Chrysler Dealership Doubles Sales In Less Than 60 Days!
With everything that’s changed for dealers, one thing remains the same: You’re here to win. And helping dealers win is at the heart of everything we do at vAuto. With Provision® for your used inventory and Conquest™ for your new. Get vAuto in your corner today, and you’ll soon find you don’t have many systems …
YOU HAVE WON.
Get closer. It’s a simple idea. When you get your inventory closer to shoppers, you sell more cars—faster. More than 250 dealer-groups who use LotLinx Deeplink™ Technology are getting their inventory in front of more online shoppers, more often. As of last month those dealers had shifted 24% of their digital spend to LotLinx. And the results are in: They had 147% more shoppers visit their websites. 95% of those shoppers were new visitors. And their online engagement doubled—with twice as many VDP views and shoppers who spent twice the time on the dealers’ websites. © 2014 LotLinx LLC. All rights reserved.
Which led to one sale for every 27 website visitors. And with all those extra buyers, their new inventory turn increased 42%. Used sales sped up by 64%. LotLinx gets your inventory closer to shoppers— and getting closer to shoppers sells more vehicles. It’s that simple.
Does AutoSuccess Help You in Building the Success of Your Dealership?
We Want to Know! From the very first issue AutoSuccess in 2001, our main goal has stayed the same: to give dealers, GMs, department managers, salespeople and others connected to the automobile sales industry the tools, tips, knowledge and information they need to find success or increase the success they’re already having. Since our beginning, we’ve worked to come up with new, innovative ways to help our readership find that information they need (that they might not even have known they needed): Print Issues: Our first product and still our main focus, we strive to bring industry professionals together each month to give information that’s helped them in the past and to put forth new ideas that can help our readership in an ever-changing sales landscape. Podcasts: In 2007, we branched out to another medium to help our readership learn new information and hear about industry best practices. Once a week, AutoSuccess speaks with industry leaders and delivers it in a way that can be listened to in one sitting or on the go. eNewsletter: From up to the minute industry developments and reports to information about new, innovative products and services, subscribing to our bi-weekly eNewsletter is the way to stay on top in the field of auto sales. AutoSuccessOnline.com: Our Website is the hub of everything we offer, and it’s all free. There you can find online issues of every print magazine we’ve ever produced, along all the podcasts we’ve produced, videos from industry leaders and a host of other information, all aimed at giving our audience what they need to succeed. You’ve heard from us; now we want to hear from you. How are you using AutoSuccess? What do you find particularly helpful? Do you find our sales and training solutions helpful? Do our marketing solutions show you new ways to communicate with your customers? Have you found our leadership solutions helpful in building your team and keeping them engaged and excited? Let us know what has worked for you! Send us an email or video telling us your situation and what you’ve found in AutoSuccess that’s worked for you in your individual situation. We’d love to hear your personal success stories!
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DealerPanel the evolving marketing mix, part 3
sales & training solution MarshBuice I’m not buying today
Hannah Philpott, Media Director firstname.lastname@example.org
TriciaPatton put your customers in the driver’s seat
JeremyAnspach 2014 spotlight: the profound effect of relevancy
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Tales from the lane: how to turn a positive service experience into a negative dealership experience in just 20 minutes DonO’Neill
bringing on a new technology? Don’t lose focus JimmyVee & TravisMiller
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SusanGivens Learn to attract social media fans – and keep them
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RobDunn is your bodyshop ready for management training?
MarkTewart you are not giving me enough for my trade in
DalePollak seven hard-to-break habits that undermine used vehicle performance
DennisMcGinn Reconditioning “best practices”: The Three Levels of Accountability
16 20 22
SteveCottrell the biggest risk to your dealership: Not controlling your data
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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 email@example.com. Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299.
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learn to attract social media fans – and keep them With the vast majority of automotive shoppers using online research to guide their vehicle purchases, it is more important than ever to not only have an online presence, but to have an effective one. Online advertising is less expensive, more targeted and offers greater flexibility to be changed more frequently than traditional advertising. Much like traditional advertising, however, it is useless without proper execution. The easiest way to reach a group of consumers who are interested in your product is to grow your social media via targeted social media advertising campaigns. These campaigns, in turn, attract new fans to your business, as you are placing premium engaging content directly with your specific target market. Growing a social media fan base takes time, and obtaining the right kind of fan is crucial to any tangible growth and engagement. Facebook describes high-quality content as information that is engaging, relevant, attractive and thought-provoking subject matter that motivates a user to take action. The best way to bring fans to your page is to know your target audience. What do your ideal customers want? By providing the customers in your chosen demographic, geographic region and interest groups with information that is useful and interesting to them, you will grab their attention and entice them to become a prospect or customer of your business. Valuable, helpful content shows your audience that you know what they want, and encourages them to look to you in the future for their needs — particularly, when they are in the market to purchase or
service their vehicle. Utilizing Website custom audiences, you can now retarget you Website visitors, in turn dramatically increasing your ability to drive them back to your Website to convert them to a lead for your dealership. These audience-based programs engage in-market consumers with your dealership, and have seen conversation rates to sales as high as five percent. While 85 percent of shoppers go online to research a business to determine whether or not to buy from a dealership, 91 percent of these shoppers rely heavily upon reviews to decide whether or not they will do business with a dealership. If your dealership’s reputation is not being properly managed online, your ad spend and investment in online marketing is futile. In reality, you are funding your competitive dealers’ pipeline by driving your qualified prospects to higherreputation dealerships in your area. Studies have shown that 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14 percent trust advertisements. It should be evident that, although advertising introduces the consumer to your brand, recommendations build the trust required to encourage a customer relationship. By responding directly to individual’s concerns in the reputation management space, a dealership influences the future purchases of potential consumers by letting them know that the dealership holds itself accountable for customer relations and will continue this behavior in the future. It also allows a business to interact in a one-on-one manner with the customer, but for all to see. These interactions will show up on the feed of other users, and further solidify a good reputation. Reputation management requires a widespread level of engagement. This can be timeconsuming and difficult with constant social interactions on various channels. “Dealers need highly effective advertising campaigns that cut through the advertising clutter,” said Sean Seltzer, COO of SOCIALDEALER.com, specializing in social advertising, social media management, and reputation management. “Having the technology to do so is imperative to converting prospects into buyers.” Seltzer recommends dealers use a service that offers around-the-clock review site monitoring to oversee their dealership’s online reputation and send them notifications of newly posted reviews, weekly and monthly metrics, and suggestions on content management. This type of service furthers the dealership’s attempts at delivering the best content to the best audience, and can track analytics on every post, fan and follower. By implementing an integrated approach to social media marketing and brand management, your organization can make the most of its ad spend and obtain the best return on its investment. Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by email at email@example.com.
