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Automotive Dealers Network Articles by Ralph Paglia on Dealer Microsites


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Automotive Dealers Network Articles by Ralph Paglia on Dealer Microsites

Automotive Dealers Network Articles by Ralph Paglia on Dealer Microsites

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  • An all new lineup of environmentally responsible 2010 Nissan cars, trucks and SUV's is available from Kelly Nissan, located in Easton, PA. Kelly Nissan is one of America's best Nissan Dealerships as measured by sales and service customer satisfaction. The Kelly Nissan dealership sponsors the unique social network based Kelly Automotive Community website at You should visit and join this automotive social network to receive special discounts on Nissan new and used vehicles, genuine Nissan accessories, parts and Nissan repair and maintenance service. Kelly Nissan also hosts a more typical dealership eCommerce website located at where their entire inventory of new Nissans, including a huge selection of 2010 Nissan models, as well as their large inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Nissan cars, trucks and SUV's is updated daily, providing car buyers with full details including prices and optional equipment descriptions.
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  • 1. So, What's A MicroSite? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm So, What's A MicroSite? (continued) PART 1 The use of microsites should be considered as one facet of a multi- faceted and full featured digital marketing system. Microsites can have either a positive or negative impact on a dealership’s overall digital marketing results depending on how they are deployed and many other factors. The key to microsite success is the role they play in achieving a balance and synergy within the other components of a dealer’s digital marketing strategy. The goal of this article is to provide a foundational understanding of what microsites are, how they differ from landing pages and to share a few examples of the many uses of microsites that dealers and Internet Sales Managers can consider for potential deployment within their own digital marketing strategies. During the Digital Dealer conference I was asked many questions about how microsites are used, what they were, where to get them and how much was the right price… I am going to outline a few of the questions and share my opinions as to the right answers. The following questions and my answers to them have been set up within the context of a “how to” and “why” perspective for use in developing a dealership’s digital marketing strategy and ongoing digital advertising campaigns. What's the difference between a landing page, a microsite and a dealer’s website? I get asked this question all the time, so it must be fairly relevant to many people… First off, let me say that for all practical purposes every web site contains potential landing pages, but not all landing pages are part of a microsite or what I would call a full featured web site, some are just plain old single page “Landing Pages”. A Landing Page is whatever web page that a sponsored link, display ad, click-to-play video ad or any other type of online promotion points to… Single purpose Landing Pages can be a distinctly separate tactic used in addition to a dealer’s primary full featured web sites and microsites. Although a dealer’s primary web site typically has sections devoted to each dealership department, as well as access to the dealer’s full vehicle inventory, a microsite typically displays a limited number of pages primarily focused on a very specific and limited topic, such as a specific model of vehicle or a component of the vehicle buying process… Think of the traditional 4-square dealership worksheet and imagine a web site dedicated to each of the sections within that 4-Square. Each of them would be a microsite. Now, I’ll describe microsites in terms that would be relevant to today’s sales management professional at a dealership engaged in Digital Marketing activities: q A microsite index page is attached to a unique URL that is as descriptive of the microsite’s subject matter as possible and available to the dealership. q The index page within a microsite that is accessed by the root domain of the URL can also be used as a campaign landing page because it is where the consumer “lands” when they click on an advertisement, text based sponsored link or search engine listing of that unique URL. q In addition to the index page, which we call a home page when applied to a dealership’s full featured primary web site, a microsite has 1 or more daughter pages that are accessible from linked text or images shown on (1 of 4)6/2/2008 3:21:21 PM
  • 2. So, What's A MicroSite? the index page (the microsite’s home page). q A microsite’s daughter pages must be created within the same root domain structure as the index page’s URL. This is far different than the use of web pages hosted within another root domain structure, as when using links to a different web site’s sections, forms or pages. q Each daughter page within a microsite will contain additional content relevant to the index page’s primary subject matter and is what qualifies the site as a “microsite” instead of a simple “landing page”. Obviously, from the first part of my answer you already know that a landing page is a single web page connected to a unique URL, but without any additional pages of relevant content connected to it that are hosted within the same root domain structure. A good example, and the epitome of a “Microsite” (it’s even small in size), including rich media presentations and specific vehicle component sections along with daughter pages containing vehicle information, photographs and specifications can be seen at Conversely, a good example of a true “Landing Page” devoid of any other content within the same root domain structure is: Please note that both landing pages and microsites typically feature multiple links to other web pages that are part of separate and distinct URL domain structures, usually within the dealer’s primary web site, also known as “Deep Links”. The bottom line is that every microsite contains a landing page, along with one or more additional content pages, while the term landing page is also used to describe a single web page, usually with a form that is linked to advertisements and text based sponsored links and is distinctly separate from any other web site. Technically, any web page connected to outside links, such as banners and other forms of display advertisements shown within published web sites, as well as text based sponsored links and URL listings in SEM campaigns are “Landing Pages” because it is where the consumer lands when they click on the advertisement or listing… However, within the car business today, the most common use of the term landing page is to describe a single web page specially created for a specific advertisement, designed to convert visitors into electronic leads. Alternatively, Microsites require more content to set up properly than solo landing pages, which typically require a limited amount of text and an online form for customers to complete and submit. When and How are Landing Pages and Microsites used? Both microsites and landing pages are used for a variety of purposes by dealers, 3rd party lead providers, SEM services providers, dealer advertising associations, dealer groups and car companies. Compared to landing pages and depending on the richness of content they contain, automotive microsites usually show increasing levels of effectiveness in generating leads over time. There are 3 prevalent digital marketing campaign objectives that microsites and landing pages are used for within the car business today: Generate sales leads in the form of completed online forms, incoming phone calls and showroom traffic… When used by SEM services providers, landing pages are typically designed to generate electronic leads and are optimized for the highest possible Visitor-to-Lead conversion rates. Attract unique visitors using highly specific and limited subject matter content that is indexed by search engines as relevant to key word searches related to the site’s subject matter. When successful, a microsite’s title and description appear at the top of specific search engine queries based on richness of relevant content. Generate online traffic to other dealership web sites through the use of linked objects displayed within the (2 of 4)6/2/2008 3:21:21 PM
  • 3. So, What's A MicroSite? microsite, or within the text based content of the site. This objective is best met through the use of managed organic content that is search engine optimized around a subject matter that is popular among a targeted audience that will be searching for it. Otherwise, a microsite could be misconstrued as a link farm. If you are like me, seeing a few examples really helps to clarify a concept. If you visit www.Chevy-Malibu. com you will see a microsite that is focused on the all new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and nothing else. It has lots of rich content relevant to the all new Malibu, including an interview with the dealership’s New Vehicle Director, Scott Gruwell. At the bottom of the landing page are links to content within the store’s primary full featured web site that supplement the forms and phone numbers within the microsite in seeking to convert visitors into leads and phone calls. 3 months after being launched, a search for “2008 Chevy Malibu” returned a world wide front page listing as follows: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid from Phoenix Arizona Chevy Dealer ... 2008 Chevy Malibu. Come and fall in love with the all new 2008 Malibu from chevrolet. Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix offers the best pricing and financing on ... - 19k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this The model specific microsite that has outperformed any other microsite I have ever seen in generating incremental eLeads and unique visitors to the primary web site operated by the dealership, visit www. A Google search for 2008 Chevy Camaro returns the following listing at the very top of the world wide search results: The All New 2008 Chevrolet Camaro from Courtesy Chevy in Phoenix ... 2008 Chevy Camaro. Your Valley Chevy Camaro Dealer located in Phoenix, Arizona, The New 2008 Chevy Camaro, Courtesy Chevrolet Camaro, 2008 New Chevy Camaro. - 15k - Cached - Similar pages In July 2007 the Camaro microsite attracted over 25,000 unique visitors, of which over 1,800 of them submitted an online lead form. This microsite also generated over 2,500 unique visitors to the store’s other web sites, which resulted in over 50 additional leads. Courtesy Chevrolet operates the microsite and spends less than $100 a month hosting it. There was no paid advertising used to generate traffic, although the Transformers movie seemed to generate a big hike in Camaro related searches. One of the first microsite’s I created is the popular If you Google “2007 Tahoe” it shows up near the top of the search results as follows: 2007 Tahoe at Courtesy Chevrolet- The all new 2007 tahoe! Phoenix ... 2007 Tahoe by Chevy. Come and fall in love with the all new 2007 tahoe from Chevrolet. Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix offers the best pricing and financing ... - 20k - Cached - Similar pages Part 2 of this 3 Part Series will be published on May 20, 2008 in Automotive Dealers Network May 2008 Vol 2 You should click on the photo galleries and specifications pages within each of the above listed microsites to truly understand what differentiates a microsite from a landing page. I have never seen a landing page by itself generate any significant organic site ranking. Ralph has held positions such as OEM Partnership By Ralph Paglia Executive for Reynolds and Reynolds, CRM/eBusiness Director – Digital Marketing / ADP Dealer Services Director, New Car Sales Manager, Used Car Manager, email: F&I Director, General Sales Manager and General Manager. He led the development and design of nationally implemented CRM and eBusiness programs for Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and other car companies. He also designed Ford’s BDC program (3 of 4)6/2/2008 3:21:21 PM
  • 4. So, What's A MicroSite? Mercedes-Benz StarLeads CRM system and the Mercedes-Benz BDC. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (4 of 4)6/2/2008 3:21:21 PM
  • 5. Automotive Dealers Network home Put Your Company in 23 countries click for Receive our E-Newsletter on ADN's e-Newsletter! RATES For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Welcome Automotive Dealers Network was formed in logical sequence to a gathering of seasoned veterans in the Automotive Profession. Unmatched Training in Fixed Operations Management 812.325.5651 We welcome article submission from our readers as well as experienced professionals in various automotive specialties. Contact us at: Advertisements may be placed in the e-newsletter by contacting us at: To View Articles published in our e-newsletter, click on the Archive Tab click for Reach Thousands of Automotive RATES Professionals, Dealers and Managers in our e-Newsletter (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:24 PM
  • 6. Automotive Dealers Network home Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:24 PM
  • 7. Article Archive SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Article Archive June 2008 Vol 1 - Coming Soon May 2008 Vol 2 May 2008 Vol 1 April 2008 Vol 2 April 2008 Vol 1 March 2008 Vol 2 March 2008 February 2008 Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:21:27 PM
  • 8. Automotive Dealers Network home Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm EDITORIAL q Letters to the Editor q New Product Releases q News Releases q Article Submission ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION q Rate Card & Terms q Subscriptions email: fax: 814.680.5261 address: ADN, 4807 Manchester Ct, Bloomington, IN 47404 Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. 3:21:29 PM
  • 9. Breaking News SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm BREAKING NEWS NOT MADE IN THE USA: TOP 10 CARS Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:21:31 PM
  • 10. LETTER TO THE EDITOR Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm LETTER TO THE EDITOR q New Product Releases q News Releases q Article Submission ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION q Rate Card & Terms q Subscriptions email: fax: 814.680.5261 address: ADN, 4807 Manchester Ct, Bloomington, IN 47404 LETTER TO THE EDITOR * Required Field * Your name: * Company: Email: * Job title: * * Subject: Letter to the Editor (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:35 PM
  • 11. LETTER TO THE EDITOR Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Submit Reset (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:35 PM
  • 12. NEW PRODUCT RELEASE Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm q Letters to the Editor NEW PRODUCT RELEASE q News Releases q Article Submission ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION q Rate Card & Terms q Subscriptions email: fax: 814.680.5261 address: ADN, 4807 Manchester Ct, Bloomington, IN 47404 NEW PRODUCT RELEASE * Required Field * Your name: * Company: Email: * Job title: * * Subject: New Product Release (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:40 PM
  • 13. NEW PRODUCT RELEASE Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Submit Reset (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:40 PM
  • 14. NEWS RELEASE Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm q Letters to the Editor q New Product Releases NEWS RELEASES q Article Submission ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION q Rate Card & Terms q Subscriptions email: fax: 814.680.5261 address: ADN, 4807 Manchester Ct, Bloomington, IN 47404 NEWS RELEASE * Required Field * Your name: * Company: Email: * Job title: * * Subject: News Release (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:45 PM
  • 15. NEWS RELEASE Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Submit Reset (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:45 PM
  • 16. ARTICLE SUBMISSION Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm q Letters to the Editor q New Product Releases q News Releases ARTICLE SUBMISSION ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION q Rate Card & Terms q Subscriptions email: fax: 814.680.5261 address: ADN, 4807 Manchester Ct, Bloomington, IN 47404 ARTICLE SUBMISSION * Required Field * Your name: * Company: Email: * Job title: * * Subject: Article Submission (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:50 PM
  • 17. ARTICLE SUBMISSION Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Before submitting an article for publication, please check our article submission policies. Submit Reset (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:21:50 PM
  • 18. Article Archive May 6, 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm FROM THE PUBLISHER Create Customized Loyalty Cards From time to time in our Professional Careers we meet individuals that exemplify quality characteristics that embody the hope and passion that many of us have come to expect in our profession as well as in our daily Select an Article to view walk. view article 5/20/2008 How Are Your Parts? By Jim Bernardi PRESS RELEASE What portion of your dealership's investment is no longer sellable, and how much can you afford to invest in replacement stock? You can't you purchase more stock when your shelves are filled with obsolescence. A store that is 520/2008 Recall Data overstocked in obsolescence needs a plan to reduce that obsolescence Autodata Solutions, Inc, an automotive technology and prior to purchasing additional inventory. view article data provider, introduces factory service and recall data. The new offering keeps consumers informed about 5/20/2008 Let's Just Give 'Em Away By Bill regular vehicle service and maintenance recommended Zahrte by the manufacturer. view article In over 100 Years the Automobile Selling Business Hasn't Changed Much. Here is an idea let's just give away free gas, that'll fill the showroom ... Maybe 5/20/2008 Sweet Customer Retention we should just give them free cars. view article Bake Me A Wish is expanding its product line to include individual size promotional cakes ideal for corporate 5/20/2008 So, What's A MicroSite? part 2 By Ralph Paglia gifts. view article During the 4th Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition in Orlando, Florida in April 2008 I listened to several speakers mention the use of microsites by dealers and attribute their knowledge of microsites to yours truly. view article VEHICLE REVIEWS 5/20/2008 Digital MicroSites By Alvin Newton 5/20/2008 The Practical Convertible Two years ago I worked for Bob Baker Chevy Subaru, as a BDC manager Convertibles, notorious for their impracticality, have trying to figure out how to get more leads by phone and inbound eLeads via renewed their image. Their tops were prone to leak and the internet. When I saw the MicroSite, I was truly let in a lot of noise and their bodies tended to quiver and amazed! This was cutting edge at the time. view article flex. view article 5/20/2008 Cars for Grads compared three popular models - the Honda Civic and redesigned versions of the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla - to see which had the goods to satisfy teens and 20-somethings (and their parents, too). view article 5/20/2008 Top Safety Picks Car shoppers certainly have a number of priorities in (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:22:13 PM
  • 19. Article Archive May 6, 2008 mind when purchasing, and safety is typically high on their lists. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives shoppers additional information to ponder. view article INDUSTRY NEWS 5/202008 Chrysler + Nissan? Nissan said it will make a new small car designed by Chrysler and Chrysler will make a full-size pickup truck designed by Nissan. view article 5/20/2008 Mandatory Stability Control Electronic stability control automatically reduces speed and judiciously applies braking power to one or more wheels to avoid a skid and loss of driver control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requiring that all new passenger vehicles have standard stability control by 2012. view article Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:22:13 PM
  • 20. How Are Your Parts? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm How Are Your Parts? (continued) It is a must to begin and develop a stock-selling process. Therefore, it becomes important to identify and begin resolving the reasons for obsolescence, as well as relief of the needless parts. Until that happens, it is simple irresponsibility to do nothing with the aged inventory. A healthy inventory has no more than 15 percent tied up in Automatic Phase Out and Forced Stock (parts on hand with no prior sales.) Obsolescence calculated by Stocking Status is usually far more accurate than by aging, assuming that the Phase Out parameters are reasonable. Each time I conduct a Performance Evaluation we look at the aged inventory as compared to NADA standards and determine how much of old stock is no longer sellable. Follow these examples & review your current inventory. Levels of Service (LOS): Time must be taken to analyze the service levels that the existing inventory is capable of providing, and to break it down by the service workshop, accessories, and body shop and retail/wholesale customers. This is part of the profile that should be developed—both to establish a baseline for future growth and to set objectives based on current attainment. Service Levels cost money: The higher the attainment, the greater the investment in stocking part numbers. Remember, the name of the game here is selection, not depth, especially if factory’s offer frequent opportunities to place stock orders. You should then make decisions to create inventories that support each customer group, and to differing levels of supply from dealership stock. Crash Parts - A good example would be support to body shops. In order to lock in a job, most body shops need structural and paintable parts that enable them to tear down and set up the body shell. Generally, that means fenders, hoods, decks, core supports and covers. The shops don’t need color trim and exterior badging until much later in the repair process; in fact you can probably order that with the next stock order or the inevitable supplemental order. Either way, you normally don’t want them on hand, and typically order based on the vehicle ID or production information. Service Sales - The other common example would be the service department, which has its set of rules and challenges. Here we are pushing labor and part sales. If a technician can’t finish a job due to parts availability, both departments lose—at least until you get the parts in. Customers are famous for not returning in a proper time to complete the repairs, and you end up with an incomplete repair. Nobody is satisfied with this scenario, not to mention what it may do to your factory CSI report, as well as the possibility of having an open RO on your doc report. (1 of 4)6/2/2008 3:22:16 PM
  • 21. How Are Your Parts? Obviously, it is in everyone’s best interest to have whatever the shop needs at any time, right? But that’s possible only if you have deep pockets and can afford the cost of carrying the number of parts required to achieve this lofty goal. 85 percent LOS by part numbers is a strong performance, and represents a reasonable balance between Level of Service and cost of ownership. This needs to be taken into account when the DMS specifications are established. Or provided that your parts management team is banging on all cylinders and has whatever you need at any time…yea right Let’s move on... Depth of Supply: Just how much can your dealership afford to invest in selling stocking parts, while taking into account your existing investment in Obsolescence, Forced Stock and surplus Non Stock over 30 days on hand without a completed sale? If a store is clean there is more opportunity than if there is a large investment in parts that will not sell currently. Your management or advisor must take this into account, along with the various franchise ordering and delivery opportunities. Demand Posting: Lost Sales posting can have the ability to bring new parts into stock. This factor alone can result in a major adjustment to the Phase-In parameters in compensation for poor dealership performance. Timeliness: The inventory settings in the dealership DMS are never set in stone. Just based on the above information, you can see that the inventory situation will change based on how well you have reduced obsolescence, your store’s financial situation and your desired attainment levels for the different sale types. These settings will change based on your needs and market, as well as seasonal and financial commitments. It calls for a periodic review of all of these circumstances, and occasional adjustments to compensate for improvements or declines in performance. The person who changes your settings must fully understand these dynamics at your store. If not properly set chaos sets in. What the manufacturers say: Most manufacturers have a vested interest in selling parts to their dealers. Aside from vehicle sales, it is usually their next largest income source. More importantly, their interest is integral to maintaining the fleet that is now in owner hands and critical to ensure the performance of warranty repairs. Needless to say, the better the dealer inventories, the better customers perceive the brand support for their purchase. So far it all makes sense. One of the greatest frustrations that manufacturer management has is that they are not in direct control of dealer service operations. They work very closely with you to provide management and technician training, special tools, technical literature and on-site field support. All of this comes at a price for both the dealer and the factories. But up until now, factory initiatives have basically ignored the one area that is most critical to the successful completion of service maintenance and repairs—dealership parts inventories. Manufacturers have always maintained parts depots with substantial inventories designed to fulfill almost any need…far more than any dealership could possibly stock. In some respects, they behave like dealers in that they manage their selection based on demand from customers, or their dealers. Unlike dealers, however, manufacturers work on a very broad-based input that may involve very large geographic territories, and therefore cannot relate to the needs of any specific store. They would like to think that they can do a better job of forecasting parts needs at the retail level, and quite honestly, in some cases they certainly couldn’t do any worse. The problem is that over the last few years many of them have begun making “suggestions” as to how dealers should operate their inventory control (2 of 4)6/2/2008 3:22:16 PM
  • 22. How Are Your Parts? systems without taking into account the various factors outlined above. But they can’t account for those factors simply because they don’t know what is going on in each store. Until recently, the most ambitious efforts to “participate” in retail parts operations involved brand new franchises. These had no baggage, and therefore had no pre-existing conditions to adjust for. Some importers make very strong “recommendations” supported by return incentives or additional earned discounts, but these are basically voluntary. Recently, this has escalated to where some manufacturers and distributors are making a recommended stock order to their dealers, fully expecting them to purchase as directed. Some allow a few adjustments, and most offer generous return allowances as an incentive to participate. Most make this a “voluntary” program with some disincentives for non- participation. But the dealership is still free to modify orders as they see fit. That is coming to an end for GM dealers with the introduction of the RIM (Retail Inventory Management) program. Launched as a voluntary program in 2005, RIM was slated to become mandatory in 2007. Its’ objective was admirable: Improve the quality of all dealer stock and reduce obsolescence. The fear is that the system will not be flexible enough for unique dealership needs, especially if a particular store falls outside of a normal profile. The parts managers from these dealers need to learn how to analyze their needs, tailor their DMS controls properly, review the recommended orders and merge their local knowledge with the system-generated orders. What does this mean to dealerships? Like so many things that have happened over the last 10 years or so the manufacturers are getting more involved in dealer daily operations. They are as concerned as you are over the condition of your parts inventories, but for different reasons. Do they have concerns? Of course they do, but what can you do about it? The best thing you can do is what you should have been doing all along: • Hire qualified management. It’s all about your people on the front line. • Train management and staff properly and regularly. • Monitor inventories and performance. • Require reporting and accountability from parts managers. • Retain outside auditing, much like you do for accounting. • Defend your rights to operate independently, but accept the tools that are offered and integrate them into your operations. Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General Jim Bernardi Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations President /AutoPro Training Solutions Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director, email: Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of and visit AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed Operations Training Company which guarantees increased GP or their training fee is free. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter (3 of 4)6/2/2008 3:22:16 PM
  • 23. How Are Your Parts? For Email Marketing you can trust (4 of 4)6/2/2008 3:22:16 PM
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  • 28. Let's Just Give Away Free Gas SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Let's Just Give 'Em Away (continued) As long as I have been in this business I will never understand why we let customers run our business, control the profits and despise the car sales industry at the same time. It amazes me that there are still over 18,000 car dealers still in business. I didn’t go to a preppy college or attend a fancy sales school to figure out why some dealers are successful and some dealers are not successful. As business people all we have to do is look in the mirror and see who is at fault. Because we have newer and better vehicles every year doesn’t alter the fact people are still people. No matter what the dealership sales environment seems to be people have purchased new or used vehicles based on four basic concepts while shopping. If these four basic needs are not solved your hopeful buyer is buying elsewhere. Here is how it breaks down: You will have an opportunity to answer four basic questions, whether real or perceived. If these four basic concerns are answered your chances to sell a product is vastly increased. q What is it? What are you selling, how will it meet their needs? q How does it work? Does the customer really understand the product features and the benefits of those features? q What’s in it for them? All those features and all the benefits, do they really meet the goals of the customer trying to purchase the vehicle. q What does it cost? The key here is cost. Can you justify a $20,000 to a mega money decision based on what has been presented to the customer. You say, “Wait a minute, customers are tough, all they do is shop, shop, shop and come into the dealership looking for discounts, discounts, discounts.” Before I answer the 'how to blow away the pricing and increase the possibility of closing 20 to 30 percent more business' let’s take a look at why your customers think the car sales industry stinks. And another reason you may need (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:22:25 PM
  • 29. Let's Just Give Away Free Gas to look in the mirror. Not too long ago I was involved with evaluating a survey of 26,412 buyers in 64 market areas in the USA. The information revealed some shocking answers but also just verified my suspicions’ I have had all the many years in this business. These 26,412 buyers had purchased a product within 12 months from the date of the survey. Keep in mind this survey was derived from customers who had purchased. Here we go 83% Could not recall the name of the salesperson 12 months later. 67% Would not buy from the same salesperson or company again. 81% Told the salesperson they were just looking entering the dealership. 38% Had actually shopped two other dealers before they came into the dealership. 87% Felt an attitude of indifference or concern from the salesperson. 91% Of the salespeople failed to follow-up after the customer walked-out. 70% Purchased a vehicle with-in 14 days of their first shopping effort. 74% Of the 70% who said they were just looking, 74% purchased within 48 hours. 94% Of salespeople never attempted to write a sale during the first time in. 90% Never got a complete product presentation. 91% Believed the salesperson did not know the product. 90% Were never contacted after delivery by the salesperson. Keep in mind this survey was based people who actually purchased and their feeling of the treatment during and after the selection process and buying decision was completed. If we were to take a survey of all who entered a dealership, buyers as well as lookers, I think the numbers would be even worse. Keep in mind all these percentages were based on two things. 1The customer’s attitude and 2the feelings of what went on at the time they were the key understand the influence to make a decision. If we were to add another element to what was an influence to purchase we could add loyalty. And what if they were previous customers? How do you think the numbers would change if the majority of the customers in this survey were previous customers - happy previous customers? Because price is said to be the number one reason people move to do what they do, shouldn’t you take advantage of that by making the price feel insignificant while the important stuff is where they purchase, how service will be performed, that the management and sales staff really cares. Would this really make a difference? Only if you really care. Bill Zahrte (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:22:25 PM
  • 30. Let's Just Give Away Free Gas Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:22:25 PM
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  • 34. So, What's A MicroSite? part 2 SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm So, What's A MicroSite? (continued) PART 2 During the Digital Dealer conference I was asked many questions about how microsites are used, what they were, where to get them and how much was the right price… I am going to outline a few of the questions and share my opinions as to the right answers. The following questions and my answers to them have been set up within the context of a “how to” and “why” perspective for use in developing a dealership’s digital marketing strategy and ongoing digital advertising campaigns. The following questions were addressed in part 1 which can be viewed here. s What's the difference between a landing page, a microsite and a dealer’s website? s When and How are Landing Pages and Microsites used? Who creates the online digital advertising that dealers would use to help drive traffic to microsites and landing pages? Creating online advertisements that dealers can then place on various web sites or as sponsored links with paid search engine advertising is typically done by the dealership’s vendors. However, all too often vendors generate digital ads in either a size or format that is intentionally designed to prevent the dealer from using them elsewhere. That’s why I give a lot of credit because even when they build a Flash based ad for the dealers that advertise on, you can ask for the same ad in an animated GIF file format which they will provide. This allows the dealer to use that great looking ad created by on other web sites and further leverages ROI from the dealer’s investment in advertising. An example of a digital ad created for one of the dealers I work with in San Diego is shown below: Another example of a dealership’s digital advertising as created by is shown below: (1 of 5)6/2/2008 3:22:33 PM
