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FEBRUARY 2012

INDIANA

CAR LINES OFFICIAL

VOICE OF THE INDEPENDENT CAR DEALER IN INDIANA

Understanding Your Dealership’s

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inside

DNA

• WHAT’S YOUR DEALERSHIP’S DNA? • THE CARLAWYER • IIADA QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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Understanding Your “DNA” HAVE YOU EVER wondered how a customer

can leave a dealership as unfinanceable only to go right down the street and get approved on a similar car? As a dealer, there is nothing more frustrating. Most likely, the dealer had the wrong “DNA” to match the customer. What I mean is, the dealership’s selling abilities did not match the customer’s buying abilities. You know the feeling you get when a customer walks onto the lot, picks out a car and takes delivery in an hour? To a salesperson, it doesn’t get any better than that. It seemed like everything went right on the deal. The store made money and the customer was happy. Do you ever wonder why some dealers get that feeling more than others? It is because they matched their “DNA” to the customer before he got there. Your dealership’s “DNA” is based on your customers, your inventory, your lenders and their books, not yours. By understanding your genetic makeup, you can have that special feeling from the perfect sale more often than not. Buying cars is a difficult task. Understanding your dealership’s genetic makeup is vital to maximizing profits. We work in the only industry in the world in which we give employees an open checkbook and tell them to go buy cars. It’s not until they get home that we even know how they did. By understanding your lenders’ programs, you can maximize your gross profit while minimizing your inventory investment. In today’s tough economic times, dealers have been forced to learn not how to sell cars, but how to sell cars better. In an age of technology, we all have had to learn new things to stay ahead of the market. There is plenty of technology in the marketplace that tells dealers market values, car history and even what the Toyota dealer down the street is selling a used Corolla for. If I am Ford dealer, or even an independent, should I make decisions based on someone else’s performance? If he is buying Toyotas from the factory, selling them at a low profit and getting help from the captive with a special rate, does that mean I will sell Toyotas? Probably not. What it does mean is if you go out and load up on used Toyotas, be prepared to take short deals, if any. I struggle with the concept of selling more cars for less. If you have ever done that, you might well agree. There is no glory in selling the most cars if you don’t make any money doing it. Day after day in this industry, dealers send managers to the auction with no idea what they should buy. Many times the dealer’s inventory is a reflection of what the used car buyer likes himself. We are all creatures of habit, and once we find something that works, we stick with it. What you end up with is a bunch of similar cars. The buyer doesn’t

want to make a mistake, any more than the dealer wants him to. So to avoid making one, he buys only the cars he knows won’t get him fired when he gets back to the dealership. WIth today’s technology and the Internet, we can all see what’s going to run before we go. Even so, as you read this article there are dealers around the country who will go to the auction today and buy cars without ever knowing if they can even sell them. They will find out later, after they book out the cars they bought and match them to the lenders they use. As dealers, our profits are driven by the lenders we use to finance our customers. If Chase bank says you get 115 percent of finance advance, then it really doesn’t matter what MMR is, right? Unless lenders start basing their advance off of MMR, the number is just that, a number. Why do we buy cars wondering what they will wholesale for when we are retail dealers? If we based our decisions on what our lenders would do, we could sell any car, any day. If it fit the day you bought it, it still does.

Using this strategy, you can significantly reduce wholesale mistakes. Retail fixes a lot of things wholesale can’t. In today’s world, work smarter, not harder. Buying your inventory based on your “DNA” will teach you how to raise your gross, lower your inventory needs and reduce your wholesale loss. Buying cars based on the market prices of your competitors will teach you how to sell lots of cars and make low grosses doing it. You will spend more time buying cars than you do selling them. It’s not a surprise you take short deals and you’re worn out from all of the work it took to buy them. What makes more sense to you? SHAWN FOSTER IS PRESIDENT OF VISION ADVANTAGE LLC, MAKERS OF BIDZPIN, AN IPHONE APP THAT MATCHES A DEALER’S “DNA” TO CARS AT AUCTION. HE HAS WORKED AS A SALESMAN, SALES MANAGER AND FINANCE MANAGER/ DIRECTOR IN MORE THAN 25 YEARS IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY, THE PAST EIGHT AS AN INDEPENDENT DEALER. HER CAN BE REACHED AT (765) 479-0191 OR FOSTER@BIDZPIN.COM.