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put your customers in the driver’s seat Modern consumers, above all else, want convenience and control. In the future, when done correctly, we’ll see more and more mobile apps putting your customers exactly where they want to be — in the driver’s seat. Understandably, some dealers bristle at the idea of giving customers that kind of control. But look at it from this perspective: The changes are market driven and are seemingly inevitable. A recent study by Google found that 40 percent of drivers research how to do their own car repairs before taking their vehicle in for service. Consumers want to be educated and in control. Shoppers want dealers to be flexible about being where they need them, and how they want to communicate and receive information. When your customers are in the driver’s seat and they choose you, you have actually achieved the gold standard in customer relationships and retention. By embracing the idea of putting customers in control, you can also embrace the payoff. By putting your customers first and allowing them control, they will choose to regularly communicate with you through your app. You may be pleasantly surprised by the information, loyalty and retention that you gain. Consider also that having a dealer-branded mobile app is quickly becoming a necessity in the minds of your customers. Nielsen reports that mobile app usage has now surpassed desktop computer and mobile Website use. It seems likely that mobile apps offering convenience and control for users will replace email and text communications. Right now, email has become overcrowded with too many unwanted messages. The same is starting to happen with text messages, as well. In the very near future, the mobile app’s personalized communications are going to be the preferred method of communication that customers will be demanding. What makes the move toward mobile apps and their brand of permission-based marketing appealing? Control: Customers choose to allow apps on
their phone, they choose to allow notifications and information and they choose if and when they want to turn off the information. Customers refine their experience by choosing to receive only information that pertains to them or their vehicles so they don’t have to filter through unwanted or irrelevant information meant for the masses. Dealers are able to send targeted and relevant marketing messages to customers, and the readership is much higher with push notifications than with email. Immediate: Because it’s responsive to them, consumers opt-in to this type of marketing. Today’s society has become the “now” generation. When customers want information, they want it immediately. When they want to communicate, they want to do so instantly. As illustrated by social media, the modern customer wants to communicate and get information anywhere, anytime and on any device. By providing access to your dealership and customers’ vehicle information in a method your customers prefer, you are differentiating yourself in the marketplace and winning their loyalty. Personal: Today’s customers want a tailored and personalized shopping experience. Because it is time consuming to weed through lots of information that may not pertain to them or their interests, customers tend to select apps that allow them to spell out their preferences. For example, an avid runner may be browsing an “outdoor store” Website, looking for running apparel. They don’t want to filter through hunting and fishing items to find information that interests them. The same holds true for their car service experiences. They want instant and personalized information specific to them and their vehicle, such as service history, maintenance schedules and maintenance notifications. They want conveniences, including instant, one-touch service appointment setting, service offers specific to their vehicle needs and a convenient way of storing this information so that it is readily accessible. All of this can be achieved through an app in a way that just isn’t possible with a Website. Once again, you are meeting and exceeding customer expectations and creating higher loyalty. Valued: With a mobile app, a dealership can show customers that they are valued for doing business with them. By personalizing the customer experience and rewarding them for their loyalty with complimentary services and targeted discount offers, dealerships create a bond that builds business. Protected: Customers want their information to be protected. They also do not want to be bombarded with advertising messages. A mobile app provides a lot of opportunities and functions that can be helpful to users. They feel safe revealing information and preferences in this setting because they know they can simply turn off or delete an app if communications from a dealership become too frequent or annoying. Dealers benefit by receiving information about customer preferences, thus tailoring their services to customer needs. In a marketing world full of regulations on email and text messaging, dealers are at a risk of violation when they rely too heavily on these methods of communication. The mobile app’s personalized communications — because they are permission-based and self-regulating — are free of many of those regulations. Mobile apps that put customers first and in control of the interactions will create extremely effective relationship-building communication tools that benefit both the dealership and the customer. Be open to the change, and put your customers in the driver’s seat. Tricia Patton is an owner and managing partner of Traffic Builders, Inc. She can be contacted at 866.859.8520, or by email at email@example.com.
Tim Corp, Team Leader for Used Car Mechanics, for 18 years
Jeremy Mark, Recon Manager
Jennifer Marszalek, Used Car Service Advisor
"RAPID RECON IS THE BACKBONE OF OUR RECON PROCESS. WITH RAPID WE KNOW WHERE EVERY CAR IS, HOW LONG HAS BEEN IN RECON AND WHY. THIS GIVES US A LEVEL OF ACCOUNTABILITY THAT WAS NEVER POSSIBLE BEFORE RAPID RECON." TRANSPARENCY | ACCOUNTABILITY | MOBILITY
Spirit Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Doubles Their Entire Dealership’s Sales In Less Than 60 Days! With Some Help From Dealer Synergy
here is “success” and there is “profound success,” and this month’s cover story is about a profound success. A small “mom & pop” domestic dealership in the small town of Swedesboro, New Jersey, Spirit Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has defied all the odds and doubled their entire dealership’s sales in less than 60 days. They had delivered only 50 units from their entire dealership in February but by April the y delivered 99 units.
AS – Tell me about your background and the organization itself. RB – Well, my father started out as a salesperson and worked his way up the ranks until he purchased this dealership in 1991. This is a true family-owned and operated business, with my mother, brother, wife and sister all working together at the dealership. I am the dealer principal and I work closely with everyone when running the dealership.
“On an emotional level it was devastating to me, and on a financial level it was terrifying.”
What makes this story even more powerful is the personal history sur- AS – Recently, you went from delivering approximately 50 units per rounding the dealership itself and the importance of its survival. The month to 99. Has the dealership always sold around 50 units per month? family dealership’s heart, tenacity and drive is reflected in its name, “Spirit,” and makes this story worth sharing with the entire automotive sales com- RB – No, in fact, back in 2005 we were delivering 150 to 170 units per munity. Spirit’s road to success proves that any dealership can achieve month. It was an incredible time. But when the economy took the hit prolific results in such a short amount of time if they truly want to be in 2008, Chrysler Financial shut down doing floor plans and eventually Chrysler OEM filed for bankruptcy. It was a very tough time for the indussuccessful. try, but due to our success at the time of the collapse, we were one of the dealerships Chrysler chose not to shut down. Spirit Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram enlisted Dealer Synergy’s help when they were at the end of their AS – Sounds like you dodged a big bullet. So, what rope, and the partnership between the two comspecifically led your dealership to not perform as panies has proven successful for Spirit. In this it had in the past? month’s profile, we sat down with Ron Baus, dealer principal of Spirit Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and RB – Within a year of Chrysler’s bankruptcy, my Sean V. Bradley, CEO of Dealer Synergy, to idenfather, the lifeblood of the organization, suddenly tify exactly how Spirit was able to double an entire passed away and the situation went from bad to dealership’s sales and change the course of an worse. We did everything we could to keep posentire organization in just seven weeks. itive and persevere, but the numbers kept on dropping. In the last several years, we were down AutoSuccess – Congratulations, Ron, on your to delivering 50 to 60 units per month. dealership’s success. When I heard about your General Sales Manager George Murphy dealership doubling its entire sales, I was intrigued AS – What was that like for the dealership and for your family? and wanted to find out how exactly you did it. Rob Baus – Thank you, Susan. It honestly seems surreal. I cannot articulate how deeply this has changed our entire dealership family.
RB – It was rough on so many levels. First of all, my father built the organization from absolutely nothing. He wanted to leave us with a legacy — something that his children could take over and hand down to the next
generation — and I felt like it was slipping out of my hands. Our team is like family to us, so this situation was not just affecting my blood family. It wasn’t just about preserving my father’s legacy; it was also to secure my family’s livelihood and the livelihood of everyone who works at the dealership. Failure wasn’t an option. On an emotional level, it was devastating to me, and on a financial level it was terrifying. I threw myself into focusing on problems, putting out fires and trying to alleviate the financial strains. It drained me and I lost my fire for a while. I was jaded and disenchanted.
Sean V. Bradley – Thank you so much, Susan. It is an honor to be able to share in their success.
AS – So what sparked your incredible turn around?
Dealer Synergy helped but at the end of the day Spirit’s success is all about their people. They have an amazing team whose hearts and souls are dedicated to customers and to each other.
“I was worried my team
having the right process in place with Internet leads, appointment setters, and an effective Internet director. Couple that with proper training, support and accountability, and it’s almost impossible to lose.
would not buy into an outside consultant. But mostly, I was worried that if it didn’t work, it would bury us.”
RB – We hired Dealer Synergy and, with their help, we were able to turn the whole dealership around. The effects were almost immediate and everything changed. It was like a reawakening.
AS – When working with a dealership like Spirit, how do you begin tackling its issues?
AS – What did the Road Map look like for Spirit?
SVB – There was a three-part strategy to Spirit’s Road Map. The first was generating more Internet leads. We assisted with vendor negotiations and helped to secure special pricing and contracts with Autobytel, CarsDirect, Dealix and TrueCar, and incorporated a social media and digital marketing strategy.
