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How Reputation Effects Car Dealers - Digital Dealer Magazine

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How Reputation Effects Car Dealers - Digital Dealer Magazine

How Reputation Effects Car Dealers - Digital Dealer Magazine

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  • 1. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Peter Martin How Reputation Impacts Deliverability, Part 1 M ost marketers engaged in e- mail marketing do not realize the important role that their reputation plays, not only on their deliverability, but also on the overall return of their marketing investment. Monitoring your com- pany’s e-mail marketing reputation and the reputation of your e-mail service provider (ESP) is vital to your business. There are several things you should do to ensure your company’s reputation remains positive to subscribers. This is the first in a three-part series of articles that will cover how to determine a base- line for measuring your reputation, how to fix potential problems, and what you can do to keep your reputa- tion separate from the reputation of your ESP. Why should I care about my reputation? centered on a “this is spam” reporting unsolicited spam. While the rules vary The amount of unsolicited e-mail device. AOL was the first major e-mail from one provider to the next, there are that ISPs and corporate mail server receiver to implement such a device and a few things that savvy e-mail marketers administrators receive has forced them the virtual overnight success of the can do to ensure that their e-mails get to adopt creative methods to reduce or program prompted others, such as delivered to the inbox and not acciden- halt spam delivery. While content filter- Yahoo, MSN/Hotmail, and Gmail, to tally filtered into the junk mail folder. ing works to block spam, it also falsely follow suit. Many e-mail marketers that use an labels many e-mails as spam and blocks Today, the majority of addresses on e- ESP mistakenly think that reputation them from being delivered to the recip- mail marketers’ lists originate from ISPs and deliverability are the sole responsi- ient. As a way to combat this, users that have active reputation systems in bility of the provider. While the ESP have been forced to abandon content place. Unfortunately, each one of these has a knowledgeable staff and the high blocking in favor of reputation-based ISPs sets its own rules governing e-mail tech systems in place to help manage systems which have a much lower traffic and enforcing policies that propensity to block conversational e- protect its users from the barrage of continued on P-DD34 mail. However, doing so may wreak havoc on e-mail marketing campaigns. Last year, e-mail receivers broadly adopted various reputation-based systems that helped them determine whether the mail they were receiving was coming from a source that they, or more appropriately their e-mail clients, deemed positive or negative. These reputation systems were not built around published protocols such as SPF or DomainKeys. Rather, they were built upon homegrown technology DD 14 May 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 2. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Joe Webb E-commerce Uses for Old School Tactics I believe I am fortunate for having should use the CRMs that allow an of transparency. This is still an unrealis- spent time in dealerships that were automatic transfer of a lead if it hasn’t tic tactic with dangerous implications. littered with “characters” and old been answered within a specific time. There is no way to play “keep away” school, stereotypical car sales folks. It That way, the e-prospect is answered with information regarding an Internet definitely opened my eyes to the full more quickly by someone available customer and come out unscathed. spectrum of sales strategies employed rather than waiting on the ISM they by others and also taught me how neg- were originally assigned to. It is no The evil ‘attaboy ative perceptions of our industry were longer about fairness for the sales crew, Old school: Salespeople used to offer created. That being said, having seen but what is convenient for the prospect. gifts (oil changes, tube of touch-up paint) if their customers would bring The bait and switch their CSI surveys back into the store Old school: Advertise your cheapest, after the sale. This way, the dealer’s staff “Whether right or stripped down, bare-bones new car for could fill it out for them and pump up an amazingly lowball price (or your their numbers. wrong, these old school rattiest beater on your used lot) to lure New school: Since coaching is customers into the dealership, and once forbidden and you cannot directly tell a tactics do have new they see how miserable that particular customer how to fill out their survey, offering is, you switch them into new tactics have been invented. (I applications in today’s another vehicle. invented this, actually, so I don’t believe New school: A similar, but accept- it is widely used by any means.) This online market.” able bait and switch tactic you can occurs after a deal is completed, while —Joe Webb employ online is by offering the the customer is speaking to his/her sales prospect several different options of rep and waiting to enter finance. Have and been taught some of these tricks vehicles, with one being “models start as a manager walk over and speak to the has allowed me to expand my reper- low as”. It may be misrepresenting what salesperson directly. “Hey John, you toire for online tactics. The oldest, the customer actually wants, but since it just got in another survey, all excellent, meanest of car sales tricks have some is just one option you provide out of 100 percent across the board again. useful applications within the Internet many, it is allowed. While they still Great job. Keep it up.” It doesn’t even sales realm, good and bad. have the price of the vehicle they have to be true, but since it is said to the Disclaimer: The views, tricks, obser- inquired about, it is the lower number salesperson and not the customer (but vations, and