AutoSuccess sept10


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

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AutoSuccess sept10

  1. 1. 2010SEPTEMBER
  2. 2. AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220.2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville Kentucky 40299 | 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 | / | info@autosuccessonline.comSusan Givens, Publisher Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist Brian Ankney, Account Manager Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement jwarner@autosuccessonline.comfeature solution leadership solution marketing solution sales & training solution IS REAL IN ROs AND 25 PERCENT INCREASE IN MARKET SHARE The DealerFire World CHECKERED FLAG ACHIEVES 190 PERCENT INCREASE The Hijacking of Your Dealership’s Trademarked Name, Inventory and Leads THE DEATH OF THE TRADITIONAL DEALERSHIP PART 3 TUNE UP YOUR TEAM TO TURN UP THE SALES EVENT How to Earn More Sales and Bigger Commissions With Reverse Selling THE TOP TEN AUTO DEALER WEB SITE BLUNDERS SELLING CARS IN THE POST-CONTROL WORLD , 12 CRM BEST PRACTICES - HOW DOES YOUR YOUR CUSTOMER’S PERCEPTION IS REALITY 90-DAY NO CREDIT CHECK FINANCING OPTIMIZE YOUR MARKETING, PART 2 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION FREE ORGANIC SOCIAL MEDIA DEALERSHIP MEASURE UP? PUSHING THE PENDULUM: & Old-Fashioned Customer Service... LOOK GREAT ONLINE An Interview With EricHoopman ONLINE PIRACY: READY OR NOT Cutting-Edge Technology 14 16 18 33 32 22 24 28 34 10 26 36 30 08 SteveBrazill JoeAbraham DrakeBaerresen JimRadogna TomMohr SeanV.Bradley GlenGarvin RichardWinch MarkDubis SeanStapleton PeterBond SusanGivens MarkTewart MattBaker pg 4 pg 4 pg 2 pg2 pg1 pg3 joe abraham tom mohr glen garvin
  3. 3. WHAT ARE YOURONLINE ADS MISSING? Inventory Online (IOL) Marketing Suite is a complete internet merchandising solution. Call today to see what your ads are missing. 610-738-3313
  4. 4. SusanGivens marketing solution CHECKERED FLAG ACHIEVES 190 PERCENT INCREASE IN ROs AND 25 PERCENT INCREASE IN MARKET SHARECheckered Flag Toyota has dramatically potential lifetime value by targetingimproved its business by improving its consumers who historically have hadmarketing and communication strategies. a higher probability of buying and“The best customer you can ever find is the returning for service. The dealershipone you already have,” said Tim Rayfield, discovered that sales from customersGeneral Manager of Checkered Flag Toyota. who drive long distances to buy aCheckered Flag has increased their sales vehicle at the dealership often haveand service business by implementing a lower gross profits and a low retentiontargeted one-to-one marketing strategy that rate for service and repeat sales. Ontargets what they consider to be the “perfect the contrary, customers who live inprospects” in their market. Checkered Flags “perfect market” not only have a higher probabilitySince ad budgets have tightened up, dealers of doing business now but spendhave shifted from expensive mass marketing more and are more loyal. As ato more cost-effective targeted marketing that result, the consumers who live ingenerates better returns. Checkered Flag started the dealers “perfect market” have aby defining the perfect market and prospects higher probability of closing for ato target. The perfect market was defined by larger dollar amount and they have aaggregating the dealership’s sales and service much higher lifetime value because of their to extend their warranty and service theirhistory over the last five years combined with loyalty to service and sales. Based on these vehicle or to upgrade into a newer vehicle formultiple consumer databases to identify where statistics, dealerships are asking themselves a similar or lower payment.”90 percent of their business has come from in if it makes sense to give a better deal to athe past. “There are approximately 1.5 million local customer who has a higher lifetime Checkered Flag has also elevated their brandconsumers in the Virginia Beach market but value than a customer who comes from far image by paying more attention to what theyonly 60,800 have the statistical probability of away and generates less long-term revenue. put in front of their best customers. “We hadbuying or servicing a Toyota from Checkered “Some sales managers get excited when they multiple companies contacting our customersFlag,” said Budd Blackburn, the founder of a sell a customer from another city or state, but and sometimes the production value of thetargeted marketing company that works with they really should be celebrating the local creative had the potential of hurting ourCheckered Flag. “Checkered Flag has done customers that will come back to them to brand,” said Rayfield. “Today we make surewell because they market to the consumers buy and service more often and pay more per that everything we send to our customerwho have the highest statistical probability of visit,” said Blackburn. base is top notch and builds our brand imagedoing business with their dealership and that at every touch point. Our materials have aare less expensive to reach.” Checkered Flag Toyota not only targets higher-end look and feel that builds trust and the right customer but they also speak to credibility with our customers, and it gets“Since we know where most of our them the right way. The dealership sends better responses.”customers