BY SHAWN FOSTER

Dealer’s Known Ability

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INSIDE

MAGAZINECONTENTS

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IRS Announces 2012 Standard Mileage Rates

What’s Your Dealership’s DNA? Question of the Month The CARLAWYER KBB’s Top Cars Under $8,000 Going Green: Auto Recycling Indiana Legislative News New & Renewing Members Use Testimonials To Grow Your Business

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 R TURBO TIPS – Cars.com Provides Independent Dealers with practicable and actionable tips to help you sell more cars now! niada.tv 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 ADESA.......................................... Inside Front Cover AutoTrader.com...................................... Back Cover Dyer Auto Auction ...................................................3 Indiana Auto Auction ............................................10 Kesler-Schaefer Auto Auction................................. 9 Manheim.com ........................................................7 Manheim Indianapolis ......................................... 13 Protective .............................................................. 5 SmartAuction .............................. Inside Back Cover United Acceptance .............................................. 11

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.

CAR LINES IS PUBLISHED 10 TIMES PER YEAR BY THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION SERVICES CORPORATION, 2521 BROWN BLVD., ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203; 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 6006-5203. THE STATEMENTS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF CAR LINES OR THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION. LIKEWISE, THE APPEARANCE OF ADVERTISERS, OR THEIR IDENTIFICATION AS MEMBERS OF NIADA , DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES FEATURED. COPYRIGHT © 2012 BY NIADA SERVICES, INC.

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WORLD AUTOMOBILE AUCTIONEERS CHAMPIONSHIP

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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

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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.

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 IIADA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Debbie Andersen P.O. Box 1393 Crown Point, IN 46308 Phone: (800) 310-3112 Fax: (219) 663-5294 iiada@comcast.net CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Dave Allen (Crockett) VICE PRESIDENT Fritz Kreutzinger Fritz Associates P.O. Box 168 Fishers, IN 46038 Phone: (317) 842-2228 Fax: (317) 842-7903 fritzauto@aol.com SECRETARY Tricia Trent Trent Auto Sales 1327 N 6th Street Vincennes, IN 47591 Phone: (812) 882-3772 Fax: (812) 882-1986 ttrent01@yahoo.com TREASURER Bruce Norton Drive1USA 1512 W 96th Avenue, Suite C Crown Point, IN 46307 Phone: (219) 661-1000 Fax: (219) 661-2950 bnorton@drive1usa.com Jennifer Cotton Dyer Auto Auction P.O. Box 115 Dyer, IN 46113-0115 Phone: (219) 865-2361 Fax: (219) 322-1761 jencotton@comcast.net

Kim Graham Kim Graham, Inc. 1648 A US 31 S Greenwood, IN 46143 Phone: (317) 888-0100 Fax: (317) 888-8900 vehicles@kimgraham.com Ed White White’s Auto Sales 1105 McKinley Avenue Rensselaer, IN 47978 Phone: (219) 866-7553 Fax: (219) 866-7256 edwhite123@att.net Tony Houk Kesler-Schaefer Auto Auction, Inc. 5333 W. 46h Street Indianapolis, IN 46253 Phone: (317) 297-2300 (800) 959-5722 skesler@ksaa1.com Tyler Trent Trent Auto Sales 1327 N 6th Street Vincennes, IN 47591 Phone: (812) 882-3772 Fax: (812) 882-1986 ttrent01@yahoo.com Harold Drees H.T.D., Inc. 200 E Main Street Thorntown, IN 46071 Phone: (317) 402-2312 Fax: (765) 436-7222 htdinc@msn.com Tony Del Real Del Real Auto Sales 3857 State Road 38 E Lafayette, IN 47905 Phone: (765) 446-9204 Fax: (765) 446-9143 tdelreal@delrealauto.com

John Stumpf Elkhart Public Auto Auction 1201 N. Nappanee Elkhart, IN 46514 Phone: ­­(574)264-0148 Doug Alvey First Class Auto Sales, Inc 695 W 900S Hebron, IN 46341 Phone: (219) 996-2600 Fax: (219) 531-4628 talvey65@yahoo.com Sharon Brennan Fritz in Fishers 8599 E 116th Street Fishers, IN 46038 Phone: (317) 842-2228 Fax: (317) 842-7903 sharonb@fritzinfishers.com Andrew J. Inabnitt Approval Auto Credit Inc. 9825 Huggin Hollow Rd. Martinsville, IN 46151 Phone: (317) 422-8001 Fax: (317) 422-8020 David D. Baldwin II Best Deal Auto Sales, Inc. 1875 SR 8 Auburn, IN 46706 Phone: (260) 357-0099 dbthesecond@yahoo.com Andy Zay Zay Leasing & Rentals 4957 N. Broadway Huntington, IN 46750 (260) 356-1588 azay@sbcglobal.net Mark Hockett Indianapolis Car Exchange 5161 S. Indianapolis Rd. Whitestown, IN 46075 (317) 769-7777 markh@icefriday.com

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Question of the Month I HAVE RECEIVED NUMEROUS CALLS FROM INDIANA DEALERS REGARDING THE USE OF THEIR DEALER PLATES. SPECIFICALLY, DOES THERE NEED TO BE A BUYER’S GUIDE IN THE WINDOW OF A VEHICLE WITH A DEALER PLATE?

