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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 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.

sales & training solution

the goldmine in your crm

unimpeachable data

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

are you suffering from profit leakage?

It’s Not an Either/Or Decision

Brian Ankney, Account Manager

2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299 | p 877.818.6620 / f 502.588.3170 | |

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Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist

traditional media vs. digital media:


why it’s your best customers you might stand the best chance of losing


38 42



marketing solution


30 34


customer retention advice you should be giving your sales manager BrandonBalsley

the truth about third-party lead source providers, aggregators and online classifieds


getting to the next level Part 1 MarkTewart

does seo get customers?


moving up: Becoming a Driving Force - and an Indispensable Employee can’t hear, can’t see, can’t speak? can’t fail


20 22 26 28 MarshBuice

10 18 24 AndrewPrice

three ways to embrace the rising tide of transparency

Customer Satisfaction: Creating a Superior Customer Experience DalePollak

which 20 percent? GlennPasch

how do you tune up veterans?


08 14 SusanGivens

“time to market” reconditioning

32 36 40 DennisMcGinn

how to uncover the hidden wealth buried in your dealership MichalAnnEnders

16 JimmyVee & TravisMiller

Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director


Susan Givens, Publisher

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Today’s automotive customers are more diverse than ever before, and a one-size-fitsall sales approach is no longer effective. To provide a superior customer experience, your sales team needs to have tools that enable them to successfully respond to the individual requirements of each customer. Three factors can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction during the sales process: • Degree of Customization — Every customer is unique. Some have done extensive research and know exactly what they want before entering the dealership, while others have done no preparation at all. Each customer has specific needs and is willing to make different vehicle trade-offs based on those needs. Yet, what all customers have in common is that they want to feel that they are being dealt with as individuals, and that the vehicle they are buying addresses their stated (and, sometimes, unstated) requests and preferences. To deliver a truly superior experience, the sales consultant needs to be able to tailor the sales process to highlight what is of most value to each customer. A thorough needs analysis becomes critical, as does responsive

follow through. Needs analysis tools that are both flexible and fully integrated into the sales process can help to elevate the customer experience from good to great.

• Speed of Information — The number of brands, models, amenities and options in the marketplace have exploded, with technologically complex features that may be difficult for the consumer to understand. All of these variables can make it more difficult for a consumer to narrow down the choices. At the same time, research shows that there is an inverse relationship between sales satisfaction and the time a customer spends making decisions at the dealership; the less time spent in the store, the happier the customer. Whether you are answering a question, comparing the selected vehicle to a different make or trim or just looking up specs, it is essential to provide information as quickly as possible. An iPad-selling system or other mobile devices are examples of how to make it easy to access information instantly. • Sales Consultant Credibility — Studies continually show that car salespeople don’t have a stellar reputation with consumers. High turnover rates can result in limited vehicle knowledge and a lack of professionalism among the sales team, while high-pressure sales tactics can leave a customer feeling bruised and wary. The sales consultant needs to establish transparency and reliability with each customer in order to build the trust necessary for a truly satisfying purchase experience. Most customers are looking for a clear and knowledgeable explanation of the vehicles and their technology; videos and other multi-media tools can be particularly engaging. Looking at independent reviews written by other purchasers or industry experts provides objective verification that what the sales consultant says is true. John Hall, GM at Checkered Flag BMW, said, “We want our customers to feel they’ve made the right decision when they purchase their vehicle. Delivering a superior customer experience is an important part of our value proposition. It’s not just about selling the vehicle today, but about creating a long-term relationship with that customer. We use an iPad-selling system that gives us a full range of process and information tools so we can focus more effectively on the customer.” “A superior customer experience is based on exceeding expectations,” said Jim Hughes, principal of IntellaCar, the iPad selling system used by Checkered Flag BMW. “The right tools, technology and training can empower the sales team to do just that.” Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at

Don’t get treated like just another number. Successful dealers know that great customer service is the key to building long term relationships with customers. When you work with PCG Digital Marketing, you’ll get the same treatment. Our dedicated client teams are always available to answer your questions, give you status updates and make sure you are getting the best results possible.

Real People. Real Strategies. Real Results. 08

podcast interviewee

How tuned in are you to the needs of your customers? A study by Bain & Company found that 80 percent of the companies they surveyed believed that they deliver a superior customer experience, but only eight percent of their customers agreed. This gap indicates that we may be losing touch with what constitutes a “superior” customer experience.

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are you suffering

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How many revenue opportunities will your dealership lose this month? Profit leakage is when you lose potential sales without even knowing it. The truth is that almost all dealers can operate more efficiently; they just don’t know how. Outside of the occasional walk-in, the phone is the No. 1 way consumers interact with the dealership when they’re ready to buy. The representatives taking those calls are not only responsible for getting consumers into the store, but for the branding of your dealership, as well. Many dealerships are in the dark when it comes to measuring their team’s success at handling incoming phone calls. How can a general manager or sales manager properly evaluate their team if they don’t know how many customers were lost over the phone? You might be surprised at how many call handlers fail in the different metrics used to evaluate telephone lead conversion performance. A concept as simple as the right greeting can actually make a difference between converting a lead and losing a sale. And, as you know, each lost sale can mean thousands of lost dollars. So how do you know if your sales team is making the proper greeting, asking the right questions and obtaining the right information? It’s physically impossible to be present every time an employee fields a call. If you’re not there, making sure that they are saying the right things, you had better record your calls. Otherwise, you may have no idea how many

leads and dollars you are losing. This is where profit leakage comes into play. Our data shows that simple things, such as the appropriate greeting, setting the appointment, obtaining caller info, plus other key points make a significant difference whether or not a sale is eventually made. And all of this comes from how your employees handle prospect calls. Managing what you can’t measure is like finding a keyhole in a pitch-dark room. Unless you can see the light coming through the hole, you’ll become extremely frustrated trying to find it. So, perhaps it’s time you invested in a light. In this case, the light is the ability to record calls and hear how your reps handle customers. You don’t have the time to listen to each and every call, but luckily, you can hire a third party to listen to your calls, flag conversations that resulted in a lost sale, and diagnose the causes so that your team won’t repeat the mistake.

“Many dealerships are in the dark when it comes to measuring their team’s success at handling incoming phone calls. How can a general manager or sales manager properly evaluate their team if they don’t know how many customers were lost over the phone?” That is how you improve your lead conversion rate. With proper training, your employees should have an excellent shot at setting an appointment on every legitimate prospect call. You might think your people are already converting most calls, but until you read the data, you are probably in for an unpleasant surprise. As a general manager or sales manager, it’s up to you to evaluate your staff and train them to be as effective and efficient as possible. Unless you review their calls and train them to do better, you can be sure that you are losing sales. Knowing how to handle each call can result in a significant number of additional sales. Even a few more sales than usual can mean many thousand dollars of added profit. Handle the phones correctly, and you will stop profit leakage and increase sales success. Andrew Price is the president of automotive at CallSource. He can be contacted at 888.821.3770, or by e-mail at

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Boucher Automotive Group is a large presence in their region’s auto sales picture. Employing more than 800 people, Boucher has 15 new car brands under 17 rooftops — Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Saab, Nissan, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Volkswagen, Mazda, Kia and Hyundai — along with 16 award-winning service centers and six collision centers. But, even though it was ranked the 54th largest dealer group in the nation and the largest dealer group in Wisconsin by Automotive News, it hasn’t lost sight of the employees who helped grow it to that size — it was also recently voted among the “Top 5 Workplaces in Southeast Wisconsin,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The dealerships are run by founder Gordie Boucher’s sons, Frank Boucher and Gordie Boucher, Jr. We recently spoke with Gordie Boucher, Jr. about where the Boucher Automotive Group came from, how they relate to their community, and the tools they’re using to maintain the success they’ve enjoyed. AutoSuccess: Your group has quite a history. What is your story and role in the organization? Gordie Boucher: I started like a lot of dealer’s sons. At first, I was a lot attendant and then sold cars over the summer while attending college. After

graduating, I sold Lincoln Mercury for six years. While selling, I heard that the new car manager position at our Nissan store was open. Without speaking to my father or brother, I went to the general manager of this store, Dan Abezetian, interviewed and he gave me the job. He mentored and trained me in leadership and helped me to succeed. I ran my own Chevy store for several years and became intrigued with the online world, moving into my current position as VP of Sales and eCommerce. I got motivated to promote our history and tell our story online, and felt our Website provided us with a better way to do that than television or radio. Along the way, I also went to the NADA school and spent some time in parts and service. AS: How do you manage your dealerships? GB: Our GMs are free to run their dealerships. Where many large public groups rule from the top down, we empower our people — our GMs are in

control. We do have specific processes for sales, service and pretty much every customer interaction with a documented process that we train and retrain.

