AutoSuccess.april10

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AutoSuccess addresses the specific, researched needs of new car and light truck dealerships by providing entrepreneurial, cutting-edge, solution-based editorials to increase dealership profits and reduce expenses

AutoSuccess, magazine, sales, new, used, selling, salespeople, vehicle, dealer, dealership, leadership, marketing

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AutoSuccess.april10

  1. 1. The New & Improved AutoSuccessOnline.com, Check It Out! April 2010
  2. 2. AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or info@autosuccessonline.com. Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible for their return). All submitted editorials and graphics are subject to editing for grammar, content and page length. AutoSuccess provides its contributing writers latitude in expressing advice and solutions; views expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect of the content of any other magazine to which this magazine may be linked from time to time. Always confer with legal counsel before implementing changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without express written consent from AutoSuccess. AutoSuccess may occasionally make readers’ names available to other companies whose products and/or services may be of interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220.2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville Ken Kentucky 40299 | 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 | AutoSuccessOnline.com / AutoSuccessPodcast.com | info@autosuccessonline.com Susan Givens, Publisher Thomas Williams, VP & Creative Director Dave Davis, Editor & Creative Strategist Brian Ankney, Account Manager Susie Horne, Account Manager John Warner, Sales-Improvement Strategist sgivens1@autosuccessonline.com design@autosuccessonline.com ddavis@autosuccessonline.com super6@autosuccessonline.com shorne@autosuccessonline.com jwarner@autosuccessonline.comfeature solution leadership solution marketing solution sales & training solution IF YOU DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE, YOU’LL Dealership’s History the Best Year in the How Gary Crossley REALLY MOVE THE NEEDLE WITH YOUR DIRECT MARKETING Ford Made 2009 IS LEASING THE KEY TO INCREASE SALES BY ‘RIGHT TARGET’ AND ‘NARROW DOWN’ ARE OVER-USED PHRASES IN E-MAIL AND DIRECT MAIL...HOW YOU CAN PLANNING FOR RETIREMENT IN STAGES DEALERSHIP OWNERS - HOW TO BUILD SELECTING YOUR LIVE CHAT SOLUTION KEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR TURNING T.R.A.S.H. INTO TREASURE ARE YOU OFFERING A COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE IN YOUR DEALERSHIP GET WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS GOT TOP DEALERS WORK TOGETHER HOW CLEAN IS YOUR PREVIOUS FIX WHAT YOUR PEOPLE CAN’T THE ANSWER IS PRODUCTION FOCUS ON THE RIGHT THINGS ARE YOU HITTING THE MARK? CONVENIENCE ADVANTAGE? CUSTOMER DATABASE? ON NEW AD NETWORK RESOLUTIONS, PART 3 ARE YOU A HUSTLER? WINNING ONLINE 30 PERCENT? An Interview with ToddCrossley 29 18 33 24 10 08 22 28 16 26 34 36 19 20 17 32 30 MarshBuice SteveShaw SowmyaIyer StephenR.Covey BillPhillips TomMohr JoeAbraham KirkManzo ToddSmith MarkTewart DalePollak SteveBrazill JohnFreund BudAbraham ToddStrause JockSchowalter pg 8 SusanGivens pg 6 pg 6 pg1 pg1 pg3 April 2010 joe abraham dale pollak todd strause
  3. 3. leadershipsolution StephenR.Covey RESOLUTIONS 3 part The principles self-denial can be severe in all areas of life; sleep, rest and leisure. How many times do of temperance, likewise, the rewards of self-control can be you set the alarm or your mind to get up consistency and self-discipline are amazing. As an example, let’s look at a battle early, knowing all of the things you have to foundational to a person’s whole life – not all of us wage every day. do in the morning, anxious to get the day just in the area of their profession. The organized right, to have a calm and orderly costs of not maintaining self-discipline and Many of us succumb to the longing for extra breakfast, to have an unhurried and peaceful preparation before leaving for work? But when the alarm goes off, your good resolves Does your DETAIL DEPARTMENT dissolve. It’s a battle of mind versus mattress! Often the mattress wins. You find yourself look like this? getting up late, then beginning a frantic rush to get dressed, organized, fed and be off. In the rush, you grow impatient and insensitive to others. Nerves get frayed, tempers short. And all because of sleeping in. A chain of unhappy events and sorry consequences follows not keeping the first resolution of the day to get up at a certain time. That day may begin and end in defeat. The extra sleep is hardly ever worth it. In fact, considering the above, such sleep is terribly tiring and exhausting. It COULD look like this... Organize your Detail Department & Boost Productivity What a difference if you organize and DETAIL PLUS will provide you with everything you need to help improve arrange your affairs the night before to get your Detail Department’s appearance, increase productivity, reduce to bed at a reasonable time. I find that the last hour before retiring is the best time chemical & supply costs, reduce labor costs, and improve work quality. to plan and prepare for the next day. Then DETAIL PLUS can Provide you with: when the alarm goes off, you get up and prepare properly for the day. Such an early- Consulting Personnel Selection morning private victory gives you a sense of conquering, overcoming and mastering, and Shop Design & Layout Management Training this sense propels you to conquer more public High-Tech Equipment Technical Training challenges during the day. Success begets success. Starting a day with an early victory Call us today for a No-Obligation Consultation over self leads to more victories. P.O. Box 20755 Portland, OR. 97294 Tel: 503.251.2955 Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder of Fax: 503.251.5975 email: detailplus@detailplus.com FranklinCovey, and is the author of The 7 TOLL FREE: 800.284.0123 WWW.DETAILPLUS.COM Habits of Highly Effective People. He can be contacted at 866.892.6363, or by e-mail0 at scovey@autosuccessonline.com.8 www.autosuccessonline.com
