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ILLINOIS INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION

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IS TECHNOLOGY OR THE LACK OF IT - COSTING YOU?

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• EDUCATION: LUXURY OR NECESSITY? • GOING GREEN: AUTO RECYCLING IS BOOMING • COMPLIANCE OVERDRIVE

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INSIDE

MAGAZINECONTENTS MAGAZINECONTENTS 06 Going Green: Auto Recycling 08 Is Technology Costing You? 18 Compliance Overdrive

WHAT’SNEW R A2Z EDUCATION SERIES - AutoZone Educating the independent dealer to deliver the highest quality service levels to your customers, manage your shop efficiently, train your technicians and maximize profits. niada.tv

YOU HAVE A DATE

2012 EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR IIADA

The educational training is hosted by the Illinois Independent Automobile Dealers Association (IIADA) and includes expert trainers in each field, with an opportunity to become a Certified Master Dealer. Mar. 15 at the St. Louis Auto Auction Dealer Management Systems; New Rules, Better Tools April 17 at the Manheim Arena Auto Auction How to Finance Your Inventory; Is Rental for You? May 16 at the Greater Rockford Auto Auction Certified Sales

R Certified Master Dealer Program

June 11-14 at NIADA Convention in Las Vegas Dealer Management Systems

Educates dealers on how to manage and grow a profitable business “Effective Management Practices”, “Business Planning”, “Human Resources”, “Merchandising”. “Financial Management” Call (800)756-4232 to sign up.

July 10 at the Manheim Arena Auto Auction BHPH Roundtable

March 22-24, 2012

R World Automobile Auctioneers Championship Live online coverage of the event begins at 11 am ET on Friday, March 3O, 2012 and is free for all online viewers. visit www.niada.com and click on the “EVENTS” tab or call (303) 807-1108.

ADVERTISERSINDEX ADVERTISERSINDEX AFC – Automotive Finance Corporation... Inside Front Cover AutoTrader.com ...............................................Back Cover Chase.............................................................................16 Dyer Auto Auction.......................................................... 12 Insurance Auto Auctions ...............................................14 Lohman Companies ............................Inside Back Cover Manheim.com .................................................................9 Manheim Minneapolis ....................................................5 Nowcom.........................................................................17 Protective ....................................................................... 7 ShipCarsNow ............................................................... 13 Smart Auction .............................................................. 11 United Acceptance ....................................................... 15

NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION WWW.NIADA.COM • WWW.NIADA.TV NIADA HEADQUARTERS: 2521 BROWN BLVD. • ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203 PHONE (817) 640-3838 FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT: TROY GRAFF (800) 682-3837 OR TROY@NIADA.COM.

THE DEALER’S EDGE IS PUBLISHED BI-MONTHLY BY THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION SERVICES CORPORATION, 2521 BROWN BLVD., ARLINGTON, TX 760065203; PHONE (817)640-3838. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT DALLAS, TX AND AT ADDITIONAL OFFICES. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO NIADA STATE PUBLICATIONS, 2521 BROWN BLVD., ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203. THE STATEMENTS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE DEALER’S EDGE, THE ILLINOIS INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION, OR THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION. LIKEWISE, THE APPEARANCE OF ADVERTISERS, OR THEIR IDENTIFICATION AS MEMBERS OF IIADA OR NIADA, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES FEATURED. COPYRIGHT © 2012 BY NIADA SERVICES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. VISIT THE NIADA WEB SITE AT WWW.NIADA.COM. STATE MAGAZINE MGR./SALES Troy Graff • troy@niada.com EDITOR Andy Friedlander • andy@niada.com ART/PRODUCTION MGR. Christy Haynes • christy@niada.com PRINTING Nieman Printing

DON’T FORGET TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR IMPORTANT INFO: WWW.IL-IADA.COM

Aug. 14 at the Greater Rockford Auto Auction BHPH Roundtable

Sept. 12 at the Morton Auto Auction Is Rental for You? Oct. 16 at the Manheim Arena Auto Auction Dealer Management Systems Nov. 15 at the St. Louis Auto Auction Compliance Issues Dec. 10 in Oak Park at the Training Center Review of all training For information, visit www.il-iada.com. We have created an education and training program with a mission to promote, educate and advance the independent dealer. We will make available a core of quality education and training opportunities that responds to current dealership needs.

