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Scott McCrae Automotive Group THE BEST GET BETTER Jacksonville, FL.
Denny Gaultney, Scott McCrae Automotive Group, Inventory Team
Joe Humphrey, Scott McCrae Automotive Group, Inventory Team
"RAPID RECON IS HELPING US TO CENTRALIZE ALL OF OUR NORTH FLORIDA USED VEHICLE INVENTORIES. NOT ONLY DOES IT TRACK EVERY STEP IN THE RECONDITIONING PROCESS, IT ALSO ACTS AS OUR COMMUNICATION BOARD BETWEEN ALL FOUR STORES REGARDING USED VEHICLE MERCHANDISING, TRANSPORTATION, AND PRICING."
Chris Pace, Duval Honda, Service Manager
TRANSPARENCY | ACCOUNTABILITY | MOBILITY
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DennisMcGinn continuous process improvement in recon
ignore customer datA protection at your own risk
DavidLewis why salespeople fail, part 1
you have not because you “no” not
Hannah Philpott, Media Director firstname.lastname@example.org
DebbieDrury are you following up with your potential customers? the usps says you’re not
EdLouis the app takeover
how to measure customer loyalty (hint: it has nothing to do with your csi score)
Brian Ankney, Account Manager email@example.com
SeanV.Bradley the “secret weapon” ford motor company used for their incredible comeback: dr. Willie Jolley
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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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JeremyAnspach 2014 spotlight: More Showroom Opportunities
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AJLeBlanc using video to make the most of a limited marketing budget
Susan Givens, Publisher email@example.com
SusanGivens Customer retention and your telephone Three Common Contributions to “Breaking Up” With Customers
JimmyVee & TravisMiller cavemen can play cards
GlennPasch “i sell nationally, so who cares about repeat business?”
sales & training solution MarkTewart Your strength is your weakness
DalePollak seven rules to recondition used vehicles “right” every time
DealerPanel the role of service in customer retention, part 3
12 feature solution
customer retention and your telephone Three Common Contributions to “Breaking Up” With Customers Almost 100 percent of your customers continue their relationship with you on the telephone, and yet the average telephone experience automotive dealers provide their current customers results in an invitation to go elsewhere.
routing. Another 28 percent weren’t answered after being transferred from the receptionist or first call handler to another person or department.
To keep a customer in the relationship cycle, the in-dealership experience isn’t the only one that matters. Too many dealerships have focused on their tangible “brick and mortar” exchange, only to undo it by not providing a matching experience over the phone.
Have dealers created a huge profit leak by attempting to “funnel” calls with a false sense of hope by hiring less staff to manage the phones?
A retained customer will call your fixed operations team 20 times for every one call to your variable operations team. Your caller’s journey in fixed operations, however, drives your sales retention, just as variable does. Let’s consider the three most common contributors to “breaking up” with a current customer on the phone: Not answering the phone — Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.” It doesn’t just mean showing up for appointments or to work for an 80 percent increase in success. The act of showing up also means being available. It’s easier to make significant progress on something if you simply show up to do it. Answering the phone follows suit. According to recent studies, almost half (44 percent) of calls to dealerships are not answered by the intended party or department. Of those calls, 16 percent are abandoned, mostly because they were not able to navigate through an automatic system and phone tree
Amongst the calls that made it far enough to ask for a department, 13 percent hang up while on hold, five percent leave a voicemail, four percent hang up on voicemail, and six percent of the time the requested party or department simply aren’t available.
Lack of follow up — One in five calls that are placed into departments result in a “promise made.” What is the impact of a failure to keep that promise? An average of 14 percent of all calls to all departments result in a promised call back — of which four percent of the callers make additional calls to the dealership and mention that they never received the promised return call. These are only the customers who give you a second chance and are bold enough to mention the failure. What is the real number of forgotten return calls? Most of the time, responses are along the lines of “I’ll have my manager call you,” or “I’ll send you an email” or “I’ll get you the extra keys.” When a call handler makes a promise to a customer, is that promise kept? How do you know? The subject of the call is complicated and low on the priority list — Concerned customer calls such as “my registration expired,” or “a payment is due on the car I traded” or “where are my tags?” are most often routed to the administrative office. Since the administrative office is not close to the daily operations of the profit center, this is often not the team you would choose to quickly address post-sale matters. To efficiently increase customer retention and satisfaction, the profit center’s leadership should handle these calls to ensure a seamless customer experience. When it’s time for a customer to re-purchase, mitigating and staying on top of these calls up front will pay off. If these calls are not handled properly right away, it could have a negative impact on key reputation management sites such as Google and DealerRater. It also risks poor results on a CSI survey. Dealers no longer have to let the phone be their greatest source of profit leaks. With proper call monitoring, the telephone can go from being a potential liability to a valuable tool for customer retention. Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, 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 10 FOR MORE...
DEALER PANEL autosuccessonline.com
the dealer panel
Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock
the role of service in customer Danny Benites Tony Provost retention
The connection between the sales and service department has steadily grown stronger for most dealerships, and the role each plays in the dealership’s bottom line has gotten more fruitful — and more complex. This month, we’ll be examining marketing with this new dynamic, and how the departments can meet the needs of the modern customer. 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 THE in Massachusetts; Brian Benstock, vice president and general Bourne manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Andrew DiFeo, general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida.
AutoSuccess: From a marketing aspect, how do sales and service differ, and how are they alike? Are there ever instances where cross-promotion would be valuable? Chris Saraceno: The only difference is what we are selling. The sales
department is selling a vehicle — something that can be seen and touched — while service is selling a product that, most of the time, cannot be seen or touched. That is why it is vitally important to build a relationship with the customer. When you build relationships, you build trust, and when you build trust, people will buy from you. It’s really that simple. Cross promotion can work quite well and has proven to be successful in the past by giving free oil changes with vehicle evaluations. I believe this is an area of enormous potential. Not only are customers more informed today, but they are certainly less loyal. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that they will buy from someone they trust and have built a relationship with, even if they are not the least expensive.
Danny Benites: I think they are more alike than we think. In the
end, marketing is just the manner in which we motivate our customers to take action. Our retention programs, such as our service clinics and new owners clinic, are focused on keeping our customers engaged by staying in contact with them about money-saving ways to purchase and maintain vehicles.
Brian Benstock: They don’t differ. You only come to a dealership for two reasons: Either you’re going to buy a new or used car, or you’re going to service the one you have. Obviously, we keep a close eye on the right time for a customer to potentially be considering a new product, but we want to be in front of our customers at all times. The minute you think about an oil change, it might be 10 or 15 days before you schedule it, and that’s half a month. We don’t really care where we get a customer from, whether it’s parts, used, new or service — they’re all Paragon customers. We want to ensure we treat them with respect and deliver them relevant services that our dealership has for whatever their needs may be.
Chris SaracenoService Tony isProvos tand AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock Tony Provost: the here now. We are always corresponding with our current customers through text and email. Service campaigns are focused on the immediate needs of the consumer. Sales campaigns, on the other hand, are designed to create urgency, with many options for different trim lines and different models. For instance, our dealership is located in the northeast, so we always run our annual “Blizzard Sales/Service Event” in January. It is a promotion that creates a slashing of percentages for savings in both sales and service.
Andrew DiFeo: From the sales side, you have different types of
marketing: conquest and retention. Conquest is really awareness and stimulus for the brand, where retention marketing can go hand in hand with service, where you’re reaching out to service customers. On the service side, it’s mainly about retention. We find coupons and specials are important to consumers, and also the service reminders we do internally. Our CRM gives predictive mileage information, and if the customer has been in for service a couple of times, it starts to learn their driving habits. It also works with BlueLink, our telematics service with Hyundai, wheresuccessful we can know when a provided customer by is ready for service, as well. On the solutions service side, we want to make sure it’s relevant and timely and we’re not overburdening them with messages that they don’t want to hear.
