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When it comes to inventory marketing best practices, Gibson Truck World in Sanford, Florida has so many, we had to omit several from this article to fit this space. With sales topping 1,800 units ...

When it comes to inventory marketing best practices, Gibson Truck World in Sanford, Florida has so many, we had to omit several from this article to fit this space. With sales topping 1,800 units annually, 65 employees, and $7 million in inventory on 14 acres, Gibson is the largest used truck dealership in the world and ranks No. 18 of independent dealers in the U.S.*
Impressive, to be sure, but what’s more impressive is how they sustain these numbers. The biggest clue lies in the fact that a whopping 60 percent of their sales result from referrals and repeat customers.

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  • 2011OCTOBER
  • It Damn Near Brown Daub Kia PA, enjoyi ter… on ng some in Easton, a Saturday. Killed Me... , owner of use with his daugh Tom Ring ke ho ESP at his new la of people are sitting it out because some were pouring in. Money was flowing. problem is keeping them from what they How could I have known the car But how long would it last? I’m really want. But that inner desire amongbusiness would try to take my life? Maybe happy to report that it’s been nearly three most people has power that overcomesyou’re a lot like me. Or at least how I used to years since I first found these guys. And logic. That craving remains, untouched,be. I was working endlessly in the dealership. every year has gotten better. 2009 was a in the unconscious pleasure center of ourI had my life’s savings wrapped up in the record profit year, until 2010 shattered the brains, where typical advertising messagesbusiness, and when “the crash” came it record. And we netted more by June 2011 never reach.nearly ruined everything. My kids, my wife, than we had in all of 2010. The only thing I Jim & Travis knew that the mostmy mortgage, my life…it all passed before can say is “hold on tight” because it’s the ride powerful part of the human brain was themy eyes as I watched sales get cut in half and of your life. unconscious “lizard brain.” So they beganprofit all but disappear completely. The best part is, not only did they crafting messages that subtly speak to the I was frozen in fear for a while, then help me increase sales (from about 80 new subconscious mind and virtually hypnotizegot moving, when a Google search led me to and used per month to over 250 new and customers into buying from you—and lovinga couple of guys you may have heard of used per month now) but they convinced me the experience. They’ve sold more thanbefore – Jimmy Vee & Travis Miller from to slow down and appreciate life more. I’ve 2,000,000 cars this way, and as you readRich Dealers. Of course, I’d heard it all never felt more alive…and my family has this, every two minutes another car is sold.before…increase traffic, increase sales, over never really known me before now. I’ve been What makes their program sopromise, under deliver. What else is new? able to rebuild cars with my boys and be much more effective than other ordinaryFrankly, I didn’t believe there was anything there when my daughter left for her first solutions? First, they write the creative forout there I hadn’t already tried. But I didn’t date. My wife thinks she married a new man. you. They don’t ask you to come up with thehave much to risk, so I gave it a shot. “Prove Jim & Travis call it ESP – Enjoyable, Simple ideas. Every month they develop a fresh, new,me wrong, guys,” I said. & Prosperous. It’s the ultimate goal of being winning campaign based on their formula. Reluctantly, I got involved. I gotta a Rich Dealer. And it’s real, very real. What a relief! I was so glad not to have to comesay…they were talking about things nobody Since then, my experience has up with the ideas myself anymore.else was talking about. In fact, they seemed convinced numerous other dealers around The other high impact portionto be telling me the opposite of what most the country and in Canada to check out the of their program is the interaction with theirpeople were telling me I should do. It was program. Over the past few years I’ve seen a other members. Jim & Travis host a privateanything but “common knowledge” and I lot of different people join the program. I’ve meeting four times per year. I’ve learnedwas even more skeptical at this point. How seen a small independent dealer from more (and shared more) in those meetingscould these two guys know something Kentucky (Tony) start taking Saturdays off than I have in any other group or seminarnobody else did? Seemed unlikely. But keep while grossing $500k per month. I’ve seen a I’ve ever attended. Plus, all the members arereading… big mid-west Chevy dealer (Courtney) go connected online 24/7 through the Internet. So, back at the dealership, I figured from 250 cars per month to 400 cars per Got a question? Some other member has thewhy not try some of what they were suggest- month by doing what I did. I’ve seen answer. And since there’s only one dealering. So, I ran the ad they gave me, I followed Hyundai dealers, Dodge Chrysler dealers, per market area, people are always willingtheir strategy and I made some simple Kia dealers, and everything in between come to share their best ideas and secrets.changes to the way we positioned our dealer- in and turn everything around by doing The first step toward becoming a things differently than all the other “gurus” member yourself is the free Market Ratership to the customers. They showed me how recommend. It’s refreshing. And it’s fun to Analysis. A Rich Dealers Advisor will analyzeto be in command of the actions of potential your market to determine how muchbuyers by speaking to their subconscious double your business, take more dough untapped opportunity exists. Then they’llmind. My expectations were low. home and spend more time with your family answer your questions about the program What happened next? Well, I could at the same time. and explain how you can try it yourself, riskhardly believe it. It was like someone How does it work? Jim & Travis free. To schedule, call 866.852.0145turned on the lights. It was a complete say, “Stop selling cars, start selling and ask for Wayne Harris or visitand rapid reinvention of our business. solutions.” And they’re right! They www.MarketRater.com.The energy in the sales department went recognized what so many others havethrough the roof. People were excited to missed: only a tiny part of the population ®come to work again. The phones were are actively, consciously shopping for aringing, the showroom was busy, leads nicer, newer car…while the vast majority
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  • Dealers who’ve seen early previewsagree — on 11 / 11 / 11, the search for used inventory will change forever. The shortage of late-model used cars is only going to get worse in coming years. The dealers who succeed will be the ones who find a new way to source inventory. And dealers who’ve previewed vAuto’s next innovation believe that new way has arrived. Sign up for early information on this exciting development, and to see Dale Pollak introduce it in an exclusive webcast on 11/11/11. Sign up at FutureOfStocking.com
  • AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or info@autosuccessonline.com. THE #1 SALES-IMPROVEMENT MAGAZINE FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONAL 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, 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299. 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299 | p 877.818.6620 / f 502.588.3170 | AutoSuccessOnline.com/AutoSuccessPodcast.com | info@autosuccessonline.com 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 afTer 12+ years in The auTomoTive inTerneT sales... manual To aTTracT more cusTomers and close deals hone your adverTising To hiT The narrow TargeT adopT The digiTal-age equivalenT of The evidence do you have a sTraTegy for connecTing wiTh arTificial inTelligence is paving The way To maybe iT is Time To change your bodyshop cusTomers before They hiT The inTerneT? when To use you vs.why To choose you ‘zmoT’ and your online repuTaTion whaT would fooTball have To do your own personal gold mine “no price” markeTing meThod: guilTy unTil proven innocenT The 8Th wonder of The world a new approach to stocking used vehicles cusTomer relaTionships 101 define your experT brand craigslisT has rules an interview by gretchenKennedy financial sTaTemenT wiTh selling cars? increased sales provisioning: hype or reality? why f&i? 18 26 22 16 08 42 10 24 34 38 14 20 30 28 32 36 44 40 JohnNorman chrisCochran russellGrant bryanAnderson marshBuice JohnBrentlinger glennPasch TomKain TracyMyers dalePollak heatherMacKinnon daveDunn peterBond JimmyVee & TravisMiller drakeBaerresen markTewart seanv.Bradley chuckPatton 12 0 0 4 2 3 4
  • You Are GUARANTEED to Increase YourBottom Line in 1 Year by $250,000 or More...or I’ll Pay You $10,000!Hi, my name is Mark Tewart. I may have had the honor of coming into contact with youthrough my seminars, association meetings, NADA or NIADA conventions, articles inAutoSuccess or other magazines, my old Automotive Satellite Training Network shows oryou may have read my best-selling book How To Be A Sales Superstar.Whether you know me or not, you may be wondering what allows me to be able to makesuch an outrageous claim. The answer is simple: If a client follows my no gimmick, no BS,fool-proof and proven methods, the results are as predictable as the sun coming up everyday. That may sound arrogant to some of you, but to me and my select clients it’s just reality.Every year I have many dealers who ask me to work with them to help improve their salesand pro ts. I reject most of them. I only choose a few each year to work with on such alarge scale. There are a few reasons why I carefully hand pick who to work with. Mark Tewart, President of TewartThe rst reason is that it’s easy for you to say you want to improve but most people don’t Enterprises, Inc.want to do the things necessary to make it happen. This isn’t some magic-button,pie-in-sky fad. These are real-world and proven methods for massive pro t improvements. Author of the Best-SellerIt takes hard work and lots of commitment. ‘How to be a Sales Superstar’The second reason for me being picky about who I work with on these projects is thatfrankly I don’t have the time. To create the massive results that you and I are looking forrequires a great deal of my time and e ort. Because of my time restraints, I refuse to spendtime and e ort with uncommitted dealers. I only align myself with passionate peoplecommitted to winning.The third and nal reason for me being selective is my reputation. I can’t write ads like thisand make such incredible guarantees unless I can bring the results. We are the only totaldealership solution provider in the automotive industry. We provide training, products andservices for every department that you need to take your dealership to another level.Myreputation is beyond solid.By the way, the $250,000 bottom line improvement is just an example. I have had somedealers increase their bottom lines by more than $1,000,000. Look at it this way; I don’t take$10,000 guarantees lightly. I put my money where my mouth is.Call my 24 hour Dealership Success Hotline to receive your “Dealership Success Check List” – Call Now at 888 612-5884 Ext. 90001 or Go to www.dealershipsuccess.com ***Dealers or General Managers Only***Sincerly, Mark Tewart Info@tewart.com | 888 2 TEWART - (888 283 9278)P.S. There is one very simple thing most dealers aren’t doing that you can doto unlock an additional 7 gures worth of pro t with no extra risk in the next5 years. I know it sounds too good to be true, but you can see for yourself.Call my 24/7 Dealership Success Hotline at 888.612.5884Ext. 90001 or Go to www.dealershipsuccess.com