opinions in this article are that will stick in their head. within earshot), my belief is it passes mine and should not necessarily reflect the “coaching” rules. (I never asked an the official policies and beliefs of this Playing keep away OEM so I am out on a limb here.) The magazine. (I don’t want anyone else to Old school: When a showroom benefit is that a customer sees what a get in trouble but me.) customer wanted to leave before the positive survey can do for a rep and also purchase because they were unhappy likes to be involved with a dealership Up systems with the figures/numbers, the salesper- that promotes positive reinforcement. Old school: Rules of most dealer- son would say they’ve misplaced their ships were set. The first salesperson in keys. This would keep the customer The ‘Columbo’ the dealership every morning took the there and allow for more time to make Old school: Just when a customer was first customer. The order you came in the deal. If the used car manager were walking away because they couldn’t was the order you took your dealership’s approached, they would appear scatter- agree on numbers with management, ups. A simple round robin system was shot and act as if they were looking for the manager would pull a Columbo and employed after that. If you were the the keys (that they had in their pocket.) remember one more trick to try or ques- fourth salesperson to walk in that day New school: In today’s market, ISMs tion to ask. Often, they’d make the and there were only three customers, mistakenly attempt to keep informa- salesperson run out and knock on the you didn’t speak to anyone. tion away from customers, hoping that customer’s window as they were about to New school: Internet leads should be their interest in the vehicle will set round robin as well, but dealers outweigh their displeasure with the lack continued on P-DD31 DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2009 DD 15
  • 3. D IGITAL Dealer DMS WORKSHOP Jim Skeans What is so Advanced about Advanced Reporting? When you hear ‘advanced reporting’ do you get that ‘deja moo’ feeling; like you've heard this bull before? D id you notice how your DMS’ databases you have to admire the the information jigsaw puzzle you need to new advanced reporting module programming expertise that produced the complete the comprehension picture; is finally what you have been “Advanced Reporting” modules for these well, that is when the Smith and Wesson asking for all these years? Neither did I. systems. solution comes to mind. But, before you open that window and Second, on the plus side ADP’s and And that’s why we need advanced “throw out the baby with the bath water” Reynolds’ user interface with its familiar reporting. let’s take a closer look. Most of you use look and feel that you and your employ- ADP or Reynolds + Reynolds DMS and ees have known for years (some for their Ad hoc queries in my opinion, what you are getting is whole careers) eliminates the need for Ad hoc is a Latin phrase which means not so much state of the art advanced extensive training and there is practically “for this [purpose]”. More to the point: reporting as an evolution of the advanced no learning curve involved. This has value this type of reporting tool that is the reporting products that you have been and is a large reason many of you stay answer to one of my favorite songs “I using for some time now. There are good with these systems. So, introducing a Want It All.” That is, “ad hoc” reporting reasons for this. product that advances from the evolution tools allow you to get what you want, how First, the underlying “flat file” database neighborhood into the revolution you want it and when you want it. This is is probably based on one of the earliest universe, with its accompanying training in extreme contrast to the built in reports database management systems. The idea expense and learning curve could be a as this reporting tool allows you, the users, behind “flat file” is a very simple, single, problem for you and a support problem to create specific, customized reports that mostly unstructured data file, which for them. satisfy needs that are hard to foresee and mirrors pre-computer data storage Now I know many of you are frustrated you design it on the fly. This means that systems such as notebooks, accounts with the wasting-away of the plethora of each report could be different (specialized) ledger pads, and so on. You could wonderful information stored in your in every way. Kind of like the structure of compare it to a desk drawer that holds systems underlying databases. And some, those deals coming into accounting at the virtually everything; just toss it in along you know who you are, have voiced a end of the month but of course these with your small change. While requiring desire to go “Elvis” and use the ultimate reports are more happily received. little effort to put information in, this point and click technology, “Smith and design becomes a nightmare to get the Wesson” to express your disappoint- Executive dashboards information out. That is you would have ments. This user interface that is similar to an to scroll through each and every record But, hold on, before you do that, let’s automobile's dashboard is designed to be searching for the right one. Now to be take a closer look at the problem by first easy to understand. The Dashboard clear, they have put relevant data into discussing some advanced reporting cate- displays graphs and data projecting the separate files and even organized them gories; and then some solutions. current month-end Profit & Loss status. into tables similar to a filling cabinet, It also shows important indicators which does alleviate a bit of the problems Not advanced reporting concerning the data. Based on the but does not remove major obstacles such All DMS vendors provide a limited metaphor of the instrument panel in a as data redundancy (the same informa- (although they may seem unlimited) car, the computer or digital dashboard tion might be stored numerous times in number of built in reports, which are provides a manager with the input neces- different files), slow processing