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AutoSuccess addresses the specific, researched needs of new car and light truck dealerships by providing entrepreneurial, cutting-edge, solution-based editorials to increase dealership profits and......

AutoSuccess addresses the specific, researched needs of new car and light truck dealerships by providing entrepreneurial, cutting-edge, solution-based editorials to increase dealership profits and reduce expenses

AutoSuccess, magazine, sales, new, used, selling, salespeople, vehicle, dealer, dealership, leadership, marketing

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  • 1. Listen to Our Industry Experts at April 2009
  • 2. Are you looking forApril 2009 feature solution An Interview By SusanGivens FACE customers who aren’t OF THE address: 3834 Taylorsville Rd. Building A, Ste. 1B DEALERSHIP Louisville Kentucky 40220 there? phone / fax: 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 web: Unlimited team: Updating leadership solution Susan Givens FOCUS Publisher Packages 08 Hold Everyone Accountable - All of the Time starting as low as $ 199 StephenR.Covey Thomas Williams VP & Creative Director 14 MAXIMIZE TODAY LawsonOwen per month pg24 28 DON’T LET YOUR STYLE GET IN THE WAY Dave Davis Editor and Creative Strategist THE GOOD NEWS OF YOUR SUCCESS ABOUT TODAY’S MattBaker Brian Ankney ECONOMIC Sales-Improvement Strategist ENVIRONMENT 30 DEALERITIS JoshWeaver KevinCunningham John Warner Sales-Improvement Strategist sales & training solution 18 BUILDING TRUST IN A MISTRUSTED INDUSTRY general information: A Front Line-Ready Technique For Building Trust Faster eNewsletter: PaulWebb 22 HOW TO MAKE TRAINING PAY OFF pg1 AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., 9 JohnBrentlinger Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or Subscription rate is $69 per year. ARE YOU A 26 GO THE EXTRA MILE AND ENSURE AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible DINOSAUR? LOYALTY WITH WOMEN CUSTOMERS for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its MarkTewart JodyDeVere contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the 33 FIELD TRIP content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked SteveBrazill from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess 34 WINNING WORDS Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent Your customers are on the move. By having current data in your Four Powerful Phrases from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names PaulCummings available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of DMS system you will be reaching interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling Are you keeping up with them? 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to customers with every marketing marketing solution AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220. campaign you initiate... distancing 10 DEVELOPING THE THANK-YOU NOTE HABIT yourself from your competition. TomHopkins We provide the most current email addresses, phone numbers and 16 LEVERAGING POSITIVE REVIEWS That means more profit potential for ChipGrueter physical addresses on a monthly basis. every department in your dealership. pg27 17 THE KEY TO STOCKING YOUR USED CAR LOT DalePollak helping to support... THE POWER OF PERSONALIZED GRATITUDE 32 THOUGHTS ABOUT CRM - DO YOU NEED ONE? MarcSmith HowardLeavitt DMS Update automatically insures all of the information in your DMS UPDATE ‘BILL AND MARY AREN’T HERE RIGHT NOW...’ DMS system (such as ADP or R&R) is current, accurate, and in 36 The Hardest Part of a Sales Professionals’ Job is Handling Voicemail compliance with the latest government regulations. 1-866-702-1566 SeanV.Bradley
  • 3. leadershipsolution StephenR.Covey FOCUS Hold Everyone Accountable - All of the Time Figure 1 Which of the following statements best describes the accountability within your organization? Dear Dea ler: ments you have heard in your daily m eetings late ly? e com er e did Are these e st m i In prior columns, Organizations that execute with excellence rs. I’ve talked about an invariably have strong accountability 64% We NEED h gift see e “execution gap” in systems. h dn othing b t that 58% to bring in something omething organizations, the gap between setting a We NEED W e NEED s 41% th t e dif ferent. BUYERS. some tr f goal and achieving it. To close the execution The data indicate, however, that such gap, leaders must practice four disciplines systems are not very common. In a recent 31% ht i bring in n get bo g tened 26% of execution: study, more than 12,000 U.S. workers were 16% gh 1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goal asked to describe accountability within their n s h e ti 2. Create a Compelling Scoreboard organizations. Figure 1 shows the results. 3. Translate Lofty Goals into Action a. b. c. d. e. f. r: 4. Hold Everyone Accountable — All of known fo at we are once ts the Time a. We routinely report to each other on That’s why the fourth discipline of Here’s wh rotected c our progress toward goals. execution is to hold everyone accountable ith ou r uni ue — all of the time. Those who practice this lity tra c riving ua I’ve dealt with the first three disciplines in b. I meet at least monthly with my discipline do three things extremely well: D room your sho previous columns. Once you have identified manager to review progress on my scores into your “wildly important goals,” posted the goals. 1. Hold frequent accountability credit des your sales sessions — at least weekly scoreboard on them, and translated them c. We hold ourselves accountable for ringing itments to y comm into action, hold everyone accountable staying on budget. Frequency is crucial. Most knowledge — all of the time. d. We hold ourselves accountable for workers aren’t asked to account to their es ill uy toda oor Delivering sho room ls on your reaching our commitments on time. managers even monthly. It is so easy to g dea and closin How Could We Fail? e. We hold ourselves accountable for lose focus on key goals without intense Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan tell of a delivering quality results. and frequent focus. New York Mayor conversation they held with a CEO whose f. None of the above. Rudy Giuliani’s turn-around team met o u strategic initiative had failed. every day in a “morning meeting” to harging yo These are key symptoms of weak keep key goals in constant sight. 66 - 546-2820 ay at 1- 8 “This was the brightest team in the accountability for commitments: 2. Focus on the “wildly important Call us tod .impactdirec to w w w industry,” said the CEO. “No question. Haphazard reporting. Only about two in r log on no goals.” We had two off-site meetings, did five (41 percent) of respondents talk to each soon Many goals are important, but only g ith you to s ea in benchmarking, got the metrics. Everybody other routinely about progress toward their ard e loo or agreed with the plan. I empowered them goals. a few are “wildly important” — that — gave them the freedom to do what they Little if any accounting to management. is, crucial to the mission. Examine needed to do. Everybody knew what had to Only about one in four (26 percent) meets the scoreboard on those crucial goals. be done. . . . How could we fail? at least monthly with a manager to review Ensure that everyone agrees precisely progress on goals. and individually on what to do this week to move those goals forward. ver Josh Wea “Yet the year has come to an end, and Little budgetary discipline. About a third we missed the goals. They let me down; (31 percent) say they stay on budget. they didn’t deliver the results. . . . I don’t Deadlines met half the time. A few more 3. Clear the path for each other. know what to do, and I don’t know where than half the respondents (58 percent) The notion that the boss holds the the bottom is” (Larry Bossidy and Ram indicate that they keep commitments in a subordinates accountable, that Charan, Execution, Crown Business: 2002, timely fashion. accountability flows only one way, pp. 13-14). Quality results? One in three says that no is not characteristic of an execution one cares much if they deliver with quality. culture. On a real work team, everyone This CEO had a good plan, good metrics, accounts to everyone else. Everyone good markets and good people. So what If sharp execution requires precise has individual tasks, and everyone went wrong? accountability — and it does — then the encounters obstacles. If I’m the leader, R E C E N T I M P A C T typical organization is in trouble. “This I clear the path for you by getting The Bottom of the Execution Gap is a formula for failure,” say Charan and you resources or approvals or making reo ned Dea er So th Bend ndiana important contacts. In turn, you clear At the bottom of the Execution Gap is the Bossidy. “You need accountability for the path for me by giving me technical 329 Unique Calls lack of accountability. In the Industrial results — discussed openly and agreed to by Age, the theory was that people performed those responsible — to get things done.” assistance or research data. 200+ A ointments ith 165+ U s to expectation — or else. With the rise of knowledge work, the theory changed. The Fourth Discipline of Execution Only organizations that execute with 42 Deliveries in 3 days! Because of the nature of knowledge work, Teams known for excellent execution are excellence can sustain results over time. goals get blurry, workers have more also known for “mutual accountability.” Practicing the four disciplines of execution autonomy and they tend to choose their own They feel themselves accountable not is truly a key to superior performance. Light up your phones. work priorities. Most leaders are deeply only to owners, bosses and supervisors, conflicted about how to manage knowledge but to each other. They have clear roles Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder of FranklinCovery, and is the author of The 7 Fill your showroom. workers: Do I spell out what’s expected and then crack down? Or do I let workers in executing a few core goals, and they regularly and often answer to one another in Habits of Highly Effective People. He can be contacted at 866.892.6363, or by e- Sell Cars. choose their own way and hope for the best? keeping their commitments. mail at