  • 35. So, What's A MicroSite? part 2 In my new position as Director of Digital Marketing for ADP Dealer Services, I am spearheading a project where we will by supplying digital advertising content to dealers. Our first priority will be to provide digital advertising that has already been proven effective for dealers to those who have web sites supplied by an ADP Digital Marketing provider, such as BZ Results and ADP Dynamic Websites. This is a prototype example of the most basic ADP Digital Marketing dealership ads: When it comes to paid search advertising, text based sponsored links are usually created by a dealer’s SEM services provider. However, despite the fact that there a lot of very knowledgeable SEM services providers, such as BZ Results Search Engine Marketing, Clickmotive, Jumpstart and others, in my opinion this is a bad practice. Outsourcing the thinking and creative promotional exercises that have historically been done either in-house or in conjunction with a dealer’s ad agency is more likely to result in a failed digital advertising campaign. This happens because separating digital advertising from the other forms of dealership promotional activity leads to a disconnect with the dealership’s marketing strategies. I recommend that each dealer and management team control and monitor their digital advertising with the same diligence and direct participation that they use for TV, Radio, Newspaper, Outdoor, Direct Mail and all other media. Over two thirds of all car shopping is done online, does it really make sense for a dealership’s management team to pay so much attention to the ads placed in media used by a minority of car buyers and then ignore the ads seen by the majority of automotive shoppers? Does a dealer have to use an outside supplier to do this, or is it something dealers can do on their own? How do dealers organize to do this? All or part of a dealer’s digital marketing activities can be managed in-house. Alternately, a dealer may choose to pick and choose which components are executed in-house and which are to be outsourced, or a combination of both. I am currently engaged in a consulting relationship with a Chevrolet store in Northern California that has never done digital advertising before I started working with them. Their Marketing Manager, who creates all their newspaper advertising and works with their TV and Radio suppliers, is doing a fantastic job of using his skills to create digital advertising campaigns. ADP’s own BZ Results has created a portfolio of microsites and landing pages for their use in online advertising campaigns. Yes, it takes focus, time and effort, and although all of a dealer’s digital advertising needs can be outsourced to save time, this typically results in the managers being disconnected and removed from the store’s digital advertising initiatives. Outsourcing digital advertising concept creation can result in a lack of commitment to making the sales to the leads generated that is required to get the ROI results. I recommend learning how to do it, then doing it long enough so that if the dealer decides to outsource the work, they at least know what it is, how to measure it and what it takes to do a good job. Now that I work for ADP Dealer Services, I would much rather sell Digital Marketing products and services to dealers who know what it is and how it works, than to those that do not know what they are buying. Other considerations are the ability to adjust campaigns daily, even hourly and (2 of 5)6/2/2008 3:22:33 PM
  • 36. So, What's A MicroSite? part 2 saving money. Most stores can save thousands of dollars by managing their online campaigns and by knowing how to evaluate a supplier for the portion of the digital ad budget that is outsourced. Generally speaking, I consider a blended approach of both in-house and outsourced digital advertising to be the best of both worlds, and it keeps the vendors honest when you compare their results with the in-house results. The blended approach also allows a dealer to shift dollars from in-house to the out-house as resources and budgets fluctuate. How can the dealer make sure that their landing page/microsite strategy actually delivers desirable content to automotive Internet users, and that the landing page sites deliver on any promises made in the ads themselves? Dealers should be consistent and transparent in their digital advertising campaign messages. In the case of paid search campaigns, why would you want to attract clicks from people that don’t want to buy a vehicle, order parts or get their vehicle serviced? Only if you are an SEM services vendor who is evaluated by traffic and leads generated! (oops, that one slipped out) When doing it yourself, make sure the ad contains verbiage that describes the landing page’s content that you are linking it to. For example, if your ad says something like “Chevy Price Quotes… Get Discounted Prices on a New Chevy from Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix” and it points to you can be pretty certain that the people clicking on the ad are interested in getting a price quote on a new Chevy and that they are willing to buy it in Phoenix, AZ (duh!). The landing page gives them the instructions and the form to complete that are in sync with the ad’s message, so it is a no brainer for the customer to fill it out the form and find out how your store will respond. A good example of this is a microsite I built for a Free Gas advertising campaign that you can visit at www. This microsite has a built in calculator that asks the customer how many miles they drive every week, then how many miles per gallon their current vehicle gets. It then shows the customer how much money they will spend in a year. The customer is then invited to enter a contest to win a free gas card, or to register to receive a year’s worth of gas at no additional charge when they buy a new Chevy from Courtesy Chevrolet. This is then promoted using image ads. If you visit the web site by clicking on the ad, you can’t help but see that the site delivers on the promises made in the ad itself. If the ads were linked to my primary web site’s home page, and the consumer was then expected to find the free gas special offer from there, then it would not be delivering on the promise implied by the ad and it would fail to produce any results. Online advertisements should be directly linked to single click access to the promised content. How can dealers manage multiple URLs? How do dealers ensure they get ranked by the major search engines? As far as acquiring and using domain names (URL’s), although a lot of dealers use low cost domain management service providers such as and, I feel most comfortable going directly to the source by using where dealers can buy a domain and web forwarding services (if needed) for less than $47 a year. Significant discounts apply if registering for 3 years or more. Since it can take up to 3 months to get a new microsite organically ranked for free search engine traffic, I recommend creating a Google AdWords account and building a paid search marketing campaign using keyword bidding on text based (3 of 5)6/2/2008 3:22:33 PM
  • 37. So, What's A MicroSite? part 2 sponsored links that point to the dealer’s new microsite. This gets traffic going to a microsite right away, and then if the site is built well enough to be considered relevant to the intended sales, parts or service shoppers, you can back down the paid traffic after 3 to 6 months and let the organic relevancy of your microsite do its magic by attracting search engine generated traffic. The people at Google have told me about a 3 month period after a new microsite goes live as being “in the sandbox”, where it will not get organically ranked, but I have seen exceptions made for really good microsites that covered a topic that does not have a lot of competition for relevancy in search results. The Camaro site I previously mentioned is one of those… After your microsite is up and running, copy the actual URL string of characters from your browser’s address bar when viewing the site, then go to and paste the microsite’s domain based URL string into the field for the site address. Then type in a description of the site using no more than 20 words into the text field set up for it. Next, try to decipher the garbled up characters that Google displays to keep bots from being able to do this and type these weird looking characters displayed into the indicated form field… If you are successful in translating the garbled up letters, when you hit the submit button you will get a confirmation page that says your site will be queued up for crawling and indexing by Google’s spider bots. I know it sounds like a bunch of hassle, but anyone who can figure out how to use GM’s Dealer World, Honda’s Interactive Network, Toyota’s Dealer Daily or Ford’s can ace this stuff. How does a dealer incorporate the use of microsites into their existing CRM tools and processes to maximize the ability to track and manage results? Forms, phone numbers and links… This is one of the most important aspects of any microsite because ultimately the volume of forms submitted, phone calls generated and traffic linked to other sites operated by your dealership is how you will evaluate your microsites. The forms used to submit leads from a dealer’s microsite must be set up to be submitted into the dealer’s lead management tool in XML/ADF format. Each form should be tagged to display the lead source as that microsite’s description in the dealer’s lead management tool. Each microsite will have its own source tag so that leads and sales generated can be logged and traced to that source. It is the same process as tracking leads from a third party lead provider, then calculating the ROI… The only thing missing is the profit requirements of the lead provider! When done properly, microsites generate more ROI than when splitting the pot with a lead provider that uses the same methods to generate leads and then sells them to multiple dealers at a profit. It is important that the dealership’s staff that will be handling leads from a microsite be shown the ads and site content used to generate those leads, so they can respond appropriately. A best practice is to have campaign and microsite specific email templates and auto responders. Until recently, if you submitted a lead through you would have see that the emails coming back are specific to that microsite. Don’t worry about costing the dealer any money, because incremental leads from microsites don’t cost any money… They make money. Part 3 of this 3 Part Series will be published on June 3, 2008 in Automotive Dealers Network June 2008 Vol 1 By Ralph Paglia Ralph has held positions such as OEM Partnership Executive for Reynolds and Reynolds, CRM/eBusiness (4 of 5)6/2/2008 3:22:33 PM
  • 38. So, What's A MicroSite? part 2 Director – Digital Marketing / ADP Dealer Services Director, New Car Sales Manager, Used Car Manager, email: F&I Director, General Sales Manager and General Manager. He led the development and design of nationally implemented CRM and eBusiness programs for Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and other car companies. He also designed Ford’s BDC program Mercedes-Benz StarLeads CRM system and the Mercedes-Benz BDC. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (5 of 5)6/2/2008 3:22:33 PM
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  • 41. Digital Micro Sites SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Digital Micro Sites (continued) The Digital Marketing business is changing daily, so we need to change with the trends, and keep it simple. The Micro Sites I currently build for Courtesy Chevrolet in San Diego are simple, easy to navigate and keep your attention. Adding Video to any site will help keep the prospect there for a longer period of time. Visit for an example. The video in this MicroSite sells the truck for you! A Call to Action before the scroll is also very important. Visit for an example. Easy Navigation will help to keep your prospect there for a longer time span. Using these three key features in your MicroSites will develop into a higher conversion ratio. It amazes me to find that all dealers have not caught on to this means of Digital Marketing. MicroSites are very cost effective and results are trackable. You have to remember you will get phone calls and walk-in traffic from your MicroSites. Your sales staff must be sourcing their walk-ins so you know where they are coming from. When you start your MicroSite inventory you have to remember it takes Google, and other search engines 3 to 8 months before you will have a strong presence with SEO (search engine optimization). The best thing to do is some SEM (search engine marketing) to get your MicroSites exposed. Do bulk emails to let your database know that you have this new site, and let their friends know about it. When I finished the MicroSite, I did a bulk to 9,000 prospects in my database. It resulted into 370 new refreshed visits to the site, that were invalid, dormant, bought elsewhere, already purchased and so on. Total leads were 23. My analytics report showed that 9 of those prospects used the "Send this site to a friend" feature. You get the point. Just because you build a Micro Site you are not going to get tons of leads. You have to know how to market your MicroSite effectively to get those conversions. Please contact me with any questions you may have. Alvin Newton Digital Marketing Director/Newton Digital Marketing email: Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:22:36 PM
  • 42. Digital Micro Sites Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:22:36 PM
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  • 44. Recall Data SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Recall Data (continued) It includes comprehensive coverage of factory service schedules for most US vehicles dating back to 1992 and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recall notices for most US vehicles dating back to 1981. The maintenance service and recall data compliments Autodata Solutions’ robust vehicle data that includes industry best standard and optional vehicle data in English, Spanish and Canadian French, regionalized incentives and rebates, performance data, vehicle images and videos, and editorial content. “Autodata Solutions accelerates innovation for dealership service providers and internet media portals by enabling them to educate and engage the consumer with comprehensive vehicle descriptions as well as details that may impact their buying, selling and ownership decisions”, said Michael Benavides, Senior Director of Business Development. “Later this year we plan to launch technical service bulletins and green vehicle data for environmentally focused consumers,” he added. Autodata Solutions, Inc. is one of North America’s leading automotive software and data providers. Founded in 1990, Autodata Solutions provides automotive content, research, and technology implementation services to auto manufacturers, fleet and leasing companies, dealership service providers and Internet media portals in North America, to help them market and sell their products more effectively and profitably. Autodata Solutions, Inc. has offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, and London, Ontario, Canada, and is a division of Internet Brands, Inc. (www. For more information, visit Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:22:39 PM
  • 45. Sweet Retention SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Sweet Customer Retention (continued) If you have a soldier’s birthday approaching and would like to send a cake, please contact BAKE ME A WISH. 5% of each order is contributed to Bake Me A Wish!’s Operation: Birthday Cake, which, with partners the Armed Forces Foundation and Soldier’s Angels donates birthday cakes each month to soldiers overseas. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:22:43 PM
  • 46. The Most Practical Convertibles SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm The Practical Convertible (continued) But now there are signs of change, and these eight 2008 convertibles present the fewest compromises to achieve top-down fun. Current folding hardtops are marvels of engineering: A series of complex pistons and hydraulics fold the rigid roof into sections that get sandwiched in layers and hidden in the trunk. Like the best soft tops, retractable metal roofs typically open and close at the touch of a button and can be raised or lowered in less than a minute. For added convenience, some models like the BMW 3 Series Convertible allow owners to raise and lower the top from outside the car via an optional key fob remote. All of the vehicles on this list have rear seats large enough to accommodate adults in moderate comfort on short trips. And unless a convertible is strictly a third car in a family’s fleet, having four seats versus two is one of the key attributes necessary to make a convertible practical enough for everyday use. The Most Practical 4-Passenger Convertibles & Starting Price BMW 3 series $43,200 Saab 9-3 $39,590 Chrysler Sebring $26,150 VW Eos $28,990 Mitsubishi Spyder $25,699 Volvo C70 $39,240 Pontiac G6 $30,860 Audi A4 $39,750 (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:22:48 PM
  • 47. The Most Practical Convertibles sourced from consumer reports and forbes autos Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:22:48 PM
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  • 56. Cars For Grads SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Cars For Grads (continued) Compact cars are a sensible choice for many drivers, particularly recent grads. The thrifty Focus will entice the iPod generation, but the Focus is more than just a rolling stereo system, as it offers good handling and appealing interior design. 2008 Ford Focus SES $16,925. The Civic is a sharp handler, offers a better driving experience, better cabin and rock-solid reliability while not relinquishing too much in the mpg department. 2008 Honda Civic EX-L $19,910. The Corolla gets 27/35 mpg with either the manual or automatic transmission. It also has the lowest estimated five-year ownership costs and an available stability system. 2009 Toyota Corolla XLE $17,550. sourced from Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:22:59 PM
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  • 60. Automotive Dealers Network Publisher's Notes SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm From The Publisher (continued) I have been very fortunate over the years; I have been able to make strong allegiances within the Automotive Marketplace. I am very proud to call our Guest Writers & Advertisers my personal friends & colleagues. I also wanted to make a personal & public appreciation announcement to our readers, subscribers and to our wonderful automotive professional audience. A very special Thanks to Jim Ziegler, who always is willing to take what little sleep he obtains for that stealthy frame and to give our companies the motivation and encouragement to go another round, my friend you are a true inspiration of leadership and promise in a troubled time. A Very Special round of applause to Bill Zahrte, who ALWAYS has the time to share his many years of Expert Analysis of our current marketplace & find solutions that “just makes sense”. And a special Hurrah for Ralph Paglia, who should have been a Firefighter, It would appear wherever there is heat in our business, He is often found in the midst finding solutions to our dealers ever demanding needs. Hats off My Friends!! Automotive Dealers Network was designed as a Complete & Reliable Resource in Variable and, Fixed Operations; we have the Nations Leading Experts in Compliance Regulations, Sales Operations, Service/Parts Operations, F & I Training, Reward Programs & DMS Experts, and CRM Experts including many Guest Writers with Global recognition. We are firm believers that every dealers needs to have that sustainable edge within their immediate marketplace. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear from you. Also, if you have Industry News worthy of sharing with other colleagues please contact us. It is our pleasure to be of service to you & we look forward to keeping you updated with the latest & most informative e-Newsletter available today. Sincerely, Jim Bernardi Publisher/CEO 812.325.5651 Jim is a Member of the following Chapters & International Organizations: American Business Club, Business II Business Networking, Ten-Top (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:23:48 PM
  • 61. Automotive Dealers Network Publisher's Notes Executives Net, LinkedIn Network, Xing Network, Pulse Network, The Global Council Entrepreneur, Networking for Global Entrepreneurs, Global Trade Link International, Japan Pulse, Global Governance, Networking Pros, Business Networking in Germany, International Recruiters Network, China Business, The Global Expert, Global Professional Networkers, Global Business Development, Arab World Venture Capital, Diversity in the global community, Doing Business in Latin America, International Business Circle, Automotive Digital, Business Opportunities Network, Business Roundtable, Digital Revolution,, Internet Marketing, Marketing & Sales Professionals, Speakers & Seminar Professionals, F & I Professionals, Marketing & Sales Consultants and Global Consultants Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:23:48 PM
  • 62. 2008 Safst Cars On the Road SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Top Safety Picks (continued) IIHS's Safest 2008 Vehicles MSN Consumer MSN Consumer Starting Starting LARGE CARS User Reports MSRP MIDSIZE SUVs User Reports MSRP Ratings Score Ratings Score Audi A6 8.5 83 $42,950 Acura MDX 9.7 80 $40,195 Cadillac CTS 9.4 84 $33,245 Acura RDX 9.8 72 $33,195 Ford Taurus (w/esc) 9.4 na $23,635 BMW X3 5.0 79 $38,000 Mercury Sable (w/esc) 9.9 na $23,935 BMW X5 9.2 67 $45,900 Volvo S80 (w/esc) 9.6 na $38,705 Ford Edge 9.7 60 $25,735 MIDSIZE CARS Ford Taurus X 9.7 na $27,030 Audi A3 9.9 75 $25,930 Honda Pilot 8.8 79 $27,595 Audi A4 9.4 77 $28,900 Hyundai Santa Fe 9.6 80 $21,150 Honda Accord 9.4 88 $20,360 Hyundai Veracruz 9.1 75 $26,900 Saab 9-3 9.3 71 $28,080 Lincoln MKX 9.8 60 $35,840 Subaru Legacy (w/esc) 9.1 64 $20,495 Mercedes-Benz M 9.8 69 $44,000 CONVERTIBLES Saturn Vue 9.3 na $21,250 Saab 9-3 9.3 71 $28,080 Subaru Tribeca 9.7 na $29,995 Volvo C70 9.5 68 $39,240 Toyota Highlander 9.7 81 $27,300 SMALL CARS Volvo XC90 9.3 74 $36,210 Subaru Impreza 9.0 na $16,995 SMALL SUVs MINIVANS Honda CR-V 8.9 74 $20,700 Honda Odyssey 9.2 91 $25,860 Honda Element 9.5 58 $18,980 Hyundai Entourage na 79 $23,995 Infiniti EX35 9.7 na $31,900 Kia Sedona na 79 $20,695 Subaru Forester na na $19,995 w/esc indicates that the vehicle makes IIHS's list only LARGE PICKUP with the electronic stability control option. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:24:07 PM
  • 63. 2008 Safst Cars On the Road Toyota Tundra 9.1 69 $22,290 For original article see msn. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:24:07 PM
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  • 65. Chrysler, Nissan to join forcecs SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Chrysler + Nissan? (continued) The new cars and trucks are slated to be available in North America and Europe for 2010 and 2011. Nissan, the Number 3 Automaker in Japan, will make Chrysler's new subcompact at its Oppama plant. The full-size Nissan Titan will be made at Chrysler's plant in Saltillo, Mexico and will be available in 2011. The Chrysler built Titan will have a larger variety of cab and engine configurations than it does currently. U.S. subompact sales increased by 30% over the first quarter of 2008, making Chrysler all but desperate for a subcompact car to sell in North America. Chrysler is moving production of its trucks from Saltillo to plants in St. Louis and Warren - some good news for production in the U.S. To Read the original AP Article. view article Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:24:28 PM
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  • 68. Mandatory Stability Control SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Mandatory Stability Control (continued) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it's requiring that all future passenger vehicles have standard stability control by 2012. Some automakers already have made stability control standard on all their cars. Mercedes-Benz started installing electronic stability control in 1995 and made it standard on all models by 1999. A study from Germany early this decade confirmed the benefits of stability control: Mercedes cars with this technology were involved in 15 percent fewer crashes than vehicles that didn't have stability control. Several independent studies around the globe have shown that stability control can help drivers maintain directional control and have fewer single-vehicle crashes. NHTSA in fall 2006 chose to give stability control the official thumbs up while giving automakers until 2012 to make this important safety feature standard. Several car brands already have standard electronic stability control on many models. Besides Mercedes, they include BMW, Cadillac and Audi. DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group saw fit to put standard stability control on its rear-wheel-drive cars, such as the Chrysler 300. Ford Motor Co. announced it will have stability control standard on all consumer Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks by the end of 2009 Over the years, automakers have added stability control to sport-utility vehicles as a way of reducing the incidence of skids and rollovers involving these vehicles with higher ground clearance. Thus, every 2007 Toyota SUV comes with standard stability control, and even Jeep's lower-priced models—the 2007 Compass and Jeep Wrangler—now include standard stability control Sourced from (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:25:09 PM
  • 69. Mandatory Stability Control Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:25:09 PM
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  • 71. Article Archive May 6, 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm FROM THE PUBLISHER Create Customized Loyalty Cards Since the recent Digital Dealer Convention has come and gone, I have spoken to several of the Guest speakers. There was an estimated 60-70 exhibitors with an additional 750 attendees expected to arrive in Select an Article to view Orlando. view article 5/6/2008 SALES v. SERVICE By Jim Bernardi There is an old training myth that a salesperson needs more experience in PRESS RELEASE selling cars than a service advisor needs in selling service - which I have always found a bit humorous. On the other hand the sales process is nothing to ignore or turn away from. Follow along in this familiar example: I 5/6/2008 New Micro Sites am interested in purchasing a new vehicle; I am comfortable with an amount LA Auto Gallery Dealership of Los Angeles, California which I believe would be an acceptable monthly payment. I know exactly how signed an initial 5 Micro Site package with Fresh Micro much I can afford for my down payment; I have also decided on a brand, Sites. view article color and options. I believe that the salesperson is giving me a relatively good trade-in on my car. I am in agreement to make the purchase. 5/6/2008 Accessory Sales After sitting in the Finance Office for 45 minutes or so, the Manager explains Insignia Group, LC last month announced the release of about the rust proofing and an extended warranty. view article Insignia E2. The release gives dealers a refined and easier-to-use sales system that can be fully utilized 5/6/2008 Sales Customer to Service Customer By Bill across multiple platforms and browsers. view article Zahrte It has been revealed that currently only one in four of new car customers 5/6/2008 CRM Strengthens Sales Force become a paying service customer at the selling dealership. That's 1 out of Diversiform is strengthening its sales force to handle a every 4. growing customer base with the addition of three sales This poor conversion rate is aggravated by an equally disappointing statistic; representatives. view article history suggests the average capacity utilization of fixed operations, across all of its thousands of dealers, is only 57 percent. view article VEHICLE REVIEWS 5/6/2008 "I'm Not Ready To Buy" By David Krier The majority of Customers that visit a Dealership leave without buying a 5/6/2008 'Toughest' Cars On The Road vehicle. A few simple steps can help convert these Customers into Forbes used Consumer Reports' 2007 Overall Road immediate deals with strong grosses. Just as importantly, if they do leave, it Test Scores to create this list as well as Vincentric's increases the likelihood they'll return and buy. view article estimated five-year repair costs, and Strategic Vision's 2007 New Vehicle Experience Study. view article 5/62008 Selling to Sub Prime Customers By Richard 5/6/2008 Female Drivers' Favorites Harris Forbes Autos assesses which vehicles women prefer. "No doubt about it. There is a LOT of money to be made in selling sub- "There is a significant amount of overlap between what prime customers, but how do I set up my dealership to get that business?" women and men want in car design," says Tim Greig, is a question I often hear from franchise owners. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:25:38 PM
  • 72. Article Archive May 6, 2008 interior design manager for General Motors Global Most dealers believe the success in selling the Sub-Prime customers Design. "What I've noticed in our market research, comes about only from having the correct inventory. While inventory is however, is that women tend to not only see the big important, there is so much more. view article picture but pay close attention to the details as well." view article 5/6/2008 Why Should I Help Train Salespeople? By Joe Verde How would you like to increase your penetration, sell more products, have INDUSTRY NEWS more fun and make more money? Duh, who wouldn't! All of our Team Leadership workshops have Finance Managers in class. And like every other dealer and manager in class, they're always surprised at 5/62008 BMW & Daimler Share Components? what a real gold mine Sales and Finance can be, especially if they work AP quotes Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche. "We are together in today's market. view article discussing potentially sharing components. And this 5/6/2008 The Chaos of Compliance By Michael might make sense specifically in regard to new Maguire technologies," Zetsche told reporters at the Beijing auto Did you know that the automotive industry is one of the most, if not the most show. view article regulated industry in our nation? We have government agencies that 5/6/2008 Why Gas Is So Cheap In The U.S. regulate a vehicle from the time it is on the assembly line, to the time it is CNN Money surveyed 155 countries' fuel prices to come sold. We have the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), up with this one. Despite daily headlines bemoaning Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the IRS, Financial Crimes Enforcement record gas prices, the U.S. is actually one of the cheaper Network (FinCen) and the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). places to fill up in the world. view article Then there are local agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles, Banking commission and, in most states, the Insurance Commission. In addition to those, at the dealership level, you have to add in all the agencies that look after the employees. It is no wonder that some dealer principals throw their hands up in frustration and not do what is required. view article 5/6/2008 So, What's A MicroSite? By Ralph Paglia During the 4th Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition in Orlando, Florida in April 2008 I listened to several speakers mention the use of microsites by dealers and attribute their knowledge of microsites to yours truly. I suppose being called the "Microsite King" can't be all bad, but right here and right now I would like to set the record straight about the issue of whether or not using microsites is good or bad... view article Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:25:38 PM
  • 73. SALES v. SERVICE SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm SALES v. SERVICE (continued) It still appears to be a good deal, and with the options my payments only went up an additional $64.00 per month. After spending a good while in the sales process, we had completed all transactions; I transferred my personal belongings to my new vehicle and proceeded to drive my fancy new ride home. I am certain, like many new car owners driving down the highway, that everyone must have known that my vehicle was new. It was clean, shiny and it drove fantastic. It had the fresh scent of leather like only a new car can have. Moving forward. Several months had passed and I was having a concern with a light continually lighting on my dash board. So I attempt to make the dreaded service appointment in hopes that my busy schedule could accommodate their time slot. I arrived at the Service Department only to be greeted (play on words) by an advisor. The first thing I heard was “Did you have an appointment today?” All I could do was smile and say "Yes I do." The Advisor says “What seems to be your problem that brought you here today?” At that point, I did not realize that I was a burden to him, or that I was taking up his valuable counter space with 'My Problems.' I explained the light on my dash and requested to also have the vehicle serviced while I was there. The advisor took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. He said “I have to enter you in our system.” I could have sworn I would have already been in their system. After all, I bought it there. You are beginning to understand some of my concerns. Although I understand Fixed Operations inside and out, I am still their customer. I was given an estimate to look into the light concern. I was picked up by my wife and leave for the office with a promise of a call explaining “what my problem was.” He said I would have a technician’s diagnosis by 10am. It was getting later. It’s now 1:15 in the afternoon and still no call. I called the service department only to be told that my service advisor was at lunch and I had to wait for him to return from his break to explain what was going on. It’s now 3:45 pm. I called the dealership, spoke with the advisor and requested information regarding my vehicle. He explained why the light is coming on. It’s at a tune of $425.00. I request to know what on earth is wrong with my vehicle & why the cost is so extreme. He simply states: "That’s what I am told to charge for the sensors to fix you vehicle”. Out of utter frustration I authorize the repair and am told it won’t be ready until the next day. I go to pick up my vehicle only to find that the bill is now $511.81. So I request an explanation and am told; “Oh yeah..You forgot to add the tax and shop supplies.” I forgot?? By then all I wanted was my keys and get the heck out of there. I witnessed several discrepancies with the performance of this department. I also made it a point to not get angry with a poorly trained advisor. Let’s face it, advisors perform like this advisor did because management allows it to happen. The Sales process is not an easy one, but it ends with a tangible product that I can (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:26:02 PM
  • 74. SALES v. SERVICE feel comfortable with. The sales department was selling me quality based on my expectations of a particular product that I had an interest in. When I was purchasing my vehicle new, I The Service process is moreproduct because I researched what I wanted and thought I could afford. I understood my difficult. The advisor in this example was not the most knowledgeableknew beforehandform value of cost exceededMy salesperson wasthe only in any shape or the and the my purchase. the value. After all, polite and knowledgeable. thing I received was a technician turning off a light that bothered me on my dash. I wasn’t shown the value of the product or the importance of having it replaced at that particular franchise. As a customer all I have to go on is the word of an advisor The service process is one thing; “Trust & Credibility” is a whole different show. It is a relationship where the only thing a customer buys is someone’s word. If you purchase brakes, you really cannot see them; sensors you also cannot see, as well as internal mechanical components. Most used car managers have the same reservations when going on the word of their service department. Just prior to placing a used vehicle on the lot after a UCI, you are truly trusting the decisions and repairs performed to word of mouth. Most customers have great difficulty making a rational decision when value or credibility is not presented by the service team. Not all service departments operate this way. I have witnessed exceptional service and selling skills all across the country. On average, the typical service advisor is trained in-house from other advisors/managers. He/She handles more customers in a day than a salesperson even sees in a week. An advisor is typically paid between 5 and 10% of gross profit, while a salesperson receives between 20 and 25% commission. The average service advisor generates between $40,000 and $60,000 per month in parts and labor gross. Question: How many vehicles would your sales team need to generate to average $40 -$60K per month in gross? So I now propose the following questions: Who created the largest amount of gross per month? Who typically has a bigger impact on your CSI? Who do feel needs to be the better salesperson? Who typically receives the most training in dealerships? Who typically receives the most training in communications skills? Answer: It is typically the salesperson. We understand all too well the importance in having a well seasoned and professionally trained sales department. A service advisor continually is selling your dealership. They are in front of your sales customers every day. And let’s face it, if your service team is not performing on all cylinders, your customers go bye-bye. Customers will buy most of the services that are presented to them, but are they (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:26:02 PM
  • 75. SALES v. SERVICE making the purchase out of fear or as a result of the unknown? Are your customers being given information in a manner and language that the can understand, or is the Service Advisor too wrapped up trying to sound analytical? Customers want to trust the people that they are doing business with. They come into your dealership hoping to meet someone who will make them believe that when they spend their hard earned money, it’s going to be a worthy investment. If dealers have a process to deal with their staff for concerns such as the one I proposed in this story, then the chances for an unhappy customer are minimal. However, if you are dealing with under-performing, uncaring, unethical employees, then it’s time to make the change for the better. I have learned over time that it’s typically not a people problem but a process problem. If you want to fill your service bays and showroom floors it will be dictated by how your staff is trained and how they are performing right now. "If change brings grief rather than growth it's because the transition is wrong." Think about natural growth through reasonable means, rather than wrong transition & no promise of future business. By Jim Bernardi Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General President /AutoPro Training Solutions Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations email: Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director, Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of and visit AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed Operations Training Company which guarantees increased GP or their training fee is free. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:26:02 PM
