AutoSuccess Jan09


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

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AutoSuccess Jan09

  1. 1. AutoSuccess Best of the Best NADA 2009 – Details Page 4 January 2009
  2. 2. January 2009 FOCUS ON THE ‘WILDLY IMPORTANT’ 8 StephenR.Covey address: 3834 Taylorsville Rd. SUCCESS BEGINS IN YOUR MIND 10 TomHopkins Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville Kentucky 40220 GAME CHANGER 1 Solution for Automotive Internet Marketing 12 SusanGivens phone / fax: 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 WHAT CONSTITUTES A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE? 14 KarenDillon web: HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY Gaging Providers for Cost Effectiveness 16 MarcSmith team: Susan Givens CAN WE HANDLE THE TRUTH? 18 PaulSnider Publisher PARTS CHOICES - NOT ULTIMATUMS 19 LloydSchiller Thomas Williams VP & Creative Director WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEALERS SUCCESS AND FAILURE TODAY? 20 MichealYork Dave Davis Editor and Creative Strategist INTERNET SALES 20 GROUP XIII 22 SeanV.Bradley Brian Ankney 26 LEADING THE WAY TO PROFITABILITY - Sales-Improvement Strategist SeanStapleton Loyalty and Membership Programs John Warner STOP WHINING AND START WINNING The Attitude Development Plan 28 PaulCummings Sales-Improvement Strategist YOU CAN’T GO BACK AND YOU CAN’T STAND STILL 30 DalePollak general information: SMALLER PIECES, BIGGER PROFITS 31 SteveBrazill eNewsletter: RIGHT SIZE, RIGHT NOW 32 RonAlexander AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or 34 Subscription rate is $69 per year. WHY DO SALESPEOPLE TAKE SHORTCUTS? JohnDobrick AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its 36 contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views THE FOOLISHNESS IS OVER JohnBrentlinger expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect 40 of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked CONSIDERING GOING DARK? MattBaker from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing Let’s Talk About What That Looks Like changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 42 Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent FINDING JOY Dr. JohnC.Maxwell from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220.12 40 22 helping to support...
  3. 3. StephenR.Coveyleadershipsolution FOCUS ON THE ‘WILDLY IMPORTANT’ Leadership starts with have only a 33 percent chance of getting stakeholders? Your answers constitute defining priorities, but excellent results. wildly important goals. Customers, doesn’t stop there. Previously, I’ve talked employees, suppliers and investors all about the gap between setting a goal and How vital it is, then, to focus diligently have a stake in these goals. Therefore, achieving it. To close the execution gap, a and intensely on only a few crucial goals. everyone should be able to describe how dealership must practice four disciplines: While many of our goals at the dealership the key goals: • Focus on the wildly important goal are important, only a few qualify as “wildly • increase customer loyalty • Create a compelling scoreboard important.” A wildly important goal carries • ignite the passion and energy of your • Translate lofty goals into action serious consequences. Failure to achieve people • Hold everyone accountable all of the this goal renders other achievements • favorably impact suppliers, business time relatively inconsequential. partners and investors In this column, I will explain the first Consider the situation of the air traffic For a business, a goal cannot be wildly discipline. controller. At any moment, hundreds of important unless it is crucial to the airplanes are in the air, and all of them economics of the firm. Everyone in the There’s a key principle that many fail to are important. But the controller cannot organization should be able to clearly understand, hampering their ability to focus on all of them at once. Her job is define how the goal improves: perform. According to science writer Nigel to land them one at a time, and to do so • revenue growth Calder (The Mind of Man), one of the most flawlessly. Every organization is in a • cost reduction self-evident characteristics of the conscious similar position. Few can afford the luxury • cash flow mind is that “the mind attends to one thing of divided attention; some goals simply • profitability at a time.” A person wearing spectacles must be landed. with one green and one red lens will see Wildly important goals bring the greatest either green or red, but never some grayish How do we know which goals are wildly payback. Of all your potential goals, which combination of the two. important? The first step in achieving the few would bring you the most significant crucial goal is to clearly define it. Which economic return? Suppose you have an 80 percent chance of goals bring the most leverage in terms achieving a particular goal with excellence. of strategic, stakeholder and economic Putting the goals through the strategic, Add a second goal to that first goal, and priorities? All potential goals should pass stakeholder and economic screens positions your chances of achieving both drop to through these three screens. a clear “why” behind the “what” of the 64 percent. Keep adding goals, and the goal. probability of achieving them plunges Organizational strategy is crippled unless steeply. Juggle five goals at once, and you it takes the form of a few vital goals that The most vital work of the leader and of the everyone understands. Everyone in your fully engaged team is to define the wildly “ define those goals so dealership should be able to define how important goals — to define those goals so the goal: clearly and to make the rationale so plain • directly supports the organization’s that no one misses their significance. It is mission to distinguish the wildly important from the • leverages core competencies merely important and to focus intensely on • increases market strength it. You can’t afford to waste precious time • increases competitive advantage and effort on anything less. Additionally, a goal cannot be wildly Originally ran in CLO Magazine important unless it is the most Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder consequential thing you can do to advance of FranklinCovey, and is the author of your strategy. the best-selling The 7 Habits of Highly and to make the rationale Effective People. He can be contacted at so plain that no one What are the most important things you 866.892.6363, or by e-mail at misses their significance.” should do to fulfill the needs of your 8