  • 4. marketingsolution TomHopkins DEVELOPING THE THANK-YOU NOTE HABIT I learned the value telephone. In today’s business world, time 7. After They Buy From and power of thank- is precious. You can rest assured that I will Someone Else you notes early in life. When I was a young always be respectful of the time you invest “Thank you for taking your time to child, my parents occasionally went out as we discuss the possibility of serving your consider our vehicles and service. I regret with friends for dinner. Invariably, when automotive needs.” being unable, at this time, to prove to you my parents returned from an evening out, the benefits we have to offer. I will keep in I saw my mother sit down at her little desk 2. In Person Contact touch with the hope that in the years ahead in the hallway as soon as she got home “Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you, we will be able to do business.” and begin to write. One night I asked her and my thank you is for the time we shared. what she was doing. Her answer came We have been fortunate to serve many 8. After They Buy From Someone straight out of Emily Post: “We had such happy clients, and it is my wish to some Else, But Offer to Give You Referrals a wonderful time with our dear friends day be able to serve you. If you have any “Thank you for your gracious offer of this evening that I want to jot them a note questions, please don’t hesitate to call.” giving me referrals. As we discussed, I to thank them for their friendship and the am enclosing three of my business cards. wonderful dinner.” My mother’s simple 3. After Demonstration or I thank you in advance for placing them act of gratitude — expressed to people Presentation in the hands of three of your friends, who already knew that she and my father “Thank you for giving me the opportunity acquaintances, or relatives that I might appreciated and enjoyed their friendship to discuss your upcoming automotive needs serve. I will keep in touch and be willing to — helped to keep my parents’ friendships with you. We would be honored to serve your render my services as needed.” strong for their entire lifetimes. needs now and into the future. We believe that quality, blended with excellent service, is 9. To Anyone Who Gives Because I understood that building the foundation for a successful business.” You Service relationships is what selling is all about, “Thank you. It is gratifying to meet I began early in my career to send thank- 4. After Purchase someone dedicated to doing a good job. you notes to people. I set a goal to send “Thank you for giving me the opportunity Your efforts are sincerely appreciated. If 10 thank-you notes every day. That goal to offer you our finest service. We are my company or I can serve you in any way, meant that I had to meet and get the names confident that you will be happy with please don’t hesitate to call.” of at least 10 people every day. I sent your new vehicle. My goal is now to offer thank-you notes to people I met briefly, excellent follow-up service so you will 10. Anniversary Thank You people I showed properties to, people I have no reservations about referring others “Thank you. It is with warm regards that I talked with on the telephone, and people to me who have similar needs as yours.” send this note to say hello and again, thanks I actually helped to own new homes. I for your past patronage. Please call me with became a thank-you note fool. And guess 5. For a Referral any questions you have about your existing what happened? By the end of my third “Thank you for your kind referral of John vehicle or the latest advancements in our year in sales, my business was 98 percent and Mary Smith. You may rest assured newer models.” by referral. The people I had expressed that anyone you refer to me will receive gratitude to were happy to send me new the highest degree of professional service The power of expressed gratitude is clients as a reward for making them feel possible.” immense. Put this tool to work for you appreciated and important. today! 6. After Final Refusal I understand that you may not be “Thank you for taking your time to comfortable at first with starting the thank- consider letting me serve you. It is with you note habit, so I took the time to write sincere regrets that your immediate out 10 situations in which sending a thank- plans do not include purchasing from us. World-renowned master sales trainer Tom you note is appropriate. Then, to help you However, if you need further information Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins International. He can be contacted at even more, I’ve drafted the notes for you. or have any questions, please feel free to 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at call. I will be happy to keep you posted on 1. Telephone Contact new developments and changes that may “Thank you for talking with me on the benefit you.”10
  • 5. featuresolution How Scott Robinson Honda Revamped Their Web Site to Compete With Some of the Nation’s Top Dealers to Win An Interview by EricBolstad CrystieLucero ChrisCarlson SusanGivens They compete against some of the highest-selling dealers in the AS: Prior to that, how were sales? country, in a time of economic downturn, when technology is EB: Two or three years ago, we were what you’d call a traditional changing the landscape faster than most dealers’ ability to keep up dealer. We didn’t really have a BDC. We had an Internet department, I know for a fact we’re one of the very few dealers who have the from that point, it just follows the normal sales process. with it. With all these reasons to “go along with” the recession, Scott which consisted of Chris, Crystie and another employee. They were guys dedicated to maintaining our Web site on a daily basis. We Robinson Honda is winning. The third-generation family owned responsible for handling their deals from start to finish. They’d work decided to make this move about two years ago, and it’s proven to be CL: We also have a digital appointment board that we put their dealership has more than doubled its sales from Internet leads, and the numbers, and they’d deliver the vehicles. Through the help of a huge success because there’s so much data, so much information names on. They come in and they can see themselves on the board. generating an incredible amount of appointments made from online Dealer Synergy, we put in a BDC, which Crystie has been in charge that you’re trying to share with the consumer when they come to It’s very personalized. customers. of, and hired a bunch of call center representatives to make as many your Web site that it has to be accurate, has to be up to date, it has to appointments as possible, and it’s proved to be a huge success. We have the latest and greatest specials and incentives that you have to AS: What about other departments? Has your new Web AutoSuccess recently talked with General Manager Eric Bolstad, are getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 to 80 percent of offer to your consumers to get them in, but at the same time, it also strategy helped your fixed operations? Marketing Director Chris Carlson and Internet Sales Director Crystie appointments shown to appointments made. It’s incredible. has to tell a story about who you are as a dealership and what you’re EB: What was really neat with TK’s “Power of Five” strategy is Lucero to see how they did it, and why they believe the best is yet to all about. What do you stand for? I think we’ve done an outstanding having a spot for service, body shop, and parts department. We have come for their dealership. CC: We went from selling 30 to 40 vehicles a month between the job of doing that and have had huge success because of it. videos of each department explaining where, when, why and how to three of us before to as many as 90 now, with six people making use us, along with current specials. AutoSuccess: Eric, describe your dealership’s phone calls and turning leads over to the showroom. CC: And we give a lot of credit to TK Carsites. I’ve already seen market area. a huge spike in lead generation for our Web site since we’ve been That was critical when we launched a customer rewards program. Eric Bolstad (general manager): We are a metro Los Angeles AS: Any surprises in that process? using them. The leads that the new Web site is generating for us That program has been huge for us. You have to think of it as, if you dealer, in an above-average affluent community (one of the nearby Crystie Lucero (Internet manager): In the beginning, it’s hard are almost double of what we were getting a couple of months ago. had a chance to talk to somebody who has never been to your store communities, Manhattan Beach, is one of the most expensive areas to have everybody on script, because we were used to doing things Dealer Synergy also helped us implement a strategy for optimizing before and ask them why they should do business with you, that’s to live in the state of California). There are seven or eight other one way, and then we changed everything, so it was a little tough our Web site with microsites and video search engine optimization. what we use our Web site for. Honda dealers within 30 miles, and two of those dealers are in getting my older employees to change how they were doing things. the top 15, if not the top 10, for overall sales in the entire country. But once they saw results from it, everyone was all for it. EB: I spend a lot of time looking at other dealership’s Web sites, CL: Using that value package is one of the things we go over in the We’re on a major thoroughfare, and currently, there are eight or nine especially my competitions’, and it’s amazing how, when you click BDC with every single customer we speak to — the value package, dealers still on the boulevard. Also, before, they didn’t have to make a certain number of phone on their specials, it says “come back soon” or “under construction.” what makes us different and why you should do business with us. We calls; now we have 100 calls a day minimum, and they can see the do that every single phone call. AS: Sounds like pretty stiff competition. What have you results from that. They can see people come in and buy cars from We’re a little “mom and pop” dealership, third generation, so for done to increase your share of the market? that. Everyone is on board now and doing a great job. us to compete in a market that’s dominated by corporate chains and AS: What have you found that works best to Chris Carlson (marketing manager): We spend at least 85 multi-franchise type operations, it’s not easy. It’s like David going generate leads? percent of our marketing budget on the Internet. We don’t do much, AS: What role has your revamped Web strategy played up against Goliath. But we’ve found a way to knock the big guys EB: Specials, specials and more specials. On our home page, we if any, print. We don’t do radio or TV. We’ve done a ton of video in the dealership’s success? down a little bit, and that’s the Internet, maximizing our Web site treat it as our billboard, featuring whatever it is we’re promoting, search using TK Carsites, and a lot of little things like press releases EB: Everything, if you ask me. The problem is that third-party lead and bringing as many people to that Web site as possible. We get we’re definitely noticing phone calls from that, with people coming on relevant things about what we’re doing with the store. We’ve providers are so expensive, and your closing percentages on them it. We’ve seen how the Internet has changed the car business, and to the store saying “I saw this particular special on your Web site, revamped the BDC for a more thorough process on handling leads are very, very low — if you can get 10 percent you’re considered we’ve decided to roll with it instead of fight it. and that’s what I’m interested in.” We make sure that everything is that come in. a god in the industry, but face it; most of us can’t get that. So we up to date on the Web site and it’s plentiful. spend a ton of money trying AS: Describe your sales process. to recruit customers into our EB: When a customer has an appointment scheduled through the AS: What do you think is the main thing that lets you dealerships from other Web BDC, the BDC representative will set the appointment with a stand out from your competition? sites and a lot of dealers specific sales manager on duty. When the customer comes on the EB: The traditional dealer I don’t think is this deep into the game. don’t spend the time or the lot and they’re greeted by a sales associate, the customer will say I think they’re still five years behind the technological curve. I necessary energy to invest they have an appointment to see one or our sales managers (they remember going to NADA last year and being in a meeting where into their own Web site ask by name), and right then and there the sales associate knows the the speaker was talking about the use of video on your Web site, and and make that your biggest customer had an appointment made through the BDC. out of 150 dealers in the room, I was the only person in the room marketing tool. who raised their hand when he asked who was using video. At that point, the sales associate will walk the customer in and To me, the Web site is the introduce them to the sales manager, and the manager will come out A lot of traditional dealers are still going to fight the Web. They still face of the dealership. The and basically say, “Hi, welcome to the dealership, what is it you’re think that things are going to go back to the way they were in the stronger your Web site, the interested in?” At that point, they’ll turn it back over to the sales 1980s, and that’s not ever going to happen. I think it’s only going to stronger your Web presence, associate and say “he/she will go out and show you the vehicle, get more Internet driven as time goes on. the stronger you appear in and answer any and all of your questions, and when you’re ready to search engine optimization, come back down and get serious, that’s where I’ll come back into For more information about the progress of Scott Robinson key word search, videos, etc., play and work all the numbers for you.” It’s very non-invasive, very Honda, contact Joe Turner, the executive vice president for I think the more successful inviting, very welcoming. The customers seem to like it because they TK Carsites. He can be contacted at 866.432.8618, or by you’re going to be. always like to know there’s a manager working on their behalf, and e-mail at 12 3
