AutoSuccess September 2013

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They said I’d sell more used cars, but we haven’t moved the needle.

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

Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director

TracyMyers how enhancing your integrity can increase your profits, part 1

DalePollak four pointers to achieve your used vehicle sales, profitability potential GlennPasch where you came from and where you are going

JimAdams Be Present — ­ the disney way

RobDunn invest now or pay later

SusanGivens case study: ipads enhance on-the-job sales training

Hannah Philpott, Media Director

trust me: i’m a car dealer,

JimmyVee & TravisMiller

JeremyAnspach how to win the click

NatalieHenley the seven key steps for leveraging social media marketing to drive real results, part 1

part 1

Brian Ankney, Account Manager

DennisMcGinn reconditioning: new workflow technology makes Ucm’s approval process quick and easy

Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist

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.

Susan Givens, Publisher

AJLeBlanc 12 months later...


RussellGrant traditional marketing vs. digital marketing

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

take advantage of the obvious opportunities



marketing solution


24 34 36

SeanV.Bradley prospecting advice from a 30-car guy


sales & training solution


DealerPanel bringing on a vendor, part 2

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28 dealer of the decade


MarkTewart Mr. Dealer: how to sell more vehicles for more money right now

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leadership solution


sales & training solution

case study: ipads enhance on-the-job sales training For Jim Norton Toyota in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an iPad selling system not only boosts sales on the front lines with customers, but it also ramps up the effectiveness of new sales consultants. A 13-year recipient of Toyota’s President’s Award, the store is committed to delivering a superior customer experience. It launched an iPad selling system in May 2012 that has added value across the board, especially for new hires. “While we do two weeks of in-house training with our sales consultants, IntellaCar allows them to hit the floor running,” said Internet manager Laura Morse. “It gives them added confidence in front of the customer that they may not have otherwise. Meanwhile the customer gets a very professional and thorough sales experience.” Three of the more junior members of the sales team, profiled here, are among the heaviest users of the iPad selling system used by the dealership, with exceptional results. Michael H. has been selling cars for a year and a half. He has been using the iPad selling system since it was first introduced in the store, and said, “It has been a life saver, especially when I first started and had to look up everything. I would feel helpless without it. I pull up the information on the iPad, even when I know it. Every answer is just a few clicks away. I sit down with the customer and break down the exact trims, so they can look at the differences. I’m good at trim levels, but it’s better for them to see it for themselves.” He asks his customers to write reviews of their dealership experience on the iPads, and most of them rave about how knowledgeable he is. JP has been at Jim Norton Toyota since February 2013; this is his first

Do Reviews Drive Business? THEY DO. HERE’S THE PROOF.

Measurable ROI On average, Certified Dealers sold 6 more cars per month after 12 months of joining the DealerRater Certified Dealer Program.* Competitive Advantage Dealers in the 360Certified™ program – our newest premium-level program that includes a robust reputation and social monitoring platform experienced nearly a 50% greater increase in sales compared to non-certified dealers.



*R.L. Polk 2012 Study


car sales job. When he first arrived at the It has been a life saver, dealership, he didn’t especially when I first know anything about started and had to look cars. He was not up everything. I would comfortable getting feel helpless without it. I in front of customers pull up the information until he got an iPad, on the iPad, even when I towards the end of his know it. Every answer is first month. It gave him confidence, and just a few clicks away. I sit he was able to answer down with the customer customer questions and break down the exact more effectively. He trims, so they can look at only sold one car in the differences. I’m good February, but after at trim levels, but it’s getting the iPad, he better for them to see it sold 13 in March. for themselves. His customers ask a lot of very detailed questions, and he finds that it helps to show them, not just tell them, the answers. “It looks better if I tell them the information while showing it on the iPad,” he said. “It doesn’t look like I need the iPad, but it helped me learn.” JP also likes having videos to show, especially for the safety features, so customers can see how they work. When a customer buys a car, JP sends them a link to the dealership’s review page; the reviews his customers write praise him for being so well-informed. Robert W. has been selling cars only since January 2013. Like JP, he didn’t initially have an iPad. The first thing he did when he got one was to send a video with vehicle information to potential customers, a technique that has generated positive results. His sales have increased steadily, from four vehicles a month initially to more than 12 vehicles a month now. He likes that the iPad puts information right at his fingertips. “It helps me sound more professional,” he said. “Being an inexperienced car salesman, the iPad selling system gave me a lot more confidence in my presentation and ability to know the information.” He also uses it to show videos, especially when he has to leave customers. “Whenever I do a test drive, we talk about the STAR Safety System. Then, when we get back, I show videos of how it functions, to add value,” he said. The dealership has leveraged the training benefits of the iPad selling system by making it part of the culture of the store. Morse said, “On their first day, we ask if they have an iPad, show them the value and offer them the opportunity. Once they have an iPad, they are automatically signed up for the program. They can see it on the sales floor being used by co-workers. We send out e-mail reminders, and run contests with gift card prizes to make it fun.” Said Jim Hughes, co-founder of IntellaCar, the iPad selling system used by Jim Norton Toyota, “With today’s tech savvy and well-researched customers, instant access to information is the new sales consultant’s secret weapon.”

Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by e-mail at


leadership solution

how to sell more vehicles for more money right now

Step 1: Decide — The root of the word

“decide” means “to cut off.” You must cut off any possibility of anything else. You must decide that you can and will sell more for more money. The first step of getting anything is deciding to have and experience it. Step 2: Stop Making Excuses — Part of deciding what you want is to decide what you don’t want and stop making excuses as to why you must stay in that condition. It’s a “condition,” and conditions are not permanent unless you allow them to be. You create your own prison, and are incarcerated by your excuses of why you cannot sell and make more. Step 3: Focus On the Right Things — When you decide what you want and stop making excuses, you must then clearly focus, speak, feel and act on only that. Eliminate anything that allows any energy towards what you do not want. Stop whining, stop complaining and stop being a victim. You are not a victim. You just happen to be at the scene of each wreck you are involved in. You can only get a better reality by focusing only on where you want to be. Step 4: Get Clear With Your Expectations For Yourself and Others — Get extremely clear and concise about what you want for you. No matter what you have been conditioned to think your whole life, it is OK to be very clear about what you want. You must always be clear about what you want from others and what your overall goals are. If you are not crystal clear, you are playing what I have heard referred to as “blind archery.” Next, clearly communicate your expectations to your team every day. If you communicate this message every “once in a while,” you will experience success every “once in a while.” Step 5: Get Clear About Tolerations —

Your team must know what is not expected or


tolerable. Set your tolerations, and be firm in your tolerations. You are getting exactly what you have tolerated. This is true of yourself and others. If you wanted to lose weight but you ate sweets all day and never exercised, would you tolerate that as a weight loss program? So, why do you tolerate lazy and bad behavior from your team? Hold yourself and others accountable. Step 6: Stop Believing You Are Always the Smartest Person In the Room — If you are always

the smartest person in the room, you aren’t in the right rooms. Seek out, communicate with, listen to and get advice from brilliant people. To be your best, you must get around people who are better. Put your ego in a box and start embracing that you will always have a “teachable spirit.”

Step 7: Understand That Being a Great Entrepreneur Does Not Make You A Great Business Person — It is common that dealers who have started and created their businesses with great entrepreneurial skills and spirit can be less-than-desirable business leaders. The skill sets are very different. What got you to where you are is rarely what will get you where you want to be. Get brutally honest about your talents and skills. Step 8: Start Thinking Long Term — Dealerships are often run by impatient people. Start thinking long term in all your actions. Dealers often fall into the “this month” thinking habit. Short-term thinking will keep you chained to up-and-down results and acting in the mode of emergency and need. You never get what you want by focusing forever on what you need. Step 9: Stop Blaming Everyone Else For Your Mistakes — If you turn over managers like you change underwear, then you need to realize it’s all about you. Either you are horrible at recruiting and should either educate yourself or let someone else do it, or you must realize that you really don’t like your own shortcomings and you are taking it out on someone else. Step 10: Accept That Most Likely You Do Not Truly Understand Marketing, and Your Ad Agency Probably Does Not Either — Being a dealer and having years of experience advertising does not make you a marketing expert. Nor does being a media production house and buying media time make your advertising agency marketing experts. If you have not engrossed yourself into massively learning advertising and marketing, you cannot be knowledgeable about what is the lifeblood of your business. Even if you have the best advertising company in the world, you need to start a massive self-education program about marketing. Step 11: Start Educating Your People Properly and Often — If you have the right team members, they not only want education, they deserve it. Education creates a culture of success, happiness and winning. Get rid of anyone who does not want to get better through education. Step 12: Process, Process, Process — Create a process for everything. Continually train and reinforce your processes. You will encourage peak performance with strong processes. Step 13: It Boils Down To Culture, Environment and Leadership in the 4 P’s — You are the leader. You set the culture, create the environment and you are in charge of the 4P’s: People, Process, Product and Positioning. What are doing to get better at each one of these every day?

If you would like specifics on how a dealership increased sales by 20 percent and gross profit by more than $1,300 a vehicle in one month, e-mail me with “Case Study” in the subject line. Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee

Any dealership can sell more vehicles for more money right now. It’s a fact, not an opinion. The only thing keeping you from doing so is you. It’s your dealership and it’s your choice. You choose to win and you choose to lose, but make no mistake about it; it’s always up to you.

The Future of Live Chat: “I have live chat on my Website. Isn’t that good enough?” This is a common question we hear from dealers who have jumped on the live chat bandwagon over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the live chat industry and consumers’ use of live chat has significantly changed over the past five years. It is no longer acceptable for dealerships to only offer the option to communicate with your store via live chat. Consumers want to have their questions answered within a chat conversation rather than followed up on at a later time, they are hesitant to give out their contact information to anyone for any reason and they will not wait more than 30 seconds to have their questions answered. Because of this change in consumers’ expectation of live chat’s functionality, dealerships need to learn to exceed consumer expectations by fully understanding the current state of the live chat industry.

A Shift in Expectations

Today’s modern consumer enters a live chat conversation with these expectations:

1) My chat request will be answered quickly. 2) The person who answers my chat request will be knowledgeable about the dealership and what I am looking for. 3) The person who answers my chat request will be professional and courteous. Unfortunately, the old model of live chat does not meet many of these consumer expectations, primarily because dealerships are focused on gathering contact information rather than providing a great consumer experience.

The Data Doesn’t Lie Dealership personnel are mainly focused on selling cars. They have goals to meet and bonuses they want to earn. Unfortunately, this innate need to sell a car is what keeps dealership personnel from being good at answering chat requests and meeting consumer expectations. According to ActivEngage’s chat data from January - December of 2012, our managed chat service engaged 59.7 percent more chats than the in-house services, captured 198 percent more leads and set 167 percent more appointments. What is our secret? We provide an elite consumer experience every chat, every word, every time.

