Digital dealer magazine may 2010


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Digital dealer magazine may 2010

  1. 1. LARRY BARDITCH Director of Business Development Kendall Chevrolet page 16 May 2010 Internet Sales: Send a Multi-vehicle Quote;Win on the Call page 10 The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of the Internet as an Influencing Medium page 12 Five Truths about Social Media page 14 Technology Trends: Profiling your Customers page 23
  2. 2. DD 2 May 2010 ABLE OF CONTENTST MAY 2010 PRESIDENT AND CEO MICHAEL ROSCOE VICE PRESIDENT AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR CLIFF BANKS 248-351-2620 PUBLISHER GREG NOONAN 607-264-3359 CONTENT COORDINATOR MARIA BURKEL ART DIRECTOR JOE BIRCH PRODUCTION MANAGER ELIZABETH BIRCH PRINT PRODUCTION NICK THOMAS COVER DESIGN JOE BIRCH COVER PHOTOS TRAVIS HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION RICH JARRETT 314-432-7511 NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES 607-264-3359 Dealer magazine makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied 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 Horizon Communications, Inc. and will not be returned. Send material for publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor re- serves the right to edit material; submission of material 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 or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Commit- tee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers. A PUBLICATION OF C O M M U N I C A T I O N S FEATURES Digital Dealer Cover Story 16 Larry Barditch Director of Business Development Kendall Chevrolet Digital Dealer Vendor Profile 20 – The Power of One Platform COLUMNS AAISP Notes 8 Dealer Communications Launches New Web Site Cliff Banks Internet Sales 10 Send a Multi-vehicle Quote; Win on the Call Tom Mohr 12 The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of the Internet as an Influencing Medium Chip Perry 14 Five Truths about Social Media Stephen Stauning Technology Trends 23 Profiling your Customers Sandi Jerome DEPARTMENTS 4 Digital Dealer E-mail 6 News
  3. 3. To learn more: 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. How are you Handling your online repuTaTion? simple • online • resulTs BZ has the sTraTegiC plan to help you: • attract more customers • Transact quickly and easily • Convert shoppers into buyers • retain customers for life
  4. 4. DD 4 May 2010 IGITAL DEALER E-MAILD Paige Presley, I read your article in December’s Digital Dealer magazine, “Ways to Create a Sticky Web Site”. I am fairly new to the automobile industryandwouldlikesomeguidancefrom outsidesources.Asthebusinessdevelopment manager my job is to develop, drive, and maintain business. I also assist one of the owners with all of our web sites. I would like your professional opinion on some of the things we could do better to attract custom- ers to our web sites. What are a few strate- gic things you are doing? Do you have any examples of your work? Thank you, Devon Applewhite Business Development Manager Lindsay Honda and Lindsay Acura Columbus, OH Hi Devon: First, to drive more traffic to your web site, you should include plenty of relevant content, especially search terms for your inventory make/ models, as well as specific locations. This will help users find you through “long tail search”— searchesspecifictomakesandmodelsinparticu- lar areas. You should also be aware that many of today’s shoppers are looking for cars on their smart phones, so having a version of your web site visible on those platforms is key. And, of course, always be sure to promote your web site in all of your offline advertising. Relevant content is equally as important as it keeps users on your web site. What good are your efforts to boost traffic if your site’s visitors are leaving as fast as they’re arriving? The page that usually generates the highest traffic on a dealers’ site is the specials page, so always keep yourpromotionsuptodate.Alsooffertheseitems: toolstohelpcarbuyersbuildcustomizedvehicles, the option to compare multiple vehicles side by side, a media center with multiple images and videosforeachvehicleandavarietyofusefulcar- buying tips such as OEM-specific information. There are companies that offer these types of products and services that help customize dealer web sites, as well as tools that allow dealers to upload video content for vehicles, send alerts to shoppers when the vehicles they’re looking for appear in your inventory and post vehicles to Craigslist. Thanks, Paige Presley Joe Orr, I was so impressed with your cover story article in the March issue of Digital Dealer magazine. I want to learn how to do this but I am about out of capital. I have East Texas Ford inWinnsboro,TX.We have been there for 15 years this April 15, 2010. I owned one of the GM dealerships that General Motors let go and now I am in arbitration to get that storeback.Iwouldliketosetupforsuccess.I amhavingthehardesttimerightnow.Ididn’t gobankruptbutIdonothavethecashIreally need. What can I do to pull out of this? Thank you, Suenan Gober Owner East Texas Ford/Gober Merrel Chevrolet, Buick and GMC Inc. Winnsboro and Sulphur Springs, TX Suenan, First of all I want to say that I would love to have a telephone conversation and that you are not alone. I also want to say that the two things that I have done that have made the biggest traffic/ROI/culture movement in my 30-year history cost very little (under $1,000 a month). Withthenewtypeofbusinessthatisevolving andtakingshapeandactualcontrolofourauto- mobile business, it is my belief that we can no longeraffordtohidefromthefacts.Andfactsare what we as dealers should be sharing with each other to make us stronger and more profitable. I have noticed as I have become more involved in buildingrelationshipsnationallythatsomeofthe dealersinourcountryaregettingveryimpressive results in very different business categories. It is my hope that we will be able to form a type of Internet 20 group. Not a traditional 20 group,butagroupofdigitallycommittedminds thatwillofferrealanalyticsbehindnewthought. I envision a group of people whom are voted in andout,dependentontheirinvolvement.There is software available that makes it possible for up to 100 dealers to video conference from their office/home and share spreadsheets and so on with no costs to travel. I know that we can learn and benefit from each other’s successes and failures more than anything else that is offered to us. I welcome a call from you Suenan, and I know that many dealers around the country are also willing to offer assistance. It is my belief that an executive management teamwithunshakableintentions,unusualfocus and a love of the game can turn their store around or feel massive improvements in this new “real time” business model in short term. Let’s chat when you have time, Joe Orr Dealer welcomes your letters and after verification will run them signed or unsigned. Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Send letters to: 2000 Town Center • Suite 1900 • Southfield, MI 48075 FAX: (248) 351-2699 • e-mail: JOEORRDick Hannah Hondapage 14 March 2010 Internet Sales:A Darwinian Fight for Survivalpage 8 Put the RightContent onYour Site page 12 Technology Trends: Making Profit with your IT Department page 23 The Cruel Mistress of Social Mediapage 24
  5. 5. 2010 Top Rated Web Provider, Top Awards for Websites, SEO, and Internet Lead Management 2009 Net Promoter® Score Survey Top customer service ranking in the nation’s software industry 2010 Diamond Award “Best Website Provider” Auto Dealer Monthly 2010 Dealers’ Choice Awards 2009 Automotive Search Marketing Association Most Comprehensive Search Marketing Platform Award SEARCH MARKETING | DEALER WEBSITES | LEAD MANAGEMENT | PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS 888.785.5418 | | Jana Kusin, Director of Advertising, Gillman Auto Group Ranked 40th in the 2009 Automotive News Top 125 “We’re most impressed with the customer service and technology that provides. They have really helped us stay at the forefront with new ideas and new technologies that keep our websites fresh and up to date.” There’s a Reason Why More Top 125 Dealers Choose
