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AutoSuccess .feb10

AutoSuccess .feb10



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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    AutoSuccess .feb10 AutoSuccess .feb10 Document Transcript

    • Thank you to all the AutoSuccess Best of the Best NADA 2010 Companies February 2010
    • Dick Hannah Honda Used Car Net Profit 96.4% increase #% #% 2008 2009 Our franchises have alwaysbeen essential to our new car business. Now, with vAuto, we’ve found a Almost everything my franchises bring to our new car side,franchise for our vAuto brings to our used operations, includingused car business pulling customers — and it’s made all the difference. into my front door. —Martin J. Green Corporate Dealer Manager —Dwayne Hawkins Dick Hannah Dealerships President Vancouver, Washington Crown Automotive Group St. Petersburg, Florida Beyond the leading-edge technology. Beyond the exclusive features. Beyond the data-driven insight. For a select set of dealers nationwide, vAuto has become much more. It has become all the power and the privilege of a franchise — refocused on used car operations. License to proprietary software proven to drive profitability. Access to the Velocity Management™ playbook and coaches. Entrance to a community of like-minded, highly successful dealers. Contact with customers predisposed to buying from you. It’s “the franchise”— reinvented for today’s used car market. vAuto is The Franchise 2.0. Get a live demo today. Visit www.vAuto.com/nextfranchise or call 888-841-3701.
    • AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., 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 info@autosuccessonline.com. Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its 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 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 from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220.3834 Taylorsville Rd. Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville Kentucky 40220 | 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 | AutoSuccessOnline.com / AutoSuccessPodcast.com | info@autosuccessonline.com Ken Susan Givens, Publisher Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist Brian Ankney, Account Manager Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement Strategist sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com design@autosuccessonline.com ddavis@autosuccessonline.com super6@autosuccessonline.com shorne@autosuccessonline.com jwarner@autosuccessonline.comfeature solution leadership solution marketing solution sales & training solution 2010 SERVICE PLAN FOR GENERAL MANAGERS MAKING THE CASE FOR ONLINE NEGOTIATION IS YOUR DETAIL DEPARTMENT A PROBLEM? THREE STEPS TO MAXIMIZE CONVERSIONS IS YOUR WEB SITE READY FOR SUCCESS? WHAT IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET? GETTING IT RIGHT BEFORE RETIREMENT: FIVE FAVORITE SALES MEETING TOPICS TEXTING - YOUR GATEWAY TO SALES SELLING THE CREATIVE EFFORT AND DEALER PRINCIPLES THE MOOD OF THE SALE RESOLUTIONS, PART 1 MAXIMIZING LEAD ROI Gain, Guide and Captivate FUTURE SHOCKS GOODBYE 2009 ROTH IRA 101 22 28 24 09 08 26 30 10 36 14 16 27 18 32 34 By TedRubin DalePollak ChuckPatton StephenR.Covey JockSchowalter JohnFreund KirkManzo BradKing SteveBrazill LeeGlynn ErinO’Connor StevenShaw KendallBillman TimJames TomHopkins BudAbraham February 2010 pg 2 pg 4 pg 8 pg2 pg1 pg0 stephen r covey lee glynn jock schowalter
    • leadershipsolution StephenR.Covey RESOLUTIONS 1 part We may think that we deeply imbedded bad habit with a good one choose our response to any circumstance or can change deeply involves much more than being temporarily condition. When we are response-able, our imbedded habits and patterns simply by “psyched up” over some simplistic success commitment becomes more powerful than making new resolutions or goals, only to find formula, such as “think positively” or “try our moods or circumstances, and we keep that old habits die hard and that, in spite of harder.” It takes deep understanding of self the promises and resolutions we make. For good intentions and social promises, familiar and of the principles and processes of growth example, if we put “mind over mattress” patterns carry over from year to year. and change. These include assessment, and arise early in the morning, we will earn commitment, feedback and follow-through. our first victory of the day and gain a certain We often make two mistakes with regard to sense of self-mastery. We can then move on New Year’s resolutions: We will soon break our resolutions if we to more public victories. And as we deal well don’t regularly report our progress to with each new challenge, we unleash within First, we don’t have a clear knowledge of somebody and get objective feedback on ourselves a fresh capacity to soar to new who we are. Hence, our habits become our our performance. Accountability breeds heights. identity, and to resolve to change a habit is “response”-ability. Commitment and to threaten our security. We fail to see that involvement produce change. Next month, we’ll look at some concrete we are not our habits. We can make and steps to take in making successful changes in break our habits. We need not be a victim Breaking deeply imbedded habits such as our lives. of conditions or conditioning. We can write procrastinating, criticizing, overeating or your own script, choose our course and oversleeping involves more than a little control our own destiny. wishing and will power. Often our own resolve is not enough. We need reinforcing Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder of Second, we don’t have a clear picture relationships, people and programs that hold FranklinCovey, and is the author of The 7 of where we want to go. Therefore, our us accountable and responsible. Habits of Highly Effective People. He can resolves are easily uprooted, and we then be contacted at 866.892.6363, or by e-mail get discouraged and give up. Replacing a Remember: Response-ability is the ability to at scovey@autosuccessonline.com. TEXT WITH WITH SUCCESS FACT: Text messaging has risen 700% since 2006. Text “answer” to 89000 to see how many messages were sent in June 2009. • Inventory on the go! • Text for info • Text to win contests • Text customers responses to inquiries • Text to join Websites | Hyper SEO | ILM | Mobile | Texting | SEM DealerHD.com Call to setup your demo | 866.222.771208 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • marketingsolution ChuckPatton 2010 SERVICE PLAN FOR GENERAL MANAGERS AND DEALER PRINCIPLES In Charles Dickens’ E-mail Doesn’t Replace Everything — novel, A Tale of Two Service has been such a lifeline this year that Cities, London and Paris were going through many new companies are looking to introduce tremendous social turmoil. Even though their “magic pill” programs such as total e-mail challenges were similar, the ways in which management systems to anyone looking to they operated were not. cut costs. Use e-mail to complement your current marketing but not in order to achieve Turning to recent times, how would the total communications coverage — because A Tale of Two Departments read from an it won’t. If not implemented correctly and automotive dealership’s point of view? Last strategically, you will actually lose money. year’s economically revolutionary story addresses Dickens’ novel’s famous line, Track Your Results — Use programs that “It was the best of times, it was the worst allow you to measure the results of the of times....” In an automotive dealership, program. It is much easier to do in service the tale is not the same from the sales than in sales. and service perspectives, as the service department accounted for almost all of the Know the Rules of Co-op — Co-op rules profit in 2009 at the average dealership, for service are a bit more complicated than in according to NADA’s end-of-the-year sales, but if you want money back, you need to analysis. To get both sides of the dealership know them. If the manufacturer’s program is out of economic difficulty, dealership leaders performing poorly, it makes much more sense must have the vision and the ability to adjust to waive the free money in order to work with to the market. Dealership vision is greatly a solution that brings in more customers. influenced by the dealer principle and/or the general manager, so it becomes vital that Segmented Marketing — Your loyal they learn what it takes to successfully come customers are different from your current out of the revolution. customers, who are different from your lost customers or prospects. Technology allows The Right Approach you to separate these customers and market Be Consistent — Service is all about to them based on their behavior. This can retaining customers over the lifetime of ultimately bring in more customers and a their vehicle ownership in order to capture better return-on-investment than had you a healthy profit potential. It is also about implemented a less customer-targeted mass extending that relationship from the loyalty communication. to the service department into a purchase in the sales department. Most sales approaches Rely on Your Service Manager — Tap into are short-term. However, customers are in the expertise of your service manager rather the service center for repeat visits much more than attempting to implement a marketing often than in the sales department, so you strategy that, while effective in other have more opportunities to impress them with areas, isn’t informed by a comprehensive your dealership. understanding of service departments. Again, sales and service are different, and your Talk Value — Show more value for the marketing approach needs to reflect that. Your investment to compete with the aftermarket service manager can play a key role helping brand. Sell the experience of doing business you develop a sound strategy. in a nice facility with amenities that If you commit to the general philosophy of customers cannot get from the aftermarket. avoiding running the service department like you would the sales department, you can learn Talk Price — Are you competitive on the how to create a successful service vision for three or four common services that your 2010. Remember, there is a lot of potential customers understand, like an oil change? for “the best of times” with service growth, You don’t need to discount everything; just but there is also a lot of risk of “the worst of discount enough to cause your market to times” if you don’t do it right. Get to know question the stereotypes. the difference, and your vision will be one that allows you to be a true leader in 2010. Talk “You” — Service industries are all about reputation because the product, unlike a commodity, really is you. Take the time Chuck Patton is the founder and CEO of to talk about your people, your services and Traffic Builders, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.859.8520, or by e-mail at your brand. Most service departments sell patton@autosuccessonline.com. the quality of their service experience with factory-trained technicians. 