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VOL. 6 | ISSUE 1 | February 2013

Communicating Effectively - In Times Of Change PG: 6

Principal’s Office

- with Matt Lasco - Lasco Ford PG: 10

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE When it Comes to Reaching Women, Think Mobile! Pg: 8

You’re acting like a Jackapp Pg: 12

Subprime is the Key to increased revenues Pg: 14

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CONTENTs Featured In This Issue... Editor David Villa Creative Director Austin Janowsky Contributing Authors David Villa

Marsh Buice

Matt Lasco

Jody DeVere

Ken Towne

Kurtis Smith

Ashley Poag Brian Pasch Copyright ©2013 all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited unless expressly authorized by editor or publisher. The views expressed in the articles or advertisements are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the magazine or its staff. Editorial inquiries, questions or comments can be made to the Creative Director at Advertising Sales: Please call 813-630-5888 ext 523 or 551 or email

Articles 6.

Communicating Effectively - In Times Of Change.


When it Comes to Reaching Women, Think Mobile!

10. 12.

The Principal’s Office With Matt Lasco - Lasco Ford.


Subprime Is The Key To Increased Revenues For Your Dealer!


The Changing Of The Guard.


Dealerships Replicate Apple’s Success Selling Accessories.


Get Comfortable Not Complacent With Digital Marketing.


The Evolution of a Dinosaur From “Direct Mail” To “Smart Mail”.

By David Villa

By Jody DeVere

By Matt Lasco

You’re Acting Like A Jackapp By Marsh Buice

By Ken Towne

By Kurtis Smith

By Ashley Poag

By Brian Pasch

By David Villa

Dealer Solutions Magazine




Change is unavoidable — it’s part of life. People see the benefits for it, yet organizations often become hijacked by themselves in trying to “manage” change. As leaders, we must embrace change as an opportunity for growth. Your staff, however, may not see it that way — at least not at first. Change is messy and it’s unsettling. It is often even fearevoking among those who are asked to go along for the ride. Again, as leaders, our influence has enormous impact on how smoothly, or how roughly, a change occurs within your organization. When it comes to “managing change,” what not to do is to try and control it. That is a one-dimensional approach, and control begets resistance. So instead, “lead rationally.” This is a more effective scenario and endorses open communication with staff and allows you to get buy-in through your influence. To do this, we must first understand ourselves and our roles. Great leaders possess: 1. The ability to observe their own behavior 2. An awareness of their own actions 3. An awareness of their own thoughts and feelings 4. An ability to lead from the inside out

come part of the process. It is important to involve your team into conversations regarding change. Here are some things to keep in mind to increase staff involvement — and even their enthusiasm — during times of change within our organizations: 1. More is more (don’t keep them in the dark) 2. Feel their fears (use empathy to see it from their perspective) 3. Silence is not acceptance (just because someone isn’t voicing their objections doesn’t mean they don’t have them) 4. Turn your communications into conversations 5. Reframe the change as a process, rather than an event. 6. Go low-tech (as best you can, frame the discussion in everyday, easy-to-follow ways, so everyone understands what’s going on) 7. Show appreciation (change can be hard for everyone — recognize their efforts) Finally here are some key techniques for any leader using communication:

Self-awareness also enhances the way you communicate, which hinges largely on how you are as a leader, rather than merely the information you tell your staff.

Integrity — Integrity means alignment of words and actions with inner values. It means sticking to these values even when an alternative path may be easier or more advantageous. A leader with integrity can be trusted and will be admired for sticking to strong values. They also act as a powerful model for people to copy, thus building an entire organization with powerful and effective cultural values.

Being multi-directional is a great way to communicate. Our communication style — our “being” — comes more fully to life when we approach communication as a multi-layered relational process, rather than a mono directional process. If we, for instance, send a memo or make an announcement at a staff meeting, this is an example of monodirectional communication and leaves little space for the staff to be-

Dedication — Dedication means spending whatever time and energy on a task is required to get the job done, rather than giving it whatever time you have available. The work of most leadership positions is not something to do “if there’s time.” It means giving your whole self to the task, dedicating yourself to success and to leading others with you.


