce Hornsby. Tony Bennett has become a favorite of the ALR. Previously ALR attendees celebrated Tony’s 85th birthday party by attending a dinner concert with Elton John Performing. Guests included former President Bill Clinton, Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric, Regis Philbin and Richard Gere.

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

Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, celebrating Tony’s 85th birthday

Tiffany Alvord, a 20 year-old singing sensation who recently cut an album in Nashville after getting 160 million hits on YouTube.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER MARK BURNETT Nominated for 98 Emmy awards, producer of over 40 hit shows including The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Sing Off and Celebrity Apprentice , Named one of “The World’s Most Influential People” by Time Magazine

Bill Underriner, President and Co-owner of Underriner Motors

FEATURED SPEAKER JACK HARBAUGH Former NFL Player and father of history-making sons John and Jim.


This year’s keynote speaker is Mark Burnett, the #1 TV and Film Producer in history, nominated for 98 Emmy awards. Burnett currently has a #1 show on TV every night of the week and he is the creator of over 40 hit shows including The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Sing Off and Celebrity Apprentice. Featured speakers will also include many of the #1 selling retailers from the top automotive brands and thought leaders from Google, Facebook, Univision & Pandora. Jack Harbaugh will also be a Featured Speaker. Harbaugh is a former NFL player and coach, who will share his insights on fostering excellence with his history-making sons John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the first brothers to serve as head coaches on opposing sidelines in a Super Bowl.

Chip Perry, President of AutoTrader

Tony Bennett performing at the 2012 ALR Welcome Reception and Charity Dinner

Bruce Hornsby, 9-time Grammy nominee

#1 DEALERS SHARE THEIR SECRETS TO SUCCESS The highlight of the event is when the #1 selling retailers share best practices for building their dealerships’ success. “It was a pleasure to hear from guys who 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,” said Joe Wilkins, COO, Pohanka Automotive

Jim Dunn, JM Lexus, #1 Lexus Dealer, presented at ALR Miami 2012

Group, one of the top dealer groups in the country and owner of the #1 Acura dealership. The Roundtable is hosted at one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite venues – the “Sparkle Ballroom,” where every president since Nixon has spoken. Previous top-selling dealers who have spoken on this stage include: Brett David, Prestige Imports, the #1 selling Audi dealer; Lisa Copeland, Fiat of Austin, the #1 selling Fiat dealer, Jim Dunn, JM Lexus, the #1 selling Lexus dealer; Garth Blumenthal, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, the #1 selling Mercedes dealer; Hagen Durant, Classic Chevrolet, the #1 Chevrolet dealer; Sam Slaughter, Bob Sellers Buick GMC, #1 Buick dealer; Brian

Patrick Workman, Client Partner, Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook

Benstock, Paragon Honda & Acura, the top certified pre-owned dealer in the country and Honda and Acura’s top new and used combined dealership, to name a few.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever been part of, having attended many industry events, I was impressed by the caliber and diversity of attendees and speakers.” - doug frisbie

David Boice; Garth Blumenthal, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, #1 Mercedes Dealer; Brian Benstock, Paragon Honda Acura, #1 Honda & Acura combined new and used; Sean Wolfington

global head of automotive, facebook

In addition to talks by the top selling dealers, thought leaders from some of the most influential companies in the industry share insights about the biggest growth opportunities. Doug Frisbie, the Global Head of Automotive for Facebook, gave an eye-opening presentation about how dealers are leveraging the platform to sell and service more cars while reducing their costs to attract customers. “It’s one of the best I’ve ever been part of, having attended many industry events,” said Frisbie. “I was impressed by the caliber and diversity of attendees and speakers.” April 6th & 7th, 2014 | miami beach, fl www.automotiveleadershiproundtable.org

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

Tony Bennett with #1 Dealers and VIPs including Doug Frisbie, Facebook; Hugh & Judy Hathcock; Carolyn & Phil Delzatto, #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, #1 Infiniti Dealer; Ken & Debbie Smith, #1 Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealer; Brian Benstock, #1 Honda Acura combined Dealer; Brett David, #1 Audi Dealer

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

Samantha Wynns of AutoTrader.com and Michael Wynns, President of ARP and Director of the Automotive Leadership Roundtable & Awards

ALR attendees enjoy Aretha Franklin & Tony Bennett performing a duet.

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

Other speakers have included Google’s Kim Stonehouse; Scott Painter, CEO of TrueCar; Cesar Conde, President of Univision Networks; Jack Harbaugh, NFL coach and father to history making sons, John Harbaugh, head coach of the Ravens, and Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the 49ers, who were the first brothers to serve as head coaches on opposing sidelines in a Super Bowl; and Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Ana & Sean Wolfington with Joan & Dave Power, the 2012 Automotive Leadership Legacy Award recipient

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

Dame football player who provided the inspiration for the movie Rudy.

“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. The Automotive Leadership Roundtable is one of the best industry events I’ve ever attended.” - bill underriner previous nada chairman and owner of underriner motors

The Roundtable also heard from leading dealers including Bill Underriner, 2012 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, Brian Benstock, Paragon Honda & Acura, the country’s top certified dealer and the #1 Honda & Acura new and used combined dealer

the brand’s most profitable dealership since 2007; and Bob Murray, head of marketing for the Asbury Automotive Group. “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, previous NADA Chairman and long-time Owner of Underriner Motors, a four-franchise dealership in Billings, MT. “The Automotive Leadership Roundtable is one of the best

Brian Lam, Platform VP at DCH Auto Group

industry events I’ve ever attended.” Cesar Conde, president of Univision and Jonathan Bernard, head of Automotive for the network, gave valuable insights about the growing Latino Automotive market. One example provided was how the nation’s top Kia dealer, Fuccillo Kia in Cape Coral, FL, leveraged the Latino market to vault to #1 in less than a year.