AS: You mentioned your Website — tell us about GB: We were developing a new Website and decided we wanted to have our multiple locations on one site. We looked at a lot of different sites during

our research, and saw a lot of cool stuff, but most were not easy to use. We painstakingly analyzed how to make it easy for consumers to land on our page and find where they wanted to go. Our Website is laid out to be logical, simple and — most importantly — load quickly; we don’t want to lose them right out of the gate. Things like being a top-100 workplace and being deeply involved in our community is a big part of who we are, so we tell our story “above the fold.” We’re also able to highlight our sales and pricing philosophy, like our $9,995-or-less inventory.

AS: “Big Data” is the buzzword lately. Does this apply to you, given the size of your group? If so, what does it mean to you, and how do you use it to your advantage? GB: In 2007, we were outgrowing our CRM. We used it to the extreme and needed to make a change. We started researching in 2008 and looked at

everything. Having heard about VinSolutions, I reached out to them, and knew I had found find the right solution. In 2010 we made the switch to Vin. Before, our people had to login to a lead manager and then login again to enter the customer and then login a third time to access inventory. Yet another login was required to see reports. This was too time consuming. Now we have one login and no need for multiple windows up on the computer to function. It truly is all-in-one and cutting-edge technology. We are now able to cultivate our wealth of data. We scrub our data annually to stay close to our customers. Our goal is to have them become part of our family. When we launched Vin in our two big Chevy stores, one of our managers said, “It’s almost too easy. Is this it?” That was the best compliment. I had put time and energy into making it successful and wanted the transition to be seamless for the guys and gals at our stores. It went as planned and as promised. AS: How do you manage your inventory data? Are there any unique features that allow you to put the right customer in the right vehicle? GB: Boucher has the largest vehicle inventory in Wisconsin, with more than 5,000 quality new and used vehicles in stock. With our ultra-competitive

“Up Front” market-based pricing philosophy, we’ve become the 54th largest volume dealer group in the nation and No. 1 in Wisconsin. We have to stay on top of our game, because it is amazing how much more the consumer is educated now. We use inventory data to see the fastest-moving cars and verify how many times each vehicle has been looked at. We are able to make needed adjustments to pricing and visibility immediately and easily through our integrated solution.

AS: Your growth has been consistent over the last several years — that’s saying quite a bit during a frustrated economy. How did you not only survive, but continue to thrive? GB: By being part of our community. This question makes me think of my dad. He attended a lot of my sporting events and always worked hard;

growing up in Milwaukee, both his and my mother’s families believed in the value of hard work. He loved the car business, so working long hours came second nature to him. Early in his career, he established a commitment to the community. We sponsor all the football and baseball teams, support local parades and fireworks, and are heavily involved in fundraising for research into muscular dystrophy. We are a traditional Wisconsin family. We get up every day and go to work. My father and my brother have made it their top priority to find good people and have a great reputation. With the right people and processes, we have always enjoyed success. AS: How do you measure your success? GB: We don’t gauge our success solely on how we rate in Wisconsin. We always feel we can make improvements to make the business that much

better. In 2012, we were rated the No. 6 best place to work in Wisconsin. This was done by an independent company that interviewed many of our more than 1,000 employees. That, to us, was a big deal. As far as the numbers go, we separate our closing ratios into walk-ins, phone-ups and Internet. Our Internet closing percentage was eight to nine percent. We have improved that to 13 to 14 percent. We have learned a lot from our Internet processes that has helped us to close more walk-ins and phone-ups, too.

AS: How do you find, facilitate growth and retain good employees? GB: Finding the right people is the hardest challenge we face. We utilize a lot of referrals. Once we find them, we do a great job of retaining them.

In sales, we do a ton of training, but still found that we were losing people around the six- to nine-month mark. Now, we provide more training and manager attention at that point to help these people succeed. It’s important to stay involved with the people working at the dealership. My brother Frank runs the company and he visits every store weekly. He gives his personal cell phone number to every employee. Every lot attendant, service tech, salesperson — everyone has his number and he takes their calls, and he gets a lot of calls. No matter what position someone has in our company, they are important to him. He talks to all of them and that is a big part of why we are different. Every year, we have our Top-20 Party. This is first-class event and is often a black-tie event at the best country club in Wisconsin — The Westmoor Country Club. We invite our top sales and service people, along with a manager from each store. We measure units, growth, CSI and more when deciding who to invite. We all dress up and take pictures, and have great prizes and gifts and have even had a cash machine. When I think about the company my dad started and my brother, Frank, now runs, I am proud how we have always focused on taking care of our people. We discuss this with all our new hires as a goal. It is not uncommon for our employees to have 20- and 25-year tenures. Our success rests on our employees, and we know that and respect that.

For more information about the Boucher Group, contact Gordie Boucher Jr. at For information about VinSolutiuons, contact Sean Stapleton at





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three ways to embrace the rising tide of transparency There’s been much talk about what I call the rising tide of transparency in the car business. If you trace the lineage, this rising tide started nearly 15 years ago as vehicle invoices and pricing became ubiquitous online. I remember the heated debates among dealers back then: Should we post our vehicles online? If we do, should we include prices? If we post prices, should they be the same or different as those we offer at our physical dealership? Such debates are long gone. Most dealers, like other retailers, have embraced the Internet’s influential role in attracting vehicle shoppers and driving them to their showrooms. But this is often where the rising tide of transparency hits a retaining wall. While many dealers understand that transparency matters for today’s vehicle buyers, they have yet to change showroom processes to reflect it. For many customers, the “hard sell” tactics and surprises they encounter is a turn-off. It typically leads to one of two outcomes: Customers either leave to find a more transparency-minded dealer, or they’ll get addled and push back, which often results in deals with lower-than-necessary margins as salespeople give away profit to keep the customer happy. Here are three ways velocity dealers have reinvented showroom processes as they sell used vehicles and appraise trade-ins to embrace, rather than resist, the rising tide of transparency: 1. Market-based selling. This approach seeks to leverage and capitalize on the way many dealers now price their used vehicles. That is, they understand their pricing must be marketcompetitive to earn the attention of today’s buyers. They also recognize that, when shoppers arrive at their dealerships, a specific used car and its price were the principal drivers for the visit.

In sales discussions, dealers highlight why the price for a vehicle reflects a fair deal for the customer. They show comparison cars in the market (noting color, condition, mileage and price differences) to effectively tell the wouldbe buyers what they’ve already concluded: This is a good price for this vehicle. This transparency-minded approach offers three key benefits: First, its online-to-showroom consistency instills trust with customers; second, it gives salespeople confidence to stand behind a dealership’s pricing strategy;

and, third, it results in a greater number of deals closing at or near each car’s initial asking price. A benchmark: Dealers who have adopted market-based selling report the average discount runs less than $250 per vehicle. 2. “On the money” appraisals. When vehicle owners want to sell or trade-in their current vehicle, they go online to figure out what it’s worth. They look at classified sites (like Cars. com or to compare their car against those currently for sale. They check online tools from NADA, and to get a bead on their vehicle’s value.

This online research dynamic has led a growing number of dealers to ditch the traditional “steal a trade” mentality and adopt an appraisal process that demonstrates why their offer is “on the money” compared to the broader market. The process includes walk-arounds with customers and a presentation that compares current cars and trade-in values in the market. The end result: Dealers and their sales teams are more likely to “hold the line” on appraisals and give away less gross profit as they acquire a car. In turn, these dealers rely less on more costly auction purchases to feed their used vehicle inventories because they’re able to purchase more vehicles “at the door.” “I think most dealers would be surprised how many customers they blow out with traditional appraisals,” said a Midwest Chrysler dealer. “I know I was before I made the switch.” 3. Process oversight. Dealers who embrace transparency-minded processes actively inspect the results they expect. In sales, this means tracking the average discounts by individual salesperson. With appraisals, dealers track the difference between the initial “on the money” offer and the final actual cash value (ACV). Some dealers have gone further and incorporated these metrics into sales team and management pay plans to reinforce the idea that transparency is the new order of business, and to reward those who follow the processes necessary to achieve it.

I believe the rising tide of transparency will become more profound for our business. It will also become more problematic for dealers who fail to embrace it. To re-work a well-known phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats, except those with holes in the hull.”

Dale Pollak is an author and the founder of vAuto. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at

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Latest Verified Sales Event Results!

