The Ontario Dealer - Volume 6 Issue 2

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YOUR CONNECTION TO ONTARIO’S USED CAR INDUSTRY

THE ONTARIO UCDA

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO

> INSIDE:CUSTOMER

LOYALTY PROGRAMS /12 PLUS DEALER PROFILE: 3 BAY AUTO SALES /24

CREATING A MORE POSITIVE SERVICE EXPERIENCE FOR CUSTOMERS /19 SPRING 2018

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THE ONTARIO UCDA

IN THIS ISSUE

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 1

Spring 2018 USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO 230 Norseman Street, Toronto, ON M8Z 2R4 Tel: 416.231.2600 Toll Free: 1.800.268.2598

ucda.org

Publication Mail Agreement #41890516

ONTARIO DEALER is published by Laservision Graphics Ltd. four times a year. 130 Industry Street, Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3

EDITOR Gina Monaco Tel: 1.647.344.9300 or 1.289.456.4617 gina@ontariodealer.com

ADVERTISING SALES Terry Coster Direct: 416.360.0797 Office: 647.344.9300

PHOTOGRAPHY photosbypierce.com

FEATURED STORIES Customer Loyalty Programs By David Miller

12 Creating A More Positive Service Experience For Customers by Angela West

19 Make Your Dealership More Sales-Friendly For Women by Angela West

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05 07 09 11 15 17 24 28 34 45

The Driver’s Seat Warren Barnard

Editor’s Note Gina Monaco

Member’s Corner Bob Pierce

The Law Matters Jim Hamilton

Trends Chris Chase

Tech Talk Angela West

Dealer Profile Rhonda Payne

Onboarding Pt.1 Lori Straus

The Common Lawyer Justin M. Jakublak

The Old Car Detective Bill Sherk

Building Business With Accessories by Dan Croutch

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DESIGN ThrillhouseStudios.com

CONTRIBUTORS Chris Chase, Dan Croutch, David Miller, Rhonda Payne, Bill Sherk, Lori Straus, Angela West. If you are interested in having your personal opinion heard, contact the editor at gina@ontariodealer.com

The publisher of The Ontario Dealer reserves the right to turn down any advertising or content submitted to it. The Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario and the publisher accept no responsibility for claims or statements made by advertisers in this publication or by the independent authors of articles appearing in this publication. All statements and opinions appearing in this publication are those of the writers themselves and are not to be construed as reflecting the position or endorsement of the Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario or the publisher.

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 | 3


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THE DRIVER’S SEAT Some thoughts for Spring to U.S. dealers and consumers. The dollar is not the only factor of course. Much uncertainty still exists over the future of NAFTA. Rising interest rates remain a fear, as most buyers are in need of financing of some sort. Consumer confidence about the economy as a whole is looking a little shaky, but for now at least, consumers are still buying. Sales have remained quite strong in the first quarter of 2018. Time will tell whether that continues.

By Warren Barnard, Executive Director, UCDA

I GOT QUITE A REACTION to my last

column about extended term loans and negative equity.

It’s clearly an issue that resonates with members and one that isn’t going away. Extended term loans make higher priced vehicles affordable to many consumers. Buyers, with their eyes wide open are willing to pay more over the longer term in order to make the purchase possible. What’s important is that the options available are explained to the purchaser and the effects of the longerterm loan are understood. Same goes for the negative equity that sometimes results when the customer is trading their vehicle in, but owes more on it than the vehicle is now worth. Again, transparency with full disclosure is the key. Some random thoughts for Spring: What kind of year is in store for members in 2018? Much depends on how the Canadian dollar fares. As I write this it sits around 77 cents, which continues to make Canadian used vehicles, especially light trucks, attractive

Every week I read or hear all kinds of negativity for the future of automotive sales. Naysayers claim people, especially younger folks (millennials, Gen Ys), don’t care about cars (or trucks) and aren’t buying anymore. Don’t listen to that nonsense. Aside from some living in the core areas of Toronto and maybe a few of Ontario’s largest cities, young people still need motor vehicles. In fact, they need them more than ever. And if you’ve tried to drive into the downtown core of Ontario’s largest cities lately, you’d be hard-pressed to believe residents are not buying vehicles. In smaller towns and rural areas, driving is the only way people are going to be able to get around any distance more than a km or two. There are no public transit or ride sharing options for many Ontario residents.

respect and courtesy that any male shopper should be given. Successful dealers need to offer a purchasing experience that will work for all buyers. Self-driving (autonomous vehicles) are coming …. eventually… but again, don’t hold your breath. We will likely see them first in self-driving fleets (sorry Uber drivers), and merchandise transport fleets (sorry truck drivers) but don’t expect consumers to be flocking to purchase them anytime soon. Same with electric vehicles, commonly known as EVs. For me EV stands for EVentually! Here are just a few of the articles I hope you’ll enjoy reading in this issue of The Ontario Dealer • ONBOARDING YOUR STAFF • LOYALTY PROGRAMS THAT WORK • MAKE YOUR DEALERSHIP FRIENDLIER TO WOMEN • WHO’S BUYING USED CARS THESE DAYS? • CREATING A POSITIVE SERVICE EXPERIENCE • ACCESSORIES SALES

Millennials are having families and accumulating “stuff”. They’re not hauling the kids and merchandise around on a bike, or on a bus, or calling Uber to do it (though they might have dinner delivered that way). Millennials are driving. And mostly they’re driving vehicles they own or lease, not car share vehicles.

Before I finish, let me put a quick plug in for the UCDA’s new vehicle listing site, Ontariocars.ca. If you’re not already one of the 1,500 UCDA members listing over 50,000 vehicles, why aren’t you? Register today by visiting ucdasearches.com and clicking on the Ontariocars logo. If you need help getting your cars onto the site, contact support@ ontariocars.ca or call 1-800-268-2598.

Women continue to purchase a lot of vehicles, and as you’ll read about in this issue, they’re rightly demanding to be treated with the same

I hope you enjoy this issue of The Ontario Dealer and that everyone has a prosperous Spring selling season! ■

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 | 5


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EDITOR’S NOTE Will car dealerships become obsolete? Then he found the dealerships online - in his case it was a new vehicle and there were three dealerships in town. He went through the same process – read about them and read the reviews. But he also made an appointment with each one for a test drive. He was looking for a salesperson he could connect with, someone with whom he could build a long-term business relationship.

By Gina Monaco, Editor

Perhaps, but I don’t think so. People are still buying cars, of course, but economies are changing and millennials are the future drivers of the vehicle economy, and their priorities are much different than their parents. According to a study I’m sure you’re familiar with, from RethinkX, an independent think-tank in San Francisco, greater demand for electric cars, coupled with increased demand for ride sharing, will eventually eliminate the need for dealerships altogether. I disagree. And I’ll use the example of my millennial son who just purchased a car from a dealership. Did he do his research online? Yes, a trend we’ve been seeing for a few years. He searched for vehicles in his price range, then searched for the three top-rated vehicles. From there, he read reviews that were non-biased, did some research on the vehicle manufacturers, then made his choice.

Did he want to test drive the car? He said it didn’t matter to him whether he test drove it or not, which flies in the face of the philosophy of many dealers who work on the premise that getting a potential buyer behind the wheel of the car makes it easier to sell.

game universe where the first person to find a digital Easter egg wins everything. A simple plot line, fast-paced, with lots of cool visual effects– totally Gen Y and Gen Z. But the theme is just as simple – a need for human connection. This has become a common theme in recent films that use a lot of visual effects. It appears the more we advance technologically, the more human interaction and connection we need. Electric cars and total online sales experiences may be the future, but it’s still going to take a while. Hybrids were introduced 18 years ago, and yet account for less than one per cent of total sales. After all, there are still libraries, there are still bookstores. There is still a need for that tactile experience.

What was important to him was fuel efficiency. He considered a hybrid -- the vehicle he chose did have a hybrid model, but it didn’t justify the extra cost. He was And there will still be a need for car getting very close to the same mileage dealerships, new and used – in fact used with the non-hybrid. And the government car dealers may have an advantage because changed their rebate policy for electric cars, they are usually smaller and are located in which weighed on his decision. a wider range of neighbourhoods – lots of opportunities to build relationships. It’s an interesting view into the mind of millennial buyers. Clearly, when Elon Moral of the story -- develop a personal Musk recently announced pre-sales for the brand that people will trust. ■ Tesla 3 – it sold out – no test drive, and no cars available for a few years. According to my son, who considered purchasing it, the Tesla is Elon Musk and Musk has developed a personal brand that people can trust. Buyers are still looking for that personal connection with someone they can trust. The recent film "Ready Player One" is a good example of what I mean. In 2045, with the world on the brink of collapse, there is only the Oasis, a virtual reality

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MEMBER’S CORNER What do You Consider to be a Lead? We’ve been reaching out to the public with all sorts of digital and traditional advertising … radio, billboards, contests, SEO campaigns, Google display and Google ad words. This will continue and we expect Ontariocars to increasingly rank near the top of Google searches. But lets talk about leads

By Bob Pierce Member Services Director

YOUR VEHICLE LISTING SITE, Ontariocars.ca, has been up and running for several months now and 1,500 members are listing almost 55,000 vehicles on it. Along with our partners, the UCDA has learned a lot about running this type of new business for you. We have quickly one of the most popular vehicle Dakisbecome & Associates Inc. 1521 Danforth Avenuein Canada, especially in listing sites Toronto, ON Canada M4J 5C3 Ontario. T 416.516.7335

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when they will see the resulting leads.