live we target those areas,” customized messaging to each customersaid Rayfield. “We send custom e-mails based on what they need at the time. “We Checkered Flag’s holistic communicationand mailers to in-market consumers who used to spend too much money sending too strategy is helping them attract, sell, servicelive in those areas and drive Toyotas or many campaigns to our customers from and retain more customers for less costconquest vehicles that have a high historical different departments, and it confused our than traditional mass marketing. Rayfieldcrossover percentage and the response rates customers and cost too much,” said Rayfield. summarized it best when he said, “It worksare fantastic. Our goal is to reach in-market “For example, in the past a customer with a because we are marketing more effectivelyconsumers before our competitors, so we three-year-old Camry could receive e-mails to customers who have a higher probabilitytake them out of the market before they buy and mailers from sales, service, finance of buying and servicing more with ourelsewhere. We are also picking up a lot of and the manufacturer. Now we send one dealership.”great one-owner trade-ins for a lot less than campaign that promotes multiple profitwe would pay at auction, which has helped centers by customizing the message to whatour certified pre-owned business.” our customer needs at the time. Now our Susan Givens is the publisher of customer who drives a three-year-old Camry AutoSuccess. She can be contacted atCheckered Flag also markets more receives one targeted e-mail and mailer that 877.818.6620, or by e-mail ataggressively to consumers who have a higher has custom offers that give them options
  5. 5. SteveBrazill leadership solution READY OR NOTWhat may be done at any time will be done at people have time to think — not rush — and without seeing plans and projections for newno time. it’s early enough in 2010 that you can plan, and used unit sales. That process of multiple — Scottish proverb have inventory and marketing in place before iterations allows them to conspire for success the holiday crunch, then launch on January 2. by multiplying their insights and leveragingWe are already into the final quarter of 2010, their talents off each other. That can’t happenand a new year lies in ambush ahead, ready to Your October statement is also an excellent if you compress the process into one or twopounce upon all who approach it unprepared. planning tool. Consider this: quick sessions in November or December. YouHave you thought about it yet? It’s time. • It contains 83 percent of a full year of data can’t afford to give away days in early January on your operation, and the two months it’s without compromising the entire month andThis is the time to plan for the success you missing are among the months least likely you can’t afford to compromise Januaryexpect to enjoy in 2011. Are there company- to be representative of your normal market. without damaging the entire year.wide goals, objectives, conditions, restrictions • Because it contains 10 months of data,or other considerations department heads must the year-to-date totals can be converted It’s been said that good managementfactor into their plans for 2011? If so, this to average month reference points at a doesn’t solve problems; it anticipates the time to communicate that before they glance. Your year-to-date P&A sales total Beginnings are fragile times and the strengthbegin crunching numbers. Hint: You can’t of $2,272,412 is easily seen to be a monthly with which your department or dealershipcommunicate expectations until you have average of $227,241, for example. enters 2011 will depend on how aggressivelydeveloped them yourself. you prepare now.If you fail to give your people enough time to By starting now, you enable your team todigest your expectations, you deny them the prepare a draft forecast, share it with each Steve Brazill is the chair of automotiveopportunity to fully apply their talents. other, revise it, meet again, polish and improve marketing for Northwood University, it. Your parts manager can’t plan for next Texas Campus. He can be contacted atOctober is a good month in which to hold year without seeing the service manager’s 866.861.1515, or by e-mail at planning meetings and to forecast, and the service manager can’t plancommunicate expectations to staff. Your for new vehicle inspections and reconditioning10
  6. 6. Hansel Auto Group used inventory turn 100% increase 14 7 Before Before fore Before After After After vAuto vAuto vAuto vAut vAuto vAuto How did we top four generations of success in our used vehicle operations? We applied the power of the vAuto franchise ... the results speak for themselves. — Justin Hansel, Vice President Hansel Auto Group Santa Rosa, CaliforniaBeyond the leading-edge technology. Beyond the exclusive features. Beyond the data-driveninsight. For a select set of dealers nationwide, vAuto has become much more. It has becomeall the power and the privilege of a franchise — refocused on used car operations.License to proprietary software proven to drive profitability. Access to the VelocityManagement™ playbook and coaches. Entrance to a community of like-minded, highlysuccessful dealers. Contact with customers predisposed to buying from you. It’s“the franchise”— reinvented for today’s used car market. vAuto is The Franchise 2.0.Get a live demo today. Visit or call 888-365-1032.
