Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Dealership Website Visitor Priorities By Ralph Paglia Automotive Dealers Network


Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. What Matters to Website Visitors SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm What Matters to Website Visitors (continued) Let’s take a look at some of the charts and graphs which show the aggregated survey answers from over 5,000 dealer web site visitors… One of the more interesting results comes from when dealer web site visitors were asked how soon they would be buying their next vehicle. Their responses to the “how soon” question is shown in chart #1 below: For Internet Sales Specialists and Managers who have been working with a mix of dealer web site generated leads and leads from other sources, this comes as no surprise. The Survey data validates the experience of most dealerships in finding that Internet leads coming in from their own web sites result in vehicle sales at a far higher rate than Internet leads from 3rd party lead producers and aggregators. If you are like me, when a customer says they will be buying a vehicle in the near future, one of (1 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 2. What Matters to Website Visitors the first things you want to know if there is a trade-in involved. In trying not to be overly transparent as to your concern over the customer’s trade-in situation, you might ask the question in this type of format: “Will you be replacing a vehicle, or adding another vehicle to what you currently own?” The dealer web site visitors who answered the “how soon” question responded to the replacement or trade-in question as shown in the next illustration, which is chart #2: What the above chart goes to show is that visitors to dealership web sites who are in the market for a vehicle are highly likely (67%) to be interested in the value of the vehicle they are replacing as a trade-in. Although some of these people may intend to sell or otherwise dispose of their current vehicle, there would still be a desire to see an estimated value. This helps to prove the value proposition of the industry’s two leading dealer web site trade- in evaluation tools, Kelley Blue Book’s LeadDriver and Black Book Online. So… What are these wonderful dealer web site sales prospects considering for their next vehicle purchase? Aggregating the surveys shows that almost half of them say (before they buy) that they are interested in a new vehicle. However, of the 51% that did not indicate an interest in a new vehicle, 16% of them are undecided, or what I like to describe as “open minded”. Their actual purchase will be based upon situational opportunity factors including price and availability. Chart #3 shows dealer web site visitor responses to the question about what type of vehicle they With over 35% buy next plan to of dealer web site visitors saying that they intend to buy a pre-owned vehicle as their next purchase, and 51% stating right up front that they are not interested in a new vehicle for their next purchase, it makes sense to consider putting an emphasis on used vehicle specials as featured content on dealership web sites. With so much emphasis and effort being made on competing in the hyper-competitive new vehicle sales arena, this data suggests that an equal amount of effort in using dealer web sites to promote used vehicles may yield a higher return. With used vehicles being somewhat more unique, and less of a commodity than new vehicles, the argument for featuring and promoting used vehicles on dealer web sites gets even stronger when reviewing the survey data. (2 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 3. What Matters to Website Visitors Despite the software based tracking metrics that most digital marketing professionals use, it is interesting to see what answers you get when simply asking dealer web site visitors how they found the dealer’s web site. The answers received on the surveys show a different makeup than what we usually see when looking at Omniture SiteCatalyst or WebTrends reports for dealer web site visitors. Take a look at chart #4 below and consider the differences between what “stimulated” a consumer’s search for a dealer’s web site and the technology they chose to get there: The dealer web site visitor responses aggregated into chart #4 shows there is a very real opportunity to drive more traffic into dealership web sites using integrated marketing campaigns. Integrated Marketing campaigns are those that include both conventional media and online digital marketing. Despite the current situation of few dealers focusing on using advertising to specifically drive customers to their web sites, 44% of the Intellimark Surveyed dealer web site visitors indicated they got there as a result of dealership advertising in non-digital conventional media sources such as TV, Radio, Newspaper and direct mail. What is glaring to me is the low percentage (14%) of dealership web site visitors who got there using search engines… These results indicate there are significant areas of opportunity for dealer web site traffic growth using Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Digital Advertising Campaigns. When we break down the aggregated data from these Surveys within categories of those who say they intend to get a new vehicle, versus those who intend to get a used vehicle, or are undecided (open minded), we get a clearer picture of what is important to each type. For example, among those that indicated they intend to buy a used vehicle, or are open minded about their next vehicle purchase, we wanted to see what vehicle type they were most likely to consider. Understanding buyer intentions helps to guide us on what to feature in our online specials and when we advertise on other web sites to attract more traffic. Chart #5 is shown below: In chart #5, we see that almost 40% were looking for passenger cars… And, over 40% were (3 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 4. What Matters