  6. 6. DD 6 May 2010 IGITAL DEALER TECH NEWSD Manheim launches new online ‘Daily Sales’ program Manheimannouncedthelaunchofitsnew Daily Sales program, a powerful, expanded portfolioofonlinebuyingandsellingoppor- tunitiesfordealersandconsignors.Designed to capitalize on the popularity and success of itscurrentOnlineEventSalesefforts,theDaily SalesprogrambringstogetherexistingOnline EventSalessuchasManheimMonday,Dealer Wednesday,ThunderThursdayandM’OVE it Friday with newly-launched Online Event Sales,creatingacomprehensiveonlineline-up of fresh inventory for dealers. Individual Online Event Sales are designed to address specific needs of Manheim’s customers. With Manheim Monday, the company took what was a traditionally slow sale day for auction locations and created a highly successful program that helps deal- ers to search, buy and sell the freshest used vehicle inventory online.Today, 60 percent of all transactions each Monday on OVE. com occur during a Manheim Monday Event Sale. “SinceintroducingOnlineEventSaleslast year, the feedback from both buyers and sell- ers has been extremely positive, so Manheim decided to offer these sales daily,” said Nick Peluso, senior vice president customer man- agement, Manheim. “The program provides the freshest inventory for buyers and selling opportunities for both dealer and commer- cial consignors. Promoting Daily Sales on Manheim.comallowsustoinformcustomers of all the buying opportunities Manheim offers, from Manheim Monday to weekend events and everything in between.” In conjunction with the launch of Daily Sales, Manheim also introduced a pro- motionalcampaigntokeepitscustomers informed about the variety of online events happening daily at Manheim. As part of the campaign, Daily Sales promotional e-mailswillprovidedealerswithregularnews and updates on upcoming sales. In addition, an interactive calendar on will ensure that all visitors can track and set updates for sales in which they are specifi- cally interested. Promotion for the Daily Sales line-up also include a banner ad campaign and advertising at Manheim’s in-lane auction locations, ensuring that even more buyers and sellers connect online. Customerswhowanttostayup-to-dateon Daily Sales digitally can add events to their electroniccalendars,setremindersforspecific event sales and receive alerts through e-mail on the Daily Sales web page by clicking on the sale of interest. Dealer Impact releases unique Facebook app Promoting auto dealerships on social media has gotten easier thanks to the release of Dealer Impact’s innovative Facebook Inventory App. The dynamic program is specifically designed to integrate with the Facebook interface. The Facebook Inventory App functions like a second web site for a dealership. The no-fussprogramallowsdealerstodisplaycur- rent inventory on their Facebook fan pages as well as add inventory videos and specials to Facebook. The app also has the ability to automatically update a dealer’s web site and Facebook fan page simultaneously. DealerImpactoffersthemostcomprehen- sivedigitalmarketingproductsonthemarket, including video test drives, mobile web sites, andsocialnetworkmarketing.DealerImpact began building web sites in 1998 and wrote theautoindustry’sfirstonlineinventorypub- lishing tool in 2000. For an example of the Dealer Impact Facebook Inventory App visit: http://www. The StoneEagle Group integrates DealerTrack DMS tool The StoneEagle Group announced it has joined DealerTrack’s OpenTrack program. TheOpenTrackprogramprovidesStoneEagle customerswithreal-timebi-directionalaccess to a dealership’s data, increasing operational efficiency and profitability. OpenTrack’s six touch points into the Dealer Management System (DMS) will allow StoneEagle to deliver optimum performance and results to dealers utilizing the DealerTrack DMS.The OpenTrackprogramgivesdealerstheflexibil- itytousesolutionsdeliveredbyStoneEagleor anythirdpartyapplicationtheydesiretomeet the unique needs of their business. “StoneEagleispleasedtoparticipateinthe OpenTrack program to deliver the highest levels of security, reliability and scalability to ourcustomers,”saidJasonGillette,directorof salesandmarketing,StoneEagleGroup.“The OpenTrack program will enable StoneEagle to increase efficiencies and performance for dealersusingtheDealerTrackDMS.Inaddi- tion, the OpenTrack program has been very easy to work with and completely reliable.” “We are delighted to welcome StoneEagle to the growing list of technology vendors participating in the OpenTrack program,” saidRichHolland,vicepresidentandgeneral manager, DealerTrack DMS. “OpenTrack represents the realization of our vision of an open platform that enables dealers to choose any third party solution they want without sacrificing the efficiency benefits of real-time integration with their DMS.”
  7. 7. 7 firstlook new Instant Experts. Courtesy of the Internet—They know it all. Do You? 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 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! 800-730-5665 Know It All. Consumers Do. Instant Experts. I know exactly how much you can resell my car for.
  8. 8. DD 8 May 2010 Dealer Communications Launches New Web Site T hismonth,welaunchedournewweb site – com.This project has been a labor of lovesinceIbeganatDealerCommunications in October 2009. Icansayconfidentlythisisthemostrobust, content-laden and informative web site that is focused solely on new car dealers and their needs. We have content going back to 2005 that covers every department in the dealership. As you poke around, you’ll find columns from the leading automotive retail thinkers in the industry. For just about any question you have about managing your dealership or your department, you’ll find an answer on the new site. You’ll also see our magazine cover stories featuring highly successful dealers, Internet directors and fixed operations directors. Not onlyaretheseProfilesofSuccessinspirational, theyarefilledwithideasandnuggetsofinfor- mation you can use in your own dealership. We’regoingtobepostingstoriesandaggre- gatingcontentdaily,scouringthewebtofind the most pertinent news stories for you. I invite you to register and play around on the site. We’ve incorporated several aspects of social media throughout, including blogs and forums. Setting up a profile gives you access to our forums where you can post content, com- mentonposts,askquestions,setuppollsand much more. You’ll also be able to participate in the conversation by commenting on our many blogs. You can also create friends lists, post pic- tures and send private messages to other reg- istered users. We trust you will find the site valuable in providing you information you need in your endeavors. 8th Digital Dealer Conference Exposition We just finished the 8th Digital Dealer Conference, and it was the biggest one to date.Wehadnearly1,200attendees,ofwhich 550 or so were dealers, general managers and Internet directors. Itwasrejuvenatingtofeelandheartheopti- mism in Orlando at the conference. Sales are up.Solutionsaregettingbetteranddealersare findingnewwaystoconnectwithcustomers. The conference has become the place to be if you want to learn, share ideas and get the creative juices flowing.There may not be anotherconferenceinwhichthismuchbrain power is assembled. I’ve written before, the technology space in automotive retail is the most vibrant, fertile and exciting sector in which to participate. We like to beat ourselves up saying we’re behind other industries when it comes to technology. I disagree. Granted, we may not always respond to every lead correctly, nor handle customers the way we should all the time, but this is an industry where anyone with an idea, hard work and a little bit of luck can make it big. At each conference we see companies that were once small start ups begin to scale and hit it big. And that is exciting. I also get a charge out of seeing Internet directors grow and improve their businesses. This is one reason I believe the conference and Digital Dealer magazine are so success- ful. It’s the people on the front lines, in both the dealerships and with the vendors (many of whom are former dealers) who are pas- sionate because they understand they are at the front of a revolution and are helping to write history. It may sound Pollyannaish,but thepeople thatattendtheDigitalDealerconferencesare the ones who are determining the long term future of our industry. It doesn’t get any more exciting than that. If you weren’t able to join us in Orlando, thenextconferenceisjustafewmonthsaway andwillbeinLasVegasattheMirageOctober 12-14, 2010. IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTESD Cliff Banks Cliff Banks Vice President and Editorial Director
  9. 9. 9 nada used car guide new® Asking $16,416 J.d. Power And AssociAtes® /Pin retAil $15,679 mAnheim mArket rePort Auction $11,700 nAdA AverAge trAde-in vAlue $11,750 vAuto dAys suPPly 107 Autocheck vehicle history* CLEAN 6 SourceS. 60 SecondS. 1 smArt today’s market, it’s hard to know exactly how much a used vehicle is worth.But your profitability depends on an accurate appraisal.get it right and get it fast — with nAdA AppraisalPro® . with just a click, book out a vehicle and print your appraisal offer.that’s all you need to close more deals in less time. All for the lowest price on the market. All from nAdA. Order NADA AppraisalPRO today for just $150 per month. Visit for more information or call 866.974.6232 to set up your own personal demo. SM * A separate subscription is required to the experian Autocheck service.
