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In this issue:

– Michael W. Dunagan: Internet Sales Create Risk of Out-of-State Lawsuits – Dave Lemmon: Why Aren’t We Doing That? The Low-Hanging Fruit of Facebook Marketing – Mike Wulf: 5 Tips for Taking the Best Pictures of Your Vehicles

How the

is Becom ing Mo re

Digitiz ed


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TIADA Board of Directors PRESIDENT Mark Jones/MCMC Corporate 264 Exchange Burleson, TX 76028 PRESIDENT ELECT Ryan Winkelmann/BJ’s Autohaus 5005 Telephone Road Houston, TX 77087 CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Robert Beck/Stop N’ Drive Motors 711 N. General McMullen San Antonio, TX 78228 SECRETARY Eddie Hale/Neighborhood Autos PO Box 1719 Decatur TX 76234 TREASURER Vicki Davis/A-OK Auto Sales 23980 FM 1314 Porter, TX 77365 ICE PRESIDENT, WEST TEXAS V (REGION 1) Cesar Stark/S&S Motors 7699 Alameda Ave. El Paso, TX 77915 ICE PRESIDENT, FORT WORTH V (REGION 2) Chad Lancaster/Chacon Autos 11800 E. Northwest Hwy Dallas TX 75218 ICE PRESIDENT, DALLAS V (REGION 3) Greg Reine/Auto Liquidators 39670 LBJ Freeway Dallas TX 75237 ICE PRESIDENT, HOUSTON V (REGION 4) Russell Moore/Top Notch Used Cars 900 East Davis Conroe, TX 77301 ICE PRESIDENT, CENTRAL TEXAS V (REGION 5) Robert Blankenship/Texas Auto Center 6809 Suite B S IH35 Austin, TX 78744 ICE PRESIDENT, SOUTH TEXAS V (REGION 6) Armando Villarreal/McAllen Auto Sales, LLC 4215 S. 23rd St McAllen, TX 78503 ICE PRESIDENT AT LARGE V Brad Kalivoda/Fiesta Motors – Lubbock 2599 74th Street Lubbock, TX 79423 ICE PRESIDENT AT LARGE V Greg Phea/Austin Rising Fast 8024 IH 35 North Austin TX 78753 TIADA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Jeff Martin 9951 Anderson Mill Rd., Suite 101 Austin, TX 78750 Office Hours M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm 512.244.6060 • Fax 512.244.6218 jeff.martin@txiada.org

Vo l u m e X X I / I s s u e 11 / N o v e m b e r 2 0 21

TexasDealer contents

4 Officers’ Message

by Eddie Hale, TIADA Secretary

6 Upcoming Events 8 TIADA Member Application 9 Dealer Spotlight 13 Legal Corner: Internet Sales Create Risk of Out-of-State Lawsuits by Michael W. Dunagan

18 On The Cover: How the Advertising Landscape is Becoming More Digitized by TIADA Staff

22 TIADA Auction Directory 25 Why Aren’t We Doing That? The LowHanging Fruit of Facebook Marketing by Dave Lemmon

27 2022 TIADA Conference & Expo 29 Regulation Matters: The Do’s and Don’ts of Advertising by Earl Cooke

33 Driving Traffic to Your Dealership’s Website by Stephen Pallas

34 Local Chapters 39 5 Tips for Taking the Best Pictures of Your Vehicles by Mike Wulf

43 New Members 45 Behind the Wheel by Jeff Martin

Did You Know? Your Auction App coupons expire at the end of each year. If you haven’t taken advantage of over $10,000 in savings on auction fees for 2021, download the TIADA Auction App and start saving. Learn more at: txiada.org/auction_app or turn to page 21. Notice to all members concerning services and products: TIADA was established in 1944 to develop professional standards of service and conduct for the independent auto industry. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the TIADA management, the Board of Directors or the membership. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers or their indemnifications of TIADA does not constitute endorsement of the products or services featured.

Editor: Stephen Pallas

Magazine Ad Sales: Patty Huber, 512-310-9795


officers’ message Digital Marketing in Today’s Automobile Industry

T

he secret of getting ahead is simply getting started. In today’s world, it is all about being at the leading edge of an ever-evolving industry. The digital world is here and auto industries as a whole are changing the way they operate to maximize sales. So, what are the benefits to digital marketing that traditional marketing simply doesn’t offer anymore?

by Eddie

Hale

Neighborhood Autos (Decatur) TIADA SECRETARY

To start, digital marketing costs a fraction of traditional advertising and can be immensely more effective. It’s also completely trackable. What was once a wait-and-see game, sending out mailers or putting up billboards with your store’s phone number on it, is now easily verifiable in real time. Most digital marketing allows for the dealer to check how many people are seeing their advertising, clicking on it, and ultimately ending up on their website and hopefully on their lot soon. Gone are the days of hoping your advertising is effective and will, in turn, lead to more traffic on the lot. In today’s industry, once a campaign goes live, the dealer is able to check in periodically and see with their own eyes if what they are offering is something people are looking for. This allows the dealer to adjust on the fly, as it were. Being able to make changes and target an audience more specific to (cont’d on pg. 6)

80% of potential car buyers are more likely to turn to social media than to a salesperson. 68% say they’ve purchased a car involving social media. 4

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Officers’ Message (cont’d from pg. 4)

Upcoming Events 2021 TIADA DEALER ACADEMY Online registration available. www.txiada.org

November 16 Fast-Track Your Finances to Year-End and Beyond Maggiano’s Northpark 205 NorthPark Center Dallas, TX 75225 214.360.0707

December 6 Collect the Cash, Not the Car

Sheraton Houston Brookhollow 3000 North Loop West Houston, TX 77092 713.688.0100

OTHER TIADA EVENTS

2022

January 24 Board of Directors Meeting Austin, TX

April 25 Board of Directors Meeting Austin, TX

July 24 Board of Directors Meeting Round Rock, TX

24-26 TIADA Conference and Expo Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Round Rock, TX

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what you are selling is something once only dreamed of. A targeted, more concise approach will lead to stronger overall sales. Another beneficial aspect to a digital approach is reaching the customer long past closing time. Not so long ago, sales were limited to your store hours, or staying late to accommodate the customer and earn their business. Now, your website is your storefront. Customers are able to browse your entire inventory from the comfort of their couch, whether that be at 10 in the morning or 10 at night. By including a credit application on your site, the customer is able to find the vehicle they have been looking for, fill out a credit application, and even upload documents needed to complete the transaction. By the time the customer gets to your location, most of the car deal has been completed. Another positive aspect here is that most dealers are noticing customer retention is greater in the digital age than ever before. Because your sales team is communicating digitally through Facetime, Zoom, text message, or a multitude of other ways earlier on in the buying process, the customer can feel more closely connected to your dealership and their salesperson than with any other sort of transaction they will have. So, what kind of digital marketing should dealers try? Well, that should be up to the dealer and what they are trying to accomplish. It is imperative that you try and set yourself apart from the competition. If you thought there was a plethora of other dealers in your area before, now you are competing in the digital world as well. You need to make sure that what you are saying aligns with who you want to reach. Search Engine Optimization is the most comprehensive starting point for anyone

looking to take the next step. This will help potential buyers find you! Great SEO, as it is often referred, will put your business in front of the most pairs of eyes possible. Strategy is key here, and a great marketing team can help show the world why they should come purchase from your store. The first thing I often ask others when discussing their digital marketing is: How is your website? Does it run well? Are the load times quick? Is it easy to navigate? And probably the biggest question is, is it optimized for mobile? An overwhelming majority of customers are searching from their mobile phones, not their desktop computers. If you have not checked your mobile site in a while, I suggest searching from your own phone and seeing how it could be improved. The next key step is social media. What was once just a way to check in on friends and family members has exploded as a vital resource for your business. “80% of potential car buyers are more likely to turn to social media than to a salesperson. 68% say they’ve purchased a car involving social media.” Are they headed to your store? Social media is vital in today’s market for its ability to build brand loyalty and boost the overall customer experience. Regular social posts will also help with your Google rankings and help build your SEO, putting you in front of more potential customers. In today’s ever-changing market, it is vital to utilize digital marketing and recognize what it can do for you and your business. The landscape has changed thanks in large part to the ongoing Pandemic, and customers’ needs and wants are not what they once were. If you are wanting to stay ahead, compete, and in turn, be successful, now is the time to dive in.