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Nobility — A magnanimous person gives credit where it is due. It also means being gracious in defeat and allowing others who are defeated to retain their dignity. Magnanimity in leadership includes crediting the people with success and accepting personal responsibility for failures. Humility — Humility is the opposite of arrogance and narcissism. It means recognizing that you are not inherently superior to others and, consequently, that they are not inferior to you. It does not mean diminishing yourself, nor does it mean exalting yourself. Humble leaders do not debase themselves, neither falsely nor due to low self-esteem. They simply recognize all people as equal in value and know that their position does not make them a god. Openness — Openness means being able to listen to ideas that are outside one’s current mental models, being able to suspend judgment until after one has heard someone else’s

ideas. An open leader listens to their people without trying to shut them down early, which at least demonstrates care and builds trust. Openness also treats other ideas as potentially better than one’s own ideas. In the uncertain world of new territory, being able to openly consider alternatives is an important skill. Creativity — Creativity means thinking differently, being able to get “outside the box” and take a new and different viewpoint on things. Creativity provides the ability for leaders to think differently and see things that others have not when leading them towards a new future, and thus giving reason for followers to follow. David Villa is the owner of Imperial Press Direct IPD. He can be contacted at 866.802.5750, or by e-mail at

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When it Comes to Reaching Women By David Villa - CEO, IPD

Think Mobile!

I have a question for you, and be honest. How many times per day do you use your phone to check your email, your Facebook, or for a quick web search for that great Chinese place so you can call in an order? The answers may vary, but if you have a smartphone, I’ll bet the answer was more than you thought it would be. Our mobile devices are getting us more and more connected every day, and yet mobile marketing still remains a largely untapped market. According to the BlogHer Consumer Electronics Study, 84% of women make purchasing decisions based off of blog posts, 56% from social media. In the same study, researchers found that a whopping 79% of respondents called their mobile phones “indispensable.” Not far behind in terms of importance were laptops and computers (77%), while only 29% thought they really needed a television. This bears repeating. Most women would rather have a mobile phone than a television. As savvy, socially connected women, our mobile phones and tablets are how we interact with the world. They’re how we keep up with friends, where we get our news, how we manage our finances, where we get our entertainment, and most importantly – they’re where we do our shopping. Here are some tips for you to improve your mobile marketing strategy. 1. Get a mobile site. First and foremost, if your company website doesn’t have a mobile friendly component, you are losing customers. A mobile site is a condensed, reformatted version of your regular site that is optimized for mobile phones, but it can be a lot more. Your mobile site instantly connects customers to you via click-to-call technology, but it can also offer a unique experience for your mobile surfers. The best mobile sites have exclusive content and deals – mobile coupons are a hot commodity right now! Use QR codes in your office and even on your traditional websites to drive traffic there.


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2. Start a blog, and keep it updated. Nothing inspires trust in women online like other women online. Find a female voice that can write regularly for your blog. Include car care tips, car reviews, and things they may not know about what’s going on “behind the scenes” at your business. Make this blog easily accessible via your mobile site – in fact, I’d suggest making it the main feature beyond your branding and any exclusive deals you do. 3. Go social in a big way. You probably have a Facebook account. You may even have a Twitter. But do you have a Tumblr? How about a Pinterest page? Engage in as many social media spheres as you can. Twitter can be a great PR platform, Tumblr is getting more popular as a social blogging service every day, and Pinterest and mobile go handin-hand. Be careful not to be all-business in your social media, though. Keep it fun. People laugh at me when I suggest sharing those funny photos of cats with captions on a business page, but the people interacting with you in social media want to be entertained, and they want to feel they’re interacting with a human, not a company. 4. Don’t share short codes – get your own! If you do any social media, you know what I mean. Shortened urls by Twitter or to keep your character count low. Well, is great, but we suggest a little investment if you’re going to be serious about marketing on a small (as in mobile) scale. For a very affordable price you can have your own shortened domain and custom short-urls. 5. Take charge of your SEO. And I don’t mean just mobile – I mean all around. Ask your web developer if they do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and if they have tracking data. Once you go mobile, you’ll want to see how your customers are finding you, and then you’ll know where to focus your marketing efforts. Jody DeVere is the CEO Contact her via email at

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The Principal’s Office with Matt Lasco Lasco Ford


How did you get started in the car business?

What is your philosophy for a successful dealership?