JimmyVee & TravisMiller

leadership solution

how to uncover the hidden wealth buried in your dealership

The Net Profit “X” Factor

Operating at a profitable level is a unique opportunity: the bills are paid, payroll is met, investors are receiving an ROI and debts are being paid down or eliminated. Your business has broken free of the natural gravity that drags down most businesses. Consider, in this case, what effect a single vehicle sale has on incremental net profit. If your store is profitable at 100 cars a month, and you’re selling 120, what happens



when you sell 121? Minus the advertising expense, sales commission and floorplan expense, the rest is almost all net profit. In fact, the dealership that is profitable at 100 cars, currently selling 120 cars, would as much as double its net profit by growing to 140 cars. Yet too many dealers fail to maximize this factor, so they stay at or above their profitability level, contently feeling that “enough is enough.” So how do you maximize this opportunity? Here are two ideas: 1. Attract a new kind of customer. When marketing to people actively shopping for a vehicle, you’re naturally limited by the number of in-market shoppers. The key is in marketing to a new kind of customer —people not actively shopping. That market is nearly limitless in size and it’s ignored by most other dealerships – incremental growth can be had quickly and easily. 2. Mastermind with other dealers. Connecting yourself with other like-minded dealers who are committed to maximizing the net profit opportunity is a rapid path to capitalizing on your own growth potential. There’s vast intelligence in the space between the minds of collaborative thinkers.

Always remember: Doing things the way everyone does things is a sure way to get what everyone gets. Approaching common problems from an uncommon perspective allows you to create solutions that most dealers will never experience. For a free copy of our controversial book Invasion Of The Profit Snatchers, go to and use the coupon code ASM1210. Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are founders of The Rich Dealers Institute and the authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers and Invasion of the Profit Snatchers. They can be contacted at 866.867.9618, or by e-mail at

a Look On E! Z


podcast interviewee

When dealerships experience success and profitability, dealers and managers sometimes feel the urge to “coast” and start to believe that things couldn’t be any better. Next thing you know, stagnation creeps in and a downward cycle could be on the way. A brief look at history reveals that the best time for an army to attack is immediately following a successful battle. Skills and wits are at their sharpest, and morale and motivation is high enough to take on any challenge. A team operating in its “zone” is a team that’s ready to grow faster and accomplish more. The No. 1 goal of an already-successful dealership should be maximization of net profit.

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n event sales with the Wolfingto We have done multiple staffed y m to anyone. They are the onl Group. I would recommend the sale. I have used many other company I will use for an event sorts of problems after the all companies in the past and had e the Wolfington Group. John Hal sale. This never happens with fessional team I have ever had and his team are the most pro in my store. Our last event we finished at Most importantly, they Gross!! used. We just had our most over $3,600 per copy new and ivered 46 cars in 4 days!!!! successful sale ever. They del event with the Wolfington Anyone who is looking to do an any time. My cell phone is ce Group can call me for a referen 413-822-3567. a yet another successful sale. Thank you and your team for in in the spring. I look forward to seeing you aga John Potter

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To Whom it May Conc ern, It is a genuine pleasu re an d honor for me to recom Group, mend the Wolfington an d esp ec iall y Joh n ship or dealership group Hale and his team, to any automotive dealer. Automotive Group of HaIn my capacity as General Manager at Lewis ys, my dealerships have his gro worke up ne arl y a do zen tim es, all of which resulted d with John and sales events. in well-r un, profitable Unlike many other sales teams that I have encoun are highly eth tered, John ica l, ex tre me ly pro fes sional and incredibly po and his staff lite and friendly. It is my op inio n, tha t do ing Wolfington Group, and business with a fine company such as the run benefit any dealership tha ning a sales event led by John Hale would t would attempt such an and his en sta ff up wi th the hig hest regard due to the deavor. I hold John have had wi many successful sales we th the m, an d and with absolutely no recommend him and his team whole-heartedly hesitation. Sincerely, Ross Harms General Manager

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I wanted to shake things up a bit this month and get a perspective other than mine to include in this month’s article. I met Keith Shetterly a few years ago and was impressed at his analytical skills and nonpartisan approach to digital marketing strategies. Keith is an independent automotive consultant with a unique background — he has two decades of experience working for tech firms such as Microsoft, and he was part of the OEM marketing team for Internet Explorer 4.0. His SEO background goes back to the days of pre-Google on sites including Alta Vista and Netscape. Keith also has many years of experience as an eCommerce and BDC director for Saturn, GMC/Buick, DCJR, VW, Volvo, Chevy, Hyundai, Suzuki and Toyota/Scion, as well as spending years as a prominent automotive voice in the vendor and consultant space. Keith’s dealership and automotive consulting career has included both corporate and NCM-driven consulting for everything from SEO to SEM/ PPC to digital advertising audits to BDCs.

Keith is also an automotive writer, published in Ward’s Automotive, as well as a prominent blogger on ADM, DealerElite and DrivingSales. I sat down with Keith recently to get his perspective on SEO and how it can bring traffic to an automotive dealer’s Website. AJ LeBlanc: Why is SEO important? Keith Shetterly: When customers are shopping for a vehicle, as a

dealership we want to be chosen. We need to be chosen. Selected. And, in our business, “selected” means that the customer called, e-mailed and, ultimately, visited. So, in this new Internet world, which has changed so Keith Shetterly many things, how do we get selected? Well, first we have to be found, and the Internet is where our customers all shop now — 90 percent shop the Internet before coming to the dealership.

AL: Explain what SEO is. KS: SEO, or search engine optimization, is the first and strongest component of Internet advertising.

For example, we know that 88 percent of the earliest vehicle shopping falls into an SEO category rather than pay-per-click, which itself is further down the shopping funnel. And SEO has advertising results that can be tracked, but to do it well requires some finesse — finesse we may not be able to do ourselves, but which we certainly need to understand in order to stay on top of our SEO vendors. In the car business, we like things simple, but it is the nature of the Internet to provide the “biggest bang for our buck” with some complexity, so we often need some help understanding SEO.

AL: Can you simplify SEO for dealers? KS: In operation, SEO compares more to a cake made from a recipe than a store-bought cake. We don’t need to bake it, but we do need to know what is in the “SEO cake.” So, to keep on top of your SEO vendors, here’s what you need to know: SEO starts with mapping good shopping search terms for text, page titles, etc. on your own Website and from text on related sites that link to yours, such as blogs. And you’ll need to understand some of the function of the Google tools, such as Adwords and Analytics, which help make sure …the new premium level of our popular your SEO is tuned to what folks are actually shopping for and why they Certified Dealer program! land on your site. Don’t just get reports from your vendors; have them Gain a complete online reputation and social monitoring go through these tools monthly to show you how they are running your platform featuring a powerful 360 dashboard. SEO. Look for things that make sense, such as finding out what words people who landed on your Website actually searched for, and then seeing them in your SEO search terms from your vendor.


Improve online visibility

AL: Is SEO just about search terms? KS: No. SEO is also about making your own site more SEO relevant, and thus more prominent on the supremely-valuable Search Engine Results Page One (SERP1) — in fact, less than six percent of shoppers actually visit Page Two. Inbound links from other sites, such as your blog, are gold to Google and the other search engines to help make sure of Page One dominance for your dealership. And video, which also gives a shopper a visual impression of an automobile that no words can, has the highest average SEO impact of any link to your own Website.

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AL: So, SEO is critical to dealers, correct? KS: Yes. And now you can see that, in order for a dealer to be selected

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by customers, first strong SEO — particularly adding strong Video SEO — must get dealers found by customers. And being found on the Internet nowadays is how you get customers. For more information about Keith Shetterly, contact him at 866.386.4445, or by e-mail at AJ LeBlanc is the co-founder of He can be contacted at 866.795.9094, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee

Monitor reviews across the web

A recent article quoted automotive research that showed the following: While sales are increasing, service business is decreasing! This recent downturn of service business has been a direct result of the drop off in sales that occurred during the economic downturn. It’s just math.... Slow car sales a few years ago equals slow service sales now. Consider the following: * Several studies have shown that the average dealership retains only 19 percent of their customers from sales into service. That’s awful for the future health of your dealership. * When you don’t retain customers into your service department, studies show that you don’t retain them for sales. Your service numbers directly reflect your sales numbers! * If you don’t retain your customers, you will be forced to spend more and more advertising money to keep up your sales numbers. Or you could easily and quickly solve these problems and make more $. Imagine the following: • 50 percent or more increase in Service RO’s • Huge increase in sales to service customer retention • Large customer pay increase • Surveys show that service loyalty massively increases sales loyalty • Imagine also increasing new and used car sales at the same time • Experience a 10 percent or more increase in vehicle service contract sales as a result • Increase your front end gross profit, as well!

