Welcome to the digital edition
  of Digital Dealer magazine!
Just as you are trying to keep your store(s) on the cutting e...
June 2009




           The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers




Internet Sales:
Highlights from a Round
Table ...
T ABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                                     CIAL
                             ...
D IGITAL Dealer E-MAIL
Digital Dealer welcomes your letters and
after verification will run them signed or                ...
D IGITAL Dealer
                                                 “OVE.com can help independent
                           ...
D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES
   Mike Roscoe




I
    ’ve got good news and I’ve got great                                 ...
D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
   Phil Sura


                       Highlights from a Round Table Discussion
            ...
lead is being sent. The customer expects         Solution: This is similar to the first      Each salesperson can only eff...
D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
   Paige Presley


                          Get your Dealership Into the Minds
           ...
D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
   Daryl Sanders



                           Internet Sales in a Struggling Market


W
  ...
D IGITALJ. Dealer INTERNET SALES
   David Nelson


                       The New Four Square
                       Look ...
LIMIT
                                                                                                                    ...
D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
   Tom Mohr




                         Winning Online


H
          ere is a stark but si...
D IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDS
   Sandi Jerome



                      How Many People do you Need in
                ...
D IGITALGreene TECHNOLOGY TRENDS
   David
         Dealer


                        Have You Upgraded your Operating
     ...
Technology Trends, Greene (continued from P-DD20)                                                Internet Sales, Mohr (con...
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009
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Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009 and be sure to visit and join the #1 Automotive Digital Marketing online exchange for the best strategies, tactics and resources at http://www.AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com/

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Digital Dealer Magazine - June 2009