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

April 6th & 7th, 2014 | miami beach, fl www.automotiveleadershiproundtable.org

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

Mark Hersh, Pepe Infiniti, #1 Infiniti Dealership

Sarah Marquis, CEO, Mollydooker Wines, one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top winemakers

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

Richard Bustillo, GM of Rick Case Honda, Nations most profitable Honda dealership for 5 years in a row

Debbie & Ken Smith, #1 Ram Dealer, #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 Dameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rudy fame

Brett David, Prestige Imports, #1 Audi Dealer

Mike Roscoe, Boyd Warner, Ken Hicks, Sam Slaughter, J.E. Wolfington, Jim Dunn , Dale Pollak, Chip Perry, Sean Wolfington, Jay Rosenthal Kneeling: Hagen Durant, Brian Benstock , Cliff Banks & Brett David

Fontainebleau Miami Beach Arkadia Pool

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

“After implementing some of the strategies I learned, we went from THE #9 Honda dealer in the nation to #3 and our service department increased our average monthly repair orders from 3,000 to 4,100.” - Richard bustillo gm, rick case honda

“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,” said Richard Bustillo, GM of Rick Case Honda. “After implementing some of the strategies I learned, we went from the #9 Honda dealer in the nation to #3 and our service department increased our average monthly repair orders from 3,000 to 4,100.” Jim Dunn, a 40-year veteran of the industry from JM Lexus, the # 1 Lexus Dealer in the world has attended multiple ALR events; “I was just blown April 6th & 7th, 2014 | miami beach, fl www.automotiveleadershiproundtable.org

Kim Stonehouse, Google, presenting at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

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.” “It’s the Oscars of the Auto Industry,” said Grant Cardone, a New York Times best-selling author. Cardone has spoken at multiple ALR events including the latest one in Miami. In Typical Cardone fashion, he urged attendees to stay positive and to focus on training and motivating their people. “The energy is phenomenal,” said Michael Wynns, ALR’s Director. “The event helps dealers sell more cars and make more money while also helping their employees and communities.” 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. Previous sponsors have included Univision, Autotrader, TrueCar, Team Velocity Marketing, Tier10 Marketing, AutoAmigo; Driving Loyalty; DealerAppVantage; CallRevu and Social Dealer.

ALR AWARDS DINNER Following the Automotive Leadership Roundtable guests are Robert De Niro & Regis Philbin in NY celebrating Tony Bennett’s 85th birthday with the Automotive Leadership Roundtable

invited to partake in a lavish celebration to recognize #1 dealers in each brand. Previous Award Dinners have been hosted at the historic Versace Mansion and on Fontainebleau’s famous Oceanfront Terrace. The awards dinner is the perfect ending to the event. Attendees have been treated to private concerts by Grammy winning artists and a celebratory toast by the Brand Ambassador for Remy Martin’s Louis XIII cognac.

Toyota North America Chairman & CEO Yoshimi Inaba meets ALR attendees dined with Robert De Niro & Regis Philbin. Tony Bennett at the ALR Fall Series.

“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 their phones.” For Underriner, seeing that interaction was critical. “I think the most important part was hearing and seeing ways we can treat our

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

guests and employees with the utmost respect,” he said. ALR events are by invitation only because of the limited space available at the venue. However, you can visit www.ALR2014. com to add yourself to the waitlist to receive an invitation because there are always some invited guests who are unable to attend. Registration for the event is $10,000, which includes all events and meals.

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

Phil & Carolyn Delzatto, Garden City Nissan, #1 Nissan Dealer

If you are interested in attending this invitation-only event please visit www.automotiveleadershiproundtable.org or call the VIP Concierge at 800-894-8377.


sales & training solution

vendors need to connect to the ground level As I think about the sheer lack of training that exists in the car industry today, I find myself disheartened by the low expectations dealers have for their vendors. Why don’t we, as dealers, demand more out of the companies to whom we’re paying thousands of dollars a month? Since when did the mere usage of the technology these vendors produced years ago become worth so much to us that we excuse the customer service provided? Some top-level vendors emulate each other today and don’t seem to have insight or foresight into what they are doing wrong. While these words may be the result of exhausting hours put in over the last few weeks retraining my group’s management and sales staff on “cutting-edge” tools from the vendors who failed to provide proper training the first time, what I’m saying holds merit and should be taken seriously. Vendors today are missing the point. They throw exorbitant amounts at coders and developers to make a new and trendy program or tool, but don’t pay the same respect to implementation and training of the dealership staff that uses them. Instead of hiring salespeople who know the dealer’s world intimately, they shift these tenured sales pawns from company to company thinking that, if they throw together just the right team, their products are going to somehow take off. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. Let me shed some dealer perspective on the subject: If your vendor’s salespeople or product specialists have been removed from the sales floor for more than two or three years, they’re dated. Obviously, there

There’s a reason why some vendors do so well in certain territories. They actually have representatives who come to the store and know how to train dealership-level salespeople in a way they can comprehend and relate. are rare exceptions, but in reality, 90 percent of these vendor’s frontline people don’t have a clue how train dealership employees on how to implement or use their tools in a real-world setting. I think back to one of my two-hour training sessions today. As I explained the benefits of our vendor programs and how they can be used on a daily basis, I see the mouths of my salespeople and managers drop. They can’t believe that our tool has the ability to change every aspect of their day. They continuously shake their heads and plead to me that they never knew the system could do that. In reality, they were trained on it, but the people sent by the vendor aren’t car people and couldn’t relate to the dealership staff on how these tools can benefit them. The reason I’m writing is not to complain about vendors, but to get the dealer principles or general managers reading this to expect — no, wait — to demand more from their vendors. Do not allow your vendors to simply come in and pitch on how great their products are, while quoting weak value-building statements and showing you analytics that you don’t understand. Tell them you want them in the dealership, training your staff on how to use their tools on an everyday basis. Test your vendor’s salespeople. Ask them to give you specific examples on how this tool can be used in situations that are relevant to you. If they fail to connect with the audience using their solution, isn’t the fault of the trainers from that company? Don’t accept the same rhetoric they regurgitate to every other general manager. They’re talking around you and your questions. Expect them to relate with you and your team on a specific dealership level. What good is the product if your staff doesn’t know how to really use it? More than just logging into the backend and maintaining its utilization, they should realize a tool’s ability and use it in innovative ways that will set you apart from the rest of the dealers using the exact same program. When I shop my three nearest competitors and get the exact same popular CRM template from each, there’s something amiss. There’s a reason why some vendors do so well in certain territories. They actually have representatives who come to the store and know how to train dealership-level salespeople in a way they can comprehend and relate. There’s a reason why companies like these are among our top vendors. When they are responsive to our needs, offer quality customer service and shape the entire product and staff to create customized solutions that fit the way my dealership runs — that’s what makes a vendor second to none. I don’t want any vendors that I use to feel I’m focusing this article on them; I’ve used just about every vendor out there over the last five or six years. A rare few of them are an exception to this. If you ask me, I suggest you request that these vendor executives start hiring people that were recent ground-level dealership sales or management staff. These people speak our language; the vendors don’t. If you’d like to get a list of my favorite vendors, please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below. Chris Hill is the eCommerce director at Bill Jacobs Auto Group in Joliet, Illinois. He can be contacted at 800.723.3158, or by e-mail at chill@autosuccessonline.com.



