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  • 1. Welcome to the digital edition of Digital Dealer magazine! Just as you are trying to keep your store(s) on the cutting edge, we are doing the very same thing as we venture into a new frontier in the publishing biz. We can get this digital version in your hands 2-3 weeks faster than the print version, giving you the freshest information possible. You can click on links at the end of each article to email the author of such. And you can click on the ads to link to that advertiser’s website (and you’d REALLY be helping us out by doing just that). It’s quite intuitive…I don’t think that someone who uses the Internet to make a living will have any trouble easily figuring it out. Please let me know what you think about it… mroscoe@Dealer-Communications.com Michael Roscoe Editor-in-Chief
  • 2. Welcome to the digital edition of Digital Dealer magazine! Just as you are trying to keep your store(s) on the cutting edge, we are doing the very same thing as we venture into a new frontier in the publishing biz. We can get this digital version in your hands 2-3 weeks faster than the print version, giving you the freshest information possible. You can click on links at the end of each article to email the author of such. And you can click on the ads to link to that advertiser’s website (and you’d REALLY be helping us out by doing just that). It’s quite intuitive…I don’t think that someone who uses the Internet to make a living will have any trouble easily figuring it out. Please let me know what you think about it… mroscoe@DealerCommunications.com Michael Roscoe Editor-in-Chief
  • 3. Welcome to the digital edition of Digital Dealer magazine! Just as you are trying to keep your store(s) on the cutting edge, we are doing the very same thing as we venture into a new frontier in the publishing biz. We can get this digital version in your hands 2-3 weeks faster than the print version, giving you the freshest information possible. You can click on links at the end of each article to email the author of such. And you can click on the ads to link to that advertiser’s website (and you’d REALLY be helping us out by doing just that). It’s quite intuitive…I don’t think that someone who uses the Internet to make a living will have any trouble easily figuring it out. Please let me know what you think about it… mroscoe@DealerCommunications.com Michael Roscoe Editor-in-Chief
  • 4. January 2009 The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers Internet Sales: Dealers Who Dared to Change DIANA page 12 Store Management’s Keys to Building Internet Sales page 18 WEAVER Internet Marketing & Technology Trends: If Space is Cheap – How CRM Manager Much can you Keep? Tom Wood Automotive page 30 page 26 DMS Workshop: Profit is Opinion, FF I CIAL Cash Flow is Fact O ttiive ve mo om o alls s page 36 Auttossiion a Aufes s on off ro fe g rg o ro ttiion es P line.ero on s P ia al e nnlin a o. oc i so c Sa l N Assernett S.AAISPo Ast erne wA AISPo IIn t ww . IO n ww PU w B L I C AT
  • 5. “Dahl Ford has increased vehicle sales and service revenue PLUS reduced our overall expenses using Ownership Lifecycle Management from Auto Point. We highly recommend it." Call Auto Point - or call us. KV Dahl III, GM Dahl Ford Davenport, IA Tim Thompson Amy Larson Randy Oler Dan Wich General Sales Manager BDC/Public Relations Parts & Service Director Service Department Manager OWNERSHIP LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT Do Your Customers Get the Point? Go to www.autopointsite.com or call 866-348-9717
  • 6. CIAL T ABLE OF CONTENTS FF I O tive ive mo t ls mo ls u o iona Auttossion a nooff Aoffess g e ion s Pro n nerg r iattioales P rnlie.o .o oc ia so c Sale n N li Assernett S.AAISPo Ast erne wA AIS Po FEATURE In t ww . IO In w w w PU The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers B L I C AT JANUARY 2009 Digital Dealer Cover Story MANAGING EDITOR 26 Diana Weaver LINDA DI PIETRO ldipietro@Dealer-magazine.com Internet Marketing & PUBLISHER CRM Manager GREG NOONAN 607-264-3359 Tom Wood Automotive gnoonan@Dealer-magazine.com ART DIRECTOR JOE BIRCH COLUMNS jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com PRODUCTION MANAGER AAISP Notes ELIZABETH BIRCH 10 Mike Roscoe PRINT PRODUCTION DAVID MANTHEY Internet Sales Diana Weaver DESIGN CONSULTING PUBLICATION DESIGN, INC. 12 Dealers Who Dared to Change Tom Wood Phil Sura Automotive COVER DESIGN JOE BIRCH jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com 16 Making Every Lead Count COVER PHOTOGRAPHY FRANK MCGRATH Paige Presley CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION RICH JARRETT 18 Store Management’s Keys to Building 314-432-7511 rjarrett@Dealer-magazine.com Internet Sales NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES Daryl Sanders adsales@Dealer-magazine.com 607-264-3359 20 A Jolly Good Fellow Dealer magazine makes every attempt to Joe Webb ensure the accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied herein. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part 24 360º Market Navigation: The Secret to without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. The publisher encourages Winning in a Down Market you to submit suggestions. Submitted materials become the property of Horizon Communications, Pat Ryan Jr. Inc. and will not be returned. Send material for publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor reserves the right to edit material; submission Technology Trends of material constitutes permission to edit and publish that material. This publication is 30 If Space is Cheap – How Much can you Keep? designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter Sandi Jerome covered. It is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is BDC/CRM required, the services of a competent profes- sional person should be sought. From a 32 Don’t Settle for Less Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association Chuck Barker and a Committee of Publishers. 36 DMS Workshop A PUBLICATION OF Profit is Opinion, Cash Flow is Fact Jim Skeans DEPARTMENTS 6 Industry & Tech News 8 Digital Dealer E-mail DD 4 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 7. T ABLE OF CONTENTS CIAL FF I O tive ve mo tials mo nals uto Au tossion off A fess io on o Profe rg rg on ro .o ciatiSales Ponlie.o ciattiSalesPonlin ne N so Ass orne t .AAISP Astern e w AIS In te ww .A IO In w w w PU B L I C AT FEATURE The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers JANUARY 2009 Digital Dealer Cover Story MANAGING EDITOR 26 Diana Weaver LINDA DI PIETRO Internet Marketing & CRM Manager ldipietro@Dealer-magazine.com Tom Wood Automotive PUBLISHER GREG NOONAN 607-264-3359 gnoonan@Dealer-magazine.com COLUMNS ART DIRECTOR JOE BIRCH AAISP Notes jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com 10 Mike Roscoe PRODUCTION MANAGER ELIZABETH BIRCH Internet Sales Diana Weaver PRINT PRODUCTION 12 Dealers Who Dared to Change Tom Wood DAVID MANTHEY Phil Sura Automotive DESIGN CONSULTING PUBLICATION DESIGN, INC. 16 Making Every Lead Count COVER DESIGN Paige Presley JOE BIRCH jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com 18 Store Management’s Keys to Building Internet Sales COVER PHOTOGRAPHY FRANK MCGRATH Daryl Sanders CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION RICH JARRETT 20 A Jolly Good Fellow 314-432-7511 Joe Webb rjarrett@Dealer-magazine.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES 24 360º Market Navigation: The Secret to adsales@Dealer-magazine.com Winning in a Down Market 607-264-3359 Pat Ryan Jr. Dealer magazine makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be held responsible for Technology Trends opinions expressed or facts supplied herein. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part 30 If Space is Cheap – How Much can you Keep? without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. The publisher encourages Sandi Jerome you to submit suggestions. Submitted materials become the property of Horizon Communications, Inc. and will not be returned. Send material for BDC/CRM publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor 32 Don’t Settle for Less reserves the right to edit material; submission of material constitutes permission to edit and Chuck Barker publish that material. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is presented with the understanding 36 DMS Workshop that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. Profit is Opinion, Cash Flow is Fact If legal advice or other expert assistance is Jim Skeans required, the services of a competent profes- sional person should be sought. From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers. DEPARTMENTS 6 Industry & Tech News 8 Digital Dealer E-mail A PUBLICATION OF DD 4 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 8. D IGITAL Dealer INDUSTRY & TECH NEWS printers. AMPS is available as both a cost-effective in-house and ASP solution. www.automate.com O ActivEngage offers Auto/Mate receives multiple languages first-place STAR for live chat Award for DTS ActivEngage has announced the launch of multiple language translation implementation Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, a for live chat on auto dealership web sites. Now dealers can engage web site leading provider for cost-effective retail AutoUSA sets automotive management solutions, has visitors in their preferred language, announced it is the 2008 first place Edmunds.com without having to employ multi- Implementation Award winner for enrollment benchmark lingual staff members. The new Data Transfer Specifications (DTS), AutoUSA, an industry leading technology offers dealers a huge com- an annual award presented by NADA’s provider of the highest quality Internet- petitive advantage through increased Standards for Technology in generated consumer leads to auto personalization for their web site visi- Automotive Retail (STAR). Auto/Mate dealers nationwide, has announced that tors’ communication preferences. was honored for adopting more STAR in October, the company enrolled its ActivEngage’s new service translates DTS standards and using them in the 600th dealer in the Edmunds.com live chat text to and from web site visi- development of more OEM interfaces Premier Dealer Program, setting a new tors in real time. When a visitor starts a than any other dealership management benchmark in program sign-ups by an chat session, ActivEngage detects the system (DMS) provider. Edmunds.com PDP partner. visitor’s preferred language from their “OEM dealer communication system The Edmunds.com Premier Dealer browser settings. The chat operator (DCS) integration has been a strong Program was developed to help drive then asks the visitor if they would like focus for us because we know how much more in-market auto buyers to a dealer’s to chat in that language. The expanded time and money dealers save when these web site with increased visibility and service includes the 15 most frequently processes can be streamlined,” said Mike positioning on the Edmunds.com web spoken languages by non-native Esposito, president and CEO of site. Dealers receive exclusive lead terri- English speakers in the U.S., including Auto/Mate. “We’ve always been strong tories, top placement in Edmunds’ Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese and supporters of STAR’s work in developing Dealer Locator, dealer-branded adver- Korean. In addition, the new service voluntary standards for this area, and are tisements throughout Edmunds.com, can distinguish between a language as it honored to be recognized by them for our custom-designed dealer PDP program is spoken in different countries, for accomplishments this past year.” web pages and Edmunds.com dealer example French Canadian versus the Formed in 2001, the STAR organiza- endorsement messages. French spoken in France, or Spanish as tion is the voluntary information AutoUSA was the first Edmunds.com it is spoken in Mexico versus Spain. technology (IT) standards body for the partner to offer the Premier Dealer Chat operators can enable or disable retail automotive industry. The organiza- Program, which was launched in 2006. translation for a portion of the chat tion acts as a catalyst in fulfilling the Since then, AutoUSA’s program partici- session or the entire session, based on business information needs of dealers and pants have consistently reported increases the site visitor’s preference. Both the manufacturers with voluntary standards in lead quality and closing ratios as a result original and translated chat text are that reduce the time and effort required of the additional Edmunds.com web site shown to the visitor and the operator, to support dealership IT activities. exposure, and the portal’s popularity as a and the entire chat is stored in the data- Auto/Mate’s Automotive Management trusted source for vehicle reports, research, base for future reference. Further, Productivity Suite (AMPS) is an easy- articles and comparisons. operators can chat with multiple visi- to-use comprehensive dealership For more information on the tors at the same time, using different management system with over 20 inte- Edmunds.com Premier Dealer Program, languages. grated modules to help dealers more call AutoUSA at 800-243-9935. www.ActivEngage.com efficiently and effectively manage their www.AutoUSA.com business. It supports an unlimited O number of users, workstations and O DD 6 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 9. D IGITAL Dealer E-MAIL Digital Dealer welcomes your letters and after verification will run them signed or unsigned. Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Send letters to DDmail@DigitalDealer-magazine.com. Jim Skeans, Hi John, mulas that generate them if you Please forward to me the instructions The ratios and formulas are included wouldn’t mind. Thank you and happy for the create-once system to analyze in the spreadsheet “Key Financial holidays! important ratios (November 2008 Ratios” available for downloading from Tammy G. Jolley Digital Dealer magazine, “Leverage the “Free Tools” page on my web site, Jerry Duncan Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Inc. More Information from your www.jimskeans.com. The spreadsheet Harriman, TN Financial Statement/DOC.” I would also illustrates how to link the elements tammyjolley@jdflm.com also like the list of your favorite ratios. of the formulas to your financial state- As an AutoMate user, I would like to ment or accounting report download for See Jim’s response to previous letter. clarify the instructions given by Praveen complete automaton from your one- Tamvada. There are no reports set up in time setup efforts. While you are there Daryl Sanders, the OfficeMate product. You have to please take a look at the other manage- I read your article in the November design and set such reports in the ment tools, available for free from our 2008 Digital Dealer magazine, module. In addition, the download is web site. “Internet Sales Phone Calling is the Key not as simple as stated and once the data According to AutoMate the issues you to Overall Success.” I work at an Acura is imported to Excel, it is my experience having with downloading to Excel and dealership is Covina, CA. I am in the that a significant amount of clean up has advanced reporting have been resolved Internet department and I am experi- to take place in order to display a mean- with the latest version of their software, encing a unique problem. ingful report. AutoMate also did not which, they tell me is free to you but I have adjusted my work hours to explain that certain reports designed in may require that you upgrade some 11am to 8pm. I did this to hopefully OfficeMate have to be sorted each time hardware. have better success in contacting cus- the report is run. DMS providers tend Good luck and if you need any help or tomers later in the day. I average over to over simplify the effort. We at further clarification just let me know. 600 calls a month, and my problem is Bleecker are probably one of AutoMate’s Jim Skeans constant voice mail messages with no best users of the system and I have been return calls. I also send e-mails and a model for them regarding the Mr. Skeans, change up the hours and days – still OfficeMate reporting capabilities. I was given your article from the with the same results. I will call imme- John Riley November 2008 issue of Digital diately after leads are received, and still, Controller Dealer magazine, “Leverage More voice mail after voice mail. Bleecker Auto Group Information from your Financial Do you have any suggestions? Dunn, NC Statement/DOC.” I would appreciate Mike Schroeder jriley@bleecker.com your list of favorite ratios with the for- Internet Sales Thomas Acura Covina, CA mike@thomasacura.com Mike, After speaking with you and learning a little more, there are a few issues we can address. 1) You currently have over 230 leads per month. 2) You have not been sending quotes first. 3) Your CRM tool forces a next step, which is creating a follow up nightmare. That number of leads is way too many to follow at once and I would suggest you quote first every lead. Call each lead at least three times in the first week. Send all leads an e-mail weekly (that is a broadcast e-mail) for four weeks. By doing this, you should generate more sales success. Let me know how it works out. Daryl Sanders DD 8 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 10. D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES Mike Roscoe Got my hair cut yesterday. high level of service they provide. Does I’m not talking about throwing keys on your hair salon offer shaves? Does your the roof or doing the desking dance. I’m I know what you’re thinking… “Who hair salon put a hot towel on your face? talking about the fundamentals of selling. cares, Roscoe?” Well, you might…if you Does your salon shine shoes? Does your The steps of the sale…attention, interest, read on. barber…I mean, stylist, shave your neck conviction, desire, close. Getting them to with a straight razor? Does your hair salon say “yes” a number of times before asking When’s the last time you went to a bar- offer an annual program wherein you pay a closing question. Overcoming objec- bershop for a haircut? (This question is one fee and can get your hair cut as fre- tions and smoking out the hidden more for the guys than the gals…but I quently as you like? objections. The fundamentals of selling think you’ll see the point, ladies.) I don’t have not changed! mean a salon. I don’t mean one of those I thought barbershops were almost Fabulous Sam’s or sports-cuts franchises. extinct. The only places I ever see them People like to be sold. Professional And I certainly don’t mean a place that’s anymore are in small towns. Yet here in salespeople don’t push. They sell… got one of those cutesy names like “Cut the middle of a high-end strip center, in professionally. Loose” or “A Cut Above” or “Hair We the 14th wealthiest county in the country, Go.” I mean a real barbershop. resides a modernized barbershop. If you have been taught the fundamen- tals of selling, now is the time to make Well, that’s what I did…I went to a “Roscoe…what the heck does this have sure that you’re doing it by the book. If barbershop. The lady who usually cuts to do with selling vehicles with the you haven’t been taught the fundamen- my hair at a salon is off due to the bless- Internet?!” tals of selling, teach yourself if your ing of pregnancy. So I went to the next dealership won’t. If they don’t have nearest place, which is a barbershop. It’s got everything to do with selling videos/tapes /CDs, etc., buy them your- vehicles using the Internet. See, if this self. Or start reading books on sales (I Now this isn’t a place with an old-fash- barbershop were just like the old ones, I recommend the first book I ever read re: ioned barbershop rotating sign. It doesn’t never would have set foot in there. But selling, Tom Hopkins’ “How to Master smell like grandpa’s hair oil inside. It once I did…they sold me with the serv- the Art of Selling”). doesn’t have rickety, hard wooden chairs ices they provide…services that were once and year-old hunting and fishing maga- available but for some reason are hard to Remember, selling is not talking people zines to read. And there isn’t an old guy find today. into something they don’t want. Selling is hunched over clipping away at the few arousing emotions so that people will customers who wander in. Now do you get it? Now do you see come to the inevitable conclusion that they what I’m saying? No? OK, let me want (or need) what you have to offer. This barbershop is modern. It’s spot- explain it. less. There is no smell in the place. There And no amount of technology can ever is a waiting area with comfortable chairs It’s just like selling cars with the do that. and the latest men’s magazines (non- Internet. People like the different ways pornographic…although I’m not sure they can purchase a vehicle today…just what does or doesn’t qualify for that like I like the chairs, the TVs and the description nowadays). Oh, and three annual payment program at my barber- If you wish to discuss this article with big screen HD plasmas on the walls shop. But the reason I “bought” from other dealers, or with the author, showing sports programming. This is the barbershop (and why I will keep please go to the “Discussion Forums” not a place for a woman to get her going back) is because of the old-fash- at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com hair “done.” ioned service I got. IOW, the way you and enter the “AAISP” forum or communicate with customers and e-mail him at mroscoe@Digital This barbershop is thoroughly modern prospects has changed…but the way you Dealer-magazine.com. except for the services they offer and the sell them has not. DD 10 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 11. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Phil Sura Dealers Who in to discuss strategies associated with how to leverage the Internet to drive business. • Dave was also a strong supporter of Dared to Change shifting his dealer ad association dollars into an online focus. I have witnessed other dealers, like Tom Kerry with Frost Cadillac push for similar measures with their associations. Why wouldn’t you want to invest all of your marketing dollars into a strategy that will drive better results? A number of dealers talk about the “broken advertising funnel”. W “So what is your HEN YOU THINK OF PEOPLE WITH VISION, whom do you think of? vision and how are you Possibly politicians like Ronald Reagan and President-Elect Obama. Perhaps applying that vision you think of great business leaders like Bill Gates and Walt Disney, or sports at the dealership?” personalities like Vince Lombardi, or great minds like Einstein and Edison. —Phil Sura In all cases these visionaries had the ability to recognize opportunity and For years the idea has been to have the turn ideas into reality. So what is your OEM, dealer association and the indi- vision and how are you applying that vidual dealer to all focus on different vision at the dealership? Here are a few components of advertising. This strat- dealers who dared to change. egy should be challenged because of the Saturn of St. Paul is a national leader; influence of the Internet and ineffec- winning multiple Summit Awards for tiveness of traditional advertising. This outstanding market share and CSI • Dave believes in the adage, “The will continue to be a political discussion rankings with their four store locations. speed of the team is determined by the because of the influence and power of Richard Herod is the director of e-com- speed of the leader.” Dave took the the ad agencies that may not always be merce. The dealership has increased the time to study and understand the evolving with the times. Internet sales count from 20 monthly basics associated with the metrics and sales in 2007 to a level of 85 units in the key focuses associated with setting • Once the foundation of basic September 2008. Prior to being the e- up an online strategy. If you don’t understanding was in place with the commerce director, Richard proved his understand and track the basics like entire management team, a champion sales abilities for Saturn of St. Paul by unique visitor count, average stay on was selected to draft a strategy that selling and then managing one of the site count (and why this is important), would take the operation to the next individual dealerships. In his college conversion rate, bounce rate, closing level. Dave considered a national search days, Richard had supported himself by ratios and ROI for each source, you to identify an “expert” to drive the building web sites, so he did have some will not grow. It is no longer acceptable online focus, but in the end Dave orientation to the Internet but he will for a president, dealer or general appointed a trusted key employee, admit that he is not a technical wizard. manager to use the excuse that he/she Richard Herod III to head up e-com- A major part of the success enjoyed by doesn’t understand or believe in the merce initiatives. Dave empowered and Saturn of St. Paul goes to management Internet or say, “I hired Tommy to take turned Richard loose with this new role style of Dave Roen, president of the care of that end of the business”. and he didn’t micromanage his choices. company. Dave recognized that he A budget was given with some general needed to take a more aggressive posi- • Dave also insisted that his entire guidelines to keep Richard headed in tion with his online strategy early 2007. management team (sales and fixed) the right direction. As long as Dave saw Dave took some of the following steps learn the basics. The team had work- to change: shops where different reps were invited continued on P-DD14 DD 12 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 12. Internet Sales, Sura (continued from P-DD12) the tangible measured results, Richard article in May 2008 called, “What there were 137.5 million U.S. online was permitted to run the entire show. about the Smaller Dealer?” video viewers in 2008 and this number http://www.dealer-magazine.com/ is expected to grow to 154.2 million in • Richard developed a strategy to index.asp?article=1904 2009. An online video viewer is a focus on driving the eyeballs to the sight Forrie Spangler is a single point viewer who downloads or streams video (SEO and SEM), driving the time