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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 ...

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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autosuccessMar09 autosuccessMar09 Presentation Transcript

  • Listen to Our Industry Experts at www.AutoSuccessPodcast.com March 2009
  • Does your current F&I provider offer a full deck of solutions? My family is known for innovation, and we know a winner when we see one. vAuto’s Market-Based Stocking is both. It’s changing the industry. And it has already changed our approach to used cars. We’re finding profits we didn’t know still existed, and pushing our gross up 17% this year — while other dealerships are struggling to stay afloat. You don’t have to keep — Bob Tasca III, Vice President (and professional NHRA racer) the hand you were dealt. Tasca Ford, Lincoln - Mercury Cranston, Rhode Island You can rely on your Protective representative to be more than a different voice on the phone every month. When we walk through your door, we’ll be holding more than donuts. Because whenDON’T JUST SURVIVE. THRIVE. your profits are on the line, we think a valuable relationship is the best thing you can have. Tasca Ford, Market-Based Stocking Gives You an Edge in ANY Market. Lincoln - Mercury Used Car Gross All across the country, dealers like you are doing more than just getting by. In fact, they’re putting up record numbers in these turbulent times. How is that even possible? From the Up 17% $ industry leaders who changed the game with Market-Based Pricing comes Market-Based $ Stocking. Know exactly what used vehicles are moving fastest in your market — up to the Vehicle Service Contracts I GAP Coverage I Credit Insurance second, and down to trim and equipment. Stock your lot with the most popular and profitable Dealer Participation Programs I F&I Training I Advanced F&I Technology vehicles, and it won’t matter what the market’s doing. You’ll be one step ahead of it. before with vAuto vAuto Stack the deck in your favor! Call us to find out how we canVisit vAutothrive.com/asuccess or call 888-536-4086 for the list of cars enhance your dealer profits and customer satisfaction. 866.927.2914 www.protective.com/dealerservicesfrom your live market that will immediately impact the traffic and profits Vehicle Service Contracts (VSCs) and GAP are backed by Lyndon Property Insurance Company in all states except NY. In NY, Old Republic Insurance Company backs VSCs, and GAP is not available there.in your showroom! Credit Insurance is backed by Protective Life Insurance Company in all states except NY, where it is backed by Protective Life and Annuity Insurance Company.
  • March 2009 feature solution An Interview By SusanGivens EVEN IN THIS ECONOMY BILL DUBE address: HYUNDAI ATTRIBUTES MORE THAN 72 3834 Taylorsville Rd. Building A, Ste. 1B PERCENT OF ITS ENTIRE DEALERSHIP’S Louisville Kentucky 40220 BUSINESS FROM ITS INTERNET SALES phone / fax: DEPARTMENT... 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 AND NO CONVENTIONAL ADVERTISING web: AutoSuccessOnline.com AutoSuccessPodcast.com team: Susan Givens leadership solution Publisher sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com 08 FOCUS Translating Lofty Goals Into Action Thomas Williams StephenR.Covey VP & Creative Director design@autosuccessonline.com 26 DON’T LET FEAR DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS Dave Davis pg22 JesseBiter Editor and Creative Strategist ddavis@autosuccessonline.com THE POWER OF REMARKABLE SERVICE Brian Ankney Solutions That Work Quickly Sales-Improvement Strategist super6@autosuccessonline.com PaulCummings John Warner sales & training solution Sales-Improvement Strategist jwarner@autosuccessonline.com 10 KEEP YOUR BOAT AFLOAT general information: TomHopkins info@autosuccessonline.com eNewsletter: 30 DO’S AND DON’TS DalePollak enews@autosuccessonline.com pg24 33 SAY IT WITH CONVICTION 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 OLD SCHOOL - MarcSmith info@autosuccessonline.com. Subscription rate is $69 per year. NEW SCHOOL AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing Time To Upgrade Your Best Practices 34 SPECIALIZATION: The Key to Increased Service Absorption for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means PaulWebb LawsonOwen reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked marketing solution from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 16 WHERE THERE’S URGENCY, THERE ARE Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names CUSTOMERS available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling MattBaker 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B 18 CASH SteveBrazill Louisville, KY 40220. pg37 GOING ONCE, 19 TACTICS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR WEB SITE ‘SING,’ PART 2 GOING TWICE ScottWeitzman AND SOLD! DrakeA.Baerresen 23 IS YOUR DEALERSHIP RELEVANT TO WOMEN CAR BUYERS? helping to support... JodyDeVere 32 BEYOND THE WEB AlexBravy 36 YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET? YOUR CUSTOMERS, OF COURSE SeanStapleton
  • leadershipsolution StephenR.Covey FOCUS Translating Lofty Goals Into Action In prior columns, respond to this question: “Which statements intimidating place was driving away tourism I’ve talked about an are true about my organization’s direction?” and business. But how to translate that lofty “execution gap” in organizations, the gap goal into action? between setting a goal and achieving it. • My organization has a clear and To close the execution gap, leaders must compelling purpose Instead of doing the same things others had practice four disciplines of execution: • My organization has a clear strategic tried, the mayor’s team asked themselves direction what they could do differently that would 1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goal • I clearly understand the reasons for the realize the goal quickly and with relatively 2. Create a Compelling Scoreboard strategic direction little effort. 3. Translate Lofty Goals into Action • Our organizational goals are clearly 4. Hold Everyone Accountable All of the connected to my organization’s mission One of the first and last impressions of Time and strategy. New York for anyone visiting the city was • I clearly understand what I am supposed the “squeegee operators” who haunted the Once you have identified your “wildly to do to help achieve my organization’s tunnels and bridges of the city. They spit on important goals” and posted the scoreboard goals. car windows and wiped them with dirty rags, on those goals, you must translate them into then demanded payment for “cleaning the action. Only 23 percent of the respondents agreed windows.” Because this activity is not illegal, that all these statements were true for the city was helpless to stop it — until one For most workers, organizational and team them. This means that more than three of the mayor’s counselors pointed out that goals are somewhat lofty. It’s easy to lose fourths of U.S. workers are unclear about jaywalking is illegal. The mayor directed sight of the higher or strategic purpose. A organizational mission and goals — and that the police cite the squeegee operators clear goal and a scoreboard help a lot — but what they are individually supposed to do for jaywalking. The police soon found that people must also get help in deciding what about them. The water is not getting to the the squeegee people were usually wanted they are supposed to do about the goal. end of the row. for more serious violations. In no time, the entrances to New York City were much more Getting the Water to the The consequences? Firms fail to meet inviting. (Rudolph Giuliani, Leadership, End of the Row market expectations, leaders face frustration New York: Hyperion, 2002, 41-42.) I live in Utah, a beautiful but dry country in moving important initiatives forward and, where farmers must irrigate their crops in many cases, things get completely out of To identify the new or better behaviors because they cannot depend on rain. If you hand. needed to achieve key goals, meet with your walk along a sprinkler line on a farm, you team and explore these questions: might notice lush, green growth near the first Leadership is far more than the proclamation • Where in your organization or elsewhere sprinkler head—the one nearest the valve— of a lofty goal. It is also ensuring that each are people consistently achieving their but sparse and yellow growth toward the end person on the front line knows exactly what goals? What are the key behaviors these of the line. Unless the farmer regulates the he or she must do to achieve the goal. superior performers consistently engage water pressure in the pipes, there is little flow in? left for the plants furthest from the source. New Goals Require New Behaviors • How could we adopt these behaviors The answer to “what do I do about it?” is and make them general throughout the The same is true in an organization. So many in identifying the new or better behaviors organization? leaders proclaim lofty strategic goals from that will ensure execution of the goal. • Imagine — what might be the most their headquarters offices only to find that The principle is this: Goals we have never impactful thing we could do to achieve those goals are never implemented at the achieved before require that we do things we the key goal? front line where the work really gets done. have never done before. The water fails to get to the end of the row. Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder of Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New FranklinCovey, and is the author of The 7 So how big a problem is this? In a recent York City once set a lofty goal of making Habits of Highly Effective People. He can study, more than 12,000 U.S. workers in people feel safe in the Big Apple once again. be contacted at 866.892.6363, or by e- hundreds of organizations were asked to New York’s reputation as a dangerous and mail at scovey@autosuccessonline.com.08 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • sales&trainingsolution TomHopkins KEEP YOUR BOAT AFLOAT How do negative despair, depression and decline. income — but all those things count for thought patterns affect nothing if you don’t have enthusiasm your life? They give you the emotional You might be thinking, “Tom, I work all day and good feelings about it all. How many droops. Your drooping emotions bring on with people who are negative. They sit at famous and wealthy people can you think of a mental sag. Then your sagging mental desks all around me. I can’t get away from who’ve committed suicide when they lost powers cause a downturn in your job them.” their enthusiasm for life? Don’t give your performance. That downturn leads directly enthusiasm and good feelings away to any to a sharp decline in your income. The Yes, you can. You can get away from them angry loser who passes by. Keep them. They decline in your income gives you more in the only way that matters — mentally. are the most precious things you own. negative thought patterns, and they add more If you’re surrounded by negativity, put a spin to your downward spiral. positive shell around yourself. Let me tell If you want to help Joe and Jane Negative, you about the positive shell I used when I set a positive example. Be enthusiastic