0 9 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • marketingsolution BradKing THREE STEPS TO MAXIMIZE CONVERSIONS Gain, Guide and Captivate Converting visitors to Reserve sales price is $10,000 but starting information including incentives, color contacts is a process bid is $5,000. This invites multiple bidders. brochures, window stickers and options. The comprised of three steps. They don’t require Most will stop bidding before the sales price visitor should not have to leave this page to a lot of money; just a little common sense. is met, but you will obtain each bidder’s obtain these details. An important factor that Maximize your online business by gaining name, address, phone number and e-mail most dealers omit is displaying actual photos new visitors and leads, guide them directly address. These bidders have committed to a of their new vehicles in lieu of stock pictures. to inventories and captivate the visitor by minimum of $5,000, you know the vehicle Few pictures are required for new vehicles following the details listed below. of interest, and that they are located in your but it’s important for the visitor to be able to area. It’s safe to say they are in the market. view the trim features, wheels, dash and seats Step One: Take Advantage of the The cost — $37 — divided by the number of to help personalize the vehicle for the visitor. Basics to Gain New Visitors bidders equates to the cost per lead. There’s Add a posting tool for social sites such as There are numerous opportunities available. no excuse to be waiting on business when Facebook and Twitter to help visitors share Start the process by first taking advantage of you use this lead-generation method. their car with others. It serves as a method to no-cost opportunities, then consider low-cost help the buyer commit to the sale. lead acquisition options. Use cost-per-click programs with controls. Pay only for visitors within a hundred-mile Many people prefer watching a commercial No-cost options: radius of your address, link visitors directly versus reading an article. The goal should be 1. Take care of the basics on existing to inventory pages related to the keywords to captivate your visitor by giving them both. marketing efforts by promoting your Web and set a stop-campaign trigger based on Add a walk-around video of each new and address on every business card, mailer, your specified budget. Monitor your results pre-owned vehicle. Include custom voice-over billboard, TV ad, radio ad and marketing and make performance adjustments to scripts with background music to transform campaign you create. develop a profitable campaign. your video into a professional commercial. 2. Next, to help obtain a top ranking in The script should include warranty, financing Google, ensure that the brands and Step Two: Guide Visitors to Inventories details, and dealer specials (such as tires models you represent — combined with The primary reason a visitor comes to a for life) as the vehicle is being displayed in your location — are listed multiple times dealer’s site is to view inventory. Access to any the video. Upload your entire inventory to in text, versus images or Flash within the new or pre-owned model in your inventory YouTube, then embed the YouTube video on top 50 percent of your home page. should be delivered within one click from the detail page of each vehicle. Why? 3. Take advantage of YouTube, the second the home page. For instance, if you’re a Ford 1. 100 percent of your inventory can be largest search engine. Utilize this asset dealer, all of the models that Ford offers should found in the second largest search engine by creating and loading videos for each be displayed on the home page. That way, if in the world. of your vehicles on YouTube.com, and a Mustang is selected, the visitor is instantly 2. Hundreds of YouTube videos embedded then embed them into your Web site. viewing all Mustang inventories. This one- in your site will substantially increased It will gain new traffic and also help click strategy should continue on the Mustang your rankings in the search engines. improve your Google rankings. inventory page by maintaining a list of new 3. It captivates your visitors. The voice- 4. List your inventories on third-party sites. model choices, so if the visitor decides to view over is also a good place to invite visitors One of the most popular and productive another model and selects a Focus, a single to value their trade or contact you. sites is Craigslist. Minimally, list your click delivers all of the Focus inventories. pre-owned vehicles. Pre-owned inventories should work in the All three steps must be utilized in order to same manner. All pre-owned brands in your maximize your results. A site with low traffic Low-cost options: inventory are shown on the home page, and if will fail. If high traffic is achieved but the Utilize eBay to gain high-quality leads. Nissan is selected, all Nissan inventories are visitor can’t navigate to inventory quickly, eBay has proven itself to be a great location delivered in one click from the home page. it suffers. If customers cannot be captivated, to sell high-end specialty cars or wholesale Never forget what you are selling — cars! results will be lacking. If, however, you units, but the largest percentage of your Keep your home page focused on enabling gain new visitors and leads, guide them to inventory is probably mid-range vehicles, visitors to view more vehicles per session and inventories in one click and captivate them and they may not sell as easily. Utilizing you will sell more cars. with pictures and video, you will successfully eBay auctions to obtain high-quality leads convert visitors into contacts. can prove to be one of your most inexpensive Step Three: Captivate Your Visitor methods to gain leads. Start by listing several It is paramount that you capture the visitor’s Brad King is the president of Dealermade. vehicles with a reserve set at your sales attention once they reach the vehicle’s detail He can be contacted at 800.723.2608, or by price and a very low starting bid. Example: page. New vehicles should display all relevant e-mail at bking@autosuccessonline.com.10 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • It’s another busy Tuesday afternoon at your dealership. You have six seekers into buyers, and includes engaging custom videos for every shoppers looking at vehicles, three people discussing finance, one make and model. Test drives sell cars at the dealership and virtual test person looking at a brochure and five people talking with sales agents. drives help sell shoppers online. Don’t you wish your showroom was like this? If you’re like most dealerships, it is like this on your Web site. Imagine this: Someone Chris Fousek, eCommerce Director of Cadillac Saab Hummer Village walks into your showroom and looks around, and no one greets them or of Norwood described the benefits of interactive online experiences, even acknowledges them. It’s a highly unlikely scenario and might even “Our dealership Web site is the heart of our business and consumers get someone fired. But, this is exactly what happens on most dealers’ increasingly demand instant gratification. Everyone is busy, and Web sites every day. It may be happening on your site as you read this! shoppers appreciate fast responses to their questions. A growing This situation equates to literally thousands of lost lead generation and number of people just don’t want to pick up the phone and call the sales opportunities each month for the average dealership. dealership anymore, and many don’t want to wait for a response to e-mail. Overall, the service provides us with more sales opportunities The sales funnel continues to evolve as consumers push for more that we missed. Live chat lets us offer the same level of service on our instant gratification and information. It’s not “dead” as some Web site that we offer in our showroom.” have asserted, but it’s certainly been flipped around as online communication has rapidly increased. Making the first contact with shoppers is critical and puts you in the driver’s seat for online sales success. According to a recent MIT report, prospective online shoppers fill out an average of three to five lead forms and the first to contact a lead increases conversion by 238 percent. Further, more than 65 percent of all conversions occur on first call. Speed is obviously important and is a key determinant of successful sales. We live in a different world today and consumers demand instant gratification online, and dealership Web sites with the ability to deliver just the right message, at just the right time have a huge competitive advantage. Live chat is the fastest way to connect with consumers online, giving you a huge advantage. Most dealers are still not leveraging the power of interactive, real-time communication on their Web sites. Combining quality information with stimulating multi-sensory applications such as video and live chat is a great way to engage consumers. As they expect more instant Online connectivity is the key as consumers seek information on gratification online, any steps dealers can take to make their sites Facebook, Craigslist, eBay, newsletters, retail Web sites, microsites more interactive, more robust and easier to be found online, adds and more. The ability to connect and engage shoppers on any relevant incredible value. Research tells us that multi-sensory experiences help online locations differentiates progressive dealerships that actively consumers retain information and create preference, and using chat reach consumers. The nation’s top eCommerce dealers use ActivEngage on the dealership Web site is a powerful first step in engaging more to actively connect with consumers on these sites. It may be hard Web site visitors into a conversation. ActivTestDrive lets dealers move to believe, but e-mail is now considered “too slow” for a growing customers through the unique virtual sales process to turn information percentage of the population participating in online shopping. In12
    • addition, many people are very reluctant to call dealerships because theymay have had an uncomfortable experience with an overly aggressivesalesperson on the phone, or been routed through an endless maze ofautomated phone menus only to have no one respond to their calls.Focusing on generating more leads from the dealership’s own Web sitehelps keep costs per car sold down and delivers the highest closingratio. Live chat is proving to be one of the most effective methods togenerate more of these valuable leads.Dealers can easily double or triple Web site lead generation by sendingcarefully crafted proactive chat invitations, based on shoppers’behavior on the Web site. For example, with ActivEngage businessintelligence you can know that a shopper arrived on your site from aGoogle search for “2007 Dodge Ram Atlanta.” You can watch theirclick path and co-browse to view the vehicles they are shopping, andsend just the right message at just the right time. Further, you canactually see what pages and vehicles shoppers view while on yoursite, in real-time. Armed with this customer intelligence, you can thensend customized chat messages, based on their behavior, rather thangeneric messages. This raises the level of service available on the Website to the same level as the physical showroom. It creates a great firstimpression and can be a huge differentiator for your dealership.Technology also exists that allows you to focus your attention onsite visitors who are ready to buy, based on particular characteristicsor behavior patterns. This behavioral targeting allows you to seewhere shoppers are physically located, and parameters can be set showroom or on the dealership lot. You use observation and listeningbased number of visits, pages viewed, order of page views, viewing skills to lead your conversation with someone in person. If you see thattime, specific pages, number of pages, time spent on site, and more. someone is looking at Toyota Camrys on the lot, you offer assistanceProactive custom messages can then be sent, based on customers’ that is specific to the Camry when you approach them. On your Webshopping behavior, enabling dealers to track and target the hottest site, you can now see what vehicles and dealership information aprospects and spend more time with shoppers who are most likely to visitor is viewing and then approach them with an offer to help that isconvert, and less time with casual browsers. Driving lots of traffic to specific to their shopping behavior. The majority of the communicationyour Web site can be great; it can also be a distraction if visitors are rules for face-to-face interactions apply online. It really is that simple,not good prospects. and technology now allows the same type of interactions online.It is much more effective to greet shoppers with a customized message, Most dealers are also very