A few years ago, an ex-president of Auto Trader said to me, “we don’t sell cars for dealers…we make their phone ring”. Today, it’s still the same. All listing sites show your cars to the consumer. If it's your listings that look the best, your phone rings, your email box shows “new mail”, and customers walk through your door. Funny thing about all of this is how these leads are handled. Ontariocars.ca is providing leads, lots of them. This Member Service will be successful. We're now hearing from members about their leads and we're following up on all of them. The results are very interesting. Many dealers have no idea where their leads come from and have no idea whether it was from their listing site. Many dealers’ sales people and managers don’t even ask the customer “what brought you into the dealership today”. They don’t record responses routinely or at all. Most CRM systems make it easy to tick off a box “dealership

location” as being the number 1 reason the customer came in that day. A dealer that I recently visited was shocked at how many “leads” his system said he got from a popular listing site in the first quarter of 2018. He was also shocked at how much they had cost … thousands of dollars a month and hundreds of dollars per lead. He found out how many times the CRM system told them it was their “location” that brought the customer in. In fact, a sales manager freely admitted that the data was seriously flawed … because staff don’t really ask ... they just tick the box. We have had dealers receive emails and admit that they were never opened. One dealer said he didn’t know what email he registered to receive leads, so he "didn’t see them”. A few members have said they will not list on Ontariocars.ca until they get leads… but, how exactly is that going to happen for them if they’re not on the site? We need your vehicles to make this successful…we need them now and right now it’s FREE! More on this in my next Member’s Corner. ■

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 | 9


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THE LAW MATTERS Total Recall August 14, 2014 vehicle manufacturers are REQUIRED to provide a means to search, by VIN, to determine not only if there is a recall on your vehicle, but if it has been repaired. This allows the U.S. government to make that data available instantly on a single website vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ in real time! Imagine … the 21st century! Meanwhile … in Canada What does Transport Canada provide for Canadians in this regard? Well, for all intents and purposes, next to nothing.

By Jim Hamilton Legal Services Director

THE RECENT MASSIVE RECALL of Takata Airbags affected millions of vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. It also helped to remind us how badly served we are in Canada by the present system.

The American Experience As many Canadians are painfully aware, Americans often do things faster and more efficiently when it comes to consumer protection legislation. Governments are quicker in the U.S. to do more than just politely ask companies to do things better ... they INSIST. You would think, in this age of technological wonders, that a vehicle recall, by VIN number, would be the easiest thing in the world to put on the internet. Guess what? It is. At least in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not mess around. As of

Visit www.tc.gc.ca/eng/ motorvehiclesafety/safevehiclesdefectinvestigations-1412.html and you will see what I mean. For starters, you can’t search by VIN on their website. They direct you to a variety of manufacturer or sponsored sites inside and outside of Canada. Some of these sites do not recognize Canadian VINs or report on recalls inaccurately. Transport Canada, the agency responsible for vehicle safety nationwide, relies entirely on manufac-turers to decide on recalls and how to report them. Some car makers do not bother to provide a VIN search capacity at all!

the Minister of Transport, in March of 2018, as the result of much needed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The System is a Mess We did a random survey of open recall VINs. We found some manufacturers do not allow on-line searches, provide different information on U.S. sites than on Canadian sites, or have U.S. sites, but no Canadian site for such searches. Some have incorrect information on their U.S. or Canadian sites. It’s worse than a patchwork quilt … it’s a mess. Meanwhile, we get calls from time to time from consumers who are upset to learn the vehicle they bought from a dealer was subject to a recall they were not told about. No wonder! How is the dealer supposed to know or begin to find out? Our Suggestion Until Transport Canada gets its act together, we recommend that dealers suggest to all their used car buyers that they register as the owner of the used car with the vehicle manufacturer. At least that way the buyer will receive notice of recalls on their VIN when issued and notice of repairs for recalls which are outstanding and waiting for a repair to be decided upon.

Transport Canada’s answer: give the manufacturer a phone call or go visit a dealer! Why should anyone have to do that just to find out if their VIN is subject to a recall? And how does that help someone who has a car subject to a recall for which no fix is yet in place (as with the air bags)?

At a minimum, Transport Canada should require manufacturers’ to supply VIN’s subject to recalls relevant to Canada, so people can search on-line without hassle or inaccuracies.

In the U.S., the Government can order a manufacturer to issue a recall … in Canada this power was only very recently given to

Hopefully soon, our government will catch up to our American cousins and have “total recall”. ■

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 | 11


CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS | CHRIS CHASE

CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS By David Miller

THE SECRET RECIPES FOR CREATING CUSTOMER LOYALTY CUSTOMER RETENTION is a challenge for any retail business, including the auto sector. Any vehicle sale comes with its adrenaline high for the moment, but the key lies with sustaining that customer for the long haul. That's easier said than done.

According to Kissmetrics, attracting a new customer can cost six-to-seven times more than keeping an existing one.

12 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Customer service is a cornerstone to solidifying the transaction, and without that friendly and reliable touch, a customer can be lost instantly. But somewhere along the line, the product has to hold up for consumers to enjoy what they're driving and come back in four, five, or seven years down the line. None of this is mitigated by new vehicles being introduced at a record pace. Couple that with various incentives offered up from most automakers for both new and used vehicles and the customer is left with a lot to think about. If that's not enough, some dealerships have started to shift towards online sales, making the sale and customer experience harder to control. All of this has contributed to a loss in customer loyalty, placing ample

pressure on dealers to keep consumers within the family. To combat a competitive marketplace, automakers and individual dealerships have started to lean on loyalty programs. According to a recent study by Colloquy, a resource for loyalty intelligence, Canadians are enrolled in 8.2 loyalty programs per household. We've seen them in various industries from Air miles to Petro-Canada and Esso gas points to Visa rewards. You don't even have to sign up for some of them, such as Canadian Tire money, one of the oldest examples of a loyalty program. Current loyalty programs Even though loyalty programs exist in the auto industry, they've become a secret recipe for success that most aren't ready to divulge.


One public relations automaker representative directly responded, “I'm afraid that this kind of stuff isn't something we are able to discuss openly.” Another replied with: “After some back and forth, much of our background on this front is confidential, we will unfortunately not be able to provide answers.” Others respectfully declined to comment. Luckily, we were able to get a few brands to provide some insight. Ford Motor Company of Canada talked about its loyalty program extending to certain customers identified as being in equity positions in their vehicle life cycle towards the purchase or lease of a new vehicle. Lincoln Canada and Honda Canada were similar in nature. The Lincoln brand has a standing one percent discount for loyal customers on purchase and lease contracts with Lincoln Automotive Financial Services.

"..Canadians are enrolled in 8.2 loyalty programs per household." Honda confirmed that nearly half of its business comes from returning customers. The Japanese brand is offering that same one percent reduction for customers coming off of a Honda Canada finance loan. The Honda Canada representative did explain, “the loyalty is more likely attributed to their experience with the brand, the quality of products, and experience with the dealership staff.” These programs don't provide a lot of information about how many customers receive them, but it at least offers a glimpse of the type of deals provided through the industry to loyal

customers. Some are probably better than others, but chances are, they fall within that one-to-two percent discount. Other facets of customer loyalty The wish to be secretive is understandable in such a competitive environment. These loyalty programs are vital to sustaining levels of success, especially when one looks at Honda Canada's percentage of loyal followers. With a lack of information, we naturally turn to industry experts for comment. DealerTrack Canada, a leading provider of web-based software solutions that also serves dealers and automakers with market data and solutions including Sales/Finance & Insurance products, provided their interpretation of what's going on in the industry. It starts and ends with great customer service,” explains Richard Evans, vicepresident and general manager of DealerTrack Canada. “Great service means treating the customer with respect and recognizing it is a privilege to have them in your store, or engaged on a digital channel.” The age of pushy dealer tactics has gone by the wayside. Dealers need to get to know individual customers and their needs better. Consumers are armed with a plethora of information from the internet through various car reviews, vehicle specs and factory invoicing pricing from companies such as Unhaggle and CarCostCanada. “It doesn’t matter if they’re a ‘net new sale opportunity,’ we're there to provide brand education on a product

or service their vehicle,” adds Evans. “Delight them every step of the way and you’ll build loyalty.” Steve Cooper, retail marketing strategy manager, Ford Canada concurs. “Our approach is customer focused, treating them the way they want to be treated. Ford Credit works with customers throughout their contract terms with excellent service designed to provide a great, branded financing experience that brings them back to Ford, Lincoln and our dealers.” Ford Credit is a key partner for the Big Oval focusing on a shorter trade cycle. They facilitate both purchase and lease options to meet the needs of its customers. Evans however, does point to a need for better collaboration between the dealer and automaker on retention going forward. “It can sometimes appear to the customer that the two stakeholders are competing for their business, rather than working together to create great customer experiences.” Service plans are a gateway to customer retention Customer service extends beyond the initial sale and into routine maintenance plans throughout the life cycle of new and used vehicles. The profit margin may not be large, but these service plans play a big part in keeping the customer coming back, comfortable with the dealership experience; and most importantly, in the automaker fold.

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 | 13


CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS | CHRIS CHASE Without any interaction between dealership and customer over the lifespan of the vehicle, the lower the chances that customer is coming back. Constant interaction provides an opportunity for the dealership to get to know and understand its customers, as well as their likes, dislikes and needs, and it doesn't hurt to throw in a birthday wish each year. Evans zones in on customer service involving the "kitchen sink" approach, in what DealerTrack Canada calls: “the full ownership plan for customers.” It consists of going beyond traditional loyalty programs and the delivery of the vehicle. Along the way, it's an opportunity to educate, schedule service, provide winter tire offers, as well as collision and rental support. “You have to build a lifetime relationship with your customers,” Evans explains. “Whether it’s financial services or even health care, you’ll remove friction in the customer’s journey by not forcing every conversation or contact point they have with you – in an attempt to net a new transaction. Creating a multi-year plan for the customer with their needs at the centre of the experience is key; the person is the customer; not the VIN.” A successful example that goes beyond the traditional loyalty program is found with the Ontario-based Formula Honda group. They have their own "Loyalty Drive Auto Rewards" program that allows clients to accumulate points from every service after the initial purchase. Those points can be used towards the purchase of a new or used car, as well as receive discounts at hotels, restaurants and even Walt Disney theme parks. Dealers need to fall back on customer service featuring bonus offerings such as free oil changes or discounts on maintenance to create that higher level retention rate. By doing so, dealers are not only turning a profit, but keeping customers coming back long after the initial sale – a win-win

14 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

situation for both parties. In addition, it allows them to consistently see the on-going deals within the showroom, as well as the new and improved products being released.

be serviced. Also, each dealership must make sure its team members understand the channels so they’re ready to create integrated and excellent experiences with all customers.”

Understanding different channels of communication

Taking the internet to the next level are social media campaigns that have become a big form of communication from a national brand and individual dealership perspective. Automakers and dealerships need to be able to collaborate and keep up with the trends, whether its Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It's all about embracing this new medium and relating to different clienteles, including millenials.

Traditional modes of communication have changed over the years, as mail leaflets and mass emails have lost their lustre. The latter is more understandable in the age of the internet, but those messages and offerings have to be catered to the individual client and their needs.