AS: How is the modern service customer different from the service customer of the past, and how has your dealership adjusted to this change? CS: The modern customer is more knowledgeable about the products
and services. The Internet has created a new type of buyer — a younger buyer, and more female buyers. Our training over the last few years is making it easier to relate to these groups of customers. DB: Of course, in our digital world, customers are well informed and
expectations are at an all-time high. They won’t hesitate to move on your competitor once they feel like they haven’t been taken care of. We can’t expect loyalty; we have to earn it. We have responded to today’s customer with increased personnel, better equipment, online scheduling, free loaners, coupon push notifications and streamlined processes.
BB: The biggest change with modern customers is people want to know what they’re getting. They want to understand what you’re doing to their car and why you’re doing it. People research now. The average car buyer looks at six Websites before they buy; 10 years ago it was two Websites. And the same goes for service. When it comes to deciding on a dealership, reputation management and reviews play a big part in that. The consumer is more educated and has a larger voice today. TP: The modern customer is the lifeline, with retention being our common denominator.panel The modern service customer wants service the dealer with an immediate time and pick-up. They want the car cleaned. They want to be taken care of. When I think about the service customer of the past, about 15 years ago or longer, we never took care of them. We drove them away. And the results are clear. Just look at the national third-party companies that are in the service business. I truly feel that we would have no competition in service today if we would have taken care of customers in the past the way we do today. AD: With the Internet, and especially with mobile devices, price
shopping and comparison has been huge. We want to make sure our prices are competitive, but we also want to make sure the customer understands the value and the service we’re providing. Just our oil change provides more than what the Jiffy Lube provides, and that doesn’t even factor in certified Hyundai technicians and parts. We’ve also extended our hours and open on the weekends to meet the customers’ needs, and give them reasons to know that it’s good to bring your vehicle into the factory-authorized dealership rather than a third party.
If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at email@example.com.
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How Digital Advertising Works And How To Make It Work For You As trends shift in the way customers research vehicles and make purchasing decisions — a staggering 85 percent of consumers begin the car-buying process online — innovative auto dealerships are not only responding to those changes; they’re capitalizing on them. These dealers are where the consumers are: the Internet. And they’re steering business to their dealerships by employing revolutionary digital marketing that broadens and strengthens their multi-channel campaigns. There are many types of digital advertising — video pre-roll (commercials that play before online videos), mobile (served to smartphones and tablets: ads within games, mobile search ads) and emails, just to name a few. Banner ads, however, are the focus of this digital marketing feature article because of the opportunities they provide — for both risks and returns. Old School Digital: Cookies The majority of online banners rely on browser cookies. Cookies are small files sent from Websites you visit that are stored in your Web browser. Each time you load a Website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the Website of your activity. Behavior targeting collects data gathered from cookies to target users with specific traits; the goal being to increase the effectiveness of ads. A user’s online activity — which sites they visited, their activity when they visited those sites, their search history and more — is studied to determine whether to serve that consumer banner ads and, if so, which ones. Cookies are ideal when used for retargeting — serving ads to consumers who visit your Website.
Legislation threatens to impact the ability of marketers to continue offering cookie tracking. Recent proposals have included the Do Not Track Me Act and Kerry-McCain Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act, which both called for a universal opt-out mechanism for cookie tracking.
It is not possible to consistently identify, track and reach unique users online with verifiable accuracy. Because multiple individuals can use the same computer, there’s no way to know whether a user connected to one cookie is the same user who is connected to another cookie. This compromises the validity of online profiles and, ultimately, the effectiveness of your ads when relying on those profiles to develop a campaign.
Digital: The Next Generation Dealers can now profit from banner ads with a new method of targeting that doesn’t employ cookies, but instead tracks consumers by linking IP addresses to home addresses. Unlike a cookie, an IP address can’t be blocked or deleted and allows a vendor to remain connected to every target user every time that user goes online. J&L Marketing employs a patent-pending algorithm that is able to tie street addresses to other data points, with no privacy infringement. This enables dealerships to hyper-target individuals using geo-location technology to create highly accurate and verifiable profiles of unique Internet users. The benefits of serving banner ads with this new technology include: •
Reaching the online target 100 percent of time — no wasted impressions or dollars Targeting one-to-one down to a specific household or business Delivering relevant ads to the target users Influencing decisions by reaching customers early in the car-buying process Taking a proactive approach to generating leads
The Problem With Cookies Cookie-based ads as a proactive approach to generating leads and driving traffic, however, are problematic for a number of reasons. These include increased regulation, user-based blocking, timed-out cookies and the inability to provide verifiable accuracy. More specifically:
In the end, it’s about impact, not impressions. The more accurate your targeting and the more relevant your ad, the more likely it is you’ll make the conversions. And the more conversions you have, the more high-quality leads you’ll gather — and that leads to higher ROIs.
Cookie targeting is limited to people who have enabled their browsers to accept cookies. More and more browsers are changing their default settings to block third-party cookies. This greatly reduces the audience you can target, as well as the effectiveness of your digital campaign. Users can also choose to take advantage of anti-targeting technologies that allow them to block cookies.
• • •
Does Your Digital Pass the Test? Use this quick checklist developed by J&L Marketing to make sure your ads follow industry best practices. Dynamic: Does the ad rotate or include movement? Animated banners generate almost 30 percent higher click-through rates than static banners. If the ad is animated, the animation should stop within 30 seconds of being served. Keep in mind, however, that auto-initiated audio is often blocked.
Call to action: Does the ad create a sense of urgency and make the consumer feel that they must act now? Is there an easy — and compelling — conversion process for them to become a lead?
Sizes: Have you created the ad in multiple sizes to increase the inventory of site locations where it can be served? Ideally it should be available in the most common pixel sizes: 120x600, 160x600, 300x250, 468x60 and 728x90.
Brand recognition: Does the ad create strong brand recognition and include your name, event name and/or logo, with a link to your Website or a landing page?
Digital Ads: 4 Mistakes You Never Want To Make Visit J&L Marketing at www.JandLdigital.com to receive a free copy of this informative guide.
Digital: An Integral Role In Driving The Multi-Channel Machine Your multi-channel owner marketing campaign begins with data — transaction data from sales and service, as well as data from your marketing communications. By partnering with a vendor that has a strong analytics team, your data can be used to identify the wants, needs and interests of target consumers. This critical information is then used to develop your strategy so you can motivate customers and drive results. The best way to accomplish this? A multi-channel campaign that draws upon all the weapons in your direct marketing arsenal — and that most definitely includes a strong digital presence.
