The Ontario Dealer - Volume 6 Issue 3

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YOUR CONNECTION TO ONTARIO’S USED CAR INDUSTRY

THE ONTARIO UCDA

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO

PLUS DEALER PROFILE: Goodwill's Used Cars /24

> INSIDE: BUILDING A

SERVICE DEPARTMENT /39

SUMMER 2018

THEONTARIODEALER.COM


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THE ONTARIO UCDA

IN THIS ISSUE

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3

Summer 2018 USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO 230 Norseman Street, Toronto, ON M8Z 2R4 Tel: 416.231.2600 Toll Free: 1.800.268.2598 web@ucda.org

FEATURED STORIES Online Car Auctions By David Miller

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ucda.org Publication Mail Agreement #41890516

ONTARIO DEALER

Social Media Strategies for Ontario Dealerships By Angela West

is published by Laservision Graphics Ltd. four times a year.

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130 Industry Street, Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3

Chat Services by Angela West

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

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ADVERTISING SALES

Building a Service Department

Terry Coster Direct: 416.360.0797 Office: 647.344.9300

by Chris Chase

PHOTOGRAPHY

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photosbypierce.com

05 07 09 11 16 18 24 28 32 43 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 Sales Pt.2 Lori Strauss

The Common Lawyer Justin M. Jakublak

Old Car Detective Bill Sherk

Cox Automotive Canada Chris Chase

DESIGN ThrillhouseStudios.com

CONTRIBUTORS Chris Chase, 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 3 | 3


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THE DRIVER’S SEAT 2018 ... A Wild Ride and Uncertainty Ahead light duty vehicles in 2017, it is still a requirement for owners of vehicles more than six years old and remains an annual requirement for heavy trucks. Can we soon expect a complete dismantling of Drive Clean from the Ford government? Time will tell.

By Warren Barnard, Executive Director, UCDA

WOW, 2018 HAS BEEN QUITE A YEAR so

far. We had a wild spring election that saw Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives replace Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals as the party governing Ontario.

Along with other initiatives, newly elected Premier Ford wasted little time in implementing changes that will affect the auto industry in Ontario. The industry could view some of these changes in a positive light, others negatively. The new Premier quickly pulled Ontario out of the cap and trade carbon program with Quebec and California, which should reduce gas prices. Economic and seasonal factors have kept gas prices high, however, so far this summer. While the Liberal government had dropped Drive Clean emission testing as a requirement for the sale of used

The new government quickly announced the cancellation of government rebates on the purchase of new electric vehicles (EVs). Without these incentives, the number of EV sales (other than Teslas, which had already lost their rebate eligibility), are expected to drop. In 2017, just shy of 7,500 new EVs were sold in Ontario, which for the first time passed Quebec for the most EV sales. Still, these sales accounted for only 1.6% of new vehicles sold in Ontario. Can we expect future auto related tax measures from both the federal and provincial governments, in light of the tariff threats hanging over the Canadian auto industry from south of the border? What will happen with President Donald Trump’s threat to impose a 25% tariff on on the importation of all Canadian-made vehicles (including vehicles made by U.S. auto makers)? All Canadian-made vehicles are manufactured here in Ontario, so this would be a direct hit, right here at home. While the economy has so far continued to roll steadily along at a pretty decent rate, the uncertainty of all this and the expectation of the continuing gradual rise in interest rates (the Bank of Canada

raised its prime rate by another quarter point in July) hangs over consumer expectations. We’ve already seen signs of flattening new car sales, which is often a barometer for predicting trends in consumer confidence and future spending. Here are some of the articles I hope you’ll enjoy reading in this edition of THE ONTARIO DEALER:

1. ONLINE AUCTIONS. A REVIEW OF ONLINE AUCTION HOUSES AUCTION STANDARDS AND ITS EFFECT ON DEALERS 2. AUCTION PRIMER 3. ONBOARDING/SALES 4. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR DEALERSHIPS 5. CHAT SERVICES/ONLINE 6. BUILDING A SERVICE DEPARTMENT: THE HOW-TOS OF ADDING THIS NEW PROFIT CENTRE TO YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW TO MAKE SURE IT’S PROFITABLE I always look forward to hearing from members with comments about the magazine, or anything else. You can always reach me at w.barnard@ucda.org. Enjoy the remaining Dog Days of summer! ■

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 | 5


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EDITOR’S NOTE Outspoken and controversial auto exec dies Later that year both companies merged into FCA. Marchionne had acquired the smallest of America's "Big Three" car makers, including the iconic Jeep brand, for a bargain $4.9 billion, plus a $5.5 billion pension liability. Marchionne held dual citizenship in Canada and Italy and was the Chairman of CNH Industrial, the Chairman and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Chairman and CEO of Ferrari and also Chairman of Maserati.

By Gina Monaco, Editor

SERGIO MARCHIONNE, THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Fiat Chrysler Automotive

He was known for his keen observations of the auto industry, ranging from criticisms about his own company’s products, to extolling the benefits of industry consolidation.

(FCA), the world's eighth largest car maker, "If you haven't got anything to say, don't has died. Known as one of the most have a press conference not to say it," was mercurial, controversial and successful one of his famous sayings. car industry executives, the shrewd, Marchionne was born in Abruzzo, Italy hands-on exec was widely recognized for and emigrated to Canada when he was turning around Fiat Group to become one 13 years-old, making Toronto his home. of the fastest growing companies in the He was a Canadian Certified General auto industry, in less than two years. Accountant, a lawyer and a fellow of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario. He will probably be best known for merging with the Chrysler Group, which Marchionne attended St. Michael's had just emerged from Chapter 11 College School, before moving on to bankruptcy in 2009 when Fiat, along with complete his undergraduate studies in the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) philosophy at the University of Toronto, and the Canadian Government, were the then earning a Bachelor of Commerce in major investors. 1979 and an MBA in 1985, both from the University of Windsor, and a law degree Fiat started with a 20 per cent stake, from Osgoode Hall Law School of York rising to 58 per cent in 2012, and in 2014 University in 1983. Marchionne received it bought the remaining shares from the an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UAW, creating a wholly-owned subsidiary. Walsh College in 2013.

From 1983 to 1985, he worked as an accountant and tax specialist for Deloitte & Touche in Canada. From 1985 to 1988, he was Group Controller and then Director of Corporate Development at the Lawson Mardon Group in Toronto. In 1989, he moved to Glenex Industries where he worked for two years as Executive Vice President. In February 2011, Marchionne sparked widespread controversy in the U.S. when he remarked at the J.D. Power & Associates International Automotive Roundtable that Chrysler's bail-out loans from the U.S. government carried "shyster rates". In a 2009 Forbes interview, Massimo Vecchio, an analyst, commented on Marchionne's controversial management style, stating:

“He's got a lot of American in his management style. The only thing that matters to him is results. If you don't deliver, you are out. He is quite ruthless…. The communication from bottom to top in management was slow and wrong… He reduced the layers of management and gave his role a more direct view of what the business was doing. And of course, his ego is very big and sometimes people who had clashes with him were basically fired. Looking at his style from outside it seems awful, but he delivered.” Sergio Marchionne succumbed to complications from surgery and died on July 25, 2018, aged 66. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 | 7


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MEMBER’S CORNER What is a “LEAD?” and how much do you pay for them … has become very clear is that they don’t really know what brought the customer to the dealership. This means, they don't really know what they are paying for.

Another member could only offer a guess, he felt that his cost per lead was $40 and he was ”pretty comfortable” with that number.

So how much are you paying for a lead?

You need to find out what your number is. Can you identify “a lead” with some confidence and can you do the math?

I have sat in on a number of dealer/ manager meetings when the cost of the leads comes up. Since there is no real definition of a “lead” these meetings can get a little heated. Remember “leads” aren’t sales.

By Bob Pierce Member Services Director THERE ARE PROBABLY 10 COMPANIES IN CANADA OFFERING A VEHICLE LISTINGS SERVICE FOR DEALERS.

From the largest on down, they all gauge their value “invoice”, by the “leads” they get for you. UCDA members have their own site, Ontariocars.ca, and with 1600 members and 65,000 vehicles, we are learning that measuring “leads” has a different meaning depending upon who you talk to. Some say “clicks” are it, some say “page views” or “time on site” are it, others say emails and phone calls are the only thing that counts.

On-line advertising is expensive, you need to know how much you are paying per “actionable lead” ■

The dealer owner wants to know how many leads we’ve received and how many cars did we sell. Since there is no direct correlation between leads and sales, there is often an uncomfortable moment of dead air at this point. My thought is that a lead is a contact from a consumer on a vehicle that is ACTIONABLE and you can identify the source. All any dealer principal wants to know is what they are getting for the “thousands” they are paying. In one meeting, a dealer principal realized that, if the vehicle stayed on the site for more than 30 days, he was actually paying twice for advertising the same car.

In another meeting it was determined “as best they could” that the cost of a Some members rely totally on what lead was a little over $700. It was simply their service provider "tells them" please a math exercise, amount paid for the pay the bill. month divided by what they could I have talked about customer leads to determine were real leads. many dealers and managers and what

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 | 9


10 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


THE LAW MATTERS When is your ad not your ad? devices is profound, and the seamless connection to consumers is gamechanging - not all is rosy in cyber-land.

By Jim Hamilton Legal Services Director

WHEN SOMEONE ELSE SQUATS ON IT … THAT ’S WHEN!

Dealers have become very familiar with internet commerce. It’s amazing how fast this change has occurred. In 1995, when Amazon and Ebay launched, the notion was novel. Nowadays, if a dealer doesn’t have a website and internet presence, folks wonder about their ability to survive. At the same time, with the hunger for online content and consumer attention, there are plenty of third parties who want to occupy the same space taken up by car dealers presenting their wares. Most members will know of vehicle listing sites run or “hosted” by the likes of Auto Trader, Kijiji, Carpages, CarGurus, Autocatch, Wheels and the UCDA’s own entry into this market, Ontariocars.ca. While the ability to list vehicles with attractive features and technology is amazing, the reach and access to mobile

in this case called Canada Drives.

Sometimes, even on territory a dealer might consider “theirs”, where their vehicles are on offer and their dealership promoted, third parties may advertise their accident searches, finance options, or similar vehicles available elsewhere. This is all usually allowed for by contract with the vehicle listing company, but it is not always as simple as that.

The dealers allege they were not informed, when entering into these contractual arrangements, that their customers clicking on this finance link would be led away to Canada Drives. It is also alledged that the form on the Canada Drives website was not a credit application form, but rather a form to obtain contact information to generate and sell prospective leads to other dealers for different vehicles.

As a recent lawsuit filed by two Ontario dealers has illustrated, complex issues of contract law and competition law arise in this area.

The dealers made the case that this cyber-squatting caused them damages as the result of breach of contract and competition law.