  7. 7. The world of online auto sales is ever-changing and requires the best dealer’s site has to be attractive to draw the customer in and keeptools and partners to succeed. Dealerships need the ability to turn on a them engaged, but it also has to function properly. In other words,dime and make immediate changes to be both reactive and proactive in the interface has to be intuitive and easy to use. We’re able to do thismaximizing the effectiveness of their online marketing. AutoSuccess because everyone at DealerFire is pro-active in their field of expertise.Publisher Susan Givens recently sat down with Eric Hoopman, owner That means keeping up with industry trends, being leaders in researchand founder of DealerFire to discuss how dealers can dominate their and development, and bringing new tools and enhancements to clients inonline world and increase their sales. a timely fashion.AutoSuccess: How did you get started building Web sites? AS: Can you describe some enhancementsEric Hoopman: I started at NetObjects, one of the first Web software that dealers need today?firms and, most famously, the developer of NetObjects Fusion, one of EH: Dealers need the ability to edit and customize their own titlethe most powerful and well-known Web design applications. At the and meta tags. We give our dealers this power using our exclusivetime, NetObjects was an IBM subsidiary, having been acquired by Big Ignite management system. This system is custom-built to giveBlue for an investment of $100 million in 1997. Eventually, it became dealers user-friendly access to the tools they need to manage everyapparent that there was a staggering need for custom Web sites. That aspect of their Web site.led me to strike out on my own with Neleven. AS: What about SEO?AS: What led you to build the DealerFire platform? EH: Dealers need to take SEO very seriously. All of our URLs areEH: Our first client in the automotive marketing industry was from reworked to be 100 percent user and search engine friendly. No oneTexas. While working on that and related projects, it became evident should be using URLs that are hard to understand, much less typejust how difficult it is to properly search engine optimize (SEO) a in. This will help dealers rank higher in search engine results pagestemplate-based site. To address this need, we began work on a custom (SERPs) because both humans and spiders utilize these URLs moreWeb site platform, aiming to provide a better solution for dealers, and effectively. Spiders, for instance, crawl these pages more efficientlyone that would lend itself to bringing much better SEO capability for and index them more accurately, and that helps dealership pagesthe automotive marketing industry. In fact, we’ve been focusing on appear much more consistently in relevant search results — and thatthis industry ever since, aiming to perfect our platform and extend leads to more traffic.our services and capabilities. And it has paid off — we won a 2009Automotive Search Marketing Architecture (ASMA) Award in 2009. AS: What types of hurdles do dealers encounter when trying to track their online marketing? It starts with form and function. A EH: We sometimes run into a situation in which a dealer has worked with us to develop and deploy their site, but uses an ad agency to run their marketing services, like AdWords or PPC. In that situation, a dealer might have trouble installing analytics or conversion tracking code, for example. It is important that dealers have the power to easily place a conversion tracking code or Google Analytics UA code into their site. It should be as easy as copy and paste for the dealer. Once they have pasted the code into the correct place, it takes only a single click to save that configuration and start tracking their site’s performance. Ultimately, we want to make it easy for our clients to get the results they need using our tools, even if they use another provider for some of their business needs. But I want to stress: Our services to clients run through the full gamut of capabilities. We ensure proper use of alt tags, for instance. We host sites in the cloud to maximize site speed and performance. Our sites are engineered to ensure one-click navigation and we provide custom forms and goal tracking — anything a client
  8. 8. needs to make sure their site performs beyond their wildest expectations. everyone is with a customer or unavailable. Support needs to be realAS: The technology sounds formidable; time. We do not do support tickets;how can a dealer stand out? we do personal. I make sure that ourEH: We recognize and focus on design and customization. At customers can call us and speak to someone whenever they wantDealerFire, we are committed to always providing our dealers with without waiting on hold for a long time. If a customer needs a change100 percent custom design for every Web site we build. We understand or tweak to their Web site, they need to be able to simply e-mail whatthat each dealer has unique needs and we recognize the value of a they want to our support team and, in most cases, we respond