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AutoSuccess Feb09

AutoSuccess Feb09



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

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

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

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    AutoSuccess Feb09 AutoSuccess Feb09 Presentation Transcript

    • Listen to Our Industry Experts at www.AutoSuccessPodcast.com February 2009
    • turn your online inventoryinto Powerful online marketing text "gotext" to 486 9 6 Unlimited inventory distribution to Save time and money by printing your website and online classi eds window stickers & buyers guides Manage all online advertisements Premium VIN Decoding provides the from one centralized location most accurate and consistent vehicle data Customize your vehicle descriptions Maximize “all” of your marketing to inspire mental ownership dollars - Online and Traditional! 877.738.3313 www.homenetinc.com salesteam@homenetinc.com
    • February 2009 every department in your dealership. That means more profit potential for starting as low as Don’t be a stranger Packages Unlimited campaign you initiate... distancing Updating 8 DMS system you will be reaching FOCUS StephenR.Covey customers with every marketing DMS UPDATE yourself from your competition. Create a Compelling Scoreboard 199 address: By having current data in your per month 3834 Taylorsville Rd. YOU CAN’T OVERCOME EVERY OBJECTION 10 TomHopkins Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville Kentucky 40220 12 phone / fax: $ DEALERS EXCEED SALES EXPECTATIONS WITH JimmyPeters UNIQUE STRATEGY 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 web:JUST BECAUSE ‘WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY’ DOESN’T MEAN IT WASN’T A STUPID IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE 14 JohnBrentlinger AutoSuccessOnline.com AutoSuccessPodcast.com 15 SO, YOU ARE DIFFERENT? JohnDobrick team: Susan Givens Publisher 18 WHAT IS YOUR ONLINE STRATEGY sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com JodyDeVere TO REACH WOMEN CAR BUYERS? Thomas Williams www.dmsupdate.com VP & Creative Director REFERRAL SALES MAKE THE WORLD GO AROUND 19 SusanGlandon design@autosuccessonline.com Dave Davis 1-866-702-1566 20 ADDING VALUE TO THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP SeanStapleton Editor and Creative Strategist ddavis@autosuccessonline.com Brian Ankney ONE MONDAY IN NASHVILLE 22 DalePollak Sales-Improvement Strategist super6@autosuccessonline.com 24 RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS John Warner ChipGrueter Sales-Improvement Strategist jwarner@autosuccessonline.com THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE 26 Dr. JohnC.Maxwell general information: info@autosuccessonline.com They should still be your customers. 28 IT’S NOT OVER YET SeanV.Bradley eNewsletter: Internet Sales 20 Group XIV enews@autosuccessonline.com DMS system (such as ADP or R&R) is current, accurate, and in DMS Update automatically insures all of the information in your 30 Is your message reaching them? AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., HERE’S WHAT I’M GOING TO DO... DarrenHaygood Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. How to Get 80 Percent of Your Internet Appointments to Show Up Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or They change email addresses. info@autosuccessonline.com. Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible 31 They change phone numbers. TACTICS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR WEB SITE ‘SING,’ PART 1 ScottWeitzman 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 compliance with the latest government regulations. expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means THE LEADERSHIP RECESSION 32 reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the PaulCummings content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect The Cause - The Effect - The Solutions 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 34 changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess PLAYING WITH KNIVES SteveBrazill Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Your customers move. 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 IS NOW THE TIME TO CUT EXPENSE 36 KevinCunningham interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling IN PARTS AND SERVICE? 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220. THE CHALLENGE TO CHANGE YOUR SALES STAFF’S CULTURE 37 HowardLeavitt12 24 28 helping to support...
    • leadershipsolution StephenR.Covey FOCUS Create a Compelling Scoreboard In prior columns, I’ve talked about the The measures are clear 35% epidemic lack of focus in organizations. This lack of focus results in an “execution gap,” the gap between setting a goal and achieving The measures accurately track progress 32% it. To close the execution gap, organizations must practice four disciplines of execution: The measures are visible and accessible to everyone 35% 1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goal We regularly discuss our performance 2. Create a Compelling Scoreboard on the measures 37% 3. Translate Lofty Goals into Action 4. Hold Everyone Accountable All of the Rewards and consequences are clearly Time based on our performance on the measures 30% In this column, I will explain the second of these disciplines — creating a compelling 25% 50% 75% scoreboard for your goals. key goals. In a recent xQ study, more than should be discussing it all the time. They One of the key principles of effective team 12,000 American workers were asked this should never really take their minds off it. leadership is this: People play differently question: when they’re keeping score. 1. List your “wildly important goals,” Which statements are true about the those your team simply must achieve. Have you ever watched a street game of measures used to track progress toward your 2. Create a scoreboard for each one with some kind — basketball, hockey, football team goals? these elements: —when the players were not keeping score? • The current result (where we are now) • The target result (where we need to be) Players tend to do whatever they want, the Clearly, only about a third of the respondents • The deadline (by when) game stops for a few jokes, and the playing can refer to clear, accurate measures to The scoreboard might take the form is not very focused. But when they start gauge their progress or success on key goals. of a bar graph, a trend line, a pie chart keeping score, things change. There’s a And only about three in 10 believe that or a Gantt chart. Or it might look like new intensity. Huddles happen. Plays are rewards or consequences have anything to a thermometer or a speedometer or a improvised. Players adapt quickly to each do with performance on measurable goals. scale. You decide — but make it visible, new challenge. And the speed and tempo dynamic and accessible. build dramatically. Think of the tremendous motivating power 3. Post the scoreboard and ask people to review it every day, every week, as of the scoreboard. It is an inescapable appropriate. Meet over it, discuss it and The same thing happens in a work team. picture of reality. Strategy depends on it. resolve issues as they come up. Without crystal-clear measures of success, Plans must adapt to it. Timing must adjust members of a work team are never sure to it. Unless you can see the score, your The compelling scoreboard has the effect what the goal truly is. Without measures, strategies and plans are simply abstractions. of keeping score in a street game. All of a the same goal is understood by a hundred So you must build a scoreboard for your sudden, the tempo changes. People work different people in a hundred different ways. team and consistently update it. faster, conversations change, people adapt As a result, team members get off track quickly to new issues. And you get to the doing things that might be urgent but less How to Build a Scoreboard goal precisely and rapidly. important. They work at an uncertain pace. Your task here is to identify key measures Motivation flags. for your team goals and transform them Originally ran in CLO Magazine into a visible, dynamic scoreboard. This That is why the second discipline of scoreboard should make three things Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder of execution is “Creating a Compelling absolutely clear: From what? To what? By FranklinCovey, and is the author of The 7 Scoreboard.” Most work teams have no when? And all team members should be able Habits of Highly Effective People. He can clear measures of success nor do they have to see it and watch it change moment by be contacted at 866.892.6363, or by e- any way to see how they are doing on their moment, day by day, or week by week. They mail at scovey@autosuccessonline.com.08 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution TomHopkins YOU CAN’T OVERCOME EVERY OBJECTION In the business of If the potential client simply cannot meet selling automobiles, the financial requirements of the purchase, you’re bound to hear objections or concerns there is no sale. You’ll be wasting your that interfere with or slow down the sales valuable time continuing to talk with them. process. They range from “I’m just shopping Again, keep the door open by letting them around,” to “We haven’t decided what kind know how much you’d like to help them get of vehicle we want yet,” to “I’m just looking involved with a vehicle, but do not let the today.” When it comes right down to it, most process drag on if you can see clearly that objections or concerns can be addressed or they cannot afford it. overcome through effective selling strategies. You help them tell you their needs and match You can’t come right out and ask if they can those needs to the right vehicle. Usually, it’s afford it or what their credit score is. But just a matter of clarifying information and you can provide them with a dose of reality educating your potential clients. Sometimes about the financial aspects of owning. Your “...keep the door open by it can involve switching gears to another type timing has to be right not to scare them off, letting them know how much of vehicle from what they initially thought but you also don’t want to invest several you’d like to help them get they wanted, but most challenges can be hours of your time with someone who can’t involved with a vehicle, but overcome. possibly make the financial decision. do not let the process drag on if you can see clearly Occasionally, you’ll hear something that is At times, you’ll meet with clients who that they cannot afford it.” more than a concern or objection to your are relatively uneducated about vehicle offering. It’s a condition of the sale. With purchases. They could be young and making or person receiving the referral will some experience, you’ll learn to recognize their first purchase without mom and dad’s appreciate your efforts and, hopefully, send conditions and handle them appropriately. assistance. It could be a spouse who never referrals your way in return. What is a condition? A condition is a valid had anything to do with vehicle purchases in reason for not going ahead or not going the past and now must be the one making the I strongly recommend that you pay attention ahead now. It’s an objection that may be decisions for whatever reason. Once you get to those clients whose needs you can’t difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. them talking about their needs, it could very meet. If you’re seeing similarities in their well be that they aren’t good candidates for a needs, you may want to seek out the best