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

Dale Pollak Founder of vAuto






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

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

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

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

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

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

JimmyVee & TravisMiller

leadership solution

part 2

top 10 ways to screw up success

Finally…we’re back with the much-anticipated second half of our 10 most common ways to screw up success. Hopefully, you all had a great New Year. But now it’s time to get back on the horse. So saddle up, partner — here’s our Top 5.

now that things are running smoothly, it’s a heck of a lot more important. Often, they’re right under your nose and you don’t think it’s worth the risk to do something about it. But just because someone produces high numbers doesn’t mean they have an excuse for being negative. Statistics show that group performance improves when negativity gets kicked to the curb. You have to lose your fear of letting people go. If it’s the eye that afflicts you, pluck it out.

5. We Forget What Got Us There

2. Culture Creep

4. System Breakdown

As the one behind the wheel, you may think it’s impossible for you not to move on to bigger and better tasks. What people forget, though, is that responsibilities and business grow simultaneously. At first, getting everything going is like spinning plates. You get one plate going nice and steady and so you move on to another. But you can’t forget to go back to the other plates, because if you just left them they would lose their momentum. Without a little maintenance every now and then, your processes could all come crashing down. If it’s hard for you to keep spinning all the plates yourself, then find someone who can. 3. Bad Apples Spoil The Bunch

You’ve probably experienced this before, but

Before you became successful, there was a culture that your dealership would always settle back into after ups or downs in sales. Now that you’re more established and numbers are up, people will start to get lazy because everything gets easier. And, if things go unchecked, you should start to notice your old culture creeping back in at an increasing rate as time goes on. Part of your success is the culture you have created at your dealership. It’s the reason people would rather come to you before anyone else — don’t let it change back to what it was before you became successful. 1. Limiting Beliefs

Most successful people understand the importance of humility. But there comes a point where you need to puff out your chest a little bit. Self-recognition in moderation, can prove highly effective if you want to keep raising the bar for yourself. Often, successful people reach a point where they ask themselves questions like, “Do I deserve this? Why me? Why now?” To which we respond — Who cares? You’ve worked long and hard to get where you are and it doesn’t make sense to worry about things you don’t have any control over. Everyone has to make tough decisions when they’re moving up in life, and you’re no different. Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve become successful. Sure, it took some discipline to climb the ladder, but now you’re at the top and it’s time to kick your feet up, lean back and reach for the stars. So there you have it, the second half of our list of the 10 most common ways to screw up success. Abide by them and there’s no telling how far you’ll go. Just remember this, friends — the treasure is not at the end of the journey; the treasure is the journey. Enjoy the ride. For a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area, visit www.TrafficScale.com and use coupon code ASM1401.

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.

Have coffee with ROI-BOT Spend just 15 minutes with ROI-BOT and gain insight into new strategies for your business. your daily and monthly vendor data into one data • Consolidate warehouse! and analyze operations and marketing investments from • Inspect one executive dashboard. • Review historical data from all vendor partners. • Identify problems with vendor data, systems, or budgets. • Make more informed decisions that impact your bottom line. is becoming the go-to source for reporting and analysis • ROI-BOT in dealerships nationwide.

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Business Intelligence Tools to Manage Your Dealership Vendor Reports Organize. Clarify. R.O.I.

©2013 Roibot Software, Inc. All rights reserved. ROI-BOT is a registered trademark.

There’s an old saying that fits perfectly with this situation: Everyone forgets who brought them to the dance. Don’t be that person! While you start dancing with new flashy processes and earnings, you have to make sure you aren’t losing sight of your bread and butter. Think of your business like a quilt; the fabric that makes up the quilt is not only important, but it is entirely dependent on the pattern laid down before it. You must conform to your own pattern while continuing to make the changes our industry demands.


marketing solution

keep your customers close

Customer retention is one of the biggest challenges you and your dealership face, leaving you with one simple question: “How do I keep my customers?” Acquiring new customers can cost anywhere from five to seven times more than simply retaining existing ones. To enhance your customer retention, you need to get innovative and proactive. Your first task is to find where your audience is and where it’s going. The answer is mobile. About 62 percent of the population has a smartphone, and that number is increasing. This means that the use of mobile apps is increasing, as well. Since 2010, app usage has almost tripled. In just one year, the average minutes spent per day on an app increased by 35 percent, from 94 minutes to 127 minutes. However, users spent an average of 70 minutes per day on the Web over the last year, and that number is actually decreasing. This shows mobile apps are continuing to rise as the Web is starting to wane. With that said, a highly effective way to improve your customer retention is with a useful, dynamic and well-designed app. Your App

customers’ lives, but also your dealership’s bottom line. An app can also include geo-fencing technology, which is a virtual perimeter for real-world geographic areas. It allows you to set up triggers in locations of your choice (your address, your competitor’s address, etc.), so when your customer enters that set location, the app will send them your customized push notification. Since the Telephone Consumer Protection Act has now prohibited the use of mobile text messages without a written consent from the consumer, an app can safely improve how you reach out to your customers. However, all these great features are handicapped without a good user interface (UI). Your UI is a reflection of your brand identity, so it should constitute a good use of color coding, activity indicators, positioning of elements and tool tips. A great UI lets the customers do what they need to do intuitively without really having to think about it. You don’t want your customers spending too much time trying to figure out how to maneuver your app. The appearance of the app echoes the appearance of your dealership — the more professional your app looks and feels, the more credibility your dealership gets. Ring in Your Customers

Let’s say a customer walks into your dealership searching for a used car. Your sales representative greets him and uses the inventory function to locate a vehicle that suits his needs. However, for any number of reasons — selection, price or experience — the customer doesn’t buy. Before he leaves, your sales representative helps them download your dealership’s app. Your customer later goes down the street to your competitor’s dealership and, thanks to geo-fencing, receives a push notification informing him of your store’s new specials and promotions. After seeing a new car lease, the customer’s interest has awakened again and purchases the car from your dealership. At vehicle delivery, your sales representative then shows him how to schedule his first service.

An app offers unique features that can provide you with a better way to retain your customers. It provides customers with usable features that will improve their experience with your dealership. Customers can receive useful updates and push notifications, including promotions, service reminders and important events. An app also allows customers to schedule appointments, track mileage and view your inventory, making their busy lives easier while increasing your reveune.

Eight months later, your dealership alerts the customer with a push notification, alerting him that there’s an existing recall for the vehicle. Using a virtual service manager function, he can easily schedule service. The service advisor chats with the customer and even upsells him without violating TCPA laws. Your customer is pleased with how easy and simple the ownership cycle was. You can count on situations like this happening to you once you have an app.