and We all go into declines. We all start sliding was in sales. I worked at it, of course — my successful. Laugh hard and work hard. downhill now and then. Let me show positive shell didn’t grow all by itself. But Your example will radiate the message of you how to arrest your slide, get yourself after a short time, that shell was so thick that positive-minded success to the lesser folk turned around and start climbing again. negative people very rarely tried to break around you who are mired in moodiness and These are the general things you should be through it. mediocrity. continuously doing to keep from getting exposed to depression. Whenever somebody new joined the staff, Keep pumping. Pessimism is bilge water, I would greet them warmly and wish them and your life is like a ship. All ships leak a Talk to positive people more. Always be on well. Then I’d say, “Now, I have enough little, but that’s no problem as long as the the lookout for positive people. Actively problems to handle in my life already. If you crew keeps pumping the bilge water out. seek them out. Encourage their friendship. have anything negative to say, don’t come Positive people are gems. Treasure every near my desk.” That got it out in the open Your pumps are your self-instructions. If one you meet. Find ways to spend more time right away. I wasn’t there to win the “Good your self-instructions are nothing more than with them. Guy of the Year” Award. the mixed bag that you’ve picked up as you go along, you’ll be pumping a lot of bilge Talk to negative people less. You can’t do I stuck to my guns on this. Nobody was water in, not out. Some people pump so this passively. You can’t just stand there and allowed to pull a chair up to my desk unless much negative stuff into their lives that their let anyone who comes along monopolize they were qualified to make a purchase. ships sink. your ears with a flood of negativity. When When anybody came over to kill some time, someone is negative, you have to say to I’d reach in my drawer, take out a deposit Think about what you’re pumping into and yourself, “I can’t help people like this until receipt, and say, “All right, let’s see which out of your life with your constant thoughts they’re ready to be helped. In the meantime, one you want today.” that are negative or positive self-instructions I’m not going to let them hurt me. So I’m according to your choice. If changes are closing my ears to them — nicely if I can, Do not let these people slurp you. In this life, called for, make them now. There’ll never roughly if that’s the only way I can do it. you’re either a slurpee or slurper. A slurper be a better time. Make those changes and My contribution to the world is enormously is someone who steals your warm emotions, start cruising happily toward the rising sun more important than hearing this pointless absconds with your enthusiasm, swindles of success. negativity.” you out of your good feelings, and leaves nothing behind except bad news. World-renowned master sales trainer Tom At times, this means that you’ll be talking Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins to nobody but yourself around the office. If All you can ever really have in life is your International. He can be contacted at that’s the only way you can talk to someone enthusiasm and good feelings. Think about 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at who’s up, so be it! Talking to yourself is that and I believe you’ll agree with me. thopkins@autosuccessonline.com. always better than talking to a promoter of You can have honors, awards, property,10 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • featuresolution percent, so we thought the time presented a real opportunity for us in Carsites that improved search optimization for us and that along with the market. By maintaining a targeted focus and deciding that failure Todd’s efforts have really impressed me. I see us continuing to steadily wasn’t an option for us, we could pick up that difference between grow that department. We have a goal that’s targeted around vehicle what the industry was going to be down and what people were talking sales, and the BDC or the Internet department is there to support those themselves into. vehicle sales. As long as we can continue to meet those numbers and generate new opportunities, we’ll continue to add people to meet those For the last half of 2008, we just refused to participate in the opportunities. slowdown and we continued to improve our business. In 2009, it’s sort of the same thing, only the stakes have been raised a little bit. Even Todd’s been an integral part of building this thing and making it as positive as we wanted to be, the end of 2008 was hard for a lot of happen, and the daily discipline of actually seeing that the vision gets people. We essentially doubled our new car business in December and Even in This Economy Bill Dube Hyundai Attributes again in January. We weren’t necessarily able to maintain the same implemented. My management style is to design the vision and then find people to implement that vision. We have great people in our level of profitability as in boom times, but we were certainly better Internet department, but without the support of Dealer Synergy, it An Interview by SusanGivens More Than 72 Percent of Its Entire Dealership’s off than we would have been if we had participated in the 30 and 40 would be that much more difficult to measure, manage and maintain percent declines people were recognizing. that department. Business from Its Internet Sales Department... I credit a good deal of our success to Dealer Synergy. We got up I’ve got to credit our general sales manager, Said Bousbaa, with part And NO Conventional Advertising and running with them last September and at that time less than 20 percent of our business came from the Internet. By December, 72 of that success, too. The Internet department’s job is to get people to show up. Once they do, it’s really his job to make sure that we deliver percent came from online sources. We also incorporated a customer on our promise. All those things that people were informed about our AutoSuccess would like to congratulate Bill Dube Hyundai, located in Wilmington Massachusetts on their loyalty/rewards program using Visible Customer and that is showing tremendous success. This modest single-point Hyundai dealership in New England is delivering over 72 dealership have to come true, or else we are what they fear the most. great promise too. It’s his responsibility to ensure the customer experience is what we percent of the dealership’s entire business from its Internet Sales department with virtually no conventional advertising. AS: Was this the first time you tried to put a focus on said it would be. That’s a huge job and he does great. Internet sales? During normal times this achievement might not get much attention, but given the current state of the SD: No. We’d been down this road five times before, and in July, I AS: Where do you see this industry going in the next year, economy, this is an outstanding achievement. Then when you recognize this is not a Toyota or Honda store got really tired of that. We’d been through two people in a really short or the next five years? and it’s located in a tier-two market, the results become even more startling. As a matter of fact, this past period of time, and I knew I had to do something; I knew I was leaving SD: It’s clear that a lot of people are going to talk this industry down ScottDube December (2008) Bill Dube Hyundai delivered more units out of their Internet department than they did the deals on the table. We started looking around and I talked to several for a long time, and I’m not sure who wins in that equation. The previous December (2007) out of their entire dealership. different companies, and was most impressed with Dealer Synergy talking heads on TV and the politicians and some industry leaders mainly because of their aggressive follow-up and their willingness to really seem to be putting a negative spin on the industry. I guess it While our industry is seeing some difficult times, we believe it is important to show you that it isn’t really depends on how quickly the consumer regains confidence, both engage in conversation about what they’d do right away to help us. impossible to make progress in your sales growth. The results you achieve will depend a lot on your expectations. Are you a “glass-is-half-full” or a “glass-is-half-empty” person? Why are some dealers still AS: How did their relationship with you evolve? selling vehicles with a modest drop off and others taking major hits in their sales volume? SD: Dealer Synergy asked what my goals were and really talked to me about what I was trying to accomplish, and then crafted a game There are dealers buying up stores and expanding their dealer groups, and grabbing bargains from dealers plan to get me there. They were able to rough out a budget with me who see no future in auto retailing. This month we wanted to focus on a different kind of a dealership. A and get me an idea of what it was going to cost and what I could dealership that is proactive and willing to change traditional ways of thinking. Their perspective: “Failure is expect from it. I also asked them to help with the staffing portion of not an option.” It’s refreshing to see a dealership commit to a course of action, execute on a plan and see it building our Internet Department. They provided assistance in writing through to its success. Bill Dube Hyundai, a tier two product in a tier two market has literally defied all logic the employment ad and in interviewing the candidates. They also and reasoning and has outperformed many larger dealerships with more money and resources. oversaw the hiring and orientation of the people who were going to SeanV.Bradley work in our BDC. Bill Dube Hyundai is another Dealer Synergy success story. Dealer Synergy, an award-winning training, consulting and technology company has achieved international recognition for the profound effect they have AS: Describe the process of creating your Internet had on the automotive retailing community. They have taken dealership after dealership from just average or below-average results to a level of department. tremendous success. Many of their dealer clients have been nationally recognized for their success in Automotive Internet Sales and Business SD: Essentially, we built a new department from the ground up. We Development — more so than any other training company in the industry. had no employees for this department. From one point of view, it was perfect. There were no preconceived ideas or bad habits to break. We AutoSuccess recently had the opportunity to sit down with both Scott Dube, dealer principal of Bill Dube Hyundai and Sean V. Bradley, founder had five brand new people who were going to come in and do it the and CEO of Dealer Synergy. We wanted to find out why and how they have achieved a high level of success in their fields. way we wanted to do it. I made a commitment from the beginning AutoSuccess: Scott, tell us about your store and background. not to “Frankenstein” the process, that is take one piece of advice and Scott Dube: My father, Bill Dube, bought a Toyota dealership in New Hampshire in 1975, and bought a Ford dealership in the same town in ignore another. I was making a pretty