That’s actually a funny story my parents actually wanted all three of us boys to pursue with different careers outside of the auto industry after about a year and a half in Pre-law at Michigan State I realized I was a seller not a reader and clawed my way back into the dealership Starting as a shuttle driver and bouncing my way through service and into sales. After my father realized this was my calling he sent me back to Northwood to finish up a degree. I came down and gave managers off on weekends and desked deals for about a year and a half rushed through graduation and I have been in the biz ever since Why do you believe to be so successful in the automotive industry? I would credit much of my success to a great foundation laid by my father who had run dealerships through good and also very tough economic times so he trained me to be proactive and it’s always Me one step ahead of the curve. I think work ethic is what has propelled our company so far ahead of many others we’re willing to go a step further than most competition. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have a younger brother in the business who has many attributes that I don’t thus making us a very strong team.

Successful dealers usually all have one thing in common. They do what it takes to get the job done Now and work on fixing the process after they’ve please the consumer We are a hands in store and have been since our father started business. My brother still drives appraisals and I still desk deals when needed or take floor TO’s.

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What is the number one reason you think that a dealership is fails in today’s client field? Most stores fail from lack of knowledge on the Top. If a dealer doesn’t understand and area of the dealership like finance or used car values a bad management team can put you millions backward and by the time the dealer gets wind the mgrs are gone and paid and the store is in a pinch for cash and profit What are you truly passionate about? My true passion is to be the best. We thrive on maximizing all opportunities and we never gauge our performance on others in our market we stack ourselves against the best dealers nationally in each

department and believe we can be #1 in all areas. Pre-owned and subprime has always been my baby and will continue to be my focus however it’s based on Importance not passion Used cars drives the entire dealership you won’t be the best in any department else if you don’t have a used car outlet. Subprime is what keeps the needle moving when the “market is slow” for other dealers subprime slows much less. What have you learned from your good and bad mistakes in your career? #1 Hiring – take your time do the background check, call references, and believe in you first instinct. #2 Termination – If you feel like someone isn’t good for the company odds have it they are and we’ve learned its better to part ways than put company at risk . #3 Marketing – Driving traffic is only as good as the staff there to handle it. You must train and staff before you turn on the lead train. #4 Staff – Never stopping looking for sales, Reps , managers, finance etc you’ll never get to the next step without the right people and enough people. #5 Heart – You can find people and train people the business but you can’t train heart so when you’ve found an employee that care for you business the way you do then hold on to them and build around them. What are the first steps you would take if you saw an unexpected drop in sales? 1. We look internally – BDC out put - Sales rep follow up – Manager save a deal calls (Every dealer has hundreds of repeat or unsold leads so there is never “no traffic” it’s what we create of it.

3. Re look at 100% TO process ensure a manager is meeting all customers before and during the pencil of deal. 4. Control of All inbound leads / managers take all phone ups and internet leads on an off day to ensure we captivate 100% available appointments in building. 5. Trades – we reappraise last 100 appraisals looking for bumps and reason to call the customer. ` What do you personally think is the best leadership asset you have in your arsenal? I’d have to say the ability to maximize people and their abilities. I’m a very hands on person desking deals, buying cars, getting subprime deals approved, taking TO’s on the floor etc. so I can usually really show a manager or sales rep how we want something done right and then hold them accountable to do it right everytime. My staff will openly state that Matt is very strict and stern however he’s 100% always fair in his actions and when it’s time to have fun he makes the business a blast. What is the most important product you could be presented with to help you deliver in the next year? At this time we’re not hunting for a set product to help us in 2013 we’re more so looking for ways to utilize all the tools we have as well as deliver the highest closing % possible we’re literally overwhelmed with active leads and feel we have another 80-100 units a month available if properly worked through our process. Matt Lasco is the General Manager of Lasco Ford in Fenton, Michigan and can be contacted at or toll free (855)635-9322.

2. We set up campaigns to create a buzz, mass email, power hour phone blitz all reps and managers 1 hour all calls can to up to 500 in an hour.