The second part was hiring the right staff to run the Internet department. Spirit needed a team of coordinators to handle the volume of fresh leads and the residual flow factor (carry-over leads each and every month). We conducted all of the recruiting, screening, interviewing and recommendations of hires.
SVB – We start with a needs assessment, and then, after careful analysis, we determine a measurable The third part was organizing and restructuring goal. After that, we develop a “Road Spirit’s existing CRM. Our CRM team comMap” to achieve it. With Spirit, it pletely revamped their process to work more was determined they could add 40 efficiently. We added new templates, scripts and to 50 units to their monthly deliver- action plans. ies, so we mapped out exactly how to accomplish that goal. AS – That sounds like quite an overhaul. AS – Ron, what were your thoughts going into this? Did you think it was going to work?
SVB – It is, but if you want the things the average dealership does not have, you need to do things the average dealership isn’t willing to do.
RB – I hoped and wished, but we were still so disenchanted from the years of struggling. I definitely had no idea that it would happen so quickly.
AS – Ron, what do you feel was the most important aspect of what Dealer Synergy brought to your organization?
(Spirit team members L-R) Internet Coordinators Alexis Hampton and Emily Flynn, Internet Sales Manager Jennifer Romano, and Internet Coordinators Nikiya Orem and Sean Dudley.
AS – Why did you choose Dealer Synergy?
RB – Well, I had seen Dealer Synergy’s videos and articles for years, but I just never reached out. I guess I was like a lot of other Dealer Principals. I was skeptical and worried about the AS – Sean, what have you cost. I was worried my team would not buy into found to be the normal time an outside consultant. But mostly, I was worried frame for a dealership in this that if it didn’t work, it would bury us. I had the situation to find success? opportunity to see Sean speak at a workshop and I realized that he might actually be able to SVB – In the 10 years we’ve help us. Our dilemma was driving traffic to the been consulting, we’ve found dealership, and Sean spoke about a new busi- the effects are almost immeness plan that created an “Internet Dealership” diate when the process is and I was intrigued. Once we started working properly followed. Most toward this new goal, everything he spoke about dealerships only react to the Internet prospects, but if you started coming true. fully master an immersive AS – That’s an incredible story. Sean, congrat- Internet strategy, it is like ulations on helping this dealership survive the drinking from a fire hose of downturn and come out successful on the other side. opportunity. Success is not magic — it’s math. It’s about
RB – It’s hard to pin point just one aspect, but we loved the fresh ideas and powerful informational t raining f rom t heir
trainers and the VIP t re at ment we received from outside vendors, which made the process extremely easy and enjoyable. But the monthly support might be the most powerful tool we received because their support helps us stay fully engaged all month long.
started training on Automotive Digital Training and we are also members of the Internet Sales 20 Group. SVB – It’s important to set up the department and strategy the right way, but we have found the most important aspect with all of our most successful clients is ongoing support. It’s important to make sure the train stays on track, so we believe in a co-managing partnership with the dealers we work with.
In my opinion, this transition was so successful because of the pre-training provided. Before my team came on-site to the dealership, Spirit’s team was busy with a video training course. This maximizes the effects of the onsite visit because everyone is now familiar with content we will cover. The Internet director also attended a workshop specific to her AS – How do they interact with your team through- position prior to training. out the month? AS – Well, thank you both for speaking with me today. This was an inspiring story and I wish your team luck for continued success!
Spirit team members speak with Dealer Synergy Trainers Anthony Alagona and Joe Cala
SVB – Thank you Susan! It was an honor to watch Spirit’s success grow and develop. In the first three weeks, they net increased 30 units and in the first full month they net increased 49 units. They went from 51 units to 99 units in 7 weeks. It’s remarkable and rewarding to be able work with dealerships like Spirit.
RB – It is almost like they are co-Internet directors. They monitor our phone process, provide weekly training sessions and goal planning, they help us manage our CRM and they also offer so many additional resources that keep us focused and motivated. We have a private group on AutomotiveInternetSales.com, we’ve recently
Scan the QR code to watch a full video interview and peak inside the life of Spirit Chrysler. Hear from the Dealer Principal, GM and Internet Director about the store’s struggle and road to success. If you have any questions or would like Dealer Synergy to conduct a free SWOT Assessment via Go To Meeting, please call Sean V. Bradley, 267-319-6776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
the biggest risk to your dealership: not controlling your data “Big data” has become one of the hottest buzz phrases in the business community, but why? By appropriately leveraging their own data resources, businesses can become more efficient and effective. As businesses come to this realization and attempt to make more use of their data, a significant surge in data movement results. The increased use and movement of data comes with risks that most have not considered, let alone addressed through proactive data protection and monitoring. In recent months, we have seen data breaches to major banks and retailers, but fortunately have yet to witness one within the automotive sector. Dealers hold a huge reservoir of private and confidential information for thousands of people. Thus, they have a legal and moral obligation to protect and secure their data resources. Given the high stakes associated with their data, what steps have dealers taken to utilize it in a responsible manner and ensure its protection? Data Movement
OEMs, third-party lead generators, equity tool providers and Websites all dial into thousands of dealerships daily to obtain data. To enable this interaction, dealers grant each access to their DMS by issuing countless usernames and passwords. I could personally detail a list of more than 300 vendors who have such access, but would be willing to surmise that there are thousands of vendors who would fall within this category. While some dealers push data to vendors, more often than not this task is completed by a member of the IT department
Dealers hold a huge reservoir of private and confidential information for thousands of people. Thus, they have a legal and moral obligation to protect and secure their data resources. — a member who likely does not have an understanding of the relationship the dealer holds with the vendor. In cases such as this, it is likely that more data is being pushed to the vendor than what is truly needed, or worse, it is being pushed to vendors who are no longer under contract with the dealer. Data Security
Recently, Wyndham Hotels experienced a data breach. Their lawyer unsuccessfully argued that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should not penalize them since they, similarly to their customers, were a victim of those who breached the data. The court found and declared that businesses are required to have processes and procedures in place to protect consumer data. Rulings such as this perfectly depict the fact that those who collect consumer data are the ones who will be held accountable for proper data protection; the applicability of this fact to dealers is resounding. There is a pressing need for dealers to be aware of who they are sharing data with, what data is being shared, and to what end the shared data is being used. Protect Yourself and Your Data
A dealer on West Coast recently shared with me his keen interest in understanding the level of security his dealer group had in place. He said that as he delved into the process, he discovered that the IT director had been both pushing data to vendors who they had cancelled service with, as well as unwarranted data to current vendors. The aforementioned dealer is now putting policies and procedures in place to prevent such occurrences in the future. Dealers clearly understand where the issue around data security takes root, but what is the best way for a dealer to pre-empt the issue from becoming a full-blown problem? Dealers need to control the process through which their data moves. If a dealer has an understanding of each step that makes up the continuous flow that is their data movement, they can ensure their data is protected and secure from the time it enters their DMS to the time it reaches their chosen vendor. Steve Cottrell is the founder of DealerVault. He can be contacted at 866.769.1778, or by email at email@example.com.
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ELEAD1ONE provides the industry's most advanced dealership management platform that helps dealers achieve unmatched results in increased sales and profit, lead generation, communication, sales processes and complete lifecycle management. The company’s automotive-only virtual BDC and CRM are the foundations of their unique and successful profit-building strategies. No other company in the automotive industry has ELEAD1ONE's resources or ability to be 100% focused on training, teaching and support after the sale.