  4. 4. TomHopkinssales&trainingsolution SUCCESS BEGINS IN YOUR MIND A good attitude is one I never see failure as failure, but only success. Success demands its percentage of of the most important as the negative feedback I need to failure. traits a sales professional can have. Most change course in my direction. Outside a people who fail in business fail because restaurant with a lively bar, I once saw a Here is a philosophy that I teach my they don’t know how to keep their attitudes gentleman who’d had too much to drink try students to live by: I am not judged by the positive on a daily basis. They start their to unlock his car with the wrong key. No number of times I fail, but by the number careers learning and practicing the basics, matter how many times he tried, the wrong of times I succeed, and the number of times applying these ideas and end up making key still didn’t work. After I’d talked him I succeed is in direct proportion to the lots of money. Then, they go into a slump. into taking a taxi home, it occurred to me number of times I can fail and keep trying. They will stay in their slump until they that sometimes we all keep trying to make go back to the fundamentals, until they the wrong key unlock the door — keep Work with this creed and the five attitudes return to doing what they get paid for using techniques that don’t work in our toward rejection. What counts isn’t how — accepting failure and rejection without selling endeavors, keep applying the wrong many transactions fall out, how many letting it stop them. solution to the problem long after we’ve doors slam, how many things don’t work tried it and failed. out or how many people go back on their The key to success is in how you handle word. What counts is how many times you failure. Handling failure does not come I never see failure as failure, but only pick yourself up, shrug and keep on trying naturally to most people. It is an acquired as the opportunity to develop my sense to make things come together. There are skill. Some of your emotions tell you to of humor. Have you ever had a traumatic challenges, obstacles and troubles in every sulk and avoid any situations in the future experience involving a sales presentation? kind of business, but they are all temporary that are likely to put you in line to feel the Three weeks later, you finally tell someone if you take control of your thoughts and pain of rejection again. Other emotions tell about it and suddenly that same event is develop the right attitude. I believe that you to get more out of life for yourself and hilarious. The longer you wait to laugh, the winners are winners because they’ve your loved ones. Concentrate on what you more that failure will hold you back. Make learned to fuel their success drives by have to gain, and learn how to change your a determined effort to laugh sooner, and overcoming failure. attitude toward rejection. learn the trick of telling a good story on yourself. World-renowned master sales trainer Tom I am going to present five sayings that have Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins helped me move forward in all areas of my I never see failure as failure, but only as International. He can be contacted at life. Memorize them and recall them when an opportunity to practice my techniques 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at you’re rejected or have failed to achieve and perfect my performance. Every time what you wanted. you present your service to others and they don’t buy, at least they gave you a chance I never see failure as failure, but only to practice. Many people don’t realize the “The key to success is in as a learning experience. Every sale importance of this. Learn to appreciate the how you handle failure. that doesn’t go through is a learning opportunity to become better. Handling failure does experience; every challenge you have is a learning experience. Learn from your I never see failure as failure, but only as not come naturally failures. Thomas Edison, who conducted the game I must play to win. Selling is a to most people. It more than 10,000 experiments on filaments game. Life is a game. Both have their rules is an acquired before he produced a practical light bulb, — luck plays a small part, but the winners skill.” was once asked, “How did you keep going play ball. Over the years, I’ve discovered after you failed more than 10,000 times?” that a single rule dominates every situation: Edison replied, “I did not fail 10,000 times; Those who risk failure by working with I learned 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” more people earn more money; those Like Edison, try to look at failure and who risk less failure earn less. If you risk rejection in a different light — as a learning failure, sometimes you will fail. But every experience. time you fail, you’re that much closer to 10