To learn more about digital marketing, visit J&L Marketing at www.JandLdigital.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
sales & training solution
your strength is your weakness
I have been studying both success and failure for most of my life, and I have found the one common trait to both: Your strengths can also be your weaknesses. If I were to ask a room of people what they would say makes a person successful, I believe they would list many of the following things: • Hard work • Good personality • Persistence • Good attitude • Connections • Education • Luck • Money I have noticed that you can have a good debate about any and all of the above items and what part they truly play in success and failure. However, I have noticed that for all people, the very things that can lead to your success can also lead to your failure. Let’s evaluate some of the items above. Hard Work — A strong work ethic is essential in being productive in areas that lead to results. However, you can be working so hard in the wrong areas or in the wrong ways that it just leads to inertia. You can become the proverbial “hamster in a wheel.” Hard work for many becomes a false badge of honor, with nothing to show for it. I know a lot of extremely hardworking, unsuccessful, broke and unhappy people. Even the word “hard” becomes a negative emotional anchor to the word “work.” “Don’t tell me about the pregnancy, just show me the baby.” Good Attitude — I think even an extremely negative person would say that you must have a good attitude to be successful. However, I have noticed that often people avoid critical thinking by using a positive attitude as an excuse. You can use all the pithy sayings you want, get in
a circle with your positive friends and sing “Kum Bah Ya” until you are blue in the face, but that does not mean you are doing what will make you successful. Frankly, if you do not have the right goals, game plan, actions and review strategies, along with a strong dose of critical thinking, you may be allowing your positive attitude to drive you positively broke. I have witnessed a growing legion of people who spend all day posting positive things on Facebook, Twitter and every other social media source and seem to be giving groups hugs to everyone in their “I’m happy and positive all the time” circles, but yet their business and incomes stink. “If you are going to talk about it, be about it.” I am pretty sure that all successful people have their “moments of doubt and pain,” to borrow from a Rolling Stones lyric. I have also noticed that very successful people at times begin selfreflection that would be anything but positive. They are, however, very responsible for results and absolutely ruthless at times in regards to themselves, their actions and results. In fact, they are purposely negative and critical in a very motivating way. Pain can often move mountains, while the pursuit of pleasure leaves many on the couch. Many a person has resolved to be skinny with zero action toward the goal, but became fanatical in pursuit after seeing themselves in the mirror and becoming painfully disgusted. Just talking positive means squat without taking action, having tons of failures, misfires and even the anger that drives you the last step when others would have quit. Good Personality — More failures have been hired in sales positions in the name of “good personality” than any other single waste of criteria I have seen. The reality is that many great salespeople do not have wonderful personalities, and often can be downright “pains in the ass.” Superstars are incredibly driven people, often to the point of being maniacal and, often, do not suffer fools lightly. High performers cannot stand anything or anyone that gets in their way and sometimes have little empathy, sympathy or patience for those people and things that do. All of this leads to anything but a great personality at times, and will surely not win them any congeniality awards. A great personality means nothing without the rest of the makeup necessary to be successful. It’s just a fact that nice guys do not always finish first. The critical component here is that successful people know what it takes to be successful and have no tolerance for anything else, and that can often lead to anything but a pleasing personality. The bottom line for everyone is that your strength, unchecked, can also be your weakness. This is why I think many people who succeed also have failed over and over. I think they possess a strong ego drive to get up off the mat and get back after it. However, somewhere along the way, the really successful people discover that those critical points of success are what also drives them to failure. At this point, the successful person creates an internal governor that cuts back the strength to a level that keeps them from going over the cliff from success to failure. Maximize your strengths, but do not let them lead you to failure. 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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JimmyVee & TravisMiller
cavemen can play cards
Although they should never be your single source for leads, cavemen or grassroots marketing campaigns can help even out your sales when other marketing ventures aren’t performing the way they should. Don’t know what cavemen marketing is? No worries. Cavemen marketing is simply an advertising strategy that uses low-cost and non-conventional means to convey or promote products or ideas. It’s so easy, even a caveman could do it.
sales that are fast disappearing in today’s busy marketplace: a salesperson and their business card. Every eager salesperson wants to close more deals. Wouldn’t it be nice to give them something really simple they could do everyday at lunch or on the weekends to help boost their own business? They all go to the bank, the doctor, the grocery store and maybe even the bar from time to time. So, why not have them drop off the personalized cards you had made just for them? And, if they’re really good at selling, they should even create their own opportunities to pass out the card as they’re chitchatting out on the town. No matter where they are or who they are with, odds are that someone around them would like a better car. Arm your staff with the artillery they need to start powerful and authentic relationships.
To start, we’re going to hook you up with some of our favorite cavemen marketing tactics, but you need to keep a few things in mind along the way: 1. These techniques should not be your only methods of marketing. Think of them more like hood scoops; they only work if the car is already rolling down the road. 2. The results are not always immediate. 3. These techniques require support from management as well as an overall team effort. 4. The benefits from this type of marketing are likely to have an impact over longer periods of time. It’s like a savings account; you put in a little here and a little there, and eventually you’ll have built up quite a bit of money.
Think about it: It doesn’t cost that much to have a few hundred cards printed up. You just have to figure out how to make your sales staff and their cards stand out with personality. A great way to do this is to go with what looks like a handwritten font. It should say something like “25 Percent Off Any Service OR $1,000 Trade-In Bonus,” or something similar. Have them sign at the bottom of the card, make sure the dealership name and contact info are on the back, and you’re good to go. People like holding onto offers that they feel are personally offered to them or are only given out to a limited number of people. If executed correctly, this tactic works.
Our first tactic will focus on the power that lies in two age-old aspects of
Another tactic that works well is the age-old “Happy Birthday” card. Everyone loves getting a birthday card, right? There are list of companies out there that will sell you mailing lists that include birthdays of people within your market area. This will allow you to send personalized birthday cards to people on their actual birthdays. Just print out a service and sales offer inside the card. It could say something like: “Free Oil Change PLUS 25 Percent Off any additional service OR $1,000 Trade-In Bonus.” Most people will open these types of mailers because they’re birthday cards, so the potential is very high for a return on your investment.
If you’re strapped for cash, but still need to drive traffic to your store, listen up. Heck, even if you’ve got money to blow, this message is for you. We’ve got some simple, unusual tactics that will help keep leads trickling in, even in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.
Although seemingly old school, they’re tried and true and, with these updated twists, could work for you. Give them a chance and see what happens, but remember that incorporating cavemen marketing into your marketing plan is a commitment. You can’t expect it to work if you just try it once and walk away. You must track and measure and be willing to try many different tactics. If they work, keep it up. If not, try something else. It may take a little time to train a sales staff to pull it off consistently, but once you’ve established a method it’ll go a long way. Your sales staff will appreciate being empowered and being given the opportunity to take control of their own destiny, as well. One last warning — don’t fall into the trap of growing bored with something that works. When you have a winner, stick with it. 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 ASM1403.
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 email@example.com.
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sales & training solution
why salespeople fail I use the title for this article with a bit of apprehension. I don’t really believe the word “failure” correctly describes why salespeople today are not succeeding as well as they should. It is not so much a failure of the salesperson as a failure of their philosophy and process.
When a salesperson lacks enthusiasm for their career, they lose the drive to greet customers with a positive attitude and a well-structured presentation. Once they lose their inspiration, they start counting the hours every day and leave as soon as their schedule allows. Instead, they should do what great athletic coaches do when their team is in a slump: Go back to the basics of the game. For the car salesperson, that often means implementing proven processes that create real success in this business.
Many salespeople today sell cars with a false belief in themselves and fall short of understanding what their customers actually want. They may have been in the business for a long time and feel they are stuck with nowhere else to go, or they may fail to take steps that will lead to continuous growth in themselves and their business.
You should always come to work with an attitude of gratitude. Customers don’t have to come to your dealership. There are plenty of others to choose from in most cities today. Statistics show that most people who come to a car lot will buy within the next 14 days. That should give you plenty of reason to give every customer your best effort.
Success is an ongoing process that doesn’t end until you quit. Every salesperson has less-than-excellent months now and again, but it doesn’t mean they are on a downward spiral. This is why a structured process is the best defense against failure. When salespeople have a consistent process that they follow with every customer, they are more apt to achieve consistent results.