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YOU ARE NOT GIVING ME ENOUGH FOR MY TRADE IN If you sell vehicles, you have definitely heard this before. The value of the trade in is one of the major sticking points of any car purchase transaction. If you are not ready for this objection, you are killing your income and setting up your competitors to sell a vehicle. Never start at the point of an objection to think about what you should do to handle an objection. Start at what potentially led to this objection in the first place. Think proactively and try to alter your process to remove or lessen this resistance before it occurs. Using word tracks and objection handling techniques alone is like treating a recurring sickness but never thinking of what might be causing the sickness in the first place. Your success and failure are often systemic, based upon the principal of cause and effect. There are only so many categories that customer objections can fall into and the trade-in value is one of the major categories. Think of this as a water slide at an amusement park. You start at the top and slide effortlessly down into the water. In the sales process, we often have roadblocks that stop the customer from going effortlessly through the sales process, like a big roadblock on a water slide. In most sales processes, salespeople and managers address the issues of the customers trade in towards the end of the process. You often fact find, select a new vehicle, present and demonstrate and more before you ever address what can often be the biggest sticking point in the sales
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9x & 11x MORE
Consumers convert to a lead nearly 9 times more often when shopping for a new vehicle and 11 times more often when shopping for a used vehicle from a Certified Dealer after visiting DealerRater, compared to consumers that did not visit DealerRater.* *2013 Dataium Study
process — and where a customer has major unspoken fear. There used to be a TV commercial where a customer walked into a muffler shop and screamed “I’m not going to pay a lot for this muffler.” Customers are not walking into dealerships screaming, “I am not going to let you give me too little for my trade in.” However, they are thinking this and to not address the elephant in the room up front is a recipe for disaster. This is the bad, old school “avoid and evade” sales process. I have a saying: “You can’t sweep dog poop under the rug and expect the stink to go away.” After meeting and greeting a customer and entering into conversation and investigation, you must segue to the trade in first rather than last. I would invite you to take a 3x5 card out and tell the customer that you want to walk with them briefly over to their current vehicle for a couple of reasons. First, you want to get all the information and a description of the vehicle so that later on if they want a market value you will have all the information and that will save them lots of time. Secondly, while you are getting the information with them, ask them a few questions about what they like and don’t like about the vehicle and what they are looking for, and usually, based upon those questions, you come up with ideas that can save them money. Save time and save money — these are two things everyone wants to do. You are talking their language and expressing this in a language called “HFG” — Hope For Gain. Nobody buys a vehicle without the feeling of bettering his or her current situation. If you utilize the trade in up front as a positive, rather than waiting until the end to hopefully avoid a negative, you will gain sales traction through better information, more personalized relationships and laser focusing your sales process. You will be able to utilize two different spectrums of selling: patterns and contrast. You will first recognize a customer’s buying patterns. People are pattern repeaters. People like to do what they have done and recognize from the past. This gives them familiarity, comfort and consistency. On the other end, you will be able to fully enhance the sales process by contrasting the new to the old vehicle and how this new situation is familiar but much better. You can contrast any pain they may have while following all patterns that create pleasure. It is extremely important to realize that selling is not just about a process or road to the sale. Selling at a high level is about connecting your customer’s hearts and minds while utilizing the sales process. I have often heard misguided managers instruct salespeople that if they just follow the sales process they will sell cars. This is absolutely not true. You can be a robotic drone that gives data to customers, or you can be a customercentered, laser-guided, problem-solving trusted advisor who takes customers to a higher level of buying emotion and thought process. Your sales process must be psychologically and emotionally based to provide leverage. Without decision-making leverage, the customer will simply walk through your sales process, dismiss you and go somewhere else and buy. You are a salesperson, not a sales process. Combine your people skills with your sales skills. The trade in is a perfect place to utilize these skills together. For a free special report, “Trade-In Tips,” email me at the address below with “Trade-In Tips” in the subject line. Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or by email at email@example.com.
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reconditioning “best practices”: The Three Levels of Accountability Few would dispute the retail auto business has been slow to use mobile computing devices in the day-to-day operations of their dealerships. Though, to be fair, the industry has been virtually void of any specific software applications to support such devices — especially in reconditioning. Dealers can no longer wait. The competitive landscape is fierce, and their bottom line depends on the integration of these devices into their infrastructure. Fortunately, such an application now exists for reconditioning. And even better, these handheld devices have become so intuitive to use, they are second nature to us in all aspects of our lives. In reconditioning, smartphones, tablets and desktop computers are now used as the live connections in the race to time-to-market. System application software is key in moving cars from acquisition to deal funded. Because of this advanced technology, we can finally validate “best practices” in reconditioning. When applied analytically and to the dealer’s unique set of resources — employees, vendors, subcontractors, etc. — these practices will reduce time-to-market by 50 percent. Like in other industries, “best practices” establish a proven success model by which to guide your business. For instance, these same smartphones, tablets and computers were manufactured under multiple levels of accountability, otherwise known as “continuous process improvement.” Without continuous process improvement, the tech industry could not provide the market with such reliable and cost-effective products. As it turns out, I was fortunate to have had a front-row seat when these changes were driven
into the computer industry. No one gets to this level, however, without having a solid foundation of both team and individual accountability. And, over the last three years, I have had the privilege to assist and observe dealers instituting “best practices” into their individual dealerships, reducing the time-to-market by 50 percent while continually looking for ways to improve. The most dramatic difference is that these improvements are not another instance of a top-down “throw out some aggressive number and see if anyone flinches” situation, but are actual numbers driven by the individuals doing the work. By implementing a workflow process system, real-time data fuels the multi-levels of accountability necessary to provide “best practices” within these dealerships. In reconditioning, where every tech, manager and vendor is scattered hither and yon, the beauty lies in the use of these mobile tools. No longer are there excuses, only a readiness on everyone’s part to proactively change the business environment. There are three levels of accountability in this “best practices” reconditioning model. 1. Individual: Accountability no longer evokes a negative connotation when an individual is allowed to take control of their work. When they have fair representation in the evaluation of their performance, a tech or vendor becomes highly motivated to show what good and efficient work they can do on a regular basis, promoting a healthy work average for each team member. 2. Team “Time-To-Market” Results: Once individual averages are obtained, team goals for accountability in time-to-market can be managed and targeted in any order they wish to set up. A typical target average, from acquisition/trade to funded, is three to five days. Don’t be fooled; it is almost always double or triple that to start. To achieve this level to productivity, for example, mechanical/service needs to be one day or less, detail needs to be one day or less, photos need to be four hours, UCM approvals need to be two hours or less, and so on. 3. Continuous Process Improvement: The final level of accountability is continuous process improvement. It happens almost as a by-product of having the first two levels in place. Once you have verifiable data, the next step is to measure and manage it. But “best practices” is to hold a 30-minute recon team meeting once a week, where the previous week’s results are shared, issues are hammered out and improvements are encouraged. As individuals begin to feel personally accountable, they desire to do better and begin to see other areas within their arena to improve the overall process. Their new level of trust translates into many positive outcomes, but a better work and business environment is the most evident. Workers all feel positively accountable and a contributing part to the entire business. Everyone wins. Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
SEE PAGE 22 FOR MORE...
DEALER PANEL autosuccessonline.com
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the dealer panel
the evolving marketing mix Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Danny Benites Tony Provost There have never been as many choices for dealerships wanting to get their message out to consumers than there are right now. Deciding which methods to use and how to best spread the marketing dollar is a challenge, and, thanks to the constantly evolving technological landscape, it’s a question that has no certain answer. This month for our Dealer Panel, we take a look at how our dealers are using search engine strategies to their best benefit, and learn how they make their choices when everything seems to be pitched as the “next big thing.” THE For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Danny Benites, general manager of Greg Lair Buick-GMC in Canyon, Texas; Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania 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.