  1. 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. 2. June 2009 The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers Internet Sales: Highlights from a Round Table Discussion at the 6th Digital Dealer Conference page 12 Internet Sales in a Struggling Market page 15 KARLA Technology Trends How Many People do you Need in your IT Department? page 19 BDC/CRM: Rules for the New GULESERIANInternet Director Market Players Apple Automotive Group page 25 page 22 page 22 CIAL FF I O e e ottiiv o v tom alls om a s Autess on ff Auffessiio n no on o Pro org rg o iattiioales P rnlie.e.o a es nlin n oc i so c Sa l N Assernett S.AAISPo Ast erne wA AISPo n t ww . IO IIn w ww PU B L I C AT
  3. 3. T ABLE OF CONTENTS CIAL FF I O vee oti v mo ti ls uto m na ls uto io na off A fess io o A ss on Profe .o tion Pro .org rg ciatiSales o line e ociatt Sale sPonnlin N Ass orne .AAISP s Astern e w AIS In te ww .A IO In w w w PU B L I C AT The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers JUNE 2009 FEATURE MANAGING EDITOR LINDA DI PIETRO Digital Dealer Cover Story ldipietro@Dealer-magazine.com 22 Karla Guleserian PUBLISHER Internet Director GREG NOONAN Apple Automotive Group 607-264-3359 gnoonan@Dealer-magazine.com ART DIRECTOR JOE BIRCH COLUMNS jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com AAISP Notes PRODUCTION MANAGER 10 Mike Roscoe ELIZABETH BIRCH PRINT PRODUCTION Internet Sales DAVID MANTHEY 12 Highlights from a Round Table Karla Guleserian DESIGN CONSULTING Discussion at the 6th Digital Dealer Apple Automotive PUBLICATION DESIGN, INC. Conference Group COVER DESIGN Phil Sura JOE BIRCH jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com 14 Get your Dealership Into the Minds of Car Shoppers COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Paige Presley CONTE PHOTOGRAPHY CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION 15 Internet Sales in a Struggling Market RICH JARRETT Daryl Sanders 314-432-7511 rjarrett@Dealer-magazine.com 16 The New Four Square NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES David J. Nelson adsales@Dealer-magazine.com 607-264-3359 18 Winning Online Dealer magazine makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy of all published works. Tom Mohr However it cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied herein. Nothing june be reproduced in whole or in part Technology Trends without written permission from the publisher. 19 How Many People do you Need in your All rights reserved. The publisher encourages you to submit suggestions. Submitted materials IT Department? become the property of Horizon Communications, Inc. and will not be returned. Send material for Sandi Jerome publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor reserves the right to edit material; submission 20 Have You Upgraded your Operating System of material constitutes permission to edit and publish that material. This publication is to Dealer 2.0? designed to provide accurate and authoritative David Greene information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. BDC/CRM If legal advice or other expert assistance is 25 Rules for the New Market Players required, the services of a competent profes- sional person should be sought. From a Chuck Barker Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers. Pre-owned Vehicles 28 Your Dealership’s Biggest ‘Black Hole’ Dale Pollak A PUBLICATION OF DEPARTMENTS 6 Digital Dealer E-mail 8 News DD 4 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  4. 4. D IGITAL Dealer E-MAIL Digital Dealer welcomes your letters and after verification will run them signed or Mr. Mooneyham, unsigned. Letters june be edited for space identify opportunities. In both cases with and clarity. Send letters to the two cars being sold, Richard noticed Thanks for writing and requesting the DDmail@DigitalDealer-magazine.com. comments about frustration over the car checklist I mentioned in my article. buying process. He then contacted those I hope it works and is applicable for Phil Sura, friends and took care of their concerns. your business. I use this when I go into a I am the Internet manager at Keene When someone states with an update, “I store to perform what I call a CRM Needs Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Keene, NH. hate car salespeople”, it sends a clear signal Assessment and based on the findings I I’m spearheading the development of to their entire social network that they submit corrective solution recommenda- the Internet department and one of my have a problem that needs to be solved. tions or fixes. Often I am then invited Internet marketing ideas included Richard now has 30 to 40 employees who into the dealership to host a CRM utilizing Facebook – then I read your he is mentoring on these concepts. Multiply Initiative Workshop with all sales profes- article in April’s Digital Dealer maga- his successes by 40. Think of Facebook as sionals and managers to enhance the zine, “Why Do I Need to be on an opportunity to give people a chance to store’s efforts to enhance business and the Facebook?” and thought you might be be noticed. It is one-to-one marketing. teamwork required to build the business able to discuss any basic dos and don'ts The key is being willing to adopt new under a true CRM initiative. This work- that you’ve found for using Facebook concepts like Facebook to adapt to the new shop has a heavy emphasis on behavior and other social networking sites. virtual sales space that exists today. identification of prospects/customers and I look forward to hearing from you! Congratulations on being bold and 21st century telephone skills coupled with Chris Frentzen working outside of the traditional box. high level professional communications Internet Manager Phil Sura techniques. These represent the trifecta for Keene Chrysler Jeep Dodge accomplished CRM initiatives and must Keene, NH Mr. Barker, be in place to manifest growth and frankly CFrentzen@KCPDodge.com I have read your article in the March survive in this marketplace. 2009 Digital Dealer magazine concern- As you go through this checklist keep in Hi Chris, ing objections, “Dealing with Objections mind a dutiful perspective toward objec- Great questions. Congratulations on Properly,” and I think this is a great tivity and honesty in assessing each area. being ahead of the curve by leveraging the article to learn from. I saw where you said Then, when you have completed it you social sites to drive sales and awareness for you have a total store CRM checklist, may consider e-mailing me for some direc- your operation. Many believe that the and I would like to receive one. Here in tion and suggestions to repair the social sites and YouTube helped Obama our BDC I always try to emphasize to lackluster areas you encounter. tremendously. If he is leveraging YouTube our BDRs how important it is to find out Keep in mind the trifecta items and and Facebook, shouldn’t a dealer? exactly what the customer's objection is. their importance. The key is testing concepts with the I really believe once we have the objec- Chuck Barker customers to see what drives results. Here tion we can work on the solution. are some basic steps to get started with Rosie Soto Hello Mr. Skeans, Facebook: Moritz of North Arlington I was looking back at your July 2008 1. As part of your monthly e-mail rosie_soto@moritzmail.com article in Digital Dealer magazine, campaigns, invite your customers to “Profit is Opinion – Cash is Fact” and become raving fans of your dealership by Mr. Barker, was wondering if I could receive some becoming Facebook fans. I was reviewing the March issue of instructions for creating a DOC on my 2. Teach your salespeople to create Digital Dealer and came across your ADP system? Thank you in advance. Facebook pages by keeping the informa- article, “Dealing with Objections Sincerely, tion professional and then ask them to Properly.” We are in the process of Jeff Lister become fans. developing our Internet department, GM 3. The friends of the customers and the BDC, and CRM programs and would Knippelmier Chevrolet employees can then easily join. very much like a copy of the CRM Blanchard, OK Once you get it started, Facebook will checklist you mentioned. soonermagic44@yahoo.com manage itself. Thank you in advance and for all Within 30 days of creating Facebook you folks do over at Digital Dealer! It Hi Jeff, pages, Richard Herod, e-commerce direc- really is a fantastic source of informa- For an example of the “frozen asset” tor of Saturn of St. Paul, personally sold tion for those of us that are somewhat reporting referred to in the article, please two cars and has another prospect, all for new to the business, and I am sure for take look at the spreadsheet available for zero costs. Keep in mind that Facebook the veterans alike. download on the free tools page on my will not sell an additional 20 cars a day Thank you, web site www.jimskeans.com. within a month, but it is an opportunity Chancey Mooneyham Thanks for reading Digital Dealer to expand the reach of your operation and Internet Sales Manager magazine and if you need anything else sell some additional units. Because Linwood Motors just let me know. Facebook allows people to state what is on Paducah, KY and Metropolis, IL Regards, their minds each day, it makes it easy to chanceym@linwoodmotors.com Jim Skeans DD 6 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  5. 