withinstrong brand in today’s automotive marketplace. Knowing that, we a few hours (although it’s often faster than that). This way, the issuenever use a stock template or a cookie-cutter design. We make sure is addressed and solved as quickly as possible. We then go back eachthat each client’s site is completely customized to their specific need. week or month and see if we can find support requests that are similarWe believe this is crucially important for branding and marketing and then, based upon that data, we will tweak or make changes to thebecause it helps the dealer stick out in the consumer’s mind by being system so that all of our clients can benefit from each other — almostdifferent and having a unique look and feel. like an open-source model. When you send in a support request, you’re really sending in a vote or request for a system change or update. ItWe also focus on providing custom tools and solutions designed works well, and our clients love it because we are constantly updatingto meet specific needs. In one case, a dealer needed to be able to features for them every month.sell vehicles at wholesale or auction within their 20 rooftop groupbefore spending the additional time and manpower sending it to AS: How important is it for dealers to be ablethe auction. We met that dealer’s unique need by building a custom to take some control of their Web sites on theirauction platform, similar to eBay. own, so they can react to market forces more quickly? EH: With an emphasis being placed on dealerships getting properAS: How do you help dealers stay on the cutting edge? SEO for their Web sites, we have listened to what the consumers want;EH: Dealers need a Web site that is fresh and up to date. We do we can now offer end-user meta tags and title tags management rightnot have product development life cycles like most companies. We in the Ignite management system that we provide to our dealers, soapproach our product with a real-time update and support system that that they can tweak their site immediately based on what they see in“rolls with the punches.” This is really what dealers should look for in their selling environment. We empower our dealers to achieve thea provider. The Internet changes at an almost impossible speed to keep success they want by not limiting the availability of specific tools andup with; if we locked ourselves into a 12- or 18-month development functions, as some providers do. We have a very open concept, and wecycle, our clients would get updates that are already outdated or on the love to help our dealers increase ROI in any way possible.verge of being outdated. AS: How do you see this industry evolving?AS: How can dealers keep up with EH: It’s an exciting time for the industry. The automotive world isthe continuously changing online world? evolving and buyers are moving away from nationwide third-partyEH: If there is some ground-breaking change in the way people sites and manufacturer brands. We know buyers first shop online —search or shop online, dealers need to have access to new features but what is coming is a change to where they go online to shop. Moreand new technology as quickly as possible. With access to new tools and more car buyers are bypassing the third-party and manufacturerand technology, dealers can enjoy market advantage and market sites and are going straight to their local dealer’s Web site. For thedominance. We start work on building technology to implement dealer, this means the pressure is on to deploy a fully modern site withchange or to adjust to change immediately. Usually, this results in top-flight SEO and competitive features. If you are a dealer, and yoursome of the fastest turnaround times in the industry for product provider does not offer the types of search engine friendly Web sitesfeatures and enhancements. and customizations you need, you are missing out on a fast-growing market of Internet shoppers.AS: Why is support so important to dealerships?EH: Support in any industry is extremely important, but even more soin automotive sales. The cost of inventory is higher, so the opportunitycost of inventory being inaccurate or incomplete is higher, as well. For more information about Eric Hoopman, founder and ownerDealers don’t want to open a support ticket and wait for someone of DealerFire, contact him at 866.406.8374, or by e-mail atto pass it on to someone else and eventually get a call back when