  5. 5. Platform “Parts”featuresolution keep the visitor longer and, ultimately, get them to act. To do this, dealers need intuitive LVLC™ V2.0 ePricer™ sites, available in English and Spanish, that The platform includes a revolutionary Tool that prompts customers to submit give visitors the information they need in the decision-making tool known as the Live their contact information and receive an manner in which they want it. This includes Visitor Lead Calculator™ (LVLC), an easy-to- immediate price quote via e-mail. one-click inventory pages, full vehicle detail use solution that enables dealers to estimate pages, vehicle reviews and compelling leads and sales before they invest in the Video Integration site. Based on a decade of data collected Includes Vehicle Showroom™ featuring inventory videos. For the dealer, more from more than 8,000 dealer Web sites, the CarFlix Virtual Test Drives™, keeping visitors than 35 lead-generating forms allow for an LVLC can predict the approximate number longer and making it easier to convert immediate connection to visitors, which is of visitors a site will attract. Version 2.0 of the them into buyers. Also includes a Video the Web site’s reason for existence. product enables dealers to see how much Streaming Toolkit and a Video Gallery. The “Changing the Game” with a comprehensive, feature-rich Today’s customers are expecting video. business they can expect from their paid most recent video addition to the platform search efforts, not just from their organic is CarFlix™ with Human Voice, a process online sales and marketing platform, driving more According to The Pew Internet and searches. Plus, based on the dealership’s that automatically and instantly creates high sales and more productivity. American Life Project, almost half of all average closing rates, the LVLC can even quality, full-motion videos with real human Web users watched online videos last year. estimate sales revenue. voices from pictures and data in a dealer’s multiple vendors, is fully integrated and sales revenue for the dealership can even be Clearly, it’s no longer enough for dealers to inventory system. post still or stock images of their inventory, LeadMachine™ comprehensive. In other words, the dealer estimated. For dealers, the game changer in or even 360-degree views. They must now Complete lead tracking system that enables Sales Analytics™ won’t have to learn how to make the parts a tight economy is being able to accurately dealers to create an automated process for A full set of sales, Web site and search play together — they were created to work gauge their ROI. also add videos of their inventory. Generic video that doesn’t promote each vehicle’s assigning, following up and managing leads ranking performance reports that can be together from the start. to individual sales reps, including tools such downloaded or accessed via FTP using a SusanGivens Marketing: Control Your SEM Results specific benefits just won’t do. as Integrated Call Tracking and PowerMail™ single login. Assigned account managers Out of the box, information across the The effectiveness of your Web site is (personalized, branded e-mail campaigns). review the reports with each client, helping platform can be shared and acted on, directly impacted by how it stands out in a Your dealership can stand out from your competition using a patent-pending process to interpret and improve site performance. A dealership is an eco-system. Every effort enabling dealers to drive more traffic, field of sites competing for the consumer’s Total Control Dominator™ is interconnected or interdependent and capture better leads, and make faster — and attention. The goal is that, when a customer that can automatically create unique, A simple-to-use search engine solution Mobile Marketing must perform in harmony for the dealership more accurate — decisions. The Internet types a search into Google or another search realistic videos of every vehicle in a your that enables dealers to build completely Allows on-the-go shoppers to browse a to survive and prosper. If one area is department’s efficiency will be greatly engine, your site stands tall at the top of the inventory, using a human voice. Once customizable paid search campaigns in dealer’s new and used online inventory via a weaker than the rest, or doesn’t contribute increased, benefiting “the body” as a whole. results. Dealers hire SEM (Search Engine vehicle data is loaded into an inventory just seconds, allowing them to create ads microsite optimized for smart phones, such as expected, the other elements in the Marketing) vendors to achieve this goal. It’s system, it produces a professional video around specific keywords or go head-to- as the iPhone. dealership’s system are all at risk. Your Example: If a vehicle is sold and the way it’s been done for the past decade, within minutes. Human voices can be head with their competitors. profit – your very survival – depends on all removed from inventory, the platform but is it the best way now? pre-recorded; then words and phrases are the parts operating in unison. can automatically disable any online seamlessly blended to create video voice- Managed SEO™ ad specifically referring to that vehicle. Today, dealers can take advantage of a overs. A vehicle model’s key features and Allows the team to continually To put it another way, if your lungs, brain, And, as a result, a dealer’s Internet ads radically different approach from most associated talking points are pre-loaded, evaluate and upgrade keywords to ensure kidneys and liver are all functioning are never dated and always reflect current traditional SEM vendors.’s a dealer’s site receives consistently high enabling a video for a truck to automatically perfectly, but your heart underperforms, organic search engine rankings, more form inventory; ad dollars are more wisely spent Total Control DOMINATOR™ (TCD) promote, say, the vehicle’s four-wheel drive submissions and higher conversion rates. your body is sick and can’t perform and customers find the exact vehicle they incorporates what the company refers to as capability and V-8 engine. effectively. If your