There are only four ways to increase the net profit of your dealership: 1. Sell more vehicles. 2. Increase your gross profit per vehicle. 3. Increase your customer loyalty that will increase your repeat business for sales and service. 4. Decrease the time between sales and service visits. Have customers who buy more, more often! Here is the good news: And you can do all four things right now! To get a quick preview of this revolutionary idea, just do the following: Call 888 2 Tewart (888 283-9278) and ask for Jaclyn. She will set up a convenient time to quickly and easily review the details. It will take all of 10 minutes! There is more.... I will give you a FREE bonus just for reviewing this. For your 10 minutes I will give you my distance sales training program 30 days for free. Train your sales staff with the best sales content in the industry. Call 888 2 Tewart (888 283-9278) and tell Jaclyn that you want to review the 50 percent + program. P.S. My question is, what would happen to your bottom line if you doubled your sales and service repeat business?


sales & training solution

can’t hear, can’t see, can’t speak? Can’t Fail

We love the thrill of excitement; there are very few industries where one has so many unique experiences day in and day out. To put it mildly, every day on the blacktop is truly an adventure. Although we can resurrect campfire stories of customer run-ins, we’ve yet to talk about the worst customer we’ve ever encountered — that customer is you. Let’s be honest; as salespeople, we are our own worst customers. What we hear determines what we see; what is seen becomes spoken and what is spoken manifests into results. If you aren’t achieving what you once did, it’s because you are hearing, seeing and speaking your way to failure. • Can’t Hear? Do you remember when you first hit the blacktop? You were a mixture of emotions: terrified of making a mistake, yet optimistic of embarking on your new profession. Gone were the days of donning the orange apron, punching a clock and stocking paint cans; you were now a professional sales consultant. You didn’t care when you heard customers say, “Today is just an information day.” You weren’t concerned that your customer wanted to be $350 per month; you weren’t even standing in the huddle of salespeople playing the game, “Guess that ACV,“ waiting for a manager to bang on the glass forcing someone to grab the Up no one wants. Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew to do.” You didn’t know enough to be a danger to your career. In spite of your limited knowledge gained from five days of training, you did the best you could with what you had. You trumped your lack of experience by having energy, excitement and optimism. You were too ignorant to be selective in which


ups to catch — you caught them all; you were too naïve to ask a customer what they owed on their trade — you didn’t know what it was worth anyway; you were too dumb to ask where they wanted to be on their payment before lifting the first handle. In spite of your ignorance, you outsold most of the veteran salespeople — until now. Bewildered, you ask yourself, “What happened?” It’s as if someone secretly injected you with the Cursed Virus, inoculating your success — you began to mentally implode. Your DNA didn’t change; you are still the same capable salesperson. The only thing different is where you once listened, today you only hear. Hearing creates perception, and perception is subjective. As a sales consultant, when you hear a customer’s objections, concerns or fears, you are guilty of snapping to a perceived judgment of having a deal or not. Hearing causes a salesperson to shut down to the possibilities while listening causes one to open up and become attentive to addressing the concerns of his customer. • Can’t See? Helen Keller said, “It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” We began our careers with rose-colored glasses; today, we have traded them in for mirrored shades. We once envisioned the blacktop as the land of opportunity, yet today we’ve allowed ourselves to mirror and become consumed by the negativity that surrounds us each day. Like storms, your circumstances won’t last if you keep moving. Lift your eyes from what you are presently seeing and instead envision your ideal outcome. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, my people perish.” Don’t let a blown deal, rude customer or rollback bury your month; instead, treat a dilemma as a pothole, a minor setback and a character-building moment on your road to greatness. You’re a marathoner, not a sprinter; think in terms of 26 days, not 26 minutes. During a blinding midnight storm, pilots have to rely solely on their instruments because of their impaired vision — the same is true for you in sales. Read something positive; if it takes you six months to read a book, so be it. Listen to something positive on your way to work. When a customer drives up, envision yourself putting a 60-day tag in the vehicle you are selling them. In short, crowd out the negativity, losses and resentment. Remember, yesterday ended last night. Feed the faith; starve the fear. • Can’t Speak? If God spoke the world, all of its glory and all of its magnificence, into existence, what are you speaking into your career? The most courageous person is the one who speaks his vision in spite of what he sees. I know you just did your best walk-around on a customer who couldn’t finance a light bulb; I’ve seen the times you were the first to arrive and last to leave and you still didn’t sell a car. Nothing fuels success or failure more than the spoken word. Even when you don’t feel like it, even though what you are doing does not seem to be working, don’t, under any circumstances, speak anything negative. When you fail, don’t rehash it with the other salespeople; believe me, they are glad you didn’t make the deal. Don’t tell the service cashier what just happened; she doesn’t care either — she’s just using you for a smoke break. You work in an industry where you have overwhelming odds of failing — no need to add fuel to the fire with your mouth. Show me the clip of Muhammad Ali, or any other athlete for that matter, affirming his doubts and fears aloud. Good or bad, what you speak manifests results. We are all “Owner Financed” — the most expensive property you possess is that double-fisted trophy encased in your skull called your brain. What you choose to think, speak and act upon is like putting a sign on your brain saying “For Sale By Owner.” Don’t be so cheap. Become deaf to negativity, dumb to your perceptions and blind to your circumstances. Listen to your purpose, envision your success, speak to your mountains and deposit your greatness. 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 e-mail at

podcast interviewee

If you put 50 salespeople in a room, we could go on for hours sharing stories of the worst customers we’ve ever encountered. These stories range from the cheapskate multi-millionaire (you know, the guy who owns half the town, yet blew out because he had to pay the Doc Fee), to the customer who brought his third cousin’s attorney as backup to return the car quoting the “I have 72 hours to return it” statute. We’ve had customers burn off, jump up, holler, throw up and demand to “see the man,” and just when we think we’ve seen it all....

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moving up:

Become a Driving Force – and an Indispensable Employee

“Exceptional employees are the driving force of the future.” That is true for every organization throughout the world. Unfortunately, most organizations are riddled with complacent employees, those who merely show up and do as they’re told, who lack the drive and the self-confidence to reach higher, do more and become indispensable to their companies. Exceptional employees are those who take chances, are creative, create order out of chaos, generate ideas, figure out what needs to be done and do it — and, in the process, create value for their dealerships.

Believe in Yourself

The question becomes: How do you become that exceptional employee, that person who is so valuable to your organization that you not only will have a job for life, you will be promoted beyond your wildest dreams? How do you develop a plan of attack that will take you where you want to go?

Those limitations are the biggest barriers to your success. If you think of yourself as a failure, no matter how hard you try to succeed, you will fail. You have it within you to be anything you want to be — and to do anything you want to do. You must believe in yourself. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes, because that fear will hold you back. Challenge yourself, take risks and reap the resulting rewards.

I recommend that you take these steps:

Build your self-confidence with positive, personal affirmations — positive statements that you make about yourself and that describe what you want to be, what you want to have, what you want to do, and how you want to live your life. Then reaffirm those beliefs over and over, until your unconscious mind accepts them as facts. Set Goals

Indispensable and extraordinary employees set goals and work tirelessly to achieve them. Those goals should be consistent with your values and should align with your passion. They should be clear and measurable. Include target dates for each goal; doing so will keep you on track. Once you reach a desired goal, set a new one. Overcome Self-Imposed Limitations

Improve Your Deficiencies and Develop Your Strengths

Conduct an honest self-assessment. Look long and hard at your attitude and work ethic and at how you deal with customers and problems. How would you rate your performance? Do you meet the expectations of your co-workers and superiors? Are you dependable and accountable? Be Proactive


New and Used Vehicle Director Larry H. Miller Management Company

A proactive employee is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to stand out. Every problem you encounter is an opportunity for you to produce a positive outcome. When you are proactive and confident in your skills, you put yourself on display for your customers and supervisors. You show others that you can handle any situation. You will be free to be extraordinary. Develop Personally and Professionally

Your self-assessment will guide you, as you look for areas to strengthen. Take online classes, read a book on personal development every month, enroll in a training course, attend seminars and lectures. Look for mentoring programs and take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs to further your education. Associate with Winners



Associating with successful people — people who you respect — will help you stay on track. They will ignite your passion and provide support. They will motivate you and challenge you intellectually. They might even funnel stimulating projects your way and help you identify improved career opportunities. Stay away from negative people; they will drag you down and hamper your efforts to better yourself. When you think big — and dream big — you will accomplish great things. When you decide you want to move up to a better position, and a better life, you are making a choice that will drive you to set — and meet — higher standards. You will become an exceptional, and indispensable, employee.   John Tschohl is an author, and founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He can be contacted at 866.618.8455, or by e-mail at

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the truth about third-party lead source providers, aggregators and online classifieds I hear all the time that “these leads stink,” “those leads stink,” etc. The truth is that most of the time it is not the third-party provider, aggregator or online classified that “stinks.” It might be several other issues such as: People

• There might be too many leads and not enough people to work the leads. If this is the case, your dealership won’t be able to put the proper amount of time, energy and focus into cultivating that prospect into an in-store appointment. Remember, Internet prospects have a 45- to 90-day “gestation” period. • On the other hand, you might not have enough leads. • “Cherry picking” of leads might also be a problem.