  9. 9. JoeAbraham leadership solution OPTIMIZE YOUR PART 2 MARKETINGLast month, I started to describe a marketing toward social buying. That has opened S P Aplan that was easy enough to use without the door for marketing companies to C Epaying a consultant all your profits to make now come in and sell “social media U R C V O L Ait work. I call it S.P.A.C.E., a marketing services” (which, in my opinion, is a S C Nfunnel that works for virtually any business total oxymoron). S I TRAFFIC P P O G Eat any time — no consultants needed. The Econcept was a funnel that starts out with your Listen, a dealership that really E E U L N N Itarget audience (“Suspects”) and narrows it understands it’s brand, target audience C C Sdown to people who are ready to talk to you (Suspects) and value proposition does T T T T(“Prospects”). not need to spend countless thousands T of dollars doing what the competitionOnce you have a Prospect, the next step is does. Consumers are going back to make them a first-time buyer — we call They are buying where they feel the most identified your dealership’s biggest fans (askthem “Accounts.” This is a Prospect who has connected and “taken care” of. Focus on your sales team and service writers for help),reached into their pocket and pulled out at that, like the folks at Marquardt Buick and then go to step two.least a dollar to hand you in exchange for a Pontiac in Barrington, IL. They aren’t thevehicle, part or service. This step is less about flashiest dealer in town. They don’t do TV Step two is to profile those Evangelists. Whatmarketing and much more about selling. The commercials or massive colorful ads that do they have in common? What makes themquality, morale and professionalism of your cost a hundred grand. During the heyday of tick? Is there some golden thread you cansales process and salespeople will determine the auto industry, they didn’t rake it in as pull through all of them that starts to show ahow many Prospects turn into Accounts. much as other dealers did. But during this pattern of the type of person who becomes a tight economy, they didn’t lose their shirts, fanatical fan of your dealership?Once you have an Account, the next step is to either. They are still thriving. That is becauseturn that first-time buyer into a repeat buyer. they focused on targeting the right Suspects. I think you see where I am going with thisWe call those “Clients.” I think we can agree Then they used optimized marketing to one....that the result of moving first-time buyers get those Suspects to raise their hand andto Clients is critical, because this is where become Prospects. When that happened, If you do Step two correctly, you will haveprofits really kick in. When you look at the they treated those Prospects well and took the perfect answer to the first question Iamount of money it takes to find Suspects, care of them. Some became Accounts. Most asked you in this article. “Who is the personconvert them to Prospects, go through the Accounts became Clients. A big majority of and situation for which your dealership issales and follow up process to make them Clients also entered the final category in the always the best choice?” The biggest “aha!”an Account — then pay selling costs and S.P.A.C.E. funnel. moments I get to have with business ownerscommissions and cover overhead — we’re and management teams is when we go fullfortunate if we break even on that initial sale. The final category in the funnel is when circle through this process and truly defineThe profits come when that same Account Clients turn into “Evangelists.” I don’t have who they are here to serve.buys again and again and again. to explain this one much, do I? We all know who the Evangelist is. They are our fanatical Do this process within your team and I canSo take a look at your business development fans who can’t stop talking about us. Every assure you that you’ll end up cutting yourengine and ask what systems are in place to business has Evangelists. It’s just that you and marketing spend by 25 percent (or more)move someone from first-time buyer to repeat I just wish we had more of them. Well, there and end up with better-quality leads, happierbuyer without someone “remembering to do it.” is something that you can do about it. Most (and wealthier) salespeople and lots of businesses sit back and wait for Evangelists Evangelist Clients.I do have a bone to pick with marketing to appear. Great businesses like Apple andcompanies that sell dealerships all kinds Google invest in, and build Evangelists. I commend this exercise to you for theof automated marketing machines — from It is part of their strategic plan. There are benefit of your dealership.e-mail autoresponder messaging to direct steps they engage in to make sure a certain Joe Abraham is the founder of the BOSImail and telemarketing. I guess to a certain percentage of Clients turn into Evangelists. Performance Institute. You can contactextent, those things do work. But there him at 866.461.5751, or by e-mail athas got to be something better than that. One simple step you can deploy right now is today are tuning out old-school, to identify who your Evangelists are. Mostin-your-facein your face marketing and moving more don’t dealerships don t really know. Once you have14