"You have to build a lifetime relationship with your customers.."

Communication takes on many forms depending on the consumer. All parties have to be up to the task in order to better serve their clients, whatever their needs are; and in the long run, this will help in keeping those customers happy and in the fold for years to come.

“It starts with understanding all methods or channels that a customer could use to interact with you (phone, chat, web, in-store, etc.),” Evans adds. “You have to look at it from the customer’s perspective and take inventory of the ways that an individual customer likes to

In this highly competitive auto industry, no customer should ever be taken for granted. Every little bit counts, even that one percent loyalty offering. ■


TRENDS By Chris Chase

EVERY AUTOMAKER HAS TO carefully evaluate each vehicle it includes in its lineup to determine whether the cost of making it is justified not only by the number of units it sells, but also by the impact it could have on the company's success and its influence in the marketplace.

production stops and what kinds of incentives are available on remaining new examples.

That's why a company like Ford -typically seen as a maker of mainstream cars and trucks -- poured millions of dollars into the development of its latest GT supercar, a limited-production vehicle that commands a price tag of about half a million dollars and elevates the brand's status in the minds of consumers.

VW TOUAREG

But those considerations also dictate decisions about the more mundane cars that most people buy to meet their daily driving needs. When a car company decides to discontinue a vehicle, you can be sure that a lot of thought has gone into that choice. What it doesn't mean is that the car in question is a poor design. Consumers know that too, and they're also aware that a vehicle's discontinuation can affect its resale values, depending on the demand that remains for it once

Here's a look at a few recently discontinued vehicles and our thoughts on how popular they’re likely to be with used vehicle buyers.

Volkswagen cut this mid-size crossover from its lineup last year when it rolled out a new model called the Atlas, a larger vehicle with a family-friendly three rows of seating compared to the Touareg's two. It was never a particularly strong value compared to other Volkswagen models -- even the compact Golf wagon offered nearly as much interior space -- but it gave VW a premium vehicle that competed for buyers against the Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. It maintains a strong following among SUV buyers with upscale pretensions, largely because it’s more affordable than its luxury-branded competitors.

INFINITI QX70 Here's another nicely trimmed mid-size crossover, but one that found less favour,

thanks to a relatively tight interior given its exterior size. Nonetheless, the QX70 (formerly known as the FX) cuts a unique profile and is surprisingly entertaining to drive, with a choice of V6 or V8 engines. Infiniti cut this vehicle from its lineup when its latest QX50 model arrived with a new, high-tech engine and more spacious interior. But the QX70 is a compelling vehicle that offers SUV and crossover shoppers many of the characteristics they expect from this class, such as AWD traction and a higher seating position, while packaging them in a body that stands out in a gang of boxy vehicles.

JEEP PATRIOT This compact SUV was left behind when its sibling, the Compass, was redesigned into a second generation. No longer seeing the need for two models at the entry-level end of its lineup, Jeep decided to kick this one to the curb. The Patriot's plain styling speaks to its utilitarian nature, but like all Jeep models, this one could be equipped to tackle surprisingly rugged terrain, thanks to available low-range gearing. The Jeep name carries a lot of cachet and

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 | 15


TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE will appeal particularly to sub-prime shoppers who lust after a Wrangler, but realize that the model's strong resale value puts it out of their reach budgetwise.

segment that has rendered more spaceefficient vehicles like this irrelevant to the majority of car shoppers.

MAZDA5

With vehicle electrification in full swing, we were surprised when Lexus announced it was dropping this goodlooking hybrid hatchback as its entrylevel model. Based on the Prius, the CT 200h boasted the Toyota model's bulletproof mechanical systems and fuel-efficient drivetrain, packed into a smaller body.

This small wagon dates back to 2006, arriving around the same time Kia rolled out a similarly configured vehicle called the Rondo (which lives on, for 2018 at least). In essence, this is a minivan writ small, so it boasts the kind of packaging efficiency you'll find in the likes of a Dodge Grand Caravan or Toyota Sienna, but in a footprint about the size of a compact car. While its packaging is appealing and its size well-suited to urban dwellers, car manufacturers have doubled down on compact crossovers instead, a vehicle

LEXUS CT 200H

The CT's interior is definitely tight, but it's a great car for a young couple looking for an upscale, efficient, fun-to-drive runabout that would also serve as a comfortable road-trip vehicle. We think demand for this car will remain strong for a couple more years with buyers who don't mind that it lacks Toyota's latest hybrid drivetrain technology, as found in the current generation of Prius.

MITSUBISHI LANCER We have to admit, we’d been expecting Mitsubishi to drop the Lancer, but we thought it would happen sooner than 2018. This compact sedan has soldiered on basically unchanged since its introduction about a decade ago, during which time Mitsubishi dealers have watched most other small sedans go through two major redesigns while the company put its limited resources into new crossover models. While the Lancer is actually a well-made car, few people know much about it. Its major selling point might be that it shares its name with the Lancer Evolution, a turbocharged AWD sport sedan with a strong rally-racing heritage that was discontinued a few years ago. The Lancer is a good car to offer to subprime customers on tight budgets looking for the newest vehicle they can afford, but will hold little appeal with buyers who have the bucks to be more choosy. The takeaway As a dealer, you have to have a theoretical buyer in mind for any vehicle you park on your lot. While you shouldn't overlook a vehicle that has been discontinued by its maker, you should consider why they decided to stop building it. The reasoning behind that choice will give you an idea of how much demand might remain for that vehicle in the used marketplace and whether its scarcity will translate into cachet, or just a little extra cash. ■

thrillhousestudios.com

16 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


IMPROVING ROI | LORI STRAUSS

TECH TALK

By Angela West

HERE’S THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AUTOMOTIVE GADGETS AND APPS. Jump start your vehicle battery anywhere Being stranded with a dead battery and nobody to come to your aid is a major problem. For those who are concerned about being left with a dead battery, the BESTEK Multi-Functional Car Jump Starter might just be a game changer. The jump starter is specially designed to be stored away in your glovebox for instant access, and is made light enough to transport in your bag so you can take it on-the-go. The Car Jump Starter comes equipped with a 10,000 mAH capacity battery that can charge 5L gas or 3.0 diesel engine vehicles up to 20 times, and dualpowered USB ports that can identify your devices and provide charge speeds of up to 2.4 amps per port. The Jump Starter comes with heavy duty clamps and recharges in just five hours, letting you reliably jump start your vehicle no matter where you are. Check it out at bestekcorp.com.

A discreet, modern dash cam with voice control Dash cams have become a must-have accessory for drivers who want to record their journeys and provide a reliable eyewitness account in the case of roadrelated incidents. Garmin’s newest Dash Cam 55 is an affordable dash cam option for drivers who are looking to shoot footage in high definition, recording video at a quality of up to 1440p that gets stored right on your microSD card. The Garmin Dash Cam 55 also has the unique advantage of voice control, allowing drivers to control their device while

keeping their hands on the wheel. Garmin’s newest dash cam lets drivers share their recordings with a handy feature called Travelapse, and can even sync them to your smartphone using built in Wi-Fi. Also included in the versatile device are forward collision warning alerts that let drivers know when they’re too close to vehicles ahead of them, lane departure warnings, and even built-in red light and speed alerts. Find out more about the Garmin Dash Cam 55 at garmin.com.

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TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST Give your old tape deck some new life with Bluetooth technology For drivers who are keeping it old school and relying on their vehicle’s cassette player for music, the ION Cassette Adapter Bluetooth might be the best opportunity you’ll ever have to make the jump to a more complete music experience. Replacing your car stereo can be costly and complicated, but this Cassette Adapter Bluetooth easily breathes new life into your vehicle’s old stereo system for an affordable price. This plug-and-play adapter features a long-lasting rechargeable battery for long road trips, and even features a builtin mic for making hands-free phone calls on the go. Put your vehicle’s speakers to the test and enjoy your favourite music and podcasts with this new Bluetooth audio solution. For more information, visit ionaudio. com. Drive smarter and safer with GOFAR With an adapter that plugs right into your vehicle’s diagnostic port, the GOFAR app is one of the best new ways to drive smarter and safer than ever before. This

adapter and sensor is picked up by your smart device app in order to accurately measure the performance of your vehicle in real time so that you can drive smarter and have a better idea of what’s going on inside your vehicle.

It’s not enough to show your appreciation for other drivers when you’re on the go and focusing on the road, but CarMoji The GOFAR app presents car health data by MotorMood is looking to change that. to you in plain English so that anybody can CarMoji overlay attaches right to your understand the insights, can present ways rear window, with an easy-to-use remote for you to lower fuel costs by providing button placed on your sun visor for easy effective feedback that helps you improve practice. fuel economy, and can help you better calculate expenses and vehicle information Once it’s installed, all drivers have that will make tax time a breeze. to do is press their remote button to light up the CarMoji overlay for six Find out more about the GOFAR adapter seconds. With a handful of attachments and app at gofar.co. available including smiley face, winky face, thumbs up, and more, CarMoji Prevent distracted driving with this adds a cheerful thought to your driving proactive smart wheel experience. Through the press of a button, CarMoji makes it possible for Distracted driving is a problem that has drivers to show their appreciation and been plaguing the open road for years now, appreciate to others around them but SMARTwheel is being talked about as a making the roads a happier, healthier simple, innovative solution to the problem. place one smile at a time. SMARTwheel is the world’s first intelligent steering wheel cover that is said to be able Find out more about CarMoji at to save lives by using sensors to deliver motormood.com. ■ real-time feedback and encourage safe hand positions on your steering wheel. The SMARTwheel app sends insights to your smartphone app through Bluetooth technology, showing you how to improve your focus on the road and properly position your hands for the safest driving experience possible. For more information about the SMARTwheel steering cover, visit smartwheelusa.com.

