Sewells BenchMarker (India) Jul 2012


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Sewells BenchMarker (India) Jul 2012

  1. 1. BenchmarkerSHARING BEST PRACTICE STRATEGIES INDIA ISSUE 2 / 2012WITH GLOBAL MOTOR DEALERSThe use by the retail motor business of the Internet and its social media has grown exponentially, especially in the last fewyears. It has convincingly joined the marketing armoury as one of the favoured ways to attract business to the dealership.And more: with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (and many others) you can find people, intrigue them, interact with themand convert them to become, first, customers and afterwards even friends and followers. Then they can start telling theirfriends about you and the good things you do in your business… and the numbers proliferate, massively. Our PROBE featurein this issue looks at some trends in the use of social media, as well as some basic do’s and don’t’s. BENCHMARKER IS GLOBAL A SPREAD OF ESSENTIAL READING BenchMarker has a global footprint. Each quarterly issue appears in six different editions addressing motor dealers and manufacturers in the countries where Sewells Group operates.Multi-sided acceleration! There are digital editions of issue 2/2012 for electronic distribution to dealers and OEMs in Australia/New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, India and China and there is a printed editionThere has been a transformation in the structureof the interface between suppliers of vehicles for distribution in South Africa - all theand automotive services and their customers. countries where the Sewells Group has presentlyCommunications between the two have established its operational bases.accelerated dramatically and become multi- Each of these different editions has a core ofsided, not one way. To use a trite pun – it’s all features and articles which are common acrossgone broadband! This leads to some exciting the issue and some pages which are localiseddynamics and almost infinite opportunities for to suit the different areas of distribution. Allsellers and buyers alike. editions remain focused on BenchMarker’sWhich is exactly why we use this issue of singular credo of sharing best practice strategiesBenchMarker to look into some of the trends with motor dealers wherever they are.and directions being taken (by both motoringconsumers and their suppliers) on their websitesand other utilisation of the Internet. There isalready a rapidly growing core of best practice C O N T E N T Sstrategies for the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn Key industry indicators……………………… 2and Twitter, and most of these have led to there-writing of some of the rulebooks on the uses SA Businessman of the Year……………… 3of email, call centres and sms.The domino effect of each on the other is BenchMarker Probe…………………… 4 – 10evident and the marketing spectrum is changingat all ends and in the middle as a result: Record sales from ‘virtual dealership’… 4 Jayesh Jagasia, MD Sewells Group India.n ome manufacturers have re-shaped the S Loyalty, advocacy and influence………… 5 way they launch new models, searching for a re-looking their communications and facilities blend of the conventional and the new. to maximise exciting new relationships Online reputation management………… 6n ome have bravely chosen to ignore tradition S with their computer- and mobile-literate and embarked on re-branding initiatives consumers. Five Shocking Mistakes……………………… 7 almost exclusively on Facebook – where they It’s a vast subject and continually changing Car sales person is still key………………… 8 have earned up to 200 million ‘friends’ and so our coverage in this issue is by no means ‘fans’ in just weeks of exposure. complete. How exciting to know there is more All a-tweet about Twitter?………………… 9n utomotive retail businesses everywhere are A to come! One way dialogues………………………… 10 Global Managing Editor - Dennis Anderson ( Edition Managing Editors: Guarantee your sales in 2014………… 11 Australia – David Lowrie ( China – Chee Tuck Yap ( Personalise your sales technicians…… 12 India – Jayesh Jagasia ( Thailand – Supakorn Sookpunya ( Stop listening to excuses Indonesia – Roselle Panastico ( - Paddy O’Brien……………………………… 12 South Africa – Tania Barlow ( Edited by Robin Emslie ( AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  2. 2. B enchmarkerKey industry indicators Key Industry BenchmarksThis specially compiled table of key indicators area of your business. To help you towards achievingpublished here are guidelines to franchised motor this we have provided a column to record your owndealers of performance in the listed countries. These performance numbers. You will then be able to createhave been assembled by the Sewells Group operations a collective discussion with your management teamin each of the countries and represent current ‘Best around why your performance should be better thanPractice’ norms in each of these countries. Each line the given indicator, and delve into the factors whichitem is an independent key indicator. Sewells believes might be restricting your business from achievingin measurement as a critical business management these levels of performance. Finally when conclusionspractice – if you measure your performance and are reached, the key points of these discussions cancan compare it to an industry indicator you are in then be