IRS ANNOUNCES 2012 STANDARD MILEAGE RATES

THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS) has announced the 2012 optional standard mileage

rates used to calculate the deductible costs of using a vehicle for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates will be 55.5 cents per mile for business use, 23 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes and 14 cents per mile in service of charities. The rate for business miles is unchanged from a mid-year adjustment that became effective July 1, 2011. The medical and moving rate has been reduced by 0.5 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a car. The IRS reminds taxpayers they always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicles rather than using the standard mileage rates.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman Randy Crase Crase Auto Connection 25355 E. Ames St. Channahon, IL 60410 815-467-1807 randy_crase@comcast.net

Secretary Eric Nelson Nelson Automotive Inc. 1801 S. Busse Mt Prospect, IL 60056 847-439-2277 eric@heycars.com

President Gordon Tormohlen Tormohlen’s Good People Automotive 1800 S. Ihm Blvd. Freeport, IL 61032 815-232-5543 cookiebar@mwci.net

Directors: Mark Alcorn Carlyle Auto Sales 1708 Broadway Rockford, IL 61104 815-397-5010 carlyle2005@aol.com

1st Vice President Anthony Ferraro Payless Motorsport 13449 S. Pulaski Road Robbins, IL 60472 708-388-2300 agfauto@yahoo.com Treasurer Lori Chignoli-Cora Chignoli Auto Sales 1850 Essington Road Joliet, IL 60485 815-439-2233 lori@chignoli.com

Amy Goodnight Lohman Companies 3901 15th St. Moline, IL 61266 309-764-8331x220 amy@lohman-companies.com

Paul Gluchowski Turner Acceptance 4454 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60630 773-290-5002 paul@turneracceptance.com Melanie Brown Chicago Car Auction 2731 Belvidere Road Waukegan, IL 60085 847-662-0100 melanie@chicagoauction.com

Alex Tovstanovsky Prestige Motor Works Inc. 8959 Hanslik Court Naperville, IL 60564 630-780-6439 alext@myprestigecar.com Janette Peak PJP Auto Enterprise 3100 S. Douglas Springfield, IL 62704 217-793-3552 pjpautosale@comcast.net FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER OF IIADA, PLEASE CONTACT BRUCE EKLUND AT 800-987-6627 OR LILCHEEPER5@ AOL.COM.

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BACK TO BASICS

EDUCATION: LUXURY OR CRITICAL PART OF YOUR SUCCESS?

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t was recently suggested to me that dealers might be viewing the education of their employees as a “luxury.” We all understand that when a company’s belt is tightened, advertising and education are among the first expenses to be cut. But can education actually be viewed as a luxury item? For years, most of us on every level have been doing more with less. How is that possible? The answer is we used the education and technology we have invested in. We have made some difficult choices regarding employees in addition to changing our processes. Using technology for education has once more been brought into the spotlight. While e-learning has been around for many years, it has not been widely used. Many who sit on the sidelines continue to wonder why – after all, it saves on travel expenses. Many dealers have expressed the opinion that e-learning should be free. All I can say to that is: Do you sell units and expect to earn zero gross profit? Of course, you go to work to gain a profit. We all do that. So why would you expect educators to give away what they know for free? Of course, e-learning saves on travel. If you want to know how much, go to your favorite discount travel web site and check. With proper planning, you can secure a ticket to travel across the country for less than $500. Dealerships that use e-learning also save the expense of a room and meals. But while they are saving on these expenses, what are they giving up? Set the stage for success: When a participant is in a learning environment, whether in his office or away in a seminar setting, it is critical that the student have dedicated time to focus on the lessons. When participants are expected to respond to text messages from senior management or answer cellphones, they are not focused on what is happening in their environment. And when they are listening to a web seminar and are interrupted by sales consultants, sales managers, service personnel or customers, they are not focused on the message being delivered. No focus equates to no learning and no value realized from the investment.

Do you save time using e-learning? As an educator, I can attest that it takes two weeks of two hours a day online to cover most of the topics I can cover in a three-day seminar. I can verify reception and understanding of concepts in a face-to-face environment more effectively than I can using the Internet. Most participants are very quiet during a web seminar, even when questions are being solicited from them. Web seminars do have a great use in the learning circle. Web-based education is best used as a follow-up to a traditional seminar setting due to the limited amount of time and focus we have with online participants. After 25 minutes, we lose the attention of part of the audience. Fifteen to 25 minutes is more effective in a web seminar environment. When a dealership chooses to use web seminars in lieu of traditional seminars, what do they sacrifice? They sacrifice time, and they lose the value of group studies after the session. In every group environment, everyone has selective hearing. We retain what is important to us. The value in a group setting is gaining as many perspectives as we can after the meeting is over. What was important to whom, and why? Learning does not cease when the educator gives the evening assignments. It only takes on a different coat. Some dealers do not want to expose their personnel to another dealership’s processes. They also fear that when a group gets together, they chat about pay plans and duties. Well, in all the years I have been teaching, I have yet to walk up on such a conversation. How does a dealership get the most out of the limited dollars it has allocated to education? The answer lies in planning. Advance planning for air fare and for e-learning events, because all events have limited space available. If you have multiple participants, or cannot send your personnel out of the dealership, an alternative is to bring the educator to your location, split the team and run double education shifts. Your team will have the opportunity to implement new ideas right away and provide an immediate report to the senior management. When managing a sales team, it is essential that the entire team is using the same processes with customers. Consistency is