Following is a re-print of IAC 2-2-5 regarding use of dealer plates. Also, please remember that all vehicles held in your inventory need a Buyer’s Guide in the window. This includes all vehicles with dealer plates. 1.  Dealer plates under this section shall only be affixed upon vehicles in the dealer’s inventory being held for sale in the usual and customary conduct of the dealer’s business of buying and selling vehicles. 2. Use of the plates shall be for the direct and incidental use in the usual and customary conduct and operation of the business of the dealer. 3. Dealer plates under this section shall not be used on vehicles required to be registered or on vehicles for which dealers charge and receive compensation from individuals other than their employees. Vehicles required to be registered include: 1. tow trucks; 2. delivery trucks; 3. rental or lease vehicles; or parts and service vehicles. A vehicle used to pick up or deliver parts or supplies is a service or parts vehicle. 4. The application must: 5. Dealer plates may not be used on vehicles leased or rented to or by the dealer. 6. Dealer plates may be used for up to ten (10) days within the state of Indiana on vehicles which are hauling a load provided the movement is for demonstration purposes to effect a sale of the demonstrated vehicle if the dealer has notified and been granted approval by the state police department. 7. Dealer plates under this section may be used by a prospective buyer or service customer on a vehicle in the dealer’s inventory unattended by any agent or representative of the dealer for a period not to exceed ten (10) days. 8. Following the sale and delivery of a vehicle from the dealer’s inventory, the metal dealer plate shall not be used on that vehicle. An interim registration plate may be issued to the purchaser by the dealer under IC 9-18-26-10 for a period expiring thirty-one (31) days from the date of delivery or until regular registration plates have been obtained, whichever event occurs first. 9. The dealer, and the dealer’s designees, may use the dealer registration plates issued to the dealership for personal use on vehicles in the dealer’s inventory. Under this subdivision, an employee must be in a bona fide employment arrangement. 10. Dealer plates may not to be used to circumvent the registration of individual motor vehicles as required by law or the payment of sales tax or motor vehicle excise taxes on those vehicles. 11.  For a dealer to loan, lease, or sell any dealer plate issued to the dealership to anyone not authorized to use that dealer’s plates or to any party who has or could obtain any classification of dealer plates as a result of the nature of that party’s business, is a violation of this article. 12.  A vehicle bearing a dealer plate, except when the vehicle is being transported to the dealer’s place of business from a manufacturer, must have: 1. in the case of a new vehicle, a monroney sticker attached to the vehicle; or 2. in the case of a used vehicle, a Federal Trade Commission buyer’s guide sticker attached to the vehicle. 13. Motorcycle dealer plates may not be used on any other type of motor vehicle other than a motorcycle even if that vehicle is held in the inventory of the dealer. 14.  Any motorcycle dealer who maintains for sale an inventory of vehicles other than motorcycles may apply for dealer-used plates for use in conjunction with the sale of those vehicles. (Secretary of State; 75 IAC 2-2-5; filed Jan 5, 1994, 5:00 p.m.: 17 IR 975; readopted filed Jul 30, 2001, 10:26 a.m.: 24 IR 4229; readopted filed Nov 21, 2007, 10:47 a.m.: 20071219-IR- 075070701RFA) NOTE: Under P.L.184-2007, SECTION 66, 140 IAC 3.5-2-1 was renumbered by the Publisher as 75 IAC 2-2-1, effective July 1, 2007. IIADA Staff 6