In some cases, the condition may not kill vehicle after all. resource to meet those needs in your area the sale entirely. It may just be impossible to and establish a relationship with the business meet today. If that’s the case, your sale turns If you realize you cannot provide what owner or one of their salespeople to set into one of timing. When can you deliver the these clients are seeking, offer suggestions up a lead exchange. It’s possible they will vehicle with all of the options they need? If as to where they can find the right provide you with a referral fee for clients the client is convinced that your vehicle is product. Always maintain a high level of who end up owning their products. This can right for them, you may simply have to re- professionalism. Try to give them sound be a great way to create a win-win situation sell them on the timing. If their timing and advice as to where or how they can get what for everyone involved. The client gets yours don’t match up, you may have lost they truly need or at the very least what satisfaction. The other company gets a sale the sale, but not the opportunity. If you can’t will temporarily serve their needs until they and you get either remuneration or qualified meet their needs when they need them met, become qualified to take advantage of your leads in return. It’s all in how you choose to at the very least keep the door open for a service. If you know of a good source, refer approach the conditions you will encounter future opportunity to serve their needs. the clients to someone better able to serve in business. their needs. In today’s world, a vehicle is the second World-renowned master sales trainer Tom largest buying decision that most people Sending appropriate referrals to others will Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins make — after the purchase of their home. work in your favor in two ways: First, the International. He can be contacted at So, the most common condition for not clients will remember you as being helpful 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at thopkins@autosuccessonline.com. making large investments is lack of money. and providing good service, even though it That includes having no credit or bad credit. didn’t result in a sale. Second, the company10 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • featuresolution financed. If you make a modest $2,500 per copy, that is $70,000 in gross profit from a single sale. The right list, right message and a happy pre- approved customer make the entire process To far easier at the dealership. Doing a direct To have mail sale the right way will eliminate many of a successful the headaches that plague dealerships. When direct mail campaign, customers come to your dealership, meet a you must start with a great sales person, select a unit, take a test drive, list. You need to target people with go for a service walk, have their car appraised a 625 – 700 credit score with a five year and then finally find out that they can’t get a credit file and at least six trade lines deep. You want loan, they leave unhappy. More importantly, the people who have no derogatory credit in the last six your salesperson feels terrible. He or she just months with at least $2,500 of income per month. The banks will wasted two hours, and the next time they give these people loans. From within this group, select the people might skip a couple of steps and get on the that have an 80 to 95 percent paid auto loan. These people have next one. This is dangerous. Keep your people good trades. The age and source for the list are equally important. positive by driving in the good-credit people Use a quality source like Equifax and be sure to get the list 24 who can drive out in your cars. hours before you mail, so it is fresh. Starting with the right list from the right source is the first step towards a successful direct mail Once your direct mail campaign with the right campaign. message has gone out to right people, you need to know what to do when they start to respond. The message is equally as important as the list. You must use a It is important that everyone in the dealership message that this type of buyer will respond to. Umbrellas, golf is aware of the sale, and knows what to say to Today’s market is balls and free hats will not motivate today’s credit-worthy buyer. customers on the phone, in the showroom and affecting the types You need a strong legitimate reason for credit-worthy buyers to on the Internet. Make sure that every person of customers who want to visit your store rather than your competitor’s. The mail who touches the phone knows what to say respond to traditional piece needs to arrive at the customer’s home in an official- and when a customer inquires about the sale. Work advertising. urgent-looking envelope. This will increase the number of people with your salespeople on the verbiage you Television, radio that view and read the message. Next, you must grab the customer’s would like them to use to describe the sale. Make sure the dealership and the newspaper attention and get them excited and emotional. “Auto Loans Direct and everyone in it are ready for a successful sale. are driving in more from the Bank! This Week Only is Your Chance to Pay What the and more credit- Dealer Owes On Their Vehicles!” This is a new message that the Direct mail sales are still the best way to drive buyers into your store challenged shoppers. customer has not seen hundreds of times, and will create interest. and sell more cars. Anybody can fill your showroom with roaches. JimmyPeters Aren’t you tired of telling people you can’t sell them a car? Why Unfortunately, the Next, grab them and get them more emotional with a $1,000 same market climate shopping spree or other substantial gift. not bring in the customers you can sell? has made the banks unwilling to extend credit to these people without enormous hedge fees. It has become difficult to sell cars Direct the customer to call and get a pre-approval amount. This is Call or e-mail for your free copy of “How to these people, let alone make a fair profit from them. low risk and requires very little time on the customer’s part. Find to Fill Your Showroom with Credit a direct mail partner with a strong BDC to set appointments with Worthy Buyers for under Nine Grand.” These credit-challenged people in need of transportation are these buyers. Even skeptical customers who normally wouldn’t Jimmy Peters is the president of driven to the Internet and show up in your inbox from a third- waste their time driving to the dealership will call and you’ll need Big Time Promotions. He can party lead provider. Where are the people that can buy cars? talented car people on the other end of the phone to drive them into be contacted at 866.850.6926, Your dealership is not a roach motel; stop inviting in only the your store. When they call, they are given the amount they have or by e-mail at roaches. You want shoppers that can buy. Put the bait out for the been pre-approved for, and now they know that they can buy a new jpeters@autosuccessonline.com. good credit buyers — the deals that fund fast with no headaches. car. This is a great feeling. This process will bring more customers to your store and will have them feeling more positive about your The best dealerships have the smarts to know that, if their dealership when they arrive. business isn’t growing and sales are shrinking, then they need to change the way they go after new prospects. For these people Consider this… who seek out and find the sales-building strategies that work in any economy, success is almost guaranteed. If you mail 10,000 mailers to the perfect customers and only 1.5 percent respond by calling to find out what’s going on, that is In this market, it is necessary to select the people who you want 150 perfect customers. Pick the right direct mail partner and their to receive your marketing messages. You can get the people with BDC will set appointments with around 75 percent of your perfect good credit into your store so you can deliver vehicles and make buyers. If only 50 percent of the appointments show up, that’s 112 profits. Direct mail provides you the opportunity to pick only the opportunities. If you deliver 25 percent of them, you will have 28 people that can buy a car today and market only to them. car deals. These buyers are not flipped in their trades and are easily1 12 3
    • leadershipsolution JohnBrentlinger JohnDobrick sales&trainingsolution JUST BECAUSE ‘WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY’ DOESN’T MEAN IT WASN’T SO, YOU ARE A STUPID IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE DIFFERENT? This year is going process. Find out what your salespeople bonuses. The selling business runs on profit, Try this; bring all your • …because of ME that, blah blah blah blah blah.” Remember to be crucial for don’t like about your selling process. Find not on volume. Don’t try to be the biggest; salespeople together • …we’ve been in business for 30 years you are different. Your “unique” message our country, our economy, the automotive out what your customers don’t like about the just be the best. Best products, best service, and ask them the same question that every • …We have the best people should be presented as early as possible; industry and each of us in particular. Anyone selling experience. Ask the tough questions, best salespeople, best process, best at helping single prospect who has ever walked into And so on don’t treat your “unique” message as a in this industry who thinks they can keep and have the guts to listen to the honest your customers and, while you’re at it, learn your dealership has asked —every customer “throw-in” when it has become too late. doing business as usual is simply not paying answers. Then have the courage to change to be the best leader you can possibly be. every time. How close did I get to your sales teams attention. A psychologist once said, “Man the things that salespeople and customers actual responses? Next, how do we deliver our “unique” is the only animal who finds something that don’t like. Step up to the plate and have the Control the urge to be “No. 1.” Stop the What’s the one question? Every customer message? Let’s examine what is probably does not work, and then keeps doing it.” courage to do what needs to be done, to learn bragging, stop the greed, stop the playground ultimately asks, “Why should I buy from Is it reasonable to assume that if we were occurring now: After the “Hi, my name is He could have been talking about the car and grow and change for the better. behavior. You want to be No. 1? Then try you?” Your prospect will probably not to invite the sales staff of your biggest and you are…” introduction, your prospect business. Just because we’ve always done it being No. 1 at home with your spouse and “verbalize” this question, but be certain of competitor to join this conversation, and we is being asked a series of uninvited questions this way doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a stupid Here are some particulars, if you have the your children. They’re the only ones who this: When your prospect decides to “show- were to ask them the very same question, such as: idea in the first place. courage.... count anyway. If you get your approval from up” at your dealership, they are asking “Why what do you suppose their responses would • Are you looking for a new or used your spouse and children, you won’t have to should I buy from you; as opposed to the be? How closely would they simulate your vehicle? Americans love their cars, but they hate the Develop an honest selling experience. If you look for approval from the