  • TracyMyers marketing solution define your experT brandThe past three articles, I’ve shared the process Here is how we would rephrase the most important of Kipling’s questions for your brand:I’ve developed to become the “go-to” expert • Who are you? This may be simply your name and an overview of your expertise.in your highly profitable marketplace. Let’s • What do you do? This explains what you do for people — always in terms of the resultsreview: people get when they work with you. Never talk about the process or the job title.1. Understand yourself and your offer. • How do you do it? This is where you explain the process of working with people — for2. Understand your market and what they example, it may be that you set up an initial meeting or you may arrange weekly coaching want. sessions over six months.3. Match your expertise to your perfect • Why should I buy from you? This is important — you need to give people specific reasons market. why you are the right person to meet their needs. These are the key questions in defining your brand, but the other two questions can be important too.Now that you’ve identified what makes youspecial and have learned what your market is Answering the question about “when” describes your availability. This is most important iflooking for, it’s time to start developing your you have some element of exclusivity, such as a waiting list for your services, or they are onlyexpert brand. available at fixed times (such as training courses).When you have a strong expert brand, you will The “where” question is about how people get in touch with you — it may be simply a Websitestand out from the competition. When people address, or an office, or it may be the types of places you advertise.need your product or service, they will quickly This process may seem simple and the explanations can be short. However, these are importantsee that you are exactly the expert they are questions that help you clarify who your customers are and how you can help them. Mostlooking for to give them what they want. importantly, it helps you understand — and explain to your customers — why they should do business with you.Your expert brand needs to answer thequestions that a prospective customer will Getting the right answers to these questions can help you define a powerful expert brand. It’shave in their mind about you. The 19th-century important to note that these answers are designed to help you establish whether a potentialEnglish poet Rudyard Kipling had a good way customer is right for you as much as to persuade them to work with you. If they can relate to theof identifying the key questions you need to way you are positioning what you do, there may be a great fit.ask. He wrote: On the other hand, it helps you avoid wasting time with people who are not looking for what you“I keep six honest serving-men (They taught are offering.me all I knew); Their names are What and Why Being able to work with your ideal clients is not only more fun — it will also be more successful.and When And How and Where and Who.” People who are in tune with the way you work will get better results.If you can give good answers to these Tracy Myers, C.M.D. is a noted small business marketing and branding solutions specialist,questions about your business, you have the best-selling author, speaker, car dealership owner and entrepreneur. He can be contacted atbuilding blocks of a strong expert brand. 866.860.0029, or by e-mail at tmyers@autosuccessonline.com. reviews from last year’s sold out event L A S V E G A S One of the L A S V E G A S Best Automotive Conferences CONFERENCE I have ever been to. Erin Touponse ~ Director of Communications, Harte Auto Group ...this conference You get the Brought The Future Top Industry Speakers to us now. to answer all your questions. Troy Dixon ~ Director of E-Sales, Pohanka Honda Dave Page ~ Dealer E-Process EXPERIENCE THE HYPE www.digitalmarketingstrategies.org/reviews08 autosuccessonline.com
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  • JohnBrentlinger leadership solution whaT would fooTball have To do wiTh selling cars?I was thinking about football this weekend how bad that would be — there would be no football on TV. It would be the most ridiculous,— no idea why — and I got to thinking about stupidest, mess anyone this side of Jim Brown and Ernie Green has ever seen.what a coach once said: “Training is 99 percentof everything.” No TV studio in their right mind would televise it. Why? Because no one would ever watch it. No one would buy a ticket, and the stands would be empty. Why? Because it would suck, horribly.Let me repeat that please: “Training is 99 Anyone out there in Manager Eyejacking Land catching the drift yet?percent of everything.” If training is 99 percent of everything, what does that say about the car business in general?Now, let’s break that statement down into Right. No one would ever buy a ticket or fill a seat. Why? Because the game is horrible. In thesmall parts. A football team, any football team, car business, we train for 60 minutes and play for 60 hours a week. Every week, every month,plays the game for 60 minutes. Sixty minutes, every year. And then we wonder why nothing has changed for the last 50 years.and they train and practice, oh, let’s round itoff at 60 hours a week for the pros. If you want Good month, bad month. Hire and fire. Terrible turnover. Blame the salespeople. Keep managersto talk high school, it’s probably more like 20 who won’t train their people. Sixty to 70 hours a week. Open longer hours. Build a bigger lot.hours a week. Streamers on light poles. Greeters. Updated show rooms. Make it up in the volume. Blah, blah blah, on and on it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.Are you getting the picture yet? A high school Why all the mess? Because we are training an hour a week and playing the game for 60 hours ateam trains 20 times more than they play the week. No wonder things are the way they are.game. A professional team trains 60 times (aweek) more than they play the game. So, I was thinking about football this weekend, and I remembered what a coach once said. He said, “Training is 99 percent of everything.”Think about this: What if they trained for 60minutes a week, and played the game for 60hours? How bad would that be? You want to John Brentlinger is a sales and management trainer, executive coach and author. He can beknow how bad that would be? I’ll tell you contacted at 866.859.6504, or by e-mail at jbrentlinger@autosuccessonline.com. Is your marketing company sending your message... or theirs?If your marketing doesn’t promote your unique message and value, it’s not doing its job. Find your voice at...MyDriveProgram.com The Drive™ program is a fully integrated suite of communication products designed to... • Promote your dealership’s message and value—not just the manufacturer’s • Be flexible and adaptable to market changes or your dealership’s needs • Keep you in control of your marketing while we do the administration10 autosuccessonline.com
  • When it comes to inventory marketing bestpractices, Gibson Truck World in Sanford,Florida has so many, we had to omit severalfrom this article to fit this space. With salestopping 1,800 units annually, 65 employees,and $7 million in inventory on 14 acres,Gibson is the largest used truck dealership inthe world and ranks No. 18 of independentdealers in the U.S.*Impressive, to be sure, but what’s moreimpressive is how they sustain these numbers.The biggest clue lies in the fact that awhopping 60 percent of their sales result from Of course, that won’t impress someone who never visits the dealership, but no matter, asreferrals and repeat customers. approximately 25 percent of Gibson’s sales still come from buyers outside Florida. Perhaps it’s because they offer an unbelievable 12-month, bumper-to-bumper warranty valid across theGibson’s sales staff spends a good portion of continental United States, 12 months of free maintenance, and a 15-day return policy.their time with every customer establishingtrust. To that point, about 10 percent of sales “The majority of our out-of-state customers are so confident in Gibson Truck World that theyeach month are from buyers who never wire us payment without ever setting foot in the dealership or personally seeing the truck untilphysically come to the dealership. In fact, in the we ship it to them,” said Belanger.last two years, they’ve shipped cars to virtuallyevery European country, most of the Caribbean Building such an organization is a seven-day-a-week job for Belanger, who is not only theIslands and as far away as New Zealand. president of the dealership, but also does all of the truck buying, is the shop service manager, general manager and supervises operations for the entire dealership, including sales, body shop,“We assure our customers that the safety and parts, detailing and marketing.security of their family is our top priority,” saidowner Yves Belanger. “But it’s not just a motto They also create a personality for every vehicle, even naming them. Projecting that personality— we spend more than $250,000 per month is easier with the addition of a full-time videographer on staff (in addition to a full-timeinspecting and servicing our trucks, and I want photographer) to film live video walk-a-rounds for all trucks.shoppers to see that in action. I want them tosee a virtual used truck factory busy at work.” “Our videographer shows off each vehicle’s best assets and adds a great deal of energy and emotion to each video,” said Stockman. “Our nationwide warranty and the live video walk-a-To show off the organization standing behind rounds are what make an out-of-state shopper feel comfortable enough to call us to purchase aeach truck’s warranty (which is impressive, truck over the phone. The combination shows we have nothing to hide and that the truck in thebut we’ll get to that), a tour of the service photos is actually the real truck on the lot.”department is mandatory with every customer.Gibson’s “Disaster Prevention Center” (service At first glance, a live videographer sounds like quite an investment, but Belanger says it paiddepartment) is comprised of 25 bays, eight off immediately. “Since adding live video, our video views exploded, and our Website traffictechnicians, one alignment specialist, one tire increased 10 percent, which in turn increased our sales,” he said. Links to samples of Gibsonspecialist, one assistant shop manager, one shop Truck World’s live videos are at the end of this article.foreman, three parts and service writers, and oneservice advisor, plus detailers and body shop Using Video Online’s live video upload and distribution modules, Gibson then automaticallytechs — totaling half of Gibson’s 65 employees sends videos everywhere their inventory goes that accepts video — 40 sites in all — including— all ensuring that each customer gets the their own Website, YouTube, Facebook, AutoTrader.com, Cars.com and Oodle.highest quality truck at the lowest price available. To reach buyers from around the corner and around the country, Gibson invests in establishingAnd get this: They don’t do general service. an online presence for their inventory, including shooting photos before and after prep. Posting aAll after-sale service is reserved for customers vehicle online takes Stockman on average about five minutes per truck and first occurs with thewho purchased their truck at Gibson and it is “before” photos the day it arrives from auction to gain valuable online exposure for the vehiclestill under warranty. even while it is in prep.Before it is sold, however, each truck gets a full The VIN is sent via automatic feed from their DMS to HomeNet’s IOL Inventory Marketing135-point inspection, a diagnostics test and a solution, which normalizes and enhances the raw DMS data. Once the truck is listed in IOL Pro,frame damage check using a tram gauge. Trucks each truck then gets a comprehensive description specifying the truck’s hottest features.they reject are posted on their REJECTS pageof their Website (URL at the end of this article), Every vehicle description is fresh and creative, which also helps to set Gibson apart. “We have somecomplete with photos, VIN numbers and, in pretty unique Monster trucks, and since our inventory is unusual, we physically touch every detail ofmany cases, actual estimates showing the cost the truck so we know exactly what to say about what makes that truck special,” Stockman said.of repairs to bring it up to certification. Each morning, Belanger and Stockman review each new truck’s options, what size and brand of“I love it when we find one of our rejects on new tires the truck is going to receive, add-ons (such as off-road tires or a lift kit) and warrantyanother dealership’s site listed as ‘Absolutely information, so Stockman can accurately create the vehicle description. A few days later, after theflawless, inside and out!’ You can be sure truck has been serviced and detailed, her staff puts all of the warranty stickers on the windshield,we post that, too,” said Angela Stockman, re-takes all the photos, shoots a live video walk-around, enters all the shop bills into the vehiclethe marketing director and Internet wizard description, including brand new tires, brake job, rotors, drums, LOF, etc. (all the work that hasexecuting Gibson’s online initiatives. been completed on the truck), scans in any MSRP sheets, makes truck comparison photos and then exports all the updated information online with IOL.Two years ago, Gibson wanted to showcasesome of the parts they’ve replaced on trucks Unlike many dealers, however, Stockman is discerning about where she exports Gibson’sto get them to certification, so they lined up inventory. “We try to match the Website with our inventory, exporting to sites that50-gallon drum containers full of thousands perform consistently well for those makes and models, like AutoTrader.com, Cars.com,of old worn out tie rods, ball joints, rotors CommercialTruckTrader.com, AutoShopper.com, eBay Motors, craigslist, Oodle and OVE.com,”and brake pads that have been removed and she said. And where their inventory performs well, Gibson makes an investment in add-ons forreplaced with new ones. their listings. For instance, they rank in the Top 50 of all dealers on AutoTrader.com.