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IndustryLaws

The CARLAWYER

©

BY TH OM A S B. H U DSO N AN D N I CO LE FRUSH MU N RO

HERE’S OUR MONTHLY collection of selected

legislative and enforcement highlights, and a recap of some of the many auto sales and financing lawsuits we follow each month. Remember, what we report here is not every recent development. We just review the ones we think should be important to car dealers. Note that this column does not offer legal advice. You should consult your dealership lawyer with any legal questions. We include items from other states. Why? We want you to be able to see new legal developments and trends. Also, another state’s laws might be a lot like your own state’s laws – if AGs or plaintiffs’ lawyers are pursuing particular types of claims, those laws and claims might soon appear in your state. As always, though, there is no substitute for checking with your own lawyer before you rely on anything we report or if you have any questions. FEDERAL LAW The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has had an active month or so, issuing a number of invitations for public comment on proposed actions. The proposed actions have not specifically dealt with auto financing, but rather have been “housekeeping” proposals dealing with matters that the bureau has been directed by the Dodd-Frank Act to address. The topics have included how the bureau will collect information, the process by which state officials will notify the CFPB of actions or proceedings they have undertaken pursuant to their new Dodd-Frank authority, how the assets of institutions subject to the bureau’s supervision will be measured, and what the bureau’s process will be for providing advance notice to individuals and firms of bureau investigations. The bureau also continues to hire staff, and announced the hiring of eight people for senior leadership positions: chief of staff, chief financial officer, chief information officer, principal deputy general counsel, private education loan ombudsman, assistant directors for legislative affairs, intergovernmental and international affairs, and consumer response. You might think all this administrative stuff is boring, but think of it as if the bureau is a warship clearing the decks for action. Maybe next month we’ll hear a little cannon fire. Although without an appointed leader, the cannon fire might be nothing more than a few pops from a pellet gun. On Dec. 8, Senate Republicans blocked the Senate from voting on the nomination of Richard Cordray to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, prompting a tonguelashing from President Obama. The President instead made a recess appointment, bypassing confirmation altogether. LITIGATION Lessor entitled to demand timely payments despite previously accepting late payments: A dealership employee leased a vehicle. Though he made late payments for two years, each time, he contacted the lessor and worked out an alternative timeline for the payment. Eventually, the lessor told the lessee it was not going to make any other accommodations for his late payments and he had to bring the payments current or it would repossess the vehicle. He did not bring the payments current, and the lessor repossessed the vehicle, sold it, and

demanded the lessee pay the deficiency. The lessee sued, claiming that the lessor’s course of allowing him to pay late had modified his obligation to make timely payments, so the lessor did not have the right to repossess the vehicle. The trial court ruled for the lessor, and the Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed. The appellate court found that each time the lessee was unable to make a payment, he talked with the lessor, and the parties agreed to an alternate payment date or payment plan. As a result, the appellate court found that there was no pattern or course of dealing that suggested that the lessor waived the payment terms in the lease agreement. See Batozech v. Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC, 2011 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2485 (Ill. App. October 11, 2011). Connecticut repossession notice must provide unaccelerated amount due and actual expenses incurred in repossessing and storing vehicle: Prior to repossessing a vehicle, the creditor sent a repossession notice to the owner that provided her with an opportunity to cure the default by paying the entire accelerated balance and the expenses listed in the purchase agreement. The car owner sued, alleging a violation of the Connecticut repossession statute for failing to provide her the opportunity to pay the unaccelerated amount due, for requiring her to pay a fee that was not an actual expense, and for failing to itemize all of the expenses to redeem the vehicle. She also alleged a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act due to the violation of the repossession statute. The Connecticut Superior Court granted summary judgment to the car owner on the repossession statute claim and denied summary judgment on the CUTPA claim. The court determined that the creditor violated the repossession statute because the repossession notice did not provide the car owner with the unaccelerated amount due, did not list the actual expenses incurred to repossess and store the vehicle, and listed a fee that was not an actual expense. The court denied summary judgment on the CUTPA claim, finding that a violation of the repossession statute was not a per se violation of the CUTPA. See Benson v. Mackeyboy Auto, LLC, 2011 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2629 (Conn. Super. October 17, 2011). Potential assignees of a retail installment sales contract had permissible purpose to obtain car buyer’s credit report: An individual bought a car on credit from a dealership, which contacted multiple parties in an attempt to assign the finance contract. Each of the parties obtained the buyer’s credit report in order to make a decision on whether to buy her contract. She sued all of the potential assignees for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, claiming that they lacked a permissible purpose to obtain her credit report and, by doing so, they caused her credit score to decline. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama granted the motion. The buyer argued that the commercial transaction between the dealership and the defendants did not involve an extension of credit to her, as credit had already been extended to her. As a result, she claimed the defendants did not have a permissible purpose under the FCRA. The court disagreed. The court found that the car buyer applied for credit