strangers at work. infinite other options out there?” responses? And, you are different how? • Are you looking for a car, truck or SUV? car buying process. Funny thing, that’s all we have to lie to the salesperson or the customer • What is the car being used for? have to sell: the car and the process. Guess to get a sale, you’re better off not getting the Don’t be a jerk. You may have the power to Here’s the good news! If your sales team will Now, let’s dig a little deeper. Let’s look at • Do you prefer light colors or dark colors? whose fault it is that they do not like the car sale. Tell the truth, every time, about be a jerk, but you never have the right. Treat remember that the “why should I buy from this through the eyes of your prospective buying process? Right, it’s you. You’re the everything, to everyone. Once you are caught your people the way you want to be treated. you” question is being asked 100 percent of customers. We have determined that your Does that sound familiar to you? Guess who reason. Get a grip. Stop the nonsense about in a lie, by salesperson or customer, you have The golden rule has not been suspended for the time, they can build a strategy around salespeople convey the same message as else it sounds familiar to, too? Yes, your building value. They already love the vehicle. no more credibility with either. More sales car dealers and managers. Be a jerk-free this question. If you know what is always your competition. Here is the irony: How prospect. Get off of the insane idea that if you just do are lost by lack of credibility than you can dealership. being asked, doesn’t it make sense to build can everyone be the lowest-priced dealer? what you think is a great presentation, trial imagine. a response that demonstrates preparedness By definition when someone is the lowest, This series of questions make you look close, handle objections, close, close, close, Make your lot user friendly. Many lots are so for this question? Instead of being surprised, there can be only one. So, how can everyone pushy to your prospect. We are asking these lower the price and beg like a trained seal for Develop a sales system which reflects the crowded, no one can get out and look. Make you now can anticipate the question, creating be the lowest priced, have the best service uninvited questions before we’ve earned the sale, you’re selling. That’s not selling, psychological make-up of the customer. your lot, and your dealership, a place where an opportunity to differentiate yourself, your department, the highest CSI, most cars in the right to ask these questions, so let’s give it’s begging. If begging worked, the big three Sell like the customer wants to buy. Cut people want to spend time. Stop spending dealership and your vehicles. The challenge inventory and be the friendliest dealership? something to your prospect first. Provide CEO’s would have gotten the money from out the force, the pressure, the trial closes, so much money trying to get customers to is this: your prospect will not simply ask your your prospect with interesting information Congress the first time. the pushing, just get rid of all the tricks the come to your lot, and spend some on making salesperson the “why should I buy from you” The cold hard truth is this: Through the eyes or additional value. Create a “baby-step” cars business is known for. Learn about it a place they will want to visit. Having question, so it is critical to always remember of the prospect, all dealerships are the same. during your meet and greet. This small tweak We have only two things to sell: the product personality, birth order, ego states. Learn how salespeople rush customers the second they that when the prospective customer shows Let that sink in for a moment. All dealerships should assist your sales team in selling the and the experience. The products we have to a buyer thinks. Learn the difference between get out of their car is not user friendly. Stop up, they are ultimately asking that question. are the same. Need proof? Pick up Sunday’s salesperson, the dealership and the vehicle by sell are the absolute best the industrial world power with people and force over people. Stop pressuring the customer. Start pressuring newspaper and tell me who is unique? providing an additional “value proposition.” has to offer. In America, the vehicles we trying so hard to sell; start helping them buy. yourself to find a better way to treat your OK, so let’s get back to the beginning of Your prospect will understand that, not only drive have no equal. If you want a huge, safe, customers. this discussion; I asked you to bring all your Let’s look specifically at when and how your do you have a quality, competitively priced comfortable SUV, go buy one; there are Stop allowing managers to close sales. Teach salespeople together, so you could ask this: salespeople should deliver your “unique” vehicle, but you also provide this “unique” numerous great ones being made. If you salespeople to sell. Teach them responsibility. This year is going to be a shake out year. When a prospect asks the “why should I buy message. service or that “unique” service, or we also want a tiny, economical gas saver, go buy If a manager has to close sales, then those Those who are willing to learn, grow and from you” question, what is your response? provide you with this or that. one; there are many being made. Americans salespeople are not necessary. If a manager is change will have a good year. Those who When you deliver your “unique” message love the cars America is making. That is not selling, he is not managing. Hire salespeople want to do the same old thing…, well, they Let me take a wild guess at what responses is just as important as the message itself. If I am absolutely certain that it is far easier to the problem. The problem is that Americans and let them sell. There is no commission on will get the same old thing. If you want your salespeople are currently using with you are like most dealerships it is probably continue down the current “road,” and keep do not like the way cars are being sold. managing, only on selling. A sales manager different results, you’re going to have to do your potential customers: “You should buy being regurgitated as the customer is walking your meet and greet status “just like everyone And so we have two opportunities here: the who cannot/will not teach his people to sell is something differently. from us because…” we have the… out the door, and you get to recite it to the else.” I challenge you to be unique, and opportunity to change, and the opportunity to not a sales manager. • …we have the best price back of your prospect’s head. It may look dictate how your market will proceed — with get into another line of work. John Brentlinger is a sales and • …we have the best selection like this: “Mr. and Mrs. Customer, before you leading the way. Stop the volume bonuses. Profit is sanity, management trainer, executive coach • …we have the highest customer you leave please keep in mind that we are the This article is personal. Please take it that volume is vanity. If you teach salespeople to and author. He can be contacted satisfaction volume leader for a reason, we provide the at 866.859.6504, or by e-mail at John Dobrick is the president of way. Nothing will change at your dealership help the buyer get what they want, need and • …we have the best service department highest level of customer satisfaction and we FOCUS Growth. He can be contacted at jbrentlinger@autosuccessonline.com. until you do. Stop trying to over-explain will pay for, you’ll make a profit on every • …we have the friendliest staff are confident that you will not find a lower 866.490.5672, or by e-mail at the product and start inspecting the selling sale, and your salespeople won’t need the • …we have the best location priced vehicle anywhere, and in addition to jdobrick@autosuccessonline.com.1 14 5 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • sales&trainingsolution JodyDeVere SusanGlandon sales&trainingsolution WHAT IS YOUR ONLINE REFERRAL SALES STRATEGY TO REACH MAKE THE WORLD WOMEN CAR BUYERS? GO AROUND The advent of the 1. Integrate the Message 4. Focus on Relationships Referrals are the economy hits the skids, and the walk-ins dry Internet has enabled Make sure the woman-friendly message Create relationships with your women salespersons not-so- up. They are just not sure what to do next. women to find the resources and information is consistent across your brand, from the customers by providing information and secret weapon. And it doesn’t just apply to They are not good prospectors, or hunters. they need to take charge of their own showroom to the service drive, your Web site content on your Web sites and in your our industry. It doesn’t occur to the reluctant salesperson finances and buying decisions, and give and your Internet sales department. Signal marketing programs designed specifically that there may be a way to keep business voice to their needs and preferences. to women in your marketing and advertising for women. Set up a two-way approach, No matter what your field, your business coming. They have listened to too much you are thinking about them and their needs answering her questions, speaking her can thrive by paying attention and putting a negativity. The stream has dried up, period. With this rising tide of the economic power and are striving to win their business. language and listening to her needs. Provide fraction of your time every week into your The advertising industry, a huge industry by of women, car dealerships and automotive content that interests women consumers favorable word-of-mouth advertising from any estimation, understands and capitalizes retailers need to devote time, resources and 2. Polish the Approach — car seat safety, crash test ratings, car care your current customers. on this concept, and they charge accordingly. budget to gain a larger share of this huge Treat and picture women as capable and tips and so forth. You can advertise your way into getting market. professional in your online marketing and When I hear, “I need a new car,” I have the more customers, but there are no guarantees, advertising efforts. Society recognizes many If 51 percent of car buyers are women and By 2010, women are expected to control opportunity to say, “You should see Gary you are going to pay and there is no way to valid roles for women, but this isn’t always 85 percent of all vehicle purchases are $1 trillion, or 60 percent of the country’s reflected in ads — seldom are women shown Smith, at Hyundai of Decatur.” Why? “He truly track it. influenced by women, what percent of your treats his customers well, and you will get wealth, according to research conducted by in work settings, business roles or positions marketing and advertising budget are you BusinessWeek and Gallup. of authority. Use real women rather than the a good deal.” That’s a fact, and I also know Running a strong, inexpensive referral willing to devote to attract, sell, retain and he has a great referral program in place to program, and paying your customers rewards runway model as the benchmark for these increase loyalty with this majority of the Women purchase more than 50 percent of graphic depictions of women. reward me for every person I send his way for business sent in, is much more cost American auto-buying market? who buys a vehicle. Is this good business on effective, trackable and buildable. Running a all new cars, and in some brands up to 62 percent. They purchase 48 percent of all used 3. Emphasize Information his end? Absolutely. His referral program strong referral program is also fundamental cars and 40 percent of