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TIADA texas independent automobile dealers association

Become a TIADA Member

TIADA texas independent automobile dealers association

Business Name: ____________________________________________ Select one:

Dealer Member

Associate Member

Contact Person: ____________________________________________ Address: __________________________________________________ City: _________________________________________ State: _______ Zip: __________________ County: _____________________________ E-mail address: _____________________________________________ Business Phone: _______________________ Fax: ________________________ Cell Phone: ___________________________________________ Dealer P Number: ___________________________________________

Membership Dues: $499 New Member

Good through 12/31/2022. Pay full amount today and receive the rest of 2021 for free.

Renewing Member

good through 12/31/2021. Dues include NIADA and local chapter membership where applicable.

Who referred you to TIADA? __________________________________ Mailing Address (if different from above): __________________________________________________________ City: _________________________ State: _______ Zip: ___________

PLEASE INDICATE PAYMENT METHOD: Check or Money Order payable to TIADA Check # __________ Credit Card Card Number: __________________________________________________ Sec.Code: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Expiration Date: ____________ Monthly Payments - $41.58 per month Via Credit Card (Please enter card information above) Via Bank Draft (Authorization Agreement required - contact state office)

Mail or Fax Application To: TIADA Membership Services, 9951 Anderson Mill Rd., Suite 101, Austin, TX 78750 FAX 512.244.6218

www.txiada.org

512.244.6060

Dues are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes but may be deductible as miscellaneous itemized deductions, subject to IRS restrictions. It is estimated that 20 percent of your dues dollars is used for lobbying activities and is therefore not deductible.

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dealer spotlight

J

James Hobson H-Town Motors, El Paso, TX

ames Hobson is the owner of H-Town Motors in El Paso. He served twenty-two years of continuous military service. Throughout his tenure he attended and graduated every military leadership school. He held every position from driver to squad leader, platoon sergeant and First Sergeant. James made El Paso his permanent hometown in 1999, after he retired from the U.S. Army. This marked the beginning of his civilian career. Through 2004- 2008, James was elected as the President of the El Paso Independent Automobile Dealers Association. Advancing in his leadership, James was then elected as the Vice President of TIADA.

Texas Dealer: Are you a seller

finance or retail dealer? James Hobson: Here at H-Town motors we do both retail and buyhere pay-here.

Texas Dealer: How long have you

been a car dealer and how did you get into the business? James Hobson: My experience with cars started early on in life at the age of 9 (not by choice), working with my father who was a mechanic. At the time I didn’t know it, but he was preparing and providing me with a trade skill. As soon as I got a grasp of the skill, I began to fix old cars in high school and sell them. It began a November 2021

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skill that I knew one day I could capitalize on! After twenty-two years of active-duty military service, I continued my career in the car business over the past 24 years total and 22 of those years as an independent dealer. I first worked for a Lincoln Mercury new car store. Due to my leadership and success after my first year, I began my career as a traveling sales trainer teaching how to interview and hire salespeople for new care stores in the State of Texas. I am truly grateful for the skills and lessons my father taught me, because it has brought me many great relationships around the world, successes, and an opportunity to provide for my family.

Texas Dealer: What is the biggest challenge your

Texas Dealer: What is the worst decision you have

have sold (or transaction you have made)? James Hobson: My most memorable transaction was when I bought and sold the same vehicle 4 times.

ever made in the business? James Hobson: I believe that one of my mistakes as an entrepreneur was expanding my various businesses too quickly and too close together. When I look back now, I do not have any regrets in the business decisions I made. However, if I could do it again, I would be more patient with my expansions and entrepreneurial journey. I believe at the time I placed too much on my plate at once: opening two car lots, purchasing eight apartment units/complex, and a night club. Although it was a lot of things going on at once, I managed to have success in all of them.

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dealership has faced? James Hobson: The biggest challenge my dealership has ever faced was back in 2007-2009 and now during the pandemic. Both of these experiences have taught me to be humble, expand my business more globally, and how to be more patient through the process. The biggest takeaway from this year has been not to focus on quantity but quality, that “bigger isn’t always better.” If I had to give advice to another colleague, it would be to “Stay with what works for you, not what works for others”

Texas Dealer: What is the most memorable vehicle you

Texas Dealer: How long have you been a TIADA

member and what do you think are the primary benefits of the membership for you and your dealership? James Hobson: I joined TIADA in 2005 after being elected President of our local chapter EPIADA. After my first visit to TIADA, I was locked in! The amount of information, experience, leadership, and dealer comrades were immeasurable. I knew this organization was a great place to grow and help others do the same. Later, after being elected to serve on the

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TIADA board for over three years, I continued to gain a huge amount of respect for the car dealers as a whole. Over the years, every conference was one to remember, from the knowledge I gained and experience I encountered. Although it’s been several years of attending these conferences, they never get old! One of the best things about our organization is our leadership guidance from Jeff Martin. Jeff has moved this organization in a new direction and has taken us to a higher level as leaders in the industry. We are by far one of the best state automotive organizations in the country. I am honored to be a part of this movement!

and trust in yourself. When you do these things on a consistent basis, everything else works itself together and the product (if there is no trust there is no sale). For all the new and seasoned dealers reading this, remember this: If you like what you do, you will never work a day in your life.

Texas Dealer: What do you like to do in your spare time? James Hobson: Life is short! We all know that business never

stops! But I have made a conscious decision that I will use my spare time to travel, visit different car auctions, and spend more time on my new venture — on my boat! Also play more golf, WELL, learn how to play! Want to share your story in an upcoming issue of Texas Dealer?

info@txiada.org #TXDealerSpotlight

Texas Dealer: What are your

general thoughts on the auto industry right now? James Hobson: I believe that in order to take my business to the next level, it is important for us (seasoned used car dealers) to prepare for the technical demands of today for the next 3-to-5 years to come. Physical transportation is becoming less used today with the new generation.

Texas Dealer: What are your

thoughts on digital advertising? James Hobson: I think digital advertising is awesome (if you know how the heck to use it!). One thing is certain: whether you like it or not, it is not going anywhere. “Change is inevitable,” so I will continue to change and surround myself with people who are also adapting to the change.

Texas Dealer: If you had one piece of advice for a dealer getting into the business today what would it be? James Hobson: My advice to any new dealer entering the business is: take your time, run your race, and sustain a positive outlook no matter the outcome. One thing I tell my mentees in the car dealership business is to have passion for people and what you are doing; sell quality vehicles, November 2021

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legal corner

Internet Sales Create Risk Of Out-of-State Lawsuits by Michael

T

he internet can be a wonderful thing. New and exciting applications are being discovered every day that make our world seem smaller. On the business side, the internet has expanded our selling opportunities and increased our buying choices. Certainly, those who buy and sell motor vehicles have found a brave new world out there where markets are no longer limited by geographical or mileage restraints. There has also been a dark side to the internet that seems to follow all new innovations as technology shoots out ahead of the laws and regulations that were designed to protect citizens from theft and fraud. Most of our laws regarding commercial and consumer transactions were written well before the internet was even a gleam in some computer expert’s eye. And just as good and honest businesspeople look for opportunities and markets that something like the internet can bring, so do crooks and thieves see a wonderful universe of new potential victims that they never could have reached under the old ways. Dealing with internet fraud and theft has been a challenge for law enforcement officials who have been forced to expand their activities to a worldwide stage and to incorporate new technologies into their bags of police tools. And even beyond the scope of fraud and theft on the net, there are new issues involving the relationship of buyer and seller when a civil dispute arises. For instance, legal disputes arise over the condition of a motor vehicle even when the potential buyer puts his or her hands on the vehicle and possibly has a mechanic inspect it. Imagine, then, what can happen when a buyer never actually lays eyes or hands on the vehicle, but relies solely on photographs and written descriptions. One of the problems that rarely existed before the internet that the judicial system has had to contend with on an increasingly common basis, is: When does a state’s courts have jurisdiction over a resident of another state who sells to a resident of that state over the internet? A number of Texas dealers have had to face up to this issue when an unhappy out-of-state

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Dunagan

W.

