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Digital dealer april 2010

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    Digital dealer april 2010 Digital dealer april 2010 Document Transcript

    • Welcome to the digital edition of Digital Dealer magazine! Just as you are trying to keep your store(s) on the cutting edge, we are doing the very same thing as we venture into a new frontier in the publishing biz. We can get this digital version in your hands quickly, giving you the freshest information possible. You can click on links at the end of each article to email the author of such. And you can click on the ads to link to that advertiser’s website (and you’d REALLY be helping us out by doing just that). It’s quite intuitive…I don’t think that someone who uses the Internet to make a living will have any trouble easily figuring it out. Please let me know what you think about it… mroscoe@Dealer-Communications.com Michael Roscoe Editor-in-Chief
    • April 2010 AAISP Notes: Automotive Retail and Technology – Recipe for Riches page 8 Internet Sales: JOSHUA Selling Cars in the Post- Control World page 10 It’s a Performance – Make Sure Everyone FICHTER Knows Their Roles Director of Operations page 14 Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford page 18 Technology Trends: Five Tips for Prepping Staff for System Change page 25
    • T ABLE OF CONTENTS APRIL 2010 PRESIDENT AND CEO MICHAEL ROSCOE VICE PRESIDENT AND FEATURES EDITORIAL DIRECTOR CLIFF BANKS Digital Dealer Cover Story cbanks@Dealer-communications.com 248-351-2620 18 Joshua Fichter Director of Operations PUBLISHER GREG NOONAN Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford 607-264-3359 gnoonan@Dealer-magazine.com Digital Dealer Vendor Profile CONTENT COORDINATOR 22 Dominion Dealer Solutions MARIA BURKEL mburkel@Dealer-communications.com COLUMNS ART DIRECTOR JOE BIRCH AAISP Notes PRODUCTION MANAGER 8 Automotive Retail and Technology – ELIZABETH BIRCH Recipe for Riches PRINT PRODUCTION NICK THOMAS Cliff Banks COVER DESIGN JOE BIRCH Internet Sales 10 Selling Cars in the Post-Control World COVER PHOTOS RANDY ANDERSON Tom Mohr CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION RICH JARRETT 12 Take Video Off the ‘To Do’ List 314-432-7511 rjarrett@Dealer-magazine.com Rob Lange www.Dealer-magazine.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES 14 It’s a Performance – Make Sure Everyone Knows adsales@Dealer-magazine.com Their Roles 607-264-3359 Joe Webb Dealer magazine makes every attempt to ensure the 16 Driving Better Closing Results accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied Phil Sura herein. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. The publisher encourages you to submit sug- gestions. Submitted materials become the property of Technology Trends Horizon Communications, Inc. and will not be returned. Send material for publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite 25 Five Tips for Prepping Staff for System Change 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor re- serves the right to edit material; submission of material Sandi Jerome constitutes permission to edit and publish that mate- rial. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice DEPARTMENTS or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. From 4 Digital Dealer E-mail a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Commit- tee of the American Bar Association and a Committee 6 News of Publishers. A PUBLICATION OF C O M M U N I C A T I O N S DD  2   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • How are you Handling your online repuTaTion? BZ has the sTraTegiC plan to help you: • attract more customers • Transact quickly and easily • Convert shoppers into buyers • retain customers for life To learn more: www.bzresults.com simple • online • resulTs 888-260-4906 BZ Results, an ADP, Inc. Company, 2000 Nooseneck Hill Road, Coventry, Rhode Island 02816 ©2010 ADP, Inc. – Dealer Services Group / BZ Results and the BZ Results logo are registered trademarks of ADP, Inc.
    • D IGITAL DEALER MAIL Dealer welcomes your letters and after verification will run them signed or unsigned. Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Decemb er 2009 Hi Chuck Barker, I would like to ask you: Do you know of The Te chnolo gy Ma When I saw the heading of your article in a way that I can get my GSM to understand gazine for De alers & Man agers the December issue of Digital Dealer maga- what I am saying to him? How do I go about Intern Are Yo et Sales: zine, “What Type of Manager are You?”, I this without him thinking I am being conde- or Just u a Creator, page 10 a Bad Prophe t? had to write you. I am in a peculiar situation, scending? Any input you have is welcomed. Online Wants Buyers Hav Also e page 18 and I wanted to ask your advice as it relates Name withheld by request ALOJOSE How to Leads Respond to to your article. the Ri page 20 ght Way Your article was right on point! It’s been Dear Reader, Tech n How to ology Tr Use Cu Find and ends: NSO page 25 stomer Intern better lately, but my GSM often cuts the Sometimes these tough spots we find ourselves Data e-Com net merce salespeople down, often tells them that we in find a way to work themselves out; so be as Jenkin Director s Auto G don’t need them, that we could replace them tolerant as you can given the situation. You be the Group page 18 right away. I have tried several times to tell leader that shows how to do it right by respecting FFICIAL him that if he treats them that way, it will your team, supporting them and continuing to O otive of Autom otive of Autom als Association Profession als Association Profession transfer to the customer. encourage them. Act with positive ‘role model’ Sales Internet Sales online.org Internet AAISP line.or g www.AAISPon www. N UB L I C AT I O P Recently the management staff had a meet- like behavior with everyone you come in contact ing with the dealer, and he feels the same way with. Manage the way you would a. want to How do I go about it, without him thinking I ironically as your article illustrates. We should be managed and b. the way other managers am being condescending?” pump them (salespeople) up, make them feel should manage. In view of the fact that your dealer has we are here to catch them if they fall. I also The actions of your GSM can catch on with shown positive inclination toward his people, want to be able to explain why our new car other managers who then find themselves treat- he would be your best ally in your quest to get deals are down. They are down partly because ing their people the same way. So stay resilient things improved. I would begin by printing times are tough and the salespeople don’t want to your professional cause. my article and any others supporting this solid to work for 100.00 mini deals. But, mostly it’s Let’s have a look at your question for me: leadership behavior and give him a copy and because when you tear down the salespeople “Do you know of a way that I can get my suggest that this should and could be our store’s daily, you can’t expect them to be motivated GSM to understand what I am saying to him, culture. Request he read it at a sales management and pumped up to take the next customer. is exactly what you talk about in your article? meeting to set the leadership expectations bar for all his stores. This way everyone is in the loop. I would gently explain to him that (without any names) you have witnessed salespeople being treated disrespectfully and you know the store can only grow its people when they are respected and professionally treated. Next, your friend the GSM should be spoken to as a friend would, referring to the articles and suggesting together you guys vow to make a positive change. Then, announce it at a sales meeting to the team. I have found that salespeople typically forgive the people who have offended them when an apology is submitted for their past behavior and promise to become more professional in their interactions with them going forward. Warmest regards, Chuck Barker Send letters to: 2000 Town Center • Suite 1900 • Southfield, MI 48075 FAX: (248) 351-2699 • e-mail: cbanks@dealer-communications.com DD 4   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • There’s a Reason Why More Top Dealers Choose Dealer.com... “In simple numbers we went from a site that was converting at a rate of two percent, and now we are converting at thirteen percent. The functionality of the site and the ability to convert visitors into leads has been beyond what our initial goals were.” Alan Krutsch Director of Marketing Walser Auto Group SEARCH MARKETING | DEALER WEBSITES | LEAD MANAGEMENT | PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS 888.785.5418 | www.dealer.com | sales@dealer.com 2010 Top Rated Web Provider 2009 Net Promoter® 2009 Deloitte’s DrivingSales.com Score Survey Technology Fast 500 Top Awards for Websites, Top customer service ranking in the Ranked number #214 SEO, and Internet Lead nation’s software industry fastest growing company Management (second only to Adobe Systems) in North America