AutoSuccess: Describe how your dealership uses SEM/SEO in your digital marketing, and how are you getting the most out of that element. Danny Benites: We have gone head-first into video search engine
optimization (VSEO). Since we have taken this approach, we have averaged 94 percent first-page organic search results on the top 152 searched phrases. These numbers not only include my brands, but a couple of conquest brands as well. I can live with that. When it comes to SEM, our used vehicle ads are VIN-specific.
Chris Saraceno: By using data-driven methodologies to develop a deep understanding of client demographics, we are able to focus our spending dollars on the people who matter most and will respond best to our message. Utilizing this mindset, we are able to take SEO and SEM to a higher level, producing more qualified leads and conversions. Tony Provost: We take advantage of Google Analytics, and when
combined with Google AdWords for search engine marketing, we are able to constantly tune our ads to take advantage of the most effective keywords. While we are always interested in click-through rates and page views, we focus on the ads and keywords that will yield the most conversions.
Brian Benstock: Google’s paid search does it right. They have a good understanding of the way things should work and will work, and they’re also very willing to share information with you about what works, what doesn’t work, etc. It’s important to listen to them because they’re analyzing millions of consumers’ browser habits in the automotive space. From an SEM perspective, we have to be there. As for SEO, the content Chris Saraceno Tony Provost AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock you create has to be real; it can’t be fake content. And you have to create content for SEO that consumers want to engage with — information that can help them understand what they’re doing when they come in to purchase or service a vehicle. Andrew DeFio: SEO is one of the more important
parts of digital strategy. While having a strong digital
presence on the Web is beneficial, a lot of times that research leads back to search, so you’re not going to get a lot of direct clicks from those automotive portals back to your Website. The consumer might be doing research at work or at their kid’s soccer game, but then the recall of your dealership is done with the search engine. It’s more of a defensive strategy than a conquest strategy for us. We want to make sure we own Page One of the search engine when someone is searching for our specific brand or our dealership in this geographic area. successful solutions provided by
AS: How do you know what to pay attention to in a marketing environment, where everything seems to be touted as “the next big thing”? DB: We have a limited number of key performance indicators in the
digital landscape. It can be quite overwhelming if you overdose on the data. When deciding on “the next big thing,” I ask myself three questions: Does it deserve its place in my budget? Is it trackable and sustainable? Will this vendor be a good partner? I could go into each of these for an hour, but simply put, when it is all said and done, it must help us sell and service more cars.
CS: You have to stick with your strategy and determine how “new technologies” fall into place within that strategy. Our digital marketing R.A.C.E (Reach, Act, Convert and Engage) framework allows us to pinpoint where new technologies should be implemented. The “next big thing” is only as strong as its ability to be implemented into our business model. For example, things like SEO, VSEO, paid search, social media, reputation management and brand analytics are only good when being utilized properly. TP: We keep a tremendous amount of information for our own internal understanding — information that informs us on how we are selling and servicing our customers. We create the ideas for our business model and make sure technology fits into that model; we never worry about the next big thing. BB: Whatever the customer believes is the “next big thing” is probably the dealer panel
the next big thing. There’s no magic bullet to say, “Hey, we’ve figured this out.” The biggest thing is that your salespeople understand the message you’re putting out in the marketplace. You can drive the traffic, but if you can’t close the traffic, and your salespeople can’t talk intelligently about the message you have out in the market, consumers won’t believe it.
AD: I stay on top of all the weekly and monthly automotive publications.
I try to go to as many conferences as possible to get in-person demos of the products, and I reach out on online forums to my peers. We’re typically not the ones who get the latest-and-greatest automotive marketing and technology items. I like to let it sit in the market for a few months and then get feedback from my peers who are using it and base my decisions on that.
If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at email@example.com.
successful solutions provided by
JimmyVee & TravisMiller
bringing on a new technology? don’t lose focus “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” -Bill Gates Bill has a point here. Whether you’re installing new point-of-sale hardware or changing your CRM provider, technology is only as good as the people and processes behind it. Who cares about deploying tablets in your service lounge if no one in your store knows how to use them? What good is purchasing new CRM technology if your sales staff doesn’t bother to enter data properly? You can buy top-of-the-line products and software for your dealership, but poorly executed implementation and an untrained staff will guarantee failure every time. We consult with hundreds of dealerships each year — and we’ve noticed that some dealerships lack the discipline to fully train salespeople on the new technology. These dealers aren’t demanding correct data input from their staff at all entry points, which leaves complex solutions only partially implemented and less effective. This might help explain how more than a few research firms have concluded that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of CRM implementations fail from a customer’s point of view. We don’t mean to pick on CRM software. It’s an easy target — installing a new CRM correctly is a huge undertaking that permeates all levels of the dealership. This requires a commitment on the dealer’s part to demand that everyone in the store uses a standardized process and understands how it works. Some stores fail at the critical implementation and training stage and then complain that they don’t see return on their investment. We’ve learned that when you’re bringing a new technology onboard at your store, you’d better get in all the way or don’t bother. It’s important to remember that any new technology you bring on at your dealership is just a tool designed to enhance or enable your business processes. The tool is not the solution. You can figure that 90 percent of the value equation is based on the human factor —
the people you have operating the tool. In our experience, there are three keys to making a new technology or process work effectively in your store: 1. Get the Process Design Right — Before you settle on putting money down for some state-of-
the-art software, you’d better make sure you plan out exactly how employees will use it. Ask yourself who will be responsible for maintaining it and who will benefit from its output. The first step in any smart technology integration is laying out exactly what information goes in, when the information is entered, and who will enter it. This is called process design, and many dealerships aren’t too great at aligning technology with their processes. There is often discord between stated processes (the thing you say everyone should do) and emergent processes (what they actually end up doing). Rule of thumb: If you do anything more than twice in your dealership, you should go ahead and lay out a process for it. Without a solidly defined and documented process, your employees will lack clarity and consistency, and will probably end up misusing the new technology. Get everyone on the same page — before you can implement change, you’ll need to design and articulate the methods with which you will make it work.
2. Demand Mastery — Your endorsement of a new technology — and the way you integrate it
into the store’s sales management — is directly related to how well the change will be adopted. As the overseer of this implementation, you must first address the importance of the project and then demand complete dedication to its success. This means letting everyone in the store know how crucial the new process is. No one likes change — so you need to break your employees out of their comfort zone. Hold a store-wide meeting, or (better yet) throw a party at which you will introduce the new hardware or software. Seriously. It’s important that you treat this part of your business as a new store employee, or your workers will quickly forget about it and fail to recognize its importance. Without a proper onboarding or introduction, a new process will fall by the wayside in no time. Something may sound good for a week or two — but even the best ideas quickly disintegrate if you don’t demand mastery and continued use from everyone on the team.