  • 6. leadershipsolution LawsonOwen MAXIMIZE TODAY Today. Now. That’s all be able to quantify the following metrics: we have. Floor Ups Phone Ups Internet Leads In today’s market, we’ve got to “love the one you’re with.” After all, it could be the # Of Opportunities # Of Opportunities # Of Opportunities last “up” you get. Demo % % Name and Numbers % Contacted Write Up % % Appointments % Appointments These difficult times could be a blessing Sold % % Show % Show in disguise, though. For entirely too long, % Sold % Sold we’ve been able to get by in our business with very little, if any, real management. It’s time to get back to basics, the “blocking and If you can’t, that’s a problem. “I don’t • Management Sign Off — Just as tackling” of management. know” is too expensive in today’s market. we do a “Manager TO” for floor traffic, we should also have a manager sign off We have got to learn to maximize today. Here’s a few management techniques, per on all incoming sales calls. If we feel Maximize every sales opportunity available lead source, that enable a management team management involvement is important, to us, beginning now. That means every to be more involved. then we must incorporate that step into floor up, every phone up and every Internet our internal processes. We want to force inquiry. This begins with a sound process Floor Ups or make managers aware of each and for every lead source. A sound process has • Manager “Meet and Greet” every sales opportunity. “early and often” managerial involvement. — Managers get involved immediately Remember, managers “trigger” deals and during the initial interview process. Internet a manager can’t trigger a deal if they’re This aids in proper qualification, vehicle • Response Time — Our goal for unaware the opportunity exists. This selection, increase demos and early responding to Internet inquires should awareness is critical to effective opportunity rapport building. be now. But realistically, it needs to be management. • Multiple Contact Numbers/E-mail less than 30 minutes. As an industry, our — If we can increase our accessibility to average response time is around 6 1/2 Forget about business development the customer, our follow up will become hours, and 30 percent of all inquires go centers; every dealership needs a business more effective and more productive. unanswered. We can do much better. development initiative. By “initiative,” I Concentrate on cell and work numbers. • Quality of Response — How mean, “what is our plan, our process, to • 100 Percent Managerial TO effectively we communicate with the maximize every lead source we have? What — Most stores talk a good game, but few consumer is really where the rubber is our plan to maximize every lead we’ll get actually have a TO policy in place which meets the road. Currently, about 75 today?” is expected and followed. Many allow percent of customer questions go customers to visit the showroom, spend unanswered, we very rarely sell the An effective initiative consists of three time with sales reps, and sometimes benefits of choosing our product or critical components: even drive vehicles, then leave without dealership and we almost never offer • Education — Managers and sales speaking with management. alternative vehicles. How well are you reps alike should have a complete • Management Closes Every Deal communicating with your inquiries? understanding as to what the process – Let’s not leave it to chance; managers • 90+ Day Internet Process is, what their role and responsibility is go down on every deal. Remember: — You’ve got to have a 90+ day follow- within the process, what’s expected from Managers “trigger” deals. up process, which incorporates e-mail, a production and performance standpoint phone and direct mail (when possible). and how to execute the process. Phone Ups This process must be very specific, • Process Implementation — This • Receptionist Phone Log — Even meaning it tells you by day which e-mail is where most organizations fail. Every if your organization has digitally to send, which phone call to make and dealership has a closet full of great recorded calls, you should still have your which script to use. ideas or things “we used to do.” Process receptionist track incoming sales calls. implementation is about doing the things • Go For the Appointment — Now, more than ever, we as managers must we know we should be doing. We must Regardless of what sort of vehicle the manage. Lead management should be at implement and maintain our processes consumer is looking for, regardless of the top of everyone’s “things to do” list. every day. It’s never “set it and forget it.” whether we have the specific vehicle on Remember: Managers trigger deals. You That’s not management. our premises or not, everyone calling have more opportunities on a daily basis • Performance Management — in should be encouraged to schedule an than you are probably aware of. Make it We’re either getting the results we want appointment or to visit the store. happen. or we’re getting excuses. Performance • Track Incoming Call Performance management is about tracking our — Knowing how many calls, who Lawson Owen is the managing partner results, both as a group and individually. handled them and what the end result of Proactive Dealer Solutions. He can be was is as critical as tracking our floor contacted at 866.900.8945, or by e-mail at At a minimum, a management staff should traffic.
  • 7. marketingsolution ChipGrueter DalePollak marketingsolution LEVERAGING POSITIVE THE KEY TO STOCKING YOUR REVIEWS USED CAR LOT It’s no secret that Traditional Advertising pages — such as Facebook, MySpace or I think it is safe to say or a particular piece of equipment (such as consumers value Dealers have a visual advantage to show the Linkedin — to the dealership Web site’s that if you checked navigation or rear entertainment), and that the opinion of other customers. The buzz third-party review Web site in a television biography pages, or to blog postings. most dealers’ used car inventories, more was a deal breaker. Gotcha. However, the generated from other satisfied customers spot and emphasize their current rating than 70 percent of their vehicles match “gotcha” experience is no longer a good often carries more persuasion than score. In a radio spot, dealers may direct Electronic newsletters and direct e-mails are their franchise brand. Nevertheless, I am reason to work only in the zone of your advertising messages direct from the dealer. listeners to see what customers had to say forms of communication the customer has going to make the bold assertion that in franchise brand’s comfort and familiarity. for themselves by visiting a specific Web requested to participate in. Because these the vast majority of cases, no more than Dealers are doing the work to direct site. In print ads and direct mail pieces, the mediums provide direct communication 50 percent of a dealer’s used inventory Today, tools exist that will identify the customers to write positive reviews about dealer may highlight their rating or quote with the customer, dealers may add a should represent their franchise brand. A hottest selling vehicles in your market in their experience online. The next step for customer testimonials from the review site. permanent link directing customers to see dealer absolutely needs to have some brand the past 45 days. And, unlike products dealers is to take advantage of their unique the latest reviews. vehicles, because potential buyers may that report registrations after they’ve been opportunity to leverage reviews written by New Media still show up looking for these vehicles. through the state DMV, this new technology customers on third-party review Web sites More dealers are adding videos to their own New media forums offer dealers a great way Web sites, have posted them on YouTube However, I don’t believe this is reason identifies the supply and retail demand of and share them with potential customers. to connect the user to their own Web site enough to allow these vehicles to represent every vehicle in every market. Moreover, and have them running in their showrooms. Gather Positive Reviews and to the positive reviews on a third-party Unlike other ads, there is no time limit on a the vast majority of your used inventory. it identifies the hottest vehicles down to Third-party review Web sites provide site. In every instance below, the dealer may dealer video. This medium is a great place the level of year, make, model, trim and information such as detailed customer provide a link to direct the reader. to incorporate third-party reviews and the The basis for my assertion begins with equipment configuration that virtually quotes, rating scores and the total number of dealer’s rating. The dealer can also walk the recognition that no brand holds the eliminates the “gotcha” risk. positive reviews. Dealers may also look at Dealers should promote positive reviews customers through the process of searching monopoly on “hot used cars” in the market. these sites to see how they stack up against on their own business’ Web site. They for reviews or adding their own. In addition, the Internet makes it extremely So, if your franchise brand doesn’t hold their competition. may share quotes, ratings or stats on their efficient for buyers to find used vehicles the monopoly on the hot used cars in your homepage or even add a testimonial page to Chip Grueter is the president of that are located anywhere — not just at their market, the Internet makes it entirely The information gathered from this new the navigation bar. Dealers may encourage He may be contacted at new car franchise brand locations. efficient for you to find a buyer for that medium can help dealers promote their their sales team to add testimonials and the 866.618.8572, or by e-mail at off-brand car as well as for that buyer to reputation in all their advertising. review page link to their social networking For example, if you are a Ford dealer who find you. And if technology allows you stocks a hot vehicle like a Subaru Impreza, to identify the hot vehicles at a level of prior to the Internet, no shopper would think specificity to reduce the “gotcha” risk, to stop at your lot to find shouldn’t you agree to the Impreza. But as we stock other fast moving have come to understand, vehicles? today’s buyers shop differently. They are I say the resounding more likely to go to the answer is that “you Internet, type in their must.” In fact, I would ZIP code and the words suggest that not doing “Subaru” and “Impreza” so keeps your dealership than drive to the local locked to the fortune Subaru dealer. And, it’s or misfortune of your important to acknowledge new car franchise brand. that the Internet’s search Moreover, you are engines have no regard ignoring the benefit that for dealership franchise technology has created. brand when returning Every dealer would search results. In other love to have the ability words, the Subaru to order and stock the Impreza on the Ford hottest new models from dealer’s lot will show up each manufacturer, but right along side the other this is not possible. But, Subaru Imprezas. you can stock any used vehicle that you want and this is absolutely One reason that had prevented dealers from under your control; you should capitalize on stocking non-franchise used vehicles in the the opportunity. past is what I call the “gotcha” experience. We’ve all had the misfortune of buying a vehicle, not of our brand, that we thought was hot. Once we showed the vehicle to a Dale Pollak is an author and the founder few customers, we came to the realization of vAuto. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at that because we didn’t really understand the nuances of the brand, our vehicle lacked a critical attribute (such as a certain trim),1 16 7 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • 8. sales&trainingsolution PaulWebb MarkTewart sales&trainingsolution BUILDING TRUST IN A ARE YOU A MISTRUSTED INDUSTRY A Front Line-Ready Technique For Building Trust Faster DINOSAUR? A little-known secret means “talk.” “Programming” is input and and manager is to be sure you match your Do you really know • What are the weaknesses of your performance no matter the job. to increased vehicle output — how we learn and how we express communications style with the prospect’s. your business? To business? • What three improvements in your service sales are your prospect’s eyes, ears and ourselves to others. It’s the learning part that For example, you greet the prospect in the know your business, you must know all • What are the opportunities for your sales process would increase dollars per feelings. is important, because it’s also how we buy. showroom. Prospect says, “I’d like to talk the operating metrics as well the core of business and marketplace? repair order? (A) about the used pickup truck.” If your your business model. Business is part art • What are the threats to your business and • Do you have a quantified, complete and Knowing whether your prospect relates When we can recognize how we, and others, response is, “Great, let me show (V) it to and part science. Knowing the science part marketplace, and how can you not only ongoing process to recruit employees? to the world — with pictures in their head receive and process information, we can you,” you’ve just stepped on your own foot. makes the art much easier. Many dealers are deal with them but utilize them to your • What is your education and improvement (visual), through words they hear and say better match our communication style to The better response to this type of auditory still operating under an outdated business advantage? program for your employees? (auditory), or a combination of both that theirs. Result: We build trust faster and prospect would be, “Great, let’s sit down model that can no longer be supported • What is the business within your current • Have you quantified clear ongoing causes an emotion and feeling, or “gut sell more vehicles. Why? People like to and talk (A) about it for a few minutes. I’d response” (kinesthetic) — can help you talk do business with people they like and trust be glad to explain (A) things to you. People in any economy, especially under the business that could be created? communications for the expectations of your prospect’s language. This is how people — and NLP builds trust faster. have been saying (A) the greatest things current economic conditions. The only • What are the segments of your your employees? prefer to learn, and how they prefer to buy. about that vehicle. Wait until you hear (A) way to change the outdated model is to ask marketplace that are underserved? • Do you have formal feedback channels When you change your communication style When we’re speaking our prospects’ what they’re saying (A).” more questions, better questions, measure • Is there a way to add to or plus anything for your employees? to match with the customer’s style, you’ll language, we put them at ease faster, build everything possible as often as possible and within your business? • Do you know the breakdown of be able to manage your prospect better and trust more rapidly and in general have Your prospect’s appearance is another cue then take action to improve every day. • Is there a way to subtract or minus performance for your used inventory by close more deals. clearer communications with them. We to how to best handle him or her. Being anything within your business? model, price range, conquest models, understand them better, and they, in turn, that visual and kinesthetic learners focus Every question you ask about your business • Is there a way to speed up or slow down trade-in vs. acquisition, and return on Here’s a test. Talk to a number of people you understand us. Switch your communication on visual elements, they tend to present causes you to reevaluate your business. the experience for your customers? investment for days in stock? know. Ask them a question that forces them to match how the client learns and buys and themselves as more button-down and sharp Most dealerships are good at working in the • Is there an entertainment value to your to ponder their answer for a second or two you’re in their head, building trust faster. dressers, with more attention to visual business, but the great dealerships are great business or experience? The above questions are just a few of the before speaking. Note where their eyes go details. Auditory prospects may not be at all at working on the business. Most dealers are • How many walk-in opportunities are questions you should ask every day. The days before they respond: This process also can help you as a concerned about their physical presentation under the assumption that if everyone just there? of being a good entrepreneur but just an OK • 35 percent of the population relates to sales manager: Switch your style of as much as a visual learner / buyer. does more, then the business will grow. The • How many phone opportunities do you business person are gone in the car business. their world visually through images in communication to match with the staff. reality can be the opposite. You can be like have? their mind. They will divert their gaze to You have to have handouts for every sales If you don’t know what a customer’s a hamster on a wheel running harder and • How many presentation/demonstrations? There once was a day where an auto dealer their upper left as they think and recall meeting ; if you don’t, the visual salespeople communication style is, do all three. Who harder but getting the same or less results. In • How many opportunities closed? could possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit the information in their mind. don’t see what you’re saying. would it appeal to? Everyone. • 25 percent of the population processes “I’ll show (V) you the benefits . . . today’s marketplace, that outdated model will • How many opportunities delivered? and skills necessary to start a successful their world through words and hearing. Using NLP in the showroom, lot or service explain (A) things to you . . . cause your business to be eaten alive. • What are the totals and averages of all auto dealership. A dealer can no longer They keep their eyes level when lane can help you build rapport with a so you’ll feel (K) comfortable.” lead sources? run his dealership by the seat of his pants. pondering something while diverting customer in one-third the time: In baseball, there is a phrase used in coaching • What percentage of your sales converts Today he must also have strong skills at them to the left or right. • Visual people, when they talk, will make Teach this line to your sales staff as the pitching mechanics called “slow to go.” In to ongoing service customers? running the business day to day that involves • 40 percent use both visual and auditory “see” statements: “I see what you’re “transition statement” when returning from business the same analogy is true. You have • What percentage of your customers are utilizing data derived from good operational cues, and rely on their gut feeling. Their saying”; “I’d like to see a brochure”; “I a test drive. You’ll get more people to come to slow down to ask the right questions, inactive customers? metrics and questions. There are a couple eyes will go down as they search their saw your ad”; “Can you show that to into the dealership for a write-up. How? One evaluate the right things, think in different • What percentage of your sales are of old sayings in the car business. “The car mind for the answer to a question. me?” of the words will appeal to the client and directions and take different actions to speed repeats? business is a very forgiving business” and • Auditory learners will make “hear” you’ve covered all the bases by using all the success of your business. The days of • What percentage of your sales are repeat “Car dealers can make money in spite of Please note that everyone uses all three all statements: “I hear what you’re saying”; three in the statement. Years ago, we were all showing up, advertising a lot and working customers? themselves.” Both sayings are outdated and the time — it’s just that most people have “I’d like to hear more about…”; “Let me trained to say “follow me” to get the person hard as a model for success are gone. • Do you have an ongoing and at least no longer true. If a dealer does not work a tendency to use the one that is the “most” ask you a question and you can tell me to come into the dealership. That’s a great partially automated system for follow up harder on the business everyday than he does comfortable for them, especially when what to do.” “Other customers tell me word for the kinesthetic client but misses The following are important metrics and of your customers? in the business, then he will quickly become purchasing a high-ticket item like a vehicle. it’s the best service.” the visual and auditory client. The above questions to understand and take action on • Do you have a system to convert sales a dinosaur. It’s at that moment during the sales cycle • Kinesthetic learners make “touch” statement gets all three. everyday that can lead to success. from service? that salespeople and managers need to be statements: “I feel that way, too”; “Do sensitive to the one the customer prefers. you have a brochure?” “I’d like to get a Paul Webb is a principal of Street Smart/ • Why should someone buy from your • How many forms of lead generation and Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart better handle on my finances”; “I’ll visit Paul Webb Training. He can be contacted dealership? Be very specific. Ask marketing can you list? Enterprises. He can be contacted at at 866.500.5827, or by e-mail at yourself “Who cares?” to each answer to • What are the production levels of 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at You might recognize this strategy of the dealership to take a test drive.” see if it is defining and specific enough each employee for every department? Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. “Neuro” refers to the brain. “Linguistic” Your job as the successful salesperson • What are the strengths of your business? Everyone needs a metric to measure1 18 9 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • 9. sales&trainingsolution JohnBrentlinger HOW TO MAKE TRAINING PAY OFF In every dealership, and growing, then they complain to salespeople, don’t waste your time on no matter what the the managers that the training is not training. It simply won’t work. Managers product, whether the economy is soft or if working. who are stuck in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s sales are booming, there is nothing important and ‘90s are not qualified to run today’s as training. Excellence in any field demands b. The managers have no idea how the dealerships. The only advantage you have proper, continuous, intense training. salespeople react during the training in today’s marketplace is the ability of your sessions. The salespeople with bad people to learn and grow and change with Question is, how do we get maximum results attitudes and 20 years experience ruin the times. from training? I could tell you that there are the training for the ones who want to three things you must do, I could offer a 10- learn and grow and make more money. 3. All of your managers will learn the step program or I could go over 21 obstacles training well enough to teach, help and to training success. Or, I could make it easy The managers never know the truth reinforce the training process with your and just tell you the truth. because they never attend the classes. salespeople. Everything, including training, Not only does the training not work, rises and falls on leadership. Your managers The truth is that here is one rule and only the people who want to learn and grow are your leaders, and they must set the tone one rule that always insures that training will will quit, and you’re stuck with the for learning, growing and changing for your be successful and you will get a continuing bad attitude people who don’t want salespeople. Your salespeople simply cannot return on your investment. I am assuming any competition on the floor or on the learn and grow and change for the better if here that the training you choose is real, it is Internet. your managers are holding them back. The up to date, and it is reality based. Here is the key to success in the dealership — both one rule that will always insure success: c. The managers who don’t attend the with salespeople and with customers — is to training sessions do not learn and grow have a group of managers who are willing to All of your managers must be completely with the salespeople, and any new, learn and grow and change along with their involved in the training. reality-based training techniques, when salespeople. When your salespeople learn used by the salespeople, are met with new material better than your managers, Everything rises and falls on leadership. ridicule by those managers. Any good what does that say about your managers? If you are doing training now, and it is not that the training would have done is then If the first duty of managers is to help their working, all you need to do is check and canceled by the managers who would not people reach their full potential, how can see if all your managers are attending every attend, and learn, and grow and change. they achieve that goal if they are not willing training session. The thing that kills any to learn and grow along with the salespeople? training the quickest is when your managers 2. All of your managers will learn and grow The answer’s simple: they can’t. underscore how important the training is by and change along with your salespeople. not even bothering to show up. When a manager believes that being a There is only one rule for making training manager allows them to ignore growth and pay off this year. Your managers must If you want training to work, your managers change — that they are so smart they don’t be completely involved in your training must be completely involved in the training. need to learn anything else, that training programs. With all other things being equal, What does “completely involved” mean? is just for the salespeople — you have a the only advantage you can possibly have decision to make. The most depressing in today’s economy is a group of people, 1. All of your managers will attend all of statement for a trainer to hear at the managers and salespeople who are willing the training sessions. Failure to show up by beginning of a training program, from the to learn and grow and change. When your managers will simply and immediately stop manager is, “I have been doing this for 30 managers accept that challenge, your people any benefits to the training. If your managers years and I know what works. See if you can will follow. will not attend the training, don’t waste your teach these people something.” time, money and effort with any trainer. John Brentlinger is a sales and Here is what happens when managers do not When that managerial attitude prevails, no management trainer, executive coach attend the training sessions: amount of time, effort and money spent on and author. He can be contacted at 866.859.6504, or by e-mail at a. Salespeople realize that training is not training will ever make things better for really important. They complain, they that dealership. If your managers refuse to rebel, they resist the idea of learning learn, grow and change along with your22
  • 10. leadershipsolution JoshWeaver THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT The “good news” scope is bigger than ever and it’s sitting are being supported, and banks are being you say? What on your dealer’s desk every day. That’s supported. I understand what has been is this guy, nuts? Well, not really; I do not all bad. Things you take for granted done is controversial, and I understand think there are some good things that are in good times are now coming to the that, odds are, credit is tighter than ever in coming or will come out of the current surface. Your vendor contracts are being your showroom right now. But what if we challenging environment we face today in reviewed. During these times you’re going had done nothing? Would you have all the the automotive world. “What could they to find out who your real friends are as lenders available that you have left? Would possibly be,” you ask? Well, consider these it pertains to vendors, banks, etc. Non- your manufacturer be in bankruptcy, or even points: gross producing positions are reviewed, worse, extinct? sometimes eliminated. Don’t get me wrong, Once We Make it Through This, It I’m not in favor of people losing their jobs, Cars Are Being Sold. Probably Won’t Happen Again in but I am in favor of a healthy business; I talk to dealers all over the country every Our Lifetime. therefore, although painful choices are day. Yes, its tough out there, but dealers and No one has to tell dealers today that the being made, in the long run that is good for managers who are engaged in their business environment is tough out there. How many the business, which is good for the majority are selling cars and having good months. times have you heard the talking heads say of employees. The fat gets cut out and the This past weekend, my company ran an “We haven’t seen a financial crisis like this operation gets lean. You will remember this event for an independent dealer in South since the Great Depression!” Well, folks, when times are good again, and they will be. Bend, Indiana. The month prior, the store that ended approximately 70 years ago. had sold fewer than 60 vehicles. During Although there are surely some exceptions, The Government Seems to Get It. the weekend event, we delivered 42 units. the majority of people reading this article I’m sure that point raises some eyebrows. Why? Our event certainly provided a lot right now were not even born yet. The point But whether you are a Democrat, of opportunities, but guess what: The staff is, this too shall pass, and once it does it Republican or independent, the U.S. at the store was excited to be selling cars. will be over and probably never rear its ugly government is throwing a lot of things at They wanted to be successful, they wanted head again, not to this degree. this economic crisis. They are not overnight to hang the deals, work the customers for down payment, etc. They were having fun. These are all the things that you have to do “Remember what you during good times or bad to make coin in did in the past to be this business. Is your staff doing this? Are successful. Try to ignore they remembering that this is the greatest business in the world and excited every the latest negative day? Are you? headline regarding the economy. The economy Remember what you did in the past to be you really need to be successful. Try to ignore the latest negative headline regarding the economy. The concerned about lies economy you really need to be concerned between the windows of about lies between the windows of your your showroom.” showroom. Get excited; remember why you love this business in the first place. Good things will come out of today’s challenges. This Will Make You a Better Dealer, cures, nor are they perfect. But in time, General Manager, Manager. the good news is they are probably going Josh Weaver is the president of Impact We all know what happens when things to work. Interest rates are lower than ever, Direct. He can be contacted at get tough in a dealership. The microscope liquidity is being pumped into the banking 866.401.5961, or by e-mail at comes out. Right now, I would guess the sector at record speed, manufacturers
  • 11. sales&trainingsolution JodyDeVere MarcSmith marketingsolution GO THE EXTRA MILE AND THE POWER OF ENSURE LOYALTY WITH WOMEN PERSONALIZED CUSTOMERS GRATITUDE Now is the time to in Business found 70 percent of online you’ve seen all day, no matter what the state In a recent 20 Group or repair service or something about the go the extra mile and customers rated themselves “very likely” to of the economy is. meeting, I spoke dealership in general. ensure loyalty with your women customers make repeat purchases from companies that about the little things that can have a huge through creating a culture of customer service. respond to and resolve issues. 1. Focus on what you are able to do impact on sales with little or no additional Several months ago I was out shopping for her, and try to avoid saying there is investment. Just when you think that old- in a Cole Haan store and purchased a pair There is a high correlation between customer With these few basic tips you can create and something you are unable to do for her. If fashioned prospecting techniques are passé of shoes. At the time, the salesperson was service and customer loyalty. A study by the maintain loyal female customers by making she has a difficult or impossible request, try and are no longer a valid means of follow pleasant but not particularly memorable. Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals them feel like the most important customer suggesting the next best thing you can do up and prospecting, you get a hand written That was until three days after my purchase, for her. Admit that it might not be exactly thank-you note in the mail — and it’s when I received a handwritten note thanking what she was interested in, but that you effective. me for the purchase and letting me know have a way to help her. that she would keep me informed of That is exactly what happened to me upcoming specials. Approximately three 2. When a woman is angry, let her vent first. recently after visiting a local repair garage weeks later, I received another note thanking Remember it’s not personal. Do not interrupt to have some work done on my old truck. me again and letting me know about some her or start to speak until she has finished Yes, I have a Mercedes and a Lexus too, new arrivals, not to mention a few specials everything she has to say. but sometimes you just have to have an old that would be available in the near future. 