on Subaru dealer in Johnstown, at least once a month. YouTube is now the site with a video strategy, a focus Pennsylvania. He dared to change by the second most used search engine, with Google including adding video following a number of the same steps only behind Google. The influence of content through YouTube (tagging each that Dave Roen took. His team is video will only get stronger. The dealers video with key search words) and a focused on driving customers through who are actively engaged with video process to effectively handle leads on a an online focus. Forrie has migrated his have a tremendous advantage over the timely basis. If leads go beyond one ad dollars from traditional media to an majority of the dealers. hour, the closing ratios are dramatically online strategy in a community where A third dealer who dared to change is impacted negatively. Richard’s video dealers are not web focused. When a Toyota dealer in Pueblo, Colorado. strategy with his web site included things get tough, it is natural to want to Kris Aragon is the Internet director. adding video content to the following move back to old habits (full page ads in Kris has been focused on driving the areas: testimonials, new car model spe- the local paper) but Forrie is staying the organic search and leveraging video to cific videos with dealer branded course. Forrie measures his unique drive the time on the site and conver- messages, and videos of each of the pre- visitor count to determine his ROI with sion of leads. Kris has driven his owned units with different dealer the dollars that he has invested to drive conversion rate numbers as high as 17 branded messages. The used car videos his online strategy. Forrie has also percent when you count both phone are also linked to the third-party sites placed video content with YouTube that ups and e-mail leads. Kris sent me the (Auto Trader and Car Soup). Video is being picked up with the organic Cobalt charts for confirmation. The added to the third-party sites allows for search. Forrie also has a video strategy chart for 2007 and 2008 track the a stronger click rate (cars with video get promoting video with the three key percent of e-mail leads against visitor more play than cars without video) and areas on his web site: new cars, used count on one side, and percent of it allows the dealer to brand his message cars, and monthly specials. The idea is phone ups against visitor count on the on these third-party sites. (“We have the to have more relevant and emotionally other. With the typical conversion rate largest selection of certified pre-owned engaging content by placing video in hovering at 3-5 percent for dealers, this Saturns in the entire state.”) each of these areas. is an outstanding job. (See chart below.) I was in a dealership in Atlanta visit- I have visited with some dealers who are • The key metric is the number of ing with an Internet director who tracking a percent conversion rate. sold units. As mentioned above this indicated his SEM rep didn’t believe Imagine what their bottom line would dealer who dared to change made a that the search was influenced by video look like if they could drive results like major impact on the number of units content. Dealers engaged with video Kris. Seventeen percent didn’t happen being sold. Dave’s vision is to make it as added to YouTube, Meta Café, Yahoo, by accident. Kris is very focused on the easy as possible for the customer to buy Blinkx, AOL and MSN would strongly metrics and he is very process-oriented. or service a car at his operation. argue this, unless you happen to be a He is also willing to invest time and Another dealer who dared to change dealer in their immediate area. energy into understanding new con- was highlighted in a Digital Dealer eMarketer, February 2008 reported that cepts and converting those ideas into reality. Kris’s general manager has also Month % of Visits % of Visitors empowered Kris to make things Generating Leads Generating leads happen. Kris has a budget to work within, but he makes the calls on how Sep-07 5.71% 8.22% to spend this money. Oct-07 4.96% 8.74% For Dave Roen, Forrie Spangler, Richard Herod III, Tom Kerry and Kris Nov-07 3.37% 6.81% Aragon, I applaud you for being vision- Dec-07 4.61% 8.81% aries and those who dared to change. Jan-08 4.86% 9.31% Phil Sura is a VP of the Automotive Feb-08 5.60% 9.42% Division of UnityWorks Media. Mar-08 5.85% 10.65% If you wish to discuss this article with Apr-08 5.18% 9.44% other dealers, or with the author, May-08 5.05% 8.73% please go to the “Discussion Forums” Jun-08 5.84% 9.49% at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or Jul-08 6.00% 9.97% e-mail him at psura@DigitalDealer- Aug-08 1.88% 3.00% magazine.com. DD 14 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 13. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Paige Presley Making Every show up on an exception report, giving you clear visibility into a potential process failure and allowing you to step in before that lead moves to another store. With the web-based CRM or ILM, Lead Count your can extend your relationship with your customers throughout their buying processes, from the time they contact you to the time they’re purchasing a vehicle at your dealership. Whether you’re using a systems-based W or web-based lead management tool, you need to utilize it as much as possible to ITH THE ECONOMY CREAT- start developing sales processes unique to ING A SLIMMER LIST OF POTENTIAL your own staff, allowing them to initiate BUYERS, it has become more and more communication during the customer’s important to follow up and maintain communication with each and every lead that comes through your web site. “Now that leads are Consumers have become much more computer and Internet-savvy, and now fewer and further many are spending weeks, if not months doing research online before buying prod- between, it’s important ucts, particularly in the automotive industry. Because of this, your salespeople are getting to maintain the less face time with your potential customers, so they don’t have the opportunity to begin conversation with a relationship with the individual. The 2008 New Autoshopper.com process is less customizable. each and every one…” Study by J.D. Power and Associates For example, let’s say you set up a three- —Paige Presley looked into the habits of auto shoppers week, eight-step sales process in your and showed that 75 percent of buyers systems-based ILM, and one of your sales- research vehicles online weeks before they people stops at step five. That lead then online research phase, and then maintain make a purchase. It also said that the total completely disappears from the system, that relationship until that customer is amount of time potential buyers spend on and you have no idea where to pick up in ready to purchase a vehicle. Internet research has risen by nearly seven the communication process. Staying on top of each Internet lead hours in the past year. Back when the economy was booming, will get your dealership noticed, keep Most customers begin looking online this was not as big of an issue due to the potential customers from visiting other for information about 11 weeks before large volume of leads coming through. dealerships and, ultimately, help you drive they purchase a vehicle, according to our Now that leads are fewer and further your numbers up. research, and many of those shoppers between, it’s important to maintain the don’t contact a dealer until about six conversation with each and every one, Paige Presley is the marketing weeks out. and a systems-based ILM may not serve analyst/writer for Dealerskins in Nashville, So now, more than ever, it is crucial for your needs as well as you’d like. TN. She enjoys mixing her passions for all you to turn to your Customer Relationship With web-based CRMs and ILMs, things technology and for following con- Management (CRM) or Internet Lead however, this is not as much of an issue. sumer trends by staying involved in market Management (ILM) tools for help on con- You’re able to access the information from research for the auto industry. verting those leads into appointments. any computer with an Internet connec- Having a good CRM or ILM tool can tion, receive custom reports on the allow your dealership to thrive from your progress of each lead and customize your If you wish to discuss this article with online presence and assist in managing the sales process to include as many steps as other dealers, or with the author, communication process between your staff necessary for interaction between your please go to the “Discussion Forums” and potential customers. staff and your customers. at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com Many of these tools are systems-based, This means that with a web-based and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or which means the information is less program, you can set up a five, 10 or 20- e-mail her at ppresley@DigitalDealer- portable, the communication process is step process. If your salesperson stops magazine.com. not as easy to monitor and the sales communication early, you’ll see that lead DD 16 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 14. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Daryl Sanders Store Management’s availability. We often think these things need to be guarded like the crown jewels. But the truth is the more easily we make this available to our staff the more easily Keys to Building they can be responsive and professional with our Internet prospects. A key place where Internet sales need management support is in the pricing Internet Sales strategy for Internet prospects. It is important to offer a price in our first response because someone has gone to a web site and "clicked here for a price quote." When we then withhold a quote they get mad and generally will not respond to subsequent attempts to sell them a car. I recommend picking out a P vehicle in stock (if at all possible) and sending them an Internet price without ERHAPS THE WEAKEST LINK IN sending them the MSRP. I also send them GROWING INTERNET SALES DEPARTMENTS an Internet price on a less expensive is the lack of management understanding vehicle if possible. In addition, I recom- or support. There seems to be a growing mend sending the price on a used reluctance with the sales pressures we are certified. It makes no sense to require facing now in the automotive business to getting these prices for every lead that be transparent and forthcoming about comes in from the sales manager. pricing and availability. Yet it is these Management needs to support the qualities that are vital to successful Internet sales with easy quoting prices. Internet sales. We can’t just stop the discussion there. For some reason we keep thinking that While I advocate upfront pricing I don’t we should not divulge information until advocate e-mail or phone negotiation. Our we can get the prospect into the store. upfront price should not be our final price! This turns off Internet prospects. The It should be close but we need a little funny thing is that we worry about wiggle room so that in securing an leaving money on the table, so we think and engaging with people who can draw appointment we can promise there is room we have to hide the facts and figures. The prospects to the showroom appointment to move if they will come into the store. Internet sales reality is, if we will be trans- and close the sale. Management support needs to be mani- parent, give information freely, act The second thing we need to do is build fested in careful and committed budgeting. professionally, be responsive and act in a a successful sales process. This process More and more dealers are now planning timely fashion, our chances of winning includes scheduling of quote responses, to not spend additional ad dollars on the the sale grow considerably. phone call attempts, well thought out e- Internet department but are rather taking a But let’s back up. I heard of a store mails and a schedule for their distribution portion of the ad budget and allocating a recently that hired an Internet salesperson based on prospect response. percentage to the Internet. Most successful and did not even provide him with his The third thing we need to do is Internet sales departments are achieving 15 own phone, let alone his own computer. provide a work station that is off the to 30 percent and more of new car sales. He lasted two weeks. Store management "beaten path" in the store. It is important West coast import dealers are achieving needs to consider how to facilitate for the Internet sales person to not be dis- even higher percentages. Dealers that are maximum Internet sales based on our tracted when making all the daily phone tracking sources and costs are finding a goals and local opportunities. calls it takes to work the Internet data- lower cost per unit via the Internet than The first thing we need to consider is base. This station requires a computer traditional ad results. Internet costs per sale hiring the right people. Hiring someone that is not shared, a phone that can make should be under $300 per unit. And this who has not succeeded on the floor but is the long distance calls, and depending on figure should actually decrease over time as "pretty good with computers" does not how large the staff, an Internet depart- the database builds and is able to generate work. We need someone who is disci- ment signage and clearly marked space. sales over an extended period of time from plined and organized. We need someone The fourth thing we need is to support leads that have been in the database for six who loves making phone calls. We need our Internet sales department’s access to to 12 months. someone with patience and will work the information: inventory, pricing, incoming process. We need someone who is likable availability of vehicles, and dealer trade continued on P-DD37 DD 18 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 15. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Joe Webb A Jolly salesperson was costing you these valuable customers, you would fire them. The opposite should hold true. If a loyal, hard- working employee is producing for you, recognize him. Reward him with praise. Good Fellow Here are a few ways to do this and a couple of things to think about. Did your top salesperson last month get recognized in your weekly sales meeting? Did you encourage others to clap for him? Did you reward him with a plaque? What about a gift? (Gifts do not have to be monetary. Two days off in a row, for instance, has value to some.) H Do you recognize your employees in your advertising? Do you display pictures IP, HIP HOORAY! Good for you! of them in newspapers (for those of you You deserve a pat on the back! Great job! clinging to that sinking ship)? If you’re I couldn’t have done it without you! These broadcasting on the radio, consider high- sayings go unheard far too often in dealer- lighting their accomplishments. Make an ships nationwide and I think I know why. announcement about a great moment in Although I have recently left my role at an employee’s life. “XYZ Motors, located a dealership and am on the consulting on Yellow Brick Road, would like to con- side now, I am friendly with the dealer- gratulate sales professional Phil ship’s owners and co-workers and I still McPhillipsens for becoming a first-time actively engage with the vendor represen- father last week. When you are visiting tatives for the dealer. The time I served at our dealership for service or sales, don’t the dealership in a multitude of titles and forget to wish Phil the best.” What is the duties has prepared me for my current cost to you? If a top salesperson from venture. I still have a lot to learn though, another dealer heard that, do you think and recently proved this to myself. they may be interested in learning more I was sitting down for tea with Lori I am not alone in this regard.) The dealer- about your store’s philosophy of caring for Berkson, the Chicago sales manager for ship’s customer base is the most important your employees? Visible Customer, and we were discussing commodity. However, I do not believe You may offer “value cards” to your customer retention. To put it far too there would be much of a customer base customers declaring the benefits of pur- simply, Visible Customer’s program is all if it weren’t for good employees. From chasing from your store, but do not about retaining customers for dealerships, service to parts to sales, the stronger a staff overlook the value of praising your staff something I hold near and dear to my you have, the larger (and better) your cus- in front of customers. When I would heart. I wanted to learn as much as I tomer base becomes. take a T.O, I’d always say, “I’m glad you could about this new company. While Dealerships should celebrate their are working with (insert name here), talking, I inquired about her “pitch.” She employees. They should find new ways to (s)he is one of our finest sales consult- began asking a question. “What is the encourage their sales force and thank ants.” Even if I disliked the salesperson, most valuable commodity to a dealer- them for their continued hard work. I’d say it. Consumers like to believe they ship?” Lori has faith in my knowledge so Reward them for their efforts and nourish are doing business with someone of their she assumed I knew the correct answer. their needs. Not enough dealers do this. own caliber. Considering car sales reps Unexpectedly, we offered our answers at The key to a store’s survival in this eco- tend to be wrongly viewed as second- the same time and I, apparently, was nomic climate will be directly related to class citizens to some, it is important to wrong. She said the correct answer was the people who are representing the store show respect for the salesperson in front “the dealership’s customer base.” It makes on site. Any owner will tell you how of the customer. perfect sense. I had said, “the employees.” much it costs to lose a service customer Here is one that is self-serving. There This is just one example that the staff in for life. Think of the reciprocal dollars for should not be a dealership web site in the your store is often overlooked. service and future sales. Realize you are nation that doesn’t have a picture and brief I still hold true that Lori was right and not just losing the gross profit from one sidebar about each employee. At my I was wrong. I don’t think that I’m wrong car deal, but potentially all of their former dealership, every single manager, often, unless it is any debate I’ve ever had family’s sales, service, and parts needs. If salesperson, Internet manager, and BDC with my wife. In that regard, I am the one service writer, parts counterperson, world’s most losing arguer. (I’ve been told sales manager, Internet coordinator, or continued on P-DD22 DD 20 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 16. Internet Sales, Webb (continued from P-DD20) rep had a picture (sometimes entertaining) Cecil Van Tuyl. “The better the people you everyone. Recognize what that something and paragraph write-up on the web site. It surround yourself with, the better you’re is. Embrace it. Share what makes you didn’t have much to do with car sales but going to do, for yourself and the con- special with your customers. Let them see more to do with them as people. It high- sumer.” I couldn’t agree more with him. what makes you great. They’ll be thankful lighted their families, hobbies, where they We know sales are expected to be down you did.” lived, and more. There was so much for quite a while. This slow period will I can only hope and dream that every content on that web page, sometimes it have an effect on the psyche of the belea- dealer is willing to embrace this belief. would hit higher on search engines than guered salespeople. We must celebrate Your second most important commodity my specials pages. Heck, I wrote so many them and keep their spirits up. Never may be what makes you most special. wacky blurbs about my co-workers, some- forget what a positive remark, a kind times we’d show up in Google searches of word, and a pat of the back can bring. Joe Webb is the president of DealerKnows, “guitar playing.” Every salesperson loves The more you sing the praises of your LLC, specializing in automotive e-commerce that page because it speaks to the fact that employees, the more consumers will find consulting and assisting dealers and vendors we recognize they are all special. you. Do you really believe people come to with the advancement of their online efforts, Lastly, it is not just “For He’s a Jolly your dealership to buy a car because of the solution successes, and processes through Good Fellow.” It is also “For She’s a Jolly free popcorn? Or do you think it could be hands-on training. He has worked in the Good Fellow.” If you are lucky enough to the quality of sales, service, and parts pro- dealership trenches and now shares his have strong female employees, honor fessionals you employ? knowledge of e-commerce, online advertis- them in every publication and site you On my final day at the dealership, ing, and Internet initiatives nationwide. have. You’ve been on AskPatty.com. You’ve during my Saturday morning sales visited CarsDiva.com. The power of the meeting, I said my goodbye to my co- female shopper and their influence over workers: my friends, my team. I asked buying decisions is underestimated (just them to take away just one last thing. I If you wish to discuss this article with ask my wife). Showing support to the said, “Each and every one of you is impor- other dealers, or with the author, women on your team is essential for your tant. There is something amazing and please go to the “Discussion Forums” dealer’s reputation and will also gain you special about every single person in this at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com credibility with that sought-after audience. room. While we all share the same willing- and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or The Van Tuyl Group runs the largest ness and desire to wake up, come to work, e-mail him at jwebb@DigitalDealer- privately held auto group in the nation. On and do the daily grind with customers, magazine.com. its home page, they have a quote from realize there is something unique about DD 22 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 17. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Pat Ryan Jr. 360º Market empowering your sales team and sales managers with the ability to effectively dif- ferentiate against the competition. As a result, you can shift from selling “price” to Navigation: selling “value,” thus allowing you to drive more traffic, and close more customers more profitably. My experience is that even in today’s tough market, “evidence- The Secret to Winning based” retailers can outperform the competition in three key areas: 1. Retailing more cars 2. Closing more appraisals in a Down Market 3. Stocking more of the “right” cars 360º market navigation means to know what others don’t, so you can do what others can’t. How do you become an “evi- denced-based” retailer? First, ensure your How to thrive in a ‘bear market’ team always has the facts that provide the Y best evidence to make the best decision. There is no “silver bullet” piece of market OU’VE PROBABLY HEARD THIS data that can always give you the right facts STORY: Two guys are hiking in the for each decision. Having the right woods when they encounter a hungry resource at the right time is the key. bear. One guy starts putting on his Gathering a true 360º perspective of your running shoes. The other guy looks at market empowers your team with the him and says, “Why are you doing that? “intelligence” they need to outmaneuver You’ll never outrun that bear.” The man the competition, and the facts they need to replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, make “evidence-based” business decisions. I just have to outrun you.” With 360º market navigation you’ll With car sales down dramatically have the right information available to you market wide, it’s time to lace up your at the moment you need it: running shoes. To survive and thrive in Retailing more cars – Know what con- this bear market you need to outrun your sumers know and leverage it to drive more competition. And there’s really only one traffic from the internet and empower way of doing that. Take business away your sales team to close more customers from them. Even in this tough economy • How many similar vehicles are available more profitably. Here’s how: there are still people in your market in the market? • Know how your vehicle’s Internet buying cars and trucks. The question is: • What are the advantages of one vehicle pricing ranks against the competition. Are they buying them from you? over another? According to Cars.com, 82 percent of Let’s face it; no one wants to be caught • How are your vehicles priced versus the consumers compare prices when shop- by the bear. competition? ping online – If you are out of the To outrun the bear in today’s pre-owned • What is a “fair market” purchase price ballpark you won’t make the list of five to market, you must be a disciplined opera- for this vehicle? 