TIADA COUNSEL

Some courts have concluded that the placement of a listing on an internet trading site, alone, would not give rise to sufficient contacts to create jurisdiction. Others have taken the opposite point of view. We have seen a number of articles that analyze the cases that have addressed this issue. buyer decided to sue over the transaction in the buyer’s home state. We have seen lawsuits brought against Texas dealers in New Jersey, California, Florida, West Virginia, and Hawaii, to name a few. And similar issues sometimes arise with a sale within Texas, but far from the dealer’s home turf. Obviously, a litigant in a multi-state transaction would prefer to have a lawsuit heard in his or her home state. First, there is the issue of home-field advantage. A judge 13


or jury just might be more sympathetic to a neighbor than to a foreigner. But far more important is the cost of litigation. The defendant’s regular attorney is likely not licensed to practice in the other state. This means that counsel would have to be retained in the state the case was filed in, and in representing a non-resident, that attorney will probably demand a substantial retainer. Even if the dealer’s regular counsel could obtain temporary permission to appear to challenge the jurisdiction, he or she might not have a grasp of that state’s procedural process. Then there is the problem of the expense and down time an out-of-state litigant faces in having to travel to and from the location of the court. Consider, for example, the case in which a Texas dealer advertises a vehicle on the internet, and concludes a sale with a resident of Massachusetts. The vehicle is 14

We have seen lawsuits brought against Texas dealers in New Jersey, California, Florida, West Virginia, and Hawaii, to name a few. And similar issues sometimes arise with a sale within Texas, but far from the dealer’s home turf. shipped to the purchaser’s home. The buyer in Massachusetts, upon the arrival of the vehicle, decides that it is not the shiny, perfect-condition vehicle that the buyer envisioned when reading the description and reviewing the pictures attached to the internet listing. The dealer takes the position that the vehicle was accurately represented and refuses the buyer’s demand to buy the vehicle

back. The buyer then files suit in a Massachusetts state court, seeking to dissolve the transaction and to recover transportation costs and attorneys fees. The Texas dealer is soon served with the lawsuit papers and must now decide how to respond. The threshold question in this situation is whether courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (or whichever state is involved) T e x a s

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have jurisdiction over the Texas dealer. This is a question that has been the subject of inquiry by legal scholars since the beginning of the republic. The founders recognized that each of the states would be entitled to have its own court system that would operate in parallel with the federal courts, and that the federal courts would be restricted in the type of cases they could hear. Over the years, the concept of “minimum contacts” was developed to determine when a state’s court would have power over a non resident. That is, it was determined that it would be a violation of constitutional due process for one state’s courts to exercise jurisdiction over a non resident unless that person had certain minimum contacts with that state. Those contacts include (among others) whether the defendant had a place of business or residence in the state; whether the defendant had transacted business with residents of the state before; to what extent the defendant completed the contract or transaction in the state; and whether the defendant targeted advertising to the state’s residents (such as advertising in a newspaper or magazine that was distributed in that state). In most cases we’ve seen, the primary issue was whether targeted advertising was involved, since the dealer did not have any presence in the other state, and had not had prior sales there. The new internet-related subissue became whether a listing placed on an internet trading site amounted to targeted advertising since the dealer knew (or at least, should have suspected) that the listing would be seen by residents of Massachusetts, for example. Some courts have concluded that the placement of a listing on an internet trading site, alone, would not give rise to sufficient November 2021

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In most cases we’ve seen, the primary issue was whether targeted advertising was involved, since the dealer did not have any presence in the other state, and had not had prior sales there.

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contacts to create jurisdiction. Others have taken the opposite point of view. We have seen a number of articles that analyze the cases that have addressed this issue. But when it gets down to decision time for the dealer, it really doesn’t matter all that much which way the courts in the state where the lawsuit was filed have ruled on the issue. More important than the legal issue is the practical problem

of the cost of fighting the jurisdictional question in the foreign state. That cost could be as much or more than the cost of litigation over the actual consumer dispute. The point here is that even if the Texas dealer is entitled to have the case heard by a Texas court, the cost of obtaining such a ruling could exceed the amount that is in dispute. In the event that the Texas dealer loses on the jurisdictional

question, he must then defend the actual consumer case in the Massachusetts court and the costs that go with foreign litigation, whether the main case is won or lost. If the jurisdictional question is won by the dealer, then the case would have to be refiled in a Texas court. We’ve also seen cases involving sales within Texas to a resident of a distant town. When the dispute arises, the buyer will often file suit in his or her locality, requiring the seller to hire counsel in that location and traveling there to try to have the case moved to the dealer’s location. An obvious consideration for those who sell on the internet should be a planned approach to quickly identify and settle consumer disputes on out-of-state and distant sales to avoid having to even face the issue. Certainly having the buyer come to the dealer’s location to examine and take delivery (and possibly have an independent appraisal by a mechanic) would increase the seller’s argument that Texas courts should have control. Also, a provision compelling that disputes would be litigated in the seller’s location (although not always enforceable by other states) could enhance the seller’s argument. Using the internet to expand one’s markets beyond the state borders can have a very positive impact on sales. But a dealer’s business plan should also factor in the cost of the risk of facing outof-state litigation. Michael W. Dunagan is an attorney in Dallas, Texas who has represented the Texas Independent Automobile Dealers Association for over 40 years. He has written a number of books and hundreds of articles for trade journals and law reviews. His clientele includes dealers, banks, finance companies, auto auctions and credit unions.

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Collect the Cash, Not the Car Dealer Academy Presenter

in partnership with

This has been one of the most challenging years in the Buy Here, Pay Here industry. Dealers are finding that every collection opportunity needs to be capitalized on and that’s where this seminar can help.

Collect The Cash, Not The Car is designed Brent Carmichael,

Executive Conference Moderator, 20 Groups. NCM Associates, Inc.

Time

9:00am - 4:00pm

Cost

to help you and your collection teams maximize your collection opportunities. Through this 1-day course you can expect to learn: • How to overcome the • How to maximize the common and not so collectability of every customer common customer objections • Effective skip tracing methods and tools • Effective phone collection techniques

$249 Members, Each Additional $199

Monday, December 6, 2021

$499 Non-members

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We have put together a very strong course outline that includes a wide array of role playing, classroom learning and interactive activities that will allow your collection team to soak up the information and come back to your dealership ready to collect the cash and not the car.

To register visit November 2021

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Txiada.org or by phone at 512.244.6060. 17


on the cover by TIADA Staff

How the

is Becom ing Mo re

D

igital marketing refers to the practice of reaching customers using the internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, online advertising, and other digital channels. It varies from traditional advertising, in which companies rely on billboards, television commercials, and magazines and newspapers to market to their potential customers. But digital advertising is not only about a change in medium. Traditional advertising is geared toward a general audience and focuses on the brand itself. Digital advertising is customer-focused, interactive, and usually targets specific audience segments to sell products. For the independent automobile dealer, adopting a digital advertising strategy can help expand their customer base by reaching more digitally savvy consumers. According to recent research by McKinsey, “Used-car buyers spend about 40 percent more time researching online during the buying process than do new-car buyers.”

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Digitiz ed

According to a Google study conducted in 2017, 95% of car buyers use digital sources for information and twice as many consumers begin their research online than at a dealership.

This does not mean dealers should altogether abandon their existing traditional advertising strategy but, rather, enhance it with digital content for these particular buyers.