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You’re acting like a

Jackapp By Marsh Buice - Mark CJD

There are many people in this world who would rather do time than to update the Apps on their tablet or smartphone. The conspiracy theorist in many of us feel if we elect to hit the Update All button, life as we know it will all come crashing down…and they couldn’t be more right. We may be dogmatic in working to protect our personal lives, but when it comes to our professional lives, we long for comfort and convenience. We feel we’ve worked hard to arrive where we are today-we fought deficiencies, depressions, and dysfunction for many years and feel we deserve the right of passage to be satisfied with our accolades. Our low tire indicator keeps appearing on our dashboard of life alerting us that one of the wheels responsible for our success is leaking. As our complacency mounts, we elect to air up the tire, doing only what is necessary to restore our sense of normalcy instead of discovering the root cause of the leak. As we speed down the Autobahn of life, the leaking tire finally gives way-intertwining a massive pileup in both our personal and professional lives. Life constantly throws app updates our way, yet we ignorantly choose to ignore them. We are jacking up our lives-allowing fear to steal life’s custom-made opportunities, all because we dread change. Bertolt Brecht said, “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” You will only be given so many chances to update the apps of your career before your operating system crashes. Choose or be chosen. • Security: Your app has to be updated regularly to maintain safety and security. Malicious viruses of negativity and pessimism, bugs of boredom and complacency gradually creep in. Left undetected, your system can crash-causing your career to “suddenly” fail. Build firewalls around your career by feeding yourself a buffet of positive information. Build your career having the faith of knowing why you can, not why someone thinks you cannot. Selling is built around rejection, which is why it can be lucrative. You must feel the pain of rejection to receive the gain of prosperity. Renew your mind each day; selling is an industry where it both forgives yesterday’s downfalls yet grants the grace of new beginnings tomorrow. With such a disproportionate amount of failures, draw from the lessons of each encounter. Don’t get entrapped in why you had the misfortune, instead ask how can you can learn from this lesson so as not miss fortune the next time around. Experience can be a great teacher, if you’ll let it.


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• Performance: Your app has to be updated regularly for optimal performance. Thanks to technology, our industry is moving forward at breakneck speed. Customers have options and demand more professionalism and knowledge from our industry than ever before. With fewer incentives, more choices, and greater technological advances, you’re app has to be up to date with distinct advantages your products offer versus your competitors’. School is never out. Don’t be lazy in learning- the price of self-education is cheap compared to the cost of ignorance. App updates are done quickly-update yours by stealing pockets of opportunity-a few minutes while standing in line at Subway or 45 minutes while waiting in the E.R. after your nail gun incident. Instead of seeing what everyone else is doing in the social media-sphere, update your app with something that will be useful in advancing your career. • Aesthetics: In addition to performance, your app has to be aesthetically updated. Corporations get an image facelift by updating their buildings and logos. In order to remain competitive, manufacturers update some models and cancel others deemed unprofitable-what say you? What model of Me-hicle are your rolling around in? How do you view yourselfas bucket or a ‘Benz? Toss the dress shirts that are cuffed because they are too short; buy a new pair(s) of dress shoes and ditch the ones whose disintegrating soles sound like sandals flip flopping across the showroom floor; leave the Iron-man decathlon watch for the treadmill and buy a nice dress watch for work. Think of each day as dress as rehearsal for your future. You have to look the part you are auditioning for. Life is always throwing sliders, curves, and fastballs our way. Some days we get a base hit while others we will strike out. But be assured you will never hit a grand slam in life while sitting in the dugout. Yes, there’s an app for that.. you’re on deck…

I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop.

Marsh Buice is General Sales Manager of Mark Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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Subprime is the key to increased revenues

for your dealer! If you are searching for new ways to sell more cars, we at Auto Credit Express believe the subprime consumer is the one to target in today’s market. It’s a fact that over 10% of all new car sales and 35% of all used car sales are bought by people with subprime credit. We all know the rules have changed in recent years, but you can still sell more cars.

Our Premier Lead Service is our most popular program, which includes:

One metro Detroit Kia car dealership decided to pursue the subprime auto finance market and increased their new and used sales over 300% compared to the previous 12 months. They did this all while maintaining a top 10% CSI rating among all Kia dealers nationwide.

As you do your research and consider buying special finance leads from Auto Credit Express or another distributor, make sure you’re dealing with a company that originates the majority of their leads and they are not just a reseller of data purchased from lead exchanges.

Credit tiers by Vehicle Type New Used Prime 76.81% 46.93% Nonprime 12.51% 15.29% Subprime 8.29% 17.30% Below Subprime 2.39% 20.48%

Remove The Barriers Those are great numbers. So what’s keeping you from seeing numbers like that too? You may have experienced one or more of the following situations that is making you hesitant to take the next step. You may have had: • A high turnover level of subprime managers • Ineffective marketing and advertising Or maybe you just don’t know how to go about it. If you’re willing to put forth the effort to increase your sales by entering the special finance auto loan market, Auto Credit Express can help you. Along with our superior special finance leads program, we can also help car dealers with our virtual BDC call center services, and our online subprime auto sales training series.