substantial commitment, and 1981. Then in 2004, we acquired this underperforming Hyundai franchise in Wilmington, Mass. The store had some reputation issues and we my initial goal was to hold (Dealer Synergy CEO) Sean V. Bradley have jumped in with both feet to improve the store’s performance and image. accountable if it didn’t happen, and in order to do that, you have to do what the guy says. I had spent enough time and enough due diligence AS: What have you been doing to improve the dealership? to put my confidence in him and say “I’ll do what you say, and hire SD: We really focus on customer satisfaction and retention of every customer. We don’t shoot for a home run on every deal but rather focus on people to do what you say.” making a good profit and keeping the customer coming back again and again. I am very hands on and always in the dealership or easily available to customers and staff. All our dealerships have family members running them, so there’s always a Dube available to talk to if an issue arises. We AS: And how did all that turn out? put that extra special touch on all our deals. I have a good crew of people, but it takes a while to put that crew together and culturally bring them SD: I was very pleased. We had no way to know what to your point of view. the Internet department was going to do, and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with AS: How has the current slowdown in the industry affected your dealership? the effort Todd Cole, my Internet SD: Actually, it’s been a real positive for us; our volume is up, between 60 to 80 percent over last year. director, has put in, and the results he’s been AS: That’s impressive! How did you accomplish that? able to generate. SD: During the last quarter of 2008, everyone was talking themselves into a pretty deep hole. There was bad stuff going on, to be sure, but even We implemented a the worst-case scenarios being portrayed in the media were only business being off by 20 to 25 percent. We knew some dealers were off 30 to 50 website from TK1 12 3
  • in the economy and in their own personal lives. Hyundai is offering their goals and the status of their current situation. Also we recognize its Hyundai Assurance program, and that really helps build some that you need a holistic approach and that the Internet Department confidence with prospective buyers when they know they can give does not operate as a separate company, but a department within the back the vehicle if they lose their job. dealership and everything between departments must work smoothly. I read an article recently that compared a dealership to an “eco-system” Our industry is cyclical. We’re seeing some bad numbers now, but where things are interdependent. I think that is exactly what we have my family’s been in the business a long time. My father can attest to in dealerships. If you bring in a consultant and they make changes just the fact, and reminds us very often, that this isn’t as bad as it was in to the Internet department or BDC area and do not look at how they the early 1980s, when we had sales that dipped like this and we had interact with other processes in the dealership, the likelihood of long- interest rates in the 20 percent range. We’re not facing that kind of term success will be compromised. We provide a customized solution problem right now. In five years, we’re very optimistic. It will have that insures the entire eco-system works in a healthy fashion. turned around, and we will have gone through a process where we will have reduced the amount of competition we have. There will be fewer AS: What other services differentiate you from your dealers, and hopefully those of us who make it through this challenge competitors? are going to come out stronger on the other side. When times return to SVB: Coming back to the eco-system analogy, one of the major more a normal economy and lending environment, we will prosper. differentiators is our ongoing support. We are not backseat cheerleaders who say, “Here it is; go do it.” Dealer Synergy provides I’d like it to be over right away, but the reality is we probably needed ongoing support and mentoring to ensure they stay on track and focus a little bit of an adjustment. It’s going to cause us to run a much more on results. efficient operation, and the entire industry is going to have to clean it up a little, and tighten up things, and it’s probably healthy to do that. We coach, monitor phone calls, perform auditing functions of services Hopefully, it doesn’t have to be catastrophic for us to learn that lesson. and the Web site, provide analyst reports, make mystery shopper calls, provide ongoing phone training and a host of other services. This helps Interview with Sean V. Bradley to ensure that the dealership stays focused on the process and that the AutoSuccess: Sean, we have spoken to Scott Dube and team is held accountable for following their routine every day. We he has shared his experience about working with Dealer know of no other training organization that provides this complete Synergy. His results aren’t unique are they? service for their dealer clients. Sean V. Bradley: Over the last 10 years I have continually honed my craft, and every year more and more dealers are benefiting AS: Are you able to get your message home to the from the lessons I have learned. Dealer Synergy has achieved some managers during your in-store visits? incredible results with dealers over the years, and some of the ones SVB: While we are able to make a major impact during our on-site recognized for their achievement using our systems and procedures training we recognized early on that a more comprehensive solution are Nelson Mazda in Oklahoma, Willis Honda in New Jersey, and was required. After studying all the options and channels available Peruzzi Toyota in Pennsylvania. Every one of them was featured in a we developed our Internet Sales Director Immersion Program. cover story in either AutoSuccess Magazine, Digital Dealer or Auto These are held regularly throughout the year near our Philadelphia Dealer Monthly. location and incorporate a three- and/or five-day deep dive into the inner workings of an Internet and BDC department. Todd Cole from AS: How do you replicate these results at each Bill Dube Hyundai attended one of these events and he attributes dealership? much of his knowledge and success to information he learned about SVB: First off, we recognize that every dealership situation and during that week of training. What’s also very exciting about this market is different so we complete a needs analysis to clearly identify course is the information from FranklinCovey. Dealer Synergy is the only automotive training company certified by Franklin Covey Management and Organization Solutions Group. This means we bring all the dynamic principles of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to the participants in our Immersion Training. That along with our training information makes this incredibly valuable. General managers attending have found it very rewarding. AS: Any thoughts you want to share in closing? SVB: We have proven again and again that our system works and those dealers who commit to it really like the results. The key word here is commitment. We have spoken to some dealers interested in our program and we could tell by their comments they wanted a few pieces, but weren’t committed to the entire eco-system program. We chose to walk away from those opportunities because we knew they would not succeed in the long term. Dealer Synergy likes to focus on dealers who recognize that success is within reach if they are willing to jump in with both feet and stay the course. For more information about Dealer Synergy’s Immersion Training, visit www.InternetSales20Group.com, or www.dealersynergy.com. Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 888.814.0409, or by e-mail at sbradley@autosuccessonline.com. clockwise from the left: Sean V. Bradley, founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy; Scott Dube, Dealer Principal and Todd Cole, Internet Director at Bill Dube Hyundai; Sean V. Bradley and the Dealer Synergy team14
  • marketingsolution MattBaker WHERE THERE’S URGENCY, THERE ARE CUSTOMERS Effective brand expiration dates will only result in a loss of those special offer promotions that were advertising has an credibility and a lack of return. produced through careful and thoughtful appropriate time and place. Unfortunately, planning. given today’s economic conditions, this Making It Work for You brand-boosting initiative may not result in While there is a lot to be gained from For instance, consider developing a direct the drive of traffic that one might expect. urgency-driven advertising efforts, many mail campaign that includes both implied often aren’t sure of exactly how to use this and direct urgency. While direct urgency Today’s buyers aren’t just looking for a deal; theory to generate the highest return. Here gives the consumer a straight forward reason they are looking for the deal of a lifetime. are a few different options to consider when to act, such as through noting a deadline While advertising focused on brand building developing an urgency plan that works for for special savings, implied urgency uses is important, it is not what will get buyers your dealership. creative verbiage to help suggest that acting off their couch and into your dealership in now would be in the consumer’s best today’s tough times. Why not? It all comes Utilizing Promotional Events: interest, without expressing it directly. down to urgency, which is created through For many dealers, staffed events or an immediate call to action, fear of loss and “SuperSales” can help to create an ongoing As Marketing Experiments came to find, the deal of a lifetime. training program or provide a shot in the the combination of these two approaches in arm during a good economy. Yet when times one special offer lead to an increase in sales The Power of Urgency turn tough, these events often become an conversion rates by 508 percent. People in general are excellent at the art integral part of a dealer’s business plan. of procrastination. For many, the easiest As the dealership staff stops believing Additionally, consider steadily building upon decision to make is no decision at all. The they can move markets, these promotional the urgency your copy creates by staggering stresses brought on by a gloomy economy events become even more effective as they direct mail send dates to the same customers. makes buyers feel increasingly paralyzed, “stir up the pot.” This opens the dealership This method will not only repeatedly remind which contributes greatly to consumer employees’ eyes to develop effective ways those consumers why they should buy procrastination. As Michael Fortin, to create their own market, even when and where they should buy from, it also President and CEO of SuccessDoctor. everyone else doesn’t believe one exists. motivates these buyers to make the move out com expressed in a recent blog post, the of the house and onto your showroom floor, key isn’t in pressuring people to make the These staffed events sales offer an excellent before it’s too late. purchase. Instead, it’s using pressure to opportunity to create genuine consumer give your consumers a compelling reason urgency with an effective time-sensitive In The