Customers can use a system like a “virtual service manager” feature to schedule appointments, allowing them to send an instant message to their service advisor. This increases the efficiency of communication from dealer to customer and eliminates the phone tag issues that plague the proficiency of all service departments. With this direct communication, service advisors can constantly keep their customers updated with messages and pictures of their car’s service so customers know exactly what is being done with their car every step of the way. This not only improves your

In this competitive world, you want to find a way to keep your customers coming back, and a handy app can allow you to make that happen. Mobile apps are where you need to head if you’re thinking about improving your mobile marketing strategies. Studies show that 71 percent of smartphone users who see an advertisement that captures their interest will immediately do a mobile search on it. Proactively engaging with your customers leads to higher customer satisfaction and better retention. According to Google’s championed digital evangelist Avinash Kaushik, “Owning audiences, instead of just renting them; earning time instead of just buying it; creating persistent relationship, instead of just transient ones,” are steps you need to take to get on that path of success. These are the powers you can hold within your dealership. All you need is the right mobile marketing partner.



A great way to launch your app is by getting the word out by simply promoting your app on all your advertising media, whether it be on billboards, television or radio. Prospects and customers will have the ability to contact your dealership in the palm of their hands, literally. This increases attraction, which leads to more engagement, which later results in success. Understanding Your Benefits

Ed Louis is the CEO and co-founder of DealerApp Vantage. He can be contacted at 866.604.6710, or by e-mail at elouis@autosuccessonline.com.

David Lewis & Associates Automotive Sales & Management Training

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Booth 5023

Discover why DLA is the most realistic approach in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Automotive sales environment! Founder/CEO David Lewis

www.davidlewis.com For More Info: 800-374-3314


sales & training solution

how you can use artificial intelligence to sell more cars We can all agree that, in the last 10 years, how we use technology in our everyday lives has changed. The dealerships that are growing have adapted to today’s new technology, just as a majority of buyers are using the Internet to do research before they make a purchase.

you might want to rethink what opportunities and sales you are missing. This technology offers artificial intelligence (AI) that will act as a “person” you design to work alongside of your sales team to do all the heavy lifting, allowing your salespeople more time to focus their attention on the customers who are ready to buy.

So, with all these well-informed walk-in and Internet leads, how are your sales teams keeping up? Are your walk-in leads greeted within five minutes of arriving? Of course they are; it would be best practice to greet someone when they walk in and to do so quickly.

While Rob is focused on his leads from the previous weeks, his virtual assistant is communicating with inbound leads in a natural two-way e-mail conversation. The assistant works 193 inbound leads for Rob, 24/7, to keep the leads engaged. The system validates the intent of 92 of these leads and alerts Rob that they need his attention. The AI also does the simple administrative tasks you would expect of an assistant, like validating the best phone number for the lead and finding out when Rob should call. Rob is thrilled to have the extra help that makes him look so good to his boss because he has a 90 percent satisfaction rating with his customers, according to the virtual assistant. The leads that the AI nurtured for him while he was busy with last month’s leads nets him 17 deals for the month of August. Rob loves working with his virtual assistant because, before it came along, he was closing about three percent and surely letting leads fall through the cracks. Now, he consistently closes in the seven to nine percent range, more than doubling his previous closing rate and, since he’s not working any extra hours, there’s no risk of burn out.

Does that carry over to your Internet leads? Again you say, “Of course, my CRM sends out an e-mail to say, ‘Hi! We’ll have someone follow up with you when our salesperson has the time’.” And therein lies the problem. Your Internet leads are not being treated the same as if they just walked into your dealership. Why is that a problem, you ask? Because the dealership that will survive and flourish will be the one that treats their online shopper just like its walk-in customer — with personalized human interaction. Now maybe you are already thinking, “My sales team does a great job at keeping up with all the leads we send them. They e-mail and call, leave messages and always put copious notes in the CRM. We just expect there will be a percentage of these leads who don’t respond, or they just stop needing a car.”

Here is an example of a sales rep (“Rob”) who used such technology in August of last year:

The truth is, leads don’t sell cars; it’s your salespeople and the conversations and relationships that they have with the customer that sells the cars. Investing in the next generation of sales automation offers a solution that automates the personal greeting an online lead would get, just like your walk-in’s get from your receptionist at the dealership. The coming year looks bright for the auto industry. The December 2013 issue of NADA Guidelines, states that “November’s SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) of 16.3 million was the highest new vehicle sales rate recorded since February 2007.” It goes on to say that NADA expects this trend to continue into Q1. If you are ready to maximize every lead you have in your system, then embrace the new technology available to you. Artificial intelligence technology exists that can enhance your current process, integrate with most CRMs and has proven effective working with sales teams and alongside existing BDCs.

However, with new technology such as customizable automated assistants available,

Rosalind Vazquez is a marketing manager at AVA. She can be contacted at 800.453.8216, or by e-mail at rvazquez@autosuccessonline.com.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW OTHER DEALERS HANDLE THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE EVERY DAY? Our Dealer Panel gives voice to dealers, GMs and sales professionals to share their experiences — sales techniques, new technologies and ways to motivate staff — giving our readers the benefit of their experiences.


THE 58

DEALER PANEL autosuccessonline.com

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the dealer panel

Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock

part 1

the role of service in customer Danny Benites Tony Provost retention

Having a well-run service department has always been a benefit for dealerships, but the school of thought has changed in recent years towards looking at the service department as a way of connecting with customers and providing increased retention for the sales department. In the next few installments of the Dealer Panel, we’ll look at this trend and see what our panel is doing to increase customer retention out of the service department.

from the sales or F&I end, so perhaps they might not place as much focus on service. Service, however, is a huge opportunity for the fixed absorption rate of the dealership’s expenses. Our dealership is only five years old – when we opened, we had a small owner base, because our brand didn’t exist in this market. Now that we have an owner base in place, we’re starting to see the benefits of getting these customers back in and earning their service business, as well as increasing our used car business.

For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Danny Benites, general manager of Greg Lair Buick-GMC in Canyon, Texas; Chris Saraceno, THE vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania and Florida; Tony Provost, president and dealer principal for Nissan of Bourne in Massachusetts; Brian Benstock, vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Andrew DiFeo, general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida.

AS: Describe the process in your dealership of a new customer coming into the service successful solutions provided bydepartment — what steps do you take to transition them into a potential sales customer? CS: Our facility has a drive-in service lane. Upon the customer’s arrival,


AutoSuccess: How has the role of the service department changed in the overall health of dealerships in general, and in your dealership in particular? Chris Saraceno: Our service department contributes greatly to the

overall success and profitability of our dealerships. Our service directors and general manager partner with one another to improve the overall heath and profit of the dealership. Not only are customers better informed today, but they are also certainly less loyal. The one thing that hasn’t changed is they will buy from someone they trust and have built a relationship with — even if that company is not the one with the lowest price.