pleasantly surprised to find that shoppers usebased on business intelligence such as, “Hello, do you have any chat for more than just vehicle sales information. Consumers schedulequestions about the vehicle warranty? If so, I’m here to help.” rather service appointments, purchase parts, get F&I details and more.than merely greeting shoppers with a generic message such as, “Hello, Hewlett Volkswagen Internet Manager Russell Blackstone describedmay I help you with anything?” his dealership’s experience using ActivEngage’s proactive virtual sales associates: “We’re not only using live chat for vehicle sales, but alsoJustin Brun, eCommerce Manager at Acton Toyota Scion of Littleton parts, service, finance — really all dealership profit centers. People cancommented, “Live chat is playing a part of our increased online be really impatient and live chat gives them instant gratification. Notwarranty sales and profitability. People generally have a lot of all site visitors use the chat, but many of them do, and the ones who doquestions about warranties, and now we can answer those questions have the highest conversion rates. It’s like a gold mine.”at the Web site and help guide shoppers through our four-step salesprocess. We are very pleased with the profit margins that our online Technology has now advanced to offer you a way to instantlywarranty sales have brought to the dealership. I am also really pleased connect with the shoppers, no matter where they are online, and evenwith the ActivEngage analytics and tools; they are more robust than co-browse with the shoppers to give them a complete rich-mediaany others available.” experience, including video. Dealerships that are leveraging proactive chat correctly are creating a “WOW” factor and experience forSuccessful sales start by building trust and relationships, by shoppers. Chat offers your customers access to instant answers insteadengaging in personalized communication. Top dealers know this of forcing them through the e-mail gauntlet or requiring the shopperand are leveraging live chat to begin the sales process online, before to change the medium and call the dealership. Chat allows you toconsumers pick up the phone, send an e-mail or visit the dealership. deliver the right information at just the right time, to create a great firstWith online business intelligence and live chat, you can “know” the impression for you and the dealership.person before you engage in subsequent communication, leveragingthis business intelligence to guide the sales process. Ted Rubin is a founding partner of ActivEngage. He canUsing business intelligence to guide the conversation on your Web site be contacted at 866.918.2150, or by e-mail atis just like using common sense when you approach someone in the trubin@autosuccessonline.com. 1 3
    • sales&trainingsolution LeeGlynn FIVE FAVORITE SALES MEETING TOPICS Not to brag, but I have to make the calls; you have to stay in customer say they would buy it, only to have probably have the best touch; you have to take any opportunity to the desk pencil the deal at $1,500 down and job in the automotive retailing business. As get in front of the consumer. However, many $450 per month? How much conviction did part of a staffed events group, I find myself sales people stop pumping before the water the salesperson have when he returned to the in a different dealership every weekend. comes. They get discouraged, it isn’t working customer and presented those numbers? The From Maine to Hawaii and everywhere in for them, they were too busy, etc. But the only salesperson could inoculate himself against between, I am exposed to the inner workings way to get that water is to pump and pump that happening with one phrase. Anytime a of dealerships’ sales departments across the and not stop. And once it flows, less effort is customer lays out the details of a deal ($500 country. From my perspective, I get to see required to keep the flow going, but you have down, $300 a month) the salesperson should it all. I see more than 100 ups a day come to put the work in initially to reap the rewards. reply, “If I had something a little nicer, with through the dealership doors. That’s more a few really nice features, but it was going to than 100 different opportunities for another At the Sales Desk be a little more, should I not show it to you?” sale. Drawing from 11 years of experience Every manager has his own style. Some are Every customer will respond with “depends” in this career, here are my five favorite sales coaches, some are bosses and some see an and the salesperson is free to show the same meeting topics. opportunity to train in unlikely places. There car he would have shown, but now won’t was a sales manager known for his forthright look like Jekyll and Hyde if he needs to Save a Deal nature. It was well known on the sales floor remind the customer that he said it was going Every dealership sales meeting should begin that he did not tolerate a customer being to be a little more. with this component. A “save a deal” meeting released from the sales department without the is just what it sounds like. Each and every manager having an opportunity to say “hello.” The Four-Minute Mile interaction with customers from the previous We watched as a young salesman greeted Something happened on May 6, 1954 that had day is reviewed, a strategy is planned and a customer on the lot, looked at a front line never been done before. Conventional wisdom someone takes action to move the process pre-owned car, talked for a minute or two and was that the human body just couldn’t run a forward. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were in last then the customer got back into his vehicle and mile in less than four minutes; it wasn’t built night, looked at a vehicle and did not purchase drove away. Everyone watched as this manager to do it — until May 6, that is, when Roger because they had another appointment paged the salesperson to the podium, most of Bannister broke the record. The funny thing is, elsewhere. A sales manager agrees to call us thinking “This is going to be ugly.” Instead, two more people did it the next month. High them today and thank them for coming in and the manager asked the salesperson where the school students do it today. What changed? inquire about moving ahead. Sounds simple, customer went. The salesperson replied that The athlete’s belief that it could be done. right? This assumes that floor traffic and the customer said he needed to get back to This brings me to George Marks. He was a telephone ups are being effectively tracked his work and left. The next words from the salesman who kept to himself, never in the and documented and provides an opportunity manager were teaching at its best. “Where does coffee clutch or gossiping on the showroom for managers to mentor salespeople. What a the customer work?” I don’t know. “Where floor. If he was at work, he was either with a powerful, simple idea. does he live?” I don’t know. “Is he married?” customer or on the phone, always busy. I saw I don’t know. “Does he have kids?” And then George Marks go six for six on a Saturday. Six The Pump the light bulb came on. The salesperson said to ups, six delivered. I heard another salesperson A sales manager at a top-performing the manager, “I know what you are doing! You call him “lucky” one day. The sales manager dealership conducted a meeting that I had the are asking me the things I should have asked immediately interrupted and said it wasn’t pleasure to attend. From under the podium, him instead of telling him what a great car that luck; Marks made his own luck. “I’ll tell you he produced a red, cast-iron hand pump – the is.” The sales manager smiled, the salesman why George sells so many cars,” he said. “He kind you see at a farmhouse for the well. smiled, and I am convinced that he went away treats every customer like a buyer.” George He sat it on the podium and explained how with one more tool to find success. He had knew that every person he spoke to was it worked. Pumping the handle produces a learned that people buy cars from people they there to do business, and therefore, he gave vacuum that draws the water up from the well like, not salespeople. every person the opportunity to say “yes.” He and eventually out the spout. As he pumped believed it, just like the runner knows he can the device, he explained that it was the water Selecting the Right Vehicle break the four-minute mile. source for his family when he was young. He Have you ever had a customer tell you that said some of the kids hated to be the first to they have $500 dollars down and want pump each day, because it took so long and so to spend $300 dollars per month on a car Lee Glynn is the vice president of The many pumps to finally get the water flowing. payment? Of course you have; it happens all Wolfington Group. He can be contacted at This sales manager said the process was very the time. How many times have we selected 800.905.0641, or by e-mail at similar to prospecting and following up. You the wrong car, taken it for a ride, and had the lglynn@autosuccessonline.com. 1 4 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution TomHopkins THE MOOD OF THE SALE To be successful attitude will show through in your body at selling vehicles, language or in some other discernible way you must be able to quickly understand the and the clients will pick up on it. They may emotions churning inside your potential not even be consciously aware of it, but clients. Having empathy for your clients and something will tell them not to do business knowing their situations is critical. You have with you and they’ll raise walls of sales to become skillful at synchronizing what you resistance about making a decision today. say with a wide variety of client emotions. How well you do this makes a powerful For example, if I were talking with a wife impact on your income. and husband who are having their first child, I’d be a little more concerned with relating It’s sad but true; many people put off making to her than him. Even though he’ll be excited vehicle decisions until they absolutely have about the future and have vehicle safety to. They wait until their old vehicle is in such concerns, she’ll be more likely (as mothers a state that it either isn’t going to last much are) to be concerned about the ease of getting they think that? There’s an underlying reason longer or will cost them dearly in repairs. the child in and out of the vehicle, whether or that they’re ready and willing to talk with Perhaps they weren’t prepared to make not there’s room for a stroller and the other you right now. Until you know that reason, a vehicle investment at this time, but for paraphernalia that needs to be transported you can’t start feeling their feelings and whatever reason, the need has become urgent. with small children, etc. Both may be very relating to them properly in order to serve concerned with economy because we all their needs. In some cases, your potential clients may know that babies are expensive. have been forced into talking with you by Although some situations are touchy to someone else (a spouse, a parent, a co- Now let’s look at another situation. Perhaps work with, they’re more likely to give you worker) who thinks they need a new vehicle your potential clients were recently in a the opportunity to render great service more than the clients themselves do. You situation where their vehicle broke down to someone who really needs it. In any may work with people who are suffering and caused them to miss out on a road trip or situation where you’re talking with a couple, pain from major upheavals that have taken job interview. Now, they’re talking with you be especially careful not to take sides or place in their lives that have caused them to see that it doesn’t happen again. They’ve favor one person’s opinion over the other’s, to downsize from a vehicle they love to had a dose of reality and need to feel secure. even if they’re right. Keep it constantly