    • D IGITAL DEALER TECH NEWS giving dealers immediate access to potential vehicle condition issues on www.manheim. com, including OVE.com and Manheim Black Book introduces Simulcast. addition to Activator’s The AutoCheck snapshot features a quick Advanced Conversion and easy view of the potential issues in a vehi- Toolkit cle’s history, directly from online presale list- Polk launches automotive Black Book’s Online Division announced ings, and gives dealers the option to purchase lists online full AutoCheck reports. Having access to this the introduction of a new product enhance- R. L. Polk & Co. has launched Automotive important vehicle history information helps ment that boosts leads already coming from Lists Online, a new web-based system that dealers make better decisions in buying the its Activator sales conversion tool by up to enables dealers and direct marketing agencies right vehicles at the right value and gives their 30%. Activator’s Advanced Conversion to quickly order highly-effective automotive customers confidence that their inventories Toolkit has been enhanced with the addition marketing lists for use in vehicle sales and are safe and reliable. of Activator using new technology to generate service marketing campaigns. The new online “The combination of Manheim’s data and high-impact pop-ups that give website shop- list ordering system identifies consumers that AutoCheck’s industry-recognized vehicle his- pers incentives to get a value for their trades are most likely to own a particular brand of tory reports will give dealers a new level of and make dealership appointments. vehicle, who are in the market to purchase a buying intelligence with quick, easy access to Conversion results to date show that, specific vehicle and who are likely to spend the information they need,” said Scott Waldron, because these shoppers are seeking trade-in within a particular budget amount, among president, Experian Automotive. “Working values, they are close to making a buying other criteria. with Manheim allows us to bring a consistent decision. Activator uncovers them, identifies “We created this system to make list order- them, allows the dealer to contact them and ing faster and more efficient for our custom- close the sale. ers,” said Laura Murray, product strategist at Black Book’s online products currently Polk. “Three product packages are currently appear on over 7,000 dealership and available, based on our most popular and manufacturer web sites around the coun- requested Total Market Predictor list combi- try. Activator has proven to increase leads nations—vehicle ownership by make; vehicle coming from dealership web sites by up to ownership by make, plus in-market timing; repository of reliable, auction-announced infor- 50% with average closing rates of 15%. The and vehicle ownership by make, plus year mation to used-vehicle dealers.” 30% increase delivered with this “Advanced model.” As part of its renewed relationship with Conversion Toolkit” enhancement is in addi- Five additional packages are under develop- Manheim, Experian’s AutoCheck will con- tion to Activator’s traditional results. ment that will target likely motorcycle owners tinue to incorporate Manheim’s auction- “Over a period of several months, our cus- and individuals by automotive service prefer- announced information, such as frame or tomers taking part in our initial pilot program ence – those who prefer to do the servicing unibody damage, into its vehicle history experienced a significant lift in the number themselves and others who would rather take reports. This information has been found of web site leads generated from their web their vehicle in for service. to be among the most important aspects of sites,” said Mike McFall, Black Book Division Automotive Lists Online also enables users a vehicle’s history that used-car buyers want president. “When our customers are success- to enrich their lists with an array of data ele- to know before making a purchase. ful, we’re successful,” he concluded. ments such as Target Score Predictor, eth- “Manheim is dedicated to providing its www.BlackBookUSA.com nicity/language preference, household age, customers with the information they need income and marital status. The system offers to make smart vehicle purchases,” said Nick Experian Automotive Peluso, senior vice president of customer man- free customer file uploads (e.g. dealer file sup- pression) which enables users to de-dupe a expands vehicle data agement, Manheim. “Building on our exist- prospecting file in order to obtain pure pros- service offerings with ing relationship with Experian Automotive pects or target only their current customers helps ensure that dealers have access to the Manheim best information to determine the right according to certain attributes, such as likeli- hood to be in-market. Experian Automotive has enhanced its vehicles for their inventories.” Automotive Lists Online can be accessed vehicle data service offerings with Manheim, www.experianautomotive.com directly at http://automotivelists.polk.com. a leading provider of vehicle remarketing ser- www.manheim.com vices. In addition to providing auction data to Experian’s AutoCheck reporting service, a free vehicle history snapshot will now be offered, DD  6   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • “ “ We’ve got the best Nissan website in the Nashville market! -Mike Rezi, Internet Department Manager, Newton Nissan of Gallatin Are you getting the same results with your current website provider? The tactics we use to build dealers’ SEO campaigns have proven to deliver high visibility for our customers, such as Newton Nissan of Gallatin. A Dealerskins website guarantees that car shoppers can not only easily find your dealership online, but also quickly find the vehicles they’re looking for through our specially-designed user interface. Nothing engages online car shoppers better than a Dealerskins website. Shift gears with a Dealerskins website TODAY. www.dealerskins.com/digital 866.751.7444
    • D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES Cliff Banks Automotive Retail and Technology – Recipe for Riches T here might not be a more fun industry hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s likely we’ll see more blockbuster deals than automotive retail technology. Other companies, such as ADP Dominion , this year. Investors again are looking hard at If you have a good idea and a little and DealerTrack have been buyers, adding to the automotive retail space and some of the bit of luck you might hit it big sooner than their portfolio of services. larger firms have money to spend. you think. I’ll often ask new players in the space about It’s an indication of the growing confidence A lot of it has to do with technology. Prior their plans for getting acquired. Typically, that automotive is a fundamentally strong to the Internet, innovation in the automo- they’ll recoil and insist their goal is to build sector that will continue to grow in the next tive space was slow and steady. But once the a great product. No doubt, that’s true. But couple of years. web hit the mainstream in the mid-to late getting into this space to build a company The collapse of the auto industry the last ‘90s, young people -- restless, dreaming of only to turn around and sell it is not a bad 20 months kept many deals from happening. building the next big thing -- jumped into thing. It’s called capitalism. In fact, a couple of big deals close to being the automotive retail space. done fell apart at the finish line in fall of 2008. And hit it big, they did. Remember some of Right now, it’s a bunch of rumors. As a rule, these names? Mark Campbell sold StonAge. I do not report on rumors involving specific com to Autobytel, took his millions and built “Once the web hit the firms. However, there is a growing trend the a mansion somewhere on the west coast. We mainstream in the mid-to last few months of technology-type companies haven’t heard from him since. that are either on the market or are looking Jon Christiansen and Greg Baszuki basically late ‘90s, young people to add to their portfolios. created InvoiceDealer.com while eating pizza Investors are getting itchy trigger fingers in the living room with $150,000 from family – restless, dreaming of and the pressure is building too for firms to and friends in 1999. In 2004, they sold Dealix get something done. These companies are (renamed from InvoiceDealers) to Cobalt for building the next big sitting on a lot of money and would like to fill more than $60 million. holes in their product solutions. That means Sean Wolfington is another name that thing – jumped into the over the course of this year the industry likely belongs in the pantheon of people who have will see some interesting, and potential block- either created or jumped on board early with automotive retail space.” buster deals occur. a company only to sell it for millions later. —Cliff Banks The landscape on the technology side likely His family was influential in creating Cyber will look much at the end of 2010 than it did Car and AutoMark which it sold to Reynolds I often hear how the automotive retail space at the end of 2009. Stay tuned, this could be and Reynolds in 2001 for a rumored price is behind other industries with its adoption of a fun year. that exceeded $100 million. Wolfington then technology. While dealers tend to be cautious joined with BZ Results and sold it to ADP in – and rightfully so -- our industry has been 2006 for a reported $125 million. a great laboratory of ideas and is far ahead of Wolfington is back, this time as chairman most industries comprised of small businesses. of the board for VinSolutions. There’s no Being an industry that entrepreneurs secret the gameplan is to build it up, get as and investors find attractive only serves to many customers as possible and then sell. bring better products and solutions to the Cliff Banks These are just a few examples. The last dealership. decade was a golden age for firms supply- The unbelievable success the last several Vice President and ing services and solutions to franchised car years that technology companies experienced Editorial Director dealers. It was either get acquired or get big. in the automotive retail space continues to Companies such as AutoTrader.com and Cars. attract both big name investors and the com went big and now have revenues in the smaller angel investors. DD 8   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • I know exactly what the Internet says I should pay for your car. Know It All. Consumers Do. With 88% of consumers starting their shopping process online, “Instant Experts” are everywhere. Today’s pre-owned buyers often know more than the “pros” selling the car. Now, you can level the playing field. INSTANTLY. Call 800-730-5665 or visit us at the 8th Digital Dealer Conference, Booth #725 and find out how the revolutionary new sales solution exclusively from FirstLook can help you start closing more customers, more profitably— with higher customer satisfaction—today! www.FirstLookSolutions.com 800-730-5665