10 “semi-finalists” that consumers evalu- tor with a strong understanding of the • What is my trade-in really worth? ate in deciding which dealer they want to market and how consumers shop today. With the average consumer spending an buy from. Most importantly, you can’t leave the fate average of 6.5 hours researching online • Conduct Internet mystery shopping of your dealership to “gut” or “guess before they purchase (according to a to ensure that your ad effectively high- work.” Winning today requires decisive, recent J.D. Power study), consumers seem lights your vehicle’s advantages against the “evidence-based” management. to almost always know more about the competition so that you become the dealer The challenge in the age of the Internet market for a car than the pros at the deal- they choose to call, e-mail or visit. (Note: is that the amateurs know more than the ership. To win, dealers need to become the Cars.com study revealed that 78 pros. In the old days, dealers knew far “evidence-based” retailers by ensuring percent of consumers focus on photos and more than consumers, giving dealers a their managers and sales teams know what your “seller’s notes”/vehicle description in dramatic advantage in the transaction. a consumer knows as well as those facts deciding which dealership to visit). The dawn of the Internet has empowered that are only available to dealers. Sharing this market intelligence with your consumers with an incredible amount of “Evidence-based” retailing maximizes sales team will empower them to sell value market knowledge including: your Internet ads and pricing while instead of price. DD 24 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 18. • Know what a consumer feels is a “fair • Conduct Internet mystery shopping • Know what your customer’s neigh- retail purchase price” for your vehicle of similar vehicles ads to understand what bors are buying by reviewing DMV sales through Kelley Blue Book or NADA’s con- you would be up against at retail if you records for your core market. sumers site as well as Edmunds True Market took the trade in. Value. Capitalize on this by advertising • Overcome the “silent objections” by You have the evidence…now make the pricing that is “$1,000 below book,” which knowing what consumers consider a “fair decision. Of course all of the information signals to consumers your vehicles are fairly trade-in value” based on what they learned you need is out there, the question is how priced. Your sales team will be empowered online at Kelley Blue Book or NADA’s do you manage it, hone it in and make it to use it your advantage when the pricing consumer site as well as Edmunds True work for you? If you are not managing works in your favor, but will also be pre- Market Value. from a 360° view, you are at risk of being pared to overcome the fatal “silent • Obtain real sales data from real caught by the bear. This means having objection” when it works against you. dealers with J.D. Power’s Power the right market intelligence available at • Know what other dealers are selling Information Network, to learn what other the right time to make the right decision similar vehicles for, how profitably and dealers in your market are selling similar so you can close the deal, and close the how quickly through real sales data from vehicles for as well as their ACV. deal profitably. real dealers with J.D. Power’s Power Stocking more of the “right” cars – It’s Information Network. This information always easier to drive more traffic and sell Pat Ryan Jr. is the co-founder and chief will tell you when to hold gross or when to more cars when you have the cars that are executive officer of First Look by INCISENT cut the deal. “hot” with consumers. You can stock more Technologies. Closing more appraisals – In addition to “hot” vehicles at your dealership and in knowing the “basics” every dealer already your market if you: has access to such as wholesale book • Know what the fastest and most prof- values, auction data, vehicles history itable sellers are for your store. If you wish to discuss this article with reports (Carfax and Autocheck), and your • Know what the fastest and most prof- other dealers, or with the author, store sales history, you can close more itable sellers are in your market through please go to the “Discussion Forums” appraisals and retail more conquest trade- real sales data from real dealers with J.D. at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com ins by turning your appraisal into a “360º Power’s Power Information Network. and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or appraisal.” To do this, you need to: • Know what you are up against by e-mail him at pryan@DigitalDealer- • Know similar vehicles current Internet knowing vehicles’ Internet market days magazine.com. prices. supply in your market. DigitalDealer-magazine.com January 2009 DD 25
  • 19. D IGITAL Dealer COVER STORY Diana Weaver Internet Marketing & CRM Manager Tom Wood Automotive DD 26 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 20. It isn’t every day that the word “Edsel” is brought up in conversation, but the highly successful Tom Wood Automotive Group owes part of its existence to the famed vehicle from the late ‘50s. It was at a Mercury-Edsel dealership in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when a new car salesman by the name of Tom Wood worked while attending college. After college, Wood continued selling cars and eventually bought his first dealership. In 1967, he bought an even larger dealership when he purchased Hedges Pontiac in downtown Indianapolis. Today, Tom Wood Automotive consists of 17 franchises with several rooftop locations in four cities, spread out over three states, along with a full-scale quality leasing operation. Current franchises include: Toyota/Scion, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen, Subaru, Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover, Porsche, Audi, Ford, Lexus and Honda. As you’ll learn when you read the interview below, Wood built his auto group on the belief that success is measured by the people associated with it. Internet Marketing and CRM Manager Diana Weaver, a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, is living proof of this tenet. Read on to find out how Weaver combines an engineer’s eye for detail with her unabashed love of serving people when planning, overseeing, and refining the online mar- keting presence and customer retention efforts for Tom Wood Automotive. P LEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. I always tell people I got into the car business by a stroke of good luck. As you can imagine, this gets a mix of different Group as its director of e-Commerce. Tom Wood has such a great reputation in our area that it was truly an honor to get the position. We average 25 to 35 percent directly resulting from leads submitted online, but it varies from store to store. For instance, our high-line stores run up to 40 percent. We are doing a much better reactions. But when you are in the car How many people work in your job of surveying customers about their business and you love it, you know exactly department? shopping and online search habits. The what I mean. We have 12 Internet managers and survey results allow us to keep better I have an engineering degree from salespeople among all of the stores. But all track of the ROI measurements we’re Purdue University, but quickly realized I of our sales managers are considered a seeing from our lead provider and online was too much of a people person to stay part of our Internet teams, and are all very advertising dollars. We know that many in the engineering field. So, in 2000 I involved. In some of the stores, leads are more sales are generated from the answered an ad for a BDC manager posi- turned over to the sales floor, and in those Internet than the number of people who tion at a standalone store, Pearson Ford, stores everyone is a part of the team. actually submit a lead; consequently, it here in Indianapolis. I had no idea what a Because so many shoppers start their requires a great deal of discipline from all BDC was at the time and knew nothing research online, virtually every up is con- of our sales staff to survey our customers about cars. When I landed the job and sidered an Internet customer. That makes for quality information. launched my career as a “car guy,” I got every employee part of the Internet lucky, real lucky. I was with Pearson Ford department. We firmly believe that going What tools or lead generators have really for seven years and completely developed forward our dealerships won’t have an worked on your site to pull in leads? its Internet and BDC departments. Internet department, but rather will be We have a great portal page After that, I spent a short time at a suc- Internet dealerships. (www.tomwood.com) that draws a cessful Honda store in Colorado Springs. tremendous amount of traffic. But the But when I returned home to What percentage of your dealership’s individual sites themselves remain our Indianapolis last February, I was thrilled overall sales is generated from the number one source for leads. In our to be hired with Tom Wood Automotive Internet? primary market area we have the luxury DigitalDealer-magazine.com January 2009 DD 27
  • 21. D IGITAL Dealer COVER STORY of being a long-standing large dealer specials on all of our home pages based on based on the content people are most group with a great reputation. Everyone current incentives. Recently we started interested in. IMN has some pretty strong knows who we are, so 90 percent of the adding service specials to this portion of reports available that specifically say, for traffic to our sites is either direct or the web site, which has helped pull in example, that a particular customer organic traffic. additional service appointments. clicked on an article about a particular Our individual web sites host pages Plus, we recently signed up with vehicle and sent a copy of the article to his with luxury vehicles under $20K or vehi- Liquid Motors as our inventory man- wife. That’s pretty strong. If I wanted to cles under $10K, depending on the agement provider. We chose them send a bonus, last-minute opportunity, brand. Not surprisingly, pages promoting because they offer plenty of robust tools say an e-coupon, to that particular cus- lower priced vehicles have seen an increase in one place. They will do our inventory tomer, he wouldn’t know that he was the in traffic over the last several months. videos with text-to-speech voice over, or only one to get that special offer. IMN is Manufacturer sites are also great with a specific tool that will allow us to like any other tool, though. If you use sources for quality leads. Especially the record a personalized voice over to a what’s there, it can be quite successful. brands that are hitting the Internet space video and then e-mail the video to a What I find quite often is that vendors with a lot of manufacturer ad dollars. specific customer. will package a lot of tools together so it’s Audi, Volkswagen and Volvo, for all shiny. People ooh and aah and say example, are making huge commitments Do you help design/update your they’ve got to have it. Only later, when it’s to the online arena, buying leads and dealership site? For example, update all shaken out, do they realize they’re only increasing co-op dollars dedicated to inventory, create specials, add using about 25 percent of the product. online marketing. photos, etc. We select our lead providers independ- Absolutely. We work with a full-service Can you give me an example of a suc- ently from store to store. We have noticed advertising agency that helps us with our cessful e-mail campaign that pulled in that some providers are better for certain graphics and they do a great job. But all of a good number of leads? brands, so it is crucial to track ROI care- the new and used vehicle, finance, parts, One of our biggest successes is with fully by store. Just because we are getting and service specials are part of my respon- monthly lease expiration reminders. At a lot of leads from a particular source sibility. I work closely with all department three months before lease expiration, all doesn’t mean they close well; so I also look managers to make sure these stay current customers are notified via e-mail and we at lead volume, close ratio and front- and and in line with both manufacturers’ get an overwhelming response with these back-end gross to determine our success offers as well as our own off-line advertis- e-mails. We have tried sending the e-mails rate. It’s not always apples to apples. ing. Many of our manufacturers require six months out, but found it was too early. For instance, our Ford store draws a that in addition to our tomwood.com We also had great responses with owner tremendous response with web sites we also maintain factory loyalty blasts, such as buy-back events Autotrader.com, which, on the other required web sites. That means I am with percentage of original MSRP guar- hand, doesn’t do much for our Porsche maintaining not only nine tomwood.com anteed for the trade-in. Our Nissan store, store. We are lucky enough to be the only sites, but also nine other sites as well. for example, sold eight units from 68 Porsche store around, so if you are an in- leads in this campaign in October. market shopper looking for a Porsche, How do you use e-mail campaigns to Considering it was targeted to previous you come straight to us—either directly generate leads? customers in a positive equity position, or from the Porsche manufacturer’s site. I run a monthly e-blast for each store, the message carried more weight and was As a result, there is no reason for me to and make it as specific and targeted as I able to generate a better response. waste ad dollars on site promotions for can. If we have multiple offers running, I that segment of the market; it would be target each one to the prospect segment If you could keep one tool from your redundant. Instead, I could reallocate that makes the most sense keeping in current interactive tool chest to gener- those funds to increased SEM for Porsche mind crossover buyers. ate leads, what would it be? in surrounding demographic areas. I also include a service special in all of Definitely, I would keep our our sales campaigns making them rele- tomwood.com portal page, which is only What interactive