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CAR BIZ TODAY The Official News Source of The Retail Automotive Industry

January 2015


Entire contents ©2015 Car Biz Today. All Rights Reserved.


NEW NADA CHAIRMAN LENO, BUSH BILL FOX LOOKS TO KICK OFF IN THE FUTURE OF RETAIL NADA SAN FRANCISCO AUTOMOTIVE The 2015 NADA Convention kicks off this year on Jan. 22 and will feature, among others, keynote speeches by comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Look for the CBT News anchors as we cover events from the convention floor and more.





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Bill Fox, partner in Fox Auto Group in New York, will take over as the 2015 chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association later this month. Fox discusses his background in the auto industry, NADA’s goals and objectives for 2015 and what dealers can expect this year. See page 24



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2014 was a big year for AutoPoint, a company known for its revenue and retention solutions for automotive fixed operations. Formerly known as MPi, the company was acquired by Solera, went through a major rebranding and consolidated all of its operations into one main campus, all of which contributed to its largest growth year in its history. Managing Director Rich Holland discusses what’s next for AutoPoint. See page 30

Rich Holland Managing Director ...see PAGE ##

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Follow CBT Automotive Network and on the road to NADA 2015! News anchors Bridget Everett, Russell Brown and Danielle Banks will stop along the route to interview dealers and their personnel as we travel from San Diego on January 19 to NADA in San Francisco. Visit to see live coverage along the way and be sure to stop by the booth #3003N and meet our team.









Letter from the editor Dear Readers, This past year was an exciting one for the auto industry and business insiders are predicting an even better 2015. At press time, total light-vehicles sales were expected to hit the 16.5 million mark by year’s end and projections are calling for 17 million in 2015, according to J.D. Power. Car Biz Today is dedicated to helping you drive more sales this coming year. The car business is seeing significant changes in consumer behavior, which is presenting unique opportunities for dealers to connect with buyers in advanced and innovative ways. We will see an increased push to communicate with buyers in the digital realm, and increased efforts to provide them with the shopping experience they’ve come to expect in other retail sectors. Car Biz Today will continue to offer our readers the information you need to stay on top of emerging trends in the evolving world of retail automotive. It’s January, and for the automotive industry that means it’s time for the annual NADA convention and expo. Look for the CBT News anchors in San Francisco as we cover events from the convention floor and speak with some of the biggest names in the industry. Car Biz Today magazine is kicking off the new year with a Q&A with Bill Fox, NADA’s 2015 chairman. See page 24 for Bill’s insights on the future of the franchised new car retailer. See you in San Francisco!

CAROL WHITE Managing Editor


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2015 Holds Potential for Progress on Key Issues


he 2014 elections brought party change to Washington, D.C. While the House of Representatives remained in Republican hands, the Senate switched hands. Once sworn in, the new Senate will include 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats. House Republicans will hold their biggest conference since 1928. AIADA extends a special welcome to car dealer and former AIADA Chairman Don Beyer, who is Virginia’s newest member of Congress. Plans for the new Congress were underway immediately following the elections. President Obama hosted several Congressional leaders for a

AIADA is optimistic that the change up in Congress will fuel progress on key issues. bicameral, bipartisan meeting at the White House, and early indications appeared to show that Congress and the President were searching for common ground. AIADA has spent the past several weeks preparing for the new Congress and the issues it will tackle in 2015. All issues are currently on the table as leaders in both the House and Senate determine how they can work together to send legislation to President Obama’s desk. Despite the partisan tone that has prevailed in Washington in recent years, AIADA is optimistic that the change up in Congress will fuel progress on key issues. International trade and the global economy are expected to be one of the biggest benefactors of bipartisan policy initiatives this spring. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) lapsed in 2007 and is crucial to President Obama’s ability to negotiate ongoing trade agreements with Pacific Rim nations as well as many European allies. The issue was discussed by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) during a brief conversation following November’s elections. 6


News from the AIADA A New Year is ushering in a fresh Congress and new opportunities for international nameplate dealers to get involved in AIADA.

Issues on the Agenda at AIADA Events


n addition to programs that dealers can participate in throughout the year, AIADA will also host two major events in 2015. The first is AIADA’s 45th Annual Meeting and Luncheon, which will take place Sunday, January 25 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. The meeting will focus on the theme of “Facing Forward” and assess how AIADA members can build on their momentum and leadership in the U.S. In a departure from the schedule of previous years, this year’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon will be held on Sunday during NADA’s annual convention. It will feature keynote remarks from Audi of America President Bradley Hoffman, Scott Keogh—a trailblazer who is at the cutting edge of the industry. He 2015 AIADA Chairman will provide dealers with valuable insight on how to navigate challenges and move forward in the future. Also during the meeting, AIADA’s 2014 Chairman, Larry Kull of New Jersey, will help members welcome incoming 2015 Chairman, Bradley Hoffman of Connecticut. Finally, AIADA will honor the recipient of the 2015 David F. Mungenast, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Dealers who want to register for AIADA’s 45th Annual Meeting and Luncheon can do so by visiting or by calling 1-800-GO-AIADA. Planning is also underway for AIADA’s 9th Annual International Auto Industry Summit, to be held May 11-12 in Washington, D.C. The Annual Summit is a chance for dealers and general managers to reconnect with how Washington, D.C., impacts their businesses. With a new Congress in town, 2015 will be particularly important to international nameplate dealers as crucial items like trade agreements and overbearing financial regulations take the spotlight. Dealers who wish to attend can take advantage of special early bird pricing by visiting

New Chances to Get Involved


uch is at stake in Washington, and AIADA can’t carry out its mission of successfully communicating the needs and viewpoints of America’s international nameplate dealers without the help of dealers themselves. To that end, AIADA has put together several ways for dealers to connect with Washington in 2015, including programs and annual events. In 2014, AIADA launched the Rising Dealers Network to tap into the vision and leadership of today’s emerging dealers and general managers. This year, AIADA’s goal is to build on its launch and grow the ranks of engaged and proactive dealers, general managers and department heads. Special networking events and tailored AIADA communications are part of the program’s tools and will help these professionals network with each other and with AIADA. In 2015, no matter who you are, take the time to do your part to grow AIADA’s Rising Dealers Network. If you’re an up-and-coming dealer, general manager or department head who is interested in doing your part to help legislators and policymakers understand why the international nameplate auto industry is so valuable to America, join the Rising Dealers Network by visiting If you’re a veteran dealer, but know of employees who can benefit from the program, encourage them to get involved. For Rising Dealers—and industry veterans—who want to take one more step, AIADA’s Dealer Visit Program provides an opportunity to host their member of Congress at their dealership. Dealers who have participated in the program and hosted their member of Congress report that the experience was extremely valuable in establishing and building a positive relationship. These relationships are essential to helping members of Congress look beyond the talking points surrounding issues and truly understand the story of America’s international nameplate dealer community. For more information on the program, or to sign up, visit

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More sales are made when the customer feels like they were really heard rather than by any pitch a salesperson gives. dealership, they will not only feel good about the decision they made, but they will become an advocate who tells others about your dealership as well. Human relations expert Les Giblin said, “You can’t make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody.” Teaching people to nurture others helps them to see the good in others. That simple mindset becomes an attitude that is caught rather than a “pitch” that is taught. It will not only improve CSI scores, but also will dramatically increase customer engagement. The dealership that services my vehicles does not do so because I believe they are any better equipped than the next dealership. They do so because I leave every time feeling like I am important to them.


Leading Beyond Your Position Every person who works at your dealership is a potential leader. BY CHRIS ROLLINS


f course, every person will not end up with the position or title commonly associated with leadership, but an important component of the future success of your dealership is recognizing that leadership is much more than just a managerial position. John Maxwell’s Law of Influence states, “Leadership is influence…nothing more, nothing less.” If you consider that statement carefully, you will find that many staff members not normally considered in a traditional leadership role have the ability to exert influence with your customers on a daily basis. One of the best ways you can grow your dealership’s volume is to begin to identify and develop the traits that drive influence within your team across the organization. Consider this everyday scenario. The receptionist who answers the phone for a customer who asks for a particular department is going to transfer them, right? Well, does she say, “I will transfer you to them now, thanks” or just click them on hold for a cold transfer? Both options influence the customer’s perception of the dealership, but in two very different ways. Since increasing influence with your customers and employees makes a positive impact on the dealership’s results, let’s take a look at a few of the characteristics that can help increase the influence of your staff at every level.

MODEL OF INTEGRITY Integrity is not a word that is often immediately associated with sales – in any industry – by the general public. While most salespeople are truly honest, hardworking people, the few who are not have made it an obstacle we must overcome to establish rapport with customers who raise a barrier by default. I often say, “Selling is simply facilitating an exchange. If it truly benefits both parties it is a highly ethical process!” Teaching every staff member to show genuine pride in the service that is provided to the customer is a fundamental part of modeling integrity. 8


Integrity is one thing that doesn’t just help you earn today’s sell, but will help you earn the repeat business necessary to continue driving market share in the future. John Maxwell states, “Integrity commits itself to character over personal gain, to people over things, to service over power, to principle over convenience, to the long view over the immediate.” Building that mindset into each member of the team is one way to elevate the performance of the team as a whole. Integrity is one thing that doesn’t just help you earn today’s sell, but will help you earn the repeat business necessary to continue driving market share in the future. It is so valuable because it has nothing to do with the circumstances of the day or the credentials an individual has, but everything to do with who they are.

NURTURING OTHERS You might wonder what nurturing has to do with building influence, but I believe that it is a crucial part of the process. Nurturing others is not putting them in a position where they become dependent upon you, but where they become interdependent. When you nurture others, you help them to feel more important. If the interactions you can have with your customer helps them to feel empowered and confident when doing business with your

DISPLAY FAITH IN PEOPLE We live in a world that reminds us more about our failures than our successes as we mature. For some reason people seem to forget that we learned more in life when we were younger and bold enough to keep trying rather than quitting when we failed. Just imagine if you had quit trying after you fell down three or four times when learning to walk or riding a bike. Displaying faith in people will always lead to increased influence. Allowing your dealership employees to find a way to take care of the customer and create a lasting experience, then empowering them to do such, is one way to display your faith in and for your staff. LISTEN TO PEOPLE It is said often that far too many people, in sales or otherwise, don’t take the time to truly listen to others. That doesn’t mean to hear them, but to truly listen. For too many people, this is a lost art. Listening has become a process of letting the other party speak while waiting on them to take a breath so you can “get your turn.” Too many people today listen with the intent to respond. Active listening is more about laying aside your immediate thoughts and truly focusing on what the other party has to say. More sales are made when the customer feels like they were really heard rather than by any pitch a salesperson gives. Consider the thought that every customer who visits your dealership initially visited it with the intention of purchasing a vehicle. You just need to allow them to bridge the gap between that initial desire and the hesitancy that comes from perceived expectations of the experience. Once that gap is bridged, your odds of having a successful transaction are dramatically increased. Likewise, every employee that shows up for work each day arrives with the desire to be a part of something that makes a difference. When you intentionally listen to them, they will let you know how they can meet that need. Doing so creates a very engaged workforce.