Find a Subprime Marketing Solution! Here at Auto Credit Express, special finance leads are our expertise. We have a vast network of exclusive, hightraffic special finance lead origination websites. And we make quality, qualified leads for subprime auto loans available to car dealers.


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• LotPro, our online software for Lead CRM management and tracking • Access to our Bankruptcy List Marketing System • Premier placement of your inventory on our used car websites.

13 questions that you should ask every subprime lead provider that you are thinking of doing business with: 1. Can you take me online and show me how people find your used car websites? 2. What is your message to the consumer? Do you promote the dealer involvement or do customers think you are a bank? 3. Do you have a customer service department and a toll free number for customers to call when they have questions or issues? 4. Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau and what is your record? 5. How soon do you send other offers to your customers? 6. Do you collect complete co-buyer information? 7. How many data fields do you collect and how many are required? 8. What experience does your company have in subprime? 9. Do your ads promote low rates, no obligations or giveaways? 10. How many references can you give me that have been with you for 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years or 6 years? 11. What is the ranking of your main subprime site on Ranking, Compete, Alexa and 12. What is the percentage of leads that I would receive that come from your sites? 13. Do you provide any management tools? We welcome the opportunity to show you how we generate traffic for over 800 dealers across the United States and Canada. Ken Towne is General Sales Manager of Auto Credit Express in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The Changing of the Guard by Kurtis Smith - Pres/CEO The K-Method Group, Inc.

How is it possible for an industry that contributes almost 4-5% to the nation’s GDP to not have a coherent and cohesive strategy for developing the individuals at the dealership level that drive it? Furthermore, how is it possible that this industry does not have certification bodies to confirm that these practitioners are qualified to do the work? The demand for these two aforementioned points can be observed in the consumer’s outcry regarding the poor performance of the industry’s practitioners as well as the extremely high failure rate of the under qualified individuals that use these dealerships as a stop gap, on their way to something else. The term microcosm is probably the appropriate definition of what the automobile industry has become as a result of its separation from known and proven business and professional best practices. The evidence of this disconnect can be observed in the behavior and performance of those responsible for sales and management duties that are encased in a vacuum called the dealership environment. This vacuum continues to perpetuate their isolation by avoiding industry crosstraining that would expose them to comparable business models where their counterparts who are responsible for business development and customer relationship management tasks are required to engage in proactive measurable activities to move the sales and client retention needle. With that being said, based on the current state of affairs in dealerships today, it’s fair to conclude that measureable improvement lies in these dealerships’ adoption of a more proactive approach to the business development and customer relationship management strategies that are comparable to their counterparts. The problem however, is that in the absence of social proof that conclusively proves that this approach would work in the dealership environment, the current stakeholders who are vested in keeping the status quo will continue to resist any form of change with the usual explanation that “this is the car business” which is code for that approach will not work here. The fact is that change for the current dealership business model is no longer a should, but a must. The ease of access that consumers now have to information due to the Internet has caused a shift in their buying habits resulting in dealership professionals struggling to figure out

their new roles and responsibilities now that the dealership is no longer the destination but only a part of the buying process. It’s hard to believe that it has been 22 years since the Internet became a reality. It’s even harder to believe that the automotive industry to include the manufacturers and their dealer bodies have yet to come together to develop a calculated response that will address the deficiencies in their training curriculum that were revealed by the consumer’s shift in buying habits. What’s even more alarming is that by their continued use of antiquated business practices and now incomplete business processes that were once relevant in the pre-Internet era, we can actually prove that the high employee turnover, strained customer relationships, over-inflated advertising budgets and failed businesses are connected to their delayed response. It’s time to wake up! The good news is that all is not lost. The fear has always been that the industry is too large and too disjointed to put together a strategy that everyone can agree upon and get behind. The fact is the solution is quite simple and easy to implement when you are able to identify the core competencies that the individuals in sales and management positions need to know to be effective at their jobs and teach that first before focusing on skills and techniques. The reality of our situation is that our varied educational, demographic and psychographic backgrounds wreak havoc on our abilities to produce consistent results across the board due to the absence of standards by which all of our performances can be measured evenly. So in the absence of everyone being taught the core competencies that will become the standard by which we measure success or failure at the specific activities required by the positions, what you will have and what you are currently experiencing are a myriad of interpretations of what the individual thinks that they should be doing in the different situations that are a part of their daily job functions. So in essence, let’s begin with the perfect end in mind so the conversation can begin. Kurtis Smith is Founder of The K-Method Success Academy, The Ultimate Training Program for Dealership Selling Professionals. He is a speaker, author, and trainer and can be contacted at or toll free (855)635-9322.