18 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Tell other drivers how you’re feeling with emojis


CREATING A MORE POSITIVE SERVICE EXPERIENCE FOR CUSTOMERS By Angela West

THE OLD “USED CAR DEALER”

stereotype is one that everybody in the industry is familiar with, and it affects most of those working within it. Although the stereotype could not be further from the truth for the majority of dealerships, there’s an important lesson to be learned from the negative connotation of the “sleazy” and “dishonest” salesperson only looking out for themselves - the stereotype obviously came from somewhere, and it originated from far too many poor customer service experiences. An infinitely large number of industries can stand to gain from creating a more positive overall customer service experience, Ontario used car dealerships included. Whether it’s working to create a more helpful comfortable atmosphere, embracing modern technology to better suit the needs of your customers, or

just going above and beyond the call of duty to provide visitors with the best car dealership encounter possible, there are a great many ways for Ontario vehicle dealerships to easily adapt and improve the customer experience in order to provide a more positive event for everybody involved. This advice is important for any auto dealership - from large establishments with dedicated customer service departments, and smaller independent operations. Not only could it set you apart from the competition, but it could also open up your business to a whole new customer-base.

can go a long way to influencing the preconceptions of new customers, so addressing this issue immediately is a good idea. Is your establishment dark and dingy or bright and cheerful? Are you playing music in the background? Do your staff all look presentable and ready to take on their day? These things, while seemingly surface-level, are picked up almost immediately by customers, and will play an important role in how they perceive your dealership, the quality of service you might provide, and whether or not they will want to buy from you or continue weighing their options.

Create a warm, welcoming auto buying atmosphere

Creating a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere can be as easy as smiling and immediately greeting visitors to your lot or office - the more genuine enthusiasm you can show, the more your customers will pick up on this warmth. Ask your customers questions upon arrival, but

The first step in creating a more positive customer service experience should begin with the general atmosphere of your dealership. Mood and tone

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CREATING A POSITIVE SERVICE EXPERIANCE give them the chance to look around first - too much interaction adds pressure, but too little gives off a cold and uncaring vibe that you’ll want to avoid. Bright lights, clean air, cheery music, and well-dressed employees are other simple ways to make customers embrace your establishment as friendly and inviting. Sell an experience, not just a vehicle Buying a vehicle is an exciting event for anybody, whether it’s their first or their fifth - it’s part of your duty as an auto dealer to make this vehicle buying experience a positive one. Selling an experience rather just a product will not only increase a customer’s level of satisfaction, but will increase their chance of buying another vehicle through your dealership down the line. Do this by embracing the excitement of looking at, researching, and purchasing a new vehicle - motivate your customers to test vehicles, to sit behind the wheel, listen to and answer their apprehensions, and give them important details about the vehicles so that they can make a better informed decision. Making major purchases comes with a great deal of excitement and nervousness, so work to increase their excitement and reduce their nerves through transparency and communication - if you succeed, you might just find that you’ve created a loyal customer. Take the time to understand your customers Understanding the way your customers think and feel can help you relate to their wants and needs as consumers, help you to perform better as a salesperson, and aid them in making the right choice. It’s easy for salespeople to forget that customer satisfaction is just as important as making a sale - forgetting this lesson often leads to unnecessary pressure being put on customers and results in them making a purchase decision that isn’t right for them. By learning first-hand what they’re looking for in a vehicle and how they’re

20 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

"..work to increase their excitement and reduce their nerves through transparency and communication.." going to put it to use (is it for city driving, long-distance road trips, or just to get around?), you can better help them make a decision that they won’t come to regret. Knowing other things about your customers like where they’re coming from, which neighbourhood they live in, and their profession can also help you to tailor the experience to their needs. This will give them a much more positive view of the purchase and the quality of your dealership, and lead to them becoming much more likely to purchase from your establishment again, and to recommend it to their friends and family. Ask questions and address issues One of the very best ways to understand your customers is to ask questions. As

a dealer, you have the luxury of being knowledgeable about and experienced with a wide variety of vehicle styles, makes, manufacturers, etc. that can help to better inform a purchase, and you also have a better idea of what customers are usually looking for when shopping around for a vehicle. When a new customer walks onto your lot to look at vehicles, ask them questions that have commonly come up in your past experiences - this will make you seem friendlier, and help you to meet their needs and sell them the best vehicle and experience possible. Addressing the concerns and issues brought up by customers with full transparency is vital to creating a more positive experience. Your customers will have apprehensions and issues that will most likely require your degree of knowledge and experience to answer honestly and accurately. Not being able to address issues head-on will turn off customers and send them away from your lot - if you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to admit it to your customers. Instead, tell them you’re going to look it up for them in order to answer their questions and address their issues - it’ll make you seem more honest, dedicated, and willing to go above and beyond in order to meet their needs.


Embrace the Internet and Social Media The best way to address the issues and concerns of customers is by making information available online. To succeed in the digital age of business, it’s essential that you have a web presence that offers accurate, engaging, and transparent information relating to the vehicles you are offering to the public. Information about the history, condition, features, mileage, pricing, opportunities for financing, and lots of photos should be immediately available to any potential customers, as should any issues with the vehicle where applicable. This will show your customers that your business is forward-thinking and capable of delivering honest and accurate information, which actually helps to pre-sell the vehicle for you before they even walk in the door.

Used Car Dealership for Sale or Sub-Lease Excellent location in Toronto/Scarborough area. ... Large lot for up to 50 cars Independent sales office and storage attached with hydro, telephone, fax, internet, automatic control temperature heater, A/C, fridge, microwave, 4 desks with chairs.

Giving customers the opportunity to view what your business has to offer from the comfort of their own home will allow them to make decisions at their own leisure, and allow them to be more confident and prepared when they arrive at your dealership. Another way to go about this is to make your organization’s presence felt on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These social networks give your customers a chance to communicate with you directly, and allow you to establish a friendly brand through regular postings and interactions with your audience. The more lines of communication and interaction that are opened for customers to use and take advantage of, the more business you will attract and the 39409 Nice Auto.indd more forward-thinking and proactive your establishment will seem, especially to younger millennials if you embrace the use of Instagram. Put CRM solutions to good use Along with being forward-thinking and embracing the wide-reaching aspects of the Internet and social media, now might be the time to ditch your old legacy workplace CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and look into future-ready integrated CRM solutions. Using an updated CRM software solution in your workplace can benefit your business by improving your relationships with customers these platforms allow dealers to easily obtain more customer information and data, with the solution making it easily accessible and digestible for users of any experience level. Updated CRM platforms can help your business strategize in targeting new clients, following up easily with existing customers, and even aid in developing new leads. With the help of CRM solutions, your business can use the customer data collected to better tailor their experience, creating a more positive customer auto-buying experience, and at the same time increasing revenue through improved customer satisfaction levels. If you’re looking to truly improve the customer experience, now may be the time to embrace newer, more useful CRM solutions in your workplace.

Ready for new owner! Call:

416-800-4721 or email:

NiceAuto4u@yahoo.com 1

4/12/2018 2:15:27 PM

"..now might be the time to ditch your old legacy workplace CRM software and look into future-ready integrated CRM solutions."

DealerTrack and DealerSocket are just some of the CRMs available for Ontario auto dealers, helping businesses access and keep data in a secure cloud-based storage solution in order to help you get the upper hand over competitors. These advanced CRM tools do much more than most outdated legacy CRM solutions, as they can store information about organizational inventory, give you insight into customer data in order to help you create meaningful and long-lasting relationships with clients, and improve the competitive standing of your dealership and even the efficiency and accuracy of your sales team through detailed dealer reports. These reports can help your sales team offer protections and warranties more accurately, helping customers and increasing your revenue. Through CRM solutions like DealerTrack, Salesforce, and Prosperworks,

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CREATING A POSITIVE SERVICE EXPERIANCE your business can instantly get access to information about your market, financial and market trends, demographics, and more - helping your dealership better allocate its marketing budget in order to ensure that you’re spending in the right places. Using tools for customer financing Dealer Management Systems (DMS) like DealerSocket, Peartree Dealership, Quantech Software and others, can help make customer financing a much faster and easier experience for all parties. DMS solutions are even featured within some CRM’s like DealerTrack’s CreditOnline - these DMS tools can increase and improve new leads for your business, and help with integrated vehicle financing applications. The online credit application feature can help your customers get financing much faster, and also works to capture customer data from websites, emails, and campaigns. This can make financing a simpler solution for your business, taking some of the pain and hassle out of the process. Using digital DMS tools to assist in the credit application process can help take stress and pressure away from your customers, creating a far more relaxed purchasing experience for clients of all experience levels and walks of life.

Both long and short-form credit applications are supported through many Dealer Management Systems solutions, based on financing criteria in order to generate better leads for your business. These tools can also feature mobile support, helping dealers to capture credit application data on-the-go and at their own leisure, making it a flexible and useful tool for dealerships of any size. Having instant access to these features makes the credit application process easier

22 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

for your customers, causing them less stress and creating a far more positive buying experience. Don’t be afraid to follow up and keep in touch Using CRM solutions, like DealerTrack, offers another major benefit to dealers that can help shape a more positive customer experience - the ability to easily follow up, keep in touch, or stay in contact with a client. Dealers should not be afraid to follow up or to keep in touch with customers. This is an important part of customer service in many industries as it can help you to measure the customer’s level of satisfaction with their purchase, and helps you easily gather feedback from customers. Follow up can be done easily via email, social media, or even the telephone, and doing so adds a personal touch to your business that will resonate with your customers. Follow up is also a great way to encourage satisfied customers to leave feedback on review aggregate websites, or to recommend your services to friends or family. These follow up campaigns can often be automated through CRM software, taking very little time or effort from dealers, but adding a personalized and positive touch to the customer experience.

Be open to change, innovation and customer feedback With all this said, the most important part of creating a more positive service experience for your customers is to have an open mind in terms of feedback, change, and industry innovation. Dealerships that are stuck in the past and refuse to get with the times are often seen in a negative light by clients, and it may affect your business in the long term. Even if what you’re doing from a strategy perspective is working, looking ahead to the future of your industry is extremely important in any sector. In a constantly evolving digital age, being open to change is vital when it comes to being able to recognize incoming market trends and major industry changes so that your business and customers can benefit from them.

"Be receptive to feedback you receive from your customers.." Oftentimes these changes and innovations will come in the form of offering your customers simple


perks like having free Wi-Fi available to help them catch up on work while paperwork is being filled out, or to share their excitement on social media. Other simple solutions, like making room for comfortable seating in your office, can make all the difference to a new customer. Making them comfortable both mentally and physically should be a top priority, as it will have a major impact on the way they perceive the experience later on. Uncomfortable furniture will encourage clients to rush through the sale, which is something you can easily avoid just by offering them a comfortable seat. If you’re really trying to make an effort to make the customer experience a more positive one, then avoiding handoffs for things like financing is a major step in the right direction. Handing your customers off to secretaries or other salespeople around the office can create a feeling of

distrust in the customer, and can make you appear cold and uncaring. Seeing the sale through from the beginning stages to the very end is important to many customers and is something that can easily set your dealership apart from its competitors. Be receptive to feedback you receive from your customers, as their outsider perspective can often lend a lot of insight into how other customers perceive your business and the way it operates. Paying attention to things like reviews and customer satisfaction questionnaires and surveys can help you transform your business to be more open and friendly to customers. The ability to step back and listen to the suggestions of customers is important - their feedback may not always be valuable, but when it is, it may just prove to be a “golden ticket” idea for your business.