easy to manage. It is also easy to see when someone goes off track. The most important thing a dealer can do is choose an education venue. Make the plans, implement the plans and make inquiries to the participant in addition to the educator. What ideas were shared during the educational event that the participant thinks should be integrated and implemented into your current process? The second most important thing is choosing quality vendors and quality products and services for the finance department to present to the customers. If the finance and sales teams do not believe in the products’ value or have had difficulty with the company in the past, they will not present the policy to the customers. I advocate that the dealership do proper vetting of companies and vendors prior to signing up. Verify references and insurance policies. Ask the vendor for a certificate of insurance and make it a practice to do so every year. That is the only way to verify the policies being sold are actually backed by an insurance company. Begin to collect testimonials from customers. Create a brag book to be shared with your customers. A brag book is a binder that includes positive feedback from your previous customers about the products and the dealership. How was their buying experience? How did the policies serve them in a time of need? Would they purchase the policies again? Happy customers are a result of happy, welleducated and well-compensated employees with a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Happy customers bring their friends and family to purchase from you. Happy customers are essential in building customer retention and referrals. Education should be a critical part of every business plan. Investing in your human capital brings the highest rate of return. When successful dealers are quizzed about why they are successful, the answer is they surround themselves with quality people who have both the customer’s needs and the bottom line in focus. Education is the foundation for a strong business model and essential for success!

BY JAN KELLY

JAN KELLY, PRESIDENT OF KELLY ENTERPRISES, IS AN EDUCATOR, CONSULTANT AND CONVENTION SPEAKER, AND WRITES FREQUENTLY FOR INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS. FOR INFORMATION ABOUT EDUCATIONAL VENUES OR JOINING AN F&I 20 GROUP, CALL 1-800-336-4275 OR VISIT WWW.JLKELLY.COM.

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GOING GREEN

AUTO RECYCLING IS BOOMING A s we come into the second month of the 2012, how are your business New Year’s resolutions evolving? I’m sure on the list there are goals to increase profitability and growth, and to improve customer service. What about going green and saving you and your customers money at the same time? The auto recycling business is booming and helping its customers do just that. There are about 8,400 auto recycling businesses in the United States generating about $23 billion each year. Auto recycling is the practice of removing and reusing automotive parts from inoperable vehicles, then safely disposing of the portions of the car that cannot be salvaged. It is performed at auto salvage yards, also called auto recyclers. Auto recycling prevents the waste of usable parts and materials, and promotes environmental conservation by reusing vehicle components instead of disposing of them in a landfill. There is no product recycled more than the automobile. More than 10 million vehicles reach the end of their lives each year, which equates to acres and acres of landfill space. The auto recycling industry saves that space – 95 percent of vehicles retired from use are recycled. The process saves an estimated 85 million barrels of oil per year, which would have been used to make replacement parts. About 84 percent of each vehicle is recycled in one way or another. Some 40 percent of the ferrous metal for scrap processing comes from auto recycling. Oils and fluids recycled by the auto recycling industry are equivalent to eight Exxon Valdez oil disasters every year. “One of the meanings of recycle is to reuse,” said Jason Hilsman, owner of Ace Auto Recyclers in Iowa City, Iowa. “Reusing auto parts helps the environment by saving on the energy and waste produced in making new parts. And, of course, the price is cheaper.” On average, purchasing a green, recycled part from a recycling yard will save 50 to 75 percent of the original equipment

manufactured price. Because buying used parts from an auto recycler is cheaper than buying them new, repair shops can not only lower the cost of a repair for customers, but can also lower insurance rates if the repair is an insurance claim. Auto salvage yards also commonly offer recycling of older vehicles for scrap. The yards recycle batteries, tires, fluids and thousands of tons of metal a year. And auto recyclers provide owners of rare, out-of-production vehicles a chance to obtain hard-to-find replacement parts. Recycled vehicles go through a thorough tear-down and inspection process on delivery to the recycler to ensure the highest quality parts for resale. When a vehicle comes into the recycler, it receives a stock number for tracking, and the VIN is checked to make sure it matches the title. Pictures are taken of all angles of the vehicle and the VIN number, allowing the auto recycler’s customers to see a part before it is delivered and be knowledgeable on the part’s condition prior to a sale. The vehicle is then inventoried. All parts are checked, including checking whether the car starts, runs and drives, and a check of all part of the transmission. If the auto recycler decides no parts have any value, fluids are drained and tires, battery and catalytic converter are removed to prepare the car for scrap and crushing. If the auto recycler will keep the car for its inventory, the catalytic converter and battery are removed and the vehicle is placed in the yard. The fluids are not drained until the car is dismantled. Then the fluids are drained and the usable parts are ready to sell. In 2008, a group of auto recycling businesses from across Iowa banded together to improve the purchase process and quality of recycled parts. “When we started the group, the idea was to get 20 of the most progressive auto recyclers in the state to sell a better product by improving the quality of the part, description of the part, the delivery time for less down time for the