Today’s Buying Experience

More consumers begin their used car shopping journey online. They also expect websites to be visually appealing, efficient, and userfriendly. According to a Google study conducted in 2017, 95% of car buyers use digital sources for information and twice as many consumers begin their research online than at a dealership. What this means is that to stay competitive in this marketplace, dealers should be as searchable, informative, and digitally efficient as possible. In other words, one of the most important things dealers need to stay competitive is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Yet, according to the 2021 Texas Independent Auto Dealership Association Member Survey, only 11.1% of respondents said they use an SEO strategy in T e x a s

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their advertising efforts. In 2019, the average buyer visited 4.2 websites in their car buying experience, according to a ten-year study completed by Cox Automotive. Compare this with the falling number of dealership visits in the same time period, and it’s easy to understand why incorporating a robust digital marketing strategy has become essential for today’s independent automobile dealer. This is even more when you factor in buying habits between the new and used car consumer. 69% of used car buyers in 2019 first used a thirdparty or dealership website before purchasing a vehicle, compared with 58% for new car buyers.

Mobile Usage and the Used Car Consumer

Another factor to keep in mind is that mobile usage has increased dramatically in recent years. More than half of all car buyers search for automobiles, find dealerships, compare prices, and read reviews on their mobile device. J.D. Power has found that 33% of the total time spent shopping for a car is now being done on a mobile device.

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Many of these customers prefer to complete their entire transaction online, and many exclusively from their phones. One key takeaway here about mobile device usage and the independent car dealership: dealerships should ensure that their websites and digital advertisements are optimized for mobile devices. Another important consideration is that customers will have their phones on them when visiting the dealership. In fact, a 2020 AdColony survey reports that 69% of automobile customers surveyed say it is “very important or important to have their smartphone with them while shopping for a car.” This means that customers will actively be comparing prices and continuing their shopping journey while at your dealership.

Third-Party Sites

TIADA’s 2021 Member Survey also indicates that as many as 23.8% of dealers use a third-party website — such as AutoTrader, Cars.com, CarGurus, or TrueCar — in their advertising strategy. It’s important to keep in mind that third-party sites can be incredibly valuable resources for the independent

automobile dealer. According to the same Cox study, these websites are especially attractive to new car buyers. 52% of first-time buyers use third-party sites, compared to 34% who use dealer websites. These buyers tend to believe that these websites offer them unbiased information; correct or not, it’s important to consider this perspective when deciding whether to use a third-party site to sell more vehicles.

Adopting a Comprehensive Digital Advertising Strategy

At the end of the day, not every dealer is built the same. And not every dealer has the same consumer base or budget. What is clear is that the used car buying experience is rapidly becoming more digitized and adopting a comprehensive digital advertising strategy can help a dealer’s bottom line. This is not to say that every dealer needs to pull out all the stops and incorporate every platform into their advertising efforts. Instead, by taking a wholistic approach to their existing strategy, dealers can help themselves remain competitive as these trends continue to evolve.

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Save thousands on buy or sell fees at these participating auctions! * VALID FOR SELL FEE ONLY AT INSURANCE AA LOCATIONS ** ONLINE AUCTION AVAILABLE

Abilene ALLIANCE AUTO AUCTION ABILENE

www.allianceautoauction.com 6657 US Highway 80 West, Abilene, TX 79605 325.698.4391, Fax 325.691.0263 GM: Brandon Denison Friday, 10:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

C.M. COMPANY AUCTIONS, INC. www.cmauctions.com

2258 S. Treadaway, Abilene, TX 79602 325.677.3555, Fax 325.677.2209 GM: Gregory Chittum Thursday, 10:00 a.m. $AVE : $200

IAA ABILENE*

www.iaai.com 7700 US 277, Hawley, TX 79601 325.675.0699, Fax 325.675.5073 GM: Terrie Smith Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

Amarillo IAA AMARILLO*

www.iaai.com 11150 S. FM 1541, Amarillo, TX 79118 806.622.1322, Fax 806.622.2678 GM: Shawn Norris Monday, 9:30 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

Austin ADESA AUSTIN

www.adesa.com 2108 Ferguson Ln, Austin, TX 78754 512.873.4000, Fax 512.873.4022 GM: Michele Arguijo Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

ALLIANCE AUTO AUCTION AUSTIN

www.iaai.com 2191 Highway 21 West, Dale, TX 78616 512.385.3126, Fax 512.385.1141 GM: Geoffrey Rabb Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

METRO AUTO AUCTION AUSTIN www.metroautoauction.com 8605 Cullen Ln., Austin, TX 78748 512.282.7900, Fax 512.282.8165 GM: Brent Rhodes 3rd Saturday, monthly

$AVE : $200

Corpus Christi CORPUS CHRISTI AUTO AUCTION

www.corpuschristiautoauction.com 2149 IH-69 Access Road, Corpus Christi, TX 78380 361.767.4100, Fax 361.767.9840 GM: Hunter Dunn Friday, 10:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

IAA CORPUS CHRISTI*

www.iaai.com 4701 Agnes Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78405 361.881.9555, Fax 361.887.8880 GM: Patricia Kohlstrand Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex ADESA DALLAS

www.adesa.com 3501 Lancaster-Hutchins Rd., Hutchins, TX 75141 972.225.6000, Fax 972.284.4799 GM: Allan Wilwayco Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

$AVE : $200

ALLIANCE AUTO AUCTION DALLAS

www.allianceautoauction.com 1550 CR 107, Hutto, TX 78634 737.300.6300 GM: Brad Wilson Wednesday, 9:45 a.m.

www.allianceautoauction.com 9426 Lakefield Blvd., Dallas, TX 75220 214.646.3136, Fax 469.828.8225 GM: Robert Kersh Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.

AMERICA’S AA AUSTIN / SAN ANTONIO

AMERICA’S AA DALLAS

$AVE : $200

www.americasautoauction.com 16611 S. IH-35, Buda, TX 78610 512.268.6600, Fax 512.295.6666 GM: Jamie McCollum Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. / Thursday, 2:00 p.m.

$AVE : $200 22

IAA AUSTIN*

$AVE : $200

www.americasautoauction.com 219 N. Loop 12, Irving, TX 75061 972.445.1044, Fax 972.591.2742 GM: Ruben Figueroa Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. / Thursday, 1:00 p.m.

$AVE : $200

IAA DALLAS*

www.iaai.com 204 Mars Rd., Wilmer, TX 75172 972.525.6401, Fax 972.525.6403 GM: Joshua Boyd Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

IAA DFW*

www.iaai.com 4226 East Main St., Grand Prairie, TX 75050 972.522.5000, Fax 972.522.5090 GM: Robert Brown Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

IAA FORT WORTH NORTH*

www.iaai.com 3748 McPherson Dr., Justin, TX 76247 940.648.5541, Fax 940.648.5543 GM: Jack Panczyk Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

MANHEIM DALLAS**

www.manheim.com 5333 W. Kiest Blvd., Dallas, TX 75236 214.330.1800, Fax 214.339.6347 GM: Rich Curtis Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : $100

MANHEIM DALLAS FORT WORTH**

www.manheim.com 12101 Trinity Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76040 817.399.4000, Fax 817.399.4251 GM: Nicole Graham-Ponce Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

$AVE : $100

METRO AUTO AUCTION DALLAS

www.metroaa.com 1836 Midway Road, Lewisville, TX 75056 972.492.0900, Fax 972.492.0944 GM: Scott Stalder Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

El Paso EL PASO INDEPENDENT AUTO AUCTION www.epiaa.com 7930 Artcraft Rd, El Paso, TX 79932 915.587.6700, Fax 915.587.6700 GM: Luke Pidgeon Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

IAA EL PASO*

www.iaai.com 14651 Gateway Blvd. W, El Paso, TX 79927 915.852.2489, Fax 915.852.2235 GM: Jorge Resendez Friday, 10:30 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee T e x a s

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MANHEIM EL PASO

www.manheim.com 485 Coates Drive, El Paso, TX 79932 915.833.9333, Fax 915.581.9645 GM: JD Guerrero Thursday, 10:00 a.m.

$AVE : $100

IAA HOUSTON NORTH* www.iaai.com 16602 East Hardy Rd., Houston-North, TX 77032 281.443.1300, Fax 281.443.4433 GM: Aracelia Molina Thursday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

Harlingen/McAllen

MANHEIM HOUSTON

IAA MCALLEN*

www.iaai.com 900 N. Hutto Road, Donna, TX 78537 956.464.8393, Fax 956.464.8510 GM: Ydalia Sandoval Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

BIG VALLEY AUTO AUCTION**

www.bigvalleyaa.com 4315 N. Hutto Road, Donna, TX 78537 956.461.9000, Fax 956.461.9005 GM: Lisa Franz Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

www.manheim.com 14450 West Road, Houston, TX 77041 281.924.5833, Fax 281.890.7953 GM: Brian Walker Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. / Thursday 6:30 p.m.