There isn’t one single way to make the experience of your customers a more positive one, but it can be done easily just by taking some of the steps on this checklist: • Creating a warmer, more comfortable atmosphere • Selling the entire experience of purchasing a new vehicle • Taking the time to know their wants and needs • Asking questions and addressing issues immediately • Embracing social media and the Internet for easy marketing and customer relationship building opportunities • Updating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions • Being open to rapid change and innovation in the industry • Being more receptive to customer feedback Start transforming the way your business operates today by creating a more positive experience for your customers through some of the measures found above. Doing so will earn your dealership rave reviews from customers, who will be far more satisfied with their purchase and be more likely to buy from your business again, and to recommend it highly to the people in their lives. Giving your customers something to smile or feel positive about should be the goal of every business interaction - doing so can have major benefits for your dealership and ensure its success among competitors. ■

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DEALER PROFILE 3 Bay Autosales By Rhonda Payne Hard Work Pays Off THAT OLD STANDBY, “I DID IT MY WAY”, by Frank

Sinatra, might well be Wally Pietraszko’s theme song. What started with a fundraising carwash at a local gas station decades ago, progressed to buying a Buick Park Avenue, before resulting in a thriving business selling and servicing vehicles. Wally would say it was just plain old hard work, but it was his hard work, his way. As he tells it, in grade eight, Wally held a carwash fundraiser at a local gas station. When suds washed away and buckets were rinsed, the owner came out and asked the teen if he’d like a job pumping gas. Young Wally said yes to the offer, not knowing that the next step would take him even further into the world of cars and ultimately Wally’s 3 Bay Autosales. continued on next page

24 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


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3 Bay Autosales “One day, when I was skipping school – which I usually did – [the owner] asked me if I wanted to start my apprenticeship,” Wally says. “I had my class A when I was 20 years old.” The working relationship between Wally and his boss lasted until he was 29, which is incredible given he started with him at just 14 years old. “He was like a father to me,” notes Wally. “He taught me so much in this business.” A friend of that boss sold Wally a Buick Park Avenue and that was what it took to move him from working on cars to working on and selling cars. “So, I got my dealer’s license,” Wally explains. “I’ve had my dealer’s license since 1987. I did it all on my own. It’s my own money and I worked hard. I worked really hard.” Making it in the business using hard work isn’t something everyone wants to hear from Wally. Some want a magic formula, but there isn’t one – it simply comes down to that key point of hard work. “I’ve won service awards and had to get up and tell people how to do it,” he says. “It’s just hard work.”

26 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

At close to 30 years old, Wally left that job with his first boss to set up a shop leased to him by people he knew – in fact it was their idea that he start his business. They’d known Wally for a while from fixing their cars. Sometimes he’d stop in at their Kitchener shop as he drove past. On one of those drive-by visits, the owners asked if he would take over the shop. He thought it was a good idea so arranged for a new venture loan to get his business going.

“All that people want is to be treated decently. " “I always stopped by just to say ‘hi’ to them, then they offered me the shop and I said, ‘what the hell,’ I had the one car,” he explains of the Park Avenue. “That’s how you start.” While Wally knew his way around a shop, he didn’t know his way around managing one. As he explains, it was kind of comical how he managed to figure things out, but he put in some long hours and long days getting everything sorted out from taxes and hydro to insurance – the kinds of things you need to know when you run a

business. But no one handed a book to Wally when he started. He figured it out as he went. “I’ve had my location now for 31 years in Kitchener,” he says, noting that things are different now with the people he relies on to keep the business running. “I have a very loyal team led by my right-hand guy, Emil Sabo. He’s been with me for 10 years. And together they look after the business in a way that meets my standards.” Wally’s team makes sure everything from clean-up to site maintenance, sales and all service is done with integrity and honesty – the way Wally would do it. “It’s small now, I’ve downsized a little bit and I’ve just hired an apprentice,” Wally explains of Wally’s 3 Bay Autosales. “I want to hire another man and let Emil run the shop, but that’s in the next couple of years. For now I work about 5/6 days a week.” Small is also a word Wally applies to his car sales business. There are about 10 to 15 cars on the lot at any given time and he sells about 100 to 150 cars a year.


“When a customer comes in, you don’t get a second chance to make that first impression,” he says. “I don’t negotiate. People don’t negotiate with me. I just give them the price. You’re not buying a car, you’re buying me and I’m giving you a car.” Obviously, the approach works. Wally’s advertising is minimal. He uses only Ontariocars and Carpages.

“They are all late model – 2015/16/17,” he says. “If it’s an older car, it’s got to be something I service in order to hit my lot.” Wally’s business is just as much about service and repairs as it is about car sales – if not more. He feels without a trust-worthy service centre he can’t sell cars. In fact, that was his point-of-view from the get-go – that he had to be able to service what he sold.

Even the staff at his bank and the crew at Starbucks rely on Wally to take care of their cars. He makes the effort to go into the businesses he relies on and connects with people. That one-on-one approach has those people regularly asking Wally to take their car back to the shop and change the tires, do an oil change or provide a servicing. The approach of treating people right and taking care of them applies to all aspects of Wally’s business.

“I have a full service centre: robotic tire changer, three-dimensional front end machine, all up-to-date scan tools and in my shop, you could eat off the floor,” he notes. “My customers still come back for their oil changes, their brakes, their tires and their next car. I don’t know the last time I gave a quote.”

“I don’t remember the last time I sold a car that came back except maybe for a light bulb or something like that,” he says. “I can’t do paint work, so the car has got to look perfect [for me to buy it]. I pay more for a perfect car because I can get more for perfect. It’s got to be Wally perfect.”

His customers don’t ask for a quote because they know, like and trust Wally. Perhaps that’s why he has many female customers. He hasn’t seen much of a change in the industry over the past few years in terms of what works for people and how he does business to serve them. “I’m sure the world has changed, but I haven’t seen it,” he explains. “All that people want is to be treated decently. The service industry is not where it should be right now. But, if you find the guy that services you properly and treats you right you’re going to keep going back.”

Before it hits the lot, Wally and his team do an oil change, full wheel balance and full brake service on every car as well as filling it full of gas. He even provides tire storage. “It’s got to give you the wow factor when a person looks at it, that’s my advertising,” he says of the cars he sells, then adds of his tire storage, “I have two 53 foot tractor trailers and I’m going to get another one.”

“Someone’s probably referred you to me,” he says. “That’s probably the number one reason people come to me. The best advertisement is two people over a coffee at Tim Horton’s. People talk about me and the service I provide.” He also knows a number of people at local dealerships and when a customer needs a vehicle that Wally doesn’t have, he contacts one of his fleet manager friends. “Today I went and picked up a Yaris and a Mini Cooper for customers. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends at dealerships. I can go in and get the keys for a car and sell it. I’m fortunate that way,” he says. “I found the cars, low kms. You don’t have a middle man. You want the car, you come here and pick it up, we call the insurance guy from here.” He’s done well for a guy who went into business on his own as the result of a carwash. He still loves it. He’s the first person in the shop in the morning and the last one to leave at night. Not because he’s a work-a-holic, but because he loves what he does. “I don’t want all the business in the world,” Wally says. “I just want my square and that square I can handle. I’ve had people come to me in the past that now bring their kids in to see me. I’m in my own comfort zone and I love it. I really love the trade. Not too many people can wake up in the morning and say ‘I love what I’m doing and I love doing it’.” ■

Wally is the kind of person that makes it easy for his customers to own and maintain their car.

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FISCAL FITNESS | LORI STRAUS

ONBOARDING MECHANICS & ADMIN By Lori Strauss

BRINGING NEW EMPLOYEES ONBOARD: ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF & MECHANICS

This article is the first in a short series on onboarding new members to your dealership’s team. At first glance, you may think onboarding is the same for all positions. After all, the new employee needs to meet the people he or she will work with, talk to whoever is responsible for HR in your dealership, and get a tour. But as this series will show, it isn’t. Hiring and training takes time and costs money, but they’re as inevitable to running a business as taxes and government regulations. Helping new employees get off to a good start will help them acclimatize to your dealership easier, and, perhaps more importantly, let everyone get back to business and earning money sooner.

28 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Why Onboarding? Howard Klein (Ohio State), Beth Polic (Eastern Kentucky), and Kyra Leigh Sutton (Georgia State) reported in the International Journal of Selection and Assessment in September 2015 that most organizations want onboarding to accomplish the following: "Organizations implement specific onboarding practices to (a) reduce the inevitable uncertainty and anxiety newcomers experience, (b) help them make sense of their new environment, and (c) provide them with the necessary tangible (e.g., explicit knowledge) and intangible (e.g., relationships) resources to become fully functioning organizational members effective in their new role.” That means onboarding is more than a handshake, a few signatures


on HR documents, and a “hello.” So, what could it mean in practice for your dealership? In this issue, we’ll cover onboarding mechanics and administrative staff. Mechanics

acknowledges that mechanics may stay just long enough to receive the specialized training and then leave for another job that’s offering $3/hour more. So, what can you do to help a new hire hang around?