  4. 4. marketingsolution SowmyaIyer ‘RIGHT TARGET’ AND ‘NARROW DOWN’ ARE OVER- USED PHRASES IN E-MAIL AND DIRECT MAIL... HOW YOU CAN REALLY MOVE THE NEEDLE WITH YOUR DIRECT MARKETING The past two If you really want to impact your showroom Before answering that question, you should years have forced traffic, sales and bottom line, you need to consider one more thing. When you attempt everyone to refocus their marketing efforts. work with firms that truly have analytic skills. to narrow down a list with segmentation Advertising had to become more efficient, For example, let’s say you are looking to compared to using analytic algorithms, you effective and produce a good measurable resell “inactive” customers — people who almost always send out more e-mails or ROI or, more than likely, it was eliminated you’ve lost for whatever reason and have direct mail. This creates a long-term problem. or drastically cut. Now the buzz is all about defected to your competition. Mailing to the Between you and your manufacturer, your targeting the right customers and narrowing entire inactive customer segment is expensive. customers receive an enormous amount of down your list. There are a couple of reasons There’s a reason these people are inactive, communication. Let’s face it — many of for this. First, anytime you can narrow your and because of that reason the majority will them could receive conflicting messages. scope and eliminate people who are not ignore your offer. Direct mail is too expensive In any given month they could receive one interested in your offer it’s a good thing and for you to justify that expense and more than message about a sale or service program you will be more profitable. Second, the likely you will not have a high percentage of from you and a completely different message marketplace has changed and marketers who e-mail addresses for inactive customers. A from your manufacturer. When you over- can’t adapt to changing customer behaviors firm with a strong analytic team will start by communicate, your customer becomes will be left behind. identifying your inactive customers. Analytical callous to all your messages regardless of the algorithms are then created by analyzing offer. Instead of increasing their satisfaction The problem is that narrowing down your list data — combining information on past level, you begin to annoy. with basic segmentation usually does not go circumstances and present events — to predict far enough — especially today. or project which people of those inactive Over the last two years you have been customers have the highest propensity to forced to find more efficient ways to Marketing communication is moving away respond to your offer and, more importantly, communicate with customers. Are you guilty from mass media toward an approach driven re-buy or service with you. of over e-mailing your previous customers? by firms with integrated customer data, a Just because e-mail is less expensive technology infrastructure and real customer Identifying which inactive customers will does not change the importance of every analysis skills. Firms with this infrastructure reactivate — rather than targeting the entire message being driven by detailed customer and skill set will improve your net results. segment — will save you an incredible knowledge, appropriate to the context of the But to really move the needle, firms must amount of money up front and produce a interaction and aligned with communications have deep customer insight and skills that much better ROI. A great analytic team can in other channels. translate those insights into sales, profit become an indispensable asset to you, which and differentiation and provide you with a you will rely on for strategic decisions. Your previous customer database offers competitive advantage. For example, let’s go back to your inactive a wealth of customer data. But without customers. After the inactive analytic the analytical discipline to turn that data Firms have different competency levels. algorithms are created and a target list is found into insight, your database is as likely to Most start out with the ability to measure you could look for more ways to leverage amplify mistakes as it is to improve results. results and provide simple segmentation. that information with more analytics. The Poorly designed or untested models can add Segmentation is probably the most common firm could identify behaviors of these inactive thousands to your fulfillment costs. For this method used today at a dealership level. customers when they were active by analyzing reason you need customer analytics to identify There are a lot of ways people describe past usage, spending, other behavior patterns where your opportunities are and then measure segmentation to sound more valuable than and how those behaviors started to change your results. More advanced firms employ it is. In reality, it is nothing more than being before they left you. This is what recognizing teams of statisticians with the sole purpose of able to identify customers or prospects who “changing customer behavior” means. Now building sophisticated mathematical models to share one or more characteristics that cause analytic algorithms can be created to identify describe and predict your customer’s behavior. them to demand similar products and/or customers who are “at risk” or have likelihood services. For example, rather than e-mail or to leave you in the near future. Can you see Real data success comes when you’re able to mail your entire previous customer list, you the opportunities with this? increase the behaviors you want. I invite you could segment it to target new, used, active, to e-mail me with any questions or comments. inactive or lease customers. This will produce To do this level of analytic work is not a better result, but you will not maximize cheap. In fact, it is expensive. The question Sowmya Iyer is the marketing analyst for your sales or profit potential. We need to think becomes: What is more important to you, J&L Marketing, Inc. She can be beyond the basic identifying characteristics price per e-mail and/or direct mail piece, or contacted by e-mail at and the obvious relationships. price per lead and/or sale? siyer@autosuccessonline.com.10 www.autosuccessonline.com