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Dealerships replicate Apples success selling

accessories by Ashley Poag - Marketing Specialist for Insignia Group Apple stores are one of the most successful retail stores in the world. In 2009, when retail sales declined around 2%, Apple’s retail sales rose roughly 7%. According to The Mac Observer, one of their largest growing product segments is accessories...iPad owners tend to average spending $150+ on accessories. Yahoo Finance reports Apple’s in-store retail accessories sales increased 85% from 2011 to 2012. And, technology experts believe that if others want to compete they will have to partner with an accessories maker.

How can dealerships replicate Apple’s success selling accessories? Here are four key components that retail experts believe are a part of Apple’s secret recipe for success and examples of how you can mimic them in your dealership as it relates to accessories.

1. Visual Appeal

Apple...The Genius Bar: This is the heart of the Apple Store. Visually the Genius Bar’s displays are informative. They usually have at least two 15” computer monitors that offer tips and product information. Much thought and planning goes into the pre-loaded photos and videos displayed on these units. Personnel stationed at the Genius Bar carry Apple products like iPads to assist customers. Dealership...Showroom Mannequins (pre-load): The same visual interest Apple uses The Genius Bar to create can be done with your display vehicle. Magnetic arrows can be used to display pricing information on pre-loaded accessories. Choose vehicles and pre-load accessories based on what sells in your store. You can also have sales consultants carry iPads with automotive accessories sales tools installed on them, as well as service appointment applications etc. The key is to be visually appealing and informative.

2. Knowledge

Apple...Informative Staff (The Genius): Sales consultants at the Apple store are referred to as Geniuses. Rightly so because, they are well informed on the product they sell. The lead Genius at the Apple store is in charge of overseeing customer service and support. All Geniuses can offer answers about Apple products and services and serve as somewhat of a cheerleader for Apple. Dealership...Accessories Champions: Just as it is done in the Apple store, when you establish your accessories


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profit center it’s important to have a trained person to answer customer’s questions, introduce options to customers and carry the accessories program banner throughout the dealership. This person is your accessories champion. They are well informed on the services you provide on accessories and the accessories themselves.

3. Training

Apple...Detail Oriented Training: Apple has one of the most thorough detail oriented sales training programs in retail. Many regard Apple’s retail training as one its secrets to success. Before you can become a Genius in the Apple Store you have to be a GYO (Grow-Your-Own Genius) first. In addition to that Geniuses receive regular training on new products as Apple is constantly coming out with original technology. Dealership...Accessory Sales Training: If the dealership is going to be successful in selling accessories on every deal they have to know how and what’s expected of them. This is no different than how you view F&I sales. Apple’s training program sets the stage for awesome sales performances by their stores. In the same way training sets the standard and expectation of an accessory program.

4. Process

Apple…Customer interactions: When a Genius approaches a customer they are instructed to not sell but to solve problems. This overall mindset leads to the desired end result; the customer buying the product based upon value. Apple’s training emphasizes active listening skills and excellent product knowledge. Dealership…Word Tracks: Word tracks are an excellent way to point out the value of any OE or aftermarket accessory. Using them requires knowing your product and actively listening to the customer. It’s simply a conversational path that highlights how an accessory solves a problem or benefits the customer. For example “adding a remote start will allow you to cool your interior in the summer and heat it up in the winter before entering the car.” Now the customer doesn’t feel like they were “sold”, giving them a sense of added value that lead to sales. Ashley Poag is a Marketing Specialist for Insignia Group located in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

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Get Comfortable Not Complacent With