3. Handle Problems Boldly — Suppose you’re trying out a new marketing automation system, or
mobile technology in the service lane for faster write-up times. Guess what? There will be bumps in the road. The true test of your endurance with a new technology does not lie in how smoothly it is set up, but in how your team handles the inevitable errors that spring up. We believe that in every step back there lies a chance to take three steps forward. How a human handles a computer’s error will determine whether your customer thinks you’re exceptional or clueless. Buying into a new technology is the easy part. Making it work is a little bit tougher. A good vendor will learn your business before recommending the best processes for your individual store. Recognize that you need to invest yourself fully in adopting them. By bringing something new onboard in your store, you’ve risked a lot of money — but it’s important to go all-in. Stay wary of the “up-in-no-time” sales pitches; to really get a new technology going, you’ll need to fight for it in the trenches. For a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on, visit www.TrafficScale.com and use coupon code ASM1406. Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are founders of The Rich Dealers Institute and the authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers and Invasion of the Profit Snatchers. They can be contacted at 866.867.9618, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
sales & training solution
i’m not buying today
A customer may say “I’m not buying today,” but secretly they are asking you to give them reasons why they should. As my friend Mark Tewart says, “You aren’t selling vehicles, you’re selling solutions.” Customers don’t suddenly get beamed in to your dealership — they are there for a reason; it’s up to you to discover what it is. Don’t react to your customer’s negative emotions; instead, respond by thinking in terms of solutions that are logically oriented. Vehicles don’t sell themselves. Contrary to what the mainstream media might say, customers still
3.0 Geo Fencing Friendly Interface Customer Targeting Scheduled Notiﬁcations More Customization Options
(and always will) need salespeople. Why do 80 percent of online shoppers who submitted a lead end up buying something different? Because they didn’t know what they thought they knew. Just because you can read about a procedure on Web MD doesn’t make you qualified to perform open-heart surgery — you need not only years of study, but also thousands of hours of practical application to become an expert. Similarly, customers need your practical wisdom in order to cut through the confusion when vehicle shopping. Established credibility earns trust, and the more your customers trust you, the more apt they are to buy from you. Know vs. No: The less a customer knows, the more likely they are to say “No.” “No” is defined as expressing disapproval. Take “No” professionally, not personally. Often customers disapprove because they don’t know enough about you (trust), your dealership (life after the sale) or your product (is this the right solution?). Slow down and mine the minds of your customers to discover their knows; that’s where the treasure is buried. Expect, but prepare: A few years ago I called to check on a friend who works for the New Orleans Fire Department as they readied the city for post-Katrina hurricane. When I asked how bad he thought the storm would be, he said, “We’re expecting the best, yet preparing for the worst.” In sales, you should also expect the best (in every customer and opportunity), yet prepare for the worst. Learn to move up and on from your setbacks and losses, and guard your mind by feasting on positive relationships, books, magazines, messages and podcasts. Customers who say that they’re not buying bring you to a crossroad. Top producers see it as a challenge to find the truths layered beneath the objection. They ask more defining questions to gain a better understanding. Low producers accept the objection as fact, mentally power down and half-heartedly go through the motions by short-cutting their sales processes so that they can move on to the next Up. Customers say that they aren’t buying today to protect themselves from making a mistake. The only way that you can assure them is by knowing how your product will fulfill their needs. It’s not that customer’s aren’t buying; it’s that you’re not selling.
The Nation’s #1 Mobile App Provider for Dealerships
I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop. Marsh Buice is the sales manager of Mark Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep. He can be contacted at 866.535.5006, or by email at email@example.com.
seven hard-to-break habits that undermine used vehicle performance Old habits are definitely hard to break, especially for car dealers. For one thing, dealers have had a lot of good, highly profitable years managing their businesses the same way as prior generations did. In addition, dealers typically resist change, just like everyone else. But I’d like to make the case that some habits in used vehicles are doing more damage than good for the dealers who still follow the same playbook as their fathers. The following are what I would consider seven habits that dealers must break if they want to thrive in today’s morechallenging retail environment for used vehicles: 1. Keeping cars past their profit prime. You’ll still find dealers who
hang on to used vehicles because they either say, “we can’t replace them for what they’ve got in them,” or “we’ll find a buyer to pay the gross we need on a unit.” Both lines of tradition-worn thinking miss the mark in today’s more margin-compressed and time-sensitive market. Today, the maximum retail timeframe for any used vehicle should be 45 days; vehicles that sit longer have largely lost their ability to deliver a sufficient return to make the investment worthwhile.
2. Allowing service to “take its time” with reconditioning. Dealers
cannot “turn and earn” their used vehicle inventories if the service department takes more than an average of three days to recondition the cars. Dealers must exercise “creative disruption” as they get service
We recaptured 638 customers who had not been in for service in more than 1 year, totaling $183,134 in additional revenue. – Schepel Auto Group
directors to understand that their best customer can, and should be, the used vehicle department. 3. Putting “prayer”-like pricing on vehicles. While this habit is less
prevalent than it used to be, there are still a large number of dealers who reflexively “go for gross” when they price every used vehicle. Unfortunately, today’s consumers are too market-smart for this traditional pricing trick to work. The new market rule: Price every vehicle where the market says it needs to be, not where you believe it should be.
4. Relying on local auctions. More and more, dealers are relying less on
local auctions to feed their inventories, opting for online sales to expand selection and reach. It’s tough for veteran used vehicle managers to break the habit of weekly trips to the local auction, but they’ll find more of the “right” cars as they cast a wider, e-enabled net for acquisitions.
5. Over-allowing on appraisals. There’s a time and place to “step up”
on a trade-in to make a new vehicle deal. But such decisions should be made case-by-case, rather than as a matter of course. Today’s margins on used vehicles are too lean to over-allow on a trade-in without good reason. Dealers who over-allow regularly should not complain about not making enough gross profit when they retail the cars.
6. Stocking up to expand selection or sales. When used vehicle sales
are good, dealers get hungry to acquire more cars. The end result: Too much inventory that doesn’t sell within the 45-day retail timeline. There are three rules that should guide decisions to expand used vehicle inventory — you must be calculated and careful; you must be committed to buy the “right” cars, based on the market; and you must have the capacity to recondition and retail the extra inventory within the 45-day timeline.
7. Treating every customer as a “fresh up.” This habit stems from sales processes designed for yesterday’s dealership — where customers didn’t have the Internet to shop your used vehicle inventory before visiting the store. Today, the best dealers greet the majority of showroom customers with a profile in hand, knowing at least a little about personal preferences and vehicle choices. Customers appreciate these one-to-one connections, and the trust that develops typically benefits the dealer at the close of a deal and beyond.
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Each of these seven habits poses distinct, ripple-effect challenges as dealers try to break them. For example, if a used vehicle manager refuses to go beyond local auctions to source inventory, a dealer may well need to face a difficult choice about who’s really able to take the department to the next level. In addition, breaking long-established habits in the car business isn’t any easier than losing weight or quitting smoking. Initially, there’s nothing satisfying at all about the decision. Over time, however, you feel better and see tangible results that affirm you made the right call.
Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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?
YES YOU CAN:
• 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.
“Quite simply, Mark Tewart is one of the best trainers and consultants on this planet. He has been a big reason why we have had so much success.” - Mark Ford, James Hodge Ford
“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 email@example.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!
President and author of the Best Seller “How To Be A Sales Superstar”
2014 spotlight: The Profound Effect of Relevancy
This is an age where people are provided with too many sources, too many choices and not enough time in the day to effectively evaluate every purchase decision. Auto shoppers today need a reason to stop — a reason to sit down and absorb information during their nearly 12 hours of research viewing 20 or 30 vehicles on 24 or more sites. The window of opportunity we have to create a connection between our cars and their next owner is incredibly small. The reality is purchase decisions are most influenced during this process, and we need to capitalize on this trend in order to dominate digital and drive more showroom traffic. Digital influence is exponentially higher than any other form of advertising and is hands down the biggest force for driving showroom opportunities. It gives us the means to tap into human aspirations in order to deliver a connection so powerful that it’s capable of driving customers to our door, literally. All we have to do is give them a reason to stop and understand what it is that sets our vehicles apart. In other words, give them more relevant information in order to keep them from moving on to the next choice. Last year, this industry spent more than five billion dollars on paid digital advertising. The goal? Drive more traffic to our Websites and showrooms. So thousands upon thousands are spent every month in effort to get people to our site, but what are they learning about our vehicles once they get there? What reason are we giving them to stop, be influenced and halt their search? Let’s first discuss how auto shoppers shop. We know people gravitate towards price and photos whether they’re shopping on your Website or listing sites. We also know people don’t always understand what accounts for differences in trim. Cobalt revealed that almost no customers knew the differences between trim levels. Listing sites make it difficult to even search by trim, so the average consumer looks for a “Toyota truck.” When they find two 2012 Toyota Tundras that have a price difference of $7,000, the lower-priced model (or your competitor’s model) will win the click.