  5. 5. In a turbulent economy, where many dealers struggled to survive, Gary Crossley Ford in Kansas City, Missouri found a way to thrive. Despite the challenging environment, they implemented a strategy that dramatically increased their revenue and reduced their operating costs, and just had the best month in the dealership’s history. By the end of 2009, the dealership became the No. 1 dealership in Kansas City and set a record for profitability during the worst of economic times. that integrated everything we needed into one platform for a lot less Susan Givens, the publisher of AutoSuccess, interviewed Todd money than what we were paying. Our new system includes our Web Crossley to find out exactly what they did to get the best results in the site, inventory management, Internet lead management, CRM, BDC, dealership’s history in the worst economic environment since they campaign management, reporting and service, and a desking system that opened their doors 30 years ago. integrates used vehicle market pricing. AutoSuccess: Everyone wants to know how you grew so AS: You said that you were able to attract more customers much when the industry was shrinking. Can you tell us what while spending less money. Isn’t that a contradiction? were the key factors in your growth? TC: Not at all. Previously our ad budget was too big and the returns on Todd Crossley: After we were moved into our new location, we our traditional advertising were too small. We cut the budget and spent knew we had to increase revenue to cover the additional costs of the a higher percentage on targeted direct mail and Internet advertising new store and we needed to reduce our operating costs. We created because it generated more traffic. We more than doubled our traffic and a strategy to attract more traffic for less cost than the traditional our cost per sale was cut by approximately a third. advertising we had done in the past. Second, we converted more of our traffic into profitable sales. Third, we increased our sales and AS: What type of targeted marketing and Internet service loyalty and increased our average revenue per transaction. We advertising do you do? accomplished this by making sure we had the right people, processes TC: Our CRM system notifies me 15 days before the month starts with and tools to deliver a world-class experience for our customers. recommended campaigns that target consumers who have the highest probability of buying or servicing their vehicle with our dealership AS: What was one thing that had the biggest impact? that month. The system automatically sends e-mail and mail, and it TC: We shifted our advertising to markets where customers were schedules calls for our staff to make to the target customers. The system shopping – the Internet. We also bought technology that helps us target integrates with Team Velocity’s mail house (theVdrive.com), and they in-market customers and automates many of our processes which fulfill our direct mail because the production value is a lot better and allows us to do more with less people. the cost is similar to what we were printing on our letterhead. The best part about these targeted campaigns is that we are speaking to people AS: What type of technology did you who are in the market now, rather than wasting money on advertising to buy? How much did you spend? people who are not ready to buy or service from us. TC: At first, we spent too much money on technology — we spent a total of $20,000 a AS: You mentioned that you shifted your budget to do month with 15 different vendors to execute more online marketing. Please explain. our strategy; it was too much money TC: We do online display ads and we send targeted e-mail campaigns and too many different tools that to in-market consumers. Our new Web site appears on top of the didn’t integrate. We did a vendor search engines for the most popular search phrases in our market, and audit and decided to replace 12 of it received the top SEO Award from Brian Pasche, the Search Engine our vendors with one company Guru. We also use Video Search Engine Optimization to get more (VinSolutions) that had an “all- placements on top of Google page one because Google gives video in-one” system that integrates search results 55x more priority than text results. We use Car-Mercial. with our DMS and gave us com to produce and optimize hundreds of videos that promote our everything we needed for dealership on the most popular search engines customers use to find a about $5,000. vehicle in our market. AS: How did you AS: How do you handle all of these activities while replace 12 vendors running the business? and save $15,000? TC: Most of what I mentioned is automated; the vehicle info, incentives TC: We made a list of and specials are automatically updated on our Web site in real time. For everything we needed and example, our system automatically reduces prices for vehicles older than sent an RFP (request for 30 days to be more competitive than our competitors’ market prices and proposal) out to multiple updates manufacturer incentives on our Web site and third-party sites as companies, and we picked they change. If a car is reduced in price or a new incentive comes out, a vendor with a system the system automatically sends an e-mail to all customers who were12