to Website Visitors looking for SUV and Sport or Specialty vehicles. I was surprised to see that only 7.9% of the used car buyers were looking for The high interest in used passenger cars shown in chart #5 may have been influenced by the last 3 years of pickup trucks. sustained high gas prices. Used vehicle demand may be a leading indicator of what will sell on the new car lot. This survey result also shows why the domestic auto industry’s continued emphasis on trucks and SUV’s is not generating the level of interest we experienced prior to 2005. So, what is most important to these used car buyers visiting dealer web sites? The aggregated survey results from over 5,000 visitors to dealership web sites shows that price and payment is still king with pre-owned buyers. With fuel economy rising to third place in importance and overtaking the previous perennial favorite, vehicle safety. In chart #6, we see what the dealer web site visitor who is either undecided on new versus used, or wants a used vehicle, says are the most important decision criteria used to determine the actual vehicle they will end up buying: In Chart #6 we see that the most effective advertising may be that which features monthly payments, followed by selling price… I know, very few of you are surprised. So, why do we continue to place (4 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 5. What Matters to Website Visitors advertisements intended to drive traffic to dealer web sites that do not feature payments, price or even fuel economy? I was guilty of thinking Looking at the availability was a key factor, results of these as Intellimark Surveys, in the outdoor advertisement it is no longer a shown in the image below: mystery why this ad seemed to drive so many more web site visitors and phone calls than the “Largest Inventory” advertising campaigns: These considerations, what to advertise and which message will get the most attention are the questions best answered by surveys such as what Intellimark Group has put together. After all, if the message doesn’t hit the car shopper’s hot spots, then it won’t get their attention amidst all the media clutter that is out there today. Which brings me to another interesting insight from this survey research… What are the most significant factors in deciding what type of vehicle to buy and when to pull the trigger? Of course, this is based on what car shoppers say is important… Anyone who has sold cars long enough will tell you that how buyers act is often different than what they say. Still, there is a lot of value in studying what car shoppers believe are the reasons they will decide on a particular vehicle or deal. With that said, there are a lot of differences in what motivates vehicle buyers depending on the vehicle type they are considering. So let’s take a look at chart #7 which shows the considerations that dealer web site visitors reported when asked what factors would determine what, where and when they would make their next vehicle purchase. These responses were aggregated and then segmented by the specific vehicle types the buyers said they were looking for. Chart #7 breaks down vehicle purchase consideration factors by type of vehicle the dealer web site visitor reported as being their primary vehicle of interest: (5 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 6. What Matters to Website Visitors It is interesting to note that once again, monthly payments and vehicle selling price are the two most important criteria. Fuel economy is more significant than at any time since the Arab Oil Embargoes of a generation ago, especially for passenger car and commercial vehicle buyers. Surprising to me, coming from a vehicle sales background, is the low level of importance placed on vehicle styling. Of course, once again I would like to remind readers that these are what car shoppers “say” is most important and how they actually end up buying may or may not correlate to what they said before they make their purchase… But, this still shows us what these visitors to dealer web sites report as being most important and what will get their attention more effectively than ads or specials focused on other criteria. One of the many factors to consider when looking at these survey results is that these are shoppers who are very deep into the sales process funnel. As indicated in chart #1, these are people who will be buying a vehicle fairly soon and may have already gone through the process of determining what type of vehicle they will be getting next. For these reasons, the degree of importance placed on price and payments may be far more significant than people further away from their next vehicle purchase, who have not yet determined the type, make or model they are most interested in. After all, when interviewing people who have already found your dealership’s web site, how likely would it be that they have already decided on a make and model and are now looking for the right deal, salesperson, convenience and financing terms? The results of this Intellimark Survey of dealership web site visitors may not be too surprising to many people, but they do confirm that most dealerships are better served by generating more visitors to their store’s web sites. When considering the ways we can most effectively drive traffic to dealership web sites, it is highly logical to look at what consumers who have already visited dealer web sites find most important to them… Then we can use those most important criteria as a means of deciding what is most likely to work in trying to get more of an already good thing; the car shoppers that visit our dealership’s web sites. These aggregated survey results are all the more significant because of the sheer size of the sample… 5,000 dealer web site visitors is highly significant from a statistical perspective. There are many ways to interpret and act upon these results, but one plan of action should be strikingly clear. The use of integrated marketing campaigns that use a mixed blend of media such as TV, Radio, Outdoor, geotargeted search engine and display advertising on web sites… This is what works in driving the most valuable leads we can generate. The leads and phone calls coming from visitors to our own dealership web sites. Ralph has held positions such as OEM Partnership 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 Co-Author companies. He also designed Ford’s BDC program Rudy Martin Mercedes-Benz StarLeads CRM system and the Vice President/ Intellimark Group Mercedes-Benz BDC. (6 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 7. What Matters to Website Visitors Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust (7 of 7)4/1/2008 10:46:21 AM