  • Gibson Truck World employs the following HomeNet products to help them sustain their No. 1 ranking: • Inventory Online (IOL Pro) VehicleBelanger says he also uses the same philosophy when it comes to traditional advertising. Marketing Suite with IOL HostingIn addition to print ads in Commercial Truck Trader, Gibson ads appear regularly in Sports and CARFAX and AutoCheckHorse magazine and Horse-n-Tack. integrationGibson uses IOL Posting 2.0 to list its inventory on eBay Local Market with professional- • AdLogic – image and text adlooking display pages, and they have notable success there, too, attributing on average 75 of generator for every vehicle inunits each year to eBay alone. inventory to post throughout theIn addition, Stockman almost always lists Gibson’s wholesale vehicles online. “Since we Google ad networkwill ship worldwide,” she said, “and we can list a truck simultaneously listed for retail and • IOL eBay Local Advertising Programwholesale right from IOL, it makes it very easy to move inventory.” with no flat monthly feesWhen it comes to social media, Gibson Truck World understands the importance of building • IOL Oodle Pro with Facebookcommunity first and foremost. On Facebook, for instance, they have their inventory separated Marketplaceout from their dealership fan page (it resides under the “Inventory” tab of their Facebookpage), so it doesn’t clog the newsfeeds of their fans. More importantly, however, they are • IOL Posting 2.0 eBay and Craigslistintegrated with Facebook Marketplace, vastly widening their entire inventory’s exposure to the display page generator15 million monthly users of Facebook Marketplace, not just their fan base. • Video Online with Human VoiceoverOtherwise, Stockman uses their Facebook page and Twitter account to build trust and and Live Videoengage fans with truck news, announcements of pet adoption days they host (and they dothis regularly, even devoting a page on their Website to animals waiting for a home at a local • OPENLANE and SmartAuctionrescue), cook-outs, maintenance tips and even local yard sales. wholesale add-on Gibson Truck World also recently purchased AdLogic from HomeNet, For a full description of each of these which automatically generates an image or text ad for each piece of active inventory to display throughout the Google Ad Network of a products and how they can help you, million sites, based on the search terms the shopper used. please visit www.HomeNetAuto.com. “What makes AdLogic so effective is its content-driven, meaning an URLs Referenced: in-market consumer who is reading about the new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor on MotorTrend.com would be presented with a Gibson ad Gibson Truck World: showing a late model Ford F-150 truck from our lot,” Belanger said. www.GibsonTruckWorld.com “Clicking on it takes them to that piece of inventory on our Website where they see the live video walk-a-round, our warranty, and our $1,000 price guarantee, and then we’ve got them.” Gibson’s Truck Rejects Page: www.gibsontruckworld.com/And all of this is paying off, big time. Belanger said, “Our message has always been ‘We anotherdealerscheapimitation.aspxhave the best trucks at the best price,’ and then everything we do — absolutely everything —ensures that’s true. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising and bling, Gibson’s live video walk-a-rounds:if you don’t have the best product when the customer gets to the dealership, you don’t have www.HomeNetAuto.com/Gibsona sale. An educated consumer is our best customer. In fact, customers tell us that we come sohighly recommended that they don’t even look at other dealers; they just come straight to us.”*2011 Auto Dealer Monthly Top Dealer AwardsFor more information about the dealership presented, or HomeNet, contact GretchenKennedy, the Director of Marketing. She can be contacted at 866.483.2750, or by e-mail atgkennedy@autosuccessonline.com.
  • HeatherMacKinnon marketing solution adopT The digiTal-age equivalenT of The evidence manual To aTTracT more cusTomers and close dealsI would guess that you’ve all seen the three- in Peoria, Arizona, will tell you that employee-specific reviews make a significant differencering binders known as “Evidence Manuals” in a customer’s decision. Although some of their sales associates are more proactive in gettingon the desks of your sales associates or reviews than others, every Arrowhead Honda sales associate and service advisor maintains aservice writers. The typical dealer employee’s separate review page that displays an individual employee picture and biography. This dealer hasEvidence Manual contains letters of fostered one particular champion in its sales department who asks all of his customers to writerecommendation from existing customers as a review upon delivery, and who has also added a QR Code to his electronic business card thatwell as pictures or personal information about links to his specific review page.them. Dealer employees rely on EvidenceManuals as a useful tool to make themselves Many Arrowhead sales associates use their review pages as a key differentiator when negotiatinglook good and help validate what they are with customers by adding the link to their e-mail signature. In addition, several sales associatesoffering a customer when already in the have created business Facebook pages with a link to their individual review pages attachedshowroom or service department. Consider each time they get a new review. On the service side, the dealer’s service advisors rely on theirthe influence that an Evidence Manual would employee-specific review pages as a collective place for accolades (a.k.a. the Evidence Manual).have on a prospect who has never yet visited Arrowhead Honda works hard to ensure that potential consumers find positive reviews on staffyour dealership. In fact, your prospective and has seen the benefits. Customers have come to the showroom and asked to purchase from acustomers can have access to the digital-age particular salesperson based on that salesperson’s review page.equivalent of an Evidence Manual in the formof online reviews. As another example, visit Hyundai of St. Augustine and you’ll see how that dealership uses employee-specific reviews. All sales associates commonly display their individual customerThird-party online reviews at the employee- online reviews on their desktops so that prospective customers can casually read their customerlevel have considerable influence on your reviews while waiting and working with associates. Each sales associate is expected to generateprospects. Employee-specific reviews can a minimum of three reviews per month. Many of the Hyundai of St. Augustine’s customersserve as a powerful tool in persuadingcustomers to visit your store while passing up acknowledge that they have chosen Hyundai of St. Augustine when purchasing a car given theother local dealers. Just like the old three-ring level of trust and credibility that they gain from reading employees’ online reviews.binder, dealer employees can utilize a personalonline review page to bring down the barriers key Takeaways regarding employee reviewsof distrust that exist in this business as well Consider promoting an “employee-review” culture at your dealership as these reviews willas to differentiate themselves from the other enable your dealership to:salespeople and/or service writers with whom • Bring down the barriers of distrust and persuade more customers to visit your store whiletheir customer may be communicating. passing up other local dealers. • Adopt the digital-age equivalent of the three-ring bound “Evidence Manual” and hyperlink aSome car dealer review sites offer prospect into an employee’s “Evidence Manual” even before they enter the store.comprehensive, employee-specific review • Increase your organic search engine results with each unique review page URL indexing intopages where you can include a personal bio Google.and photograph for each dealer staff member. • Ensure your sales and service team has some “skin in the game” with employee-specificEmployees are able to build andSet-Up & Training • review pages.Compliance Chargeback Guarantee • Full showcase their Guaranteed Get your FREE copy of the“15 Keys torespective reviews on these pages and also link • Build reviews faster as your sales team views each newVolume & Profitability.” Boosting Sales review as an opportunity to get athem back to the employee profile section on phone up or improve lead to show and closing ratios.the dealer’s own Website. No obligation. Send an E-mail to Take advantage of this win-win scenario knowing that every new review forin the subject info@gamarketing.com. Put “KEYS” the employee orKeep in mind, a review for your employee department “champion” is a new review for the store. it right out! line and we’ll sendrepresents a review for the dealership; so, (866) 460-0539as you build “champions” in your 1995.andThe Staffed Event Leader Since sales Accountability. Reputation. Results. If you are not using employee-specific review pages to generate “review” champions in your www.gamarketing.comservice departments, you can expect your sales or service departments, you are missing out on a powerful closing tool as well as thedealership review counts to soar. opportunity to differentiate yourself from competitor dealers and drive more traffic to the store.dealers reap the benefits withemployee reviewsMany dealers are using employee-unique Heather MacKinnon is the vice president of sales at DealerRater. She can be contacted atreviews to their advantage. Arrowhead Honda 866.488.8398, or by e-mail at hmackinnon@autosuccessonline.com. Thanks to great dealers with exceptional Get your FREE copy of the“15 Keys to Boosting Sales Volume & Profitability.” reputations, 2011 has been a record-breaking year for us and our clients. Never have our No obligation. E-mail to info@gamarketing.com. Put dealers enjoyed higher gross profit per event “KEYS” in the subject line and or more units sold per event. Thank you! we’ll send it right out! Accountability. Reputation. Results. Since 1995. (866) 460-0539. gamarketing.com14 autosuccessonline.com
  • PeterBond marketing solution hone your adverTising To hiT The narrow TargeTThere’s a question you should ask yourself the immediate crash course and they need to grasp the new thinking and the educated consumer tonext time you’re deciding on how to spend compete in this day and age.your advertising budget. Keeping in mind thataround two percent of the population is in the Let’s put this into real-world terms. Let’s assume my market area has 250,000 adults residingmarket to buy a vehicle at any given time, why in my area of dominant influence and only two percent of all these folks are in the market for awould any reasonable thinking person spend new or used vehicle at any given time. My goal would first be to let all those 5,000 people in the100 percent of their advertising and marketing market realize I exist. Keep in mind, by the way, that I must also do this on a consistent basisbudget to reach that narrow target? because there are always 5,000 people in the market to buy vehicles every day.The next question that comes to mind is “What We then need to understand “What makes the buyer’s clock tick?” There are only five decisionsforms of advertising to that two percent of in- in a sale:market buyers is effective, and how do we get • Do they have a want or need for a vehicle?a huge number of those people to respond to • What brand does the consumer prefer?our offers?” Once you understand the buying • Is it the right time to buy?public, you can begin to answer that question. • Which dealership should they choose?Business is not as usual, and today’s consumer • How much do they have to spend on this vehicle?is not cut from the same cloth as they were intheir last trade cycle. Consumers have advanced That’s it. Our advertising must accomplish the answers to all of these buying decisions. Next,in their knowledge and information in just the decide on which vehicles on your floor to focus your time and effort on advertising. Let’s use thepast few years. Dealers must understand this or “one-third, one-third, one-third” technique. Assume you have a total of 24 models in your newthey will quickly cease to exist. vehicle department. Take your top one-third models, and you will quickly discover that around 75 percent of the inventory you sell resides in these eight top models. The middle eight modelsToday’s customer is more experienced in you offer comprises about 15 percent of your sales volume and the remaining eight modelsmany ways, has increased knowledge and probably comprise less than 10 percent of your offered vehicles for sale. So, which eight vehiclesinformation, has a much higher level of in our example do you think you should focus your advertising efforts on?consumer awareness and has a heightenedability to negotiate with this new-found and In advertising, there are basics that cannot be ignored. Any ad must get attention. You mustreadily accessible information. Brand loyalty then cite a value, and then create urgency. Finally you must ask for a phone call or visit. This is— in both foreign and domestic vehicles — is critical. It backs up the only five decisions in a sale, which, as we said, are want or need, timing,at an all-time low. The Internet is a resource brand, source and pricing. It seems logical, but dealers across this nation miss the fundamentalto everyone thanks to Google and many message with consistency.other resources. Dealers do not generallyunderstand the full effect of the Internet Peter Bond is the president of Automotive Resource Group. He can be contacted atin today’s market place. Dealers need an 866.447.0238, or by e-mail at pbond@autosuccessonline.com.16 autosuccessonline.com