Salespeople must always remember what they are selling: their product, their personality and their dealership. How many hunters would go out into the forest with only one bullet? Frequently, salespeople do just that when they forget what they have to offer. When they do so, they eliminate some of the process that motivates customers to buy from them. This means they are likely to go elsewhere to make their purchase.
Failure often starts with categorizing customers and believing them to be either buyers or tire kickers, often thinking, “I’ve seen their type before — they are not buyers.” It may be something as simple as seeing someone they have spoken to in the past who didn’t buy, or even the way the customer carries him or herself when they arrive at the dealership. These are not valid signals that should get us off our game. Salespeople need to see every customer as a potential buyer. If they stop being aggressive in taking Ups, they will miss opportunities that will end up being deals for another salesperson. This will only increase their sense of failure and add to the lack of excitement and enthusiasm for their job.
The average customer today does hours of online research before coming to your dealership. This is an indication that they already know you have what they want. The difference is how you treat them when they arrive. You must be unique and inspiring if you expect to earn their business.
Closing deals is what keeps a salesperson’s enthusiasm on the upswing. Selling is always a battle of the mind. We have all been there and have experienced the elation that can come when we have a few back-to-back deals that go right. It is easy to feel like you are on top of the mountain when this happens. The best way to keep that forward movement is to stick with the right process and do it consistently with every customer. When a salesperson is thinking too much about the outcome, they are not thinking about the customer or their sales process. When this happens, they will revert to trial closes or pressure to push the customer toward the negotiation table ahead of schedule. This is a by-product of being just average and usually leads to a failed deal. This, then, leads to a downward path toward more discouragement. As Henry Ford, Sr. once said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t — you are right!” Never forget that. If you can’t remember it, write it on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it before you go out to greet customers. Next month, we’ll take a look at the other factor necessary for a salesperson’s success — their philosophy. David Lewis is the president of David Lewis & Associates, Inc. and the author of three industry-related books, The Secrets of Inspirational Selling, The LEADERSHIP Factor and Understanding Your Customer. He can be contacted at 866.834.6074, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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you have not because you “no” not Studies indicate that a child will hear the word “no” anywhere between 140,000 to 200,000 times while growing up, compared to only fractional amounts of hearing its antonym, “yes.” Today, as adults, it’s no wonder why we will go to great lengths to avoid hearing the word “no” — particularly in sales. What air is to breathing, however, is what “no’s” are to selling — the key to survival. Salespeople’s careers are becoming asphyxiated because we are terrified of hearing the word “no.” Instead of taking a chance and possibly making a sale, we avoid rejection — taking the path of least resistance and bowing out gracefully and broke. As a consequence to our fear, we perform the ancient ritual of Hari Kari, shamefully falling on our sword, disemboweling our career and becoming yet another casualty of the blacktop. If you are tired living up to your draw; if you’ve run out of Hollywood-worthy stories of why you cannot pay your rent; if you’ve grown weary of parking your car in the service department so Rodney the Repo Man can’t find it; or if you’ve once again written the day care a check “from the wrong account,” take the path of most resistance and become a pro by hearing the word “no.” Become a Rejection Specialist — If your mama didn’t tell you “yes” very often, why do you expect a customer to? In selling, “no’s” are professional, not personal. If you want to hear the word “yes” more often, see how many “no’s” you can grab today. “No’s” are an indication of your work ethic. While most salespeople faint at the first sign of defeat, great sales consultants press onward. There Really is Safety in Numbers — The No. 1 reason why most sales consultants do not perform to their ability is because they are not catching enough Ups. When a salesperson’s month begins to derail, they elect to sit instead of surge, taking on the role of victim. Instead of surging ahead, vowing to working harder, increasing the amount of Ups — even in the face of more rejection — some salespeople take a back seat to their month, swearing they’ve become cursed by the bad credit gods, blame management for not taking a short deal, or sneer at the top producer for hoarding all of the “house cheese.” Each month, you stroke a check to your insurance company insuring your valuables in the event of a total loss. Similarly, if you want adequate coverage in order to safeguard your month from a total annihilation, grab the Up’s and enjoy the “no’s.” Give Them a Chance to Say “No” — You are not a one-man show on Broadway; the only character you were cast for is the role of “salesperson.” Know your role. Because we have been married to a customer for the last two hours, we mistakenly think that we know what a customer will say — so we never ask the question. If you really have your customers’ best interest in mind, give them a chance to say “no.” I know they said they have to be at a doctor’s appointment in 10 minutes; I understand that they only want the red car with the tan interior; I can appreciate that they would never dream of buying a used vehicle… but let them make that decision — not you. Keep the ball bouncing. If the first “Road to the Sale” isn’t working, find another road; make it a detour, not a dead end. Remain open-minded by offering new alternatives based on their objections (a.k.a. “no’s”); reinforce those alternatives with bold, fresh ways of looking at the problem from a different perspective, then put those alternatives into action by showing the customer what you mean. It’s not enough to pose a new thought; people are visual, so bring the thought to life by writing it down or, better yet, taking them outside and physically showing them other alternatives. Then, and only then, is the customer allowed to say “no.” You Can’t Grow Without the “No” — Walt Disney went bankrupt; Oprah was not “made for TV”; Steve Jobs was fired from his own company. In spite of failing miserably, successful people are dyslexic to the word “no.” When successful people hear the word “no,” they move on because they know you can’t grow without the “No.” Success is uncomfortable; when something doesn’t work, learn from it and try another approach. Remember, “no” is only temporary, never fatal. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You will miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” On the blacktop, as well as life, you will receive everything you never ask for. Work every deal, every customer as if they will say “yes”; sometimes, you’ll be right. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
2014 spotlight: More Showroom Opportunities
Over the past several months, I’ve concentrated on helping dealers “Win the Click.” I’d like to expand upon winning the click and focus on converting those clicks into showroom opportunities. Think about the goal of your digital strategy. A clearly defined goal is the key to a successful strategy. So, what’s the goal for 2014? More Facebook likes? More Twitter followers? More VDP views? There are endless things to consider and every vendor will tell you something different. I will tell you these things all matter, but what matters most to everyone at a dealership is more showroom opportunities, and that should be the focus for 2014. This year is all about domination and synergy throughout your digital approach. Winning the click is the first step, and relevancy is the key to winning the click. Maximize your Website, Google search and retargeting strategies with more relevant information in order to boost clicks and turn clicks into opportunities. To fully grasp the concept of relevancy, we looked at the best sellers out there to determine what they’re doing right. Amazon.com is the No. 1 online retailer and they understand relevancy. What drives their success? They recognize a better value sometimes comes at a higher price. They provide highly relevant content. Their Website is fast and easy to search. Products are in demand and competitively priced. They show both higher and lower prices and good and bad reviews. Photos are relevant and in a logical order. Amazon Prime provides the most relevant value attributes that mean the most to online shoppers, like fast and free shipping. Amazon knows if they can show the right product and educate customers on value, they will sell a ton of merchandise. We all know their success and how well relevancy works for them. So how does this relate to us? Dealerships are just like normal retailers. Consumer behavior doesn’t change when searching for a vehicle; it’s actually amplified, considering it’s the second largest purchase people make. Years ago, people didn’t get relevant information from dealer sites. There were no photos, no prices and they had to either submit a lead or visit the store. In 2008, consumers visited more than 4.5 dealerships on average before purchasing; today, that number is only 1.4. So why do we focus on leads when less than 15 percent of digital traffic actually submits leads?