repair shop, and to open communication to all repair shops,” said Mike Swift, president of QRP Central and owner of Trails End Auto & Truck in Des Moines. QRP Central is a group of 18 family-owned professional automotive recyclers that function as trading partners to provide customers with quality recycled used auto parts. The group is committed to the highest quality of recycled and new aftermarket auto parts, delivered on time as described, usually within 24-48 hours. The combined inventory of the 18 independent auto recyclers is massive: more than 11,000 vehicles purchased annually, more than 1 million parts in computerized inventories and nearly 26,000 parts vehicles stored on site. In addition, yard management technology has advanced to give auto recyclers access to more parts from around the nation. QRP holds its parts inspection process to a higher standard. One of the first things it decided as a group was to make sure there are no surprises. Every step is taken to make sure a part is good. If it is not a good part but is still usable with repair, the recycler makes sure the customer knows and can make an informed decision. All parts that leave QRP auto recyclers go through a three-point inspection process. They are inspected first by the salesperson, then the parts puller, then the delivery driver. If a part is shipped, the last person to check the part is the shipping department. Another important aspect for QRP customers is that the businesses are locally owned. “When a repair facility purchases a green recycled part from QRP Central, it is not only saving the environment but helping keep jobs and revenue in the city, county and state,” Swift said. For more information on using recycled auto parts for your business, visit www.qrpcentral.net. BY QRP CENTRAL

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IS TECHNOLOGY OR THE LACK OF ITCOSTING YOU? T

echnology, or the lack thereof, could be costing you millions. OK, millions might be a bit much, but thousands doesn’t sound much better. Either way, profit dollars could easily be leaving your pocket on a monthly basis at an alarming rate. Technology, or the lack thereof, is costing dealers in every market and in every state in the country. The dealers in question are either technological junkies or technologically challenged. Neither scenario is conducive to success. In the current economic climate, having and using what is necessary for the foreseeable future makes the best and only economic sense. Not too much, not too little. Technology touches many facets of the Buy Here-Pay Here industry. Video surveillance, starter interrupt/GPS and software are the most popular areas for technological discussion in BHPH, and those areas seem to be the most under- and over-utilized as well. Of the three, DMS software is the only one that is necessary for current and future success. The others? Well, that’s up to the dealer. Video surveillance is probably more overused than the other two – too many dealers have thousands of dollars tied up in high-tech systems that are really not necessary. Those dealers have convinced themselves they are preventing not only outside theft, but internal theft as well. Surveillance systems have proven to aid in deterring both kinds of theft. The decision whether to use video surveillance should be based on specific market conditions in regard to preventing

outside theft and providing additional security. A lot in a small rural market that displays 20 or so vehicles and employs a total of four people doesn’t necessarily need a 16 exterior color camera system with real-time web access. That example may seem extreme, but that dealer exists. For preventing internal theft, the money might be better spent on developing the organization’s culture. Studies have shown office supplies are the most commonly pilfered items at a business, not money. This is a direct result of lack of pride and ownership in the business by the employee. A background investigation and personality profile prior to hiring a new employee, and ongoing training and open lines of communication after hiring are ways to instill and improve an organization’s culture. There is a good possibility those steps will also reduce turnover and, in most cases, prevent if not halt employee theft – and will likely cost less than a surveillance system over time. Payment devices – starter interrupt, GPS, and combo devices – are still a topic of great debate and ongoing discussion. This is an area that seems to be either black or white in most dealers’ eyes. Dealers seem to be 100 percent for them or 100 percent against them, with little in between. Data shows such devices can increase collections dollars and, in some cases, reduce the amount of personnel needed to manage a portfolio. Data also shows they do not have a significant impact on loss rates. That data is what causes the “all-in” or “all-out” mentality. There are just as many highly successful dealers not using the devices as there are using them.

As with any technological advance, they are only effective if used as directed or intended. Too many dealers don’t. And by not doing so, they are wasting money. The decision to use payment devices, and specifically which kind, is a significant one. It is a decision that should be based solely on the dealer’s personal business philosophy. As with any business decision, it shouldn’t be made until all the homework is done. Also not to be overlooked in the decision-making process is preparing internally. Policies and procedures will have to be created and implemented. Last, but definitely not least, is DMS software. This is an area where dealers have a tendency to cut corners and cost themselves in the long run. Bigger is not necessarily better. Software packages have undergone significant technological advances in recent years, and there are an increasing number of provider options. For better or worse, nowadays there seem to be more providers than actual dealers. That’s better in that more options provide a more diversified product offering and pricing structure. It’s worse in that when it comes time to choose a system, a dealer can be buried by information overload and the process can become overly time-consuming when he’s trying to comparison-shop. Technology can take any business to the next level. Technology can also set any business back. The key lies somewhere between being a junkie and being challenged. Which one are you?