Mechanics, along with body techs and Branisteanu advises being very clear painters, are the only employees in and direct about compensation from a dealership that prepare to work in the beginning. your dealership through formalized apprenticeship programs. This means “The one thing that dealers that apprentices are part and parcel miscommunicate is what they're of your business (if you have a garage) offering in the long run,” she says. and fully licensed mechanics already Dealers may explain what the starting have directly applicable job experience. salary is, for example, $32/hour, and This presents a unique mix that you that training is included in that. “But likely won’t find in other parts of your they're not saying, 'Hey, be very business. successful with this training and you'll be rewarded accordingly.’” Mona Branisteanu is a co-founder of Canadian Automotive Recruiting Branisteanu also says dealers don’t Solutions and has worked in sales, mention additional factors they need, marketing, management, and e.g., mechanics who will stay with operations in the auto industry for over the dealership for years, get to know 20 years. She feels that working in the the customers, and contribute to a shop has more pressure than working strong team. the floor. “You don’t just feed them jobs. You have “Most dealerships make money in to feed them a future,” she says. “You service, not in sales," she says and feels have to feed them hope and the ability expectations are higher for mechanics to be better, to make more money so because of the increased pressure. This their families are happier.” situation transfers to the hiring process and is compounded for OEM dealers Researchers have come to similar by the expense of training a mechanic conclusions. David G. Allen, a new to your brand. Branisteanu professor at the University of

Let us help your dealership with:

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ONBOARDING | LORI STRAUSS Memphis, researches the flow of people into and out of organizations. Linda Rhoades Shanock, professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, researches what happens when employees believe their organization cares about and values them. (The technical term for that is “perceived organizational support.”) In their study, published in 2013 in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour, they collected data from over 500 employees in their first year on the job. If employees viewed their organization as supporting, caring, and a place where socializing was generally positive, and if they could settle into the organization, then turnover tended to be lower.

The one thing that dealers miscommunicate is what they're offering in the long run...” Proper onboarding can involve all those factors. For mechanics, it can be in the mentorship. Meagan Martino, who will shortly write her mechanic’s license, got involved with Pfaff Audi in Newmarket during her grade 11 co-op term. She returned for grade 12 co-op and ended up washing cars on weekends for the dealership. After high school, she delivered parts for the company to save money for automotive schooling at Centennial College and then landed a job at Pfaff Porsche, where she finished her trade schooling. “Being new and obviously having little experience can make new apprentices almost feel like this may not be the job for them,” she says. What helped her,

30 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

she believes, is being paired with the right technician. “Even though many technicians are amazing at what they do and undoubtedly very intelligent, they aren't always the best teachers. A shop foreman or lead technician of the shop MAY NOT always be the best choice to guide a young technician,” she says. Brian Martyn just graduated from Centennial College in August of last year. He first worked for a small shop but now works at Maserati of Ontario and part-time for Ferrari Racing, working on Ferrari race cars that compete in the Pirelli World Challenge. He felt prepared coming out of college but, like Martino, stressed the importance of a good mentorship so new mechanics “can learn from people who have ample experience working in the industry.” In addition, he says, “ensuring technicians have enough time to learn while being paid an hourly rate before going to a flat rate pay system is extremely important.” Successful onboarding begins before the first day on the job. Garrett Nalepka, professor at Centennial College and coordinator with the Automotive Service Technician Apprenticeship Program, says it’s important to be aware that this may be the young person’s first job in life. As such, he recommends screening for skills that are important to working. “I've noticed that they say, 'Give me your smartest person.' And just because the academics are high doesn't mean the

person will be a great fit. Do they get along with your store? Is there drive behind the student? Do they want to learn? Because in this job, you need to be eager and you need to continually read and learn.” Mechanics receive a good amount of on-the-job training through an established and regulated apprenticeship model. For more experienced mechanics who are new hires, they have likely still only worked in the automotive and transportation industry. The same cannot be said of administrative staff, who have no formal apprenticeship training, may or may not have a college diploma, and can come to you from any number of industries. Onboarding will be different. Administrative Staff A strong administrative team will keep your dealership running like properly oiled ball bearings. Admin staff answer your phone, file the motherlode of paperwork the government makes you keep, maintain your books, register plates, process deals, track inventory, coordinate your marketing, complete leases, update your website, plan events...in short, they are often Janes of all trades. (Let’s face it, Jacks don’t make up a large percentage of your admin team). They are likely also the members of your staff who will have the most


flexible job description. Whereas a mechanic fixes cars and a sales rep sells them, an administrator administers... what, exactly? That’s what you need to decide on before you even onboard, because onboarding an administrative assistant is directly related to the tasks you want her to complete. Bonnie Low-Kramen has been educating executive and administrative assistants around the world since 2011 after working for over 25 years as a personal assistant herself. She is a writer for Executive Secretary Magazine, SmartCEO Magazine, and the Ultimate Assistant blog, is the author behind Be the Ultimate Assistant. She has spoken at various associations dedicated to administrative professionals at companies like Starbuck, Honeywell, and Hillshire Brands.

"The priority for her in any successful manager/ assistant relationship is clear expectations..." The priority for her in any successful manager/assistant relationship is clear expectations, and those start well before onboarding, even before the job interview begins. Decide on exactly the tasks your assistant will be responsible for. Do you need someone to answer the phones? Maintain your books? Be your dealership’s online presence, i.e., post to social media and keep the website up-to-date? Low-Kramen finds that the world over (she was in 12 countries last year alone), assistants “complain that new managers and leaders have no idea what to do with them. They have no idea what an assistant does or what they can be expected to do, and that's partially because leaders haven't been trained to know.” In addition, she explains that an assistant’s job is less about doing what managers can’t do and more about

TASKS ASSISTANTS CAN DO Good assistants are not a dime a dozen. (The Association of Administrative Professionals says administrative positions should start at $35,000/year.) Below is a selection of tasks you could have an administrative assistant do for you. (The full list includes 31 tasks.)

• Organize business and personal travel for you and your family • Process bills and/or coordinate with bookkeeper • Update your CRM or contact manager • Have documents notarized • Organize and manage paper-based and digital filing systems • Research • Handle phone calls and be your gatekeeper • Carry out digital marketing (depending on skillset)

(Source: Bonnie Low-Kramen, smartceo.com) VOLUME 5, 6, ISSUE 2 | 31


FISCAL FITNESS ONBOARDING | LORI | LORI STRAUSS STRAUS

FOR MORE INFORMATION You’ll find lots of information on administrative positions at the Association of Administrative Professionals, a Canadian non-profit. You can even post jobs to their job board for a fee.

Visit www.aaa.ca The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum discusses all manner of apprenticeships and how to effectively mentor apprentices.

Visit caf-fca.org

allowing managers to focus on effective use of their time. For example, she finds that managers of the Millennial generation (perhaps the next generation in your family dealership), are so accustomed to maintaining their own schedule and looking after their own communications, that they may choose to do it themselves. “Just because they can do it does not necessarily mean they should be doing it. It's not necessarily the best use of their time,” Low-Kramen says. So define your assistant’s duties before you send out the job description. This may sound like a no-brainer, but this task list becomes the expectations you and your assistant will have for the job. I worked in administrative positions myself for over 10 years, and I’ve referred to this document many times to ensure I was doing what my manager expected of me. (It also came in handy for performance reviews.) And don’t wait until onboarding to explain these tasks to your new incumbent, Low-Kramen says: explain them already in the interview. "The demands on the role will be different depending on the organization. But in general, the magic happens, the maximum work happens when there are clear expectations on both parties,” she says. If you’re concerned you might be pigeon-holing yourself into a fixed job description you can’t get out of, don’t worry. An administrative assistant’s job is to be flexible, but to a point. "Most assistants are up for doing pretty much anything,” LowKramen says, “as long as they've been asked to do it." Case in point: one of her students was informed via text on a Friday that starting the following Monday she would have a fourth manager to support. No one asked her. "It comes across as very disrespectful to do that,” Low-Kramen explains. “And disrespectful behaviour in the workplace is not a setup for success, it's a setup for failure." When it comes to onboarding your new assistant, don’t just show her the desk and leave her to start on her own. She needs to understand how you want your dealership run and how her tasks contribute to that. But with customers coming in the door, your mechanics asking you to order parts, and your bank on the phone about lease financing, your time is tight. What should you focus on when it comes to bringing new members of your administrative team member on board? Klein, Polic, and Sutton, the researchers we met at the beginning, investigated that very question. They spoke with 10 HR managers, each from a different organization, and 373 employees from those 10 organizations.

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For starters, employees thought onboarding was most helpful when it was required, as opposed to optional. In addition, a select number of onboarding tasks, when done very soon after the new hire has started working for you, were of utmost importance: being shown the company’s internal website/intranet, having a workspace ready to go, and having a single point of contact.

She needs to understand how you want your dealership run and how her tasks contribute to that. So, in other words, make sure the desk, computer, and telephone are set up before the new hire arrives. Make sure someone shows her where your company-relevant resources are (if you don’t have an intranet or internal website, show her the proper filing cabinets), and make sure she knows whom she should

be asking questions of when needed. No fancy manuals or shiny-covered folders are needed (though they would likely leave a good impression). From my own experience, the first tasks that will help your new assistant get used to the way you do things and let you get on with your day are ones that will require her to organize information pertinent to your dealership. In one position I held for four years, my first days were spent filing boxes worth of folders that had been sitting in a corner for several years. (I was the first in that position, which is why it had never been done.) It was grunt work, but understanding the organization’s past projects and efforts benefited me in many ways. Similar tasks for your new assistant might be updating your contact lists, proofreading your website, updating an internal phone list if your dealership is large enough for such an exercise, confirming inventory if your dealership is small enough for such an exercise, etc.

know what to say or where to quickly find answers the potential customer is seeking. Expect some bumps along the road for several months: even an experienced admin team member will need time to adapt her years of experience to your business. (If you’re worried these bumps indicate a poor employee, my experience has been to focus on the employee’s responses to such issues: do they describe what’s wrong, what help they need, and, most importantly, what they can do to fix the issue? Or do they constantly blame everyone else?) Taking the time to properly bring your new employees onboard can help you ease growing pains associated with new hires and make these newcomers to your team feel welcome. Most people look forward to starting a new job and will likely be highly motivated to work for you. Reciprocate that motivation to them in how you welcome them to your dealership. ■

It would likely be best if she not answer phones right away—if that’s part of her job—just because she wouldn’t

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THE COMMON LAWYER Workplace Romances – what to do when love turns sour?

By Justin M. Jakubiak & Sheryl L. Johnson Given the current climate and the #MeToo movement in general, many clients and other dealers reached out to me further to my article, "Sexual Harassment in Ontario's Dealerships", printed in the Fall 2017 edition of The Ontario Dealer. Dealer principals, managers and salespersons each had various concerns and questions about their respective workplaces and how to protect themselves from potential claims.