• You might not have the proper schedule in place. For example, the “prime time” to connect with prospects is between 6 to 8 p.m. and you have no one working the leads during that time, or if the department or the dealership is closed at that time, then you obviously miss out and this will affect the “connection ratio” with your prospects. Process

• This is a big one. I see over and over again dealerships that have a bad process. They only e-mail, or they only phone call, or they only follow up with the prospect for a certain amount of time and assume this lead “stinks” and then they “dead” the lead. • Dealers assume leads with “no phone number” or “wrong phone number” are “bad leads,” but that is not true. What do you expect for $20? A closed deal? A guaranteed commission? No. What you get for a $20 “lead” is an opportunity. That is all. There are no magic beans, there are no silver bullets. It is up to the dealership to cultivate that opportunity into an in-store appointment. So, if you have a “lead” with no phone number or a wrong phone number, then you should: • Open up the original lead in your CRM/ ILM, because sometimes the prospect info doesn’t parse.


• Call 4-1-1 and do a reverse look up. • Go to • Utilize social media to find additional contact information. Some CRMs have social media integration just for purposes like this. Technology

• I can not stress this enough: Technology is one of the biggest culprits for mistakes, poor numbers and the illusion of “bad leads.” What happens is that the dealership might not have set up the CRM/ILM the right way, or they set it up but it wasn’t managed or kept up the right way, so it might get congested; it can become a mess. The best analogy is a file cabinet that has only one drawer, no folders and no color tabs for the (non) folders. Chaos! With all of that being said, there is a huge value for having third-party providers, aggregators and classified listings. But, before I get into that, I do want to stress that you should never put all your eggs in one basket. A dealership should diversify its marketing and specifically their digital marketing efforts with SEO, VSEO, video pre-roll, PPC, social media and third-party sources. If you are going to utilize third-party lead source providers, aggregators and classified listings, make sure: • You know what type of “leads” you are looking for. Each lead source provider has its own “specialty” — some third-party sources specialize in new car leads, some specialize in used car leads and others specialize in special finance leads. I know that a lot of these companies offer both. I suggest you identify what your wants and needs are and find a third-party provider that fits your exact criteria. • Do your research. Investigate all of the “major” third-party providers and ask them to do a “market analysis” on your market for the last 30, 60 and 90 days. How many leads did they generate or were available through their network? Also, ask for them to provide those numbers on different radiuses. • Remember that the farther out you go from your dealership, the lower the closing ratio. I am not saying don’t go too far; I am just stating a fact. • What you can do is secure a radius that is close to your dealership. Maybe you use your PMA given to you from your OEM for a certain mile circumference around your dealership (20, 30, 40 miles, etc.), and then surgically create smaller perimeters around your direct and indirect competitors. For example, lets say you secure a 35-mile radius around your dealership that generates you 100 new car leads. Let’s also say you have four direct competitors within a 75-mile radius. Instead of just securing a “blanket” 75-mile perimeter around your dealership, you secure that 35-mile radius that is yielding you 100 leads, and then you can secure maybe a five- to 10mile radius perimeter directly around your competitors, using their ZIP codes. This way, you are focusing your energy more surgically. Bottom line: Third-party providers, aggregators and online classifieds are a powerful resource, but if and only if we utilize them the right way. If you have any questions about this article or you would like a list of lead source providers, please contact me using the information below. Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at

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next level

First, you must focus on things that can move you to another level. If you do what you have been doing, you will get what you have been getting. No longer is it acceptable to just show up, do your job and go home. No longer is it acceptable to wait and see what the competitors do, or let someone else be the first to implement something. In today’s market, the first to the show wins the prize. Daily education, keeping up with changes in your industry and trends in other industries are basic daily activities today. It’s no longer something you do “every once in a while” or

“when you get around to it.” Self-education, improvement and adaptation to technology and other changes are the keys to winning. Winners today make faster decisions than ever before and consensus decision making is dead. If you take the time for everyone to agree on what should be done, you are too late to the party and your competition is already ahead of you. The winners today are visionary leaders who leave their ego at the door and are willing to be humble learners. Learn massively every day, make decisions, make them quick, make mistakes, take the heat, self-correct and move on. Old-school entrepreneurs who fill their day with emergency activities and bloat their ego by cramming their day with time-filling but not business-shifting activities will be crushed. Those who are disciplined in massive daily education, rapid decision making, implementation and adaption will grow exponentially over the people and businesses used to doing business the old way. The winners of today do not scare of making mistakes, but of not making decisions quick enough. To get to another level of success, you must understand and master your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind works on autopilot. This autopilot moves you towards what is easy, fun or provides short-term gratification. The subconscious deals only in the moment. When you start work in the morning, your autopilot guides you to talk with fellow employees about things you like, to read the paper and to surf the Internet for topics you enjoy. Managers spend the day doing mundane clerical chores. In other words, you are simply hanging out. The day is filled with filler. You are essentially wasting time and majoring in the minor. I once made a post to Facebook about keeping a daily journal of what you do with your time for one week. I suggested that a good way to start is to review each hour of the day for a week and write down what you did for that hour. I received a comment from a dealer stating sarcastically they had wasted time just reading and thinking about what I had wrote. This same dealer is one who lost their franchise for a lack of sales and non-performance. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. For you to move forward, you must unlearn your habits of the past.

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It’s not natural for you to do in-depth planning, detailed work, longrange work, be vigilant of your actions in your time and make big, tough decisions quickly. What is natural is for your subconscious to put you on autopilot. Unfortunately, your subconscious without the right program is a huge waste of your very own supercomputer — your mind.  Fortunately, your subconscious is also a goal-seeking monster. You give your subconscious a goal and it will work diligently towards that goal. Give your mind a goal, followed by habitual actions of concentrated effort. The wonderful part of this is that once you start your concentrated effort and create habitual actions towards your goal, your subconscious gets addicted and wants more. Boom! You have reprogrammed your computer.  Decide what you want, why you want it and create habitual actions that move you towards that goal. Release any anxiety about the eventual attainment in that goal and be fulfilled with your actions and forward momentum. You can always adjust your actions if need be.  Next month, we’ll look at some other methods of allowing yourself to get a jump on the competition and get you to where you want, and need, to be. Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee

If you are not getting better, then you must be getting worse. In this age of instant information and transformation, speed is the new weapon of choice for top performers. To survive and thrive today, you must be willing to learn, change and implement faster than your competition. In this and next month’s articles, we’ll examine some ideas on how to adapt to the environment you find yourself in, and how to thrive within it.

Part 1

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sales & training solution

customer retention advice you should be giving your sales manager

Your dealership is nothing without its customers. Whether on the dealership sales floor or parts or service department, you won’t survive unless customers keep interested in your offerings and want to pay for them. In a difficult economy, your sales personnel fight a constant battle with other dealerships for new customers and to retain current ones — which itself has become a critical aspect of sustaining business. Achieving customer satisfaction that keeps buyers coming back entails much more than selling a good product or service or having a good sales process. Here are some tips dealers can share with their sales managers: • Only Put Your Best People on the Front Line

Let’s face it, not everyone is well-suited to interact with clients and provide great customer service. Unique personality traits are required — positive attitudes, great listening and problem solving skills — and

only people who possess them should be in contact with your customers. Assign responsibility based on each employee’s core competencies.

• Know What Your Customers Want Client feedback is one of the keys to successful business. Knowing what customers think about your products and services and making improvements, perhaps based on their suggestions, should be part of your strategy. Also, don’t underestimate the value of negative feedback. Letting clients know and see you are taking their thoughts into consideration shows you truly care and increases the chances they will stick around to see those improvements. And you don’t have to always go on gut feeling. Listen and keep records. Track social media and e-mail campaign activity. By taking sincere interest, you’ll find what works. • Think Relationships and Sales Will Follow When business is slow and the sales team feels pressure to improve numbers, it is easy to focus on new sales opportunities that arise and forget about developing true relationships with buyers. Customers can sense when a salesperson is impatient to close a sale and, even if they purchase now, they may think twice about returning to your dealership. Concentrating on what’s best for them, even if it means admitting one of your products doesn’t fulfill a need, can make a more lasting impression. • Connect Without Overwhelming An important aspect of keeping your customers is reminding them you and your dealership are there when they need you. Keep in touch periodically when you have relevant news for them — just don’t overdo it. Updates, deals, service reminders and helpful tips are several types of applicable news. If you don’t already have these materials, consider developing a content marketing plan to support their development. • Track, Track and Track Keeping records of your customers (purchase history, call notes, feedback, appointments, etc.) and tracking sales trends is vital to customer retention. This information helps you understand customers better and plan how to retain their business. A contact management or customer relationship management (CRM) tool can track these relationships more effectively. One or two extra sales can often return your technology investment while giving sales managers and salespeople a productivity advantage they need. • Be There 24/7 It’s all about presence. Whether using social media, e-mail or phone, organize your team so they can answer customer questions or requests when they are out of the office and after business hours. Your team should be able to access client information remotely so they are able to provide whatever a customer needs ASAP. The recent boom in mobile devices is helping sales teams be more connected and available to customers. Your sales team should not be an exception. • Audit Customer Experience Lastly, put yourself in your clients’ position and make a list of all the ways their overall experience with you could be more satisfying. Cater to your clients in ways that will make their lives easier and their experience more gratifying, and they’ll gladly cater to making your sales processes more successful. Brandon Balsley is the director of Sage ACT! Product Management, Sage North America. He can be contacted at 866.384.6722, or by e-mail at