5. D IGITAL Dealer “OVE.com can help independent auctions maintain their identities, strengthen existing customer relation- ships and garner new business. It’s the only online marketplace where sellers can choose their preferred auction location from which to both buy and sell.” Importing online www.manheim.com Declined services vehicle inventories feature added to easier for O AutoSoft Traffic OVE.com’s partners FirstLook COP CRM OVE.com provides independent Every day, in every dealership, despite auctions with an automated inventory expands consumer service advisors’ best attempts, vehicle import solution that simplifies the process of adding new vehicle listings optimization concept owners decline one or more recom- FirstLook has announced a concept in mended services. Capturing even a few of and reduces time and costs spent making marketing and sales centered on “the these seemingly lost opportunities can inventories available online. power of selling value.” bolster service sales dramatically. Many independent auctions use the FirstLook’s Consumer Optimization Often, however, declined services inventory import feature because it inte- System provides automotive dealers with opportunities simply get lost in the grates seamlessly with in-house the ability to maximize online “page shuffle and not followed up, a costly loss inventory management systems they are views,” drive in-store traffic and convert for any dealership, especially today. already using, including ASI’s auction traffic into sales without giving away poten- New technology, fortunately, makes it management software. Auctions can tial gross profit. This new set of easy for service departments to capture easily import images and display condi- consumer-facing marketing and selling tech- declined services opportunities from tion reports on OVE.com. Those niques focuses on optimizing pricing and repair order information residing in the capabilities make it easy for auctions to advertising and in-store sales. dealer management system (DMS) and add listings frequently and saturate the Consumer optimization, a revolutionary then integrate that data through a marketplace with their vehicles. concept that focuses “the power of selling customer relationship management OVE.com is tightly integrated with value,” is the key to successful pricing, adver- (CRM) system that enforces declined AutoTrader.com too, so dealer tising and selling of pre-owned inventory. services re-contact. customers can move their vehicles over Consumer optimization is broken down into Traffic COP, the new CRM from to OVE.com with a few mouse clicks. three areas: AutoSoft International, now incorpo- “We’ve been using OVE.com and • Consumer optimized pricing helps rates a new Declined Service tool to help have seen great results,” said John Rea, dealers manage the fine line between the service department track and pursue past president of the National Auto over-pricing vehicles and under-pricing, this lost business. Traffic COP pulls Auction Association (NAAA). “This enabling them to get all of their online flagged Declined Services opportunities inventory import solution will only make vehicles “in the game” without giving from the AutoSoft DMS. By printing a transacting business on OVE.com easier. away gross profit. Declined Services report from Traffic It is helping us expand our business, and • Consumer optimized advertising COP, the service manager has a list of it’s a critical part of our remarketing strat- moves dealers beyond generic online ads declined services opportunities at his or egy. I think that’s true for many auctions created with VIN explosions to high her fingertips. Customers then can be re- across the industry.” impact ads that highlight the unique contacted by phone or email with a OVE.com’s inventory import solution benefits and attributes that set a vehicle simple yet carefully crafted message or makes it even easier for independent apart from the competition. FirstLook’s incentive offer to entice their return to auctions to leverage the power and bene- 360º Internet Advertising Accelerator is the dealership to have that declined fits of OVE.com. Auctions can: the first fully integrated solution service completed. • Avoid listing or membership fees. designed to create online ads that are AutoSoft Traffic COP gives service • Set their own fees. consumer optimized. managers complete and deep trans- • “Expand beyond the gates” to facil- • Consumer optimized selling shifts parency into every service opportunity – itate transactions they might not the sales focus from haggling over price customer by customer, service need by normally touch. (Many dealers turn to and payment to focusing on a technique service need, follow up by follow up, independent auctions to list vehicles at called “Value Closing” – a more transpar- day by day – so advisors are held their dealerships.) ent approach to selling that allows dealers accountable for pursing declined serv- • Sell more vehicles for their to harness the power of the Internet to ices opportunities and converting lost customers and expand their reach sell the value of their vehicle and price. business into profits. nationally and even internationally. www.DriveYourNumbers.com www.autosoft-asi.com Glenn O’Leary, director of independ- ent auction relations for OVE.com says, O O DD 8 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  6. 6. D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES Mike Roscoe I ’ve got good news and I’ve got great Besides being home to the Digital news. I know where the next Dealer Conferences (and me), did you Digital Dealer Conference & know that Nashville is within 600 miles Exposition is going to be held. This of 70 percent of the population of the fall, November 1-3, the 7th Digital United States? That’s one of the reasons Dealer Conference & Exposition will we're holding the event in Nashville. be held in...Nashville! Also, Nashville has always been well- received and well-thought of by That’s right y’all, The Digital Dealer attendees and prospective attendees. Conference & Exposition is coming Plus we had to get out of the Orlando- back home to its roots, Nashville, fall/Las Vegas-spring rotation, because Tennessee. Don’t know if you recall, Florida can be just a little risky during but the first two events were held in hurricane season. Nashville in the spring of 2006 and spring of 2007. I remember it And honestly, another big reason for well...the cozy Nashville Airport Nashville is that I’m following my own Marriott being too small to put all the connected to our hotel, the Marriott advice re: the economy and the retail exhibitors into one hall; squeezing too Renaissance Downtown, and it's right automobile market: hope for the best, many people into the session rooms; across the street from Legend's Corner, prepare for the worst. We were able to the smelly cab rides downtown to hit Tootsie’s, The Stage and all the rest of get a very flexible agreement with the the honky-tonks. the honky-tonks. hotel and convention center here. I really stuck my neck out in Las Vegas The Digital Dealer Conferences have We’ve got more than enough hotel last April. The hotel room nights guar- grown considerably since then, so this rooms, more than enough room for our antee and the food and beverage time in Nashville we won’t have any of sessions and workshops, and easily minimum had me risking over half a those problems. We are holding the enough room for exhibitors with one- mil. Maybe it was dumb luck, but the sessions and exhibit hall at the third of the entire exhibit hall at the 400-plus registered dealership atten- Nashville Convention Center, which is Nashville Convention Center. dees surprised even me (I know it surprised some past exhibitors who didn’t exhibit). The deal we made here in Nashville cuts the risk considerably 7TH but still will allow us to hold as big of an event as we’ve ever had. It’s just good business. So, now you know when and now you know where. So what are you going to do about it...right now? How about this...go to www.DigitalDealerConference.com and take a look. And don't forget...it's never too early to register for the early- CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION bird discount. November 1-3, 2009 • Nashville, TN Marriott Renaissance Downtown www.DigitalDealerConference.com Michael Roscoe Editor-in-Chief DD 10 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  7. 7. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Phil Sura Highlights from a Round Table Discussion at the 6th Digital Dealer Conference The transition from showroom selling to virtual selling is not going to stop because veterans are not comfortable with the changes T he latest Digital Dealer confer- next level. Salespeople at this dealership is entering a new phase, which will ence was great for a number of appreciate the Internet and the sales require the support of every employee. reasons. I reconnected with team. The Internet deals are worked by 2. Explain that dealerships of the past friends, the weather was 90 degrees, the sales team and closed by the finance tracked customers coming into four the conference was at a top notch managers. The goal is 200-plus units areas within the dealership (new car hotel, and there was a definite increase sold from the Internet department. sales, used car sales, service and parts). in the number of dealer principals Solution: Create an independent These customers were visible and there attending the conference with key sales team focused on the Internet. This was physical interaction. The dealership managers from their dealerships. The includes a director, dedicated Internet will now simply have another depart- conference kicked off with the oppor- salespeople and dedicated finance ment, which is not immediately visible tunity to network with others in round managers. This operation is well ahead – the virtual customer. table discussions. My table comprised of the curve with 90 Internet sales 3. To stay competitive, dealer of two dealers, seven Internet directors monthly. To jump