Danny Benites: Rather than thinking about the sales and service

departments separately, as dealers, we have had to continue to accept the reality that they are eternally connected. We can no longer depend on the one-time car buyer.  With what we went through in 2008 and 2009, retention is more important than ever.  As an industry, we are finally getting this concept through our thick heads: Sales customers who become service customers become sales customers, again and again. It’s a wonderful cycle — once you figure it out.

Brian Benstock: The service department is the dealership’s best

retention tool. As the old saying goes, “Sales sells the first car; service sells the next six.” The connection between sales and service is stronger than it’s ever been at the Paragon stores. Each department needs the other to be successful. I need an efficient service department to ensure my used cars are prepared to be put on the lot and be sure my customers have a great experience when they come in for an oil change, brake work or tire rotation, so when they’re ready for that next car, we’re able to ensure we get the first “at bat” with them. It’s a critical part of the dealership.

Tony Provost: Service and parts have become a profit center, retention

center and a communication center — all in one. With the help of the Internet, we are able to talk with our customers while they are in service. Chris Saraceno t AndrewDiFeo Brian ock Every day, we knowTony whenProvos our customers are being serviced, andBens we t trade customers out of cars every week. We are able to send service specials weekly. To sum it up, the service department has become another “business within a business” for our dealership. Andrew DiFeo: Service and parts departments

have always played a huge role in the profitability of a dealership. Traditionally, though, it gets less focus because executive managers typically climb the ranks




our advisors perform a “welcome/introduction” within minutes at the customer’s vehicle. A vehicle walk around is performed, as well as a free alignment check. From the time of purchase and continuing through the ownership of their vehicle, we are in constant contact with the owner via e-mail, SMS and voicemail. This is to inform and communicate to the owner any open recalls, campaigns, service or sales specials, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We also take that opportunity to have our quality assurance specialist contact the customer with options as it pertains to new products and the current value of their vehicle. 

DB: We participate in the General Motors Courtesy Transportation program, enabling our service customers to drive new GM vehicles. We also offer a free equity analysis to our service customers to show them ways to move into a newer vehicle without increasing their payment.  It may sound simple, but the No. 1 way that we turn service customers into sales customers is that we really take care of our service customers. BB: We have full sales team, finance director and manager who work out of our service department. The service department has new cars displayed within it, and if someone expresses interest, we make them a presentation, which takes about 60 seconds. We discuss their current car, their current features and benefits, the advantages of a new car and hopefully lower their monthly payment. We also express our need for their current car; we have a high demand for certified pre-owned Hondas. TP: All customer information, including car data, is put into the

the dealer panel computer. Each customer is assigned to the sales desk, and we make sure this happens every time. The sales desk sends out an e-mail with an introduction and information about our dealership, and then, within 48 hours, the sales manager makes a follow-up phone call. At this point and time, anything and everything can be explored, and options can be presented to the customer.

AD: We offer point-of-sale material in the waiting lounge and the service advisors office about the latest promotions that are going on from the manufacturer. Our service managers, and all of our employees, are part of our referral program, so any time they refer a customer who buys a car, they get a referral from the dealership. The service manager also works with the sales manager on the service appointments for the day — the sales manager can look to see if the customer has equity in the vehicle, their current mileage, are they getting close to being out of warranty… all the different scenarios that would make that customer a good candidate for trading-in, versus just servicing the vehicle. If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at thepanel@autosuccessonline.com.

successful solutions provided by



sales & training solution

when price is the focus, everyone loses We’ve heard various stories and nuances about the retail automotive purchase process and the price-negotiation phase of the sale. And, while some dealers do have a “no haggle” pricing strategy, the majority of dealerships determine their pricing on a car-by-car basis. One of the comments about the failed Saturn platform was that consumers did not feel that paying a set price was getting them the best deal. Automotive retail dealerships are independent businesses, not manufacturer-owned stores. The vast majority of stores are local, familyowned organizations that have been in their communities for generations. When a consumer buys a car and leaves the lot, they want to believe they got a good deal. They want to feel that the price justified the value of the vehicle. No one wants to feel like they paid too much for their car. And when you boil it down to the end of the transaction, it stands to reason that the consumer and the dealer have agreed on the price that was acceptable to both parties. The Internet creates transparency. At first, there was concern that MSRP and invoice pricing gave consumers too much power. Manufacturers responded with hold backs, stair-step incentives and other factors that mask the true wholesale price the dealer paid for the car. These pricing factors became necessary when buyers felt a dealer should be happy with a low percentage markup, or no markup at all, and well below traditional retail margins in other industries. Unfortunately, consumers don’t take into account all the money a dealership has invested — the land, the building costs, the floor plan, etc. Some consumers fail to realize that the cars on that lot are paid for by the dealer; they aren’t there on consignment. They don’t take into consideration the marketing/advertising expenses and staffing costs, including the salesperson’s compensation. Based on these factors, dealers began falling into the trap of advertising pricing “below invoice” or “X percentage over invoice” or “employee pricing.” What’s more, consumers fail to realize the importance of a profitable dealership in their local communities, including employment



opportunities, contributions by way of local taxes and the charitable support they provide, including the endless little league team sponsorships. We’ve all seen them. The bottom line is simply this: Internet pricing transparency based on what others are paying hinders the dealer’s ability to sell the value of their dealership and the value of the vehicle that best meets the needs of the consumer. There are too many elements to consider when a Website tells consumers what they should expect to pay for a car, or what that Website believes is a “fair price range.” No matter where the pricing history comes from, there are far too many factors surrounding retail pricing that make it irrelevant to another transaction — trade in, financing, stair-step incentives, number of days on the lot, vehicle color, customer loyalty, service history, referrals…the list goes on and on. No matter if the pricing is a bell curve or some other creative approach to displaying cost, the implication is that the consumer, with this transparency, will settle for being in the “Fair” or “Below Average” price range. But many of these same charts show how many bought below “Fair” or below the “Below Average.” It’s our nature as human beings to want to be below the “Below Average” price range. We all want to be the champion negotiator who beat the system. Price negotiation should be between the consumer and the dealer — and price should be a factor of value. If a dealer can show the value of the transaction, the price is fair. If a dealer decides to lower margins to qualify for an incentive or bonus, or to lower the price for a relative, or to determine he will make sufficient profit in F&I or service, then that is his decision to make as a business owner striving to be profitable. If the negotiation process starts with price, then price will drive the sale. If the process starts by building a relationship, by being consultative to help guide a buyer to the perfect car by clearly communicating features, benefits and advantages, then everyone wins. Industry studies show that consumers most often do not buy what they originally intended, even when they walk on the lot. Buying a car is an emotional process. People are paying a significant amount of money, they will have to live with their purchase decision for many years and their vehicle often speaks to who they are. When the process starts with price, the fun, excitement and emotion are stripped right out of the picture. Price fosters a stubborn and oftentimes confrontational experience between dealers and buyers. It creates a race to the bottom. The starting gun of that race is third-party research Websites publishing data that shows what others paid for a car. Some will argue that providing market pricing (the price others pay in their market area) will lead to a smaller price range — a smaller deviation between most and least paid. This may be true, but unless dealers convert to a one price/no haggle process, someone will be at the low end and someone will be at the high end. I know I wouldn’t settle for being at the high end. I doubt anyone else would either.