End… to stop procrastinating. By supplying your offer. Whether your staffed event ad plan No, unfortunately not every prospect will customers with a logical reason for why includes direct mail, newspaper, TV, radio choose to buy from you now. However, they should buy now, you are replacing their or all four, promotional sales offer a unique by capitalizing on the power of urgency purchasing objections with a need to act on opportunity to communicate a logical reason advertising, you are putting your dealership your proposed offer. why consumers in your market should buy at better odds to see that influx of traffic. now and most importantly, why they should So just how successful can this approach buy from you. Remember that creating effective urgency is be? Marketing Experiments Journal took it not a one-step process. Instead, it’s a series upon itself to test the effects of urgency on Direct Mail: of well-planned steps from a number of sales conversion rates. By offering special Whether you handle your own direct mail angles. Your goal is to give your consumers event savings for consumers who purchased campaigns or rely on a marketing agency a compelling reason to stop procrastinating between the dates of May 8 through June to help you get your message across, make and make the purchase. Provide your 15, 2006 Marketing Experiments noted a sure your approach is geared towards driving customers with a logical reason why they 992.68 percent average increase in sales over home that much-needed urgency factor. should buy now and chances are that more the course of the offer period. Long story will do as you say. short – limited time offers create urgency As the Marketing Experiments study went and urgency drives sales. However, as the on to show, simply adding an “offer expires Matt Baker is the vice president of sales Marketing Experiments study is quick to on this date” starburst to your advertising for G&A Marketing. He can be contacted at 866.618.8248, or by e-mail at point out, the urgency you create must be may seem like the easiest way to increase mbaker@autosuccessonline.com. genuine in order to be effective. Promotional your sales return. However as they came gimmicks like continuously extending offer to discover, better results were received by16 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • marketingsolution SteveBrazill ScottWeitzman marketingsolution CASH Successful dealership years and the boom years — the ability next month. A dealership that runs out of TACTICS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR WEB SITE ‘SING,’ PART 2 Thanks to the Internet, Then focus on Search Engine Optimization managers are, by to maximize profit is a “money” skill set. cash is out of business. Game over. today’s car buyers (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing nature, profit-focused. We learn, generally But when business gets ugly, the ability to shop in an environment that serves up instant (SEM). SEO and SEM are the sciences through experience, how to mix customers, manage cash can become more important Let’s examine a couple myths about cash: information gratification alongside a healthy of generating traffic in both free and paid products and people in the right combination than the ability to manage profit. dose of online distractions. This issue, we’ll ways, through user searches at Google, to maximize profit. We hone those skills “I can sell my way out of a cash problem.” look at some other ways that you can make Yahoo and other major search engines. Your month after month. Through most of the A dealership that fails to earn a profit in a — Generally not. To understand why not, your Web site “sing” to your customers and Web development company may already business cycle — certainly the normal month often gets a chance to try again in the think of the process of starting a dealership. stand out from the crowd. offer SEO and SEM services. If not, solicit Before I can sell anything, I invest cash, then the help of an outside organization or convert that cash to inventories. As I sell Stand Apart From the Crowd specialist, or research information online those inventories I get some cash back but Guess what? Your competitors have Web and do it yourself. SEO and SEM are critical I also create receivables (customer, rebates, sites, too. And with the increasing use of components to driving traffic to your Web warranty claims) and new inventories (trade- templates in Web development today, there’s site, so take the time and do it right. ins). Those receivables and inventories will a good chance they may have a site that (should) eventually convert back to cash as I looks very similar to yours. Let the Leads Come to You complete the sales cycle and, if my sales are Don’t fall into the trap of driving every stable, I eventually recapture my initial cash So how do you stand apart from the visitor to your lead generation page. While plus my gross profit (and less my expenses). crowd? If you have the resources, invest this tactic might work for third-party lead But growing my sales rate means growing in a premium Web site template versus a generation companies that monetize each my investment in the non-cash part of the standard version from your developer. High- customer inquiry, it’s not the best way to cycle. More inventory. More receivables. end premium Web sites communicate to generate quality prospects at your Web Growing my sales rate does not produce cash your customers that you take your business site. Allow visitors to browse and research — it eats cash. Slowing my sales rate allows seriously. They also convey a higher level without overwhelming them with annoying me to unwind my investment in inventory of presentation quality by putting the pop-ups for quote submissions and coupons. and receivables, recapture cash and keep it in dealership on equal footing Instead, create pages of the bank. with manufacturer and your Web site that follow automotive portal sites, to a natural “research to “I can’t make money if I don’t make a which online car buyers are purchase” pathway by profit.” — Not necessarily. Operating profit already accustomed. providing lead generation is the difference between gross profit and forms at reasonable stages expense. If my total gross profit last month Check out the latest throughout the research was $190,000 and my total expenses were automotive Web site content process, or at the end $200,000, my accountant will record that being offered, and don’t of the research process. I lost $10,000. But my expenses likely be afraid to incorporate When leads come to you include some depreciation, which is a this content into your site. in a natural way, you gain non-cash expense. The assets I depreciate For example, a new video your customer’s trust in today were generally purchased and paid product that showcases the process. for in the past — I don’t write a check to the sexy aspects of a car’s pay for this month’s depreciation. If my styling, down to the trim The Internet provides total depreciation (and amortization) in this level, can be used to create a great opportunity for example was $25,000, the remaining cash a “mini-commercial” at the OEMs, lead-generators, expenses of $175,000 would have been home page of your Web and dealers to leverage covered by the $190,000 gross profit. Some site, for maximum impact content to drive success. managers use this analysis to get a rough at minimal expense. There’s When you keep your assessment of cash flow and you can see it’s plenty of cutting-edge, off- Web site simple, focus possible for that measure of cash flow to be the-shelf content available on content that captures positive even when profit is negative. on the market today that can attention, distance leave your competition in yourself from the Running a dealership is challenging under the digital dust. competition, strategically any circumstances, but it becomes more market your site as often so when a depleted checkbook is forcing Be Marketing-Minded as you can, and take a your decisions. Managing for cash can be Having an organized more natural approach to every bit as important as managing for profit content-rich Web site that lead generation, your Web site will “sing” — sometimes more so. looks great is one matter, driving traffic to while your customers sing your praises. that site is something else. For starters, promote your Web site every Steve Brazill is the chair of automotive Scott Weitzman is vice president of chance you get — in traditional advertising, business development for eVox Images. marketing for Northwood University, Texas Campus. He can be contacted at by word of mouth, on signage and in He can be contacted at 866.861.1515, or by e-mail at collateral materials such as letterhead and 866.618.9004, or by e-mail at1 sbrazill@autosuccessonline.com. business cards. sweitzman@autosuccessonline.com. 18 9 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • leadershipsolution PaulCummings JodyDeVere marketingsolution “Regardless of THE POWER OF what position you hold in the IS YOUR DEALERSHIP REMARKABLE SERVICE dealership, you must dig deep and RELEVANT TO WOMEN Solutions That Work Quickly be excited about and proud of what CAR BUYERS? “Business goes where approach and rigid in principle. you and your team For the past several the “Power of the Purse.” Women represent Will women visiting your dealership be it is asked for, but it contributes daily.” months, you can’t multiple markets and are well informed recommending you? only stays where it is truly appreciated.” This To Care is to Cure turn on the TV, glance at the Internet or flip before they come to buy a car. They talk simple statement really sums up the content Have you ever had a customer service through the pages of a newspaper without to their friends, they surf the Internet and Jody DeVere is the CEO and president of of my message. Our industry has done a experience that was so horrible you seeing a story or two about the dismal state they read an average of four car magazines. AskPatty.com. She can be contacted at 866.849.9973, or by e-mail at fantastic job of customer acquisition, but as a actually said “These people don’t care of the auto makers and whether the local When they buy, they buy for their families, jdevere@autosuccessonline.com. general rule we have struggled with customer about their customers?” I know I have on market dealerships will survive or not. The their businesses and make recommendations retention. The reason we continually more than one occasion. The aftertaste of auto industry is struggling to gain ground to their friends and family. spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to a poor service experience stays with you with cash-strapped consumers and is looking attract new customers is because we invest for a long time. I have also had more than for ways to once again become a relevant very little to keep our existing customers my share of remarkable customer service part of consumer’s daily lives. genuinely happy. Why? I think it is because experiences where I felt immensely cared we use short-term thinking to run a business for by an employee or company. My take Women either buy or influence the purchase in a rapidly changing industry marketplace on all of this can be summed up this way: of 85 percent of all new cars and trucks sold that demands