heart stops, your seek. Just as you don’t have to consciously a “big brain” of SEM data, gathered over SmartSites™ body dies. Only a body with all its parts remind your heart to beat, all this happens the years from dealerships in every corner Through this technology, the system takes Award-winning, easy-to-navigate and functioning correctly and efficiently can automatically in the background. of the market. By applying sophisticated it one step further: the automated script can search-optimized Web sites that contain achieve to its potential. software rules and analytics to this data, it discuss not just features but the benefits multiple lead-generating forms, as well as Planning: automates the process of keyword selection, of those features as well. The result is a sales tools such as SpecialsBuilder™ and What does a dealership need to bring its Know Your ROI before You Spend high-resolution, convincing inventory CarFinder™. Also includes SmartSite™ configuring more than 8,000 top keywords various parts into harmony? A powerful This platform consists of several presentation with sound and special effects, Composer, a tool that enables dealers to and enabling dealers to create effective SEM online sales and marketing platform, components that take the dealer beyond such as panning, scrolling, zooming and update and edit their own Web content. campaigns in minutes. Dealers no longer coordinating all functions so that each a standard 360-degree view. Take, for pictures within pictures. This solution also have to wait for a vendor, or manually section can compliment and support the instance, the Web site, perhaps a dealer’s includes a library of context sensitive music, change keywords themselves. other, is key. This would change the game single most important sales lead generator. call-to-action dealer branding and built-in work with each dealer to constantly improve all, the platform is feature-rich, combining for dealers, and create a solution where the When a dealership hires a firm to construct The system also aids dealers in bidding for lead forms. It will make an impression. results. You’ll know where you stand. tried-and-true solutions, with leading-edge whole is greater than the sum of its parts. a Web site, there is no recognized, objective keywords to achieve the greatest ROI, and Managing: Executive Reporting technologies. These are not mere features but way to determine if the Web site’s ROI will helps link consumers to the page on your site One for All, and All for One best-in-class features wrapped in industry- And now, the good news: That platform has Made Easy pay off. The Web analytics and site traffic they are searching for to eliminate frustration. A common expression that’s often used proven best practices. been created. With all these parts working in unison, it’s are presented after the site has gone live. In addition, with this system, search in motivational seminars tells us that the The Platform By then, it’s too late and the dealer could be engine marketing experts carefully analyze critical to know what’s working — and acronym T.E.A.M. stands for “Together Forty years ago, the Hertz Corporation’s platform is the decade-long stuck in a vendor contract with a low ROI. keywords, customize Web content, enhance what’s not — especially since dealers can Everyone Achieves More.” The same can made marketing history with a successful result of consulting dealers and applying the site’s behind-the-scenes coding, build make changes on the fly. The platform’s now be said about the game-changing ad campaign based on the slogan “Let By utilizing a decade’s worth of research inbound and outbound links and submit the activities are reflected in a set of fully platform. Hertz put you in the driver’s seat.” Today, best practices to the solution dealerships and best practices collected from more optimized site to search engine directories, configurable executive reports. These dealers can get in the driver’s seat of their have been searching for. than 7,000 dealer sites across the country, including Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Again, reports include side-by-side metrics for a Dealers benefit from the platform by enjoying own online sales and marketing campaigns Just as the human body is more than the sum the platform allows dealers to it’s as automatic as your heartbeat. dealer’s advertising sources, such as cost a more efficient process, and an increase in through the use of a virtual platform. of it’s parts, the platform uses its modules estimate potential leads from sales from per sale, closing ratios and gross profit, as sales and service leads. The platform is more — a Web site, an ILM, vehicle images the Web site before making the investment. Selling: Engage Shoppers, well as data on the number of site visitors cost-effective, allowing dealers to replace And, don’t forget, selling cars is a team effort. and an inventory management system, to Dealers will know what they can expect Close Deals to average cost per contact to search engine multiple vendors with one vendor making name a few — to create harmony within from their paid search efforts, along with Getting the consumer to your site, however, rankings. Additionally, these reports come the marketing dollars go farther while at the For more information about the dealership. This solution, unlike other their organic searches. Also, based on the is only the beginning. With’s with account managers who read and same time driving dramatic productivity 13 contact us at 866.898.4617, or by e-mail at12 platforms that are cobbled together from dealership’s average closing rates, potential platform, dealerships have a great tool to interpret the numbers for the dealer, and gains for the dealership. Perhaps best of