  10. 10. DrakeBaerresen leadership solution TUNE UP YOUR TEAM TO TURN UP THE SALES EVENTEvent-oriented advertising is the best way to 1. Get Psyched up a fun spiff or game and, of course, spiffsell a month’s worth of deals in a matter of It is important to get the entire store psyched salespeople on sales. Have both daily spiffsdays. Event sales allow a dealership to turn up for a successful sale. Managers must and a cumulative team spiff based upon thea slow month into a record-breaking gross make their salespeople and the entire staff total units sold goal. The idea is to makeprofit win for the whole store. Effective sales understand and believe in the concept it fun. The more fun you have, the moreevents can drive hundreds of prospective of a sales event and that it is a big deal. excitement your customers will feel and thebuyers to a dealership in a short amount of Everyone in the store must be excited — this more vehicles you will sell. For managers,time, such as a four- or five-day event. When excitement will rub off on the customers. The spiff on gross profit. A daily spiff structurean event is done right, the needle can be perception that the sales event is a big deal that works well is to start the manager’s spiffmoved significantly. can be one of the most influential factors that at an easily attainable gross profit and then make the difference between a sales event increase the spiff with every $5K of grossWhile thousands of run-it-yourself (un- and a great sales event. profit thereafter.staffed) sales events are performed acrossthe United States every week, dealers and 2. Selection! Selection! Selection! 4. Knowing is Half the Battlemanagers often find themselves focusing on Just as “location, location, location” is Effective event advertisements willwhat they are going to do during the event, critical in real estate, selection is of equal dramatically help bring the perception of therather than what we are going to do before importance in retail auto sales. During a sales big sale to prospective buyers. The messagethe event. Not preparing a store and staff event, prospective buyers will be looking and the marketing will bring in the customers.for the event is like a doctor attempting to for a range of vehicles from inexpensive Be sure your people know the message indo surgery without anesthesia — you don’t to high line. Just as customers expect to the marketing. The wonderful once-in-a-want to be on that operating table. There are have 31 flavor choices at Baskin-Robbins, lifetime opportunity the customers feel willfive simple steps that a dealership can take to so should the dealership’s inventory reflect disappear immediately when the salespersonmake their sales event very fruitful. many choices and trim levels. Sales events doesn’t know the details of the sale. Don’t can entail a sizable pull the rug out from under your successful investment to bring sales event. Discuss the marketing with customers onto everyone involved. Be absolutely sure that the lot. Secure your salespeople vigorously study all of the the investment advertisements for your event. Use sales, BDC by having a great and receptionist scripts. Give salespeople the selection of high- opportunity to learn the script and speak it demand vehicles. naturally to the prospective buyer. This way, everything that the prospective buyers sees 3. Put Out an and hears ties in with the sales event. Extra Carrot For salespeople, 5. Communication spiffs are a great Last, but not least, always keep open and inexpensive communication between management way to amp up and salespeople before, during and after the deliveries at the sale. Many problems begin with bad your event. You communication. However, most solutions have already spent begin with open communication. thousands or tens of thousands on Utilizing the preceding steps can drastically marketing. The help tune up your team to turn your sales event marketing will in to a big win. Sales events require energy, bring them in. The excitement and focus. Before the event begins, salespeople will be it is best to alleviate any potential hang ups by the ones to send having a well-prepared dealership. them home in new vehicles. Invest in E-mail or call me for your free copy of our your success with Easy Sales Guide. spiffs. Little spiffs can go a long way. Spiff salespeople Drake Baerresen is the vice-president of on every guest sales and marketing at Turn-Key Events. He that is converted can be contacted at 866.900.7714, or by to a demo. Make e-mail at
  11. 11. JimRadogna leadership solution YOUR CUSTOMER’S PERCEPTION IS REALITYI get it. It’s tough out there. Customer access “If a customer is willing to pay more than the then I find out that the ‘one owner’ was Hertzto information on the Internet continues to ad price, I’m not going to talk him out of it.” Rent-a Car! Why did you lie to me? I stillsqueeze margins. Dealerships are just trying Customer Perception — “It’s ridiculous might have bought another car from you if youto make a buck in a fiercely competitive that you have multiple prices. Why is it that had told me the truth.”marketplace. You have to do whatever it takes you advertise one price on the Internet and ato stay ahead of the competition. different price on the lot? Why must I have “I’ll over-allow on the trade to make them to try to negotiate down to the price that you happy; just close them at this payment.”I also get that some may view compliance as have already advertised? I want a fair deal and Customer Perception — “You told me youunnecessary, overrated, annoying, a waste of don’t