  10. 10. DD 10 May 2010 Send a Multi-vehicle Quote; Win on the Call W hen you respond to an Internet lead, do you just send back a quote on the requested vehicle? If that’s what you do, you might want to reconsider. Instead of responding with a single quote, provide quotes on multiple vehicles. Doing sofundamentallyaltersthephonecall.What does the customer talk about when you just send a quote on the requested vehicle? Price. It’s all about how your price is higher than the next guy for the same vehicle. If you change your response to a presenta- tion of three alternative new vehicles sur- rounding the trim-level request, and add three to four used vehicles of like trims, you will have set up an entirely different phone conversation. With a multi-vehicle quote, the conversa- tionturnsawayfrompricetothefeatures.Do theywantneworused?Dotheylikethenavi- gation system or not?This is the type of con- versationthatchangeshowyouareperceived. Thecustomerismoreinclinedtorevealtheir price point requirements as they mull over the alternatives you have presented. You are theirhelperastheysortthroughtheiroptions. All of a sudden, an adversarial conversation becomes a consultative conversation. It’shardtooverstatethesignificanceofthis. At the “moment of truth,” when a customer sends you a lead, you are on trial. The same leadhasbeensenttotwoorthreeothercom- petitors.Howyourespondatthatmomentis key. Your goal is to create a relationship, and turn that relationship into a sale. Speed of responseandqualityofpersonalengagement are the two ingredients of success. The first critical step is to respond with a multi-vehicle price quote back to the cus- tomer in 10 minutes. Next is the phone call —alsoin10minutes.That’sthebestpractice to catch the customer when they’re in the active shopping process. With a multi-vehi- cle quote, your conversation changes from a competitive price shopping conversation to comparative feature shopping conversation. Think about it – that’s where we all want to be, right? Use the call to review the alternative vehi- cles you have presented. As the customer’s questions start to fly, as they reveal their pref- erencesandpricepoints,yougainafoothold, inch by inch.You have begun to build a rela- tionship.It’sarelationshipbasedonyourrole as consultant. You’ve taken the conversation farther than the other guys, because you’ve discovered more about your prospect.These are the stepping stones towards a sale. Many have said, “It’s all about the phone call.”That’s true, with this qualification: “It’s all about the speed and content of the phone call.” If you can get back to the customer very quickly — in 10 minutes — and if you can use the call to turn the conversa- tion from price to features by reviewing the five to seven vehicles you have presented in your price quote, you will have gained a huge advantage. If implemented effectively for every lead every time, you will transform your sales results. Tom Mohr is CEO of ResponseLogix, and has worked closely with auto dealers for 25 years. Prior to ResponseLogix, Mohr was president of Knight Ridder Digital, where he was on the board of If you wish to discuss this article with other dealers, or with the author, please go to the “Discussion Forums” at and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him at tmohr@Dealer- IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALESD Tom Mohr With a multi-vehicle quote, the conversation turns away from price to the features.
  11. 11. IOL Video Online Interactive multimedia marketing with Video-To-Pictures, voiceovers, and live video options IOL Hosting Virtual Garage Search engine optimized (SEO) vehicle display pages with Virtual Garage vehicle bookmarking Integrated Price Analysis Real-time market comparisons with millions of vehicles in your local area List It LikeYou Mean It! HomeNet’s fully integrated, end-to-end marketing solutions help the automotive industry to sell more cars and save time. Engage more shoppers and turn them into buyers with over a dozen best-in-class solutions, like these: Inventory Online (IOL) Internet Marketing Suite Our flagship IOL platform turns every car on the lot 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! 610-738-3313 Title Sponsor
  12. 12. DD 12 May 2010 The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of the Internet as an Influencing Medium M any dealers using the Internet as a marketing resource are still heav- ily focused on e-mail leads as the measurementofasuccessfulonlinepresence. Butwhatisthecurrentstateofthee-maillead, how satisfied are shoppers with e-mailing dealers and how else should dealers be using and evaluating online marketing? Accordingtorecentstudies,thenumberof peoplee-mailingduringtheshoppingprocess hasnotgrownoverthepastfewyears,despite an increase in the number of car shoppers usingtheInternet.Today,about75to80%of carshoppersutilizetheInternetintheirshop- ping process, but the use of e-mail leads has stayedstable–andlow–foryears.In2004,only 20% of those online shoppers sent an e-mail lead as a part of their shopping process. In 2008, that number had only grown to 22%. This reality differs sharply from dealers’ perception of the situation. In a 2008 study, dealers said they believed that 17% of their showroom traffic first establishes contact via e-mailandthatanadditional41%callbefore coming in to the store. But in surveying con- sumers, the reality is that typically only 2% of shoppers on dealers’ lots initially contact the showroom via e-mail first. Phone wasn’t much better, as it was found that only 17% of shoppers on the lot called before arriving at the dealer.The vast majority, 81%, simply walked in. This fact doesn’t mean that e-mail leads aren’t important, but they are clearly not the “mainevent”whenitcomestoInternetmar- keting and sales. That being said, dealers clearly recognize thevalueofwalk-intraffic.Accordingtodeal- ersinaninternalstudy,about14e-mailleads are needed to generate one sale, versus nine leadsgeneratedviaphonecallsandjustseven for walk-ins. Perhaps part of the reason why it requires twice as many leads via e-mail than leads via walk-ins is the low satisfaction rate shoppers havewithaskingforinformationfromdealers through the Internet. Response time is one of the most crucial components in driving this satisfaction; the longer it takes a dealership to respond to an e-mail lead, the less likely shoppers are to be satisfied. In surveys by, it was determined that almost half of dealers did not respond to consumers on the same day that the lead was received. But even among consumers who got a response within three hours of their initial request, satisfaction was only 68%. Many consumers were put off by the dealership notansweringtheirspecificquestionsregard- ing availability, price and