in connection with her vehicle purchase and that, accordingly, there was a credit transaction involving her. Further, the court concluded that the dealership was attempting to procure third-party financing, even if the buyer was unaware of that fact, and, therefore, the defendants had a permissible purpose to obtain her credit report under the FCRA. See Shepherd-Salgado v. Tyndall Federal Credit Union, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129128 (S.D. Ala. November 7, 2011). Car salesman’s oral statements actionable despite disclaimer of warranties: A used car salesman sold a car “as is,” with no warranty. During the negotiations, the salesman told the buyer that the car had been inspected and had been found free of mechanical problems or deficiencies. After the car broke down, the car was repaired and inspected by another repair shop that identified several deficiencies that should have been identified by a dealer inspection. After those deficiencies were not repaired by the dealer, the buyer sued the dealership and the finance company, alleging fraud, breach of warranty, violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, and violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The dealership moved for summary judgment and the trial court granted the motion with respect to all claims because the dealership had disclaimed any warranty. The Court of Appeals of Michigan determined that the trial court erred on the fraud and MCPA claims, which were based on the salesman’s representations, finding that the false oral statements made by the salesman did not contradict the written contract disclaiming any warranty and, therefore, it was not necessarily unreasonable for the buyer to rely on those statements. See Williams v. General Motors Acceptance Corporation, 2011 Mich. App. LEXIS 1896 (Mich. App. October 25, 2011). Consumer cannot nullify contract for defective vehicle where he made material alterations to vehicle that caused defects: Two years after buying a truck that was covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, the buyer sued the manufacturer to void the contract due to an inherent defect in the truck and for accompanying damages. The trial court entered judgment for the manufacturer, and the Court of Appeal of Louisiana affirmed. The appellate court found that the engine defect the buyer complained of was caused by his installation of a performance-enhancing device on the truck. Because the buyer’s alterations caused the defect, the appellate court concluded that the buyer could not nullify the sale due to the defect. See Rodriguez v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 2011 La. App. LEXIS 1304 (La. App. November 2, 2011). So there you have it! Stay legal, and we’ll see you next month. TOM (THUDSON@HUDCO.COM) AND NIKKI (NMUNRO@HUDCO. COM) ARE PARTNERS IN THE LAW FIRM OF HUDSON COOK, LLC. TOM IS THE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL BOOKS, AVAILABLE AT WWW. COUNSELORLIBRARY.COM. TOM IS ALSO THE PUBLISHER OF SPOT DELIVERY®, A MONTHLY LEGAL NEWSLETTER FOR AUTO DEALERS, AND THE EDITOR IN CHIEF OF CARLAW®, A MONTHLY REPORT OF LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN ALL STATES FOR THE AUTO FINANCE AND LEASING INDUSTRY. NIKKI IS A CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR TO THE F&I LEGAL DESK BOOK AND FREQUENTLY WRITES FOR SPOT DELIVERY. SPOT DELIVERY, CARLAW AND THE BOOKS ARE PRODUCED BY COUNSELORLIBRARY. COM LLC. FOR INFORMATION, CALL 410-865-5411 OR VISIT WWW. COUNSELORLIBRARY.COM. COPYRIGHT COUNSELORLIBRARY.COM 2011, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SINGLE PUBLICATION RIGHTS ONLY, TO THE ASSOCIATION. (12/11) HC# 4829-0079-5406.

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NIADA/Manheim National Community Service Award 2012

INDEPENDENT DEALERSHIPS NATIONWIDE contribute every day to their communities but often go unrecognized for their community support. While many participate through special projects, others provide sponsorships and financial contributions, or lead innovative community improvement activities. The NIADA/Manheim National Community Service Award was created to honor those independent dealerships. Nominees must be members in good standing of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and nominations may be made by the dealership, a community business or organization, the state independent automobile dealers association, a community member or even a loyal customer. Five finalists will be selected, and the winning dealership will be named June 13 at the Leadership Awards Banquet during the Annual NIADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas. Manheim representatives will present the award, along with a $5,000 check made payable to the dealership’s chosen charity (which must be classified as a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code). The nomination form can be found by clicking on “Manheim Dealer’s Edge” under the “Services” tab on NIADA.com. Please submit the form, along with the required nomination packet contents, by April 1 to the Community Service Award Selection Committee, NIADA, 2521 Brown Blvd., Arlington, TX, 76006. For additional details please contact Georgia Brown at (800) 756-4232.

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Kelley Blue Book’s Top Used Cars Under $8,000 KELLEY 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.” Kelley Blue Book retail value as of December 2011: $7,360.

BY AUTO REMARKETING

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 grocery-getting 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 comfortable 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 status-flaunting 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.

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IIADA LEGISLATIVE FUND CONTRIBUTION Name________________________________________________ Company_____________________________________________

Address______________________________________________ City_____________________State______________Zip________

LEGISLATION AFFECTS YOUR BUSINESS’ FUTURE YOU NEED THE INDIANA LEGISLATIVE FUND

The Indiana Independent Automobile Dealers must maintain a high profile with members of the Indiana General Assembly. We must have grassroots support, both personally and financially. Every year we hear the same things from dealers – they care about legislative and regulatory initiatives. But our legislative fund tells a different story. You need the IIADA Legislative Fund and we need your support. Your contribution to the IIADA Legislative Fund is an investment in our industry’s future. We urge you to make a contribution today.