What about the 85 percent who make purchase decisions online and then visit a dealership only to validate their decision? Focusing on more relevant content and strengthening our foundation will help generate leads while capturing the attention of the overwhelming majority who make decisions online. The information age has changed the way we sell, but it has yet to change the way we think. Dealers have reacted to the digital shift. Most stores now ensure competitive pricing and display inventory online with prices and photos. But due to transparent and intense competition, the industry has suffered margin erosion. To improve margins and drive showroom traffic, we must ask the multi-billion dollar question: Should price be the consumer’s main comparison point when shopping online? According to multiple studies, the answer is no. Price is important, but value should be the focus when communicating digitally. Dealers need to consider the shopper’s top concerns, analyze how they shop and display relevant content in the right places to improve margins. Realize that value is far more than price alone. People want to see relevant information so they can make an educated decision and know they’re getting a good deal. Showcasing value will shift consumer focus away from price. In November 2013, we learned auto shoppers visit roughly 24 sources before making a purchase (up from 18.2 in 2011). This initial research phase is more influential to purchase decisions than any other stimulus, including your multi-million dollar showroom and all the money you spend on traditional advertising. This is huge. Let’s talk about your Website. How can we promote value over price? First, remember consumers don’t read pages — they scan them. Display top vehicle highlights graphically and forget irrelevant, alphabetical lists of options. Top features should be ranked according to what’s most important to the consumer, not the dealer. Second, graphically showcase reconditioning. How much money do you spend on recon? Progressive stores provide used-car folders that include repair orders, but customers don’t understand this information and, more importantly, they never see it unless they visit your showroom. The secret here is to digitize your used car folder directly on your VDP. Now, let’s discuss search. Winning the click with search is about providing ads that never guess at the right message. Focus on relevant and dynamic content and include key options. After conducting thousands of searches, we’ve determined results typically don’t include options. Try searching for a vehicle you have in stock with an option you know it has. Does your ad appear with the option you searched for? It will not, unless you increase the relevancy of your approach. Proper paid search requires relevant landing pages. A search results page is not a relevant landing page. Drive searchers to a landing platform that matches their request 100 percent of the time. This will drive showroom opportunities and improve your Google quality score, which is a huge reward in itself. After people conduct searches, view dozens of sources and finally land on your Website, they will then move on to cross-shop. Therefore, retargeting is crucial. Retargeting is all about providing a highly specified, relevant ad based on a consumer’s prior behavior. A relevant ad with a relevant landing page gets rewarded with a smaller cost-per-click and a higher-quality score. And, don’t forget mobile. More than 47 percent of automotive searches come from mobile devices, so optimize pages for mobile and use responsive technology across all devices. At the end of the day, dealers need to communicate what their vehicles have to offer more efficiently. Shift focus from leads to the foundation. Remember synergy in your approach and that any solution will be maximized when your vehicles communicate value digitally. Embrace relevancy and learn from the retailers that have established success through a more relevant approach. Price is important, but value will take you further. Winning the click starts with relevant content and ends with more showroom opportunities. Jeremy Anspach is the president and CEO of PureCars. He can be contacted at 877.381.2632, or by email at email@example.com.
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“i sell nationally, so who cares about repeat business?” Yes, that was a real comment I heard recently at a convention I attended. It was overheard between two vendors at a party; the comment struck me as archaic, and he struck me as someone who thought his market was so big that the employees of his company could do whatever they wanted. The Archaic Way of Business
Think of the dawn of selling on TV or in magazines. It must have been such a revelation to early adopters of this advertising because their reach was enormous. Even if they did not really care about the quality of their products or the service they delivered, they could still feel pretty good
knowing that the odds were in their favor. All of us who are of a certain age have ordered products from the back of the comic books and thought they were the best things ever. Remember the seahorses you could grow, the bulging eyeglasses or even the Charles Atlas ads promising great results? We got the box, opened it up and were usually disappointed immediately, or even more upset when it broke in a day. Now, I am not saying any of these were purposely sold as poor products, but what I am saying is that the odds in their favor that one voice would not impact their business nationally. What were the odds back then that if two people in the same market got a poor product that their voices would go far? As long as nothing was illegal, if someone thought the product was junk, they just felt a little ripped off. Back to Doing Business Nowadays
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The vendor I overheard at the party was wrong because the odds are now in the favor of the consumer. The power of review sites and social media has swung the pendulum, empowering individuals to share their experiences with a large audience. Depending on how creative they are (check out the United Airlines guitar video on YouTube) a consumer’s response could go viral, which means hundreds of thousands of people online will see it, and it even has a chance to get picked up in traditional (TV) media as well. Everything is connected now and our social community has no boundaries. Businesses need to focus on the experience they deliver. I recently mentioned that the customer experience is the new currency for businesses. Instead of thinking that it does not matter what customers say, why not harness the power of them to become your evangelists and guide them to market for you? Here are a few suggestions: 1. Deliver excellence. If you can’t do this, then do not move on to Step Two. Fix Step One first. 2. Ask for reviews or testimonials after each transaction. 3. Provide customers with an easy way to help you (email links to review sites, email surveys, get a quick testimonial video). 4. Leverage this on your social media and marketing. 5. Continue to reinforce Step One every day. By focusing on delivering excellence, and then leveraging customers’ experiences, you will not have to hope that people are talking about you because you will be encouraging this dialogue. The more people who know about your service excellence, the more you stand out and, ultimately, the more successful you will become.
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continuous process improvement in recon Over the last 36 months, we have grappled with the question of why some dealerships, with known difficulties in reconditioning, still hang-on to their old processes. Two reasons keep popping up: a fear or risk of “rocking the boat,” and the idea that “everything is under control.” After multiple attempts to “fix” recon by using a new and improved spreadsheet, whiteboard, routing tag or endless other ideas by dealer management, there is a perception that any other new attempt will not succeed. And blindly, the UCM, recon and service manager don’t want to risk upsetting what they believe already is working, and clearly feel they have everything under control. Sound familiar? For them, change is only mandated when recon performance has reached a breaking point. “Continuous process improvement” is defined as a systems approach to improving workflow in an organization. The process uncovers problems without finger pointing, determines ways to fix them and then monitors the outcomes. It is, simply, a game changer. Measurement and evaluation is part of the process, which may provide both monetary and non-monetary rewards. In reconditioning, a workflow management system is essential to the continuous process improvement. It is the transparent thread that provides the real-time accountability for the time it takes to get a car ready to sell — the time-to-market connection to every car, every step and every user. All stakeholders, from the dealer to the techs, have equal access to the same information in order to make the best immediate decisions or corrections. Additionally, a workflow tool in recon provides other benefits: • It puts everyone on the same page — From purchased or traded to sold, every car is accounted for in real-time. Notifications are automatically sent by the system when a car is moved to the next step, so there is full accountability. With mobile tools for the iPhone, Android and Windows mobile platforms, there is no need to look further than your mobile to find a car or approve recommended repairs. The blame game of the past is replaced by performance metrics, visibility and accountability. • It provides more cars to sell — Typically, in the first 60 to 90 days, a new starting timeto-market becomes clear. This will range from six days to 12 days, or possibly even higher. Equipped with both the actual times and the ability to make process and resource adjustments, the path to get to three to six days — half of the current structure — is in place to dial it down. If, for instance, a typical starting time-to-market is 10 days, it could be cut in half to 5 days. The difference between 10 and five days is two added turns. This is not blue-sky talk; it’s real data. What would two more turns do to your bottom line? • It offers the opportunity for continuous process improvement — This is probably the most important benefit of all to a dealership that wants to be the best run, most profitable and highest CSI in their market. The dealerships and groups who have a performance management system have the real numbers to manage and measure, and can react quickly to bottlenecks. They have the ability to balance their resources to manage the intake on a daily basis and plan for their future. This creates a culture of continuous process improvement that exists in so many successful businesses today, but has been nearly impossible to instill into reconditioning. Sooner or later, a performance management system will make it to your short list and become a “must have.” You will most likely hear about it at a “20 Group Meeting” as a “best practice.” If this has not happened yet, maybe you should be the one to bring it up.
Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by email at email@example.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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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ignore customer data protection at your own risk This June will mark the first-year anniversary of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) taking its initial legal action against a dealership for violations of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). In this landmark case, the FTC required the implicated dealership to establish and maintain a comprehensive plan for the security of their consumer data. Additionally, the dealership is subject to an annual audit from an independent contractor for the next 20 years.
Because dealerships have recognized the potential value of their consumer data, they have made significant efforts to tap into this underutilized asset. In fact, Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner states that spending on business-intelligence software could reach $13.8 billion this year.
This case exemplifies how high the stakes truly are when it comes to the security of consumer data. The FTC is clear on who will be held accountable for safeguarding the data: those who collect and use it.
Let us learn from the benchmark set by the FTC case previously discussed. It is clear that proper collection, storage and usage of consumer data is of critical importance dealerships with a potential for profound implications if it is not handled as such. The provided perspective makes a proactive policy and plan the most judicious approach at the dealership level.
It is well known that dealerships collect massive amounts of information daily from their customers. In many cases, this information is needed and used by the dealership simply to conduct business with the consumer. However, if the dealership has a clear policy in place, that data can also be used by the dealership to increase their effectiveness.
If the combination of assigned burden and potential value embedded within consumer data has not provided dealerships enough of a reason to analyze their own data security system, the 14-page memorandum issued by the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) on dealership security guidance released last fall should have driven home that need. As the current state of dealership data security is analyzed in the context of the ideal set forth by the NADA via their memorandum, a crucial gap is being detected by many.
How many dealerships have already taken the necessary steps to implement a data security system that fulfills all guidelines provided by the NADA? What is the easiest and quickest way to accomplish compliance? If you are dealership and have recently used the NADA memorandum as a template for your own plan, I would like to learn how you have found success doing so because the automotive industry seems to be in dire need of an easy-to-use product that enables a dealership to quickly become compliant; time and tide waits for no man. 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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are you following up with your potential customers? the usps says you’re not For years OEMs, trainers and consultants have told dealers that they are missing a significant opportunity to build long-term customer relationships and boost sales through followup. By now, almost all would agree that staying in touch with customers is a good idea. Dealers have spent millions on training, software and more to ensure that customer relationships are nurtured with regular contacts. So, have we turned over a new leaf? Cindy Locker, national mailing director with the United States Postal Service, recently shared a study done by Maritz Research that says otherwise. The research states that 75 percent of customers were never contacted when they were actively looking or thinking of buying a new vehicle, despite the dealer having these customers’ information. So, how many customers are you not even getting information on? Do the math to diagnose your problem. In a November 2013 study entitled “Automotive Customer Journey,” Maritz Research found these key findings: Customers Want More Frequent Contact
Learn from your customers their preferred method of contact for service and special offers. The best way to do this is to simply ask. Many dealerships are now collecting perfect customer contact info by simply asking the customers to enter it themselves at a kiosk. The information is then seamlessly added to CRM and DMS systems. Customers will provide 50 percent more contact information on a kiosk, compared to a questioning salesperson or service writer.
Customers Want More Meaningful Relationships
Rather just blasting your customers with emails and phone calls for sales and services that are not relevant to the vehicles they own, share with them information they can use. Events, sales, accessories, warranties… the list of good information to share is virtually endless. Dealers Aren’t Thinking Beyond the Sale
One in five people say they were not contacted after the purchase. Customers want to feel that they matter to the dealership. Stay in touch after the sale to show them that you care, and that you’re there with any questions they may have and for the service they’ll need down the road. Communication Must Resonate With the Individual
Image-rich communications will excite your customers. When it is likely that they might be back in the market for a new vehicle or that current incentives and inventories will provide for a hardto-resist opportunity to upgrade, let them know. Invite them into the store for a special event. A large number of current customers are actually in the market for a new car or an upgrade. This equates to an enormous opportunity for sales growth. What percentage of your customers are in the market today? Some of them are, but without reaching out to them, you will never know. Automated dialers and spam are a nuisance. Postcards and mail pieces feel less intrusive, and customers will react more favorably to them. New technology such as kiosks, however, are getting even more favorable responses from customer and collecting more — and more accurate — customer data. By coupling traditional marketing such as direct mail with new technology like the kiosks, you will exponentially increase the amount of sales leads you have to follow up on. Be sure, however, that you don’t forget your existing customers. By keeping the lines of communications open with your existing customers, you provide a constant flow of business with people who aren’t just looking for a new vehicle; they’re coming to you for a new vehicle. Maintaining relationships is much easier and more cost-effective than building new ones. Make sure your marketing prescription isn’t neglecting this fact and getting in the way of your success.
Debbie Drury is the founder and president of Market Doctors. She can be contacted at 866.872.8150, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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seven rules to recondition used vehicles “right” every time I like the way the Paul Lynch, general sales manager of DePaula Chevrolet in Albany, New York, thinks about used vehicle reconditioning. “It’s just as important in terms of gross profit as working the deal in the front of the store,” Lynch said. “I know that may sound crazy, but I really believe it. The faster you can get those cars to the front line with the right amount of reconditioning, the more actual time you’ve got to make the biggest gross you can make.” This emphasis on the importance of reconditioning vehicles “right” has led Lynch to audit and re-examine the reconditioning processes at his dealership. This examination came even though Lynch and his team were anything but slouches when it comes to reconditioning and retailing used cars. In the past year, they’ve successfully trimmed the recon-to-front-line times to an average of three days, while doubling the dealership’s monthly used vehicle sales volumes to 130 units a month. Still, Lynch believes “there’s more gross to be made” if he and his team can make used vehicle reconditioning even more cost-effective and efficient. The following are “Seven Rules For Used Vehicle Reconditioning” that Lynch and his team developed after a top-to-bottom review of what’s working and isn’t. Rule 1: Make Speed and Quality Your Chief Strategic Objectives. For Lynch, these dual objectives provide the basis for evaluating every aspect of his reconditioning processes and decision-making. “You ask yourself, ‘Does X meet our objectives?’ If it doesn’t, you know you need to make an adjustment,” he said. Rule 2: Show How Individuals Contribute to Your Key Objectives. The dealership has a dedicated reconditioning team that includes a writer, technicians, detailers and photographers. Team members excelled at their respective tasks, but the group lacked a broader understanding of how their work affects the outcome on every car. “I broke it down and showed them what it costs us in gross profit if we lose a day in recon on a single car,” Lynch said.