Digital Marketing By Brian Pasch, CEO - PCG Digital Marketing

There is no single formula for success when it comes to operating a profitable dealership. Automotive industry benchmarks, best practices, and peer recommendations can influence process but, ultimately, true success boils down to the vision and leadership of the Dealer Principal. What happens when that vision becomes blurred and next steps are less sure than they once were? Dealers who are struggling to achieve previous sales and profit records are not alone. Some of the best marketing strategies of the last decade are not delivering the same ROI today. This frustrates some very successful entrepreneurs. Change is in the air. It seems to be accelerating at a rapid pace for car dealers. You do not have to look far for examples of change in the automotive industry. Have you noticed how thin the local newspaper has been getting? Where did all those advertising dollars go? Have you watched your children or the offspring of your friends use their iPads and iPhone to watch episodes of their favorite TV programs? Are your commercials showing on these mobile devices? Why not? Have you noticed that your postal mail consists mostly of bills and advertisements? Are your friends keeping you up to date via email, cell phone, Facebook, or even Pinterest? Who would have predicted 20 years ago that the US Postal System would be practically bankrupt due to lack of consumer mail traffic. If newspapers, Cable TV, and postal mail have seen dramatic decreases in advertising revenue it means that marketing professionals, much smarter than you or I, have figured out that the eyes and ears of the consumer have moved elsewhere. Car dealers must ask themselves a very sobering question: “Does our marketing budget truly connect and influence consumers when they shop for goods and services today?”

How Is Your Budget Allocated? Dealers need a balanced approach to marketing in order to maximize their reach. Monthly marketing investments


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for automotive retailers can include a mix of traditional media (radio, cable TV, newspapers, billboards, direct mail) and digital media (SEM, SEO, Display, Video, Social Media, third party leads). I have analyzed hundreds of dealer budgets and one common thread exists: digital marketing investments are underfunded. This imbalance exists despite the fact that digital marketing strategies drive consumers to the dealer’s website at the lowest cost and deliver the best ROI. The most clicked area of a car dealer’s website is its preowned inventory page, followed by the new car inventory and specials pages. Have you considered why? Consumers have dozens of influences online that help them narrow their choice for a vehicle, referred to as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). When consumers move down the sales funnel and visit a dealer’s website, their primary goal is to see what the dealer has in stock and how it is priced. Using this information, I look at the investment required to drive local consumers to a dealer’s website to view its inventory or specials. Digital Marketing strategies can drive traffic to a dealership website at around $2.00 per visitor. On the other hand, radio, newspaper, and cable TV cost between $10.00-$20.00 to drive a single consumer to a dealer’s website. My research combined with dealer principal interviews has led me to conclude that despite the clear ROI of digital marketing, dealers tend to favor traditional media because it is what they understand and are comfortable with. Traditional media companies often have more frequent onsite visits with their customers to pitch their products and re-educate dealers on their fading value proposition. Some dealers commented that they have a social relationship with their traditional agency that spans years. You won’t get a dinner invite from Google advertising representatives despite spending $10,000 a month in Adwords! Is the lack of budget for digital marketing due to the fact that website and marketing companies serving the auto industry are missing that personal touch that builds trust?

Where To Shift Dollars? Marketing agencies and digital vendors need to do a better job of educating Dealer Principals. Dealers need to get comfortable with digital marketing investments. The digital world has perfect tools that connect the dealer’s message to low-funnel consumers in similar ways that traditional channels offer. For example, dealers who love to advertise on cable and broadcast TV should switch a portion of that budget to video pre-roll advertising. Their 15 or 30 second commercials can play before popular online videos on major news, sports, and entertainment websites in their local market. If the pre-roll ad connects with the viewer, the local consumer is one click away from visiting the dealer’s website. The video pre-roll script has to be different from the Cable TV version. You can reach out to me for more details on pre-roll scripts that work. Dealers who have decided to compete with local independent service centers and chain stores (Discount Tire, Meineke, Jiffy Lube) should increase their paid search campaigns targeting consumer searches for tires, batteries, brakes, and oil changes. The investment must also include targeted mobile paid search strategies that include clickto-call mobile ads that will keep your service department humming with new business. Dealers who have always been active in charitable giving programs should now consider engaging the needs of the local community through a dealer branded giving website. Local residents can vote for their favorite charities and community projects to direct funds from the dealership. The visitors to the portal can be leveraged to hyper accelerate the dealers brand awareness without any additional work on their part. How? You can call me for that secret sauce! Let me be clear. Dealers are making money from traditional media investments when they are integrated into a larger comprehensive strategy. Targeted direct mail is ideal for conquest marketing when combined with the proper digital assets to support the offer. Dealers using “smart

mail” strategies have realized that the “spray and pray” mailing approach used in the past was wasteful.