$AVE : $100

MANHEIM TEXAS HOBBY www.manheim.com 8215 Kopman Road, Houston, TX 77061 713.649.8233, Fax 713.640.6330 GM: Darren Slack Thursday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

$AVE : $100

Houston

Longview ALLIANCE AUTO AUCTION LONGVIEW

ADESA HOUSTON

www.adesa.com 4526 N. Sam Houston, Houston, TX 77086 281.580.1800, Fax 281.580.8030 GM: Angela Williams Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

www.allianceautoauction.com 6000 East Loop 281, Longview, TX 75602 903.212.2955, Fax 903.212.2556 GM: Chris Barille Friday, 10:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

AMERICA’S AA HOUSTON

www.americasautoauction.com 1826 Almeda Genoa Rd, Houston, TX 77047 281.819.3600, Fax 281.819.3601 GM: Ben Nash Thursday, 2:00 p.m.

$AVE : $200

AMERICA’S AA NORTH HOUSTON www.americasautoauction.com 1440 FM 3083, Conroe, TX 77301 936.441.2882, Fax 936.788.2842 GM: Buddy Cheney Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.

$AVE : $200

AUTONATION AUTO AUCTION - HOUSTON www.autonationautoauction.com 608 W. Mitchell Road, Houston, TX 77037 822.905.2622, Fax 281.506.3866 GM: Juan Gallo Friday, 9:30 a.m.

$AVE : $200

HOUSTON AUTO AUCTION

www.houstonautoauction.com 2000 Cavalcade, Houston, TX 77009 713.644.5566, Fax 713.644.0889 President/GM: Tim Bowers Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

IAA LONGVIEW* www.iaai.com 5577 Highway 80 East, Longview, TX 75605 903.553.9248, Fax 903.553.0210 GM: David Cooper Thursday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

Lubbock IAA LUBBOCK* www.iaai.com 5311 N. CR 2000, Lubbock, TX 79415 806.747.5458, Fax 806.747.5472 GM: Lori Davee Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

TEXAS LONE STAR AUTO AUCTION** www.lsaalubbock.com 2706 E. Slaton Road., Lubbock, TX 79404 806.745.6606 GM: Dale Martin Wednesday, 9:30 a.m

$AVE : $75/Quarterly

Lufkin

Midland Odessa IAA PERMIAN BASIN*

www.iaai.com 701 W. 81st Street, Odessa, TX 79764 432.550.7277, Fax 432.366.8725 GM: Christopher Rogers Thursday, 11:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

ONLINE ACV AUCTIONS**

www.acvauctions.com 800.553.4070

$AVE : $250

E-DEALERDIRECT**

www.e-dealerdirect.com chris@edealerdirect.com

$AVE : Up to $500/month

San Antonio ADESA SAN ANTONIO

www.adesa.com 200 S. Callaghan Rd., San Antonio, TX 78227 210.434.4999, Fax 210.431.0645 GM: Clifton Sprenger Thursday, 10:00 a.m.

$AVE : $200

IAA SAN ANTONIO*

www.iaai.com 11275 S. Zarzamora, San Antonio, TX 78224 210.628.6770, Fax 210.628.6778 GM: Brian Sell Monday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

MANHEIM SAN ANTONIO**

www.manheim.com 2042 Ackerman Road San Antonio, TX 78219 210.661.4200, Fax 210.662.3113 GM: Mike Browning Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

$AVE : $100

SAN ANTONIO AUTO AUCTION**

www.sanantonioautoauction.com 13510 Toepperwein Rd. San Antonio, TX 78233 210.298.5477 GM: Brandon Walston Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. / Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

$AVE : $200

Tyler GREATER TYLER AUTO AUCTION www.greatertyleraa.com 11654 Hwy 64W, Tyler, TX 75704 903.597.2800, Fax 903.597.3848 GM: Wayne Cook Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.

$AVE : $200

Waco

IAA HOUSTON*

LUFKIN DEALERS AUTO AUCTION

ALLIANCE AUTO AUCTION WACO

$AVE : up to $200 Sell Fee

$AVE : $200

$AVE : $200

www.iaai.com 2535 West. Mt. Houston, Houston, TX 77038 281.847.4700, Fax 281.847.4799 GM: Alvin Banks Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

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www.lufkindealers.com 2109 N. John Reddit Dr., Lufkin, TX 75904 936.632.4299, Fax 936.632.4218 GM: Wayne Cook Thursday, 6:00 p.m.

www.allianceautoauction.com 15735 I-35 Frontage Road Elm Mott, TX 76640 254.829.0123, Fax 254.829.1298 GM: Christina Thomas Friday, 10:00 a.m.

23


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feature

Why Aren’t We Doing That? The LowHanging Fruit of Facebook Marketing by Dave Lemmon

Dealer Online Marketing Group

I

’ve spent the past several years really focused on helping smaller, independent used car stores understand and implement basic digital marketing strategies. One of the largest challenges facing independent dealers is finding digital marketing that is tailored to their store. Most are bloated and expensive, with OEM’s and franchise dealers in mind. Many of the smaller solutions aren’t just inexpensive, but are cheap and don’t generate the results desired. As a result, it is important for independent dealers to have some idea of DIY methods that can generate results with little spend and effort through the powerful channel of Facebook. Social media advertising has become one of the most powerful tools any vehicle dealer can use, but it remains one of the most opaque to the layman when it

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comes to running successful campaigns. It is important to know:

1.Who to talk to,

3.

2.

What message is effective, and

What engagement to expect from shoppers.

There are 3 critical audiences on Facebook and Instagram that every dealer should be addressing: “Automotive Inventory Ads”, Your Clients, and Low Funnel Website Visitors. Since 2005, social media has taken over in screen share and brand discovery for shoppers, surpassing traditional TV and other advertising channels. People are on their Facebook pages hours a day, and scroll an average of 300 feet per day in content. This is the perfect opportunity to put your message in front of them and help them discover who you are as a dealer. Several years ago, Facebook ended their integrations 25


with data partners inside Facebook like Oracle and Polk. That data was the “intender” audience, people supposedly in market for a vehicle. In an effort to replace it, Facebook created the AIA (Automotive Inventory Ads). These are ads attached to a catalog of vehicles and find people in market for used vehicles based on their behavior. People searching Marketplace, visiting dealership Facebook pages, even visiting dealership websites with a Facebook pixel are grouped into an in market

audience by Facebook and that audience is served ads for your inventory that matches their interest automatically. These ads require your feed be sent into Facebook to create a dynamic catalog, a pixel on your website (more on that later), and a business manager with a budget. Its that easy. One of the largest missed opportunities marketers and dealers overlook is marketing to their existing customers. Independent dealers far outperform their franchise

.

26

counterparts in repeat and referral business already, but creating and marketing to an audience of the people that know and trust you most is a powerful way to reinforce that business and build it. Uploading your customer information into business manager is a very simple process, most important is that you include names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Facebook will then identify Facebook users that match that data and you’re ready to start serving ads to your loyal base for things like trade in/trade up, buy back, and more. Finally, and most importantly, is to re-engage shoppers after they visit your website... your digital showroom. The Facebook Pixel is a tiny bit of script that is installed on your site which sends data back to Facebook when visitors shop online. It not only will capture the user information, but what they are doing on the site and how they are behaving. If they look at a VDP for a 2015 Ford F150 or if they start filling out a credit application. If they strictly browse search result pages or get directions to your store. The Pixel can be trained to capture all that data and send it back to Facebook, allowing you to create audiences not just on visitors... but on visitor behavior. You are then ready to retarget those shoppers and can create messaging based on that behavior! Dynamic retargeting ads for shoppers who viewed a VDP will show them the same or similar inventory for 30 days after their visit. If they clicked on your trade tool, you can serve them ads with a bonus cash for trade offer. If they visited a finance page, send them ads enforcing your goal of 100% approval. These are extremely low funnel shoppers who already know your brand, retargeting turns them from shoppers into ups. These three campaigns can be used to generate website traffic, lead forms, live chats, and more and can easily be managed for a few hundred dollars budget towards each. T e x a s

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The best dealers in Texas, the best education anywhere.