details of inventory listed for sale. Satisfaction among consumers drops sig- nificantly the longer it takes for a real person at the showroom to answer that shopper’s inquiry. Only 54% of shoppers were satis- fied with the response received under a day’s time, and only 35% were satisfied with the responsefromonetothreedays.Andamong consumers who did not get a response until three days after the initial e-mail inquiry, the level of satisfaction fell to a mere 9%. Dealers and the automotive industry in general should realize that most shoppers prefer not to send e-mail leads to dealers. In fact according to a recent market study commissioned by, two in three shoppers prefer to visit the dealer in person.Therefore,itiscriticalforautomotive advertisers not to measure campaign success solely by clicks and e-mails leads. Instead, dealers should focus on tracking dealership foot traffic and identifying what elements of online marketing and other sources of information influence shoppers to pick one car over another and one dealer- ship over another. Dealers who competitively price their vehicles and effectively merchandise their inventory find they have much more suc- cess attracting shoppers to their stores and than those that just post basic ads and wait for e-mail leads to roll in. Online shoppers acrossthespectrumnowexpectfresh,detailed contentthathighlightswhatashowroomhas for sale and gives the shopper reasons to buy from one outlet over another. The Internet increasinglyoffersopportunitiesfordealersto influence shoppers’ choices and dealers who have educated themselves on the techniques that can help maximize this influence are gaining market share at the expense of those who have not been closely watching and fol- lowing current best practices. Fortunately, most third-party web sites are now well equipped to share information and market intelligence that can help dealers understand how their store’s performance compares to “best in class” dealers. Dealers should also be sure to fully utilize thecustomertrackingtoolsandinsightspro- videdbythethird-partyvendorstheyalready useaswellaspopularwebanalyticstoolssuch as Google Analytics, which is available for freeforanystore.Usingthesetoolswillallow dealers to improve their use of the web as a marketing medium, both with their listings on third-party sites such as, as well as on their own web sites. Of course, there are still e-mail leads coming in, even if they are not as big a slice of the pie as dealers think. With these leads, dealers should improve response times, as well as the quality of responses. By doing this,alongwithusingbetteronlinemarketing techniques, dealers will see improvements in the most important measurement of all: the bottom line. ChipPerrywasthefirstemployeeofAutoTrader. com in 1997. If you wish to discuss this article with other dealers, or with the author, please go to the “Discussion Forums” at www. and enter the“InternetSales”forumore-mailhim IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALESD Chip Perry
  13. 13. Friends? Share! Loyalty Driver enewsletter content connects you to social networks. Friends share great content... making new connections for you. Innovative Enewsletter Solutions | 866-964-6397
  14. 14. DD 14 May 2010 Five Truths about Social Media I f you’re like me, you’ve read so much about social media lately that your eyes arereadytoglossoverwheneveryoueven see the words “face” and “book” in the same sentence. It’s beginning to border on the ridiculous – so much so, that I almost talked myself out of writing “another article about social media.” For dealers, this is a confusing time as expertafterexpertlineuptotellyouthewhat and wherefore of social media. The truth is that social media is so new no one can be certain where it will fit with your long-term marketing plans or how much it will really matter to your business. As of this writing, there are no dealers facing “make or break” timewithrespecttosocialnetworking,micro- blogging or social bookmarking (reputation management, of course, but not the other three types of social media). This is not to say you should wait and see before ventur- ing into certain types of social media, rather it is merely a suggestion that you can tread carefully as you grow your dealership’s social footprint. Regardless of how you proceed online – though I do recommend you stop posting andtweetingspecials,andyousticktoreport- ingaboutsocialactivitiesandnon-salesevents –rememberthateverythingyouwriteorpost on the Internet will likely be there for as long asthereisanInternet.Writeyourcontent,let it sit, let someone else edit it, reread it, then post it online. For those of you ready to tackle social media, it might be helpful if you understand these five basic truths: Truth 1: The future for social media will be much different than the present social landscape. Have you heard the automotive experts touting that “social media is here to stay”or“socialmediaisnotafad?”Verybrave ofthesefolkstoproclaimthatthemosttalked- about, most visited and most coveted web sitesintheworldaregoingtobehereforever. Whiletheyareprobablycorrect,thewaybusi- nesses successfully leverage these sites will likelyevolvesomuchoverthecomingmonths thatwhatwedotodayonourFacebookpages will seem dated in just a couple of years. Truth 2: MySpace is more socially rel- evantthanallothersocialmediasites(except Facebook). Those same pundits who pro- claimthatsocialmediawillbewithusforever arealsoveryquicktopointoutthat“MySpace is dead.”Which is it? Is it a medium that will be here until the next Ice Age or one where majorplayerslikeMySpacearedeclareddead the moment they are overtaken in the traffic rankings?ThetopfivewebsitesintheUnited States(basedonuniquevisitors)todayare:1) Google; 2) Facebook; 3)Yahoo!; 4)YouTube and5)MySpace–beggingthequestion:Ifthe fifth most popular site in the U.S. is “dead,” what does that say about number six and beyond? Truth 3: Your social presence/reputa- tion/existence online will be there with our without your involvement.The consuming publicwillbesuretolettheworldknowabout your business whether you like it or not. As dealers, this usually means negative reviews. Understanding the fourth truth could ulti- mately help you manage that which you do not control: the public. Truth 4: What you do offline has much more to do with how you will be perceived withinsocialmediathanwhatyoudoonline. Hirealltheconsultantsorin-houseteamsyou wantandpaythemtorepairyouronlinerepu- tation and manage your social networking account. If you run an old school dealership IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALESD Steve Stauning continued to P-15 The trick here is that there is no trick: manage your business as if all of your future customers were watching – because they are.