in something more affordable. Whatever the With these folks, focus on the security that mind that if either person suspects you of situation is, you will have to adjust your a reliable vehicle can provide. One or both making judgments about them, they’re not demeanor, your words and how you present of them might be upset or angry about being going to buy a vehicle from you. You’re yourself and your inventory. in this situation. They may feel they’ve lost working with people who make buying face with each other by not being on top of decisions emotionally, not logically. You I teach selling skills. Yet, if I taught you all their needs. You’ll have to tread lightly with must first work with their emotions, then the strategies and all the words to say, and this couple until you get them focused on help them see the logic in following the plan failed to teach you the importance of having the solution rather than the problem. When you recommend. You do that by building a empathy for your clients, I’d be doing you you meet them, you’re part of the industry performance that relates to their needs. and them a disservice. To be successful in at which they’re mad, and they’re especially this business, you must know a lot about afraid of having the same challenge again. As an automotive professional, you have how to sell and about your products. But, more than a job; you have an absolute even more important if you plan to make this The key to success in any selling situation obligation to do everything in your power to business a lifelong career, you must truly care is to leave your opinions, your personal feel like your clients feel and respond to their about people. situation, your history outside the door, feelings appropriately. unless you have faced a similar situation Start right now by asking yourself, “How do where you can speak from the heart. Start World-renowned master sales trainer Tom I feel about how they feel?” If your attitude asking questions as soon as you establish Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins is, “I couldn’t care less,” don’t be surprised rapport so you can understand why they are International. He can be contacted at 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at if they don’t care about doing business with talking with you. What are they thinking? thopkins@autosuccessonline.com. you. You can’t fake concern. If you’re not What do they think they need versus what truly empathetic to your clients’ needs, your your experience tells you they need? Why do16 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • marketingsolution KendallBillman IS YOUR WEB SITE READY FOR SUCCESS? Here we are in 2010, mind allows you to build each page with a Finance and many dealers series of actions to increase your Web site’s • When you select “Finance,” does it send are still struggling with their Web sites. conversions to sales. a message to the consumer letting them Depending upon which statistic you read, 90+ know how easy it is for you to help with percent of consumers search online and their Inventory is your next checkpoint. This is their next purchase? first impression is what they currently see. the main reason people are on your Web site • Is the credit application easy to fill out? and, of course, it is the main reason you are So, how do you know if your Web site is in business. Web sites are more than a place for out-of-date? It seems every time you turn • Do you give that automobile shopper information, but many Web vendors have around, someone is telling you how it is tools they need to make a good decision? not taken the steps to help you be successful. wrong or how they can do it better, but how • Do you have a vehicle model compare As you review your Web site, ask yourself if do you really know? feature? your current provider is just a provider or are • Does your Web site bring out trusted they a partner? If they are not a partner, then The first step is to take a few minutes and logos, such as “CarFax,” “CarFax you may need to find a solution that gets you look at the front of your Web site. This 1-Owner” or “AutoCheck”? ahead of the technology curve. is the starting point for your prospects and • Do you have manufacturer rebates repeat customers: displayed? Last and not least, I have put together a small • Do you have good call to actions? • Do you give the shopper the ability to checklist of features that make a successful • Are your ads and specials current? compare models? Web site. • Does your Web site allow for you to • Are you working off of a template One good point to remember is the person customize the “additional vehicles of Web site, or is it customized to fit your looking at your Web site is in control. They interest”? dealership? are in their enviroment, and will shop at • Does your Web site talk with your CRM their own pace. They can browse, click and Inventory is where many Web sites let their and DMS system? play without any pressure. Keeping this in dealers down. They do not have the call to • Is your Search Engine Optimization actions displayed automated, and does every page of your in convenient Web site have advanced SEO? places and, more • Is your inventory updated once a week? importantly, they Why not every day? Friends? do not have the features consumers • Does your Web site have video? • Does your Web site offer vehicle Share! need to make good reviews? decisions. Another • Does your Web site display current key feature of Web incentives and OEM rebates? Loyalty Driver sites built on newer • Is your Web site built for Google’s new platforms allow search platform, “Google Caffeine”? enewsletter content for a large photo • Is your Web site vendor a partner, or just connects you to display section. an expense? This gives you the social networks. ability to enhance • And, one of the most critical elements to insure your Web site is ready for that vehicle with 2010, does your Web site have a mobile unlimited and large platform? photos. As a bonus here are two major questions to The next step is to ask when looking for a Web site vendor: Friends share great content... look at your fixed 1. Do they offer all of the features I need to ops sections: be successful? making new connections for you. Service & Parts 2. Did they build the tools themselves or are • How does your they third-party products? This is critical service page because if they are third-party products, look? Innovative Enewsletter Solutions you may have issues with your data. • Is it easy to loyaltydriver.com | 866-964-6397 schedule service? • Do you have service specials front and center? Kendall Billman is the director of interactive • Is it built marketing for VinSolutions. He can be to increase contacted at 866.892.1447, or by e-mail at1 conversions? kbillman@autosuccessonline.com.8 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • marketingsolution JockSchowalter MAKING THE CASE FOR ONLINE NEGOTIATION Negotiation is in our and make a friendly little visit to the F&I a negotiated price, which represents an DNA. Little children department. accomplishment and value to the buyer. learn to negotiate before they can even talk. This is because they feel that the price they When a baby starts crying because he or Online Negotiation Will have negotiated is a good price, since they she is hungry, they are actually engaging in Drive Up Conversion Ratio have worked to obtain the lower-negotiated negotiation. They are willing to stop their One of the most evident results online price. In addition, they have received various crying in exchange for the parent feeding nregotiation will bring to your dealership payment options to meet their budget, trade them. When we are all grown up, our needs is increasing the conversion ratio on your values which most consumers realize is an are more sophisticated, but we still negotiate Web site. I define “conversion ratio” as the important part of what their payments will be, as our primary means of getting what we number of visitors who traverse your Web site and financing options all online. want. Nowhere is that more apparent than in and provide you with contact information. automotive retailing. The typical conversion ratio on a dealer Web What You Know in Advance site is around three percent, and varies by You can Prepare For You have a product — in this case vehicles — brand. Weve seen online negotiation increase Since you know in advance that your that one party wants to sell and the other party that ratio of visitors to leads by 60 percent competitors cannot or will not provide this wants to purchase. The seller wants to obtain to 90 percent. In some cases much more, if same information, the fact that the buyer the most amount of profit from the sale of the dealer is advertising online negotiation in will attempt to shop your deal becomes less the product and the buyer wants to obtain traditional media. worrisome. When the consumer calls or the product at the lowest possible price. e-mails the competing dealership, they will Each party tries to position themselves and The bump in conversion ratio happens almost be told “Sure we will beat their price, but employ tactics to achieve their goals (some immediately and can easily double within 90 you have to come on down to get it. ” The people still employ the crying tactic). This days. Its amazing how quickly consumers reality, though, is the consumer doesnt want positioning and tactical activity is the process grasp the concept. Its clear that the consumer to come on down anymore; not without the of negotiation. Today, most negotiation is more than ready to engage in this process, information they need first. Give them the happens in person or over the telephone. and why wouldnt they? It saves them time information, negotiate a fair deal and you will Online negotiation provides a platform for and reduces much of the stress involved with seem them coming into your showroom to the same negotiations to take place using the making a high-dollar purchase. pick up their new vehicles in droves. Internet. You are merely using the Internet as the communication channel for the two Are Online Negotiation Customers are ready to negotiate car deals parties to negotiate. The flow of activity Leads High Quality? online. You will have many more high-quality is almost the same as it happens on the What is great about online negotiation leads is leads coming from your Web site. They are showroom floor. that the buyers are farther along in the buying serious buyers farther down the sales funnel process. They are at the point where they than most leads. By meeting the buyer where The buyer selects a vehicle they are interested have decided on the specific vehicle and are they want to do business, you will limit the in on your existing Web site. They provide ready negotiate the specific terms to acquire customers ability to shop your overall deal information about their trade, along with their that vehicle. Its no wonder that the closing around with your competitors. The customers finances, if they are seeking financing from ratio on these types of leads are as high as 40 are ready to negotiation online. Are you? the dealership. The dealership takes this percent. information and puts together a proposal that If you would like to receive a free preview includes price, payment options, estimated Won’t Customers ‘Shop’ electronic copy of my upcoming book On-line trade values and financing terms. The dealer Me if I Negotiate Online? Negotiation is Now a Reality, contact me with then posts that proposal online where the Newsflash: They already are. This may come the information below. consumer can view it. The buyer can accept as a surprise, but online negotiation actually the terms of the proposal or submit a counter makes it harder for them to do this. By using offer. The dealer can then counter offer back online negotiation, you make it much more to the buyer and so on until an agreement difficult for a buyer to compare your deal to Jock Schowalter is the president is reached