media resources do vant to owners who may not be in about a year old—before that we didn’t you utilize? Please tell me what serv- market. We have been doing this long have one. It is much easier to brand one ices they provide and why you decided enough now that our customer base web site and centralize all of our online to go with them. expects these offers and know they will be and off-line advertising efforts. We drive We are on Dealer.com web sites. Our relevant. It certainly helps in keeping opt- customers to just that one web site and advertising company manages our SEM out to a minimum and our domain off then allow them to pick their manufac- campaigns and works closely with the black lists. turer. It works like a charm. Branding Dealer.com to ensure our sites and mes- A few of our stores run e-newsletters our portal page in a market where we are sages are in sync. Our current television with IMN Inc. These get a tremendous so well known significantly reduces our commercials are always uploaded to the response and have robust back-end track- pay-per- click expenses because so much home pages, to maintain branding and ing tools. Our opt-out rates on these of our traffic landed there either directly continuity to our on and off line advertis- campaigns run less than 2 percent. Plus, or organically. ing. We also utilize rotating leaders’ we can target readers with follow-up We can really concentrate efforts on DD 28 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 22. Dealership partners in profit: our cumulative inventories through this number of vehicles sold in a month whose site. We advertise over 2,000 vehicles at first lead originated over 30, 60 and 90- Dealership name: any given time. Being able to leverage the days-plus. This is a great barometer for Tom Wood Automotive power of our combined inventories on the how well we are doing with our follow-up Group Vehicles Under $10K and Luxury efforts. Customers want to be wined and Web site URLs: Vehicles Under $20K pages is very strong dined out there. They are shopping five- for our market. www.tomwood.com plus other stores besides us. Who is going From the fixed operations side, most of to still have top of mind presence when Web site provider/hosting: our stores also utilize Time Highway for they are really ready to buy? The stores Dealer.com real-time service scheduling. This tool is they think of first are the ones still com- imperative. Not only does it help better municating with them. We try to make Web site vehicle photos: load our shops and dispatch work more sure we are not pre-qualifying our leads. Done in-house evenly, customers love the ease of use. For Never leave any stone – or lead – me, it’s another way to capture e-mail unturned, and that means constant and addresses and build our database for Vehicle marketing: consistent follow-up for everyone. follow-up. Liquid Motors There are a lot of new tools in the space Please take me through the process getting attention – blogs, social net- DMS provider: from when an Internet lead is received, works, SEO and SEM—do you use any Reynolds & Reynolds to how it is eventually closed (via a sale of them? If so, how have they worked? or a long-term prospect). If not, do you have plans to use any of CRM program: Because our stores are set up differently these tools? Reynolds & Reynolds the process varies some by location. Our sites have been well optimized by Several stores work the leads soup to nuts; Dealer.com and by additional link build- Vehicle video vendors: others handle things more like a BDC, ing campaigns that we have set up. Plus, Liquid Motors passing appointments to the floor. We we change our content as often as possible have tested different methods within each to keep search spiders happy. Vehicle valuation tools: store. But because the environments and Our advertising agency has just Black Book dynamics are so different, we have revamped our SEM campaigns for geo- decided not to rock the boat. It only graphic and brand specific searches. SEM Online lead generators makes sense that what works for our has been a bit of a challenge for us because not including the OEM Lexus store would not necessarily work at we have so many brands that also carry sources: Ford, and what works at our Volvo store is crossovers on our pre-owned lots. We AOL Autos not a perfect fit at Volkswagen. have had to be careful with our campaigns AutoUSA The similarities in processes are the to make sure all of our stores are not Cars.com basics: the block and tackle. We keep bidding against one another and driving CarsDirect response times to an absolute minimum, up our own cost per click. Costco less than 10 minutes is our goal. Of I have been here for less than a year, so Dealix course, everyone is strapped to a we are just now starting to get into blog- Edmunds.com Blackberry to ensure we can respond ging, user generated content sites, social Kelley Blue Book quickly. We have eliminated auto-respon- networking and video SEO. It’s obvious MSN Autos ders at a few dealerships to experiment that these things can make a huge differ- with perceived, personalized response Yahoo!Autos ence without costing us much, and we are time. Customers are responding well to excited to get started with them soon. our personalized responses, but to stay on Vehicle history reports: top of responding is a never-ending effort. What trends in automotive sales are Carfax The key for me is to make sure we you noticing and how is Tom Wood answer the questions and assess the needs Automotive Group adapting to Third-party sites where of our customers right away. After initial those trends? inventory is posted: contact we follow-up according to our We are finding that as people become AutoTrader.com flexible and personalized schedules, more comfortable with online car shop- AutoMart making sure no one falls through the ping and we, as an industry, continue Craig’s List cracks. We literally practice the old saying making more robust tools available to Cars.com of following up until they buy or die. online shoppers, they are starting their CarSoup research earlier and conducting more of it eBay Motors How important is follow-up in closing online. For us, that means providing Kelley Blue Book Internet leads? quality answers while building trust and Vehix Very important. In fact, it’s absolutely essential. One of the metrics I track is the continued on P-DD38 DigitalDealer-magazine.com January 2009 DD 29
  • 23. D IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Sandi Jerome tomer database. Depending on your If Space is Cheap – DMS system you need to do an “extrac- tion” of the customer file. First you write a report to grab the customer name, customer name, address, phone How Much numbers, vehicle information (year, make, model, VIN), date sold, last date serviced, and payoff date. Save this report and set up a process to run the can you Keep? report and save it to a csv (comma sep- arated value file). If you have less than 65,000 records, use Excel to hold the data. Otherwise, you’ll need something larger like Access. A Operational data: After the month is S A NEW YEAR STARTS, we’re all closed, save all your repair order detail, busy putting together file boxes to send car deals, and parts tickets to a CD and old records to storage. What about your move off site. Be prepared daily in case computer records? How much should there is a fire, flood, hurricane or you save and how much should you tornado. Daily, the service manager retain on the system? With data storage should e-mail himself a list of all open being low-cost today, it is tempting to repair orders. The parts manager can do “keep it all” but sometimes storing too the same for open parts tickets, and the much data slows your system down. sales manager for all working prospects. Let’s say that you want to store the The F&I manager should have a list of details for every vehicle that you’ve ever all pending car deals. The daily sold. That means that every time you accounting backup needs to be in a safe search for a deal from yesterday, it or offsite daily. might mean looking through thousands of records, including all the dealer I realize that it might seem hard to trades and wholesale deals. That can decide what to keep and for how long, take a few more seconds or minutes, “Keeping your but if you start treating your computer which is huge if the customer is on the data the same as you do printed records phone waiting. Keeping your databases databases clean and and developing a storage and retention clean and trim means your system runs policy, you’ll be assured that you have faster. This doesn’t mean that you trim means that your the information that you need when should delete everything that is a you need it. month old; rather you need to make a system runs faster.” retention policy depending on the type —Sandi Jerome Sandi Jerome is a former controller, of data. To make this simple, I separate CFO, system administrator, F&I, assis- computer data into three main cate- tant GM, and fixed operations manager gories: accounting data, customer data, Accounting data: Each month you with over 20 years experience in the auto- and operational data. There are various should have a copy of your general motive industry. She is the owner of Sandi regulations that govern what you’ll need ledger, detail general ledger, journals, Jerome Computer Consulting. to provide and when. But as a guide- and schedules saved to a CD in Excel, line, you need your accounting data in txt or a csv file off the premises. Do not case you’re audited by the IRS or a sales depend on your DMS system backup. tax audit. You need your customer data You might not be on that system two because you might want to do a cam- years from now to read their backup If you wish to discuss this article with paign or mailing to customers that have tape when you get audited. Daily, you other dealers, or with the author, been deleted by DMS system. You need should take home your prior day’s please go to the “Discussion Forums” your operational data to perform analy- DMS system backup tape. Bring in the at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com sis and provide information about your one from the day before. and enter the “Technology” forum or sales and service history. Here is a quick e-mail her at sjerome@DigitalDealer- reference of what you need to store and Customer data: Once a month you magazine.com. how often. need to run a report on your full cus- DD 30 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 24. D IGITALBarkeraler BDC/CRM Chuck De Don’t Settle motion. Your thoughts are the software telling the hardware what to do. Therefore, focus on the right stuff. Processes Your Internet department isn’t a branch for Less of the military. For morale reasons it shouldn’t feel like it is, and as a result your employees probably don’t follow every command while dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. And this isn’t bad; your people who best connect with your cus- How do I impact my tomers are normally not detail-oriented. The challenge is helping your star people stay on the right track and stay focused Internet business now? doing the right things through effective processes. Below is a five-step progression to continuously better your processes. I Step 1: Assess your current processes Retired GE chief executive Jack Welch, T IS A NEW YEAR and what a great time in his book “Winning” writes, “Candor is to take care of some lingering business important.” Using candor as you look issues regarding your Internet department. introspectively at your processes is vital. In addressing the title statement “How do And, to facilitate a clear view, you need I impact my Internet business now?” you the right information. Don’t be fooled by may be suffering one of a multitude of dif- monthly sales numbers or total gross ferent drivers negatively affecting your profit because both are influenced heavily Internet department: Your people might by environmental factors. To find real not have the right training skills in place value look deeper. Dive down into your (phone and communications skills); the CRM software to find relative numbers, right personnel (technical versus sales) success ratios that are sub-divided into the heading things up; or you may not be uti- steps of the sale and compared against lizing the most effective best practices; the total opportunities to do business. technology that works for your traditional Once you have the right information, sales staff might be limiting internet per- to do, they simply reply to inquiries.” focus on finding areas of improvement. formance, or you simply might be missing • “We can’t get people in for appoint- Make a list of your highest failure points. the total internet department vision ments.” For example, your highest failure point (which was never unveiled to anyone). • “Nobody knows how to really manage may be in e-mail response time and your And these are just a few reasons why the Internet department to get the second highest failure point may be cus- Internet departments have not performed results we need.” tomer appointment show rate. Whatever to higher expectations. • “We haven’t had much luck selling