CHRIS ROLLINS “The Conductor” President of Rollins Performance Group Chris has more than 17 years of sales and operational leadership experience and has been personally trained and mentored by such leaders as John Maxwell, Jeffrey Gitomer and Les Brown. He is focused on developing leaders and sales teams to achieve exceptional top and bottom line growth by building sustained momentum, which becomes an unstoppable force. Helping leadership and sales teams “deliver the goods” is why he became known as The Sales Train Conductor. Visit his website at

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If the last century taught us anything, it is that change and growth are the keys to developing and maintaining success in everything that you do. BY DAVID LEWIS

hose who don’t learn to press on towards whatever it takes to get them to the next level, will eventually find themselves in the comfort zone and watch their growth come to a halt and eventually diminish. No matter how much we were able to achieve in the past, it is important to keep in mind that tomorrow can be even greater if we are willing to do what it takes to make it so. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.” That certainly applies to anyone in an ever-changing industry like retail automotive sales. Today’s customers want more and expect more, not only from the products themselves, but from those who provide the services that bring those products to the marketplace. Let’s face it, if you aren’t growing in your knowledge and abilities, you will eventually fall behind those who are willing to make the investment to do so. That is what success and competition is all about and those who understand it, are always willing to do what it takes to stay in the game. Success isn’t something that just happens naturally. It is created by those who have goals and aspirations and are willing to do what it takes to achieve them. The higher the goal, the harder it is to achieve it. Champions know what they want to accomplish and they do whatever is necessary to reach their goals in life. They do it and they keep

doing it until they get where they want to go. Only then are they satisfied that they have fulfilled their purpose and done their best. You may think of your job as something that just pays the bills and feeds your family. Have you ever thought about the great potential there is to make your life one of profound happiness and professional fulfillment? Anyone can make a mark in life regardless of what business they are in. You are no different from the people you most admire if you learn to appreciate your own potential and build it in a way that drives you onward to success. It is not what you do that makes you successful, but how you do it. Unless you are willing to make the necessary improvements and change that success demands, you will never reach your true potential and know your ultimate success. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” You have to set the right goals for yourself and then meet whatever challenges that stand in your way with the courage and conviction that you can, and you will reach those goals no matter what it takes to get you there. It all starts with an honest assessment of who you are and where you are right now. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are stuck in the life you now have because of your background, your natural abilities or from where you came. Your life is a launch pad




for your future regardless of whatever natural limitations you may feel you have. You are the one that decides whether or not your life will be one of success or failure and when you make the choice to succeed at all costs the universe will get behind you and push you forward in your quest. You may not know this, but you are a unique individual that is different from everyone and anyone else. You have unique potentials and powers that will lie dormant in you unless you release them through your will and thoughts and actions you take. Everyone you know and everything you allow to come into your mind and heart will influence you in either a positive or negative way. It is up to you to manage your life in such a way that your actions are in harmony with the goals you want to achieve. That won’t happen all at once, but you will grow into it as you practice the disciplines, thoughts and actions that lead to success. If you have bad habits you must change them. Bad relationships must go if they hinder your ability to move into the mindset and life that you want for yourself and your future. This is not selfishness, this is self-preservation. Your life is a gift, but it is a gift that you must manage and protect if you want it to be one that fulfills the potential with which you were born. If you have unconstructive thinking you must do what it takes to change the way you think, and

be willing to put new ideas and concepts in place that will move you in the direction you want to go. Everything about you must align itself with what your goals are if you truly want to make the changes that will lead to your success in life. If you keep doing things the way you always have done, you can expect to continue being the person you are and having the things that you have right now. A car dealership can be a place where people pass around bad ideas and bad habits that can create an environment of negativity. Some people who have been in this business for a while can convince you that it is a career with limited potential where the only way to get ahead is to take advantage of the customers and get what you can at all cost. You are the one who decides whether you will buy into that mentality or create your own success and be an example to those around you. Those who do what they have always done can expect nothing more than what they have now. But you can change that by aspiring to be successful and what you do to achieve it.

Someone once said this about how change really happens in life and affects others. It is known as “The Bombshell Theory.” “I cannot change anyone by direct action, I can only change myself. And others, seeing me change, have a tendency to change in response to my change.” That is a powerhouse concept for making your life not only personally successful, but for becoming a change agent for those around you. Everyone wants to be successful, but some just don’t know how to get there and they are waiting for someone around them to point the way. Nothing happens until someone decides to take the first step and starts doing things differently from the way they have always done it. You have the power to be that person and change your life and the life of those around you for the better. It takes courage and commitment, but so does anything that is worth doing. As the old saying goes, “You will either spend your life making yourself successful or you will spend it on the success of someone else.” Start today and don’t let another minute go by doing things the way you always have.

Make the investments in yourself that can change your life forever and once you have set your feet on the path of success, don’t look back. Do things in a new and better way and you can expect new and better doors to open up before you. This is the key to winning in life and you have as much right to open the door to success as anyone else does. If it is going to happen, it’s up to you to see that it does. Dream big and prove your dreams by the way you live your daily life. If you do this, success will find you and nothing can stop it from coming your way.

EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND EVERYTHING YOU ALLOW TO COME INTO YOUR MIND AND HEART WILL INFLUENCE YOU IN EITHER A POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE WAY. DAVID LEWIS President of David Lewis & Associates David Lewis is the president of David Lewis & Associates Inc., a national training and consulting company that specializes in the retail automotive industry. He is also the author of four industry-related books, “The Secrets of Inspirational Selling,” “The Leadership Factor,” “Understanding Your Customer” and “The Common Mistakes Automotive Salespeople Make.” Visit his website at




HOW CAN YOU KNOW WHAT TO IMPROVE IF YOU DON’T KNOW? Just by studying the answers to the first three questions you can uncover some things that could be holding you back from a record sales month. If a sales associate has a low percentage of initial contacts made, it could be a result of: n Slow response time n Handling too many leads which could cause slow response n Weak phone skills n Leads coming in from a third-party source are being oversold n Cherry picking leads

The initial contact and response time is where it all starts, and if this process is in need of help then your sales will suffer.

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM STUDYING THE NUMBERS ABOVE? n Who is excelling better on used car leads vs. new car leads n Who is stronger on the phone


Increase Sales With This One Tweak Keeping a firm grasp of how your Internet leads are handled will uncover your sales team’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. BY PAUL POTRATZ


our only job is to send me the traffic and we will take it from there.” Have you ever said this to a marketing guy? If so, I want you to repeat after me: “I will never say that again,” since that is a recipe for failure. Please don’t take what I am about to say negatively since I honestly feel no one wants to fail or underperform. The problem is most people don’t know how success is measured. In today’s market, driving traffic is the easy part; in fact it’s very easy. However, most managers and practically all website vendors don’t want to accept responsibility for how business is done today. First, let’s start with the managers at most businesses. A lot of managers don’t know how to develop processes, benchmarks and teams to handle the abundance of selling opportunities when it comes to online. Most are looking for sales opportunities in the form of a lot-up, phone call or website lead, which means they are missing out on the highest gross sales opportunities. Most managers are telling their advertising partners, “I need more traffic, I need more leads.” Are you one of those managers that goes to your advertising partners and blames them when sales are down or when you feel traffic is down? Here is a quick test to see what type of manager you are. This test has a 10-minute time limit, so if you can’t complete it within this window, then it’s time you start developing new skills for today’s market. n How many leads has each sales associate received? n How many leads by sales associates resulted in initial contact? n What is the percentage of initial contacts made by each associate?



n How many leads scheduled appointments for each associate? n What is the percentage of scheduled appointments by each associate? n How many leads showed up for an appointment per each associate? n What is the percentage of appointments that showed up for each associate? n How many leads that showed up resulted in a sale per each associate? n What is the percentage of leads that showed up resulting in a sale by each associate? n How many leads prior to step 1 and after step 9 were considered a dead lead?

THE FIRST STEP IS TO BECOME AWARE OF THE ISSUES AND START CORRECTING THEM ONE DAY AT A TIME. So, were you able to complete this list in 10 minutes? Fact is, you should have a list like this on your desk daily and you should be monitoring more than your stocks, email and Facebook account. Again, remember what I said: People don’t want to fail. It’s your job to monitor the key performance indicators as a manager and uncover your team’s strengths and opportunities for improvements. Then share their strengths and coach the team to higher KPIs.

n Who is better at getting initial contact n Who is stronger in setting appointments n Who is stronger in keeping appointments n Who seems to cherry pick by converting leads to dead

This is just a small example of what you can learn from studying the numbers. You can also see how your pay plan might be archaic; since I believe you should pay people based on the performance you want them to excel at. Pay them for what they are responsible for, not what others control.

A MANAGER SHOULD NEVER BE WORKING IN THE BUSINESS; YOU SHOULD BE WORKING ON YOUR BUSINESS. I am not saying you are a bad manager, since this is not the way dealerships were set up to operate. The purchase of a vehicle has always been an emotional purchase. The best managers were always the ones who could create excitement on the showroom floor, and train a sales team that knows what to say and when to say it when they had a customer face-to-face. Hence the statement, “you just drive the traffic and we will take it from there.” The traffic is available but it’s not just faceto-face traffic now, therefore it’s critical to start measuring performance with black and white numbers. This is what it really means when we say that the Internet is fully trackable. You will be surprised by how much you can improve lead counts in a matter of a week.

“The traffic is available but it’s not just face-to-face traffic now, therefore it’s critical to start measuring performance with black and white numbers.”

PAUL POTRATZ COO of Potratz Paul and his team specialize in all aspects of internet marketing. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and on CBS. Paul has also been a featured speaker for NADA, Driving Sales, Auto Dealer People, Dealer Elite and Automotive Digital Marketing. Visit his website at

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Building a World-Class

SALES TEAM Driving profits in today’s dealerships begins with a ‘team’ mentality, not a ‘me’ mentality BY TOM KUKLA


elling is a competitive sport, especially in the car business, right? The first one to meet that couple at the door, the first one to hit quota this month, the first one…you get the picture. Perhaps it’s time to take a different approach. To be a profitable dealership today, it takes a village and in that village, everyone must be on the same team.

THE DREAM TEAM? So, where do you start? Every great team is made up of all great players – right? Maybe. Just because you assemble the dream team does not mean you will have a great sales team. How many dream teams utterly failed and lost to the underdog when they got to the big game. Team members who are out only for themselves don’t help the team – they only help themselves. 14


REMEMBER, AS THE SALES LEADER, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CREATE THE VISION, COMMUNICATE IT CLEARLY, AND GUIDE YOUR TEAM TO SUCCESS. In a Fortune article “Secrets of Great Teams,” Geoffrey Colvin writes: “Col. Stas Preczewski, coach of the Army crew at West Point a few years ago, faced a baffling problem. Through extensive testing, he had developed objective criteria to rank his rowers. He then put the eight best – his dream team – in the varsity boat and the eight others in the junior varsity boat. The problem: The JV beat the varsity twothirds of the time. The situation, as explained in a Harvard Business School case, was that the varsity was full of resentment over who was contributing most, while the JV, feeling they had nothing to lose, supported one another happily.

One day Preczewski lined up the varsity crew in four pairs. He told them they were to wrestle – no punching – for 90 seconds. There were no clear winners: Each man was discovering that his opponent was just as strong and determined as he was. Preczewski then had them change opponents and wrestle again. By the third round they were choosing their own opponents – ‘One guy would point at another and say, ‘You!’ Preczewski says. Finally, one of the rowers started laughing, and they all piled into a general brawl. Eventually someone said, ‘Coach, can we go row now?’ From then on, the varsity boat flew.”


So what do sales leaders do to build a world-class sales team? Think of a VASE. VISION

Leaders create a compelling vision


Leaders assemble the right team

Jack Welch said, “Good leaders create a vision, articulate a vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.” A true team – one whose members work together for a common cause and to achieve greatness – has a unified vision.  A vision is how you see the world. It should be simple but compelling. As a sales manager, the cohesiveness of the team begins with you. You must create and describe the vision in order to bring the team to life.

John C. Maxwell stated, “In teaching leadership, I encounter many organizations that are suffering because they have people in leadership positions that have never crystallized a compelling vision. The blind are leading the blind, and the organization is adrift as a result – lacking any clear sense of direction.” Does that describe your sales team? There are as many different visions as there are teams. Some examples are: connect first, value before profit, deliver a memorable customer experience or uncover needs first. The test of a good vision is that it is simple, easy to explain, easy to remember and it shapes behavior.

In today’s world, the sales team is dependent on several departments and members within the dealership including the general manager, the sales manager, other sales consultants, the used car manager, the F&I manager, the service manager, marketing and others. Everyone has a role to play and everyone needs to own the vision. Each time a customer drives off the lot with a new vehicle, it is a win shared across the board. Unity of purpose is the glue that holds the team together by reducing competitiveness among its players. When people share the vision, they have the mindset of completing each other instead of competing against one another. In addition, team unity increases accountability among team members. Dependent upon each other for success, they mutually spur one another on to peak performance. A healthy team polices itself and urges slackers to pick up the pace. Working on a team you care about is more rewarding than just working.