all new trucks. Having a blog that provides information Jody DeVere is the CEO and president of is posted on the front page of his Web site, to ensuring a salesperson’s or business’s about your dealership, employees, events, AskPatty.com. She can be contacted at and is right there for anyone to join. Gary continued success, both in good times and Here are the basic steps and tools you will special offers tips and community activities 866.849.9973, or by e-mail at jdevere@autosuccessonline.com. has a successful referral program, and one bad. Salespeople who are taught the basics need in order to market effectively to women, will help women learn more about how who reason it is successful is that it is organized, of referral selling, including those that would gain their trust and, in turn, their business. you are and how you can serve her needs. trackable and he can market to his clients. have dried up otherwise in tough times, will He now knows that he gets 25 to 30 percent make it in good times and bad. They will be of his business through his referral program. doing repeat and referral business, and their customers are walking into the dealerships When I started in the business I was a green and asking for them. Even the “reluctant” pea. I had some retail experience, and a salesperson thrives with the proper tools. A degree in communications. My dealer loved good referral sales tool has the built-in steps me, and recognized that women brought a to success, and is user friendly. When the little something different to the car business. business owner and the salespeople make up I didn’t disappoint him, either. I sold a new their mind to take the extra steps necessary, Toyota my first day at work. Instead of and be proactive in their daily work life, letting me rest on my accomplishment, he setting a habit of increasing their sales told me to go back and ask my customers with the assistance of their already happy for the names and numbers of three friends customers, they will increase their business or relatives that might be in the market for a by 30 percent or more. And that 30 percent new or used car. He was a smart man, and he in today’s market can mean the difference knew the importance of referrals. between success and failure. Who else is served by having an organized Take the time to ask yourself how your referral program? The person I call “the current referral program works. Is 30 reluctant salesperson.” You may know one percent of your business coming to you of these awesome people. They make up a from your current customers? Do your large majority of the sales forces nationwide, current customers know you will reward and are sometimes the sales managers! them if they send business your way? Are Reluctant salespeople often possess you tracking, organizing and managing your excellent people/communication skills. Their referral business? If the answer to any of personalities predispose them to sales, and these is “no,” subtract at least $30k a month they make excellent salespeople, especially from your possible income. during times of prosperity and demand. They are good with clients, and clients are usually pleased with them. Even the Susan Glandon is the national sales reluctant salesperson wants to be a success and marketing director for The Bird Dog in the sales process, and wants to please his Club and Prospector’s Club. She can be or her client. Where does the “reluctant” contacted at 866.618.8561, or by e-mail at part fit, you may ask? Well, the reluctant sglandon@autosuccessonline.com.1 part appears when times are tough, the 18 9 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • sales&trainingsolution SeanStapleton ADDING VALUE TO THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP The future of the You have to ask if your current marketing such as new categories have to be added auto industry is being messages are cost effective. Are they better such as “high-mileage units” to the redefined and dealerships need to change than your competition’s? Do they make a segmentation. Last year, that category could their business model to be successful and significant contribution toward your growth have meant 99,000-mile units; now it might profitable going forward. One of the first targets? Are you managing your customers have to be changed to accommodate those things dealerships can do to be successful in a physical customer lifecycle? If you customers keeping units to 150,000 miles. is to recognize the value of their current answered these questions with a “yes,” customer database. Stats show the average you are probably doing your direct mail We have to utilize the marketing dealership only retains approximately 50 properly, which means your costs justify segmentation to easily and effectively percent of the customers that purchase the returns. But in some cases you could be optimize a dealer’s marketing and vehicles from them. In the current economic doing better with greater targeting. messaging. We need to create as many environment, customers will be keeping category segmentations as makes sense. their vehicles for a longer period of time. Let’s take a practical approach to data And when creating these categories, it’s This presents an opportunity for dealerships segmentation. Take all the data and important to understand that there will be to get to know your customers better than information we know about our customers overlaps between segments and in some ever before, understand their needs and and then ensure it is clean, accurate, and cases the overlaps will be better than others. deliver relevant messages to each customer relevant so when we are going to spend at the right time via the right channel. money to get a message to a customer we We want to use the segmentation to can actually deliver it to the right person. understand where the highest probability Data segmentation will significantly increase of an action is going to occur. Marketing’s your marketing effort’s effectiveness and, Then we need to develop a practical job isn’t to sell cars; marketing’s job is at the same time, reduce your marketing implementable segmentation strategy that to create desire, want, need or follow-up. expense. Programs like that are called helps to put your customers into easily The performance of the segmentation is marketing segmentation made easy. This identifiable categories. Next, we need automatically identified by the technology. creates a scientific empirical approach to to make our data segmentation policies Good data segmentation polices should marketing which allows you to experiment, available to run against the data we have clearly understand what the goals are, measure and improve using a statistically seen in the past. In other words, a dealer what the customers’ historical behavior has sound evidence-based approach. creates a category of “lost soul” and sets it been in the past, and help understanding for a seven-month interval. When looking that the tighter the segmentations we get, Dealers need to ask themselves some at the data, however, the dealer sees that the parameters become tighter and the questions: customers driving the Honda’s aren’t constituents of each segmentation become 1. Do you want to segment your data so returning for eight months, or the oil change smaller but the results should become that you can sell the right products to the intervals are far longer. They are now greater. So where you the dealer used to right to the right target through the right doing themselves a disservice because they send out 10,000 direct mail pieces to sell 20 channel at the right time for the right cost? have built the category wrong. You have cars, with good data segmentation we should 2. Does your current response rate for your to look at the historical data to create the be able to send out 2,000 direct mail pieces current direct mail or e-mails fall below right baseline. This may show the average to sell the same 20 cars. the one percent mark? customer comes back 2.4 times per year to 3. Are your conversion rates less than three their store. So even with data segmentation, Let me highlight at this point the importance percent? you can’t make the assumption you can of feedback. All the customer attributes move it to six times per year; we need to should be manageable, measurable and fit Response rates will vary by media, and so be realistic. It is also important to make into segmentation. If you have attributes that do costs. Most people in the past have taken sure that segmentation policies make sense. don’t fit a segment, you should probably the approach of “pray and spray,” which was We have to watch to see if the trends in the create another one. basically to send out a lot of mail pieces and industry are changing the probability of the pray you get a return to justify the cost. This customer responses. For example, today in Sometimes segmentation is not practical strategy no longer pays. this economy, people are buying cars less because the data is not accurate. Maybe an e- often. Historically customers might have mail is missing, a ZIP code is mistyped and traded their vehicle in at 75,000 miles, the customer you thought was 15 miles away but now they are keeping it for 150,000 is actually 100 miles away, or the address miles. That means there are new is wrong because the customer moved. In opportunities and these cases it is critical for your dealership “ALL to work with a company who specializes in S THE challenges, HO CUS these marketing programs and data cleansing MEAULD BE M OMER T before initiating your marketing campaigns. SUR AN ATTR SEG MENABLE ANAGEABL IBUTES Sean Stapleton is the executive vice ATTR TATI D FI E, SEG IBUTES ON. IF YT INTO president of business development at M T Visible Customer. He can be contacted at PRO ENT, Y HAT DO OU HAV 866.406.6337, or by e-mail at BAB O N ANO LY C U SHO ʼT FIT AE sstapleton@autosuccessonline.com. THER REATE ULD2 ONE0 .” www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution DalePollak ONE MONDAY IN NASHVILLE Once again, I am What they knew was the fact that Ford had going to go out on a approximately 80,000 more similar vehicles limb and state that the way the majority of to be liquidated over the next few months. our industry puts a value on a used vehicle Moreover, they knew that the current market is ineffective and outdated. Although I have supply of the auctioned vehicles was well sensed it for a long time, an experience in excess of 100 days. Specifically, on that at the Nashville Auction this past January Monday, ’08 Ford Explorer XLTs had an “...they had saved themselves crystallized my understanding. On Monday, average retail market value of $17,180 and approximately $50,000 by not January 5, Ford’s Closed Sale in Nashville 124 days supply in the Midwest. (In other drew a bustling crowd of eager buyers. words, if no other similar vehicle entered having purchased truckloads Amidst the herd was a small group of the the market, at the present sales rate it would of vehicles.” enlightened — a special group that marched take 124 days for the market to be depleted the vehicle if the cost was around $14,400. to a different drummer. of ’08 Ford Explorer XLTs.) Unknowingly, Moreover, they knew how many identically the herd had just purchased vehicles that, equipped competing vehicles were currently As the chilly January morning progressed, after fees, transportation and reconditioning, available in their market and the rate at vehicle after vehicle was bid up to a level would have to be retailed for well-above which they were being retailed. This is why not seen for several months. While the herd current average retail market prices. it was abundantly