converted into actions for the management Dennis Andersona position to evaluate and potentially improve that team with clearly defined targets to be achieved. SEWELLS GROUP KEY INDICATORS – May 2012 New South Your Australia China India Indonesia Phillipines Thailand Zealand Africa Figures Dealership Overall Total Dealership Gross Profit % of Sales 15.4% 15.9% 9.5% 9.1% 15.5% 10.5% 13.7% 8.1% Total Expenses % of TDGP 78.4% 82.7% 79.8% 68.9% 74.6% 74.2% 81.9% 52.0% PBT % of Sales 2.4% 2.5% 1.9% 2.9% 3.5% 2.8% 2.5% 3.5% Asset Activity 7.2 4.4 4.9 6.4 7.5 4.5 4.7 7.2 Return on Average 19.7% 10.9% 7.5% 17.4% 21.1% 13.2% 5.9% 20.7% Operational Assets New Vehicle Department Total New Gross Profit % of Sales 8.6% 8.4% 5.6% 4.8% 8.8% 8.6% 7.7% 5.8% PBT % of Sales 0.7% 0.3% 0.3% 1.3% 1.0% 1.1% 0.9% 2.9% Total Expenses% of TNGP 89.8% 91.0% 95.0% 72.9% 86.4% 88.0% 91.3% 63.0% Inventory Days Supply 48 55 52 24 28 45 41 52 Used Vehicle Department Total Used Gross Profit % TUVS 9.0% 7.8% 8.7% PBT % of TUVS 1.0% 0.6% 0.5% Total Expenses% of TUGP 85.0% 87.4% 90.7% Inventory Days Supply 52 44 31 Parts Department 28.7% 29.8% 30.4% 17.3% 29.1% 21.0% 30.2% 20.5% Total Parts Gross Profit % of TPS 12.3% 10.9% 13.5% 9.9% 11.1% 9.8% 15.6% 11.5% PBT % of TPS 65.0% 86.3% 84.9% 36.1% 59.4% 47.0% 49.0% 46.0% Total Expenses% of TPGP 35 41 55 48 21 63 64 73 Parts Inventory days Service Department 78.5% 71.7% 81.5% 88.7% 84.0% 80.5% 82.0% 69.3% Total Labour Gross Profit % of TLS 70.3% 59.7% 81.3% 85.3% 75.8% 71.0% 59.0% 64.2% Total Service G.P. as a % of TSS 11.7% 14.1% 20.3% 28.6% 16.3% 12.9% 11.5% 6.8% PBT % of TSS 80.0% 77.0% 71.1% 66.1% 78.5% 71.8% 76.0% 88.3% Total Expenses% of TSGP Body Shop Department Total Labour Gross Profit % of TBS 79.6% 76.1% Total Service G.P. as a % of TBS 79.5% 74.4% PBT % of TBS 33.3% 37.6% Total Expenses% of TBGP 9.7% AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  3. 3. B enchmarkerThe winners’ groupThis winners’ group at the Sewells Businessman of the Year banquet included (from left) John Templeton, Head Business Consulting of Sewells; Derik Scorer,Chairman of NADA; Brian Riley, MD of WesBank; Jaen van Aardt, of Datnis Nissan King William’s Town (Most Improved PG dealer); Tania Barlow, MD of SewellsGroup SA; Johan Coetzee, Land Rover East Rand (winner large dealer category); and Schalk Fourie, NTT Toyota Mokopane (winner medium dealer category). Winnerof the small dealer category was Bertus van Vuuren, New Vaal Motors Bethlehem, who could not attend the banquet. SA Businessman of the YearThe Businessman of the Year is a now utilises a stratified selection procedure and the remaining dealers make up the smallmeasurement of excellence in performance to nominate the Sewells Businessman of the category.using the key industry benchmarks produced Year contenders from each of three different The balanced scorecard measures allby Sewells Group South Africa. categories (large, medium and small). This is contributing dealers’ performances againstMost franchised dealers in South Africa to give equal and fair opportunity to dealers the Sewells Group industry benchmarksparticipate in the benchmarking process. of all sizes. to determine the top 10 dealers in eachDealership financials and a large range The categorisation is determined by taking category. Each of those 30 dealers receivesof key statistics are uploaded using the the total turnover for all qualifying dealers a special certificate giving recognition toSewells Online System (eSOS) which then (those who have subscribed and reported their ‘Best Practice Performance’ for theallows dealers to immediately view their consistently for 12 months) and dividing year. The top five of each group then becameown individual results. Sewells can then the result by three. These dealers are then the finalists attending the banquet – whereview collective industry benchmarks which ranked by turnover. The progressive addition the leading performer in each becomes theare determined by sequencing the values of dealers’ turnover in the ranked sequence, Sewells Businessman of the Year for 2011.generated for the key performance indicators commencing with the largest, until the total The actual turnover levels of the three(KPI) and then picking the result at the 70th equalled the first one third strata, represents categories for the 2011 evaluation was: Largepercentile for revenue items and 30th for the large dealers. The progressive summing dealers – over R180m; medium dealers –expense items. of dealers after this point, until the second R180 to R114m; and small dealers – R113mIntroduced last year for the first time, Sewells one third strata, represents medium dealers to AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  4. 