COACHING TIP: On a quarterly basis,

COACHING TIP: Test your team’s

n Give each team member a 3 x 5 index card

n A “Vision” award winner from outside of sales. The winner is the person from outside of sales who best exemplifies the vision.

n Allow them three minutes to: • Articulate the team’s vision • Describe what it looks like when done right • Give an example of success from the previous week n Share findings


As a sales manager, in order to rally team members around the vision, you must first, see it clearly; second, say it daily; and third, show how success occurs when the vision is brought to life. Many leaders fail at that second step, neglecting to repeat the vision daily. Maxwell says, “I’m an activator, and I am constantly on the lookout for the next challenge. Once I’ve communicated something, I expect that my people have caught the message and I move on.” Followers need the vision laid out for them continually. They need to see what “it” looks like implemented. Don’t let it become boring and repetitive – bring it to life!

Motivation is key to reinforcing positive behavior. Catch people doing things right! Follow these seven steps from Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner:

Leaders look for ways to build their teams up

1. Set clear standards 2. Expect the best 3. Pay attention 4. Personalize recognition 5. Tell the story 6. Celebrate together 7. Set the example

COACHING TIP: Pay attention daily

and look for examples of team members implementing the vision. n Praise them immediately after the customer leaves, reinforcing the behavior. n Then, at your Saturday morning sales meetings, start out by articulating the vision and describing how it will positively impact sales. n Using steps 4 - 7 above, briefly describe successes you observed the previous seven days. n Remember, as the sales leader, it is your responsibility to create the vision, communicate it clearly, and guide your team to success.

COACHING TIP: Create a daily log where you capture:

n How many times you catch yourself repeating the vision n How many times you catch others repeating the vision n At the end of each month, send an email to your team on how you are doing communicating the vision

ask your team to identify:

n A “Vision” award winner from among the sales consultants. The winner is the person from sales who best exemplifies the vision.

understanding of the vision by performing the following exercise:


Leaders communicate the vision daily so everyone gets it


TOM KUKLA Principal and Founder of Tom Kukla Credere Leadership Tom is a highly experienced Leadership coach, speaker and trainer. Prior to founding Credere Leadership, Tom spent 38 years in retail and medical sales, sales management and management and leadership development. He developed a world-class management-training program from the ground up in the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry that served hundreds of sales and marketing colleagues. As a John Maxwell certified coach, teacher and speaker, Tom offers organizations management and leadership workshops, seminars, training and coaching in order to guide the personal and professional growth of managers of all levels and tenure. You can reach Tom at




Programmatic Advertising ROI-Driven Digital Strategies

Multi-Channel Marketing MARKETING

New Year, New Plan Learn which strategies and solutions are trending in automotive marketing for 2015 BY AMY FARLEY


ith the new year comes a new opportunity to take your dealership’s marketing plan to the next level. So what’s the key to seeing greater success in 2015? Innovative strategies and solutions that will set your dealership apart from your competitors. In order to determine what kind of marketing strategies to implement, you must evaluate what is trending within the industry. These new initiatives can help differentiate your store, as well as help you capture the attention of those customers you may have been unable to reach previously. As you’re putting together your marketing plan for this year, it may be in your dealership’s best interest to incorporate the following trends in automotive marketing.

PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING One phrase on the tips of marketers’ tongues now is “programmatic advertising.” Experts predict that it will be an even bigger deal in 2015, as marketers fully embrace programmatic ad buying and realtime bidding (RTB). Programmatic advertising involves using software and algorithms to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process, which involves requests for proposals, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. Essentially, programmatic advertising is using technology to accurately funnel your ads to the right people in the most efficient manner. The use of programmatic advertising is forecasted to grow tremendously in 2015. One study from Statista predicted that programmatic display ad spending in the U.S. will reach $14.88 billion this year – an increase of more than 250 percent from 2013! Dealers will be turning to programmatic advertising for their display and video pre-roll strategies because it’s more efficient, and allows for more precise targeting. Consumer behavior data lets 16


marketers identify auto intenders, or users who are in the market for a vehicle or auto service, and target ads specifically to them. They can even target auto intenders who fit into specific categories based on their search behavior, such as shoppers who like the outdoors or have pets. Targeting to specific subsets of consumers allows for more efficient usage of a dealer’s marketing budget, and as such, improved ROI.

ROI-DRIVEN DIGITAL STRATEGIES In order to be the most effective at digital marketing, dealers must have a strategy that’s both backed by data and trackable for ROI analysis. Digital strategies that are proven to get results will dominate in 2015, as marketers and dealers alike become more savvy about how digital can actually drive leads and influence purchases. You can take advantage of these new, more effective digital strategies by partnering with digital marketing agencies that offer more transparency and accountability. The best digital marketers are able to source and track every lead, showing you where your leads are coming from and which campaigns are working best. They can establish and execute a holistic approach to marketing that’s proven to work. Today’s savvy digital marketers are also integrating SEM and SEO for a supercharged search strategy. They analyze both paid and organic search trends to figure out how to best capture consumer intent, letting trends in organic search influence SEM strategies for greater market opportunities and effectiveness.

Implementing streamlined digital strategies that are created with ROI in mind will allow you to make 2015 a better year than ever before.

MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING Integrating your marketing channels to create a cohesive strategy is the best way to make the most of your money and your efforts. It’s been proven that a holistic strategy that involves multiple marketing mediums leads to more sales and revenue. In fact, an internal Force Marketing study showed that clients who advertised using a multi-channel approach that included direct mail, email and digital marketing increased their sales by an average of 24 percent from Dec. 2012 to Dec. 2013, while clients who utilized only one or two mediums, or didn’t advertise at all, saw an average growth of only 14 percent over the same time frame. A multi-channel strategy means incorporating direct mail, email, SEM, SEO, social, mobile and even more so that you can reach a broader customer base. It means that all of your marketing efforts will be streamlined and your message will be aligned across all channels, ensuring that your dealership will be top-of-mind for an auto intender who sees a display ad for your store, because they were already exposed to your message through an email or direct mail piece. A multi-channel approach to marketing is even in the consumer’s best interest. A study by the E-tailing Group found that 72 percent of consumers said they want an integrated approach to marketing – to be exposed to a message that’s aligned across all marketing collateral and channels. Consistent messaging leads to a more streamlined and simplified shopping experience. Multi-channel marketing can not only lead to increased revenue and sales, but can also satisfy the auto shoppers that you’re trying to reach. Integrating your approach to marketing in 2015 can help you deliver a more effective message, as well as make the most of your budget and time.

AMY FARLEY Media and Communications Manager at Force Marketing Amy is a skilled writer and editor with a keen interest in digital trends and topics in the automotive industry. She utilizes her knowledge of what is new in retail automotive marketing to help Force, an automotive digital, direct mail and email marketing firm based in Atlanta, Ga., evolve the dealer-to-customer shopping experience. Visit the website at

On the Set With CBT Automotive Network Dean Evans, CEO of Lotlinx

Clint Burns, Chairman and CEO of The Next Up

Mike Anderson, CEO The Rikess Group

Chris Sutton, Senior Director, Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power

Paul Tully, GM at Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead

Tom Moore, Regional Director of Morgan Auto Group Rebecca Chernek, President Chernek Consulting

Greg McGivney, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Classified Ventures/

Vince Santivasi, VP of Business Development at Zurich

Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and Publisher of Selling Power Magazine

Tim Bergstrom, President and COO of Bergstrom Automotive

Jared Rowe, President of

Larry Dorfman, CEO of EasyCare with Jeff Cowan, host of Service Drive



“We’ve made buying a car a real physical and mental workout.”

Stop Doing Calisthenics in the Showroom Improving the consumer experience remains one of the primary goals of each dealership organization. BY JOE WEBB


s an industry, we’ve dedicated dollars, time and conferences to enhancing our online efforts in order to appeal to today’s shopper. Once we feel our marketing initiatives are dialed in, we sit back and relax. Unfortunately, we’ve overused showroom muscles that are weakening dealership sales. We’ve continued to ignore the painstaking exercises that the customer has endured online before arriving at our dealership. Instead, we take them through circuit training to the sale. � Out we run to greet them on the lot � We walk them back into the store � Sit them down for a needs assessment � Back up for a lot walk � Sit down for the test drive � Back up for a walk through the service lane � Sit them down at our desk to extract some

information � Stand them back up to follow us outside for

a silent appraisal of their trade � Return to the dealership to sit down for a credit


The salesperson must now begin their own workout regimen, delivering countless papers back and forth, to and from the manager’s desk to their own until the customer is overcome with motion sickness from the up-and-down nature of our showroom process and agrees to buy. Then… up and down to finance, and up and down into the seat of their new vehicle. We’ve made buying a car a real physical and

“Inevitably, the majority of consumers want to ‘experience’ the vehicle before they purchase, but they don’t need to go through the rigorous sequence of events to do it.” mental workout. No wonder consumers are looking to complete more of the transaction online than ever before. We’ve simply overvalued salesmanship and undervalued the customer journey. I’ve written before that the road to the sale is dead. It was a controversial article, but I think a better way to say it is that so many elements of the traditional road to the sale have moved online, therefore we need to do a better job of eliminating those from our showroom process. Inevitably, the majority of consumers want to “experience” the vehicle before they purchase, but they don’t need to go through the rigorous sequence of events to do it. It’s not that exercise in general is wrong. It’s that so many of the activities we ask in-store customers to do are futile based upon their previous research online. We need to do a better job understanding their specific needs and what research, sites and forums they’ve utilized in advance to make us better facilitators for them. I don’t believe people go to the gym because they like the feel of the machines, the good-naturedness

of the personal trainer and the smell of the locker room. No, they go because they are looking for the result. The result of a gym visit can be either for health, fitness, weight loss, physique or countless other reasons. (This from what I’ve been told. Check out my bio picture and you realize I’m no fitness expert.) If people could achieve the same result by walking in the doors and immediately right out the doors with little to no interaction with man or machine, then today’s consumers would prefer that process. The result of going to the dealership doesn’t need to involve being run through a fastidious process. The consumers are looking to get their questions answered, possibly experience or drive their originally intended vehicle of choice and to inevitably purchase a vehicle. Very few of today’s car shoppers are looking for someone to hold their hand throughout the process. Research online has been performed to make that much less of a need than ever before. They aren’t looking to be “sold.” They want to “buy.” Shoppers choose the dealership – and sales professional – that seems most willing to step out of their way while giving them their preferred result with the least amount of effort and energy. Take a look at the showroom process at your dealership. Do you see showroom calisthenics being performed by your guests at the request of your salespeople? If so, do a better job understanding the clients’ needs and you’ll be able to create a less strenuous in-store experience for your customers. It will likely involve strengthening some new muscles. You may need to bring a trainer or process consultant into the store. But you will be able to promise better results from this streamlined regimen than the type of antiquated road to the sale process those other dumbbells still employ. If you improve your consumer experience enough, people will hear how great it is to visit your dealership. Buying a car from you should be no sweat.

JOE WEBB Founder of DealerKnows Consulting As founder of the Internet sales and marketing training firm, Joe has been called “the funniest guy in the car business” and passionately consults nationwide, showing dealerships success by instilling proven Internet marketing practices. He writes for multiple publications and industry resource sites, and is a regular top-rated speaker at industry conferences. As a true “dealer guy” with a history of retail success, Joe is best known for blending the lines between entertainment and education. Visit his website at





Reputation Management in a Box? There are no quick solutions to managing your dealership’s reputation. Everything you do, no matter how small, either enhances or diminishes your reputation. BY GLENN PASCH


eputation is a funny thing. For most of us it is built up over time through our own individual efforts and actions. For others, media or handlers craft it in an effort to get others to like them or not. We have all heard of or even lived through stories where we met a person who we looked up to or idolized and their actions did not meet our expectations. One of my earlier jobs was waiting tables in a very successful restaurant in New York City. I served meals to many of the big names in business, entertainment and sports. Some were more humble than you thought, others were condescending or dismissive, and some were just so gracious and classy. So if I waited on your table, what would I think of you? I personally work very hard on my company’s reputation. I fall short sometimes of my desired goals, but I am always learning and working at getting feedback to help me improve. I want our clients—present and past—to speak well of us. I have found that the times when I was most disappointed in myself was when I allowed my reputation to be negatively impacted by others and I did nothing about it, or when I have subjugated my reputation to fit in. Many business owners reading this article are doing the same right now. You are allowing your staff to impact your reputation in ways of which you are not aware, or you are looking to find a quick solution to solve or manage your reputation. Why are you disconnecting your vision of how you want your business to be received from the reality of how it is being received by your customers?