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  • 82. Sales Customer To Service Customer SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Sales Customer to Service Customer (continued) Regrettably, similar statistics apply to most manufacturers. These two numbers taken together highlight the significant opportunity we have to better manage fixed operations today. Would you manage your sales department by turning away 75 percent of your prospects and selling only half of your new car inventory? The analogy is relevant because fixed operations have an inventory, just like your new and used car inventory. But, in this case, it is an inventory of time. Do you know how many hours of shop-time you have to sell each day? Do you have the infrastructure in place to fill the shop each day? Keep in mind you have an inventory to sell every day and that is time. The problem with managing an inventory of time is that you can't see it and it is highly perishable, if it isn't selling, you can't put it on the shelf and discount it until you find a buyer. Once your time slot has passed, that sale is lost forever. Recognizing that you must actively manage your inventory of time is the first step in solving the serious underutilization of the fixed operations department. To make this point more meaningful, let's put this lost inventory into dollar terms. A medium-sized shop does around 40 repair orders a day or around $200,000 per month in service and parts revenue (based on an average of $150 per RO). Assuming that this shop is running at 57 percent capacity, its actual potential is over $400,000 per month in revenue since well run shops can function above 100 percent utilization. In other words, an average shop has the capacity to add $200,000 per month in top line revenue, of which $100,000 falls directly to the bottom line (since we run a 49 percent net margin business in service and parts). With an average new car profit of $1,400, the potential service profit is equivalent to selling an additional 70 new cars per month for a medium size dealer. So why is it that we are so underutilized today and why aren't more people concerned about it. . . . . probably because it's an intangible and they can't see it. More importantly though, how can we fix it? I suggest we start with those 70 to 75 percent of new car customers who are not converted to customer pay service customers. According to a J.D. Powers survey, the three most common complaints from customers doing business with a service department is price; no trust and little convenience. Worse yet, while price is the number one customer concerning convenience, the biggest issue is phone hold times; with one recent survey showing an average hold time to make an appointment at over 5 minutes. To put it simply, we do less than average job capturing our customer's service business even when they have made the effort to give us their business. A huge goal should be setting appointments, while managing the walk-in. Setting appointments and setting (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:27:18 PM
  • 83. Sales Customer To Service Customer enough time aside for a possible walk-in, is a very difficult challenge. The question I always review with management is the why question. . . So why is it so hard to set future appointments today when we are running at half capacity and turning away 75 percent of our own customers? Why not simply hire two hourly call coordinators to handle these calls and fill up our unused capacity? Why not set up a service Business Development Center (BDC), just like we are setting up sales BDCs today to handle and respond to the influx of email and Internet based new car leads? The math suggests a service BDC would more than pay for itself. Here is the best part, today there are service businesses that have automated the entire processing for every aspect of service and shop-time management. If the average upside in unused capacity each day is over $8,000/day ($200,000 a month divided by 24 days a month including Saturdays) and the cost of two dedicated call coordinators at $ l0/hr for an 8 hour day is $160/day, then who wouldn't trade $160 for $8,000 every day of the week? Now if you take into consideration that over one month this amounts to a little less than $1000 in one month. And this is just for a medium size dealer. The numbers go up the bigger the shop. Also, service BDCs can be centrally located, thereby improving the economics by providing coverage for multiple stores within dealership groups. You need to check out any service to customer automation. It could be the answer for building the most professional shop in the business. Service BDCs have other financial benefits as well. Offloading appointment taking from your service advisors would free up the nearly 30 percent of the day they spend making or changing appointments. This time should be spent focusing on their job, which is sales and customer service. They will have more time to do the walk-arounds, call backs, and consultative up-sells that are the key to uplifting the hours and dollars per RO. Moreover, a dedicated service BDC could do more than take calls. They can make calls. For example, why not call back every no show? They are by definition our best prospects. Why not guarantee that every new car customer has a service checkup within three months of purchase? This is found money since survey data from one Big Three company shows that customers serviced within three months of purchase have a 47 percent repurchase loyalty compared to only 18 percent for customers who never get serviced by their dealership. With all these obvious benefits, why doesn't everyone have dedicated call coordinators in a service BDC? The answer is that our DMS systems today simply don't support the needs of a service BDC. How many $10/hr call coordinators are going to know the hundreds of unique and obscure DMS op codes for placing appointments or know the arcane commands necessary to provide accurate price quotes and service descriptions? Moreover, how do these call coordinators, with little to no knowledge of fixed ups, handle service advisor availability, waiter, loaner, rental and skill capacity allocation? And that is just for inbound appointments. How are these call coordinators going to know when to make outbound calls and who they should call? How do they easily and accurately identify the no-shows and new car buyers who don't have appointments? Finally, when they make an appointment, how is this information easily communicated and (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:27:18 PM
  • 84. Sales Customer To Service Customer coordinated with the other appointment takers, service advisors, and management while simultaneously managing a single set of shop and skill capacities? Without this capability, we can't maximize our shop usage and eliminate overbooking. This is a sophisticated set of requirements that our antiquated DMS appointment systems are unable to support and is the single biggest reason that the service BDC concept has been slow to take off. If you have the curiosity to see what automation is all about in go to and check out the Touch Point page. Here you will find every aspect of automated service department communication. This will inform you of the new breed of web-based appointment systems now available that does provide all the key functions to support a service BDC, however in this case totally automated. These new systems combine online scheduling for customers with easy to use appointment interfaces for everyone within the dealership, be they call coordinators, receptionists, parts, sales, or management. These systems can provide concurrent booking by all these players from any web- accessible location, while automatically managing your daily supplies of waiter, advisor, loaner, and skill capacity. The user doesn't need to know any op codes to accurately quote price, description, or availability of services to customers. Better yet, these systems automatically generate no show, new car, recall, and call confirmation lists for service BDC personnel to call and fill up your unused capacity. Finally, and most importantly, all of these appointments are automatically pushed into your DMS, ready for dispatch. It is time to solve the hidden inventory problem in fixed operations. Doing so will generate millions of dollars annually while improving customer service and driving up repurchase loyalty. The systems are in place to do this today and your service is ready to answer the call. Check it out. Bill has held positions such as Marketing Consultant, VP of By Bill Zahrte Marketing Development and National Director of Business Renowned Marketing Expert Relations. He specializes in customer communication at every Email opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, customer retention and profitability in the service and sales departments. Bill also does Marketing for AutoPro Training Solutions. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:27:18 PM
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  • 88. I'm Not Ready To Buy SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm "I'm Not Ready To Buy" (continued) Many Dealerships follow the philosophy; “If they aren’t ready to buy, don’t give ‘em numbers”. They feel that if they give them numbers, they’ll shop and it would destroy any chances of making a good gross or maybe cost them a deal. They feel that by not committing themselves they’d be in a better position “when” the Customer came back. In reality that should be “IF” they came back because, let’s face it, most of them don’t. If we tell our Customer; “When you’re ready, come back and see me and I’ll make sure you get a great price”, does that really inspire them to return or do they interpret this as “unless you’re ready to buy, don’t waste my time”? Does that really build trust and help our relationship with the Customer? We found that if we simply gave numbers, the right way, to everybody that selected a vehicle, our odds of closing the deal on the spot increased dramatically with Customers that were reluctant to take the next step. Here’s what we said to the Customer; “I know you’re not ready to buy today… but there are a number of great programs available you’ll probably want to see. Let me go ahead and run some examples so you’ll have all the information you need to make a smart decision so you can go home and think about it.” Obviously, the goal isn’t to have the Customer to go home without buying a vehicle, but presenting it this way puts them at ease and actually increases the likelihood they will buy today. Let’s face it, if they were leaving anyway, and let’s not kid ourselves, they probably aren’t coming back, we have nothing to lose. If they’ve selected a vehicle, we should give them numbers since that opens the door to making the sale. At this point the key is to run a number of alternatives with different Down Payments and Terms to create choices for the Customer. When the Customer has choices they feel in control and that’s an important factor in getting them to make a decision. These examples should include both Finance and Lease alternatives. Use a software program that simplifies this process and quickly creates a professional presentation for the Customer. There are a number of solutions available for this. The important thing to look for is a solution that helps you start the process rather than one that just responds to a commitment. When we show the presentation to the Customer and say, “Let me go ahead and write down the ones that work best for you… Now were you leaning towards the Finance alternatives or the Lease alternatives? Were you thinking of putting less down or a little more down? Were you leaning towards the shorter Term or the longer Term?” In some cases, you can just hand the Customer your pen and let them circle the one they want. There are a couple of good reasons we offer to write down their choice rather than just hand them the printout. Obviously we don’t want to hand them everything to take and study and shop, but more importantly it lets us (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:27:49 PM
  • 89. I'm Not Ready To Buy zero in on exactly what they were thinking, using a non-confrontational approach, that subtly starts negotiations and heads them down the path to a decision. At that point we say; “You know, it looks like we have the right car and the numbers make sense… Why don’t we just go ahead, save you some time, and wrap this up today?” Until negotiations start you can’t sell a car. Utilize this process and the deals and grosses you’ll make on Customers that are “not ready to buy” will surprise you. By David L. Krier David L. Krier is the Founder and President President of Guest Concepts, Inc. the Guest Concepts, Inc developers of the 1st Pencil Desking email: solution. He has also held positions such as Lease/Finance Director for Galpin Motors and President of Half-A-Car LSI Division. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:27:49 PM
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  • 96. New Micro Sites SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm New Micro Sites (continued) The Micro Sites for the LA Auto Gallery Dealer can be seen at the following URL's: 2008 Audi A4 2008 Audi A6 2008 Audi Q7 2008 Audis On Sale 2008 Audi Fleet Deals About Micro Sites Our Automotive Dealer Micro Sites capitalize on the selling opportunities the web affords by developing vehicle- specific Micro Sites. Keyword rich Micro Sites have been a very successful method recently for driving more targeted traffic, even through to the main dealer web site. Micro Sites are typically made up of 2 to 5 pages and can be promoted independently through traditional media and search engines. We have had tremendous success with many automotive dealers and highly recommend Micro Sites. See how we've helped our auto dealers achieve first page ranking on Google through our Micro Sites. Dealers across the country who have used these techniques building micro-sites, have received excellent results and significant increase in lead rates. Micro Sites have been a very successful method recently for driving more targeted traffic, even through to the main company web site. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:28:26 PM
  • 97. Acessory Sales SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Accessory Sales (continued) Insignia E2 offers dealers new functionality, including sales commission tracking and reporting. Not available in the E2 beta release, these features provide added value and incentives to facilitate the sales process. Additionally, these features give dealership sales people an easy way to view and track commissions generated from accessory sales. “We are very excited about the new sales commission tracking and reporting function, which is in direct response to multiple requests from our dealers.” said David Stringer, president of Insignia Group. "This new functionality will help to engage dealership sales people and motivate them to sell more accessories, increasing overall dealership profits.” With its intuitive user interface and new sales commission tracking functionality, Insignia E2 delivers tools for a complete accessory sales solution. Leveraging industry-leading technology, this in-dealership accessory sales tool now supports over 450 accurate factory color configurators across 17 brands. Coupling the system with the Insignia Accessory Sales Process provides dealers a method for increasing profits through simplified accessory sales. "We'd like to thank our beta testers who have helped us build the final system that best serves dealerships and helps them sell more accessories," said David Stringer, president of Insignia Group. "We intend to build upon the success of the beta with the Insignia E2 release. Plans are already underway to enhance E2 with additional commission adjustment and tracking functionality, as well as more interactive user tutorials.” These additional features are set for release before the end of Spring 2008. About Insignia: Insignia, the premier provider of accessory sales innovations, has been helping dealers to maximize dealerships profits through simplified accessory sales for more than 6 years, facilitating over $100,000,000 in accessory sales. Insignia currently supports 17 brands and serves over 1500 dealerships nationwide. From accurate data to useful sales tools, services, and training, Insignia simplifies the accessories sales process so orders can be fulfilled quickly and easily. Every deal, every day. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:28:36 PM
  • 98. CRM Strengthens Sales Force SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm CRM Strengthens Sales Force (continued) “We are excited about the opportunity that 2008 brings. Simply put, we have the best solution and customer responsiveness on the market, and dealers are starting to realize it.” - Oliver Connolly – National Sales Manager, Diversiform, Inc. Rob Mason—formerly of RPM—came on-board as a CRM Sales Consultant, and will serve dealers in Texas with an extensive automotive background and over 20 years experience in the auto industry. Darce Chaumell—formerly of Lojack Corp. and Time, Inc.—joins DFI as a CRM Sales Consultant, and brings 16 years of business development and automotive finance / sales experience to dealers in Washington. Chris Ramirez promoted to Regional Sales Consultant for the Seattle and Portland area Forms Division, and Nicole Bulgar joins DFI as the division’s new Forms Sales Consultant. About Diversiform, Inc. DiversiForm (DFI) is a CRM, Direct Mail and Forms Management company that has been serving the automotive industry for over 22 years. DFI is best known for their ScanTRAX CSI® satisfaction survey and ReminderTRAX CRM® service reminder solutions. With a complete suite of CRM and Forms solutions, DFI is an established leader in the automotive industry. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:28:43 PM
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  • 100. 'Toughest Cars On The Road SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm 'Toughest' Cars On TheRoad (continued) 5 year Consumer Percentage TOUGH CAR Repair Reports Reporting The market's most durable Cost Score Problems cars are comfortable and Honda Odyssey $686 91 14% loaded with conveniences. Honda Accord $681 88 22% Toyota Highlander $718 86 17% "For the most part, most vehicles are Honda Civic $686 82 25% doing exceptionally well, considering where we have come from," says Honda Pilot $686 79 22% Alexander Edwards, president of Audi A4 $1,093 77 25% Strategic Vision. "But if people don't feel secure, if they don't feel the Honda CRV $686 74 19% product is durable, it doesn't matter Volvo XC90 $993 74 19% how interesting it looks, how much fun or exciting it is to drive. People Subaru Forester $746 71 28% will not buy your product if they have no confidence in it." Acura RDX $747 72 27% For complete information see Forbes Vehicle Feature. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:28:53 PM
  • 101. Publisher's Notes SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm From The Publisher (continued) With an additional 500 dealership attendees expected. These conventions have proven to have the right balance in providing informative, deliberate and motivational sessions, the top leading dealerships sharing best practices, quality time with exhibitors and of course, real life networking. My colleague and friend Ralph Paglia and Bill Zahrte both attended the show and have some great information to share. Automotive Dealers Network was designed to as the Complete Source in Variable and, Fixed Operations; we have the Nations Leading Experts in Compliance Regulations, Sales Operations, Service/Parts Operations, F & I Training, Reward Programs & DMS Experts, and CRM Experts including many Guest Writers with Global recognition. We are firm believers that every dealers needs to have that sustainable edge within their immediate marketplace. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear from you. Also, if you have Industry News worthy of sharing with other colleagues please contact us. It is our pleasure to be of service to you & we look forward to keeping you updated with the latest & most informative e-Newsletter available today. Sincerely, Jim Bernardi Publisher/CEO 812.325.5651 Jim is a Member of the following Chapters & International Organizations: American Business Club, Business II Business Networking, Ten-Top (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:28:55 PM
  • 102. Publisher's Notes Executives Net, LinkedIn Network, Xing Network, Pulse Network, The Global Council Entrepreneur, Networking for Global Entrepreneurs, Global Trade Link International, Japan Pulse, Global Governance, Networking Pros, Business Networking in Germany, International Recruiters Network, China Business, The Global Expert, Global Professional Networkers, Global Business Development, Arab World Venture Capital, Diversity in the global community, Doing Business in Latin America, International Business Circle, Automotive Digital, Business Opportunities Network, Business Roundtable, Digital Revolution,, Internet Marketing, Marketing & Sales Professionals, Speakers & Seminar Professionals, F & I Professionals, Marketing & Sales Consultants and Global Consultants Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:28:55 PM
  • 103. Selling To SubPrime Customers SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Selling to SubPrime Customers (continued) In other stores I have visited, management believes that they need a special lending source that will make them a star. The fact remains, the MOST important ingredient to success in selling the Sub-Prime customer lies with beliefs and processes of your sales staff. Leadership First in establishing a successful Sub-Prime selling machine you need a manager that knows the Sub-Prime game, and who possesses two essential characteristics: Integrity and Motivation. If the leader does not believe the department can be built into a raving success, it will never happen. Check out the manager’s concept of how far the department can go. If the manager does not believe that the department can become a huge success (and it may take some time), find another Leader. Processes The personnel making the initial calls to Sub-Prime customers are not the same sales staff that sell the Sub-Prime customer. Too many stores have tried (and failed) to use the same sales staff for both tasks. It doesn’t work! The telephone calls must be kept brief and fully scripted for the calling personnel. When speaking to the Sub-Prime customer on the telephone, avoid getting into too many specifics on the telephone. The script must get them to arrive. When asked, “Do you have yellow Chevy Silverado or similar truck?” answer in a way to get them into the store. “We have many trucks like that to choose from, with more arriving every day. We get vehicles two ways: we trade in new vehicles daily and we buy vehicles all the time. We can help you find the vehicle you want and that you can afford... When can you come in and take a look at what we have?” Get the prospect to arrive. Many managers balk at the idea of appointment setters, but a good appointment setter should be hired for $10-$12 per hour with spifs for getting the customer to arrive. The appointment setters job is solely to get customers arrived. This appointment setter stays on the telephone and relies on a huge volume of calls to get in touch with the Sub- Prime customers and get them in. Ensure this person has a standard script and one for common objections that come up. The key points of telephone contact are: Call every lead and don’t prejudge the customer. Use scripted patter for both in-bound and out-bound calls. Get every prospect into the dealership regardless of credit. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:28:58 PM
  • 104. Selling To SubPrime Customers Close the customer on a specific appointment time AND get their agreement to arrive at that time. Develop a friendly conversation and invite their cooperation early in the conversation. Don’t lie to the customer and tell them they are approved unless they are. Handle specific questions about specific vehicles with the above script. Generally, one telephone appointment setter can keep two salespeople busy with appointments. A competent appointment setter can make 150-200 telephone calls per day. In this way, we can keep the salespeople busy and they do what they do best - SELL CARS. Marketing Although a good/advertising mix is advisable, Internet Finance Leads are still the lowest cost per sale. One hundred Internet Finance Leads will yield anywhere from five to eighteen sales on average. The advantage of Internet Finance Leads over other forms of advertising is that the dealership CAUSES its own sales. It is not a waiting game, or hanging out until some customer responds to a newspaper ad or Auto type magazine ad. Cause your own sales by getting good quantities of leads that can be generated yourself or purchased from reputable lead companies. Richard Harris President / Zahr & Associates Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:28:58 PM
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  • 107. Retail Delivery Reports SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Retail Delivery Reports (continued) Besides the obvious benefit of “getting the Rep off their back” there are really many good reasons why sales should be reported promptly. Here is a countdown of the ten best reasons why: # 10- It’s the Rule- According to Factory Sales Policy, RDR’s must be entered no later than 48 hours after delivery. Basic stuff, but this is where it all starts. When all else fails, we still need to follow the rules. Find out who in your dealership actually enters the RDR’s. Be sure to have at least one additional person trained and available for RDR entry. # 9- Help! Your customers are stranded- customers will not be eligible for Roadside Assistance because their VIN is not in the Factory system until it is reported. Can you imagine how your customer would feel when the operator tells them “I’m sorry, we do not have you in our system- we CAN’T help you. “ What kind of survey would this customer send in? # 8- What’s the holdup here? We’re holding YOUR money- your incentives do not get processed for payment until the sales are reported. Improve your dealership’s financial situation by improving cash flow. Reporting sales promptly will help accomplish this. # 7- Where’s MY MONEY? We’re holding your SALESPERSONS’ money- “spins” do not get paid either, until the RDR’s are entered. Your sales staff will no doubt let you know they are looking for their money. Why run the risk of alienating or de-motivating them by having their payments delayed? # 6 - Give us a clue! We need to accurately track sales progress- help us out here, folks. We really do need to know where you stand on sales and deliveries. Timely and accurate information helps us plan marketing, inventory and incentive strategies more effectively. # 5 - Work with us! We also need to be able to accurately forecast sales results. This is the other piece of the puzzle. We need as much information as possible to make realistic forecasts. “Crystal balls” do not work any better for us than they do for anyone else. # 4- Do not call! Unreported vehicles remain on the locator system- you will continue to get incoming “swap” calls on vehicles you no longer have. Why waste time on unnecessary phone calls? More importantly, your salespeople may also be selling and chasing vehicles that are not available either, wasting valuable time while customers are waiting. It works both ways. # 3- Beware of CSI- customer survey mailings will be delayed, giving happy customers more time to forget about a good experience, and unhappy customers more time to “stew” over a bad one. Either way, you lose. Getting the surveys into your customers’ hands quickly vastly improves your chances of getting a good score. # 2- Look good in print- your Factory Field team sends out sales updates daily. Don’t you want to look (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:01 PM
  • 108. Retail Delivery Reports good and have the best numbers possible next to your name? Your fellow dealers, and folks at the Region are watching. If you’re worried about what the other guy is doing, forget it. Your salespersons and sales managers know who is buying and who is not, IF they are doing proper customer follow-up. AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON IS---- THERE IS SIMPLY NO GOOD REASON NOT TO! Why risk detrimental effects to your dealership’s customer satisfaction ratings, your cash flow, and your sales staff morale? Get those RDR’s in now- help us and help yourself as well. Want to improve your Dealer/Factory relationship immediately? Report those sales today! By William Parquette Email Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:01 PM
  • 109. Why Should I Help Train Salespeople SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Why Should I Help Train Salespeople? (continued) Training your staff is, and always has been your most effective tool for both short and long term success in sales. And in today’s market your dealership will either become a training organization and grow, or it won’t. If you want new salespeople to work out, they need a real training program, not just a tour of the lot, a lock box key and a quick introduction to everyone. They need to understand the business from every angle, they need to clearly understand the processes and procedures in your dealership, and they have to learn how to sell in today’s market or your dealership loses easy sales and gross profit every day. And that means you lose money, too. And if your first thought is “I don’t have time to train,” you’re probably correct. And because you are, that’s exactly why you need to train more. If you and the other managers take a closer look at why none of you has time to train, you’ll all realize most of your time crunch comes from problems directly related to the lack of training. Sales managers are too busy because they’re trying to work deals so poorly structured it takes 2 hours to grind out a low gross deal compared to 20-minutes to close a high gross deal set up right. They’re too busy because they’re interviewing new people for the sales positions that continually turn over from a lack of training. And they’re too busy because they’re trying to clean up the messy deals from last month because nobody learned how to do it right. Continuous Improvement Isn’t Rocket Science! Properly trained people sell more units with higher gross (period). Poorly trained people waste time, waste money, waste prospects and cost you sales because they can’t do it right – and they keep you from hitting your goals (period). But why does a Finance Manager need to get involved with training? You didn’t get to your position without being good at a lot of things and that means you can help your salespeople become more productive overnight. Training just means hold a meeting now and then or working with them 1 on 1 to share what you know. You also have something special that nobody else can duplicate. You have your way of saying the same (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:06 PM
  • 110. Why Should I Help Train Salespeople things the other managers are teaching your salespeople... but since we all say things differently, you can hold the exact meeting someone else just held and make a salesperson understand when no one else could. That’s why teamwork – in training and daily management is so important. Dr. Edwards Deming said every manager is responsible to continually improve the processes that affect production. And selling is definitely one of the most important processes in every department in every dealership. And that makes training part of your job. If you need to see results before you jump on the training bandwagon, pick 2 or 3 salespeople and work with them for just 30 days. Track their results and their attitudes. You don’t even have to tell them you’ll be working with them. Just take a few minutes here and there throughout your day, work with one on how to take a better credit app, work with one on how to do a better write up, help one make a follow up call, show one how to introduce you when they’re ready to bring in that next customer ... just help them do something every day, and you’ll be shocked at their attitude and their production in just 30 days. Joe Verde is President of Joe Verde Sales & Management By Joe Verde Training, Inc. and the Joe Verde Online Training Network President (JVTN). Through hundreds of live workshops in North Joe Verde Sales & Management Training America each year on Leadership, Management and Sales email: and with over 1 Million courses taken online each year by dealers, managers, salespeople, service writers and finance managers, JVST workshops and JVTN online training are the most recommended training programs in the Automobile industry today. For information on JVST workshops or JVTN online training go to or call (888) 457-2414. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:06 PM
  • 111. The Chaos of Compliance SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm They hope they do not get caught, or that nothing happens which will bring financial ruin or put them jail. These are good, hard working people who feel at times that the government is doing everything they can to stop them from selling a vehicle. The ones that want to do what is right go to their lawyers. Their lawyers scare the heck of them, charge them huge amounts of money, and then sometimes don’t get it all right either. For example, I was at a dealership not long ago in Connecticut. The subject of checking a customer against the SDN (Specially Designated Nationals) list came up. I had asked how they did their check. He told me that their Credit Reporting Agency did it for them. I then asked “even those customers that are paying cash?” He then told me his lawyer told him that it was only required if the deal was financed. “Not true.” I said. The law requires that all customers, business and organizations, have to be checked before the vehicle is delivered. It does not matter if is cash or credit. The next day I got a call from his lawyer blasting me for misinforming his client. He quoted to me what the requirements are from the Patriot Act. He is right. It does say in the Patriot Act “all financial transaction”. Then I pointed out to him Executive order 13224 which states “all business dealing” regardless if they are cash or financed. The lawyer said he never heard of that and hung up the phone. A few weeks later when I returned to the same dealership, they were checking all customers. The lawyer found out I was right and advised his client to check all deals, but I never got a thank you note from the lawyer. While we are on the subject of OFAC and the SDN list, I heard this just the other day. I was at a meeting about software solutions for compliance issues. The individual who was giving the presentation said, “The OFAC requirement is a gray area. If we went by the letter of the law, a dealer would have to check every person who comes in to buy a windshield wiper.” He is right about most of what he said, but the OFAC requirement is not “gray” at all. The government does not expect you to check each customer who buys a windshield wiper out of your parts department. However, it does expect you to check someone out who comes in, or tries to order on line, or by phone if they are making “unusual” requests. A person wanting to buy 100 car batteries is an unusual request. That person should be checked. The government expects us to The government use common sense when it comes to this example. When it comes to selling a vehicle, it is black expects and white. All persons, companies and organizations that purchase a vehicle before they take “diligence” when possession of it, need to be checked. it comes to checking Want more information about OFAC and the SDN list? Click on this link: customers to the bad guy list. Want to see the SDN list? Now let’s talk briefly about some of the other federal requirements. There is the Privacy Rule and the Safeguard Rule which are part of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Then there is the Red Flag Regulation which went into effect January 1st of this year. All dealerships have to be in compliance by November 1st, 2008. First the privacy Rule. When a dealership arranges financing for a customer they must provided a privacy notice. In (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:11 PM