BY BRENT CARMICHAEL EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE MODERATOR NCM ASSOCIATES INC. BCARMICHAEL@NCM20.COM

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USE TESTIMONIALS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS W hich are you more likely to believe: a company representative telling you how great his product or service is or a recommendation from another person about how it worked for them? If you’re like most people, the words from a fellow consumer pull more weight than even the best written ad copy. That’s why no matter what product or service you’re selling, you need to use testimonials from satisfied customers in every ad and marketing piece you create. One of the main reasons people don’t buy something is that they’re fearful of making the wrong decision. So when they see that a product or service is endorsed by someone else — someone in their same situation — that fear is minimized. Therefore, testimonials are a great way of influencing others to feel comfortable about buying your products or services. Unfortunately, few business professionals actively seek out testimonials from their customers and clients. They mistakenly wait for people to give them testimonials, and when they do get them, they don’t know how to use them effectively. Getting and using a list of strong testimonials is easier than you think. The following tips will help you get testimonials to increase your profits.

HOW TO GET THEM Choose satisfied customers who represent your target demographic: The best testimonials are written by people who are similar to your ideal customer. Therefore, be specific about whom you solicit a testimonial from. Look over your customer files and choose the people who exemplify the best case scenario for your product or service. Say to them, “I’d love for you to share your experience with Product A. Would you please write a short testimonial?” Most people will cheerfully say yes. Since you want more happy customers just like these, let their words sell for you. Offer to write the testimonial for them: Often, if someone declines your request to write a testimonial, it’s because they’re too busy or feel they don’t have adequate writing skills. In that case, offer to write the testimonial for them. Simply say, “I’ll be glad to write the testimonial for you. Just tell me what you’d like to say about the product. You can review what I write and we can use it as is or you can change it.” Most people will leave the testimonial as is, happy they didn’t have to take the time to write it.

Look through your past notes and correspondence: Chances are you’re sitting on a pile of testimonials and don’t even know it. Go back through your past emails and correspondence from customers and clients. Are there a few nice sentences in some of those messages? If so, ask the person if you can use their words in your marketing materials. They’ll often agree.

HOW TO WRITE THEM Show results: Whether you write the testimonial or your customer does, it needs to specifically show what results the person experienced from the product or service. A testimonial that simply says what a wonderful company you have or how nice you are is not saying anything meaningful for the reader. A specific testimonial will speak to results. For example: “Dr. Smith’s treatment ended my 20-year battle with migraines.” “Joe’s contracting remodeled my kitchen for $2,000 less than other bidders.” “Jones and Johnson CPA Firm reduced my tax liability by 30 percent.” The more specific a testimonial is, the stronger it sells for you. Specific testimonials take away the fear of making the wrong decision and help people feel safe about making the purchase. Keep it short: Each word of the testimonial should have value. Therefore, if someone writes you a page-long testimonial, edit out any words that don’t directly address the end result he or she received from your service or product. This doesn’t mean you change the meaning of what someone writes; you simply edit out the parts that don’t contribute to the meaning. For example, if someone writes a page about everything your company did to help them save 30 percent on their heating and cooling bills, you can condense it to one sentence, as in “As a result of ABC Company’s inspection of our home, we saved 30 percent on our monthly utility bill.” Often, the more words you take out, the stronger the testimonial becomes. Also, it’s easier to read and will stand out more. Include a name and title when possible: Rather than attribute your testimonial to “John S., Nebraska,” use the person’s real name, company name, title, and/or location whenever possible, as in “John Sanders, salesperson at Acme Company,” or “John Sanders, Omaha, Nebraska.” This makes your testimonial more believable. Most people will be happy to include their full name and other information, because the strongest human desire is to feel appreciated and recognized. Getting their name in print somewhere fulfills that need and is often perceived as fun.

HOW TO USE THEM Include a testimonial or two in your ads and marketing pieces: Whether you’re doing a print, online, radio, or TV ad, be sure to include some testimonials. For print, it’s best to have testimonials stand alone from the text rather than try to weave them into the ad copy. For radio and TV, either the announcer or an actor can recite the testimonial, or if your customer is agreeable, have him or her appear in your radio or TV spot to give the testimonial personally. Other marketing pieces that should feature your testimonials include your web site, brochures, direct mail pieces, postcards, billboards, newsletters and even social media updates. Create a book of testimonials: Each time you receive a kind letter from a customer or client, highlight the key parts (the parts that state benefits to the customer), put the letter in a clear plastic sleeve and compile it in a big binder. Keep this book or binder of testimonials in your store or office for customers to browse through while they’re waiting. Or, if your business is online, create a page where you feature all your testimonials. There’s no limit to how many testimonials you can include in your book or on your page. Frame your best testimonials: If you have a store or office, frame some of your best testimonial letters and post them on your walls. Again, highlight the best parts so your customers can easily see the benefits. If you don’t get foot traffic (or if you go to your customers), put the best testimonial letters in your “leave behind” kit — the package of information you leave behind for the prospect. THE ULTIMATE SALES TOOL The next time you’re writing copy for an advertisement or marketing piece (and struggling with what information to include) simply go to your past testimonials. It’s always better when someone else sings your praises, so let your customers sell for you. The sooner you start using testimonials in every marketing message you create, the sooner you’ll realize that testimonials really are the ultimate sales tool.