a longer-term strategy. Where employees are truly cared for, so in the United States today. If women are so are the customers. If you want to cure your influential, why do they often feel ignored, Create the Remarkable Experience customer service issues, you must care for or worse, on the showroom floor? The first key to providing truly remarkable your people at a deeper level. In addition, customer service success lies in your creation never allow individuals who do not possess Here are a few tips to help you of a seamless experience. Great service a desire to serve to interact with your guest. communicate, gain trust, respect and sell providers anticipate the real needs of their Immerse your service team with people who more cars to women: customers. These companies put customer- enjoy solving problems. organizations. From years of experience, I focused systems in place and then train can attest that the best service organizations 1. Ask for and use her name. Her name their people within the system to ensure a Please Un-tie My Hands I have ever met are those who have an is not “Sweetie,” “Honey,” “Lovely Lady,” great customer experience. The company In today’s fast-paced business climate, excited leader on board. How can you “Baby,” or any other similar nonsense. runs almost flawlessly because of the effort customers lose their patience very quickly expect your people to be genuinely excited Regardless of what kind of car she expresses and time they put into the daily processes. if they are in the middle of a bad customer about providing remarkable customer interest in test-driving or buying, at no time My question is simple, even for the great service experience. I see this all the time service if you are not excited. The most does it give you (the salesperson) the right to organizations: What happens when the in airports as I travel across the globe. As important task at hand is for you to motivate patronize her by saying “You’ll look really unexpected happens? How do you respond airline agents continually use the phrases yourself as the first order of business. good in this car.” when the unusual request comes your way? such as “I don’t know,” or “That’s not my Service is not a “do as I say, not as I do” job,” or “I don’t have the authority to make enterprise. Your team definitely learns from 2. Use direct eye contact. Look at her when How Far Will You Go? that decision” when a customer expresses your daily example because the eye has she is speaking to you, and look at her (not I have always suggested that the unexpected a concern, you can immediately see the always been the great teacher. Regardless your cell phone) when you are talking to her. occurrences provide companies with two frustration on the faces of the customers. of what position you hold in the dealership, And remember, her eyes are “up here,” not opportunities. Organizations will both Why? Because what the customer really you must dig deep and be excited about “down there.” respond and shine or they will panic and wants and expects is to speak with and proud of what you and your team fail. Which approach best describes your someone who has the authority to provide contributes daily. If you are motivated, your 3. Listen to her carefully. When a woman organization? What lengths will you go a real answer and a real solution. Airlines team will be inspired and – guess what – tells you exactly what she’s wanting in a car, to in order to “WOW” your customers? continually put their own agents in harm’s your customers will be well taken care of as write it down if necessary. When she asks How prepared is your team to handle way by giving them very little authority to a result. You must set yourself on fire with questions, be patient and respectful when the unexpected in a remarkable way? make decisions that give the customer the genuine enthusiasm everyday so when your answering, and don’t talk so fast. When you Sometimes, in moments like these, the very feeling they are important to the airline. teams gather to watch you burn; you can set talk too fast, it gives the appearance that system you use everyday to operate in a It is unfair to both the employee and the them on fire as well. you’re trying the bait-and-switch game, flawless manner must be cast aside in order customer. Create a service-based culture which no woman has any patience for. to address the current situation. Have you that provides team members with the Paul Cummings is president and CEO of built this type of flexibility into your service freedom to WOW the customer. Paul Cummings Enterprises. He can be 4. Don’t answer your cell phone. Being contacted at 866.865.3171, or by e-mail at approach? I promise you it is hard to be pcummings@autosuccessonline.com. on your cell phone when you’re with a remarkable if you are rigid in your approach Get Excited About Service customer is downright rude. Either put your to customer service. You must be flexible in Excitement truly does run downhill in phone on silent or vibrate, or simply turn it off when dealing with customers directly. When receiving a call on your cell phone, your customer should be your first priority. Let your caller go to voicemail and take care of your customer, then check your voicemail messages. Don’t talk on your cell phone when taking customers on a test-drive. Doing so just might cost you the sale. It is critical for dealerships to understand2 22 3 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • sales&trainingsolution PaulWebb OLD SCHOOL - NEW SCHOOL Time to Upgrade Your Best Practices The Internet has been • Two computer-literate salespeople Sequencing selling is simply making a list of with us long enough • One tech support person the customer’s needs. You must write things to qualify for “Old School” / “New School” down in a logical format and in the order best practices. And I’m sure this article It’s a given that everyone has to be computer your customer gives them to you, then repeat will be outdated in another three months as savvy in today’s market. And, as we move the list to the customer during the interview. techniques change rapidly in this high-speed forward, eventually everyone will have to This will focus both of you. world of auto-response and texting-speed become Internet savvy, as well. finger finesse. You have to be smarter. It’s If the customer doesn’t know what he or Job Description: she wants, this will help them get on track School Time. “Experienced Webmaster wanted for leading and bring them to a logical conclusion. When customers started coming into the area automobile dealership (group); should The volume of information on the Internet dealership with Internet research, we had be proficient in creating and editing Web has influenced customers helping them to to change. What were we trained to say? pages, Web graphics and photos; knowledge become more logical and analytical. “Great, Mr/s. customer, you’ve really helped of SEO techniques, SEM campaigns, with the research. Thanks for doing all the scripting languages, and Web-enabled One important point to remember is to never work and making it easier for me to sell you databases a must. The ability to build a team take the list out of order. Write the list down a vehicle.” (I still remember as a training and a passion for winning is mandatory.” and let the customer review it frequently. It consultant the sales meeting when the GSM is even more effective to let the customer Closing the Internet Customer gave his staff that word track to say to the write the list. People find it hard to argue In the early stages of using the Internet for Internet customers.) with their own list. Remember, this is a list buying vehicles, the customer looked up of their needs, not yours. equipment, specifications, price ranges, So what are some of the best practices for accessories, etc. As a customer, you were successful Internet departments today? Here Your brain likes things in order. When considered highly analytical. We had other you ask a customer, “What do you feel is are some ideas making money in today’s words not as nice, yet we all new where most successful Internet departments. Run important in a vehicle?” they might respond the customer’s mind was headed — facts with “four doors.” Your new technique is to these ideas against your own processes and and details. So, we discounted the vehicles you measure the results. If you have a better write down what the customer wants on a (“Internet pricing”), gave up gross on the clean piece of paper and make a list. process, stick to it. And if you find one of front end and made it up on the back end. these techniques work better, adapt and Analytical customers spent money in F&I. upgrade to a better approach. Let’s say the customer also wants an And that worked for a while. automatic transmission, and, for the ease Hiring of learning the Sequencing technique, this By having the Internet highly accessible It’s better to have one or two Internet Techno imaginary Internet customer only wants to everyone today and making all the Types working in the background — not those two things. The list is now set. information (facts and details) available to handling customers. Just keeping the SEO everyone, we’ve turned a lot of emotional and SEM up-to-date is well-worth the labor Presenting The Vehicle buyers into analytical shoppers. When you take the customer to the vehicle, expense. And don’t kid yourself and cut corners thinking these analytical co-workers Here is a great closing technique to close the what is the first thing you’re going to show can sell vehicles. It’s a rare find to get a Internet customer: sequencing. them? Right! The four doors – you sell in highly analytical and highly expressive order. Once you sell the customer on the driver type personality in the same person. Here’s a test: Since you know the alphabet, four doors, go the next item on the list: These types usually have their own software start saying the letters, starting with the letter automatic. Continue with this process down companies and are not candidates for “L” and go backwards. Why is it difficult? the list — obviously, real customers will automotive sales positions. What you really Because you learned it in order – from the have more than two items. Don’t confuse the end up with is a person with technical skills letter “A” going forward. Why do customers customer by taking things out of order. — great with computers — but they come up say, “I want to think about it”? Because a little short in the “people skills” category. they’re confused. And who confused them Paul Webb is a principal of Street Smart / most of the time? We did. Paul Webb Training. He can be contacted at 866.500.5827, or by e-mail at Today’s Best Mix: pwebb@autosuccessonline.com. • Eight computer- and Internet-literate Sequencing is one of the most effective salespeople techniques in selling, and it’s easy to do.24 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • leadershipsolution JesseBiter DON’T LET FEAR DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS When it comes The credit crisis has led to abysmal vehicle sales representatives. To stay motivated and to financial sales figures and the near-term economic effective on the showroom floor, your sales matters nowadays, fear appears to be forecast does little to evoke confidence in team needs some