  • 112. The Chaos of Compliance that notice they must tell the customer/consumer why they are collecting the information and who they are sharing it with. In addition, they must give the customer/consumer the right to “opt out” of the sharing of certain third parties. A third party could be someone like an advertising agency that you use. It has to be clear on the privacy notice that they can “opt out” if they so desire. If they do opt out, that does not mean you cannot share their private information with affiliated parties. Each dealership needs to have a written Privacy Rule company policy. It is important to note that the privacy notice must be given and signed before information is collected. Most dealerships do it when they take the credit applications. Want more on the Privacy Rule click here: The Safeguard Rule requires dealerships to protect the information they collect. As with the Safeguard Rule, you must have a written company policy. The FTC gives dealerships a little flexibility when it comes to Safeguarding. You can tailor your safeguard to your company size. For example, a dealership that is family run with only a hand full of employees would not need the same safeguards of a dealership with four hundred employees. The higher the risks are, the higher the standards. Once that customer has given you their private and public information, you have to protect it from people who would misuse it or steal that customer’s identity. Protecting customer’s information is not only important because it is the law and it keeps you from being sued, it is good for your public image. If a customer’s information ends up in the wrong hands, it can make you liable for any damages and lots of bad press. For more information on the Safeguard Rule click on this link: Now we have the “Red Flags” regulation which is part of the Fact Act (Fair and Accurate credit transactions) Act. This requires us to help protect customers from Identify fraud. All dealership have to have written policy and have it implemented by November 1st, 2008. This requires us to be law enforcement’s eyes and ears to help them fight identity theft. In your policy, you have to come up with “Red Flags” that would help identify an individual who is using another’s identity and what to do about it once a person is thought to be using another person’s personal information. It is a little more complicated than that, but that is it in a nut shell. For more information on this click here: gov/2007/pdf/07-5453.pdf There are simple low cost solutions. I think the hardest part of compliance is getting everyone within your organization to learn the right process for your company and be professional and consistent about it. NADA offers a ton of information to its members on how to comply. Check your states NADA chapter to see what they can offer. I know that the Texas independent Automobile Dealers Association has some outstanding help with compliance issues. In addition, there are many software companies that aid the dealer. DealerTrack has come up with some great solutions to OFAC and Red Flags Compliance. Both done in one simple step while the customer is in F&I. MenuVantage offers OFAC compliance and is coming out with Red Flag solutions soon. Patriotdealer. com offers OFAC and Red Flag Solutions. There are other companies out there too. I have just enough space to give you a few, and these are my top picks. For more information on any of these you can click here: For DealerTrack: For MenuVantage: For PatriotDealer: Michael Maguire Michael is one of the nation's leading Compliance Experts. Agent-Trainer/Curran EasyCare He is an agent for Curran EasyCare, serving New England (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:11 PM
  • 113. The Chaos of Compliance Automotive Dealerships. They offer insurance service coverage, RV coverage, driver care, GAP coverage and keycare. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:11 PM
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  • 119. Female Drivers' Favorites SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Female Drivers' Favorites (continued) To find out which vehicles women prefer, Forbes compiled two lists. One looks at luxury vehicles most driven by women, and the other ranks the overall top 10 vehicles most driven by women, regardless of whether they are luxury or non-luxury. Companies are starting to use “transparent” marketing as a way to attract women buyers without alienating men. This approach is based on the premise that women tend to have a longer list of shopping criteria than men, even though they might share some top priorities. Therefore, companies can attract both male and female buyers by focusing on the priorities of most women. What Matters Most Safety, comfort, practicality and value are top priorities for women car buyers, experts say. Styling, design and performance are also important, but not necessarily more so than practicality. Show Me Practicality “Women are looking for practicality and versatility,” says Alexander Edwards, automotive division president at consulting firm Strategic Vision. 40 percent of women prefer vehicles that provide the most comfortable ride, compared to 25 percent of men. “Most women look for comfort, but after that they look for something that is either capable, fun or both,” Edwards says. Value-Minded Luxury When looking only at luxury vehicles, it’s clear that even wealthy women focus on price more than do affluent men. Many of the luxury vehicles with the highest percentage of female primary drivers are among the most affordable premium models on the market. By contrast, the luxury vehicles with the highest percentage of male drivers are among the priciest, fastest and flashiest around. The Form Factor The BMW Z4 is the only model to make both lists of vehicles with the highest percentage of female primary drivers. With 60 percent driven primarily by women, BMW’s Z4 two-seater sports car tops the luxury-only list and ranks sixth on the full list. LUXURY CAR Starting Price ALL CARS Starting Price (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:18 PM
  • 120. Female Drivers' Favorites #1 Cadillac SRX $38,390 Chrysler Pacifica $25,365 #2 BMW 3 Series $32,400 Hyundai Tiburon $17,025 #3 Acura MDX $40,195 Mazda CX-7 $24,400 #4 Audi A4/S4 $28,900 Honda Pilot $27,595 #5 Volvo S60 $30,975 BMW Z4 $36,400 #6 Lexus IS $30,555 Nissan Versa $12,710 #7 Lincoln MKZ $30,980 Toyota Yaris $11,350 #8 Volvo S40 $24,365 Hyundai Elantra $13,625 #9 Audi A3 $25,930 Kia Spectra $13,520 #10 BMW Z4 $36,400 Honda Fit $13,950 View the original Forbes Auto Article Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:18 PM
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  • 124. BMW & Daimler To Share Compnents? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm BMW & Daimler Share Components? (continued) Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, is discussing sharing components and technology development with rival BMW AG, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said last month. Since these luxury auto manufacturers are direct competitors, their cooperation reflects the intense pressure to cut costs because of slow sales growth in the United States and Europe. BMW is based in Munich Germany and Daimler is based in Stuttgart Germany. Sales in China are slated to increase by 15% this year while U.S. sales are expected to decline. China is the number 2 market for Daimler's S-class sedans, accounting for one-third of its sales! Mercedes E-class and C-class cars are produced in China for the local market. This year Mercedes is adding 20 new dealerships there. To Read the original AP Article. view article Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:29:23 PM
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  • 126. Why Gas Is So Cheap In the US SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Why Gas Is So Cheap In the US (continued) Gas price: It's all about government policy. Gasoline costs approximately the same to refine regardless of where it's produced as per chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute. The difference, he said, in retail costs is that some governments subsidize gas while others tax it heavily. Gas is absurdly cheap in many oil producing nations: In Iran it's 40 cents per gallon. In Kuwait it's 90 cents per gallon. And absurdly expensive in heavily taxed nations: In Germany it's $7.86 per gallon. In Norway it's $8.73 per gallon. In the U.S., the federal tax on gas is about 18 cents a gallon. This is pretty low by international standards. But those relatively low gas taxes make it hard now for Americans to deal with gas prices that have tripled in the last seven years. Revenues from Europe's high gas taxes are used to fund many public services. They have built better public transportation, according to chief energy economist at ARC Financial, a Calgary-based private equity firm. "They gave people an alternative to driving, something we don't have in North America." Gas consumption: Europe v. U.S. There is evidence that Europe's high gas taxes have capped its oil consumption. Oil use in the UK has stayed pretty flat from 1980 until now, while in France consumption has decreased 17%, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration. However, oil use is up 21% over the same period n the U.S., even though this country has increased its population and watched its economy grow a little faster. Americans have taken advantage of cheap gas prices to do other things - like buy bigger cars and bigger houses further away from city centers. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:27 PM
  • 127. Why Gas Is So Cheap In the US On a per capita basis, Americans use three times more oil than Europeans. Sourced from CNN MONEY Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:27 PM
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  • 133. Article Archive March 18, 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm FROM THE PUBLISHER Many times we look for solutions to bring our individual stores/franchises to do exceedingly great things without having a long term goal and action plan designed to take on such an endeavor. There are many Automotive Select an Article to view Magazine’s Newsletters we have all read & Seminars we have attended only to leave with some really great ideas 4/15/2008 Maximize Service Training By Jim or to have made some fantastic contacts. view article Bernardi Just last week I was speaking with a General Manager at a high line import PRESS RELEASE store in Chicago; as I was listening to him, I picked up on a message all too familiar in the training and consulting business. view article 4/15/2008 Video CarLot 4/15/2008 Adversaries or Partners? By Michael SiSTeR Technologies announced last month that they Maguire have signed an agreement with Dealer Fusion that will Your best Salesperson just spent three hours with a customer who he has offer dealers a service that creates a video presentation been working with for weeks. They have decided to finally buy a vehicle for each vehicle listing in order to more effectively market today. The customer is now in F&I and the Business Manager gives the ok to inventory. view article get the car ready for a "spot" delivery. The salesperson, elated that the customer finally committed to buying the vehicle, runs up to the service VEHICLE REVIEWS manager and says "I have a spot delivery!" view article 4/15/2008 Top 10 Luxury Impersonators 4/15/2008 Mastering Customer Loyalty By Bill reveals 10 surprisingly luxurious well Zahrte equipped vehicles with price tags under $30,000. view How important is it being a Leader in customer loyalty? As prices go higher article and fuel seems to be inching towards pricing we never would hve dreamed of, "Customer Loyalty" will be the envy of all your fellow dealers - if you can 4/15/2008 What Women a car master it. view article notes the necessity of the auto manufacturer, as well as the dealership to cater to the needs of women. 4/15/2008 Retail Delivery Reports By William view article Parquette During my tenure as a District Sales Manager for an import car manufaturer, INDUSTRY NEWS I faced the monthly chore of chasing down RDR's from my district's dealers. Delays in receiving this information caused all kinds of difficulties which could have been easily avoided. view article 4/15/2008 Ford Says 'TATA' to JAGUAR, LANDROVER MSN reports Ford's sale of Jaguar and LandRover to 4/15/2008 Working Internet Leads By Richard Tata. The difference in Ford's purchase price of the two Harris lines and its' sale price to Tata nets a loss to ford of over Ten years ago, I can remember having a discussion with the owner of a dealership group in Dallas, Texas who was of the opinion that the internet (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:38 PM
  • 134. Article Archive March 18, 2008 $2.6 billion when the deal closes. view article was 'much ado about nothing!'. view article 4/15/2008 Double Digit Sales Declines MSN reports a sharp drop in new vehicle sales for March 2008. Automakers reported double-digit sales declines in March. Toyota, Ford, and GM reported 10%, 14%, and 19% declines respectively. Heading up these declines were truck/SUV sales declines. view article 4/15/2008 Top 5 New Features reports the top new features available on 2007 vehicles. Reviewers identified 5 notable features to attract new car buyers. Safety, economy and convenience Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. topped the off the list. view article (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:29:38 PM
  • 135. Maximize Training SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Maximize Service Training (continued) This particular dealership previously had a fixed operations training company come in and offer their services. It was a 3 day on site course positioned at making recommendations to improve sales & performance at a cost of $2,000 a day (No Guarantees), which I explained to the General Manager is an unfortunate norm. His concern was that the training company didn’t hold his service manager accountable, nor did they require anything more than ‘Increase sales & you will increase your bottom line.’ The training company gave him plenty of pretty pie charts. I still cannot figure how a paper pie chart will change an employee’s sales performance. It's a pretty slick way to grease a dealer. Where’s the value there? All training companies must have a clear and direct approach to deal with every avenue of fixed operations when it comes to improving the Dealers Bottom Line. Choose Your Training Company Wisely 1. Service-Manager/Director must be involved in the day to day sales reporting of their department. When service management stops requiring effective processes on a daily basis, the productivity decreases. In some cases work flow may become non-existent. If an advisor is uncomfortable using a new process he will stop using it - if given the chance. Management must monitor the process daily. The first excuse offered by management is: “I don't have time.” Make time. A minimum of 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the afternoon can provide great returns. It MUST be made a priority in the daily work plan. 2. Stop focusing the service staff on selling the business. Your reputation will dictate your work flow. If they stay focused merely on pressured sales, you'll run off plenty of service customers. Our business is about convenience and value. Service sales are an attempt to accommodate the client based on their schedule, not ours. When scheduling an appointment make it a standard to offer 2 different time slots that your department can accommodate service/repairs. 3. For Dealer/General Manager, make it a habit to get involved. Most dealers and GMs are very comfortable in getting involved in a vehicle sale on the showroom floor. That’s perfectly normal, after all that’s your area of expertise. But how comfortable would you be in writing a repair order for a service customer? What if you got involved with service and became as comfortable with it as you are with the sales side of the equation? The results would be significant. Your staff will take notice of your involvement and they will become comfortable knowing that you care about them and their productivity. The pie chart has no personal motivational triggers. 4. An advisor must know when to stop talking and start listening. One of the hardest lessons is to know when to shut up. I have seen countless advisors talk themselves out of a sale because they spent all their time talking the customer out of a done deal. 5. Remember that the highest level of selling is when someone is being sold and doesn't know it. Can you recall a place where you felt undue pressure to make a purchase? Do you remember the negative impression (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:43 PM
  • 136. Maximize Training you had when you left? In most cases, you will not return to that place of business. A valuable recommendation must always be based on perceived value in the eyes of your customer. We often make purchases from people we like and have built a relationship of trust. If the customer is currently in your service department, 60% of the decision to buy is done. Don't mess up the other 40% by pressing the client to buy unnecessary services. Base your recommendations on fact. Have a printout of the vehicle's service history and allow the customer to arrive at a desired decision based on the value of your presentation as well as a professional sales dialogue. 6. The basics have not changed. Cars need repairs and maintenance. The needs of the customer have not changed. However, the way we perform these services has changed and they require a thorough explanation to the client. Make certain that your staff does not short step the process. 7. Every trainer must be able to make a personality assessment that allows the sales process to be scripted to individual personalities. Training must be based on your products and your business philosophies. These are key components of a successful process. Your trainer should develop with you a customized process. You don't need them to force feed your people a process they will not believe in. 8. Don't try to change the basic belief structure of Advisors. We often hold beliefs instilled from childhood. Trying to change someone is difficult. The trainer should learn the behavior and basic personality of the advisors, and then design a presentation to maximize the skill sets of each individual, while still accomplishing objectives and sales forecasts. 9. Improve your “non-verbal” communications. Your advisors are “the dealership” to your clients and their words are often drowned out by their body language. Place a video camera in the service lane for a day. When you play it back, ask yourself, “Is this the level of service I want to offer?” Do your advisors look natural & comfortable in their interactions with the customers or do they look as if they are nervous & pressured to sell? It always boils down to delivering a vehicle back to the customer as Safe & Reliable. Are they showing a genuine interest in the client's concern? 10. The service advisor has only minutes to project an image to a client. This is more important than selling the business. Our objective should be about life long customers. A good relationship establishes credibility. A retained service customer is an opportunity to increase the probability of selling their next car to them. And we are in the car selling business, correct? All aspects of the business are interdependent with your competitors; just think how the new vehicle department would function if they could not perform dealer trades. Not only is competition healthy and stimulating for business, it forces us to continually examine our procedures and alter processes we determine prudent to effectiveness. If my business is being eroded by my competition, what are they doing better or what am I not doing so well? Maybe you should be asking yourself these same questions when looking at your next Financial Statement and wondering what’s going on in the service department? When you’re ready to learn more about our Free on site Profit Performance Analysis then contact me. As I (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:43 PM
  • 137. Maximize Training generally say to the Dealers and General Managers “What part about a free on site evaluation doesn’t interest you”? Eventually you’re going to get burned out trying to figure out how to bring the departments together on the same playing field. Jim Bernardi Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General President /AutoPro Training Solutions Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations email: Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director, Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of and visit AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed Operations Training Company which guarantees increased GP or their training fee is free. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:43 PM
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  • 147. Adversaries or Partners? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Adversaries or Partners (continued) However, the vehicle the customer wants needs a PDI before it can be delivered. The service manager looks at his computer and sees it needs a PDI. He turns to the salesperson with fire in his eyes, “I am totally booked up with appointments and I have three customers with emergencies waiting. I do not have anyone available to do a PDI. Tell them to come back later, or better yet, come back tomorrow.” The sales person goes to the Sales Manager. The Sales Manager goes to the Service Manager and the arguments begin. Sound familiar? The customer is caught in the middle. They just want to drive home in their new vehicle now. In a large number of dealerships, the relationship between the sales department and the service department tends to be less than friendly. Both departments look at each other in a very ethnocentric way. Sales are always under pressure to get a “now” commitment from the customer. Once that now commitment is made and because our society has become an instant gratification one, they expect to take home their new vehicle “now”. The service department has customers who have made appointments and expect to have their vehicles repaired or serviced in a timely manner. In addition, the service department has to deal with emergency repairs and customers who are usually not in the best of moods, to say the least. Adding to this is the pressure each department feels are the CSI requirements they need to reach; Making sure the customer is “totally satisfied” when they receive their survey. The fact remains that both departments need each other. Nothing happens without the sale. If they don’t sell vehicles, then the service department can not fix or maintain them. Without the service department, the sales department can’t keep customer’s happy and coming back. Survey after survey, customers tell us that they want to do business with just one place. They don’t like to shop around when it comes to buying vehicles or repairing them. Salespeople are taught that in order to sell a vehicle they must first sell themselves, then the house. If they do that successfully, they will sell the vehicle. The customer has already decided that they are going to buy a vehicle. They just have to decide if they can buy it from you. What stronger sales tool could there be than a great service department in a dealership. A customer may not ask about the service department during the road to the sale. However, a smart salesperson will automatically include a tour of the service department during the sales process before they sit down and do the numbers with the customer. Some manufactures ask the customer in their survey if they were introduced to the service department. A walkthrough of the service department “builds value” not only to the dealership, but the vehicle too. It gives the customer the subliminal message that we care about you and we know how to take care of you after the sale. The customer should be introduced to the service manager and service advisors. If there are any technicians around, they too should be introduced. It will make the customer feel warm and fuzzy about bringing the vehicle there for service. They will not be walking into a strange and scary place. When they do come back they will have business cards in hand and a face to remember. (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:54 PM
  • 148. Adversaries or Partners? I know of a few dealerships that have a Salesperson or two come in when the service department opens. The salespeople go into the waiting area and talk with customers, get them coffee. They help with arranging transportation, answer questions, and do whatever to make the customer feel welcome and comfortable. A smart sales person would find out the day before to see if any of his customers are coming in for service. How impressed would that customer be to see their sales person waiting for them in the service department to say hello and see how things were going? You will be surprised how many customers will start asking questions about buying a new vehicle. There is one dealership I know that became so successful doing this, that they averaged fifteen extra sales a month from people right out of the service department in the morning. In the beginning the salespeople were not very enthused to come in at seven in the morning because they did not understand the value. Once they started seeing sales results, they were falling all over each other to come in. The sales and service personnel got to know each other better and they became comrades. It also made a huge impact on the service departments CSI scores. Customers loved it. I have yet to have had a service department admit this, but the sales department is the service department’s best and number one customer. Does the service department of almost every dealership do all the PDIs and used vehicle checks for the sales department? Does the service department repair and get ready for sale all those hundreds of used vehicles? Yes, they do! And yes, the money stays in house. Think of the impact of a service department’s bottom line if that work was sent somewhere else? The sales department pays for all those services one way or another. If a person from off the street that does a lot of business with you comes in and needs some work done right away, would you not go out of your way to accommodate them? Would you make sure that they were happy? The sales department should not be treated any less. If you are having “misunderstandings” between your service and sales department, there are a number of things that you could do to repair the relationship. Even if there are no issues, this could help strengthen what you’ve got. q Have weekly meetings with all your sales mangers and service managers. Have the sales department keep the service department advised of upcoming sales, vehicles that are about to be dropped off that need a PDI done on right away. Find ways to make the service department benefit from a sale. For example “Come in and test drive a new Ford and get a free oil change.”You may give away a few oil changes, but you could gain some long term customers. q Plan to have a monthly lunch. It could be just pizza or a barbeque which includes all personnel from the sales and service departments. Let the managers be the hosts and cook burgers and dogs on the grill for the employees. By having both sales and service managers being the host it, shows unity. Set it up so the service and sales people have to intermingle. When people sit and eat together it builds relationships. q Have your F&I department come up with spins or flat fees for service advisors on customers who they refer and sign up for extended service contracts. Make everyone feel like they are getting piece of the pie. q One of the last things a sales person should do before a customer leaves for home with their new vehicle, is to set up the customer’s first maintenance appointment for them. It assures two things. First, the customer is coming back to your dealership for their service. Second, it makes the customer feel that they are already being “taken care” of. (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:54 PM
  • 149. Adversaries or Partners? In today’s competitive market, we need to go the extra mile. You need to stand out. In this hard market. We should make it easier for ourselves by having continuity between your sales and service departments. It will pay off in increased sales and in customer satisfaction. Michael Maguire Michael is one of the nation's leading Compliance Experts. Agent-Trainer/Curran EasyCare He is an agent for Curran EasyCare, serving New England Automotive Dealerships. They offer insurance service coverage, RV coverage, driver care, GAP coverage and keycare. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:54 PM
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  • 152. Mastering Customer Loyalty SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Mastering Customer Loyalty (continued) The old adage “Location, Location, Location may be the most important three words or elements of running a new or used vehicle business. But for the auto service business and auto Service Departments, the three most important words will be “Convenience, Convenience, Convenience.” New vehicle dealerships have pretty well captured the buying market for sales of new vehicles depending on the type of product the customer wants. However, service is a much different story. The number of shops a customer can visit for service outside the dealership once the warranty has run its course is almost unlimited. As manufacturers and car dealers are putting together ways to retain their customer base for new vehicle repurchase, there has been a major push to Service Departments as the key force for saving the day in the average dealership. This major push is a focus on attracting customers over and over again and again. Customer Loyalty is an answer. After a vehicle purchase, the customer wants to use the manufacturer and dealer as a first source for customer service. The service department has the responsibility for keeping the customer loyal because the dealer and the manufacture are one in the buyer’s eyes. The idea being that if the buyer has found the perfect vehicle to purchase then that customer feels they should be treated as the perfect customer, with perfect after delivery service. The customer in today’s buying world is very well educated on the trappings offered from dealers just to keep them happy. In this internet-informed world the customer has been trained to demand the extras they feel belong to them; a perfect service experience. Unfortunately, this is a very complicated prospect. I think what a lot of manufacturers are missing is that continuous service is also based on how convenient that service is for the customer to use. The only way to do that is be in a location and open hours that make it easy for the customer to stop in or call for an appointment. Service on a whim, instant oil change comes to mind. The impulse service customer is a great target if you have a marketing plan with this customer in mind. It has been suggested that dealerships get only 15% of all the available service business, and that is down from about 20% over the last five years - and shrinking. What is interesting about these numbers is that if we were to look at the percentage of the population that is around dealers, 15% may be all the business we can take in any single area. A service department can only have so many appointments on hand because hours are the only product that is sold, whether it is warranty or customer-pay. I don’t think part of the concern should be making it easier and faster for customers to use the service department. What I know is that service departments are packed, scheduling up to a week or more in advance to lower the carry- over problem. In all reality this is the real problem. In other words, service departments just don’t have (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:59 PM
  • 153. Mastering Customer Loyalty enough hours for all of the available business, so the customer has to go elsewhere to be serviced in a convenient and timely manner. Another issue that affects customer satisfaction is how many times has a vehicle been repaired correctly the first time, on time, but due to how long it took to actually get the vehicle with a technician could be a huge fall-down area. It is like the airlines when having a flight delay, this interrupts the balance of scheduling for some time. Ask travelers waiting around in airports if they are happy waiting. (Dumb question) Waiting to long always creates bad CSI scores. A dealership must have sales for profitability, however they are also required to handle warranty issues, which can tie up a lot of valuable available time to handle these customers. Another key issue that exposes the dealership service department is how they are handling the warranty period. If it is hard and time consuming for the customer to use the dealership for warranty services, or having to return several times for the same repair problem or order special order parts, they probably will not return there for any customer pay. To take advantage of this concern, many of the independents known to run advertisements claiming same day service, you pick the day. Another issue is hard-to-diagnose problems. There probably is nothing more maddening that having a problem that the customer has concern over and the service department can’t solve the problem. Then trying to schedule the factory person to be there and help come-up with a solution for the customer. This is also a sign that the CSI report will be very poor. So where do we stand? How do we develop a convenient place for the customer to have the desire to visit for servicing their vehicle and eventually returning to purchase their next vehicle from this same dealer? Convenience is in the eyes of the beholder. If we create convenience, the customer will overlook many things to invest their time to visit your service deaprtment. Part of the issue may not be finding more service hours, but may be finding a way to move the service out to where they live, where they work, or even shop. Maybe a small satellite offering the simple stuff; oil changes, tire changing and any other service needs that are less than one hour. Also you could start home-service. Why not go to the customer to change oil, or fix flats or any other services that could be done off-site. Of course the concept of having people at a different location, or on the road doing simple oil-changes now brings other concerns and financial planning. Another idea would be to have mobile service vehicles scheduled by appointment only. Think of the CSI scores that would happen after an in-person visit to a home or business. My point being is if we could have the convenience of a service department using a mobile process to increase convenience, it maximizes the possible additional service this customer will schedule, not to mention the word of mouth to neighbors, friend and relatives. Convenience and excellent workmanship are two majors in the vehicle service world. If you really want to find out how well a dealership is retaining customers, do some research. First, you can look into the sales and service files and ask some questions: • What is the percentage of customers using service? • How many customers are using the service and yet have never purchased a vehicle at the dealership? • What is the Customer-Pay ratio? (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:59 PM
  • 154. Mastering Customer Loyalty • Put together a customer survey on the web-site. • After a warranty issue, what percentages of customers return for additional service? I am sure you get the idea. Just ask your customer how they would like to be treated, and treat them that way. How important is loyalty . . . . You can’t put a price tag on it and it could be your most important assist. By Bill Zahrte Bill has held positions such as Marketing Consultant, VP of Renowned Marketing Expert Marketing Development and National Director of Business Email Relations. He specializes in customer communication at every opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, customer retention and profitability in the service and sales departments. Bill is Marketing Coordinator for AutoPro Training Solutions. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:29:59 PM
  • 155. Video CarLot SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Video CarLot (continued) “Online consumers are engaging in video content today more than ever. Now for the first time retailer’s can utilize the power of video in the online shopping environment to improve conversion from a visitor to a lead. There should be a video for every piece of inventory!” According to Israel Alpert, President/CEO SiSTeR Technologies. About SiSTeR Technologies SiSTeR Technologies, Inc. is a provider of applications and hosted services for the automated rendering and publication of video clips. iSTeR-prize, the company’s flagship product, creates video clips for every web page and product listing using nothing but the existing pictures and textual information. SiSTeR is a strong, profitable, privately held company founded in 2003 with its headquarters in Dallas, TX. About Dealer Fusion Dealer Fusion's online solutions include proprietary full-featured software that delivers comprehensive inventory and lead management functionality to its dealership clients. These include a customized search engine, instant pricing updates and a proprietary Search Interface that enables dealerships to maintain an up-to-date inventory. Websites:;; Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:30:01 PM
  • 156. Top 10 Luxury Impersonators SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Top 10 Luxury Impersonators (continued) Volkswagen Jetta SE - Mirror-integrated turn signals, Moonroof, heated seats. MSRP $19,850. Mazda3 Grand Touring - Heated Leather Seats and Climate Control. MSRP: $20,195. Chevrolet Malibu 2LT - Heated Leather Seats, 17" wheels,. MSRP: $22,485. Honda Accord 2.4 EX-L - Dual zone climate control, heated leather seats. MSRP: $25,160. Honda Cr-V EX-L FWD - Heated leather seats, 7 speaker stereo MSRP: $25,500. Nissan Altima 2.5 S w/Premium Package - Sports car feel with rich leather and V6 engine MSRP: $28,270. Saturn Vue XR FWD w/Premium Trim Package - Very European styled car with rich leather and brushed metal finishes. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:09 PM
  • 157. Top 10 Luxury Impersonators MSRP: $25,875. Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD - Styled like a luxury SUV offers a smooth, nearly silent ride. MSRP: $28,100. Buick Lucerne CXL - Upscale dashboard, sumptuous leather, effortless drivability MSRP: $29,400. Ford Edge SEL FWD w/Premium Package - Stylish design and black leather makes this a slick SUV. MSRP: $29,405. Sourced from Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:09 PM