  • 8. Automotive Dealers Network home Receive our E-Newsletter 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. 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: Unmatched Training in Fixed Operations Management 812.325.5651 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)4/1/2008 10:46:25 AM
  • 9. Automotive Dealers Network home Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:46:25 AM
  • 10. Article Archive Receive our E-Newsletter For Email Marketing you can trust SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm Article Archive April 2008 Vol 1 - Coming Soon March 2008 Vol 2 March 2008 February 2008 Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. 10:46:27 AM
  • 11. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:29 AM
  • 12. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:29 AM
  • 13. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:32 AM
  • 14. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:32 AM
  • 15. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:32 AM
  • 16. 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. 10:46:33 AM
  • 17. 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 10:46:35 AM
  • 18. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:36 AM
  • 19. LETTER TO THE EDITOR Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Submit Reset (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:46:36 AM
  • 20. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:37 AM
  • 21. NEW PRODUCT RELEASE Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Submit Reset (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:46:37 AM
  • 22. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:39 AM
  • 23. NEWS RELEASE Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved. Submit Reset (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:46:39 AM
  • 24. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:40 AM
  • 25. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:40 AM
  • 26. 10:46:46 AM
  • 27. 10:46:46 AM
  • 28. 10:46:47 AM
  • 29. 10:46:48 AM
  • 30. (1 of 2)4/1/2008 10:46:49 AM
  • 31. (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:46:49 AM
  • 32. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:52 AM
  • 33. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:52 AM
  • 34. 10:46:52 AM
  • 35. 10:46:53 AM
  • 36. 10:46:53 AM
  • 37. 10:46:54 AM
  • 38. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:57 AM
  • 39. 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)4/1/2008 10:46:57 AM
  • 40. 10:46:57 AM
  • 41. 10:46:58 AM
  • 42. 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 10:46:59 AM
  • 43. 10:47:00 AM
  • 44. 10:47:00 AM
  • 45. "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)4/1/2008 10:47:02 AM
  • 46. "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)4/1/2008 10:47:02 AM
  • 47. 10:47:03 AM
  • 48. 10:47:04 AM
  • 49. 10:47:05 AM
  • 50. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:07 AM
  • 51. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:07 AM
  • 52. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:07 AM
  • 53. 10:47:08 AM
  • 54. 10:47:08 AM
  • 55. 10:47:09 AM
  • 56. 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 10:47:10 AM
  • 57. 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 10:47:12 AM
  • 58. 10:47:12 AM
  • 59. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:13 AM
  • 60. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:13 AM
  • 61. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:16 AM
  • 62. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:16 AM
  • 63. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:16 AM
  • 64. (1 of 2)4/1/2008 10:47:17 AM
  • 65. (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:47:17 AM
  • 66. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:19 AM
  • 67. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:19 AM
  • 68. 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 10:47:24 AM
  • 69. 10:47:25 AM
  • 70. 10:47:25 AM
  • 71. 10:47:26 AM
  • 72. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:28 AM
  • 73. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:28 AM
  • 74. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:28 AM
  • 75. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:30 AM
  • 76. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:30 AM
  • 77. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:34 AM
  • 78. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:34 AM
  • 79. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:34 AM
  • 80. 10:47:35 AM
  • 81. 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. 10:47:36 AM
  • 82. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:38 AM
  • 83. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:38 AM
  • 84. 10:47:39 AM
  • 85. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:40 AM
  • 86. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:40 AM
  • 87. 10:47:41 AM
  • 88. 10:47:42 AM
  • 89. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:44 AM
  • 90. 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)4/1/2008 10:47:44 AM
  • 91. 10:47:45 AM
  • 92. (1 of 2)4/1/2008 10:47:46 AM
  • 93. (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:47:46 AM
  • 94. (1 of 2)4/1/2008 10:47:48 AM
  • 95. (2 of 2)4/1/2008 10:47:48 AM