Let’s look at expectation No. 1: My chat request will be answered quickly. If you ask any sales manager what their staff does all day, their answer will be “Well, everything!” And that is exactly the problem with tasking your staff to answer chat requests. Coupled with their need to sell cars, dealership personnel are distracted by the long to-do list that their managers have created for them. Greet customers who walk through the door, make follow-up phone calls to recent purchasers, log all activity in the CRM, send follow up e-mails to prospective customers – the list goes on and on! Between all of the other tasks they can complete to help meet their quotas, answering incoming chat requests will be low on the totem pole. Laura Isbell, eCommerce Director of the Bob Rohrman Auto Group, came across this issue when the group first implemented live chat on their Websites. “We had a glaring problem that the salespeople didn’t have enough time to engage with customers through chat. When we wouldn’t respond to the chatter, they would reply, ‘I guess you don’t want to sell a car then.’ That was painful to see. We needed to move away from in-house chat immediately.” Managed chat teams are focused specifically on the task of chatting and are available without the distractions of other tasks or visitors on your lot. Because answering chats is the only thing our team does, we are able to engage in 59.7 percent more chat conversations than dealership staff. Answering a chat quickly sets the tone of the conversation to “We are here for you and you are important to us.”

What Your Chat Staff Doesn’t Know WILL Hurt Them.

Extensive knowledge about the automotive industry, as well as your specific dealership, is what will make your chat service successful at meeting consumer expectation No. 2: The person who answers my chat request will be knowledgeable and can answer my questions within this conversation. Your chat staff, whether internal or not, should be able to rattle off upcoming specials, what the process is to apply for financing and if loaner cars are available during a service appointment. Without this knowledge of your dealership’s internal processes and offerings, your shoppers will not see your staff as helpful.

Tarzan Should Not Chat For Your Dealership Chat staff must always speak to your shoppers in a professional tone and show they are actively listening to the shopper’s needs. Consumers no longer find it acceptable to ask a question and receive blatant responses simply asking for their contact information. Responses should be customer-service oriented and use complete, error-free sentences, to best represent your dealership’s reputation for quality and respect.

From Phishing to Behavioral Targeting Thus, the best consumer experience during a chat conversation shows specific attention to consumer expectation No. 3: Being professional and courteous – because that is what drives today’s shoppers to buy from your dealership. “In my opinion, chat is better than a lead that you get from the Website because your chatters are learning more about the customer’s preferences and then passing that information on to our salespeople. You get more than just contact information, which is great!” - Ryan Pesin, Vice President of Marketing and Technology, Ardmore Toyota and Central City Toyota By following this etiquette, ActivEngage’s managed chat team is able to capture 198 percent more chat leads than dealership staff. An almost 200 percent lift in leads is possible when you have a highly trained, professional staff that are properly managed to ensure a level of chat conversation quality is obtained every time. If you want the best results, leave Tarzan-like manners in the jungle.

The Future of Live Chat There are a few live chat advancements that are leading the way for dealers to exceed consumer expectations as well as drive more traffic to their physical locations – and some that are still proving their worth: 1. Behavioral Targeting

Providing coupons and incentives to every shopper who hits your home page could potentially increase your lead counts. However, what qualifies those shoppers to receive the discount? “The more incentives I give out, the more leads I will get” is a backwards way of thinking. You don’t want 100 leads have a five percent closing ratio. You want 50 leads with a 25 percent closing ratio. Behavioral targeting allows you to offer coupons, chat invitations or special offers based on the shoppers’ behavior on the site in order drive more qualified leads into your CRM and store. Gone are the days of giving away free money. Any offerings you serve up on your site should be behaviorally driven for optimal conversion and closing ratios. 2. Are You Mobile and Tablet Ready?

“If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a future strategy.” - Erich Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman Smartphone usage has recently surged past 50 percent, while tablet ownership hit 25 percent just in the past year. Therefore, it is now essential for dealers to develop a mobile marketing plan that includes live chat. Mobile live chat is no longer just a consumer luxury, but rather

a necessary way to interact with your on-the-go shoppers. Those dealers who are making the transition to a mobile site with live chat are seeing positive results, while their competition struggles to increase their site’s conversion rates. Also, make sure your live chat provider has mobile specific reporting available so you can track volume and usage of your mobile site. Even Google says you should be following this trend, so why aren’t you? 3. Video Live Chat

Video live chat is currently being piloted by an OEM on various dealer sites, but with much speculation about its ability to convert browsing shoppers into leads. Although Skype was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, the consumer adoption of video live chat on car dealer Websites is questionable. Live chat is a communication tool that allows a consumer to remain anonymous until they feel comfortable enough to provide their contact information. Video live chat not only makes the conversation no longer anonymous, it also forces dealers to double their chat staff since they can no longer answer multiple chats at one time. Seemly more of a distraction than a customer service tool, the value of video live chat has yet to be thoroughly tested and identified.

Whether you are looking for an auto dealer live chat provider, or currently have one set up, you need to pay attention to the state of the live chat and automotive industry to ensure you have the best live chat service that fits your dealership’s and customer’s needs. Don’t settle for a poor-quality live chat provider to represent your dealership. Your reputation is on the line. You want to make sure your live chat service delivers the best consumer experience possible and exceeds their expectations!

To learn more about ActivEngage’s live chat service and how it can exceed your consumers’ expectations,

Call 888.972.0477.


leadership solution

part 1

how enhancing your integrity can increase your profits In the heat of a moment or the excitement of a good business deal, it can sometimes be too easy to relax our normal standards of honesty and integrity.

principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” When a customer buys from you, they trust that you will deliver what you promise. When you place an order with a supplier and they make a commitment to you, you rely on that and make commitments to others on the back of it. At that level, some element of integrity is essential for a business to operate.

As you conclude a sale to a new customer, you may even think you are doing the right thing, but it’s what the customer believes that matters. As Uncle Frank says, “Lack of integrity is not the problem. The problem is that we can’t see how badly we lack it.”

Integrity, however, is not just about basic honesty. Your customer may trust you not to abscond with their money, but that’s not the same as them having confidence that you will deliver great value for money and go the extra mile to make them happy.

If you want that customer to keep coming back to your dealership — and to send their friends — you can’t afford to let the perception of your integrity slide or allow it to appear that your moral values have relaxed even a little. Any benefits from letting things slip are likely to be short lived, while the damage can be long lasting. When people question our integrity, they are not likely to favor us with their business. Whether it’s fair or not, the auto industry doesn’t always have a great reputation for integrity. But that’s all the more reason why you can benefit from paying attention to enhancing integrity. The thing is, it’s far easier to talk about integrity than to demonstrate it in every aspect of our lives. So, over the next few issues, let’s pause for a moment to think about what integrity actually is, why it’s important and what we can do to ensure we use it to make ourselves more successful. According to, “integrity” means, “Adherence to moral and ethical

In other words, integrity is not just about the big issues; it’s about the small factors, as well. There are many different ways that operating with high standards of integrity can have an impact in your business and your life. Here are some examples of the benefits of enhancing your integrity: It helps us make big decisions — Integrity acts as a moral compass that guides your choices. Knowing your boundaries — and knowing when a proposed action is in alignment with the way you want to work and live your life — allows you to choose between different options more easily. It makes us feel better about ourselves — When you know you are operating with integrity, you feel confident and comfortable about the way you work. Stress most often comes from trying to live in a way that is not congruent with what is really important to you. If you are saying and doing one thing, but thinking and feeling something different, you are storing up problems for yourself. It leads to improved relationships with others — When you have integrity in the way you deal with people, and you treat employees and suppliers properly, this will flow through to the way you behave with your customers and will help your business. It helps us make more money — In the long run, if you are seen to operate with integrity, your customers will come back and will recommend you to their friends. While it may sometimes seem that people who cut corners get the benefit, individuals and companies that sustain success are usually those with a reputation for integrity. Most people are more likely to build long-term relationships with businesses with integrity than with competitors whose ethics are more dubious. Next time, we’ll take a look at the areas of your life and career where integrity matters most. Tracy Myers, C.M.D. is a noted small business marketing and branding solutions specialist, best-selling author, speaker, car dealership owner and entrepreneur. He can be contacted at 866.860.0029, or by e-mail at

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leadership solution

four pointers to achieve your used vehicle sales, profitability potential I’ve been hearing from dealers concerned that they aren’t able to reach what they consider the full potential in their used vehicle departments. In many cases, these are dealers who seek to move the goal posts — they’ve consistently sold 50 or 60 used vehicles a month, but want to do more. They’re tired of seeing similarly sized competitors sell 100 or more used cars every month. They want a bigger slice of the market, but can’t seem to get there.

thanks to the Internet and new technology. I see it time and again. Dealers who become disciplined, technology-enabled stewards and students of their local used vehicle markets gain an understanding of what it takes to move the needle and make more money.

Likewise, the dealers want better grosses on the cars they sell, as well as the additional units they’d like their used vehicle departments to move across the curb.

1. Get the right cars. With the help of technology, today’s rational market serves up retail indicators on every car. Dealers can instantly know whether any used vehicle is a retail winner, a dud or a so-so unit for their stores. The advent of Market Days Supply data and metrics means there’s no longer much mystery about a car’s potential. The challenge becomes how well a dealership’s used vehicle operation uses the data to maximize opportunities and mitigate risk.

In these conversations, I’ll typically congratulate these dealers. I think it’s good that their competitive spirit has moved them from contentment to concern and, in some cases, consternation about their used vehicle performance. Likewise, I applaud them on their sound retailing instincts — if used cars are selling in their markets, why not get a bigger piece of the action? I follow the accolades, however, with a dose of cold, hard reality. The dealers’ current inability to improve sales volumes and profitability is their own fault. In many cases, they haven’t reinvented their used vehicle processes and teams to play more aggressively, effectively and efficiently in today’s retail market to achieve the improved performance they seek. However, I also share some good news. Despite their current difficulties, today’s dealers are blessed with a rational used vehicle marketplace,

The following are four best practices I offer dealers to help them pick up the pace of sales and profitability in their used vehicle operations:

2. Manage margins. I’ve come to like this updated version of an age-old used vehicle axiom: “You make your money when you buy a car and carefully manage its profit margin until the day it sells.” Today’s market data and tools help dealers know each used vehicle’s margin potential from the moment they acquire the car to the moment it sells. This information guides margin-astute decisions as they acquire, recondition, merchandise and price their used vehicles. 3. Price properly. In the not-so-distant past, most dealers followed a “set it and forget it” approach to pricing used vehicles. More and more, however, dealers recognize that if their used vehicles aren’t properly priced to fit their local market, the cars won’t attract customers. These dealers recognize that it makes little sense to serve up an irrationally priced vehicle in a rational market. Similarly, a growing number of dealers understand that market volatility makes re-pricing used vehicles a near-daily requirement to ensure each vehicle’s correctly positioned in the market. These dealers will examine cars that aren’t getting the online attention they expect and check the pricing, merchandising and other factors to determine next steps that would attract more consumer attention to a car. 4. Minimize age. Dealers should strive to sell every retail used vehicle within 45 days. If a vehicle hasn’t sold in this timeframe, it should be viewed as a management failure and a learning opportunity. It’s difficult for some dealers to accept a loss at 45 days or beyond. However, “your first loss is your best loss,” to borrow a saying from my financial advisor. Aged cars simply don’t get better in today’s market. My recommendation: Take the loss, liberate the capital, reinvest it in another vehicle and learn from the mistake.