to 200, the dealer- management must understand that and several sales managers from cities ship will need to embrace a different used cars, like new cars, are a commod- across the country. We focused on a sales process. Other dealerships were ity transaction. The Internet is the concern or problem from each dealer- mentioned that have increased Internet primary reason for this. Ninety-five ship. Each member of the table would sales to the 200 to 300 sales level. In all percent of the Internet market buyers articulate the problem and the group cases, a dedicated sales team was part of are using Google to start the process. would share ideas on how to resolve the equation. It is identical to separating 4. Provide continuing education by that issue. Here are some of the issues the new car department from used. sending the sales managers to the next and ideas that our team came up with: Problem: Sales management is not Digital Dealer conference and require Problem: Salespeople are not supporting the Internet team. They the managers to review articles from supporting the Internet department. believe that the Internet is hurting gross the magazine. Some are negative and they complain averages and they don’t buy into the 5. If all else fails, set an example by about the Internet team. The depart- idea of allowing the Internet director to replacing the worst offender. ment is responsible for appointment have the ability to work their own deals. Problem: Not certain of how to handle setting and then turning the deals over The Internet team keeps detailed price questions on the Internet? This was to the entire sales team. reports to track key metrics while the a concern with a couple of participants. Solution: The problem with this sales management team only tracks the Solution: Value must exceed the cost operation is that every salesperson is basics on the paper logs. The sales of the cars. It is still up to the Internet qualified to work the Internet leads, managers are paid off of the gross salesperson to sell himself/herself, the including the grumblers. The sugges- generated in the Internet office. dealership and the car. If you dwell on tion was to limit the Internet leads to a Solution: The dealer needs to get the price only, you will lose. small number of salespeople who earn involved with this. It became apparent 1. Several operations at the table did a the right to work the Internet deals. that the traditional sales managers were nice job of providing information on Allow the old school guys and the threatened by the success of the Internet three units, including price every time grumblers to work their own deals and team. This is a sad commentary that to the customer making an inquiry. feed the salespeople who are supportive happens in many dealerships. The old Example: a customer is requesting of the Internet activities. Earning the guard philosophy clashes with the information on a base Explorer. The right to qualify to work the Internet changes taking place. The transition response would include the information deals could be base on a combination of from showroom selling to virtual selling and price on the Explorer, a pre-owned individual CSI scores, closing ratios and is not going to stop because veterans are Explorer and an Explorer with a differ- a miscellaneous factor such as not comfortable with the changes. ent package. If you can create choices, support/attitude. Dealers must evolve or die and you will be in a stronger position. Problem: The dealership is doing managers must adapt or leave the indus- 2. It was also suggested that a video of well, selling 80 to 90 units a month try. The dealer needs to take the the units should always be pushed out from the Internet. The director believes following steps: to create a “pattern interrupt.” The though, that they are missing opportu- 1. Lay down the law with sales manage- customer will evaluate the response of nities and should be able to jump to the ment to make it clear that the dealership the three or four dealerships where a DD 12 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  8. 8. lead is being sent. The customer expects Solution: This is similar to the first Each salesperson can only effectively to get a text response, possibly with a problem listed. Some of the best tradi- work 80 deals each month. The picture of the unit in question. A video tional salespeople will never adapt to the Internet salespeople love to have a of the car would take the experience to virtual sale. Some of the frustration is a higher ratio but the store’s closing ratio the next level. A video walk-around is a reality that the game has changed and will suffer. The dealerships that had more emotionally engaging experience some of the veterans are threatened. In poor closing ratios and averages greater and it breaks the expected pattern set some cases they don’t like the young kids than 85:1 agreed to hire additional with other dealerships. being hired to set up Internet initiatives salespeople. 3. The consensus was that the because this represents change. The As I travel around the country, I see Internet team should get the customer steps discussed include the following. identical issues and problems. Get on the phone whenever possible to We will call the salesperson Joe. connected with a group of other dealer- discuss the options. If you rely on e- 1. The dealer should talk to Joe. Take ships to talk through the problems that mails, you will not be as effective. The Joe to lunch. Explain that the world has you are facing. One Chevrolet 20 group goal is to get the customer into the deal- changed. Thank Joe for the 10 years of that I visited is inviting their Internet ership. It is also important to note that service. Tell Joe that he is family; he will managers to the next meeting for this some people only feel comfortable with always have a home with the dealership very purpose. a sales process through e-mails. Some but you need and expect Joe’s support. people don’t feel comfortable with the Explain that his behavior is in direct Phil Sura is a VP of the Automotive phone sales process. Respect the wishes conflict with the direction that the deal- Division of UnityWorks Media. of the customers since they are the ones ership is going. Ask Joe, “Can I count who have the ultimate choice –the deal- on you to help me with this?” ership from which they buy. 2. Isolate Joe from the Internet team. If you wish to discuss this article with Problem: The top salesperson of the 3. Let Joe work his customer base. other dealers, or with the author, store is not a believer in the Internet and Problem: Poor closing ratios. The deal- please go to the “Discussion Forums” he works hard at discrediting the ership is getting 330 Internet leads with at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com Internet department. He has been with three salespeople. The salespeople are and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or the operation for a number of years and responsible for working the entire deal. e-mail him at psura@DigitalDealer- he has a strong customer base. Solution: The ratios are out of line. magazine.com. DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2009 DD 13
  9. 9. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Paige Presley Get your Dealership Into the Minds of Car Shoppers How an optimized web site can boost your business W hen it comes to the success of useful to your shoppers, but will also be to have a successful business blog, includ- your dealership in this day accessible to search engines looking for ing having a corporate voice instead of a and age, it’s critical to have a relevant sites. personal one, reaching out to your audi- sound yet adaptive online presence. Also, place keywords in your page title ence versus selling to them and creating While clean design, updated specials and header, and be sure to always have easy-to-read content that isn’t too lengthy. and multiple inventory listings are information-rich content within each Don’t: Let more than one or two weeks certainly vital parts of an effective web site; page of your web site. Search engines will go by without updating your blog. To be it is crucial to pay close attention to how come across the information, index the effective and useful to consumers, a blog shoppers get to your site in the first place. pages and boost your site’s rank. should be updated on a semi-weekly basis Including your URL on every ad, Don’t: Insert so many keywords that with posts about current events and infor- marketing piece and promotional item is, your site looks more like spam than a cred- mation, not promotions or newsletters. of course, the simplest way to promote ible resource for vehicle information. This Do: Get as many links back to your site your site and encourage visitors. But, practice of “keyword stuffing” leads to a from other web sites by submitting your according to the most recent Automotive lower ranking for your site and dilutes the URL to relevant and niche directories. Internet Shopper Study by J.D. Power strength of your SEO campaign. You can also get involved with social and Associates, 86 percent of auto shop- Rand Fishkin, the CEO at networking communities like Facebook pers are going online to search for their SEOmoz.org, a popular site that educates or LinkedIn that link your profile to your next vehicle. With so many people people on the ins and outs of SEO, dealership site. looking to dealer web sites for informa- debunks the myth that the denser the Don’t: Get involved with link farms and tion, you need to consider how and where keywords, the more popular your site will other spam-like ways of link building. your web site appears in lists of relevant be. Fishkin notes