4. B enchmarker Benchmarker PROBETEAM HUTHCINSON FORD CHRISTCHURCH NZ Record sales from ‘virtual dealership’With the enormous potential and exponentiallygrowing capacity of the Internet, can onesuccessfully operate a retail automotive salesoperation without the traditional facility of abricks-and-mortar dealership?The answer is a firm ‘yes!’ from JohnHutchinson and his intrepid team. Suddenlyforced into that situation by a calamitousnatural disaster, this hardy and innovativegroup has not only been running a ‘virtualdealership’ for more than a year, but have beenexceeding monthly sales targets set in normaltimes from the start; and are still selling well-ahead of the New Zealand national average.Here are the facts:n eam Hutchinson Ford (THF) is the Ford T The intrepid Team Hutchinson Ford management team is (from left to right): Seth Ovens, new and dealer in central Christchurch, New Zealand. used car manager; Dale Powers, paint panel shop manager; Greg Barnard, service manager; Rebeccan he central city was severely damaged by the T Pratt, administration manager; Paul Leary, parts manager; and John Hutchinson, dealer principal. devastating earthquake of February 22, 2011, and remains a closed ‘red zone’ today. Hutchinson, builders were still on site. and entered a vertical learning curve.’n HF facilities were badly damaged in the T He told us: ‘After the first four months, by He listed some of the strategies implemented quake. mid-2011, we arranged for a Portacom to and actions taken after 22.02.2011:n ajor impacts on the dealership operations M be dropped in by crane and we used that n everaged our existing web site, L included: as our office.’ with extended profile description, - Facility closed completely for four months Was everyone looking forward to moving back increased functionality for stock display, due to demolition work and cordons into a conventional dealership building when off site appointments, comprehensive - Small temporary workshop established the work is finally done? product information, marketing - Sales consultants worked from home ‘I don’t know, really. We’ve ordered a bigger programmes etc. Our web site had - Dealership is now ‘open’, but with very and better Portacom and are thinking of just to become our ‘virtual dealership’ restricted facilities sitting tight in that for a couple of years!’ ( is adjacent to the still active red zone Had THF been well up and ahead on the social n ales consultants went onto smart phones, Scordon in mid-Christchurch. There is limited media and using the full potentials of modern mobile web capability and the rest.public access, no major passing traffic and communications before last February? n aximised the use of the existing and now Mno display visibility. It remains a challenging ‘Before this all hit us, we had just started extensive customer data base.situation. feeling our way on the Internet without any n xtensive and coordinated use of sms and ESixteen months after the original disaster when fixed objectives or real motivation. The new Facebook for two way communication withBenchMarker spoke with dealer principal John circumstances changed that – we got to work customers and prospects, driving business to our website and directly to our sales people. n sed other web portals and platforms U such as NZ’s eBay equivalent TradeMe, YouTube etc. The outcomes have been quite dramatic: n HF has achieved or exceeded its Ford T sales objective every month since February 2011. n xceeded national average market share for E 2011 (14% vs 11%). n rofits over 3.5% ROS for 2011 (note NZ P is one of the world’s most competitive markets, with no import controls on new and used vehicles). n ust announced as Presidents Award winner J for customer satisfaction for metro dealer group, 2011 (fifth consecutive year). Team Hutchinson Ford which is now corporate owned has a three generation family heritage. The original business was founded 80 years ago by John Hutchinson’s AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  5. 5. B enchmarker‘RISE OF LOYALTY, ADVOCACY AND INFLUENCE’ Changing of buying habits Second: Dealers and manufacturers need to use social media to help buyers become loyalists. Any chance of establishing loyalty starts with a positive, transparent buying experience that fosters trust. Once consumers feel a sense of trust, they are more likely to bond and feel a sense of loyalty. Loyalty then leads to advocating for a brand or dealership, thus influencing others who are in the market for a new vehicle, while minimizing brand and dealership defection. n n short, we believe social media is the I tool manufacturers and dealers should use to create and maintain a loyal base of customers. Third: For dealerships and manufacturers in a world with social media, the new critical moment is the moment after the purchase, when consumers are ‘bonding with’ their new vehicle and highly likely to tout their purchase experience or their new vehicle on social mediaDimitri Kotov, WorldMark Social MediaManager supporting Sewells Group based in channels.Melbourne, Australia, says a recent collective n ealers and manufacturers need to foster Dstudy is significant in giving direction to OEMs relationships with customers that makeand retail automotive businesses. them more likely to want to engage and‘Its full title is ‘The Rise of Loyalty, Advocacyand Influence – Social Media and the New advocate for the brand and dealership afterAutomotive Purchase Cycle’ and it strongly they drive their new car off the lot.indicates the important changes which have Finally: Manufacturers and dealers needalready taken place in buying habits,and the direction and influence these will to deliver a consistent online and offlinehave going forward.’ experience. Consumers want information that is of value to them in exchange for their n o matter what purchase model is used to N engagement and loyalty via social media. The guide the marketing mix, social media needs most valuable information saves them money:The rise of Loyalty, Advocacy Influence: exclusive offers and savings, information on to be an integral part of it.Social Media and the New Automotive lowering cost of ownership, etc.Purchase Cycle,by, DriverSide n ealers should offer these opportunities in Dand GfK Automotive Research. exchange for the customers’ support and follow through by providing an excellent in- dealership experience every time they come into the store.The study can best be summarised as follows: Extract from the study: ‘In the not-too-distant future, dealers and manufacturers will track the influence andFirst: Dealerships and manufacturers need advocacy that brought a new customerto recognise that the purchase process for into the showroom and will reward theirconsumers now includes social media. It’s a salespeople accordingly for fostering a newnew force that is expected to get stronger. ‘friend’ or follower…’ AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  6. 6. B enchmarkerCRITICAL ACTION: Online reputation managementToday, more than ever, it is critical fordealers to incorporate an online reputationmanagement strategy into their marketingplans to: Profile + Track + InfluenceSearch Engine Optimisation (SEO) is themechanism used to bring customers to yourown website more often than to the sites ofyour competitors. However, SEO as dealersused to know it, has changed.Now, customers have even more opportunitiesto end up somewhere other than your website.BUT - by generating fresh content and drivinginteraction on your website, a dealership can,with a commitment of time and resources,again generate better SEO results in the latestenvironment.But of course, the changes continue. Socialmedia posts, likes, fans, followers and +1’s allcontinue to influence organic search results.A large number of likes on a dealer’s Facebook important role in the purchase process. As A full circle reputation managementpage have been known to carry more SEO consumers spend more time on portals, search programme must include the three criticalweight than other highly-linked and well- engines and social networks, and less time on steps:established sites. So it’s more important than individual websites, dealerships must make Profile take control of online profilesever before for dealers to engage in the social themselves more visible and accessible on +web. these sites. Track track customer-generated contentGo to your customers… Up-to-date *studies have shown: +In order to stay ahead in the changing digital 78% always research a car before purchasing Influence develop brand advocates andlandscape, dealers must learn to become 58% read online reviews influence the discussionmore involved in the social web, interact with 66% compare prices onlinecustomers where they are, and develop a solid Are you missing out?: ‘If no-one is 38% get recommendations from family andreputation management strategy as part of a friends talking about you on Facebook (and/full-circle customer loyalty programme. * US online panel study conducted in March 2011 or Twitter/LinkedIn) you are missingIt is clear that the opinion of others plays an out on a goldmine of untapped sales opportunities.’ That is the perpetual understanding which every motor dealer should have top-of-mind, says Dimitri Kotov, social media manager of Sewells Group. Shown here is an example of the type of package which is available to dealers to facilitate this vital process – and get people to start talking about you online. Ease of initiation and interactivity are keys to this offering: setting up and optimising your Facebook profile and ensuring you are equipped to start building your brand online can maximise your social media opportunity with a well-formulated strategy and clearly defined plan for building your AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  7. 7. B enchmarkerIT’S GOOD TO BE ON LINKEDIN BUT… Don’t make these FIVE SHOCKING MISTAKESLiterally millions of professionals worldwide are now using LinkedIn tostay in touch, improve their visibility and professional image, and helppotential clients find them and their products and services. The numberof people on LinkedIn is growing exponentially – at present there areabout 9.1 million professionals LinkedIn in India, 2.1 million in Australia,2 million in China, 1.1 million in South Africa and around 200 000 inThailand.Be there, but don’t get it wrong – the damage done can be painful, saysDimitri Kotov, social media manager at Sewells Group. ‘LinkedIn canwork wonderfully well if you just make it happen. Be active, and be intouch with the right people by avoiding these “5 Shocking Mistakes”’: n on’t keep your network small and exclusive: Find people you D know; link in to their networks and be active.n on’t be a wallflower: You can’t just wait on the sidelines for D something to happen. Go onto the site frequently and look for groups that interest you (look under ‘Group directory’). Ask questions and answer questions, so that you make yourself known out there. n on’t stay away from other platforms: Add your LinkedIn URL to D your email signature and link your Twitter account to your profile. Make it easy for people to find you, and find out about your company and what you have to offer.n on’t be boring: Put up a picture of yourself; add the Sewell’s D logo to your page; add interesting information. Remember, people n on’t forget to use your LinkedIn profile regularly: It’s no good D frequently Google you before calling so it is very likely that the first having it, then ignoring it. Check your inbox regularly for updates thing they will see about you is what you have on your LinkedIn page. and invitations – though of course you do not have to accept every And keep your information up to date – there is nothing as boring as invitation. But keep it alive, and keep sending messages to other old, out of date info. people, answering questions. Be AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  8. 