  15. 15. May 2010 DD 15  that revels in “crushing” every customer, “stealing”everytradeandpackingpayments, your consumers and former employees will skeweryouonline.Ultimately,itwon’tmatter how many Facebook fans you have or how many twits are following your tweets, the public will out-shout-you at every turn. The trick here is that there is no trick: manage your business as if all of your future customers were watching – because they are. Truth 5: Your employees can make or breakyoursocialmediapersona.Dealerships seem to be spinning their wheels creating Facebook and Twitter accounts, getting fans andfollowers(whoaremost-oftendealership employees, vendors and their friends) and then posting their latest specials to no one. These dealers are missing the point of social media: it’s supposed to be social, not sales- driven. Social media “success” will be fueled by how others interact with your dealership, not how you force yourself upon them.Your employees–mostofwhomalreadyhaveactive social networking, blogging, microblogging, photo-sharing,podcastingandvideo-sharing accounts – should be encouraged to include their relationship with your dealership in everything (legal and moral) they do online. For example: if your mechanics and other service employees divulge on their Facebook pagesthattheyworkforyourdealership(and hopefully include a link to your web site for SEO purposes), people in their network will seek them out for advice. The advice they provide and the subsequent goodwill begins to build greater social cache for them and for you. The combined power of your employ- ees’ social networks is much greater than the power of one dealership Facebook page and one Twitter account – and ultimately more trustworthy to the average consumer. Social media has its place. In my opinion, that place is at the end of a very long line of Internet process and marketing basics that most dealers don’t do very well. While social networking can likely be a tool that helps dealers build a solid customer base, it is not a stand-alone marketing plan and it cannot take the place of sound processes, trained people and smart spending that focuses on long-term growth. Steve Stauning is the co-founder of Kain- Stauning, a leading automotive dealership training and consulting services firm focusing ondigitalmarketingandInternetsales.Priorto his work with Kain-Stauning, he has served in variousleadershiproles,includingastheAsbury Automotive Group’s director of ecommerce, the director of the Web Solutions division of the Reynolds Reynolds Company, and as general manager for Dealer Web Services at Dealer Specialties. If you wish to discuss this article with other dealers, or with the author, please go to the “Discussion Forums” at and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him at sstauning@Dealer- Mobile xrm eCsiservice drive control manager auto trade Social CRM Internet lead manager Smart Response Real-time integration Showroom control manager CallTrak Automated targeted marketing Web SitesRevenue finder enterprise reporting Dealer dialer iCRM auto alertsonline Service Scheduler Auto desk unsold research 5005 West 34th Street,Suite 200 | Houston,TX 77092 | For more information about XRM, call 888.583.0956 or send an e-mail to 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 XRM...Exceeding Dealership CRM
  16. 16. DD 16 May 2010 Larry Barditch Director of Business Development Kendall Chevrolet COVER STORY
  17. 17. May 2010 DD 17  Larry Barditch owned a water bottling company for 19 years before Van Olp, the owner at Kendall Chevrolet, convinced him to run the dealership’s Internet department. Larry has been Kendall’s director of business develop- ment almost 10 months now. He shares his perspective as a former outsider to the industry and walks us through the changes he’s made at the dealership. You’ve been in automotive retail for less than a year. Yes.Iownedabottlewatercompanyfor19 years in south Florida until I sold it in 2008. I’m the president of a local chamber group. ThroughthatI’veknownVanOlp,whoisthe dealerprincipalhereatKendallChevrolet,for about five years. We were having lunch when he asked me whatIwasgoingtodofortherestofmylife.I said,‘I’mnotsure,Ikindofenjoysalestraining and playing golf when I want to and picking up the kids at school in the afternoon and coaching baseball.” He shared with me his vision of what he wanted to do with technology and Internet sales. He wanted to hire somebody who was non-car guy, had no experience, and wanted to know if I was interested. I wanted to do something with technology and the Internet. So I agreed to try it for six months. That was nine months ago. Did he say why he was looking for a non- car guy? He had four salespeople that he promoted asInternetsalesmanagersinthecourseofone year, and none of them could seem to get this thing working on all eight cylinders. That is one of the reasons why I liked Van and why I jumpedonthisopportunity.Heistheguythat takesrisks.Whathetriedhadn’tworked. Sohe thought bringing someone in that is popular in the community, president of the business association, had been a business owner for 19 years, might change that. Walk me through what you did when you first came on board almost a year ago? You know, it’s funny, I said I wasn’t going tochangeanythingbutmyunderwearforthe first30days.Isatbackhereandlookedatwhat was going on here. The auto industry is like nothing else I have ever seen. IjustfeellikeIamaveryfortunateguyand I actually love what I am doing.That’s one of the things when you get up every morning, and you have that great feeling and you love whatyouaredoing,thereisnotmuchthatcan bring you down. Although, the auto industry has challenged me more than any other. One of the books I really love is Good to Great by Jim Collins. He talks about getting therightpeopleintotherightpositions.When I started here we had a hodge-podge of what was an Internet sales department and half BDC department. But we didn’t have the right people. I hired twoBDCgirlsforthedealership.Theirhours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., so I hired one that works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one that works 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., so I had it covered all day long.Then I hired two Internet sales guys, one that had been in the car business for 30 years, and one that’s been in the car business for 15 years. Thatwashuge,becauseIhadtheirexperience of the car-sales process, which I didn’t know anything about. Mystrengthwastheprocessanddiscipline. I had two guys that knew about how to sell the car and I knew how to put in the disci- pline and process to make the Internet BDC department work. Define process and discipline in context of the BDC and Internet sales. Every month I put together an action plan. My April action plan says, “You can’t hit the bull’s eye if you don’t have a target.” In my bottling business, my retention rate on customers was three times higher than the industry average. I believed in extraordinary customer experience. Anybody can give aver- age service, most people give bad service, but I believed for 19 years that if I gave extraor- dinary service -- white-glove kind of service -- customers would remember me. I brought that philosophy here. You also have to set clear defined goals. I don’tjusttellmyBDCgirlstofollow-uponall oftheunsoldfloortrafficfromthedaybefore. I tell them they have to follow-up on all of the unsold floor traffic and get one appoint- mentforthenextday.Igivethemprecisegoals that they need to hit. It is kind of like being droppedinthemiddleofItalyandnothaving aroadmapandtoldtogoandvisittheVatican. A lot of people confuse activity with pro- ductivity. You don’t get paid for the time you are here, you get paid for the results that you get.Sodon’twasteyourtimeonactivitiesthat don’t produce results. I see a lot of that in the car business. You brought some discipline into it, what weretheresults?Howlongdidittakebefore you starting seeing results? Well,30dayswaskindofanabsorbingand learning period. I have had some great men- tors, guys like Matthew Belk, who came here withaprogramcalled‘Bestpracticesforreply- ing to Internet leads.’ I’ve had guys like Glen Hardy,withGeneralMotors,whoshowedme our e-mails weren’t any good. Before I took this job, I mystery-shopped several stores. I found a lot of people do a mediocre or bad job.The response I got back fromKendallChevroletwasaresponsewhere mynamewasnotcapitalized.Thereweremis- spellings in the response. And it didn’t answer my question. How hard is it to hit spell check before you send an e-mail? That is just a discipline you justhavetogetintoeverye-mailthatyousend. Youdonotsendane-mailwithouthittingspell check. How hard is that? Glen Hardy slapped me around a couple of times and really got me to shape things up. I talked to him on the