As I outline these best practices for dealers, many quickly recognize that the improved sales volumes and profitability they seek will require more attention, discipline and time than they’re accustomed to investing in their used vehicle operations. But such is the nature of today’s used vehicle business; it’s more challenging now than it’s ever been.

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


podcast interviewee

If Thomas Edison were alive, I suspect he’d offer this advice to dealers who can’t seem to raise the bar in their used vehicle department performance: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”


November 12th, 13th and 14th, 2013 “As the Publisher of AutoSuccess, I am invited to, and support many events in our industry. After attending the last Internet Sales 20 Group in Dallas, I was blown away with the information, discussions and knowledge that was packed into one room. It truly was a 20 Group packed with the highly skilled industry leaders who enlightened us with cutting edge information. The next one is scheduled! If you have not signed up, do so now before seats fill up. You can get an incredible discount by using the code below. If you have questions about the event, please contact me personally. My email is�





sales & training solution

take advantage of the obvious opportunities I have to be honest with you: I am loving the fact that every day I am connecting with all different types of people in the automotive world who are looking for help with launching a personal brand. We talk about video strategies and what direction to go with a Website so they can take their business to the next level and straight kill it. If you know me, these are topics I can talk about for days; these topics are my passion.

not. They were not maxing out the opportunities that were in and around their dealership every day before investing the time and money into Websites, video search and new areas So, I am sure you are wondering what are some of these “obvious” opportunities. Well, the good people here at AutoSuccess haven’t bumped me up to two full pages yet (You’re probably saying, “Robert, exhaust all your current opportunities first,” right?), so I will just cover a few of them. Orphan Owners

podcast interviewee

We all know who they are, and all our dealerships have a boatload of them — those poor souls who have not been shown any love from anyone at your store in ages. This is not the first time you have heard this, and yet I’d bet less than five percent of you even call them. These people have I talk with automotive professionals who have already spent money with your dealership, so at one point in time they liked it. You never know; been in the business for more than 15 years, for they still might like your dealership, even after no one has even taken the time to give them a 15 days and some who have not even started simple phone call. Even if they are not personally looking to upgrade or add a vehicle, another yet. Some sell 30 units per month, some sell 20, driver in the household might be, or maybe even a neighbor, friend or family member. These are some sell 10 and some sell even fewer than that. all free opportunities to do business that every dealership has a ton of, and takes nothing but your most lethal weapon to create: the phone. My first 15 months in the business, orphan owners were The one thing that all these nice and cool my bread and butter. people have in common is they want to sell more cars, and I do not blame them. Who Service Customers wouldn’t? Yeah, I know — nothing new here, right? There are probably three other articles in this very issue that mention the sales opportunities in the service drive or calling repair orders but, again, who is For whatever reason, they touch base with me really doing it? Depending on the size of your dealership and its service center, there are probably and want help to create and launch a personal a minimum of three deals a day rolling in and out of there. So tomorrow, skip the water-cooler digital strategy to take their business to the talk about last night’s game or your “glory days,” close out the Website you are not supposed to be next level, because wherever they turn now, looking at during work hours anyway, take a stroll back through service and just strike up some they are hearing that a “digital strategy” is the conversations. That’s it. Total cost of that after you add up all the expenses to you is, let’s see, zero. way to go. Even in my articles and videos, I’m big on digital branding strategies and a huge Showroom Traffic advocate of online video. “What are you talking about, Robert? I am waiting on showroom traffic and I am selling them vehicles.” I know you are, and that’s great, but are you waiting on all the showroom traffic you But let’s make something clear first. Before possibly can? Are you closing a deal, turning the guest over to finance and then taking the next up you decide to invest the time and the money you see blowing by all your lazy co-workers who are busy huddled up complaining to each other (because it can cost you a lot of both) in about how they are not making any money? Because that is what it takes. Hustle and sweat have a killer personal Website, the best camera become overlooked, and there is no tool in the world that has more equity to you then good oldequipment and all that other jazz, you need fashioned hard work. Wait on everyone every time. Sell one, then go grab another one. It’s really to be exhausting all the opportunities and that easy. resources you now have at your fingertips. Why would you not want to use what you have now As I said in the beginning, there are several other obvious opportunities, but these are my three to perfection first before taking on a whole favorite, and you know how much extra work and money any of these cost you? That’s right other monster? A good number of the people — nothing. You’re already at the dealership all day, so you cannot consider any of that “more work.” I talk with really think that, once they build a personal brand and set up a Website, the leads When I ask these same auto salespeople if they have really put a lot of effort into opportunities like are just going to start pouring in — as well as these — and I mean a lot of effort — and they honestly then say “no,” it makes no sense to me to buckets of money. start kicking out the dollars and sacrificing even more time with your family and loved ones to start launching strategies that, in most cases, take longer to see a return on. Does it make sense to you? I was blown away when I started asking some of these salespeople who were reaching out Robert Wiesman is a director of online operations for Buchanan Auto Group in to me if they had already done some of the Waynesboro, PA. He can be contacted at 866.667.0919, or by e-mail obvious things before they started looking at at different ways to grow their business. They were


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leadership solution


where you came from and where you are going As I was talking to a potential new employee, they questioned my statement that I wanted them to bring everything they learned previously to this job. Their quandary was that, in his previous interviews, he was told that he needed to “forget� everything he knows, and his new employers will teach him. To me, this makes no sense whatsoever. As a leader, this flies in the face of how top executives drive their team. What I would like to share are three things that top leaders do that you may not be doing. REGISTER TODAY

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“Racing to Keep Up with the Fast Pace of Digital Marketing�

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1. Remember that not everyone has traveled the same path as you — At times, we can feel our way is the best way. We feel that our path has gotten us to this point, so it is the only way to execute. Discounting what others have done blocks off a flow of information.

Great managers embrace differences. Great leaders understand that everything they do should be constantly re-evaluated for improvement. Someone’s experience in another industry may bring a process or tool that impacts your business in a positive way. 2. Bring everything from your past to the current job. Do not select what is appropriate — Encouraging your team members to bring their skills and processes from their past allows you to improve your situation quickly. Make sure that they do not implement them without review, but you can find some great nuggets of information — both good and bad — that you can hold up to current process.

I myself came from the hospitality industry. My eight-step coaching process was created from how I was initially trained in the restaurant field. I have since adapted it for all of my training, but if I were not able to bring that along, one of my previous jobs would not have been successful. 3. Balance long-term and short-term vision — Look at ways to improve in the short term, but balance it with long-term vision. Many times, management puts out fires to get things done today, but they are not looking at how it impacts process and roles in long term.

For example, let’s say there are questions coming in to a manager’s desk. They should be coming to a different department, but he feels he can handle them and wants to help out. In the short term, it does solve the problem. In the long term, however, this manager will be resentful that he is handling other employee’s issues. My question to the leadership would be: • What happens when that person is off? • Who handles these processes? • Will it be handled the same way, no matter who is executing the task? Processes cannot reside with only one person. If leaders take these three steps into consideration, it would allow them to be more open to outside influences that can increase their productivity and, ultimately, their bottom line. Glenn Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing and a national speaker and trainer. He can be contacted at 866.611.0998, or by e-mail at

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JimmyVee & TravisMiller

marketing solution

part 1

trust me: I’m a car dealer

There’s a tremendous propagation of the cliché car salesman stereotype in this country, and it’s not helping anyone sell more cars. The harsh reality is, a lot of people do have negative past experiences about the car buying process. We’ve even met a few bad apples recently, having both just purchased new cars this year. And the media isn’t doing the industry any favors either. Just do a quick Google search on “car dealer” and you’ll see exactly what we mean: images of chain-smoking, sleezy salespeople in plaid suits pop up — and they ain’t pretty. In the next two articles, we’ll be taking a look at how to combat these stereotypes. So, between the stereotypes, real experiences and negative media attention, today’s customers are suffering from a serious lack of trust. You Must Fight to Regain Trust! Why?

Trust lowers barriers, such as buying resistance, and breaks down the walls between you and your customer. When someone trusts you, they are more likely to refer you and do business with you in the future. When you leverage trust and exude confidence, the entire sales process becomes enjoyable. You’ll create happy customers who refer you time and again, and wouldn’t think of buying a car from anyone else. It’s simple, really. If you create enough trust with your customer, your business will boom and flourish. The great news is, there are marketing methods available to create a dealership culture that builds trust between you and your customer — before, during and after the sale. The right marketing can help you build

trust faster, positioning you as an expert advisor who people want to do business with, instead of a product pusher people run away from. Trusted advisors survive and thrive in the marketplace (even through recessions), and trust is the foundation behind creating a meaningful and lasting relationships between you and your customers. The right marketing can create trust and start the sales process before the customer walks through your door, making them ready and willing to do business with you. Doing this will make your business much more enjoyable for you, your staff and your customers. Getting people through the sales pipeline the old way is exhausting, especially if mistrust is evident every step of the way. In contrast, the right marketing creates great customers who can’t wait to do business with you by using marketing to educate customers before they decide to buy. Simple Ways to Build Trust Today

Here are the most important “trust triggers” you should incorporate into your business. Taking advantage of these will put you on the path to becoming a trusted advisor and the leading automotive expert for your community. Unexpected Random Acts of Kindness — Pleasant surprises lead to trust. Implement systems that allow your employees to surprise your customers with “extras.” Be determined about it. Make it a reliable and foolproof process. One way to go the extra mile for your customers is to have salespeople present gift cards to those who traveled long distances to visit your dealership. Remember birthdays and anniversaries and send a card for a free oil change. Surprise them with a “thank you” card whenever they do business with you. Exhibit your attentiveness. Give Value Up Front — In order to get people to know, like and trust you, you must deliver value first. Providing free information in a report format is a great way to give value first. People are constantly seeking information, especially when it comes to big purchases. When you provide the information they need, they’ll begin to see you as an expert. Providing value up front makes your customers feel good about you. Speak at local conferences or chamber of commerce meetings. Become an industry authority and a leader who local media outlets can rely on. Competency and Superior Skill — Remember that your customer might not understand how confident and how skillful you may be, so it’s very important to demonstrate your knowledge and accomplishment. Back up your claims with facts, statistics, reviews, certifications and awards won. Tout your achievements and how that translates to a better experience than anywhere else for your customers. Being Straightforward — The “straightforward” concept is opposite of what a lot of people think marketing should have — hype. But, when it comes to trust, the straightforward approach is going to get you closer to your goal. Avoid clichés. Be direct and specific in what you say. Make your offers relevant. Back up your offers and data with social and analytical proof. Stay away from the “hype” and reap the rewards. This is just a start; next month, we’ll take a look at some other ways you can put yourself ahead of the stereotype — and maybe your competition. For a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area, visit and use coupon code AS1309. 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



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marketing solution

traditional marketing vs. digital marketing

Brand and Impact Marketing

We can, however, look at this from a different perspective. I was speaking to Jared Hamilton, founder and CEO of DrivingSales, and it is his opinion that dealers should measure this in two


ways. Your marketing dollars should be spent on brand and on impact marketing. The bottom line is that you should either be building your brand or you should be driving response. Building your brand creates awareness, and impact marketing creates the response a dealer needs to excel. I thought this was a brilliant idea because the most successful vendors and the most successful marketing concepts will combine both traditional and digital strategies. For example: All of your TV campaigns will tie back to your dealership’s Website. In fact, most, if not all, of your marketing spend will include your dealership’s Website. Digital marketing, as we see it today, will be become the traditional media buy in the next 10 years — if not sooner. We also see direct marketing becoming more effective by using digital components and vice versa. As this trend continues, it will become more difficult to decipher what of your spend is digital and what is traditional. What Do We Measure?