“Once you have that conversation, you can get them to see the light, and they have a greater amount of pride in their work because they’re contributing to something bigger than their own paycheck.” Rule 3: Change Payplans to Match Your Goals. Lynch has moved from a flat-rate pay plan to a team-style approach to help focus reconditioning technicians and detailers on the need for speed. The program pools all repair order (RO) hours and pays individuals based on their contribution to the total — a move Lynch believes will spur more collaboration and create a disincentive to load an RO with unnecessary items that only benefit an individual’s compensation plan. “When everyone knows we all make more money by speeding things up, you’ll see things like the tech taking a car right off the lift and driving it down to the detail bay,” he said. “You can’t be fast if you’re putting fluff on the RO.” Rule 4: Get Better Cars. Lynch and his team now expect vehicles purchased from online auctions to effectively be “marketready,” unless there’s a compelling reason for an exception. “It’s tough,” he said. “But you’ve got to be buying good cars — late model, low mileage and good condition — to offset the older cars with higher miles that will need more recon work.” Rule 5: Scrutinize Estimated-to-Actual Recon Costs. Lynch and his managers meet daily to compare appraiser estimates of reconditioning costs to recommended work. “If we made a mistake with a purchased vehicle, and it needs significantly more than we expected or estimated, we must not make a second mistake and approve a much higher recon bill if the numbers don’t leave us a desirable initial sale profit,” he said. “When this happens, the car goes directly to wholesale and we must accept that we made the mistake and move on without it costing us more money.” Here’s a benchmark: If the actual reconditioning costs exceed the estimate by more than 20 percent, I recommend wholesaling the vehicle to apply the investment in another unit with better gross profit potential. Rule 6: Work to Lower Recon Costs Without Sacrificing Quality. The store currently averages about $1,110 in reconditioning costs, a figure Lynch wants to trim by 20 percent to 30 percent. To reach the goal, his team now questions whether factory replacement parts/ tires, body repairs, third-party dent/window/upholstery work is always necessary — and, if it is, to negotiate for the lowest-possible cost. He also monitors policy expense to make sure the reconditioning work meets the store’s quality objective. Rule 7: Reward the Higher Level of Collaboration and Trust Between Used Vehicles and Service. Lynch understands the “tug of war for gross profit” that often occurs between the service and used vehicle departments over reconditioning. To address this risk, he has created a monthly bonus plan, paid for by the used vehicle and service departments, to reward the reconditioning team when they meet their new benchmarks for reconditioning cost, speed and quality. I think Lynch’s rules are relevant for all dealers. In addition, his appetite for continuous improvement is a model other dealers would do well to emulate: “If you keep pushing the envelope in every single area,” Lynch said, “you’re going to get better results. You simply can’t get better results if you keep doing what you’re doing.” 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.
Using Video to Make Every Marketing Dollar Count For this month’s dealer video marketing profile, I interviewed Kristen Liggins of Puente Hills Hyundai Superstore, which has four new car franchise locations in California: a Hyundai and a Mazda store in the City of Industry and a Hyundai and a Mazda store in Torrance. Kristen helped opened Puente Hills Hyundai Superstore on August 1, 2009. Puente Hills Hyundai is currently ranked No. 12 in the region for sales, is ranked in the Top 50 Hyundai dealers in the country out of 837, is the largest Hyundai dealer in the country, has received many awards for top CSI in both sales and service, and is No. 1 in the nation for sales of Hyundai’s premium product — the Hyundai Equus. Below is a transcript of our conversation: AJ LeBlanc: Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy and philosophy? Kristen Liggins: We have a strict budget, and
I have to maximize our ad dollars in the most effective way and, with my GM and owners’ support, it is through digital advertising. I focus on SEO/PPC, ad displays, and other digital marketing platforms to bring customers to our virtual showroom. I find that spending money on sites such as cars.com and autotrader. com makes it a lot more difficult because of the pricing war between dealers. Most of our ad budget is spent in digital marketing. Our monthly ad budget is 85 percent digital and 15 percent traditional. AJ: What type of marketing efforts do you implement in the store on a consistent monthly basis?
KL: Planning is the key. Every month, we take our ROI
report that I generate from our CRM tool, and both the GM and I strategically put our ad dollars into sources that generate the most profit and sell the most cars.
AJ: Why is it important for a dealership to have Video SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy? KL: Video is a great way to deliver a message about our dealership. People are often more inclined
to watch a video than they are to read text; therefore, we have to give the client what they want.
AJ: Can you explain what Video SEO does for your dealership? KL: Video SEO has helped us achieve domination in the search results. With our current organic
SEO structure partnered with Video SEO, I believe we will soon dominate our local competitors because we are one step ahead of the game. It’s like playing chess — in order to win, you have to be one step ahead of your competition. AJ: How has a Video SEO strategy impacted your visibility on search engines? KL: Seeing that automotive SEO reaches well beyond the scope of conventional SEO in terms
of simply ranking is not enough; it is about dominating the search results page for every make, model and target PMAs. Yes, content is important; however, unlike most “automotive SEO,” we need to take the next step and be innovators. Video SEO gives us the power to reach our customers in a whole new light. AJ: How do you measure the effectiveness of your Video SEO strategy? KL: I measure it through my Web analytics tool, and through the reporting provided by my
Video SEO provider on a weekly and monthly basis. I follow it through the entire month so I can plan for the next month. AJ: Lastly, when did your dealerships implement a Video SEO strategy and what is the average increase your store have seen in sales/market share since implementing this strategy into your overall marketing plan? KL: We launched our Video SEO about seven months ago and since then, our calls have increased
by 15 percent and visitors by 20 percent. I believe it will help increase our presence and visibility to our online consumers.
AJ LeBlanc is the co-founder of Car-Mercial.com. He can be contacted at 866.795.9094, or by email at email@example.com.
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the app takeover
Let’s face it — times are changing. We are in an age where technology is advancing rapidly and it’s changing the way people run their lives. The creation of the mobile app has changed how the world uses the Internet, affecting businesses all over the world. People are finding apps more simple, useful and faster than Websites. Mobile apps are bringing businesses more widespread consumer mobile adoption as it enhances their corporate marketing strategies. This mobile takeover isn’t just happening in the United States; it’s happening globally, so businesses need to prepare themselves for this increasingly mobile world. The Stats
There is a significantly increasing number of businesses who are developing mobile-only strategies that prioritize customer experience on mobile devices rather than desktop computers. ComScore reported that in 2012, Americans spent 511.9 million minutes accessing the Web from desktop computers, and 278.6 million minutes on smartphones. In 2013, however, the gap was dramatically smaller, as they found Americans spent 445.5 million minutes accessing the Internet from desktop computers, and a staggering 410.8 million minutes on smartphones.
In just one year, mobile device usage has nearly doubled, while desktop usage decreased. With this major increase in the usage of mobile devices, app downloads are also increasing at about the same rate. Gartner found that in 2011, there were 22.9 billion app downloads. In 2012, that number doubled to 45.6 billion downloads. That number nearly doubled again in 2013 with 81.4 billion downloads. In 2014, they predict app downloads to be at 131.7 billion. By 2016, the use of mobile apps will surpass that of Internet domain names, also known as Websites, making it the most dominant means of engaging with brands. Why Apps are Taking Over
Over the last decade, the World Wide Web has become more of a necessity than a commodity, as it became a major part of our everyday lives from using it to pay bills, research, communicate and much more. How could it be that what was once a necessity of our lives is now being replaced? The answer is simple: Apps are faster, smarter and more “sticky.” In contrast to Websites, apps do the thinking for the user and provide a faster experience, making it more convenient in this age where people are always on the go. Apps are portable and can be accessed instantly, unlike a Website. Though it may seem accessing a Website is quick enough, an app can do it even faster, and in our fast-paced society, faster is better. You can open an app with just a touch of a finger, unlike a Website, where you have to open a browser, type in the Web address and wait for it to load. Seeking the information you’re looking for in an app is also better. They do the work for you, as they save the data inputted. For example, apps will use your mobile device’s location, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Once a Website browser is closed, your information is lost. Compared to Websites, apps have a better ability to keep their visitors frequently coming back, making them “stickier” than Websites. For businesses, this means more customer engagement. It’s clear that the next evolution of Web surfing is through mobile apps. The world is going mobile, which means so should your business. Mobile devices are rapidly replacing desktops, so you need to prioritize where your marketing strategies are headed. Having an app and mobile marketing strategy for your business could be the most important thing you can do to gain success. According to the New York Times, mobile marketing is the most powerful media ever invented. It’s truly your key to success. Ed Louis is the CEO and co-founder of DealerApp Vantage. He can be contacted at 866.604.6710, or by email at email@example.com.