  6. 6. KarenDillonsales&trainingsolution WHAT CONSTITUTES A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE? The quality of your courteous language and empathetic tone. When a customer calls for service, it is dealership’s customer It can also be projected through proactive tempting to tell them to “come on in”; experience is ultimately determined by contact with the customer, including timely however, if we can’t accommodate them the way customers feel after their last follow up to inform them of the areas of and complete the service on their vehicle interaction. If the customer is unhappy, concern once their vehicle problem is properly and timely, we’ve not only your dealership’s customer experience is diagnosed, having their vehicle ready at the possibly lost a service customer, but also bad. If the customer doesn’t have a feeling promised time and explaining thoroughly damaged customer satisfaction. Train one way or the other, your dealership’s the repair and associated costs. your advisors to greet the customers by customer experience is mediocre. If the name — with a smile — so the customer customer feels good, your company’s A J.D. Power study makes some significant feels they are important and the dealership customer experience is satisfactory. points as to the importance of service personnel are pleased to serve them. I had In today’s economy, as we attempt to satisfaction: a friend of mine ask me recently, “Why encourage more customers to return to • Customers satisfied with their service do service advisors always seem to be our dealerships for service, none of these experience are more likely to return for in a bad mood?” If this is the impression experiences will accomplish our goal. We service. your advisors give your customers, some need the customer to feel “delighted” — • Customers satisfied with their attention needs to be directed to this area this will provide a substantial competitive service experience are more likely to immediately. advantage. repurchase the same make. • Customers satisfied with their 3. It’s important that the customer Your customer’s experience and their service experience are more likely to understands there are services that should feelings about their interactions with your recommend the make, leading to new be performed to prevent a safety or dealership are actually driven by several vehicle sales. mechanical problem. Always take the specific factors: • A gain in CSI score of 10 points is time and provide a full explanation of estimated to add $40 to $300 per what you are recommending, why you are Time customer annually. recommending it and the benefit to them Most people today suffer from “time of having the service performed. We must poverty.” Time is the one thing that As you look at addressing these factors that earn the customer’s trust by only selling most customers don’t have enough of. affect your customer satisfaction, what are needed services. Trust is a huge deciding So customers’ perceptions about your some proactive steps you can take? factor in a customer determining whether dealership customer experience are largely or not to return to a dealership for future influenced by time. This means you have to 1. Offer your customers the ease and vehicle services and vehicle purchases. reduce the time it takes for them to get in convenience of making a confirmed service touch with you, as well as the time it takes appointment from your Web site 24/7. 4. Remember how critical the last for them to communicate their need. This will allow your customer to make impression is. Be certain the last words their appointment at their convenience the customer hears when leaving your Competency — not yours — and eliminates the need dealership are “Thank You, Mr./Mrs….” Customers need to believe that your for them to call the dealership for a service Also, when you utilize an online dealership employees are good at what they appointment. According to GM, 35 percent appointment system, you can customize an do. They must perceive that your personnel of calls that come into the dealership for automatically generated pre-CSI e-mail to are well informed about the services service are either dropped or the customer the customer after the vehicle is picked up, offered by your service department. So, to is placed on hold and hangs up before thanking them for their business, letting project a perception of competency to your speaking with someone. Also, as more them know they may be receiving a survey customers, you must make sure that each and more customers begin making their regarding their satisfaction with this service member of your staff who interacts with appointments online, in-bound telephone and requesting they contact the service your customers is fully empowered with calls are reduced, lessening the number that manager with any issues or concerns. information that is complete, accurate and do not get answered properly. up to date. Constant attention to these areas can 2. Keep and maintain an appointment lead your dealership to increase your Personalization schedule, and schedule your customers in service business, service CSI and service Customers don’t want to be treated like properly, so they do not have to wait in efficiency, along with providing “a great a number. The differentiation of the line on the service drive to be greeted by customer experience.” experience your dealership delivers will an advisor. According to Auto University, be contingent on how well your customers the average wait time for a write up feel recognized when coming to your is 11 minutes. When we consider this dealership for service. number, keep in mind we can assume the first person in line was written up right Karen Dillon is the president of Care away; so consider the length of time She can be contacted Customers like knowing that you care. This some of the customers have to wait in at 800.901.3170, or by e-mail at 14 feeling of care can be projected through order to achieve this average wait time.