BY PAM LONTOS PAM LONTOS, PRESIDENT OF PAM LONTOS CONSULTING, CONSULTS WITH BUSINESSES AND EXPERTS IN THE AREAS OF SALES, MARKETING AND PUBLICITY. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF I SEE YOUR NAME EVERYWHERE: LEVERAGE THE POWER OF THE MEDIA TO GROW YOUR FAME, WEALTH AND SUCCESS. SHE CAN BE REACHED AT (407) 522-8630 OR PAMLONTOS@GMAIL.COM, OR BY VISITING WWW.PAMLONTOS.COM.

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KELLEY BLUE BOOK’S TOP USED CARS UNDER $8,000

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elley Blue Book has released a list of its 10 best used cars for less than $8,000, pushing the consumer base towards the option of pre-owned vehicles. Though quality used inventory remains scarce, KBB contends there are still ways to get into a “good (and modern)” used vehicle without spending too much money. With well-known models like the Ford Escape and more obscure units like the Mazda Protege5 making the list, KBB explained it has found the cars with the best “track record” from 2002 and later. The popular Honda Civic tops the list with its 2004 model. “We first compiled all the used cars 2002 and newer with a Kelley Blue Book retail value of less than $8,000 as of December 2011,” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.

com. “We then went through the list and handpicked the 10 used cars with the most appealing mixes of reliability, versatility and desirability, with an emphasis on track record. The vehicles on our short list offer incredible value for today’s budget-conscious car shopper.” Here is KBB’s list of the 10 Best Used Cars Under $8,000 with commentary from its staff: 10. 2008 Kia Rio “The 2008 Kia Rio is the newest car on our list, and is still covered under its original factory warranty. A great value as a new car, the Rio not only provides reliable performance in the subcompact market, but can be found in a number of trim levels, potentially making the value for your used car dollar even greater.”

Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,895. 9. 2004 Ford Crown Victoria “The Crown Victoria is big, proven and an American classic. With the discontinuation of the Crown Vic in the U.S., the desirability of good used examples is only going to rise. While you can, snag one of these great sedans for great value.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,970. 8. 2003 Mazda Protege5 “The 2003 Protege5 gives you spirited handling, good gas mileage, and in this 5-door wagon configuration, great utility as well. If you’re looking for a practical daily driver with a decent fun streak in its roots, the Protege5 deserves a serious look.”

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nternet searches for full-size trucks are up and those for compact cars are down, and that could be good news for the economy, according to Autoshopper.com. Searches on Autoshopper.com for pickup trucks, led by the Ford F-150, have risen significantly in January 2012, said Dani Lunsford, the web site’s national marketing executive. Meanwhile, searches for compacts, which had soared during the toughest economic times, declined slightly. Lunsford said part of the reason for the change is that the construction industry is picking up, prompting more consumers to look for heavy duty work-related vehicles. Business Insider magazine recently reported that the construction industry is adding jobs after five years of shedding workers, and construction spending rose sharply in December. Construction jobs have historically been a key component of economic recovery. “The renewed interest in full-size trucks and the decline in searches for compact cars show an uphill trend in workload related jobs, a positive economic indicator for all of us,” Lunsford said. “This continued economic recovery has the middle-class American looking for a larger, less fuel-efficient vehicle to carry out the workload requirements of newly created jobs in the construction field.”

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Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,360. 7. 2002 Toyota Tundra Standard Cab “Those looking for a used full-size pickup truck should seriously consider the 2002 Tundra. A bit spartan but with surprising handling and legendary reliability on its side, the Tundra offers a unique mix of capability and value. With its smooth and durable V8 engine, a used Tundra will return thousands of sure-footed miles.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $5,925 6. 2003 Ford Escape “Easy to drive, convenient and reliable, the Escape provides ample space for grocerygetting without being overwrought in weight or size. A comfortable ride helps solidify Ford’s popular compact SUV a spot on this list.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,560. 5. 2004 Scion xA “The 2004 xA was designed with value in mind, and that value is magnified when the xA is a used car. The xA is extremely comfort-

able and offers surprising handling for an economy car. One quibble many had with the xA when it was released was the cost of the options; shop wisely and you’ll find yourself a truly great deal today.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,805. 4. 2004 Pontiac Vibe “Owners of the Pontiac Vibe always seem to get around to praising two aspects of this small, tall wagon: its gas mileage and its comfort. If you need some passenger and cargo space and don’t need some kind of statusflaunting accessory, the 2004 Vibe may just be the ticket for you.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,630. 3. 2002 Toyota Corolla “You knew this one was coming. Purposebuilt to deliver reliability, comfort and value, the Corolla is always worth considering when on a budget. It may not be the most exciting car on this list, but the Corolla’s value is unimpeachable.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $6,125.