  • Providing TheLIVE ADVANTAGEin AUTo AUCTionSL OCATIONADVANTAGECHOICEADVANTAGEINNOVATIONADVANTAGEBUYERADVANTAGEEXPERIENCEADVANTAGELIVEADVANTAGEThe iAA hybrid Auction Model combines live and live-online bidding into one auction event selling ®to buyers from more than 100 countries. Let us show you how our live auctioneers, iAA run & drivelanes, and onsite previews promote your vehicles’ full value for high retentions.Contact us or visit www.iaai-advantage.com to learn more about IAA’s Live Advantage!remarketing Center888.839.4220 • 207.426.9034 (Fax)groupnrC@iaai.com www.iaai.com one Car one difference turns donated vehicles into charity dollars. Make a difference in 2011 – visit 1car1difference.com © 2011 Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. All rights reserved. the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional 17
  • JohnNorman sales & training solution cusTomer relaTionships 101Nothing is more valuable than our of lost opportunities. When we lose a relationship it’s never with just one customer.relationships. It has been said that the qualityof our lives is directly related to the number Dealerships don’t have relationships. People at the dealership have relationships. Automotiveof meaningful relationships we maintain. sales professionals need to focus on building and maintaining relationships with customers thatRelationships see us through the toughest generate loyalty, positive word-of-mouth and referrals. This has got to be “the message.” Ourof times and make the best of times truly society and culture has become so inwardly focused that most of us have little to no relationship-enjoyable. Few would argue the validity of building skills. The majority of our relationships are self-serving relationships of convenience.these statements, but fewer still invest time in We think in terms of “others can win – now, only if I can win - now”. It really is an “every manbuilding meaningful relationships. Mutually for himself” mentality, and these shallow relationships yield very little beyond the short term andbeneficial relationships do not happen by create a “survival of the shrewdest” culture at the dealership.chance; they are the product of right intentionsand sincere actions. Similar to the way good To overcome this anti-customer relationship mentality, management has to model and teachreal estate investments “appreciate in value,” effective relationship-building skills. We have to believe that, above everything else, thethe best relationships appreciate in value as relationship with the customer is king. If management is going to sell this to the “front line”well, and both require time and maintenance to they must lead by example and demonstrate this value throughout the dealership. It has tomaximize the value and avoid liabilities. come from the top-down and become the organization’s culture. The best way for management to model this value is to invest time and resources in their relationships with their “internalThe most rewarding relationships first fulfill customers” — the sales professionals and employees — who will be building relationships withneeds or desires and, second, create a since the “external customers” — the buyers. If salespeople feel that management could care less aboutof value in the participating parties (both their personal growth and success, why would they be motivated to build relationships with thefeel truly appreciated). This is no less true dealership’s customers that will produce growth and success?in business. The customer has a need, andthe business and its employees have needs. The two most important factors in determining the value of any relationship is the quantityThe two come together — a transaction takes of time invested in the relationship and the quality of bilateral communication within theplace and both needs are met. Obviously, relationship. It is impossible to build loyal customer relationships that generate repeat andthis is the basis of any business; however, it referral business without these two ingredients.is not the basis for creating a loyal customerbase, especially in the highly competitive lesson 1: obligate Through Time investmentautomotive business. Customers have almost Nothing makes customers (internal and external) feel more appreciated than taking the time tounlimited options when it comes to getting demonstrate a genuine interest in them — their needs, concerns, likes and dislikes. When we arewhat they need or want in transportation. So made to feel valuable, we feel obligated to produce value, i.e. repeat and referral customers.dealerships must be sincerely intentional and lesson 2: create matching expectations with clear communicationdoggedly proactive in pursuing a relationshipwith its customers. Nothing endangers a valuable relationship more than unmatched expectations. We must take the time to fully understand what our customer’s expectations are. If they are unrealistic we mustBuyers do not go to dealerships looking have the courage to tell the customer so in advance. Otherwise the integrity of the relationshipsfor a “relationship.” They go looking for will undoubtedly be compromised. Once we are certain that the customer’s expectations and thewhat they need or want at a price they can dealership’s are the same the table is set to create trust that is necessary for the long-term successafford. However, when they encounter a of the relationship.sales professional who truly values them as These two lessons are the cornerstones for building valuable relationships. It’s hard work, anda person and delivers a buying experience there is always a risk that our time and energy will not be appreciated by the recipient. But justthey truly enjoy, the ground becomes like a long-term investment strategy in the stock market has proven itself time and time again so,“fertile soil” for planting repeat and referral too, will a long-term investment strategy in relationships with the customers who help us meetseeds. Valuable relationships grow and our needs by giving us an opportunity to serve them.produce other valuable relationships. Whenrelationships deteriorate and stagnate, they John Norman is the chief operating officer of Prospex Promotions Inc. He can bebecome a liability and begin to cost in terms contacted at 866.514.9991, or by e-mail at jnorman@autosuccessonline.com.18 autosuccessonline.com
  • DaveDunn leadership solution maybe iT is Time To check for yourself I recommend that parts sales be equal to labor change your sales in the dealer world. Check your statement. Most dealers underperform in selling parts bodyshop financial when compared to independent shops. If you are selling equal amounts of parts and labor, you sTaTemenT are doing well in the bodyshop and are probably profitable. If you are like most dealers, you willNever a day goes by when I do not get a call from a dealer wanting to discuss financial see parts at about 30 to 35 percent of total salesperformance of the bodyshop. We often discuss the obligatory labor sales and grosses. We touch and labor greater than 50 percent of total sales.on the paint and materials account. Eventually, we discuss parts sales through the bodyshop. The If you are selling parts at less than 35 percentfact that the dealer rarely thinks to tell me about parts sales and resultant gross is the problem. It of total sales, you are probably also strugglingshows the dealer fails to understand that his statement format is, oftentimes, the problem. to make money in the paint and material department, as they are inextricably tied together.parts impact on profit That is a separate article or conversation.I know a popular 20 Group cliché is to “make money on labor alone.” A few dealers actuallydo make money on labor alone. The net number is pretty fickle, because it is so dependent on reformat your statementarbitrary and subjective allocations of costs. If the dealer beats the bodyshop up too badly with Gerry Enders runs three dealer-affiliated shopsrent and other allocated costs, they sabotage any real opportunity for a net profit. in Southern California. Gerry learned a long time ago that the statement can be customized.The wise dealer understands the value of parts sales through the bodyshop. The bodyshop I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Startmanager has great flexibility with the decision to replace rather than repair collision parts. The giving your bodyshop appropriate recognitiondealer often pays the bodyshop manager on labor alone, thereby killing the manager’s desire to of parts sales and profits and you will startsell parts. Our analysis shows that gross profit dollars per actual hour are increased dramatically winning big. You will realize how importantwhen parts are replaced rather than repaired. The dealer may have foolishly reasoned that it does parts sales are to bodyshop profits. Call me fornot matter where parts profit shows up on a statement, since it all belongs to him anyway. The a free 15-minute consult on this or any subjectproblem is that if the bodyshop does not receive adequate recognition for parts sales, the parts will related to your bodyshop.never be sold. I just had a great conversation with Brad Sather of Gateway Chevrolet in Fargo,North Dakota about this very subject. Brad agreed that the bodyshop should buy the parts from Dave Dunn is the founder of Mastersthe parts department for the same price the parts department would sell them to a competitor at School of Autobody Management. podcast intervieweewholesale. He was quick to see the wisdom of not shooting himself in the foot over this issue. He can be contacted atA parts manager will occasionally protest because it will effect his statement. The net result of 866.386.0042, or by e-mail atchanging the statement is very beneficial to the bodyshop, and the dealership overall profit picture. ddunn@autosuccessonline.com. DOWNLOAD OUR FREE CRAIGSLIST WHITEPAPER Scan the QR code or go to www.autorevo.com/auto-success Our new Craigslist posting tool is the best Craigslist tool on the market: • Only 9% of our ads get ghosted • 100% increase in click-thru rate • Dashboard shows post status • 20 custom post templates watch the video at www.autorevo.com/auto-success Dealer Websites • Mobile Websites • SEO Internet Marketing • Inventory Management Pricing Tools • eBay Motors • Social Media www.autorevo.com l 855.230.626020 autosuccessonline.com
  • “I would walk before I would buy another “This is by far the best service car from this dealership.” experience I have ever had at a dealership.” “Absolutely the worst dealership in town.”PROFILE. TRACK. INFLUENCE.DON’T RISK YOURONLINE REPUTATIONListen to what your customers are saying and take a proactive approach toprotect your reputation with Prime ResponseTM -- the most comprehensiveprogram for tracking and influencing your online reputation.Call today to set up yourFREE on-site consultation.888-502-8954 www.autobase.net/prime-responseAutobase has provided auto dealers with the premier Automotive CRM since 1988. As the most experienced CRM provider in the industry, Autobase delivers marketing and sales solutions that help nearly 80,000 auto dealers and their dealership staff to find, market, sell, and retain more customers, more profitably, every day. www.autobase.net
  • RussellGrant marketing solution do you have a sTraTegy for connecTing wiTh cusTomers before They hiT The inTerneT?It’s safe to say that, every day, some of your retained 2,000 customers. These customers event. It’s sporadic. Even worse, it’s nothard-won customers log on to the Internet and purchase an automobile every five years, for systematic or strategic. And the return onbegin shopping for new or pre-owned vehicles. an average of 400 cars per year. investment often doesn’t justify the expense.Believe it or not, a staggering 85 percent of • If you use those same numbers butconsumers start the car buying process online. communicate with customers earlier and get Communicating with customers doesn’tWhat does that mean to you? It means them to purchase a vehicle every 4.5 years, just need to be consistent; it needs to bethat your dealership is fighting to keep its the total is 445 cars per year. That’s 11.25 consistently smart. You need to look at yourcustomers before they even walk in the door. percent more sales every 12 months. customer base carefully and determine whichIn fact, if a customer likes what they find on ones are potentially the most profitable. Then,a competitor’s site, you may never get the Add to the mathematical equation above an market to those customers in a way that is sureopportunity to hold on to them. additional $200 profit per vehicle because the to reach — and motivate — them. customer didn’t make it to the Internet andwhy you don’t want customers to you’re talking serious money. A profit increase how to get a strategic start:shop the internet of $89,000, to be exact. service into salesWhen one of your customers sits down at the The average new car dealership, according tocomputer, enters “car dealers” and hits “search,” This doesn’t even take in to account that, when NADA, spends more than $600 in advertisingthey immediately take the power of the sales you maintain relationships with customers per new vehicle retailed. But what about theprocess out of your hands. They are then, quite by reaching out to them before they’re ready customers who are already in your dealershipliterally, driving the car buying experience. to buy, you build your customer base. That’s — the ones with a couple of hours to kill while because more of them purchase from you they wait for service to be completed on theirNot only does the customer shop out the price and remain loyal to your dealership, so your vehicles? At that point, marketing to them is free.of a vehicle with your competitors, they may defection rate actually decreases.even pit you against yourself. For instance, The service department can offer a customera customer could get one price from your what you gain by not losing a loaner to run errands, a vehicle that is anInternet manager and another when they use a By keeping your customers and getting to them upgrade from their current car. Then they,national auto program such as Costco’s. sooner so they buy more frequently, there’s or a member of the sales team, can ask theEven if a customer stays with you, you’ll a good chance your dealership will profit a customer how they liked the ride and startget