  18. 18. DD 18 May 2010 phone probably every two months and and he spent some time with me, so he has been a great mentor. I have great vendors, and have great rela- tionshipswiththem.Notjustthepersonwho comesandseesmeeveryday,butthenational sales director. I am on the phone with them, getting advice and helping get it done. I’ve been very, very fortunate. And then I have a dealer principal that provides me with the toolsandresourcesthatIneedtobesuccessful. He is a visionary when it comes to the digital dealership. Did you change any of the technology or any of the vendors? We’ve improved our technology. We had some great tools in place, but we didn’t know how powerful they were. By meeting with the vendors and getting tutorials on how they work, enabled us to automate better. Who do you use as a CRM? AutoBaseisourtool.AndourInternetlead management tool is called Aeros. I struggled withthematthebeginning.Theyhadthattool foroverayearandnobodyknewhowtouseit rightorsetuparotation.Itjustwasn’ttheway it needed to be. Just working with the vendor andlearningaboutitandgettingitautomated helped us set-up the way we wanted it to be. Who built your web site? Cobaltdoesourwebsite.Thatwasanother vendor that the relationship wasn’t there. I’ve got the best customer advocate there, Joshua Eubanks.Heisgreat.Ispeakwithhimweekly. Apparently,noonefromherewouldcallhim. I’m constantly updating our web site. We recently changed the style to make it more user-friendly. We’re embedding videos into the site itself. We’ve added an appraisal tool on the front pagealongwitha30-secondcreditapplication. Cobalt manages the majority of our search engineoptimizationanddoesagreatjob.Iask Joshua all the time why they do something a certain way. In my mind, I think it sounds stupid. And he says, “Yea, but you are the first rank in Google search aren’t you?” I see you are doing some social media stuff too: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I am definitely in the infancy stage of social media.IwenttotheNADAConferenceandI amsignedupfortheDigitalDealerconference next week, so I am learning how to do that. That is more of a feel-good, this is what I do in the community kind of thing. I am not posting: ‘Check out this new car’ or ‘Come to my dealership for service.’ I am not selling on social media at all. We have a great YouTube page and our videos are getting hits like crazy and I just started putting them on. We are the south Florida dealership for Mary Kay. And they are using Chevrolets now, so no more pink Cadillacs. When they come here and pick up theircourtesydelivery,I’mtherewithmyFlip Video camera taking video of the delivery. There’s got to be 20 or 30 people here and they have flowers and balloons. It is a big show when someone reaches that car bonus. All her friends are there, it’s a party. I’ve got it online and on YouTube and I have e-mailed it to her even before she leaves the dealership. We post it, we make her a friend on Facebook and we post it to her Facebook and say, “Look, here’s the new car she just got delivered.” Her friends are calling her before she leaves the dealership to congratulate her on her new car. So that’s the way we are kind of using the social media now. It is just shows customer testimonials. We’re sponsors of the Corvette Club down here in south Florida, we promoted our Corvette show and we do things like that. I took video and pictures of all of the guys with their 1963 Sting Rays. They walked me through the restoration of it and we posted it on YouTube and within three hours I had 26 hits. We’ve steered away from the GM-looking siteCobaltcreates.MostoftheChevywebsites look like We did that differently. Our web site doesn’t have that cookie-cutter prototype. Has GM given you any feedback back on that? Notonthewebsite,butwedoalotofgood thingsforGM.Theyjustimplementedadigi- tal rewards package and raised the standards. We crushed it last year when 98.7% of our leads were responded to in under five hours. Our average response time was 38 minutes. Iknewwehadtorespondquicklywithin30 minutes with a response that blows you away and it had to be back quick while you were still at the computer. What is your process for handling the lead? I send the initial response back. Then, the follow-upcallisdonealmostimmediatelyafter the e-mail. I, the general sales manager or the seniorBDCrepresentative,whichisErikaDiaz makes the call. Erika has been a God send to me. She makes a majority of the calls for the Internet leads. She will print an invoice of the car the customer is requesting. She gets the tradeinformationandwillrunthepaperwork over to one of my Internet salesmen. So now all they have to do is sell the car. So your BDC sets up all of the appoint- ments and hands them to the Internet department? “A lot of people confuse activity with productivity. You don’t get paid for the time you are here, you get paid for the results that you get. So don’t waste your time on activities that don’t produce results,” says Barditch.
  19. 19. May 2010 DD 19  Our Users Ranked US #1- • • • • AutoSoft, 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 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 877-427-4367 Yes, they set up a majority of the appoint- ments and hand them to the Internet sales- people. Now, if they are following up on the unsold traffic or missed appointments, those gobacktothesalespeople.Wedon’tjustset-up anappointment,weset-upVIPappointments. AVIP appointment merely means, it is show- roomreadiness,itiswhatyoushouldbedoing anyway, having the car you are looking for at the front of the dealership, waiting for you with the key in hand. It’s not showing up and having the sales guy having to go to the key box and get the car, or having to walk out to the parking lot and hope it’s there. It is get- ting that car ready for you and making that extraordinary customer experience from the beginning. So that’s our VIP appointment. We’rereadyforyouwhenyougethere.People don’tlikespendingsixhoursatacardealership anymore.Andquitefrankly,Internetcustom- ers have done a lot of the work already. They come in with a manila folder knowing what the rebates are, and what the invoice is. They know terms I haven’t heard of yet. They don’t want the gloves on, they don’t wantaboxingmatchanymore,theydon’twant to be here to six hours, they want a clean deal, they want transparency, and they want you to be on your game. In what mediums do you advertise? Wedon’tdonewspaperatall.WedoTVand we’ve just put a lot of additional money into Spanishtelevision.SouthFloridaisapredomi- nately Hispanic community now. And we’ve spent a lot of money on digital. In terms of digital advertising, what are you doing besides search? We’ve got the highest package that AutoTrader offers, I think it is the Platinum Package, so we’ve got all the banners. We’re at the top of every search and we’ve just become the first AutoTrader buying center in south Florida. That means if you just want to just come here and sell your car, we will appraise it and we will buy your car. We’ve also got the best package with Cars. com.Allofourvendorswe’veprettymuchhave the best package from all of them. What gets the most traffic on your web site? Our inventory is definitely seeing the most traffic. Do you get a lot of traffic on service yet? Wehaveagreatrelationshipwithourservice department.Oneofthethingsweweremissing wastheturnoverfromservicetosales,andsales to service. We now take the customer over to the service department and introduce them to the advisor. Every customer gets their first oil change free and we let them know that. We added a customer rewards program in the servicedepartmentwhereforeverydollarcus- tomersspend,theyearnfuturedollarsoneither serviceorpartsoraccessoriesatourdealership. So we are making more of that connection between sales and service. What is your biggest challenge? I think it is every dealers’ challenge. There is always turnover and technology that is con- stantly changing. So getting people to do the right thing every single time is the challenge. Keeping everything on track, that is always a challenge,itjustkeepsyoumotivated.Thecar business is a people game. You have to keep the salesman happy and you have to keep the customer happy. It’s all about the people. When Van asked you to come on board, at that time I think GM was going through bankruptcy issues, and dealerships were being eliminated. You were an outsider to the auto industry, what was your thought about the industry as a whole? Because I was the president of a business organization that had 200 members, I talked to a lot of people every day. And nobody in any industry was able to tell me their business was better than it was the year before. No matter what I chose, it was going to be challenging. It was evident when Cash for Clunkers came out that people were holding their money, they were scared, but everybody has to drive a car.We don’t have a great public transportation in south Florida, so our high- ways and our streets are filled to the rim. So everybody’sgotacar.Itwasamatterofgetting intosomethingthatpeopleneed.Vansoldme on the whole technology aspect. It was going to be my baby and I could run with it. It was just one of the many challenges I’ve had. Vanreceivedhis‘goforward’letterfromGM datedJuly1st,andImetwithhimonJuly3rd. So he was able to show me the letter saying we’re not one of the dealerships going away. GMownsthepropertythatweareon,andat thattimeFritzHenderson,whowastheCEO, livedhereinsouthFloridaandplayedgolfwith continued to P-24
  20. 20. DD 20 May 2010 W e all know that the Internet has dramatically affected how we do business, and constant change is now the only thing that really stays the same. Keeping up with these changes is a crucial component of business success today; there is simply no “set it and forget it” in the world of online marketing, which begs the question, “How can busy dealers stay ahead of the rate of change?” With web sites, SEO, SEM, social media, third-party sites, lead management and more, it can be a challenge to ensure a dealership’s marketing message is reaching valuable consumers online. solves these challenges by providing the industry’s most comprehensive online marketing platform. All online marketing activities can be managed, monitored and evaluated in a single location, with a single login, from a single vendor. This ends the inefficiency of multiple logins in multiple locations to measure web site, advertising, inventory marketing and lead management results. Consolidation is smarter, saves time and money, and generates a higher return on investment. When was founded back in 1997, few people in the automotive industry realized the potential of the Internet to reach consumers, and even fewer were actively leveraging online marketing. Automotive dealer and visionary Mark Bonfigli realized early on that consumers would increasingly begin to seek retail information via the Internet. He founded to offer the automotive industry the most innovative and useful online marketing solution. Today, is the global leader in online marketing solutions for the industry, providing award winning e-marketing solutions to OEMs, auto dealers and media companies. Focus on RD, customer service and company culture As a key component of the company’s extensive research and development (RD) investments, the unified platform provides enterprise-level online marketing, with the latest tools and the most intuitive user interface. The single- login platform benefits all automotive sectors by allowing more effective online marketing management, while decreasing overall costs. Recent enhancements include expanded customer service, with a doubling of the number of customer- facing staff, extensive employee development and training, and a 100% increase in RD investment for the second consecutive year. THE POWER PLATFORMof delivers online automotive retail success to more dealers with the industry’s most comprehensive and efficient online marketing platform IGITAL Dealer VENDOR PROFILED