clear to them that the herd eagerly outbid one another, a contrarian mentality was not for them to follow. few stood silently by, exchanging glances This scenario would have been very of disbelief. One after the other, ’08 Ford different if there was only a current market Two days later, several of the same few Explorer XLTs escalated in value as the supply of 30 days versus 124 and/or the reappeared in Nashville — minus the herd bell rang regularly with values in the upper current average retail value was $1,000 — for the Open Sale. On that day, they $15,000 level. As soon as one achieved a higher, but no such luck. The few knew what scored truckloads of vehicles, including ’08 new level, the next one brought even more. the herd did not and agreed that they had Ford Explorer XLTs for as little as $14,400. This frenzy continued well into the late saved themselves approximately $50,000 by Granted, it took an extra two days for the afternoon. not having purchased truckloads of vehicles. herd to clear and for the rationality of the Moreover, they agreed that just a year prior efficient market buyers to return. But it did. When the auction began to clear, the they would have behaved just like one of the few congregated to reflect on what had herd buyers. My conclusion is that the wholesale market transpired. Among this small group, it was is no longer relevant in determining the well understood that the wholesale prices That day, what the few understood was a proper price to pay for a retail unit. Prior paid throughout the day were considerably new and better way of determining a retail to the Internet, when consumers could not over existing retail values after considering vehicle’s fair wholesale market value. They properly access a vehicle’s value, what fees, transportation, reconditioning and used a formula based on their understanding they paid at retail was most often driven by profit. So what happened on that Monday in of the efficient market and the principles what the dealers paid at wholesale. Today, Nashville? of velocity supported by using live retail however, the tables have turned. Consumers market data. Before they showed up in can readily identify those vehicles that Upon analysis, the traditional herd had Nashville, they already knew the average are overpriced. Consequently, if you can been set loose from their dealerships with retail market value for every vehicle that determine a price for a vehicle that is highly instructions to “get cars,” because during they intended to purchase. To calculate fair competitive and subtract cost and desired the prior four weeks the auctions had been wholesale market value, they took these profit, that will represent the only viable largely shuttered by the holidays, with retail values and deducted their anticipated wholesale purchase price if your goal is to the used car managers splitting their time fees, transportation and reconditioning make money in the retail market. between year-end clearance sales and family costs as well as their expected profit. For celebrations. Monday was the day to get example, if they knew that an ‘08 Ford Dale Pollak is an author and the founder back to work and restock the lot. In another Explorer XLT’s average retail value was of vAuto. He can be contacted at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at era, what happened that Monday may have $17,180 with fees of $500, reconditioning dpollak@autosuccessonline.com. just gone unnoticed, but the few knew of $800 and desired profit of $1,500, they something that the herd did not. knew they would only be willing to purchase22 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • marketingsolution ChipGrueter RESPONDING TO Encourage Positive Reviews customer service. On days when a dealership To show the review Web site community has not met their service goals and a other examples of situations where your customer’s unsatisfactory experience is NEGATIVE REVIEWS team executed good customer service, shared on a public review site, the outcome encourage all of your customers to write can be controlled. With a well-planned reviews. Train sales and service members to Negative Review Response Strategy, the make this request in face-to-face meetings unhappy customer can be won back and No one wants to are motivated to share their unsatisfactory review Web sites, you can still manage your and e-mail communication. The best way your dealership’s positive online reputation hear that they have experience with others because they feel online reputation and control the outcome of to show that the negative review was not preserved. unhappy customers. Service is subjective, their situation was either not resolved at the the situation. The following suggestions are typical for your dealership is to have as however, and businesses will always have to dealership or the problem was not escalated to help you create a comprehensive Negative many satisfied customers as possible share Chip Grueter is the president of deal with negative feedback. to the highest-level decision maker. Review Response Strategy. their positive experiences. DealerRater.com. He may be contacted at 866.618.8572, or by e-mail at In most circumstances, unhappy customers Even though feedback is public now through First, Determine Who Responds Control the Message Every business strives to provide the best cgrueter@autosuccessonline.com. Designate a response manager within your Even the best laid plans for a successful dealership. This person will receive all response can be marred if the message or negative review postings directly from the dialogue with the customer goes astray. review Web sites or through search engine The customer is looking for validation, and alert services. This manager will determine possibly the opportunity to have the situation who should respond to each review. resolved. Next, Decide How You Will Respond Coordinate a message for the response There are three strategies you can employ to manager or team. In some cases, you may respond to negative reviews. create templates or scripts for the responder to use to ensure that specific customer 1. Be Silent service points are communicated. You may decide that your dealership will not respond to disgruntled customers. The goal Respond in a timely manner to the posted of this strategy is to curb negative dialog. review, but allow yourself time to respond The risk of not engaging the customer is that appropriately with a cool head and calm he or she may interpret your silence as a lack demeanor. of concern for the situation. Your team may miss an opportunity to correct the source of As you read the review and prepare your dissatisfaction or to win back this customer’s reply, identify the main areas of customer loyalty. concern. In your communication, identify the issues the reviewer noted and your 2. Review Site Responses response action plan. Accept responsibility Most review Web sites allow dealerships and acknowledge how the dealership could to write a response to both a positive or have done better to meet the needs of the negative review. By responding thoughtfully, customer. Discuss how the dealership will you show both the reviewer and the Web site use this feedback to improve the business’ community that you are concerned, that you customer service practices. Be sure to are taking steps to correct the situation, and follow the review Web site’s terms of use are willing to accept feedback to better your agreement when writing your reply. business practices. The risk is limited to the message you convey. Respect the Reviewer The reviewer may feel satisfied that they 3. Direct Contact with the Customer were able to vent their frustrations through Some review Web sites offer services that their review. If the reviewer does not wish to allow you to contact the reviewer directly or engage in further contact, your team should privately through the site. The benefit of this respect the reviewers’ decision and end conversation is that you have the opportunity communication. to work with the customer to resolve their issues. As in the review site response Request that the Reviewer Update strategy, the risk is limited to the message the Review you convey. If you have worked with the customer to turn the situation around and they are now These three plans each offer benefits and satisfied, you may remind the reviewer risks. It is best to determine which strategy of their opportunity to update their rating is not only right for your business, but also review. Most review Web sites provide a in line with both your corporate culture and feature so the reviewer may log onto their the policies you adhere to when you receive site account and edit their comments. The unsatisfactory feedback from traditional original posting may still appear on the site, channels. Should you choose a proactive but readers will be encouraged to see the2 approach of engaging the customer, read on. subsequent actions and positive outcome. 24 5 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • leadershipsolution Dr. JohnC.Maxwell THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE The history of Henry For so long, Henry Ford had focused on have made in your life, and your personal Ford and the Model moving from inefficiency to efficiency that feelings toward them. It’s painful because T illustrates a fundamental truth about he refused to move in the opposite direction they may not understand why you’ve drifted leadership: Leaders never outgrow the need — from efficiency to inefficiency — even away from them. It’s painful all the way to change. when doing so would have been wise and around, but remember: Unless you are profitable. Ford’s genius in sparking change willing to endure these pains, your own On his way to dominating the automotive had catapulted him to the pinnacle of growth as a leader will be limited. Leaders market with the Model T, Henry Ford American commerce, but later, his inability only grow to the threshold of their pain. embodied innovation and progress. By to change cost him dearly. pioneering the assembly line, Ford slashed The Weight of Responsibility the amount of time needed to manufacture In this article, I’d like to overview the When we’re young, leadership has an an automobile. He installed large conveyor central challenges faced by leaders when idealistic appeal. We yearn to be in charge belts in his factory, allowing workers to stay they try to make changes in their lives. In and out front, making the decisions. in one place rather than roaming around the doing so, I have drawn upon the wisdom of However, the reality of leadership involves factory floor. He also shortened the workday my friend, Sam Chand, author of the book the heavy burden of responsibility. Missteps of his employees from nine hours to eight LADDERShifts, and a prominent thinker in by a leader can affect people’s livelihoods or hours so that his factories could operate the field of leadership and change. an organization’s sustainability. The fear of around the clock. getting it wrong can paralyze a leader. Critics The efficiencies Ford introduced allowed Along the journey of leadership, you’ll meet If we, as leaders, want to make significant cars to be manufactured at a fraction of all sorts of people, and I guarantee you’ll changes in our dealerships to increase our their previous costs. In under a decade, bump into a few critics. Early in my career, impact, then we must be willing to shoulder automobiles went from being luxuries I didn’t know how to handle disapproval, progressively greater loads. Although added affordable only to the wealthiest Americans and I bent over backward to keep everyone responsibility