The reality is high-content vehicles are at a huge disadvantage because people are not aware of the value attributes that make up that difference in price. We need to educate, digitally, the additional equipped options that make up a vehicle’s overall value in order to give every car in your inventory a fighting chance. When a customer views your VDPs or your vehicles on listing sites, and they find the same make and model for cheaper, they will move on — unless you provide them with more relevant information that will cause them to stop and take another look. Consumers do their homework. They take advantage of the huge amount of data available and compare market research across several sources. The secret is sorting that data to be more relevant, and making it accessible to the customer directly off your VDPs. By providing the information we know they want directly on your Website, you have a higher probability of keeping them there longer and, ultimately, winning that showroom opportunity. Not only should you provide comparable market data and display the top value and option highlights that set your cars apart, but you should also capitalize on the significant amount of money you’ve invested on reconditioning your pre-owned inventory. If a customer is comparing two cars from two dealers and yours is priced $2,000 higher, it’s imperative you show them why. Show them that your vehicle has brand new tires and brakes, and that it’s a one-owner with lower mileage. Show them that it’s still under warranty. Overcome the question “What is your best price?” by displaying exactly how many dollars under market your vehicle is listed at when compared to others of the same year, make, model and trim level. In order to stay one step ahead of the game, give your customers access to the most relevant information about your cars and, thus, a reason to stay on your site longer. It is critical you show up with all the reasons your vehicle is a good deal and a reliable choice. Showcase every vehicle in the best light possible, and I mean this both figuratively and literally. Quality photos are essential, but it’s equally important to educate shoppers on whether or not your vehicle will meet their specific needs. After you’ve sufficiently built value in your vehicle, show both expert and consumer reviews on your vehicle. The influence of independent reviews is extremely powerful and should be leveraged. If you say you’re great, no one will believe you, but if other people say you’re great, it has much more impact. Give people a reason to believe buying from you is a good decision. Let’s touch on leads. While the rate of consumers submitting leads is constantly dropping (currently only 2.11 percent), it’s still important to provide the option to do so. When responding to leads, the key is to provide as much relevant information as possible in order to allow your vehicle to stand tall against the competition and stand out in the customer’s mind. Never respond to a lead with “Yes, that vehicle is still available — when can you come in?” because the customer will say to themselves, “Which vehicle?” and confuse it for one of the others they’ve viewed. At the end of the day, having an abundance of choices is a great thing, but it’s also this industry’s heaviest downfall. When presented with too many choices and not enough information, we move on. Shoppers simply want information that will reinforce that they’re making an intelligent choice. The challenge we must focus on is to provide more relevant data and implement this information in a way that differentiates your vehicles from others like them, and gets customers to simply stop, absorb and be influenced.
Jeremy Anspach is the president and CEO of PureCars. He can be contacted at 877.381.2632, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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sales & training solution
tales from the lane: How to Turn a Positive Service Experience Into a Negative Dealership Experience in Just 20 Minutes
It’s low-hanging fruit. Those service customers represent huge dollars to the point — not just service dollars, but sales dollars. Trade ‘em up! Lower their payment, upgrade them, exchange ‘em, your keys for theirs…. There are too many to mention, but they all sing the same song: The service lane is a gold mine for new vehicle sales. Now, let me be the prom spoiler and sour the punch bowl. Today, right now, you are pushing service customers away with your sales process in that very same department. Customers are coming in for service, and some won’t come back. Not because of anything your service department did.
It’s Time iDrive
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So the salesperson does his or her job, takes the customer through the paces and gets them to love the new car. They get them excited. The customer can just see the looks on their co-workers faces when they drive up in the new car. They are even calling friends and family excited at how you are going to be able to lower their monthly payment, because you need their trade in.
This scenario happens every day in dealerships across the country. With the best of intentions, sales goals in mind, we seek to extract sales gold from the service lane, enticing our customers with a trade up that can lower their payments. In most cases, these customers can trade up with payments well within — if not lower than — their current monthly payment. This is only true, however, as long as their credit worthiness has remained solid. Now you’re asking, “How would I know?” Prescreen. Simply put, it is the best way for you the dealer to arm yourself with the credit data necessary to structure and negotiate a car deal, or more importantly see if there is a deal there before you begin the sales process. So, if you aren’t utilizing this process, find one and use it. Recently, the tide against dealers has been a high one, but new credit score technology is a profit life preserver — and an SSI savior. Now that same consumer leaves in the well-serviced car your service department just completed, you avoided a heat case and, most importantly, you kept that happy customer happy.
iDrive™ Mobile App
I’ll begin by saying I am in no way advocating for you to cease service lane sales. It is a gold mine, and one that needs to continuously be worked to extract the perfect mix of paid ROs and new retail units. What I am saying, however, is that your process might be leaving you susceptible to providing that customer with an experience that will keep them from coming back. “Mr. Smith, I have some good news. While your car is being serviced we took the liberty of appraising your trade….” Insert pitch here.
And then it happens — you pull their credit. 560. But wait, wasn’t Mr. Smith an 810 the last time you pulled credit?
› Service Coupons
It’s because of your sales department that the consumer isn’t coming back.
Scan the code to learn more
Don O’Neill is the vice president of sales and marketing for CreditMiner. He can be contacted at 866.469.9770, or by email at email@example.com.
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sales & training solution
is your bodyshop ready for management training? As a golfer, I hit my fair share of wayward shots. So many in fact, that I will occasionally need to turn to our local golf pro for some help. Inevitably, he finds the main causes of my poor shots, and offers solutions that make a ton of sense. While on the driving range, when there is no penalty for hitting a crooked shot, I get comfortable with the changes to my set up and swing he’s suggested. Once I hit the golf course, however, I often find myself reverting to old, ineffective swing habits. Management training is similar. While our students are in the classroom, the operational changes we suggest make sense to them as well. But once they return back to the real world, they are often met with obstacles and quickly revert to their old way of doing things. Training is arguably the most important investment that you can make in your bodyshop. Certainly technical training is more important than ever with the ever-changing vehicle construction methods and materials. Just as important, however, is good, effective training for your bodyshop’s management and administrative staff. I have been fortunate to witness many dealer shops turn their performance around in conjunction with education. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed many of our customers invest a great deal of time and money in training, only to continue their current level of underperformance. Why do some companies thrive after training, and others sputter? And how can you know if bodyshop management training is right for your organization? I have identified four key qualities that dealers who have successfully implemented our training exhibit.
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The Dealer is Involved in Bodyshop Training
Many dealers send their bodyshop manager to training to get “fixed.” No doubt, their intentions are to provide their manager with the appropriate resources to improve departmental performance. However, these same managers who are sent for training on their own often return to work only to have ideas for improvement not supported be their bosses. Without support from the dealer or GM, most bodyshop management training falls flat. Conversely, dealerships that have successfully implemented training involve multiple people from the organization. It is not uncommon for dealer principals, GMs, and fixed ops managers to invest their time in class alongside their bodyshop managers. These organizations typically return from training with synergy and an action plan in place. The Dealer Takes a Long-term Approach
The culture of a business takes years to develop. It also takes time to change that culture. We know that most operational change also involves a change in shop culture. Cultural change is a process. The dealerships that successfully implement training understand this and are resolute in implementing changes. Make no mistake — real cultural change often takes nine months or more. If you are not prepared to invest time and resources to make changes take hold, you will not get the most out of training. The Dealer Provides Support From the Top
This is critical. One of the largest obstacles bodyshop managers face when they return from training is a lack of support from other dealership departments. Many of the changes a manager attempts to make can be undermined by other department managers who were not exposed to the same training. Support from the top of the dealership is essential. The Dealer Has a Structured Reengagement Program
Reengagement is an important component of implementation. This can be accomplished through follow-up on-site consulting, telephone coaching or utilizing suppliers who have been exposed to the same training. Structured, regular reengagement is another mechanism to ensure that you get the most impact out of your training dollars. I don’t have to tell you that education and training can be a large investment. Off-site training can mean nights away from home, and a few thousand dollars in an attempt to get their operation to run a little smoother and more profitably. I also know that the time and money investment doesn’t stop when the students leave the classroom. The effectiveness of training is measured by the results that students achieve. The dealerships who successfully implement training are the ones who demonstrate the four qualities highlighted in this article. Before investing in bodyshop management training, I urge you to evaluate your own organization’s approach. By providing the proper ongoing support from the top down, maintaining a long-term approach, and keeping a structured reengagement program in place, you will get the most value for your training dollar. Your bodyshop manager will be able to take the information he or she learned on the classroom driving range, and take it to the bodyshop “golf course.”