Credit Card (circle one): MasterCard

VISA

Credit Card No._________________________________________ Name on Card____________________Expiration Date__________ Signature________________________Amount_______________

LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION: ____ $ 50 FAX CREDIT CARD AUTHORIZATION TO: 219.663.5294 MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO: IIADA ____ $ 100 ____ ____

$ 250 RETURN TO: INDIANA INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOC. Other  P. O. BOX 1393 CROWN POINT, IN 46308

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GREENNews

Going Green A U T O

R E C Y C L I N G

AS 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

I S

B O O M I N G

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-ofproduction vehicles a chance to obtain hardto-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 familyowned 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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INDIANA LEGISLATIVE NEWS As expected, the 2012 Indiana General Assembly legislative session has been very busy. Governor Mitch Daniels addressed the media before the Legislature convened to lay out his 2012 legislative goals. His list of priorities included:

• R  ight-to-work: As mentioned previously, this issue will dominate and consume the 2012 session. • State liability compensation: Governor Daniels would like to increase the state’s amount in light of last summer’s State Fair tragedy. • Local government reform: Specifically focused on conflict of interest and nepotism in hiring. • Mass transit funding referendum: The governor wants the voters of Marion County and the surrounding doughnut counties to decide on mass transit.

• Statewide smoking ban: Governor Daniels and the leadership of the House and Senate are hoping to get a ban through before the Super Bowl. • Anti-human trafficking: Again, another bill for the Super Bowl.

Here is a schedule of deadlines for the second half of the session: Feb. 29: Committee report deadline Mar. 5: Third reading deadline Mar. 6: Conference committees begin Mar. 14: Sine Die (adjournment) As always, please feel free to contact me or Frank with any questions, concerns or comments about the 2012 legislative session. Michael J. Solari Short Strategy Group, Inc. 414 N. College Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46202 Phone: (317) 917-0800 Fax: (317) 917-0880 michael@shortstrategy.com

NEW & RENEWING MEMBERS

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS HAVE JOINED* OR RENEWED THEIR MEMBERSHIP SINCE OUR LAST ISSUE OF CAR LINES.

Recovery Auto Sales* Sameh Harv Indianapolis The Auto Store* Travis Huber Portage AUTOLINE Kim Tuttle Elkhart GMG Motors Curtis Sandefer Morgantown Keystone Insurers Group Lori Simpson Northumberland Lubrifleet Auto Sales Wilkes Barre Penn Warranty Corporation Randy Dombrowski Stevens Point Preferred Auto Greg Bradshaw Kendallville THANK YOU FOR YOURMEMBERSHIP IN INDIANA’S TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR INDEPENDENT DEALERS

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IIADA ASSOCIATE MEMBERS IIADA Associate Membership is available to automotive related businesses. Please call 800-310-3112 for more information on Associate Memberships or see our Associate Membership Application in this issue.

Affordable Computer Systems Ivan Dale www.acsds.com acsi@digicove.com 800-488-9992 Auction Access Robinson Adams Insurance Dealer Bonds Tom Adams Debbie Thompson 800-239-1327 Automotive Credit Corp. Tony Stallworth 26261 Evergreen Road, Ste. 300 Southfield, MI 48076 tony@automotivecredit.com 888-268-1400 Auto Services Co., Inc. Susan Williams Clayton Morgan 800-442-7116 Bowden & Wood Certified Public Accountants Mark A. Schaeffer, CPA mschaeffer@bowdenandwood.com 502-583-0262 Briggs Insurance Agency Tim Briggs 4000 W. Lincoln Hwy. Merrillville, IN 46410 tbriggs@briggsagency.com 219-769-4840 Cars.com 175 W. Jackson Blvd., 8th Floor Chicago, IL 60604 dealers.cars.com 800-298-1460 CAR Financial Services, Inc. Thomas Lloyd www.carfinancial.com thomas.lloyd@carfinancial.com 859-630-2606 Chase Custom Finance Don Williams and Mike Smith 317-523-4273 Clear Choice Merchant Services Reno, NV Laurie Gruen, Corporate Analyst, ext. 6881 laurene.g@myclearchoice.com Lorraine Onesian, VP Business Development, ext. 6880 lorraine.o@myclearchoice.com www.myclearchoice.com 866-779-4787 Consolidated Automotive Services of Indiana Chris Walsh 59 East Main Street, Suite N Nashville, IN 47448 (812) 988-8300 cwalsh@concolidatedautoservices.com Diamond Warranty Corp. Jim Limongelli 9 N Main Street Pittston, PA 18640 800.384.5023 Diversified Marketing Strategies, Inc. Andrea Pearman 1330 Arrowhead Ct. Crown Point, IN 46307 (219) 226-0300 chrischelle@3dms.com Donn Wray Attorney at Law Stewart & Irwin, P.C. 251 E. Ohio St., Suite 100 Indianapolis, IN 46204 dwray@silegal.com 317-639-5454 Drive1USA Bruce Norton 1512 W. 96th Ave., Suite C Crown Point, IN 46307 bnorton@drive1usa.com 219-661-1000