want to be treated like an idiot if I fail to would pay off my trade then I found outtime and money, and downright harmful to turn over every rock to find your ‘best’ price.” you added thousands to the price of the car Iprofitability. These are the perceptions and, as bought. I would have sold the car myself if Ithey say, perception is reality. “The only reason we advertise those loss knew you were going to charge me more.” leaders is to get people on the lot. No way amSome employees may be tempted to step I going to sell a car and lose money.” “We need get rid of those grounded demos.”over the line ethically when trying to make a Customer Perception — “I tried to buy a car Customer Perception – “I was told that thedeal. After all, the chances of getting caught at the price you advertised in the paper and car I bought was new and had a full factoryare pretty slim, right? That’s one way of you told me that the ad was a mistake and the warranty. When I asked why it had 7,000looking at it. Another way is to ask yourself real price is higher. I don’t believe that for a miles on it, I was told that the manager drove itwhat’s really more important in the long second.” back and forth to work. Then I found out that arun: flying under the radar or satisfying your good portion of the warranty was used up.”customers? In my view, when it comes to “We need to close the customer at the highestcompliance and ethical behavior, the true payment possible so we can make some money.” “If a customer asks about that painted fender,payoff is customer satisfaction and retention. Customer Perception — “You told me that just say it was key-scratched and repaired.”It really comes down to one simple premise: the service contract and other accessories were Customer Perception – “When I asked you ifYour customer’s perception is the only reality included, but when I read my contract I see the car have ever been in an accident, you saidthat should matter. that you charged me thousands more.” it hadn’t. Then my neighbor, who runs a body shop, checked out the car and told me tells me“We have to advertise aggressively and “This customer is credit-challenged; she’s that it’s been wrecked.”do whatever it takes to drive traffic to the lucky to get approved at all.”dealership.” Customer Perception — “You told me that “Let’s just roll the deal. Once they fall in loveCustomer Perception — “I hate the way the bank wouldn’t finance me unless I pay a with the car and show it to all of their friends,you advertise. Why is it that the deal is never higher price for the car and I buy a service they’ll re-write at a higher payment.”what it seems? Like when you advertise a car contract to ‘protect the loan.’ I’m willing to Customer Perception – “You told me myfor $7,000 and when I get there I find out that pay a higher interest rate, but I don’t think it’s loan was approved, and then you called methe $7,000 is only the up-front payment for fair that I have to pay more for the car, too.” back and told me that I need to put morea pre-paid lease and the residual is $11,000. money down and agree to a higher payment orWhy can’t you just advertise the real price “Your customer’s debt-to-income ratio sucks. you’ll take the car back. I wouldn’t have takenwith no tricks?” We need to give him a raise and hope the bank the car if I knew this was going to happen.” doesn’t stip for income.”“Customers make ridiculously low offers. If Customer Perception — “You lied about my This article is intended as food for thought.we don’t pack the payments they won’t feel like income on the credit application and told me You may agree or disagree. One final thoughtthey got a deal. It’s all part of the game.” not to worry because the bank won’t ask for though: A consumer law firm or attorneyCustomer Perception — I hate that damned proof. What else are you lying about? And general’s perception of the above scenarios“four-square” thing you do! It really tempts what happens if the bank calls me — do you probably wouldn’t be to do something uncivilized with your expect me to lie to them, too? It doesn’t seemgreen sharpie. I didn’t come here for a shell like the right thing to do.”game; I came here to give you the opportunity Jim Radogna is president of Dealerto give me real numbers and perhaps sell me a “That’s the perfect car for your customer. Do Compliance Consultants, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.704.8657, or by e-mailcar. If I didn’t like your car, I wouldn’t be here whatever it takes to send her home in it.” at— why do feel it is necessary to play games Customer Perception — “You told me thatwith me?” the car I bought is a ‘one-owner creampuff,’18