gives us a greater opportunity to being standard possessions of the average happy. In spite of my best efforts, I failed. to exercise leadership, it also magnifies American family. Ford profited handily from Some of my people still didn’t like me. the consequences of our mistakes. To be a the popularity of the Model T, and Ford change agent, a leader must be willing to Motor Company grew into an empire. Trying to appease everybody invites trouble. take ownership of key projects and pivotal Appeasers end up being average because decisions. However, the dominance of Ford Motor they always gravitate to the middle of the Company was short-lived. As competitors road. They’re afraid to make waves, and Personal Inadequacies changed their operations to copy Ford’s therefore, they avoid changes. My leadership As we grow in our leadership, we advance concepts mass production, Henry Ford made began to take flight when I allowed myself into uncharted territory — areas beyond a tremendous leadership blunder. With cars to press people to change — whether they our comfort zones. Such occasions give us rolling off assembly lines like never before, thanked me or cursed me. growing pains by confronting us with our consumers began to demand a variety of inadequacies. Our wisdom fails to solve colors. However, Ford stubbornly refused, People You Have Outgrown a problem, or we stumble into a situation uttering the famous line, “The customer As we climb the levels of leadership, we requiring more wisdom than we possess. can have any color he wants so long as it’s come to the sad realization that most people black.” aren’t committed to personal growth. Facing our limitations can be daunting. At Members of our inner circle quit when times, we’d rather stick to familiar roads In Ford’s mind, producing multiple colors the journey gets hard. If we are to change than blaze a new trail and risk failure. was foolhardy since black paint dried the ourselves for the better, then we need to Ultimately, pushing our personal boundaries fastest and could be used most efficiently. change the company we keep. is the surest way to grow, improve, and Amazingly, Ford did not comprehend the expand the scope of our influence. human preference for variety. Customers Eventually, we must change our flocked en masse to other producers who relationships by disengaging from the John C. Maxwell is an internationally catered to their color preferences, and Ford people we’ve outgrown. Disassociating from recognized leadership expert, speaker Motor Company never regained its grip on colleagues can be especially painful given and author. To learn more about or to the market. your history together, the contributions they contact him, visit www.johnmaxwell.com.26 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution SeanV.Bradley IT’S NOT OVER YET! Internet Sales 20 Group XIV Over 50,000 Dealers and Managers in 28 Countries Have Been Trained by Just about everyone was the first time that they heard about these a mission to build, fix or really grow their looks forward to video strategies, practices and technologies. Internet programs. the NADA Convention and Exposition — dealers, vendors and affiliates in the industry. I personally spoke to hundreds of dealers in I had such a wonderful time in New Orleans. As a matter of fact, people come from all the last couple of days and all of them were Katrina devastated this beautiful city not too over the world to be a part of it. But this past hopeful, positive and excited about 2009. long ago. I have always loved the beauty year, we have seen a lot of doom and gloom There was a general consensus that the last of this historic city, I’ve always supported in our industry. People were speculating as quarter of 2008 was difficult, but January it, and I’m glad NADA returned to the Big too how many dealers would attend, and business has picked up dramatically. The Easy this year. TIM DEESE would there continue to be value in the other trend that I noticed is that this was the CEO event. To be honest, I wasn’t sure myself. first year that so many dealers were grasping It was truly an amazing show. It was my first As an official NADA speaker, I was excited this “Internet thing.” In the past, these year as a NADA workshop speaker. I met We have a solid understanding of the problems you face. Let us provide for the opportunity, but but concerned there dealers knew that the Internet was important, up with old friends, met new friends, and might not be a full room of dealers there. but never executed a strategy to reap the got to network with some enthusiastic and you with the solutions to these problems. As an exhibitor, I was disenchanted at the benefits. This year, it seems dealers were on optimistic dealers and Internet professionals. prospect that I might not have traffic at our Used Vehicle Management Workshop booth, and as a consultant, I was concerned The icing on the cake was sitting in almost about the possibility that dealers might not “This year’s attendees the front row of the keynote presentation Action plan for maximizing your Used and New ROI get the information they need to persevere were on a mission, by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Used Car product knowledge for sales people through these turbulent times. trying to find out what Bill Clinton, and hearing them speak to a N/C market share is directly affected by UIC appraisals and trades. crowd thirsty for inspiration and leadership. When, where and how mechanical and cosmetic reconditioning should be done. I have to tell you that NADA 2009 was to do to not only Their insights, dynamic personalities and amazing. Yes, there were fewer attendees make it through these candor were really appreciated by the entire Monthly Used Vehicle Monitoring at the show, but those who did attend were audience. * How many cars should you appraise? serious about their dealerships and focused times but to absolutely * How much should you spend on reconditioning? on keeping some momentum going for their flourish and dominate.” So, it’s not over; the dealership world is not * How do you compare with your market? 20 Group stores. They weren’t there for the VIP parties going to implode. Dealers will persevere. or free swag. This year’s attendees were on You have to think positively and not give * Are you missing 30% to 45% of your possible retail deals? a mission, trying to find out what to do to up. More importantly please do not think Manufacturer Programs Speaking not only make it through these times but to that things are just going to get better by absolutely flourish and dominate. themselves. You are going to have to be * Worked with 18 manufacturers in 28 countries world wide Engagements proactive, create a plan and execute that * Get your dealers to be the most aggressive in conquest trading As a matter of fact, I had great attendance plan; waiting for divine intervention is not * Assist your dealers in being more profitable Available at my workshops all four days of the show. an option. * Corporate field personnel trained to understand the direct link I had dealers from all over the U.S., as well of increasing new car market share by conquest trade-ins as from South Africa, Australia, Holland, * Customized training to meet your requirements and your people Italy, France and Canada. These dealers Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized * The most cost effective training for manufacturer and dealer. were thirsty for knowledge about automotive training and consulting company in Internet sales and BDC. It was an amazing thing to see these dealers truly on the edge of the automotive industry. He can be In House Training and In House Follow- Up contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at Can’t come to us WE’LL COME TO YOU their seats for this information; for most, this sbradley@autosuccessonline.com. We will visit your stores with on going training Install and train your personnel in all facets of the used car department Work with and improve departmental processes to increase your ROI Decrease your inventory and improve your appraisal to trade ratio Drain your water without you taking a bath P.O. Box 922, Orange Park, FL 32073 (904) 264-7408, FAX (904) 264-7409 Visit our WEB PAGE www.probac.com or just email us: pbasics@aol.com28 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution DarrenHaygood ScottWeitzman marketingsolution HERE’S WHAT I’M TACTICS THAT WILL MAKE GOING TO DO... YOUR WEB SITE ‘SING,’ PART 1 How to Get 80 Percent of Your Internet Appointments to Show Up In the never-ending and start setting Never before have vehicle shoppers value the research section Next month, we’ll take a look at other ways quest for phone skills appointments for consumers been able of a dealership Web site twice as much as to make your site “sing” to your customers. supremacy, the most common challenge specific times like to access so much data in such a short period the ability to request a price quote. When dealers and sales consultants face is how to “11:20” or “4:50.” I of time, all from a mind-boggling amount of you offer rich content at your Web site, you get more appointments to show up. always suggest using resources available on the World Wide Web “show” consumers how perfect that car Scott Weitzman is vice president of business development for eVox “odd” times — it — resources that aggressively compete for is versus “telling” them how perfect it is Images. He can be contacted at Ever have a salesperson or BDC manager gives more validity online user attention. — a great way to create an emotional bond 866.618.9004, or by e-mail at say, “I’ve got a bunch of appointments for to the specific between your customers and your products. sweitzman@autosuccessonline.com. today, Boss,” but then only a handful of appointment time. Today, dealers need to focus on making them actually show up? their Web sites “sing” in order to brand their Secondly, and businesses, generate new customers, retain In today’s challenging market, it’s more this is the key, we prior customers and sell more cars. Here are important now than ever to capitalize on need to create an some of the most important things dealers every single sales opportunity. Dealers “action step” for the should keep in mind when it comes to Web around the country are reducing their customer. site optimization. advertising expense and placing more of an emphasis on generating quality Once you close the appointment, give the And, it’s important you instruct your Keep it Simple appointments, either from the Internet, customer an “action step” to build value into customer to print out the e-mail and bring Keep your Web site simple, clean, easy to customer database marketing or service the appointment. Don’t give the customer it in with them. Tell the customer that with understand and easy to navigate. Be sure referrals. So, how can we ensure that a high what I like to call “homework” by giving the e-mail “they’ll bring you straight to my pertinent information is readily accessible percentage of these appointments actually them directions over the phone, telling office when you arrive. Plus, it will keep from the home page and do not bury vital show up? them to write down your name and number, you from being attacked by all the sharks areas deep within irrelevant pages of your instructing them to “ask for you” when they circling out front when you get here.” site. Optimize images so they download To make an immediate change, we must arrive. quickly and keep your navigation simple. understand that it’s not the customer’s fault; This step sets the expectation that A leading cause of Web site abandonment it’s ours. Instead, start