#metoo

A recurring topic in several of my conversations was workplace romances – What is my potential exposure? Can they be prevented? What are love contracts? In order to answer some of these questions, I turned to my law partner,

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Sheryl L. Johnson. Sheryl is a highly respected employment lawyer and the author of the recently published Sexual Harassment in Canada, a Guide for Understanding and Prevention. What's the big deal if romance occurs between consenting adults? Dealers and their management are right to identify these relationships as hot topics and a major cause for concern. There is a great potential for employer liability and general workplace distraction - both when the romance is in full bloom and when it sours. It is therefore very important for dealers to stay on top of the issue and to proactively put policies into place that address potential conflicts of interest and harassment. Dealers require a plan to ensure that all workplace parties are trained on what the policies mean, what

"consent" is and isn't, how to report issues, concerns or complaints and how such issues will be addressed and potentially investigated. Workplace romances can be distracting; not only to the individuals involved, but also to co-workers, to the point that they may negatively impact on the dealership's morale during the relationship's duration, and long after it ends. Employers are often left picking up the pieces in relation to complaints of sexual harassment arising out of the relationship, claims of sexual favouritism by co-workers and/or a volatile workplace culture during the relationship fraught with suspicion and distrust. Workplace romances can cause losses in productivity. While a relationship is thriving, it can impact an employee's


judgment, cause inattentiveness and loss of productive work time due to the employee focusing primarily on their romantic interest. It can also cause co-workers to be jealous or suspicious, which often results in speculation, gossip and rumour spreading.

"..there is no avoiding office romances. People often spend more time with their co-workers in the workplace than at home. " Unfortunately, the negative sideeffects of employee romances don’t end with the relationship's end; in fact in such circumstances they are often exacerbated. In many cases an employee dealing with a workplace breakup will call in sick, skip meetings or do just about anything to avoid having to interact with their ex-lover, including quitting their employment. Additional issues arise where the breakup is not mutual and the jilted partner becomes disruptive inside

the dealership. This can impact other employees and sometimes customers. Even worse is the potential for violence both inside and outside of the dealership. Can't I just ban all office romance? While a ban, like a non-fraternization policy, is certainly appealing, they are impractical as they are nearly impossible to enforce, ineffective and possibly illegal. Added to the quagmire, bans don't guarantee that sexual relationships will not occur, or that sexual harassment will not be present. The negative consequence of a ban is that it may drive the prohibited conduct underground and discourage the parties from reporting consensual relationships and agreeing to execute love contracts (explained below) that are in all of the parties' best interests. There is also the issue of potential vulnerable employees who may be coerced into a relationship with a superior. She or he may shy away from reporting the relationship for fear of termination or another form of workplace reprisal. Employees' feelings of being unable to report a relationship, or an incident of sexual harassment, will likely aggravate the seriousness of, and liability of, any legal claim by an employee down the road.

Put simply, there is no avoiding office romances. People often spend more time with their co-workers in the workplace than at home. Employees socialize together, share similar experiences and interests and share the ups and downs of success. It is therefore only natural that people turn to their office colleagues to find prospective mates. What can I do to protect my staff? The real question is "How far should management go to provide protections to its employees?" A middle ground needs to be reached where the employees are not prohibited from all consensual romantic relationships, and yet the dealer is not left vulnerable to sexual harassment, sexual favouritism and sexual violence claims. The best approach to minimize risk while balancing the realities of the modern workplace is to educate, warn and encourage your dealer team. Meaning:

EDUCATE – dealers should ensure that all staff are aware of what sexual harassment and consent are, and what the dealer's policy is on workplace relationships, anti-discrimination and harassment, conflicts of interest and any duty to disclose. Dealers must take the time to create comprehensive policies and then educate their staff on these policies. Sheryl and I see many employers who have good policies in

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place, but then fail to take the time to ensure their employees have read, understood or are trained on the policies; or we see employers who have failed to regularly review and update their policies and/or fail to consistently apply them so as to keep them relevant and in their employees' minds and confidence.

WARN – dealers should put their employees on notice of what is and is not considered acceptable workplace behaviour. A dealer needs to clearly define and consistently reinforce such boundaries in order for their policies and the resulting discipline to be effective as remedial and preventative measures. A dealer is permitted to discourage office romance. Further, managers and other individuals in positions of power should be particularly cautioned from engaging in office romances, especially with subordinates (regardless if there is not a direct reporting relationship). Relationships between superiors and

36 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

subordinates are prime candidates for sexual harassment claims and often include allegations that the relationship was never consensual.

The purpose of a love contract is to protect a dealer from a sexual harassment claim in the event a consensual relationship ends.

ENCOURAGE – encourage professional workplace behaviour. In addition to the implementation and education of employees on clear policies, management needs to lead by example. Senior dealer management need to be especially trained on the policies and well versed on what constitutes sexual harassment and consent.

They are particularly important in the cases of a supervisor-subordinate relationship, where consent can be both difficult to prove and withdrawn at any time.

Workplace behaviours often trickle down from the very top, and it is therefore vital that the apex of every dealership is trained to spot inappropriate behaviours and is armed with the tools to address and correct such behaviour so it both ceases in the short-term under the current set of facts and in the long-term in future circumstances. This will result in greater employee morale and likely less employee distraction and turnover. Love Contracts??? Accepting that an outright ban on office relationships is nearly impossible to enforce, many of our clients are instead asking employees to sign love contracts. Love contracts are, in effect, a legal agreement that acknowledges the consensual nature of the relationship, spells out the parameters of the relationship and its potential impact on the dealer.

"..36% of workers said they have dated a coworker, which is down from 41% last year.."

A typical love contract includes: (i) a declaration that the relationship is consensual, (ii) an acknowledgment that neither party can bring a sexual harassment complaint or action against the dealer or manager/ supervisor, as applicable, arising out of the relationship or its termination, (iii) rules for acceptable romantic behaviour in the workplace; and (iv) repetition of the workplace anti-sexual harassment policy. Conclusion While a recent CareerBuilder survey reports that only 36% of workers said they have dated a co-worker, which is down from 41% last year, this still means that over 1/3 of a dealership's employees may be engaging in activity that exposes the dealership to the potential for employer liability, general workplace distraction and loss of productivity. As I always say to my clients, being proactive is the best medicine. It is a great time to speak to your professional advisors and put into place policies and tools to ensure that your dealership and staff are protected.

Justin is a partner with Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and is recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. This article is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Views and opinions are Justin’s and Sheryl’s alone. ■


MAKE YOUR DEALERSHIP MORE SALES-FRIENDLY FOR WOMEN By Angela West

BEST PRACTICES YOUR DEALERSHIP CAN IMPLEMENT TO MAKE THE USED-CAR BUYING A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FOR WOMEN.

ALMOST 41 PER CENT of car buyers in

Canada are women, and they influence between 80 and 95 per cent of every vehicle purchase decision. Car manufacturers have long been trying to win over women in marketing campaigns - but the place that makes or breaks a purchase for a woman is the dealership itself. To get some perspective on the best practices that dealerships can implement to make sure women are being served properly, we spoke with Cynthia Trimble and Debbie Olyschlager, who

co-own Cindora Automotive Sales in Caledonia, Ontario. As two women who own a used car dealership, they have a unique perspective to offer, and credit their treatment of female customers as being one of their competitive advantages. And before you roll your eyes and say there isn’t a problem and women are treated just as well as men at dealerships, consider this story. A client of Cindora Auto Sales was looking for a standard vehicle. At

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MAKE YOUR DEALERSHIP MORE SALES-FRIENDLY FOR WOMEN | ANGELA WEST every dealership she went to with the exception of Cindora, the salespeople questioned her ability to drive stick. In the end, she purchased her vehicle from the dealership that didn’t question her driving abilities. Would the same thing have happened to a man? Probably not, unless he was a new driver. This is a perfect example of the unintentional sexism that pervades the automotive industry. Women sales reps can make the transaction more comfortable While you can’t exactly replace everyone on the floor with women, having one or two female sales reps on staff can go a long way towards establishing trust with women car buyers. Trimble and Olyschlager say that it is “more comforting and less intimidating” for their clients to have female sales reps, and they have a good deal of repeat business specifically because they treat all their clients with respect and offer this experience. And the data backs up Cindora - according to a 2016 CNW market research study, 39% of women would rather buy a vehicle from another woman. That number is too big to ignore.

38 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Do not doubt or question a woman’s comprehension of technical details Both women and men now do a huge amount of online research before walking into your dealership, and know the technical details of the vehicle they want sometimes just as well as the sales rep does. If a woman comes into your dealership asking for a certain kind of engine or technical package on a vehicle, don’t assume it’s because a friend told her it would be good. And even if they did, who cares. Treat her like she knows what she is talking about and use the opportunity to discuss further technical details about the vehicle since that is her vector of interest. Don’t steer her into discussing interior finishes, safety features, and the stereo instead. Another case study from Cindora - a friend of a woman who works in their service department asked her to come along with her when buying a car because she had the technical aptitude to check out vehicles by popping the hood and checking out the components. At one dealership, the sales rep exclaimed that he had “never known a woman who would do that,” which cost him the sale.

Trust is important to establish As we all know, the used car business already has trust optics problems. Add to that all the stories women hear about their friend or family member being oversold or treated like a little girl, and you already have someone walking into your dealership expecting a bad experience. Trust is the gold standard to achieve in any business relationship, but women have a few more obstacles in the way of trusting your dealership.

39% of women would rather buy a vehicle from another woman. That number is too big to ignore. If the sales rep comes across as honest, makes eye contact, and is genuinely interested in listening to her needs and selling her the right


vehicle rather than just trying to plug her into the vehicle that she’ll spend the most money on, it will be noticed and she’ll probably be a repeat customer. This is true for both men and women, but be prepared to do more to win trust from a female customer, particularly an older one who may have been talked down to more in the past. It’s not all about the money While some articles written on the subject state that women are more budget-minded when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, Trimble and Olyschlager dispute this. They state that women are not different than men when it comes to financing, and just need to be educated on the varying options like any customer would. Aim for total gender blindness in the transaction Most of the complaints women have about being sold a vehicle are that they are treated differently because they are women. A very simple tip that will help your reps is to not take the gender of the buyer into account at all, except where it comes to building more trust with a woman who may have been mistreated at other dealerships. Automotive dealerships are mostly owned by men, and men are just going to naturally be unaware of the issues that affect women when they walk into their dealership to buy a car. Nobody is starting out from the position that they consider women easy “marks” to oversell to. However, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of behaviour in which women are treated differently from men. For that reason, some of your sales reps may be practicing unintentional sexism. It may help to shadow your reps when a woman comes in to buy a car, and listen to how they are treating her. You can point out any issues you see, and if needed, send them for sales training, centred on trust-building and treating women and men equally in the sales process. ■

BEST PRACTICES FOR SELLING TO WOMEN • Don’t belittle a woman’s technical knowledge or driving skills • Don’t treat them differently because they are a woman • Be prepared to do a little more trust-building • Offer sales training to reps who may need to update their methods

VOLUME 5, 6, ISSUE 2 | 39


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BUILDING BUSINESS WITH ACCESSORIES By Dan Croutch

BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS WITH ACCESSORIES Is your dealership taking advantage of the accessory market? Thousands of buyers across the province are customizing their vehicles in an easy and cost-effective manner. Accessories are popular, and online sites like Amazon are making it easier for customers to accessorize.