or one party decides that a deal the deals of your competitors. and founder of DealerPeak.com and WideStorm. He can be contacted at is not feasible. If agreement is reached, the 866.869.1108, or e-mail at appointment is made to test drive the vehicle If you are negotiating online, you are jschowalter@autosuccessonline.com. (if they have not already done so), confirm providing much more than just a price on a trade condition/value, sign paperwork, vehicle. You are providing the “shopper” 2 2 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • Have you ever felt like you were mak- sound. With years of successful ex- $1 more on advertisinging little mistakes that are costing you perience, this team is innovative and • Increase your gross profits any-tons of money at your dealership? Do up-to-date presenting fresh ideas where from $300 to $800 a vehicleyou feel like there are hidden profits to keep up with our ever-changing • Make an extra $100,000 or more inin your dealership that are just waiting business. I would recommend Tew- your service profits in 90 days or lessto be uncovered? If you are like most art Enterprises Inc. to anyone who • Double and even triple your salesdealers, the honest answer is, YES, wants to improve their business. and service customer retentionAbsolutely! – Doug Mathers • Double your appointments and Russwood Auto Center, Lincoln, NE sales conversion from Internet leads,It’s a shame for YOU not to make Web site leads, third party leadsmore money, when these dealers do My name is Mark Tewart and I am the • Increase your F&I Product pen-it so easily… President of Tewart Enterprises Inc. etrations by 25% immediately For almost two decades I have been • Discover the one secret that will Our association with Tewart En- helping dealers find hidden profits and make your dealership an additionalterprises has been nothing short correcting little million dollarsof extraordinary. Our sales volume mistakes that were or more over theincreased over 30% in the first sixty costing those deal- There are a few things next five years —days of implementation. More ers hundreds of We have severalimportantly, our sales gross in- thousands of dol- that every dealer clients who havecreased an average of over 68% lars. These almost- should be doing to already experi-over the first five months of imple- magical solutions enced this and itmentation. The bottom line result turn little mis- make money, will make the hairwas an increase of over $350,000 takes into instant especially in this stand up on yournet to the Dealership Operation. I cash machines of neck when youhave used many sales systems over bottom-line profit. economy. hear this.the years and none of them haveever provided the success that we Because I haveare experiencing with the Tewart not met you and do not know anything Call 888 2 Tewart (888 283-9278) orSystem. about your dealership, I can’t say how e-mail info@tewart.com to schedule Walter Alfaro, GM much money is being left unrealized at a private and confidential interview. Perry Ford your dealership. However, I can say FOR CERTAIN that the number ***We will share candid and specific Our grosses went up 30% on the of dollars is substantial and would information that will prove to you with-front end, and we added almost 50% shock you, if you knew. out a doubt what I am saying is true. Youin the back end. The best part of that will see real dealer examples that supportis that our sales also increased over There are a few things that every these results. Because of time constraints,25% and continue to increase. dealer should be doing to make there will only be a limited amount of Gary Minneman Jr, GM money, especially in this economy. dealers accepted into this program. Sunshine Toyota The Great News is that I have identified P.S.: To receive the FREE Special Working with Tewart Enterprises is those little mistakes and have big solu- Report “New Generation of Selling” e-different from other consultants and tions for them. NO BS, just real measur- mail us at info@tewart.com with Newtrainers. We are getting results with able results that start happening immedi- Generation in the subject linevery satisfied customers. In addition, ately and I guarantee those results.Tewart Enterprises Inc is helping usto make our entire business more • Sell more vehicles without spending
    • sales&trainingsolution DalePollak GOODBYE 2009 Over this past year, we saw things that management, vendor relationships, online advertising, wholesale acquisition, classified “New were previously unimaginable: OEM promotions, daily work plans, cost per lead, technology bankruptcies, franchise terminations and wholesale disposition, manage photos, allows many more dealers who just went out of CRM management, compensation, F&I, business because they couldn’t survive the counting ups, working deals, counting calls, salespeople economic challenges. Automotive financing, reconditioning, manage descriptions, lot at the press both retail and wholesale, all but dried up pricing, publish prices. of a button to while the wholesale used car marketplace drove up values without a corresponding rise Although this list is not exhaustive, everyone produce an in retail prices. We all should be happy to say would agree that there is no departmental interactive “goodbye” to 2009. manager that could possibly possess all of the presentation knowledge and skills necessary to perform or Although we already see some improvements supervise even these tasks. for shoppers to show how this year, I think it’s fair to say that there are their vehicle compares in many new realities in the retail automobile The result is that many critical tasks are price, equipment, mileage business that will outlast the current not performed at all or on a timely basis, economic cycle. One of these new realities and many others are performed in a sub- and condition to identically is a much more efficient retail automotive standard manner. These dysfunctions and equipped competing vehicles.” market. I’ve been speaking and writing about inefficiencies translate into profit leaks that the new, more efficient market for quite some dealerships simply cannot afford. time, but now the effects of this new market to identically equipped competing vehicles. are being felt by all dealers in almost every This reality calls for a re-examination of Although there may be other similar vehicles aspect of their business as manifested by the the variable operations organization. I for less, the system instantly identifies the reduced profitability of most operations. have written extensively about this. One attributes causing seemingly similar vehicles of three new departments that I propose to to be different. Such differences include, Although dealers have made massive cuts the industry is what I call the New Sales but are not limited to, higher mileage, odd in their expense structures, there are only Department. Unlike sales departments of colors, less equipment, poor condition or so many steps that can be taken within the past, I don’t think that we can afford the prior accident history. The experience of the traditional dealership environment. I luxury of maintaining separate new and used viewing a live presentation is both engaging believe it is necessary for the industry to car sales and management staffs. Today’s and credible and allows both dealers and revisit fundamental assumptions about how used car is not the used car of the past. It is shoppers to adjust their asking or offer price vehicles are sold. Specifically, I think that likely a highly reconditioned vehicle with based on the reality of the live market and the the traditional structure of new, used, F&I factory warranty. It is not so different, nor is live experience. and, lately, Internet departments are too there enough variable gross profit in either expensive and dysfunctional. There is too new or used car sales to justify the expense A single new and used sales department much complexity in the number and nature of two separate sales and management staffs. coupled with this new technology allows of tasks that need to be accomplished with dealerships to hire individuals as product the present organizational structure and The types of people who are needed to and market specialists rather than traditional individual responsibilities. Take a look at staff my proposed new sales department negotiating sales persons. This change the following list of tasks that need to be are very different from those of the past. translates into more sales, for more gross and performed in order to be successful in new This is because today, documentation a much higher degree of satisfaction on the and used vehicle sales: is the new negotiation. Once dealers part of both buyers and dealership personnel recognize that vehicles need to be priced while improving operational efficiency. Check storefront, lot maintenance, Web site fairly relative to the competition, then the management, certification responsibility, competition becomes the selling dealer’s Dale Pollak is an author and the founder respond to Internet leads, window sticker most powerful closing tool. New technology of vAuto. He can be contacted at management, appraisals, log Internet leads, allows salespeople at the press of a button 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at hiring, online pricing, manage inbound calls, to produce an interactive presentation for dpollak@autosuccessonline.com. validate URLs, training, TOs, SEM, SEO, shoppers to show how their vehicle compares PPC, Web site navigation, scheduling, desk in price, equipment, mileage and condition 2 4 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • leadershipsolution JohnFreund GETTING IT RIGHT BEFORE RETIREMENT: ROTH IRA 101 Did you know that gross income must be less than $114,000 and applies: You have reached age 59 ½, you many people spend $166,000 for married couples filing jointly. have become disabled, the funds are used more time planning their vacation than for a first-time home purchase (subject to planning for retirement? Although there are Contributions you make to the account are a $10,000 lifetime limit) or the funds are many ways to save for your retirement, if not tax deductible, but may be withdrawn any distributed to a beneficiary after your death. you are like most people, you aren’t taking time without tax or penalty. Before taking After thinking over the rules, if you full advantage of them. For example, do you withdrawals from your Roth IRA, you need are eligible for a Roth IRA you may be understand the basics of a Roth IRA? If not, to determine if you are receiving a “qualified wondering how much you can contribute. For here’s a little Roth IRA 101. distribution.” Any withdrawal that is not a 2010, you may make regular contributions “qualified distribution” can result in income that do not exceed $5,000. If you are 50 Right now, you may be wondering why you taxes and IRS penalties. For example, any or older, you can also make “catch-up” should invest in a Roth IRA if you currently earnings on your principal will be subject contributions of up to $1,000 per year for a have a retirement plan with your dealership. to income taxes should you decide to total contribution of $6,000. The Roth IRA has many benefits that other withdraw them prior to the five-year holding retirement plans don’t have, and chief period or before age 59 ½ (contact your A couple of other important items worth among them is the fact that any investment state department for state taxation rules). In noting: Contributions to your employer’s earnings may accumulate tax-free. In other addition, these earnings are also generally retirement plan do not exclude you from words, your Roth IRA has the opportunity subject to a 10 percent IRS penalty. making contributions to a Roth IRA, and to grow without incurring any taxes, and owning a traditional IRA does not prevent can be distributed to you tax free, if certain you from setting up a Roth IRA, either conditions are