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the goldmine

in your crm

Wouldn’t it be great if customers only shopped at your store, or only considered your deals? Of course, this does happen with extremely loyal customers. However, this is the exception, not the rule. How can dealers find customers who will never shop at any other store, or consider any other deals? The answer can be easy, and it’s resting quietly in your CRM. With this clue, many dealers reading this article may already have answered the riddle. You simply look for past customers within your CRM and try to put together unique deals for them. Customers who have positive equity in their vehicles, but are not currently shopping, might be ready for an upgrade with an enticing offer. OK, this makes perfect sense, but it sounds like a lot of work. I’m seeing a growing new segment in the market for systems that automatically scan the CRM or DMS, and pull customers who are ideal candidates for vehicle upgrades. This is generically called “equity mining.” Using various third-party data sources, along with

Sales Up

“In the first few months of these tools,

your CRM is chock-full of potential deals. After that, equity mining provides a steady stream of new deals, all from non-shopping customers, and at attractive grosses.

One of the biggest challenges facing dealers today is the high concentration of competitors in each market. If a dealer is to win a customer’s business, hard work, advertising investments, discounting and a little luck are all necessary. Consumers have choices and they know it. They also have the Internet, which allows them to see every vehicle in a 200-mile radius they might possibly want to consider for their next purchase with only a few clicks.

complex algorithms, dealers not only find these customers, but are able to present specific deals to them. And when these deals are presented to customers who are not shopping for a vehicle, dealers tend to close without the customer ever shopping for alternatives. Why is this method an easy close? Because the customers were not in the market in the first place. They simply may not have realized that they qualified for such an offer, and, once presented with one, only had to say “yes.” Judging from the results I’ve heard from dealers using these equity solutions, customers are saying “yes” quite often. It’s unlike any other car-buying experience. The dealership has done their homework before ever presenting the customer with an offer. Dealers know every detail of the last purchase. In the first few months of these tools, your CRM is chock-full of potential deals. After that, equity mining provides a steady stream of new deals, all from non-shopping customers, and at attractive grosses. But I’m leaving a very important part out — you’re also getting a great trade-in vehicle (at a time of challenging vehicle supply). Best of all, you name the price of that car. For service customers, it is a vehicle you’re already familiar with, since you’ve been maintaining it for them. If you haven’t considered these types of solutions, you definitely should. We’ve all got access to tons of data, but it is sometimes hard to sift through to find the answers. Equity mining finds the chunks of gold in all of that data, and creates new market opportunities for your store. Happy digging! George Nenni is the vice president of operations for Dominion Dealer Solutions. He can be contacted at 866.382.8622, or by e-mail at

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leadership solution

how Do you tune up veterans?

as seen on

In our business, helping veterans improve can be a challenge.

experience, most of them at the same dealership.

Step Four: Make a new video. Observed vast improvement. Instantly. In fact, after three or four minutes of newly discovered rapport building skills, it was obvious that we could just turn the camera off. If you have not used video training with your sales staff, there are a few things to keep in mind. Ground Rules

Poke around in the cupboards of the average dealership and you will find training cassettes from the 1970s, training videos from the 1980s and 1990s and DVDs from the last 15 years. You could reforest Colorado’s wildfire area with the trees that made the workbooks from seminars stacked in there.

With this veteran staff, what do you think the average time between “Welcome to ABC Motors” and “I’ll get the keys” was?

Your veterans have seen it all.

It was 45 seconds.

But there is one video they probably haven’t seen yet.

I am well aware that video makes you look fat, that you are much better when you are with a real customer and that I make you nervous. That being said: 1. Make it private. It’s not going to be pretty at first, so it needs to be just you and the salesperson. 2. When you are reviewing, let the salesperson lead the review. They will point out the rough patches. 3. Let them tell you how to improve first. Then, if they missed something, you can chime in. 4. Role-play again without the video. 5. Make a new video and review it.

This was after a two-hour class that included examples, input from the participants and roleplay.

The improvement will be rapid and almost miraculous. Try it and let me know how it goes for you!

They know what they are supposed to know, and usually they think they are actually doing it.

I recently met with a dealership to help their staff improve rapport and information-gathering skills, based on the desk manager’s observations that the salespeople just didn’t seem to know their customers that well. The staff is almost exclusively veterans with eight to 20 years

After a two-hour classroom session, I met with each salesperson for a 30- to 45-minute one-onone, and tried a simple four-step experiment. Step One: Role-play the greeting and information stage on video. Step Two: Review the video.

The lesson learned? Education does not equal execution. Step Three: Review the material from class, and role-play it without the video.

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Michal Ann Enders is a sales and management training and development specialist with i-Sales Solutions. She can be contacted at 866.386.4408, or by e-mail at


marketing solution

why it’s your best customers you might stand the best chance of losing You have a percentage of loyal customers who purchase multiple vehicles, consistently buy from your parts and service departments and supply referrals. Now imagine those customers leaving you for a competitor without giving you any notice, or even the opportunity to talk with them about their next purchase. This happens more than you think in today’s automotive marketplace. On any given day, you have a percentage of loyal customers who are in a position to buy a new or newer vehicle with no money down and for a lower monthly payment. These are not only customers who have equity, but also customers who have negative equity. And what do you think happens when one of these loyal customers (who may not even think they are in the market for a vehicle) responds to an ad that catches their eye from one of your competitors? When your competition shows a customer how to upgrade their vehicle and improve their financial situation, that customer is gone — possibly forever. The real question is what does the customer now think of you? Regardless of great strides in customer service and sales processes, car dealers still don’t rank very high in businesses trusted by consumers. What happens when one of your best customers finds out they can buy a vehicle that’s two to three years newer than the one you sold them, and do so for less? They won’t understand all the factors that make it possible — they’ll blame you for a bad deal in the first place. If today’s car dealer doesn’t alert customers to


potential savings, someone else will. And that feeds into the consumer’s fears and doubts. Think about it; over the years there has been a strong effort with automotive direct marketing to improve customer loyalty. So with all the data mining, predictive models and resources available, why hasn’t the percentage of loyal customers increased along with the investment to improve owner loyalty? Are You Focusing on the Wrong Customers?

We tend to assume that the best prospect is someone with equity or someone close to his or her loan maturation date. In reality, the best prospect is the person most motivated by your offers. Who is most at risk for buying somewhere else? The customer who paid off their car a few years ago and isn’t making a current payment, or the customer who has a current payment and can actually buy a new car and lower that payment? This doesn’t mean you should ignore customers with equity or who have paid off their loan. It just means we tend to neglect people who may have bought 18 to 36 months ago, with the exception of parts and service advertising. People who can upgrade their vehicle and improve their financial situation are the biggest defection risks you have — if you don’t reach out to them first. Today, you have the ability to quickly identify and help customers who can improve their financial situation, provided you have a good equity data mining and lead generation strategy. This strategy should include direct marketing with a multi-channel approach. Your e-mail and direct mail need to be completely personalized to each customer’s unique situation. To be effective with automotive direct mail and e-mail today, you must communicate a message that is one to one — not one to many. Microsites should be part of the mix, too, giving customers more opportunities to respond and obtain information. Telephone marketing and support are also key. There is also technology available that allows you to identify which customers with service appointments can qualify for an upgrade and improve their situation. This makes your service to sales process more efficient and effective. Improve Your Customers’ Financial Situation — and Your Dealership’s.

You must have a turnkey direct marketing strategy in place to work with this data to guarantee customers know they can improve their situation right now — with you. These people will not just come in on their own; many of them aren’t aware these opportunities even exist. It is your responsibility to reach out to them. Scott Joseph is the president of J&L Marketing, Inc. He can be contacted at 888.835.1689, or by e-mail at

, Colorado ive Group, Denver ot m to Au aw Sh —Mike Shaw, Mike

Three years ago, Mike went looking for a solution to help him compete in the changing used car market — and he found vAuto. Mike and his team fully bought into the velocity management philosophy, and he knows that’s why his dealer group has been so successful. With vAuto, Mike turns more inventory and makes more money on every sale. In fact, he experienced a 68% increase in used car sales last year — the largest of any automotive group in North America!