Dealers want to have measurable results for their spend. That is the same now as it was 10 years ago. It is my opinion that dealers should be educated on all the new ways to reach customers, but not limit themselves to trying to find the correct percentage of traditional vs. digital. The goals of marketing have not changed. Figure out the best way to brand your dealership and the best way for your marketing to have immediate impact. So, the next time you get pitched the latest and greatest concept, you will have a better way to decide if you should move forward. More importantly, as the market continues to redefine itself, it will be easier to keep your marketing aligned with your true visions and objectives. Russell Grant is the vice president of sales for J&L Marketing. He can be contacted at 866.503.8397, or by e-mail at

podcast interviewee

As I speak to dealers and GMs, I find that a common question they struggle with is, “How much of my advertising budget should go to traditional marketing and how much should go to digital marketing?” It is an interesting question, because everyone is trying to find the magic formula. The first part of this question is usually easy for dealers to answer: Most dealerships will rely more on traditional, as it has worked for them in the past. The tougher issue, then, is how much to spend on digital. What is the correct ratio between the two? Where should you invest those digital dollars? This balance becomes even more difficult as digital marketing is expanding into new and innovative products — and also as it blends with more traditional media. This is where it becomes trickier to calculate the correct percentages, as you have to drop your media dollars into one of the two buckets.


leadership solution

be present — the disney way

It is hard to believe that more than 50,000 guests visit the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort every single day. Since its opening in 1971, the No. 1 theme park in the world has only been closed five times in 42 years. Handling more than 17.5 million guests annually is an awesome task in and of itself, but when you take a look at how the “cast members” of the largest single-site employer in the world handles this task, it is even more remarkable. Many parents save for years to be able to take their families on this once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Here is the irony. For most of the year, it’s hot — really hot. With summertime temperatures averaging over 90 degrees and humidity levels averaging above 80 percent, coupled with 50,000 people standing shoulder to shoulder from 9 a.m. to past midnight for five days straight in the sweltering heat, you can start to get the picture that it is a tad bit uncomfortable — if not downright miserable. The lines are long; the kids are cranky, tired and hungry, and Mom and Dad spent their last dime to get there. I have even had the joyful experience of screaming at my wife at the top of my lungs in the middle of Fantasy Land. And still it’s called “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Why? Because Walt Disney had a clear understanding that people and process were just as important as product. Disney created his unique brand around award-winning customer service, an unparalleled commitment to training and a requirement that every cast member came to work every day in a good mood and keep a great attitude in even the most stressful work conditions. So how do we apply this Disney lesson to our company? It starts with leaders who understand that award-winning customer service is the ultimate benchmark. It is what we do 100 percent of the time, every day, without fail and with no exception. It is important to note that every member of your team watches you for the example. It is impossible for you to require the level of service that you expect if you are not delivering the level of service you require every day with every guest without exception.


Leaders Are Not Allowed to be in a Bad Mood

We all have dog problems, cat problems, money problems and family problems. The Bible says in the book of Job, “As sure as sparks fly upward, trouble comes to man.” As managers and leaders, we must set the standard for award-winning customer service by being “on stage” all the time. We must leave our issues at home and away from the place that our living is earned. I can make you this promise, regardless of how big or small your problems are: They will all still be there when you get back home. Do not infect your work environment with your personal drama. The word “leader” implies that you are leading by example. Take a long, hard look at your staff. Do they maintain a great attitude all day every day? It is said that people mirror other people’s behavior. Are you setting the standard that you want your team members to aspire to? This does not mean you cannot discipline. It means that you must operate in the black and white. Eliminate the gray areas of their duties when it comes to providing service. There is one standard: award winning. Many years ago I had a salesperson who struggled maintaining a positive attitude. One day I came to him and said, “You really look like you are having a tough day, why don’t you go home and start all over tomorrow. When you come back, bring a great attitude and a great mood.” He responded, “Naw, I’ll be all right.” I explained to him in crystal clarity that he had lost his chance to “be all right” today. He was going home and tomorrow he would have one more chance to come to work mission minded so he could provide great service to our guests. We never had another issue. People are adaptive most of the time; they will always live up to the level of service that you require. Only one question remains: What level of service are you requiring? Leaders Are Always Present

Every Disney employee must attend a Disney 101 course called “Traditions.” In this course, they learn the basic functions of their role as a cast member in the park. However, they also learn the name of the princess’, the story lines of the most beloved Disney movies and the history of the Walt Disney Company. The cast member who sweeps the park is just as an important part of the production as the guy in the Mickey Mouse costume. Cast members must understand that they are playing a role to make their theme park “The Happiest Place on Earth.” They are required to always be present when speaking with their guests. • Being present means looking at and listening to your guest when they are speaking — meaning really listening without being distracted. Being present means smiling more. • Being present means that every single employee greets every single guest without fail with no exception. • Being present means showing the customer the way instead of pointing. • Being present means asking the guest what you can do personally to make their visit more enjoyable. • Being present means doing whatever it takes to make the guest’s day. Remember: You cannot be too friendly, you cannot be too helpful and you cannot be too present. As leaders, we have to set the example of what Jeffrey Gitomer calls the “Friendly Factor.” How can we expect our team members to be present and friendly when we do not show them daily what present and friendly looks like? Take a look at your business. Are your team members providing a level of service that exceeds your customer expectations? If not, whose example are they following? Jim Adams is the general manager at Frank Fletcher Toyota in Joplin, MO. He can be contacted at 866.686.1333, or by e-mail at

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

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


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

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


There’s only one dealer that’s


they represent, and that is why we


number one in every franchise chose Brian Benstock, Vice President


and General Manager of Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura in Woodside, Queens, just outside New York City, to be the dealer of the decade. The primary

reason we selected Benstock for this inaugural honor is because he didn’t inherit this position like so many dealerships do because they have the right size and the right markets that have a lot of demand and a lack of supply. Paragon was the contrary. In 2009, the Acura store was 36th in the country and the Honda store was 17th against some of the most formidable competitors in their local market, which resulted in them being fourth in their district. However, after reinventing themselves by implementing new marketing strategies and redefining their customer experience, Paragon quickly skyrocketed to no. 1 in both franchises in both new and certified pre-owned sales in less than a year’s time. They’ve held on to that position ever since. In addition, the Paragon franchises not only increased in market share and volume, but also in their service retention, customer loyalty and CSI.

11,400 950 32

New & CPO retail vehicles delivered (2012) Vehicles per month Vehicles per day

AUTOSUCCESS Dealer of the Decade | Brian Benstock In addition to having better performance than other dealers that share their franchise, Paragon Acura is the only Acura dealer that outsells their competing Lexus and Mercedes-Benz dealers, despite having a smaller advertising budget. We asked Benstock what enabled him to achieve this growth. Below is a summary of how he did it in his words.

RESEARCH Benstock identified his perfect market, which is where the majority of his growth came from. He recognized that his greatest competitors were not the other Honda and Acura dealers but his own ability to sell and service more Honda and Acura vehicles that the other brands in his market competing for those same customers. He also began using new technology to identify those perfect prospects in his market that have the highest statistical probability of buying and servicing now just in the present but in the future.

MARKETING Benstock shifted from a reliance on less efficient mass media in a very expensive media market to more targeted digital marketing that attracted more customers for less cost. He was also able to measure the results better with the money he spent. “We previously had a scatter-shot advertising and marketing strategy,” Benstock said. “But most of the audience watching the television commercials or listening to the radio ads weren’t even in the market for what we were selling. We were not shopping or servicing our market. So, we decided to target those customers that live in our market that have the highest probability of not only buying more but doing more business overall with us.” As Paragon’s marketing and advertising strategy began expanding its reach, Paragon also refined its message to make sure it was consistent across all mediums. That, along with an OEM-type look and feel in the creative assets and clear, simple vehicle offers that were customer friendly, increased the dealership’s credibility.

Paragon has also utilized social media marketing not only to attract, sell, and convert customers, but also to connect with and build a relationship with customers through common social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Mobile marketing is also a part of that effort, with Paragon using the most innovative technologies to reach consumers.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Years ago, Paragon set up a world class BDC to handle all incoming and outgoing customer communications, including all phone calls, Internet leads, and ongoing communication with sold and service customers. More recently, Paragon has been using the BDC to contact customers at the end of lease and schedule appointments to give them a lease end option analysis to provide all the information to make an informed decision. They also use this to notify customers when they’re eligible to upgrade to a new Honda or Acura to the same or lower payment without any money down. Paragon calls this their Vehicle Exchange Program, a program created by their marketing company. The BDC is responsible for all communication to the consumer throughout their entire ownership cycle.

RETENTION Paragon has increased their sales and market share by increasing retention and frequency in which their customers buy and service their vehicles. Their BDC works in concert with their marketing company to communicate with their customers from the moment they buy their car to thank them for their business, all the way through their major and minor service reminders, and up until the point when their lease is ending, or when they are eligible to upgrade to a new vehicle at the same or lower monthly payment with no money down. Paragon has been implementing the Vehicle Exchange Program, a program created by their marketing company, that notifies their customers via email, mail, and phone calls in the service lane that notifies them when they’re eligible to exchange their old car for a new car for the same or lower monthly payment with no money down. This program has helped Paragon sell over 100 cars per month out of their service lane alone, and has been one part of increasing their customer loyalty.

“Paul and Edith Singer founded the dealerships years ago and they set the bar high by their example and extraordinary work. Since Paul passed away, Edith has infused the culture of the dealership with her passion and tireless work ethic but also has added the heart that is essential to premium customer care,” said Benstock

“Instead of spending more money to acquire a customer we don’t know, we are spending more time retaining the customer we know,” said Benstock. “ We also have a higher closing rate average per customer, and a lower cost per sale.”

TRAINING Paragon also has an in-depth training program. From the moment an employee is hired, they learn the Paragon way in orientation through daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly workshops conducted by management and outside consultants. Benstock himself is a recognized thought leader and sought-after speaker at the many of the industry’s top conventions.

FACILITY “Our goal is to create a perfect customer experience, and that starts with having a world-class facility with state of the art equipment and design,” said Benstock. “We know some customers don’t love shopping for a car, so we want to make their experience as comfortable as possible, and part of that is creating the right ambiance.” Paragon has live jazz entertainment, special customer loyalty events at their facility, and a delivery specialist that educates each of their customers with all the technology in the vehicle.

THE RIGHT FOCUS “We have built our bottom line by focusing on our top line, our customers and our employees. It is our mission to make sure that we serve our employees so that they in turn can learn how to serve our customers,” said Benstock. “We know that if we create a world-class experience for our customers and employees, the rest of our job is easy.”