met. (although contributing to a traditional IRA for the same year will limit the amount you While there are advantages to owning a Roth can contribute to a Roth IRA). IRA, there are also some rules to think about before you decide this is the account for Whether or not you decide a Roth IRA is the you. First, not everyone can take advantage right retirement account for you, it’s always of a Roth IRA. You or your spouse must smart to plan ahead and save money for the have earned income or compensation — this future. Never underestimate the importance includes wages, tips or salary. However, be of saving for retirement and using a variety aware that earned income or compensation of investment vehicles to achieve your goals. does not include rental, interest, dividend, pension annuity or deferred compensation Tax and penalty free withdrawal of your Roth John Freund is the senior vice president of income. Second, your modified adjusted IRA earnings for “qualified distributions” investments for Moors & Cabot. He can be gross income cannot exceed certain limits. can be made once a five-year holding contacted at 866.599.9162, or by e-mail at For single people, your modified adjusted period is satisfied and one of the following jfreund@autosuccessonline.com.26 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution StevenShaw SELLING THE CREATIVE EFFORT As I stand out on model? Did the Genius at the Apple Store try the time to educate the customer about the the service drive of to educate you on the product? I challenge dealership walk-around process. Now is the dealerships today, I witness a phenomenon you to take a walk out to the drive and listen time to ask the customer about an under-hood that is present in almost every store. I call how your advisors perform the first step in inspection. Now is the time to educate our this activity “marking your territory.” any write-up process. I encourage you to stop customers about the many wonderful options trying to sell the business and start building a the dealership offers. This is the time to Let me explain: Imagine a customer driving relationship with your customer. celebrate with the customer the wise decision into your dealership and your service they made to select your dealership as the advisor actually goes out to the vehicle to Dealerships need to retain every customer vendor of choice. greet the customer. What is the first thing who pulls up to our gates, drives through the service advisor does? Approach the our drive, and allows us the opportunity to We call this “Selling the Creative Effort,” customer with a friendly greeting or throw a practice our trade with them. We need to take which is a process where the service advisors tag on the dashboard and start writing down one giant step backward and remember that focus on the actionable customer service numbers? Next, does the service advisor the customer has choices in business. points of the transaction. Aggressively selling pull open the door and check the mileage the relationship is the key to the success in or does the service advisor inquire as to the I suggest that we slow our advisors down to sales. By showing up at our location, our reason for the visit today? Does the advisor the same speed as the customer and teach customers have decided on us as the vendor pull open the hood and start selling the them how to listen. Most advisors listen with of choice for their repair needs. business or does the advisor actually seek their mouths running and not their ears. We to understand the needs of the customer? can’t just stop here. We have to sell the fact The power of not selling the business is in A super majority of the advisors that I that we are listening. Ask the customer for building a long-term, sustainable relationship have witnessed have already marked their a description of the problem. Identify with between the dealership and the client. territory by doing these staunch hard-selling them. Educate them on the process at the Building this client type relationship, and activities with the customer. The customer dealership. Alert them to any charges for the retaining the customers, will only happen by has not even told their story yet, or even fix. Inform them about the time it will take to providing a tireless effort to meet or exceed had a chance to unload their concern to the make an accurate finding. Finally, thank them the customer’s expectations in a consistent service advisor, and he’s already selling for choosing the dealership for the repair professional fashion. Your customer will them a major maintenance. needs. Make sure the customer is satisfied appreciate the effort and stand side-by-side before the service advisor ever begins the with you through the ownership lifecycle. Would you, as the consumer, accept this sales pitch. treatment? Think about your recent holiday shopping. When you went to purchase your Once the customer has had the opportunity Steven Shaw is a partner and performance new television or computer, did the sales to tell their story and has acknowledged coach for M5 Management Services, Inc. person try to sell you a television? Do you their satisfaction with this transaction, then He can be contacted at prefer to be sold the big-screen monster when the dealership show begins. Now is the time 866.201.3043, or by e-mail at you really just needed an under-the-counter for the dealership to pitch its wares. Now is sshaw@autosuccessonline.com. 2 7 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • marketingsolution ErinO’Connor TEXTING - YOUR GATEWAY TO SALES As a member of the communication among us — it’s definitely You Have a List, Now What? mobile revolution, it’s time to look at the avenues it can be useful to Start Texting — Once you have a list and difficult to think back and imagine the “dark you and your dealership. a provider, the opportunities to reach out times.” Times when people actually had to to customers and potential customers are keep plans because they couldn’t change Site providers pushed mobile hard last year at plentiful. at a moment’s notice, having to walk to a the National Automobile Dealers Association payphone if your car broke down instead Conference (NADA) — it was the future Text Vehicle Information — You can of calling AAA from the driver’s seat and, of car shopping and buying. Don’t get me assign each vehicle in your inventory an ID possibly the most difficult to fathom, not wrong — it is. The development of mobile or keyword and add it to your traditional being available to people 24 hours a day, just sites has tapped further into consumers’ advertising. If a customer wants more details, in case they need you. vehicle shopping and buying behaviors. I they can text and get the vehicle information hope it goes without saying, but if you don’t back instantly via text. Don’t stop at Going mobile has made us completely have a mobile version or mobile compatible traditional media either; put the ID/keyword available, although some resist the mobile version of your Web site yet, get on the right on the window sticker in the lot. It’s a movement; it’s difficult to deny it has phone with your provider, right now. perfect way to get information out after hours severe advantages both personally and or give the “no pressure” sales pitch. professionally. We have the ability to reach The evolution of texting has taken mobile anyone at anytime and we’ve become so even further, tapping into consumers’ Respond to Inquiries — Setting up a accustomed to the instant connection that communication cycle. It allows businesses to question ID/keyword will allow customers to it almost feels like a snub when someone disperse information to their customers the text “Dealer Question” to your number and a doesn’t answer. How dare they not answer way they prefer to be contacted, making you representative will be able to respond to their while they’re on the treadmill or out with available to them at their convenience. The question instantly. Texting provides the same their family? “I need a quote and I need it possibilities for dealerships to take advantage open communication between customer and NOW!” You get my drift; you might even be of the growth of texting as a marketing tool dealership, but offers more convenience for the one making the calls. are innumerable. both parties. How Do You Get Taking it further, as if having the ability Started With Texting? Giveaways — You can run giveaway to call anytime, anywhere wasn’t enough; You’ll need to find a texting service that can promotions, like the example above. In mobile providers have given us the gift of a provide all of the services you’re looking for. many cases, the giveaway promotions can messaging service, Short Message Service Don’t worry; they’re out there. Once you find be programmed to select the winner without (SMS) — which is most commonly known as a provider you’ll be ready to begin. bias based on a pre-determined formula. “texting.” The giveaways can be as big as a vehicle or Build Your List as small as an oil change. Keeping a good Texting, in its most basic form, is the act Texting parallels e-mail marketing in the variety will keep your customers engaged of sending a text message from one mobile regulations that need to be followed for best and eager to participate. phone to another. The texting capabilities practices. Since this is true, you’re probably have grown since its initial development, more familiar with what you need to do Service Specials — If your service to include multimedia messaging service to get started than you might think. To get department is slow Tuesdays from noon to 3 (MMS), allowing pictures, videos, music, everything rolling, you’ll need consumers’ p.m., there’s a quick way to liven it up. Send etc. to be shared. Messages can also be permission to begin contacting them via text, a text to your customers with a special offer: sent from an e-mail account to a mobile, or just like an opt-in. Similarly, you’ll also need “Free tire rotation with oil change” or “1/2 from a mobile to an e-mail account. To say to leave them an opt-out option if they are no off oil changes for the next hour.” Texting texting has grown a lot in the last few years longer interested in being contacted. one-time service specials can spike your slow is a gross understatement; we’re looking at times, keep your departments productive and, exponential growth. According Building your list via text is as easy as running in many cases, act as the reminder that many to Nielsen, the use of texting a promotion and incorporating it into your customers need. has risen 700 percent from traditional media campaigns. You can set up 2006 to 2009, with more a promotion such as “Text IMPALA to 89000 Once you get started with texting, you’ll texts being sent than mobile and enter to win a 2010 Chevy Impala,” and start to see the benefits: great returns, ease of calls made in 2008. With advertise it in your print ads, TV, radio spots use, convenience and cost-effectiveness. It texting accepted as and even billboards. The responses you get provides your dealership the perfect bridge a standard form of from your promotion become your list. between your marketing mix of traditional and interactive media. If you have questions on texting or other interactive media products, please feel free to contact me and discuss. Erin O’Connor is the director of marketing for Dealer HD. She can be contacted at 866.918.1790, or by e-mail at2 eoconnor@autosuccessonline.com.8 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • leadershipsolution KirkManzo WHAT IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET? What is your the resulting sales that occurred. There were getting into the business. Offer to buy them organization’s most conversations regarding the number of RO’s lunch or a cup of coffee. valuable asset? Is it the brand you sell? in service, the status of bank contracts still Perhaps could it be the location and condition in transit (CIT). But ask yourself this: Did The recruiting