    • D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Tom Mohr Selling Cars in the Post-Control World T he battle is over. The customer now response will imperil the deal and frustrate customer. She has powerful tools at her dis- controls the car-buying process, and the customer. posal to publicly vent that frustration, to the it is up to the dealer to support, advise Further, the successful dealer understands dealer’s great harm. In the Internet’s public and encourage the customer along the way to that it’s not enough to just respond with a square, ratings and reviews travel to every the sale. Dealer actions that seek to control price quote. The second principle of today’s corner of the dealer’s market, propelled by the process — such as hiding information — digital ecosystem is the power of speed. When Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and thousands of simply don’t work anymore. a customer requests information from a other sites. Through the Wisdom of Crowds a Dealers must come to terms with three key dealer, she wants it quickly. Speed of price disaffected customer (and especially many dis- realities of today’s digital ecosystem: quote response has been shown to correlate affected customers) can profoundly impact a • Consumers have instant access to the highly to increased sales, especially when dealer’s business by essentially counter-adver- world’s information. achieved within 10 minutes. tising: alerting other prospective customers to • Speed is key. the dealer’s poor business practices. • The wisdom of crowds is accessible by all. “In the Internet’s public This new digital reality has fundamentally The first principle of today’s digital eco- changed the game. In this brave new world, system is the accessibility of information. square, ratings and dealer business success rides on a well-built Google-empowered consumers have access reviews travel to every reputation, which in turn rides on the favor- to all the data they need to make a purchase able impression of past and current customers, decision. Often, consumers are better armed corner of the dealer’s which in turn rides on the dealer’s ability than dealers. This simple fact cuts the legs out to support and facilitate the customer’s car- from under the traditional view of how cars market, propelled by buying process with transparency, prompt- should be sold. Under the traditional view, the ness, fair pricing and good service. In a very key is to hide information until the customer Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo real sense, each deal is much more than just is in the dealer’s clutches. In the worst forms a deal. Yes, a car was either purchased or not. of this approach, the up is bagged, tagged and thousands But under either scenario, a second dynamic and dragged through a Fargo-style sales pro- is in play. Was the customer satisfied with cess, “controlled” by the dealer at every step. of other sites.” the experience or not? On that, the dealer’s Most dealers have progressed beyond these —Tom Mohr reputation—and his business future—hang. extremes, but remnants of the traditional approach linger. For instance, only 38% of Yet 25% of all leads don’t get answered Tom Mohr is CEO of ResponseLogix, and has dealers share the price when first requested, at all, according to Cobalt, and the average worked closely with auto dealers for 25 years. according to JD Power. Twenty-five percent response time on those that do is over five Prior to ResponseLogix, Mohr was president of of dealers will never share the price until the hours. Following up with a phone call within Knight Ridder Digital, where he was on the customer is on the lot. an hour is also key, but only 25% of all leads board of Cars.com. The problem is that such an approach no receive any call at all. longer works. The Internet customer will keep Lack of transparency and poor, slow If you wish to discuss this article with the dealer at arm’s length until the dealer has response to Internet requests comprise twin other dealers, or with the author, please won her trust. To win that trust, she expects threats to a dealer. It’s not just the lost deal: go to the “Discussion Forums” at www. transparency. If a customer requests the price, such practices can cost the dealer his reputa- Dealer-communications.com and enter the successful dealer understands that the tion. Which brings us to the third key prin- the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail customer has shared her request with mul- ciple of today’s digital ecosystem: dealers must him at tmohr@Dealer-communications. tiple dealers — he’s now on trial — and to respect the power of the Wisdom of Crowds. com. do anything other than send a price quote Consider the danger of the frustrated DD 10   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • List It Like You Mean It! HomeNet’s fully integrated, end-to-end marketing solutions help the automotive industry to sell more cars and save time. Inventory Online (IOL) Internet Marketing Suite Our flagship IOL platform turns every car on the lot Title Sponsor into a richly compelling, online point-of-presence— and a gateway into your showroom. HomeNet’s award winning IOL includes DMS polling, enhanced VIN decoding, unlimited photos, price analysis, automated distribution to hundreds of 3rd-party sites, and more! Engage more shoppers and turn them into buyers with over a dozen best-in-class solutions, like these: IOL Video Online IOL Hosting & Virtual Garage Integrated Price Analysis Interactive multimedia marketing Search engine optimized (SEO) Real-time market comparisons with Video-To-Pictures, voiceovers, vehicle display pages with Virtual with millions of vehicles and live video options Garage vehicle bookmarking in your local area 610-738-3313 homenetauto.com salesteam@homenetauto.com
    • D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Rob Lange Take Video Off the ‘To Do’ List F or many dealers the message is becom- many of us will not even consider viewing million U.S. visitors viewed 31 billion ing clear that it’s time to get video off an ad unless it has photos. It’s that instinc- videos in just one month according to the “to do” list and onto the Internet tive disregard that tells you that you need comScore; this is up from 146 million visi- to capitalize on what customers have dem- to take the extra step by providing video, tors and 12.7 billion videos from the same onstrated is their preferred method of receiv- or again risk being viewed as irrelevant. timeframe in 2008. ing information. The customer once again has demonstrated According to Ad Age, for dealerships A recent panel of automotive marketing their desire for a medium that has become looking to build their brands online, video experts unanimously agreed the biggest chal- mainstream. represents a low-cost, low-risk way to con- lenge facing dealers this year will be finding While TV has provided the consumer nect with in-market consumers in the chan- ways to sell more cars while spending less. with information in the past, online videos nel where they will do the majority of their By being aware and taking advantage of have become more impactful. The big dif- product research. Recognizing this, six-in-10 this consumer buying trend, you’ll have a ference between TV and online video is car dealers say they will incorporate videos chance to do both. that information viewed via TV is more on their web sites and in marketing efforts What we have here is a natural progres- likely to cause the customer to make a because the effect of the dynamic content sion similar to 12 years ago, when it was first mental note and continue watching their of video has proven to engage customers suggested that dealers include a photo of the program, while after viewing an online video longer, more often and effectively. advertised vehicle in their online classified they are already in front of their computer, The fact is that there is a monster oppor- advertisement. have searched for specific information and tunity out there and you need to be part of Many at the time questioned the value, are poised to take action. It’s the dynamic it. The customer has spoken. although it was what the customers told