Rob Dunn is the lead instructor and dealership consultant for Masters School of Autobody Management. He can be contacted at 866.386.0042, or by email at email@example.com.
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From hardware to software, technology just gets faster, thinner and better, adding convenience to our lives. Businesses use technology to attract and retain customers but, with so many choices available, how can dealers effectively use technology to improve the bottom line?
technology has made our lives easier; this also includes making how we do business easier.
No one can deny that technology is advancing at rapid rate and it’s made a seismic impact on everyday life. In today’s world, if you ask a child to read a road map, it’d be like asking them to read hieroglyphics, but if you ask him to work an iPad, it’d be like eating cake. In many ways,
Dealers who embrace various forms of technology and incorporate it into their company’s culture are already reaping benefits. When used properly, a well-designed Website and mobile site, the use of social media, updated hardware devices and dealer/customer smartphone applications can all help improve branding, increase profits and attract and retain more customers. This is not a fad. Technology is only getting better and, quite frankly, isn’t going anywhere. With talks about connected vehicles, apps in vehicles and wearable technology becoming mainstream very soon, what is available now will soon be considered outdated.
auto success online half page verticle 4.875 x 7.375
Dealers and Technology
Making Technology Work for You
Embrace technology and make it work for you. Technology has opened up unimaginable new choices and opportunities. Don’t fear the choices — embrace them. Once you recognize how technology will assist your dealership, decide on which solution works best for you.
Reaching Qualified Auto Intenders Just Got a Whole Lot Easier!
Take 5 has the largest, one of a kind, 17.2 million Auto-Intender File. Contains make, model and time-of-intent information. Conquer qualified buyers during their shopping cycle. Buyers have confirmed interest to purchase or lease in 30, 60 or 90 days. Contact Don Morris, vice president of sales at 561- 819-5555, Ext. 133 or visit www.t5zoom.com
For more than 10 years, Take 5 has been delivering successful marketing campaigns for automobile manufacturers and dealers across the country. So choose your target, pick your GEO, select your marketing channel and call Take 5 today.
For example, dealerships that invest in both dealer- and consumer-facing smartphone apps understand utilizing technology in their business practices. Successful dealers will not only invest in just the “cool factor” of mobile apps, but they implement it into every aspect of their dealership’s culture in order to make it work. Embracing technology involves a continuous marketing and training effort. The way dealers are using push notifications today is just the beginning. Today, notifications can be sent to advertise new specials, show videos of the latest model and send safety alerts. They can send alerts when a customer’s vehicle is ready for pickup, if there is a recall or when their lease is up. Now, with geo targeting, dealers bring a whole new level of target marketing and customer service. Automated notifications based on customer and vehicle data is the way of the future. Developers will continue to create apps that will be used by OEMs, government agencies, dealers and other automotive-related software companies to market. Dealerships need to utilize the same technology that their customers are using in order to help them find what they are looking for. Embrace technology, especially if you want to remain credible in the eyes of your consumers.
Ed Louis is the CEO and co-founder of DealerApp Vantage. He can be contacted at 866.604.6710, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is Bluetooth Proximity Marketing? Will it send video walk-arounds and new vehicle content to visitor’s cell phones in and around the store? – Yes Will it send out oil change coupons to nearby drivers when my service drive is empty? – Yes Will it deliver custom content to every nearby Bluetooth cell phone and tablet? - Yes BlueTooth Proximity hotspots are constantly sending marketing content to your customers’ Bluetooth-enabled devices. This transmission is totally free to your customers. Why Use Bluetooth Proximity Marketing? This technology has tremendous reach. At least 75 percent of your customers may be reached via VirtualBluetooth. Three simple steps are all that is needed to utilize BlueTooth Proximity Marketing: Step 1: Ongoing Device Search — The VirtualBlueToothenabled device scans for Bluetooth-enabled phones and tablets located within a range of up to a quarter of a mile, depending on the hotspot, antennas and mobile phone or tablet. Step 2: Request for Permission — VirtualBlueTooth sends a request to each device, asking for permission to send content. The message sent would be similar to “Would you like to see specials from ABC Company?” Step 3: Sending of Content — Once the consumer approves the request, VirtualBluetooth will send a variety of information (video, audio, coupons, service messages, contact cards and many other message formats) to the device. The VirtualBluetooth device can communicate with multiple devices thanks to multithreaded software architecture and multiple Bluetooth radios installed in each unit. Sending files to one customer will not stop detection of new customers walking by the VirtualBluetooth hotspot). Campaigns and Content Multiple campaigns can run simultaneously on multiple schedules. Content may be set up to run immediately, or may be scheduled for a particular time, day of the week, daily, weekly or monthly. VirtualBluetooth recognizes phone and tablet models and sends content to match the specific device. VirtualBluetooth recognizes more than 1,200 device models on the market today. Content Control Because VirtualBluetooth management is Web-based, you can control the VirtualBluetooth hotspots via the Web to monitor the hotspots, change content or schedules, or simply run reports
on the statistics or the device, such as “devices seen,” “devices communicated with” and “devices that have given permission to have information sent to them,” as well as the content that was sent. VirtualBluetooth can be monitored from WiFi, 3/4G networks or computers with Internet access. Summary VirtualBluetooth hotspots send content to customers who have approved the content receipt. All data from devices found, customer approvals and content sent statistics are stored in a reporting database to be reviewed at will by the device owner. Thus, you know exactly how many people accepted content, allowing easy calculation of the ROI of your campaigns. Even more exciting, the content you push to your customers can be much more interesting than just a simple text message. Presentations, videos, television spots and more can be used to establish a higher customer experience and allow you to build a stronger brand and relationship with the customer. Your ROI can factor in how many visitors you have and, if more than one transmitter is installed, where they travel within your store. This is a new advanced and progressive way to communicate with your customers, and is unlike any other forms of advertisement and marketing that you currently use. There is no cost to the customer (as there can be with texting or SMS) and the customer has to approve whether the opt-in to the campaign or not. Why Use VirtualBlueTooth? VirtualBlueTooth has everything needed to reach your customers with Bluetooth campaigns. You will surprised how inexpensive this broadcast marketing tool can be for your store. Call to learn more. VirtualBlueTooth Campaign Management includes: • 24/7 Statistics • PDF and Excel Reports • Campaign Scheduling • Clustered Mode • Image Ability • Upload Content • Coupon Builder • Content Generator • Browsable Handsets Database • Remote Management • Web-Based Solution • Connectivity Includes Internet Cable, WiFi, and/or 3G
There are More Than
of Mobile Users Text Frequently.
of Mobile Messages are Read – Can You Say That About Direct Mail or eMail?
Devised are Carried by
Million Mobile Users.
of Consumers Have Already Taken Action on a Mobile Campaign.
Pop Up Coupons on Inventory
the Number of Leads You Get From Your Web Traffic.
“The optimum lead generation tool. They have a library of turn-key sales and service campaigns and the leads flow directly into our CRM and DMS.”
– Kevin Collins, Collins Automotive Group