reassurance from the top a communicable disease. Let’s face it: the possibility of a rapid recovery. Not to that their livelihoods are not in a constant Anyone with a bank account and a pulse is mention that it’s more than a little unsettling state of jeopardy. Most dealers would agree scared stiff about the disastrous economic to watch CEOs from the Big Three U.S. that good sales people are hard to find. If landscape. Seemingly daily three-digit automakers trek to Washington, tin cup in you happen to have a few of those special swings on the Dow have become the norm hand. But while the challenges may prove individuals at your dealership, pull them and this stomach-churning roller coaster ride insurmountable for some, opportunities aside and talk with them. Let them know appears to have no end in sight. So as the for success, and even growth, will still be that while there are undoubtedly concerns grim economic realities of 2008 carry over available. For those dealers who choose about the bottom line, you remain steadfastly to 2009, it is now more important than ever to face this adversity head-on and adapt committed to your top line. Trimming the to take a good long look in the mirror and their business accordingly, the reward may fat may be necessary, but it is very short- embrace the areas of your business that you ultimately include capturing market share sighted to sit idly while the most talented actually still can control. The good news is from their more fear-stricken competition. and experienced members of your staff fall that you may have more control over your victim to circumstances beyond their control. financial fate than you may think. While fear Economics 101 teaches that a decrease in may drive markets, it does not have to drive revenue must lead to a decrease in spending. The marketing budget always seems to be your business. As revenues plummet, no line item is safe on the chopping block during turbulent — including payroll. But while it may be an times. But you really need to ask yourself There’s no sugar-coating the very serious act of fiscal prudence to sharpen one’s pencil — do you intend to actually stay in the retail challenges that are currently facing the during a recession, it’s critical to know when automotive business? If the answer is “yes,” automotive industry, as well as nearly to say “when.” Think twice before cutting then slashing your marketing budget in every other sector in the global economy. loose key staff members, particularly top conjunction with downsizing your sales force may not exactly be the best way of achieving that goal. Put the chainsaw back in the garage and take a more cautious and thoughtful approach to spending cuts. Technology has really leveled the playing field when it comes to marketing analysis. Use the tools and metrics you have available to carefully analyze which areas of your overall marketing strategy yield the highest return on investment. If the overwhelming majority of vehicle sales originate from the Internet, does it make much sense to start cutting there? Make a direct comparison to the return on your Internet marketing investment to THE FORECAST the ROI delivered by traditional media. Are print and radio outlets still driving consumers to the lot? You will most likely have fewer CALLS FOR marketing dollars to work with in 2009, so spend them wisely. Cutbacks may be A DOWNPOUR OF unavoidable, just make sure that you target the areas that will help your bottom line — not hurt it. NEW BUSINESS. There will be light at the end of this tunnel — eventually. An experienced and steady hand IMN Loyalty Driver floods your dealership at the helm will be necessary to navigate with interested customers and prospects. your business through to the other side, so keep your core team intact. Don’t forget to grab as much market share as you can along the way, as fear overwhelms competitors that choose to remain focused on what’s behind them instead of what’s ahead of them. Innovative e-newsletter solutions. Jesse Biter is the president and CEO of 866-964-6397 imnLoyaltyDriver.com HomeNet, Inc. He can be contacted at 866.239.4049, or by e-mail at2 jbiter@autosuccessonline.com.6 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • sales&trainingsolution DalePollak DO’S AND DON’TS I think it’s an Used vehicle success in 2009 will you let loose of the old important time to will depend heavily on your notions of stocking your lot share my thoughts and insights about the ability to think differently predominantly with vehicles used car market for 2009. As I travel the about which vehicles to of your franchise brand and/ country, I’m exposed to industry leaders stock. You must appreciate or with only those vehicles at dealerships, auctions, manufacturers the fact that there are many that have done well for you and leading third-party solution providers. used vehicles in every market in the past? I contend that What follows is a compilation of my that enjoy high demand and successfully managing your best judgment as to the state of the used have low supply. Moreover, used vehicle operations in car industry and importantly some do’s the Internet makes it entirely 2009 will depend on your and don’ts as you manage your used car possible and efficient for willingness and ability to operation in the coming months. your dealership to sell these stock vehicles that are outside vehicles even if they are not your past performance First, it’s important to understand that your franchise brand. and/or consistent with your today’s used car market is an efficient franchise brand. I can assure market. An efficient market is one where Consider the fact that when you with a lot of experience there is relatively equal knowledge between a shopper does an Internet that any vehicle with high buyers and sellers regarding their choices search for a particular demand and low supply in and alternatives. Remember that it is easy vehicle of their choice, all your market will easily and for any shopper to use the Internet and find similar vehicles are returned seemingly effortlessly fly off numerous used vehicles just like yours, irrespective of whether the your lot. know where they all are and how they’re selling dealer’s franchise priced. The old days of shoppers paying you brand is of that particular Remember that sellers in an more for a used vehicle than they need to make. The Internet gives no preference efficient market who have merchandise for pay someone else for the same vehicle are whatsoever in showing search results sale with high demand and low supply enjoy behind us. for vehicles being sold by dealers of that two important rewards. First, the market franchise brand. Once you recognize this place is looking for you rather than you Once you come to terms with this fact, fact, you are well on your way to stocking having to spend a lot of money to look for you must understand that the destiny of all vehicles that your market is demanding and the market place. Second, vehicles of high sellers in an efficient market will largely uncoupling yourself from the baggage that demand and low supply are less sensitive be governed by principles of supply and your franchise brand carries. In other words, to price competition. If you have any demand. To demonstrate this thought, think you don’t have any choice about stocking doubt about this fact, just think about your about your new car business, a market place new vehicles produced by your franchisor, efficient new car market place. Isn’t it true that is and has been efficient for a long but you certainly are in full control of that buyers sometimes know the expected time. If you have a new car franchise that stocking used vehicles that are hot in your arrival date of transports delivering the produces vehicles with high demand and market. new hot model with high demand and low low supply, your life as a new car dealer is supply? When they ask you about a discount much easier than if your franchisor produces The ability to identify the hottest vehicles on such vehicles, you can easily say “whole vehicles with high supply and low demand. down to a level of specific equipment is list price” and they are often happy to pay it. The unfortunate reality is that today, your critical in order to avoid the traps of your These are the rewards granted to sellers in used car business is much like your new car vehicles missing essential equipment like an efficient market. business and, therefore, your success in used navigation and rear entertainment that are vehicle operations will largely be determined critical to buyers of those vehicles. by the efficient market forces of supply, Now, if the Internet makes it possible for Dale Pollak is an author and the chairman demand and price sensitivity. It is therefore your dealerships to efficiently merchandise and founder of vAuto. He an be contacted critical for you to consider these factors these vehicles and technology allows you at 866.867.9620, or by e-mail at dpollak@autosuccessonline.com. when making the key decisions about what to to identify and know the exact vehicles that stock, how much to pay and how to price. are in highest demand and least supply,30 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • marketingsolution AlexBravy MarcSmith sales&trainingsolution BEYOND THE WEB SAY IT WITH CONVICTION No one will argue new innovations. If they miss the “next big dealership itself. A salesperson will be We’ve all heard ask for their business, because with today’s that the Internet is thing” this time around, they just might not able to walk over to the car of interest and the old adage: It’s consumer, it’s all about trust. You must a powerful marketing tool. As I walked be around to play catch up. do a live virtual tour for the car shopper. If not what you say but how you say it. The present yourself, the product, the monies around the NADA floor in New Orleans the shopper is interested further, they will same can be said about closing a deal and the dealership with conviction that is this year, it was clear that finally almost A customer’s interaction with the dealership pull up driving directions to the store from and responding to customers’ objections. transferable to the consumer. every dealership “gets it.” The number of in the near future might look like something their current location, with just a few taps These days, gaining customers’ trust is vendors at NADA with a focus on dealer like this: on their smart phone. Before they arrive, more challenging than ever, but showing Recently, I spoke with an attorney on the Web site solutions and Internet-related they will know more about the car than conviction when speaking of your product topic of privacy. His opinion is that people services was simply overwhelming. Dealers Using a smart phone device like Apple’s perhaps even the sales person. They will not and your services can often lead the easily give up their personal information, who took their time to get into the Internet iPhone, a car shopper will search for be shy to negotiate with other dealerships customer to make a buying decision. and rarely question authority. Think game missed several good opportunities, but available vehicles for sale based on specific while sitting in the dealership office and Webster’s dictionary defines the word about it. Someone asks for your personal with the