content in videos that cause customers to What if the additional exposure increases us they wanted. From there, to stay visibly stay on sites longer, view more inventory the time customers spend on your website relevant, it evolved and became necessary than originally intended, and in many viewing inventory, ultimately motivating to include multiple photos to meet the cases, contact the dealership to gain more them to buy from your dealership? You demands of online shoppers. Today, many information, visit the dealership or make could spend more time selling to proven dealers include 30 to 40 photos, providing an immediate purchase. in-market car shoppers, instead of trying a graphic walk-around of the car. We’ve now If you’re still hesitant, take a look at this to find them. become so conditioned as customers that information. In November 2009, 170.6 Do nothing, and you’ll lose sales to the 60% of dealers who are posting videos. It’s time to get video off your “to do” list and onto the Internet so they can help you sell more cars. Rob Lange is the national sales training direc- tor for Kelley Blue Book. If you wish to discuss this article with other dealers, or with the author, please go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.Dealer-communications.com and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him at rlange@Dealer- communications.com. DD 12   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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    • D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Joe Webb It’s a Performance – Make Sure Everyone Knows Their Roles F or dealers, your the starting salary is noted, as well as mid-range known that we often work insane hours. store often (and high) expectations for the position. If That being said, it is necessary to assign tells the story applicable, specify commissions, performance specific work hours expected for the posi- of your life. This is especially true for those bonuses, percentage of profit, and any potential tion and include the dealership’s operating second- and third-generation dealers. Every raises for long-term employment. hours as well. day, your dealership puts on a show for the Purpose of the position ‘And other duties assigned’ consumer. The customers are your audience Specify the objectives of the position. This The beauty of the car business is that no and you are the director. When you open the section allows you to place a little weight on two days are the same. Every customer is dif- doors, you are pulling back the curtain for all their shoulders and makes them understand ferent and each day there is a new circumstance to see. You’ve brought in the cast and paid their how important of a role they play in the overall to handle or concern to assuage. Including wages. Now, are you sure everyone knows what success of the dealership and the team. “and other duties assigned” tells the employees they are supposed to do? While we hire talent Job description/list of duties they are responsible for those random chores to run our dealerships, we don’t always guide Beginning with the most important tasks that essentially help “take care of business.” them with written job descriptions. We must. first, list every duty required of them to per- Hopefully, we are all hiring those candidates “Places, everyone, places,” the director form their position. As the list continues, detail that are looking to take on more responsibil- shouts. You have put everyone in position, what their role is in the completion of each ity and willing to fill up that rare free time but can you ensure your cast understands what task. Are they simply delegating the work and during the day with goal-oriented objectives needs to be done? ensuring it is done or is it their personal respon- on their own. Many of your sales managers and service sibility to complete it? This statement of duties should be pro- writers have been given the title and respon- Hierarchy and team vided to every new employee on day one sibility because they’ve succeeded on the sales Define who they will be reporting to and to overcome any unforeseen conflicts in the floor or as a service tech. They’ve filled in what individuals will be reporting directly future. After all, it is usually the bad perfor- during the absences of other managers and to them. Many new employees come in mance from an employee that causes the store excelled. When promoted, though, few are with the expectation that due to their title to lose a sale or valuable customer, but in the given quality-written job descriptions detail- of manager, everyone without the title of end, it will be you who shoulders the blame. ing what their position entails because we feel manager reports to them. This can be a sen- Preparing written, detailed job descriptions they already know what is asked of them. Or sitive situation in those dealerships where for every position in the dealership (no matter perhaps a job description wasn’t provided solely the Internet department team reports how big or how small) provides total account- because many don’t know what to include. solely to their director and that director ability because they now “know their role.” A job description simply states the roles reports to the general manager only. It is With their roles clearly defined, you are and responsibilities required of the position, best to clarify this “structure” of the depart- setting them up on a path for success. As the along with a reporting structure and details ments upfront so there is no confusion director, you’ve given them their lines, their involving hours and expectations. It should and specify who is on their “team.” New blocking, and all of the notes necessary for address future questions, employees’ potential employees understanding their supervisory them to perform for the public day in and for growth/earnings, functions of the job, skills role is imperative to their success and the day out. The rest is up to them to put on a needed, and how actions will be conducted. streamlined processes you’ve created within good show. Job title your dealership. Confirm the title of their position. Ideal candidate/skills needed Joe Webb is the president of DealerKnows LLC, an Representative, associate, consultant, special- The new employees must be told the skills automotive digital marketing consultation firm. ist, coordinator, manager, and director all mean they are going to need to be successful in the different things to different people. Having the position. If there are certain solutions, software, job title spelled out will deter them from asking or programs that are imperative they know If you wish to discuss this article with for a special designating word on their business going in, it is best to detail it here. If they are to other dealers, or with the author, please cards (i.e. the ever-popular “sales specialist” have completed certain tasks during their past go to the “Discussion Forums” at www. being chosen over “sales representative.”) experiences, describe how the ideal candidate Dealer-communications.com and enter Salary range for the position will utilize those abilities. the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him This serves as a reference guide to compa- Hours at jwebb@Dealer-communications.com. rable salaries within the industry. Make sure We’re in the auto industry and it is well DD 14   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Phil Sura Driving Better Closing Results Experts share their closing secrets T he close is the ultimate measure- Rather than forcing X number of calls, the the lead provider generates traffic to the Jim ment of the effectiveness of a sales focus and pay was directed to shows and Ellis sites, those leads hold more value which process. Retailers around the world closes. Both measurements jumped. Show is factored into the analysis. Those providers, go through countless steps to drive interest ratio jumped from 42% to 63% and the clos- responsible for driving web traffic, will receive in their product but it is wasted energy if it ing ratio moved from 33% to 52% (close/ some additional grace. Wayne also considers doesn’t translate into sales. Really nice and show). Follow up on every lead (presently the true value of the lead providers before cut- talented Internet directors lose their jobs every at five attempts in 21 days…with a goal of ting them off. If the closing ratio is low, AND month when they forget that their responsi- nine attempts). they are not sending traffic, those providers bility is to push unit sales. • Long-term follow-up of the unsold leads. are fired quickly. Quality leads are critical to There is not one standard within the indus- This included a series of e-mails based on the the Jim Ellis team. try for metrics beyond the basics; close by current status of the client and scheduled The Mile One team consists of 65 dealer- lead source and a monthly budget. What is a reminders for outbound call follow-up (180 ships in the northeast. The better Mile One good closing ratio today? Should a dealership days). dealerships exceed 20% with their closing determine a cost per close per lead provider Bottom line: the Chevrolet dealership in ratios. The group tracks in excess of 15%. The and cut off providers that do not meet a cer- 2008 delivered 454 units from 9,141 leads goal of the group, according to David Metter, tain minimum standard? If I have the budget, with five BDRs. In 2009, the same