July 24-26,

2022

November 2021

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27


W hy Choose Us?

Visit Us Online for Customized Solutions & Helpful Insights

M U L L ENINSU RANC E.C O M

F e a t u r e d I n s u r a n c e S o lu t io n s 8 00- 7 8 3 - 6 29 7 - T O L L F R E E ( 9 7 2) 6 8 1- 6 29 7 - L O C A L INF O @ M U L L ENINSU RANC E.C O M


regulation matters The Do’s and Don’ts of Advertising

A

dvertising is any oral, written, graphic or pictorial statement made in the course of soliciting business. The most important provision of this article is to let you know there are rules and laws guiding what you may and may not say in advertising. To understand the complete advertising rules, you might want to view Texas Administrative Code Section 215 at the Office of the Secretary of State website, and keep it bookmarked in your browser for when you create advertising to make sure you are in line with all current advertising rules. Advertising rules are enforced at both the state and federal level. At the state level enforcement is by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division. State enforcement resources in this area are primarily used to resolve advertising complaints from consumers and from other dealers. At the federal level, both the FTC and CFPB have jurisdiction. Federal enforcement actions are very rare. But they are very serious and very expensive. A good baseline to keep in mind is the general prohibition which states, “A person advertising motor vehicles shall not use false, deceptive, unfair or misleading advertising.” Better safe than sorry. If you’re unsure you may want to have an advertising specialist familiar with the TxDMV advertising rules review your ad copy prior to printing or recording it. So, let’s get started with some of the most common violations:

Trigger Terms

This means you’re advertising a down payment, or a monthly payment, or the period of repayment without including the required information. For example, if a down payment is advertised, then the number of months to make the repayment, the monthly payment and the APR must also be included in that ad.

Discounts on Used Motor Vehicle

It is a common violation to advertise a savings claim or a discount offer on a used motor vehicle. Unlike a new motor vehicle which has an MSRP as a baseline, a used vehicle has no such baseline value and therefore the discount offer or savings is not valid, according to the law. November 2021

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by Earl

Cooke

TIADA DIRECTOR OF COMPLIANCE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

...to advertise a used vehicle for sale, the dealer must have the vehicle in their possession at the time of the advertisement and the title must be assigned to the dealer. Everyone is Approved

It is a violation to advertise statements such as “everyone approved”, “we finance anyone” and similar statements that represent or imply that no prospective credit purchaser will be rejected because of his inability to qualify for credit. The law basically takes the position that these are untrue claims. Certain similar statements are, “all applications accepted” and “no credit application refused.”

Vehicle ID

When the price of the vehicle is advertised, you are required to identify the vehicle by model year, make, model line and style or model designation.

Loaded

Thinking about using the term “loaded” in your ad? Well, if the price of the vehicle is also advertised, you are required to list the optional equipment included on the vehicle. 29


Sales Price NOT Actual Price

Featuring a sales price that is not the price for which the vehicle will be sold to any retail buyer. Keep this rule in mind: the price can go down, but not up. This is most common in situations where a retail dealer working in the subprime space is required to pay a special finance company a ‘discount rate’ or an ‘acquisition rate’ in order to get the company to buy the customer’s contract. That cost may not be added to the price of the vehicle. A vehicle can only have one price. Do not have different prices for cash vs. credit. Internet only pricing is not permitted.

Guaranteed Trade

Advertising a guaranteed trade in amount or range of amounts, which is prohibited.

“Mouse Print” Disclaimers

Avoid advertising “disclaimers” that are not clear and conspicuous, sometimes referred to as “mouse print.” The law takes the position that a disclaimer needs to be presented so as to be readily noticed and understood.

Wholesale Prices

It is a violation to use advertising terms such as “wholesale prices” and “wholesale to the public” in

30

connection with retail sales. A wholesale transaction is not a retail transaction.

Best Price

This advertising violation that is exceedingly common. You’ll often see terms such as “lowest price,” “best price,” or “best deal.” These are prohibited.

Vehicle Possession

To legally advertise a used vehicle for sale you must have both the vehicle in your possession and have the title assigned to you.

Name Your Own Price

Additional advertising terms that are prohibited include “write your own deal,” “name your own price,” “name your own payments,” “everybody financed,” “no credit rejected” and “we finance anyone.” Again, all advertised statements and representations must be accurate, clear, and conspicuous, and all language and terms, including abbreviations, must be used with their common or ordinary usage and meaning (plain language). Remember that to advertise a used vehicle for sale, the dealer must have the vehicle in their possession at the time of the advertisement and the title must be assigned to the dealer.

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November 2021



Ignorance is no defense. Know the law. Repo and financing issues are among the most common violations found by the OCCC.

If you own a previous edition of these books from 2008 or earlier, it is recommended that you upgrade to the current editions.

Texas Automobile Repossession: A Lien Holder’s Legal Guide

TIADA Member Price: $125 non-members $175

Everything you need to know about repossessions is addressed in this book, including Notification Requirements, Post-Repo Procedures, Private Sale vs. Strict Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, PostDisposition Accounting, Tracking and Shut-off Devices, the 60% Rule and more. PLUS – includes all required forms.

Dealer Financing of Used Car Sales

TIADA Member Price: $125 non-members $175

This comprehensive book covers all aspects of the complicated world of seller-financing in Texas, including Maximum Finance Rates; Retail Installment Contracts; Contract Amendments; VIT; Repair Charges; Federal Disclosures and more.

TIADA texas independent automobile dealers association

Attorney Michael W. Dunagan is the author of the two must-have books for every Buy-Here, Pay-Here dealer in Texas. Mr. Dunagan has been General Counsel to TIADA for over 40 years. His law firm specializes in the representation of independent Texas car dealers.

TIADA texas independent automobile dealers association

Available for purchase online at www.txiada.org under “Resources, Legal and Compliance” or call 512.244.6060 to order by phone. When ordering online, login with your TIADA username and password to receive the discounted rate. All prices include shipping. Orders are shipped in 3-5 business days.


feature

Driving Traffic to Your Dealership’s Website by Stephen Pallas

TIADA Director of Marketing and Communications

I

t is more important than ever to drive traffic to your dealership’s website. People are conducting most of their shopping online, especially at the beginning of their car-buying process. This means that for your business to remain as competitive as possible, your website needs to be one of the driving forces of your business. While it’s important to have a clean looking site that showcases your inventory, a lot of the work is more technical. Zach Smith, General Manager of VP Auto Sales in Garland, says, “You’ve got to stay current if you’re going to optimize every opportunity to target and get the person that you’re trying to sell a car to.” It’s important to keep in mind some of the best practices for increasing website traffic, and this means paying attention to how people are finding you on search engines, what kinds of email content you send to potential leads, and what other industry insights you provide on your site. All of this can seem somewhat complicated but incorporating some of these strategies into your

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strategic plan can definitely give you a leg up in a highly competitive market.