speed primarily available via a menu. For the sary to "drive" the business. Highlights (where is that item stored?) and error- most part they have been carefully with colors similar to traffic lights, alerts, prone storage and retrieval. What is more, designed with specific staff needs, pre- drill-downs, summaries, and graphics it requires intimate knowledge of the programmed and optimized for such as bar charts, pie charts, bullet database structure to work at all as it performance by expert programmers. graphs, sparklines and gauges are usually would be utterly useless to search for, say, These are solutions for specific problems set in a portal-like environment that is sales information in the expenses file. So, or tasks. This makes them quick and easy often role-driven and customizable. Most when you consider how difficult it is to to use. But, when your favorite report allow users to view the high-level results pull data from these “flat file” structured doesn’t provide you with all the pieces of and then drill down into low level, trans- DD 28 May 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 4. action detail. This tool is often referred to Advanced analytics lighting results is a great way to make sure as designed for the few, the proud, the These reporting tools are usually your presentations speak you message and data challenged. referred to as sophisticated analytic speak it loudly. engines. They can access both text and For examples of some of these tools OLAP 'cubes' numeric data and interrogate complex work in the typical dealership environ- An OLAP (Online analytical process- historical data to look for trends, outliers, ment check the “free tools” page on my ing) cube is a data structure that allows and patterns, all through a visual inter- web site www.jimskeans.com. fast analysis of data. The arrangement of face. Using predictive analysis, the idea is data into cubes overcomes a limitation of to mine your database to turn insight into For most dealership management relational databases. You think “flat file” action. Example’ if you have the feeling systems that sit atop flat-file databases, type databases have problems? Relational that you’re Jerry Garcia ties produce the your options are pretty limited. Choose databases are not well suited for near best sales days this is the perfect tool for the vendors’ solutions or contract with instantaneous analysis and displays of determining which design produces the one of the handful of companies such as large amounts of data. Instead, they are best sales and even which days of the Dealer Intelligence and Phoenix better suited for creating records from a week or month have the best potential for Information Management Services. Also series of transactions known as OLTP Jerry’s effectiveness. your CPA firm may offer specialized online transaction processing. There are a In a nutshell these are the main cate- reporting tools, especially if they are an ton of report-writing tools that exist for gories of tools available to use in ATA member firm. Other solutions that relational databases; but slow as molasses retrieving information from your hard- also work with all types of databases are when performing tasks such as summariz- earned database of information and for the “data warehouse” or “information ing the whole database. I think of OLAP applying advanced methods and tech- warehouse” and the “data mart”. These cubes as extensions to the two-dimen- niques in analyzing the data to identify solutions involve extracting data from the sional array of a spreadsheet. For example opportunities, solve problems or main, transaction-based database into a you might want to analyze sales data by "predict" future outcomes. separate server where the data can be make, model, model year, by time-period, easily accessed by analysis or advanced by city, by type of deal, gross and salesper- Alternative solutions reporting programs. But just to be clear son, and compare the actual data with a Available advanced reporting tools vary this type of approach is suitable for all budget. These additional methods of amount DMS providers. But, all have database designs. For example AutoSoft analyzing the data are known as dimen- one thing in common. That is they facil- does this automatically and in a way that sions. Because there can be more than itate a transfer of information from the is transparent to the users. In any case three dimensions in an OLAP system the DMS database into an MS-Excel spread- once you have moved to a relational data- term hypercube is sometimes used. While sheet. Why use Excel? First, it is universal. base be it a warehouse or the DMS there an extremely useful tool for a dealer to Lots of people use Excel so the user a large number of reporting tools that analyze large amounts of data, in my knowledge base is huge and for those cover the gamut of advanced reporting opinion for the typical user this tool is who are not knowledgeable training is and for most systems these can be great for analyzing, say your e-harmony easy to come by. Also once you master the purchased and implemented, independ- power dating schema. built in reporting functions such as filter, ent of the DMS provider. advance filter, pivot-table, etc.; There are Dynamic drill-down a host of advanced reporting modules It’s an expectation thing OK, just a quick clarification here. For available for purchase that provide Of course no one expects you or your advanced reporting purposes, to drill enhancements and automation to those staff to be conversant in all aspects of down means to move from summary built in reporting tools which for the DMS database design. And why should information to detailed data by focusing most part make it easier for the casual you be? You and your staff are retail auto- in on something that could explain that user to get results. motive experts, not experts in database “unexpected result” that caught your eye Now for me content is king and when design theory and implementation. But on the summary portion of the report. it comes to pulling information from the you should know enough about the data- ADP and Reynolds