  7. 7. MarcSmithsales&trainingsolution HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY: Gaging Providers for Cost Effectiveness Many of you may profits. A complete audit of the cost of Do you have vesting and volume have seen the recent the products should always be performed, requirements? article in Automotive News talking about paying special attention to whether the Having these requirements normally allows the credit crisis and how lenders are provider is truly bringing a cost-effective the provider to set unrealistic goals. If these becoming reluctant to finance dealership’s solution to the table — no matter what their goals are not met, the provider can keep inventories, forcing hundreds of dealers out size. I have found that the smaller, more some of the dealer’s profits. You should of business. Dealers have been subjected specialized provider usually has a better always receive 100 percent of your reserves to poor sales, high gasoline prices and cost-structure than the 800-pound gorilla. and 100 percent of your investment income destructive price wars. with no requirements. Likewise, I want to point out that there are The National Auto Dealers Association two types of relationships dealers can have Are there embedded incentives? predicted that as many as 700 dealerships with a provider which, in the end, affect Never use embedded incentives. They could close by the end of 2008. It is more product profitability: a participating and create nothing but misguided loyalty. important than ever to evaluate the full non-participating relationship. In a non- Not to mention it is the best way for the profit potential of every department in the participating relationship, the dealer simply provider to use your money to incentivize dealership. remits the cost of the products and retains your people. a small profit. When a dealer participates, Perhaps dealers should start by taking it gives them the ability to share in the Do you receive 100 percent of a closer look when dealing with their reserves and investment income. When a unused maintenance coupons? providers. After all, the area in the dealer is participating the agreements could In most cases the provider takes up to 50 dealership that can offer the largest be purposefully written in a way that might percent of the dealer’s unused maintenance deliverable margin on the current volume not deliver 100 percent of the profit to the coupons and does not even seed the of business is the Finance and Insurance dealer. The first red flag should be raised dealer’s accounts with maintenance portfolio. In fact, most dealerships can if your provider is reluctant and drags their reserves. Watch out for this. increase deliverable profits by as much feet when asked to deliver the agreements as $300,000 per year without selling any for your audit. Once granted access to them, In today’s business climate, taking a additional vehicles. What today’s dealer consider the following to determine just close look at all products and services is needs is a business strategy of efficiency. how well your provider agreements deliver: a prudent move and will make your entire Dealers need to be more cost-effective on operation more efficient and profitable. If, everything from advertising and personnel What is in your administrative fees? after putting your agreements to the test, to the cost of goods and services and the In many of the agreements I have read, you elect to change your provider, be sure providers they obtain them from. language regarding administrative fees the products your new provider offers are has not been clear. Generally, these backed by an “A” rated carrier. First, I recommend reviewing all expenses. administrative fees are made up of several When dealers take a drilled-down approach components, included no doubt to hide We can all hope the market comes back to their finance portfolio, additional costs and confuse dealers. strong, that the banks buy deeper and the they can often find nuances Remember, your administrative fee economy comes back fast, but hope is in their agreements that cost should be inclusive of all fees, including not a strategy. When you position your them enormous administrative, stop loss and dealership with top-rated products at dealer obligor. the lowest possible costs, it will set the foundation for additional margins and improved customer satisfaction as the market rebounds and grows. Good luck and good selling. Marc Smith is the president and CEO of Marc Smith International LLC. He can be contacted at 866.665.4479, or by e-mail at 16