Scott Pechstein is the vice president of national sales at Autobytel. He can be contacted at 866.423.9019, or by e-mail at spechstein@autosuccessonline.com.

David Pierce, Used Car Manager



Jeff Mayer, President/General Manager





marketing solution

e-mail marketing for the future

Why Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail are Controlling Your Business As we welcome in 2014, e-mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools for driving sales. But lately, ISPs have made it harder to get past the dreaded spam filter, so old e-mail marketing strategies are no longer working. Consider some facts: According to a study by Exact Target, 77 percent of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through e-mail, and 44 percent of e-mail recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional e-mail (convinceandconvert.com). A 2012 Blue Kangaroo study found that, from a service department standpoint, seven in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing e-mail within the last year. We know e-mail is an important piece of our marketing strategies, but how do we stay competitive and get our message delivered? There are several hurdles, the first and biggest being Gmail. Gmail does not like commercial e-mails and is making it harder than ever to reach their users’ inbox. We have found that at least 60 percent of the e-mails in a dealer’s CRM are comprised of Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, with Gmail being the largest percentage (many of our dealers totaled more than 70 percent of these three ISPs). This holds true for DMS data, as well. So, as you go into 2014, you can expect that a large percentage of your marketing list will be routed to the junk folder unless you rethink your marketing strategies. Gmail – 425 Million Users Worldwide:

We’ve found that Gmail can “fingerprint” certain e-mail content, flag it and send it to the spam folder based on that content. Dealership domains, call tracking numbers, verbiage in disclaimers and CRM addresses are examples of



content that Gmail identifies as “triggers” to keep your e-mail out of the inbox. The most common way dealerships end up getting flagged by Gmail is by using poor sending practices. Yahoo – 281 Million Users Worldwide: In August of 2013, Yahoo announced that it will be

reclaiming inactive e-mail accounts and re-assigning them. This is a huge issue that every e-mail marketer needs to be aware of. For example, your dealership is located in Maryland and you sell a car to johndoe@yahoo.com. But, after a few years, John stops using that e-mail address, so Yahoo reclaims it and gives it to a John Doe who lives in California. You are unaware of this transition and continue to market to the e-mail address, thinking that it belongs to the same person to whom you sold a car. The e-mail will either be ignored and negatively impact your engagement rate, or, most often, John in California will mark your e-mail as spam. For some ISPs, if just three people per 1,000 mark your e-mail as spam, your delivery rate will start to suffer.

Hotmail – 400 Million Users Worldwide: Over the past year, Microsoft has overhauled Hotmail

and rebranded it as Outlook.com. The key to their filtering technology is the SRD (Sender Reputation Data) network. This is a random group of users selected worldwide who score your e-mails. If they are scored below a certain level, they will be deemed as spam, resulting in all your future messages automatically being routed to the spam folder. Thus, the content in your e-mails and how they’re formatted is critical. Using ALL CAPS, bright red lettering and loud offers will most likely get you on the blacklist. User Engagement: The next challenge for the future is “engagement,” or whether your e-mail was opened or clicked. Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail are now factoring in engagement to varying degrees to determine if your e-mail will reach the inbox. Consider this common scenario: You send out a mass campaign to 1,000 Yahoo users in your CRM or DMS. Yahoo routes 80 percent of this send to the inbox, but you have a low engagement rate (less than five percent). On your next campaign to the same 1,000 users, Yahoo will route only 20 percent of your e-mails to the inbox, and the other 80 percent to spam because of the poor engagement of your first campaign. This type of real-time performance monitoring is very common with Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail today. You now have to consider the value of every mailing you hit “send” on, because a poorly crafted e-mail can not only cause your audience to unsubscribe or hit the “spam” button, but it can also cause them to ignore or delete your e-mails — further lowering your engagement rate. It is important to be aware of these issues in e-mail marketing in order to stay on top of the algorithms and ensure delivery to the inbox. Mass messaging is a thing of the past, and personalized and relevant messaging is the new future.

Peter Martin is the president of Cactus Sky Communications, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.859.8052, or by e-mail at pmartin@autosuccessonline.com.

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

Does the above statement describe your dealership? Unfortunately, in a booming market, many dealerships are struggling. Many dealers are struggling with sales, lower market share and less than desirable profits all while facing a changing marketplace with increased expenses and greater competition. If the last statement describes your dealership, it’s time for a change. • Do you have a system to recruit professionals? • Are your leaders/managers well trained on what to do every day that gets results? • Are your salespeople trained and executing properly with the customers you spend so much money to get? • Have you called your own dealership and listened to how your employees handle calls? • Do you have a pre-owned inventory system that allows you to turn your inventory once a month and make great gross profit? • Do your managers know how to work deals in the digital age and still maintain gross profit? • Do you have an effective advertising and marketing position in your marketplace that includes digital and conventional?


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

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

“Mark Tewart and Tewart Enterprises Inc. installed great processes throughout our dealership departments while creating consistency and accountability. Mark has improved our people, processes, inventory and positioning in the marketplace. Our dealership has improved tremendously every month while working with Tewart Enterprises Inc.” - Kevin Pruitt, Mike Pruitt Honda

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

First, go to www.dealershipsuccess.com and view a preview video. Second, call for a personal conversation about your dealership and your future at 888 2 Tewart (888-283-9278) or e-mail info@tewart.com with the words “Dealership Success” in the subject line. P.S. If you are an already successful dealer, are you leaving sales, market share and money on the table? Call me and I will give you two ways to increase all three immediately!