RECOGNITION Paragon’s success has become widely recognized, with an influence that stretches beyond New York. Paragon has been recognized for industry-leading innovation in the fields of integrated marketing, certified used sales, certified vehicle acquisition practices, and new vehicle sales in service. By continually improving their business model, Paragon has been honored with the Certified Dealer of the Year for all brands, Digital Dealer of the Year and American Honda Finance President’s Award, among many other accolades. Paragon Honda and Acura are also the #1 Certified Pre-Owned in the world. In fact, Paragon Honda sells more than twice the Certified Pre-Owned vehicles of the second place Honda Certified retailer and has broken Honda and Acura’s all-time record by selling over 300 certified Hondas and over 100 certified Acura’s in one month. Paragon has enjoyed continued growth because of their focus on the customer, employees and world-class facilities. It doesn’t look like they’re slowing down any time soon.

ABOUT BRIAN BENSTOCK Brian Benstock is the Vice President and General Manager of Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura in Woodside, Queens, just outside New York City. Benstock began his career selling Hondas in May of 1982 at PS Honda in Manhasset, New York. Under the direction of his mentor Paul Singer, Benstock learned the nuances of the automoti ve industry and the practices of a successful car dealer ship. Benstock’s passion for the industry and his commitment to lifelong learning led him to hold many positions within a dealer ship including sales consultant, sales manager, assistant to the assistant manager, finance manager and general sales manager. His continued success eventually led him to become a partner within the organization. Alongside the Singer family, Benstock continues the tradition set by Paul Singer in the management of Paragon Honda, Paragon Acura, and White Plains Honda.


leadership solution


new workflow technology makes ucm’s approval process quick and easy One of the most challenging and long-standing barriers to a smooth running recon process is the fact that the used car manager never has enough time to stay on top of recon — in spite of the fact that the UCM is typically the largest single customer for service. Further complicating matters is the built-in conflict in service between pay-customers vs. internal business. The service manager, or a fixed operations manager, is expected to juggle both pay-customer and internal service to maximize revenue and CSI. Therefore, given the immense pressure to utilize all resources efficiently and economically (from purchase or trade to frontline ready), it becomes imperative to know where everyone stands throughout the entire recon process. Conflict materializes when inconclusive or incorrect data pops up, resulting in excuses, finger pointing, delays and lost profit. Ultimately, the GM gets it from both directions.

this task because it allows the UCM to approve (or reject) the proposed services and repairs quickly by having all the necessary information right in hand — even when he/she is off-site. For example — a typical recon workflow is shown below. The UCM receives a text alert when the 2012 Chevy Traverse is ready for UCM approval. The “Notes” column is entered specifically to allow the UCM to make an informed, on-the-spot decision necessary to sell this Chevy Traverse. When the UCM approves the work to be done on the car, he only needs to click one time and the car moves to “Step 7 — Service Repair.” Texts and e-mail notifications are generated to be sent to as many people as necessary, and the time clock begins for “Service Repair.” By structuring the workflow this way, each “Step” owner is alerted when a car is ready for their attention, which also starts the accountability clock for measuring and reporting.

Before the introduction of a new workflow technology to recon, the state of the art was a shared spreadsheet as a means of attempting to keep score. The impact of using a spreadsheet is temporary at best, and never really solved the problem. The only way to make recon truly accountable is to use a real-time workflow process and to put the UCM smack in the middle of the approval process. Fortunately for the UCM, this new software makes being in the middle painless — one tap of the finger and the approval is sent off. This instantaneous acknowledgement can be done anytime-anywhere using only a smart phone — either an iPhone/ iPad or Android. The iPhone or Android is the most appropriate use for With workflow technology, setting a target for time to market (TTM) for reconditioning can now be planned just like monthly sales. The illustration below is a planning tool used to identify each “Step” owner and the target average time to meet the monthly recon TTM of less than five days. For example, “Service Repair” needs to stay under 13 work hours, and “Detail” needs one day, or 9 hours. Providing the UCM with a real-time workflow process, which incorporates mobile tools, empowers them to keep on top and in control of reconditioning TTM. Step



Target Avg.


Purchased/ In-transit

Rapid Recon


9 Work hr = 1 Day


Trade Not Cleared

Rapid Recon or UCM




Service Manager

< 4 Hours


UCM Approval

Service Advisor/Tech UCM


< 3 Hours


Mechanical/ Service

Service Manager

< 13 Hours


Parts Hold

Service Advisor/Tech Parts Manager

Parts Manager

< 18 Hours


Sublet A, B...

Sub A, B...

< 18 Hours


In-House Paint/Dent Detail/ Re-Detail Photos

Service Advisor Service Advisor/Paint-PDR Detail Manager Photographer

Body Shop Manager

< 24 Hours

Detail Manager

< 9 Hours


< 4 Hours

Front Line Ready

Service Advisor/UCM


< 5 Days

9 10 11

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



sales & training solution

prospecting advice from a 30-car guy

Remember the saying “car sales is like owning your own business”? Then act like it. It is not 1983; it’s 2013. Don’t prospect like you did 30 years ago, like you did 20 years ago or even like you did 10 years ago. You need to get with the times and prospect with resources and strategies of this millennium. First and foremost, between 92 and 99 percent of Americans go online before they ever step foot into a dealership. So, if you were going to go fishing, would you go to the beach and cast your fishing line in the sand? Of course not. Why, then, would you do it at the dealership? You need to fish where the fish are. So, let’s start there. Here are the most powerful online (not the only, just the most powerful) places to prospect for an automotive sales professional: • Google • LinkedIn • Facebook • Twitter • Online classifieds • YouTube • Blog sites It is important to create a strategy for each of these areas and stick with it. It is counter productive to start initiatives in multiple areas without a strategy and without consistency. In other words, either do it or don’t do it. Let’s start with the big (fishing) pond: Google.

If you know that almost every single person goes online before they step foot into the dealership, then you need to show up numerous times on the first page of Google. Think of your dealership and your OEM. They must have a Google strategy. So, if they have one and you believe “car sales is like owning your own business,” then you, too, need to dominate Google. Are you even showing up on Google? I am not talking about showing up if someone types in your name into Google. I am talking about you showing up if someone is searching for: • New car sales • Used car sales • Trade-in information • Aftermarket sales • Service repairs, oil changes, etc. • Bad credit / no credit car loans • Car maintenance tips • Car buying tips • Car reviews • Tips, advice, secrets • “How to buy a car” • The specific franchises you sell… I can go on all day long, but please think about it. Most people go online to research, find and surf, compared to people who go online to buy. So, you should be coming up in Google (and other search engines) for the “point of interest” shopper and for the “point of purchase buyer.” Here are ways and strategies that you need to be enveloped in to dominate Google: • A Professional Website — Yes, that is right; I suggest that all sales “professionals” have their own “professional” Website. • Search Engine Optimization — That Website needs to have both “onsite” and “offsite” SEO strategies. Just because you have build or purchased a professional Website does not mean that site is optimized. Also, Websites need continuous optimization. • Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) — Video, video and more video. Sales consultants can dominate Google with Video SEO. It is easy and free. • Online Reputation — Sales consultants must have a powerful online reputation strategy. Reviews index on Google. The more reviews that you have online, the more times you and your name can show up on the first page of Google. There are also numerous online reputation sites that you can focus on, including Google reviews, Yelp reviews, DealerRater reviews, Yellow Page reviews and reviews. You can also create your own review site or blog. • Pictures — Believe it or not, images index very well on Google. They can be straight images, or within an image sharing site or engine such as Flickr, Pinterest or Photobucket. Here is an awesome strategy: • Create an LLC ( is cheap). The LLC can be something like “Philadelphia Car Sales” or “Cherry Hill Used Car Sales.” • Make sure the company name is geographically targeted. • Now that you have an official “LLC” or corporation. You can create a business page on Google. • I would also create business social media accounts (rather than personal ones). If you believe that car sales is “like having your own business,” then you need to act like it. You need to seriously make it your own business. I do suggest that you ask your dealer’s permission and/or advice on anything you see in this article, before you just run and do it. These strategies are powerful and serious. If you have any questions about how to get started running your career like your own business, please e-mail or call me. Let’s move your career to the next level. 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

Success-Driven Solutions; No Matter the Medium. 32

podcast interviewee

Last year, I wrote an article that I received literally hundreds of e-mails, calls and social media messages from OEM reps, dealer principals, GMs, sales consultants and automotive professionals from all over the country. The article was so popular that I created a Webinar that more than 500 dealers signed up for. I then uploaded that Webinar to YouTube and it now has almost 6,000 views. Because of the huge success of the article and the Webinar, I decided to create a curriculum for associations such as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) and the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association (GNYADA). This is the next part of series; I am going to go deeper on ideas of prospecting in 2013, 2014 and beyond.

“Prove Me Wrong, Guys” the actions of potential ® ws him to allo lers Dea buyers by h Ric ily. p Hope with his fam ts. Jack Frost enjoying Cam tes record sales and profi era gen re speaking to their sto his le whi do the things he loves subconscious mind, and about being a solutions provider instead of a ow could I have known the car product pusher. business would be such a burden on my life? Maybe you’re a lot What happened next? Well, I could like me (or how I used to be)—working hardly believe it. It was like someone endlessly in the dealership. When the flipped a switch. It was a complete and economy took a dive, it jeopardized rapid reinvention of our business. The everything I had worked so hard for. I energy in the sales department went didn’t know if the bank was going to call through the roof. People were excited to and say, “Lock it up.” My kids, my wife, come to work again. The phones were my life . . . it all passed before my eyes as ringing, the showroom was busy—we were I watched sales all but disappear, and any bursting with leads. profit I hoped to make vanish completely. We were selling between 30 and 40 cars a But how long would it last? I’m happy month and really struggling. to report that it’s been over three years After trying this thing and that thing since I first joined Rich Dealers® and every without success, I stumbled upon Jimmy year has gotten better. 2010 was a record Vee & Travis Miller and Rich Dealers®. I profit year, until 2011 shattered that record. listened to their pitch, which, quite frankly, We broke records again in 2012 and as far sounded like a lot of hot air. I didn’t believe as 2013… well, it’s going to crush all the there was anything out there I hadn’t records. We now average 140 to 160 cars already tried. But I didn’t have much to a month and we’re now making more net risk, so I gave it a shot. “Prove me wrong, profit than ever before! I’ll caution you guys,” I said. to “hold on tight” because it’s the ride of your life. Before, monthly traffic to the Reluctantly I dragged myself to a Rich store was at 200. Now we see 600 plus Dealers® meeting. And some wild ideas customers each month. were flying around. It seemed to be the opposite of what most people were telling The best part is, not only did they me I should do—for example, how to price help me increase sales 400%, but they my cars, where to list my cars, and even convinced me to slow down and appreciate what cars to buy. How could these two life more. Now I have time to find those guys know something nobody else did? “A” players that you dream about having in positions at your dealership. Before, I I figured I had nothing to lose and was always at the store, trying to figure everything to gain by following their everything out. Being there so much was advice. So, I did what they told me to do— burning me out, and I was missing quality ran the ad they gave me, priced my cars time with my wife and two daughters. using their strategy (higher, much higher Now I know I have people in place that can than everyone else) and made simple, handle things. It’s a very secure feeling yet important, changes to the way we knowing that you have really good people positioned our dealership to customers. in place and you can go and do what you They showed me how to command want to do.