HOW TO CONNECT YOUR REPUTATION TO EVERYTHING YOU DO n Take a moment to remember why you got in the business and why you stay. It can’t just be the money. You love cars. You still get excited talking about them. You want to get better at what you do. If you didn’t, you would not be here reading this article. 20


You are allowing your staff to impact your reputation in ways of which you are not aware, or you are looking to find a quick solution to solve or manage your reputation. n My challenge is for you to take charge. Steven

Who drives the vision? Who manages reputation? Dealer principal, you do. From marketing promises to delivering excellence to auditing the process to being open to really asking your customers how you are doing – and being willing to hear what they have to say and make changes where needed. n

Covey says begin with the end in mind; so, think about what your customers should be saying and what behavior has to happen to deliver that result.

n Decide what your end game is – long-term growth

n Once you have the vision of what experience

I have encountered many dealerships that work very hard to deliver excellence and have good reputations as a result. There are still many that don’t, but I would think they are not here reading this article. These dealers are very content in their ways and solely focusing on short-term gains. Those days, my friends, are ending. You will see it in the next few years how their businesses will diminish. Customers will move on, customers will voice their dissatisfaction because a new type of dealership is giving them the service options they did not think existed. Would you rather reinforce the stereotype or shatter the glass and have customers walk out saying that you changed their minds? One last thought: Do your customers who leave you to try a different brand feel gypped that the service they now receive does not match what you delivered? Do they regret leaving? Do they want to come back? Are you even checking in with them? Remember that everything you do, no matter how small you think it is, will impact your reputation. If you do not own it and manage it, then someone else will – but it may not be what you wanted.

you want your customers to receive, you will need to work through each process you have to make sure the smallest things align. Everything you do influences a customer and either enhances or diminishes your reputation in their minds as someone they want to interact with, or not. n Take my 30-second challenge each day. Stop

what you’re doing, stand still in your dealership and look around. Be open to the moment. See what your customers see. Are you pleased? Are you smiling? n Listen to what is being said when the reception-

ist answers the phone. Watch how your staff greets or thanks a customer. Is it genuine?

n When you walk in each day, what does the exte-

rior walkway look like? Is it clean? Is it easily marked for customers to find their way? n Reputation is built on the focus of others and

your actions meeting your words. Do they? How do others view you, including your staff or co-workers?

or short-term gain. Both have different behaviors and both impact your customers differently.

GLENN PASCH CEO of PCG Digital Marketing Glenn is a trainer at heart. He is a highly sought-after speaker, writer, coach and operations strategist, as well as a customer service fanatic. He has spoken throughout the U.S. and Canada, educating audiences on a variety of topics including business leadership, change management, digital marketing and the impact of this new technology on culture, business and society. Visit the website

7 Ways You Can Double Your Net Profit Without Adding Any New Expenses!

! w e N

Get your FREE book at Or stop by our NADA Booth #3829 • North Hall


Joe Verde Sales & Management Training, Inc. • • 888-712-6647



n Increase Facebook likes by 1,000 in 30 days. n Improve Facebook page engagement by 20 percent within the next six months.


n Generate traffic to your site and collect 500 new blog subscribers in the next 90 days. n Convert Facebook fans into customers by leveraging a budget of $500 a month for social advertising.

Social media return on investment may seem elusive but there are specific steps you can take to leverage the medium without going broke. BY KATHI KRUSE


arketing to generate leads for dealerships today requires a holistic approach that includes SEO, content (blog), social media and social advertising. It’s difficult to know where to concentrate your resources and it calls for close attention due to the investment it takes to succeed. Now that social media marketing has gone mainstream, many business owners are left wondering which sites will give them the biggest ROI. The simple answer to that question is: whichever sites your customers are on. However, true social media ROI is not that simple. You must know your audience well to know where they spend their time. You must know your audience well in order to engage them and convert them into customers. Social media sites are channels, just like radio or TV channels. Marketing and advertising campaigns

n Grow Twitter following by 1,000 users in the next 90 days.

Many dealers simply hip-shoot their way onto social media, perhaps misunderstanding that since it’s free, they should participate. Here’s a little secret: Nothing is free. are run on the channels where your ideal customers spend their time. Content is developed and published on those sites ( just as it would be on traditional channels) and in return, people engage with your business. But this is only a portion of your overall quest for social media ROI. The only true way to establish and achieve social media ROI is with a solid marketing plan and system. A solid marketing plan outlines clear objectives, goals, a budget, a timeframe and trackable metrics. Your system’s goals could look something like these:

n Develop and implement a solid content strategy that includes your employees’ participation in blog posts to increase visibility and reach with search engines.

I’ve always been a person who likes to think things through and create a system that will bring me the best results for the time, money and effort I put into it. Many dealers simply hip-shoot their way onto social media, perhaps misunderstanding that since it’s free, they should participate. Here’s a little secret: Nothing is free. People use social media sites to check in with friends, connect with their network and share relevant opinions about the products and services they use. Your store and your salespeople need to be there to listen, answer questions and nurture the sales process with those most likely to buy from you. Pictured is a breakdown of the most popular social media sites.  This is a bird’s-eye view but it will give you a starting point from which to plan your quest for social media ROI.






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YEAR and YEAR YEAR tweets tweets OLDs tweets obvious tweets programs through EVERY 20 MINUTES OLDs EVERY 20 MINUTES EVERY 20choice MINUTESwhen tweets EVERY 20 MINUTES OLDs EVERY 20 MINUTES OLDs OLDs Goals and objectives provide a starting point from which to measure. During the lifecycle your camofhappen users of u ofmost users ofof users most followed of users followed happenmost followed happen large companies. you’re formale themost followed happen male male male malelooking happen st are thegoals. Most That’s true are the Most are theresults Most back to your areit’s thetime, Most tie your paigns, you’ll track and analyze your results. 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Her passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Moreusers Cars & Be Generally on Social Media.” Her Kruse blogactive isu the active users users active users users active users active users users active users u s active users active users active users active active s e r sactive users s eusers rleading s active users active users activeSell users active usersu Remarkable active users u s eControl ractive s automotive social media blog in the U.S. and Canada. Visit her website at

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10 Years of Helping Dealers Drive Profits ¢ MOSLEY AUTOMOTIVE, a nationally recognized automotive sales strategy and consulting firm, has been helping dealers and manufacturers operate more profitable businesses for more than 10 years. Founded in 2004 as a boutique firm focused on Internet sales, the company has since expanded its mission to help dealerships and manufactures

Cory Mosley, Founder of Mosley Automotive

master new-school sales and marketing strategies that fuel profitability by driving customer satisfaction, retention and reflecting the needs of todays buyer, according to Cory Mosley, founder, retail “car guy” and entrepreneur. The company specializes in four key areas: training, consulting, national and international speaking engagements and enterprise-level solutions for OEMs and tier 1 vendors. New-school training is delivered via the Mosley 24/7 on-demand training, testing and certification system, which includes a robust training system for floor sales, e-commerce, gen-y and phone skills. This platform also features exclusive content from Dealer Socket CRM and Dealer Track Technologies. According to Mosley, his company was one of the first in the industry to launch a national workshop series dedicated to e-commerce dealer education, pre-dating other industry events such as Digital Dealer. Strategic consulting in the areas of e-commerce, human capital and sales process help create better functioning teams and modernize dealership operations, he said. In addition to training and consulting, Mosley is often a featured

speakers in many areas including progressive retailing, psychology-based selling principles, Internet and BDC engagement strategies, leadership and change management, lead conversion and Gen-Y issues. He will be presenting “Lead the Next Generation of Employee” at this year’s NADA convention. The seminars are scheduled for Jan. 22 at 12:15 in room 2005 and Jan. 25 at 10:45 in room 2002-04. The company’s enterprise-level solutions for OEM and Tier 1 vendors include e-commerce consulting, staffing, curriculum and academy development, national live events and call center solutions including lead re-marketing and virtual BDC. Mosley Automotive’s core methodology revolves around eight philosophies, and is what has allowed the company to deliver outstanding results to its clients, said Mosley. Those philosophies are focus, growth, adaptability, profitability, alignment, truth, partnership and customization. Looking ahead, Mosley is co-sponsoring an industry event – The Automotive Leadership Under 40 Retreat – which will take place March 17-19 in Las Vegas, Nev. The ALU40™ brings together the growing segment of dealership personnel under the age of 40 working in positions of sales, BDC, e-Commerce, F&I and executive level management for three days of cutting-edge leadership training, management education and peer networking. More than 12 elite speakers will be onsite helping dealership managers become better leaders, managers and operators to secure the future profitability. Visit for more information on the company and for more information on the Automotive Leadership Under 40 Retreat.



2015 NADA

Chairman BILL FOX Bill Fox, who represents New York’s franchised new-car dealers on the NADA board of directors, will be sworn in as the organization’s chairman at this month’s convention and expo in San Francisco. Car Biz Today asked Bill about his background in the industry, the organization’s goals and objectives for 2015, and what auto dealers can expect this year.

CBT: How and when did you get in to the car business? BF: My family started in the car business about 39 years ago in upstate New York. In 1976, my sister and I purchased a small Chevrolet dealership in Weedsport, N.Y., and turned it around into a successful business. Over the years, we acquired several other franchises. Today, my sister and I are partners at Fox Dealerships, Inc.

CBT: What drew you to run for the chairmanship? BF: Over the past several years, there have been several economic and industry issues facing dealers that resulted in legislative and regulatory challenges in Washington. This is when I realized how important NADA is to dealers, and it encouraged me to get more involved and seek the chairmanship.

CBT: How many dealerships do you own? BF: We own and operate four dealerships in Auburn and Phoenix, N.Y. We employ 180 people who have been instrumental in our long-term success. We are fortunate to have such a stable workforce. More than half of our employees have been working with us for five years or longer.

CBT: As you know this has been a year of ups and downs for car dealers. Record highs in car and truck sales and record highs in recalls and regulations from the federal government. What issues will you focus on as you take the helm as chairman of the NADA next month? BF: There are several important issues on the front burner at NADA. Preserving the ability of new-car dealers to competitively price auto loans in their showrooms for their customers is one of our top priorities. The U.S. finance market is extremely competitive and we want to keep it that way. When banks, credit unions, captive finance companies and other lenders all compete for business, it drives down the cost of auto loans. We’re urging members of Congress to cosponsor legislation that will rescind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s flawed guidance on auto finance and keep auto

CBT: How many brands are represented? BF: Today, we sell and service Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Jeep, Ram, Scion, Subaru and Toyota brand cars and light trucks. CBT: How and when did you get involved with NADA? BF: A past NADA board member representing the state of New York encouraged me to get involved with NADA. I was elected to the board in 2006. Since then, I have served on various committees and was elected vice chairman for the 2014 term. 24


“There are great economic benefits to having local businesses create well-paying jobs to sell, finance and service cars.”

Fox says playing basketball at Georgetown University taught him the discipline he needed to succeed in business and in life.