that having multiple Search engines will see that your web site search results. appearances of certain keywords is not was linked from a low quality site, and If you’re following online basic best nearly as valuable as having just one good they will lower the value of your page rank. practices, then you already have the infor- link from a credible source. As the online community becomes mation that car shoppers want in your Do: Provide a sitemap that search more competitive with each passing day, vehicle research tools such as the ability to engines can easily index. It should contain it’s imperative that you optimize your site configure a vehicle, compare several vehi- essential information for search engines to ensure it appears in relevant search cles, view relevant rebates and incentives, such as when a page was last updated and results. A good web site provider should and access trade valuation information. what pages you believe are most impor- know all of these best practices, and Having your dealer web site appear as tant to shoppers. more, as they stay on top of industry one of the top links in Google or Yahoo! Don’t: Organize your site in such a way trends and incorporate them into the will help shoppers find this valuable infor- that it takes more than three clicks to get structure of your web site. mation on your site versus someone else’s, to any one page. If a page is too many all while building shoppers’ confidence in clicks into a web site, search engines will Paige Presley is the marketing your ability to provide them with the best ignore it. analyst/writer for Dealerskins in Nashville, car buying experience possible. Also, according to the J.D. Power Study TN. She enjoys mixing her passions for all Search engine optimization (SEO) is previously referenced, you lose nearly a things technology and for following con- understandably a hot topic in the web quarter of your online shoppers per click. sumer trends by staying involved in market community right now, and everyone is By keeping each page accessible from the research for the auto industry. trying to find the magic answer when it home page, you’ll retain customers while comes to getting their site at the top of enhancing your page rankings. the search engine lists. Do: Start a blog about trends in the If you wish to discuss this article with SEO is really not as complicated as auto industry, the most popular vehicles other dealers, or with the author, people make it out to be. Here’s a list of on the market and/or how your dealer- please go to the “Discussion Forums” things that you should and shouldn’t be ship is serving the community. By having at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com doing now that will improve your results. this content on your site you will be and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or Do: Focus on your site’s content to adding more relevant keywords, which e-mail her at ppresley@DigitalDealer- improve traffic by including keyword- will enhance your site’s search ranking. magazine.com. rich information that will not only be SEOmoz.org offers excellent tips on how DD 14 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  10. 10. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Daryl Sanders Internet Sales in a Struggling Market W ith the slowdown in store traffic, talked to! In most store processes, these attitude in the very face of a negative and it’s time for auto dealerships across potential buyers are sitting in the CRM tool. fearful environment. the nation to think and act differ- Do I need to say anything else? It is time to All voice mails should end on a positive ently than ever before. As a result of decreased rectify the process to make an all out effort note. Be sure to say, “This is a great time to sales, many stores have nearly shut off their ad to reach every lead in some way or other. buy a car!” All conversations need to be budgets, other than short-term event efforts. Perhaps the floor staff could come in (as uplifting, helpful, encouraging, and bring Why? During these days of uncertainty, opposed to sitting there with nothing to do) promise to work out everything during the potential customers aren’t responding even to and join an all out effort to make sure we are upcoming in store appointment. We exist to the best advertising efforts. making every effort to work every lead and help consumers find solutions to their car- However, in spite of this economic cultivate them toward a sale. buying needs. slump, there are opportunities that are In addition, for the leads we have already My new-car Internet staff is selling coming into our store that we are not maxi- talked to, more than half of them are still more used cars than ever. My philosophy mizing efforts to convert. After all my years sitting in the CRM tool because the neces- is to make it happen no matter what it in the car business I propose that most stores sary follow-up process has not yet ended in takes. Be prepared to offer alternatives. My are missing prospective customers every day. an appointment. And I mean sitting there Internet staff is trained to serve and go the So, as a seller, how do you find the hidden for months with no further follow-up extra mile by making additional calls to buyers and what do you do with them? action. Therefore, I’ve altered my manage- make it happen. First let us consider the Internet lead. ment process to ensure that my Internet staff Therefore, I advise all dealers and Every prospect has made a special effort to reconnects with every contact they have managers to take a constructive look at their get to us. They’ve researched online to find talked to, weekly. New behaviors require Internet departments. They should realize a suitable automobile web site. They’ve process modification and certainly now is that there is more opportunity than one can taken the time to narrow down their quest the time to modify. imagine. Let’s inspire existing staff to work for the right vehicle. These people have So what about used-car phone ups from those leads. Talk to everybody. Keep calling probably scanned through several choices the likes of Autotrader and Cars.com? My until you get them in the store. This is not before making a final selection. Before training method has closed 10 to 15 percent the time to cut third-party leads. In fact, I’d receiving the necessary information, on the of these leads. But every time I scan the advise every dealership to buy more leads vehicle of their choice, they have supplied phone lists I still see another 15 to 20 rather than spend money on other unpro- you with their name, e-mail, phone, percent that, for whatever reason, weren’t ductive advertising. address, and a make and model for consid- talked to. My suggestion is to forward the The Internet delivers opportunities, eration. My past auto business experience after-hours calls to someone’s after-hours cell which sooner or later equals revenue. What tells me to value this prospect. We have to phone, or at the least, the first thing in the more can a dealer ask for in this market? do whatever it takes to connect with them morning, have someone else call back these to work toward the sale. phone numbers to see what can be done. Daryl Sanders is the owner of Internet Dealer The challenge is that the behavior pattern What do we do about the hesitant people Solutions, Ltd. He has installed his evolving of Internet prospects has slowed down, and we talk to from these used car lead sales system in over 100 dealerships. He has a now it is maybe five to six months versus the providers? The challenge is to get their e- business degree in marketing from Ohio State 60-day buy cycle we have been experiencing mail address for future follow up. Most University. As an offensive tackle at OSU, he over the last five years. So how do we better likely these calls get shuffled as a bad lead was an NFL number one draft pick in 1963 manage these leads? This is where Internet rather than take the time to gather more for the Detroit Lions. sales expertise pays off. Right now everyone information from them and dig out a possi- needs to alter his or her Internet sales ble sale. process. This is why I advocate database No doubt the Internet has revealed the management of all leads. We need to be pent up demand in the marketplace. But If you wish to discuss this article with going back six months and rework all leads depending on your specific market, other dealers, or with the author, that are unsold. people are struggling with the question, please go to the “Discussion Forums” In all my experience in dealership sales “When is the right time to buy?” If their at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com consultant work, I know that every Internet job status is shaky, obviously that is a and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or sales department has untapped leads dating serious issue. However, consider that if 10 e-mail him at dsanders@Digital back six months. In fact, nearly one third to percent plus is unemployed that means 90 Dealer-magazine.com. at least one half of all leads have never been percent are employed. Maintain a positive DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2009 DD 15