help of some innovative vendors, search criteria. With the help of the built-in waiting for the sales person to “talk to their “conviction” as “a strong persuasion or information practically every day, and they are able to catch up now. However, geo-location services, the device will quickly manager.” If the process takes too long they belief.” It also defines it as “the state of usually in the name of security. I called an the “wait and see” game that many dealers display all relevant vehicles near the car just might find a better deal. being convinced.” airline to confirm my mileage balance and played with the Internet might not be shopper’s location. With integrated vehicle to book a reservation. The representative, something they want to do with the next history reports, consumer car reviews, and Are you ready for the new age? What steps Some time ago, I made a point about selling very pleasant and professional, asked for my generation of marketing tools. consumer dealer reviews, the car shopper do you need to take to successfully sell to with conviction in a training workshop for a account number. After repeating my account will have all the information they need at this new breed of car shoppers? large dealer group. “Say it with conviction,” number, she said, “So that I can verify your Today, younger consumers adopt new their fingertips to make a smart choice. I told them, and immediately said to the account, what is your date of birth?” technology much faster than previous class, “Follow me.” Not knowing exactly “I don’t believe I’ve ever given you that generations. They grew up with the Internet They will compare vehicles and vehicle Alex Bravy is the co-founder and vice where I was leading everyone, I walked out before,” I said. Without hesitation, she and cell phones, and can’t even imagine prices at many dealerships and select just president of business development for of the room, down the stairs, out the front asked how she could assist me. After a world without SMS text messaging. the right one for them. They will chat Web2Carz.com. He can be contacted at door of the hotel and onto the surrounding providing the information I needed, Dealers who want to thrive can no longer with multiple dealers, ask questions, and 866.618.8425, or by e-mail at afford to take several years to start using negotiate prices without going to the abravy@autosuccessonline.com. sidewalk. she asked again, “For future account verification, what is your date of birth?” The As I turned the first corner of the building, conviction she showed, just to persuade me I turned to see the class of approximately to give her the information, was impressive. 40 people following close behind. I had I’ve been on the showroom floor listening in not anticipated that the sidewalk would end on salespeople’s presentations and time after soon, and that in order to complete the walk time have been disappointed to notice that around the building we would have to walk they simply don’t ask for the customer’s over the bare ground—not a problem, unless approval. They read off the buyer’s order you take into consideration the two feet of and wait for the customer to respond, which snow on the ground and that I was dressed results in one objection after the other. in a suit and wearing a rather nice pair of dress shoes. As we approached the end of When you say it with conviction, you will the sidewalk, I thought to myself, “I have to typically find little resistance. Simply put, complete the journey back to the conference people perceive you as more believable room with the committed followers I’ve when you say it with conviction. If we so convincingly instructed to follow me.” didn’t conduct ourselves with conviction in Never deviating from my quick pace, I what we do, we would never be able to lead continued walking through the knee-deep a team, hold gross on a deal, sell against snow and didn’t look back for a second. a competitive brand or sell products and When we returned to the conference room, I services in the F&I department. stood in front of the class. So think again the next time you ask for I said, “Now, when you make a closing approval from the customer for the figures statement, say it with conviction and go on a new car or on justifying the trade for the close. Why did everyone follow value, ask yourself this question: “Would me without question?” Someone quickly I be convinced or persuaded to make responded, “Because you said it with this purchase?” Stay in control and tell conviction.” the customer, “Follow me.” I wouldn’t, however, suggest taking them for a walk in When you say and ask things of people with the snow. conviction, they are more likely to fulfill your request. You have to be convincing Marc Smith is the president and CEO of and persuasive in order to be a champion Marc Smith International LLC. He can be in sales. You have to say it like you mean contacted at 866.665.4479, or by e-mail at3 it. Look the customer in the eye when you msmith@autosuccessonline.com. 32 3 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • sales&trainingsolution LawsonOwen SPECIALIZATION: The Key to Increased Service Absorption With crippling sales, at lunch; they act as part-time shuttle driver Honestly Assess Your Current revenue and profits and assigned “administrative” functions like Training and Development Process plunging to levels rarely seen before, filing warranty claims or stuffing envelopes Have you given your staff the necessary more and more dealerships are looking to for sales. training to develop business proactively? the service department to offset declining Have you clearly defined a daily goal or profitability. And the reality is that sometime The position isn’t clearly defined. Training objective for outbound proactive calls? over the next 60-90 days you’ll be asking and development of the individual is rarely yourself, ”How can we increase our service done (who to call, when to call, what to say). Honestly Consider Specialization absorption?” Management doesn’t establish a daily level Would a dedicated specialist improve your of production or expectation, nor do they initial response to incoming service calls? Let’s face it: The rules of the game have hold the person accountable. So inevitably Would a specialist free up a service writer to changed. The goal posts have been moved. there is little, if any, additional revenue spend more time with customers in the drive, Yesterday’s business model isn’t going to contribution made by this employee. Keep do a better product presentation and create succeed in today’s market. If you fail to in mind it’s not the employee’s fault. It may time and opportunity to up sell? Would a adapt, your business is going to suffer. not even be management’s fault. It may specialist with a clearly defined process, skill be the result of an antiquated, ineffective set and organized call campaign schedule The model of trying to get service writers unmanaged process. drive traffic to the service drive? to be a “jack of all trades” is unreasonable. Service writers are in a “no-win” situation. Let’s get real here. In order to make it today Hopefully by now you’ve come to see that Their skill set and comfort level is dealing we have to do more with less. We have specialization is key to increasing service with clients face to face, yet that is less than to begin to focus on our “profitability per absorption. Specialization can mean one or half of what the position truly requires. employee.” Profit is the end result of strong two people, ideally already on staff, with processes, a process that is implemented the proper training, process and support can What we really want from our service and maintained day-in and day-out, not begin to drive traffic to your service lane writers is to process clients in the service subject to how we feel or what the economy almost immediately. drive, do effective walk-arounds (to build is doing. Don’t over think it, don’t over rapport and value), up sell, handle incoming analyze it; just do it. The juice is worth the squeeze. It’s not service calls, schedule appointments, call uncommon for service departments to see an back missed appointments, make status call Honestly Assess Your Accountability almost immediate return on the efforts and backs, follow up with declined repair orders, of Incoming Service Calls activities of specialization: motivate delinquencies back into the process Can you quantify your current incoming • 95 percent appointment ratio from and sometimes act as cashier. Please! service call volume? If not, why not? incoming service calls Remember, you can’t manage what you • 95 percent appointment show ratio As we begin to analyze our service process, can’t measure. • 15 percent increase in RO count we have to ask ourselves, are all these things • $50 increase per RO really happening? Can we improve and, if Honestly Assess Your Current • Timely turnover of special order parts we did, what would that equate to in dollars Process for Handling Incoming • Improved CSI and cents. Service Calls Are your service writers handling calls These are just a few of the immediate Over the past three to five years, many effectively, meaning do they have a 95 benefits stemming from service have looked to a business development percent appointment ratio with a 95 percent specialization. Increasing service absorption center (BDC) as the solution. I honestly show ratio. If not, why not? Is it something will minimize those peaks and valleys most feel that it is, or at least can be, for many additional training can improve, or is it have been experiencing, help offset new car organizations. But let’s be honest: Who the fact that they are overtaxed and cutting losses and weather these difficult times. wants to go out and create a whole new corners. department, hire a new manager, hire three It’s not as difficult as you may think but you to five reps and hope that this “program” Honestly Assess Your Proactive do owe it to yourself and your organization works? I’m guessing not many. Approach to Developing Business to assess your options, goals, strategies and With your current staff and process, can you plans for growing your service absorption. In most cases the solution is already on reasonably expect a consistent, effective your payroll. Most organizations already follow up of missed appointments, declined Contact us at the address below for the free have someone who handles CSI/SSI calls, ROs, service delinquencies, special order Tip Of the Month: 6 Ways to Fill Your Bays. or handles overflow from service writers. parts, CSI calls and recall customers? If the This position is normally watered down answer is “no,” therein lies the problem. The by assigning the individual with tasks or growth of your service department is going functions not related to generating service to be found in proactive behavior, and it’s Lawson Owen is the managing partner revenue. going to be found in the opportunities that of Proactive Dealer Solutions. He can be are currently being mismanaged due to a lack contacted at 866.900.8945, or by e-mail at3 They cover for the receptionist while they’re of process identification and implementation. lowen@autosuccessonline.com.4 www.autosuccessonline.com