When disaster struck . . . In fact, when Joplin was hit by a tornado in 2011, I was able to literally be on the back of a forklift for five months. I had a strong enough team, with “A” players at the helm, that I could go and help without blinking an eye. Jimmy & Travis call that ESP®—Enjoyable, Simple & Prosperous. It’s the ultimate goal of being a Rich Dealer®. And it’s real, very real. What makes Rich Dealers® so much more effective than other solutions? For one, they write the creative for you. They don’t ask you to come up with the ideas each month. Every month they develop a fresh, new, winning campaign based on their formula. What a relief! Other dealers ask how me they can get similar results. I send them to Jim & Travis for a FREE Traffic Scale Report that’s customized for their store. A Traffic Scale Report is an analysis of your traffic to see how it compares in quality, and quantity, to your direct competitors, and to other dealerships around the country. The proof is in the pudding. Your FREE Traffic Scale Report will expose how much untapped opportunity there is in your market. It’s no stretch to say that the information in the report could easily lead to an extra $1 million in additional net profit over time. Tell them “Jack” sent you and you’ll also receive a complimentary copy of their audio book, Invasion of the Profit Snatchers. It’s a little controversial, I’ll admit, but you will know quickly that Jim & Travis know our industry inside and out... and I guarantee a few good belly laughs, too. Want results like mine? Request your FREE Traffic Scale Report and get your FREE audio book, Invasion of the Profit Snatchers, by visiting a n d u s e cou p on co d e A S1 30 9, o r call 888-256-9926.

To get your FREE Traffic Scale Report, visit , coupon code AS1309, or call 888-256-9926.


marketing solution

how to win the click

In the coming months, my training articles will have a common theme: “Winning The Click.” After all, in today’s automotive digital arena, Winning The Click (customer engagement on your Website) is what it’s all about. Let’s face it: If you want to sell cars, you have to get people to click to see what you have to offer. Ask yourself this: How do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of cars that are the same year, make and model on the major listing sites you pay thousands of dollars a month to advertise on? If you listen to all the other companies out there, they would tell you “price.” I don’t buy it. I’m not saying that you can go back to the good old days and price your car to the moon and it’s going to sell. You definitely have to be competitive; but if customers are just shopping the major car sites and not coming to your Website, how are you going to distinguish yourself?

Three words: comments and pictures. Well, maybe four words: good comments and pictures. As I work with dealers around the country, I am amazed at the sheer number of dealers with horrible comments and inadequate pictures.

the sexy stuff first; put your relevant, value adding information at the top. if you don’t have an automated solution, When a customer sees a search results page, it’s information overload. If your comments aren’t full of relevant information, you’re getting passed over. But if your comments start with relevant, eye-catching information, then your odds of Winning The Click are much higher than the family owned dealer — even if your price is a little higher. Here is an example of what I’m talking about: CarFax One Owner, Low Miles, New Tires, New Brakes, Leather, Navigation, Sunroof and 4WD. This 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ is an extremely popular white exterior with tan leather interior…. Start with what makes your vehicle stand out from the rest. Another way to stand out is by putting reconditioning information in your comments. Just by adding this, you can demand more money than the car that doesn’t list reconditioning. Why spend all the money to get the car standing tall and then not mention all of the hard work you have put into it? You must distinguish yourself from the competition. If a customer is looking for specific features, and two of the 25 cars that showed up display comments that highlight those features, which cars do you think are going to Win The Click? The search results with most relevant information, of course. Lastly, you need to have 24 or more pictures on each car. People want to see photos, and lots of them. Understandably, you want to wait to get the car through the shop and detailing, and that takes time. The listing, however, doesn’t have to be naked or default to a stock photo until then. Take three to four pictures and put a banner at the bottom saying “Fresh Trade — More Pictures to Come.” At least this explains to a consumer why there are only three or four photos.

The bottom line is that many of you are doing it all wrong. Those first 150 to 250 characters of your comments are of extreme importance. I see dealers write comments like “Family-owned and operated,” “Call for the best information,” “More pictures available — contact us.” It is crazy.

While taking the pictures, you need to pay attention to what you are actually photographing. Make certain you’re being detailed, as this is a consumer’s virtual walk around. Pay attention to the sun and shadowing. Lighting can make or break an image. It can make a car appear to have damage, or even look like a different color. I see it all the time — a car is not selling, the dealer has priced it below market and they can’t even give it away. Once you start digging into the dealer’s online merchandising, it’s evident why it hasn’t sold: the pictures. I’m not suggesting they need to be professional quality; you just need to have presentable pictures to be effective.

The harsh reality is that no one cares if you are family owned and operated when shopping from a search engine results page. You need to give information that will make them want to click to learn more. When a customer is in the investigation phase of car shopping, those types of comments do not make them choose you. They are looking for answers. Am I getting a good deal? Am I buying a reliable vehicle? Am I buying from a reputable dealer?

In closing, customers today want a great online shopping experience, providing them all the information they are looking for. Think about it: When you’re researching something online and there is only one picture (or no pictures) with an unclear, non-specific description of the product, how do you feel? When you are the customer, aren’t you looking for that great online shopping experience? The progressive dealers out there have figured this out already. You can achieve at their level, either by putting in the time yourself or by using automated solutions and/or services.

First and foremost, you have to answer these questions. There is no reason to have poor, useless comments out there. Remember, the first 150 to 250 characters are king. Put all


Winning The Click is more important now than ever in the digital arena. You owe it to the people you’re charged with leading to maximize everyone’s opportunities. Embrace the digital world — it’s worth it.

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

Jeff Phillips, GSM

David Everett, President/Dealer

Dave Everett, VP/Used Director

Ron Feliz, Recon


THE BEST GET BETTER #1 Certified Chevrolet Southeast & #3 Certified Chevrolet USA (March 2013)






marketing solution

part 1

the seven key steps for leveraging social media marketing to drive real results Investing in marketing campaigns can be a nerve-wracking decision for many small- and medium-sized businesses. CEOs and marketing directors know that when you have limited resources, you must be strategic with your budget, and every marketing investment has to pay off. This is why social media campaigns tend to be the first thing cut. Although free to setup, they take valuable staff resources to manage, and the ROI is not as apparent. While launching a social media campaign likely won’t bring leads and sales pouring in your door tomorrow, when you implement a few social media success strategies, you’ll find it much easier to drive a positive ROI with social that benefits your organization for years to come. 1. Reframe Your Outlook

Many businesses fail at social media because they think it means Facebook or Twitter. Social media is actually much more than that. Rather than putting labels on social media, think of it as a concept. Social media is actually about engaging with your audience in a broader way. Traditional media has always been one directional — you place an ad, the customer calls and you have an offline private conversation. Social media is the first time where businesses can interact with their community in a public online forum. That openness and transparency is scary to many business owners, but it’s exactly what customers crave. 2. Start Small

As you delve into social media, begin with the platforms that can make the biggest difference for you. Usually, this means starting with the

three main platforms that can drive results and interaction: Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Depending on your business model, there may be others; however, if you are just getting started, this is a great set to begin with. Facebook: Facebook has a high adoption rate and people of all ages spend time on this social media platform, thus giving you great exposure. LinkedIn: While LinkedIn is not consumer-focused like Facebook, it can help with B2B sales, vendor connections, recruiting and other business needs. YouTube: Although a bigger investment than the others, consumers resonate with different types of content, and YouTube videos tend to pay off in the long term. 3. Don’t be Boring

Guess what: Your brand, services, mission statement and corporate values are boring. Although they may represent you as a company, they don’t represent the human element and personality of your team. Social media is about not only building a community, but also engaging your customers. Doing that requires that you show some serious personality. For example, if you’re located in a city that has an NFL team, you can support the local team as part of your company’s personality. Or, if you’re a family-oriented company, you can post updates about your “Take Your Kids to Work Day” and include photos of the event. In essence, it’s about strategically deciding what your company’s culture or persona will be and then posting interesting content that relates to that. This means getting outside your comfort zone and talking about things that interest you as a company, not about your industry, products and services. 4. Don’t Over-invest

As you delve into social media, don’t rush out and hire a full-time person to manage it. Instead, start by looking around your company and finding someone (or a team of people) interested in the additional responsibility. Chances are you have someone personally involved in social media who would love to have this as part of their job description. As your social media presence grows and becomes successful, you can see the business case for growing the department. Next time, we’ll take a look at some other ways you can get the most out of your social media efforts. Until then, take these tips and start to revitalize your social marketing. Natalie Henley is the vice president of client services at Volume 9 Inc. She can be contacted at 866.694.1393, or by e-mail at

Nobody makes it easier than ROI-BOT to analyze all of your vendor data Dealers can now consolidate their daily and monthly vendor data into one data warehouse! Inspect and analyze operations and marketing investments from one executive dashboard. • Incorporate automatic data feeds and manual data entry. • Store and review historical data from all vendor partners. • Accept automated/ manual feeds from dozens of pre-defined industry platforms. • Add addition data partners to make ROI-BOT the go-to source for reporting and analysis. • Provides insights to opportunities represented by current vendor data with customized reporting and comprehensive decision tools.

Organize. Clarify. R.O.I.

Executive Dashboard

Business Intelligence Tools to Manage Your Dealership Vendor Reports. See a Demo of ROI-BOT at


TD Auto Finance

See what our service can do for your sales.

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

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


marketing solution

12 months later...

For this month’s dealer marketing profile, I am doing a follow-up interview from my meeting last year with Jesse Walker, Internet marketing director at Lexus & Subaru of Pembroke Pines, part of the Craig Zinn Automotive Group of dealerships in Florida. The Lexus store is the fourth-largest Lexus dealership in the country by volume, and the Subaru store is No. 1 in the region. Jesse started in automotive by selling cars in 1995 and has since worked as a vendor and trainer with CRM and other digital products and services with companies such as Cobalt. On the dealer side, he has built and run BDC and Internet departments for some of the largest dealers in the country. The following is a transcript of our conversation: AJ LeBlanc: Since we last spoke a year ago, has anything changed in your overall marketing strategy and philosophy for 2013? Jesse Walker: We focus on being consistent, as

our success comes from not just advertising and mining our database, although both are crucial. What we do better than we ever did before is getting more people to consider us who might never have seen or heard of us before. We’ve had our market on lockdown for a while, so the only way to grow massively is to find new buyers; people a little farther away and people who have never even considered a Lexus or Subaru before. We’ve expanded our social, pay-per-click and SEO efforts to grab that new business. AJ: How as Video SEO helped you with this? JW: Video SEO helps us dominate the search

engines. The more we show up, the more people find out who we are and what we’re about. Even cooler, because we use Video SEO to conquest competing brands, we can turn other luxury car buyers into potential Lexus clients. The idea is to show up in search engines with Lexus when people search for makes such as BMW and Mercedes, and with Subaru for searches on Mitsubishi and Nissan. People have been conquesting digitally with pay per click for years. The problem with PPC conquesting is that not only are the clicks expensive, but there typically is no “compare and contrast” between the like vehicles readily accessible for the searcher. And, with PPC, we are usually limited to just one link from the search results page. With Video SEO, I often end up with several links on the search results page. Plus, clicks are free and they result in the searcher being shown a video with a few highlights of my cars versus the car they were originally searching. Next, they are shown some benefits of shopping with me and are given directions to my store. Now they have read, heard and seen me and my competing vehicles. Boom — we now have another potential client. AJ: Have you seen any measurable difference due to your conquest Video SEO strategy? JW: On the Lexus side alone, from 2011 to 2013 we’ve doubled the average monthly amount of

trade-ins from the three brands we conquest. Everything is coming together and the momentum is stupendous. Every month in both franchises is a record month. Currently we are fourth in the country for Lexus for the year, and we finished last month in third place nationally. Subaru continues to be No. 1 in the region. A lot of creativity goes into our marketing strategies, plus we had to enhance a lot of our internal processes to create and support this type of growth. We’ve posted numrous videos for SEO purposes in the last year and a half. If you haven’t heard of Lexus or Subaru of Pembroke Pines yet, you will soon enough.