Search Engine Optimization

Today, the car buyer’s journey typically begins at home. For the majority of consumers this means starting their shopping experience searching on a search engine (with Google leading the pack by miles). Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to a set of practices enhancing your dealership’s website and increasing its ranking on search engines across the web. Especially important is the ability to be found early on in a buyer’s journey and earning their trust in your expertise, inventory, and services. Perhaps most importantly, today’s car buyers conduct their own research when making their decisions. SEO matters for the independent automobile dealer because most buyers will find the information they want or need directly from search engines. It’s important to incorporate some best SEO practices. First, you need these 33


Local Chapters CORPUS CHRISTI G.R. Moore The Car Shack (dates announced at

www.txiada.org)

EL PASO Cesar Stark S & S Motors Meeting – 3rd Friday (Monthly)

FORT WORTH Jerry Smith H J Smith Automobiles Meeting – 4th Thursday of Jan–May and Sep–Oct

HOUSTON April Hanson Coast to Coast Motors Meeting – 2nd Tuesday (Monthly)

SAN ANTONIO Jose Engler Irving Motors Corp (dates announced at

www.txiada.org)

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buyers to find your dealership and, second, they need to trust quickly that you are a trustworthy source for a used vehicle. Users today expect that websites are well designed, and that means for both mobile devices and computers. Recent research suggests that nearly twice as many shoppers are using mobile devices for car research than desktop computers, according to Comscore. Both figures represent large numbers of potential customers, so it’s crucial that a dealer’s website is accessible, readable, and userfriendly across all devices. Related to this point is the fact that users today demand fast-loading websites, and so do search engines. A slow website is almost guaranteed to lose customer interest, and most recent studies indicate that your pages should load in no more than 2-3 seconds. You should also make sure that the content on your website uses the keywords that your market is searching for. It is best to understand what car buyers are looking for and how your expertise, inventory, and services match those needs. Some people might try to sell you on the idea that there are general keywords you should use for your dealership. But a buyer in Dallas County is likely very different from a buyer in either El Paso or Midland. It may be difficult for you to inject a ton of resources into building your SEO, especially if you are a small dealership with a limited staff. There are third-party providers who offer valuable software to make this process a bit easier. Lawand Shamdeen, owner of Dallas Drive in Mesquite, says his business is entirely run online. Shamdeen’s dealership uses V12 to help drive their SEO. “They help us out a lot…You’d be surprised how many leads and reviews you get from Google.” Daniel Delgadillo, of Bacliff Auto in Galveston County, uses third-party websites to help his search engine ranking. “Whenever I configure the website, whoever is designing the

website writes about what we do and who we are, what type of operation we run. And the content they put out helps our ranking on Google.”

Keywords for SEO

The most important aspect of getting your SEO right is the keywords you use across your dealership website. This means understanding your target audience’s needs and how to get them to find you on search engines and, ultimately, to purchase an automobile at your dealership. In addition to identifying and understanding your audience, Zach Smith, emphasizes the need to “narrowing down who you get to your site. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and figure out what they’re going to type into Google.” You also may want to consider (or reconsider) the ways you are keeping track of your keywords and how they are driving traffic to your website. And that will vary depending on your area and your market. Smith says that “the biggest thing is analyzing your data. With technology these days, there’s so much analytics at your fingertips designed to point you in the right direction. Google offers a ton of options for tracking the data of user behavior on your company website. The analytics knows what pages are most and least popular, what days and times people are most frequently visiting, what devices they are using (desktop or mobile, for example), and so much more. If you use Google Ads, then building the right keywords will allow you to see what keywords are getting people to visit your dealership website and how that translates into sales. Delgadillo has been using Google Ads for over ten years and says that it is well worth the investment. And there are a ton of thirdparty software companies that can assist you in analyzing your Google analytics and giving you advice for what things you might change for better results. T e x a s

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Website Content

There are numerous benefits to creating a blog and regularly publishing written content. A dealership blog can be the foundation of your SEO and email marketing strategies. A blog is the single best way to demonstrate your dealership as an authority on the vehicles you sell and the services you offer. It builds trust between dealer and customer. Not every post should be about your inventory. Content can vary from car care tips, to product showcases, to virtual tours of the dealership, to automotive news and trends, to vehicle self-service and maintenance tips, to news about your dealership, and so on. No matter what you write, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to provide customers with quality, original, and valuable content that establishes you as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of information on the issues and products relevant to your business. Where inventory is concerned, it is crucial to update regularly. Smith makes sure that his website is updated with daily uploads of new vehicles and making sure there’s always fresh inventory. You may not have daily updates to make, but the best recommendation is to update your website and inventory as frequently as possible each week. Delgadillo says, “One of the things that I focus on is the pictures of my inventory. I have always been a big believer in overlays and banners.” And he updates these as frequently as possible.

Email Marketing

Email keeps people connected seven days a week throughout the year. It is the most effective way to reach potential customers and is your primary means of communication as a business. But email marketing is also an incredibly effective way to increase your website traffic. In fact, driving website traffic November 2021

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should be the number one priority of your email marketing strategy. There are several steps dealers can take to create a strong email marketing campaign that brings customers to their websites. First, collect quality contacts. Rather than wasting time sending emails to all kinds of customers, opt for a targeted list of quality leads using a subscription-based model. This is especially helpful if you regularly write original content, as in a blog or newsletter. By encouraging people to sign up to receive your content, you will collect more quality leads from people who trust your dealership as a knowledgeable source of information, which will increase traffic and sales. Effective messaging and good timing of consistent emails is an extremely effective method for marketing your business because it keeps people interested in you and your products and services throughout the year. It is also important to keep in mind, as with SEO, that an email marketing should be optimized for mobile devices. Content should also be short and concise. While there is no one-size-fits-all standard for how long each email should be, consider a couple of recent studies that tell us the ideal email length is somewhere between 50 and 125 words (or no more than 20 lines of text); include images where appropriate but not too many. In these emails, make sure to keep the language simple enough for every person to understand; aim for a third-grade reading level: (simpler words and shorter sentences). Your customers do not want to feel like they are being lectured by a know-it-all.

635 Fritz Dr. Ste 210 Coppell, TX 75019 469-637-0150

Social Media

While many automobile customers will begin their journey on search engines, they will come to trust your dealership through social media. It is the number one 35


the best way to showcase this is by engaging with satisfied customers on social media. So, engage as much as possible by commenting and thanking reviewers for promoting your business. Two of the other articles in this issue of Texas Dealer (on pages 25 and 39) focus on website photography and social media. Delgadillo says that social media has been one of the greatest tools in his digital marketing strategy. “The biggest thing that dealers need to be doing is social media. And people want to watch videos…A lot of dealers do live videos, for example. If people want to use digital marketing, Facebook is the way to go.” way people will come to understand your brand and your business. Your social media profiles should emphasize what sets you apart from the competition, establish your style and tone, and communicate your values. Make sure your bios are unique, clear, and include calls to action directly to your dealership’s website. Customers are also increasingly looking to social media for reviews, testimonials, referrals, and recommendations. The more positive reviews, comments, likes, and shares you have for your social media content, the more traffic you can drive to your website. You know and believe in your brand, and EPI-TIADAhalf NOV2021.pdf

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Key Takeaways

No matter how you enhance your digital marketing tactics for your dealership, it is important to have a clear strategy and to analyze your data frequently. Focusing on SEO, website content, and email marketing can all help to keep you competitive, especially as more users turn to search engines for their automobile research. At the end of the day, you want to keep driving prospective customers to your website. The best way to do that is to stay flexible as your target market changes its behaviors and needs.

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Maximize Your Sales Potential with the TIADA CPO Program.

Visit with the approved providers below to learn about the value of offering a CPO.

KIRK LAURITSEN klauritsen@avp.com

ROB FOX

KEVIN STOLL

rfox@BuckeyeReinsurance.com

kevin@preferreddealersolutions.com

For more info, visit Txiada.org/TiadaCPOprogram or call

512.244.6060.


Auto Dealer Solutions

DEALER SOFTWARE , WEBSITES & MARKETING


feature

5 Tips for Taking the Best Pictures of Your Vehicles by Mike Wulf

Senior Vice President, Product & Engineering at Cox Automotive

T

hey say a picture is worth a thousand words. But when it comes to selling a car, a picture can be worth thousands of dollars. As more car shoppers continue to research, browse and buy online, the pictures on your vehicle detail page (VDP) — both on your website and your listing partner’s site — are critical to shopper consideration. Yes, pictures are basic and in theory anyone with a smartphone can take one, but there are a handful of tips and best practices to employ to optimize your vehicles’ digital curb appeal.