  • marketingsolution SeanStapleton DrakeA.Baerresen marketingsolution YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET? YOUR CUSTOMERS, OF COURSE GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE AND SOLD! Your dealership is • Service reminders at the wrong time for probably feel their vehicle isn’t even broken Over the years, Where am I going with all this? It’s simple: Auctions on television, and while their full of assets. Your the wrong make and model. Customers in yet. By looking at the customer records those of us in the Get thinking about putting on more event- audience buying $80,000 collector cars vehicle inventory, your computers, your were just in for an oil change within and trade-in cycles, the dealer can see that auto retail business have seen a wide array based selling initiatives and bring the aren’t jumping up and down in their seats, people, even your building and facilities the last month, but you still send them the only times they come in for service are of marketing and advertising strategies excitement of buying a vehicle back to your they are still anxious about the bidding, are incredible assets. Do you realize that a service notice. Your truck customers for the big-ticket maintenance items and not employed to bring folks in the door. From dealership. Think about auto shows: Isn’t biting their lips and waiting for the gavel to your most valuable asset isn’t even on come in to redeem an oil change coupon, the simple tire rotations or other work. By direct mail pieces that emulate an official the crowd wild over new vehicles? Aren’t fall. It’s about the anticipation of getting a your balance sheet? The one true asset but are told they do not qualify because targeting that customer for only the main state notification to the new online coupons they sitting in them, taking photos, wanting great deal. that determines your profitability is your they drive a diesel. service items and not the “fluff” items, you offering a $200 discount if the prospect will more info about them? Of course they are. customer base. Especially now, you need to • Your e-mail marketing campaign is not are showing that you understand their needs. only share their name and e-mail address. It’s about the event. Build on the energy Would you like to create this kind of maximize every existing and new customer performing effectively because you are relationship so they keep coming back to unable to gather active e-mail addresses Remember: Your best customer is your and the anticipation, and create the aura excitement for your customers? It’s not that your dealership. or are experiencing an unusually high competition’s No. 1 target. Do you have a We all know shoppers love to get something that anything can happen, and then make it hard to do, just make sure all your managers number of opt-outs. written policy and process about what to for free, so for awhile offers were sent happen. It’s a formula for success. and salespeople understand and really Do you understand where each of your market to which customer and when? If out saying come into the dealership you commit to the event and before you know it customers are in the sales, service, and F&I Most of the time dealers and marketing not, you should. Start utilizing intelligent are guaranteed to have won one of three This is what your dealership needs. Work they will all be really jazzed for the big day. lifecycle? We all like to think that we know companies send the wrong message at the membership databases to identify when the prizes. Prospects came to the showroom to capture the buyers’ enthusiasm, the our customers and what they want at any wrong time to the wrong customer. I often best opportunities are to market to various and would win an “incredible, heavy duty, excitement of the crowd and the belief Then, on the day of the event, make given time, but marketers are finding out that hear from friends about offers to trade-in segments of customers. Segmenting your safety sealed, matte black, high-intensity that every customer will be getting a great sure your sales team members welcome it’s getting more difficult. their vehicles for a great new model that just customer base will truly identify the best flashlight!” So what that it cost only 50 cents deal on the new or used vehicle of their prospective customers with a hearty and hit the streets. The only problem — they times to reach out to your customer. With a and broke the first time you dropped it? The choice. Have your team put their thinking warm meet-and-greet introduction. Be sure So, at this point I need to ask, “Do you really sold that vehicle two years ago. The dealer highly targeted offer, you will bring in the event packed the showroom with prospects. caps on and start planning your next big to reaffirm that this auction is indeed a big know who your customers are?” Now is the continues to spend money for direct mail results and the profitability you want. Times changed — along came the Internet event. Come up with a strong theme to base deal. This validates to the customers that perfect time to focus on how to retain more pieces. Does that dealer know his customer? and new ideas of how to attract customers the event around. For football season it the event is legitimate and builds on the customers and provide them with value In today’s down market, it’s imperative to started to develop. The Internet has certainly could be “The Ultimate Tailgating Party!” excitement you created in your pre-event throughout their vehicle ownership lifecycle. Another example takes a customer with move from hunting to helping. We all know been a game changer for many of us, and it Think about other sporting or seasonal auction marketing materials. This can only be accomplished by presenting 90,000 miles on their vehicle. Based on it costs much more to acquire new customers forces us stay on our toes and provide the activities that might make good themes. relevant messaging that matches their needs the miles and age of the vehicle, you may than it does to market to your existing assistance and information online shoppers Just about any idea is fair game as long as You may also want to consider some extra and preferred communication channel. believe that they want to trade-in, trade-up customers. Regular data updates can reduce or trade-out. However, they have said they marketing wasted dollars and ensure your look for during their research phase. you get fully behind the event, plan every incentives for your salespeople. Maybe Take a quick assessment to confirm that plan to run that vehicle to 200,000 miles. customers are getting the right offers to help detail in advance and then make sure your put a spiff on each customer a sales person you are doing things that will help your That customer should be moved from the them meet their needs and wants. You will Let’s take a quick poll. Raise your hand team executes flawlessly to make sure registers for the auction and another spiff customer relationships not only today, “upsell to new car” category to a category also benefit by identifying their preferred if you or anyone you know have recently everyone coming on the lot has an amazing for converting a prospect into a demo ride. but in the future. Does the “contact all of targeting “high mileage, maintenance and form of communication. Do your customers started jumping up and down and shouting experience. If you have sales teams, maybe a friendly your customers in the database” approach follow ups” specific to their model. prefer phone, direct mail, texting or e-mail? “yippee” when visiting any Web site? competition with prizes for winning team reduce your ability to communicate with Hmmm, didn’t think so. Don’t misunderstand I have an aunt who really likes old furniture members could move them to put a little bit your best customers in the future? What It’s important to not only understand where When was the last time you contacted your my feelings about the Web; I spend hours at and I occasionally accompany her to an extra into the event. The goals are to build single message is relevant and valuable the customer is in their vehicle lifecycle, but customers just to let them know you care? a time just surfing various sites, but it doesn’t Auction House in San Diego. Talk about traffic, increase sales and have fun. Sounds to 20,000 customers today? I really can’t also in their personal lifecycles. Stepping You really didn’t expect anything in return, invoke the same energy as a live event. a crowd getting excited about old knick like a solid plan to me. think of one single message that all of us back a moment, dealers should ask if they other than honest feedback. knacks and antique furniture, this audience would find interesting at any one time. Can have established more than just a vehicle In this period of high technology, we lose gets pumped waiting for the next Hoosier you? Non-relevant messaging not only lifecycle, but a sales lifecycle, an F&I Value + Relevant Messaging & Offers + track of the fact that we are social creatures, Cabinet to go on the block. Our industry drives customers away, but wastes valuable lifecycle, service lifecycle and a goodwill Great Service = Loyal Relationships = and feed off the energy from those around runs on auctions, so why not introduce resources in the process. lifecycle. Once this is established, you can Profitability. us. Think about attending a huge concert an auction at your dealership for your create marketing messages relevant to each with thousands of people; you start to customers? Everybody loves the excitement Drake A. Baerresen is the vice-president See if any of these sound familiar: customer in that segment. Sean Stapleton is the executive vice • Campaign to all your customers pick up on the vibe of the crowd and start of an auction, and you can leverage the of sales and marketing and co-founder of president of business development for promoting a sale on new pickup trucks, For example, three years ago a high-mileage Visible Customer. He can be contacted at chanting or singing along with them. It’s the organizations that specialize in helping Turn-Key Events. He can be contacted at 866.406.6337, or by e-mail at same thing at a football game or being part dealers with these events. 866.900.7714, or by e-mail at even buyers that just purchased a new driver traded in a vehicle with 230,000 drakeb@autosuccessonline.com. truck. Do you think they need a second miles on it. Now three years into ownership, sstapleton@autosuccessonline.com. of a parade. It’s a feeling and experience that or third truck right now? with only 59,000 miles on the vehicle, they lingers and makes us feel good. You have probably seen the Barrett Jackson3 36 7 www.autosuccessonline.com the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  • Unlimited Updating Packages starting as low as $ 199 per monthDon’t be a strangerYour customers move. By having current data in your DMS system you will be reachingThey change phone numbers. customers with every marketingThey change email addresses. campaign you initiate... distancing yourself from your competition.They should still be your customers. That means more profit potential forIs your message reaching them? every department in your dealership.DMS Update automatically insures all of the information in your 1-866-702-1566DMS system (such as ADP or R&R) is current, accurate, and incompliance with the latest government regulations. www.dmsupdate.com DMS UPDATE