dealership is to drive organic and VIN specific leads for should I simply continue to buy leads to drive delivered 460 units from 4,165 leads with two each dealership. David and his team devel- sales? Are there tools to help? These questions BDRs. The additional nine dealerships for oped strategies to cut out the fat by developing were given to a group of directors. the Hubler group consolidated leads to the metrics that allow them to score leads with Diane Anderson is e-commerce director at two BDRs at the Chevrolet dealership in July. 50 data points. One company supporting Hubler Automotive Group in Indianapolis. For the second half of 2009, those additional the Mile One team is RL Polk, which devel- Diane was hired as the BDC manager for 2,851 leads accounted for an additional 294 oped a lead scoring tool. Metter compares it Hubler Chevrolet in February 2009 and deliveries (10%). to buying individual stocks. You would not was then promoted to take over the group Wayne Ussery is the e-commerce director invest money in a company without some in June and create a centralized BDC. The for the Jim Ellis Group in Atlanta. type of analysis. Metter wants to have the Chevrolet closing ratio moved from 5% to Wayne considers a cumulative close rate ability to focus on the people most likely to 15% (recent months) while the group (10 of 10 % to be the floor. The Jim Ellis Group buy and he wants to know what the best stores) is now averaging 11%. Diane actually strives for higher percentages, but most stores possible match is for a prospect (type of unit, accomplished this while cutting both staff and average 9-12% for a close rate against total price…). This approach has also cut turnover ineffective lead providers. Her staff includes leads. All leads must be tracked to accurately with Internet salespeople to 3%-4%. “If you two full-time business development represen- get a true ratio. Wayne does not believe that have a stable sales team, you can always get tatives (BDR) and one part-time employee. a true closing ratio is a diluted top number. better closing ratios,” according to Metter. If Third party providers were cancelled for poor Some dealerships for example have a practice you can provide the salespeople quality leads performance and to streamline the current of deleting out of market customers. Wayne with a good pay plan, people stay. The Mile initiatives. “It made more sense to get the also includes phone leads, tracked by sales One team has performed well at being process department up to par before wasting money people gathering data and inputting into the oriented and tactical with their approach to on leads that were not being managed cor- CRM system, as well as chat sessions. e-commerce. rectly,” stated Diane. The Ellis Group does break out closing Apple Auto Group is based in the Diane initially focused on producing a ratios by lead source. They monitor the cost Minneapolis area and it includes two Ford quality process in the following areas: per sale, as well as the “trending closing ratio”. dealerships and a third location for pre- • Management of the leads as they came “We make the choice to cut off a lead source owned. Michael Groves is the e-commerce into the CRM tool (Auto Jockey) when the trending reaches a low, sometimes director. The group has a minimal accept- • Phone skills with inbound opportunities based on just closing ratio, but other factors able performance goal of 10.5% for their • Phone skills for outbound follow-up are also considered,” according to Wayne. If closing rate. The expectation is 12.5% with DD 16   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • 15% being a stretch goal. This includes all you to make smart decisions on where to coming in on an appointment special. Internet, phone, and live chat leads com- invest your marketing dollars. Michael also 4. The goal should not just be grabbing bined. Michael also grades his staff on how believes that it is imperative to break out data any lead provider that you can find. Higher many leads to appointments are set as well as including closing ratios by lead provider. Any volume doesn’t always lead to a better depart- appointments set to show. The BDC’s job is lead provider over a cost of $200 per sale is ment. You may frustrate your team by provid- to get the maximum amount of customers in the red and they may be cancelled. Some ing leads that add little value. through the door as possible. When a guest providers may be higher than $200 but are 5. Develop a means to score the leads. gets to the dealership the hand off process has a necessity to hit certain volume levels. One 6. Focus on quality. As in the case of to be streamlined and consistent to ensure provider for example was slightly more than Hubler, you may need to take a step back- a maximum level of customer service. All $200 per sold unit but that provider was spe- wards to get the basics in place before moving set appointments are confirmed by a sales cifically tied to the sale of 27 units. The Apple forward. manager. The customer is then greeted by team will still bend on this formula for good 7. Seek knowledge. It is only hard if you that sales manager and introduced to the sales business. The end result is that Michael’s team refuse to improve. Attend the next Digital consultant. The sales consultant is responsible delivered 166 units (only e-commerce deals) Dealer Conference, read the magazine, for starting and warming up the VIN specific during the month of December from 988 and subscribe to a blog (Digital Dealer unit that the guest is interested in looking at. leads for a 16.67% closing ratio. This placed will be starting a blog and you can join This also includes confirming that the car Apple Ford 50th in ranking for ecommerce Dealer Refresh). has fuel and that it is ready for a test drive, sales for all Ford dealerships. to ensure a good guest experience. Phil Sura is a VP of the Automotive Division All Internet leads are tracked into their Here are some suggestions: of UnityWorks Media. Autobase CRM. The dealership also tracks 1. Develop a process that tracks all leads. sales calls which are routed into a global Don’t eliminate leads to make your numbers If you wish to discuss this article with BDC. All calls are uploaded to the BRM look artificially high. You will never know if other dealers, or with the author, tool for notes and they are followed up for you are doing a good job. please go to the “Discussion Forums” 180 days. Michael believes that you need to 2. Track the performance of each lead at www.Dealer-communications.com have a source of truth for all data to ensure the provider and set store standards with closing and enter the “Internet Sales” forum least amount of data error. Accurate data with ratios and cost per sold unit. or e-mail him at psura@Dealer- notes, e-mail history and the source allows 3. Develop a process which treats guests communications.com. CAR-ResearchXRM_halfpage2.pdf 1 3/16/2010 11:13:51 AM Introducing XRM...Your Single-Source Solution Visit at Booth #903 at the 8th Annual Digital Dealer Conference Real-time Showroom Internet lead Smart CallTrak integration control manager Response manager service drive auto trade Mobile xrm eCsi Social CRM control manager online Service Scheduler Auto desk iCRM auto alerts unsold research Hands down the best CRM tool we have ever used, bar none. The vendors we used in the past don’t come close. Shahin Salehoun (GSM), Fred Haas Toyota World Revenue finder enterprise Automated Web Sites Dealer dialer reporting targeted marketing For more information about XRM, call 888.583.0956 or send an e-mail to kkubicki@car-research.com 5005 West 34th Street, Suite 200 | Houston, TX 77092 | www.CARRESEARCHXRM.com   DigitalDealer-magazine.com   April 2010 DD 17 
    • COVER STORY Joshua Fichter Director of Operations Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford DD  18   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • Number one for two years among Ford dealerships in Internet sales, Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford in North Richland Hills, TX, and the group’s other two stores in Carrollton and Lewisville, are some of the most respected dealerships in the country. Joshua Fichter, director of operations for the North Richland Hills dealership credits support from the senior management and an attitude of constant learning as the reasons the three stores are so successful. Tell us how you goT inTo This business. how many sales we lost, because I had too their Internet departments into the BDC – Well, I got into the car business on a bet many leads, I couldn’t follow-up properly. which we never did. with my parents back in 1996. They wanted I was handling 200-250 leads a month by me to get out of what they called a ‘dead-end’ myself and selling the car cradle to grave. There are different ways to handle leads. job and try car selling. I said okay as long as So, it wasn’t real good, a lot of it was if the We have always been a cradle to the grave long as they would pay my bills if I failed at customer never responded, I never responded store with our Internet department. Our guys it. Low and behold, 15 years later and I am and that was just reality. — with the exception of signing the customer still waiting to cash in on paying my bills. up in finance — do everything, from the first When did you start adding staff? contact, to the demos, to the negotiation to I started with Allan Vigil Ford in Atlanta Over the course of time, it appeared we everything else. So, you can’t handle as many and sold there for 18 months. Then I moved needed additional people. Also, my wife was leads as a business development center. We to Texas where my family was at the time going to have our first child. So, I asked them didn’t feel like moving it to a stand alone to work for Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford in who was going to replace me for that time. business development center where you had February of 1998 as a retail floor salesperson. the callers was the right way to go. But I know In August of 1998, they asked me if I wanted They asked who I wanted. I told them, a lot of dealerships who do it successfully. to try Internet sales. I said sure, what was it? Kelly Blackwell, and they agreed. They said well, there’s the computer and you We use Dealer Socket as our lead manage- go figure it out, so that’s what I did. Kelly sat down in front of the computer ment tool, and all of the leads come in to an and said, ‘Okay, tell me about the Internet, e-mail address. We can manage all of our Why do you think they asked you to do I’ve never been on it before.’ He proceeded leads and follow up by source, so based on that? to sell 29 and a half cars that month. We still the source it is coming into we can manage I was the type of salesperson who was joke about that today, because the Internet is and see how easily different sources perform. always looking for a prospect to hand out not about technical, it is still sales. We have a complete follow-up process for 180 postcards to people whose cars would be days from when a lead comes in. coming up. And I was always the type of It was off to the races then. person who would grab those and work them. Our numbers more than doubled immedi- What do you see as being a big challenge I think a lot of it had to do with how they saw ately in March of 2000. If you have the right still for dealers? me from a follow-up standpoint. I’m not a number of people working, with the right Having been involved with Internet sales now techie person, but I have some technical skills. number of leads and follow up, in general for 12 years, I see dealers still having problems Also, it is just my nature to take something on you are going to sell more cars. putting the right number of people to the right that is a little different. I worked the process number of leads that they are getting. What to get the customer to visit the store. We added our third person in January that number is, opinions vary. There is cer- 2001. I left internet as my focus to start a tainly something to be said if you have someone That was the early the days of the Web. business development center here at the deal- handling 80 leads a month, and you’re doing Yes, that was back in the day when every ership in the start of 2002. Since then, our a front-to-back process, then they’ve got too Internet customer had a 700 beacon score Internet department has grown to 11 internet many leads. If they are just the person on the and cash to plop down, and was willing to sales managers with a full-time director. And, phone, they can handle a whole lot more leads. pay for the convenience of buying online. It I’m still not certain we have enough people, was a different time. especially with some conversations we have You’ve expanded beyond just being an had in the past couple of days. Internet sales guy. But, like a lot of dealers, the management I moved into business development for five at Five Star wanted the proof ahead of time. How do you handle the Internet leads? years, trying several scenarios. We’ve had big So, I was a one-man show for a year and a A lot of dealerships went with Ford on the staffs, smaller staffs, a mix of salespeople, then half. Hindsight being 20/20, there’s no telling business development center idea and rolled just salespeople.   DigitalDealer-magazine.com   April 2010 DD 19 
    • Then in February of 2008, we started on a new path, which is the Director of Operations title. It involves the sales side right now and working through on processes and how we can leverage technology to help us more, that kind of stuff. What are you looking to do this year? We are looking at the buzz words right now — social networking, and online repu- tation management. I have a person whose only focus is managing the social networking, ensuring that we have constant contact and content going out. But it’s not sales content — its content to stay in front of customers. We‘re quickly building that up and for the potential to reach people we have never reached before. If you look at the statistics, if Joshua Fichter credits support from the senior management and an attitude you have 2,000 fans, and all of them have an of constant learning as the reasons the three stores are so successful. average of 180 friends, with the right message and the right people getting involved, you could reach nearly 360,000 people with a to four different Digital Dealer Conferences, As you look back on the last several years, message for free. So, I think, there is a lot of and April will be our fifth. We just returned what is the one or two things that you potential in that, and we are wrapping our from another training. We are constantly look back on and shake your head and heads around that. listening and talking and seeing what other ask, ‘What was I thinking?’ people are doing, because we aren’t going to Well, I have one. We saw the trend of sales You’re also focusing on reputation think of everything ourselves. Even though going down and made the mistake of cutting management. our numbers are good, we aren’t as good as the number of people we had in the Internet We have been working with DealerRater. we think we are. That is just human nature. department. com for about two weeks. We are just right It is always good to step back and evaluate. now getting our hands wrapped around It wasn’t drastic – we were down one person. online reputation management. I think a lot Are you using the web to market your fixed Not having that one person caused our closing of dealers are getting into that, and what is operations department? ratios to go down on top of losing sales. So, we the right way to do it? I don’t know if anyone We haven’t done much of that in the past. got caught up with this negative syndrome. knows the right way right now. We do run multipoint inspections service ads on the local newspaper site just to build Although sales did go down overall nation- We’re also launching a new website for all awareness. We also e-mail consumers who ally, the percent of retail sales that the Internet of our stores, and a new group site that will haven’t been in for service in the last 6-12 makes up in relation the dealer sales didn’t hopefully be up before this article comes out. months, 12-18 months and over 18 months. go down. In fact it grew. The power of the Internet continues to show us that more and I’m also trying to get away from using lots Sam Pack’s stores have been strong nation- more people are looking for information and of vendors as plug-ins, and move to a digital ally among Ford stores with Internet sales. coming through that Web portal. services provider so to speak. So I can get As far as Ford source leads are concerned, better reporting and analytics. Then we can in 2007 and 2008 the North Richland Hills On the flip side, what was the one thing go to the next phase, which is better advertis- store was number one for Ford-sourced lead you look back on and say, ‘Yea, I know ing, remarketing and behavioral targeting. sales volume. And in 2009 we got edged out what I’m doing.’ Funneling everything through one vendor in the last month by one sale by my good I don’t know if I have ever said that. that can manage all the analytics will give us friends at Galpin Ford. a better idea of what is happening. There are Well there has to be one thing, from the a lot of irons in the fire right now. Our Carrollton store ranked 12th while dealership perspective, you can say, ‘We the Lewisville store finished 16th. took this direction, saw it and jumped on it.’ So, a lot of changes? Well I think that is really 12 years of We are reviewing everything right now. So these were leads that Ford was provid- embracing the Internet as a place to do busi- I think it is good to do that. My Internet ing you? ness rather than fighting it. Tony Pack, our manager will shop other dealers, but it goes Yes, this particular award or ranking is for dealer principal, back in 1995 was one of the beyond that. It stems from support from our leads provided by Ford, which matches leads first dealerships to sign up with Autobytel. He upper management that encourages us to con- in their sales tracking system to sales reported had a vision of the power of the Internet and stantly look for ways to improve. We’ve been by dealers. we have made that come to life. DD  20   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • It has taken several people — me, our sources. We have done away with those. We get a lot of e-mail leads more than Internet director, Kelly Blackwell and man- the phone. The phone rings too, but in agement, to say we need to keep moving Kelly Blackwell came up with this. He would the scheme of things, used car providers, forward. There was a time when Kelly said rather have less leads so he can focus time on Autotrader.com, you’re going to get more he needed more people and I pushed back the quality leads. I think from a buying leads phone calls than e-mail leads, but from a new saying you are just cutting your other people’s standpoint, there will probably be a shift down lead standpoint, and you’re going to get more throats. But, with more people, he got more to leads coming to dealerships via the social e-mail leads than phone calls. I think that is leads and we sold more cars and grew. networking sites. Not that you are going to sell a big difference with used cars. on there, but customers are finding you there. So I guess the biggest part of this is for Tony And then, from a standpoint of the search Are you guys looking at mobile initiatives? Pack and our general manager Terry Rich, engine optimization and marketing, we’ll use We are. Our new site will be optimized and all the way down the team, Internet is our own site to generate leads. for mobile. I just haven’t gotten my head not only a niche market, but it is becoming wrapped around how it is going to work. It more of a mainstream area to participate in What’s your perspective on the type of is coming, but how it plays out at the dealer and we better be doing it and doing it right. information you provide to someone who level, I am not quite certain yet. I know we sends a lead or calls? Do you provide a price need a website that will show up on a phone Management has been great providing the and range of vehicles? the way a customer is going to want to see it. right support. If you embrace it you are going We provide price 100% of the time, and we That is step one. to be successful at it. If you ignore it, then you try our best to offer multiple vehicle options. will get exactly what you put into it We are not afraid to give it to the customer. I Step two, we need to be able to adapt to the still contend that a customer on the Internet way the customer wants to communicate, so When you look short at the term future, wants to do business with the local dealer, as if it is text, make it text. There are going to lots let’s say the next year or two, are you seeing long as the local dealer provides them with of changes as we’ve already seen. Accepting any trends? the service and information in the form that that change is inevitable, and stay with it and I think one of our focuses has been to look they want to receive it. stay a step ahead of it is the goal. at the lead providers that have been providing quality, not quantity. There is a lot of overlap What’s your mix, do you get a lot of e-mail jfichter@dealer-communications.com from major players buying leads from secondary leads, or is it mostly phone? 22mph longer than at the test drive took but thanks to ResponseLogix, he sent out he had planned, five price quotes while he was gone. Immediacy wins! Steal sales from your competitor by responding to internet leads with a multi-vehicle price quote response in 10 minutes, 95% of the time. Nothing has a greater impact on sales than a powerful, positive first impression. ResponseLogix is the robust Digital Dealer Conference marketing solution that will significantly increase your conversion of Stop by Booth 205 and see how you can internet leads to sales, no matter what your sales person is doing. get from Zero to YES in 10 seconds. Visit www.responselogix.com and drive your e-sales. Attend Tom Mohr’s session “Rapid Response: The Key to Doubling Sales.” 031710A_RES_ad_7x4.875_oldlady.indd 1 3/17/10 11:11 AM   DigitalDealer-magazine.com   April 2010 DD 21 
    • D IGITAL Dealer VENDOR PROFILE Robert Berndt, president of Dominion Dealer Solutions is often asked, “What does your company do?” “Almost everything,” is his regular response. “We feature many of the industry’s leading technology brands, names you know by heart – it’s not sur- prising you don’t know Dominion, but you do know our brands.” So, what is Dominion Dealer Solutions? Turns out, it is more than meets the eye. Dominion Dealer Solutions provides technology expertise for most departments in a dealership. From inventory @utoRevenue produces quantifiable results by sending the management to showroom customer management to service right message at the right time through the right channel. retention marketing, Dominion Dealer Solutions presents some Through skilled consultants, innovative systems, networked of the industry’s leading software providers. The list of businesses communications and tools, @utoRevenue drives customer in the Dominion group is impressive: lead generation through retention and loyalty with relevant, consistent, and bi-directional carloan.com; customer relationship management tools through messages. AVV, Autobase, and @utoRevenue; web sites through Dealerskins, XIGroup and Dealer Specialties; inventory management through Dealer Specialties; and industry research through Cross-Sell. Together, these businesses serve more than 60 percent of auto AVV Web Control provides dealers with secure web-based tools dealers nationwide. to convert prospects into repeat customers through a proprietary lead and customer management program. Dominion Enterprises collected these well-known brands in order to offer car dealers unmatched marketing technology tools. “The only thing we don’t offer is a DMS” says Robert Berndt, president of Dominion Dealer Solutions, a division of Carloan.com specializes in delivering high-quality, high-intent Dominion Enterprises, “and that piece doesn’t really fit our core special finance car buyers by utilizing cutting edge lead strength. We’re a marketing technology firm, helping dealers generation and scoring technology. with all of their customer-facing needs.” Truth is, Dominion Dealer Solutions is more than just the sum of its parts. Here’s a rundown of its businesses: Cross-Sell helps dealerships make better inventory decisions, develop effective selling strategies, and find additional finance sources by delivering over 5,000 fully customized vehicle market Autobase offers an entire suite of cutting-edge marketing intelligence reports each month. solutions and time-tested sales processes that drive and close significantly more business in the showroom and service lane. DD  22   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • Dealer Specialties provides a comprehensive suite of inventory DataOne Software offers comprehensive and robust automotive management solutions, websites, Internet marketing tools and dataset support products and services that span all aspects of enhanced vehicle listings distributed online. Dealers can choose the automotive and associated industries. from full-service data collection to industry leading in-house products to manage their inventory, giving them the best value for their changing needs. Working in tandem, The DataCube and SelectQu service over Dealerskins delivers visually-engaging and search engine 12,000 dealerships nationwide. The DataCube Software Solution optimized automotive websites that convert car shoppers into is specially created to help dealerships sell cars and book service car buyers through the use of consumer-centric products, easy- appointments online. SelectQu is a bi-directional data transfer to-use-tools and superior customer support. program managing in excess of 100,000 daily data transfers at over 12,000 dealerships. XIGroup provides cost-effective websites and superior customer service to franchise and independent car dealers. XIGroup offers a unique blend of customizable designs, easy to use tools, and search engine expertise.   DigitalDealer-magazine.com   April 2010 DD 23 
    • In the fall of 2008, Robert Berndt, who Berndt began to make changes. throughout the lifetime of the customer had recently assumed leadership of this Working closely with the businesses’ / dealer relationship. newly formed division, faced a challenge. management teams, he began to For the previous three years, Dominion reorganize for optimal customer service, XIGroup customers have also benefited Enterprises had engaged in a buying invested in technology and marketing from an inventory integration project spree, plucking some of the best providers infrastructure, and changed the name of with Dealer Specialties. In response to in automotive marketing technology. the division. The decentralized Dominion requests from customers that needed “The goal was to allow these businesses automotive group became Dominion more frequent updates on their websites to thrive as individual, standalone Dealer Solutions. This name more closely to reflect pricing and availability changes, businesses, providing them with R&D reflected the essence of the division XIGroup worked with Dealer Specialties resources and some basic administrative – providing integrated marketing to develop real-time inventory updates oversight,” says Berndt. But, the industry technology and expertise to car dealers. for all joint customers. Dealers now was nose-diving, and the buying habits But, the individual brands would remain do not have to worry about manually of clients were changing. Dealers were independent. “Our primary strength is updating their website with mid-day increasingly opting to work with as few our expertise within these businesses. price and inventory changes. Those vendors as possible. The existing line-up We do not want to compromise their changes on a dealer’s XIGroup website of businesses forced customers to work entrepreneurial talent or diminish their are seamlessly done through the Dealer with each, individual business – not an brands in any way,” says Berndt. He Specialties IVM tool in real time, making