8. B enchmarkerNADA WARNS DEALERS TO REMEMBER: ‘The car sales person is still key…’Don’t let the hype about the Internet and its will soon replace traditional dealerships; be a mistake to believe that social media willobvious appeal to young people cloud your Maritz found that the store salesperson most usurp it.hard-earned experience of the retail motor influences purchases,’ said NADA. ‘What our family and friends say orbusiness. The NVCS asked customers what sources of recommend to us is important. EveryThat seems to be the message of two newly information they found most influential in manufacturer needs to have a well-definedreleased reports in the United States: their buying decisions. The top 10 sources in social media strategy. However, we still needn he Maritz Research New Vehicle Customer T the U.S. were as follows: to remember the importance of human Study (NVCS) - claimed to be the largest 1. Salesperson at the dealership (21.9%) interaction in buying a car.’ automotive study in North America - found 2. Family/friend/word of mouth (18.7%) Quite separately the latest Foresight Report that the car sales person most influences 3. Consumer guides (18.4%) released in May showed older buyers in the actual purchases. 4. Dealer or manufacturer websites (8.6%) US are leading the way in the motor industryn he latest Foresight Research 2012 T 5. Third-party websites (6.4%) recovery, with the dealership experience Dealership Experience Strategy Report 6. Automotive magazine reviews (6.1%) remaining the key factor in purchasing shows the upward new vehicle market trend 7. TV advertisements (4.0%) vehicles. is being fueled by older buyers, not the 8. Dealer or manufacturer brochures (3.2%) It recorded a need for dealerships to: ‘… youngsters. 9. ealer- or manufacturer-sponsored event D refocus marketing to more seasoned buyers,A news item just circulated to members of (2.4%) who more often choose a dealership basedNADA US says the Maritz report showed sales 10. Newspaper advertisements (1.7%) on inventory and selection, no price haggling,people to be ranked higher in influence in 2011 A Maritz Research spokesman said: ‘People financing availability, quick quote responsesthan in the past five years. buy from people. Social media can certainly and the dealer website.’‘Contrary to a potential belief social media support the selling effort, but I believe it wouldIT STILL IS A MAJOR INSTRUMENT IN BOOSTING YOUR BUSINESS: Email remains alive and well – and effectiveIn spite of the buzz and the exponential The question then is can email make you mail, in a short concise way. Never use capsattention being drawn by Twitter, FaceBook, money? and avoid exclamation marks as they set offLinkedIn and the rest, don’t underestimate the A number of studies suggest that email drives spam filters.solid ongoing power and justified popularity more return on investment (ROI) than any And speaking of spam certain words should beof email. According to modern research in the other marketing route, with a high number of avoided. The 10 words and phrases most likelyUnited States and elsewhere, the medium is far respondents describing email ROI as good or to alert filters are:from dead, and if you leave it out of your good excellent. n eet singles; Work from home; Business Mand modern marketing strategy you might be But there is a catch: your emails need to meet opportunity; Buy direct; Clearance; Pre-doing yourself real damage. several criteria. Approved; Hello; You have been selected;The email is regarded by many as being past n hey need to be mobile-device compatible. T Weight loss; and Limited time.its ‘sell-by’ date. It is a surprising 41-years old, More than half of emails will be viewed on What you always need in an email sellingthe first email being sent in 1971. mobile devices by the end of 2012. strategy is a clear Call to Action (CTA). ForBut it is also enduring: a study completed in n oth your website and emails must be B example it was found that the click throughApril 2012 showed that 77% of respondents optimised for mobile device viewing, rate increased by 75% when the CTA ‘Followfavoured email as a means for receiving which means image and text sizes must be me on Twitter’ was changed to ‘You shouldpermission-based promotional messages. The compatible with mobile devices. follow me on Twitter here’ and in anotherother channels such as Facebook and SMS n he subject and sender’s email address must T example when the CTA was changed from ‘Visitwere below 10%, and as email preference be recognisable, or most viewers will reject our Theme Shop’ to ‘See Options and Pricing’has grown so preference for direct mail them as spam. there was a 200% improvement.promotions has dropped to 9%. Interestingly, Most people only open emails from senders The bottom line is that to pull the plug onyoung people also showed a preference for they recognise. After sender recognition they email as part of your primary marketingemail marketing messages, saying social look at the subject line to decide whether to initiatives would an ROI disaster. Butnetworks are for communicating with friends read it or not. This means your email address remember:and family. It is not necessarily where they must be visible and trustworthy and the n end the right message to the right person Swant to be hit with marketing messages. subject line must sum up the content of the at the right AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  9. 