Imagine how a dealer (you?) might feel when a consumer lands on your vehicle's page, looks at your vehicle and clicks on a button “embedded” there for “financing” only to be lead away, never to return especially when you did not understand (or agree) that was happening or even know how it was!

These dealers have apparently settled their claims with the Defendants for one million dollars and the action is to be certified as a class action, presumably to ensure the acts complained of are not repeated in future.

What these dealers allege in their lawsuit is that Autocatch, Wheels, and the corporations they work with, set up side deals with another company who would be allowed to offer embedded offers to consumers landing on one of their vehicles. The lawsuit suggests the term “embedded” conveys the look to the consumer. It would look like it was part of the dealer’s ad, and the financing would be for that vehicle, when in fact it was from another company. Unless the dealer requested the removal of this link, or had their own finance link in their ad, all consumers who clicked on it would be directed to another company,

It is hard at this early stage to know how the rest of this story will play out, how many more dealers will make claims and for how much, but these classes can grow large even if each individual claim is rather small. Hopefully this serves to remind everyone that while the internet as a forum for making deals is rather new, much older and established laws still govern behaviour there. For those inclined to read the gory details, the link is on (guess where?) the INTERNET! at: https://tinyurl.com/y88bglvk ■

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ONLINE CAR AUCTIONS

By David Miller

ONLINE AUCTIONS SAVE MUCH MORE THAN TIME TWENTY YEARS AGO, A DEALER walked into

one of the local wholesale auctions and battled it out with others to replenish their stock. It took time, effort and skill to not only strike the right deal in order to help the bottom line, but to build up a goodlooking aisle of cars to show off to your customer base.

All that has permanently changed thanks to the internet. Much like Amazon has turned the brick and mortar retail game on its head, the world wide web has forced businesses to evolve, changing the landscape of the used car dealer lot and the entire buying/selling process. With the wealth of knowledge online, customers now arrive prepared with information and pricing for a specific vehicle in mind. And in many instances, that very vehicle has arrived via the internet through one of the various online

12 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

auctions. When there's a shortage in harvesting trade-ins or off-lease, a sale is only a few clicks away. "At certain times of the year, it's hard to source from your own customer portfolio, so you have to backfill with auction purchases," explains Matthew Bird, general sales manager of Volkswagen Waterloo. The used car lot hasn't gone global like Amazon, but dealers on average like Bird have upped their usage over the past five to ten years. Bird's inventory consists of 60 per cent auction buys with the majority of those being made online. A lot of the online trend can be attributed to companies like TradeRev (a wholesale inventory system that connects dealers from all over North America), and leading online auctions such as ADESA and Manheim that had to endure growing pains until gaining legitimacy and eventual traction from dealers. "In the past two or three years, we’ve seen more dealers rely on online auctions for at least 50 per cent of their auction purchases, with some going 100 per cent

online," explains Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto. "The trend corresponds to Manheim and ADESA auctions reporting year-over-year gains in online transaction volume." To understand the scope of online auctions, one only needs to look at Manheim, North America’s leading provider of vehicle re-marketing services that employs 18,000 people enabling them to register 8-million North American used vehicles per year. According to Ken Morin, general manager of Manheim Toronto, it all started through Manheim's first simulcast sale in 2002, where 65,000 dealers enrolled across North America. "The uptick was felt from inception and has continued to grow ever since. Today at our Canadian auctions, online attendance has grown to represent 53 per cent of total attendees on average, and we anticipate that upward trend to continue as we continue to develop our suite of digital tools to help dealers turn their inventory faster and more efficiently."


ONLINE CAR AUCTIONS | DAVID MILLER Time and convenience favours online

online or in-lane," explains Stephanie Turner, senior manager, business development & strategy for Cox Automotive Canada.

The most obvious reason for the push towards online from in-person auctions comes down to saving time and money in acquiring pre-owned inventory, as well as the potential for greater reach. No longer do dealers have to send their pre-owned sales manager or auction specialist to a physical auction, potentially taking up to three or four hours between transport, the auction itself, paperwork or figuring out delivery. It can be even worse, bringing a bunch of drivers along to collect the cars purchased.

"In the past two or three years, we’ve seen more dealers rely on online auctions ..." With online auctions, daily buys through standard bidding sales or even buy-itnows can be made at the office or on a mobile app by registered dealers with an OMVIC license. With new listings posted daily, ADESA and Manheim auctions can be planned a day or more in advance with Manheim's running Tuesday morning and Thursday night; ADESA's occur Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. Other online auctions sprouting up can also be found on a daily basis. "There's still a time and place for traditional in-person auctions, considering their large volume of sales, but the frequency and legitimacy of online auctions has made it difficult for dealers to take the time out of their busy days to go to them," adds Bird.

Will in-person auctions cease to exist? Between the time, money and scope of online auctions, it begs the question whether in-person auctions have a ticking shelf life? Yet, every company and dealership interviewed for this piece believes there's still a place for inperson bidding.

KEN MORIN | MANHEIM TORONTO

With nine years in the wholesale auto business, King however cautions other dealers when selling their lots online. "Many want to liquidate their wholesale units this way to maximize profits and mitigate losses, but that can end up backfiring when you are not being strategic. To use online auctions successfully, you have to be open minded and well versed in how to liquidate inventory." Manheim aims to help that process out by supplying plenty of information through condition reports, vehicle history reports, and other disclosures. "With so much information at the dealer's fingertips, taking advantage of the information at hand, will allow them to buy and sell with confidence and maximize profitability – whether that is

"We are a long ways away from traditional auctions closing up shop," explains King. "Me being a car guy, I try to be analytical, but I like to touch what I'm buying before I bid on it. It's one thing to look at conditional reports and you can trust them to a certain degree, but just because they call it a 4.5 out of 5, doesn't mean I will give it that same rating." King understands that online tools are great to have, but not a perfect system. He feels you can't blindly accept every statistic and rating online, and the edge that he additionally relies on comes down to the human element of common sense and experience. In addition, working with the management at physical auctions can help one out in the long run. "There's more of a personal feel to it, especially when you need some help or a service to be provided."

Anthony King, pre-owned sales manager of Michael Boyer Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC echoes Bird's statement with his auction buys (30 per cent of his inventory) over the past year being close to 70 per cent online. "I prefer to go to a bricks and mortar auction, but that is a time consuming proposition lately."

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ONLINE CAR AUCTIONS | DAVID MILLER Even though Bird is more analytical, he also believes there's still value in looking at a vehicle rather than a computer screen. "I can walk around it, find a scratch and determine things that way. Is it paintwork or polish? How good are its tires or its brakes? You're not always going to get those really good photos, so you're still making an assessment of what you're being told." Luckily, large online auctions at ADESA and Manheim have an arbitration policy in place for those situations. They can mediate a situation when an item wasn't accurately described leading to an adjustment in price or a return of the winning vehicle in question.

PRIMER ON ONLINE AUCTIONS 1

Before doing anything, each dealer has to have an OMVIC license to participate in an online auction. Once that's in place, you have to be affiliated with a registered dealership and a legible copy of the representative's current driver's license has to be provided and an auction pass will be granted. They are for wholesale automotive dealers only and closed to the public.

2

Taking ADESA registration as an example, they require the following paperwork: Application, Dealer and Individual Acknowledgement Form, Personal Guarantee, Power of Attorney, GST/HST number, Bank Authorization Letter and Dealership Credit Information Form.

3

Once you're set up, go through the auction run list a day in advance. Target certain vehicles you want and use the filter to weed out certain model years and high mileage vehicles.

4

Check out all the condition reports from the online auction and its CarProof report (history, accidents, prior damage).

5

Set your proxy bids and use your time wisely for other dealership matters.

6

The market can always shift, so make adjustments, re-check your list and act accordingly.

7

Good luck and safe bidding!

"Never allow a gut feeling to overrule hard data..." "We offer assurance and visibility through a number of products such as Manheim’s Pre-Sale and Post-Sale Inspection and our Enhanced Vehicle Imaging System (EVIS) to build further trust in the online marketplace," Manheim's Morin explains. Morin goes on to say that physical locations are important, but will be more geared to older model years with high mileage. Pollak doesn't anticipate physical auctions going away as well, but he does see in the future an advancement of "upstream" inventory availability, allowing dealers to purchase wholesale vehicles before arriving at traditional auction platforms. "Ultimately, the wholesale market will be less defined by the physical presence of available inventory as new technologies and tools help dealers make a larger share of digitally-based transactions, irrespective of the vehicle’s location." What the future holds? It's never easy to predict what the future holds, but with any industry, it's tough to bet against the internet and advanced technologies. Online auctions are simply another example of how the internet connects businesses and people around the world for quick and documented transactions that can save time, effort, storage and most importantly, money. Whether it's an online auction at ADESA or Manheim, uploading data and pics with TradeRev, or any other auction, they're all here to stay in order to liquidate or fulfill the dealer lot in a smooth and quick manner. In the end, all of this transparency helps both the dealer and the consumer. Dealers may not have the same margins, as they used to, but at least they're able to constantly turn over stock. On the other side, consumers are receiving more positive dealership experiences with a level playing field of reasonable prices offered without having to drive around and haggle. And that seems like a win-win for all involved! ■

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TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE

TRENDS By Chris Chase

THE AUTOMOTIVE MEDIA HAVE WRITTEN COUNTLESS ARTICLES in the

last few years about the impending death of the manual transmission. The stickshift, as it is casually known, has found itself facing stiff competition from increasingly sophisticated automatic gearboxes that pack more ratios into smaller packages and improve efficiency in terms of space, weight and fuel consumption.

Manual transmissions were once available in most vehicle types and classes, but in recent years, the dramatic rise in the popularity of crossovers and SUVs -- and the apparent drop in popularity of stickshifts, at least among drivers of those vehicles -- has made it seem like the only transmissions left are the kind that shift themselves. And as electric cars gain traction and we continue moving toward a future of autonomous driving, we can expect to see manual transmissions continue to fall out of favour.

16 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

In the meantime, there are still a number of vehicles out there that offer manuals, and an equal amount of demand for them among drivers who appreciate their lower price of entry and the extra element of driving involvement they provide. That first point is why the manual transmission remains most popular in entry-level vehicles: In a new subcompact car, an automatic transmission typically

adds $1,000 to $1,500 to the MSRP, which represents between 5 and 10 per cent of the car's price. That’s a significant difference to a buyer on a budget, whether self-imposed or the result of circumstances beyond their control. The price premium for an automatic becomes even more significant on the


TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE used market: Many small cars command close to $1,000 more with an automatic transmission than a manual. Adding that grand to the bottom line can make a car 20 per cent more expensive in the sub-prime space, a huge deal for buyers already stretching their budgets to get behind the wheel. So if your clientele primarily comes to you looking for older, higher-mileage cars, many of them will appreciate having a few to choose from with manual transmissions.At the other end of the spectrum are buyers who can afford to spend more, but still want to shift for themselves because they like the added element of control. In this case, the make and model may be as unimportant as it is to those sub-prime shoppers, but the cars in demand tend to be those you might associate with drivers who appreciate performance. For that crowd, vehicles like the BMW 3 Series, the quirky Cadillac CTS-V station wagon or even a Honda Accord with the desirable V6/six-speed manual combination will hold a lot of appeal.