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  • 162. What Women Want In A Car SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm What Women a car (continued) Since Women seek more expert advice, spend more time in the purchasing process, and influence 85% of vehicle purchase decisions, automakers are paying attention to their preferences. Based on Car Registrations, Women Purchase 45% of All Vehicles. Women Want More in a car than men want. They want great performance and design, but they also want safety, efficiency and more features. They want storage for groceries, handbags, toys, and built-in booster seats. Liz Pilibosian, chief engineer for the 2008 Cadillac CTS, said she believes "when you make a car for a woman, you are going to satisfy everybody." Ford's designers focused on the details, there were cup holders everywhere, niches and pockets for media and two overhead sunglass holders. The Dodge Caravan SXT could be the most family-friendly van on the road with its' Swivel 'N Go seating. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:16 PM
  • 163. What Women Want In A Car With a 2.3 liter, 16-valve engine, the 2008 Mazda 5 has that signature Mazda "zoom zoom" drive. Both men and women will love the overall fun drive with excellent acceleration and tight handling. Sourced from Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:16 PM
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  • 169. Most Expensive New Car Options SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm From The Publisher (continued) There are many Automotive Magazines and Newsletters we have read and Seminars we have attended only to leave with some really great ideas or to have made some fantastic contacts. Too often in the automotive business we hear in the news that our economy is worsening & perhaps we are headed for a recession, while in all actuality your customers are continuing to purchase new cars and continuing to have their scheduled maintenance performed at your dealership. Those are wonderful things. But what happens when the showroom traffic slows & you realize that you cannot go the distance alone any longer? The best tool we have in our marketplace is in your DMS System. Ask yourself this; has your service department's RO count decreased below last year's numbers? - Compare your YTD Financial Statements. If so, the answer could be that your team or your competitive service prices are out of your zone guide. These factors should determine your marketability within the proximity of your customers. Generally, if your service department is slow, your showroom is slow & sales soon follow. We all understand that Sales sells the first car, however Service sells the next car thereafter. Automotive Dealers Network was designed to be a Complete Source for Variable Operations and Fixed Operations; we have the Nation's Leading Experts in Compliance Regulations, Sales Operations, Service/Parts Operations, F & I Training, Reward Programs, DMS Experts and CRM Experts. Many of our Guest Writers have Global recognition. We are firm believers that every dealer needs to have that sustainable edge within their immediate marketplace. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear from you. Also, if you have Industry News worthy of sharing with other colleagues please contact us. It is our pleasure to be of service to you & we look forward to keeping you updated with the latest & most informative e-Newsletter available today. Sincerely, Jim Bernardi Publisher/CEO 812.325.5651 Jim is a Member of the following Chapters & International Organizations: American Business Club, Business II Business Networking, Ten-Top (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:25 PM
  • 170. Most Expensive New Car Options Executives Net, LinkedIn Network, Xing Network, Pulse Network, The Global Council Entrepreneur, Networking for Global Entrepreneurs, Global Trade Link International, Japan Pulse, Global Governance, Networking Pros, Business Networking in Germany, International Recruiters Network, China Business, The Global Expert, Global Professional Networkers, Global Business Development, Arab World Venture Capital, Diversity in the global community, Doing Business in Latin America, International Business Circle, Automotive Digital, Business Opportunities Network, Business Roundtable, Digital Revolution,, Internet Marketing, Marketing & Sales Professionals, Speakers & Seminar Professionals, F & I Professionals, Marketing & Sales Consultants and Global Consultants Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:25 PM
  • 171. Working Internet Leads SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Working Internet Leads (continued) “The Internet is supposed to bring buyers to our website, and it just isn’t happening. Maybe, in the future, buyers will come to us on the Internet.” Well, the future is here. There are all kinds of Internet leads out there- New Vehicle leads and Sub-prime leads. Today, the leads can be generated for you by the Internet or by various lead providers. What makes a great lead? They are hungry to buy a vehicle right now! They are not registering for a raffle drawing or an ipod. This potential customer has the single-minded intention of getting a car or truck-NOW. Because leads have become plentiful in recent years, the sales staff tends to take the leads too lightly and does not work them as they should be worked. For example, a recent survey found that as many as 30 percent of leads do not get followed-up on within the first 24 hours, if at all. There are many excuses for this such as, “I’m too busy” “the application was not complete” or the worst, “I pulled the credit and I couldn’t do anything.” None of these excuses is very good. Let’s take a look at these excuses: q I’m too busy The salesman is probably selling a lot of vehicles. Why not enlist other salespeople to call the leads and get them in as well. q The application wasn’t complete Get on the telephone or internet and GET this customer in. Use the “incomplete” application as a reason for this customer to come in and complete their paperwork! q I pulled the credit and I couldn’t do anything. The first mistake was to pull the credit without the customer being there or even speaking with the customer. Instead, call the customer and give them a “Beacon Education”. “Are you familiar with your “beacon” or FICO score? It’s a universal credit scoring system used by the 3 credit bureaus…many things affect your score. I can show you how to correct and raise your score when you’re here. Now, whether you choose to work with me or someone else, you need to stop having inquiries done on your credit. Each inquiry can knock points off your score. So, to keep as many options open as possible, will you stop applying for credit of any type until this loan is secured?” (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:27 PM
  • 172. Working Internet Leads Then get the customer IN because you can’t possibly know the whole customer situation by just looking at a credit bureau report. Does he have a co-signer? Does he have a parent or spouse willing to buy the car for him? Does he have enough cash down that just about any lender would buy him? You really don’t know, until you get that customer in and go over their particulars. Richard Harris President / Zahr & Associates Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:27 PM
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  • 175. Ford says 'tata' to Jaguar, LandRover SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm 'Tata' to Jaguar, Landrover (continued) Selling the companies at such a loss is an obvious statement by Ford that their liquidity was in peril and they were extremely cash strapped. Apparently, Jaguar never made a profit during Ford's reign. The proceeds from the sale, although significant, won’t rescue Ford’s finances. Tata does not plan any significant changes in employment terms for the sixteen thousand workers for the two brands. Unite, Jaguar and Land Rover’s main labor union, says the deal is 'good news' for the employees and those who work for the parts suppliers. “Unite has secured written guarantees for all five UK plants on staffing levels, employee terms and conditions, including pensions, and sourcing agreements. The sale ensures our members futures and we look forward to working with Tata,” says Unite. A Ford representative is quoted, “Now, it is time for Ford to concentrate on integrating the Ford brand globally, as we implement our plan to create a strong Ford Motor Company that delivers profitable growth for all.” See MSN's full article. view article Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:30:31 PM
  • 176. Double Digit Sales Decline in March SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Double Digit Sales Decline (continued) GM’s truck and SUV sales were down 22 percent and car sales fell 14 percent in March. Chevrolet pickup sales were down 25 percent and sales of Hummer brand were down 29 percent. GM’s sales were down 11 percent for the first quarter. New vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu were a bright spot, with sales up 17 percent. The weakened state of the economy has had a more-than-anticipated effect on truck and SUV sales for GM. However, the auto manufacturer is hopeful that the federal economic stimulus package will boost sales after the end of June. Gm's Inventory of trucks and SUVs has been “more than adequate” this spring. Ford’s truck and SUV sales were down 16 percent from March 2007. Sales of the Ford Expedition SUV fell 34 percent and sales of the popular F-Series pickup were down 24 percent. Ford’s Edge crossover sales increased 24 percent - not enough to make up for the decline in truck and SUV sales. Read the original MSN article. view article Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:30:34 PM
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  • 180. Top 5 New Car Features SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Top 5 New Features (continued) These features were introduced in 2007. We will be seeing more of them in the near future as manufacturers begin to offer them as options. #1 Lane Departure Prevention - This technologically advanced warning system detects lane markings and uses an audible signal as the vehicle approaches the lane markers. The LDP applies slight braking to appropriate wheels or deceleration if the warnings are ignored. #2 Full-Size Hybrid SUVs/Trucks - A two-mode hybrid system utilized in some full size SUVs provides significant mileage boosts and allows for all the towing and hauling capabilities in their non-hybrid counterparts. #3 Integrated Booster Seats - This simple feature will be popping up on many more family vehicles. It is currently available on the Volvo V70. #4 Sirius Satellite TV - Makes traveling with children more enjoyable with three channels available (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel.) Of course, DVDs and video games are an option as well. #5 Blind Spot Information System - An optional blind spot information system alerts the driver to vehicles that are difficult to see using only standard mirrors. Cameras, attached to the side mirrors, provide an instrument panel indicator which illuminates whenever changing lanes would lead to hitting another vehicle. Sourced from (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:40 PM
  • 181. Top 5 New Car Features Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:40 PM
  • 182. Article Archive March 18, 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Select an Article to view 4/1/2008 That Customer Never Buys Anything! By Jim Bernardi So I'm on one of my regular scheduled service training visits at a dealership in upper Michigan, (a well established family owned & operated Chrysler Dodge Jeep store) I was observing the service drive process as I do each PRESS RELEASE day during my training visits, I observed a service advisor doing a proper walk around inspection with the customer present, as this certainly builds value in any sales presentation, I observed the advisor Mike pulling fluid 3/18/2008 Inventory OnLine Deal samples from the master cylinder, power steering reservoir then view article Autodata Solutions, Inc announced last month that they have signed a multi-year deal with HomeNet, Inc, a 4/1/2008 How to Quickly Lose a 'Done Deal' By Joe leading provider of vehicle inventory management and Verde marketing solutions, that will allow HomeNet to I'm sold on "working the deal to get all you can", but some managers are incorporate Autodata Solutions' automotive content to still "peeling them off the ceiling" and losing sales every day and even strengthen and enhance HomeNet's popular Inventory more important, they're setting themselves up to lose some of their best Online (IOL) marketing suite. view article salespeople! Picture this: Bill, one of your most professional salespeople, watches a customer pull onto the lot. A husband and wife in their mid-30s and 2 well dressed children. Bill greets his customer with "Welcome to ABC Motors - my name is Bill, and yours?" Bob Smith, Betty, Bobby Jr. and Betty Jr. view article 4/1/2008 What Matters to Website Visitors By Ralph Paglia Since starting my role at ADP Dealer Services about a year ago, I have been VEHICLE REVIEWS contacted by several people who worked with me in the past. I worked with Rudy Martin at Reynolds and Reynolds and he is now vice president of The Intellimark Group, which supplies a variety of products and services to 4/1/2008 Most Expensive New Car Options dealerships throughout North America. Rudy contacted me about a survey Forbes Autos describes the most expensive new car Intellimark had aggregated from data collected in over 5,000 completed options from volume-selling luxury brands. view article questionnaires submitted by dealer web site visitors. These were (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:42 PM
  • 183. Article Archive March 18, 2008 consumers who had visited the web sites of dealerships served by Rudy's 4/1/2008 Top 10 2008 Hybrids company, Intellimark Group.After discussing the aggregated survey results, ranks hybrids with respect to fuel efficiency Rudy agreed to collaborate with me on this article to explore insights gained. and price compared to non-hybrid counterparts. view article Performance is not taken into account. view article 4/1/2008 Why Service Meetings? By Bill 4/1/2008 10 Least Pollutant Cars Zahrte Forbes Autos tells us the least pollutant cars for luxury People just want their car fixed! What is amazing this last month the vehicles and non-luxury vehicles based on air pollution "Starbucks" company closed every store in the United States from 12:00 scores and carbon footprint ratings. view article noon until 3:00 pm for a meeting. Every store in every state was closed for a teleconference meeting with the management leaders of the company. The subject..."Customer Treatment." The simple thing is they want every person in every store on the same page. What if we took that leadership and brought it into the service department, everyone on the same page. Let's look at some simple ideas for pulling this off, everyone on the same page. view article 4/1/2008 Capturing EVERY Customer's e-Mail Address By Vince Rubino Most dealerships across America are actively trying to collect customer e-mail addresses. Obviously some degree of value is seen in a customer's e-mail address if dealerships are asking for them. Just how important is collecting e-mail addresses to the dealership? According to a recent study 91% of U.S. adults with access to the internet have e-mail. That's 147 million people reading e-mail almost daily! These numbers are staggering but they will only continue to rise as Americans are finding e-mail increasingly accessible and thus more accepted as a primary method of communication. view article 4/1/2008 The "Other" Side of the Fence By Gilbert Chavez Over the last month, I have spent several hours evaluating numerous CRM, ILM, and web site tools. It is truly amazing the advancement technology has made since I started selling cars online in 1995. Back in the day, we used AOL because company wide e-mail did not exist. The capability of several of these tools is inspiring. Some of these tools are very work intensive and the sophistication level can be a little overwhelming for even the most advanced Internet manager to manipulate to their fullest capability. During one of the many conference calls I was on, my mind began to drift. I was thinking of the Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. consumer on reserved. of the fence. What truly are their expectations All rights the other side when they submit a purchase request online? view article (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:42 PM
  • 184. That Customer Never Buys Anything SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm That Customer Never Buys Anything (contin) providing & illustrating the samples to the customer. When all was done & said during that particular process the advisor made an up-sell of a necessary flush due to contaminated power steering fluid, this went on throughout the day and of course I was pleased that they were utilizing proven and effective tools learned from our training course. I stepped outside the service bays to watch from a distance. I witnessed an elderly woman pull into the service drive, hand the advisor the keys as they exchanged pleasantries, then this sweet little lady walked away to the customer lounge. I thought well perhaps she had an appointment or she was returning for previous recommendations during a prior visit. There had to be some reason for not performing a service history review or a walk around inspection with the customer present. So I asked the Service Manager, Tom, to look at the repair order. I was a bit taken back as the RO was for a simple oil & filter special. That’s not too surprising you may be thinking to yourself about now right? Well that’s what I thought. As part of our service training process, we require that 100% of the repair orders have a copy of the service history. You see, this proves to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of time that a technician has to spend reviewing a particular vehicle. Thus reducing down time & extra personnel pulling files and researching concerns. moving on; I observed that the same technician Joel had been the technician on the previous services for the last year and a half. This particular service history report indicated an alarming statistic. I often tell advisors that a service customer's car is like a crime scene accident, there are plenty of tell tale signs to observe from a customer's driving habits and maintenance history. As I continued to look this car over, I watched Joel change the oil & filter, check the tire pressure, refill the crankcase, affix an oil sticker reminder on the windshield then back the car out and proceed to park this car. I was completely baffled. After he parked the car in the lot I asked Joel “Please do me a favor Joel” he say’s "huh", so I repeated my request and he complied, of course with a bit of apprehension. You see, as Joel was backing this car out of his service bay I stood behind the car and saw some abnormalities from a standing view only. Joel brought the vehicle back on his rack and proceeded to lift it for my inspection. Prior to the car being placed back on the rack I requested that the General Manager, David, as well as the Service Manager, Tom, be present with me while I reviewed important inconsistencies within this process. So there we were, 4 men standing under this late model sled when I proposed a question to Joel. Keep in mind that I am holding the repair order in my hand and I continue to review the service history as I question this particular vehicle's previous and current inspections. It goes something like this; "Joel do you think that this car, when it was here around 7500 miles ago, had that left front c/v boot in tact?" he says “I don’t know,” So, I asked him again, "Joel do you think that it's possible that this car had that c/v boot here 15,000 miles ago?" He repeats his (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:30:46 PM
  • 185. That Customer Never Buys Anything previous answer and says “I don’t know.” Right about then the GM starts getting worked up and say’s to Joel, “Well what exactly do you know?” Joel then says calmly, "Mrs. Johnson never buys anything and she comes in here all the time when her car is due and says it’s time for her service." I for one admired his blatant honesty; on the other hand I thought this guy must be a loon to be so bold to come back with an answer like that. So I decide to finish my questioning with Joel and say to him, “Do you think it is that she never buys anything is due to the fact that you never recommend her necessary repairs and maintenance. He boldly says “Maybe”. Moving forward, I proceeded to point out that the c/v boot was indeed missing, the axle joint was dried out and loose, and the front tires were worn beyond belief. Reminder: this is upper Michigan, its cold up here in the winter time - extremely cold. The General Manager & Service Manager stayed with me during the following steps: I asked the parts dept to get a P & A (Price & Availability) then I requested the SM reserve a loan car for Mrs. Johnson. Just then the SM says she won't need it, she only has her oil changed on a regular basis. I stood there shaking my head back & forth thinking that this type of poor management is the reason that processes stop and profits soon follow. I just looked at the GM and he was also concerned. I walked into the customer lounge and introduced myself to Mrs. Johnson (lovely lady) and walked through the sales process accordingly. I started with “I can see that your husband has certainly been a great influence on you when it comes to keeping your car serviced," she stated, "Yes, I was taught to always bring my car in every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Since his passing I need to keep reminding myself when the car is due for service." All I could do was smile. I also said, "We value your business as well as your continued dedication in allowing our team to be your choice in the scheduled maintenance of your vehicle. It is our duty and our privilege to deliver you a Safe and Reliable vehicle back each & every time you visit us. However, at times we don’t always perform our duties as required, in short we sometimes make mistakes." She was very understanding and stated that she appreciated my honesty. I proceeded by stating, "I must inform you that we have observed that your left front constant velocity boot has come apart and this is a part that protects important front suspension and drive-line components to keep them lubricated and safe. Your boot unfortunately is missing. Due to this, your front tires have become worn & need replacement. This is certainly not by any fault of yours, it is a component that wears over time. We are, however, able to start the repairs for you today at a cost of $759.00. We will provide you alternative transportation while we complete the necessary repairs; this price includes both front tires as a result of the front suspension concern as well as the c/v joint and boot replacement including the labor associated with the repairs. We will have your vehicle completed early tomorrow afternoon, Shall we get started?" She simply thanked me and requested her garage door opener from her car and authorized the repairs. It is not that a customer won't purchase. The fact is, the workforce refuses to follow protocol when it comes to job performance & duties as prescribed in the dealership employee handbook. So what is it costing you to continue to follow examples like this one? This is a real story! I simply changed the names to not humiliate the ones responsible for this scenario. This could have had dreadful consequences as a result of terrible follow- through and execution of proper process. When inspections are mandatory on 100% of all qualified Ask yourself the following: vehicles it is important to all parties involved. I recently read of a Mazda dealership that had a customer appreciation day. They had a (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:30:46 PM
  • 186. That Customer Never Buys Anything Are your managers short contest to perform the best inspection. Keep in mind, this is the service stepping important processes? advisor with the customer. After all, isn’t that what our advisors are supposed to do, recommend necessary & important maintenance Do you think as a result of based on fact and make a quality presentation based on needs, poor processes that the importance & simply safety. current condition will continue Allowing your staff to make a judgment call on your customer’s to eat a hole in your wallet? behalf is an accident waiting to happen. If technicians and Will it result in a loss of advisors alike allow just one customer to slip through the cracks this will open the door for yet another after market (your competition) to customer satisfaction and obtain, and possibly forever retain, the most important commodity any future new car sales? dealer principle has….Your customer. I have yet to meet a customer who would choose the safety of their family over the cost of a needed component or a service repair. Customers are purchasing value. Period. If you are looking for ways to increase customer loyalty, future sales and gross profit margins then it’s time to contact me. Our team will design a personalized dealer/franchise specific business plan that will eliminate the probability of poor inspections that were mentioned in this article. Change only starts when the Management is willing to accept responsibility and provide a means for supporting a process that eliminates poor performers within the dealership. Until my next article, expect performance & demand excellence. Also require daily service & parts sales reporting from your management team in your fixed department. If you want things to change then make this process a job description in their everyday responsibilities. “It’s not personal its business.” Jim Bernardi Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General President /AutoPro Training Solutions Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations email: Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director, Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of and visit AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed Operations Training Company which guarantees increased GP or their training fee is free. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:30:46 PM
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  • 190. How to Quickly Lose a 'Done Deal' SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm How to Quickly Lose a 'Done Deal' (continued) The customer is pleasant but reserved. Bill, noticed golf clubs in the back of their four year old Volvo wagon, and takes a few minutes to relax the customer by talking about golf before they start talking “cars”. You’re watching and after a few minutes you see the customer is more relaxed as Bill controls the conversation, moves it to Little League and asks how they’re doing this season. Your pro finds out how they’ll be using the car and who’ll be driving it the most as he gains more control and more of their confidence. You’re thinking, “Wow - he’s good!” Bill learns they’re want a car for Bob to drive to work, something basic with just enough equipment to make it comfortable to commute an hour each day. Bill gives them a great presentation, getting them involved and asking questions each step of the way to make sure the features he’s covering are on their list of hot buttons. He continues to control the sale, leads them into a demonstration and drives off the lot. When they come back, you see he’s completely relaxed them, is in even more control and you can tell these people are definitely interested in owning the product and that they feel very comfortable working with Bill. He brings them into his office pulls out his evidence manual for them, and you smile as you see him pull out the paperwork and start writing it up. As he’s filling out their credit app and write-up, you hear laughter coming from his office. You can tell you’ll have a serious offer in just a few minutes, so you wander out to look at their wagon, just in case they’re trading it. Fifteen minutes later, Bill comes into your office with a big grin, an offer from the customer, their keys and a check. He tells you they’re real nice people making an OK offer and says he knows they’ll pay a few hundred more, will come up with more down and he thinks they’ll pay another $50 or $75 a month, too. You look at their offer: They want a $1,500 discount, $7,500 for theirs, $1000 down and payments at $350. You know you’ve got a deal going in so you grab your pencil with that gleam in your eyes. And when you look at Bill, you can see the fear in his eyes as he says “Boss, these are nice people and I know we get everything we need, but just go easy, though, so I don’t lose them.” You say; “trust me, kid – I know what I’m doing...” as you write... OK Deal - Today Only! (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:55 PM
  • 191. How to Quickly Lose a 'Done Deal' $20,000 + $575 additional prep + 1,654 fees and tax $22,229 And with your good credit ... $5,500 cash down $2,800 for your trade 60 months @ $564 (12%) “Now kid, get out there and hit ‘em between the eyes!” Bill begs, but you say; “I know what I’m doing – now go do what I said!” You follow and hear his customers go ballistic with “What are you trying to pull, KBB said wholesale is $7,000, I’m not paying any added prep and the payment calculator said payments are $375 a month @ 6.5%.” Bill loses control and now they want their keys. You scramble to find somebody to take the turn. The grungy 6-car guy is the only salesperson available so he takes the turn and says “Hi, I’m the assistant manager, what’s the problem here, what do we have to do to earn your business today?” Joe Verde is President of Joe Verde Sales & Management By Joe Verde Training, Inc. and the Joe Verde Online Training Network President (JVTN). Through hundreds of live workshops in North America Joe Verde Sales & Management Training each year on Leadership, Management and Sales and with email: over 1 Million courses taken online each year by dealers, managers, salespeople, service writers and finance managers, JVST workshops and JVTN online training are the most recommended training programs in the Automobile industry today. For information on JVST workshops or JVTN online training go to or call (888) 457- 2414. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights Receive our E-Newsletter reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:55 PM
  • 192. Inventory OnLine Deal SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Inventory OnLine Deal (continued) “As HomeNet continues to expand its market share throughout the United States and Canada, it is imperative that we equip our customers with the most robust and precise vehicle data available,” commented HomeNet CEO Jesse Biter. “We are very pleased to add Autodata to our existing data sets which are currently utilized by over 11,000 dealership locations. The improved system, which also includes a decade’s worth of HomeNet’s proprietary data, will ensure that HomeNet continues to provide the industry’s most advanced and comprehensive VIN enhancement solution.” Users of HomeNet’s Inventory Online (IOL) marketing suite throughout the United States and Canada will now have the ability to utilize Autodata’s French, Spanish and English car and light truck data, image galleries and editorial content. In addition, trim-specific, professionally-recorded audio “walkaround” tours produced by MotormouthTM Audio and distributed through Autodata will be available in the near future to convey the features and benefits of new model year vehicles and further transform the way vehicles are marketed online. “Autodata Solutions’ comprehensive platform of vehicle data and multimedia content will add a new dimension to HomeNet’s services to dealers and dealership service providers. First and foremost, U.S. and Canadian dealerships will benefit tremendously by HomeNet’s ability to create and syndicate vehicle classified listings that are not only accurate and rich in detail, but uniquely designed to attract potential buyers with compelling editorial and multimedia content,” said Michael Benavides, Senior Director of Business Development, Autodata Solutions. “Furthermore, HomeNet will be able to communicate and integrate more efficiently with the dozens of technology providers and media companies that have chosen recently to power their print and digital marketing solutions with the most robust automotive marketing toolset in our industry.” HomeNet’s Inventory Online (IOL) marketing suite is a vehicle inventory management and marketing system, designed to help automotive dealers generate significantly more leads from their website and online classifieds. Currently processing more than 2.5 million vehicles daily, IOL’s suite of web-based applications streamline the process of converting raw vehicle data from the DMS (dealer management system) into emotional online advertisements anywhere on the Web. Complete with DMS polling, Premium VIN Enhancement, an intuitive online interface, automated distribution to 3rd-party services, and much more, IOL is the most comprehensive solution serving the automotive industry. HomeNet, Inc. is a privately owned automotive technology provider. Founded in 1996, HomeNet's core focus is providing innovative technology solutions to help automotive dealers increase online sales. HomeNet offers its products to a variety of customers including dealers, OEMs, website providers, CRM providers, digital lot management firms, finance/leasing agents, auction agents, and more. The company is based on Christian principles and is headquartered in West Chester, PA, with satellite offices in FL, GA, IA, TN, TX, and UT. For more information, please visit Autodata Solutions, Inc. is one of North America’s leading automotive software and data providers. Founded in 1990, Autodata Solutions provides automotive content, research, and technology implementation services to auto manufacturers, fleet and leasing companies, dealer service providers, and internet and media portals in North America, to help them market and sell their products more effectively and profitably. Autodata Solutions has offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, and London, Ontario, Canada, and is a division of Internet Brands, Inc. (www.internetbrands. com). For more information, visit (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:58 PM
  • 193. Inventory OnLine Deal MotormouthTM Audio is a trademark of SN Automotive Consulting Inc. Media Contacts: HomeNet, Inc., Andy McBride and Rob Amos • 610-738-3313 Autodata Solutions, Inc., Jackie Grant • 800-263-2384 Ext 6564 Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:30:58 PM
  • 194. Most Expensive New Car Options SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Most Expensive New Car Options (continued) Forbes looked at luxury auto manufacturers whose production exceeded 5,000 units per year. Amazingly, option packages are available that cost more than some new cars. Porsche offers a package on its 911 Carrera S and 4S that includes a "power" kit which increases 0-60mph acceleration by a mere 0.2 second. Porsche's price $16,900. The Lexus LS 600h L hybrid sedan can be outfitted with two packages of high tech goodies. Lexus' price for both packages: over $24,000. Mercedes ML350 most popular option is the Premium I Package. Included are navigation system, parking aide, hands-free telephone, upgraded sound system and power lift gate . Mercedes' price $3,600. BMW's 328i has options available that add more than 50% to the base price. BMW's price $18,600. Audi's A8L has an Exclusive Leather Package Option. Audi's price $11,500. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:31:03 PM
  • 195. Most Expensive New Car Options BMW's 7 Series has a Special Paint Option. BMW's price $14,000. As a rule, packages prices are considerably less than if purchased separately. Upgrading to a more powerful model or more luxurious series will likely lead to less depreciation than the comfort and convenience features offered in the high priced options. For complete information view Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:31:03 PM
  • 196. Why Service Meetings? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Why Service Meetings? (continued) I am not sure you can shut the service center down for three hours, but what you can do is understand that meetings are designed for each participant to learn and take back to his or her department... improvement. It is important that meetings are together in groups, and all gathered in a desired place. Not around an empty stall somewhere in the service area. Meetings should be treated as important, important enough to be private. Private gets attention. Now there is an idea, you mean meetings aren’t grievance sessions and usually develop few answers in the first place. I have never been involved in a grievance meeting where everyone went back to work satisfied and filled with happiness. Meetings . . . let’s take a look at the possibilities what you have to do to invoke real learning with employees willing to say thank you for the time they spent away from their job and actually going back to their responsibilities ready to make the necessary changes that the meeting explained was necessary. To be totally effective you should write and then pre-read the meeting you have written and try to use visuals to aid your discussion. Have hand-outs for all who attend. The use of a whiteboard, flip-chart, overhead projector or some other means will assist you in putting your point across. Besides this takes your leadership to a new level, real leadership is proving your interest with improving each person in the room. This recommendation is made because we know that people learn more effectively when they use their sight, not just their ears. If you do not write the major points on a visual aid, you will not get the best response from your audience. First let’s review how each of use learns. Learning results from: TASTE 2% : Two percent of learning comes from tasting, “Sweet or Sour” TOUCH 1.5% : One And One-Half of a percent based on touching “Leather or Cloth” SMELL 3.5% : Three and One-Half of a percent based on smell “Nice or Stinky” HEARING 11% : Eleven Percent based on our hearing “Rap Music or Easy Listening” SIGHT 83% : Yes indeed most of what we learn is based on what we see. I can remember I was training a service manager on the art of giving meetings. The problem was he would freeze as soon as he got in front of the group, he felt he had little to say. During our training he confessed that he felt training was showing how to utilize tools, or where the shop tools were, or how to turn on the video and give instructions on how to use a DVD player. In his mind training was how to use the computer time clock. (1 of 4)6/2/2008 3:31:08 PM