9. B enchmarkerWHY EVERYONE SHOULD BE: All a-tweet about Twitter?Twitter is part of the evolutionary processin communication from the days of privatecommunications via letters, phone callsand even emails, to the days of publiccommunications via social networks, witheverybody. Twitter is at the forefront ofcommunication online.We’re already there.Companies that don’t evolve and join in withthe way their customers are communicatingwith each other (and don’t start tweeting on What the heck is a Tweet?Twitter) will eventually become extinct.But – just what the heck is a Tweet? about you. When people reply or mention your want to then browse their suggestions of ‘WhoA simple answer: a Tweet is an online update name in responding tweets they are spreading to follow’ as send to your followers. It is short and your name by digital word of mouth. Your own tweets will go out on your time line.sweet (not more than 140 characters in length) Who is on Twitter? The answer is just about This is really the list of messages (tweets) thatand quite similar in that way to a cell-phone have come in to you – when you open your‘sms’. It is a real time information network that Twitter homepage, the timeline is the firstcan reach lots and lots of people easily and thing you will see. You can interact with thesequickly. messages by hovering your mouse over any oneCompanies use it to deliver information to to reply or ‘retweet’.existing and potential customers. They send out Remember, if you do retweet, that messagea tweet which goes to each of their followers, is instantly shared with all your followers. Ifand in turn it can be seen by any of their instead you simply reply it will appear only infollowers, so the reach is potentially enormous. the @mentions tab of the person to whom youPeople use Twitter to follow the tweets of have replied.companies, celebrities, business people and And remember, it is a communication tool, sofriends, so they can stay up to date with what’s Whats a timeline? post your own tweets, often and succinctlyhappening and make new connections. (140 characters). Type messages in the ‘What’sThe objective is to have lots of people and everybody: industry influencers, industry happening’ box at the top of the screen, then colleagues and most importantly, customers. click the tweet button – you will immediately But what is it that makes Twitter so great? It see your tweet in the timeline on your is an awesome platform for informing your homepage – and so will all your followers. colleagues and customers about company It’s actually simple. Think about it – then open news and getting instant feedback. It is a a Twitter account and get tweeting. way of building a relationship with your present customers and of finding new ones. And it is a great way of delivering excellent customer service. Remember, public forms of communication are becoming the norm. How to startWho is on twitter? Creating your own Twitter profile is a simple – and essential - process. You open an accountcompanies ‘follow’ you, so that it becomes a on the Twitter home page, and then follow theform of free marketing because when someone steps to find people to follow. Type their namesfollows you, the people and companies into the search box at the top of the Twitterfollowing them are also quite likely to find out home page, and check the results. You might Let’s twitter! AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  10. 10. B enchmarker One way dialogues no longer effectiveA striking example of the power to attractlarge audiences and engage many of thosein ‘a conversation’ with the brand wasdemonstrated in a project between HyundaiMotor Company and Facebook last year.A video-clip describing the campaign andgiving details of its impact has since beenflighted (on Facebook, naturally) and spreadssome interesting messages. ‘… need to have conversation with our users…’Here are some extracts from the clip, includingdirect quotes from senior marketing andcreative executives of both Hyundai and During the Veloster launch the new thinking included inviting fan-generated content: ‘… relationshipFacebook: n We got back 100s of videos from 37 ‘n Among various touchpoints, Facebook is ‘ countries all over the world which becoming more and more important in terms of advertising.’ generated over 250 000 (Facebook) pages.’ can become more Spokesmen recorded witnessing then Need to get out of conventional one-way ‘ combination of good advertisements in the communication as an auto maker and have a conversation with our users. One way right place, and good content producing a remarkable increase in the number of trustworthy, more dialogues are no longer effective.’ Facebook fans.A decision was taken to give top priority to a n From March 2011 till August the Hyundai ‘Facebook partnership as a core for Hyundai’sre-branding exercise centred round the slogan: Facebook initiative had generated more than credible…’ 1.6m fans and counting “friends of fans”The project was extended into specific model more than 200 million.’ is more important, which is less; which is morelaunches, including the Hyundai Elantra, trustworthy, or which is false. n The effectiveness of sending messages to ‘Accent and Veloster models. ‘If you can use Facebook we can share, we can our customers was very successful.’ A Hyundai marketing executive draws a exchange information with our friends - then ‘New thinking. conclusion: the relationship can become more trustworthy and more credible.’ ‘I think that the fan page is (now) the communication hub of Hyundai Motor ‘New possibilities.’ Company. At its core this communication hub is not just about the simple exchange of information but the kind of genuinen New thinking was to seek to create a “viral ‘ communication that happens face to face.’ film” to get people talking.’ Followed by a Facebook spokesman:n It was not just a one off thing - we ‘ n All the brands we work with at Facebook ‘ proceeded with the campaign by increasing are curious about the quality of their fans. the engagement level step by step while Hyundai was no different. Working with a communicating with users; it all became research team we found that fans in the continuous communication. middle east and Africa are 2.3 times more ‘… 1.6m fans, likely to own a Hyundai compared to non- fans. Also: fans are 15% more likely to recommend a Hyundai to their friends.’ Finally from Hyundai again: 200 million friends ‘These days all of us are facing too much information… we are in the flood of information. of fans…’ ‘We cannot judge ourselves which AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  11. 11. B enchmarkerTRENDS, NEWS FROM UK Guarantee your sales in 2014Simple steps you take today can bring you n hat did their neighbours, friends and W Roger ends with some hard-truthsales in two or three year’s time, says Roger family think of their new purchase? conclusions:Whalley, a UK dealer principal of more than n Is everything as they expected it to be? ‘If all of this seems like hard work to your20 years experience. Some sales executives will think these are sales execs, they are probably in the wrong‘There are activities your sales staff needs to dangerous questions. What if something job, because it’s exactly what they should bedo now to make sure this year’s customers actually is wrong with the car? Well, doing every day.come back,’ says Roger, writing in Auto Retail Step Two –Manager in Britain. Call your customer about two weeks after ‘…the owner willThe majority of your customers, he says, will delivery and ask the same sort of questions.react favourably to being wanted. Tell them you plan to call them at regular intervals to see how the enjoyment continues. forgive and appreciate ‘… buyers only feel Also – these are opportunities to get referrals – ask if any of their friends or neighbours could be interested in changing their car. Step Three – the sales person who wanted when you Call again about two months after delivery. Continue asking the same questions and seeking referrals. Remind them that if stays in touch…’ want to do a deal…’ anything ever does go wrong you want to be the first to know. ‘The really good ones all have their own list‘But many car buyers say they never hearfrom their sales person again or, if they do, ‘…especially if you can of customers they can sell to in the future – customers who should always be the firstit is just to try and sell them another vehicle. to know about the special deals, the new hint about suitableAnd that is the problem, buyers only feel products, and even the recalls. Remember:wanted when you want to do a deal. even if a car is troublesome, the owner will‘For instance, if you rang the customers who forgive and appreciate the sales person whobought a car from you in, say, June 2010, stays in many do you think would remember the rewards for successful ‘What they won’t forgive or forget is whenperson they bought it from? Some? All? they are not kept up to date or given the best‘The likely answer is, not many!’ advice through their ownership experience.’However, there is a way you can prettymuch guarantee the chance of a sale in June referrals…’2014; although it does require some work,organisational ability and commitment. Step Four –Starting on the day you deliver the car Call at least twice a year to continue buildingyou’ve just sold in June 2012 – here’s Roger and reinforcing the relationship. Always seekWhalley’s five step plan: referrals as well.Step One – Remember: the longer the customer is happyCall new owners on the evening of the day with the purchase, the more likely they arethey collect the car when they have had time to refer friends and family – especially if youto get home, and ask them some simple non- can hint about suitable rewards for successfulprovocative questions: referrals.n How did the like their new acquisition? Step Five – Keep up the regular contacts until they are ‘…who would you ready to buy again. If you have carried out this five-step plan properly, some important things will haverather hears about the happened: n he customer will have become a friend T – and people like buying from folks they know. complaint first – you n ou will have received some great referrals Y and probably sold a few cars as a result. n ou should be in the front line when it Y or a neighbour?’ comes to the customer replacing the car you sold in June AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in