you find, be honest and prepare for The good news is that it doesn’t matter Internet shoppers; they only want best change to make it better. what is causing your poor performance. price.” Step 2: Compare process assessment What does matter is how you go about It is time to forget the past and look to industry averages and set goals identifying the problem and instituting a toward the future. We can’t change the Step one is all about finding where to winning strategy to right the proverbial past anyway even if we wanted to. But make improvements and Step 2 involves listing ship. Throughout this article, I will you can do something about tomorrow, quantifying the level of improvement provide some insight to the problems and the day after that. You need to required in comparison to industry above and then address how you can impress upon your professionals the benchmarks. Once you’ve developed an implement solutions. Remember, this is things that color their forward thinking idea as to the level of improvement, set an ongoing battle and you’re not alone; view of CRM as it relates to Internet busi- your goals accordingly. but if you don’t monitor and affect solid ness into a positive “new” growth To improve the success rate of your change, soon you will be. Most people are potential. Replace doubt with confidence, process improvement goals, utilize the living in the “land of just good enough.” faith and discovering the awesome new SMART goal-setting method. The I continue to hear things from dealers ways to excel within your Internet depart- acronym SMART stands for specific, like: ment. Get excited about these new • “Yeah, but my people don’t know what opportunities because emotion creates continued on P-DD34 DD 32 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 25. BDC/CRM, Barker (continued from P-DD32) measurable, attainable, realistic, time- sold and average gross profit are not good lot and showroom, and that your e-mail is based goals. In practice, a goal simply indicators of healthy processes. Keep that functional and always on, just like your stated as “decreasing e-mail response concept front and center. Almost invari- phones. But just like your showroom, lot, time” wouldn’t be as effective as a goal to ably dealers that institute solid processes, and phone system, technologies don’t sell “send initial e-mail reply within 20 with the right people and technologies, vehicles; they simply enable great people minutes to 95 percent of leads received will experience success to a greater degree. and solid processes. This should help put during operating hours by the start of the The problem is that when most dealer- the overall purpose of technologies for next quarter.” The latter goal will give ships experience success driven by solid your Internet department in perspective. your employees an unambiguous objec- processes, they forget the driver, the I recently visited several dealer web tive with a clear deadline, and if the goal processes, and they start focusing on sites. The second place I visit (like more is attainable and realistic, it will give you “more units and higher gross.” And guess and more prospects) after the home page basis for reprimand if the goal is not met. what, the solid processes are abandoned is “about us.” It frankly amazes me that Now, take your areas of improvement and the increased success is gone shortly most of these have nothing there to plant from step one and develop a SMART goal thereafter. This syndrome has plagued the seeds for customer relationships. They approach for each. car business for years, but if you can keep have a tired old slogan in paragraph form, Step 3: Implement changes your people focused on utilizing the new places for staff photos but non- appearing, If you’re stuck in the limbo between processes and monitor their adherence to under construction, sales, service, parts steps two and three, you are not alone. those processes, your success will con- hours or directions and such. Not many The term “analysis paralysis,” identifies tinue. The key is to keep focused on the at all truly exhibit CRM as it should be the problem of defining goals and only little numbers throughout the steps of the intended. To give prospects a reason to do planning to implement change, but sale and your big numbers will continue business with you, get to know you better failing to follow through. Please don’t do to grow. and embrace the fact that you appreciate this. Failing to break through analysis Step 5: Repeat customers and are a part of your commu- paralysis is one sure fire way to destroy This concept is simple. Continue to nity. Take a look at your competitors as your Internet department. look for opportunities to improve your well as your own site and ask yourself if Implementing process changes is the processes and then implement winning you would feel comfortable with you if hardest step and it takes genuine leader- solutions. It’s important to remember we you were a prospect visiting for the first ship. You must rally your employees, live in a “good, better, best” world. You time. If your answer is no, then do some- deliver the new processes, support their will always be able to find something new thing about it. If you need some progress, and lead by example. In a well- to improve. And don’t stop with industry suggestions e-mail me with your web site documented study, the Hawthorn effect benchmarks, because for the most part, and I will give you my two cents. Can’t describes the tendency for employees to our industry is filled with poor perform- buy much with that but it is a new set of be more efficient when managerial atten- ers. Take this as an opportunity to push eyes looking in from the outside just like tion is applied. For your purposes, this beyond average and move towards great- your prospects and customers. study reads, “To rally your troops you ness for all of your processes. must spend time on the floor and experi- Key components: ence the problems first hand.” Then Technology • People with superior sales and phone when you deliver your new processes, Disclaimer: The right technologies can skills your goals will have a much greater enable your Internet department. The • Lead management/CRM software impact due to the empathy you have wrong technologies can, in the best case • Web site gained from being on the front line. Your scenario cost your dealership thousands of • Technology extras employees will be excited about imple- extra dollars, and in the worst case sce- • Third-party lead providers menting new processes because you nario be so cumbersome, ineffective, showed leadership in understanding first and/or labor intensive that they under- Chuck Barker’s experience ranges from an hand what they are experiencing and mine the ability of your great people and executive with a Fortune 200 computer cor- finding solutions with them. solid processes to be effective. Our poration to the automobile business. He has Once the new processes and your imple- purpose is to advise the best possible com- held positions as business development mentation goals have been communicated, bination of technologies to enable your manager, sales manager, acting GM, ADP it’s not time to retreat to your office and people within the restraints of your store executive regional manager specializing in look at more numbers. It’s time for you to size and budget. Our only interest is the CRM and his own current company, Impact be visibly engaged and offer any assistance success of our clients. Marketing & Consulting Group, LLC, you can. If an interim benchmark is suc- Technology is your new storefront. located in Virginia. cessfully completed, buy lunch. Show that While we’re not at a time where the you appreciate the effort expended by your average deal happens completely through people. Finally, you must lead by example. electronic channels, it’s of great value to If the goal is to decrease e-mail response make the comparison of your technolo- If you wish to discuss this article with time, when a team member sends you an e- gies to your storefront. Customers are other dealers, or with the author, mail, respond as quickly as possible. Apply now visiting your web site instead of your please go to the “Discussion Forums” the new rule of leadership; do as I say and lot, and they are e-mailing and now at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com as I do. beginning to call again because e-mail is and enter the “BDC/CRM” forum or Step 4: Monitor process adherence just too slow for some. It’s incredibly e-mail him at cbarker@DigitalDealer- In step one I asked you to look at rela- important that your web site looks great magazine.com. tive numbers, and I explained that units and feels warm and inviting, just like your DD 34 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 26. D IGITAL Dealer DMS WORKSHOP Jim Skeans Profit is Opinion, employees. The thing is there is no “one thing” that solves all problems. Giving employees new computers and tools helps and sometimes reassessing a person’s apti- Cash Flow is Fact tude for a given job or responsibilities will also help. But, the best way to clear away the fog and confusion as to why you are not getting the results you should be getting is to eliminate outdated processes DMS tools that help with with better processes that are in harmony with the automaton you have provided. Another thing is to provide employees the positive cash flow processes information they need in a real-time, actionable format that will keep them focused and help drive performance. What to do I One area that can easily go “cash flow – wrong way” is the timing of the funding AM THINKING IT MAY BE TIME TO of the car deal and of the floorplan pay UPDATE THE JSCG MOTTO, “Profit is off. If the payoff agreement with your opinion, cash is fact” to “Profit is opinion, floorplan source is based on days since cash flow is fact.” I like “flow” as it puts delivery or contract funded date, you the focus on the cycle of cash outflows don’t want to get out of compliance with and inflows that in actuality, determine that agreement. Pay off too soon and your your dealership’s solvency. Now, I know deal is negative cash flow; pay too late and you know that. After all, these days profit well, let’s just say, not good. In any case has become an archaic word no longer in having a current, up-to-date floorplan pay use in the automotive industry and con- off amount on your outstanding CIT ceptually, cash flow is about as new as report provides your staff with a big, breathing. I am just asking you to give it usually the biggest factor in the deal, cash a little more attention at the process level. flow equation. Having this data front and Unless you have figured out how to center allows for quick and easy assess- declare your dealership a “financial insti- ment of where you stand with your payoff tution” that qualifies for bailout money, lives the difference between customers agreement, as well as for reallocating you have no choice but to press on at the and paying customers with the associated funding efforts as needed to stay in com- top of your own, self-made, trickle down focus on cash flow can get a bit fuzzy. pliance. Also, the report is very handy to pyramid, with the proper process and When I am performing an automaton have at floorplan audit time. After all you automaton utilization that helps consum- utilization/process audit I often find that don’t want valuable auditor time and mate the transaction and get the money my main task is to get people away from attention wasted putting together the out- into the dealership’s checking account being caught up in doing things that don’t standing CIT/floorplan list when they quickly and accurately. drive results and to help them re-assess could be admiring the deals on your Another thing that could stand some where their focus should be, and of showroom. updating is that old consultant’s axiom course, how to measure their progress. Please take a look at my July 2008 “There are only two valid types of dealer- This audit process is a real eye-opener and Digital Dealer magazine DMS column for ship employee: those who are directly it always involves providing them with a more in-depth discussion of differences responsible for the transaction and those new tools and training that not only in cash flow and profit. who directly support them” and replacing allows them to do their jobs easier, but As always if you have any questions or “transaction” with “transaction and also helps to prevent frustrations that comments just call or e-mail. funding of the transaction.” The reality is come with getting bogged down in mean- that each one of your employees has some ingless tasks that tend to diminish their For ADP Elite users level of cash flow authority and responsi- effectiveness, as well as job satisfaction. Using Reflections with columns set to bility. Most employees realize that from Everything from preventing and elimi- 132 and from the accounting function first contact to finalizing the transaction nating frozen assets (unless you are a Ben prompt, select the mini schedule with their job is to turn all customers, with as and Jerry’s store or an ice sculptor) to both CITs and floorplan