  • 197. Why Service Meetings? While these things are part of some ones job, they are not training issues. We have all been asked to stand-up and tell someone about ourselves. Now what? If you are poorly prepared you feel very insecure and start to do a verbal dance. So as we move into the idea of setting up a meeting we need to think of ways to set-up visuals for our attendees for them to see and learn from. No dancing here just planning to get attention. They say in sales if you can’t get the customer's attention within the first 30 seconds you probably won’t sell the product. In meeting giving that first 30 seconds is just as important. This also sets up your ability to remove the stage fright. You will be in control and able to put the attendees in a learning state of mind. It also says you are the leader. Of the five senses that work the best for remembering what was talked about is when we combine “Hearing and Seeing”. This combination will give your people a 94% retention factor. . . the old “Show and Tell” idea. A training meeting MUST be a learning experience. Not a coffee break. Encourage your people to participate in the meeting. When the students take ownership of the meeting they learn more. This will make the meeting more meaningful to them and more interesting for you the instructor. Remember this is not a complaint session. If a person has a poor attitude or wants to use this time for pushing issues, you need to interrupt and either explain the reason for the meeting or excuse the employee and send them to another area, but not back to work. Let them know you will deal with their personal issue after the meeting. To really get everyone on board you could think of the idea to have an employee give the meeting. Rotate this responsibility through your service area. You can give each expert in the department a week to prepare. Keep a record of the date you conducted each meeting by logging it in a daily planner’s book. You will also want to look at the “Daily Planner” and set a timetable for the meetings through the end of the year. You could even print the meeting time table and review it in the first meeting, the importance, the value to their job or position and that they are expected to attend. It is part of their job description. SUGGESTIONS FOR GIVING A GREAT PERFORMANCE Conduct your meetings at least once a week. I recommend Tuesdays or Fridays at 7:30am. Individual meetings are held with Service Managers and their teams before their shift begins. These meetings should be 30 minutes and held in a conference room. Begin “On-Time” Never be late for your own meeting- NEVER! You could give people with those mornings off the option of attending, but everyone attends at least once. Anyone who arrives late contributes to the dealership happy fund. $5.00 for a first offense, $10.00 for a second, $25.00 for a third. There is no forth time- terminate. Sales Managers pay $10.00 for first time, $25.00 for second time. There is no third time-terminate. Meetings do not have to be about service or management all the time. (2 of 4)6/2/2008 3:31:08 PM
  • 198. Why Service Meetings? Have a meeting as a "brainstorming session to stimulate thinking and suppress any negative remarks or comments. Maybe there really is a problem in the shop and a coached session could solve the problem NEVER CRITICIZE people or managers during a session. That should be done in private with the individual. Meetings should be limited to approximately thirty to forty five minutes, unless it is a special event or topic. Plan your meeting well in advance. The person conducting the meeting should be informed 30 days in advance. Meetings should be conducted by all dealership departments and personnel and people or vendors from Setting the Proper Tone and Inspiration for a Great Meeting outside the dealership. Don’t be afraid to walk the walk . . . . Because it’s show time . . . . Office, Parts, Service and Business office people should attend and give meetings that are relevant q toBe relaxed. Dress appropriately-look your best. Be enthusiastic. their department. q Yes this is the “Car Business” however, avoid using profanity, it just shows weakness. q Speak loudly, clearly and use voice inflection. Move around the room and stand tall. Make eye contact. Use gestures. q Invite questions and comments. Do not allow side conversations. Stay in control at all times. Do not allow personal attacks. Anyone's input is good; do not disparage any constructive input. q Be proud to offer this training. Be a pro, If not your insincerity will show. q Cover all the material. Do not skip over or omit portions. You can add material. Remove the pages from this book that you will be covering and have them photocopied for distribution. Copy 10% more than you will need in case an unexpected guest attends the meeting. q Use the whiteboard, flip chart or overhead projector frequently. Use colored markers to gain additional impact. Props should also be used. Ask people in your audience to assist whenever needed. q Use analogies and stories to covey your message. q Once you begin, do not allow interruptions from anyone. Do not allow the discussion to get off the planned topic. q REMEMBER: A meeting should inspire and motivate. Your material should be interesting and informative. And finally have fun…the meeting should be a time where at the end everyone felt they got something out of it. A well planned meeting will inspire, a well panned meeting will educate and a well planned meeting will show your management leadership and teaching abilities. To top it off based on your performance your income will increase and based on how well you “walk the walk” the increased improvements in the service area will be well received. Bill has held positions such as Marketing Consultant, VP of Marketing Development and National Director of (3 of 4)6/2/2008 3:31:08 PM
  • 199. Why Service Meetings? By Bill Zahrte Business Relations. He specializes in customer Renowned Marketing Expert communication at every opportunity to improve customer Email satisfaction, customer retention and profitability in the service and sales departments. Bill is Marketing Coordinator for AutoPro Training Solutions. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (4 of 4)6/2/2008 3:31:08 PM
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  • 204. Capturing EVER Customer eMail Address SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm EVERY Customer eMail Address (continued) Today 49% of Americans say they prefer e-mail to telemarketers and 40% say they would rather receive an e-mail over direct mail marketing. Consider that the ROI for every U.S. dollar spent on e-mail marketing is a whopping $51.45 and one realizes that e-mail is quickly becoming the preferred method of communicating and marketing not only for the consumer but for the auto dealership. It wasn’t that long ago when folks in rural communities were thought to be disconnected from the rest of the World Wide Web. Widespread access to internet has also opened the world of e-mail to even those in the most far off reaches. And don’t think for a second that the nation’s seniors are not hopping online to read e-mail. With people living longer and their children and grandchildren often living long distant, e-mail has created an instant, low cost connection to loved ones. The most important group of all is future customers…our children. Today the next generation of car buyers already is accessing e-mail at home, at school and even on their cell phones. There is little doubt that tomorrow they will be checking e-mail from their cars! We can liken dealerships that fail to embrace the significance of capturing e-mail addresses to Oldsmobile. Do you remember when people actually wanted to drive an Oldsmobile? It wasn’t that long ago that Oldsmobile was considered a solid American brand. We all know that Oldsmobile met its demise when General Motors failed to produce an Oldsmobile that was relevant in the eyes of the American consumer. Dealerships that fail to realize the impact e-mail will continue to have with their customers will unfortunately follow the same path of irrelevance as Oldsmobile. So while every dealership should see the need to collect valid e-mail addresses from not only current customers but also prospects, most are doing a poor job of doing so. The primary reason is how dealerships are going about attempting to collect e-mails. To start, there is not enough emphasis placed on capturing e-mails from the top. The result is a staff that doesn’t see the importance if the owner or general manager doesn’t tell them that collecting e-mails is important. In this case all the dealership can expect is a When the staff staff that randomly asks customers for an e-mail. The staff needs to know that capturing e- understands that (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:17 PM
  • 205. Capturing EVER Customer eMail Address mail is not only a part of their expected duties but their participation is also going to be management is routinely tracked and evaluated. looking at e-mail capture rates just Have you ever tried asking a customer for an e-mail address? Good Luck! Consumers value their privacy and many consider their e-mail address as the last grasp of like they do sales personal information that they have control over. Many people avoid giving up their e-mail and service addresses at all costs in fear of having their inbox plastered with spam. All too often numbers the staff dealerships simply ask customers for e-mail addresses without giving an explanation or a will make a more reason why and assume that “a lot of my customers just don’t have e-mail...” when they conscious effort in experience poor results. There isn’t a dealership in the country that should expect anything asking for e-mails. less than 70-80% e-mail capture rate. If the dealership isn’t collecting 70-80% of customers valid e-mail addresses then it is either not consistently asking every customer for their e- mail or going about it all wrong. The first step in assuring effective e-mail capture rates for the dealership is to implement a formal word track or script you want your staff to stick to when asking for customer e-mails. Rather than have the staff simply ask “do you have an e-mail address?” have them not only ask for the e-mail address but also continue on with why you are asking for their e-mail and what you intend to do with it. “Mr. Smith I need a valid e-mail address if you have one as this is how we will communicate important information about your vehicle and news from the manufacturer or the dealership. We promise never to abuse your right to privacy by sending you junk mail or sharing your e-mail with others.” By assuring the customer with a valid reason for requesting their e-mail address and proactively eliminating concerns about spam and invasion of privacy you can drastically improve e-mail capture rates. Speaking of privacy, when trying to effectively capture customer e-mail addresses it is a good idea to clearly post your privacy policy and be sure to include e-mail addresses as information you keep as guarded as social security numbers and credit information. In a computer age where consumers fear invasion of privacy and identity theft reassuring your customers that you respect and value their information as private goes a long way in eliminating any barriers in offering you an e-mail address. Implementing a loyalty program in the dealership is a proven method of boosting e-mail capture rates Consumers are accustomed to loyalty programs from nearly every facet of retail. Why not a loyalty program specific to your dealership? Loyalty programs give your customers a real reason to give you their e-mail address. Loyalty programs offer customers something in return for their e-mail address. With most customized loyalty programs, such as REWARDLogix, the dealership can extend exclusive discounts and offers that are delivered via e-mail. Dealerships can even award points, services or monthly prizes exclusive to loyalty customers that offer their e-mail addresses. Most customized loyalty solutions not only offer a highly effective means of collecting e-mail addresses but they often include the tools that will allow you to utilize e-mails as a viable marketing vehicle. Many dealerships are turning to e-mail as featured marketing tool because it allows them to send a message that is instant, media rich and FREE! Direct mail and newspaper costs continue to increase while readership and response rates dwindle. It is obvious why e-mail marketing is growing in popularity and effectiveness as an alternative to print. Once the dealership has implemented the means of effectively capturing up 70-80% of customer e- mail addresses and is utilizing the e-mail addresses to communicate and advertise with customers all that is left is to make sure you hold onto those e-mail addresses. Use good judgment when deciding when and how your dealership uses e-mail as a means of communicating and advertising (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:17 PM
  • 206. Capturing EVER Customer eMail Address to your customers. Would you want any business blasting you with weekly e-mails? Sending a few well thought e-mails that your customers will find real benefit and value in will go a long way from having your customers adding you to their spam lists or opt out of receiving e-mails from your dealership. Remember to limit both the number and frequency to 1-2 e-mails send per customer per month as a good rule of thumb for acceptable contact. Studies have shown too much or too frequent contact reduces the impact your message has with your customers. You want your customers to know that when they do receive an e-mail from the dealership it will always be of great benefit and value to them. An established customer and prospect e-mail database will prove to be of tremendous value to the automotive dealership and will help generate sales with the customers of today and tomorrow. If your dealership is currently enjoying e-mail capture rates in the 70-80% range, or higher, and beginning to use e-mail as a marketing tool the future will prove to be bright. If your dealership has not come close to these levels or hasn’t even made e-mail collection a focus what are you waiting for? Vince Rubino is VP of Marketing for RewardLogix, which was developed to fit the ever demanding complexities of By Vince Rubino dealership needs. The dealer decides the rewards, the VP Marketing / RewardLogix points and how they are redeemed and RewardLogix builds email: the program. With ADP and Reynolds & Reynolds DMS integration, this provides effortless card activation and point tracking allowing your dealership to focus on what matters most... selling cars and satisfying service customers. Visit for more info. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights Receive our E-Newsletter reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:17 PM
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  • 208. The Other Side of the Fence SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm The "Other" Side of the Fence (continued) I asked one of my colleagues to mystery shop one of our stores. I asked him specifically to ask a question that the store had to answer to earn his business. The specific question he asked was, “What is my out the door price for this vehicle I want”? I also wanted to see the response time, the automated response, and the content of their initial e-mail response to see if he answered the question. The automated response included all the pertinent information that an automated response should. Some OEM’s have gone as far as to mandate that dealers turn off their auto response e-mails in their ILM tools. I really disagree with that mentality. The OEM’s contention is that the customer is already receiving an automated response from them. So what if the OEM has an automated response? Furthermore, so what if a third party lead provider does, they did not get my automated response with my contact information on it. An automated response is nothing more than just an acknowledgment that the customer submitted their lead and that they receive my contact information. Other content can be in there, but the contact information is paramount. The response time was outstanding, almost immediate. The format of the template was excellent; however, he did not include the, “out the door price” that the customer specifically requested. Furthermore, there was follow on text for examples of other vehicles that were not included. Often times we fire off templates that we have built without checking out their content. We let the technology take over and do not pay attention to the detail that the consumer requires. By not answering the customers question and the absence of other example vehicles, made this response lack credibility. The Internet sales representative immediately set himself up for failure with the customer. I talked to him later and he did not realize that he did not answer the specific question that the customer asked and that there was follow on text about other vehicles. I asked if he had ever seen any of his templates other than in the back of his tool and his answer was, No”. Shopping yourself as Internet sales professional is essential in ensuring you are setting up a successful online sale experience. With all the high tech tools we utilize as Internet sales people we need to know what our stuff looks like on the other side of the fence. Moreover, check out how your templates look in AOL mail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, gmail, Outlook, etc. Also, look at what the template says. I have gone as far as to going to a customer’s office to look in their e-mail to see how my templates look. Because it looks good in the back of your tool, it might not necessarily look that good in your customers e-mail. Additionally, read and acknowledge what your customer is saying and reply to all their wants, needs, and most importantly answer all their questions. Fantastic tools can only do so much. It takes attention to detail to ensure credible communication with your customer. For the most part, we only get one chance to “brand” ourselves to our customer. Response time and follow up are essential in “hooking” the customer. That makes it even more important to ensure that our e-mails are crisp and concise and that our content is meaningful and accurate. (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:21 PM
  • 209. The Other Side of the Fence Template driven communication is important and essential, especially when you are dealing with numerous leads. I have seen several departments attempt to customize every email, however, it failed mostly because the information they provided was limited and incomplete. Using templates can take on the feel of a custom made personalized e-mail, if you do your due diligence when constructing your templates. Often the “tags” or default values that pull the lead information over, often do not format correctly, and it looks like a form-generated e-mail. Very often the value tags pull when no information is available and the consumer see’s these values. For example, [Customer Name], is a dead give away when the customers name did not pull over. Ouch, we are caught, and we look foolish in our correspondence with the consumer. There are a couple of ILM tools out there that compensate for this, however, the majority of ILM tools do not and dealers are encountering this issue on a daily basis. This is not a deal stopper, but it looks amateurish and presents an unpolished correspondence with your prospect. Tying an automated “Internet Sales Process” in with your ILM is essential in everyday Internet selling. This could evolve into a “How To Book”, so I won’t get into too much detail here. However, tying the firing of automated templates to a phone follow up process is key in developing a successful Internet Sales Department. Setting this sequence is an arduous process. Fine-tuning it takes time, effort, and a lot of patience. Once it is in place, it is a true seamless process that takes the mystery out of response time…follow up, when it comes to working your internet leads and showroom prospects. Back in the day, the firing of automated response e-mail after a lead submission was going to be the panacea for selling cars online. It was touted as the silver bullet to close the deal. We all quickly found out it was something nice to have, but it did little more then let the customer know that they had successfully submitted their lead. Nothing, I say again, nothing, replaces the follow up phone call. The e-mail serves as a back up to the phone call. So often ISM’s lean on the e-mail and don’t do the follow up phone call. I would safely say that more than 50% of the leads received today by dealers are not called following the initial e-mail. As technology evolves and media melts into one amorphous entity our challenges will increasingly get more complicated. We will all have to become more innovative than ever. We are all trying to distinguish ourselves from the other guy. Seeing ourselves from our consumer’s perspective will play a major factor in making us unique and different. Regardless of the technology, the “belly to belly” human touch will never disappear from the car buying experience. (Never say never) By Gilbert Chavez Gilbert has held the positions of E-Commerce Director, VP E-Commerce Director/Planet Automotive Business Development, VP Operations, E-Marketing Director, Email COO, General Manager, GSM and Internet/Fleet Manager. Gilbert's expertise is in CRM, online campaigns, e-mail marketing, BDC development and other managerial aspects for dealer profitability. He is Currently E-Commerce Director for Planet Automotive. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:21 PM
  • 210. The Other Side of the Fence For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:21 PM
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  • 214. Most Expensive New Car Options SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Top 10 2008 Hybrids (continued) did not compare "comparably equipped" versions because hybrids trim levels are among the most expensive. Toyota Prius - The most efficient, most affordable & there is no "gas only" version. MSRP $21,10. Saturn Vue Green Line - 14% premium above the "gas only" version. MSRP: $24,170. Honda Civic Hybrid - City & highway mileage are 32% and 54% higher respectively than the "gas only" version. MSRP: $22,600. Toyota Camry Hybrid - City & Highway mileage are 57% and 10% higher than its' "gas only" 4 cylinder counterpart. MSRP: $25,200. Lexus RX 400h - 10% premium above its' "gas only" counterpart, the RX 350. Excellent choice for luxury city driving at 50% better mileage. MSRP: $41,280. Toyota Highlander Hybrid - This AWD only hybrid is 17% more than its' "gas only" counterpart and gets 59% better mileage in city driving. (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:34 PM
  • 215. Most Expensive New Car Options MSRP: $33,700. Ford Escape Hybrid - 40% premium above its' "gas only" counterpart and city mileage is 55% higher. MSRP: $26,505. Chevrolet Tahoe 2 Mode Hybrid - This full size SUV gets 50% better city mileage, 16% better highway mileage along with a 43% premium. MSRP: $49,590. Saturn Aura Green Line - 12% premium above its' "gas only" counterpart. City mileage is only 9% higher and highway is only 7% higher. MSRP: $22,140. Lexus GS 450h - Compared to the GS 460 V-8, the premium is 24% and city mileage improvement is 16%. Highway mileage actually decreases. MSRP: $54,900. These comparisons are on the gas only version from the same manufacturer. They are not compared to each other as this would have a completely different ranking. For complete information view Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:34 PM
  • 216. Most Expensive New Car Options (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:31:34 PM
  • 217. Most Expensive New Car Options SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm 10 Least Pollutant Cars (continued) Hybrids did well in both luxury and non-luxury lists. Hybrids emit half the pollutants (or less) than their gasoline-only counterparts. They shut down the combustion engine in stop-and-go traffic and some can rely exclusively on battery power at low speeds. This is why they emit so few pollutants compared to the gas only engines. LUXURY MODELS NON-LUXURY MODELS Lexus RX 400h Toyota Prius Lexus GS 450h Honda Civic Hybrid Honda Civic GS, Lexus LS 600h L Toyota Camry Hybrid Ford Escape Hybrid, Audi TT Mercury Mariner Hybrid Audi A3 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Lexus IS 250, Audi A4 2.0T Ford Focus Porsche Boxster/Cayman, Smart For Two Volvo C30 T5/V50 & S40 2.4i BMW 128i/328i/Z4, Toyota Yaris, Volvo S60, Lincoln MKZ, Mini Cooper Lexus ES 350/GS 350 Mercedes-Benz C300 Toyota Corolla BMW 528i Infiniti G37 Coupe Kia Rio (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:31:45 PM
  • 218. Most Expensive New Car Options For complete information view Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:31:45 PM
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  • 238. Article Archive March 18, 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Your Ad Here Select an Article to view 3/18/2008 Where's Your Manager?! By Jim Bernardi As I was getting my car serviced at a dealership while out of state, I overheard a conversation coming from a customer & a service advisor that truly concerned me. The conversation went south when the advisor stated: well that doesn’t seem to be a priority at this location, Just then the customer say’s “Where’s you’re Manager?” I just thought Wow, and how on earth does the service manager put up with such a poor customer service employee in this establishment? As the conversation became increasingly heated, the service manager finally showed up. Well I thought finally there’s going to be a resolution to what I saw was an easy fix. view article PRESS RELEASE 3/18/2008 Service Center Rhythm & Flow By Bill Zahrte 3/18/2008 Sale-Leaseback for New Car Dealer Rhythm and Flow works like “Magic!” Franchise Capital Advisors (FCA), a Scottsdale, AZ I travel dealership-to-dealership attempting to put “Rhythm and Flow” in based financial advisory company led by industry veteran place in service departments. As we begin our service sessions one of the Stephen Schwanz, recently completed a $3.5 million sale- main concepts I look for and find in the most successful “Service Centers” is leaseback financing for Caldwell Country what I refer to as, “Rhythm and Flow.” Chevrolet-Pontiac, the largest new car dealer in the If you review the most successful sports team from the Coach through the Caldwell area. Kevin Coffey, Caldwell's CEO stated, "This players, you will find when they are at the top of their game they have transaction let Caldwell realize significant gains by taking “Rhythm and Flow.” view article advantage of the current real estate and cap rate environment to unlock the large amounts of capital previously tied up in o ur real estate." He continued, "The 3/18/3008 More than US Postal Service By Hillary Torchin proceeds are currently being rolled back into our One of the first forms of mass consumer marketing was the S&H Green business development. view article Stamps program. Until December of 2006, people from coast-to-coast licked and placed their stamps into booklets, then turned those booklets in to redeem items from a reward catalog. This program was so popular among consumers, especially during the 1960s, that the catalog was the VEHICLE REVIEWS largest publication in the USA. It’s amazing to realize that S&H issued three times as many stamps as the US Postal Service! Currently the company operates as S&H Solutions and offers S&H Greenpoints, a digital version of 3/18/2008 Consumer Reports' 11 Worst Cars? Green Stamps, which can be earned online and in participating grocery Consumer Reports' annual auto tests pavement driving locations. Marketing programs continue to work, every day. view article conditions of 2008 models and reports scores up to 100. 3/18/3008 "Old School" Selling & Negotiation with Today's Buyer (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:32:34 PM
  • 239. Article Archive March 18, 2008 view article By Joe Verde 3/18/2008 Best and Worst CPOs The sales step salespeople don't know enough about! When you say Old J.D. Power and Associates says sales of CPOs has School, most people immediately think of the slam dunk, throw the keys on increased 46% since 2000. An estimated 1.6 million the roof, turn 'em 6 times selling-style. Any idiot should know that pushing certified used cars are purchased every year. According and shoving today's customers doesn't work. to KBB, new cars average $35,000 and depreciate at a I think the other kind of Old School Selling is critical though, especially with rate of 20% annually. Using a combination of measures, today's more informed buyer. This other Old School Selling means learning Forbes provides us with a list of the best and worst and using the "Tried & True, Proven Selling Techniques" that work with certified used cars. view article almost all of the people, almost all of the time. view article 3/18/3008 Customer Loyalty: More Important than Ever By Vince Rubino You spend thousands every month in advertising, you've put together a team of the best sales professionals, your showroom is spotless and your customer satisfaction scores indicate that customers are happy with their experience. All this and YOUR customer is buying a new car from the Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. dealership down the road! What happened? view article (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:32:34 PM
  • 240. Where's Your Manager? SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Where's Your Manager!? (continued) The service manager listened to the advisor first (poor decision) then he listened to his customer's concern. Guess what? The Service Manager decided that the customer was totally in the wrong. I had an opportunity to listen first hand to the customers disagreement in the waiting area and found that the department ran an advertisement for a $14.95 LOF special, when the customer handed the coupon to the advisor at time of check out the advisor simply stated: The coupon states-“Must be presented at time of write up.” So the manager decided to back up the advisor at a risk of losing a life-long, local, repeat car purchasing customer for $14.95. I sat there in awe thinking, I would terminate this style of management in an instant. Which leads me into this: For years dealers have looked for avenues to increase their overall sales & performance within their franchise. “It all starts at the top”, so let’s look at what it takes to put together a team of seasoned veterans within your immediate staff as well as the management team. What embodiments do we need to recognize in our leadership team and what are the differences between “Manager vs. Leader?” While it is often inappropriate to discriminate or judge harshly, there are some rules of engagements that come into the arena regarding hiring the Right Candidate. Let’s look into the difference and you decide which characteristics fit your current staff. Managers avow; Leaders extend. Managers embrace average performance; Leaders transform before it is necessary. Managers spend more time with tasks; Leaders spend more time with the work-force. Managers spend more time looking busy; Leaders spend more time with their sleeves rolled up producing real world results. Managers support under-achievers; Leaders are a true force of spirit and determination. Managers often micro-manage (resulting in poor performance;) Leaders empower their staff to push the envelope which leverages their competition. Managers believe and have an “It’sRenowned motivational speaker Dave Anderson listed these characteristics regarding that demand all about me” attitude; Leaders build competent and profitable teams excellence from their individual selves. Management vs. Leadership Management is about systems, controls, budgeting, process and procedures; Leadership concerns vision, direction, building a team and motivation. The positive attributes of management and leadership skills are equally important. Management without leadership means you can't grow what you keep. Leadership without management means you can't keep what you grow. However, most people in management positions over-manage and under-lead and, thus, the majority of (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:32:55 PM
  • 241. Where's Your Manager? organizations are severely over-managed and grossly under-led. It's essential to work toward a balance of sound management and solid leadership skills within your own leadership style. If you lack the inherent talents to execute both skill sets satisfactorily, then you must staff your weaknesses. Get your team out of their personal comfort zones and Insist on Performance I am a firm believer that pay plans should be predicated strictly on performance. If your staff was paid on production this would certainly eliminate performance issues within your departmental management. And it changes the attitude of your employees. They must first recognize that tight scrutiny will be viewed when it comes to customer satisfaction and increased performance levels in all team members. Let’s take a look at ways to increase employee incentives & pay plans accordingly. Pay plan structures should be observed in the following modules in Fixed Operations. Service Department Parts Department Customer Satisfaction Scores Parts Sourcing by application Labor Sales or Gross profit Parts Matrix Modifications Parts & Labor Sales or Gross Profit Stock Quality Improvements Customer Pay Labor Sales Reduce Obsolescence Flat Rate Hours per Customer Repair Order Non-Stock Accumulations Sources Customer Pay Effective Labor Rate Increase Parts Sales per Transaction Parts to Labor Ratio Wholesale Parts Business Profit Labor Sales Gross Profit Margin Integrity of your Inventory Data Up-Sell Percentage Guidelines Employee Efficiency 100% Multi-Point Inspections (qualified Inventory Fill Rate Improvement vehicles) Special Order Compliance Policies 100% Walk Around Inspections (qualified vehicles) 100% Menu Presentations (qualified vehicles) Recruiting Makers vs. Breakers When hiring a CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, Comptroller, or any other executive For large Automotive position, there must be a true visionary behind the wheel. Determining the perfect Groups, finding the perfect candidate for any organization can be a daunting task. The right candidate must candidate is instrumental in embody the vision of the dealer and have a well thought out long term agenda in the overall progression in mind when throwing their name into the arena as a prospective candidate. any company’s vision. After many years in the automotive profession I have found a professional (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:32:55 PM
  • 242. Where's Your Manager? company in that niche. Courland Automotive Practice has been uniquely The Makers are goal positioned in recruiting Automotive Executives Worldwide since 1991 and has a oriented individuals strong portfolio of clients to back them up. If your Executive Officers have no long term plan for future growth and you need professional assistance follow this link: who embody exceptional Note that Courland is not a staffing firm but characteristics that assists dealers and manufacturers in filling senior Executive positions. move away from conventional ties. Contact me and talk to me about our unique Fixed Operations Training program and our structured pay plan incentive for your fixed team. We offer a free The Makers insist on analysis of your Fixed Department. Yes I said free. We will travel anywhere in the US/Canada and install strategies & policies in motion to increase your bottom line. excellence, while the Breakers are the ones Also keep in mind that your data base was intended for growth & who are willing to just procurement within our marketplace. If you’re interested in regaining your lost customers then we need to talk about your DMS system. We have positioned move along & simply ourselves and partnered with a DMS Integration company that is an authorized want to provider for both Reynolds & Reynolds and ADP. Coming soon: Arkona Systems. get through the day Until our next article, demand perfection from your team and keep your customers out of the phone book. This will require you getting your team out of their comfort zones. By Jim Bernardi Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General President /AutoPro Training Solutions Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations email: Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director, Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of and visit AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed Operations Training Company which guarantees increased GP or their training fee is free. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:32:55 PM