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It also never hurts that even those more entertaining cars still command lower prices with a manual transmission than their automatic-equipped equivalents. There are even a few compact crossover models that were available with a stickshift in recent years, like the Mazda CX-5, the Hyundai Tucson, the Honda HR-V and the Subaru Forester. None of these are performance-oriented vehicles by any stretch, and choosing the manual often means giving up all-wheel drive (with the exception of the Subaru), but a budget-conscious shopper or driving enthusiast looking for a practical compact vehicle may find what they're looking for in a small utility with a manual transmission. Technology will soon leave the manual transmission behind, but it lives on for now, especially in the used-vehicle marketplace. Demand will be limited, so naturally it would be wise to consider your clientele and choose carefully which stickshift-equipped models you keep in stock, but this old-school means of driving a car could help drive new business to your dealership. ■

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VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 | 17


TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST

TECH TALK

By Angela West

HERE’S THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AUTOMOTIVE GADGETS AND APPS. 2018 has been a banner year for aftermarket automotive technology that your customers can enjoy after purchasing a used vehicle. Bring your dashcam game to the next level with crystal clear 4K resolution Dashcams have become one of the best investments for drivers around the world, providing drivers with concrete proof of car accidents. They can help to determine fault, deter criminals, and even just document road trips. With the Nextbase 612GW Ultra HD 4K dash cam, drivers can now ensure that they get the absolute highest quality video footage of their next road trip, accident, or vehicle break-in. The innovative Nextbase is one of the first commercial 4K dash cams available, combining an ultra high definition picture with an ultra wide 150-degree angle lens that helps drivers capture the entire picture without anything being lost in the peripherals.

18 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

The Nextbase 612GW comes with a sleek metal casing that adds an aesthetic touch to the interior of any vehicle. Drivers can easily install, mount and dismount their new 4K dashcam through a unique magnetic click and go GPS mount. The Nextbase 612GW also features a built in Wi-Fi component that allows drivers to share and download footage to your smartphone or tablet. For drivers looking to capture important road moments in the highest quality possible, the Nextbase 612GW might be a gamechanger.

For more information about the Nextbase 612GW, check it out at nextbase.co.uk. Enhance your Bluetooth music capabilities With smartphones like the iPhone ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack, drivers with outdated stereo units are being left in the dust and forced to either retrofit their car stereo with Bluetooth technology or listen to music on a different device. Additionally, some Bluetooth technology equipped in older vehicles can be unreliable, either cutting out or not being able to play music after a handsfree phone call. For drivers not looking to retrofit their stereo system anytime soon, the Aukey BR-C14 Bluetooth audio transmitter changes the game with a simple

purpose and compact design. The BR-C14 transmitter receives Bluetooth audio from your smartphone and seamlessly transmits it to your car’s stereo through the audio port. The Aukey Bluetooth transmitter comes in a handy compact design, measuring just 50mm x 48mm long and 10mm wide, making it the perfect solution to your Bluetooth audio woes. The guitar pick-shaped transmitter features power and volume buttons, a micro USB port for charging, and a switch to quickly toggle between TX and RX audio. The transmitter has a quick set-up and allows drivers to listen to clean audio for up to 10 hours before charging, making it perfect for day trips and commutes.

For more on the Aukey BR-C14 Bluetooth transmitter, visit its website at aukey.com.


TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST is designed with safety and security in mind, featuring dust and splashproof ports, protections from clamps, reverse charging, and other handy features, as well as an LCD screen that clearly indicates output and battery consumption. It also comes equipped with a unique built in compass that always points north, making it perfect for outdoor adventures.

For more information, visit the website at suaoku.com. Easily mount and charge your iPhone or Samsung device in your vehicle

minor inconvenience. When inflation is complete and your tire is back in tip top condition, the compressor stores away seamlessly thanks to a convenient compact design.

Inflate your tires on the go with this handy digital inflator The condition of your tires is always on a responsible driver’s mind. A flat tire can spell the end of your trip or commute, or at the very least mean an inconvenient trip to a mechanic. The P.I. Auto Store Premium 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump makes inflating your tires on the go easier than ever, giving drivers an easy-to-use fully digital solution to this common road problem. The P.I. Auto Store Compressor Pump plugs right into your vehicle’s 12 volt outlet or cigarette lighter and features an LCD display gauge that makes it easy to set and monitor tire pressure. It comes with a built in microprocessor that monitors pressure and automatically stops at your set pressure, eliminating the risk of over or under-inflation. The reliable pump is capable of reaching 30 Psi in just three minutes, turning a flat tire into a

Learn more about the P.I. Auto Store Premium 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump at pistores.com. Effortlessly jump start your vehicle on the go anywhere and anytime Always having a portable jump starter in your vehicle can get you out of many tricky situations, especially when you’re driving in areas where you may not be able to rely on the kindness of strangers or quickly get to a mechanic. Portable jump starters allow you to quickly get your vehicle up and running again, saving you from having to call a tow truck or a long walk to the nearest auto shop. The compact Suaoki U10 Jump Starter comes equipped with an efficient 20,000 mAh battery boost for 12V vehicles, making it perfect for cars with up to 6L gas or 5L diesel engines. The jump starter also features two smart USB ports for quickly charging smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other gadgets on the go. The Suaoki U10

Making sure your devices are consistently charged throughout your road trips and that they’re made easily accessible to you is important. The Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge seamlessly solves both problems in one convenient package, allowing users to both wirelessly charge their devices on the go and mount their phone in the most accessible location possible. The MagicMount Pro Charge is specially designed to support both Samsung and iPhone Qi-enabled devices, charging devices wirelessly with 10W of power. The MagicMount can be easily mounted to your vehicle’s dash or window through strong suction hold for a safe, secure grip. Your device is held in place through a phone plate and 100% safe neodymium magnets, securely holding your phone and eliminating the need for inconvenient cradle-based designs that get in the way of your car’s ports and controls.

More information on the MagicMount is available at scosche.com.

Clean up messes on the go Being on the road for long stretches of time can take a toll on the interior of your vehicle, especially if you’re

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TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST travelling with multiple people in the car, or have kids or pets who are more likely to track dirt and dust inside the vehicle. Keeping your car clean and tidy is simple with the Black & Decker Pivot BDH1200PVAV. Featuring a handy portable design that plugs in directly to your 12V adapter, the Black & Decker Pivot is the perfect way to quickly clean up while you’re on the go. With a 16 foot cord and versatile adjustable nozzle, the Black & Decker Pivot car vacuum is built to reach tight and awkward spots in your car, helping you clean every nook and cranny of your vehicle. The vacuum comes in a convenient compact size, allowing for easy portability and hiding away in your trunk or under the seat when it’s not needed. The portability of the Pivot does not sacrifice the impressive suction capabilities of the vacuum. The Pivot also comes equipped with a variety of tools that help to maximize your in-car cleaning experience.

Find out more about the Black & Decker Pivot at blackanddecker.com. Back up safely and know what’s behind your car Most newer vehicle models come equipped with a rear view camera that assists drivers by displaying what is behind your car and helping you to back up safely. Unfortunately for drivers of older vehicles, this luxury has not been made widely available at a reasonable cost - until now. The Yada Digital Backup Camera is one of the most practical and

easy-to-use products on the market for older vehicles, allowing drivers of any vehicle to back up safely and with full confidence. The Yada Digital Backup Camera comes equipped with a convenient and easy to install 4.3” dash display that helps drivers accurately keep track of any objects behind their vehicle. The 110-degree camera wires directly into your vehicle’s reverse lights with the display plugging into the 12V adapter or cigarette lighter, with both devices pairing wirelessly upon installation. The camera and display can reach up to 30 feet without interference, providing a clear, natural picture of everything behind your vehicle. Drivers can also adjust the color, contrast, and brightness of the display to suit their driving needs. It even features weatherproofing and a handy night vision mode for driving in any conditions, making it the ideal backup camera for virtually all older vehicle models.

Find out more about the Yada Digital Backup Camera at letsyada.com. Kill the odour in your car with a compact air purifier There are certain odours that stick with a vehicle for a long time, turning your road trips into a far less pleasurable experience - this can be the lasting smell of cigarette smoke, spills, spoiled food, or just the smell of an aging vehicle interior. The FRiEQ Car Purifier makes these long-lasting odours a

photosbypierce.com 130 Industry St., Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3 e info@photosbypierce.com www.photosbypierce.com

20 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

thing of the past, bringing a reliable, compact air ionizer experience right to your vehicle to eliminate those less than pleasant smells. The FRiEQ Purifier plugs right into your vehicle’s 12V adapter, taking up no valuable space and performing as consistently as much larger air purifiers. The FRiEQ Purifier boasts massive odour eliminating capabilities with negative ion generation of 4.8 million per cm3, neutralizes smells caused by cigarettes, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and many other sources. This odour eliminating is done through the generation of safe amounts of ozone, making it safe for use on the go. The FRiEQ Car Purifier also features an attractive blue LED light, and an easy to use plug-and-play operation that will have your car smelling cleaner before you know it.

For more information about the FRiEQ Air Purifier, visit myfrieq.com. ■


SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES FOR ONTARIO DEALERSHIPS By Angela West BUSINESSES EVERYWHERE ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE of the many

benefits offered by social media platforms. With the majority of adult Canadians using at least one form of social media channel on a daily basis, the opportunities for exposure and promotion are virtually endless - but it’s difficult to know where to begin, especially if your business hasn’t yet made the leap from entirely traditional marketing strategies to a blend of traditional and digital marketing. Engagement on social media necessary for dealerships In 2017, the majority of consumers reported that the social media channels of automotive dealerships were more influential in their purchase decisions than dealership websites.