  11. 11. D IGITALJ. Dealer INTERNET SALES David Nelson The New Four Square Look beyond the numbers – sell value to retain more gross A seasoned car salesperson escorts a Book, Edmunds True Market Value and factors, which focus on personal customer into the sales office at others. As a result, the negotiation mission, can lead to a huge disconnect his dealership. Sitting across the advantage has been turned in favor of between how dealers sell and how desk from his customer, the salesperson the consumer. consumers buy. The haggling that says, "So how can I earn your business ensues can erode dealer profits and today?" The consumer contemplates – Consumers and dealers collide prevent deals from being closed. will I be treated fairly and given a good While most dealers sell based on the What dealers need is a new approach price? Will this salesperson try to take four money-related leverage points of to selling – one that takes advantage of advantage of me? The salesperson pro- the four square method, most the consumer’s knowledge and sells on ceeds with the negotiation, based on the consumers buy based on what they value, rather than selling solely on four-square leverage points: trade-in value, or what we like to refer to as the price. At the Digital Dealer Conference value, purchase price, down payment M.A.R.K factors: in Las Vegas (just days prior to writing and monthly payment. While the con- this article), I presented this “New Four sumer struggles to understand a good 1. Mission: Does the vehicle fit my mis- Square.” deal from a bad one, the dealer “works sion? the numbers” and ultimately gains the • e.g. Safe, fuel-efficient, family car that The new four square upper hand in order to settle on a deal seats five (including three car seats) and In order to meet the needs of the that works in his favor. has a cargo area instead of a trunk to fit empowered consumer, it’s time for While this is how a negotiation my dog dealers to adopt the new four square scenario may have played out in the method, which centers on the M.A.R.K. past, history has led many consumers 2. Affordable: Is this vehicle affordable factors, or the emotional and functional to feel jaded about the car buying given my financial means? needs of the consumer. The new four process, often feeling like the negotia- • Payment range is the primary factor. square shifts the process from a tion process is set up to confuse them confrontational negotiation based solely into buying a car at an unfair price. 3. Risk: How much risk on reliability on price to a more win-win negotiation Participating in a four square negotia- am I taking? based on consumer values. The key lies tion often resulted in the buyer feeling • One-owner, still under warranty, serv- in shifting the sales focus from haggling “worked” by the end of the process. ice history, low mileage, J.D. Power over price and payment to focusing on However, while the dealer has tradi- Quality Ratings, projected total cost of the principles of consumer optimized tionally had most of the leverage in the ownership selling, (see Pat Ryan’s May Digital negotiation, in today's Internet age, Dealer article “Stop Haggling…Start negotiation leverage has now shifted to 4. Key differentiators: What are the “Value Closing”), and a technique called the consumer — particularly in today’s key differentiators of this vehicle versus “Value Closing.” In this more transpar- down market. my alternatives? ent approach to selling, the dealer’s job Dealers are now contending with • Leads consumers to make purchasing is to highlight the value of each car and super-empowered consumers, who have decision based on price to value equa- leverage the information that consumers spent an average of 6.5 hours research- tion have been using in order to meet their ing online before ever setting foot in the needs and values: dealership. In fact, unlike the days of Let’s face it, in the Internet age, traveling from shop to shop down dealer dealers need to recognize that the four 1. Vehicle highlights: Focus on the row, today the average consumer only square method is no longer the high value equipment that most closely visits 1.5 dealerships before purchasing. primary consideration when negotiat- fulfills the customer’s mission. Super-empowered consumers are typi- ing a sale. Of course, price, payment, Differentiate your vehicle from similar cally armed with very specific trade-in and down payment are still vehicles on the market. information about the car they want to critical components to the deal – but purchase. They know the availability they should not be the starting point. 2. Quality and risk profile: and price of similar vehicles in your Starting with the dealer’s “four Highlight the vehicle attributes that market and have a sense of “fair price” squares,” which focus on money levers, based on guidebooks such as Kelley Blue rather than the consumer’s M.A.R.K continued next page DD 16 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  12. 12. LIMIT ED TIM P E COMB RICING ON INED Next y PACKAG ear th e ES! will be pr $395 e ice ach! have the potential to reduce risk and • Empower your sales team Super reinforce vehicle quality. In today’s Internet-empowered 3. Certified pre-owned: Highlight Controller II world, the “old four square” should no vehicle certifications, which provide a longer be the centerpiece of the negoti- general sense of quality (better ation. Rather, it should be used after inspected, reconditioned, etc.). It is crit- ically important to emphasize some of the powerful benefits of certified the four pillars of the “new four square” have been sold to the customer. In the end, dealers who adopt the new four Guide programs that currently have low consumer awareness such as “seven-year, square will earn the trust of Expenses 100,000 mile extended warranty” and consumers—and will be rewarded with not only the sale, but with buyers more and Employees “24-hour roadside assistance.” willing to pay a fair price for value. As a result they will create satisfied • Learn Sandi’s “Item Expense” 4. The value of your pricing: Sell the customers while also increasing poten- value of the price you are offering as it tial for strong gross profits. method of tackling expenses! compares to the trusted sources that • Job descriptions for every your customer has likely already David Nelson is senior vice president and position in the dealership! reviewed such as Kelley Blue Book, general manager for FirstLook’s Elite Edmunds TMV and JD Power • Receive all forms and Operations Division. FirstLook by Information Network, as well as the INCISENT Technologies is the leader in spreadsheets needed! vehicle’s own pricing history (i.e. origi- automotive retail performance solutions • Use your DMS system to detail nal sticker price, your original list price, and was ranked as the #4 Fastest Growing expenses! average selling price, etc.). Software Company in the United States in Inc Magazine’s 2008 Inc500, as well as • Learn to budget and create By aligning dealer’s goals with the #1 Fastest Growing Company in the pay plans! consumer’s goals, the new four square automotive sector. • And much more. puts dealers in a better position to persuade the consumer based on how they define value. The result: a win-win If you wish to discuss this article with negotiation process that allows you to: other dealers, or with the author, • Draw a parallel between what your please go to the “Discussion Forums” customer has learned and what they at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com need and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him at dnelson@DigitalDealer- Order online at • Determine what evidence you have to www.sandijerome.com support them magazine.com. DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2009 DD 17
  13. 13. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Tom Mohr Winning Online H ere is a stark but simple fact: the the customer doesn’t buy, will see at least for Internet Lead Marketing Study, May marketplace offers fewer active a two percentage point increase in close 2008, shows that offering upfront price buyers than are needed to sus- rate on average. Get these two critical correlates directly to significantly tain the current dealer community. A steps right and you’ve made the leap into increased customer loyalty. Darwinian fight for survival is under- the winner’s circle. Why? Because so few Some dealers realize that hiding the price way; an alarming percentage of dealers dealers can pull it off. According to J.D. is self-defeating. As one participant in the will go out of business in the next 12 Power’s October 2008 Internet Mystery April 2008 Polk Automotive Intelligence months. Those that emerge will do so Shop Results, the average response time Summit said, “…if I don’t give price infor- because they possess key traits that pro- on Internet leads is over 12 hours. Thirty- mation to the customer, I’m automatically vide a persistent competitive edge. two percent of leads don’t get answered at viewed as the highest price guy in town.” A How can a dealer leap into this evolu- all. And if there is a response, 55 percent relevant and transparent response is impor- tionary winner’s circle? of the time the customer receives just one tant in order to build customer confidence The answer to this life-and-death ques- single e-mail, even though 32 percent of and trust. That means the response should tion is hidden behind another: where do customers buy 90 days or more after include the price. dealers have the greatest opportunity to submitting a lead, according to the 2007 But how can a dealer do it? No matter impact a buyer’s choice of dealership? Cobalt/Polk eBusiness Study. the size of Internet department, the This is key. If you know the moment of Here’s the opportunity: customers want reality of car-selling at ground zero (the truth—the moment when the customer a quick, information-rich response. The dealership) is a steady hail storm of is most open to a dealer’s courting July 2008 Capgemini Cars Online Study distractions that take away salespeople rituals—you gain a distinct advantage showed that faster response times had a from the incoming lead. Whether it be a over competitors. By closely