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  13. 13. SeanV.Bradley marketing solution FREE ORGANIC SOCIAL MEDIA SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATIONThat may be a powerful title, but what does time and money invested in social media. dealership in Iowa could be “Ford F150it mean? Well, I am going to give you some I have a totally different spin on social Davenport Iowa.”ideas on how you can acquire, you guessed media. While I acknowledge that there isit, free organic social media search engine value in the “social” aspect of social media • Proper Description — Since many socialoptimization. Let’s break it all down so it (communicating with current customers and media sites allow you the opportunity to addmakes sense. prospects, etc.), another strategy is to use the a description to your content, make sure in various social media sites as incubators for the you start with a hyperlink – http://www.“Free” SEO. Sites like Facebook (the No. 1 visited Be careful, because certainI don’t know about you but if it’s free, it’s site in the world), YouTube, Twitter, Ning, sites, such as YouTube, will not make a site afor me. There are a lot of things that you can Flickr, Tumblr and others get tremendous hyperlink if you don’t use the “http://” that may or may not be successful. There amounts of traffic. Millions of people use Specifically, if you have “www.abcmotors.aren’t a lot of things (technology wise) that these sites, so they get major search engine com” in your description, all you have is youryou can do for free and get massive results relevancy points with the search engines. URL — it might not be a hyperlink, which— that’s why you’re reading this article. So, if you open accounts on these sites and will not count as a back link. properly optimize content, you get multiple“Organic” benefits. First, Google says that part of the • Tags and Meta Tags — Social mediaThis means placement on the search engine’s way they rank sites in relevancy is that if sites allow you to add tags, meta tags, andfirst page in the top-10 listing naturally, other sites that are prominent and get a lot keywords to your content (pictures, videos,without pay per click or search engine of traffic link to your site, that makes your articles, blog posts, etc.) Make sure youmarketing (SEM) campaigns. Why is this site credible and relevant. So, if you have use relevant tags and keywords to whatimportant? Pay per click and SEM (at least signed up for sites like the ones I mentioned you are trying to accomplish. Begin withon Google) do not get as much visibility above and you have hyperlinks from those the end in mind. I recommend that you useas organic search engine optimization. As sites to your dealership’s main Web site (back geo-targeted keywords and tags, franchise,a matter of fact, only about 20 percent of linking), that will increase your dealership’s model, competing brands (not the names ofpeople actually click those pay-per-click ads SEO relevancy. your competitors). There is no problem if youand links. That means 80 percent of people are a Ford dealer and you have a video onare going to skip it and go to the organic Another opportunity that dealers can a F150 that you have in your tags “Chevy,”listing. One reason for this is that people maximize on social media is optimizing all “Chevrolet,” “Silverado,” “Ram,” etc. Youknow and understand what an advertisement content uploaded. This might sound a little can also put descriptions that are relevant likeis. On the other hand, if they search confusing, but it is not that difficult once you “new,” “used,” year of the vehicle, etc.something and the search engine serves up get the hang of it and develop good habits.a Web site or link, then it must be what they When I say optimizing all content uploaded • Consistancy — You must be consistent. Allare looking for — it must be important or to your social media sites, I mean to make of this has to match up. Your title tag, header,relevant. Why else would the Google gods sure that all content (pictures, video, articles, description, keywords and tags all need to bebring forth these answers to the questions blog posts) have: ask if they were not the right ones? • Properly Named Root Files — When you take a video or a picture, you usually have an If you have any questions on this article, or“Social Media Search Engine automatic file name such as “00251.jpg.” You you would like me to show you for free howOptimization” should rename these files to whatever the you can do this for your dealership, pleaseFor a lot of people, this might be the very content is. For example, if there was a picture feel free to either call me or e-mail using thefirst time you heard or read about this phrase. of an F150 for ABC Motors dealership in information below.Social media SEO is a new concept and a Philadelphia. You might want to rename thatdifferent spin on social media. Most dealers picture “Ford_F150_Philadelphia.JPG.”are still struggling to simply understand Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognizedsocial media and having even more difficulty • Proper Title — Make sure the title is training and consulting company intrying to incorporate it into their business. relevant to the content, as well as geo- the automotive industry. He can beThe majority of dealers are not able to targeted with dealership and/or model. For contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail atquantify the opportunity or calculate ROI on example, a picture of a Ford F150 for a