Effective social media marketing has many benefits; the chance for your organization to create a more meaningful bond with its customers, the ability to easily reach and create new customers, opportunities to build your dealership’s brand and differentiate yourself from competitors, and to easily offer a direct customer service line to all customers with a working internet connection. The benefits greatly outweigh the costs when it comes to social media, but it’s hard to know where to start. You may be thinking to yourself “my company has a page on Facebook - so now what do I do?” - the answer is probably far more simple than you might expect. Whether it’s communicating with customers, offering special promotions, building your brand, uploading new vehicles for sale to your channels, or

just encouraging users to interact with your brand, we’ve got you covered. The following are a few recommended strategies for your Ontario dealership to burst out onto the social media marketing scene & make an instant splash with your customers and new leads. Putting the effort where it’s needed is important Effective social media marketing is more than simply setting up a presence on social media platforms and being semi-active online. One of the most important strategic decisions that a dealership can make is to weigh the benefits of each social media platform and focus their efforts only on those platforms which they deem worthy of their time. Each platform has its own unique way of communicating with users - whether it’s LinkedIn’s strictly business

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SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES | ANGELA WEST focus, Twitter’s 280 character limit, Instagram’s photograph-sharing platform, or Facebook’s more general user-friendly experience, each has its own unique selling point that may or may not suit your dealership’s needs. If your auto dealership is targeting niche or luxury car buyers, then LinkedIn’s more serious business-minded clientele would be likely to fit your bill, but for general promotion of your dealership and what it has to offer to its clients, a mixture of general platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are advisable. Facebook has the largest user base of any social network, increasing the potential for your business to be noticed and interacted with. Twitter’s unique platform allows for quick, bite-sized messages to customers and followers, increasing your potential reach through strategic, relevant hashtags. Instagram can allow you to show off new vehicles on your lot, and other unique features of your dealership that allow followers to interact with and become familiar with your business. Not on Instagram yet? Get on it. If you take away one thing from this article and aren’t on Instagram yet, get on Instagram immediately. Its user base is now larger than Twitter’s and it is where your dealership needs to be to attract any new buyers or purchase influencers in the 18-35 age category. Yes, it requires a different strategy than posting updates to the traditional social media platforms, but is surprisingly easier to manage since you are just posting photos. Photos of happy new car buyers, new vehicles on your lot, and community events your dealership participates in won’t be hard to put together. Post each photo with a set of about 10-15 hashtags that will get you noticed in your local market (e.g. if your dealership is in Hamilton, search Instagram for hashtags that are used commonly in Hamilton) that are relevant to the photo at hand. Hashtags are the search tools of Instagram, and without them your photo may not get shared or liked as widely as it

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more difficult by hiding posts by business pages from your follower’s feeds. This algorithm change has made advertising on Facebook and/or boosting posts more of a necessity, as your organic reach on Facebook has likely taken a nosedive in the past year.

would otherwise. You’ll also want to post frequently, at least once a week to start, and make sure you set up an Instagram Business account so you can track analytics on each post to see what works and what doesn’t. Social media management tools such as Hootsuite can also now be used to post directly to Instagram and schedule posts in advance, a change made in the past year which has made management of this channel far easier. Paid social media advertising offers highly customizable targeting Most paid social media advertising platforms allow for highly customizable targeting, enabling your dealership to specifically target users that fall into certain demographics, including age, location, hobbies and interests, professions, what automotive companies and car models they follow and show interest in, and much more. These targeted features can ensure that your ads and pages are reaching only those who you have identified as your target audience and who will genuinely respond and be interested in what your business has to offer, rather than wasting your time with a more general ad campaign that risks your branding and ads falling on deaf ears. Paid social media advertising ensures that your posts and page are actually being seen by those who you need it to be seen by - especially on platforms like Facebook where recent algorithm changes have made organic interactions

However, abandoning Facebook is not a retaliatory option as it still has the largest user base of any social media platform. In addition, you can start ad campaigns in Instagram from the same dashboard as you use for Facebook at business. facebook.com since both channels are owned by the same company, making it more convenient for you to manage two social media platforms from one paid advertising dashboard. Social media advertising is cost-effective and gives you more bang for your buck than traditional advertising, and a budget of $200-$300 is more than enough to get you started. Paid advertising and boosted posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and LinkedIn if you are selling in a niche/luxury market) will drive traffic to your website, increase interactions with contests and promotions, and increase engagement on your dealership’s social media pages. In addition, a paid social media advertising campaign can boost your follower counts, something worth paying attention to if your follower growth is flat on particular channels, or if you have just started up a new channel such as Instagram. Connecting with your customers Social media platforms allow your dealership to create more meaningful connections with your customers, which can increase buyer confidence, trust and satisfaction with your business. Connecting with your customers not only allows you to create more positive overall experiences for them by regularly interacting with them through posts, live support, and exclusive promotions, but also allows your dealership to provide them with relevant information that may influence their purchases. Doing this will further encourage customers to leave reviews on review


SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES | ANGELA WEST websites and social media platforms, which 83% of buyers reported as having influenced their auto buying decisions in 2017. This makes it extremely important to work to capture the attention of your customers and potential leads by staying on top of social media interactions on all active platforms - social media management tools can keep you informed about mentions, comments, and direct messages in one dashboard so that no leads or unanswered questions can slip through the cracks.

"Social media platforms allow your dealership to create more meaningful connections with your customers..." Social media is a two-way conversation, so keeping those conversations going by asking questions in some of your posts, posting quizzes, following people who like your posts on Instagram, and ensuring that all questions are addressed will help you maintain your connections and increase engagement. Creating and promoting original content One of the most effective ways to engage social media users and increase online interactions is through the creation and posting of original content across

your channels. Original content can be anything from blog posts about the latest innovations in the automotive world, photos of new vehicles on your dealership’s lot, photos of dealership events, infographics, pictures of satisfied customers with their newly purchased vehicles, and much more. Promoting original content on social media is a great way to draw visitors to your website and business page, to promote new vehicles and automotive technologies, and to inform buyers about new advances or elements that your dealership is trying to promote as being important.

Promotions and contests are always social media marketing winners

Dealerships can increase their social media reach by offering exclusive promotions and contests that encourage audience interactions like sharing, commenting, or following your page. Not only do these promotional activities increase your following, but they establish your brand as being more interactive and hands-on than others. Promotions don’t have to offer anything major or be held regularly, but can go a long way in drumming up interest in your Original content also pushes you and your business, growing your followers, and brand as being thought leaders within the boosting the growth of your channels. automotive dealership sector, especially on Tools such as Gleam (Gleam.io) or professional platforms like LinkedIn. Your Canadian-based Wishpond (wishpond. original content should be relevant to what com) can allow you to easily manage your dealership offers - focus on brands, contests and promotions across various vehicles, unique features, and accessories social media channels. that can be found at your dealership, and helpful advice relating to used vehicles. At Upping your social media strategy game the same time, the channel should not be all about you, so mix in helpful local news Social media marketing is more articles and community initiatives with than just occasionally logging into content that promotes your brand. your company’s Facebook page - as with anything else, it’s important to An extremely effective marketing tool employ strategies in order to become which can provide some of this content is successful. An effective strategy can a photo staging area for customers to take drive up revenue through increased selfies or videos with their new vehicle sales from the forging of meaningful for any social media channel they want relationships with past and present to post it on. To do it effectively, invest customers, and the creation of new in a backdrop with your branding and a leads from advertising efforts. Social tripod with a smartphone mount, and/ media can also present your dealership or have your reps offer to take pictures with incredible opportunities in or videos for them. Many buyers want to terms of customer service, giving you celebrate their new purchase, and having the power to respond to inquiries the branded backdrop available for them immediately and solve customer issues will get your dealership noticed when they faster and more effectively. posts their photos or videos to their social media accounts. Be sure to stay active, stay relevant by making good use of “hot” channels such as Instagram, and continue to create engaging and meaningful content for your followers. In turn, potential buyers will view your business positively, making them far more likely to visit your lot, and recommend your dealership to others. ■

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DEALER PROFILE Goodwill's Used Cars By Rhonda Payne Hardwork Pays Off Dropping the Wrenches in a Small Town SOUTHEAST OF LONDON, ONTARIO, IN THE SMALL

TOWN OF AYLMER , two brothers continue their

family’s proud tradition of selling cars and providing quality mechanical work. Using the golden rule with everyone, “do unto others as you’d want them to do unto you” has allowed Al & Red Hooghiem to continue growing a thriving used cars business in a town of just 8,000 people. The brothers come by their love of the business naturally, or perhaps genetically is the right word. Their father, George Hooghiem started a small two-bay shop at a gas station in 1974 known as Goodwill Repairs (Aylmer) Ltd. “he was a service manager for a GM before "Before continued on next page

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Goodwill's Used Cars "Before that, he was a service manage for a GM dealership,” Al says, “and a mechanic for many years before that. He wanted to go out on his own.” Al & Red both joined the business, but did so in their own time and way. “I’ve got 40 years this spring” notes Al, “I came right out of high school. I had plans of doing something else, but I was told to go to work one day and I guess I just stayed. My brother’s a little smarter; he came in five years later.” Red laughs as Al relays their journey from watching their dad work on cars to their own foray in the business.

equipment repairs and the basic day-today tasks that need to get done. He even has his own workshop on site and of course, like any father and entrepreneur, he still has an opinion about how things should be done and his sons respectfully appreciate that input. Goodwill’s Used Cars is a tight, familyrun business that operates with respect for others, whether that is family, staff or customers. Everyone is treated with courtesy and integrity. Their wives are equal partners in the business. “Our wives stand behind us, they are very forgiving with the long hours and lots of phone calls all the time.”

“We both came in after Dad bought the two-bay shop as gas pumpers and “We have 20 employees and everybody grease monkeys and eventually licensed keeps busy,” notes Al. “We’re very fair.” mechanics,” Al says. “He [Dad] dropped Al and Red are particular about who the wrenches and left the mechanic they hire when they need a new team work to us. He concentrated on selling member. “Better to do without for a and went on the road buying cars from while in order to get the right individual auctions and dealers. When it was busy, for the position.” There is very little we’d come onto the car lot to help sell turn-over in staff with most employees cars in our greasy coveralls and that here over 5 years and some for as long wasn’t good. One day we had to make a as 20. The owners host a number of decision so we hired two mechanics and staff functions every year, encouraging a the two of us put on a dress shirt and tie. community spirit within the workplace and the community at large. According to Red, the brothers learned from their dad that there was good money in selling cars. The business started off with three cars on the original lot to now over 250 on the current location. “You didn’t even know it was happening,” notes Al of the growth. “When we were across the road in the original two-bay location, we were packed in with 90 cars and you couldn’t move a muscle, “says Red. “We didn’t know we were going to expand, but Dad did. He’s the one with the vision for sure. He had more foresight at the time than we did.” George is 84 now and still goes to work at the dealership every day when he’s not in Florida for the winter. He takes care of property maintenance and

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“We do the craziest parade floats every year for the town’s Christmas parade. Everyone in the community looks forward to see what we come up with next. Because we have the mechanics and the body men to do it, we can come up with some zany things,” notes Al. “We’re actively engaged in the events in town, it’s all part of the small town mentality and everybody is part of it.” In addition to the annual parade, Goodwill’s also participates in the Aylmer Fair and enters some cars in the annual derby. So just how does a used car dealership in a small town keep busy, growing and thriving? -By doings things a little differently. “We do some in-house financing,” says Al. “We do it with our own money. If someone is credit challenged, we don’t feel it’s fair to send them to a dealer at 29% if they are trying to get back on their feet again. We’ll offer a much better rate if we like what we see. We’ve been doing that for about 30 years.”