Envirotest Systems Jennifer Kharchaf 1171 Breuckman Drive, Suite B Crown Point, IN 46307 indiana@esph.com 888.240.1684

SEAL FINANCE Judy Terrell 3830 E. Southport Road # 200 Indianapolis, IN 46237 judyt.cnac@gmail.com 317-497-0473

Frazer Computing, Inc. Michael Frazer www.frazercomputing.com 888-963-5369

Security Auto Loans Joe Ruhland 4900 Hwy 169 N., Suite 205 New Hope, MN (763) 559-5892 Joe Ruhland

GoldStar GPS Mark Behne 2035 Lakeside Centre Knoxville, TN 1-866-655-8825 markb@procongps.com Guardian Warranty Co. Carmie Fruits, Indiana Representative cfruits@gu ardian-warranty.com 317-374-6271 Sales Support P. O. Box 68 Avoca, PA 18641-0068 800-482-7357, ext. 767 Heritage-Crystal Clean Jim Skelton 2250 Point Blvd. Ste. 250 Elgin, IL 60123 (847) 836-5670 jim.skelton@crystal-clean.com

Shirer Insurance Services Auto Owners-Dealer Bonds 400 N. Main St. Crown Point, IN 46307 Troy and Mari Shirer shirer@ameritech.net 219-663-7274 Smart Auction Jeff Kubicki www.smartauction.biz jeffrey.kubicki@smartauction.biz 812-455-7967

Heritage Financial Acceptance Corp. Curt Holmes 121 S. Main Street Elkhart, IN 46516 pperdue@hfgnet.com www.heritageacceptance.net Insurance Professionals Mike Lee 317-432-1092 teamallen21@comcast.net Keystone Insurers Group For All Your Insurance Needs Lori Simpson lsimpson@keystoneisgrp.com 888-826-0079

Surety Bonds.com Mike Patzius 1200 Rogers St., Suite C Columbia, MO 65202 mike@suretybonds.com Triumph Consulting Jack Haworth 1606 N. Delaware St. Indianapolis, IN 46202 800-875-3137 www.triumphconsulting.net Tri Vin Inc. Mike Audette 115 Pohesanut Drive Suite 201 Groton, CT 06340 maudette@trivininc.com 860.448.3177

Lincolnway Insurance Services Dealer Bonds & Garage Keepers Gregg St. Germain 336 E. Lincoln Hwy. Schererville, IN 46375 gregg@lincolnwayinsurance.com 219-865-2225

Vehicle Acceptance Corp. Ted Martin 317-844-2599 VideoTirekickers.com John Commorato 2413 N. Meridan Indianapolis, IN 46208 (317) 466-0321 john@cmcmediagroup.com

Nationwide Acceptance Sub-Prime Financing www.nac-loans.com Bonnie Herden 773-777-7600, ext. 1295 Penn Warranty Corp. Jude Tuma Michael Roe 1081 Hanover St. Wilkes Barre, PA 18706 www.pennwarranty.com michael.roe@pennwarrantycorp.com 800-356-9441 Preferred Warranties, Inc. Gregg Reidenbach 260-341-6675 Guy Loeffler 313-283-0114 info@warrantys.com 800-548-1121

Sentry Insurance Randy Dombrowski randy.dombrowski@sentry.com 715-346-7272 Mike Donovan mike.donovan@sentry.com 615-210-6344

Wingham & Associates Gary Wingham P.O. Box 1723 Richmond, IN 47375 (765) 977-3902 gwingham@gmail.com WORKS24 Mark Hersch 3508 French Park Drive, Suite 1 Edmond, OK 73034 mhersch@work24.com 440.832.0445 Zurich Insurance Co. 800-728-6049

Reliable Auto Finance Brian Chisholm 954 28th St. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49509 brian@reliableautofinanace.com www.reliableautofinance.com Russel Kobel Insurance 100 Tower Drive Suite 120 Burr Ridge, IL 60527 708.935.6509 rkobel@ais-ins.com

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LEGISLATIVE KEY CONTACTS DO YOU KNOW YOUR LEGISLATOR? We need your HELP! Many new faces will be present in the 2012 legislative session. This session will feature issues that affect your business. We need to continue a network of dealers who are willing to contact their elected officials. Your service will ensure continued success of our legislative efforts on behalf of the independent dealer.