less profit on a vehicle because they number of other ways as well. working a potential deal.can counter your offer with that of otherdealerships’ quotes. Plus, they probably know For one, you’ll have the first opportunity to how you can put thethe exact cost of the automobile, which gives acquire quality used vehicles for your lot, internet to good usethem another advantage when negotiating. which means less time, money and hassle than Keep in mind that there is a time when you purchasing autos at auction. Plus, the profits want consumers to shop the Internet for newwhy your dealership needs a strategy on those trade-ins will be higher because there and pre-owned vehicles. And that’s whenAt this point, it’s clear you definitely want to have been fewer changes of hands. they’re not your customers.connect with your customers before they goonline. The truth is, you should make contact The Internet is ideal for conquest sales, There’s also the fact that, when you retain a because it gives your dealership theprior to them even thinking about purchasing satisfied customer, they tell the people in theira vehicle. opportunity to compete against other life about the quality sales and service they dealerships for their customers. experienced at your dealership, which providesThere are a number of reasons for this. One, great leads for new customers. This is critical, If you don’t currently have a strategy in placeif you can intercept them before they reach especially when you consider that up to 50 for connecting with your customers before theythe Internet, you’ll get more profit per deal percent of purchasing decisions are based hit the Internet, give it some serious thought.because they haven’t shopped you out. There’s primarily on the advice of friends and family. Because there’s a high probability one of themalso a good chance they’ll purchase more logged on to start looking for their next vehiclefrequently, because you’re jump-starting the why Just doing something isn’t in the time it took you to read this article.buying process. doing enough Dealers already know they can’t afford to Russell Grant is the vice president of salesIt’s not difficult to see just how much of a wait for customers to come to them. So when for J&L Marketing. He can be contacted atdifference these two simple facts can make: there’s a little down time, they may send a 866.503.8397, or by e-mail at• Let’s say you’ve sold 10,000 vehicles and postcard, make some calls, or sponsor an rgrant@autosuccessonline.com.22 autosuccessonline.com
  • “I just bought my new car. Love the car and the dealership!”Managed DigitalMarketing SolutionsSEO. SEM. Social Media Marketing.DON’T IGNORE YOURONLINE VISIBILITYMaximize your online footprint with SEO, SEM and Social Media Marketingand you’ll get more sales and comments like this on popular social networks.Call today to learn more.877-834-2030 www.dealerskins.com/auto-success Dealerskins, a leader in automotive online services for over a decade, provides a variety of digital solutions to fit every dealer’s unique needs, including customized website design and managed SEO, SEM and Social Media Marketing.
  • GlennPasch marketing solution ‘zmoT’ and your online repuTaTionAt our company, we have been discussing “...people now spend as much time online as they dohow the Zero Moment of Truth impacts youronline reputation after reading a great book watching TV. It has been shown that most people beginon the subject by Google, found at http:// their shopping experience online, yet in 2010, only 15www.zeromomentoftruth.com/ percent of media ad budgets were spent online.”The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is what will customers see when they do find information about your business or your product?described as the time customers are doingresearch after seeing something about a It has been documented by Forrester Research that people now spend as much time online asproduct that stimulated them to learn more. they do watching TV. It has been shown that most people begin their shopping experience online,In the past, this step may have been done yet in 2010, only 15 percent of media ad budgets were spent online. Does it seem out of balancethrough asking friends if they ever used that more people are online searching, yet businesses are not putting their marketing efforts ina product or just going to the store. Now that arena?customers reach for their smartphones,laptops or computers and begin to compare, So let’s continue on the shopping path of customers. Once a customer has a product in mind,research and then narrow down their choices the next step is narrowing down their choices to a few locations where they can purchase thebefore going out to physically see the item in item. Once they have the locations, the next step in research will be reading reviews from yourquestion. previous customers. In my opinion, this is one of the most influential factors in their research.The fact that ZMOT is being talked about Eight out of 10 customers trust feedback from their peers over what your advertising tells them.is timely. Businesses have to change their What they are looking for is how was the experience of doing business with your company.marketing if they want to compete in the Notice that customers are looking for information not only about the product, but how they willfuture. The two most pressing questions for be treated.businesses are: Will your company be foundin that search when a client goes looking, and Countless companies fall short in displaying positive reviews in any great number, and what is worse, many of them do not even know that negative reviews could be out there damaging their brand. I have taught companies how to create a process to get their customers posting reviews online, but one of the first objections to this is, “If I ask for reviews, I will get bad ones.” My answer to this is that getting a bad review is helpful feedback. This will provide your company information on ways to improve. If you think that by not asking for reviews there is not negative feedback going on, think again. People are always talking about their experiences. Don’t you think using these conversations to your advantage would affect your sales cycle? Feedback also allows you to know what the customers may want from their shopping experience. Many reviews give suggestions on what could help you improve: a new service, an earlier opening on weekend and better ways to communicate. Think of the impact if you said a customer, “You asked and we listened. We have added a new service based on our customers’ feedback.” By letting the customers know that you listened, you get even more feedback. People today want to share good news if asked, hence the appearance of new review sites and the mobile apps like Google places, which allow people easily to post about their experience. With people looking for what others are saying as a part of the Zero Moment of Truth research to help them find a store, why not make it easy for your customers to leave a feedback trail that leads others to shop with you? Glenn Pasch is the COO of PCG Digital Marketing podcast interviewee and the president of Improved Performance Solutions. He can be contacted at 866.611.0998, or by e-mail at gpasch@autosuccessonline.com.24 autosuccessonline.com
  • the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional 25
  • ChrisCochran sales & training solution why f&i?With this being my first piece for AutoSuccess, I want to preface this by saying that I am fully is responsible for upwards of 30 to 40 percentaware that a lot of what I speak about will buck the norm. I am not ignorant to the fact that my of the sales department’s total gross profit.way is not the only way; I am also aware that I did not invent these ideas I write about. I learned By this figure alone it is easy to see whyfrom a wise man many years ago that if you want to know which direction to head, find out F&I is so important. Yet, for some unknownwhere the masses are going and run the other way. I live most of my life that way. reason, many dealers seem to overlook the importance of the department. BesidesSo, as the title asks, why F&I? That is a great question. In many dealerships, this department being an incredibly high profit center, this department is responsible for making sure that all of your legal bases are covered. Our industry is becoming more and more regulated, and the pressure to be compliant is growing. Underestimating the importance of F&I in your dealership’s success is detrimental to your bottom line. Here is the first bold statement I will make about the finance department: It is a department, much like service, parts, body and sales — and being a separate department, it should be treated as such. I believe in separation of church and state; I also believe in separation of sales and finance. In order to build the credibility needed in finance, that manager cannot be seen as “just another salesperson.” This is crucial. That is why I do not encourage much fraternization between the sales staff and finance staff. Customers see these interactions and will interpret the finance manager as just another salesperson and trust them as such. Consumers do not trust car salespeople (shocking, I know). When handling the finances associated with a large purchase, they want to deal with a professional. Keep this in mind the next time you see a few salespeople gathering in the finance office. A healthy finance department will increase gross, product sales, CSI and repeat business, while decreasing the time it takes to get a contract funded, therefore freeing up more cash for the dealer. I am not a trainer or a product rep; I am an “in the box” finance director telling you how I see it from the front lines. I encourage feedback and only request you keep the feedback respectful. As previously stated, I don’t say that the process I endorse is the only process; it is simply what works for me and many others in our field. Chris Cochran is the finance director for Haddad Motor Group in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He can be contacted at 866.550.2896, or by e-mail at ccochran@autosuccessonline.com.26 autosuccessonline.com
  • VINLENS360 063SNELNIV MORE OPPORTUNITY, MORE SALES Visits a VinSolutions’ website.Customer looks online for a vehicle. Visit is logged into the system. 255.255.255.1 255.255.255.1 255.255.255.1 255.255.255.1 Ford F-150 255.255.255.1 255.255.255.1 255.255.255.1 360 255.255.255.1 255.255.255.1 *IP Addresses are simulated for identity protection. 063 1 Saturday 1 15 Sell more cars, Lead comes in, automatic service more customers. follow-up is assigned. Appointment is set. DATA • INSIGHT • KNOWLEDGE VINTELLIGENT BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS IS HERE be one with VIN One Integration • One Collaboration • One Solution 1 (800) 980-7488 • 6405 Metcalf Avenue, Suite 400 • Overland Park, KS 66202
  • TomKain marketing solution craigslisT as seen on has rulesIn recent months I have seen an increased are not hard to follow, but if your dealership, or the company you put your trust in to post youramount of interest from dealers wanting to inventory breaks the rules, the end result is predictable and inevitable — your vehicle postslearn more about posting used inventory on get “ghosted.” For those unfamiliar, “ghosting” is the term applied when you make a post oncraigslist, and rightfully so. Craigslist is an craigslist, and the system tells you that your post has been published; however, your post neverincredible vehicle for generating leads, if you appears in a craigslist search. There are two main actions that cause vehicle posts to get ghosted.play by the rules. If you do not, you might as The first is would be “flagging.” This is done by end users, and it’s something you cannotwell not even show up to the party, because the control. However, this is not the norm and really nothing to be concerned with. The second iscraigslist police are going to take you down. “over posting.” This is when your vehicles are being posted far too often or by posting the same vehicles in multiple locations. Over posting will get you ghosted so fast it’ll be over before youDealers are not the only people at the party, know what’s happened, and once your IP address is marked for ghosting, the only option youeither. Showing up are a number of companies, have to start posting again is to setup a new account with a new IP address. Who wants to deala few that are ethical and, unfortunately, some with that?who are just trying to make a fast buck. Likedrug dealers trying to sell a “dime bag,” they As I mentioned in the beginning, craigslist is an incredible vehicle for generating leads, if youare promising dealers an incredible high; some play by the rules. If you are using an in-house posting solution and have a dedicated staff toeven go as far as telling dealers they can post handle the posts, make sure they know the rules. A good rule of thumb is to post your vehicles100 percent of their used inventory to craigslist in a four-day rotation and always delete the older posts before posting the new ones, becauseevery day. I am telling you right here, right you want to avoid having any duplicate posts. If you are using a vendor, make sure they arenow, this cannot be done, so like your momma following the rules, and also go to craigslist and do a search yourself to make sure your vehiclestold you, “Just Say No.” are being posted.Like many of the other marketing platforms Tom Kain is the president of AutoDealerTarget. He can be contacted at 866.647.0469,available today, craigslist has rules. They or by e-mail at tkain@autosuccessonline.com.28 autosuccessonline.com