have done a great job transaction database more is better. This base that is the foundation of the DMS building this functionally into their means the more information you can you use or are investigating to purchase in advanced reporting. The power here is the include in your download the greater order to frame your expectations for its ability to investigate information in number of analysis options available. I utilization. That is how the different data- increasing detail. That is, find not only like to download large selections of data base designs affect the way the DMS fits total sales, but also sales by zip code, by and use Excels built-in tools to select data into your business plan; for both usability product, or by salesperson. In other words from the various worksheets of extracted and for the cost to deploy and use. it is more effective to arm yourself with the data; join and reformat the information Now that you have come this far with information gained from the drill-down into a professional, extremely useful, easy before performing the grilling-down. to digest report. Reformatting and high- continued on P-DD33 DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2009 DD 29
  • 5. D IGITAL Dealer DMS WORKSHOP Paul Gillrie Check your Excess Computer Baggage! I t is very likely that your business has factory without a DMS interface and it vendor? No dealer should be expecting changed appreciably since you last will affect your cash flow. In these cases, an increase. The only question is, “How contracted for computer services. If you will find that your staff will need to much less?” In almost every case, your you take some time now to assess your “double-input” to accomplish even cost for the same services should be less, current technology situation, you can simple tasks. When tasks that are even with your current vendor. Any addi- make the right decisions for the future. routinely automated become more labor- tional cuts in services should result in an As your current commitments wind intensive, you increase your costs and the additional reduction. Vendors are fight- down, you should ask yourself the fol- chance of errors. You should also ing hard to maintain their revenue lowing questions before you assume any consider the deleterious effect on your streams and will employ a plethora of new obligations. cash flow of any delays or errors in DCS tactics to hang on to your monthly inputs. Rebates and warranty claims are check. You need to fight back harder and 1. Do your current discounts and just two of the receivables that could be smarter than ever before. concessions reflect these global reduc- delayed. Between holdback, rebates, tions? Beginning in 2005, the emergence floorplan incentives, warranty claims, 5. Do I have a copy of all the rele- of the second tier vendors was finally new car prep costs and paid commis- vant computer contracts? Nearly every acknowledged by the giants that domi- sions; it is not unusual for a dealer to vendor has made crucial changes to their nated the DMS world for decades. As the experience initial negative cash flow contract provisions recently. They are new players began to erode this de facto when a new vehicle is sold. Full DCS trying to find ways to hang on to oligopoly, there was significant down- integration helps to alleviate this customers they have in a period of fierce ward pressure on computer prices. problem. competition. If you don’t read, under- Dealers sometimes compare their tech- Additional factors that must be assidu- stand and seek modifications to these nology costs to other dealers they know. ously evaluated with a smaller vendor are more perilous contracts, you will find This method is seldom effective. Do you fixed operations offerings (especially if yourself in an uncomfortable, possibly know in detail what actual solutions you have a large wholesale parts opera- untenable position down the road. these other dealers are using? How do tion), front-end (CRM and BDC) Check your current contracts now for you know what kind of deal they were solutions, third-party integration and possible problems (automatic renewals, able to negotiate? This is one area where data management and archiving. non-cancelable maintenance, etc.). Be some professional help may be in order. sure your rights are not abridged. Five 3. Did I build extra capacity into years ago, desirable contract addenda 2. If you choose a second tier my computer system that I never actu- were mostly centered on extra price vendor, will you be able to efficiently ally used? As recently as a year ago, protections and future costs. Current operate your business? There is a lot of dealers were routinely adding extra conditions require you to push for much misinformation out there and it’s hard to capacity as they configured a new DMS. more fundamental changes. Be assured know what to believe. One of the major Dealers were acquiring new points and that these changes are massive and you considerations, although certainly not adding franchises as their core business proceed with peril if you choose to ignore the only one, is the integration each continued to grow. To put it gently, this advice. Before you sign any DMS system provides with the manufacturers things have changed for many dealers contract, it’s smart to have it reviewed by you represent. Don’t accept verbal assur- and there are opportunities for savings if someone who is familiar with these ances; contact your manufacturer for they can eliminate excess resources. If contracts and how they can go wrong. verification. Many DMS providers you have closed or sold a point, seen a cannot provide integration with DCS reduction in sales, staff and fixed opera- 6. Does my computer have the and some bend the truth when they tions, you should explore your options capacity and power to serve my needs claim to be “approved”. Some say they and slash some costs. You must deter- until the end of my current contract? are right on the cusp of approval. A mine precisely where to get the most Be careful if your vendor rep says you vendor may say they have integration savings and how deep to cut. Scalability