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Provisioning | Appraising | Pricing | Merchandising | RealDeal | Auction Genius


leadership solution

“time to market” reconditioning

You might also be reading this and saying to yourself, “My recon is only two or three days, so I don’t have a problem.” Or, “I have my own process using a spreadsheet, which is working just fine and costs me nothing.” After helping many dealers across the country, it has become clear, no one is delivering a two- or three-day average. Also, it should be noted, a spreadsheet was not designed for workflow measurement. Workflow measurement needs to be in real

When there is verifiable data, there is also

accountability, reliability & efficiency.

You will know where you stand with every car, at every step, from auction or trade to

time, have shared access and be process oriented — all of which a spreadsheet does not provide. In fact, spreadsheets mask the real numbers. Realistically, your current cycle time for any car will vary from hours to weeks, but your actual average will be two to three times longer than what your spreadsheet is reporting. Proof is in the numbers. Over the last two years, many dealers have moved beyond the false assumptions of their working spreadsheets and have begun relying on the quantifiable data gathered from flexible workflow tools configured to each dealership’s specific recon processes and performance goals. By having everyone involved in the recon process linked through this software, they are now able to get their turn times down to four or five days, as opposed to their measured starting point north of 10 days. Armed with this real step-by-step data, Dealers are cutting their “measured cycle time” in half, delivering one to three new turns. When there is verifiable data, there is also accountability, reliability and efficiency. You will know where you stand with every car, at every step, from auction or trade to frontline ready. Wholesale decisions can be made quickly with results that are immediate and measurable, and any red flags can be responded to without delay. Recon staffs are stepping on board because no one else is tracking and reporting on their work, and the actual results are visible to everyone. As a result, pay plans are being implemented as a way to incentivize teams to drive down recon cycle time. It is a win-win for the department and dealership.

Again, if “time to market” is important, but you are still relying on a “homegrown recon management process,” then you have some catching up to do. Progressive dealerships are redefining the outcomes of their reconditioning departments by adopting this new workflow approach. They have cut their recon cycle time in half, have added five to 10 days to the selling window and are gaining a competitive advantage. If you would like hearing directly from dealers who have already made a move to a workflow system, just contact me.

frontline ready.”


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

podcast interviewee

By now, it is highly likely your used car manager is using vAuto or another software application to improve inventory turns and increase sales volume. It follows then, that you are well aware of the financial impact of “time to market” on selling time and gross profit. All used cars are reconditioned — whether on purchases or trades; therefore, the average recon days should be added to your monthly days in inventory to determine your actual turn rate. Further, if recon is not measured and managed in your “time to market” metric, then you are leaving at least one complete inventory turn on the table.


marketing solution

unimpeachable data Content may be king, as the Web marketing adage says, but Big Daddy Data is running the kingdom. If you’re not keeping a close eye on your Web stats through Google Analytics, then you’re ignoring a huge piece of the buying process pie — and it’s a slice that’s growing bigger and more important every day. Web analysis provides dealers with insights into every visit, conversion, mobile engagement and social interaction, and the best and sharpest tool for dicing your data also happens to be free. Google Analytics’ unimpeachable data isn’t tied to your vendors’ success in any way, which is exactly what makes it so valuable. It’s tough to trust numbers from a company that has an inherent interest in presenting you with what you want to see. Google’s numbers don’t lie — but the vendor’s might. So how does a dealer get started with Google Analytics? Once the tracking tags are in place and the data is rolling in, identify the metrics that you’re most interested in and build a custom dashboard around them. Dashboards provide at-a-glance summaries of your site’s performance. Up to 12 widgets can be


created for each dashboard, giving you plenty of real estate to dial into KPIs. Track organic and paid search traffic, banner ad referrals, clicks for directions from your Google+ Local page, service coupons being printed, your most popular vehicles and which third parties are driving the most conversions. Once your dashboard is in motion, take advantage of the e-mail feature. There’s no more convenient way to get an overall look at your site’s performance delivered to your inbox weekly, monthly and quarterly. A dashboard is a great start, but configuring it for some of the more advanced goal tracking mentioned above requires a trained hand. To get the most out of your Google Analytics implementation, you need to call in the experts. Google Analytics Certified Partners are vetted by Google and must stand up to strict technical and analytical standards in order to qualify. After implementing Google Analytics across all of your sites, you can begin tapping into custom reports, conversion rate optimization through landing page tests and, most of all, the

data you need to make better decisions on your monthly budgets. Curious to see the touchpoints between a shopper’s initial visit to your listings and the iPhone click-to-call she makes on a vehicle details page two weeks later? Through Google Analytics’ multi-channel funnels, you not only know which third-party sites are bringing you leads directly, but which are playing the biggest role in the buying process. Looking for patterns in browsing before leads are submitted? Let Google Analytics unlock Goal Flow visualization to identify your site’s well-traveled paths to conversion and push more visitors there. How about roll-up reporting to see your group’s Web data as a whole in one Analytics account? Google Analytics allows you to simplify reporting for even the busiest networks of Web properties and filter out your employee traffic to give you accurate numbers. Google Analytics costs you nothing and makes your company more profitable in the all the ways that matter: more sales and more fixed ops for less cost. Increase your gross with a Google Analytics Certified Partner who leverages your data to help you spend smarter and convert better. To learn more about how Google Analytics can help you gain critical insight into your online initiatives, e-mail me at the address below and we’ll send you free information.

Charlie Bass is the vice president of String Automotive, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.383.7481, or by e-mail at


leadership solution

which 20 percent?

As a trainer, I am often asked if you should focus on your top performers or your bottom ones to improve business. Many ask how much time should be spent on either group. I will lay out the arguments for both and then give my answer with an extra tip for success. The Bottom 20 Percent: Here is the group who is not delivering results. This is a group that you would think to focus on because bringing them up in terms of performance will make an impact immediately. Or will it?

This group contains usually contains three types of performers. 1. Newer employees 2. Previously good performers who have slipped 3. Those who cannot perform the job Group No. 3 needs to be either moved to a different job that matches their skill set, or they need to be let go. I feel that if you have trained properly, following a solid coaching process,

then spending too much time hoping they will improve will waste resources from your team. Group No. 1 needs time. Make sure training continues in an orderly fashion and expectations are clearly set out. You should be seeing progress, or else they may slip into Group No. 3. Group No. 2 is an interesting group. You need to sit with these members and find out what is going on. If they performed previously, what has changed? Are you working on a new project that may not suit them? Are you requiring a new process to be followed and they are in an adjustment period? Or is it something where they have just lost the passion to do the job? In either case, keeping those from Group No. 2 who have lost their passion will spread unrest amongst the rest of your team. It will look like you are setting different rules for each group. I am all for giving time to those who have given to you, but be honest with them and set them back on track or else, as a favor to all, you need to part ways.

The Top 20 Percent

These are your best performers. They may not follow your processes step by step, but they find a way to get things done. I think that this is the group you need to cultivate. I believe it is easier to get this group to increase their performance than the bottom 20 percent. This group understands competition and goals. Getting them to increase their performance by 10 percent has a bigger impact than getting the bottom 20 percent to increase by 10 percent, or even 20 percent. Your time has more of an impact on these “racehorses.” I think half of your time should be spent with top performers. Ask them questions on what is working and what is not. Ask them for feedback on how they close deals or perform their best. Take this feedback and look for things you can teach the rest of the team, which then can help the performance of the entire organization. One thing I do not recommend is having these top performers do the training. My reasoning is that many of them are not able to communicate clearly what they do in order to be successful. Certain aspects of the job come easy to them and they may not understand why others cannot accomplish things as easily as they do. Remember that keeping your top people engaged is one of the most important aspects of a successful company. An Extra Tip: Design your processes in such a specific manner that the middle 60 percent can improve incrementally. If you have a good amount of training and focus on the middle group and move the whole up by a few percentage points, you succeed. For the top performers, set them up and get out of their way. Give them guidance, but let them do their job. For the lower 20 percent, as we said, I would spend no more that 15 percent of my time there. That means a third of my time will be spent with the middle 60 percent, finding that next top performer and keeping the rest from falling into the bottom group.

I think that working to improve this middle pack of performers gives you long-term success. These performers usually look to each other and perform at an average level. They look at top performers and think they cannot do what it takes to be a top performer. If you can get the group to add just a little more effort, each will go along with the new change because the whole group is doing it; you will see marked improvement overall.

Glenn Pasch is the COO of PCG Digital Marketing and a national speaker and trainer. He can be contacted at 866.611.0998, or by e-mail at


podcast interviewee

Looking at where you are spending your time as a leader and making sure it is spent with the right people can impact your company’s performance in a much more effective way.


marketing solution

traditional media vs.

digital media: A lot has been said about the new Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) model and how it has turned the old “purchase funnel” literally on its side. ZMOT describes the auto purchase process as a more linear process than a funnel. It starts with “Stimulus,” in the form of TV or other traditional media. Next is the “Zero Moment of Truth,” when most shoppers begin their research. The “First Moment of Truth” is when shoppers actually enter the dealership and, finally, the “Second Moment of Truth” is when they experience the vehicle/dealership and share with others. (fig 1.)