  8. 8. PaulSnider LloydSchiller marketingsolutionsales&trainingsolution CAN WE HANDLE PARTS CHOICES - THE TRUTH? NOT ULTIMATUMS When speaking with showed an average credit score of 544. This applicants who rent versus those who own I want you to be open Sometimes the original equipment part finance executives, means we have to work smarter in order to was only 14 points. That tells us we can no all day Saturday. I prices out too expensively, and our customer there appears to be one common difference gain more approvals and deliver a higher longer assume that, because a person rents, want you to market to and retain your pre- ends up going elsewhere. If our competitor between those who are very successful and number of vehicles. they have worse credit than homeowners. owned customers. And now I want you to performs a quality repair, we didn’t lose the those who simply remain stuck at the same offer choices to your customers. I want you job, we’ve lost the customer… permanently. volume month after month. That difference • Privacy fears have caused customers to • Customers want us to give them all to stop the “take it or leave it” mentality. There are numerous parts you can offer is “understanding the truth” about non-prime fill out applications with bogus information. the information prior to coming into BEST, Better, good choices on: alternators, customers and why they often provide us Because of this, we must do a better job the dealership, which often results in If you buy a concert ticket, there are starters, batteries, water pumps, steering bogus information. interviewing customers. appointments never showing up. Train your different prices for different seats. If you gears, power steering pumps, steering entire staff how to handle outbound calls to go to McDonalds, they have different gears, ball joints, tie rod ends, brake pads, • Recently, a Florida-based marketing customers who have applied and make sure Long before instant bureau scores, electronic sizes of practically everything they offer brake rotors and drums, master cylinders, company contacted 1,500 customers in 20 they understand the importance of getting approvals and Internet leads, we were on the menu. These businesses, like most power brake boosters, A/C compressors, states who applied for credit online in the that person to show up. Don’t lose sight of forced to accept every lead at face value, businesses, are offering you options. Your condensers, evaporators, heater cores and past month, where 41 percent said they the fact this customer may have cash they contact the customer, arrange for them to choice — if you can’t afford front row seats, radiators. purchased a vehicle. Not all, however, were are not telling you about, or a co-signer who come in and, most of all, conduct a proper how about something further back, but more from the dealership that received the lead. can put strength into your deal. interview. Successful dealerships still affordable? Need something just to hold you Since the automakers make very few of That tells us that just because customers do operate that way; however, a good number over until dinner — how about small fries their own parts anymore, they use outside not buy today they are still in the market The bottom line is, in order to increase of managers still believe that whatever is on and a small soda? suppliers who manufacture, box and ship and, with proper follow up, could buy soon. sales, dealerships need to work every a lead sheet is real and only call customers these parts for the automakers, as well lead, go back to the basics, conduct proper back if their beacon score is high enough • Another survey with a national bank We do it in the vehicle sales department as other supply chains, including the interviews and accept the fact that customers for instant approval. Let’s take a look at the discovered that more than 40 percent of — new, certified pre-owned and pre- aftermarket. today have many choices and must be Facts/Truth surrounding non-prime credit customers apply numerous times at different owned. Every new vehicle comes with a worked properly. customers today. sites. That is why we continue to see variety of trim packages and prices. The The good news is the aftermarket vendors duplicate leads. Paul Snider is the CEO of Voisys. He can finance department has a myriad of choices make it easy for you to offer these choices. • Credit quality continues to decline; a be contacted at 866.492.9209, or by e- Top-quality providers, CARQUEST and recent survey of over 325,000 applications • The difference in credit scores between mail at when it comes to protection plans and other aftermarket items; yet many service NAPA have programs designed for new departments hold steadfast to the belief that vehicle dealers. Web-based parts catalogs the customers are coming to your service make it easy for your service advisors and department to pay top dollar to have their counter people to check pricing and local vehicle serviced, and that’s just the way it is. availability. Then, they can offer BEST, Better, good choices to your customers Now before you say, “But we offer wherever such options exist. competitive prices for our maintenance work, and, look, we have choices for tires,” You will use these same quality (not junk) consider why you are doing that. Is it aftermarket options to offer your customers because the customer would otherwise never choices. By telling your customers “we visit your service department more than already did your shopping for you, and here once? All of the factory-trained technicians are the choices available,” we have proven in the world will not convince a customer you can close more service and parts sales, to overpay more than once or to authorize a and retain more customers. repair they cannot afford. Taking care of your customers results in them coming back for more service, more When a customer is given a quote for a parts and future vehicle purchases — and repair and he says, “Let me get back to maybe