Bill Fox and his sister, Jane Fox, center, celebrated the opening of the new Toyota, Scion, Subaru store in Auburn, N.Y. loans affordable and accessible for all car buyers. We’re also promoting the benefits of franchised dealers. The benefits to consumers sometimes get lost and we need to be out there promoting the price competition, warranty and recall accountability and local economic benefits that dealerships bring to communities everywhere. Local dealers provide the best, most competitive and most cost-effective system for the buying and selling of new cars for both car buyers and manufacturers. Car buyers benefit from price competition between local dealers that drives prices down. A network of local dealers provides extra accountability on warranty and recall claims. And there are great economic benefits to having local businesses create well-paying jobs to sell, finance and service cars. At the same time, franchised dealers provide manufacturers with a highly-competitive distribution system for their products at virtually no cost. Local dealers have collectively invested more than $200 billion in property and storefronts to sell new cars and light trucks.

CBT: Should dealers be concerned about companies like Tesla that want to sell their vehicles by bypassing franchised dealers to sell directly to consumers? BF: Direct sales may entice a niche player serving a small market, but for any company that wants to sell new vehicles in the mass market, the dealer franchise model is proven to work best. Executives at Tesla have even indicated that they will move to a franchise model if and when their sales volume increases.

CBT: Dealers were concerned that they were put in the hot seat with consumers bringing their cars back for recalls. Many thought that the manufactures dropped the ball on the handling of the recalls this year. How do you feel the OEMs have handled the recall situation this past year and what will the NADA be doing to ensure that OEMs do a better job of working with their dealers on future recalls? BF: It was a record year for vehicle safety recalls in 2014. When dealers are called upon to address a recall, they see an opportunity to help get their customers back on the road and restore confidence in the brand. I’ve been a dealer since 1976 and our dealerships have handled numerous recalls across multiple brands over the years. When something goes wrong on the assembly line, automakers turn to their franchised dealers’ service departments to make things right – all at no cost to the customer. Handling safety vehicle recalls is just one of the inherent consumer and manufacturer benefits of the dealer franchise network. Manufacturers get a network of thousands of local, professional

service locations to perform recall work, consumers get professional and local service and dealers are compensated for the work. It’s a good deal for everyone.

CBT: Warren Buffett recently jumped into the car business and many dealers feel that the industry may end up being controlled by a small group of 10 or 20 publically traded dealer groups. What do you say to dealers who feel this way? BF: There’s been some consolidation in automotive retailing, but still today more than 95 percent of the 17,800-plus franchised new-car dealerships in the United States are locally and privately owned. NADA represents dealerships of all sizes from family-owned businesses to publically held dealer groups. NADA has 63 members serving on its board of directors, which includes a diverse makeup of dealers who meet regularly throughout the year representing the interests of all dealers. NADA is a great organization and we work hard to have the back of every dealer in America.

CBT: What has the NADA been doing to help dealers maintain their existing state laws supporting the new car franchise system? BF: NADA does not have state chapters, but we work closely with local and state dealer associations, especially on promoting the benefits of franchised dealers. NADA launched a “Get the Facts” initiative last June to inform consumers, policymakers and journalists about the benefits of the dealer franchise system. A series of videos, infographics and fact sheets can be found at www.nada. org/getthefacts. A large number of dealer associations are using the videos and materials to promote the franchise system in their respective states.

From left, Peter Ponzi, former executive director of sales for Fox Auto Group; Bob May, fixed ops director; and Fox admire May’s ’32 Deuce.








I recently delivered a virtual seminar on Seven Top Sales Secrets and we had more than 3,200 professional salespeople register. The following week we did another virtual workshop on Secrets to Closing the Sale and there were more than 5,000 views in the first 72 hours. Clearly salespeople are looking for solutions and ways in which they can get an edge. I know you don’t have three hours right now so I wanted to share the condensed version here. The average salesperson never gets great, not because of a lack of skill or ability, but because of a lack of commitment. Without commitment you cannot be great. Commit now to being great and then these strategies can become a benefit.








Rejection is that thing responsible for the death of more automobile sales careers and entrepreneurs than probably any other thing. But rejection is not what you think it is and once you come to understand what it really means the way I did, it will no longer take you down. It took me 25 years to learn this, but when I did, it changed me forever as a businessperson. The secret is that rejection is actually an indication that your business model is broken. The reason you have an emotional response of disappointment is not because of the obvious outcome or lack of outcome in front of you, but the unconscious realization that something about what you are doing is broken. If the customer says no and doesn’t buy, it is not a reason to be upset unless, of course, you don’t have any more customers in your pipeline. If the customer says no and there are four more people waiting to buy from you, you may actually find relief and satisfaction that you can move onto those that are able and willing to do business with you. Understand that when you experience rejection it is an indication that you have moved away from a scene that is good for you and you have become too dependent upon too few prospects. If you don’t have enough appointments you aren’t going to sell anything. If you aren’t prospecting daily then you will be forever waiting at the front door hoping someone comes in and then you will complain because they have done all their homework and have TrueCar prices and Kelly Blue Book in hand.


This is a crazy negotiating secret that has never failed me. I have been in transactions from 38,000 vehicles to 38-million dollar apartment deals where the buyer tries pushing the seller around. When the “bully”, I mean buyer, adamantly and aggressively insists that they will not do something, or that you must do this and that, it is an indication that they will, in fact, do the exact thing they suggest they will not. In fact the more they insist they will not, the more likely they will. People that take very strong positions are almost always hiding something. Rather than reacting to this, remind yourself that you have someone that is spending a lot of energy telling you what they want to do. Think about how many times you scream at your kids, “Don’t ask me again,” and the kids asked one more time and you gave in, doing exactly what just moments ago swore you would not do. How about the gambler who says, “This is my last bet,” and then makes another wager after losing that one. When the buyer takes a strong position in the negotiations and they adamantly take a position consider this a ‘tell’ as to some weakness they are hiding from you. As in poker, when the player across from you acts strong they may in fact be weak. When the buyer yells, “we will only pay X” know that if you just keep your cool they will move – but you must stay cool.

No matter what the buyer says, states or demands you should under no situation ever disagree or make the buyer wrong or suggest their request is impossible. This simple strategy is very powerful and will save you lots of sales once you perfect it. If you have ever been to one of my seminars you know this little secret, but it’s amazing how many people still blow this one. The old saying, “the customer is never wrong,” is not true and in fact, more often than not, the customer is wrong and sometimes they even lie. That doesn’t mean you should call them out or make them look wrong. When you tell someone you can’t, won’t, are not allowed to or that’s impossible, you only cause this customer to become more dug in to their position and difficult to come to an agreement with. Just agree with the buyer and show them what you can do. Agree with them, tell them they are right, take their position, but that does not mean you have to do what they said. The customer says, “The payments are too high.” You can agree and close without adjusting the payments. This selling secret is so powerful but to pull it off you must train, drill and rehearse yourself avoiding all variations of no, not, never, can’t and won’t. My cloud-based sales university, actually has built in drills to make sure you get this handled and quit blowing deals. Any and all variation of no and can’t must be eliminated from your vocabulary.




The second sale is the most often missed opportunity in almost every sales transaction. The second sale is, in fact, the easiest money you can get from a customer, yet 96 percent of salespeople never attempt it. Understand you never get all the money from any one customer, no matter what they tell you. Most salespeople never ask for the second purchase because they are selling scared and haven’t done the math. Now you have to start over from scratch with another buyer. It is easier to make a second sale – another product or extra product – to the person that just bought. The rapport has already been built, the client is already comfortable with you, they trust you as the expert and people use second money to validate their original decisions. This is deep-closing psychology here, but it validates why you almost never see anyone with one package or why a grocery store has 34,000 products or why candy and gossip magazines work at check out. Not only does a second sale make you more money, it is the best way to own the client. If you believe in your product, your company and in yourself, the more the customer has to benefit from its use. Now that you understand the opportunity with the second sale it is important to understand how to ask for it. Beware! If not properly executed not only will you not secure the second sale, but you also run the risk of losing the initial purchase. So in terms of actually executing the offering of the second sale remember it’s all about timing. When asking for the second sale it is vital to first secure the initial purchase. The first purchase must be done, finished, sold and completed prior to offering the second sale. If you want to dramatically increase sales volumes and deal profitability immediately add the second sale offering to every pitch.



Use third parties to improve your position with the buyer and learn things you would have otherwise not uncovered. Put your manager to work on every customer by having the manager or third party touch your customer. Having another person touch your customer takes the relationship with you and your company to another level. Using third-party touches can move a prospect to a customer. As a young salesperson in retail, I made it a habit to use a third party to speak to the customer to ensure that I actually had secured the sale or to help assist me in moving the sale to a close. Even when I thought I was successful with a customer and had closed a sale, I would get management involved. This involvement with senior management didn’t make me look weak it made me look strong. Make your manager, general manager, finance manager, even the dealer, touch your customer before they leave and you will close more deals. If they can’t see the customer before they left, have them send a quick video text message to the customer. I did this last month for my sales team and it probably resulted in eight extra deals.










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Buyers love options and salespeople are terrified of them, but a great salesperson knows to always provide the buyer with options. Even when it appears that your buyer is committed to what is in front of them, offer them an option to secure the decision and close the deal. Presenting an option will help them view you in a more consultative role, as well as open the door to used inventory, packages and offerings as a way to negotiate instead of using price. When you offer a proposal, make sure you always give the buyer two other options on both sides of the target offer. One option should be something that would include less product or services that may or may not solve the customer’s communicated problem. The primary goal of doing this is to help the buyer see more value in the initially proposed solution. The other additional option should always be a move up or a more expensive or comprehensive alternative to your main proposal. This will either help the prospect see more value in the primary proposal or, better yet, show them that the next level up may be an even more appropriate solution to their problem.


Seventy-two percent of all salespeople never present a proposal to their customer and 87 percent of all salespeople miss quota! Simply increase the number of people you show a written proposal to and you will close more deals. Interestingly enough I have found that if a customer is not presented any form of a proposal, it is quite difficult for them to purchase anything – sarcasm intended. No matter at what stage your buyer or prospect is, you should always present every prospect with a written proposal. I have worked in industries from appliances to automotive, construction to consulting to real estate, and I have yet to see an industry where this didn’t apply. Start presenting figures to every prospect, every time, no exception. GRANT CARDONE Entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author Grant, a national speaker and motivator, is a respected, highly-regarded master salesperson whose passion is to teach people how to sell themselves, their products and services regardless of economic climate. His books, audio packages and seminars provide people of all professional backgrounds with the practical tools necessary to achieve high levels of success. Follow him on Twitter @grantcardone.

AutoLoop Offers A Single Comprehensive Solution Formed in 2005, AutoLoop is now the leading  provider of marketing solutions for effective and profitable customer relationship management at the dealer level. For almost a decade the company has helped automotive dealerships nationwide increase sales, improve client retention and achieve overall higher satisfaction ratings. With an all-encompassing platform that monitors customer DMS activity in real-time, AutoLoop automatically triggers personalized custom messages through voice, email, SMS and direct mail to precisely targeted customers. In addition, this extensive data— captured in a single, centralized location— provides a unique opportunity for analysis of performance, ROI and operational efficiency, dramatically increasing dealer profitability. Continuing to build on its experience and innovative technologies, AutoLoop is constantly exploring new ways to enhance customer targeting, engagement and retention. In 2014, the company expanded its offerings with the purchase of CAR-Research,

an acclaimed automotive CRM platform. With this addition, AutoLoop now provides one of the industry’s most comprehensive end-to-end Customer Engagement Suites. Instead of going through various vendors for multiple products, dealers can easily utilize AutoLoop’s single comprehensive solution which integrates CRM, marketing, scheduling, service lane management, inspections and more, strategically building ongoing dealership-to-customer relationships that boost loyalty, CSI and repeat business. An Inc. 500 company, AutoLoop currently serves over 2000 individual dealers, large dealer groups and even manufacturers across the nation and into Canada and Australia. The company tracks over 45 million dealership customers with nearly a billion individual communications initiated. Each day at AutoLoop, millions of data files are analyzed in order to better target customers and influence their automotive decisions—proving AutoLoop is passionate about being America’s best customer retention partner for progressive dealerships.