  • DalePollak sales & training solution provisioning: a new approach to stocking used vehiclesIt’s no real secret anymore that the principles pricing and profit parameters they’ve set for their store’s success. It’s one thing to know the type andof velocity-based inventory management — price of a vehicle that’s a “sure-fire winner” for your store; it’s quite another to quickly and efficientlywhere a store turns and earns — is a must to acquire this vehicle so you can take advantage of the opportunity the market presents to you.survive in today’s volatile marketplace. Thankfully, our industry now has a solution — one that’s been brought about by convergenceThere are ample success stories across our among key dealer vendors (e.g., the acquisition of my company, vAuto, by AutoTrader.com) andindustry where dealers and used car managers advances in technology.have doubled or even tripled their annualinventory turn rates and relied on the profits Imagine, if you will, a used vehicle inventory management dashboard that tells you whatthat derive from velocity principles to keep vehicles you should stock, the wholesale prices you should pay, the profit potential you mighttheir stores afloat as new vehicle sales have expect, the time it should take to retail the vehicle and a one-click-to-purchase option that letsstalled or disappeared altogether. you buy the vehicle from a host of auction and other wholesale sources across the country.Core components of these principles follow What’s more, the click-to-purchase function also triggers the instant posting of this vehicle anda simple premise: You need to know how its description to your dealership Website and other online retail sites, as well as initiating themuch a used vehicle is worth at retail and transportation of the vehicle to your store for reconditioning and retailing.set your gross profit expectations before youdetermine what you should offer for a trade- This used vehicle inventory management solution will effectively conjoin a variety of differentin or wholesale purchase price. Put another technologies, data sets and vendor capabilities to drive more efficiency to dealers and used carway, successful used vehicle inventory managers. I believe this solution will be a game-changer for our industry on several fronts:management flows from a keen understanding • Stocking vehicles: The robust and holistic nature of this new tool goes well beyond stocking.of both wholesale and retail markets and their In fact, it’s more like provisioning — or the gathering, planning and deployment of necessaryrespective pricing trends. resources and market intelligence to supply or “fit out” a dealership’s used vehicle inventory for profitability. In this way, the tool is very much like a Navy Seal commander whose carefulOf course, the fly in this ointment for dealers planning and provisioning of supplies ensures every team member can survive the mission.lately has been how to find vehicles that fit the • Process efficiency: Savvy dealers have already recognized that the more time they eliminate between acquiring and retailing a vehicle, the greater their opportunity for higher turn rates and profitability. The new tool will eliminate several time-killers that continue to pose challenges for even the most efficiency-minded dealers — from transporting the vehicle to touting it online for potential buyers. • People efficiency: It’s not uncommon for used car managers to spend three or four hours a day figuring out where to find vehicles that are “right” for their store and then working the phones, the Internet and physical auctions to acquire them. The new inventory management tool will virtually eliminate this time drag, freeing these managers to focus on other important — and oft-neglected — aspects of running their departments, such as ensuring efficiency in reconditioning, closing deals and managing online marketing. From my perspective, the advent of this new tool could not have come at a better time. First, the industry needs it, as evidenced by the feedback I hear from dealers and used car managers everyday. Second, the market requires it, due to the compression between wholesale and retail used vehicle prices that effectively reduce the “cushion” or margin of error that has historically masked used vehicle acquisition mistakes. Put another way, this new tool gives a competitive advantage in an increasingly unforgiving marketplace. To be sure, this new tool will be disruptive and challenging for a lot of dealerships — even those who have adopted and seen success with velocity management principles. Why? Because it means more “change” for dealers and used vehicle departments and, in some instances, obsolescence for people who resist change and the advantages this new technology offers. Let’s remember this: You’re in a business that is continually evolving — you must either embrace this evolution or get left behind. podcast interviewee Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best-selling author. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at dpollak@autosuccessonline.com.30 autosuccessonline.com
  • BryanAnderson sales & training solution your own personal gold mineThe value of customers in an equity position has been around since cars were first sold. leads are poor quality with low conversion rates,Managing this business opportunity has meant big business for those who have learned to and are received in quantities too difficult to“crack the nut.” Until recently, grinding through data was the only ways to pan for this certified manage. Daily data mining for even a handfulgold; with recent technology, however, this once manual process is now too easy to ignore. The of highly-qualified leads can produce literallyfollowing five points explain why every dealer should be exploiting this sizeable opportunity: dozens of additional sold units each month.Quality Lead Generation. Who would ignore valuable leads — and lots of them? Too often, our Existing Customer Data. These leads aren’t those that have been bought and sold and stripped of value by the time you get them. Leads from your equity customers are mined right from your CRM — your existing data. Among the 50k, 100k, or 200k customers they already own, too many dealers never tap into this personal gold mine. Let me encourage you: Use what you already have. It’s never been easier and more profitable. Unrealized Profit. In my experience, dealers are seeing at minimum a 13-percent increase in sales from equity leads alone. Some stores sell up to 60 and 70 units of a single campaign to these customers. Sales to in-equity customers gross 35 to 45 percent higher compared to that of a standard vehicle sales. And then, there’s the secondary benefit of taking in valuable, pre-owned inventory. Profits like these are just sitting in your store, waiting to be enjoyed. Time Saving. I admire those who manually spend hours digging through old sales files to locate what they need to make this process work. They look up current vehicle values, calculate payoff, cross reference term and rate, compare buyer vehicle preferences, research OEM rebates and incentives and consider current inventory. They see a good return, but what an investment. Intelligent calculation of these factors and more can now be automated. And with the data served up like a good steak, you can spend less time in the books and more time selling. Service Alerts. Numerous customers walk into your dealership every single day via the service department. Do you know how many of these customers are in-equity? And what units to put them in before they pay that service bill? The same automation that alerts your staff of these customers can also tell them who will be in the service drive and when. This is the easiest cup of coffee you’ll ever pour for a customer. The need has never been greater and the data collection has never been easier. With little to no effort, true equity management makes an immediate and longstanding impact on new and pre-owned sales numbers, as well as on the overall profitability of the store. Grab your pick; you’re standing on your own personal gold mine. Bryan Anderson is the founder of Autobase. He can be contacted at 866.667.9659, or by e-mail at banderson@autosuccessonline.com.32 autosuccessonline.com
  • SeanV.Bradley marketing solution afTer 12+ years in The auTomoTive inTerneT sales...I have learned a lot about what to do and centers online (parts, service, finance, body Here is what I see on a regular basis fromwhat not to do. I have seen firsthand how shop, etc.)? dealerships that succumb to mediocrity:powerful automotive Internet sales can be for • Do you want to sell volume, gross or both? • They start to compromise their processa dealership. I have also seen how it can wreak Are you looking to increase new vehicle based on outside influences, such as theirhavoc in a dealership that doesn’t execute sales, used vehicle sales or both? Each competition doing business a certain way,properly. After speaking with and training possibility has a different strategy. and they feel they must conform.more than 2,000 dealer principals and GMs • Do you want to be proactive, reactive or not • They are not consistent. They might dopersonally, I have identified a lot of similarities at all for special finance? different parts of the strategy at differentthat are consistent all over the country and do • Do you have all of the right tools time. No continuity = No success.not discriminate. (technology, resources, programs, etc.) for a • They do not track details of the department viable department? properly, if at all.First, dealers see the value, need and urgency • Do you have the right people and the right • They are not consistent with training, orto maximize the Internet not only to increase amount of people in place? don’t even bother to train at all.market share, volume and gross, but actually to • Have you developed a “mission statement”? • They are disorganized. There is noretain current market share and profits. Have you created a standard operating prioritizing of tasks, so the department is procedure for everything in that department? working and grinding all day but they areThe problem is that there is a lot of • How are you planning to drive traffic? How not being effective at their overall mission.disinformation everywhere. Everyone has are you going to handle your conventionalan idea and a strategy, but finding the right advertising strategy? What is the proper And, as important as all this is, people are theinformation that fits a particular dealership’s formula between conventional and digital? “wild cards” of the “4-Ps.” With money, youscenario and goals is hard to find. There really • How are you going to perpetuate success can buy everything else. But you have to findisn’t a lot of continuity out there. Sometimes after initial launch? and cultivate and keep people. There are a lot of“experts” contradict the ideas and strategies variables to think about in this area, including:of other “experts.” The other issue is that After you answer all of these questions • Do you have the right person for the job? Dothere are a lot of these “experts” out there, but thoroughly and start to create a plan, you will they have the right skill set and fit the profilemostly these people have an “expertise” in need to prioritize. This is another sand trap for for success? This is a common problem.only one or two fields — not enough. dealers. They have problems “putting first things, • Do you have the right amount of people? first,” and the result is that they do not focus on I have seen two Internet reps working 600Maximizing an Internet department is more the most important items. The dealers who work fresh leads per month. Not the best strategy.than knowing how to build the “ultimate” hard but not smart are rarely successful. • Do you have a schedule that makesdealership Website. It is more than having sense and maximizes business potential?5,000 followers on Twitter for your dealership. Lack of consistency and acceptance of Statistically, you will connect with moreIt is more than having a state-of-the-art mediocrity are the biggest reasons for failure people between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m.BDC. The issue I see is that dealers are told or limited success for a dealership’s Internet or So, it might not be a good idea if you haveif they do or buy something, it will be a business development department. That might everyone leaving at 5 p.m.“silver bullet.” There are no “silver bullets.” sting, but that is the truth. We have found allThere never have been and I doubt there ever over the country, no matter what the franchise Bottom line, you need to embrace Internetwill be any. An Internet department (or any or geographic region there are dealers who fall sales. You cannot wait until tomorrow to get itdepartment, for that matter) is made or broken, into this category. Sometimes it is the dealer together. If you don’t create a plan for today,maximized or underutilized in four key areas: principal, sometimes it’s the GM and other there might not be tomorrow.Products, People, Process and Promotions. times it’s the Internet/BDC director, but it isThat means that all “4-Ps” need to be working the same story. Someone at the dealership If you have any questions about this article or“synergistically” to ensure maximum success. heard of a successful Internet/BDC department if you would like examples (for free) PleaseYou cannot have all or most of your attention or they read an article or they went to some call or e-mail me.in one or two areas. You need to make sure that workshop or 20 Group and were inspired andall four “cylinders” are firing. excited. So, they create a plan (with or without Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO an outside consultant or trainer), and for a of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognizedHere are the questions that dealers should ask: short while things are good (sometimes). Then, training and consulting company in the• What are you looking to accomplish with after a bit of time — or sometimes right after automotive industry. He can be contacted at your Internet department? Increasing only implementation — reality kicks in and they 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at Internet sales, or maximizing all profit start to deviate from the plan. sbradley@autosuccessonline.com.34 autosuccessonline.com