even in recommending you to their you,” what do you think he’s doing? Do you friends. Not offering choices is basically think he’s calling his friends to tell them issuing ultimatums, and Americans don’t what a great dealership he took his vehicle respond well to ultimatums (“You need a to today? Each customer is unique; some new starter. Take it or leave it, bub.”). may only need their vehicle to last until they have an opportunity to sell it, others may Yes, I want you to offer parts choices. I want plan on keeping their vehicle forever. By you to be open all day Saturday. I want you giving your customer only one choice, we’ve to take care of the pre-owned customers. I given them a reason to shop us. want you to be successful. In order to provide the best opportunity Lloyd Schiller is the founder of Dealer to retain your customers, use your best Services Corporation, a division of NCM efforts to offer your customers two or three Associates. He can be contacted at 866.703.1479, or by e-mail at 19 choices — BEST, Better, good — when it 18 comes to some suggested parts and repairs. the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  9. 9. MichaelYorksales&trainingsolution WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEALERS SUCCESS AND FAILURE TODAY? What’s the difference I’ve mentioned on several occasions a done or seen or achieved or provided to between the masses powerful lesson I’ve gotten from the book the marketplace. What’s best with you? and the true “car stars” in the marketplace? Change the Way You See Everything. I was By focusing on what’s best, it provides Between the individuals and organizations impressed by the overriding message in the a measure of encouragement and navigating these uncharted waters of a book. Here’s the message... positive reinforcement allowing you shifting economy and those crashing on the to make decisions that bring greater rocks of the same old ways of doing things? Most people focus on these two things: commitment. 1. What’s worst about what’s going on How lucky they are? Their location? How right now in their life, or work, or “the 2. What’s next for you, your business, about their focus? news” or whatever. What’s the worst your life, your family, your (fill in the thing you can imagine? Now focus on blank)… What should you and I be focused on that for a day or week or weeks and see today? What are most individuals focused what happens — is it any wonder that, When you focus on what’s next, it brings on, and does it really have anything to do if this is the focus of most individuals, an energy and inertia that propels you in with how things work out? we are a fearful and worrying society? that direction. It’s actually a law that states a body at rest tends to stay at rest, while If you’re a photographer, focus is key. Lose 2. What’s happened, happening or may a body in motion or a mind in motion to your focus as a leader and your team or happen (see #1). In essence, something remain in motion or be propelled in the company will soon follow. Take your eye that is beyond your control. direction of the new thing that is next. off the ball as a hitter or wide receiver, and you’re down and out — no touchdown, That’s the prevailing victim mentality This is the kind of “entrepreneurial you’ve struck out. And so it is in the that says you’re at the mercy of outside adrenalin” that most individuals who opened marketplace today, focus is critical. forces; more fear and worry that literally their own business or started an enterprise or paralizes individuals from taking action pursued an idea have felt. And it’s difficult and lulls them to explain to anyone who hasn’t. into a pattern Bo of “waiting on It’s an entrepreneurial experience that brings ot N 919 things to change positive energy and can bring an excitement h1 AD N or someone and a passion that transcends the day-to-day A ew 20 O else to change stuff that we all have to deal with. 09 rle things.” It’s just that when we focus on what’s next, nsa If you were all the other stuff seems to become less and YOU HAVE CUSTOMERS going to change less a paralyzing force and must step aside things, would for anyone who is on their way to what’s AND PROSPECTS. you wait for next and has made a commitment to go everyone else to there. change or just WE HELP YOU GET begin with you? If you need some positive reinforcement to help with your focus on what’s really A LOT MORE MILEAGE Here’s the power of the “Change important today, go back to basics with some of these books and timeless OUT OF THEM. the Way You See Everthing” messages: • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill message. The (re-read it) two things that • The Strangest Secret by Earl Let’s roll. the uncommon Nightingale minority (top performers, high Don’t neglect the power of positive achievers, “car messages and focusing on these two things stars,” etc.) are that bring you through the difficult times focused on: toward big success: What’s Best and What’s Next. Innovative e-newsletter solutions. 1. What’s best (just the Michael York is a professional speaker, 866-964-6397 opposite of the writer and business consultant. He can majority) about be contacted by e-mail at what’s now or, or visit 20 what you’ve
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