card should include a contact of your facility? In the end all those elements you even ask the management team how number and e-mail, but more importantly it are important, but without the right team many interviews were conducted last week? will need to contain information explaining in place, you will struggle to achieve and Bear in mind, while you may be at full staff that this is regarding a career opportunity. sustain momentum. (no current openings listed), is your team comprised of all “A” players? Applying the “rule of 3’s” will help provide People and process separate the highest- structure and uniformity to the selection performing groups from those that struggle. A There are fundamentally two types of process. This approach begins with clearly defined process can help compensate players on any team: campers and climbers. establishing the standard that all applicants for limitations in natural abilities and In a performance-based business, if the will be interviewed three times prior to the inexperience. opportunity to hire a climber exists, then why offer of employment. The interviews are to not put a system in place to pursue them? be conducted by three different managers. Assembling a high-performing team requires The last element is the most important. The your organization to establish and maintain a Like anything else you intend to improve, interviews are to take place on three separate system for recruiting, selecting and retaining establishing and communicating a standard visits to the dealership. Anyone can show the best talent. Just as you work to maintain will be your first step. Start slowly. Have up on-time, looking good, sounding good, adherence to the “road to the sale” in your each manager conduct one interview each and yes, smelling good once. Can they dealership, you must place the same level of week with a potential candidate. Even if your accomplish this three times? If yes, then you importance to attracting and retaining high yield is only one in 10 applicants, that new have a viable candidate. performers. player has the potential to be your next top performer. In a market where many stores are With regards to retention, research what There are many accepted benchmarks in our operating with as few as 10 sales people, one others have done to achieve success. Forbes industry that dealers and managers apply person can make a big difference. magazine publishes their list of the Top 100 as reference points. There are standards companies to work for in America. The list that dictate acceptable levels for closing Finding potential candidates for hire is like changes from year to year. An outside firm percentage. 4-3-2-1, for example produces finding new sales prospects; it requires creates this list for Forbes by surveying the a 25 percent closing rate for overall a consistent effort. Here are a couple of employees and compiling the results. The sales opportunities. By comparison, few suggestions. First, start with the people you Gallop organization has conducted similar dealerships hold this same expectation for already have. When you examine the cost surveys. The book Strength Finders 2.0 by closing Internet leads. The more accepted of finding a viable applicant, you will find Tom Rath is based on some of those surveys. norm is often 10 to 15 percent. Fifty percent that paying out a $500-$1,000 bonus to your penetration on vehicle service contracts and/ current employees is a cost-effective strategy. While compensation was certainly one or $1,000 PVR in the backend continue to be Obviously you don’t pay unless the new criterion for these surveys, there were the standard most F&I managers are expected hire works out. Ninety to 180 days of active many other issues and variables that were to achieve. employment is the standard. measured. Identifying the key to increasing staff retention may begin with conducting a So what standard do we hold our managers to Secondly, work with your printer or design survey of your own. Insight into your current as it relates to staffing? If recruiting, selecting team to create a business card that is a team could prove to increase the value of and retaining are part of every manager’s job “recruiting card.” All managers would then your most important asset, your people. description (and if they are not, they need to be expected to carry these with them at all be), then what standards or benchmarks have times. When you are out in the community, you established and communicated? the idea here is to look for someone Kirk Manzo is the president of The providing great service and or someone Manzo Group. He can be contacted at Last week at your dealership a discussion with a great attitude; basically, someone that 800.858.6903, or by e-mail at kmanzo@autosuccessonline.com. probably took place regarding the number hustles. Approach them one on one and ask of opportunities (ups) you worked with and them to come in for a conversation about30 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • marketingsolution TimJames MAXIMIZING LEAD ROI It doesn’t take long to lot. How do you identify those other top lead particularly if your competition is posting 10 figure out that effective sources? or 12. online lead generation is closely tied to sales. However, assessing just what constitutes an Higher conversion rate means easier sales for Quality of Photos: Never post photos effective lead — and effective lead generation your salespeople. Fewer days on the lot mean with glare, that are off-center, that show expenditure — requires a periodic, deeper less overhead, and your inventory can be distracting, extraneous objects in the assessment of the numbers behind your leads. refreshed more often to attract new customers. background, that are not in sharp focus, dark/ Higher profits mean more money for the same muddy spots, no detail, etc. Professional- It is likely that more leads equals more effort. All have great merit. looking photos go a long way sales, but at what cost? What percentage of your leads does your sales team pursue? Profitability is dictated by supply and Well-written vehicle descriptions: Would Do they only pick the low-hanging fruit? demand. Go for leads that produce highest you just read the window stickers to your What percentage of your leads goes wholly conversion rates (even if their profit margins customers? Computer-generated — or untouched? Why? At what cost? If your are typically middle of the road) because they worse, no — vehicle descriptions are sales force favors leads from certain sources automatically deliver higher margin potential. painfully dull and do not entice the customer and less so from others, it may be time to When more people are buying from you, into taking action. Even if just the top five institute better lead follow-up processes, but you’re in a better position to call the pricing or so differentiating features of each car are it also may be time to reevaluate your lead shot. The more customers in front of your written to generate emotion and appear at the generation activities and expenditure. salespeople, the higher the probability of top of the page, that will put viewers behind more deals closing whose margins hits the the wheel of that car and entice them into For instance, could you be spending a few sweet spot. taking action. more dollars on marketing and generate many Video: Through video, every car — and your more sales? Could you spend less than what But Wait! Garbage In, Garbage Out… dealership — comes alive. With voiceover you spend now, yet close many deals faster? I would then add an “accountability” section options, you can convey excitement, sincerity, Could you spend the same you do now but get and challenge the dealer to analyze the quality sensitivity, trustworthiness and a myriad of higher profit margins on many sales? What of their ads with every source — quality/ other character traits your audience wants would you pay to achieve those end results? quantity of photos, handwritten emotional to see in you. Wrapping vehicle videos in How would you arrive at that figure? description vs. computer generated (or no) a dealer intro increases the likelihood that description, video, call to action, etc. — viewers will remember who you are. It’s Understanding the three key performance before analyzing its results. also a great way to make the call to action. indicators of lead quality will help you assess Plus, when they share it with their friends on your online sales and marketing strategy: Before you can truly analyze lead quality, Facebook, your dealership name is getting specifically, percentage of leads that convert however, you need to assess the quality of some great, free exposure. to sales, average margin per unit, and vehicle your vehicle display pages. Regardless of days on the lot (other factors could be applied where they reside, do they do what they’re Call to action: Vehicle display pages that here, as well, but these are the most essential supposed to do, which is engage Internet don’t list incentives, offer browsers the to work with for these purposes). browsers and bring enthusiastic, ready buyers opportunity to start the trade-in process into your showroom? or apply for financing right there in their You probably spend good money on leads jammies at 10 p.m., are missing the boat on with aggregators and pay-per-lead programs, Posting your inventory on a premium site having customers walk into the showroom but I hope you don’t blindly do so. I hope you will still yield far fewer — and lower quality already knee-deep in the deal. The more ways know more than the cost-per-lead from each — results if your vehicle display pages are you allow the customer to say “OK! Let’s do of these sites. You do, right? subpar and uninteresting in comparison to it!” before you’ve even shaken their hand, the your competition. greater the quality of that lead. Cost-per-lead is only an accurate indicator if all of your leads, from all sources, share Likewise, posting high-quality, consumer- If every car on the lot isn’t an active online identical profitability and conversion rates. friendly, and interactive pages on any number gateway into your showroom, it isn’t working Without knowing the sources of your paid of lesser-known and free sites, when your for you. In that case, you’ll have to spend far leads, I can tell you the best and worst competition doesn’t, automatically gives greater amounts of money generating leads probably vary wildly in those metrics. And, you a tremendous advantage. Your cars will and attracting shoppers. some may share similar scores on margin per always look stand out. unit and vehicle days but have very different The good news is, with a grasp of lead quality conversions rates. Put the two together — posting compelling, and ROI, the Internet marketing team can content-rich vehicle display pages across beef up vehicle display pages and create a Regardless, I imagine you would cheerfully all kinds of Web sites — and your lead shift in lead performance by realigning the pay higher per lead from a source that boosts generation ROI just jumped significantly. marketing spend to profit potential. all three. But what if a clear leader doesn’t produce enough leads for you? How do you What factors determine a quality vehicle Tim James is the director of sales assess the remainder of the pool? Leads from display page? with HomeNet, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.924.6573, or by e-mail at one source may have higher profit margins, tjames@autosuccessonline.com. while those from another source may have Number of Photos: 30 or more reflects3 higher conversion rates and fewer days on the earnestness and transparency on your part,2 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • leadershipsolution BudAbraham IS YOUR DETAIL DEPARTMENT A PROBLEM? Do you have problems In my 30+ years in the detail business — I ask, “Is this high-tech equipment to be used with your detail several as the owner of two detail centers on a $25,000+ vehicle?” department? You