  • MarshBuice sales & training solution guilTy unTil proven innocenTWe often read of tragic stories of young men endorsements such as letters of recommendations from clients, awards of achievement (forwho have been robbed of their youth, serving a example, becoming a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Certified sales consultant), seminar certificates,20-year prison sentence, only to be exonerated updated CSI scores and favorable product reviews. Pictures are important, too. It is said that ayears later because the police nabbed the picture is worth a thousand words. In our industry, a picture is worth a $1,000. Pictures are yourwrong guy. He was found guilty long before public relation messages conveyed through imagery, building value in your customer’s mindinnocence was established. and solidifying a healthy commission. Your pictures should include snapshots of your hobbies, you and your family (leave the beer-bash, keg party pics at home), your prized pets and, mostIn sales, our customers find our profession importantly, your happy customers.guilty — guilty of being deceitful, abusive,insincere towards their needs, and of thievery, In short, anything that will enhance your image should be put into your Evidence Manual. Anrobbing them of their hard-earned money. It Evidence Manual is your version of a product endorsement; it substantiates who you are throughis your job to produce enough evidence to third parties. The product endorsement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry; companiesoverturn the unjust, guilty verdict and confirm shower top athletes and celebrities with millions to represent their product. How many timesyour innocence, proving that you are guiltless have you heard, “This is the same purse as Jennifer Lopez,” or “I’m wearing the same golf shirtof such wrong accusations. You must prove as Tiger Woods,” or boasts of wearing the authentic jersey of Drew Brees. Can you think of anyyou do have a family; you are a member of a other indoor grill that is not George Foreman’s? Evidence Manuals staunchly proclaim, “If it’slocal civic organization; you do participate in good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.”the annual American Cancer Society Fun Run.Think of your profession as being an image Your Evidence Manual should be like the American Express Card slogan, “Don’t leave homeconsultant, having helped hundreds of people without it.” It should go everywhere you go. Whether a physical binder, loaded onto iPad, or onupgrade their image by putting them into their your business card with your personal Website address prominently displayed, everyone shoulddream car. In short, you are a real person, know who you are. Your evidence manual should be introduced the minute you sit down to writededicated to your profession and fanatical to up your customer. Customers are not shopping for the best price — that’s just a smoke screen.serving your customers’ needs. One provenway to disprove a guilty verdict is by creating They are shopping for the best value and the service to back up their decision. Your Evidencean Evidence Manual. Manual is the endorsement needed to capitalize on every customer. Think of your Evidence Manual as your resume for employment; with a strong resume, your customers will hire you toEvidence Manuals should be both virtual and become their sales consultant.physical. As a sales consultant, you shouldcreate a Facebook fan page profile or develop Whether you are beginning in sales or a long-term veteran of the blacktop, a well thought-outa Website where you can prominently display Evidence Manual is what will separate the average Joe from the Pro. Your Evidence Manual isyour profession to the world. You should also your own infomercial of sorts, overturning a customer’s guilty verdict into an effective sale.create a physical manual to keep on-hand to podcast intervieweehelp support your sales efforts. Marsh Buice is the sales manager of Mark Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep. He can beEvidence Manuals are compiled pages of contacted at 866.535.5006, or by e-mail at mbuice@autosuccessonline.com.36 autosuccessonline.com
  • “After looking at several di erentCRM vendors, we chose eLEAD as ourone-source partner and were able toreduce our number of CRM vendorsfrom 17 to 1 in all 80 dealerships.eLEAD gives us one CRM solutionthat seamlessly integrates xed andvariable operations and with over 700employees, their 24/7 support sta isunbeatable. eLEAD made it simple tochoose them as our long-term vendorand we’re thrilled with the return oninvestment.”- Bob Murray Director of Operational Marketing Asbury Automotive Group Websites | Search | Social | Reputation | CRM | Call Center | Data Mining | ILM | Desking | Inventory | Service and Reminders | Complete Management One Price. One Vendor. One Solution.888 431-6928 I sales@eleadcrm.comwww.eleadcrm.com
  • ChuckPatton marketing solution when To use you vs. why To choose youThere’s a new trend on which philosophies for service has been around for a while. Many programs failed, however, because they believedealerships should use to drive customer the success of the program is based on timing. The problem is customers are difficult to predictretention for service departments so they can and have developed bad habits to not service on time. For example, in the average dealership, lessmaximize service profit and, ultimately, retain than 36 percent of customers use the dealership for multiple visits in one year, which means youcustomers. The trend is a so-called “smarter” don’t get the full share of the customer. Also, more than 80 percent of your customers do not comemarketing that is based on a data algorithm. in within the recommended time frame you have sent in that targeted service reminder. They’llThe theory states that advanced data logic will probably end up doing the service much later. “The right message at the right time” is a misnomerbe used to market to the customers with the with many customers, because to them, there are multiple “right times.”right message, at the right time to the rightperson in order to drive in service traffic for bad strategyless cost. Your customer’s relationship is not with a VIN number; it is with you. Unfortunately, some customers are aware that their vehicle is due for service, but simply choose not to use yourThis sounds great, but it’s an important trend dealership. You need to get involved with the customer’s buying decisions and educate them onto monitor before making the jump. Many why they should do business with you rather than the competitor.manufacturers’ service programs are heavilypromoting this “right-time” strategy, and if why customers perform service at your dealershipyou are on one of those programs, or if you are Bullet pointing your amenities in the optional black text of a manufacturer’s direct mail piece isbeing pushed towards one, it is important that not going to cut it anymore. Amenities such as night owl drop off are a given, and you need to findyou understand the pros and cons. more creative ways to sell why customers should choose you. The servicing relationship is between the customer and the local dealer and not the manufacturers logo stamped on a communication.what is the $200 Remember: Relationships are about people and reputations, not logos and bullet points.service marketing budget?Could marketing be as simple as a sticker in how to sell youthe window? If it’s that simple, then it will cost Make it simple and ask yourself, “What can I offer that the aftermarket does not?” Then, spreadyou about $200 for the year. the word through consistency of communications.Using an algorithm to predict human behavior People — Put pictures and names of your service writers on your direct mail communications,is focused on using today’s technology to especially if you have employees who have been around for a while. Most of your true retentionfollow the patterns of a specific VIN within comes from your customers’ relationships with them.your database to tell when it’s due for service. Price — Keep the oil change price down, but don’t give up margin on coupons for servicesThen, you send a message to the customer unfamiliar to the customer.who owns that VIN, telling them their vehicle Amenities — Shuttle service, loaner cars, car washes and Wi-Fi are all things that make it moreis due. So doesn’t an oil change sticker in convenient to do business at the dealership, and lack of convenience is a leading reason whythe window do the same thing? Data logic is customers don’t stay loyal to dealerships.a good thing, but this approach can miss the Expertise — Sell the customers on the value of your staff’s training, expertise and servicetarget because it doesn’t take into consideration guarantees. Your goal is to address the primary weaknesses most dealerships have — trust.why the customer should choose you. The smartest “smart marketing” is one that drives in large volumes of traffic. Your smarter goalHere is the reality: The customer is fully should be to tweak your communications programs continually to grow your overall retentionaware of when they are due to come into the and customer frequency. The cost of service marketing pales in significance to the returnsdealership — maybe because of the sticker in possible by building a loyal customer base; it doesn’t make sense to use some algorithm to shootthe window, or perhaps even the vehicle itself a BB through a straw. You also don’t need a blanketed shotgun approach, but frequency is stilltelling them it is time. The real indecision for an important part of making an impression, and that consistency of message will build the trust itthe customer is who they will service with. takes to truly earn a customer’s business.Timing your marketing is important, but it stilldoesn’t sell the customer on the fact that they Statistics quoted are from the 2011 Average Database Diagnostic and/or a sampling ofshould use you versus the many other choices automotive dealerships in the United States.they have for service. podcast intervieweeThe loyal customer myth Chuck Patton is the founder and CEO of Traffic Builders, Inc. He can be contactedTiming the message to when a vehicle is due at 866.859.8520, or by e-mail at patton@autosuccessonline.com.38 autosuccessonline.com
  • DrakeBaerresen sales & training solution arTificial inTelligence is paving The way To increased salesWhile watching Matthew Broderick in WarGames years ago, most of us thought the day would most dealership employees, earn bonusesnever come when a computer could play chess or control our arsenals. Amazingly enough, that for sales. This leads them to cherry-pick theday has come and gone for chess. Hopefully Arnold Swarzenegger in Terminator has ended any calls, leads and e-mails they think are mostchance of a fully automated nuclear arsenal. The military, however, does use technology like likely to convert. This causes dealerships tothis to monitor enemies on the battlefield and coordinate our weapons today. Now this type of lose out on sales due to incomplete follow-up.technology is making its way into retail automotive sales. BDCs were developed to cure the Even with the right training and intentions,lack of follow-up sales conducted with prospects and past customers. BDC employees, like the work load often leads to some follow-up being done poorly or skipped all together. Too many opportunities are missed this way. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to replace much of the work of the BDC. With AI, dealerships can be sure that every customer gets followed-up the right way every time. This is much different than an auto responder or template e-mail or letter. Artificial intelligence can read the messages from the customer and respond as good as, and often better, than a real person. The best part is it can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It doesn’t get sick and doesn’t take breaks. The headaches of the BDC can now be in the past. The work of 10 can now be done by just a few of your most talented. Artificial intelligence can communicate with all customers and prospects. It can read their messages and return messages that are relevant and drive customers to the store or to a phone conversation. Dealerships across the country are now using AI in a multitude of ways to generate more business. A customer with positive equity is a great lead. Every dealership has a database and can find these people. Why don’t all these customers get contacted? Time. AI has the time to contact all of them and set up appointments for sales. Approximately 60 percent of the leads U.S. dealerships receive are in the market for six months. This is a long time for a salesperson to follow-up and not allow any to fall through the cracks. With AI, there are no cracks. Every lead, every time gets consistent follow- up until they buy. After they buy, they get service offers. AI can communicate with customers in a way that feels like a real person is on the other end, a person who cares. The uses for this technology are limitless. Dealerships are using it to increase unit sales, service and even F+I products and accessories. For a free copy of, “How Artificial Intelligence is Paving the Way to Increased Sales,” e-mail me at the address below. Drake Baerresen is the vice-president of sales and marketing at Turn-Key Events AVA. He can be contacted at 866.900.7714, or by e-mail at drakeb@autosuccessonline.com.40 autosuccessonline.com
  • Providing the automotive industry with cutting edge digital sales solutions that utilize technology to stay ahead of the competition.Are you effectively advertising yourproducts and services? V-Active gives you the ability to change advertisements, promotions, and specials throughout your store. Let us design your custom campaign. $1,995 AutoSuccess promotional offer* Call today for details. Text VACTIVE To 41411 *$1,995 includes initial production, setup, and required hardware. A signed 24 month contract for $299 a month is also required. This monthly feeincludes hosting, repairs, maintenance, and one promotional update a month. Monitor not included. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice.