DEALER PROFILE | RHONDA PAYNE The financing aspect of Goodwill’s started off small, but grew into a fairly big operation. It’s something not commonly seen in used car sales these days. “I don’t know if very many around us use their own money. Everybody else is using somebody else’s money,” says Al. “We do outsource some customers if we don’t want to work with them.” Despite the financing being in-house, the decisions on providing credit are anything but a fly-by-the-seat-of-yourpants decision. Salespeople do the background work on customers to check credit and get a better understanding of where the person is at, in their financial life. The general manager then looks over the application and makes the final approval. “Our repo rate is very low,” Al notes. “We put a lot of homework into the approval process to make sure we get the people we want.” There is a great team that manages the accounts daily to make sure that everything is administered accurately and efficiently. Another thing that’s different at the dealership is that selection must be really good in order to draw customers from outside the small town. Advertising on Auto Trader and Kijiji are a necessity to keep outside awareness high. People drive from up to two hours away to buy a car at Goodwill’s. “There’s

no point in having 250 vehicles for a town of 8,000 people. We don’t get into high-end exotic cars. Maybe 60 trucks, 80 SUV’s and minivans – it’s basic cars. Everyday transportation,” notes Red. Ongoing maintenance work isn’t a key part of the business except for locals. The majority of the mechanical work done on-site is to ensure every car is running at its best before it ever hits the lot.

“Our wives stand behind us, they are very forgiving with the long hours and lots of phone calls all the time.” “We have a six-bay service garage and three/four bay body shop and paint booth and two full time detailers,” Al says. “We also do emissions testing.” With 250 cars on the lot on a daily basis, any car a customer looks at has to be pristine. No matter what a customer hops into to check out or test drive, it

must be in the kind of shape that the customer can imagine driving home in. “Because we keep everything in-house, we can get the repairs done a lot cheaper than some dealerships,” notes Al. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a $3,000 car or a $30,000 car; the person wants a good looking car that works well. There is an advantage also in that our general manager and the two of us do all the buying. We are all licensed mechanics, so we might catch things that other buyers might not.” Al also sees selection as being the most important aspect of ensuring Goodwill’s success. “People can come here and drive 10 different SUV’s. We’re a really low-key, have lots of fun here, dealership,” he says. “There’s nothing high-pressure about us and we continue to sell lots of cars. People get to know that about us and they like it. Even our ads are humorous. It’s fun.” “Working is enjoyable and we don’t know any better,” Red jokes. “We look forward to going to work and look forward to going home. It’s a happy place. It’s always busy.” ■

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ONBOARDING Sales PART 2

By Lori Strauss

NEW SALES AND F&I HIRES Onboarding is the process by which you train a new hire to work at your company. Although it may involve job training as well, the emphasis is on helping the new hire fit into your dealership. This is more than “here’s your desk, ask someone if you have any questions.” In the last issue of The Ontario Dealer, we discussed onboarding mechanics and administrators. In this issue, we’ll talk about your sales staff, including F&I employees, if you have any.

“Unfortunately, when we don't onboard someone, we set them up for failure,” Columbia, remembers his early days of says Marguerite Zimmerman, CEO sales training: he was given the Yellow and founder of E=mz2, a sales training Pages and told to start at A. “The sales company in Burlington. “The thing industry has a tendency to eat its young,” people dislike the most is uncertainty.” he says. Zimmerman explains that uncertainty means the individual will take a lot more However, Martin Boucher, head of risks at various tasks, and that can lead to sales at the Canadian Professional bad behaviours that become difficult to Sales Association, also acknowledges unwind later. that selling is a challenging position. It has a bad reputation, which means The first task of onboarding is to customers already have their backs up introduce your new hire to your before they’ve even said hello. “From an dealership’s culture. onboarding perspective, I think it's all about confidence,” he says. Define Your Company’s Culture DAVE WARAWA, OWNER OF PROSALESGUY TRAINING in British

But confidence is not just something a salesperson finds within their own proven skills; how well a new hire fits into your dealership is a big part of it. It can be awkward working on a team and feeling uncertain about exactly what your duties are, what your role is, and how you’re supposed to proceed in your job.

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No matter how big or small your dealership or group is, or if you run a franchise or an independent dealership, your business has a culture, and a bad fit will, at its best, feel like unbalanced tires, and, at its worst, feel like a tow truck dragging your dealership’s employees with it. Even if you’re a franchisee, this is more than just introducing them to your brand’s culture.


ONBOARDING | LORI STRAUSS “You can walk into 10 Toyota dealerships and feel a very different culture,” says Zimmerman. The need to define your company’s culture will, according to Zimmerman, even affect who you hire: “If you don't know what your culture is and what you're really about, then you're not going to hire the right people,” she says. Can you define in concrete terms what your dealership’s culture is? Or does your definition sound something like this: “We’re not a hip start-up” or “We’re not Google”? If you define yourself in the negative, that’s not a definition. Your dealership will, guaranteed, have some kind of culture, and defining it is the first step in onboarding new hires right. Now, who sets a company’s culture? Employees follow it, but Zimmerman says culture is driven by the person at the top. For example, if employees see the owner playing games with customers or allowing other sales staff to do so, then the entire dealership will reflect that kind of culture. “One bad apple ruins the bunch. If you’re leaving a lot of bad apples in place, it says a lot about what the bunch is,” Zimmerman says. In addition, defining and then including company culture in your onboarding process will help you assess if you’ve hired the right person before they stay on too long and begin to cause you issues. “Keep in mind that in every business, we tend to hire for skill or knowledge,” Zimmerman says,” but we tend to fire for behaviour.” But defining your dealership’s culture and then training new hires on it is just the beginning. So, how do you expect your new hires to engage with the rest of the team? Internal Customer Service How are your sales reps perceived within your dealership? As pushy? Self-absorbed?

Warawa says that in his training, when he asks participants which industries are notorious for bad sales experiences, the used car industry comes out on top. But that doesn’t mean sales reps, whether in vehicle sales or F&I, should slap on a happy face to customers and be their usual pushy selves behind the curtain to their co-workers. "Number one rule in sales,” says Warawa, “is don't be a jerk. Don't have an agenda to always get what you want without having some form of communication.” He recalled one sales position he had where he met up with someone from another department and asked her what she detested most about salespeople. He took notes for 20 minutes and made sure to never do any of those things. “She loved me to pieces,” he says. Warawa suggests making similar meetings part of a new hire’s onboarding process: have them meet with the heads of all the other departments and just get to know them. These meetings needn’t last longer than 15 minutes, but they have two purposes: 1) they can give them the opportunity to start strong, and 2) you can get feedback from the other managers on the new hire.

“One bad apple ruins the bunch. If you’re leaving a lot of bad apples in place, it says a lot about what the bunch is,” “The selling skills salespeople use in the field with customers are the same selling skills that they can use internally to make things happen, to get people to go in the right direction,” Warawa says. “We don't put a sign on the back door that says, 'Leave all your selling skills on the street.’”

As much as Warawa would like to say this doesn’t happen, it does: salespeople walk around a dealership with an attitude, sometimes even with the dreaded “I’m responsible for your paycheque” attitude, and are then surprised when these coworkers put up roadblocks anytime they have to deal with these salespeople. How you want your employees to engage with each other should be defined in your company culture, which in turn should be included in your onboarding. If you have a new hire who leaves a very negative impression on your department heads, you may want to keep a closer eye on them in those first few months. External Customer Service How you want your sales teams to engage with your customers will likely be the biggest part of your onboarding. This becomes even more important if you advertise how you treat customers, e.g., by promising a friendly atmosphere, low-pressure salespeople, or guaranteed satisfaction with the customer experience. Does your new hire know what’s being promised to your customers? Does he have the knowledge and ability to follow suit? Or will he be left to his own devices? This is where a new hire who isn’t onboarded properly will likely cause you the most headaches. Zimmerman says that onboarding may actually cost more than you may be aware of. "When you're not onboarding, here's the issue,” she says. “It’s got a huge financial impact. And it's not just about the hard numbers, like the cost for an ad or the hour needed to interview them, or whatever it might be. It's all of the other costs to you every time there's someone coming into the business and you haven't converted it. Or you've hurt your brand, because they didn't represent you well.” Throwing a person into the deep end of the sales pool will likely result in that person drowning, says Warawa.

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ONBOARDING | LORI STRAUSS “If a company doesn't create a set of guidelines for best practices, I guess we're just assuming that the salesperson would automatically figure it out,” Warawa says. He feels this is an unfair way to welcome someone to the team. “How does that salesperson learn? They make a mistake, lose the deal, and the manager says, 'We don't do it that way here.’” He also feels it shows a lack of respect for the customer. If you don’t have a written document of customer engagement rules, writing one up isn’t that difficult. Warawa doesn’t mean you need a 14-page document: the longer it gets, the more complicated your training becomes. Instead, he suggests defining for each department what a successful customer engagement looks like. For example, does it mean that all email inquiries are responded to within two hours? And remember to include your sales philosophy and best practices. Next, consider some soft skills training. This goes for both new and seasoned salespeople, because what worked 20 or 30 years ago may not work today. Boucher, for example, says that salespeople don’t often understand how to deal with a customer’s

objections. Although they learn about it, their method of delivery can be very mechanical, when often an empathetic treatment is needed. How would you like your sales teams to deal with objections? What about rude customers, or ones who are in such a hurry it’s hard to get all the necessary paperwork signed? Also, make sure you explain how to listen to customers. "Salespeople are often in love with their own answers,” Boucher says, “but they don't verify and validate that they actually met the customer's expectation." These qualities are what you could include in your customer engagement document. All of this effort is important because, as Warawa says, “The true product isn't the vehicle, the true product is the experience of buying the vehicle.” If you don’t teach your new sales hires how to best represent your brand and engage with your customers, chances are you’re losing sales. However, just making sure your new sales hire understands how to sell to your customers isn’t sufficient. If the customer has, as Warawa describes it, bought the salesperson, then they’re open to buying a vehicle. That’s great! So long as your new hire is well-versed in your stock.

Product Knowledge It may go without saying that product knowledge is paramount to your onboarding procedures, but it doesn’t mean you hand the new hire relevant brochures or point them to your lot. Zimmerman suggests you train the new hire on what to actually talk to a customer about. This may seem basic: you hired a salesperson, and whether they’re experienced or not, you assume they know how to talk to a customer. Not necessarily. Newbie salespeople believe that being a great talker is what makes a great salesperson, says Warawa. "And frankly, the greatest power of influence in the sales process is listening.”

