Send a Multi-vehicle
Quote;Win on the Call
The Myth of E-mail Leads
and Rise of the Internet as
an Influencing Medium
Five Truths about
Profiling your Customers
DD 2 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
ABLE OF CONTENTST
PRESIDENT AND CEO
VICE PRESIDENT AND
TRAVIS HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY
NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES
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A PUBLICATION OF
C O M M U N I C A T I O N S
Digital Dealer Cover Story
16 Larry Barditch
Director of Business Development
Digital Dealer Vendor Profile
20 Dealer.com – The Power of One Platform
8 Dealer Communications Launches New Web Site
10 Send a Multi-vehicle Quote; Win on the Call
12 The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of the Internet
as an Influencing Medium
14 Five Truths about Social Media
23 Profiling your Customers
4 Digital Dealer E-mail
DD 4 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
IGITAL DEALER E-MAILD
I read your article in December’s Digital
Dealer magazine, “Ways to Create a Sticky
Web Site”. I am fairly new to the automobile
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?
Business Development Manager
Lindsay Honda and Lindsay Acura
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”—
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
the option to compare multiple vehicles side by
side, a media center with multiple images and
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
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
need. What can I do to pull out of this?
East Texas Ford/Gober Merrel Chevrolet,
Buick and GMC Inc.
Winnsboro and Sulphur Springs, TX
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).
mobile business, it is my belief that we can no
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
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
I envision a group of people whom are voted in
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
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,
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: email@example.com
JOEORRDick Hannah Hondapage 14
Internet Sales:A Darwinian Fight
for Survivalpage 8
Put the RightContent onYour Site page 12
Making Profit with
your IT Department
The Cruel Mistress
of Social Mediapage 24
2010 Top Rated Web
Top Awards for Websites,
SEO, and Internet
2009 Net Promoter®
Top customer service
ranking in the nation’s
2010 Diamond Award
“Best Website Provider”
Auto Dealer Monthly
2009 Automotive Search
SEARCH MARKETING | DEALER WEBSITES | LEAD MANAGEMENT | PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS
888.785.5418 | www.dealer.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Dealer.com
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 Dealer.com
DD 6 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
IGITAL DEALER TECH NEWSD
Manheim launches new
online ‘Daily Sales’
Daily Sales program, a powerful, expanded
to capitalize on the popularity and success of
it Friday with newly-launched Online Event
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
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
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-
informed about the variety of online
events happening daily at Manheim. As part
of the campaign, Daily Sales promotional
and updates on upcoming sales. In addition,
an interactive calendar on Manheim.com
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.
Daily Sales digitally can add events to their
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
The Facebook Inventory App functions
like a second web site for a dealership. The
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.
including video test drives, mobile web sites,
began building web sites in 1998 and wrote
lishing tool in 2000.
For an example of the Dealer Impact
Facebook Inventory App visit: http://www.
The StoneEagle Group
The StoneEagle Group announced it has
joined DealerTrack’s OpenTrack program.
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
the unique needs of their business.
OpenTrack program to deliver the highest
levels of security, reliability and scalability to
OpenTrack program will enable StoneEagle
to increase efficiencies and performance for
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,”
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.”
Courtesy of the Internet—They know it all. Do You?
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I know exactly how much
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DD 8 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Dealer Communications Launches
New Web Site
site – www.dealer-communications.
com.This project has been a labor of
in October 2009.
content-laden and informative web site that
is focused solely on new car dealers and their
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
mation you can use in your own dealership.
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
Setting up a profile gives you access to our
forums where you can post content, com-
much more. You’ll also be able to participate
in the conversation by commenting on our
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
We just finished the 8th Digital Dealer
Conference, and it was the biggest one to
550 or so were dealers, general managers and
mism in Orlando at the conference. Sales are
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
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
It may sound Pollyannaish,but thepeople
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,
IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTESD
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DD 10 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Send a Multi-vehicle Quote;
Win on the Call
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
Instead of responding with a single quote,
provide quotes on multiple vehicles. Doing
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
With a multi-vehicle quote, the conversa-
gation system or not?This is the type of con-
price point requirements as they mull over
the alternatives you have presented. You are
All of a sudden, an adversarial conversation
becomes a consultative conversation.
At the “moment of truth,” when a customer
sends you a lead, you are on trial. The same
key. Your goal is to create a relationship, and
turn that relationship into a sale. Speed of
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
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
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-
inch by inch.You have begun to build a rela-
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 Cars.com.
If you wish to discuss this article with
other dealers, or with the author,
please go to the “Discussion Forums”
and enter the “Internet Sales” forum
or e-mail him at tmohr@Dealer-
IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALESD
With a multi-vehicle
quote, the conversation
turns away from price to
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DD 12 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of
the Internet as an Influencing Medium
any dealers using the Internet as a
marketing resource are still heav-
ily focused on e-mail leads as the
how satisfied are shoppers with e-mailing
dealers and how else should dealers be using
and evaluating online marketing?
an increase in the number of car shoppers
ping process, but the use of e-mail leads has
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
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
This fact doesn’t mean that e-mail leads
aren’t important, but they are clearly not the
keting and sales.
That being said, dealers clearly recognize
are needed to generate one sale, versus nine
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
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 AutoTrader.com, 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
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
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 AutoTrader.com, two in
three shoppers prefer to visit the dealer in
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
for sale and gives the shopper reasons to buy
from one outlet over another. The Internet
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
as Google Analytics, which is available for
dealers to improve their use of the web as a
marketing medium, both with their listings
on third-party sites such as AutoTrader.com,
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
techniques, dealers will see improvements in
the most important measurement of all: the
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.