If customers are already making these changes, dealers have an opportunity to add this revenue stream by offering accessories and can keep revenue from going to online sources. A market accessorized with potential Accessories are a huge market for car owners. New car buyers are already accustomed to buying manufacturerapproved accessories, such as bug guards, all weather mats or other protective equipment. Used vehicle buyers may also be looking to add

accessories that are missing. While shoppers are trending towards more online purchases, the statistics show that many still prefer bricks and mortar stores to online shopping, for now. As recently as 2016, during the incredibly busy Christmas shopping season, Canadians still spent most of their money in stores. Online giants like Amazon surely have a big share of the business, but the automotive industry uniquely still enjoys local customer support. Any dealer, even the smallest, stocked with popular vehicle accessories at competitive prices, will move product.

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BUSINESS WITH ACCESSORIES | DAN CROUTCH

How big, with raw numbers, is the accessories market? According to a study by Zion Market Research, the global market for automotive accessories sat around $360.80 billion US in 2016. And the market is expected to grow -- predicted to reach as high as $520 billion US in the next two years. In Canada, the growth is similar. Customers are buying more parts and accessories for their cars than ever. According to fresh numbers from Statistics Canada, sales in this category were up by 3.2 % for the beginning of 2018. Year to year, growth hit nearly 5%. In contrast, used car sales volume grew by less than half that, settling in at 2.2% by January 2018.

"The global market for automotive accessories sat around $360.80 billion US in 2016."

The same report lists monthly sales at mindboggling numbers. Buyers are gobbling up almost $750 million CAD worth of parts and accessories every month. It’s a huge market dominated by online and physical retailers that don’t typically sell vehicles. While not all accessories are ideal for selling at the dealer level, many are. Perhaps the easiest way to market accessories is to bundle them during vehicle sale. Selling accessories as bundles Not all car buyers making purchases will have everything they need at home. First time car buyers won’t have many of the maintenance or care accessories that more experienced car owners take for granted. The point of sale is an ideal time to match first time owners with the things they need to get a good start on car ownership. Items like floor mats, car care, terry cloths, booster cables and emergency roadside kits are just a small selection of everyday items first time owners will need. Customers will appreciate the convenience of buying a used car and being able to add the accessories at the same time rather that

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heading out to a store, or buying online. Accessory bundles can be created by price points combined with related items. High profit margin items may not sell well on their own, but when combined with other, potentially lower profit items, they become a much easier sell. You could tier the packages and/or tailor them to customer taste and price tolerance. Consider matching packages with the unique needs of a vehicle type; for


example, minivan packages for minivan buyers, SUV packages for those buyers. By limiting accessories and parts to packages, the total number of SKUs on hand can be minimized. Warehouse space may be at a premium, so bundles and packages of accessories is an efficient way to boost total revenues without sitting on stale inventory. The potential customer base for accessories using point-of-sale bundling is limited to those buying cars, however. There is a much bigger market ready to be tapped, and it’s a lot easier than it once was. Selling online Competing with popular online sites or brick and mortar stores may be an issue. However, dealers have the advantage of being the first point of contact for buyers. Nearly half of Canadians are still shopping at local, physical stores. But online sales are growing, and there are more customers turning to the convenience of shopping online. At the same time, selling products online has become easier, and cheaper, than before. While moving high value items like vehicles is still uncommon, selling smaller accessories and parts online is commonplace.

There are advantages to selling online. Instead of wasting valuable space for storefront product, dealers can arrange drop shipments to customers from distributor warehouses. There are several shopping platforms and packages available for businesses to choose from, opening up the doors to millions of online Canadian shoppers. Systems like Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce application, are all-in-one solutions. Administration guess work with regard to arranging shipping providers, payment systems and even inventory management at drop shipping warehouses is gone. Dealers, large or small, can take advantage of online marketplaces without significant investment in people and technology.

The biggest name, of course, is Amazon, which offers reseller affiliate programs. That means you can build an online store of hand-picked items available on Amazon, lined from the dealer website. Then, make a portion of the revenue back from Amazon as commission when someone buys. This method has the added benefit of commission on all the revenue from a customer’s final purchase. So, if they buy accessories, and then move on to other shopping, you get a commission from that sale, too. On the flip side, the per transaction revenue is much less than selling the accessories yourself.

keeping an inventory of rooftop or basket carriers in stock may not be feasible, one or two demo units will help the customer visualize the product. They can be redirected to an online store to make their purchase. Rooftop carriers, with both hard and soft shells, are popular items at major online retailers. Also, customers with families shifting from minivans to crossovers often need external storage. Make customers aware at the time of purchase and the dealer e-commerce store will likely be their first stop shopping online. Bluetooth connectivity is a big want, but many second-hand vehicles aren’t equipped with this technology. Bluetoothto-radio adapters are inexpensive accessories. Dash cams and portable GPS devices are also very popular. Both are compact, easy to sell and ideal for vehicles missing them as standard equipment.

What are people buying It can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what items to stock on physical or virtual shelves. With thousands of accessories, from dozens of manufacturers, coupled with varied dealer inventories, the combinations can be staggering. There are no stats on what the hot items are, and market demand ebbs and flows with varying segment demand. However, there are a few items that would be easy upsells. Considering the unique nature of Canadian weather, all weather mats are popular among car owners. Car care products, particularly wash and wax, is something car owners may not think of at the time of purchase. Many spend up to $35 at a car wash. A well-packaged wash and wax kit is a great impulse buy, with clear value add for the customer. Buyers with large families or those who enjoy recreational activity may be interested in external storage. While

Consumables are also a good focus. Items like wipers and bulbs are compact enough to keep on hand. Buyers in need of these parts are more likely to be buying in a hurry, so they’ll be more likely to make the purchase in person instead of online. The installation upsell Convenience is as much an accessory to cars as the physical items people buy. Many customers are happy to pay for installation services on common consumable items. Adding inexpensive installation services for wipers or bulbs is a plus. The accessories market is large, presenting a good opportunity for dealers to grow revenues. With a bit of effort, training and investment, accessories are an excellent way to improve customer experience while boosting business revenue. ■

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*To qualify, simply become a newly registered buyer of IMPACT Auto Auctions before July 31st, 2018 and purchase your first vehicle within 3 months, online or in-lane. A credit will be applied to your first invoice in the amount of $100, the equivalent value of the first year registration amount. Offer valid in the Province of Ontario only, valid UCDA members and new Impact buyers only.

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CAR WARRANTIES | ANGELA WEST

RECONDITIONING A VEHICLE | DAN CROUTCH

THE OLD CAR DETECTIVE IN THE SHOWROOM AGAIN

AN EMAIL ARRIVED RECENTLY

from John Higgins of Blind Bay, British Columbia: “Hi Bill. My ’52 Chevy Bel Air hardtop is in the showroom of the GM dealership in Salmon Arm, B.C. They love the car and it makes a good customer draw, and for me it’s great warm winter storage. Everybody wins!

“I built it in my home shop, a near basket case to start with. I have about 3,000 hours into it over five years, and with full leather inside. It is a real fun ride with late model Chevy 6 litre running gear, air, cruise, power everything.

By Bill Sherk

“It had been an Alberta car with a University of Calgary parking sticker on the back corner window showing 70-71. The serial number is #2103726774.” I phoned GM’s Vintage Vehicle Services in Oshawa with John’s serial number and learned John’s car was built in Oshawa. John’s reply: “Great to hear my ’52 is an Oshawa car! I have relatives who worked and retired from that plant and visited them in Ontario in September and October. “My interest in GM vehicles goes back to 1955 when I was 14 and got a job at the local GM dealership in Lacombe, Alberta

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... pumped gas, swept floors, emptied garbage cans, etc. Louis Weidner bought the business in 1956 and the Weidner family still owns it. Louis tolerated me hanging around there after school, looking over the shoulders of his mechanics and body men before my shift started in the evenings. “One day, a ’51 or ’52 Chevy Bel Air hardtop pulled in for gas with a new ’57 283 V8 engine and a long floor shift. Boy, did it leave in a hurry (after paying for the gas). I was totally impressed by the performance of this great looking hardtop.” Now fast forward to 2010, when John heard about several ’52 Chevys up for sale. He picked a Bel Air hardtop with a few parts missing. He wanted to build a mild custom and update the running gear. The seller supplied all new floor pans and lower fender repair panels. The front seat was beyond repair and under the hood was the bottom half of a Chevy 283 V8 (the top half was a squirrel’s nest). “I took the body off the frame after crossbracing and reinforcing it. I had everything sandblasted and started welding. It took a lot of time to weld in the supplied panels but it turned out really solid.

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“A 2004 Chevy 6 litre truck Vortec engine with 4L80 transmission was installed with a Ford 9-inch rear differential. A new TCI front suspension with Mustang style power steering, disc brakes, dropped spindles, etc., was put in, along with a new rear TCI suspension package. “The broken two-piece windshield was updated to a one-piece ’50 Olds hardtop windshield. I refinished the dented stainless

trim but left off the rocker moldings and gravel guards. After finishing all body work, I painted the car Torch Red. “Low profile tires on 17-inch front and 18inch rear round out the custom package. The car drives like a dream.” The first hardtop in the low-price field was the Bel Air brought out by Chevrolet in 1950. Ford and Plymouth followed in 1951. ■


As a member of I want ...

• Ultra competitive pricing • The largest parts store network in Ontario • Market leading loyalty rebates and program rewards The NAPA Auto Parts Network has everything to Service UCDA Members.

More than $1.5 million in loyalty rebate dollars generated for UCDA Members in 2017!!!

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48 | THE ONTARIO DEALER