the “secret weapon” Ford Motor Company used for their incredible comeback: Dr. Willie Jolley This month, I had the honor of interviewing the person Success Magazine named the “secret weapon” in Ford Motor Company’s incredible comeback — Dr. Willie Jolley. Sean V. Bradley: Willie, it is an honor to be able to interview you. Please tell us a little about yourself. Willie Jolley: Thank you so much, Sean. I am a professional motivator
and inspirational speaker, I host a syndicated show on Sirius Satellite Radio that reaches millions of people and I am also blessed to have written several books that have reached the “best sellers” lists, including A Setback Is a Set Up For a Comeback. But I wasn’t always successful. I was a broke and busted jazz singer for a nightclub in Washington DC, until I was fired and replaced by a karaoke machine because it was more economic for their ROI. SVB: Are you serious? Wow. WJ: Yes, It wasn’t personal. It was business. That is when I decided
to change my life. I took a job with the DC Public Schools as the drug prevention coordinator. For the first five years of my career, I spoke to kids. Then, I became a full-time speaker. I moved to the colleges, became a top speaker in that field and then went into the corporate sector, conducting keynotes. However, a lot of people have come to know me for my work with a small company called Ford Motor Company…. SVB: Amazing — how did you wind up working with Ford? WJ: In 2006, I received a call from Ford Motor Company. They said
they were on the brink of bankruptcy and they had a new CEO coming
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in named Allan Mulally. They needed to turn this company around. They went on to tell me that they were looking for the right person who could help them inspire, encourage and motivate their people to think differently and change the culture. I worked with Ford from 2006 through 2008, going all over the country, speaking to all of the Ford plants and on their television shows they played internally, as well as working with some of their dealerships directly. SVB: What were you speaking to them about exactly? WJ: I spoke about their attitude and ethics, changing their thinking and
about transformation. And in 2009, Ford Motor Company was the only one of the “Big 3” not to take a government bailout. SVB: Willie, that is truly amazing. WJ: I give all the credit to Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally. I just appreciate
him allowing me to be a tiny part of the solution. That opportunity lead to General Motors reading about me in the Detroit Free Press; they reached out to me and hired me to work with them, as well. SVB: So you not only worked with Ford Motor Company, but you also worked with General Motors? WJ: That is correct. It is a blessing. Since Success Magazine dubbed me
the “Comeback King,” I have had numerous Fortune 100 corporations hire me to work with their organizations.
SVB: I heard that you have a Ph.D. in “Achievement”? WJ: That is correct — I have a Doctorate in Achievement and my focus
is on attitude and on how to help people do more, be more and achieve more. I help people identify what keeps them from achieving all they are capable of achieving. SVB: Can you give me your philosophy — and the reason for your clients’ success? WJ: My philosophy of life is: “You have been gifted with the gift of life.”
What are you going to do with it? How are you going to maximize it? If you’re not, why not? SVB: How do you get car dealerships to do more, be more and achieve more and to do it now? WJ: They have to change. If they keep doing what they have been doing,
they are going to keep getting what they been getting. Dealers need to realize that they should have “excellence” as a core value. Dealers need to strive to be better, not just “bigger.” So, if a dealer wants to be the “best” dealership in the country, then they must start with the best people. If you cannot hire them, then you need to make them, grow them and develop them. That is the “secret” to success for all of these Fortune 100 companies that I have worked with, such as Walmart, Chevron, Verizon and Prudential. They all grow their people. The best way to grow your future is to grow yourself. The best way to grow your organization is to grow your people. Why? Great people give great service. Good people good service, mediocre people will give mediocre service and negative people will kill your company.
x 12 = 72 more cars sold annually On average, Certified Dealers sold 6 more cars per month in 12 months after joining our Certified Dealer Program.* * 2012 Polk Study
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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how to measure customer loyalty (hint: it has nothing to do with your csi score) If your dealership consistently receives higherthan-average CSI scores, you may believe that a good percentage of your customers are happy and, therefore, loyal. But you may be wrong. Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are two completely different things. For example, I am a very loyal customer of Southwest Airlines. I fly Southwest because they don’t charge change or cancellation fees, checked bag fees and they usually get me to where I need to go on time. But I am not always a satisfied customer. Sometimes they are late, I wish they had assigned seating and I wish they didn’t charge for Wi-Fi. So, if I was to fill out a customer satisfaction survey, I may take the opportunity to voice my dissatisfaction and they would think I was not a satisfied customer. But the reality is I remain a loyal customer and choose to fly Southwest before any other airline. Conversely, I may be satisfied with a service but not be loyal at all. There’s a nice bookstore not far from where I live. Occasionally, while my wife is shopping, I drop in for a cup of coffee and to browse through a magazine. If I were to fill out a survey, I would have nothing but nice things to say about the bookstore, so the bookstore manager might think I am a loyal customer. But that would be wrong because I don’t buy my books at that bookstore; I buy all my books online. The CSI may have some use for the manufacturers, but the CSI survey process leaves much to be desired. The surveys are too long with poor response rates, and both sales and service employees game the system for financial incentives. A dealership’s CSI score is a not an accurate representation of customer loyalty and retention. Customer retention rates are more useful to dealers than CSI, but still may not offer an accurate reflection of loyalty. You may have a customer with a number of repeat visits because their vehicle has had a lot of problems; but once the issues are resolved, he may not return to purchase a vehicle or for future service visits. Or, you may have a customer
with a new vehicle who has not visited the service department yet, but who is very loyal. A better, simpler way to measure customer loyalty is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Thousands of businesses in the U.S. use the NPS to effectively measure the percentage of their customers who will not only purchase again but also resist pressure to defect to a competitor. Every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. The NPS survey asks one simple question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?” Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point rating scale and are categorized as follows: • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth. • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings. • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth. To calculate your company’s NPS, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors. For example: You have 100 surveys returned. 50 percent of them score you as a nine or 10. 20 percent of then score you as an eight or seven. 30 percent of them score you as a six or below. In this situation your NPS would be 20 (50 percent – 30 percent). Asking one question greatly increases the response rates. You may, however, choose to expand the survey by asking one or two other questions. For instance, if a customer scores you an eight, you may want to ask one question: “What do we need to do for you to score us a 10?” If a customer gives you a six or below you may want to ask them why they gave you that score. The survey is sent to every customer immediately after every transaction, so if there is a Detractor who had a poor customer experience, a dealer can take immediate action. Studies have proven that businesses with high NPS scores are more profitable than their competitors. The majority of businesses average an NPS of around five to 10, but extremely profitable companies such as Apple and Harley Davidson have scores in the 50 to 80 range. The same studies show that companies with more detractors than promoters are more likely to suffer stagnant growth or go out of business. If your goal is to increase customer loyalty and retention, don’t rely on your CSI scores or retention rates; instead, try a NPS survey to get a more accurate picture of how many customers would buy from you again versus how many are actively detracting others from ever visiting you in the first place. The results are more accurate and will be eye-opening. Mike Esposito is the president and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. He can be contacted at 800.215.4776, or by email at email@example.com.
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