Transforming the Customer Experience in the Service Drive

2014 was a big year for AutoPoint, and Managing Director Rich Holland says the company is on track for an even bigger 2015. BY CAROL WHITE

Rich Holland, managing director


utoPoint, a company recognized as a leader in revenue and retention solutions for auto dealership service departments, went through some pretty significant changes last year. 2014 was, in a word, transformative, said Rich Holland, managing director. The company rebranded from MPi, consolidated all of its offices into one location in South Jordan, Utah, and was acquired by parent company Solera – all changes that will help the company continue to drive profits for its dealer clients, according to Holland.

NEW NAME MPi and AutoPoint came together as sister companies about five years ago and were merged when Solera purchased them last year. “MPi was largely identified with the multipoint inspection, which is just a sliver of what we do in the broader platform,” said Holland. “The name AutoPoint really enables us to effectively communicate what our solution strategy is. We adopted that name and rebranded it.” And that strategy, in a nutshell, is to be a full-service provider in the fixed operations space and help its dealer clients be more competitive. RETENTION AND REVENUES Unlike other areas of a dealership such as F&I or accounting, implementing solutions to increase revenue and retention in fixed ops is still a fairly new concept. “It’s a change in process, it’s a change in service philosophy, and so we’re still in an evangelist phase there,” said Holland. “But we think by fully utilizing the platform, dealers will be able to enhance the retention of the motorist and elevate their reputation as a service provider – and that’s a reward for the dealership.” AutoPoint’s dealer clients are benefiting from it and have experienced a significant uptick in revenue and profitability, said Holland, adding that his company offers a guaranteed 400 percent return on investment. “It’s impressive,” he said of the guaranteed results, “and we don’t have any trouble delivering on that.” So is this a solution from which only struggling service departments can benefit? Not necessarily, said Holland, who has encountered several service managers who can barely keep up with their current workload. The platform’s digital process streamlines the workflow making it easier to move a vehicle through the 30


repair process. “We’re able to find about 20 percent of untapped capacity in the dealership that thinks its running at full throttle,” he explained. “Without having to add more brick and mortar, stalls or technicians, they are actually able to utilize our platform to sell about 20 percent more capacity than what they think they previously had.” AutoPoint’s dealer clients are able to get those kinds of results by offering its customers a smooth, stress-free service experience that is open and transparent. “We think there’s been a long-standing challenge where dealerships have struggled to effectively communicate with the motorist the needs of the vehicle in a way that’s cognitive, credible and convenient for the motorist. We’re trying to demystify that,” said Holland. With the vast majority of today’s consumers being digitally savvy, communicating with them in that medium is crucial when it comes to informing them about repair needs and helping them understand repair work. Using a digital platform from the moment a customer walks through the door enables service advisors to deliver a more informative evaluation of their customers’ vehicle needs. Then communicating, through a unique URL delivered via email or text message, allows them to interactively make repair decisions about current and future repair work that needs to be done. Being able to clearly show and communicate what repair work is being recommended – and why – helps to foster validity and trust with the customer. “We strive to make it as an intuitive of a solution as possible for the technicians,” said Holland. AutoPoint’s solution allows technicians to access a world of information such as previously declined repairs, open recalls, outstanding warranty work, previous repairs that have been published and OEM specifications. “We try to empower the technician by leveraging data-rich resources to help them be more knowledgeable.”

NEW HEADQUARTERS In an effort to be more synergistic, AutoPoint consolidated all five of its offices into a centralized campus in South Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Part of the company’s new 40,000-square-foot facility houses the Solera Institute of Automotive Excellence, which offers leadership training for service advisors,

AutoPoint consolidated all of its operations into a centralized campus in South Jordan, Utah.

managers and directors. Its state-of-the-art classroom seats 55 and includes three projection screens and a laptop computer at each desk enabling interactive learning. In addition to training offered at the new headquarters, AutoPoint employs a team of consultants, many of whom have held senior leadership positions within dealerships, who visit their dealer clients and host onsite training for all service personnel.

GROWTH AND GLOBAL EXPANSION AutoPoint had its largest growth and most profitable year in history this past year, expanding the number of rooftops it serves by about 25 percent. Holland estimates that AutoPoint clients generated more than $6 billion in total value of recommendations made by AutoPoint technicians with $3 billion in sales made by AutoPoint advisors. With the aid of its parent company, AutoPoint has its eyes on global expansion. The Solera management team has an enormous commitment to the service, maintenance and repair sector, and has indicated it will invest $1 billion between now and 2020, said Holland. “That will be a big benefit for our customers as new technologies are made available to them, and help them be more competitive and, frankly, a better service provider to the motorist.” The focus for this fiscal year will be bringing new solutions to market and perfecting them here nationally before preparing for global distribution. From there, the company plans to capitalize on Solera’s market presence it currently has in 73 countries. “We have ambitions to be the demanded partner and continue our leadership in market penetration and in innovation and all the other categories that we pride ourselves on,” said Holland, “but at the same time beginning to share the same platform worldwide. There are a billion cars on the roads globally. All of them need this. Holland believes that the industry is reaching a tipping point where this technology – which up until now has mostly been a ‘want’ – is going to have to be adopted in order for a store to be competitive and really maximize the opportunity of a service visitor. “We think it’s that transformative of a solution for a dealer.”





Make 2015 the Year of the Woman Car Buyer Training your staff to be more trustworthy and respectful to female buyers will optimize your sales in the coming year. BY ANNE FLEMMING


rust and respect are not just the building blocks of a personal relationship alone, but of a sales relationship, as well. No one wants to buy a product or service from someone who isn’t informed or someone who doesn’t show the utmost respect for the customer. And hard data shows that in the auto industry the same holds true, especially with women buyers, as they vet through a competitive landscape for not just a reliable, but also a comfortable car dealership with which to do business., a ratings and review company that focuses on women’s experiences at dealerships, asked, “What is the most important reason you bought from your salesperson?” Of 3,451 responses from women, the top two reasons were being respectful and trustworthy.

Women place so much weight on the interaction and the relationship – or treatment – with her sales associate. IMPORTANCE OF RESPECT AND TRUST WITH WOMEN Sure, you’ve heard it before. We have reached a tipping in the consumer segment and today’s buyer is almost 50 percent female. An August 2014 report in the Wall Street Journal further states that 53 percent of millennial buyers are women; so shifting marketing paradigms to meet these demographics is a mandate for dealerships. On average women visit two dealerships when buying a car, so the opportunity to “get it right” is a 50-50 chance. Women place so much weight on the interaction and the relationship – or treatment – with her sales associate. It is very simple: if it goes well in the first few minutes – fantastic! That salesperson has made a positive impression and has increased the chances of her buying at that dealership exponentially. If the sales process and chemistry, so to speak, doesn’t fair well, she not only will walk out, but research shows that six out of 10 women will not return to that dealership. TIPS TO IMPROVE TRUST AND RESPECT Trust and respect are two words that are, in this case, really important only to the buyer, and we will liken them to the phenomenon of “momentum.” Like in the game of football, momentum can change quickly and you can’t even really tell why. It’s an invisible thing. That is how trust and respect are. � WOMEN LOVE ATTENTION, especially when they are about to spend an average of $32,000 – the price of a typical car today. Therefore, they expect to be treated thoughtfully. Greet them properly when they enter your store, with a pleasant smile, making them feel that you are truly grateful upon their arrival. With that, you might want to put your smartphone away.


are busy and dealing with more than one customer at a time, be upfront about it so they are aware of your time, not having to guess where you are. Let them know how long you will be. Make them feel comfortable and get them a drink. � LISTEN TO THEM. They are here to buy what

they want, not what the salesperson wants to sell, so it’s important to carefully and attentively listen to their needs – the features that they want in their car or the price that they are willing to pay. If they walk in unsure, it’s your job to ask, ask and ask more questions to help her get an understanding. And, certainly that will help you. That way your time isn’t wasted. Be and stay engaged. Moreover, it’s also important to make them realize – through body language – that they are being listened to. Always make and maintain proper eye contact when talking to them and respond to them affirmatively, through your body language by nodding, for instance. There is nothing wrong with folding your arms, just be aware the frequency of it. Lean forward when speaking to a prospective customer or repeat buyer to show and express interest. Again, be conscious when with a customer of how many times you are checking scores, emails or texts – even if an email is a business one. Seven in 10 women bring someone with them to the dealership when they buy a car. So when she does bring someone – her husband, partner, friend, children – be sure to include them to varying degrees in the conversation and negotiation. Frankly, you will take the lead from the buyer as to how much or less to include the other – but at first, you must include them. � SOUND CONFIDENT. Before trying to win a woman’s trust, it is important to be self-confident. Study and role-play to know most about the details of the car and explain the benefits. � BEGIN WITH THE BEST DEAL. The first offer presented to the women helps them make up their minds about the rapport and the usefulness of the dealership when buying their cars. Therefore, present them with the most suitable deal that fits most of their requirements. � BE FLEXIBLE. Women appreciate it greatly when

a sales associate listens to their options when finalizing the price of the car. Everyone wants a little wiggle room. Listen to create the best option for your client with opportunities for add-ons or takeaways that will add value and make her happy.


it comes to building respect and trust, always stick to the promise you made in the verbal agreement. Never try to manipulate women in the initial stages of the sale by making false promises or exaggerated statements about the car or the deal, and then later refusing to adhere to them. You may have made a short-term sale, but not a loyal returning client.

These are a few tips to help you optimize having a truly engaging sales relationship to convert more shoppers to buyers when women visit your store.

ANNE FLEMMING President of Prior to her involvement in the retail automotive industry, Anne spent 20 years in brand development and strategic product development for several international consumer product companies. Her leadership training led to the founding of, which has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, USA Today, Working Mother, Smart Money and other national media. Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @Womendrivers.



Are you tired of opening your DMS bill and not receiving the incredible support and software you would expect from such an incredibly large bill? We want you to breath easy. Stop by the oxygen bar at our booth and we’ll tell you about how much better it can be. With us, you’ll have the best support in the industry, lower prices, free upgrades and training for life, no contracts, and our free emergency 24/7 support. We want you to take a deep breath and start to see the value in your DMS again. Visit us at Booth #3310N at NADA 2015 in San Francisco to see why over one thousand dealerships have already made the switch to Auto/Mate. Visit us at to schedule an appointment to meet with us at NADA.

©2015 Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. All rights reserved.

Visit us at Booth #3310N!

@AutoMateDMS 877.861.9625


ACCOUNTABILITY To meet and exceed your dealership’s goals in 2015, devote more time and energy in the fixed ops department. BY DON REED


s a dealer, did 2014 bring you the return on investment that you expected? As a general manager did you meet or exceed your net profit projections for the year? If you are a fixed operations director did you increase your customer-paid retail sales for parts and labor over last year? For all three of you, is your service absorption rising year over year? If any of your answers were “no,” then you must ask yourself why? To begin with, your financial statements will show you where the opportunities for improvement, or conditions, are but what they won’t show you is how to fix them. To fix them you have to know what’s causing the out-of-line condition. Once the cause is determined you can then make the corrections necessary to properly bring the condition in line with industry guides. For those of you who have ever written a repair order, you probably recognized this as the “Three Cs,” condition, cause and correction. The technician needs the condition to properly diagnose the cause, which then enables him to make the necessary correction. It’s no different for the dealer, the GM or the fixed operations director when it comes to making money. So, now that you have studied your financials carefully to determine the conditions that prevented you from



attaining your respective financial goals, let’s determine what the cause might have been. I believe the culprits here are comfort zones and accountability. Everyone in your dealership has a comfort zone, just as you do. The issue is not to get rid of them but to simply move them again and again until you achieve the results you’re looking for and then move them again! This is important because it enables you to focus on the performance of your employees. Next, you must hold them accountable for their individual performance. Currently, most of you are doing that in the new car, used car and F&I departments which, of course, is where you devote much of your time and energy anyway, but you fail to do so in the service and parts departments. Allow me to give you some examples to clarify what I’m talking about:

Most dealers and GMs will hold their sales team accountable for their performance on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and make any adjustments – moving their comfort zones – on an as-needed basis now! Meanwhile their parts and service team remain in their comfort zones to continue to dwell in the land of underachievers.


Q: If I am a salesperson and I sold an average of five units per month last year, what are you going to do with me? A: Train me how to sell 10 units or more per month or replace me with someone who can.