AJ LeBlanc is the co-founder of He can be contacted at 866.795.9094, or by e-mail at

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW OTHER DEALERS HANDLE THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE EVERY DAY? AutoSuccess & DealerELITE are both designed to keep the view from the sales floor front and center in everything we do, and we've come up with an exciting new way to accomplish this. Our new Dealer Panel gives voice to dealers, GMs and sales professionals to share their experiences — sales techniques, new technologies and ways to motivate staff — giving our readers the benefit of their experiences.


THE 38


successful solutions provided by


We’re selling

20 to 45 units

per month with bLinked. It’s the best thing we’ve done this year. General Manager Mike Hills Acton Toyota of Littleton 800.346.9117 | Scan for the solution now

the dealer panel

Chris Saraceno AndrewDiFeo Brian Benst ock

part 2

bringing on a vendor

In today’s complicated and connected world, dealerships cannot efficiently perform all aspects of business, marketing and other areas critical to their growth. The decision to bring outside vendors into a dealership’s business plan is one not taken lightly; a good relationship can bring about growth and profits, while a bad decision can waste money, resources and opportunities.

to know the history of the company. We always want a proven track record from other dealers who are using it. I’ve been in this business for 29 years — I always know someone personally who’s using the product I have some faith in who will tell me about it. If another dealer who I know and trust is using them, and the dealership’s a good producer, that’s how you get on the list of one of the vendors who we consider.

In last month’s installment of the AutoSuccess and Dealer’s Panel, we looked at what goes into our panel’s decisions to THE bring vendors into the fold. This month, we’re looking at what factors can increase a vendor’s chances of doing business with a dealership, and what actions they can take that will get them immediately removed from contention.

AS: And, on the other hand, when deciding to do business a vendor, what successfulwith solutions provided by can they do that immediately turns you off? AD: Long contracts; actually, pretty much any contract that’s not on a


For this installment of our panel, we spoke with Chris Saraceno, vice president and partner of Kelly Automotive Group in Pennsylvania and Florida; Brian Benstock, vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda and Acura in New York City; and Andrew DiFeo, general manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida. AutoSuccess: When deciding to do business with a vendor, what are some of the things you look for? Andrew DiFeo: The length of time they’ve been in existence. We’re not

the ones to try the “latest and greatest” for a company that’s only been around for a few months, because they might not be around in a few more months. Their level of support is extremely important, as well, so if they have a sales force of, let’s say, 10 people, but a support staff of only two people, that might say something about what they’re trying to be as a company. The terms of service are also important. Is there a contract? Is it on a month-to-month basis, a year or a number of years? Is there an early termination fee? What are the start-up costs, if any? The price-tovalue ratio and return on investment also comes into play. Brian Benstock: We have pretty high standards. We’re not looking to have just the newest “latest and greatest.” We believe anyone who does business with Paragon is a partner. We take our business very seriously, and we expect our partners to do the same with us. We certainly want our vendors to have accountability, transparency and the ability to understand our business. We also want to make sure we’re representing them well in the marketplace. It’s a joint relationship, not a one-way street. We ask, “Are you looking to grow at the pace we are, and are we going to do it in an ethical, transparent and accountable way?” Chris Saraceno: First, how long have they been in business? We want


month-to-month basis after a 90-day period. Obviously, we want to give anybody a period of 90 days to see if the product will really work, but if there’s a long multi-year contract, most likely we wouldn’t be using that vendor.

BB: One of the toughest things is when a vendor comes to us and says,

“Hey, this is what your competition up the street is doing.” I certainly wouldn’t want anybody we’re partnered with telling our strategy and our tactics to our direct competition. There are certain things that you compete on, and there are certain things that are “cost of doing business” — everyone needs a product or tool to move forward. But I believe that everyone who partners with a dealership needs to be in it for them, and the growth of the dealership. I wouldn’t want myself to be exposed to another dealership, and I don’t want other dealership’s information exposed to me. It’s just not a fair or accountable way to do business.

CS: We were getting ready to choose an ad agency. We interviewed 10 agencies and were ready to come to an agreement; the rep showed up an hour and a half late, without a tie, and basically made us feel that we weren’t that important. At that moment, we decided that we weren’t going to go with them. We went with our second choice, which we’re really happy we wound up doing. With that second choice, we deal directly with the owner, and he does a wonderful job for us. If a company doesn’t seem like they want your business beforehand, then they have no chance of being a great vendor. It’s a pain to keep looking dealer forthe vendors. If we find apanel good vendor, and they have good reps who work with us, and we have access to upper management if there’s an issue, we’ll stay with them basically as long as we can, as long as they keep their product up to date and their pricing reasonable. If you have questions or are a dealer who would like to be considered for the panel, please contact us at

Chris Saraceno Tony Provost AndrewDiFeo Brian Bens ock We take our business veryt seriously, and we expect our partners to do the same with us. We certainly want our vendors to have accountability, transparency and the ability to understand our business. We also want to make sure we’re representing them well in the marketplace. It’s a joint relationship, not a one-way street.



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Recently, I spent a day with a long-term customer of ours who was undergoing some turmoil within his bodyshop department. He had lost three techicians to competitors within the past month. He called me to see if I could uncover the reasons behind their departures. He suspected dissatisfaction with a newly instituted team-based pay plan. I suspected a lack of communication between him and his employees was the culprit. Turns out we were both right.

• The pay plan must be based on objective criteria. • The pay plan must also reward contribution toward shop success. • The pay plan must be reviewed with the employee quarterly.

The Problem with the Pay Plan

But What’s Communication Have to do With It?

The Solution

Many managers fear discussing compensation with their technicians. There is no reason to fear this. A common question I get from managers is “What if my technicians are dissatisfied with their pay”? My response is always, “Do you think they will be any more satisfied if you don’t discuss pay with them?” Anyone who has avoided a potential problem knows the answer to this question. I even recommend the response to an employee who indicates dissatisfaction with their pay to be “Good, I want you to make more! Now let’s see what you need to do to earn more money.” The onus is then on the manager to share objective criteria that will enable the employee to earn more.

Our customer had recently instituted a teambased incentive plan, where technician pay was determined by total shop hours produced. Shop productivity increased and technician pay remained stable. However, the structure of the plan had some flaws. Most notably, it was difficult for the technicians to understand the plan. Additionally it was difficult for a technician to see a way that they could earn more money in the future with this pay plan. This confusion caused some technicians to see the pay plan as unfair, which led to their departure. We are currently overhauling the shop’s technician pay plan. The new pay structure will contain both an individual and team component. Technicians will be compensated both by the actual hours worked and the team’s performance. This will allow for the technician’s individual growth, as well as provide an incentive for them to contributed toward the shop’s overall productivity. If you feel your bodyshop could use a pay plan overhaul, consider these guidelines: • The pay plan must be easily understood by the employee. • The pay plan must reward individual performance.


All too often, dealer bodyshops institute technician pay plans that only apply the first two rules. This is dangerous. Pay plans that are easily understood but only reward individual performance (such as traditional flat rate) can often contribute to poor shop culture and team underachievement. Don’t misunderstand me; I am not saying that you should be looking to pay technicians less. On the contrary, I believe the good men and women fixing cars for you should be paid well, and would love for them to make more. What I hate to see is a pay plan that allows for technician pay growth at the expense of company goals and workplace morale. In order for any pay plan to work, the employee must receive regular reviews. I recommend 90-day intervals between reviews. Before each review, a written questionnaire should be given to each employee. One of the first questions on the form should always be “How do you feel about your level of pay?” This question can work to stimulate a great deal of discussion between the bodyshop manager and technician.

The review also allows the manager to ensure the technician understands how the pay plan works. Employee dissatisfaction regarding pay plans is often of a result of a lack of understanding of how it operates. This is largely avoidable, as long as compensation is discussed regularly. Getting back to my client, he runs a first-class operation. He is the kind of manager I would love for a family member to work for. But yet, he lost people because he didn’t follow the five pay plan guidelines set forth in this article. He now has a plan in place to ensure he doesn’t make the same mistakes in the future. Evaluate your bodyshop’s pay plan. If it doesn’t meet the five guidelines, especially guideline No. 5, consider making some changes. Rob Dunn is the lead instructor and dealership consultant for Masters School of Autobody Management. He can be contacted at 866.386.0042, or by e-mail at


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Success Story

Car-mercial : Rick Case Honda of Davie Rick Case Honda of Davie Increases Conquest Sales 4x with Targeted Video Marketing Strategy

73% of the 11 hours consumers spend online shopping for a car is spent comparing or cross-shopping vehicles. During this time, the average consumer will spend 2 hours performing searches on the search engines and visit an average of 20 websites before selecting the dealership that will ultimately sell them their new vehicle.

For many dealerships, staying competitive in this environment is a big challenge. However, Rick Case Honda of Davie is not only staying competitive, they are thriving. In 2012, they implemented a new targeted video marketing strategy designed to increase website traffic and capture more interest from customers driving competitive brands. Today, overall website traffic is up 100% and their strategy is helping to drive 30,000 visitors a month to their dealership website and has increased Toyota trade-ins by over 400% year-over-year.



When many of us hear numbers like these, we immediately become skeptical. However, the success Rick Case Honda is having with targeted video marketing has been verified by a number of sources and, to date, they are the only dealership in America to ever be featured in a case study by the world’s largest search engine. Rick Case Honda of Davie is one of the most celebrated dealerships in the country and for good reason. They have been the undisputed Honda champion in the Southeast every year since they opened in 2002. They are America’s largest Honda retail facility, with over 1,000 customers visiting their campus every day. They are the only Honda dealership to win the President’s Award five years in a row and they are currently ranked nationally in Honda’s top five for both sales volume and net profit. This is a high-performance dealership with a long history of excellence and innovation. “Like it or not, we are in a world that is customer controlled”, says Richard Bustillo, General Manager for Rick Case Honda. “We spend a lot of money on traditional media trying to get customers into our dealership but no matter what we do, customers ultimately go to the Internet where they can consume information on their own terms. This used to frustrate me but now we use this to our advantage.” A look at Rick Case Honda’s statistics validates Bustillo’s comments. Although 75% of their advertising budget is spent on traditional media like television and radio, 98% of website traffic and 91% of the 3,000+ calls they receive every month come from a search engine request or from web-based sources that appear when a search is performed. “The strategy we use leverages what we know to be true about our customer’s behavior”, Bustillo continues. “First,

we know over 90% of customers are going to shop on the Internet. They’re going to spend 10 to 12 hours online shopping and comparing vehicles and dealerships. Second, we know that in a 30 to 90-day buying cycle, in-market customers are going to do a lot more online than shop for cars. They are going to check the news, watch highlight reels, engage with friends on social media sites and do a lot of other things that have nothing to do with our dealership. Third, we know that customers respond much better to video than they do to text. They are two times more likely to watch something than read something and they are several times more likely to click on video versus text.”

we didn’t expect was the impact this would have in terms of increasing activity with conquest customers. In the twelve months prior to launching this strategy, we averaged 9 Toyota trades per month. Our average over the last 9 months is 43. That represents a 470 increase in conquest business from Toyota alone.”