3. Defuse anger by saying “I understand truck for odds and ends around the house. that you feel upset or angry.” This will After having a brake switch replaced, When was the last time you received a acknowledge the customer’s position and it I received a handwritten thank-you handwritten thank-you from someone you gives the customer the sense that you care note from the manager a few days later, did business with? How did it make you about what she’s feeling. thanking me for the business. I don’t think feel? And did it change the way you felt he knew that when I arrived at his garage about the business and the service you 4. Remember her name and use it at various it was after hours. Notwithstanding, the received in a positive way. Get the picture? points in the conversation. Write it down if technician diligently examined my truck, necessary so you don’t forget it. ordered the necessary part and repaired my When training and when conducting my truck — no questions asked. I was already sales seminars, I always tell attendees to take 5. Make sure you present an acceptable sold on the service, but receiving the note charge of their sales by applying just a few solution to her problem. Get her consent and was the icing on the cake. I must have told basic practices. agreement. This will confirm where you both five or six people about the service and the leave the issue. note I had received. 1. Have a written to-do list every day. 2. Call back your 10 hot prospects. 6. Always end each contact with a “Thank In today’s market, more than ever, it might 3. Follow up by phone with 10 customers you” or a message of appreciation for her not be a bad idea to get back to some good per day. Follow this up with a business. old “guerrilla marketing.” I have often said handwritten note. that nothing happens until you take action. 4. Three days after a sale, send a 7. Follow up on your solution. Contact her Today’s sales professionals cannot afford to handwritten thank-you note. at a later time, to make sure that her problem sit around and wait. There are three types of 5. Send another thank-you note three weeks has been resolved and she is pleased with the people: (1) Those who make things happen, after the sale, and ask for referrals. outcome. (2) those who wait for things to happen, 8. Ask if there is anything else that you can and (3) those who wonder what happened If this sound like a lot of work, you are do for her. Taking the time to ask shows or wonder why nothing is happening. This probably not at the top of the leader board her that you value her business, this often is why getting on the phone regularly with every month, and you’re probably not results in increased business and a more than your customers and having one-on-one making all of the money. Sure, there are satisfied customer who will refer you to her contact is paramount. many other social networking alternatives friends and family. for prospecting, but don’t over look the So, if writing a handwritten thank-you note basics. A phone call is free and thank-you No matter what the product or service is you is so simple and effective, why doesn’t notes are very inexpensive. Most dealerships have sold a female customer, you can be everyone do it? The answer is simple: Most will mail them for free. Think they’re time assured that she will appreciate it by making people are not willing to do whatever it takes consuming? Think again. It takes less than a it personal by sending her a personal thank- to be a champion. Sometimes it’s the little minute to write a three-line thank-you note, you note. It may lead to referrals to friends things that create the most success, but most and three minutes to address the envelope, and family when your attention to detail and people are unwilling to do them. lick it and stamp it. Start today. Learn the customer service is passed on by a happy power of a handwritten thank-you note and woman customer. Getting back to a few good habits can make watch your sales grow. all the difference, including contacting your Jody DeVere is the CEO and president of customers. I suggest the following: When Marc Smith is the president and CEO of She can be contacted at contacting a customer by phone or mail, Marc Smith International LLC. He can be 866.849.9973, or by e-mail at contacted at 866.665.4479, or by e-mail at always have something to talk about, such as a service special, the arrival of a new model, special rates, a reminder for maintenance2 26 7 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • 12. leadershipsolution MattBaker DON’T LET YOUR STYLE GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR SUCCESS For many, advancing performance. In the end, this downshift in their career to a momentum only paralyzes the entire staff’s leadership role is the ultimate personal ability to generate profitability and growth. and professional goal. Yet as people work their way up the leadership ladder, they To help better explain these points, let’s can often be tempted by an endless need to consider the potential problems faced by a “Believe it or not, it’s OK feed their ego. professional basketball coach who just can’t to take a page out of seem to get his team up to speed. This coach As these ego-driven leaders allow their self- is aware that his player’s performance isn’t someone else’s playbook. image to outgrow their current position, they up to par, which is in turn slowing down In fact, some of the often encounter a number of unforeseen the development of the entire franchise. best solutions often consequences, which will ultimately guide While he can acknowledge the fact that his themselves, their staff and their company players aren’t at the level they should be, come from the input or into a destructive downward spiral. he is unwilling (or perhaps uncomfortable) actions of others.” admitting that this lack of performance is While this may seem unfortunate, it is all too his responsibility. His resolution to the issue common in today’s competitive marketplace. is to wait it out, hoping that performance Believe it or not, it’s OK to take a page out Yes, everyone has an ego to some extent, will improve over time. As I am sure you of someone else’s playbook. In fact, some of and yes, ego can be a powerful tool in can guess, the team’s performance doesn’t the best solutions often come from the input achieving positive results. However, if left improve and the issue now becomes or actions of others. unchecked, ego can (and will) often lead us escalated. down a dark and dismal path. Take Toyota and Honda for instance. As two When asked why he can’t perform, the of the industry’s leading auto manufactures, Your greatest strength, overextended, becomes your greatest weakness. In this coach becomes defensive, blaming his under performance on a lack of talent or available Toyota and Honda have set a new stage in auto manufacturing standards. By I know something my competitors don’t... case, ego can prove to be an invaluable funds to pay more qualified players to join introducing more efficient processes and economical product lines, Toyota and Honda the hottest cars in my market every minute. asset when driving performance. Yet it pays the team. Instead of choosing to admit his to be conscious of the fine line between confident and egotistical. For those who faults, the coach would prefer to risk the success (and perhaps the survival) of both have left the Big 3 and others re-evaluating their old ways in an effort to implement the People are even knocking on my door to sell me the cars I need. overstep these boundaries, the positives himself and his players to satisfy his ego. new strategies developed by these current become outweighed by a personal need to industry leaders. override criticisms, and the inability to admit The truth is that often those who need to one’s faults, thus stopping personal and change the most are the ones who change In the long run, a lot can be gained by professional growth. the least. In the long run, what is this coach admitting personal downfalls, committing really risking by confronting his fears, to improving upon them and looking to So what can be achieved by those leaders admitting his weaknesses and asking for the advice of others in an effort to move who choose to let their personal style help? Perhaps he risks a temporary loss of yourself and your business forward. While interfere with success? Maybe just a bad pride, or personal embarrassment? Both are ego can be a powerful leadership tool when — Jeff Green, Owner reputation, or a few disgruntled employees? possible outcomes. However, what has gone influencing those around you, be forewarned (and Aviation Enthusiast) Unfortunately, it does not end there…. unnoticed is the opportunity to improve of the negative implications of taking your Green Chevrolet upon himself for the betterment of his team ego a step too far. In today’s economic Peoria, Illinois While the effects of these personal actions and his franchise. environment it pays to keep our ego in are often subtle, they can eat away at the check. Only through revealing weakness can dealership’s ability to urgently identify and Understand that, by asking for help to we really improve. address both obstacles and opportunities. overcome challenges, you are not changing Remember that the speed of the leader you, but rather how you do things. No one Matt Baker is the vice president of sales for G&A Marketing. He can be contacted equals the speed of the team. In this case, is perfect. We all have our weaknesses at 866.618.8248, or by e-mail at Green Chevrolet’s Live Market Stocking delivers vehicles to your front door. the effects of an ego-driven manager or as well as our strengths. The key is in Used Inventory Turn Dealerships around the country are achieving record results — even in this economy — by stocking dealer can greatly compromise the speed at admitting these downfalls and committing to 15 which the dealership evaluates and improves improving upon them. with vAuto’s Live Market View. Know the used vehicles that are moving fastest in your market. 8 See exactly who has the cars matching that demand and send a request for purchase with just one click. Like Green Chevrolet, you’ll see that you can increase your turn in any market with Live Market Stocking from vAuto. before with vAuto vAuto See for yourself. Get a FREE list of the hottest cars in your2 market today at or call 888-536-4086.8
  • 13. leadershipsolution KevinCunningham DEALERITIS How long has it been personnel arrive in the morning, you can • Don’t forget to spend some time at the since you’ve heard the almost tell what kind of day they will desk working deals if you really want to term “Dealeritis”? have at work — for you and for your see how deals are being worked in your customers. dealership. During this cycle, in many of the 20 Group meetings, this term has resurfaced. One • Park in the back of the dealership rather • Attend a technician meeting and a of our clients recently stated he could not than in the assigned/reserved parking service advisor meeting. Find out what believe he himself had dealeritis, as he is at space by the office door. the real challenges are in the fixed the dealership every day, watching his daily departments. You may find out your DOC, other management reports and had • Walk through the shop when you arrive people are asking for something they regular manager meetings. and visit the technicians, advisors, really need to be able to do their job parts and body shop people, and get to more effectively. His business was profitable; he delegated to know them like you used to know them. his key managers, and from all indications They are great people and probably • Conduct a weekly receivables meeting had very happy customers. He was involved the hardest working, most dedicated with accounts receivable, managers, in community projects and was spending and stable employees you have in your body shop, warranty and F&I. Find out time with his family and friends. He had operation. what is happening to your cash. worked himself into a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job • Review and approve all pre-owned with weekends off. Life was good. • Meet and greet some of the customers