Mark Tewart

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


leadership solution

dealerships and natural selection

part 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the insights shared at the fourth National Internet Sales 20 Group, and this month, I’d like to give you more information we gathered that you can use to crush it in 2014. Our Dealer Panel for the 20 Group was amazing, comprised of dealer executives who are on top of their game and setting the bar for other dealerships. The Panel was made up of Robert Carmendy, GM and partner of Rancho Santa Margarita Honda in California; Danny Benites, GM of Greg Lair Buick GMC in Texas; Kevin Pruitt, GM of Mike Pruitt Honda in Ohio; Nancy Tonkin, eCommerce director of Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships in Oregon; Chris Carlson, Internet director of Win Hyundai Carson in California and Eric Nichols, Internet director of Apple Honda in New York. Handling Internet Leads and Incoming Phone Ups

There was a lot of talk about structure and what works the best. Some dealerships had the showroom handling the leads, some had BDCs or call centers serving that purpose and other dealerships had a hybrid system. There was a clear consensus, however: There needs to be strong attention to lead handling, not just for the fresh leads but for the ongoing “residual flow” of leads, as well. The best policy is that e-mail sells the phone call, the phone call sells the appointment and the appointment sells the relationship, product presentation, demo and spot delivery. The Importance of Online Reviews

Online reputation was a huge subject at the 20 Group. Online reviews are critical to the dealership’s overall strategy. What was interesting is that dealers at the Internet Sales 20 Group were seeing a decline in the value of DealerRater while at the same time seeing an upsurge in the value of Google Reviews, Yelp and Yellow pages (yes, the Yellow Pages are still very important). All dealers need to be completely immersed and proactive with those services, and to keep up with technology. Some dealers with iPhones were shocked when they asked Siri about their dealerships, and saw they had few reviews — and some of the few reviews were negative. Having a policy about soliciting positive online reviews and a plan for dealing with negative reviews isn’t a “someday” thing; it’s a now thing. Having a “Pro” Pay Plan

One key plan presented at the 20 Group was having a pay plan for Internet sales appointment setters and BDC reps. A proper pay plan brings out the best in your staff, which brings customers through your front doors. Here’s an example pay plan: Pay your BDC rep a $350 per week base salary as part of the standard pay plan, and add $1 for appointments, $15 for appointment shows and $25 for deliveries. Then, have a “Pro Pay Plan” that raised the base salary to $400 to $425 per week, and add $1 appointment, $25 for Appointment made and $35 for deliveries. To qualify for this “pro” level, however, the employee must: • Memorize the inbound and outbound phone scripts • Memorize the top five to seven reasons why people are going online or why people are calling into the dealership and at least five strong word tracks for each objection and rebuttal. • Memorize your dealership’s unique value package proposition (“Why buy from us?”). • Make or take a minimum of 120 calls per day • Have a minimum of a 25 percent appointment-made ratio on the phones • Have a minimum of a 55 percent appointment-show ratio

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.



podcast interviewee

Just think of how effective your Internet department would be if your BDC reps and appointment setters did all of that — how successful would they be and how successful would your dealership be?


leadership solution

importance of entrepreneurial energy in auto dealers In 1986, I was 15 when I rode my bike to Crevier BMW to load parts on shelves, and I can remember the big satellite dishes that were on top of the dealership’s roof. I was in awe of the technology and capabilities at the store. We could process credit cards by way of the satellite dishes on the roof. Don Crevier was the parts manager at the time and Bob Crevier was running the store. Both were incredibly adventurous and always kept the store, its technology and its tools second to none. This is certainly the way many auto dealers have worked in my time serving the industry. One of the members of an organization I belong to called Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) is a Ford dealer,















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and his accessories shop is certainly ahead of the game and doing incredibly well. He also has placed PCs at every workstation all over the store, allowing customers to access the Internet, watch movies and/or play games. Today’s automobile dealership has become an ever-changing landscape of technological changes, which comes as no surprise to any of us — especially those who have been around automotive for a long time. The creativity and entrepreneurial energy that comes from these and other dealers is what makes their stores unique and, in my opinion, makes the customer come back. The habit of being a franchise that obeys the DMS provider, the OEM and other larger non-entrepreneurial organizations is holding back the dealer of tomorrow, especially in the realm of DMS providers. It is increasingly important to get entrepreneurial about the protection of your data. I’ve spend much of my career working with auto dealers to find ways of steering free of the handcuffs that came with many contracts with large companies that either provide DMS services or Internet services. To be innovative, when selecting an outside company to process their data, dealers must ensure that they own and have access to all of their own data, all of the time, no matter what. This includes dealer vehicle inventory and customer information. Sticking with the status quo of obeying large companies’ rules can stick dealers in the back of the line of innovation. Many innovative dealers are starting to build their own software after gaining access to their own data, including custom CRMs, menu products for finance and even their own Websites. Auto dealers win because of their entrepreneurial energy, and we all win when dealers win. Let’s remember to keep the entrepreneur alive in all of our auto dealer clients and friends. After all, it was the entrepreneurial nature of our business that put just about every single dealer I know in business.

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

TD Auto Finance

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Get service you can count on. At TD Auto Finance, we’re committed to helping you grow your business. And we go to great lengths to meet your needs. We’re open longer so you can submit deals seven days a week, and with TD Auto Finance you can speak to a live analyst when you need to. You also get the expertise of our dedicated Dealer Relationship Managers, who work with you to customize business plans and maximize profitability. It’s just what you get from a financing partner with over 45 years of experience.

To learn more, call 1-800-200 -1513 or visit tdafdealer.com TD Auto Finance LLC, is a subsidiary of TD Bank, N.A. TD Bank Group is a trade name for The Toronto-Dominion Bank. Used with permission.

Take the betting out of bidding

Evaluating thousands of vehicles. Buying cars sight-unseen. Pulling the trigger on great buys before the competition. To find the inventory you need to succeed, online auctions are more critical than ever. But they can also be more overwhelming and risky. Until now. Introducing AuctionGenius . From book values to condition and ®

history reports, AuctionGenius puts everything you need to know all on one customizable display. There’s no easier way to get the values you know and trust — and no faster way to make the right decision every time. Analyze 10x the cars in less time Make remote buys with less risk Auction partners:

Customize views of just what you need for smart buys Manage multiple lanes at the same time It’s the ultimate heads-up display for all your favorite auctions. Sign up today and be a genius at auction tomorrow.

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Visit auctiongenius.com/go/genius or call 866-650-2799. Smart. Simple. Stand-alone. Applications that solve everyday challenges for every kind of dealer.

Success Story




Brandon Honda 64% increase in conquest trade in’s and 60% more new web visitors with New Video Marketing Strategy In the two years that John Marazzi has been at Brandon Honda, he has outpaced the market with two consecutive years of 50% growth in both new and used car sales – doubling his net profit. Marazzi has a history of success and this year has become a partner at Morgan. The key to Marazzi’s success is not only working hard but consistently finding ways to work smarter as well.