“The true product isn't the vehicle, the true product is the experience of buying the vehicle.” Warawa says that good salespeople ask the right questions to find out more about

Let us help your dealership with:

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the customer, their needs, and how the salesperson can fulfill those needs. So, what does that look like for your dealership? And how can you best teach your preferences to a new hire? Zimmerman suggests running through some basic scenarios with the new hire. This doesn’t have to be an intense session in front of the other salespeople; something informal in your office will suffice. But it should help the new hire get an idea of how your company’s culture fits into their sales skills.

A Manager’s Time is Valuable

Warawa points out that an Olympic athlete doesn't practice in the Olympics. “Yet, we tend to sometimes do that [with sales].

“When I finally realized I can do this as a manager, this isn't so bad at all,” Warawa says about the process he had developed.

We throw the salesperson into the deep end and say, 'It's okay if the first few times things don't work out,' but the fact of the matter is there needs to be a consistent customer approach.”

Boucher, Warawa, and Zimmerman all agree on two points: it’s not the manager’s job to conduct all the onboarding, but it is the manager’s job to manage it and make sure it gets done.

follow each member on the sales team for half a day each. Follow-up meetings were scheduled as needed, the first one for an hour on the second day, and then weekly thereafter, even if only for 30-45 minutes. What would they talk about? What the new hire learned.

“Because, realistically, who wants to be in my office, as the manager, for eight hours Now, none of this means you need to sit “When someone says they don't have time, on day one?" he asks. "Not only would that in front of your new hire and explain all what they're really saying is, 'I'm not not be effective, but frankly, what would the vehicles to them. Make use of other making it a priority,’” says Warawa. they learn about selling cars?” media, e.g., online training modules, “What's better?” asks Boucher. “You don't print brochures, even an onboarding train them and they stay? Or you train And there’s the key, according to binder full of material. But don’t stop them and they leave? You have to find the Zimmerman: The biggest challenge she your onboarding there. time to do it." feels is continuing the learning mindset that was (hopefully) present at the “Let's not waste time on sharing We’ve already covered Warawa’s beginning, which she has found leads to information,” says Boucher. “Let's focus suggestion to have the new sales hire the most success: “In our research with on the soft skills together, on the role meet with every department head. salespeople, we've found that learning plays, on applying the content. I expect Another aspect of training that will save mindset is number one. If they don't today, like most sales leaders expect their managers time, and which all three have a learning mindset, they will not be salespeople, to have the homework done.” experts suggested, was mentoring, top performers over time." where you partner the new hire with In other words, Boucher expects people someone “who is a model of excellence Your marketing campaigns will only he trains to study the content ahead of in your business,” as Zimmerman get you so far: it’s how your employees, time, because training is about behaviour describes it. (Compensation for the especially your salespeople, engage modification, not learning new content. mentor is important, though, Boucher with your customers that will build your says: “You obviously don't want to reputation as a trustworthy dealer to buy "To be able to improve, you've got to do impose that on the sales superstar cars from. things differently. The work has to be without tying it to an incentive, a bonus, about applying the knowledge. The bulk etc.”) "It's an investment in time,” says of the knowledge should be gained ahead Warawa, “but it's got a return on of time.” Warawa’s full onboarding schedule investment because not only does that looked like this: He would spend one salesperson feel like you've spent time Time. About that. You’re probably or two hours with the new hire on and invested in their future success, wondering now how a manager has time the first day, send them off to talk to but—I go back to this all the time— for training? Here’s the answer. department heads, and have them you’re respecting your customer." ■

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 | 31


THE COMMON LAWYER Hitting the Mark -- Trademark, That Is! When you are mistaken for a competitor, your dealership's "something special" becomes someone else's. In Quebec, two dealerships faced this problem when their trade names were similar enough to possibly cause consumer confusion.

By Justin M. Jakubiak

Buckingham Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram moved for a court injunction against Buckingham Chevrolet Buick GMC, seeking to prevent it from using Buckingham in its name, and using Buckingham Chevrolet Buick GMC as a trade name, trademark or for any other purpose. In determining the issue, the court considered a number of factors, including how similar the trade names and trademarks were, how long the marks were used, the kinds of products, services, and business the dealerships took on, and evidence of consumer confusion.

YOUR DEALERSHIP IS SPECIAL. It is

unique. It is a reflection of the hard work of you and your team.

These attributes need protection. Why? Imagine a situation where someone mistakes your dealership for another. Maybe your dealership is mistaken for a dealership that has lower standards, poorer customer service, and inferior vehicles. The risk is that your dealership's reputation may be tarnished by association.

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The plaintiff was ultimately unsuccessful, as the word Buckingham referred to the small town in Western Quebec in which both dealerships operated. Although the court decided that the plaintiff could not appropriate the exclusive use of the town's name, the case serves as a good reminder as to the importance of a name and your brand. Why is a trademark important to my dealership? Your dealership's "something special" has been defined by the courts as its "goodwill". Goodwill can be related to such things as the commercial success

of your business, its marketing and advertising strategy, reputation and community involvement - anything that is related to how your business is seen by the world. That is what you are trying to protect when you create and register a trademark. When you create and register a trademark, you are creating and registering your dealership's brand. Once registered, your dealership will have the exclusive right to use its trademark across Canada. In turn, your dealership's brand will be entitled to protection regardless of where you operate, including online—through websites and through social media. When a trademark is registered, no one else can use that trademark or a similar trademark. Any trademark that comes along that creates confusion when compared to your registered trademark will not be allowed. For example, if your dealership has a certain registered trademark and "Bob's Dealership Ltd." has a strikingly similar trademark to yours, you can bring a complaint under the Trademarks Act on the basis that an ordinary consumer may think that your dealership and Bob's Dealership Ltd. perform the same services, or sell the same goods. This is an important protection, especially if Bob's Dealership Ltd. is a competitor, is a fraudulent dealer, or is not well-liked in the community.


2. A statement that you intend to use the trademark in Canada; 3. The address of your principal office or place of business in Canada;

What can I use as a trademark? Trademarks can be any kind of mark that can be used to distinguish goods or services provided by one individual or company from the goods or services provided by another. Through the use of words, sounds and designs, trademarks go beyond representing goods or services alone, and end up acting as a symbol for the reputation of the individual, organization or company. For example, each car has its own trademark to help consumers distinguish between Toyota, Honda, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, and each trademark represents the company behind the car. A trade name, on the other hand, is the name of your business. A trade name, such as "Bob's Dealership Ltd." can be used as a trademark if consumers identify your dealership and your cars as "Bob's Dealership Ltd." If you have a certain symbol or trade name you wish to use as a trademark, the next step you should do is to ensure that your trademark is different from other existing trademarks. After all, the whole point of the trademark is to eliminate confusion between yourself and other providers. You can do this by searching the Canadian Trademarks Database, located at https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opiccipo/trdmrks/srch/home. I've picked a trademark for my business, what do I do next?

don't have to register your trademark, it can save time, energy, and money if you end up in a dispute with someone over who has the right to use the trademark. Registration acts as direct evidence that you own the trademark. When you register your trademark, you have the sole right to use the mark across Canada for fifteen years, and you can renew that right every fifteen years after that. In order to be registered, Trademarks cannot violate the Trademarks Act. The Trademarks Act is federal legislation that governs how trademarks are to be registered and regulated and what trademarks can and cannot include. For example, trademarks cannot include first names and surnames, words in other languages, or something that resembles a prohibited mark as outlined in the Trademarks Act. For example, you would not be allowed to create a trademark for your dealership with a logo resembling the Red Cross, or a logo resembling that which is used by the military. Under the Trademarks Act, there are a number of things which must be included to ensure your application for a new trademark is complete. The following are some of the things you will need:

1. A statement explaining what goods and services the mark is to be associated with;

4. If your application is not simply for the registration of a word or a word not in a special form, then a drawing of the trademark and a number of representations of the trademark will be necessary; and 5. A statement that you are satisfied that you are entitled to use the trademark in Canada in association with the goods or services described in the application. Your dealership is "something special" and in order to hit the mark on a successful business, you should consider protecting your brand and your business through a trademark. Building a brand through the use of trademarks is important, for it can set your dealership apart. Using names, slogans, logos, taglines, and even catchy jingles, help create a distinctive brand that your customers can associate with good service and quality products. It helps you maintain a good reputation, become familiar to consumers, and allows you to stand out and leave your "mark" on the industry. 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 was written with the assistance of Teodora Prpa, Summer Student. ■

The next step after you have selected your trademark is to register it. While you

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CHAT SERVICES By Angela West

CHAT SERVICES: TREND OR STANDARD?

CHAT SERVICES ON RETAIL WEBSITES

abound nowadays, and their popularity may leave you wondering if it’s just a money-wasting trend or another permanent way of communicating. Dave Hands, a business consultant with over 40 years’ experience that spans retail, computer systems design, and importing, says, “The technology is here. Anything that's technically possible is going to be developed and exploited. This is the reality that we know is the internet.” Many of your customers will be comfortable with technology, and, as you may have noticed, their attention span is

34 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

shortening. “This may be the only thing that gets their attention,” Hands says. In this article, you’ll learn exactly what chat is and who uses it and why, We’ll also introduce you to three different chat companies, each one offering a different take on the service, so you’ll have a better overview of how chat could work best for your dealership. What Is Chat? Chat is to conversations what email was once to letter-writing. It’s an electronic way to hold a conversation, but unlike texting doesn’t require a phone.


Online chat can be managed by an external company (much like a call centre), in-house, or with the help of chatbots (automatic responders programmed to answer common questions). It can seem counter-intuitive to engage with people using a keyboard, given that the average English speaker speaks at about 150 words per minute. My mom, a former secretary, taught me touch typing in grade 3 and I plateaued at 85 words per minute easily 25 years ago. Although I’ve heard that transcribers and secretaries can type up to 130 words per minute, it’s not much of a stretch to understand that most people don’t type anywhere near as fast as they speak. So why on earth would your customers engage with your dealership using a keyboard instead of their voice? Who Uses It and Why? Chat is instantaneous, giving customers immediate answers to their questions. “I think it’s a good alternative to waiting on hold on the phone,” says consumer Wayne Scott, 47, an operations manager in the orthotics industry. “I find most companies with it are pretty quick to respond. Within 10-15 seconds, you’re communicating with somebody.” You could argue that many email users treat email with the same immediacy, but the current trend in email management

is to only check it once an hour. A potential customer may not wait that long before deciding if they’ll drop by your lot or not. Hands explains just how the landscape has changed in the last few decades: Whereas back in “the old days” it was acceptable to leave the phone ringing if you were with a customer, communication today has become very immediate, and chat serves that need. Scott says he uses a company’s chat function if he wants to find out about a feature he can’t find information on. “It’s easier to chat with someone and ask the question instead of searching through the site,” he says.