“We knew that if we could find a way to use video where others were using text and find a way to target different types of videos to different audiences, we would have a home run. We expected to see increases in website traffic and we got that. Unique users rose from ten thousand to eighteen thousand per month and total visits doubled, from approximately fifteen thousand per month to a little over thirtyone thousand per month. However, what

Step 1: Dominate Search Engines

“We knew that if we could find a way to use video where others were using text and find a way to target different types of videos to different audiences, we would have a home run.” RICHARD BUSTILLO GENERAL MANAGER RICK CASE HONDA OF DAVIE

The targeted video marketing strategy that Rick Case Honda is using is having a similar affect with other competitive makes as well. However, what is most impressive is the way the different components of their overall strategy work together to drive results. HERE’S HOW IT WORKS.

The first step in Rick Case Honda’s strategy focuses on active shoppers – those customers who are in-market and actively searching online. According to Google, consumers are 55-times more likely to click on a video listing versus a text listing so search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing prioritize video content over text content on search results pages. To take advantage of this, Rick Case Honda uses a system that monitors the most popular search phrases being used every month for the vehicles they sell and service. These search terms are then used to create OEM compliant, dealershipspecific videos that are optimized to appear on page one and distributed to all of the major search engines. Every one of these dealer-specific videos is uniquely created to work in unison with all past and future video content. This creates a cumulative impact that began producing results on day one and continues to improve over time.

Car-mercial : Rick Case Honda of Davie “This is more than a sales strategy”, says Bustillo. “This is a Rick Case Honda strategy. Our dealership is more than a showroom. It is an extension of the Rick Case culture, which is serious about creating “customers for life”. We performed this process for every profit center of our dealership so that everything works together. It’s important that the person searching for service today sees something familiar when they are searching for their next car six months from now.” Consistency is certainly one of the most impressive parts of Rick Case Honda’s approach to SEO. Their strategy has taken them to the top of the search engines for the most used search terms in their market and their performance continues to improve.

Step Three: Increase Engagement on Social Media Sites




Average number of trade-ins from Toyota conquest customers has increased 9 to 43 per month



Rick Case Honda integrates these videos into their Facebook page, dealership website, CRM email templates, one-to-one email marketing and anywhere else where adding video content can assist with increasing conversion.

Step 2: Attract More In-Market Shoppers Only 3% of the time In-market consumers spend online during the car-shopping process is spent actively looking for a vehicle. The remaining 97% is spent reading news, checking sports scores and watching videos on non-automotive websites.

As you would expect, Rick Case Honda has a very large customer base. To increase engagement with these customers and to take advantage of the huge reach these customers have on social media sites, they began posting videos that were designed to appeal to the interests of both current customers and inmarket shoppers. These videos educate consumers about the things they often have questions about and include topics such as buying a car, finance, maintenance, technology, driving tips, insurance, safety as well as many others that are created to initiate a conversation with their dealership.

To increase their influence with in-market consumers when they are doing nonautomotive activities, Rick Case Honda began putting clickable, direct response videos in front of news stories, highlight reels, entertainment videos and other video content on popular lifestyle sites.

“This is a very big deal.” says AJ LeBlanc, co-founder and Managing Partner of, the strategic partner that Rick Case Honda uses for it’s targeted video marketing strategy. “Most pre-roll companies and display vendors drive up costs by using generic targeting that is very limited and designed for use across all industries” It was important to us that we give Rick Case Honda targeting capabilities that are relevant to our industry.”

“The biggest problem we have as dealers is creating quality content that we can post on our social sites and websites to increase engagement with our customers. Says Bustillo.“ The library we created with gives us nearly 400 high quality videos that we can use anytime we need them. A good example of this is the “Convenience And Accessibility“ video we posted to Facebook last week. We uploaded it in the morning and by that afternoon it had already been shared with over 7,000 people.

Bustillo uses a pre-roll network that has over 300 popular sports, news, automotive and lifestyle websites and that allows him to control their ad spend by only serving content to those who meet the ideal criteria for each campaign. This includes the ability to target customers by make, model, year, payment range, geographic location, number of payments remaining and many other criteria.

Bustillo is very enthusiastic about this part of their strategy and says that what he likes most is the way their strategic partner monitors every site in the network and only serves content to those sites that are creating the highest conversion rates. This, combined with the way they are targeting in-market shoppers is generating click-through rates that are 2.5 times higher than the national average.

Customers are liking and sharing these videos and it’s a beautiful thing because the videos that they are watching to get answers to their questions match the ones they see before they watch last night’s highlight reel and everything works together with what they see when they search for sales or service on the search engines. Everything about this strategy works together to build our brand and to lead customers into our dealership.”

Success Story

Success Story

Car-mercial : Rick Case Honda of Davie

“Like it or not, we are in a world that is customer controlled. This used to frustrate me but now we use this to our advantage.” RICHARD BUSTILLO GENERAL MANAGER RICK CASE HONDA OF DAVIE

Monthly Website Traffic

100% Increase 80% Increase


18k 15k Website Visits

10k Unique Visitors


Rick Case Honda of Davie Increases Conquest Sales 4x with Targeted Video Marketing Strategy •

Doubled overall website traffic by implementing an integrated targeted video marketing strategy that combines organic search engine optimization, video-based social media marketing and targeted pre-roll video marketing to drive traffic to their dealership website.

Doubled the number of unique visitors coming to their dealership website by leveraging the way search engines prioritize video content to put his dealership’s content ahead of his competitors for the most popular search phrases used by consumers on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other popular search engines.

Quadrupled his number of conquest trade-ins by creating side-by-side comparison videos that promote the competitive advantages of every model his dealership sells and optimizing these videos to appear on top of his competition when in-market customers search for competitive makes and models

Doubled the click-through rate on their pre-roll marketing content by using a platform that exclusively serves content to in-market customers who are confirmed owners of the vehicles they are targeting and automatically manages their marketing spend by only serving videos to those sites that are creating the highest conversion rates.

Increased the performance and consistency of his Targeted Video Marketing efforts by partnering with so that all of his video-based SEO, Social Media video communications and video pre-roll campaigns work as part of a single integrated strategy and so that every aspect of this strategy can be executed and monitored by a single strategic partner


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Marketing Connect and Engage with Consumers Using Email and Other Proven Strategies

Multiple Channels Demand a Consistent Message The key to multi-channel marketing success is communicating a consistent message across multiple touchpoints - email, video email, e-newsletters, direct mail, print and digital advertising, social media, SMS text messaging, prerecorded voice messaging, radio, TV, and outdoor - over a period of time to a specific target audience. But, it takes careful coordination and management oversight of the entire process to ensure the right message reaches the right audience in whatever way is most appropriate and convenient for them. 2

Today’s consumers want multiple channel engagement Consumers reference multiple sources as part of their purchase decision. In order to successfully reach these consumers, dealers must use multiple channels to connect and engage.

72% of consumers want businesses to market to them - Mashable with a multi-channel approach.

Consumers typically use two or more media simultaneously. Don’t restrict your message to one platform. A multi-channel strategy will increase advertising reach and recall. Using media in combination will help you cut through the media noise with a clear message to your potential customers. The more marketing channels you use the better your brand is received by consumers.

Consumers report 74% brand recall when brands advertise across mobile, TV and online media. - Google

Multi-channel marketing is an important strategy in a media-cluttered, multidevice world, providing an effective and engaging way to reach consumers at work, at home, and on the go.

Using 5 or more marketing channels in a coordinated campaign is far more effective than an individual channel in generating measurable business growth - Aberdeen and customer experience.

It’s crucial to use multiple touchpoints to reach today’s multi-device consumer.

Businesses that use three or more marketing channels see 48% more unique web visitors year-over-year. - Aberdeen

Consumers need to see a message multiple times and across multiple media channels to be remembered. Delivering your messaging through a variety of media will increase your chances of being seen and noticed. A special offer displayed on the dealership website, announced in the dealership newsletter, sent in a targeted email message and delivered to a physical mailbox has a much greater chance of getting a response than the same special offer in any one of the channels alone.



Multi- Channel Environment Direct Mail Marketing

Marketing Services

Voice Messaging




Social Media Management

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Reputation Management

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Mobile Marketing Websites


Email Marketing:

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A Key Element of a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy


Email marketing is a trusted means of communication, so it’s a good way to lay the foundation for a successful multi-channel marketing strategy. Email marketing lets you proactively communicate with your existing customers to build stronger relationships.

Email is the preferred method of “ communication for 74% of adults online. - The Return Path Email Intelligence Report, Q2 2012

Used in conjunction with consistent messaging on your website, direct mail campaign, print and broadcast media ads, email marketing can deliver a targeted message to a specific audience at the right time. The importance of email marketing as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy can’t be overlooked. Email messaging reaches consumers wherever they are.


email is the top activity “ Checking for 78% of smartphone users.



- Always Connected Study, IDC

With a multi-device audience, dealers must use multiple channels to connect and engage. Email marketing lets you connect with consumers to reinforce your brand and consistently keep it in front of them with relevant and engaging information. Implement these three email marketing tactics as part of a multichannel marketing campaign to drive customer satisfaction and build strong customer relationships.




Automated Targeted Email

1 “


An automated or “drip” email campaign allows you to send messages to a specific target audience based on a predefined set of criteria. Automated email messages, like birthday wishes or service reminders, engage readers with relevant information that arrives in their inbox at the right time.

Targeted email campaigns deliver 30-50% higher click through rates. - Marketing Sherpa

Video Email

Videos engage and excite consumers and can help drive traffic to your website. Combining custom video messaging as part of a targeted email campaign can drive better results than either single marketing channel alone.

Combining video in email messaging increases conversion rates by 21% and open rates by 24%, on average. - 2012 Digital Marketer Benchmark & Trend Repor


3 “

eNewsletters let you stay connected with your customers by delivering targeted messaging. In addition to product announcements and company news, eNewsletters can include coupons, incentives, and provide tips and other nonsales related content that helps to establish your dealership as an expert and a resource for relevant information.

68% of marketers agree e-Newsletters are the top email messages which help to achieve their business goals. - DMA “National Client Email Report, 2013

If you don’t have a multi-channel marketing strategy in place, you may want to consider the services of a marketing provider with expertise in the automotive industry to help you get started.


Ready to Start Your Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy? Call 866路995路8942 Today! Your dedicated Marketing Manager is ready to develop a personalized multichannel marketing plan to grow customer satisfaction and gain a competitive edge.

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