Q: If I am a service advisor and I sold an average of 1.5 hours per customer-paid repair order last year, what are you going to do with me? A: I have a job for life!


Q: If I am a sales manager and my sales team averages five units per month and my gross per retail unit is at $700, what are you going to do with me? A: Train me how to average 10 units per salesperson and gross $1,500 per retail unit or replace me with someone who can.


Q: If I am a service manager and my service team averages 1.5 hours per repair order and my technicians’ productivity is at 80 percent, what are you going to do with me? A: Leave me alone because the other dealers in your 20 Group are about the same.


Q: If I am your general sales manager and my sales team averages five units per salesperson, $700 gross PRU, $200 F&I gross PRU and lose $600 per wholesale unit, what are you going to do with me? A: I wouldn’t have lasted six months, let alone a year.


Q: If I am a fixed operations director and my parts and service team averages 34 percent in retail parts gross, 62 percent in labor gross, averages 1.5 HPRO, shop productivity of 80 percent with a declining repair order count, what are you going to do with me? A: Thank you for being back there because I sure as heck don’t want to fool with that stuff.

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” — Peter F. Drucker

Are you starting to see my point? Most dealers and GMs will hold their sales team accountable for their performance on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and make any adjustments – moving their comfort zones – on an as-needed basis now! Meanwhile their parts and service team remain in their comfort zones to continue to dwell in the land of underachievers. Why does this happen? My belief is that most dealers and GM’s are outside their comfort zone in the back end of their dealership since their roots are in the front end. What can a dealer do to enable him or her to leave their comfort zone and cross over the demarcation line to the back end of their business? To begin with you must measure the performance of the people you intend to manage. Secondly, your people must know that you are measuring their performance. Thirdly, their performance will be compared to industry benchmarks. Last of all, they must understand that they will be held accountable for achieving or exceeding those benchmarks. Simply say what you mean but more importantly mean what you say. Again, most dealers don’t hesitate to do this in their sales and F&I departments so start off the new year by making it happen in fixed operations. Now I want you to rid yourself of the usual whiny excuses that I hear from dealers when I’m speaking to 20 Groups, dealer associations, dealer groups or individual dealers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s north, south, east, west or rural versus metropolitan. I hear this all across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom: “Don, you don’t understand, my market is depressed.” “Don, you don’t understand, my service manager has been with me for a long time.” “Don, you don’t understand, I can’t find an advisor that’s any better.” “Don, I don’t want to run off my customers by up selling.” Well folks, here is what I do understand. A depressed market has nothing to do with accountability for performance. Time on the job does not dictate a good performance on the job. If you can’t find better people, look harder because they are out there. If you or any of your people are afraid of running off customers from upselling, then you need to get out of the retail business of selling parts and service. By the way, the aftermarket already has 70 percent of your customers’ maintenance. Don’t you think it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and make the return on your investment that you deserve? Please, drag your fixed operations team out of their comfort zones and start holding them accountable. Once they stop kicking and screaming they will all make more money, they will be happier and your customers will realize you have the best dealership in town.

DON REED CEO DealerPro Training After 26 years in the automobile business as a dealer, GM, sales manager, service manager, service advisor and salesperson, Don began a new career as a consultant and trainer. As CEO of DealerPro Training and founder of The Don Reed PRO Training Network, he has worked with hundreds of dealerships and major dealer groups across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom to increase profits in their fixed operations. Don was rated a Top 10 Speaker at the NADA convention for four consecutive years. Visit the company’s website at




“If you do not differentiate yourself and your product, you will be a commodity selling a commoditized product or service – and that is a recipe for low to no sales and profits! ”

have the right people. I have fought business leaders and owners tooth and nail about hanging on to bad or unproductive people. I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why they have to keep bad and unproductive people. My message is: “Stop it.” Next, in regards to your people, are you developing your team? If you hired them, you are obligated to educate them and motive them. Yes, good people are self-motivated but anyone can be demotivated without the proper training and engagement in their jobs. If people are your most valuable asset, how much time do you spend growing that asset? I invite you to use the strategy of the three Cs: coach, counsel, cut. You must coach people first. If that is not working, they need counseling as to what has to happen and in what time frame this must occur. Next, you owe it to them, to yourself and your business to cut them if the counsel stage does not work. I invite you to work diligently in five areas of success for you and your people. 1. Do you attract, recruit, hire and retain good team members? 2. Do you give very clear expectations to your team members for their job activities and results?


3. Do you educate and train your team members?

Choose to Win

4. Do you motivate rather than demotivate your team members? 5. Do you hold your team members accountable?

Successful business leaders are those who have discovered and fixed the critical errors that were preventing their businesses from thriving. BY MARK TEWART


o you watch business-based reality TV shows? I love these shows not only for the excitement and entertainment, but for all the parallel messages they provide to your own business and life. When teams and their members excel in business there are always reasons. Likewise, there are also very specific reasons as to why people do not succeed. My message for those who are not succeeding is: “Stop it.” I love watching the TV show “The Profit” with Marcus Lemonis. Have you seen this show? Mr. Lemonis is a successful and wealthy entrepreneur who goes into struggling businesses and gives them the strategies and actions to turn their businesses from failing into successful entities. I love this show for many reasons. First of all, it is extremely entertaining because of the people, their personalities and the emotions involved. Secondly, I love the show for all the powerful lessons that are shared in what people must do to make their businesses, as well as their lives, successful. Last but not least, I love this show because this is the same thing I have been doing with businesses for many years so this show really hits home for me. In the show, Mr. Lemonis begins to investigate what he calls the three Ps: people, process, product. I too use this formula but have always called it the four Ps: people, process, product, positioning. It is truly amazing but whether I am working with an automobile dealership, a bank, a manufacturer, a landscaping business or any type of business, the formula of the four Ps always applies and, within reason, is always the same. Here is where it gets interesting. In every single failing business, there are critical errors being made that are easy to discover and usually easy to fix. In the vast majority of cases, the leaders and owners want to do anything but make the changes to fix those issues. After getting input from the leaders and owners as to their operations and their strengths and weaknesses it starts to become clear as to things that must be changed.



I would say 95 percent of the time the leaders and owners are so emotionally and egotistically wedded to their inventions, strategies or ideas that they would rather fail doing it their way than to make changes that would save their sinking ship. In every situation, I first try to get them to understand and take ownership of the problems and what they must do to change those problems. Even though this stage of the strategy is vitally important in the overall process, it rarely is successful at this point. In almost every situation, it becomes necessary to involve my message of “Stop it.” This is when it becomes very important to have the leaders and owners know exactly what is wrong in all four Ps, how they and they alone are the architects of these failings and that without change they will fail and go down with the ship because of stubbornness and ego. Emotions are high and raw. Often, there is some angry dialogue. This stage always distinguished winners from losers. When the wound of failure has been opened and rubbed with salt so to speak, winners decide to do whatever is necessary to fix the wrongs and losers keep trying to prove they are right. My question for you is: On which side do you fall? Are you married to failing ideas, philosophies, processes, people and marketing? I invite you to take a pen and paper right now and test yourself.

PEOPLE Let’s start with your people. How would you rate your people from 1 to 10? Nothing happens until you

PROCESS What about your processes? Do you have effective process? The answer is always “no” when I work with failing businesses. The processes are always nonexistent or severely flawed. Be willing to tweak or change your processes. PRODUCT What about your product? The inventory or service that you provide must be developed and monitored to the highest level. You must differentiate! If you do not differentiate yourself and your product, you will be a commodity selling a commoditized product or service – and that is a recipe for low to no sales and profits! POSITIONING What about the positioning? What are you truly trying to sell and to whom? If your market is everybody, you don’t have a market. Does your advertising, marketing and positioning in the marketplace reflect who you are and whom you are trying to reach. Remember the Ms of positioning: message, marketplace, media of delivery and match. All of these must be right for you to succeed at your highest level of positioning. In business and life, you choose to win or you choose to lose but the choice is always yours. Success and failure is based upon expectations and tolerations. You get in life what you expect to get and your life and business is based upon what you are willing to tolerate – both good and bad. In every single step of your business and your life, you must be willing to take personal responsibility to eliminate all excuses and be brutally self-aware of your missteps and failures. To be successful and to move forward, you must be willing to look in the mirror and say, “Stop it.”

MARK TEWART President of Tewart Enterprises Inc. Mark is a sales expert and professional speaker, trainer, consultant, entrepreneur and author of the best seller, “How to Be a Sales Superstar – Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It.” He has a 27-year career ranging from sales to becoming one of the youngest executive managers in the country at the age of 27 to now being a professional speaker, consultant, founder and president of four successful companies. Mark is also a professional member of the National Speakers Association and the Author’s Guild. Visit his website at

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Buying in to the myths of service writing could be keeping your service department from achieving the highest level of success. Part 1. JEFF COWAN


YTHS ARE DANGEROUS THINGS. They are invented from misinformation and the unknown.  For example, only a few thousand years ago it was generally believed that if you sailed too far out to sea, you would fall off the end of the earth. It was only when man dared to sail out beyond where they had previously sailed that they proved the myth wrong. There was a time when people actually believed that the moon was made of cheese. That was disproven with the aid of powerful telescopes. Or how about that myth that if your wife is happy, everyone is happy – wait a minute…that last one is not a myth, or at least that is what my wife tells me.


It takes at least a year before a service advisor can be a top producer.


If it takes that long, you simply hired the wrong person, did not train the person to be successful, or the person has no goals and desire to perform. If a new service writer is not meeting or exceeding your minimum standards within 90 days of their start date, it is likely they never will. If this is a concern for you, change your interview practices and/or your training program.


If you write service and have a high closing ratio and high customer paid repair order average, then it is impossible to have high survey scores and/or high customer retention.


I know hundreds of service writers who complete the trifecta month after month, year after year.  The difference is how hard you are willing to train a person and hold them accountable. If you expect and allow the myth to come true, it will – but it doesn't have to. Think highend restaurant here. If you visit a five-star restaurant like Ruth’s Chris Steak House, you will experience servers that please people, sell plenty of appetizers, desserts and drinks and have people return in the future requesting them. As a matter of fact, if they cannot do those things, their service will not be retained and they will be let go. They accomplish the trifecta because they are trained to, and then held accountable.



In the automotive industry, there are myths that exist today regarding service writing, even though they have been disproven many times over by actual service writers themselves. Although they have been disproven, many still hang on to these myths. Why? I believe it is because by allowing the myth to exist, it can remain an excuse not to change – an excuse that allows many to be lazy and not acknowledge problems which may require change or simply some sweat equity, or it could be that the myth has such strong reasoning behind it, that we just accept it as truth. Here are some of the most common myths surrounding the writing of service and hopefully, once and for all, make the many believers of these myths see otherwise.


Finding a great service advisor is next to impossible.


The average service writer makes $65,000 annually, gets two weeks paid vacation and has a benefit package that rivals some of the largest industries.  An employment package like this puts them in the top 25 to 30 percent of income earners in the country. It allows them to have a house that will average 2,300 square feet, and drive a new vehicle in the $35,000 range. And if they have a spouse that works, add in another vehicle, and another 800 square feet of house.  With all that said, you can’t find these employees? You need help with your ads, your interviewing techniques, and help in knowing how to sell a marvelous, highly satisfying and rewarding career like service writing.


Service writers can handle more than 15 customers a day.



Not if you want to have high survey scores, high customer retention, high closing ratios, high customer-paid sales and maximum profits. I say this in nearly every meeting I conduct and have said so for years.  If you allow your service writers to write more then 15 repair orders a day, then forget about the high numbers in the fore mentioned areas. If you choose that path, you are now limiting your service writers to be high volume clerks.  Yes, you can and will make some profits off the high volume sales template, as that is the very way most dealerships allow their service writers to work. However, the other numbers simply will not be there for one reason: lack of time.  If you want to have high survey scores, customer retention, closing ratios, hours per repair order and maximum profits, you must give your writers the time to sell and work with the customers. You only have the right, in my mind, to expect high numbers in all categories if you limit and control the number of tickets written in a day to 15 or less.