1

Include many custom photos — and make sure they’re both high-quality and clear. Car buyers want to see the car

you’re selling, so stock photos won’t do. If you’re not sure what to take pictures of, walk the car yourself as

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if you’re considering buying it. What are you looking for? If there’s something you’d pause and talk to an inperson customer about, snap a photo and include it. Get both full shot and close-ups from several different angles. There’s no magic number on the quantity of photos, but you should be mindful that overwhelming a customer can be just as detrimental as not providing enough. Ensure you’re capturing enough detail to allow them to make an informed decision. Especially as you expand your sales footprint outside of your market, remember to over index when in doubt. The old school practice of hiding damage in pictures and letting the customer see for themselves in-person is long gone; the key to trust (and a sale!) is transparency and honesty. The more you can capture and disclose to a customer upfront, the more you can build 39


that trust. Plus, you’re saving the customer and your sales team both time and energy. Creating a transparent digital experience that aligns with the in-person experience builds customer trust and sets the stage for a positive experience — even if it’s entirely virtual.

2

Add 360-degree spins and videos.

360-degree views are becoming commonplace in other industries (like real estate, shoes, and appliances!) and customers expect this kind of virtual experience for a large purchase. 87% of customers find 360-degree spins important when shopping for a vehicle online and it’s no surprise. While 360-degree spins can’t replace a history report, they do create confidence about the condition of the vehicle, build trust with the dealer and are necessary when purchasing partially or fully online.

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There’s a reason that late afternoon is called the “golden hour.” This is a great time of day to take your pictures, when the sun isn’t high in the sky casting shadows or reflecting off the car windows and windshield.

Videos can be a powerful tool for merchandising — and this goes beyond just the walkaround. Consider videos of the engine running or cranking from a cold start; anything a consumer might want to hear or see if they were on the lot. Think about creating an experience that feels as in-person as possible. Not only are you helping to create a better picture of what owning and driving this car would be like, but you’re also showing a high level of customer service and naturally building a one-to-one customer relationship.

3

Take note of your backdrop. You don’t

have to be a professional photographer to know that a wellcomposed shot has the subject in the foreground and a clear background. When you go out on the lot to shoot a vehicle, take note of any signage or potentially distracting items in the background. T e x a s

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If you can’t move something in the background, change up the location or consider blurring the background; the vehicle should be the only thing a customer is focused on when looking at the VDP. If you are going to use an editing tool like Photoshop to blur the background, make sure that’s all you’re blurring; don’t hide any flaws or damage on the vehicle, or alter the photo too much so it looks fake. A heavily edited photo will deter a customer and elicit doubt in the listing accuracy.

4

Find the right light. There’s a rea-

son that late afternoon is called the “golden hour.” This is a great time of day to take your pictures, when the sun isn’t high in the sky casting shadows or reflecting off the car windows and windshield. Keep an eye out not only for shadows in the environment, but also your shadow while

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taking the pictures. Depending on time zone and daylight saving, 3-5 p.m. is generally a good time to take pictures — but you’ll need to test it out to find your location’s sweet spot.

5

Outsource if you must. If you

don’t have someone inhouse with the time or expertise to take the pictures necessary to create a high-quality VDP, don’t

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be afraid to outsource the task. There are service providers who are skilled and available to help your dealership get the best photos possible. Your service providers can also leverage the same preferred technologies you want used in your merchandising. It’s never too early to start merchandising your inventory with images and video. Check with your wholesale auction services, who can help you with taking high quality images before the vehicle leaves the lot. This way you can start merchandising the vehicle before it reaches your dealership to get a jump start on generating market demand! In summary, remember that transparency and full disclosure will always yield better results and reduce wasted time for your consumers and your staff. Trust sells vehicles.

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Please Welcome Our Newest TIADA Members DEALER MEMBERS Amarillo Auto Group, LLC Sean Golden, 4805 S Washington St, Amarillo, TX 79110

Amigos Cars & Trucks

Cesar Barragan, 7001 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77076

Auto Depot Direct, Inc.

Tony Akbar, 1364 Mae Drive, Carrollton, TX 75007

Covenant Auto Group LLC

Nathan Gulledge, 828 E McKinney St, Denton, TX 76209

Dealz & Auto Stealz

Olena Alansari, 1701 N Day Miar Rd, Mansfield, TX 76063

Pace Cars

James Purser, 306 81st St. Unit B, Lubbock, TX 79423

Ramirez Body Shop

Juan Ramirez, 24012 Powder Keg, San Antonio, TX 78264

Sergio’s Motors LLC

Norma Vargas, PO BOX 746, Spearman, TX 79081

Southmark Motors LLC

Mark Peebles, 133 Sentinel Oaks, Pinehurst, TX 77362

Superior Auto Sales

Octavio Escalante, 220 CR 523, Nacogdoches, TX 75964

Team Autoplex

Michael Roa, 5712 SW Frwy, Houston, TX 77057

Thomson Auto Group LLC

Perry Thomson, 211 Trade Center Dr, STE 500 New Braunfels, TX 78130 November 2021

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resource guide The TIADA Website: www.txiada.org

Members can log in with their username/ password and access our Dealer Member Directory, Legislative Action Center, Compliance Consultation Service and much more. Register for all upcoming TIADA events online through the Calendar of Events, access our online membership application, find contact information for all our Local Chapters, and access many additional resources through our Knowledge Base.

License Renewal Certificate TexasDealerEducation.com

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles 888.368.4689 www.txdmv.gov

Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner 800.538.1579 occc.texas.gov

Texas Comptroller

800.252.1382 comptroller.texas.gov/

NIADA

800.682.3837 www.niada.com

REPOSSESSIONS

American Recovery Association 972.755.4755 www.repo.org or contact TIADA state office

FORMS Burrell Printing

800.252.9154 www.burrellprinting.com

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Avoid expensive fines and penalties

Dealer Academy The Texas License Renewal Education Course provides the ins and outs of being a dealer in

Texas in a self-guided online course, available 24/7. This is the same course required by the TxDMV to renew a GDN license, so it covers all the important subjects including: • Staying compliant with TxDMV regarding premises requirements • Acquiring Inventory • Temp Tags and Metal Dealer Plates • Buyer’s Guide • Deal Jacket Documents

• Transferring Titles • Record Keeping • Special Inventory Tax (VIT) • Federal Requirements • The OCCC • Enforcement and Investigation • Advertising Rules

Register your staff today! Just $99 This course is perfect for managers that need an overall refresher or for the new employee that needs to be brought up to speed on all aspects of this industry in a fast, convenient and reliable way. In addition to TxDMV’s approval, this course has been reviewed by the Tax-Assessor Collectors Association of Texas for accuracy so you’ll never have your title transfer paperwork rejected again. To register visit TexasDealerEducation .com and select the Texas License Renewal Education Course. 44

What People Are Saying: “Great ref resher course, helped me remember a lot of items that I need to be intoned with.” “The course provides all the necessary information, links, and rules where I can f ind useful tools for my business.” “If you want to learn more about a specif ic topic this course includes a direct link to the source you are trying to f ind out more information on.” “Overall, this program was great and I am happy that eLICENSING implemented this to ensure we know the basic stuff of running our dealers and running a clean ship without having to face violations or risk your license, this is awesome!” “This is a good training course for all new dealers. It can also be recommended for old dealers as a ref resher training course.”

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behind the wheel On the Road Again

by Jeff

Martin TIADA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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ast month I turned on to I-35 and headed north on my way to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I was scheduled to attend a Fort Worth chapter meeting on Wednesday night in Arlington that was held in conjunction with dealers from Dallas and the surrounding counties. FWIADA President Jerry Smith organized the meeting that included a panel discussion with four auction executives who were asked to share their thoughts on the current inventory shortage and the economic outlook for independent dealers in the short and long term. Just over 30 dealerships attended and almost 60 total people.

Pull Quote Always goes in this Spot November 2021

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The next morning, TIADA President Mark Jones and I had a few association business meetings, and later that evening we caught a plane to El Paso. On Friday morning, Mark, Past President Juan Sabillon, and I attended the EPIADA chapter meeting and then played in their inaugural golf tournament. They had a number of dealers attend both the chapter meeting and golf tournament. We were lucky enough to see many of our old friends and meet several new dealers from the El Paso area. (Note there is no mention of how we did in the golf tournament!) For some reason, Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” always comes to mind as soon as I hit I-35 and start a

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