don’t need a new computer. He may tell and then offer it only through a patch- is the new watchword. you that he just wants to “renew your work of third parties. contract” at the same price you are Why is this so important? It is almost 4. How much lower will my bill be if impossible to communicate with the I choose to renew with my current continued next page DD 30 May 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 6. DMS, Gillrie (continued from P-DD30) Internet Sales, Webb (continued from P-DD15) paying. In normal times, this sounds like drive away to give it their one last shot. do you want to come up with the a perfectly reasonable offer. But by now New school: The Columbo can be destination fee/Internet negotiation you know that the price is too high and used effectively in two different ways fee, etc?” They’ve spent time with the terms are, indeed, not the same. Still, within the Internet lead process. The you and are invested in the sale and some dealers will think this is an attrac- first way, and most simple to create, is the car. They will usually pay a tive alternative. It is not. Buy into this the use of a pop-under coupon/certifi- portion of the fee, bringing in more suggestion and you could expose yourself cate. After a customer has visited your profit on the deal. Either of these to the “mandatory upgrade”. Remember site and they are closing out of their tactics will give your dealership a bad that the actual computer (server) is the browsers, there is just one more little reputation in my opinion. least expensive part of the DMS equa- attempt for you to lure them back. tion. A state-of-the-art server for a large Whether it is an additional discount The time bomb dealership (or group) should probably toward a vehicle or a promotion to Old school: When a customer is cost no more than $6,000 in the real receive something free for inputting about to leave before purchasing a world. But, if you buy it from a vendor in their information, it is one more way to specific car, the salesperson tells them it the middle of a contract, it can cost up to grab them. will not be available if they walk out. $300,000! Anytime you sign a new The second way a Columbo is effec- Whether it is a ‘today only price’, or that service agreement with your vendor, you tively deployed is by having an e-mail another customer is coming to pick it should insist that it include the latest message (preferably a video message) up, or that it is being transferred to a hardware technology. This prevents the from the owner/GM with a personal ‘sister store’, it won’t be here when they vendor from discovering a “computer touch. It should let the customer know get back. It attempts to force a decision. insufficiency” halfway through your that the primary decision-maker in the New school: When e-mailing a contract and compelling you to exercise place understands they submitted a prospect an Internet price, ISMs can one of these excruciating options: lead a little while back. Not only does attach a statement saying that the • Upgrade it at a huge premium. (You the message offer to answer any newly Internet pricing changes every month have no leverage at this point and there discovered questions, but also it should and offers the prospect a ‘good until are no real market forces in place to hold offer a specific value just for mention- date’. Then, toward month’s end, it down the cost.) Or, ing that particular video. It makes the gives the ISM the ability to call/e-mail • Sign another contract extension to get customer feel that they have a connec- and ask if they haven’t yet purchased, the enormously inflated cost of the hard- tion directly to the top. would they like a new, updated quote ware reduced to just seriously excessive. when the pricing changes. The same The ladder can be done for incentives. This is a By keeping the old hardware, you Old school: As a customer agrees to tactic to have a specific reason for the didn’t save much money but you gave up a deal, the salesperson is told by the dealer’s follow up with the e-lead. your strong negotiating position without manager to put them on the ladder. Even with the industry turning getting anything in return. The only The salesperson then has to go back online, there are still lessons to be winner was the DMS vendor. and apologize that they forgot about an learned from our predecessors. Ultimately, dealers have never had as extra feature/accessory on the car and it Whether right or wrong, these old many choices or as much leverage as they will cost the customer a couple school tactics do have new applica- have today. Don’t squander this potent hundred more. The customers usually tions in today’s online market. The advantage. Heed these suggestions, get relent. Then, later, they say they’ve newest performers in our dealerships some help and finally take control of reviewed their credit and it won’t be the can still benefit by having a few tricks your DMS costs. payment they expected because the up their sleeves. higher rate raises the monthly expense Paul Gillrie is North America’s leading another $20 or so a month. Each time Joe Webb is the president of consultant and advocate for automobile you speak to them, you put them on DealerKnows, LLC, specializing in auto- dealers in their quest to reduce technology the proverbial “ladder” taking them motive e-commerce consulting and expense in their dealerships. He founded higher and higher. assisting dealers and vendors with the The Paul Gillrie Institute in 1992 and this New school: This also is used two advancement of their online efforts, solu- scrupulously independent research “think ways in Internet sales, but I don’t tion successes, and processes through tank” now provides dealers and their advi- approve of either. One way to put an hands-on training. He has worked in the sors with the most current, accurate analysis Internet customer on the ladder is by dealership trenches and now shares his and consumer reports on the technology sending them a quote on the vehicle knowledge of e-commerce, online advertis- issues facing them daily. they desired, minus one option; or ing, and Internet initiatives