2. 2002 Infiniti G20 “When released, this upscale reworking of the Sentra was considered too similar to its little brother from Nissan. These days, if you can find one, you can get a premium badge and more features for less than you’d pay for a similarly sized but more pedestrian used car. Handling in the G20 is better than the Sentra, and it’s much better looking as well.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $5,965. 1. 2004 Honda Civic “What else could top this list? If you have 24 hours and $8,000 to acquire some new wheels, just go buy the nearest used Civic and you’re likely to enjoy many years of trouble-free transportation. In addition to famous quality and reliability, the Civic is more fun and more comfortable than most of its compact sedan contemporaries. The same value and reliability that keep the Honda Civic near the top of the new car sales charts every year also qualify it as one of the all-time great used cars.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,970. BY AUTO REMARKETING

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WORLD AUTOMOBILE AUCTIONEERS CHAMPIONSHIP

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The World Automobile Auctioneers Championship will be webcast live this year for the first time, courtesy of NIADA.TV. The live webcast of the 2012 WAAC can be viewed in its entirety on the home pages of www.niada.tv, www.niada.com and www. waacnet.net . Coverage begins at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Mar. 30 and is free for all online viewers. Cheer on your hometown favorite auctioneers and ringmen, and catch all the fun and excitement of the 2012 World Automobile Auctioneers Championship at your leisure, exclusively on all three websites. For more detailed information please visit www.niada.com and click on the “Events” tab, or call (303) 807-1108.

NOWCOM RENEWS GOLD PARTNERSHIP WITH NIADA

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owcom, a leading provider of dealer management solutions, announced it has renewed its partnership with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association for a second year as a Gold National Corporate Partner. Nowcom has worked with NIADA since 2005. It became a Preferred Partner in 2009, a Bronze Corporate Partner in 2010 and began as Gold National Corporate Partner in 2011. NIADA Member Services partners with industry leaders that offer excellent services to help their members grow their business, protect their assets and enhance profitability. The NIADA Member Services National Corporate Partner Program was formed in 2010 to provide NIADA members with an extensive, highly vetted roster of partners they can rely on to provide a broad portfolio of services they use on a daily basis. Through discounted affinity agreements, NIADA Member Services offers numerous member benefit services. For dealers with neither the time nor staff to conduct thorough supplier evaluations, NIADA members look to NIADA Member Services for outstanding partner recommendations and discounts. Nowcom is the provider of DealerCenter.net, an all-in-one web-based dealer management software system that allows the dealer full control over sales, inventory, credit reports, insurance offering and financing. For more information, visit www. nowcom.com.

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THREE FORMER OHIO ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL WILL BE ADVISING NIADA ON COMPLIANCE UPDATES AND CHANGES IN GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS TO THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY.

NIADA NAMES OHIO FIRM AS NEW LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL

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hio-based law firm Mac Murray, Petersen & Shuster LLP has been named legislative/regulatory/compliance counsel for the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, NIADA chief executive officer Michael Linn announced. The firm, based in New Albany, Ohio and led by former Ohio attorney general and state senator Betty Montgomery, will add additional expertise to NIADA’s legislative and regulatory efforts in Washington D.C. to stay ahead of issues affecting the association and its approximately 18,000 members. “Adding Mac Murray, Petersen & Shuster to the efforts of Federal Advocates, NIADA’s lobbing firm on Capitol Hill, will round out our strategy to work more closely with key federal regulatory agencies,” Linn said. “Staying ahead of rapidly expanding agencies like the CFPB (Consumer Finance Protection Bureau)

will be much easier as Betty and her team engage key relationships with their former colleagues at key federal agencies like the CFPB and the FTC.” In addition to Montgomery, three former Ohio assistant attorneys general will be advising NIADA on compliance updates and changes in government regulations to the automotive industry. Shaun Petersen, Michele Shuster and Helen Mac Murray all served as chiefs of the Ohio AG’s Consumer Protection Section. Together they have more than thirty years of experience managing consumer protection initiatives and helping businesses comply with those programs. Petersen’s extensive work representing auto dealers in Ohio through the Ohio Independent Automobile Dealers Association gives him a deep understanding of dealer operations and concerns. He will act as NIADA’s lead counsel from the firm.

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MANHEIM PURCHASES FLOOR-PLAN PROVIDER DSC

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anheim has agreed to purchase Dealer Services Corporation (DSC), a used vehicle floor plan company for independent dealers based in Carmel, Ind. The acquisition complements Manheim’s current lending products provided through Manheim Financial Services (MAFS). Manheim said the move reinforces its commitment to provide inventory financing to independent dealers. “Manheim is always looking for ways to enhance its service offering to customers,” Manheim president Sandy Schwartz said. “The purchase of DSC presents a great opportunity for us to broaden our lending scope and customer base. In addition, we gain access to state-of-the-art technology and digital tools that will enhance our customers’ experience and improve the company’s efficiencies and opportunities for lending.” Adding the DSC line to MAFS’s existing products will give dealers access to broader offerings and additional staff to serve their needs both in-lane and online, as well as technology designed to make it easier for customers to get information about Manheim lines of credit through their smart phones and desktops. CEO Brian Geitner will remain in charge of DSC, which had been the largest independently owned inventory finance provider for used vehicles. “Like Manheim, DSC is a company that focuses on the success of its customers,” Geitner said. “Our mission of empowering our customers with strategic products and services is only more enhanced by joining the Manheim group of companies. It’s easy to see how MAFS’ and DSC’s service platforms will complement each other and broaden Manheim’s service reach across the country.”