will know simply by — I can say without reservation that looking at the entire dealership and then “experienced” detailers are not the type of Yes, dealers are purchasing extractors (carpet looking at the detail department. Is it a personnel anyone would hire anywhere in and upholstery steam cleaners.) However, striking contrast to the other departments that their business. In fact, I have pointedly asked if you have only one unit for a shop with are clean, organized, well-run and staffed dealers themselves “Would you hire this type three or more bays, you have inefficiency with well-groomed, efficient personnel? of person for a position anywhere else in and distraction because you will always have the dealership?” The unequivocal answer is detailers “waiting for the extractor.” You If you are like many dealers, you are aware “no.” So why do they continue to hire them need to have sufficient equipment to keep of the problems in the detail department but for the detail department? Most would say, everyone working. you don’t do anything to change them. For “experience.” The problem here is that their a number of reasons you have learned to experience is only good if you let them do In addition, these extractors are only one part live with the problems rather than finding what they want. In other words, each detailer of carpet and upholstery cleaning. You need solutions. in your dealership is in charge of what they pneumatic friction shampooers and vapor do and how they do it. So, who is really steamers to be able to clean any interiors. Hopefully, if you read this article you will find in control of the detail department? Many some answers as to why you have problems dealers kid themselves into thinking they Then, there is the paint. Few detailers today with your in-house detail department and are in control, but closer observation shows know the difference between single stage what you can do to solve them. the detailers are really in control. This type and clear coat-base coat paint finishes. They of situation was what caused Mike Gold of do not know how to identify paint finish Most dealers have a faulty paradigm about Gold’s Chevrolet-GMC in Newport, Oregon problems, and do not know the proper tools, detailing. Most see the detailing department to say to me, “I’ve been a slave to my detail pads or chemicals to use to correct the as the “Cinderella” of the dealership. It department for years.” problem without swirls. exists and is needed, but it is largely ignored and disrespected by most everyone in the What you see in most dealership detail The typical paint finishing tools are archaic. dealership. Why else would it look like it departments is truly primitive technology, The 10-pound electric buffer and wool does in an otherwise organized and pristine- which results in disorganization, inefficiency cutting pad were great for lacquer type paint looking dealership? If a dealer truly wants and poor-quality work. It stands to reason finishes of the 40’s and 50’s, but are not for to eliminate the problems, they must be that if the dealer doesn’t really care about the today’s clear coat finishes. committed to the importance of the detail detail department, they certainly aren’t going department as a part of the entire dealership to invest any money in modern technology This discussion could go on, but suffice operation. This means insuring that the and equipment. Even if they do care, what it to say, there are not many people in proper management time is devoted to this can they do if they are not aware of the new dealerships today that are aware of the new, department, that it has the latest and best technology that is available to improve things? advanced technology and methods available equipment technology, that it is supervised by to upgrade a detailing operation to keep the a competent manager and, finally, staffed by The biggest culprit in any detail department shop organized, efficient and turning out well-trained, competent employees. Ask any is the manual handling and use of chemicals quality work in a reasonable period. This business owner the most important aspect of in plastic squeeze and spray bottles. Take a article might have raised more questions their business and they will tell you people. A look: chemical bottles lying around here and than it answered, and it may be harsh in tone, dealership is no different. It is top salespeople there, unmarked and often uncapped? but that was intentional. As an advocate for who sell the cars, well-trained technicians the professional detailing industry, I have a who service them and it is highly skilled This is an OSHA violation that could cost passion to see this industry grow and prosper. managers who supervise these departments. you thousands of dollars in fines; it results in And, because dealers are so critical to the Unfortunately, the detail department in most chemical waste and theft, as well as chemical growth of the industry, I challenge you to dealerships has none of these. misuse, which can result in an expensive look seriously at the “problem child” in your mistake on a high-end vehicle. dealership and realize that you can solve If there is a person who is given the problems and create a “professional responsibility to oversee the detail How are carpets and upholstery cleaned? appearance department” in your dealership; department, it is usually someone who does Typically with a bucket of shampoo and however, you have to see and care. not want the job — the used car manager or a nylon scrub brush. Result? Inadequate the service manager who does not see it as a cleaning, wet carpets and upholstery, smells Bud Abraham is founder and president part of their responsibility and does not want and mold. of Detail Plus Systems. He can be the responsibility for a pigpen, manned by contacted at 866.205.8499, or by e-mail at unmanageable detailers. Vacuuming is done with a $50 shop vacuum. babraham@autosuccessonline.com.34 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • leadershipsolution SteveBrazill FUTURE SHOCKS It is not necessary to methods that worked in the past may become It is only the last turn of the bolt that tightens change. Survival is progressively less effective. Dealerships and it — the rest is just movement. not mandatory. individuals who manage change best will – Shigeo Shingo – W. Edwards Deming accrue competitive advantage over those who do not because the ability to deliver Customers expect to pay for the things we do Last month, we transitioned to a new year the right products (including services) to the that create value for them. On the other hand, — the last in a tumultuous decade that began right customers in the right location with the they resist paying for activities that produce in January 2001. We opened the decade with right processes at the right price is never a no visible value. Within your processes, more than 22,000 franchised dealerships in constant, but a constantly evolving matrix of you will have activities that produce value the United States; today we are on track to conditions. The ability to cope with change customers are willing to pay for (having a close in the neighborhood of 18,000. General will be the ability to survive; the ability to particular model in stock) and some that do Motors was the largest manufacturer of manage change will be the ability to prosper. not (time spent looking for keys misplaced vehicles on the planet; today it’s Toyota, with by the last salesperson who showed the car). Volkswagen in hot pursuit. The U.S. was the There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently Some activities that produce no direct value world’s largest new vehicle market in 2001; that which should not be done at all. for customers (such as locking the dealership today it’s The People’s Republic of China. – Peter Drucker at night) might be considered necessary, but Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn most non-value adding activities are simply were high profile brands; today they are The managing of process has become one of waste. When you learn to see the waste notations in the history books. the major themes of management science in in your operation — and are ruthless in its the late years of the 20th century and early elimination — you reduce your costs and, just If you are a survivor of the first decade of the as importantly, reduce the time/effort required 21st century, congratulations. But the second into the 21st. It has proved to be a valuable point of focus and produced significant for customers to spend money with you. decade opens in less than a year and most of the forces that drove change in recent years benefits. Determining the best way to do We can hope that unit volumes improve in continue unabated. Are you prepared? something, then enforcing the process to 2010 over last year, but many of the forces ensure that it is consistently performed by that have reshaped the industry will continue It is not the strongest of the species which our people is well and fine, but too often it even as sales rebound. Some dealerships survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one fails to address the question of whether that and individuals will ride those forces to most responsive to change. thing really needed to be done in the first prosperity, many will fight them to a draw – Charles Darwin place. Or, whether the process that added and survive, and others will be overwhelmed value to what we did yesterday continues to by a future for which they are unprepared. Brute strength guaranteed success to neither produce value today — and will continue to Which describes you? manufacturers nor dealers, and plenty of do so tomorrow. This is what Drucker often bright players are no longer in the game. called the difference between doing things Steve Brazill is the chair of automotive Looking forward, a particular combination right and doing the right things. He believed marketing for Northwood University, of franchise and location that has been the survival and prosperity of an enterprise Texas Campus. He can be contacted at successful for the past 50 years may no longer depended on the ability of its managers to 866.861.1515, or by e-mail at be viable by 2015. Business practices and focus on doing the right things. sbrazill@autosuccessonline.com.36 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • Do you want to be a part of one of the fastestgrowing software companies in the retailautomotive market? vAuto’s pricing, appraisal,stocking and merchandising tools are anevolutionary step forward for used car departments.If you have strong retail automotive and/ortechnology solution provider experience in thedealership industry, then we want you to be partof our tremendous growth. Send resumes to:vautocareers@autosuccessonline.com. Learn more at www.vAuto.com. vAuto is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Protective is seeking a Divisional Vice President – Sales within our Asset Protection Division responsible for the Northeast Region of the U.S. Excellent opportunity within an industry-leading company providing financial security through our suite of F&I products. Candidate must be able to manage dual distribution sales network; manage, mentor, coach recruit & train a direct employee sales force; capable of delivering annual revenue & profitability improvements; recruit and manage an independent agent distribution network; develop client accounts; create new client relationships; administer regional affairs. Candidate must possess 5-7 years sales mgmt. exp. in an auto environment; bachelor’s degree preferred & strong focus on customer service. Have excellent listening, oral & verbal communication; negotiation/conflict resolution; problem solving, presentation, organization & planning skills. We offer a comp. salary with unlimited income potential; 401k w/matching co. contribution; cash based pension; medical/dental/vision. For more information call 866.478.9241 or visit www.protective.com/jobs.asp