Invest The Time To Get Comfortable How do you know if your marketing budget is out of balance and that your digital marketing investments are underfunded? That’s the easy part. I have created a spreadsheet tool that you can use to see the balance of your investments. Dealers will be able to complete it in less than 10 minutes. If you would like a copy, send your full contact information to: Once you fill it out, I can discuss the findings with you on a free 15-minute phone call. I want all dealers to get comfortable with digital marketing strategies. So ask your questions and get the answers that will allow you to inspect, manage, and fully leverage digital marketing to sell more cars at a lower overall cost. Dealers cannot afford to continue with a flawed marketing strategy that is out of balance and missing opportunities to connect with today’s car buyers. The more dealers get comfortable with terms such as re-targeting, video preroll, behavioral targeting, display advertising, and clickto-call, the faster they will become the masters of their marketing destiny. Brian Pasch, CEO of PCG Digital Marketing, has built his business insights and strategy on a foundation consisting of over 20 years of Information Technology and Marketing leadership.

Dealer Solutions Magazine


The concept of wasted distribution has always been rather easy to understand but to some, fixing the problem has posed a more difficult problem. If this is so in your dealership the good news is you’re not alone in this struggle. 80% of dealerships waste advertising dollars and struggle to grasp the concept that will fix the problem. As a Mailer, direct mail has been a staple in most dealerships monthly ad budgets for over four decades now. Matter of a fact I have a copy of a mail piece framed in my office for a Ford dealer in NJ from 1926, and honestly with the exception of the vehicles and art work not much else has changed.

1. Direct Mail vs. the World… Direct mail works. The reason it has been used by so many dealers for as long as it has is because of ROI. Statistics show that direct mail has outperformed all of its prehistoric competitors consistently for decades when comparing ROI. In a study for Advertising Age, Lightspeed Research determined 42% of marketing professionals said direct mail is the best advertising vehicle for providing ROI. Direct Mail beating out a second place internet who received 19%, with TV, cable, newspaper, and radio all coming in at anemic single digit numbers! Direct mail also won out when asking


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how consumers preferred to receive information weighing in at 31% with nearest competitor following at a distant 24%.

2. Facing Extinction Though it boasts the top spot with more than double the percentage of its nearest competitor…direct mail faces the need to make a change and make it quickly. In an era where technology rules without change “Direct Mail” would most certainly face extinction. We’ve seen it happen with many other prehistoric advertising vehicles such as television, radio, and newspaper. With the growing uses of DVR’s and Sirius and XM radio, and now with vehicles introducing Pandora radio access TV and radio commercials have lost much of whatever little punch they had…but unfortunately they haven’t lost the cost still weighing in at the most expensive. Then there is newspaper that has an average reader age of 59, while most major domestic and import makes have an average buyer age of 39. So they’re not even hitting the majority of their buyers at all. If they happened to get lucky and hit a correct age buyer they would have to get even luckier to have that customer read the section where their ad is listed and then pick them from the lot of dealers in the same section. NOW THAT WOULD BE WHAT I CALL GETTING LUCKY!

So what to do about direct mail…

4. ROI in your PMA

3. The birth of “Smart Mail”

So what is the result? Let’s just say that when you take the top ROI producer in direct mail and you add all of the “Smart Components” turning it into a lean mean advertising ROI machine the results are what you would expect. With Smart Mail, response rates have doubled, sales have tripled, and customer retention has grown exponentially.

When you have something that boast the ROI that direct mail consistently does, it is hard to keep it down. Winners have a way of rising through the adversity and the ash heap of extinction and just when you think it’s over and your looking at the end of an era…It evolves! It only makes sense right? You take a product that American’s pick as the number one way they prefer to receive advertising and you take the top ROI producer and you give it a makeover. That’s right you take “Direct Mail” a prehistoric Dinosaur by itself and you deliver it in a way that consumers wish to receive it…and you give them the ability to respond using the conveniences that they are accustomed to using on a regular basis. There you have it…the birth of “Smart Mail”! Imagine receiving the mailer and then having the ability to choose your preferred method of response. Whether you want to walk-in, IVR phone (24/7), text, online, email, or even by using a QR code? It is revolutionary…“Smart Mail” even sends out a call 24 hours prior to the mailer arriving letting each customer know to look out for your mailer. This creates “Top of Mind” awareness and separates you from every other dealership (dinosaur) in the mailbox.

Get Smart and evolve your dinosaur today and learn more about how you can implement “Smart Mail” into your dealership and gain higher ROI in your PMA today. David Villa is CEO for IPD, an intelligent marketing firm servicing more than 600 franchised dealerships across the United States. He is a published motivational speaker, training in the arenas of sales, leadership, and team building. David can be contacted at or toll free (855)635-9322.

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