  21. 21. May 2010 DD 21’s account management and technical support teams provide the immediate assistance and guidance to help dealers maximize the online marketing platform. The customer service teams keep in continuous contact with their busy dealers to ensure that all online marketing opportunities are utilized. In fact, there are an average of two outgoing customer service phone calls for every one incoming phone call. As a testament to’s service and technology focus, the company’s Net Promoter® Score (NPS) continues to lead the technology sector with the top customer service ranking in the nation’s software industry. In addition, Dealer. com is the top ranked website provider on dealer vendor ratings. Further, 80% of the leading dealer groups choose the online marketing platform, as ranked by the 2009 Automotive News ranking of the Top 125 Dealer Groups. also firmly believes that happy, healthy employees provide the best service to customers. This philosophy comes from the top down, creating an environment that is fast-paced, innovative and fun. Dealer. com is a pioneer, offering diverse wellness opportunities to its employees, unmatched in today’s workplace. Additionally, with the strong focus on RD, employees are encouraged and rewarded for creating innovative solutions for the complex business challenges of online retail marketing. has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont and has also been named as finalist in the national Inc. Magazine Top Small Company Workplaces. Key components of the online marketing platform Web sites SmartSites™ are highly adaptable, precisely engineered, search- savvy, lead-capturing machines. Built according to Google’s standards and results-driven best practices, SmartSites™ are search-optimized, easy to navigate and edit, and contain more lead-generating forms for higher conversion. With enhanced video, mobile and social networking capabilities, they reach, retain and convert more in-market buyers for all dealership profit centers. In addition,’s MobileSites™ turn smart phones into lead generating machines, allowing mobile consumers access to inventory, parts and service hours, integrated inventory videos, contact information and more, from anywhere at anytime. Online advertising The Internet allows unprecedented online advertising potential. However, success largely depends on the right blend of key technology components: strong search engine marketing (SEM), website design consistent with industry best practices, and well-managed search engine optimization (SEO). SmartSites™ combined with ManagedSEO™ service provide optimum organic visibility on the major search engines. In addition, TotalControl DOMINATOR™ premium paid search advertising, PowerMail™ broadcast email campaign management, and full integration with popular social media networks allow dealers to effectively reach consumers wherever they spend time online. Lead management Fully integrated with SmartSites™, LeadMachine™ lets dealers accept, organize, distribute and track leads seamlessly throughout the lead lifecycle, across the entire sales force. LeadMachine™ can track leads from the dealership’s web site, AutoTrader,, Autobytel, regional web sites and more. Leads can then be tracked throughout their lifecycle, with response-time monitoring to optimize sales departments’ lead processes. LeadMachine™ allows the creation of customized lead lifecycles for all types of incoming leads. In addition, dealer groups can manage and track leads by store or individual sales person. Inventory marketing’s inventory marketing tools organize, integrate and automate online inventory marketing. The inventory management tools push dealers’ inventory to eBay®, Craigslist, online classifieds, popular social media networks, and hundreds of other locations. CarFinder™ Automated Inventory Alerts send emails to prospects regarding vehicles they are interested in. Further, Dealer. com’s inventory marketing also includes integrated video. CarFlix™ HumanVoice and CarFlix™ Virtual Test Drive videos deliver captivating, full-motion videos with audience appropriate human voices. Video Blogs and transcripts can also be generated for every inventory video, boosting SEO and providing a more engaging customer experience. Performance analytics’s reporting structure is designed to produce actionable analytics, with business intelligence that carefully measures success, enabling increased sales and efficiency across all dealership profit centers. Transparent analytics monitor the effectiveness of lead strategies, merchandising strategies, online advertising and the entire marketing plan. The end result When combined, the components of’s comprehensive online marketing platform allow OEMs, dealers and media groups maximum efficiency by unifying all key areas of online marketing in a single location, with a single login. The consolidation ends the need to work with multiple suppliers to manage and monitor marketing results. Further,’s award-winning customer service and technology keep their customers years ahead of the competition, with the maximum return on investment.
  22. 22. DD 22 May 2010 The Executive Team Mark Bonfigli Chairman, CEO and president Mark is the founder, president and CEO of He has more than 20 years of marketing, retailing, wholesaling, and service experience in the auto industry, including 10 years as the co-founder of a successful New England-based automotive retailer. Mark was named as a finalist in the 2007, 2008, and most recently the 2009 winner of the Ernst Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the New England Region, as well as the 2009 Vermont Small Business Person of The Year award. Under Mark’s leadership has received numerous recognitions including Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, and numerous automotive industry awards for leadership in Internet marketing solutions. Rick Gibbs Chief technology officer Rick has driven technological innovation and positioned as a leader in the online automotive marketing industry. Rick brought expertise to with his previous experience implementing a web development division for an international consulting firm. Combining creativity with strategic foresight, Rick has consistently led’s research and development teams, delivering cutting-edge products that outperform the competition. He has been instrumental in streamlining the development process, bringing products to market, and backing them by robust architecture and logic. Rick maintains a vision of continuous product improvement that translates into better value and performance for clients. Mike Lane Chief operating officer Mike has experience in operational development in both consulting and industry for the past decade. Experience in finance, IT, and automotive have enabled Mike to drive success in the development of e-business solutions. Financial discipline and solid business planning are foundations of the success he pursues, along with unconventional and creative methods of developing key teams for organizations’ operational success. The end result is highly effective teams that are in line with objectives to support clients with the best possible service and solutions, while achieving or exceeding company objectives. Dean Evans Chief marketing officer Dean brings 18 years of experience in automotive retail marketing strategies. He has acted as an executive or consultant for many high-profile companies and automotive clients, including Ford Motor Company, Land Rover of NA, Jaguar of NA, Chrysler Corporation, The Cobalt Group, Dealix Corporation,, AutoNation/ AutoUSA, and Jumpstart Automotive. Dean was acting operations manager and general manager of a full line Chrysler dealer in the San Francisco area in 1995-97. He was the first in the market to start an Internet department and BDC. He played an active role on several company advisory boards, including DrivingSales Inc., Target Diversity Marketing, Auto Dealer Traffic, and iAutos, the largest automotive portal serving the rapidly growing Chinese market. David Stetson Chief financial officer David Stetson brings more than 20 years of senior management experience in finance and investment banking, with a focus on growth companies in the technology sector, to’s leadership team.   Most recently, David served as senior managing director and head of the investment banking department for Caris Company, an investment bank focused on fast-growing public companies in the technology, healthcare, consumer and energy segments of the economy.  Prior to Caris, David was CFO and senior strategic executive at Xpoint Technologies, a venture backed provider of disaster recovery and security software. His accomplishments at Xpoint included helping the company manage an aggressive growth plan that saw the company’s Rapid Restore® software deployed to more than 30 million desktops, laptops and servers around the world.