The concept of the purchase funnel has always been more vertical, starting at the top of the funnel and working down to the actual purchase. (fig 2.)

It’s Not an Either/Or Decision

most relative strength throughout the process. 70 percent of awareness for the automotive category is attributed to television advertising. ‘Internet Plus’ (essentially any online behavior outside of e-mail) has the second-most impact, peaking with 17 percent in the consideration phase, when most of the consumer’s research would likely begin. Activity on blogs and review sites in the automotive category is more than double the average of all other categories.” (fig 3.) While these reports seem at first glance to be contradictory, they are actually complimentary. The difference in these studies indicates that TV “stimulus” is responsible for building awareness and interest to learn more, and this action is more “advertising induced,” whereas the Internet shopping is more “self-directed.” Another way of saying this is that TV creates more awareness for your dealership, while the Internet provides better, trackable shopping tools — both are important and it’s not an either/or choice: “Do I spend my money on traditional media or do I spend my money on digital media?” One of the attributes of broadcast media is that it brings people “into the market.” I like to call these shoppers “early-market,” as opposed to “in-market.” As an example, an individual is watching the late news and sees an ad for a local car dealer advertising their “final model yearend clearance” with a payment of $136 a month on a 36 MPG Chevy Cruze. This person may be in the “early market” stage; however, this deal may be perceived as “too good to pass” and may move them to the “in-market” stage sooner than anticipated. Now, as the models stipulate, they will begin their shopping process using all sorts of digital methods. Another example of how TV works with digital media and awareness is the trust and familiarity factor that we have with brands that are advertised on TV. When faced with the myriad of ads online, a shopper is more apt to click on an ad from an advertiser that they know and trust rather than clicking on an ad from a total stranger, assuming they don’t just click on every ad they see. Getting back to the purchase funnel for a moment, it also appears that the traditional roles have changed, as well. For years, the top of the funnel had been the domain of the OEM. In fact, sometimes you may have wondered if they were selling windy roads instead of automobiles. At the middle of the funnel, Tier 2 ad groups would support the theme and tonality of the OEM and throw in a deal here and there and the dealer would basically say, “buy now.” However, in recent years it seems the roles have changed. Many of the OEMs are running constant themed promotions with the deals included. The ad groups run the same spots, simply adding more weight, and the dealers are trying to figure out whether they should spend more money on traditional or digital advertising. Given the fact that Tier 1 and 2 advertising is decidedly more “deal oriented,” in this economy it makes sense that if Tier 1 is going to say “what and how much” and Tier 2 is going to say “when to buy,” the dealer should spend more time saying “why buy from me.” So, an effective strategy might be to run 15-second bookends, one devoted to the reasons to buy for your dealership, and the second 15-second spot devoted to a compelling offer that drives them to your Website to learn more.

In a new proprietary report called “The Purchase Funnel 3.0” from the Futures Company (formerly Yankelovich), advertisers are given an opportunity to better understand a consumer mindset throughout their purchasing evaluation process. The report shows, “In the automotive category, television commands the


In advertising/marketing, as in life, it is always better to have a balanced approach. You need an effective level of traditional advertising to create stimulus and brand your dealership, and a tactical level of digital media to capture the “in-market” shoppers whom you have cultivated.

Paul Accinno is the President/CEO of WorldDealer Advertsing. He can be contacted at 866.319.6284, or by e-mail at

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Success Story

Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Up 98% in Sales and Service, Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Increases Profitability with Integrated Marketing Strategy Many dealers face the ongoing challenge of how to effectively reach the right customers with the right message, bring those customers into their showrooms and service bays, and keep them coming back again and again. Consumer shopping habits have shifted in recent years, away from traditional mass media platforms like TV, print and radio, toward more targeted and digital mediums that include targeted direct email and mail, internet, and mobile. Dealerships that do not understand targeted and digital marketing continue to see diminishing returns with traditional mass marketing that continues to be costly and nearly impossible to measure.

Today, the most successful dealers are using targeted and digital mediums that are less expensive, more measurable and give a better return on investment than traditional mass marketing. The key to their success is integrating all their targeted and digital advertising to maximize their results, however, this can also present a challenge as the average dealer works with multiple vendors to execute their entire marketing strategy which results in different strategies, messages and designs that too often are not integrated with one another. Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Downers Grove, a member of Zeigler Auto Group, has found a solution by implementing an integrated targeted and digital marketing strategy across multiple mediums using one marketing partner to attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost than traditional mass marketing. With sales and service up 98 percent over the same period last year, and up 156 percent within their topselling zip codes, Zeigler has seen a nice steady increase in profitability since starting a new marketing strategy in September of 2011.





Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep “Our goal is to strive for steady growth. Lots of people believe in fast and furious growth, but we want to achieve growth that lasts and provides hard systemic results,” said Brian Malpeli, General Manager at Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep began with a comprehensive five-year historical analysis of their sales and service transactions to determine customer trends. Those findings were then compared to leading third-party and industry data to establish consumer patterns within the local market. The results enabled Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep to identify vehicle owners with the greatest probability of buying or servicing with their dealership, as well as identify same-brand owners who had never visited Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep, and off-brand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to the brands they sell. Once Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep had more clearly defined their market, they implemented a comprehensive targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct email and mail campaigns that consistently speak to customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle with custom messaging that includes: a thank you and welcome message for recent

Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep also aggressively targets conquest service customers within their primary marketing area who own the brands they sell but did not buy from them. This is unique because most dealers use the manufacturer’s service marketing program which often limits a dealer to only communicate with customers that have purchased directly from their store, but also limits the dealer from contacting numerous conquest opportunities within their market. If a dealer only has 30 percent market share, they are essentially missing out on an additional 70 percent of the area’s service market. Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep recognized the opportunity to broaden its service marketing program with conquest and has greatly expanded their reach of potential service customers.

purchase with that dealership,” says Budd Blackburn, owner of Team Velocity Marketing, the company that Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep uses for their sales and service marketing.

“Our goal is to strive for steady growth. Lots of people believe in fast and furious growth, but we want to achieve growth that lasts and provides hard systemic results”

When customers visit the dealership they see POS merchandising throughout the store that validates the advertising message they recently saw online or received in the mail, further building credibility and helping increase the closing ratio.

BRIAN MALPELI General Manager


purchasers, maintenance reminders for newer vehicles not yet in-equity but that may be due for recommended maintenance, and ongoing targeted email and mail sales communications to customers in an equity position. Using highend creative campaigns, Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep promotes its best sales offers with custom service offers that reflect the service status of the customer’s vehicle. For example, active service customers who routinely come in for service receive a $29.95 “The Works” oil change coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not regularly service with Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep , receive the same offer but for $19.95 to encourage them to back.

“We are constantly mining our database and the surrounding area in order to grow business rather than just hitting different households. We do exit surveys and have discovered we retain over 60 percent of our service customers, especially first time oil changes. So it is essential we communicate with these customers at the correct moment of their vehicle’s life cycle,” said Malpeli. “The best customer that any dealer can find is one they already have because customers who have an active service relationship with a dealership are seven times more likely to

Another component to the Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep strategy is that every outbound targeted email and mail campaign directs customers to an online Campaign Conversion Site that not only displays the featured promotions of the email or mail campaign they have just received, but also shows them every sales and service offer that Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep is currently running. If a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they just received they can check Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep campaign conversion site, www., for other available offers.

An added benefit to their integrated sales and service marketing strategy is a healthier trade pattern. Since switching strategies they’ve brought in more late model trades – this is ultimately a big cost savings for Zeilger not having to overpay at auction. To measure the effectiveness of all their marketing strategies and ensure quality customer care, Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep uses a call-monitoring system to track their advertising, employees, and how their customers are treated by listening to every call that comes into their dealership. They receive daily, weekly and monthly reports that enables them to see which ad campaigns generate the best response and pre-empt any potential customer concerns before they escalate – which improves their overall CSI and helps create lifelong satisfied customers.

Success Story

Success Story

Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep



Up 98% in Sales and Service, Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Increases Profitability with Integrated Marketing Strategy • Define their ideal local market by finding the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with their dealership now and in the future. • Create dynamic, cohesive campaigns that consistently speak to their customers throughout the 60-month lifecycle of their vehicle. • Consistently target in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive off-brands with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands they sell. • Drive consumer traffic to a custom campaign conversion site that promotes all their sales and service offers to help increase their internet sales and service leads. • Monitor inbound calls so they know what ads are generating better response rates and pre-empt CSI issues before they escalate. • Work with a marketing partner like Team Velocity Marketing to implement an integrated targeted and digital marketing strategy across multiple mediums that promote all their profit centers, new, used, finance, service and parts.


AutoSuccess October 2012  

the #1 Sales-Improvement Magazine for the Automotive Professional - featuring VinSolutions