nationwide. telling them their vehicle is in stock, but not telling them your in-stock If you wish to discuss this article with model also has a sunroof for If you wish to discuss this article with other dealers, or with the author, instance. You get them in and hope other dealers, or with the author, please go to the “Discussion Forums” to sell them on the feature, putting please go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com them on the ladder. The other way to at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com and enter the “DMS” forum or put a customer on the ladder is by and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him at pgillrie@DigitalDealer- saying “plus fees”. The customer e-mail him at jwebb@DigitalDealer- magazine.com. expects the fees to just be taxes, but magazine.com. is asked just prior to signing, “How DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2009 DD 31
  • 7. Internet Sales, Sura (continued from P-DD12) 10 percent. This operation is now aggres- • Work with web companies that effectively for Lexus but it certainly is with General sively going after the sub-prime optimize your site. Use the following analyt- Motors. The problem with the customers through print. One comment ics tool: www.compete.com to determine approach that one web site size fits all, is that summed up the entire conversation the number of unique visitors that you the dealer loses the opportunity to was, “I didn’t need the Internet five years are getting compared to the other dealers brand himself in the market and the real ago and I don’t need it today.” in your area. relationship is not between the dealer What about the social sites? I hit this • Determine how well the site is and the web company even though the aggressively last month. I received feed- indexed by the web site. Example: the dealer is paying the invoices. back from a General Motors dealer who site is www.johnbrownchevy.com. Enter I encourage each of you to adapt to the sold a pre-owned Porsche Cayenne sport johnbrown.com into the Google search rule of the new market. It is more power- utility vehicle to a “friend” in the dealer- and look at the numeric count in the ful than you. Recognize that the Internet ship Facebook site. The customer had top right hand corner. Compare that is here to stay. It isn’t a fad. Learn to play become frustrated with the trade value of count with the other dealers in your the game with the new rules. the GM product at the Porsche opera- area. I have looked at a total count of tion. The Internet director from the GM indexed sites as low as five. The number Phil Sura is a VP of the Automotive operation exchanged some e-mails and should be in the thousands for a large Division of UnityWorks Media. delivered the Cayenne within 72 hours metro operation. and kept the customer’s business. • Demand customer service or fire the What about web sites? The dealer who web company. I understand that some If you wish to discuss this article with has a cookie cutter approach with his web OEMs force their dealers to work with other dealers, or with the author, site will get cookie cutter results. The one specific web company. I don’t please go to the “Discussion Forums” average customer visits seven dealer web believe that this is a good practice. Most at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com sites during the sales process. How can of the larger dealers are complying with and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or you leverage that reality? the wishes of the OEM, but creating e-mail him at psura@DigitalDealer- • Work with web companies that allow multiple sites to promote their opera- magazine.com. flexibility. tions when possible. This isn’t an option Internet Sales, Ryan (continued from P-DD13) comes in. The key lies in shifting the sales benefits of Certified programs that consumer optimization technology as focus from haggling over price and currently have low consumer awareness well as by training them in the techniques payment to focusing on a technique such as ‘seven-year, 100,000-mile of consumer optimized selling. In doing called “value closing.” Like consumer extended warranty’ and ‘24-hour road- so, you should be in a position to work optimized advertising, in this more trans- side assistance’. out a straightforward deal relative to parent approach to selling, retailers 4. Sell the value of your pricing – If you price, payment, trade-in value and cash harness the power of the Internet to sell have done a good job in the above down. This scenario will better enable the value of their vehicle and price by emphasis points, selling your price should you to close more deals more profitably emphasizing: be easy. In addition, if you are already while gaining a higher level of customer 1. Vehicle highlights – Focus the priced to be “in the game,” you should satisfaction. And your customer will drive customer on the high value equipment also be in a position to sell the value of home in a car that meets his needs while that differentiates your vehicle from the price you are offering as it compares feeling good about the value for the price similar vehicles on the market. This to trusted sources such as Kelley Blue that was paid. Everyone wins. includes equipment and options such as Book, Edmunds TMV and J.D. Power ‘heated seats’, ’rear entertainment’, and Information Network as well as the Pat Ryan Jr. is the co-founder and chief ‘built-in navigation’, as well as lifestyle vehicle’s own pricing history (i.e. original executive officer of First Look by features such as ‘family car’, ‘sporty’ or sticker price, your original list price, INCISENT Technologies. ‘tough utility’. average selling price). 