"Chat is instantaneous, giving customers immediate answers to their questions." Christine McLean, 33 and a music teacher and performer, agrees: “With so many options available in the car industry, having a chat service to help find the right fit for one’s needs in a preliminary fashion, or even in a way to help buyers narrow down vehicles they may want to test drive will help owners save time,

which I feel is important for what can already be a lengthy process.” Alana B, 29 and a homemaker, would also ask about features, but her expectation is that the answers are consumer friendly and not just copied and pasted from manufacturer specs. The immediacy of chat helps consumers make decisions. For example, Helen Lammers-Helps, a writer, was one question away from a purchase. The company’s online chat system let her get an immediate answer, after which she placed her order. All four respondents say a dealer’s website chat function could help them narrow down vehicle features so they can more easily make a choice. In other words, having simple questions about a car’s features answered can increase the customer’s chance of coming to your lot.

laservision graphics ltd

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CHAT SERVICES | ANGELA WEST

However, it’s not just the immediacy of chat that consumers find attractive: Hands says the ability to research cars anonymously and not feel pressured by a salesperson is another benefit consumers like. “And with automobile sales particularly, this is one of the big fears that consumers have, particularly people who don't buy automobiles frequently or who are buying them for the first time,” says Hands. So, just how should you implement chat services? How can you manage yet one more channel of customer interaction? What types of chat services are out there? You’ve Got Options There’s a host of chat services available, and this is definitely an area where you’ll want to do your due diligence. In order for chat to function, you have to build it into your website and into your business processes. I spoke with three providers who offer different solutions: Drift, Gubagoo, and RapidRTC. Drift Dan Murphy, a marketing manager with Drift, explained that much of the company’s philosophy has to do with its belief that in-bound marketing, with its sign-up forms and gated content, is out. He feels that creating tons of great content, getting it ranked in Google, and then putting a form up in front of that content to get people's info doesn't work as effectively now as it once did five to 10 years ago. Instead, the company engages in what Murphy calls conversational marketing and selling. "Conversational marketing and conversational sales is about using messaging as the core paradigm for communicating with your customers,” he says. "It's how the modern buyer wants to buy." And it’s not just Millennials, he’s quick to offer. As the consumers I interviewed said, buyers use a company’s chat

SERVICING THE DEAF COMMUNITY Technology has made leaps and bounds for people with disabilities. When I started to write about this topic, I wondered if chat could help here, too. The first community that came to mind was the deaf community, so I looked into it. However, when I spoke with Frank Folino, president of the Canadian Association for the Deaf, I learned I couldn’t have been more wrong. English is a second language for the Deaf, so online chat services don’t help them any more than they do customers who can hear. In other words, even if a deaf customer contacts your dealership by chat, they’re likely doing it because they need a quick answer, not because they feel the heavens of communication have opened up to them and they can now buy a car without any communication barriers. “It can be frustrating when we go to buy a car and there’s no interpreter or I have to write notes back and forth and they’re not clear or it’s very limited information, so it’s hard through notes because you’re not getting all the information,” Folino says. Providing services for the Deaf can be good customer service. When I set up the appointment with Folino, he gave me a phone number that would connect me to a VRS. I had no idea how that worked, even after reading up on it, so I asked him if I needed special software. He responded, “You can call from your cell number :)” I was relieved but still had no idea what to expect, so I’ll admit I was nervous at first. In the end, though, I had no cause to be. VRS stands for video relay system. The deaf person you are speaking with watches via video a sign language interpreter. When you call, you first hear a person say something like “The person you are calling uses sign language, one moment while I connect you.” Once the connection is confirmed, you go ahead like you would in a normal conversation. If you have a deaf customer and need to work through an interpreter, here are a few things to keep in mind:

36 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


CHAT SERVICES | ANGELA WEST function because it’s convenient, which Murphy wholeheartedly agrees with. And he knows people may use chat as a way to avoid the phone tree. When Drift started as a company, they ran into a problem you’re likely thinking about right now: how can they offer 24/7 chat on their website and keep things to scale? They started investing in ways to help businesses scale their live chat, and that's where Drift's chatbots come from.

• Do not use a notebook for communication. Book an interpreter, but do this as soon as you have an appointment with your customer. Ontario Interpreting Services, for example, requires three days’ notice. • Do not refer to your customer as “hearing impaired.” Appropriate terms are “deaf” or “hard-of-hearing.” • Speak directly to your conversation partner, not the interpreter.

Murphy explains that chatbots can, for example, answer questions for your online customer from your website. You likely find that many customers ask the same questions, and this is one way to help them get an answer immediately without having to wait for someone on the other side to answer. For someone who is comfortable with technology, it should take only about 20 minutes to create one bot, Murphy says. Bots can be developed based on what page they’re on and they can be integrated with Clarbit for richer demographic data and more-personalized interactions. In addition, if the person the online customer is looking to speak with is unavailable, the chatbot can book a time for the person to call the customer back, all without human intervention. (Of course, the person’s calendar needs to be kept up-to-date at all times.)

• There are more pauses in a discussion involving an interpreter. Be patient and don’t try and “fill the void.” If you have a deaf customer, here are some associations you can turn to in Ontario to book an interpreter (there are different sign languages to interpret English and French): SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETING ASSOCIATES OF OTTAWA (ASL) asl.interpreting@sliao.ca INTERPRETATION SIGNES ET PAROLES (LSQ) info@isep.ca ONTARIO INTERPRETING SERVICES (ASL) info@chs.ca

Ben Standford, a project manager at Red Cedar Websites in BC, has integrated Drift with websites for various car dealers, most of them with under 20 employees. He explains that you can assign Drift to certain pages on your website, and the chatbots, through a series of questions and answers, leads the customer to the right result. At that point, someone from the dealership reaches out. Gubagoo On the other side is Gubagoo, which offers live chat and customer communication software for dealerships. "Our primary goal is to provide high-quality leads to the dealership coming in from live chat on the dealership's website, coming in from SMS, and coming in from Facebook Messenger,” says Ryan Osten, chief operations officer at the company. Gubagoo manages all three of those streams 24/7, predominantly from chat centres in Boca Raton and Daytona Beach in Florida, though Osten says they occasionally use offshore partners.

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CHAT SERVICES | ANGELA WEST Their system can engage with the customer in a more personalized way, e.g., by asking if the customer would like some help with the specific vehicle they’re looking at. Gubagoo also hooks in directly to your inventory so the chat specialist can push various cars to the online customer. Gubagoo chat specialists can take the qualified lead and enter it into the dealer’s CRM so a sales rep can follow up. They, too, can book appointments on behalf of the dealership. Osten explains that Gubagoo chat specialists go through a two-week training module where they learn automotive protocols and chat workflows (e.g., how to qualify a customer, how to push vehicles). In addition, they rehearse various scenarios and are monitored for both good and subpar performance.

dealership. In other words, they do not pretend to be your dealership. software, they found a few weaknesses they could fill. For starters, they found that many leads collected via online forms often fell through the cracks. And since many chat companies simply offered a way for a prospect to enter their contact information via a chat interface and an online form, that meant many leads were probably still not getting through.

RapidRTC

In addition, chat-centre employees are obviously not physically at the dealership. Once the chat conversation began including detailed questions only someone at the dealership would know, e.g., if a car is in stock or not, the chat operator would have to enter all relevant information into a CRM and then leave it for someone at the dealership to answer.

RapidRTC first offered a product called Lead Manager, and Steve Ambeau, vice-president of global marketing at the company, says they have about 50% market share within the automotive retail community in Canada. Through that

RapidRTC calls their service a concierge. When a customer talks to them via a dealer’s chat interface, the chat operator says right away that they are there to facilitate communication between the customer and the

For basic information, like opening hours, the chat operator can respond immediately. But once the questions become specific to the dealeship’s business, e.g., selling cars, this is where RapidRTC says they differ from other chat services. The chat operator sends out a page to all available sales staff at the dealership, announcing that a lead is online who has some questions. Whoever at the dealership answers first gets the lead. This may sound like a shark tank, but the reason behind the process is simple: if a salesperson is already on the floor with a customer, they can ignore the message. If they’re available, they can respond, and the chat operator introduces the customer to the salesperson and transfers the chat. This kind of chat system doesn’t require you to have someone monitoring incoming chat, and it keeps the customer from having to wait in most situations. Should all your sales staff be busy, the chat operator moves back into a managed chat role, takes the customer’s contact information and passes it on to the dealership for follow-up. Ambeau says one benefit to their system is that it’s “platform agnostic,” i.e., it doesn’t matter what kind of smartphone you have, so long as you can receive email or text. The full capabilities of this software are geared towards sales for now. Although RapidRTC can offer managed chat for all departments in your dealership, they haven’t fully optimized the experience for other departments yet. Offering chat functions on your dealership’s website doesn’t automatically mean you need to hire a full-time employee. Whether you hire all of it out, automate parts of it, or bring it all inhouse, you have options to manage this additional communication line with your customers that will allow you to answer questions and keep selling cars. ■

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BUILDING A SERVICE DEPARTMENT

STARTING AND BUILDING A SERVICE DEPARTMENT By Chris Chase

EXPANSION IS PART OF THE NATURAL TRAJECTORY of any successful

business. But once you've turned your used-vehicle dealership from a dirt-lot operation into a larger store, perhaps with multiple locations, where else is there to go? One logical step is to add a service centre. It’s a business model that, when done right, can bring a surefire boost to your profitability. But while

adding a repair facility can be a great way to bolster your bottom line, it’s not as simple as installing a vehicle lift, putting up a sign and waiting for customers to drive up. For a used-car dealer, opening a repair shop can come with a steep learning curve. Kelly O'Neill, customer service and team leader with The Car Girls, a company that specializes in dealer training, marketing and call-centre services,

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BUILDING A SERVICE DEPARTMENT | CHRIS CHASE suggests that while attracting customers to a brand-new service department can be a challenge, a used-car dealer already has a built-in source for service clientele: its current customers. "The relationship needs to be established in the showroom," said O'Neill. "The person selling that car already has to have that person feeling like this is a great place to be, and that would spill over into service. They would have to win them over with pretty high standards. I'm thinking about what people say about used-car places; there's a bit of a stigma there, right?" A warm, friendly and professional approach will encourage your used-car customers to make a habit of coming back to you for service. "People will tend to do what they have always done, so you have to look at your competition and sell against that,"

said Janis Showers, owner of The Car Girls. "The marketplace is crowded. What are your customers' other choices? People will do what's easy and convenient, so you have to make it easy for them." Part of establishing that habit involves building a relationship with your clients, which Showers said can be hard for a small business. "You have to stay with them on the little stuff like oil changes until they're due for bigger maintenance items," she said. "Find out how many kilometres a person drives in a year, whether they're a high-miler who drives from Barrie to Toronto every day or a retired person who doesn't drive very much. If you don't know that (about someone), you're going to miss them. Stay in touch with them and come up with a reminder system that's customized."