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  • 245. Service Cener Rhythm & Flow SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Service Center Rhythm & Flow (continued) It is the ability to have all the “Game Plans” and “Game Plays” in motion so everyone is playing on the “Same Team.” All people involved with the team are striving toward the “Same Goals,” and the team leaders have set their standards above the average. With “Rhythm and Flow” as our guidepost, lets review 14 ways you can get the “Magic” of “Rhythm and Flow” up and running in your Service Center for optimum results. Demand constancy of purpose for improvement in the service area. To earn more money and provide purpose for everyone in the Service Center, leadership must be innovative; strive for constant improvement and continually challenge people for improvement. Adopt the philosophy of “We are The Best.” I find that generally, most service customers accept average workmanship, or average service results. Your policy should never be to accept average; accept only the best from people who assist you perform your job. Do not accept people who constantly have defective results. Quality comes from inspection, however improvement comes from a process that allows the improvements to happen. Improvement is never a one-time event. Management, as priceas everyone responsible to When consulting a customer to create a well quote, don’t cheapen the “Estimate” by Management, using is obligated to continually look for ways to reduce waste and find improvement. be discounted. low quality replacement parts. Quality and Satisfaction can’t Training is a job requirement. Too often workers have learned their job from another worker. Unfortunately, the worker they learned their job from wasn’t properly trained in the first place. . Workers need to be told what their job function is and how it should be done, but from management. Supervision is not pushing people to get the job done, but rather leading people to the conclusion it is important to finish the job on time and do it well. The objective here is lead people to success by example. Remove the fear. Many employees are afraid to ask questions or take a position, even when they do not understand what the job is, what is right or wrong. Management must remove the fear of asking. People will continue to do things the wrong way, or not do them at all. For quality and higher productivity it is important that people feel securecost feel that they areof dollars in productivity each month. The service department; Department barriers and you thousands part of the team. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:33:21 PM
  • 246. Service Cener Rhythm & Flow the parts department and the sales department are all on the same team, they just serve different Managers. Numerical quotas only take in account how many, they never take in account how well was the work done or the methods used to accomplish the goals that were set. Quotas are OK if the Quota is part of a measurement with methods and standards to reach the goal or quota. Create reasons for the “Pride Factor.” People are eager to do a good job and very let down when they can’t. There are reasons people do not live up to the standards set; Supervision; Faulty Equipment; Defective Materials and they have not been trained properly. Institute a vigorous training and improvement education program. New methods are on going. Management and all members of the staff should go through improvement training. This may include improvement in teamwork and new techniques that improve job skills. Make the commitment to make the change. Braking old habits is Relax. Yes relax, you need time to yourself, take that needed break, takesthat Days to break and create not easy. Professionals tell us it take 21 needed lunch break. Remember good starts should always have happy conclusions. So when you are leaving to go the home new habit, but only if it can be supervised and reinforced. at the end of the day make sure you leave happy. Your day tomorrow will have a great beginning. Would you like assistance on putting a rhythm and process in your dealership and I will be happy to review your special needs in the service area, also we can develop processing for the sales area using our Touch Point Communication processing. Just contact me and I will setup a no cost demo with a 30 day free trial. Bill has held positions such as Marketing Consultant, VP of By Bill Zahrte Marketing Development and National Director of Business Renowned Marketing Expert Relations. He specializes in customer communication at every Email opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, customer retention and profitability in the service and sales departments. Bill is Marketing Coordinator for AutoPro Training Solutions. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:33:21 PM
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  • 250. More than US Postal Service SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm More than US Postal Service (continued) Your customers have significant control over the information they receive. Effective ways to smartly infiltrate their personal circles of influence, by creating experiences, enable them to engage in ways that will really make a difference in what they think, how they act, and most importantly, what they say to others. But what does it take to really strike a chord in your customers—to cut through the 5,000-plus messages that barrage them each day? Many major firms have enacted loyalty marketing programs: American Airlines AAdvantage, Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest and Harrah’s Seven Star being among the well-known named programs. But every day, millions of businesses of all sizes create and implement their own programs. I work with over 10,000 financial advisors who send their A+ clients a gift on their birthday... that is a form of loyalty marketing. When the gift arrives, more often then not, family and friends are present. Someone usually asks, “who sent the gift?” and soon, the financial advisors name is out there and is being spoken about fondly. Many times, the phone number and email are given out and so, referrals are generated. In the automotive industry there are many ways to promote yourself and your firm through consumer marketing. The most important aspect to keep in mind is the relationship between you, your firm and your customer. What simple steps can you take to stay “front of mind” with your client? Birthday programs are one way of keeping in touch with your top customers annually, making them feel special on the one day of the year that is most relevant to them. Being remembered on your birthday is special and personal. Are you doing anything out of the ordinary for the single or widowed customers? Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are great opportunities to let your clients know you’re thinking about them. One of my clients takes all of his widowed customers out to lunch on Valentine’s Day. Another hires a limo for herself and her single clients for a fun night on the town. Knowing the passions of your customers and your own passion in life is key to a successful event. For instance, one of my clients loves chocolate – it’s an everyday thing for him. For years, I suggested that he host a client event party that included his zest for chocolate, such as a wine and chocolate pairing. He tried other conservative types of events, centered around speakers and PowerPoint presentations, which were all moderately successful. It wasn’t until this past year that he tried the event based on something he truly enjoyed – chocolate - and it was evident with his clientele that they too were interested in it and found his intensity when talking about chocolate fun and thrilling. Since the (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:33:59 PM
  • 251. More than US Postal Service chocolate event, he has had more referrals, more sales and more fun working with people who share his passion. Another way to easily market to your customers include direct mail and email. Web-to-print applications allow personalization on direct mail pieces, cleverly including your customers name throughout the mail piece. It’s been tested that when people see their name on a color postcard, there is a minimum 3-second additional view time per mail piece. That may not sound like a long time, but when consumers are looking through their mail, deciding what to hold on to and what to toss, you want to have your firm well represented and in the hold pile. Email is a bit trickier, but again, using their name, perhaps a digitized photo of the new model of the car they’re driving, and making sure that you are relevant in terms of timing is very important. A few years ago, a local auto dealer called me for assistance with a monthly campaign directed towards his leasing clients. Many of the salespeople who had originally assisted these clients no longer worked at the dealership, so there was no direct relationship or name recognition. This dealer worked out a program to personally call and introduce himself to the top ten potential clients 3-months before the lease became due. Once established, he sent a promotional gift item to their home or office with a catchy phrase, such as a box of brownies announcing “I’ll make you a sweet deal on your next lease”, or “here’s a pen to bring with you when you sign the lease papers for your new car.” This program has produced amazing results and is still working 3 years later. It has produced long-term relationships, sales and leases, and many additional referrals. He didn’t neglect the rest of the lease expirations, either – they receive an email and a letter asking them to come in and introduce themselves in return for a promotional gift item. Consumers are the lifeblood of our economy and marketing to them in an engaging, personal manner is important in order keep their loyalty and gain their trust. Good luck! Hillary offers database marketing and loyalty marketing services for direct mail, e-mail, telephone voice messaging, By Hillary Torchin text messaging, print and data entry. She represents: Bake Me President / Access LV database marketing firm A Wish!, King Logo, TeleVox, KnowledgeBase Marketing, My Email Mother's Brownies and ReturnPath. Her Specialties: Database marketing, loyalty marketing, target marketing, data acquisition, data append, loyalty marketing, CRM solutions, telephone voice messaging, emarketing solutions Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:33:59 PM
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  • 254. Sale Leaseback SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Sale-Leaseback (continued) Caldwell Chevrolet has been in existence for over 40 years and continues to be the top dealer of choice for the Caldwell DMA. In 2004, the dealership had grown too large for its long-time downtown Caldwell location and was moved to a brand new 11,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility at its present 9.5 acre site. “Kevin and the entire Caldwell team understood the wisdom behind freeing up their real estate value to fuel their business growth without looking for additional outside capital or debt,” said Steve Schwanz, “and by using this approach, they are able to keep their growth plan fluid and proactive, rather than having to wait for additional financing programs to be developed and approved before moving the business forward.” Franchise Capital Advisors is dedicated to providing a full range of financial services including debt and equity placement, sale leaseback structures and buy-sell advisory to all sectors of the chain retail segment. For more information on Franchise Capital Advisors, contact Stephen Schwanz, President & Managing Director, or Ryan Kress, Managing Director at 480-355-4380 or Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:34:17 PM
  • 255. "Old School Selling & Negotiation with Today's Buyer SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm "Old School" Selling & Negotiation (continued) To stay “in style”, with today’s hot buttons: Customer Satisfaction, Shorter Selling Process, Up front Pricing; too many manufacturers, trainers and sales forces are ignoring the most important part of selling to today’s customers: Value! As an industry, we never were that good, and in the last few years, we’ve gotten further away from real selling skills. That’s why you’re seeing manufacturers struggling, why you’re seeing dealerships turning into condos and why the best dealers who do get it, are growing faster than ever before! Before I learned the right way to sell, my first 5 years in sales I learned everything you could possibly do wrong to sell cars and I can prove it with my old W2s. You’ve heard my story; I was the 8-car guy my first five years, stopped selling cars for 2 years and learned the only true skills in sales. And when I started selling cars again, I sold more and earned more in 7 months than my first five years combined. But I got the right training during those two years; I learned the Old School Selling Methods that focused on the Customer and on Building Trust in the salesperson and in Building Value in the products you’re selling. These tried and true methods of selling have been proven throughout history, and I learned from the real pros: Ben Franklin, W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill, Socrates and dozens of other great men who developed the indisputable secrets to selling anything to anybody and who shared those with all who would listen. You talk about old school, these guys aren’t just real old, they’re all real dead. In class, our most common question is “What’s the best closing question?” and we always have to remind people that closing is a process, not a question. And selling is the same ... it’s a very deliberate process designed to take a stranger who doesn’t know you, like you or trust you (yet) and walk them through the steps to buying expensive products. And how about the Negotiation step – we still have to deal with price? Even labeling it the negotiation step implies that price must be negotiated every time and it implies that buying is about price. And it isn’t - buying is about Value! • 16% of the people pay MSRP, and about 30% pay whatever they’re asked to pay when given a price. (Tip: Ask for ‘sticker’ more often.) • Negotiation is really about perceived value and justification. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:34:30 PM
  • 256. "Old School Selling & Negotiation with Today's Buyer People come onto your lot to buy, but 3 things have to happen before they can. 1. They have to like the salesperson 2. They have to see the value to them of owning your product 3. They have to be able to justify buying And it’s #2 and #3 that get really messed up when salespeople and managers focus everything on price. Their perceived value doesn’t go up as you lower your price – just the opposite, drop the price, drop the value. And to justify, they have to have a base understanding. And they don’t have a reliable base of information on price, trade, down or payments – just look at the paper this weekend, they’re all over the board. That’s why you’ve lost people who were really getting the deal (price) of the century but couldn’t believe it and left without buying. Joe Verde Sales & Management Training is the largest Sales and Management Training company in the Automobile By Joe Verde industry teaching their exclusive formula for success. Verde’s global training company has clients in dozens of countries, President over 4,800 automobile dealerships, hundreds of RV, Boat and Joe Verde Sales & Management Training Motorcycle Dealerships. Joe Verde Sales & Management email: Training has a 23 year, verifiable track record of success with over half the top 500 dealerships are their customers. Additional information is available at or (888) 457-2414. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights Receive our E-Newsletter reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:34:30 PM
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  • 259. Customer Loyalty: More Important than Ever SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Customer Loyalty: (continued) Today’s car buyers happen to be more informed than ever and they have the luxury of having far many more choices, both in dealerships and brands, than the car buyer of yesterday. To think that it wasn’t all that long ago when car buyers had their choice of either a Chrysler, Ford or GM product. Next was the introduction of Japanese vehicles from Toyota, Honda, Nissan and the European brands. Hyundai and Kia have quickly made their presence felt to the point where even the Japanese auto makers are looking in their rear view mirrors much like the way the Big Three did when Toyotas and Hondas started to hit American roads. It won’ t be long until India and China join the mix. Some may snicker and joke at the thought of a car labeled “Made In China”, however, somebody is going to buy them. In a relatively short time, we’ve seen the pie go from “The Big Three” to being divided into smaller and smaller slices of market share. In today’s ultra-competitive retail automotive world just doing your job isn’t enough to keep your customers your customers. Creating customer loyalty and retaining as much of your existing customer base as possible is now more crucial than ever. Loyalty Rewards Programs Have Proven to Create REAL Customer Loyalty! Loyalty reward programs were first used in the airline and hotel industry to help create a long-term relationship with each customer. Recently it seems as if every major retailer, grocer, credit card and coffee shop is offering some sort of reward card. These businesses did so because their respective industries have gotten a little competitive. We’ve already covered the fact that there is not an industry more competitive that ours. These other industries have implemented programs that in essence reward customers for doing business with them and it is without a doubt that they work! Stop and think about your own consumer habits. Do you use your American Express card almost exclusively so that you can cash in your points for vacations? Do you fly a particular airline over others because of frequent flyer points and the perks you are offered? How about the rewards programs from big box retailers like Best Buy or even neighborhood shops like Subway and Starbucks? The programs do a great job of locking in customers to spend more with their business instead of going elsewhere. (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:35:09 PM
  • 260. Customer Loyalty: More Important than Ever The Time for Reward Programs in Auto Dealerships is NOW! Reward programs can be set up so that your customers will earn points with every dollar spent in your dealership’s departments. Reward cards are issued in both sales and service that allow customers to earn points based on customer pay in service. The goal is to drive more customers to the dealership’s service department. There is still a huge misconception with consumers that the dealership charges more for service than the 10-minute oil change service center. Since this is no longer the case, we need to let the customer know this and a rewards card program is the perfect way to keep customers in your service department. Some programs allow the customers to redeem the points toward service. This approach is strongly discouraged as it has the long term potential to cannibalize into fixed ops revenue. Instead, use a reward Program that is customized to offer immediate benefits in the form of exclusive discounts or perks for being a loyal customer while earning points toward the next vehicle purchase. The service discounts and perks for being a card holder are the short term rewards while the points earned toward a new vehicle is the long term reward. The points compel your customers to see you first when it’s time to buy another vehicle rather than go anywhere else. There are several highly effective reward card providers that design programs exclusively for the auto industry. All have a similar goal in creating customer loyalty, however, most vary in some degree in their approach or philosophy. You need to determine which program best fits your dealership. Some reward programs are designed to be just as much a powerful cutting edge e-mail marketing tool as it they are a customized reward card program. They have been proven to effectively harvest up to 80% of the customers’ e-mail addresses. Once the e-mail addresses have been captured, they also provide the necessary tools to revolutionize advertising, follow up and customer communication. They allow you the ability to reach individual customers, your entire customer base and target your message by make, model, year, lease, loan, cash deals, new or used, by mileage, days since the last service visit, even by sales person. A few programs provide the ability to send e-mail messages or e-mails that contain customized CSI/SSI surveys. E-mail surveys are great “buffers” to the actual manufacturer’s survey and allow the opportunity to address any complaints or issues before the customer receives a CSI survey. Dealers can also upload graphics and send them out as the body of the e-mail message. Some rewards e-mail programs also provide the option to send template-driven vouchers in the body of the e-mail. Best of all are the cutting-edge video e-mail features that give the dealership the ability to shoot a video right in the dealership or upload television commercials and send them out via e-mail. Many dealerships use the e-mail feature to notify customers of recalls, service reminders, new product introductions, announce incentive programs or special events at the dealership, send a holiday greeting, etc. The sky is the limit on how this technology can be utilized but the best part is that it is instant, easy and many times, free! Customers that don’t have e- mail can receive any audio message just as instantly and easily as e-mail can be sent. The good news is that these programs were designed to be an self funding solution. They create a revenue stream that not only covers the cost of the program but also the discounting you offer in both sales and service. For example, should a customer earn $500 towards their next vehicle purchase you’ll never have to deal with anything less than a full gross deal. Some of the Reward Programs offer no-risk guarantees and month-to-month agreements. The only thing you have to lose by not trying to create customer loyalty with Loyalty Reward Programs is your customers! (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:35:09 PM
  • 261. Customer Loyalty: More Important than Ever Vince Rubino is VP of Marketing for RewardLogix, which was developed to fit the ever demanding complexities of By Vince Rubino dealership needs. The dealer decides the rewards, the VP Marketing / RewardLogix points and how they are redeemed and RewardLogix builds email: the program. With ADP and Reynolds & Reynolds DMS integration, this provides effortless card activation and point tracking allowing your dealership to focus on what matters most... selling cars and satisfying service customers. Visit for more info. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights Receive our E-Newsletter reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:35:09 PM
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  • 265. 11 Worst Cars SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm 11 Worst Cars (continued) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 17 Hummer H3 (5 Cyl) 27 Off-Road Ability for testing was not factored in to the scores, so a vehicle Jeep Liberty Sport 27 purchased for that particular use may Chevrolet Aveo5 32 not be accurately represented. Dodge Nitro SLT 33 Toyota FJ Cruiser 36 Reliability & Cost of Ownership were also not factored in to these Toyota Yaris (base, manual trans) 36 scores; both of which are often a huge consideration for the buyer. Suzuki Forenza (base) 36 Jeep Patriot Limited 42 For complete information see Chevrolet TrailBlazer LT (6-cyl) 43 Consumer Reports testing Reports. Mercury Grand Marquis 43 Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust 3:35:28 PM
  • 266. Best & Worst Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Best & Worst CPOs (continued) Forbes took a combination of ratings to find the best and worst certified used cars on the market, including Consumer Reports' used-car scores, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash test ratings and extended warranty programs backed by the manufacturers. These five vehicles topped Forbes list of the Best CPO vehicles: Honda Accord, Toyota 4Runner, Acura TL, Subaru Impreza and Lexus GS. The Worst CPO vehicles on Forbes' list are the Saturn Relay, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Pontiac G6, Volkswagen New Beetle and Mercedes-Benz E Class. To get a comprehensive list, Forbes took the best of the bunch. If a manufacturer had two vehicles that could make the list, they chose the vehicle from that brand that rated highest in their ranking, to include on the list. Vehicles that did not have complete reporting data for safety or Consumer Reports' used-car verdicts were not included. The only vehicle making our list with a score of 15 is the Honda Accord. The Saturn Relay and Jeep Grand Cherokee both tied with the lowest scores of 3. For complete information view Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:35:34 PM
  • 267. Article Archive March 4 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Select an Article to view 3/4/2008 Do You Know Your Audience?, Jim Bernardi Well yet another NADA Convention has come & gone. I, for one, had a terrific time running into fellow colleagues & certainly had my share of meeting new ones, not to mention the unlimited resources of positive & professional networking that was accomplished this year. Our company Director of Operations and I spent the majority of our time learning who our audience is and who should be! view article 3/4/2008 E-Mail as a Customer Tool, Bill Zahrte How do you stay compliant with communication in our regulated service world? Collecting email addresses is one way to make sure your efforts to keep in touch with your customers has a purpose. But collecting the email address from our customer can be mind bending. What you hear is “We don’t have one”, or “I really don’t want to give out that personal information”. The other excuse comes from the employee, “I forgot to ask”, or “Is an email address all that important?” view article 3/4/2008 NADA Reflections, Bruce Reeves As I peruse the write-ups and press releases from the NADA 2008 Convention, it strikes me how the influence of technology is a dominant theme. Several vendors introduced new technology and initiatives that will raise the bar on what customers expect and demand from auto dealers now. The consumer experience, and their access and utilization of technology (particularly the internet), is driving this revolution. The bottom line is, that dealers have to anticipate and respond accordingly, to what the consumer wants. view article 3/4/2008 Success with Special Finance, Lowell Bloodworth Many automobile dealerships want to succeed in Special Finance, and rightfully so, but some may be intimidated by the unfamiliar landscape. Following are some guidelines which should help you to tread the path to success. Currently many Americans are in precarious financial conditions with resultant poor credit ratings, and unfortunately more are joining them daily. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:35:40 PM
  • 268. Article Archive March 4 2008 What better time to get into Special Finance? You will be doing both your store and your Special Finance customers a service by learning as much as you can about how to get these prospects financed and into the cars they need and want. view article 3/4/2008 Identity Theft at Your Dealership, Michael Maguire Two women walk into a dealership. They know exactly what they want and where to get it. One of the women begins a conversation with a group employee, pretending she was interested in buying a vehicle. This distraction allows the other person to slip into an area where customers are not usually allowed. In an open area she finds records of dozens of customers. She picks them up and puts them under her arm and walks away. The job completed in a matter of a few seconds. Those records had Social Security numbers, Credit Card numbers, and all kinds of personal information belonging to the dealerships treasured customers. Think this could not happen? Well it did. view article 3/4/2008 CRM Success, Ralph Paglia In August 2005 I had the privilege of going to work for the largest sales volume and revenue Chevrolet dealership in the world, Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix, AZ. Based on my previous 24 years of experience in developing "CRM Programs" for both dealerships and car companies, I knew that effectively communicating the concept of a CRM Profit Center to Courtesy's entire management was one of my first essential objectives. This brief Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. article was originally used to introduce Courtesy Chevrolet's management team to the 5 most essential results measurements that must be tracked if ANY dealership is to be successful in managing their CRM activities as a source of incremental profits... A CRM Profit Center. view article (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:35:40 PM
  • 269. Do You Know Your Audience SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Do You Know Your Audience? (continued) Walking the NADA Convention floor, we made new relationships & future business colleagues. After all is done and said, I need to propose a question to our audience…The Readers; the Dealer Principles, Operations Managers, F & I Gurus, Marketing Magnets and so on. I asked this question about your audience, your Customer Base, which is still permeating your showroom floor and service/parts department arena. “Do you know your audience?" Are you better fitted to assisting your customers than you were prior to the convention? If so, Great. But for those of you who stopped by and ask me questions how to regain the current customers within your own DMS database, I spoke confidentially & deliberately about Knowing Who Your Audience Is. OK, so here we go. The one question that seemed to permeate the arena was, and probably will be, "How do we regain our focus on the lost customers that fell by the wayside AND regain a handle on profit margins & Service Absorption?" The best way to handle yesterday’s failures is to start to handle today’s customer properly. By the way, your current stream of revenue is standing in your showroom right now. Or for Fixed Operations Managers; treat every customer in your arena as a CSI customer. Putting your customer first every time will not only increase your Gross Profit margins. Statistics prove that every happy customer tells a friend or neighbor about his/her experience. That being said, every customer that is unhappy will certainly tell many more people than the happy ones. Here is some interesting “Knowing your Audience” information. NADA States: Customer Satisfaction exists at the confluence of expectations, processes and staff performances. The reasons customers stop coming to the dealership are illustrated for educational purposes, simply stated: If you know your audience, then you will understand their needs. Top Reasons Customers Stop doing Business with your Dealership: 1% - Die 3% - Move Away 5% - Develop other Friendships - Both professionally & Personally 9% - Go to your Competition 14% - Are Dissatisfied with the Product 68% - Were Treated with an Attitude of Indifference by the Dealer and/or an Employee. Understanding the market is an instrumental tool when determining the factors in lack of work, slow production, low sales volume, and employee turn over We have learned: Getting employees out of their personal comfort zones eliminates down time, it also provides management the tools needed to determine what course of action will be needed within their immediate staff and current processes. A productive team member is a happy team member, and if the team is operating efficiently (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:35:55 PM
  • 270. Do You Know Your Audience and conducting themselves professionally, then customers are able to take notice and “The Road Ahead” has been established. And the foundation of a well trained and fully operational department has been built. Let’s change lanes here for a moment: I recently read an article written from an un-known author who used an historical place & time that truly dealt with modernized management. Fully committing to success means there are no excuses. If you commit to increasing sales, then burn the ship of excuses because nothing short of total realization of that goal is acceptable. Old sales goals are gone forever, and the only things you are focused on are the new numbers. Falling back and achieving the old numbers isn’t a success of any kind; it’s short of your goal. If you commit to meeting with one new client every week, but you used to meet with one new client every three months, burn that ship of what used to be acceptable. It’s gone! Meet the goal you have established! Simply saying “I want to do this or that” isn't good enough. Commitment requires that we change the verb from want to will. I will contact new prospects this week, I will make this deadline, and I will change my attitude. Burn the ship of options and excuses and make a real commitment! No more “woulda,” “coulda” or “shoulda” and no mindset of “I will go down fighting.” I will not go down fighting, because I will not fail! If you want to win, don’t allow losing to be an option. Victory comes with the commitment that is willing to “burn the ships.” I’m not stating that you burn the proverbial ship; I am merely suggesting that you make it a company policy to fight the good fight & never give in to negative employee relations that certainly slow the tides of progression. Make sure your team is committed to go the distance & demand perfection in all they accomplish each & every day. Your customers are certainly expecting a bigger bang for their buck. Your Action: When you make your next commitment, write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in a conspicuous place where you will see it daily. Begin with “I will” not “I want.” Until next month, Keep your service bays full, your technicians hungry & your customers ever so happy. Jim Bernardi (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:35:55 PM
  • 271. Do You Know Your Audience President /AutoPro Training Solutions email: and visit Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director, Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed Operations Training Company which guarantees increased GP or their training fee is free. Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:35:55 PM
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  • 274. Email as a Customer Tool SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm E-Mail as a Customer Tool(continued) The best way to sum up the reason is simple, it’s a communication tool to assist the people in the company to earn considerably more money. Through using the 'dreaded' email your service people will be able to have instant contact to deliver free information to the customer and develop a balanced effort to build a loyal customer user. In sales the dreaded email can serve as a connection to survey a walkout non-buyer. How valuable is an email address? In our today’s world of data communication it will be the most important dealership asset you can acquire and it costs nothing to get. The question is….are you building an email data base. If you are weak in gaining this kind of information it should be the number one priority in the service area as well as the sales area. One way to build your customer email data-bank is to create a Dealership Brochure. The brochure can be a single page document explaining the importance of the leaving the email address for the service to have as a communication tool for the many things that affect the convenience of ownership from the dealership. The email address can affect recalls, new service needs, special sales, service news and many other reasons for the email address from the customer. Your email data base will change often and as a matter of service and sales processing the customer must verify the email address every time the car is in for service. Your email data base should be 70% of the names in your DMS. Remember collecting email addresses is free and has a very, very, very high return on the investment. Here are Five Strategies that can be used to assist everyone in the dealership develop great communication skills and stay compliant in our data managed world: Relevance: Ensure that all communication is relevant to the customer’s ownership experience. Consumers do not want a sales pitch for something they are not interested in. They do want informative, timely, and relevant communications. In the service department there are unlimited reasons for suggesting the customer should reveal their contact information and this includes an email address. One huge reason is a factory recall. In the old days it was “Snail Mail”. A recall came out and it took weeks and in some cases months for the customer to find out about the recall. Today it’s a matter of hours when service management in the dealership knows about a recall campaign, the factory simply sends an email to the manager and then they want to make sure every customer has been contacted. If a customer gives an email address, it is very likely they are comfortable receiving communication via that medium. Let the customer know the importance of having this information. (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:36:04 PM