  23. 23. May 2010 DD 23  Profiling your Customers O ne of my favoriteTV shows does a “profile” of the criminal suspect for each crime. Can you use this same technique to “profile” good sales or service customers and then data mine your DMS database to find more of the same? Your best sales customer is your cur- rent service customer. If you can get 20% more people into the shop today, that means 20% more opportunities for repeat sales business. Many of you might be frustrated by the service department because they are already “maximized out,” but you need to do this simple test to see if you could get more business into the shop that could equate into sales opportunities. Step 1: Take how many working hours in a month (April had 22 days, times 8 hours – or 174 hours) times the number of technicians, times your efficiency goal. If you have 10 technicians and you hope for 120% efficiency (how quickly a technician can do a flag hour) – then you should have 2,112 labor hours. Step 2: Multiple those “expected” labor hours by your labor rate ($100 an hour) and you should have $211,200 in labor sales. Generating gross profit of 75% (which is a good number) then you should have $158,400 in gross profit. If you look at your financial statement and you don’t see this magical number or more, then you’re leaving open holes in your shop loading. You might have a tech- nician efficiency report that shows them doing far more than 120%, but they might not be productive. What is productivity? It is making sure they are flagging 120% of the available hours. If your shop is slow and they are leaving early, taking vacation, or getting “shop” time instead of flag time, then your shop is not as busy as you might think. The next issue might be your effec- tive labor rate. If you are discounting too many jobs, then the $100 an hour is not obtainable. The last issue is your gross profit. If your labor rate or effective labor rate – less your average technician pay (effective gross profit) divided by your labor rate isn’t the same as what your financial statement gross profit shows, then you’re either not dispatching the right jobs to the right tech- nicians, or you’re writing off labor. How can you find out which of these items is the problem? You need to do a full labor analysis. For last month, pull your labor lines from your DMS system and analyze it. You’re looking for labor op codes that have a high gross profit (normally done by the lower cost technicians) and a high efficiency (they can do a job is less time than flag time.) If you need detailed instructions, e-mail me – I wrote an article in my Profit Retention Newsletter. Now that you have your analysis, you should know what are the best labor op codes for you to do? Look at the coupons that you sent out last month? Were they for the labor op codes that you just discovered? If not, then make a list of the good labor op codes and this is the type of additional service work that you want to get into the shop to provide more sales opportunities. Once you have those codes, then you need to do a marketing campaign to get that work into the shop. Study the year, make, model, and miles of the good labor op codes (you might need to do another data mining pull and use a vLookup). You should be able to devise a profile of this premium type of customer in your database and now search for them. Let’s say that your labor analysis came up with brake jobs as your best labor op code. You then analyzed all the brake jobs for last month and found that they were trucks four years old, driven by customers between 25 and 40. Next you’d find all the customers in your database that didn’t have a brake job done in the past few years and give the list to the sales department along with the price of brake jobs, a description of what is done and how many appointments they can make a day. Your sales department could call their customers and schedule the appointment. It is a wonderful opportunity for your sales department to “connect” with their customers and possibly sell them a new truck instead of fixing up their old truck – or at least get them into the shop for the brake job. Sandi Jerome is a former controller, CFO, system administrator, FI, assistant GM, and fixed operations manager with over 20 years experience in the automotive industry. She is the owner of Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting. If you wish to discuss this article with otherdealers,orwiththeauthor,please gotothe“DiscussionForums”atwww. Dealer-communications.comandenter the“Technology”forumore-mailherat IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDSD Sandi Jerome
  24. 24. DD 24 May 2010 Dan.The moon and stars were aligning. It just seemed like the right fit for me. But I also told Van, “I’ve heard the auto industry is very demanding on your time, but I am a corporate guy, as long as I can have a work/life balance, that was really important to me.” I told him that he had to promise to me that he would never try to turn me into a car guy, and so far and we have been good. I will see him in the hallway, and I will yell “Dan” and startle him. I tell him, “Did I tell you how much Ilovemyjob?”Andhewilljustsmileatme and keep walking. You said the auto industry is different than any other industry. In your mind, what are a couple of those differences? Back in the day, the auto industry -- I don’t know if it was a noble profession, but it was a professional profession.There were professional salespeople. When you went in and bought a car, 20-30 years ago, these guys were all dressed in ties, they were professionals. Now, people would rather go to the dentist than buy a car. That is not a great image.WhenIseesomethinghappensuch as the scandal withToyota, I think it is just another black eye on the industry. RightnowIamstartingwithanindustry and I am going to make this dealership moreprofessional.EverythingItellisgoing to go back to an extraordinary experience at my dealership. We are building a new building – we break ground in December of 2010. It is going to be state-of-the- art leaning towards a digital dealership. We’ll have interactive kind of stuff for our customers. The car dealership is a totally different animal than other businesses. We’re open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the virtual showroom that I manage is open 24/7/365.The Internet never sleeps. You need to be ready to respond to the customers whenever they are shopping. Unfortunate or fortunate, most customers areshoppingwhentheygetbackfromtheir lunchbreak,maybewhentheyaredoingit when they start their day. Most are doing it when I am, married with three kids, after I say prayers and put the kids to bed, and after I’m sitting on the sofa with my wife having a cup of coffee, that’swhenweareontheInternetandthat’s at night. So you have to be prepared. I feel like a doctor on call -- the beeper goes off and you have to run into the hospital. Sounds like you are off to a great start. Ireallyam.WhenItellyouIlikemyjob andIfeellikeablessedguy,Ireallydomean that. I think the team has done a great deal here.That’s a great feeling to know you are doing things right. Not just doing things right, but you are doing it the right way. IreallyenjoytheownerandthinkChevy is a great product. When I see what is comingdownthepipelinefortheCamaro, theEquinox,theVoltandtheCruzeIthink theyaregoingtoturnitaroundandwillbe the brand of 2011. # ActivEngage...............................25 AutoSoft.....................................19 AutoRevo...................................14 AutoUSA....................................26 BZ Results.....................................3 Car Research..............................15 DealerPeak (Widestorm)..........10 ExteresAUTO..............................24 FirstLook.......................................7 Homenet....................................11 IMN Loyalty Driver....................13 NADA Used Car Guide................9 Digital Dealer cover story, Barditch, continued from P-19 866.994.2618 •
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  26. 26. AutoUSA lists your dealership on over 100 automotive websites. AutoUSA puts your dealership on the local dealer selection list on over 100 popular automotive websites. With AutoUSA your dealership is there when online shoppers are ready to buy. You’ll get consistent exposure in your market area and pay only when a lead is delivered* . To get listed right away at no cost and be everywhere your customers are, call AutoUSA 1-888-212-3063. You’ll be there when your customers are ready to buy. Increase your sales today! 1-888-212-3063 *Where allowed by law