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NIADA ANNUAL CONVENTION & EXPO SET FOR JUNE 11-14, 2012

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he NIADA announced its 66th Annual Convention & Expo will be held June 11-14, 2012 – a week earlier than previously scheduled – at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. NIADA’s showcase event will offer an expanded dealer education program for 2012, including more sessions covering more topics than ever before, as well as an enhanced Expo featuring more companies representing all facets of the automotive industry. Expo exhibit dates are June 12, 13 and 14. The Convention, to be held for the third consecutive year at spectacular Caesars Palace, will kick off with activities beginning on Monday afternoon, June 11. Online registration is now open at www.niada.com. Rooms at Caesars Palace will be available at the discounted rate of $154 per night. NIADA’s Annual Convention & Expo provides its members with an opportunity to network with their peers, participate in quality education sessions and gather valuable information they can take back and apply toward their dealerships’ success. Educational offerings will cover topics for both retail and Buy HerePay Here dealers. The event is also a gateway for vendors to build and foster relationships with dealers through the Expo, an industry marketplace of top-notch vendors showcasing their products and services and the benefits they can provide to dealers. NIADA has held its Annual Convention & Expo since 1947 and has continued to flourish as the most soughtafter and reputable used motor vehicle industry event for automobile dealers.

ComplianceOverdrive

MANY SHERIFFS CREATE REGULATORY UNCERTAINTY

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emember when the Dodd-Frank bill was being debated in Congress and we all hoped motor vehicle dealers would be exempt from the oversight of the new sheriff – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)? Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. As you know, a “dealer exclusion” was included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). Ironically, the dealer exclusion might only increase industry regulatory oversight and add compliance uncertainty. Under Section 1029 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB may not exercise regulatory supervision or enforcement authority over “a motor vehicle dealer that is predominantly engaged in the sale and servicing of motor vehicles, the leasing and servicing of motor vehicles, or both.” An exception to the exclusion is that the CFPB does have authority over businesses that provide “the extension of retail credit or leases involving motor vehicles,” retail credit or retail leases “directly to consumers” and a contract covering the retail sale or lease that is “not routinely assigned to an unaffiliated third-party finance or leasing source.” The exclusion and exceptions can be a bit confusing, but the net result is that the CFPB has regulatory authority over Buy Here-Pay Here dealers. And even dealers who do not consider themselves to be Buy Here-Pay Here might be regulated by the CFPB if they are assigning contracts to an affiliated third-party finance or leasing source, or if they are not “routinely” assigning contracts to an unaffiliated third party. If you assign some contracts and hold others, there might be some uncertainty about whether you are regulated by the CFPB. The CFPB authority leaves us with a framework in which some auto dealers are regulated by the CFPB and the rest are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That means that in spite of the “dealer exclusion,” we have two sheriffs in town. The two federal regulators have promised to work together, but the regulatory framework itself could create obstacles. For example, the CFPB now has rulemaking authority for a number of consumer financial protection laws formerly granted to several federal agencies, including the Truth in Lending Regulation Z and Consumer Leasing Regulation M. In republishing these regulations, the CFPB made it clear that they applied “except with respect to persons excluded from the bureau’s rulemaking authority by section 1029 of the Dodd-Frank Act.“ That is a clear reminder that CFPB enforcement authority of Regulations Z and M are technically separate from the enforcement authority of the FTC. Dodd-Frank also authorized states to enforce certain federal consumer protection laws. The concern is that might result in local differences in interpretation and enforcement of federal requirements. So essentially, there are now three sheriffs in town. Over time, rules, regulations and interpretations will be published providing clarification on the scope and limits of authority assigned to those three. But for now, we need to deal with the regulatory uncertainty as best we can. It is helpful to keep in mind that the various regulating authorities are trying to protect consumers from unfair and unscrupulous consumer credit transactions. The best practices for these times apply in all situations – be clear, be transparent and be honest in your sales and financing transactions. That should help you satisfy the spirit and intentions of all but the most technical standards of any regulator.

BY CHIP ZYVOLOSKI Chip Zyvoloski is a senior attorney for indirect lending at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. For more information, visit www.wolterskluwerfs.com/indirect.

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ILLINOIS INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION • EDUCATION: LUXURY OR NECESSITY? • GOING GREEN : AUTO RECYCLING IS BOOMING • COMPLIANCE...