  • 275. Email as a Customer Tool Education: Proper training for dealership employees is essential. Employees responsible for answering incoming calls or sending outbound communications must be knowledgeable about DNC (Do Not Call), privacy and spam legislation, and be committed to ensuring that the dealership maintains compliance. Notice that the rule of contact does not say “Do Not Contact”, it says “Do Not Call.” Knowledge: Laws change on an ongoing basis. Partnering with a company that can provide updates specific to your needs is necessary. Sincerity: It is a subtle yet powerful subliminal message that comes through (or does not) in all communication. Every message, regardless of medium, should convey a sincere concern for the customers’ needs and best interests. Scripting is beneficial; a good script creates a platform on which sincere, two-way communication is established. Increased legislative restrictions do not affect a dealer’s strategy: To deliver the right message via the right medium. The government has increased restrictions on outbound calls and how the call is delivered. If a customer is an active customer the rule says you have the ability to contact those customers’ up-to 18-months. In the sales department the contact is up-to 3-months. Here we are talking about phone calls. Again the “Do-Not- Call” rule doesn’t say do not contact. My suggestion is contacting customers on a scheduled continued time-line. One example starting with appointment verification the day before the appointment is scheduled. From here the customer is contacted after the service visit for reviewing the satisfaction of the service. The contact should be a mix of direct telephone and email contacts. Here is an example of a time- line: 1. Service Introduction Letter & Call 2. Appointment Confirmation Call & email 3. Service Completion Call & email 4. Service Follow-up Call & email 5. Special Order Parts Confirmation Call & email 6. Special Order Parts Follow-up Call & email 7. A Declined Service Follow-up Call & email 8. Service Reminder Call & email at 3-months, 6-months, 9-months & 12-months 9. Birthday mailing. This represents 19 different customer contacts over the course of one-year. Is this too many . . . I don’t think so. You can never have too many contacts. It is how the contacts are made that will represent the key to their success. I have found that if customer contacts are to benefit the customer and are informational, the customer will be happy you are keeping them informed. I have also found for the best results you have to invite the customer to return. And the best way is a systematic approach and held positions such as Marketing Consultant, VP of Bill has ongoing communication. Marketing Development and National Director of Business Relations. He specializes in customer communication at every opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, customer By Bill Zahrte retention and profitability in the service and sale departments. Renowned Marketing Expert Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:36:04 PM
  • 276. NADA Reflections SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm NADA Reflections(continued) A Loyalty Card system is a great example of that. While other industries have taken the initiative, and in the meantime secured their loyal customer base utilizing technology, communications and meaningful rewards, auto dealers seem to be waiting for programs like this to go away. The proliferation of reward card offers that started with airlines, hotels and grocery stores has now filtered down to your local Subway franchise! These industries recognize that if consumers have a real reason to be loyal to them, the cost of implementing this program is peanuts compared to the long term payoff. The bottom line is: THIS IS WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT! For those of who you have an airline or hotel loyalty card- when was the last time you made a reservation without at least checking out the offers from your card providers first? That's the beauty of the reward programs. It gets you first in line when a customer is ready to do two of the most important things at a dealership: buy a vehicle or service a vehicle. The additional benefits of customer goodwill and increased margins are just icing on the cake. What to do next? Decide if you are ready to stop reinventing the wheel every month trying to drive new customers into your showroom with advertising that is becoming less effective by the minute, or start working a strategy to secure, grow and communicate with your customer base. Bruce is a Territory Manager for RewardLogix, a Bruce Reeves system provider for automotive customer loyalty Upstate NY Territory Manager/REWARD LOGIX card systems. Bruce is a professional in his field and highly knowledgeable in customer retention email: marketing. Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust 3:36:07 PM
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  • 280. Success With Special Finance SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Success with Special Finance (continued) By all accounts, Special Finance profits are enticing. I regularly hear about (and see) typical Gross Profits of between $2,600 and $4,600 per vehicle, sold retail. Surely it makes sense for you to learn the ins and outs and develop the organization and processes that yield profits like these: Management Start by insisting that the Special Finance position be filled by a person who has at least one year of successful automobile sales experience, has the ability to delegate jobs within the department and is known for integrity in their past positions. There is too much at stake to tolerate dishonesty and poor responsibility. The right high-integrity person is the bedrock upon which you will build your department and get your standard processes in place. Processes The first contact should be by telephone, not email. The call should be made immediately when the fresh lead is received if at all possible. Telephone calls must be kept brief and must be fully scripted. When speaking to a Special Finance customer on the telephone, avoid too many specifics. Your script must get them to arrive. When asked, “Do you have a blue Ford Explorer or similar SUV?” answer in a way to get them into the store, such as, “We have a lot of inventory on vehicles like that, with more coming in all the time. We get vehicles two ways: we trade in new vehicles and buy new vehicles every day. I will help you find the vehicle that you can afford and meets your needs. When can you come in and take a look?” Get the prospect to arrive. Especially effective is an offer of a “buy now”. For example, “Can you come in this afternoon because I have a couple more gas cards worth $50 in free gas to anyone leaving with a vehicle today.” When making the appointment use statements such as, "I have an appointment at 9 and one at 11. Would you like me to set yours at 2 or 4?" This lets the customer know you are working with others and your time and the appointment are important. Ask customers to write down items they will need to bring. Again, keep in mind we want to convince customers that by seeing us they can buy. Give clear directions to your location and make sure to repeat the appointment time. Close the call on a positive note, "Bring all your paperwork and insurance information because we want to send you home in a new car!" The key points of telephone contact are: Call every lead and don’t prejudge. Use scripted patter for both in-bound and out-bound calls. Get every prospect into your dealership regardless of credit. Get the prospect in at an appointed time. (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:36:13 PM
  • 281. Success With Special Finance Develop a friendly conversation and invite cooperation early on. Don’t lie to them and tell them they are approved unless they are. Handle specific questions about specific vehicles with the above script. Make sure they bring all their paperwork. Remember, it is still about selling financing. Upon arriving, the customer must be asked, “If we can find something that meets your needs and finances, can we put together a deal today?” Every customer - every time. This flushes out whether you have a decision maker or not. If not, get the other decision makers there. This always keeps you in control of the sales process and CONTROL is the key to sales. Next, find the vehicle that the customer would love to own or will meet their needs. Ask them, “What do you like about this vehicle?” You will need to know and use the individual's goal-of-ownership and “go” buttons to keep the sales process progressing. At any point, when the sales process is getting derailed, come back to showing them the vehicle they chose and remind them, in their own words, why this vehicle fills their needs. Take a complete and accurate credit application. Every question on the credit application is there for a reason. Some areas to ensure: Provide three years of residence history and employment history with contact numbers for verification. If a renter, ask for the landlord’s name and telephone number. If a homeowner, ask them where it is financed. Ask for a check stub that provides year-to-date earnings. Find reasonsout do the deal today. Have several “buy now”how this can ready, such as, “As I told you on the Find to if there is an additional income source and statements be verified. phone, I have a few more ensure youworth $50all the facts.that we are the deal today for anyone taking delivery,” Take the time to gas cards uncover in free gas That helps offering get approved. or, “When you arrived, I asked if you found the vehicle that met your needs, we could make a deal today. You said, “Yes.” What do I need to offer to get you into this vehicle that you have chosen?” Re-Calling Leads When a customer comes on your radar from whatever source, they are a lead now AND in the future. Do not just give up on a prospect because they left with a promise to “be back”. At a minimum, anyone leaving your lot should be contacted daily until it is clear they bought elsewhere, and then re-contacted monthly. This is a Special Finance customer and, even if they bought elsewhere, they may have future needs for themselves or other family members. Their credit score will not improve overnight, so they can buy other vehicles from you. Don't forget to prospect for other customers at the close. They may well know other people like themselves who need Special Financing. Marketing Although a good media/advertising mix is advisable, Internet Finance Leads are still the lowest cost per sale. One hundred Internet Finance Leads will create anywhere from four to fifteen sales on average, yielding a very good ROI. Stay on the path mapped out above and I'm confident your journey into Special Finance will be both profitable and rewarding. Lowell Bloodworth Bon voyage! VP Internet Leads / Zahr & Associates (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:36:13 PM
  • 282. Success With Special Finance Lowell Bloodworth is VP Internet Leads at Zahr & Associates. He provides Special Finance Leads from the Zip Codes around your lot. Every lead is exclusively for you and filtered for accuracy. Zahr requires no long term contract and leads are filtered specifically to meet the lender’s requirements. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:36:13 PM
  • 283. Identity Theft at Your Dealership SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Identity Theft at Your Dealership(continued) In January 2007 this happened to a Warren Henry Auto Group in Miami Gardens, Florida1. The Warren Henry Automotive Group is a well known, highly respected company which sells top of the line luxury vehicles. They take pride in taking care of customers and providing the best service. They had safeguards in place. Regardless, in just a few seconds, dozens of customer’s financial security was put at risk while they were not paying attention. The records were left out in the open, unprotected, ready for the thieves to take. They thought it could not happen to them. But it did. Then there was the negative media coverage of the event that followed which is something a business of any kind does not want. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. According to a report2 just published in February by the Federal Trade Commission, there were 813,899 complaints filed in 2007. This is up 136,616 from 2006. This is in spite of all the new laws and regulations passed to help protect a person’s personal information. It has become more lucrative to steal a person’s identity than to rob a bank. In 2007 1.2 billion dollars was stolen through identity theft and fraud. A little less than 40% of the total of complaints were internet related while the other 60% came from every day kind of transactions. Every time a person uses their credit card there is some risk. For example, how many times have you gone out to restaurant for dinner and used your credit or debit card to pay for the meal? At the end of the meal the server takes your credit card from you, goes somewhere where you cannot see and then comes back after a while and asks for your signature. During that time how easy is it to write down your credit card number, expiration date and the security code from the back of your card? It is extremely easy! There were thousands of cases reported just like this last year. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, also known as the Fact Act, was designed to fight Identity theft. Part of the Act requires credit and debit card receipts to show only the last four digits on the customers copy. From my research, I see no indication that this requirement has helped stop Identity theft or fraud in any way. Crooks are just simply writing down the number or taking the merchant’s copy which in some cases already includes the full number on it. Another part of the FACT Act, the “Red Flag” Regulation, just went into effect January 1, 2008. Full compliance by dealerships must be in place by November 1, 2008. In a nut shell the Red Flag Regulation drafts those who are in the financial services industry to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement in the fight against Identity theft. Dealerships are required to have a “Red Flag” policy in writing and in place by the November 1st dead line. So what does this all have to do with the service or parts departments? The fact is that Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act and the Fact Act are not directed at the service department. They are for those within the dealership that provide financial services to customers, which takes place in the sales department. It could be debated that the Patriot Act and Executive Order 13224 does apply to service departments. They require that a person or business know who they are doing business with and each customer is checked against the SDN list (Specially Designated Nationals List). The government acknowledges that checking every person that comes into a (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:36:16 PM
  • 284. Identity Theft at Your Dealership dealership to have an oil change is not practical and not the intent of the law. However, that does not mean we should not be diligent when it comes to protecting our customers from would be identity thieves. It should be noted that even though the laws and regulations that the sales department has to follow doesn’t apply to the service or parts department, that does not exonerate you from the possibility of civil liability if a customer is able to track their identity theft or fraud to your dealership. There is an issue when it comes to the information that is shared between the service and parts departments and the sales department. Most of the big dealerships now have CRM programs (Customer Relations Management) that make available customer information to all departments. This is where the service and parts department have to be careful. If the information on a customer was collected by F&I office it is covered under the “Safeguard Rule” of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Exposing that information to Now you ask “what are we suppose to do?” Simple! Take a look at your dealership and look unauthorized persons is a violation of the law and subject to heavy fines. around to see how much customer information is around. Determine your exposure. Then put policies in place and train your employees. Treat all customer information as top secret. Make no exceptions. When an employee is away from their desk, customer information should be out of view of the general public, preferably in a drawer that can be locked. That includes ROs. ROs have customers' names, addresses, phone numbers and vehicle identification numbers. Never give any information, even a Vehicle Identification number, out to someone on the phone. Your parts department should not cut a new key for a customer unless they can prove, in person that they are the owner of that vehicle. Credit card slips and checks should be placed in a secure lockable place, unavailable to prying eyes or sticky fingers. All this sounds like common sense, but in the everyday hustle and bustle of life we take short cuts. Identity thieves depend on this. Put safeguards into your parts and service department. Protect your customers, avoid being a newspaper headline. Michael Maguire Agent-Trainer/Curran EasyCare Michael is one of the nation's leading Compliance Experts. He is an agent for Curran EasyCare, serving New England Automotive Dealerships. They offer insurance service coverage, RV coverage, driver care, GAP coverage and keycare. 1News report from channel 4 CBS news Miami, Florida, Jan 31, 2007. To view report go to: 2Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data report published February 2008 Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:36:16 PM
  • 285. CRM Success SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm CRM Success(continued) Let me begin by assuring you that dealerships which have been successful with CRM from a Profit Center approach usually develop additional measures to these 5, but the more sophisticated measurements are not useful without these five. Additionally, keep in mind that these 5 key measurements (metrics) must be tracked for each category of CRM activities. There are many sub-categories, especially in Service CRM that we must track, but here’s an illustration that displays the 8 general CRM categories: As you can see, there are 4 Inbound (customer initiated) and 4 Outbound (dealer initiated) CRM Process Categories. At the dealership management level, a summary report of CRM activities within each of these 8 buckets should be reviewed weekly, or at the very least monthly. I also want to point out that the Inbound Showroom category is best looked at from a customer information capture perspective within an overall CRM program. For every other type of CRM Process Category, here are the 5 Key Measurements: Quantity of Customers Contacted within the measured time period (monthly is most common) Quantity of Appointments Scheduled for a Showroom or Service Visit to the Dealership Quantity of Customers included in Metric #1 that showed up at the dealership for Sales or Service, whether or not they had an appointment included in #2 The Number of Vehicles Sold to Customers in #3, or the Total Parts and Labor Revenue from all RO’s written to the Customers included in #3 The Total Gross Profit (front and back) on the Vehicle Sales in #4, and the Total Profits by Parts and Labor from the Repair Order revenue measured in #4. (1 of 3)6/2/2008 3:36:38 PM
  • 286. CRM Success It has been my experience that although just about every manager sees the importance of measuring these 5 results of CRM activities within each category, but other than Internet, very few dealerships do it. Then there are the dealership managers who “get it”… These are the ones that show up at one of our CRM seminars and bring these 5 measurements with them, broken out into several categories of activities or CRM campaigns resulting from data mining programs. And, the ones that are in the top 10% of all dealerships in regards to CRM performance will analyze each CRM category and data mining campaign with some of the following performance ratios that are made possible by these 5 key metrics: Without the 5 Key CRM Measurements, we could not see these analytics, or use them to manage our CRM activities. But, why are these performance ratios important? Let me list some of the more basic reasons and a few examples of how managers in dealerships use these ratios: Appointments Made to Opportunity; this is simply the volume of appointments generated by that specific CRM process or campaign divided by the total number of customers contacted. Whether this is an Inbound or an Outbound CRM Process, the percentage of appointments generated reflects the effectiveness of our process execution and the techniques or tactics used. For example, if Salesperson #1 takes sales calls 6 hours per week and generates 5 appointments scheduled from 20 phone calls, he has a 25% appointment ratio. If Salesperson #2 takes 30 incoming sales calls, and generates 6 appointments, then he has a 20% appointment ratio. Dealer Visits to Appointments Scheduled; this is in most cases the “Show Ratio” on appointments scheduled. However, there are some stores where the volume of customers contacted through a CRM process that show up at the dealership will exceed the total appointments scheduled, This results in a Show Ratio exceeding 100%, which is an indicator that the CRM process being measured is not focusing on seeking agreement from the customer to come into the dealership. This ratio should never be 100% or higher, which indicates weak appointment seeking tactics within that category. Likewise, if we see a 50% show ratio, then we need to establish better appointment confirmation processes, such as an email confirmation of the appointment with door-to-door directions to the dealership from the customer’s address. Dealer Visit Closing Ratio; for the Sales CRM Categories, this performance measurement evaluates the effectiveness of your sales department’s appointment reception and sales processes. If we see that Salesperson #1 has handled 20 Internet Sales Appointments that showed up in a month, and sold 5 cars, then he has a closing ratio of 25% on that type of appointment. If Salesperson #2 handled 20 Internet Sales Appointments that showed up and sold 10 cars, then #2 has a 50% closing ratio on Internet Appointments that show up… Who do you want getting these appointments in your store? Profit Per Customer Contact; this analytic allows dealership managers to see the relative value of each CRM Category with each other category. For example, if we have a limited staff of people available for outbound CRM campaigns, we will assign them to the Outbound CRM categories that have proven to be the most profitable. When those high profit activities have been completed, we can tackle the lesser profitable ones with any remaining time. Let me close by showing a partial illustration (Outbound CRM only) of the 5 Key CRM Metrics listed in a simple Excel Spreadsheet format: (2 of 3)6/2/2008 3:36:38 PM
  • 287. CRM Success Ralph has held positions such as OEM Partnership Executive for Reynolds and Reynolds, CRM/eBusiness Ralph Paglia Director, New Car Sales Manager, Used Car Manager, Director – Digital Marketing / ADP Dealer Services F&I Director, General Sales Manager and General Manager. He led the development and design of email: nationally implemented CRM and eBusiness programs for Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and other car companies. He also designed Ford’s BDC program Mercedes-Benz StarLeads CRM system and the Mercedes-Benz BDC. Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (3 of 3)6/2/2008 3:36:38 PM
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  • 289. Article Archive February 4, 2008 Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Select an Article to view 2/4/2008 Consider Your Options, Jim Bernardi According to the latest NADA statistics, The Fixed Operations Department only accounts for 12 percent of the total revenue, when in fact it produces over 60 percent of a dealership’s net profit. Dealerships typically gross 5 percent on new cars, 12 percent on used cars, and 38 percent on parts. Yet, they gross an incredible 70 percent in the service department. Obviously, the quickest way to increase gross is to sell service. view article 2/4/2008 Solving Customer Communication, Bill Zahrte It Doesn't Take an Einstein to Solve this Problem: Simple math can put you in control of your customers. History has proven that attracting new customers is expensive. In fact, economists have added it up - it costs 10 times more in effort and advertising costs to attract new business than maintain your current relationships with customers including the advertising expenditure you’re already incurred to bring them into the dealership. view article 2/4/2008 Birds Of A Feather Flock Together, Richard Harris So do your best potential customers, but do you know where and how to reach them? A Market Analyst helps dealerships to find the exact address of its best potential customers and then provides a detailed Media Plan to show exactly where to advertise to best reach the future buyers. Automotive dealerships spend a tremendous amount of money on advertising, media and direct mail, and often have very little return and traffic into the showroom that is attributed to that advertising, media or direct mail. Most dealerships use what's called "shotgun marketing." view article Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. 3:36:46 PM
  • 290. Consider Your Options SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Consider Your Options (continued) Fixed Operations Expert Moving on, consider the closing ratio of ups to sales in variable operations. It’s about 30 percent. (For every 100 people in the front door, you sell about 30 cars.) But, in fixed operations the closing rate is 100 percent. Nearly every person that walks through the service door produces revenue for the dealership. If a truckload of prospective clients showed up on your sales floor every morning to shop your inventory we are certain that you would take the appropriate action to capture their attention. Why not take the same action on your service sales floor. It’s the backbone of your business! The fixed operations department typically is the most profitable area in the dealership. Many dealer successors grew up on the variable operations side of the business. Quite frankly; they just aren’t as comfortable with parts and service as they are in new and used car sales. Their strength is in sales. Many service managers, on the other hand, have spent their entire careers working on cars, writing up repair orders, and dealing with irate or irrational customers, not to mention CSI scores and technician productivity concerns. Yet many service managers are lacking in sales techniques and overall selling skills. Fixed and variable operations are located under the same roof; yet, they are often worlds apart. Eliminate the idea of your dealership as the sales department and the service department. Rather, it’s time to view your business as the sales department (variable operations) and the other sales department (fixed operations). Make sure you have enough personnel on the service drive during peak traffic hours. If your advisors are dealing with more than 15 customers per day, it’s costing you money. We have found that the right mixture is approx 15 customer pay repair orders per day per advisor. (This does not include Internal & Warranty write ups). The more time they spend with each customer, the greater the sales penetration and the higher the CSI. For service advisors to reach their true sales potential, you have to make sure they have enough support personnel to assist them. This includes porters to move cars, thus keeping the traffic moving. After all, the service lane is really our service sales floor and we must keep it uncluttered and presentable. You also need a lane manager/spotter, or fluid checker to pull the vehicle’s vital fluids, check batteries, belts, and hoses. This person serves as a facilitator to the advisor in the sale, thus opening the door to additional sales in maintenance recommendations. Don’t forget the phones. Most incoming calls (like appointments, status calls, or parts arrival status) can be handled by someone/thing other than the advisor, thus giving them more time with live customers on the drive. I recommend a true profit generator such as a DMS Solution based company to handle those calls, not just for Parts & Service but also for your Sales/Leasing Department. A lost sale is gone forever. If your advisors say they don’t up-sell maintenance for fear they can’t get all the work out, then it’s time to increase your production (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:36:57 PM
  • 291. Consider Your Options staff. Capacity issues are problems that can create great opportunities for growth. If necessary, hire additional technician support staff. You don’t have to hire an A technician. Technicians at a C or D level can perform most maintenancefollowing: and they are much easier to recruit. Assume the services s Your Service Department writes approx 900 CP repair orders per month s Your door rate is $89 s Your ELR is 90% of your door rate s You average 2.0 HPRO s You average 45% parts gross profit margin & 75% labor gross profit margin s Your true parts to labor ratio is in the 90% & higher range s You average 33 percent in up-sells ratio This will be equivalent to $75,735 in additional selling revenue. Another quick calculation will reveal that you have retained $80.10 of the door rate. Many dealers suffer economical harm due to poor processes & lack of accountability. When you recalculate the above figures, there will be much more money left on the table then imagined, thus: will be added to you bottom line or Net Operating Profit. We suggest that as part of your business plan incorporate a very structured & aggressive campaign to target all avenues of growth & opportunities. In our next article we will focus on the long term plan rather than the short term fix. Jim Bernardi President /AutoPro Training Solutions Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:36:57 PM
  • 292. Solving Customer Communication SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Solving Customer Communication (continued) It certainly makes sense to pursue new service and sales opportunities, especially for the short term gain and to balance the attrition factor. Many business schools base their curriculum on teaching how to Article Sponsor cultivate new business activity. What they don’t reveal is how to turn existing customers into “Raving Fans” which translates into long-term Advertisement results. I have learned from my decades of automotive experience that keeping customers who are loyal enough to actually recommend their car servicing experience to others is a benefit that can’t be calculated. And, that every investment in customer-driven loyalty brings exceptional returns for the cost: ROL=ROI. How do you build ROL and drive ROI when customers are increasingly turned off by the hassle of the average service center? I have had friends tell me that going into a dealership and servicing their vehicle was somewhat like going to the dentist, long waiting time, high costs and much pain. When they arrived based on the service special, it was never what was advertised. The feeling was that the service personnel was not interested in their problems and really couldn’t explain the billing. I have had friends ask, "Where can I go to get a good experience on service and get a good deal on the eventual cost of the service needed?" I have asked myself “What’s a good service experience?" It should be one a customer shouldn't’t have to shop for. It should be the positive equation of a great service experience without a shopping contest. There really is a simple answer to building happy customers, short- term and long-term. Consider using loyalty processing as a tool to retain and gain respect with new customers and long term service users. During the first part of 2000 the concept was using a BDC (Business Development Center) to assist with attempting to encourage business growth. A BDC was created to put the good business habits in place from appointment confirmation calls to bringing in lost customers from the current Dealer Management System in attempt to increase production in the service department. It seemed to be a great idea. But the disadvantage outweighed the logic of customer contact that is timely. It is hard to find the proper people to work in this BDC environment and training seems to be ongoing. So if a BDC was a good idea and the results were less than overwhelming what’s the answer. The simple answer is automation. AutoLoop has been able to take every process that is repetitive and automate that function. AutoLoop has been able to automate the entire BDC with Scheduled Maintenance, Appointment Confirmation, Parts Arrival Confirmation, Service Completion, Service Follow-up, Management of Service Advisors, Declined Repairs, Customer Recovery, My Auto Points Processing, Purchase Follow-up, Lead Follow-up, Expiring Lease Customers, Warranty Notification, Management of Service and Sales Campaigns, Manage Contact Lists and the Management of Voice Recording. And then there is reporting. Using the ROI report that was developed by AutoLoop management can pinpoint the (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:37:04 PM
  • 293. Solving Customer Communication actual processing of customer contacts balanced with the actual profit in the service or sales department based on AutoLoop efforts. ROI equals ROL when using the AutoLoop program. If AutoLoop is not your selection than take a tip from us, we have been able to assist dealers nationally increasing their bottom-line with one simple idea; communication is the key to inviting the customer back and giving them the “I Care” feeling. Next we will study the email process and being able to get email addresses. By Bill Zahrte Vice President Marketing/ AutoLoop Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:37:04 PM
  • 294. Automotive Dealership Marketing Analysis SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Birds of A Feather Flock Together (continued) They spray an untargeted group of consumers with enormous amounts of promotional material and hope that some of it brings in traffic. If they hit a Bullseye at all, it is often by luck, and this hit or miss approach is costly! After fifteen years of research, a new cutting edge system of Targeted Market Analysis has been developed that enables a dealership to accurately identify who its best prospects are and how to reach those specific future customers who have the greatest likelihood of becoming future buyers. How? People naturally gravitate towards communities of others of similar backgrounds, means, age and interests. This Market Analysis employs a sophisticated computer modeling of the dealership's customers and then finds the households within the same neighborhood that match the best customers. Phase 1- Customer Analysis Market Analysts use the dealerships current customer list and using a credit bureau's MOSAIC classification system, they identify which of 62 lifestyles those current customers fall into. Classification into a lifestyle is done by looking at 72 demographic factors of each customer (age, income, ethnicity, marital status, home type, credit score, etc.) The next step is using a credit bureau's vast database of information to find the exact households which match the dealerships best customers. These households are found in the neighborhoods where current customers live. The dealership is provided a list of the "clones" of their best customers in the areas where they already have customers. Direct mail is then done on a consistent basis to draw these "Birds of a feather" into the store and converted to buying customers. Phase 2- Media Analysis Drawing from thousands of surveys done in the dealership's market area, the analysts select only the surveys of consumers that fit a "clone" profile established in Phase 1. The surveys ask the dealership's future customers about newspaper reading habits, radio listening habits, TV watching habits, internet usage, yellow page usage. The surveys from likely future buyers are collated, compiled and summarized to answer the following questions: q Which form of advertising (radio, television, newspaper, internet, outdoor q billboard) is the most cost efficient in my market? q In which newspaper and on which day of the week are my best future prospects reached on? q Which small and community newspapers are the best opportunities to reach future buyers? q Which magazines do the future buyers read? q Which broadcast television stations and exactly what times are best to reach the future buyers? q Which special programs and sports events do the future buyers watch? q Which cable television stations and at what times are the future buyers reached? (1 of 2)6/2/2008 3:37:14 PM
  • 295. Automotive Dealership Marketing Analysis q What radio stations and at what times are best to advertise to future buyers? q Which roads in the local area are future buyers traveling on so we can figure out where outdoor billboard placement is most effective? q How much usage of Yellow Pages is there with the future buyers? q What are the Internet buying habits and what web sites are most visited by the future buyers? q What message should be put into the advertising to draw in the future buyers? q What type of vehicle and at what price range are the future buyers planning to buy in the next year? Phase 3- Detailed Media Plan Market Analysis media plans are unlike any other you've seen before. For example, the media plan shows exactly which form of advertising should be used to be most cost efficient and exactly where to place the advertising (which station, what time, which day of the week, what section of the newspaper) Stop wasting and stop spraying your money out there every month, hoping to hit the target buyers! Richard Harris President / Zahr & Associates Receive our E-Newsletter Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. For Email Marketing you can trust (2 of 2)6/2/2008 3:37:14 PM