The first thing Marazzi did was put his house in order. He quickly put the right people in the right places and aligned his processes with his vision for the dealership. Then, he focused his attention on driving traffic into his dealership. Brandon Honda is situated seven miles west of downtown Tampa and, “is home to an educated camper community,” describes John Marazzi, Owner. This boomer population, accounts for 23% of annual auto retail sales, and boomers are 15x more likely to buy a new car than 18-24 year olds. Given that 78% of these buyers are cross shoppers, this audience is critical to Brandon Honda and John Marazzi’s success because more than half of local residents fall within this age group.

å Continued inSide

Success Story ä Continued froM tHe Cover

The Tampa market faces heavy competition amongst a cynical audience, which to Marazzi, was an intimidating challenge. In order to deepen his roots in the market he had to literally take customers out of the hands of his competitors. The time to rise above wasn’t waiting. Marazzi had to make moves that were both cutting edge and smart – like his customers. “We had to be smart with the way we spent our marketing dollars. When we considered what was developing in the world of digital advertising and what consumer behavior was showing, it was obvious to me that we needed a strategy that would put us at the top of search results,” Marazzi explained. In markets with heavy competition, staying on page one is both essential and difficult. Search engines are constantly changing the rules – requiring more relevance, and penalizing advertiser’s pocket-book for not maximizing the quality of search results delivered. according to studies, video results appear in about seventy percent of the top one-hundred listings on Google. Moreover, video has a 53X greater chance of ranking on the first result page than any textual page. Marazzi knew that video was a good way to get him the high placement he wanted, and knew that people engage more with video than text links. “People believe half of what they hear and all of what they see. What the video allows you to do is get them to appreciate what they see and engage with content that creates a human connection,” said Marazzi. after performing extensive research, Marazzi came to the conclusion that including video into his search strategy

was only part of the overall solution he needed. To get the results he was looking for, he needed a solution that could reach in-market shoppers through out the entire shopping process and not only when they were using the search engines, where over 60% of the consumer’s time is spent cross shopping.

“Video SeO was the way to dominate the Google, Bing and Yahoo search results. If we were going to get up in ranks – we needed to take traffic from competitors, so we targeted vehicles like the camry, corolla and altima. Our search method is specific so we’re becoming page one relevant,” said Marazzi

dominating Search engine results

Brandon Honda is up 52% in conquest trade-ins by creating side-by-side comparison videos that promote the competitive advantages of every model sold. Then, optimize these videos to appear ahead of competition when in-market customers search for competitive makes and models.

Getting on page one of search results is difficult because not only are you competing against other dealers, you’re also competing against cars.com and other used car sales websites. This is why part of Brandon Honda’s strategy focuses on active shoppers – those customers who are in-market and actively searching online. Brandon Honda uses a system that monitors the most popular search phrases that are currently being used by consumers every month for the vehicles in Brandon Honda’s inventory. These search terms are then used to create OeM compliant, dealership specific videos that are optimized to appear on page one and distributed to all of the major search engines.

every one of these dealer-specific videos is custom and uniquely created to work in unison with all past and future video content. This creates a cumulative impact that began producing results on day one and continues to improve over time. consistency is certainly one of the most impressive parts of Brandon Honda’s approach to SeO. Their strategy has taken them to the top of the search engines for the most used search terms in their market.

Targeting In-Market Consumers

“In 2013 we’re up 39% year over year in new car sales and 49% year over year in pre-owned vehicle sales and up 61% in fixed operations.” JoHN Marazzi Owner

BrandOn HOnda

People do more than shop for cars online. The average shopper turns to 24 research points for a single product. for an advertiser – this is a lot to compete with. To increase their effect on in-market consumers, Marazzi began putting clickable, direct response videos in front of news stories, highlight reels, entertainment videos and other video content on popular lifestyle sites because people do more online than look for cars. The key point here – these ads are targeting in-marketing consumers are when they are not actively researching vehicles.

Brandon Honda


HIGHEST in search engine results



Brandon Honda uses a pre-roll network that has over 300 popular sports, news, automotive and lifestyle websites and that allows them to control their ad spend by only serving content to those who meet the ideal criteria for each campaign. This includes the ability to target customers by age, geographic location, and even by their current vehicle details like make, model, year, payment range and many other criteria. Marazzi is very passionate about this part of their strategy and says that what he likes most is the way their strategic partner monitors every site in

the network and only serves content to those sites that are creating the highest conversion rates. This, combined with the way they are targeting in-market shoppers is generating 1,500 more clicks to their website. “This is a very big deal.” says aJ leBlanc, co-founder and Managing Partner of car-mercial.com, the strategic partner that Brandon Honda uses for it’s targeted video marketing strategy. “When positioning Brandon Honda’s targeting and SeO strategy, we were sure this would win the day.”

Tying it all together Brandon Honda certainly has the top shelf credentials in their market. They are the #1 Honda dealer on west coast of florida and #1 in certified sales. Brandon Honda is up 39% year over year in new car sales, up 49% year over year in pre-owned vehicle sales and up 61% in fixed operations. “The great part about car-Mercial is that they have it down to a science. There are over 1,500 hundred unique visitors going to my website each month that I can directly credit to them. If I don’t sell 50 more cars a month with that, then shame on me,” said Marazzi.

Success Story

Success Story 60% Increase

40% Increase



OVerall WeB TraffIc

Brandon Honda

49% Increase

39% Increase



UNiqUe Users



New car sales



Used car sales

“What I’m getting is 1,200-1,500 hundred more visitors to my website that I can directly credit to Car-mercial.” JoHn MarazzI owner of Brandon Honda

In a nutsHell

Brandon Honda: 64% increase in conquest trade in’s and 60% more new web visitors with New Video Marketing Strategy • Increased new car sales by 39% and pre-owned sales 49% year over year by dialing in sales processes and adjusting his marketing strategy so that his online video marketing works hand-in-hand with his traditional TV advertising. •

Increased overall website traffic 40% and unique website visits 60% by leveraging the way search engines prioritize video content over text content to appear on top of competitors and 3rd party websites for the most popular search phrases used by consumers on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.

Increased conquest trade-ins by 52% by creating side-by-side comparison videos for every model Brandon Honda sells. and optimizing them to appear ahead of his competition when in-market customers search for competitive makes and models.

Increased the number of leads generated by the same number of marketing dollars by exclusively serving content to verified in-market shoppers and only serving content on websites that produce the highest click through rates.

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Profile for AutoSuccess

AutoSuccess January 2014  

The #1 Sales-Improvement Magazine for the Automotive Professional - featuring Tier10 Marketing

AutoSuccess January 2014  

The #1 Sales-Improvement Magazine for the Automotive Professional - featuring Tier10 Marketing