wholesale units sold. Find out who is on the drive, and see if the advisors are buying, and what kind of profits or losses It wasn’t until business got a little tighter, really performing the “service drive you are obtaining on each unit. This will his inventories got out of line and the bottom process” that was so effective when the also let you know quickly if your pre- line got smaller, that he decided to get out process was implemented. owned vehicle manager is packaging his office and see what was really going on vehicles to cover specific losses. in his operation. In fact, what really got his • Go visit the office personnel and see if attention was his first red month in years. the deals from yesterday are in the office • One evening, drive home the oldest pre- for processing. If you really want to owned vehicle in inventory. Chances are Bottom line, he had been managing his know how the paperwork is flowing, ask you will find out why it has not sold. dealership from the 10,000 foot level, felt the office personnel — they will tell you good about his key people, had his manager the real story. • Make sure you stay late or until closing meetings (in his office), but there were at least one night a week. After you days and weeks he did not walk around his • Attend at least two or three Save-A- leave the dealership, the intensity will dealership. After deciding he needed to get Deal meetings a week. These five- to change unless you have cloned yourself. back to the real world, he started asking 10-minute sessions will give you a quick some basic questions about how deals were idea of the intensity of your managers • Drop in unexpectedly some evening or being worked, watched the advisors on the and desire to put deals together as a team at closing time to see how quickly the drive, and guess what he found: process of new, pre-owned and F&I managers. lights go out even when there may be evaporation. customers on the lot or possibly in the • Make sure you are involved in your showroom. Processes had changed to the point they trade evaluation process at least two or There are automobile dealers even in today’s were no longer effective or productive. This three times a week, if you in fact have a market conditions who are growing and did not happen overnight. It was a little at a trade evaluation process in place at your generating a respectable bottom line. The time as people made changes — or got too dealership. common denominators of these particular lazy — to do the right process. dealers: They are really involved in their • At least two times a week do an operations by doing many of the above He has now closed his office upstairs, and inventory walk; take your new vehicle listed tasks on a daily basis. Plus, they have moved to an office downstairs overlooking and your pre-owned vehicle managers a mixture of positive and highly charged the showroom and service drive. with you. Make sure your managers enthusiasm in everything they do. understand you expect these units to I bet this story can be duplicated in many be on the front line or in the designated Remember: No one loves your dealership dealerships across the United States in recent place you have for aged vehicles. like you do. Do not forget to have fun and months. enjoy this great business. You have done it • Your office is now where you can see all before and it got you to where you are. The following are some things dealers/ and observe how your customers are operators are doing, now that they have being handled on the showroom floor, or Kevin Cunningham is the director moved either physically or mentally back on the service drive. You will now see of business development for NCM onto the showroom: first hand how your customers are really Associates. He can be contacted at 866.618.9035, or by e-mail at • Arrive at the dealership at 7 a.m. at least being taken care of. If you see things two days a week to watch the dealership getting out of control, you can now get wake up. When you watch your involved with the customers.30
  • 14. marketingsolution HowardLeavitt SteveBrazill sales&trainingsolution THOUGHTS ABOUT CRM - DO YOU NEED ONE? The current buzz is use all the features, but you will surely pay we were exposed to a variety of high-end FIELD TRIP In my years as a sales went out as Joe Public to buy a car? If it’s stories contributed to his determination to that having a CRM for them. Unused features cost money and retail businesses. One in Dallas had built manager, I had a habit been over a year, maybe it’s time you went gain a competitive advantage by eliminating is a necessity to succeed in today business training time that takes away from the selling a client base throughout the United States of sending salespeople out to shop for cars. on a field trip. Observe the general level them from his own work. If you regularly world. The buzz is correct — but proceed process. Staring at a computer wondering and maintained a digital database that was I’d pick a slow day, then send one or two off of training, listen to the overworked word observe the ways your competitors make with caution. A good portion of our fellow what to do is more costly than staring out the consistently updated with fresh data. When to distant parts of town to shop dealerships tracks that sound so much alike from store the car-buying process more difficult than dealers do not even know what the letters showroom window waiting for the next up. a client called for services, employees were of their choice for the purpose of observing to store, watch for ways your (presumed) it needs to be, you should be able to turn “CRM” mean, (Customer Relationship What are you trying to accomplish? What is instructed to ascertain that their current other salespeople in action. The next day effort to buy is thwarted by the people and that knowledge into competitive advantage Manager) so how can they make a the end game? It should be “How do I sell information was correct, contact information, they would be required to report their processes you encounter. Then come back as well. Contrary to the opinion of cynics decision to spend resources based on poor more cars with the help of technology?” clothing sizes, and family information etc. knowledge of the process? Each customer is unique and when he or observations in the morning meeting. to your store and write the reasons why and weak salespeople, most customers go to If you were asked to profile each of your she feels that they are the only one you care your store is better than the dealerships dealerships because they really want to buy CRM applications have many meanings, clients, could you? Take the time and about, the sale becomes an easier task. Data is My people always hated it — until they you visited. I suggest that you write them a car. Why not make it easier for them to depending on the buyer or seller. It is an conduct a simple exercise. Instruct your king. Collect it and combine it with service to did it. because writing is more demanding than buy from you? An occasional field trip can umbrella phrase that covers many individual controller to print out a sample of your the client and you will increase your business. thinking out loud, and if you can’t find the help you improve the shopping experience applications. Contact managing, lead customer database. Prove that you are the Then they’d come back with stories. words to clearly state what those reasons are, customers receive when they come to managing, e-lead managing, e-mail support, exception and that your database is not Many dealers believe that maintaining Most were of the how-not-to-do-it type perhaps they are less distinct than you would your store while giving you a significant desk tool, marketing capability, inventory corrupted with duplications and incorrect the deal information is the goal in (a commentary on our industry): muffed like to think. competitive advantage. control manager and in some cases, your contact information. If you use that database customer information. What good are greetings, failure to ask for the customer’s DMS. You then have stand-alone systems, as a starting point to enter the CRM world the financial numbers if you don’t know name, painful lack of product knowledge, A popular author was once asked what made partially integrated and totally integrated and have not paid attention to the basic your customer? The R in CRM stands for Steve Brazill is the chair of automotive weak closes, no closes and an amazing his stories so exciting. His response was within your DMS. database management, you will fail. Invest in “relationship” between you and your clients. marketing for Northwood University, a dedicated person and process so that your variety of generally unprofessional or bizarre simple: “I leave out the boring parts.” It’s Texas Campus. He can be contacted at Understanding those relationships between Trying to steer a heavily featured DMS database systems will be error free. You must you and your clients is paramount in making behavior. Inevitably, the storyteller would easy to imagine that his experience fighting 866.861.1515, or by e-mail at through a CRM application requires make a decision that maintaining a clean a CRM work. If you do not get it, stay away get to a point in the story where he would through the boring parts of other author’s more than most dealerships can manage. database is as important as locking the doors from CRM products. Save your money. say something like “And then this guy (the You should look at the many stand-alone when you leave for the day. How much is salesperson at the other dealership) said/did applications that solve the collection and use each customer’s personal information worth? Spend the time and calculate what it costs . . . and it was terrible.” My salesperson of data versus an integrated system. Speed What do you currently pay for prospect lists to get traffic to your showroom. Is it $500 would pause, then say “Sometimes I say/do is essential in selling cars; do you want a to market to in your area? Is the cost more per up as an average or more? This is just that to my customers too. I never realized high-powered aircraft or a bi-plane from the than maintaining a clean database? The the tip of the proverbial iceberg of costs how badly it comes across.” Pause. “I’m not last century? In my opinion the stand-alone highest return of investment is from your to the dealer. Remember to total up dealer going to say/do that anymore.” CRMs are the specialists in the use of the own customer database. ad group charges, yellow page insertions, application, and produce the best results. Internet costs and time spent by your Of course, every now and then someone The profile that you are looking for should personnel to place and monitor the process. How does the dealer know what will work supply the buying patterns, birthdays, would meet a real pro and we’d get reports All the money that a dealer spends to create best for his operation and his staff? As a anniversaries and current contact information traffic is wasted if the traffic is not collected of a positive nature. “Wow. This woman dealer, you must take the time to learn how of your clients. Have you ever had the need as useable data. If you think that paper was great. Talk about making it look easy. the systems that are pitched will work within to know detailed information about your logs, duplicate up sheets, matchbook covers I always struggle when I get such-and-such your dealership. It seems that almost every clients? How would you use the detail to and your memory is the best technology, objection, but when I threw it at her she . . .” dealer has a knowledgeable I.T. person; that’s fine, but does he or she have sales increase your sales rate? Knowing what to do with the data has to be one of the main you will fail. Move into the 21st century and use the CRM that works