  • MarkTewart sales & training solution The 8Th wonder of The worldIn business, compounding interest is often the idea that I termed “Dance With the One You Came With,” or in my book How To Be A Salesreferred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the Superstar, I termed it “Dance with the One Who Bought You.” Obviously, the play on words wasWorld.” In business, and especially sales, I “Bought you” vs. “brought you.” The idea is to spend the most time with the one who broughtcompare the compounding effect of interest you to where you are now, which is your customer base who has bought from you.to the compounding effect that occurs withcurrent customers who can become repeat The Eighth Wonder that I refer to is the ability to use smart, laser-focused, personality-infusedcustomers and referral machines. communication that creates relationships, top-of-mind awareness and value-added perception that creates you as the brand by emphasizing them.You may have seen examples of how someonecan start an Individual Retirement Account Most businesses and salespeople never follow up, let alone try to create a value-addedwhen they are 25, invest $2,000 a year and relationship, with customers. After 18 months of weak or no communication with yourby retirement age they will have a significant customers, it is as if they never bought from you. Any relationship or experiential capital isseven-figure account balance based upon the completely lost.power of compounding interest. They receiveinterest on their investment which eventually When most businesses or salespeople follow up, it is often boring, bland drivel that hurts moreincludes interest on their interest as well as than helps. What is your game plan to create not just a follow up plan but to add your personality,principal. The compounding effect creates to personalize it to your different types of customers and utilize many different forms and mediatremendous and exponential growth. for the follow up?Your current customer base is equal to the Do you have an ongoing plan involving postcards, letters, dimensional mail, automated phoneprincipal investment in the compounding calls, personal phone calls, written newsletters, ezines, autoresponder e-mails, text and mobileeffect. In my article “How To Increase Your marketing and even in person visits? Do you have a persona you are creating to increaseSales by 20 Percent or More,” I wrote about the ability for your customers to connect with you? Do you have an SDP (Specific Defining Proposition) that allows your customers to instantly understand your value versus any competition? Do you have a written plan to segment your database of customers based upon as many different criteria as necessary to personalize your communications and address the customers in a way they want to be addressed about things they care about? Do you have all the low to no cost tools available to do all these things? The advent of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems have been a blessing and a curse. The best CRM systems are only as good as the people using them. CRM’s are often set up without a well thought out, personalized, segmented and automated sequences. Not all follow up is created equal or creates a brand with relational capital. When you give enough value and create enough awareness through smart communication with your customers, you will begin to experience a compounding effect of repeat sales and referrals as well as good old fashioned word of mouth advertising that builds your business exponentially while you sleep. You become free from the slavery of, “I have to have the next deal to survive” syndrome. You also become less affected than others to any economic down turns. Everything starts with one small step. What one small step will you take today to create your own Eighth Wonder of the World game plan? For a free Special Report “How To Out Think, Out Maneuver and Crush the Competition” – e-mail me at the address below with the word “Crush” in the subject line. Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart Enterprises, podcast interviewee and the author of the best seller, How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be contacted at 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at mtewart@autosuccessonline.com.42 autosuccessonline.com
  • “bLinkedSM is the best tool I have seen in 15 years.” bLinked SM Be Smart. Be Informed. bLinkedSM. This is the program that is changing everything. bLinkedSM is a data analytic service that marries your customer database, inventory, and manufacturer incentives to deliver more high-quality leads straight to your showroom floor. • ttract more customers with offers too good to refuse A — offers to upgrade their vehicles for lower monthly payments and no money down. • et your own margins to meet and exceed the profit S levels you want. • onvert more service appointments into sales with C incredibly accurate information for your sales team and perfectly matched offers for your customers. With email, direct mail, and microsite marketing included at no extra cost, bLinkedSM is the complete turnkey package poised to give your dealership an unmistakable sales advantage. Welcome to bLinkedSM — the next generation of direct marketing. Learn more today. Contact J&L Marketing at 800.346.9117 or email: sales@jandlmarketing.com for more information. Bill Cafarella General ManagerWest County Honda Ellisville, Missouri www.twitter.com/jandlmarketing www.facebook.com/jandlmarketing www.youtube.com/user/jandlmarketing
  • JimmyVee & TravisMiller marketing solution “no price” markeTing meThod: hype or reality?Bastardized, plagiarized, homogenized and This market is about 50 times larger than the in-market population, and it’s largely ignored bysubsidized. That’s how experts are describing most dealership marketing.most automotive marketing and advertisingseen these days. It’s a shame when you So why aren’t these non-intenders shopping? Usually for just a few reasons. Topping the list are:consider how much money dealers invest in • Real or perceived credit issuesmarketing each year. But it’s not far from true • Still making payments on a lease or loan— most automotive marketing looks the same. • Upside down in current car • Afraid of going to a dealershipThe express purpose of marketing is to cause • Not enough money for a down paymentcustomers to choose one over the other —you over your competitors. But if it all looks Dealers who have used the “No Price” method have found that these issues are typical of all carthe same, what chance is there of that ever buyers and not unique to non-intenders. In fact, most dealers are presently well equipped to helphappening? customers with these issues and many others.The result, sadly, is that price-oriented What’s important is that these issues are keeping the non-intenders out of the market. Bymarketing has become the standard. Most targeting these individuals specifically, and offering to help with the issues, dealers have founddealers see it as a necessary evil. Can’t be they can actually accelerate the buying process and bring the non-intenders into the store now,avoided. Price seems to be the last remaining rather than later.competitive edge a dealership can employ. Butwhat happens when even that edge dulls? Best of all, the conversations with these customers don’t revolve around price, but instead aroundRecent developments in marketing technology, solving their particular problem. This results in a significant surge in traffic and a decrease inbranding and positioning strategy, and price sensitivity. More sales, higher gross profit, more net profit.competitive differentiation have culminated ina new customer attraction process that’s being positioningcalled the “No Price” marketing method. But Most dealership marketing effectively positions the dealership as a product-oriented business.how can dealers truly attract customers without Pictures of cars, lists of features and prices. But product-oriented messages will do very little toadvertising price? attract the non-intender.The secret appears to be linked to three Instead, the “No Price” method advocates positioning the dealer (a person) and the dealershipelements of a dealership’s marketing: targeting, as solutions-oriented, with a focus on solving problems and offering helpful advice, rather thanpositioning and offers. Results consistently pushing product. This positioning technique significantly lowers buyer anxiety and resistanceshow that achieving the right blend of these and helps hasten the building of trust and rapport.three critical elements can indeed createcustomer attraction momentum without the Common elements of this kind of positioning are a unique and compelling story about the dealerslightest mention of price. and the dealership, an explanation of why the dealer does what he or she does, a book or special reports or white papers offered by the dealer, a guarantee of providing a solutions-orientedTargeting experience and customer testimonials about their experience and about the solutions-oriented natureMost dealerships logically target the same of the dealership. Essentially, the “No Price” method causes you to sell cars by building trust, rathertype of prospect — in-market shoppers. Those than by lowering price. This approach helps lessen buyer anxiety. And since fear and anxiety areare people who are currently searching for significant reasons buyers are staying out of the market, it makes sense why this is so effective.cars online or visiting dealership showrooms.Studies have shown that the No. 1 buying offerscriteria mentioned by in-market shoppers Most dealership marketing features price-related offers such as discounts, low payments, rebatesis price. The trend has increasingly become or special incentives. Unfortunately, price-related offers do little in the way of attracting non-for shoppers to choose a vehicle or vehicles intenders.via online research then start seeking thedealership that will sell their vehicle of choice The “No Price” method requires using offers that address and offer to solve the specific problemsfor the lowest price. customers (non-intenders) have. Dealers have found that switching from a price-related offer to a solutions-related offer in their current advertising alone will yield a noticeable result. AsThe “No Price” method advocates also an added benefit, the same offers that attract non-intenders are also extremely appealing to in-targeting out of market, non-intenders. Those market shoppers and have proven to be effective alternatives to price-oriented offers.are people who have no intention of buying avehicle in the coming days or weeks. They’re The conclusion is that price is not the only competitive advantage available to dealers anymore.not shopping online or in showrooms, and they As the number of in-market buyers decreases or stays depressed, the number of non-intenderstypically don’t have a vehicle preference. But grows or stays high. All indications point to the “No Price” method as a powerful tool availablethere is one striking commonality among these to dealers for years to come, which can help dealers stop fighting with other dealers over thenon-intenders: The majority of them say they same few customers and create your own crop of dedicated and enthusiastic buyers using thewould prefer to driver a nicer, newer car than natural customer attraction power of gravitational marketing.they currently drive. But without a specificvehicle preference, they also don’t have a price Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are founders of the Rich Dealers Institute. They can be contactedpreference. at 866.852.0145, or by e-mail at jt@autosuccessonline.com.44 autosuccessonline.com
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