2. Quality and risk profile – Highlight By unleashing the power of selling vehicle attributes that have the potential value or consumer optimized selling, to reduce risk and reinforce vehicle retailers can achieve the following bene- quality. This may include ‘Carfax one- fits: If you wish to discuss this article with owner’, ‘still in original warranty’ or ‘low • Drive more sales other dealers, or with the author, mileage’. • Set up stronger gross profit please go to the “Discussion Forums” 3. Certified pre-owned – Highlight • Improve CSI at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com vehicle certifications, which provide a Bottom line: Consumers don’t have to and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or general sense of quality (better inspected, be the only ones who are Internet e-mail him at pryan@DigitalDealer- reconditioned, etc.). It is critically impor- empowered. Now is the time for dealers magazine.com. tant to emphasize some of the powerful to empower their own teams with DD 32 May 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  • 8. BDC/CRM, Barker (continued from P-DD26) lot traffic, etc. Nothing better to do? No one week in those stores with the owner’s CRM/BDC processes. If you wish to strategy or plan or most importantly lead- blessing and I could set the stage for great- receive a copy, e-mail me and I will get it ership? And, no one greeted me much less ness and then watch the difference. We, out to you. Bam. said, “Boo”. Wow, here I am the only non- not the economy are our greatest enemy. employee human being on the entire lot It is time for a little corporate process lead- Chuck Barker’s experience ranges from an and I am ignored? I also called each of ership training in this business. Survival of executive with a Fortune 200 computer cor- these stores before visiting and performed the fittest means those who recognize they poration to the automobile business. He has a mystery call to see how they handled the need to know how to become the fittest. held positions as business development man- big money phone inquiry. On a scale of Bust through those old school paradigm ager, sales manager, acting GM, ADP one to 10, 10 being the best call perform- anchors and refresh your store to become executive regional manager specializing in ance, they all scored two to four. Same old great and bring newness to the way you CRM and his own current company, Impact thing, “Sure, we got one, come on down do business. Marketing & Consulting Group, LLC, and ask for me”. I would have eliminated Lastly, as the leader, you must develop located in Virginia. His firm delivers CRM all of these stores from my potential “deal- the discipline to stay the course. process strategies, 21st century CRM sales ership buy from list” due to poor call Whatever you audit not only needs to be training, CRM e-business deployment and performances. All of the GSMs or GMs done on a consistent basis but also over a CRM management leadership workshops. however told me they were doing good. long period of time. If you picked an More information can be located at his web Help me define what the word good important activity (follow up, Internet, site: www.impactgroupcrm.com. means because I am still struggling with floor up, owner base, etc), this commit- their comments. Unfortunately, these are ment should be easy. People need and the guys who will never deliver their deal- want the stability that this type of inspec- If you wish to discuss this article with ership to the promise land of “doing great” tion brings. Remember, the best days in a other dealers, or with the author, because they simply do not get the big successful dealership are like the movie please go to the “Discussion Forums” picture required to see the little pictures. Groundhog Day: predictable and repeat- at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com Just another car dealership. How many able. Your ability to sustain what you start and enter the “BDC/CRM” forum or have you sold today, Jimmy? Where has is the essence of inspection. I have put e-mail him at cbarker@DigitalDealer- the leadership gone to anyway? Did they together a responsibilities list for various magazine.com. never get it or just stop trying? Give me positions in the dealership as it relates to DMS, Skeans (continued from P-DD29) me down the “DMS design theory database design allows for use of the drill-down functionality. Once you yellow brick road” let me share with “expert” reporting tools to do the job get past the familiar look and feel I think you the most important aspect of this for you. They have certified a nice list of you will be surprised at the advances they whole discussion. The real events that companies who’s reporting and analysis have made. create the differences between DMSs tools work seamlessly with their data- take place after the shrink-wrap comes base. These are well known and Jim Skeans is the president of Jim Skeans off the database software package. For respected names such as Chrystal Consulting Group LLC and has been in the example; ACS’s implementation of Reports, Sequel and Star Query. I really automobile business for more than 25 years. “Visual Fox Pro” is very different from admire the ACS approach. Not only Jim is a former senior consultant for an Adam Systems implementation of does their database design allow for international automotive consulting group “Visual Fox Pro”. This is why, when I connectivity to the report program of and has served in all of the traditional deal- am performing a CompuSelect service your choice they have also made the ership management and staff positions as for a dealer or dealer group considering information voyage from database to well as director position with a large an alternative DMS I pay particular to excel as seamless as it gets. Another national dealership group. this issue. The thing is CompuSelect favorite, AutoMate has a spreadsheet does not so much choose the system built-in with functionality such as “for you” as much as it provides the key providing a pivot table wizard that they information that allow and your staff to start for you well into the pivot table match expectation with the DMS process making it easier for the “non- provider’s reality. The twenty plus alter- Excelpert” to use. native dealership management systems OK, I feel like this only scratches the If you wish to discuss this article with provide solutions that run the gamut of surface, but it is a good scratch. I hope I other dealers, or with the author, database design. It is extremely impor- have piqued your interest a bit and have please go to the “Discussion Forums” tant that their strengths and weakness inspired you to “look under the hood” of at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com are fully illuminated before making the DMS you are using or investigating. and enter the “DMS” forum or your decision. Also, please take another look at ADP e-mail him at jskeans@DigitalDealer- For example Arkona’s does not and Reynolds’ reporting tools that have magazine.com. provide advanced reporting. But, their just been recently introduced, especially DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2009 DD 33