observing direct correlation to higher conversion test drive, a customer in the finance the steps a consumer goes through to buy rates. Citing one example, “Capgemini department, the weekly sales meeting, a car, the point of maximum influence found that when the automaker responded breaks, lunch or a day off, many conflict- becomes clear. to a customer web inquiry within 20 ing priorities pull salespeople from the Two incontrovertible facts guide us. minutes, conversion rates were doubled.” task of executing a quick response to the First, over 80 percent of car-buying A rapid, relevant response increases sales. customer. The result? A third of leads go customers use the Internet to gain an Speed is key, but it’s not the only impor- unanswered. The remainder receives a information advantage as they prepare to tant factor. Evolutionary advantage is also response more than a full business day interview dealers who seek their favor. tied to the content of the dealer’s message. after arrival of the customer’s request. Second, an increasing percentage of We’ve just reviewed the huge disconnect Then there’s the question of the response customers extend their remote engage- between reality and customer expectations itself. Is there a price? That’s what the ment further by sending their first for responsiveness. J.D. Power indicates customer wants. Even if the dealer is willing expression of interest (a lead) over the that consumers are even more critical of to provide a price, and the salesperson can get Internet, to multiple dealerships. the completeness of the response. the quote out, too often the quote is compro- The moment of truth, of course, is the Customers want the dealer’s price, and mised by human error—math, spelling point where the consumer has sent a lead dealers who hide it hurt their prospects for errors, etc., or it lacks punch: no new and to three to five competing dealerships. The a sale. According to Forrester Research’s used car alternatives shown, for instance. dealer who leaps in front of the pack and “Auto Site Dealers Must Rethink Price These errors and omissions, large and small, first initiates the courting ritual, then is Info” article in June 2006, “…consumers weaken the impact of the response. gently persistent with insightful words and who understand car prices are happier Under the Internet department struc- offers over time, leaves his competitors with their vehicles and their dealers. They ture, the problem with immediate clamoring in the dust. feel significantly better about their car- response is distractions that pull salespeo- Rapid response and effective follow-up buying experience and are more likely to ple away from their computers. Under a are the one-two punch that knocks out purchase from the same dealer again.” BDC structure, the problems are cost, the other guys. Experience shows that AlixPartners, 2007 Consumer Brands quality of personnel and management dealers who can deliver an immediate Index study found “…auto buyers are no oversight challenges. response with a price quote every time longer willing to settle for anything less Here’s the simple fact. To make the when a customer submits a lead, and than totally honest and consistent most of the moment of truth – to make personalized follow-up every time when pricing.” Polk’s Consumer Expectations continued on P-DD21 DD 18 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  14. 14. D IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Sandi Jerome How Many People do you Need in your IT department? I “Why not get more recently did a study and deter- reports to you regarding the security of mined that you need one IT your system. What virus and firewall person per every 72.5 users. I’ll value from your are they using and how up-to-date is it? What methods are they using to explain this ratio later in the article, but for many dealers, the thought of IT department comply with Red Flag and Safeguards? This should be provided at least cutting your IT department might scare you. Instead, why not get more rather than trying monthly as a “state of the system” report for you. To get back to my ratio value from your IT department rather than trying to use my ratio to make to use my ratio of one IT person per 72.5 users, that was for one particular dealership group staff reductions? Every dealership IT department or system administration to make and as you know, no two are alike. Each dealership has different DMS systems should be doing three things and not doing three things to get the most staff reductions?” that provide different levels of support and each dealership has different tech- value for your technology dollars. The first item that your IT depart- —Sandi Jerome nology that might include support or ment or system administrator should not. Sometimes I analyze a dealership not be doing is to support the DMS that has all their PCs under third-party system. Your DMS system comes with can work more efficiently if your support and others have it supported by monthly support for each of the appli- employees use e-mail or electronic the IT department. The key to getting cations and much of the hardware. If support software. It is vital that you the most value from your IT depart- your employees prefer to use your have either this software or some kind ment is to analyze their electronic friendly IT person instead of the of support log because without it you support log (or get them to start cumbersome DMS support depart- can’t determine what your IT staff or keeping one) and determine if they are ment, then you need to stop paying person does all day. doing the right type of support that support to the DMS company. Since What about the three things your IT makes money and protects your dealer- that can’t happen (you signed a contract department should be doing? First, they ship. Send me an e-mail if you’d like a the requires you to pay support), you should find ways to use your database free job description for an IT director need to have your employees use the to sell or service more vehicles. This or information on analyzing your IT DMS support as long as the issue is not includes keeping the database clean and department costs. keeping a customer waiting. Next, your updated and constantly creating IT department should not repair print- marketing reports for your key Sandi Jerome is a former controller, ers or PCs down to the component managers. They should also be keeping CFO, system administrator, F&I, assis- level. This hardware has gotten so the DMS database synchronized with tant GM, and fixed operations manager cheap that you can save money by your web site inventory, CRM with over 20 years experience in the auto- keeping backups of equipment instead customer database and service motive industry. She is the owner of Sandi of having your IT department tear merchandising and scheduling tools. Jerome Computer Consulting. apart computers and printers, trying to How can you effectively use these tools find out what is wrong. When you if nobody is making sure all the data is replace a perfectly good PC with a correct? Next they should be providing newer model, wipe it and reinstall regular training on all your technology Windows. Now you have a nice free for the users. Each month, new If you wish to discuss this article with and fast backup PC to give to another employees start work and the most other dealers, or with the author, employee. The third thing your IT staff common contribution to that person’s please go to the “Discussion Forums” should not do is to answer the phones. success by the IT department is giving at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com When they are busy working on one them a password. Instead they should and enter the “Technology” forum or problem, the interruption of the next go over all the technology you own and e-mail her at sjerome@DigitalDealer- phone call slows them down. Your IT make sure the person knows how to use magazine.com. department or system administrator it. Last, they need to provide regular DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2009 DD 19
  15. 15. D IGITALGreene TECHNOLOGY TRENDS David Dealer Have You Upgraded your Operating System to Dealer 2.0? I f your dealership is marketing and Unfortunately, this often leads us back With an upgrade to Dealer 2.0 we selling to a Web 2.0 world but still to price, framed within the ancient ques- wisely realize that prospects might using a Dealer 1.0 operating system – tion, “If I could... (insert whatever visit our web site and several others it might be time to consider an upgrade. prospect has just asked about or requested before leaving and coming back to An operating system is the program that here) ...would you (insert anything to the send us an e-mail request for more once installed on your computer, man- effect of buy a car today here)?” information. Although our goal is still ages every other program on the In Dealer 2.0 we have developed a to sell a car today, building a selling computer. If you think about it, your customer communication strategy that system around that objective in a dealership has an operating system as growing market of research intensive, well. You might not have noticed if you choice conscious and Internet were working with an outdated system empowered super shoppers is not real in the past, but the challenges of the cur- effective. Why? Because the prospect rent market have made it clear which “The best news is that is trying to make a decision that is dealers have made the upgrade to Dealer best for them. 2.0 and which haven’t. it doesn’t cost much If our communication with them is Based on our work with dealerships really telling them that we are trying to that are fighting to maintain