best for your staff Those stories usually ended with a comment such as “That worked so well on me, I can’t THE FORECAST CALLS FOR experience? Knowledge of technology is reasons to enter the CRM world. A CRM and that will be used. Make the commitment wait to try it.” fine must be married to sales expertise and should be able to not just collect data but also to invest in your future and your future will knowledge of how the sales process works. be able to manipulate the data so as to target A DOWNPOUR OF be successful. My role in these meetings was to simply You need a Trinity: a champion, a process the clients and increase your odds in closing keep the storytelling and subsequent and technology. more deals. conversation on track and moving forward. NEW BUSINESS. Howard Leavitt is the president of Many end users look at feature content, they A number of years ago I attended a Ford AutoRaptor. He can be contacted at Occasionally, I would try to help connect 866.618.9053, or by e-mail at the dots between an element in a story and look at the matrix on the back of the software seminar. The seminar’s curriculum included box or on a Web site and pick the application team management, customer satisfaction a training issue, but salespeople are smart. Give them a chance and they’ll pick the IMN Loyalty Driver floods your dealership with all the features. Mistake. You will never and database management. In the process bones in every story clean of nutritional with interested customers and prospects. material. Imagine what would happen if sales managers, general managers and dealers had to go out every six months and see Innovative e-newsletter solutions. the vehicle-buying process through the 866-964-6397 customer’s eyes. If you work in one of those positions, how long has it been since you3 32 3 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • 15. sales&trainingsolution PaulCummings WINNING WORDS Four Powerful Phrases This article is short time on earth. Words flowed out of become second nature: dedicated to all the his mouth in a silky smooth fashion, yet men and women who lay it on the line every his approach it didn’t seem contrived or • “It is our Stated Policy to treat every day as automotive sales professionals. I disingenuous. I was amazed at his level visitor to the dealership as an honored guest am speaking directly to the two percent of skill and I must admit I was wondering in our home, every day, every time, without of automotive sales people who treat their in my own mind, “Can I ever be this fail, no exceptions.” opportunity as a career instead of a job. The good?” Then the words came flowing out business of sales requires guts and courage of his mouth that changed my world and This phrase should always be used at the to build a career where your only guarantee perspective about the business of sales. “If end of your greeting sequence to set the of success is based on your own effort. I you wish to be the best in sales, you must tone for a positive automotive purchasing actually find it stimulating to know that I practice, drill and rehearse the words and experience. This will give you a competitive am 100 percent in control of the commas phrases in this book until you indelibly advantage: and the zeroes in my world. Motivation inscribe them in your subconscious mind.” comes easily when you realize there are Instantly, I was dialed in; I had been • “In your opinion, do you feel the (x) will no guarantees in the business of sales. The practicing in athletics my whole life and this meet your expectations?” brutal truth is that most of the people in our I knew I could do. chosen field don’t honor their profession This powerful phrase is magical because with the seriousness it deserves. For those The Surgeon’s Tools you can always ask a customer for their of you who have and continue to strive for a Just like a surgeon uses a scalpel to operate, opinion. This allows you to take the real career, this article is for you. we must use words in the same way. The customers’ temperature at anytime during only difference is our task is much more the sales process: After 90 days of low performance, my difficult because the surgeon is allowed to dealer was poised to relieve me of my put his patients to sleep before he or she • “Can you see some value in that?” duties. Knowing I needed to stay employed, begins. There are no objections from a I pleaded to keep my position. The bottom surgeon’s customers. Quite the contrary we This dynamic question has made me a line was that I didn’t know what I was have to do our work on living, breathing, fortune over the course of my career. Most doing. My training program consisted of the well-educated, well-prepared individuals sales people fail to build real value and following statement: “Here is your pen, the who will object at a moment’s notice. Unlike some build value during the presentation. cars are outside, and product tapes are in the the surgeons’ customer, our customers can World-class sales professionals always back. Go get ‘em, tiger.” stand up and walk away at anytime. All of confirm the value with a question. these variables mandate that we become Remember: Value that is confirmed is value I was learning in the most expensive way highly skilled. We have no choice but that will be paid for by the customer: possible for any dealer — I was practicing to master an array of words and phrases on real, qualified customers and failing so we can handle the ebb and flow of • “No Problem — I would be happy to (x).” miserably. In retrospect, this is certainly not communication. If we are unwilling to build the most advantageous way for any person and develop a powerful selling vocabulary, These are customer-friendly words that keep to begin a new career. Wanting to win more we are incapable of being a world-class the customer moving forward in the process. than you can imagine, I requested training professional at the business of selling. When they make a request, always use and I was granted the opportunity to go this phrase as a means of providing them a to a one-day sales seminar in Shreveport, Four Powerful Phrases That Work positive solution. Louisiana, instructed by Tom Hopkins. You will find below four phrases that come from our “Telly Award” winning sales As I arrived at the hotel in Shreveport, little program. As you read through the phrases, did I know the events of the day would recognize that all can be used in a myriad of Paul Cummings is president and CEO of forever change the course of my life. Tom different ways when communicating with Paul Cummings Enterprises. He can be Hopkins was the most polished instructor a customer. The key is to practice, drill and contacted at 866.865.3171, or by e-mail at I had ever been in the presence of in my rehearse the words and phrases until they
  • 16. marketingsolution SeanV.Bradley ‘BILL AND MARY AREN’T HERE RIGHT NOW...’ The Hardest Part of a Sales Professionals’ Job is Handling Voicemail One of the toughest be one of the critical skills that every sales see per day, per week, per month, per parts of an Internet professional has in their repertoire. Either it quarter which script worked and at what coordinator or Internet manager’s job is comes naturally, or it needs to be learned and time of day and which day of the week. actually getting the prospect on the phone. cultivated. You have to leave great voicemail Seriously, this may truly be the hardest part. messages. • Practice your scripts in front of co- Statistics show you will only reach between workers to make sure they flow. You can 11 to 15 percent of people who you attempt You really need to learn how to leave the also use friends and family to get their to call. most exciting, engaging, best voicemail reaction. messages on the planet. Let me throw Think about this in a different way: one of these reality statistics at you: The • Be sure you have some compelling calls Between average Internet customer researches or to action in each script. “. . . I know you 85 to 89% visits between five to nine other dealership called about the blue Mustang, but we Web sites besides yours. And remember have four other comparable vehicles that their buying cycle is between 45 and with rebates or incentives that can save of the attempts 90 days. Now, think about how many you about $1,000….” Now that will get dealerships are calling them and leaving their attention. you make voicemail messages. Think about how many voicemail messages they are going • Adjust the tonality of your voice to prospects to receive before they make their decision. throughout the message. By that I mean will not get Your message must stand out. If you leave the same boring, dreary, drab and annoying sound excited about your message. Be truthful, but get excited about the answered, voicemail messages that the majority of your competitors are leaving, you are done. Just write off that sale and resort to your options you can offer them. How can they get excited if you aren’t emotional? or the prospect will not have time to talk, alternative strategy: prayer. Yes, pray that Put yourself in their shoes and try to figure or they bought elsewhere or changed their all of your competitors screw up so you can out what going to motivate them. Again the mind. The likeliest scenario is that you make the sale. I think you get the picture goal is to get the appointment and meet with will get their voicemail. That’s right — the now; it’s very important to leave a great them face to face to personally help them majority of the Internet sales professional’s voicemail message for your prospect. meet their wants and needs. You can talk job is leaving voice mail messages, and about favorable credit terms available in the leaving a lot of them. Here are some tips to help you become the message in case they are a payment buyer. voicemail master: Talk about the availability of the certified The problem here is that most dealerships • First and foremost, you want to create a pre-owned units that come with a warranty never train on how to leave a great voice library of voice mail scripts. That’s right to fully protect them during their ownership mail message, so most sales people leave the — a library, just like you should have a of the vehicle. same boring message every time. “Hi, this is library of e-mail templates. Sean from ABC Motors. Please call me back Apply the Ben Franklin principle: “Speak of at 555-1212.” Or they might say something • You want to make sure that you what benefits others.” Share with them a few like “Hi, this is Sean from ABC Motors, I diversify your voicemail messages. I of the reasons they want to do business with have been trying to reach you to see if you suggest coming up with about 20 to 30 your dealership and don’t resort to, “I have are still interested in a car….” Over and over different voice mail messages. Keep to sell three more units to make my bonus, again, just like Jim Carey from “The Cable them exciting, relevant and memorable. so I can cut you a great deal.” They will buy Guy” movie. It becomes very annoying for their reasons, not yours. very fast. Please remember that the average • Keep track of the effectiveness of these buying cycle is between 45 to 90 days. That voicemail scripts by implementing a Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO means your prospect is still looking for a national call monitoring tracking number of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized car a couple of days after they sent you the for each individual voicemail message. training and consulting company in Internet purchase request form. Using a unique toll-free number for each the automotive industry. He can be voicemail script allows you to track the contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at Leaving a great voicemail message should effectiveness of each script. You can now