  • 9. Internet Sales, Sher (continued from P-DD16) tation of the sender prior to opening the message or video. As the economy message. changes, so should the way you do E-mail receivers use four specific business. You need to be able to update components to measure the reputation e-mail templates and come up with of the sender. These include number of new buying motives for the customers Advertiser ......................pg # complaints, number of bounces, to get interested enough to respond. It number of messages sent, and the size of should be a habit to tweak the process the messages (see Figure 1, page DD14). once a month, even if it includes ActivEngage ......................11 If your reputation reaches a specific changing a sentence in an e-mail threshold, e-mail receivers will begin to template. After all, change is a beautiful AutoListener......................27 block messages from you. The thresh- thing and it does not keep you boring. olds are usually based on an algorithm There is a lot more downtime in the of reputation measurement device per showrooms right now, which means Auto Point ..........................3 message component over time, and, as that a follow-up process should start to such, the reputation might be have more phone calls scheduled and AutoTrader.com ..................2 computed using an algorithm of these calls need to have a purpose. If bounces from a particular sender IP you are a manager and business is slow, AutoUSA............................36 address per hour or complaints from get on the phone and do some follow messages containing a certain link per up to help drum up business. You will minute (see Figure 2, page DD14). gain more appreciation from your staff BZ Results/ADP ....................5 It is important to keep in mind that by working together and your voice each e-mail receiver has different rules can be instrumental in getting a cars.com ............................35 for determining reputation so the customer in the showroom. When I threshold for blocking messages will was an Internet director, my processes DealerPeak (Widestorm) ....6 differ amongst them. included a phone call from a manager E-mail receivers score reputation on on a certain day and, believe me; two areas of the e-mail itself, the enve- customers were impressed and came in DealerUps ..........................25 lope and the body of the message. The to buy cars. If you do not hide behind envelope contains the message’s header the desk and get active, you will have Homenet..............................7 and the source server’s IP address, host more energy and excitement, more name, ‘from’ address field, ‘reply to’ business, and almost no turnover in IMN Loyalty Driver..............9 address field, etc. The body of the your department. message contains the e-mail text, In a nutshell, it is important to have images, and links to external web sites the right people employed at the dealer- Sandi Jerome Consulting..19 in either plain text or HTML format. ship who will be responsible for Both the envelope and body must marketing the dealership to the online warrant the attention of e-mail community and maintaining the online Internet Sales, Martin (continued from P-DD14) marketers, as each part needs to be reputation of the dealership. In addi- transparent to the extent that no traces tion, it is important to update follow-up deliverability issues, there are many of the ESP appear in either area. processes in order to make the Internet things that the sender must do to sale process more effective. Practice protect the reputation of his or her Peter Martin is the CEO of Cactus Sky these three important routines and company. E-mail marketers must make Communications, Inc., one of the premier watch your results grow. the investment in their own deliverabil- e-mail marketing agencies in the country. ity by understanding and properly He is considered an e-Marketing expert Stan Sher is currently working on consult- managing their reputation in order to and regularly speaks and trains for NADA ing dealerships on best Internet sales have the best deliverability possible.. and NIADA on both e-Marketing and practices with his company, Dealer special finance marketing. He is also the Internet Sales Solutions (DISS). He is also The components of a good reputation founder of AskPatty.com, a popular auto- an account manager for RedNumbat, a E-mail reputation is not determined motive advice site and is the foremost pricing software that generates a price by one single thing; it is the sum of authority on how to sell cars to women. quote in seconds. many data points gathered over time. While various methods for reputation scoring are used today, the “report If you wish to discuss this article with If you wish to discuss this article with spam” mechanism has given e-mail other dealers, or with the author, other dealers, or with the author, receivers the greatest amount of data by please go to the “Discussion Forums” please go to the “Discussion Forums” which to gauge the sender’s reputation. at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com The same foundation of “user-gener- and enter the “Internet Sales” forum and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or ated content” that fuels Web 2.0 sites or e-mail him at pmartin@Digital e-mail him at ssher@DigitalDealer- like MySpace, Flickr, and Digg.com Dealer-magazine.com. magazine.com. helps e-mail users determine the repu- DD 34 May 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com