Service writers will not do what is asked of them, like walk around vehicles and memorize word tracks, nor do they respond well to authority.


No, they do not respond to weak leaders and weak leadership. If that is your problem, then your problem is clearly a question of you or your manager’s ability to lead and command respect. Think of your service writers as vendors. It is a business deal. You require them to do what you ask and they either do it and get to remain on your preferred vendors list, or they do not do what you require and you find a new vendor. Easy to do.


A great service writer rarely makes a great manager.


You’re right! Not if you pull them out of their job writing service one day, and throw them in the manager’s chair the next without any coaching. The mistake I see here is we constantly put people in management because they understand the technical side of the business, are well liked and appear to want to go the extra mile. The first and most important things to look for in a new manager are their ability to lead, make decisions, and make those who surround them better. These are things, just like on the technical side of the business, that can be taught and learned by a willing student. To develop tomorrow’s leaders from today’s service writers, you have to teach them how to lead and make good decisions as they perform today’s job. Teach them to prepare for the next step up the ladder while they occupy their current step.



takes a special service writer to be able to handle high-line vehicles, because high-end customers are different.

… by allowing the myth to exist, it can remain an excuse not to change – an excuse that allows many to be lazy and not acknowledge problems which may require change or simply some sweat equity, or it could be that the myth has such strong reasoning behind it, that we just accept it as truth.


High-line customers are rarely different than the non-high-line customer. As a matter of fact, they many times are the same exact customer. Literally. For example, I drive a Mercedes, my wife drives a Ford. Furthermore, look at the very street I live on. There are 15 houses. Each driveway has either a Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Tesla or Lexus in it. In addition, on each of those driveways is Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai or Honda. Regardless of which vehicle we drive, we simply want to go to a place where they are enthusiastic, caring, honest, can get the job done and, through their skill and approach, make us want to return for future visits. My CFO is a perfect example. She drives past her Infinity dealership when she needs service to do business with the Toyota dealership simply because, in her words, “I get better service at the Toyota dealership.”

As I have noted many times, I am a student of history. In studying history, I have seen time and time again that once a myth is dispelled great advances routinely follow. In the future, whenever you hear something that sounds like a myth, or hear an excuse from your staff and those in the business that impedes your ability to advance, question it, challenge it and test it before succumbing to its restraints. Then you will be poised to break free from the myth’s chains that bind, and achieve advances that will make your dealer principal happy. Because in the end, it gets down to one simple fact, like being married: if the dealer is happy, everyone is happy – and that ain’t no myth. JEFF COWAN President of Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk Inc. Jeff, in his 28th year of training, is recognized as the creator of the modern-day walk around and selling processes for service departments. Currently partnered with NADA, EasyCare, NCM, MPi and other vendors and manufacturers, Jeff is the nation’s authority when it comes to training service advisors and service support staff. Visit his website at and sign up for free, weekly training.






BACKinTO THE BASICS Dealers must focus on customers, inventory and employees to speed ahead of the competition. BY JENN REID


ccording to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Chief Economist Steven Szakaly, automakers will likely sell nearly 17 million vehicles in 2015 – up 3.3 percent from 2014 predictions. While we have solidly returned to pre-recession levels, the cautionary tale in 2015 is don’t be fooled by the sales numbers. We cannot go back to the way we did business before the Great Recession. Dealers will not thrive by simply “selling more.” Profitable dealerships will continue to look for ways to reduce operational inefficiencies and poor expense management, and those that continue to take a smart, holistic approach and optimize revenue from all areas will reap the benefits. Ultimately, the winners in 2015 will keep evolving their business models and efficiently maximize every area of their business – customers, inventory and employees – while putting customer experience and customer retention at the top of their priority list. 42


2015 CUSTOMERS: MILLENNIALS, COMMERCIAL, CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED First, let’s look at the types of customers we’ll see this year. The “educated shopper” will continue to evolve, driven by increased transparency and customers shopping online versus in the dealership. More sales will come from the millennial demographic as the job market improves. To effectively work this group, which has been “stunted” economically, dealers will need to deliver the right customer experience. This demographic does not respond well to “pressure” tactics and

appreciates being given the information they need to make a purchase decision. Dealers will need to balance the expectations of this group with their older baby-boomer demographic that is likely downsizing and opting for reliable, practical transportation. With continued improvement in the construction and building sector, we might also see increased demand for commercial vehicles, which will be a niche opportunity for dealers with truck lineups. The used vehicle market will also continue to be a great opportunity for dealers to grow their business

Profitable dealerships will continue to look for ways to reduce operational inefficiencies and poor expense management, and those that continue to take a smart, holistic approach and optimize revenue from all areas will reap the benefits.


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With the increase in several customer segments – millennials, commercial and CPO – 2015 should be a great year to look at marketing and retention plans in the service department to help recapture customers lost to the aftermarket shops.

and help offset new vehicle margin compression. As more companies focus on this segment, competitive pressures should increase for smaller dealers, which will drive the need to focus on customer retention.

WATCHING INVENTORY Although used prices will likely remain strong compared to pre-recession levels, they might soften compared to 2013 and 2014 due to the large number of units going through auction lanes in 2015. Dealers must watch their inventory turn. Getting vehicles through the service department and listed online will be critical to achieving success. Many service and parts departments at both franchise and used dealerships will likely be dealing with limited parts supply and increased warranty work from recalls. Open communication around those limited parts can help prevent the purchase of vehicles that may eat up margin due to delayed reconditioning from waiting on parts. With the increase in several customer segments – millennials, commercial and CPO – 2015 should be a great year to look at marketing and retention plans in the service department to help recapture customers lost to the aftermarket shops. In addition, continued CFPB activity will likely cause some quiet lender credit policy retrenching, meaning lenders will in turn continue building up dealer monitoring programs. The finance and insurance department will be at the crossroads of this monitoring, and one key area that all dealership owners should be stressing to their F&I managers is that accuracy is important when it comes to customer information. This department is on the front lines of taking care of customers, ensuring they understand what they purchased and proactively working with the 44


sales team to mitigate customer complaints. The key, however, is working with customers to find a resolution when there are concerns raised. 2015 may also be a year operators should consider F&I pay plans, and instead of compensating just around gross, look at options to compensate for dealership risk mitigation. For years, the F&I department has been one of the best revenue sources; however, it can now also be one of the greatest liabilities. Compensation drives behavior, so they should perhaps look at options to remove the pressure to “just deliver” and look at ways to empower F&I managers to deliver the right customer experience. This will also help mitigate fraud and prevent the dealership from being exposed to sophisticated fraud schemes. With the increase of sales coming from millennials in 2015, F&I offices also need to ensure they have the right mix of lenders. Don’t “shotgun” thin-file applications out to multiple lenders. This approach does not promote a good customer experience. F&I managers should put their lender relationship managers and credit underwriters to good use and promote education of their programs.

EMPLOYEE RETENTION One final area that cannot be ignored is employee retention. As the economy continues to improve, dealership personnel will have more employment options open to them. Dealers need to continue to recognize that employees are the cornerstone of

their business and look at increasing investment in the workplace to help employees maintain a quality of life balance. Dealers should also offer opportunities for career development, such as job shadowing and mentoring in other areas of the dealership, and training, which can be as simple as partnering with local associations. Also important is showing employees the value they bring both to their customers and the community. Dealerships play a vital role in their communities, and 2015 needs to be the year to promote that. If dealer owners are unable to be active in their local and state associations, then consider nominating a representative and making it financially feasible for them to actively engage. From a hiring perspective, look at segments such as recent college graduates. Providing graduates with well-paying jobs can, in turn, bring a fresh perspective to dealerships. Career centers at local universities and colleges can be a great way to connect, and dealers should consider summer internships. Another employment segment to consider is the long-term unemployed, which in many cases can bring great former experience. 2015 will certainly be a year of continued evolution and competition, and what dealers do over the next two years may help define what the next 20 years will look like. To succeed, dealers need to focus on the basics: customers, inventory and employees. Pay attention to all the details and you can take your dealership to the next level.

JENN REID Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Automotive Services at Equifax Jenn brings a unique perspective to Equifax Automotive Services with broad professional experience in the dealer, lender and OEM faces of the automotive industry. Her established relationships in the automotive space with dealers, and first hand experience in helping customers make purchases, and combined 14 years in the automotive space bolster Reid’s reputation as an industry expert. Follow Jenn on twitter @AutoJenn.

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t CBT News, we are fortunate to partner with the best trainers in the industry. Whether it’s information on sales,

service, F&I, marketing, management or fixed ops, our contributors are the go-to professionals for reliable, relevant advice for dealership personnel. You have access to the foremost authorities in the retail automotive industry. Need a new closing technique? Wondering what’s the best way to increase sales in the service lane? Send us your questions at We’ll forward your inquiries to our ensemble of experts.




Grant Cardone: Rather than just focusing on waiting until they replace the one you sold them look to the other vehicles in the household that present opportunity. Tom Stuker taught me this when

I was 27. “What are the other vehicles in the household?” It was a brilliant way to multiply the possibilities and reduce the amount of time I had to wait to sell another car/truck. I love Tom for that advice still to this day.




Jeff Cowan: Great question! Four things:

1. Forget the word “advisor.” You are a professional salesperson. Study professional selling skills and methods every chance you get. Author Tom Hopkins’s book How to Master the Art of Selling Anything is the selling Bible in my mind. 2. Set goals, both professional and especially personal – think big! 3. Mimic the most successful service advisor on your drive. Listen to everything they say and how they say it and watch everything they do. Become them and do not try and reinvent the wheel.



4. Once you can do everything the top service advisor can do, look for ways to improve in each area of the position. If executed properly, what I have briefly outlined here should put you on the course to be the No. 1 service advisor on your service drive within 12 months. Seen it happen countless times. Welcome to the business!




Kathi Kruse: For dealerships, it’s required to participate on Facebook as a “Business Page.” (It’s actually against Facebook’s Term of Service to have a personal profile for a business). You wouldn’t want to do that anyway because a personal page doesn’t get access to Facebook ads, which can drive traffic to your website and get you leads. You will however need a personal profile in order to act as administrator on the page. It would be best to create a separate Facebook personal profile for the business page. Why? Because I’ve see too often where dealers have left the social media up to someone, that person is no longer working for the dealer and then they can’t access their page. Make sure you have access to the email and password on this new user Facebook account. Once you’ve got your business page created, then add trusted users (including yourself ) as admins on the page. For a salesperson or service advisor, it’s really what you feel comfortable with: •

If you have a robust network already on Facebook with your personal profile, then continue leveraging that account. Be sure to present yourself as you would if you were on the showroom floor or service drive.

You wouldn’t want to do that anyway because a personal page doesn’t get access to Facebook ads, which can drive traffic to your website and get you leads.

If you really want to drive leads and sales, you can create a Facebook Business Page for yourself and utilize Facebook ads. You’d be surprised what you can do with $100 a month in ads. This option is for the more advanced user who should have his/her personal branding in place and a website...and a blog.




Joe Verde: If you look at the facts, it’s easy to sell more units in any market condition. Just start doing a better job right now with every person you’re talking to on the lot. In our survey and in all of our classes, salespeople agree that they talk to four people on the lot each day, on average. That’s 100 per month (4 x 25 work days = 100). 78 percent of the prospects on your lot will buy, so if you sell 10 units, statistically you’re missing 68 sales that end up buying down the street each month. Cut that in half if you want. If you’re only talking to two prospects per day, statistically that still means you’re missing 34 sales each month that a salesperson down the street will end up collecting a commission on. Sure, even I agree – missing 68 or even 34 are “perfect world” losses. So let’s say the stats are twice too high and cut them in half, too. If you’re talking to two prospects each day, that still means you’re missing 17 sales you could be making, if you work smarter. If that’s still too high, cut that number in half again and you can still pick up 8.5 per month for a couple more sales each week. Save yourself – you can never win the argument about not being able to sell more. You can always sell more of the people who are coming on your lot today... if you learn how to sell more effectively, close the sale and overcome their objections.

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