and grow to upgrade your get them to make a decision that is best market share in a brutally competitive for us and not them – we usually lose retail environment, there has been a operating system – the sale whether it is today, tomorrow shift in focus from simple cost cutting or next month. to significantly improving the efficiency only the ability to In an upgraded selling system we and effectiveness of the retail operating have learned to expertly facilitate the system. They can literally do more with embrace change, see prospect’s shopping experience and sell less. The upgrade formula is pretty them on the fact that we are easy to do simple. Fewer resources (opportunities new opportunities,…” business with, we genuinely want to to do business) x increased efficiencies help them make a good decision and —David Greene we can make it faster, better and easier (improved selling system) equals competitive advantage and greater to get the vehicle they want. market share. The best news is that it doesn’t cost enables our sales and service team to • Dealer 1.0 has very limited much to upgrade your operating deliver a unique selling proposition at memory. We assume this is directly system – only the ability to embrace every customer touch point in the deal- related to the programming change, see new opportunities, and be ership. The manufacturer of your vehicle mentioned earlier, which holds that if the driving force that combines sales franchise markets the benefits of owning there is no opportunity to do business enabling technologies with people your vehicle brand – the dealership today it follows that there is no oppor- and potential. markets the benefits of doing business tunity to do business tomorrow, much with the dealership. In the information less two months from now. As a result, Here are five key application age we don’t so much sell the prospect after an unsold up leaves the dealer- upgrades you’ll see in a Dealer the vehicle as we sell the prospect the ship or our e-mails are not responded 2.0 operating system: experience of making a good decision to, the prospect gets mentally deleted • In Dealer 1.0 we relied heavily on about where to get the vehicle. and we look for the next up or expensive display advertising, the inbound e-mail lead. primary strategy behind which was to • In Dealer 1.0 “be-backs don’t come have a lower price in a larger type font back” and the sole purpose of our exis- Luckily in Dealer 2.0 we have devel- than our competition. That way, when tence as salespeople is to convince a oped a long memory and the concept our prospective customers responded to walk-in prospect – better known as an of prospect relationship management. the ad we could do everything possible up – that today is the day, this is the car, We know that only a relatively small to avoid talking about price and really and we are the place from which to sell the value of taking action today! purchase it. continued next page DD 20 June 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  16. 16. Technology Trends, Greene (continued from P-DD20) Internet Sales, Mohr (continued from P-DD18) percentage of prospects – whether in managers are able to retain their roles as the leap up the evolutionary ladder – the form of e-mail leads or walk-in “desk men” while sitting in a “tower” manual solutions are inadequate. A tool, prospects – will be sale ready on the day overlooking the showroom floor. an intelligent interactive system that oper- that we see them. We need a follow-up ates continuously as the dealer’s digital plan that doesn’t make dumb contacts – With Dealer 2.0 we have gotten over assistant, is needed to ensure a quote is sending out an e-mail or making a call our phobia of price and no longer sent to customers immediately, showing to a prospect that essentially asks, “Are equate it with a license to shop – multiple vehicles, both new and used, that you ready yet?” is a dumb contact mostly because we have figured out surround the customer’s specific request, because it adds no value. Instead we that our Web 2.0 prospect is all about to every lead every time. If the customer continue to market to prospects over a research and shopping, it’s what they doesn’t buy right away, a clean, profes- prolonged period of time with value will do. When they ask us about price sional follow-up campaign must ensue, adding messages that keep us first in they are usually really asking us, “Are one that intelligently customizes the mind when they are in an active deci- you easy to do business with?” The message based on the customer’s behavior, sion making mode. answer to this is an important part of and interactively enables the customer to who they eventually choose to do busi- gain more information and reveal when • In Dealer 1.0 a sales process is ness with. Knowing this we have she is back in the market to buy. typically a list of sales concepts listed formulated a pricing philosophy that In summary, whether it’s an expanding from 1 to 10 and posted on a wall in a enables us to answer pricing questions market or a shrinking market, the high- place that is alternatively referred to as in a way that builds customer trust performing dealer consistently wins at his “the training room” or “the break while retaining average gross profits competitors’ expense. It’s about survival, room.” In theory this list identifies “the equal to or better than we did in and the stakes can’t be higher. He prevails steps of the sale,” it usually begins with Dealer 1.0 by catching the customer’s attention at the meet and greet and concludes with In making the upgrade to Dealer the point she is most open to being won the close. This list is seldom if ever 2.0 you’ll find that most of your deal- over: when she has presented three to five representative of what sales people ership’s sales enabling technologies – dealers with an opportunity to prove actually do, but it makes everyone feel the applications you purchased themselves. Thirty two percent won’t like there is a sales process in place, hoping they would provide you with answer at all. The rest may get around to which everyone knows is something a competitive advantage and it in over 12 hours. Almost two-thirds of you’re supposed to have – plus it lets increased productivity – will run dealers won’t send the customer a price sales management get back to being faster and be much more effective. quote unless she’s willing to talk on the “desk men” instead of process coaches You’ll also find that while you may phone, or come to the dealership. A faster which requires skills they haven’t have fewer sales opportunities than in response—with the pricing information upgraded to yet. past years with your upgrade, you’ll the customer wants—right away every be ready to convert a much higher time—with follow-up that is both Dealer 2.0 is all about being efficient percentage of current opportunity friendly (i.e., relevant, personalized, not and effective and neither can be into sales today. “spam”) and persistent enough to catch achieved without a well designed sales the customer when they’re back in the process. We define a “sales process” as a David Greene is president of e-Pro market—achieves the goal. Dealers can’t communications strategy combined Automotive Group and is one of the do it manually: it’s too costly, too hard to with a series of sales activities that automotive industry's most progressive manage and too prone to failure. The occur in a pre-determined sequence, and effective performance and training only viable solution is a powerful, intelli- with each activity adding greater value professionals. Greene has been in the gent tool that can act as your ongoing to the next and resulting in the highest automotive industry since 1980 and assistant, communicating on your behalf percentage of sales results possible. It’s has worked in all aspects of retail sales the right way, right away, every time. measurable, manageable and we use it management. Prior to founding e-Pro with every opportunity to do business. Automotive Group, he was EVP of Tom Mohr is co-founder, president, and CEO In Dealer 2.0 a sales manager is not a Sales & Service for Reply!, an online of ResponseLogix. Mohr was president of “desk man,” but an individual whose marketing services firm. He also served Knight Ridder Digital, responsible for the digi- responsibilities include helping the as vice president of Dealer Network tal assets of the second largest newspaper sales team to follow the sales process Operations for Autoweb.com, one of company in the US. He was also a board mem- and coaching them on how to achieve the first publicly traded online auto ber of the parent company of Cars.com and peak performance. buying services. Apartments.com, as well as CareerBuilder. • In Dealer 1.0 we only want to talk about price in all of our traditional advertising to prospective vehicle If you wish to discuss this article with If you wish to discuss this article with buyers. When we actually get to talk to other dealers, or with the author, other dealers, or with the author, a prospective vehicle buyer, we rigidly please go to the “Discussion Forums” please go to the “Discussion Forums” avoid discussing price until they’re at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com landed on a specific vehicle and ready and enter the “Technology” forum or and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or to buy today. This helps to maintain a e-mail him at dgreene@DigitalDealer- e-mail him at tmohr@DigitalDealer- high level of mutual distrust between magazine.com. magazine.com. seller and buyer and ensures that sales DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2009 DD 21

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