payoff and run it little delay as possible, into paying cus- keeping car deals’ cash flow positive tomers. But, in their day-to- day work should be a key focus for all dealership continued on P-DD37 DD 36 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 27. DMS Workshop, Skeans (continued from P-DD36) Internet Sales, Sanders (continued from P-20) to the HOLDQ printer. From SPJ select Contracts in Transit balances with the I have watched dealers buy third-party the report, edit and list with logging on bank name, F&I manager’s name, sales- leads for 30 or 60 days and want to get rid and log to disk instead of print. Open the person’s name, and includes the floorplan of the expense as if they were not working. downloaded report with Excel and filter balance. Click on the Excel icon to bring Now I believe third-party leads need to for outstanding amounts in floorplan the report into Excel or the printer icon to “prove their worth,” but it takes at least six account. Submitted by Jim Skeans, Jim send to your Windows printer. Submitted months to do that. If the close takes on Skeans Consulting Group, LLC by Sandi Jerome, DealerStar average 60 days, obviously they need to be in our system and processed for six months For ADP w.e.b Suite users For Dubuque Data Services users to find out just what their quality is. On the Reports tab (on top menu bar) From the Main Menu, select #8 It has been proven that Internet sales are select “Accounting Schedules” (sample General Ledger then select #2 Controlled an effective means for selling new and used AGRS-1) then press the Browse button Accounts, then #3 Print Control vehicles. It still is a fact in most markets (or enter the schedule number) to select Schedules and then # 2 Selected Control that the Internet delivers to the dealership the schedule report desired (Example Schedules. Input a Date Range or leave as leads that just would not come to our store. AGRS-1.5). The schedule report displays is for all dates. Option of Summary or In tracking this at some stores we experi- in ADP grid report format (sample Detail on the report and input the printer ence 65 percent of Internet sales from AGRS-2). Press the Excel icon on the top to send the report. Lastly, enter the prospects out of our market. It behooves menu bar (sample AGRS-3) and enter the Dealer Defined Schedule you wish to the dealer to make a decision to enter into file name to export to Excel. Press the “+” print. In our example, it is schedule “50”. this sales channel and find out how to sell key on the left margin to expand the Excel For help on setting up this schedule if cars and make money in doing it. spreadsheet sample AGRS-4). Submitted you don’t currently have one, contact Now we often want to exercise control by Jim Skeans, Jim Skeans Consulting support for assistance. This report can before the sale. But doing this with Group, LLC have up to five different accounts so the Internet leads will lead to delays and com- end user can include new and used on plications that will result in slowing down For ARKONA users one report or if there are multiple con- the sales process and undermining sales From the General Ledger menu, take tracts in transit or floorplan accounts, success. To achieve maximum Internet the Option for Audit Reporting and click they can all be included as well. sales and profits I recommend that we Account Comparison – Balance Sheet Submitted by Kim Francois, Dubuque first find out how to sell cars utilizing the Accounts. Select the Vehicle Receivables Data Services Internet and then work on how to get the report. Add your flooring account if nec- most profit per car. In the early days we essary and print. You can also print the For Reynolds & Reynolds ERA sold cars and paid little attention to the Accepted Uncapped Deal Report from the users back end. It seemed most people already Uncapped Deals option on the Business Using ERALink and from the account- had financing in place. But as this sales Office menu. This report shows the floor- ing menu select the mini schedule with channel matures we are finding our ing balance and amount financed or the CIT and Floor plan accounts. Run the Internet sales back end can be almost as capitalized cost on deals that haven’t made report with the no-print option. When the profitable as the floor sales. It is amazing it through accounting yet. Submitted by report is finished select the report wizard to me as a consultant how few store man- Jim Jensen, DealerTrack, Inc., LLC from the ERALink menu bar and from agers see themselves as facilitators of sales. the Report Wizard dialog box select our It seems most managers think they should For Auto/Mate users report. After verifying the column parsing, control every step before the step is taken. For dealers with both accounts on the choose Excel as the target program and And in reality this bogs down the process, same schedule, go into Office/Mate and select finish. Submitted by Jim Skeans, Jim frustrates the customer, and hinders sales create a custom schedule report. Filter on Skeans Consulting Group, LLC success. It may be a better idea to “release” the specific schedule number and add the staff and the process and make correc- any additional fields that they want (sold, Jim Skeans is the president of Jim Skeans tions after the sale and not before the sale. sold date, etc.). Otherwise, in Consulting Group LLC and has been in Office/Mate use the “stack schedules” the automobile business for more than 25 Daryl Sanders is the owner of Internet function by clicking on the pivot table years. Jim is a former senior consultant for Dealer Solutions, Ltd. He has installed his icon and pivot on control number and an international automotive consulting evolving sales system in over 100 dealerships. account (filtering on the appropriate group and has served in all of the tradi- He has a business degree in marketing from schedules and sold vehicles). The infor- tional dealership management and staff Ohio State University. As an offensive tackle mation can then be exported to Excel positions as well as director position with at OSU, he was an NFL number one draft with one click of the “export to Excel” a large national dealership group. pick in 1963 for the Detroit Lions. button. Our PivotTable is exactly like Excel’s extremely powerful pivot table feature and are embedded within our If you wish to discuss this article with If you wish to discuss this article with Mate products. Submitted by Praveen other dealers, or with the author, other dealers, or with the author, Tamvada, Auto/Mate, Inc. please go to the “Discussion Forums” please go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com For DealerStar users and enter the “DMS Workshop” forum and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or From the Accounting Reports menu, or e-mail him at jskeans@Digital e-mail him at dsanders@Digital select Heat Sheet Download. This report Dealer-magazine.com. Dealer-magazine.com. displays all Vehicle Receivables and DigitalDealer-magazine.com January 2009 DD 37
  • 28. nation. It’s scary to me how many still use If you could enhance the Internet, how generic, auto-responders, either from the would you improve it? manufacturer or their CRM tool. I always As soon as technologies catch up with ask a question in the comments, say, one another and providers allow more inte- about their CPO program, and the auto- gration across the board it will help. For Advertiser..........................pg # responders never answer my question. example, the capability to send video to all Even if it takes a little longer to get back mobile devices has arrived. Right now we ActivEngage..........................19 to a person, I find that getting back to are a bit stymied with certain technologies them with a real quality response that because of the tremendous fluctuation in AutoListener ........................33 answers their question is much better our customers’ ability to integrate. Auto Point ..............................3 received than an auto-responder. The same could be said about our many The technology trends are always fast choices in vendors; what they offer, what AutoSoft Intl.........................25 and furious: blogging, video SEO, it does for us and its ability to integrate texting, social networking, etc. We are with our DMS and CRM. We’re waiting AutoUSA ..............................40 working up to all of them but would for someone to put real time mobile rather make sure the technology is up to display units in the hands of our cus- BZ Results/ADP........................5 speed before we jump in. Because we have tomers. If someone could streamline all of cars.com ................................39 so many rooftops we are able to try differ- that, I would be truly grateful! ent technologies at different locations to DealerPeak (Widestorm) ........8 see what works before we all jump What sets your dealership apart from onboard with “the next big thing.” It’s a others in the market? Dealerskins............................13 great incentive in negotiating with Tom Wood started this company in vendors. They will usually let us try out 1967 and has grown it successfully into Dealerspan ............................23 their product at one of our stores at a what and who we are today. Mr. Wood’s eBay Motors ..........................7 reduced price. If it’s successful, we can get philosophy is, “Success is not measured the other stores to sign up. by the number of franchises or locations Homenet ..............................17 an organization has; it is measured by As a sales professional, what do you the people associated with it.” It’s a very IMN Loyalty Driver ..............31 like most about the Internet? powerful and honorable thing to be The Internet is the way business is done involved with this group. We are very National Auto Care ................2 now—and will be done in the future. It is fortunate that by hiring and retaining convenient, reliable and secure. We live in the right people throughout the years, NeoSynergy ..........................15 a fast-paced world where information is that we have achieved this type in Panasonic ..............................11 so readily available at a keystroke. For our intrinsic success. industry it’s a matter of learning a new In the new age of the Internet, we are Reynolds & Reynolds ..............9 way to communicate and taking advan- continuing to observe this philosophy. tage of new technology to provide Our management teams are absolutely TK Carsites ............................21 answers to, and build relationships with, committed to excellence in the online our customers. Most of our Internet sales arena. And this is a commitment that VinSolutions ........................22 staff started on the sales floor. I love the trickles down from Mr. Wood to our challenge of teaching them how to com- management company to our GMs, Cover Story, Weaver (continued from P-DD29) municate with customers via the web. sales managers and sales staff. I tell our Understanding people’s fears of our Internet sales teams every day that no rapport over a period of time. industry is a big obstacle to overcome tools, no technology, and no increase in So often customers are bombarded with when communicating over the Internet. lead volume are ever going to make a contact within the first few days and then Let’s face it; if you weren’t in the car busi- difference if we don’t have the right quickly forgotten. We have carefully ness, would you want to wander onto a people in place, working the right devised our follow-up schedules with car lot unarmed without information to process and working hard for our cus- timely and consistent follow-up but have protect your financial best interest? tomers. Anyone in the Indianapolis area also written in enough room for personal- Approaching our customers with this can tell you our old tag line from Mr. ized flexibility. Customers don’t want stale, understanding helps us build trust right Wood, “If it’s got my name on it, you’ve irrelevant templates; they want to feel as if from the beginning. got my word on it.” we are truly working for their business. The ever-changing technology available That still holds true today because They know they have choices and they to us is fun to keep up with, but at the end every one of us in the Tom Wood family don’t have to be at the mercy of a car of the day it’s about treating people with work hard every day to maintain that rep- dealer anymore. This is why we have gone honesty and integrity. That’s what creates a utation in our market. Online or off, Tom away from standard e-mail templates and loyal customer base and that’s where you Wood customers come first. Always have, replaced them with personalized commu- get the best return. Using the Internet to always will. nications. Since doing this, we have seen a harness the power of your human very positive response from our customers. resources and, therefore, generate truly sat- dweaver@DigitalDealer- I do many “secret shops” around the isfied customers becomes the real reward. magazine.com DD 38 January 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com

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