ideal customer service arrangement. continues, “Our goal, to help car dealers this combined offering between our attract, retain, and service customers for two companies the most unique in the life, cannot be met if we don’t build on marketplace today. those strengths.” These types of software advancements This building process has relied heavily and integrations allow dealers to simplify on feedback from customers. Dealers their workload. Dealers can concentrate such as Rodger Lau, executive vice on crafting the marketing message and president at Jeffrey Tamaroff Automotive then rely on the Autobase-@utoRevenue Advertiser ............................. pg # Family, provide regular feedback to system to implement it. Likewise, the their counterparts at Autobase and XIGroup-Dealer Specialties inventory ActivEngage ..............................15 Dealerskins. “Bryan Anderson, the tool allows dealers to concentrate on AutoSoft ....................................26 founder and general manager of retailing their cars effectively instead of Autobase, is a true business partner. We spending time completing price fields AutoRevo ....................................4 talk all of the time about improvements on multiple websites. Damon Cartelli, in the software to benefit my people. general manager of the Fathers & Sons AutoUSA....................................28 Bryan not only listens – he acts on those Dealer Group, admits that “the more suggestions,” says Lau. automation I can bring to my dealerships, BZ Results ....................................3 the better the financial results. I prefer As the businesses build technology to work with vendors that can supply Car Research .............................17 bridges, they bring exponential value multiple tools with a simple customer to their own customers. For example, service interface.” Dealer.com ..................................5 Autobase CRM customers can now take DealerPeak (Widestorm) .........12 advantage of the web-based service- Berndt reports that these examples scheduler, @utoScheduler, provided by @ are the beginnings of the intended Dealerskins ..................................7 utoRevenue. This integration augments cross-business partnerships within the existing contact history found in an Dominion Dealer Solutions. “Most of FirstLook ......................................9 Autobase customer record with a full our customers use multiple products account of all related @utoRevenue from our businesses,” says Berndt. “We Homenet ...................................11 marketing efforts. When used in will continue to learn how to make tandem with Market Center, the all- their jobs more productive with our IMN Loyalty Driver ...................13 new campaign tool from Autobase, this technology.” In a recent conversation, integration aggregates all campaigns Cartelli confided, “My dealerships work NADA Used Car Guide .............25 into a single list, whether their origin with @utoRevenue, AVV, SelectQu, ResponseLogix ..........................21 was Market Center or @utoRevenue. This Autobase, Dealerskins, and Dealer seamless integration offers customers Specialties. It looks like I’m a ‘Dominion’ two major benefits: a single access point customer now.” That was music to for critical customer information, and Robert Berndt’s ears. a continuum of consistent branding DD  24   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    • D IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Sandi Jerome Five Tips for Prepping Staff for System Change P robably the best thing that happened to seen have been where the controller and other that question lies in your hands.” me as a controller was change. I worked managers are completely prepared. Having a Making a change go easily is in your hands. for one dealer that liked to buy dealer- great install team from the DMS provider or There are five keys to handling change: ships, so I learned about buy/sells. I worked easy to use software helps, but I find that suc- 1. Get the other humans involved. If your for a dealership group that liked to move cess is in the hands of your key management. key management was involved in the decision, general managers around (and sometimes How? One of my favorite stories is about then they have a vested interest in making out), so I learned how that position either a wise man who is famous for being able to sure the change goes well. If you’re changing succeeds or fails. I worked for a few that liked tell what others are thinking. Someone who computer systems or buying new software – to save money by changing computer systems wants to prove him wrong carries a live bird make sure they are involved in the selection. – and that change was the best learning pro- hidden in his hands behind his back. The As a computer consultant, I always recom- cess for me. By changing computer systems person goes to the wise man and asks, “I have mended assembling a technology committee you learn a lot more than you probably want, a bird in my hand, is the bird alive or dead?” of a parts manager, controller, service advisor like how to handle emergencies, where data If wise man says “dead”, the person can or warranty clerk, Internet manager, and the is stored, and how your computer system open hands to let it fly away. If he says “alive,” dealer/GM. They should see the new options processes data. the person squeezes the bird dead behind his and vote on the one they like the best. The best computer conversions that I have back. The wise man answers, “The answer to 2. Schedule the change for the best time auction trade-in loan retail Every value. Everywhere you need them. In a marketplace full of numbers, how do you know which ones to trust when valuing a vehicle? Look to NADA. Our analysts take the industry’s most comprehensive data and turn it into reliable values that are relevant to your business. Auction. Trade-in. Retail. Loan. Whether you need them for wholesale or resale. Retail or repo. Leasing or lending. Insurance or assurance that you’re making the right decision about any used car. It’s all the information you need. All the time. All from one source. NADA. Experience the full power of NADA’s vehicle information. Visit www.nada.com/power to learn more.   DigitalDealer-magazine.com   April 2010 DD 25 
    • of the year or month. If you’re converting During change it is important that you focus conversion, employees are only 25% produc- computer systems, the best time of the year on this one change and not have meetings tive. Are you okay with only 25% of the bank is after a quarter ends and the best time of the planned, vacations schedules and even ask deposit getting to the bank? How about only month is between the 10th and 20th. employees to delay doctor’s appointments. 25% of your sales? 3. Make a plan for everything that can go Have each key manager prepare a staffing If you use these five steps for every change wrong. Let’s say that you’re changing com- plan of how they are going to get through this – especially a computer conversion or new puter systems. What if you can’t open up a software installation – you might end up with repair order on the morning of “go live?” Do “Having a great install a live bird when it is all over, but the answer you have a plan to still get the work com- is in your hands! pleted? Remember that we used to fix cars team from the DMS all the time without a computer. How can Sandi Jerome is a former controller, CFO, system you calculate payments? Can you hand-write provider or easy to use administrator, F&I, assistant GM, and fixed contracts? software helps, but I operations manager with over 20 years experi- 4. Have a backup plan for #3 items. Your ence in the automotive industry. She is the owner backup plan for not being able to write service find that success is in of Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting. on the new or old computer would be to have a download of your parts inventory – so you the hands of your key can charge out parts and your customer’s his- tory and vehicle file downloaded so you can management.” If you wish to discuss this article with figure out what they have had done (if you’ve other dealers, or with the author, please —Sandi Jerome gone away from hard copies.) Do you have go to the “Discussion Forums” at www. some blank repair orders? Great. Otherwise, Dealer-communications.com and enter what can you use to create a repair order? change with the current staff and if you might the “Technology” forum or e-mail her at Excel? Quickbooks? need some temporary help while your staff sjerome@Dealer-communications.com. 5. Clear your schedule and everyone else’s. goes through training. During a computer The Most Likely Recommended DMS Delivers – Not Simply Software as a Service, But Software With The Service! When asked in the recent NADA 2009 Bi-Annual Survey of Dealership Satisfaction with Dealer System Providers’ Products and Services Our Users Ranked US #1- • Speed in Getting Changes and Modifications Made • Maintenance of Your Daily Business with Minimal Interruptions • Problem and Concerns being Fixed Correctly the First Time You Call • Prompt Follow-up to Handle the Needs of You and Your Staff An endorsed provider an Affordable, Simpler, Innovative DMS 877-427-4367 • sales@autosoft-asi.com • www.autosoft-asi.com DD  26   April 2010   DigitalDealer-magazine.com
    •   DigitalDealer-magazine.com   April 2010 DD 27 
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