the “action step” by stating, the process for your customers with is user frustration and a leading cause of “OK, here’s what I’m going to do….” Then, appointments will be different. Give the user frustration is confusing navigation. A Does this sound familiar? “OK, Mr. outline for the customer what’s going to customer an incentive, and you’ll be amazed good-looking, well-organized site — one Customer, I’ve got you down for Saturday happen. at how many more customers will show up that loads quickly and functions simply — is morning. Now, if anything should come up on time, carrying printouts of the e-mail you always your best bet. or if you need to reschedule, just give me a For example: “I’m going to send you an sent them. call and let me know. I’ll be here all day on appointment confirmation e-mail right now, Focus on Content Saturday.” with my name, my contact info, and brief So remember, when you’ve achieved your When it comes to a successful Web site, directions on how to get to our store. In goal and actually set an appointment, content is king. It sounds innocent enough and even polite, that e-mail are two very important things. celebrate that success by creating an “action but we’re giving the customer the go-ahead First, it includes your personal ID number. step” for your customer. Start with the basics by making your to be late or not even show at all. We might That number entitles you to all the benefits Web site an extension of your traditional as well say, “Mr. Customer, I really don’t of working directly through me in my “OK, Mr. Customer, I’ve got you down for business in both style and content. Offer care if you show up or not and it’s perfectly department. Secondly, it includes a link to 3:40, tomorrow afternoon. Now, here’s what listings of your inventory, complete with OK with me if you cancel.” our online pre-approval form. I strongly I’m going to do….” high-quality pictures, standard features suggest all my clients go ahead and fill out and optional equipment information and If you want more than 75 percent of your that form. It allows me to have most of the Happy Selling! pricing, and keep those listings updated as appointments to show up, try these two paperwork already started, prior to your frequently as possible. Be sure to update simple things: arrival.” special promotions information, too. Engage Darren Haygood is the director of your Web site visitors with conversational First, stop setting appointments for times of “So, I’ve got you down for 2:20 Friday consulting for The Manzo Group. He can dialogue that focuses on your products, your day, instead of specific times. Forget about afternoon. I really appreciate your time and be contacted at 866.902.7379, or by e-mail people and your competitive advantage, “morning or afternoon, today or tomorrow” I look forward to meeting you on Friday!” at dhaygood@autosuccessonline.com. instead of a price pitch. In addition to your sales department, provide contact information for other departments within your dealership, including service and parts. Once you’ve got the basics covered, enhance your content with dynamic images such as car videos, 360-degree views, interior and exterior panoramas, car configurators and color changers, and narrated video editorials that communicate key features of the cars3 you sell. Recent industry studies show that 30 1 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • leadershipsolution PaulCummings THE LEADERSHIP RECESSION The Cause - The Effect - The Solutions “Throughout Have you ever when a leader’s daily focus changes or my life, all the walked into a place begins to diminish, their vision becomes individuals I have of business excited about purchasing a product or service and felt instantly you had blurred. In other words, when the vision blurs, leaders take their eyes off the “Big the blame ever met have a mistakenly ended up at the morgue? I think Prize.” In many cases, these managers for losses, flashing sign on the team we have all had the experience of visiting begin to over-manage people, they get will always their chest that a company where the mood was certainly caught up in details better left to others, they dead. Even worse is the business you visit become overly consumed with the trivial have your says, ‘Make me feel back and where the employees are visibly miserable and unimportant matters. And to make be there special.’” and don’t mind taking out their personal matters worse, this tendency can be further misery on you. multiplied as their expectations start drifting to provide toward unrealistic demands for perfection. the support Customers who will not spend their This type of managerial approach can create you need to money for this type of treatment fire many a fear-based culture that robs your team of win.” companies on the spot. Are any of your their motivation. Here is a solution for your — Paul Cummings valuable customers firing your company? consideration. Dissipation of Integrity Who is to blame for this type of experience? The most important ingredients of leadership Why is this happening at so many “What is your primary leadership focus are personal and corporate integrity. Have companies? I believe it is because we are right now? If you can’t write it on the back you ever seen a company or individual in a leadership recession. This recession is of your business card, then it’s a sure bet sacrifice their organizational values for the driving turnover up and profitability down. that your leadership is suffering from a results they wish to achieve? One irrefutable lack of clarity. Ask this question: What’s fact in business is that your personal and Anytime you have this type of de-motivating important now and act on the answer.” corporate credibility are comprised of two experience at a place of business, I can — Paul Cummings critical components: 1) who you are, and 2) promise you what’s missing is organizational what actions you take. If your actions ever leadership. When employees don’t value The Swollen Ego Syndrome — I believe contradict who you say you are, or vice their customers, it is because their leader or the slippery rock of leadership failure is versa, then your integrity will be in question. leaders don’t value them. There is no doubt most often covered with the swollen ego of Your actions must leave and evidence trail that when employees don’t feel valued, they a leader who has forgotten where they came made up of unquestionable integrity. Great begin to lose interest in the mission of the from. When a leader experiences success leaders will never sacrifice their character, organization. Why? Throughout my life, others talk about openly, they sometimes integrity or reputation for increased all the individuals I have ever met have a become enamored with their own press profitability or higher achievement. flashing sign on their chest that says, “Make clippings. All their “we did its” are soon Lack of integrity will insure a leadership me feel special.” replaced by disastrous “I did its.” When a recession that will inhibit your future growth leader continuously toots their own horn and opportunities. Here is your final solution: Truth be told, we all have a genuine need takes credit for the successes of the team, to feel validated and important. Team they will soon find themselves “playing in a “Everyday you leave another brush stroke on members want and need to know what they one-man band forever.” Team members will your canvas of life. Make certain you paint do really does matter to the company and revolt from this type of behavior and, in some with only colors of the highest integrity and the customers. A recent study of employee cases, will purposely sabotage a department character. Create a Leadership Masterpiece, perceptions of leadership stated that less or business in hopes the manager in question instead of a Leadership Recession.” than 20 percent of employees surveyed felt will fail. Business is tough enough without — Paul Cummings valued by their direct supervisor. The good this self-imposed death sentence. Now a news is that this type of recession comes second solution for your use: Paul Cummings is president and CEO of with both warning signs and solutions. Paul Cummings Enterprises. He can be contacted at 866.865.3171, or by e-mail at “Remain humble and gracious in your role pcummings@autosuccessonline.com. Change In Daily Focus as a leader. Understand that by giving the It has been my personal experience that credit to your team for victory and accepting32 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution SteveBrazill PLAYING WITH KNIVES Deng Xiaoping, miss entirely and live to talk about the porters) should be less than 40 percent. the father of experience. However, every make has There is a tendency in good times to acquire modernization and reform in China, used to its own bread-and-butter configurations. non-productives, and some of that buildup is tell skeptics in his government that finding Know what yours are and be certain you prudent. After all, the more you shift routine the way forward was like crossing a stream never miss an opportunity to deliver one tasks from productive to non-productives, due to stockout. by feeling for the stones under foot. The the more you free your productives — the task of cutting operating costs in today’s • Avoid writing orders on the fly and people directly generating revenue — to environment is somewhat similar. The way under the gun — mistakes are too produce. But when business turns down, is treacherous and the best path is hidden expensive. Build pattern orders in non-productives are the first to feel the from view. Missteps can be hazardous. advance, based on your experience and knife. Those routine tasks don’t go away input from your staff. and, in many cases, get transferred back to Beware of some common missteps while productives. As clerks are cut, salespeople, cost-cutting in dealerships. • Develop a logical price-ladder plan and order vehicles around it. Mass service writers and F&I producers often find merchandisers use price ladders to great themselves doing more paperwork — and New Vehicle Inventories effect (think of the “good-better-best” that presents a management challenge. For Downsizing inventories to match sales is a price ladders on home appliances) example, when sales slow, an F&I producer good tactic, but getting the model/color/price because individual customers can dial in can: mix right becomes increasingly critical as on the combination of features and price a) process paperwork that used to be your inventory shrinks. It is not uncommon that makes a purchase decision easier. handled by the hourly clerk you to walk a dealership’s inventory and find that Build your price ladders within models eliminated last week, and of 10 units of a particular model in stock, six and as bridges between models. are nearly identical. In good times, that kind b) follow up with previously delivered of inefficiency costs money. In bad times, • Walk your lot every day. You will learn customers who did not purchase service it costs dealerships. Every unit matters. much about your inventory, your display contracts or work with used-car manager Inventory and order management may not be will benefit from your personal attention, to identify customers delivered three and your mind will appreciate the break. to four years ago with sufficient equity the sexiest parts of the business, but shortcut in their vehicle to be strong prospects them at your own peril. As you take a knife • You have three inventories to manage: now or some other revenue-producing to your inventory, here are some thought ground stock, pipeline stock and order