Dealer-communications.com and enter
IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALESD
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DD 14 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Five Truths about Social Media
f you’re like me, you’ve read so much
about social media lately that your eyes
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
For dealers, this is a confusing time as
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”
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
Regardless of how you proceed online
– though I do recommend you stop posting
on the Internet will likely be there for as long
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
about, most visited and most coveted web
nesses successfully leverage these sites will
will seem dated in just a couple of years.
Truth 2: MySpace is more socially rel-
Facebook). Those same pundits who pro-
is dead.”Which is it? Is it a medium that will
be here until the next Ice Age or one where
the moment they are overtaken in the traffic
Google; 2) Facebook; 3)Yahoo!; 4)YouTube
fifth most popular site in the U.S. is “dead,”
what does that say about number six and
Truth 3: Your social presence/reputa-
tion/existence online will be there with our
without your involvement.The consuming
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
tation and manage your social networking
account. If you run an old school dealership
IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALESD
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.
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 15
that revels in “crushing” every customer,
your consumers and former employees will
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
seem to be spinning their wheels creating
Facebook and Twitter accounts, getting fans
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
social networking, blogging, microblogging,
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
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
Steve Stauning is the co-founder of Kain-
Stauning, a leading automotive dealership
training and consulting services firm focusing
his work with Kain-Stauning, he has served in
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
If you wish to discuss this article with
other dealers, or with the author,
please go to the “Discussion Forums”
and enter the “Internet Sales” forum
or e-mail him at sstauning@Dealer-
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DD 16 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
DigitalDealer-magazine.com 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.
years in south Florida until I sold it in 2008.
I’m the president of a local chamber group.
about five years.
We were having lunch when he asked me
and playing golf when I want to and picking
up the kids at school in the afternoon and
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-
He had four salespeople that he promoted
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
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
was going on here. The auto industry is like
nothing else I have ever seen.
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
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
I started here we had a hodge-podge of what
was an Internet sales department and half
But we didn’t have the right people. I hired
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.
of the car-sales process, which I didn’t know
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
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
I tell them they have to follow-up on all of
the unsold floor traffic and get one appoint-
that they need to hit. It is kind of like being
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
don’t produce results. I see a lot of that in the
You brought some discipline into it, what
you starting seeing results?
learning period. I have had some great men-
tors, guys like Matthew Belk, who came here
ing to Internet leads.’ I’ve had guys like Glen
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
spellings in the response. And it didn’t answer
How hard is it to hit spell check before you
send an e-mail? That is just a discipline you
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
DD 18 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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-
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
He is a visionary when it comes to the digital
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?
management tool is called Aeros. I struggled
it needed to be. Just working with the vendor
helped us set-up the way we wanted it to be.
Who built your web site?
vendor that the relationship wasn’t there. I’ve
got the best customer advocate there, Joshua
I’m constantly updating our web site. We
recently changed the style to make it more
We’re embedding videos into the site itself.
We’ve added an appraisal tool on the front
Cobalt manages the majority of our search
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
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
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
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
look like Chevy.com. We did that differently.
Our web site doesn’t have that cookie-cutter
Has GM given you any feedback back on
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.
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
the e-mail. I, the general sales manager or the
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
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
“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.
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 19
Ranked US #1-
the Most Likely
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
Products and Services
Speed in Getting Changes
and Modifications Made
Maintenance of Your
Daily Business with
Problem and Concerns
being Fixed Correctly
the First Time You Call
Prompt Follow-up to
Handle the Needs of
You and Your Staff
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
AVIP appointment merely means, it is show-
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.
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
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?
we’ve just put a lot of additional money into
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.
the best package from all of them.
What gets the most traffic on your web site?
Our inventory is definitely seeing the most
Do you get a lot of traffic on service yet?
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
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
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
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.
So he was able to show me the letter saying
we’re not one of the dealerships going away.
continued to P-24
DD 20 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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. Dealer.com
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
When Dealer.com 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 Dealer.com to
offer the automotive industry the most
innovative and useful online marketing
solution. Today, Dealer.com 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.
oneDealer.com delivers online automotive retail success to more dealers with the
industry’s most comprehensive and efficient online marketing platform
IGITAL Dealer VENDOR PROFILED
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 21
Dealer.com’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
As a testament to Dealer.com’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 DrivingSales.com dealer vendor
ratings. Further, 80% of the leading dealer
groups choose the Dealer.com online
marketing platform, as ranked by the 2009
Automotive News ranking of the Top 125
Dealer.com 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. Dealer.com 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
Dealer.com 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, Dealer.com’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
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
Dealer.com 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.
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,
Cars.com, 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.
Dealer.com’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
Dealer.com’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
Dealer.com’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, Dealer.com’s award-winning
customer service and technology keep
their customers years ahead of the
competition, with the maximum return
DD 22 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
The Dealer.com Executive Team
Chairman, CEO and president
Mark is the founder, president
and CEO of Dealer.com. 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 Dealer.com 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.
Chief technology officer
Rick has driven technological
innovation and positioned Dealer.com
as a leader in the online automotive
marketing industry. Rick brought
expertise to Dealer.com with his
previous experience implementing
a web development division for an
international consulting firm.
Combining creativity with strategic foresight, Rick has
consistently led Dealer.com’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 Dealer.com clients.
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
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.
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, Nextag.com, 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
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
Dealer.com’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.
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 23
Profiling your Customers
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
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.
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.
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
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
If you wish to discuss this article with
IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDSD
DD 24 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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
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
as the scandal withToyota, I think it is just
another black eye on the industry.
and I am going to make this dealership
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
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
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,
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.
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.
is a great product. When I see what is
the brand of 2011.
IMN Loyalty Driver....................13
NADA Used Car Guide................9
Digital Dealer cover story, Barditch,
continued from P-19
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