PLE ASE RE TURN THIS FORM TO THE IIADA OFFICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

MEMBER NAME_________________________________________ DEALERSHIP____________________________________________ ADDRESS______________________________________________ PHONE________________________________________________ PLEASE INDICATE WHICH STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATORS YOU KNOW AND ARE WILLING TO CONTACT: NAMES STATE SENATORS_________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ STATE REPRESENTATIVES___________________________________ _____________________________________________________ U. S. SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN __________________________ _____________________________________________________ Mail or fax this form to: IIADA, P. O. Box 1393, Crown Point, IN 46308 • Fax (219) 663-5294 15

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The The IIADA IIADA Has Has the the Independent Independent Auto Auto Dealer Dealer Covered! Covered!

Indiana Independent Automobile Dealers Associations

For an annual membership investment of only $275,

which includes an NIADA membership, you get a $2,300 Auto Auction Coupon Book and a whole lot more!

IIADA • PO Box 1393 • Crown Point, IN 46308 Phone: (800)310-3112 • Fax: (219)663-5294 iiada@comcast.net

This is our personal invitation to you to join the State and National Independent Automobile Dealers Professional Associations

It is important to me to be recognized as a professional! Enclosed are my annual dues of $275 to make sure that my business has all the advantages IIADA/NIADA Inc., provides to put me at the forefront of my profession. By completing this form, I agree to abide by the Code of Ethics. Also, I am consenting to and giving IIADA/ NIADA Inc., its affiliates and subsidiaries, my permission to (until I give written notice to discontinue) contact me and provide information to me at the mailing and email addresses, telephone and fax number(s) I have provided. Dealership Name ____________________________________ Dealer Lic#________________________________________ Mail Address ____________________________________________________________________________________________ County ____________________________________________City/State/Zip_______________________________________ Phone _____________________________________________Fax __________________________________________________ E-mail____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Website__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Owners (Please Print) ___________________________________________________________________________________ Recommended By _______________________________________________________________________________________ Payment by: Check Visa MasterCard Credit Card Number: ______________________________Expiration Date: __________________________________ Signature: _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Please include your email address, phone and fax numbers so that we can easily communicate with you. Membership dues are $275.00 for 12 months from the date you join, and your NationallADA dues are included. Please send application and check or credit card information to: IIADA, PO Box 1393,Crown Point, IN 46308 Note: 25% of dues are non-deductible 16

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For $275 You Get Membership In Both IIADA and NIADA

Plus All Of The Following Benefits And Even More That Are Not Listed!

Programs for Extra Profit

• Dealer Bond at Member Rates • Dealer Insurance • Health Insurance • Forms • Financing • Software • IIADA Help Desk • National Dealer Network Skip Tracing Contacts • College Scholarships • Prescription Drug Card • National Dealer Network

Publications

• Car Lines Publication • Used Car Dealer Magazine • Federally Required Safeguards Policy Document • Federally Required Red Flags Rules Policy Documents • IRS Audit Technique Guide For the Independent Used Car Dealer • Current Industry Information • Legislative Alerts • NIADA Annual Market Analysis

Professional Development

• Certified Master Dealer Program • Free Access to NIADA.tv Training at Your Business • Access to IndependentDealer.com where dealers go for answers • NIADA Membership and Window Decal • IIADA “Symbol of Integrity” Logo and Window Decal • NIADA Annual Convention and Trade Show • Code of Ethics

Representation

• State Lobby and Consultant Services • State Legislative and Regulatory Tracking and Reporting • Federal Lobby and Consulting Services • Federal Legal, Legislative and Regulatory Tracking and Reporting • Indiana Department of Revenue Liaison • Indiana Dealer Services Liaison • Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Liaison

2012 IIADA MEMBER auction coupons For A Total Savings Of $2,300! abc Detroit/Toledo

Indiana Auto Auction, Inc.

ADE of Indianapolis

Indianapolis Car Exchange

ADESA Cincinnati/Dayton

Kesler-Schaefer Wholesale Auto Auction

ADESA Indianapolis

Manheim Arena Illinois

ADESA Lansing

Manheim Chicago

ADESA Northern Ohio

Manheim Cincinnati

ADESA Queen City

Manheim Indianapolis

Clark County Auto Auction

Manheim Louisville

Dyer Auto Auction

Manheim Ohio

Elkhart Public Auto Auction

OPENLANE

Greater Kalamazoo Auto Auction

Wolfe’s Auto Auctions, Evansville/Terre Haute/

Greater Rockford Auto Auction

South Bend

SAVE $100 at each of the above auctions! – 4 Buy or Sell Fee Coupons @ $25 each – 17

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DealerNews

USE TESTIMONIALS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS 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.

WHICH 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 20year 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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