activity. starters: bank. Before you reduce support staff, determine • Requests for unusual model/equipment/ • Make every unit count. who will handle that person’s tasks and what color configurations are probably impact that reassignment will have on your deals you can dealer trade for — or Used Vehicle Inventories The mechanics of acquiring (and disposing ability to generate revenue. Of course, if you are paying a clerk to process paper so your “Of course, if you are paying a of) used units are obviously different than F&I producer can drink coffee and surf the clerk to process paper so your F&I new vehicles, but most of the preceding section applies here. The biggest difference Internet between deliveries, you have other producer can drink coffee and surf issues to address. the Internet between deliveries, is that you likely have your money invested — not the bank’s. Having the right mix you have other issues to and making every unit count is even more Slowing revenue generally means you address.” have fewer resources to work with. Make important than with new vehicles. your cuts with care, remembering that the Personnel objective is to reduce expense, not revenue. As the biggest expense group in a dealership, A knife used with thought and craftsmanship personnel reductions are always on the is a valuable tool — wielded without cost-cutting radar. Most guides recommend caution, it is dangerous. that productives (employees who directly Steve Brazill is the chair of automotive produce revenue, such as vehicle salespeople marketing for Northwood University, and service writers) should constitute 60 Texas Campus. He can be contacted at percent or more of your headcount, while 866.861.1515, or by e-mail at non-productives (dealers, managers, clerks, sbrazill@autosuccessonline.com.34 www.autosuccessonline.com
    • sales&trainingsolution KevinCunningham HowardLeavitt leadershipsolution IS NOW THE TIME TO THE CHALLENGE TO CUT EXPENSE IN CHANGE YOUR SALES PARTS AND SERVICE? STAFF’S CULTURE What guide do you parts and body shop gross profit divided by • Am I leaving anything on the table? We have a challenge watching how your staff actually performs use to measure the (the dealership’s total expenses — selling • How can I improve my effective labor as automobile dealer’s in real time with customers and the process. performance of your service and parts expenses) which typically includes sales rate? in today’s difficult times. The economy Judge how many sales are missed because operations? and F&I compensation, delivery expense, • What can I do to drive more traffic to is the worst since the Great Depression, the process is not followed and the leader is policy expense, demo expense, net floor plan my service lanes? national new car volumes have declined, and not leading? Accountability is key; follow In light of the current economic situation, we and net advertising. Most manufacturers In monthly 20 Groups, we see members major American manufactures are on the the process and system to change the old hear many dealers asking, “Is now the time have their own calculations and it varies by use their financial composites to compare brink of bankruptcy. culture and increase your sales. Technology to cut all expenses, even in the departments franchise. What do your calculations show? their operations with their peer members’ offers the ability to blast e-mails and letters making you the most money”? numbers and franchise-specific numbers How much does it cost to bring every new with a click from the sales desk. Search Remember, regardless of your franchise, the to identify opportunities. During these client into your dealership? Would you just by make or model and you have tactical Right now many car and truck owners are only thing that matters is what you are doing meetings, an exciting dynamic is watching throw $500 per client on the floor and not approach in the use of digital data. Provide thinking, “It is better to repair than to replace to move your numbers. The following are members get together and analyze an try to pick it up? Compute the financial cost your current clients and future clients with a vehicle.” With vehicle sales down, many questions often discussed in our 20 Group individual member’s operation in an of poor follow-up using outdated methods. real-time connectivity in today’s world. The new vehicle dealers are relying more and meetings regarding the various activities effort to improve their numbers. Ideas and “Business as usual” has to be different; the fastest response will win the deal. more on their service, parts and body shop associated with moving members’ numbers: recommendations are discussed until an operations to see them through this market • How productive should my technicians challenge is to commit to changing the sales action plan is agreed upon. These action culture to assure that you maximize the Sales staffs need to be creative and trend. be? • How many technicians should I have? plans lay out just what the goal is, how potential of your dealership. disciplined. That sounds like a contradiction, • What amount of parts inventory should I change will take place through what process, and it is. As owners and managers, you must Let’s look at what’s at stake: How much of when this change will be implemented and keep on hand? Be the champion and dedicate yourself to be able to maintain discipline but not lose your total dealership’s expenses are covered • What should my parts-to-labor ratio be? how this change will be measured. by the gross profit from your service, a sales process utilizing simple technology. the sales person’s creative juices that drive • What percentage of my service parts and body shop (fixed coverage)? We department gross should be spent on Because time is so important, we are seeing How much time is spent each day in policing the best salespeople. Creativity needs to be estimate that it averages to 70.4 percent, personnel? In other words, do I have too more groups segmenting their meetings, and cajoling your staff to follow up their allowed to flourish within the process, or using a general calculation of: total service, many people or not enough people? allowing them to bring departmental leads? If your answer is too painful to think we get cookie cutouts that don’t sell; they managers in for target discussions. When about, the solution is not: just get involved just are good at repeating the script. It is you are his cure both dealer and departmental managers have and be the champion. Utilize common sense like selling features without explaining the the opportunity to discuss plans with other sales processes incorporated in today’s benefits. Relationship building starts with dealers and their managers, convictions technology to manage your sales staff. That the first handshake and introduction; you do run deeper. Secondly, in an effort to further is the goal: be patient and stay focused to the not shake hands with a PC — keep it human. develop their departmental managers, more process. Technology plays its part as you start to and more dealers are having their managers collect the personal data of the potential participate in 20 Groups. In a manager The sales culture that exists in many client. The marriage of the sales process group, the idea is to put a plan in place and dealerships today utilize 18th century and technology is powerful if is utilized then report on the results at the next meeting. YOU HAVE CUSTOMERS Members are questioned in detail at the next meeting by their peers on what they methods and will never survive in the 21st century. We are in a technically flat world correctly. Don’t let technology stop the sale — let it get you to the sale faster. Juvenile affects Diabetes millions AND PROSPECTS. accomplished. Often times the results are astounding. that needs a degree of expertise in managing floor traffic and keeping a relationship Many sales staffs are holding on to the past Mary Tyler Moore International Chairman and causes long- with your client base. Part of changing the and will not change, They hide within and term complications like blindness 20 Groups for service, parts and body shop current culture is to invest in equipment around the culture of names on match book WE HELP YOU GET and kidney failure. Not to mention managers create tremendous opportunities to and training. You should provide each sales covers, no phone numbers, no accountability develop good people and to sustain energy in person with a computer at his or her desk. and systems that can be manipulated. pain and worry no kid should have A LOT MORE MILEAGE these departments. Sharing computers or kiosks is a sure way to fail. Managing a database is a work in Owners can change the culture by not allowing behavior that will not adopt to new to live with. But we’re closer than OUT OF THEM. Right now, instead of arbitrarily cutting ever to a cure. Your help makes life- progress with a purpose. That purpose is and current proven methods of operation. expenses to the service department and parts not just to collect data, but use that data to We all want the magic salesperson who saving research possible. department, many dealers are maximizing increase your odds of closing a deal. The doesn’t need to be supervised, who follows Call 1.800.533.CURE or visit their opportunities with an investment into Let’s roll. the departments that can generate additional combining of digital data and the sales up, who has high CSI scores and who has www.jdrf.org. gross. We believe these dealers will be well process is part of changing the culture and customers that just keep coming back to ahead of the game when the market turns the benefit to management is accountability. buy again. You can have them with the around for vehicle sales. Instead of retreating, Who is working the process will become right culture. Make the good better and the this may be the best time to advance your obvious very quickly. mediocre perform above their capability and service, parts and body shop operations. everyone wins. Let the system measure sales staffs by gross, Innovative e-newsletter solutions. Kevin Cunningham is the director of closing percentage and volume against business development for NCM Associates. previous periods or arbitrary benchmarks. Howard Leavitt is the founder of 866-964-6397 imnLoyaltyDriver.com He can be contacted at AutoRaptor. He can be contacted at Save time using technology, so that owners 866.618.9053, or by e-mail at 866.618.9035, or by e-mail at and general managers can look at stats to kcunningham@autosuccessonline.com. hleavitt@autosuccessonline.com. determine how their staffs are performing.3 Once informed, you should then spend time 36 7 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
    • One hundred sixty one of your customers need your services today. Who are they? We’ll show you.The average dealership has 18,000 customers in its database. Every day, 161 of thosecustomers need something from your dealership, from services to new and used cars. Visible Customer illuminates your customer opportunities and supercharges your profitability. Using our One-to-One Relationship science, we diagnose your dealership business opportunities,illuminate your customers and identify their needs, design your profit improvement plan, orchestrate your one-to-one campaigns and measure your incremental profit. Our industry-leading One-to-One Relationship science will help you realize a phenomenal return on your investment and increase the profitability in every area of your dealership. Learn more about the untapped revenue potential in your dealership today. Call Visible Customer at 1-800-976-0730 or go to visiblecustomer.com/auto