  12. 12. B enchmarker Stop listening to excuses…!!The Performance Group environment provides a terrific forum for debateamongst committed fellow dealers. Much of this debate centres roundthe reasons why certain undertakings have not been fulfilled for amultitude of reasons.In August last year, the respected owner of a prominent Sydneydealership turned up for the regular PG session in replacement of hisgeneral manager, who had been a long-standing and popular member Paddy O’Brienof the Group. When asked by the members what had happened to the from Down Undergeneral manager, the owner explained that he had left because of thepressure of not getting the dealership to perform at its true potential.The owner, a highly competent and well respected businessman, pointedout four areas of the business that had simply been allowed to sink tounacceptable levels of mediocrity, resulting in a Net to Sales of 2.7%which was well below his own standard of acceptability.By the end of the PG session, the owner had given the Group theundertaking that the four key areas identified would be correctedby the next session and the meeting ended with most membersadopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. You see, the general manager was percent and the owner sternly proclaimed that there was more to come.seen by the members of his Group as a reasonably competent dealer Whatever respect the Group had for the owner before this event waswith a rational bank of explanations that brought nods of acceptance raised to new levels and needless to say, every comment he made duringwhenever he explained how tough things were in the vibrantly the rest of the session was given hushed and serious attention.competitive Sydney market. When asked what he had done, the owner of the dealership retortedIn February, the Group once again assembled and even those who had with a most illuminating and profound comment: ‘I simply stoppedtaken the owner of this dealership seriously were astounded at the listening to excuses…’rapid turnaround in the performance of the dealership since last we When all is said and done, it really has everything to do with where youhad all met. The October to December quarter had shown the dealership ‘set the bar’ and how you drive your people to achieve your vision ofaverage at a startling 4.1% Net to Sales, an improvement of over fifty true potential for the business. Personalise your service techniciansYou might have business cards – but do your ‘At first you might think this practice could be 3. hen the customer returns to have more Wworkshop service technicians have them as very restrictive. But in fact the opposite is true.’ work done and tells you which technicianwell? Jeff goes on to list three things which will be he or she would like to work on the vehicle,That’s the question posed by Jeff Smith, accomplished by this strategy: you have an ideal opportunity to load youracclaimed author of ‘How to Make More Profit 1. he technician is putting his name in front of T workshop schedule more effectively.with your Service Department’ writing in a the customer and saying: “I’m the one who ‘The end result is you have the potential ofrecent issue of the UK’s Auto Retail Manager. worked on your vehicle. Surely you must planning the work flow in your workshop and‘Look at this as if you are a motorist collecting know what positive effect that will have on your customer feels more comfortable andyour car from the service workshop of your the quality of the work, and the cleanliness confident when booking the vehicle in – theylocal dealer. You’ve paid the bill and are ready etc. of the vehicle. like having ‘someone I know’ working on theto drive away. When you get inside your 2. he mirror hangar message can include all T car. There is also a strong chance of servicecar you see a professionally-printed hangar the company details, phone numbers and referrals – don’t be surprised when you havesuspended from your rear-view mirror that web addresses, and there is a reasonable new customers coming to you and asking forsays something along the lines of: chance that the customer will keep the card their vehicle to be worked on by a particular“My name is David Jones and I am the because he or she wants the same person technician who has been ‘recommended by atechnician who has worked on your car today. to work on the vehicle next time. Also, with friend…’.“If you are happy with the work I have done modern computer and printer technology ‘Referrals with a person’s name are far morefor you and you would prefer me to work on you can even personalise the card with your powerful than recommendations to a business.your vehicle next time, please let the service customer’s name to make them feel special The cost of the personalised printing and thereceptionist know when you book in with us. – remember it is customer care which bring small amount of effort required will produce“Thanks very much for your custom.” referrals. lots more work for you in the future.’ in AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - SOUTH AFRICA - INDONESIA - THAILAND - CHINA - INDIA in