O'Neill recounted a personal experience with one shop that gave her an estimate for brake work on her vehicle. "The person who called me back when the work was done was just a kid," she said. "I didn't have a relationship with

This October, CARPROOF will drive forward as CARFAX Canada Yes, we’ll have a new name, but it’ll still be the same products, services, and people behind the wheel. We’ll continue to proudly serve the Canadian market, and provide our customers with the comprehensive vehicle history, appraisal and valuation information they’ve come to expect from us.

Visit go.carproof.com/rebrand for all the info you need.

40 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


BUILDING A SERVICE DEPARTMENT | CHRIS CHASE him. First of all, you have to build that relationship. That's the key to having customers come back; they have to feel confident with (your business). If you don't feel you have any type of relationship and someone calls you to say you need $1,000 in brake work, you're going to say, 'Well, I think I'll shop around.'" Simplicity is key: Both Showers and O'Neill agree that presenting your clients with too much choice can turn them off when dealing with regular maintenance items.

"People will tend to do what they have always done, so you have to look at your competition and sell against that," "If you're selling things like tires, most customers want to know that you have them and that they'll fit (their car)," said Showers. "Don't tell them about brands and don't give them 10 choices. Tires are like a belt on my dishwasher: I'm not passionate about tires. I want to know that you have them and you can put them on. When you overcomplicate something, it puts people off."

for a brake service, transmission flush and other maintenance, you might get pushback when you approach that customer to tell them what their car is due for: 'Why wasn't that done before I bought the car?'"

at least one licensed mechanic on staff, said Diane Freeman, executive director of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO), a professional association that represents the province's auto-repair facilities.

O'Neill adds that messaging should be the same whether your customer is a man or a woman. She said she hears complaints that even great dealerships make people feel stupid, and that a male service advisor is more likely to talk down to a client than a female one.

"Licensed technicians are hard to find, because we do have a shortage of fully-licensed techs," said Freeman. "If you don't already have a licensed technician on staff, you're going to have difficulty finding one."

Showers said that even today, she would consider it forward-thinking for a dealership to have women service advisors on staff. "Even when we factor admin jobs into the mix, women occupy something like 21 per cent of all positions in car dealerships," said Showers. "You have to look to major-league baseball team owners to find a job category less populated by females." And she feels you're better off finding a woman and training her, rather than "looking far and wide" for someone who is already qualified. Speaking of qualified personnel, you can't run a car-repair business without

Freeman said AARO is trying to fix that by working with the Ontario College of Trades, the provincial body that regulates the skilled trades, to bring more young people into the auto industry and make it more attractive. She said AARO is also a good place to start for a business owner who wants to learn the steps involved in opening a repair shop. "It's a huge undertaking," Freeman said, especially for someone who has not come up through the ranks as an apprentice and is looking to make the jump to running a shop. "I've been around the organization for a while, and I used to call on the shops, so I know firsthand in talking to the members exactly what the challenges are and what they have to deal with."

It's also wise to consider how to approach a potential service client who has recently bought a car from you, especially if you're selling later-model vehicles that are still covered by their manufacturer's warranty. "If you've sold a used car, you need to be careful on that first service offer," said Showers. "If you sold a car at 50,000 km and at 55,000 km it was due

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BUILDING A SERVICE DEPARTMENT | CHRIS CHASE

Janis Showers echoes Freeman's sentiments about the scope of the work involved in opening a shop. "You're talking about someone small who has, say, 50 cars and they've been sending stuff out for safeties and just retailing the cars," said Showers. "That requires a business plan and professional advice and (a number of provincial government ministries) are involved. There are so many regulations and a lot of hoops to jump through. It's so hard for a small businessperson to do business in general in Canada." "They need to get the right training and make sure they're following the regulations and guidelines and are in compliance," said Freeman. "(It seems like) every day there are new regulations. And we haven't even talked about computers and bookkeeping and the admin part of the business." Freeman said she has seen a lot of people who think it's easy and go out on their own, only to fail in the first three months because they didn't consider the overhead and what's involved. She rhymed off a laundry list of other provincial compliance items: workplace accessibility training, training on prevention of violence in the workplace, health and safety awareness, and knowledge of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

Repairing and maintaining cars might be dirty work, but Showers and O'Neill agree that attracting customers to your business also means keeping things tidy. "You don't have to get carried away," said Showers. "But everything has to be clean, from the bathrooms to the car. You can have an older place or a smaller place, but it can still be clean and organized." "Presentation all around is important," said O'Neill. "Make it comfortable. People like to feel welcome." Showers thinks that, at least for a smaller dealership looking to expand, it might be best to stick to oil changes, basic maintenance and provincial certifications, like safety checks and emissions testing. By offering those services to your customers, you also put in place the basics for reconditioning vehicles for sale after bringing them back from an auction or taking them in on trade. To issue Ontario safety certificates, a shop has to apply for Motor Vehicle Inspection Station status, which involves proving to the Ministry of Transportation that you already comply with provincial and municipal

42 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

zoning by-laws regulating auto-repair facilities. The ministry also requires evidence that your shop possesses the tools and equipment necessary to evaluate the roadworthiness of vehicles. "For the investment alone in tools, equipment, hoists and specializing in vehicles nowadays, we're talking hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Freeman. "Most of these techs in their toolbox alone have $60,000 to $100,000 worth of tools, and now, with everything being computerized, if you're working on newer vehicles, you have to have specialized tools from the aftermarket, (including) specific tools from the OEMs, and we're talking $30,000 to $50,000 for each of those." Freeman said it might be more cost-effective to simply maintain a relationship with an existing service centre to get cars ready for sale. Her ultimate advice to anyone who wants to add a repair facility to their usedcar dealership is simple: "Go in with your eyes open." ■


THE OLD CAR DETECTIVE THE WINDSOR RUN

DON WAFFLE RECENTLY LOANED ME A COPY OF HIS DAD’S MEMOIRS. Van

Waffle was born in 1902 and grew up in Simcoe, Ontario, where as a young man he helped to supply a local dealership with new cars.

“In 1922 and early 1923, Pratt’s Automobile in Simcoe would get cars from the Studebaker factory

By Bill Sherk

and a Dodge distributor in Windsor. These cars were assembled at the old Studebaker factory in Walkerville. We would take the Wabash train leaving Simcoe about 4 a.m. and get to Windsor about 8 a.m. After breakfast we would go to the factory for the cars. “Usually there were about five of us in a group and we had one more

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and fences strung along for safety reasons. One day while going down a hill the steering wheel came loose in my hands and I had no control. Fortunately, my wheels were pointed inwards and I went across a ditch and into the bank of the hillside and stalled. Had the wheels been turned opposite, I would have gone over the hill and down into the valley. There were no posts or safety features. “All the group stopped and we found the nut was missing on the bottom of the steering post, allowing the wheel to turn free.

elderly person in charge. Usually after picking up the cars, we would rendezvous and have a few hours free. Quite often we met near the corner of Janette and Wyandotte, where my Uncle John and Aunt Minnie lived.

Leamington, Blenheim, Ridgetown, St. Thomas, Aylmer, Tillsonburg, and then Simcoe. Every town was a 10 minute stop long enough to check each vehicle. “The Windsor Run”

“We had off till 2 pm and we would “The only trouble I ever had was on a head for Detroit. The ferry boat took hill near Tillsonburg. These hills were us to Woodward Avenue and about two beauties, long before being graded blocks up Woodward was a burlesque show. Whoopee! For a young lad from a small town it was quite a wild show. “Later we would eat at a restaurant at Jefferson, go to Vernors Ginger Ale, buy two packs of cigarettes for a quarter and then head by ferry back to Windsor. “When we would get together the leader would lay out a route to Simcoe. We all had to keep together with an average speed of 30 miles per hour, but not exceeding 35. We had a paved road out Walker Road for about six miles and was it smooth! We had gravel or dirt the other 190 miles. We would go Number 3 Highway to

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We had no extra nut, so wire was cut from a farmer’s fence and tied around it so it would hold, and it was fairly safe. The last 30 or 40 miles I drove in this manner very shaken up and scared. “We would get home about midnight. For all this we got $5 and meals and train fare. There were always lots of boys wanting this trip but Pratt let me go eight or ten times. I really looked forward to these trips.” ■


COX AUTOMOTIVE CANADA COX AUTOMOTIVE CANADA’S 2018 DRIVE AWAY HUNGER CAMPAIGN HELPS TO FILL BARE SHELVES AT CANADIAN FOOD BANKS

DRIVE AWAY HUNGER, COX AUTOMOTIVE CANADA’S company-

wide summer food drive, has officially wrapped up. The campaign, which ran from June 18–29 is an annual initiative that aims to ensure local community food banks receive abundant donations during a particularly challenging time of year.

This summer, close to one million people – including more than 300,000 children – will rely on Canadian food banks. Donation levels, however, typically plunge during this time of year, which, in turn, can cause great

damage to families and individuals who suffer from food insecurity. Cox Automotive Canada President, Maria Soklis, recently spoke about the company’s campaign and the challenges of the season. “Hunger, as we all know, doesn't take a summer vacation,” said Soklis. “The support that Cox Automotive Canada offers is deeply rooted in our fellow Cox Automotive communities around the world. We are connected by a common value of community involvement, and Drive Away Hunger

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COX AUTOMOTIVE CANADA

is just one way that our team can demonstrate its commitment to the communities we live and work in.” Food insecurity aside, summer can take a toll on families. Additional meals are required, but there are also added expenses like child care and summer camps, not to mention any additional increases to utilities or expenses at home. Giving back can happen in different ways. It begins with helping keep the shelves at Canadian food banks stocked with much-needed items. As in previous years, Cox Automotive Canada team members were encouraged to make donations that focused on food they would feed to their own families, such as:

• PASTA • APPLESAUCE • CANNED BEANS • CANNED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES • CANNED MEATS & FISH • PEANUT BUTTER

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• CANNED PASTAS AND SAUCES • RICE • CANNED SOUPS • CANNED 100% FRUIT JUICES • CEREAL (LOW SUGAR) • BOXED MACARONI AND CHEESE • HEALTHY SNACKS: GRANOLA BARS, RAW NUTS, DRIED FRUIT • CANNED STEWS • PANCAKE AND/OR BAKING MIXES

“We are proud to run this national food drive and fundraising campaign every year.” said Grace Kong, Vice President, Human Resources, Cox Automotive Canada. “This year’s goal was to increase our previous years’ donations by 10% to try to better combat the drop that Canadian food banks see each summer. Together, our team brought in 7,141 pounds of food.” In support of Food Banks Canada, Cox Automotive Canada would like to invite fellow Canadians to come together to take the #SummerHungerChallenge. Visit www.everyplatefull.ca to donate directly or learn more.


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