  6. 6. in our CRM and it automatically fills in all the other contact information, even e-mail. Our sales reps scan the customer’s license before the demo ride and it attaches a copy of their driver’s license and picture to their record. The systeminterested in those vehicles during the previous 45 days. The system then pulls additional information from the customer’s social networksalso automates customer communications throughout the sales process like Facebook, Linked in, MySpace and other sites that have publicto confirm appointments, follow up when they don’t show up or buy information available. The system tells them what calls they need toor to re-activate dead leads that in the past were not followed up. The make and provides the phone guides for each type of contact. Sinceautomation does the work of a 20-person BDC, but I don’t have the the tool is connected to our phone system, it records all the inboundpayroll cost. The system also manages our inventory, and includes a and outbound calls, tracks their daily follow-up tasks and notifiescamera that scans the vehicle’s bar code and generates window stickers, management if their appointment, follow-up and/or closing ratio isdetailed vehicle brochures, videos and an “Auto-Biography” for every below our store’s benchmarks.pre-owned vehicle in stock. The “Auto-Biography” is a book with a usedcar brochure, Carfax, all maintenance records and a list of other vehicles AS: You mentioned that your average gross profit hasin the market that are selling for more than our asking price. The system increased. Please tell us how your gross has increasedthen sends all the vehicle info, pictures and video to our Web site and along with your volume.third-party sites with the Kelly Blue Book retail price next to our sale TC: Our sales and desking process has greatly improved our gross.price so consumers can see that our price is less compared to a credible We use our new desking system to give consumers multiple finance/third-party like KBB. If the customer does not find a vehicle on our site, lease scenarios that fit their payment requirements and that are thethey can use our car finder and we automatically e-mail them when the most profitable for our dealership. We then print out a professionalvehicle they want comes into stock. work sheet that includes all their options and highlights the unique advantages of buying a Ford from our dealership. Our salespeopleAS: You mentioned that you increased your closing ratio can also use the tutorials in the system to overcome objections and toand gross profit. How did you increase both of them at educate our customers. For example, the tutorials include multimediathe same time? presentations on finance versus lease, the appraisal process, certifiedTC: We improved the customer experience and follow up, which pre-owned process, and Extended Service agreements, among others.increased our closing ratio. When an Internet lead comes in, we These professionally produced tutorials help build value in ourautomatically send a custom e-mail that gives the customer a custom dealership and to increase our gross per vehicle. Our desking tool alsobrochure with pictures, video and five less-expensive alternative has an appraisal tool that gives us all the market pricing information sovehicles. The e-mail directs them to complete our online credit we can value trade-ins based on what cars are wholesaling and retailingapplication with a video tutorial and our online appraisal tool so they go for in our market. In addition to telling us the auction and book values,deeper into the buying process with our dealership. When the customer it tells us how much we made on similar trades in the past and howschedules an appointment, we send a confirmation within five minutes many prospects inquired in the last 30 days about that vehicle.with point-to-point directions and a second confirmation is sent at7 a.m. on the day of the appointment via e-mail and text. When the AS: Is this Reynolds desking program?customer arrives at the dealership, the sales consultant can use their TC: No, our desking is part of a VinSolutions system, but it isphone to view the client’s info and to gather information about their integrated with Reynolds so our managers don’t have double input —desired and current vehicle. All of the most important fact-finding they just press a button and the deal goes into Reynolds.questions are in the mobile CRM tool, and everything that is gatheredis saved in the customer’s record. The sales rep can also print custom AS: You also mentioned that the dealership improved itsvehicle brochures and comparisons that highlight the advantages of our loyalty. Can you tell us more about that?vehicle versus the competition’s. This helps increase our closing ratio TC: We dramatically increased our retention by sending targeted e-mailfor first-time visitors and our new follow-up system helps bring back and direct mail campaigns to customers who are in equity andcustomers who don’t buy. need service work done. We give them a custom offerAS: How do you follow up with the customers who do not buy?TC: The first step is getting 100 percent of our prospect’s contactinformation. Our CRM system captures the customer information ifthey call or e-mail the dealership, and it attaches the recording of thecall to their record. We can also see the customer’s lifetime value tothe dealership based on their historic spend so we can give our bestcustomers special treatment. For customers who walk in,the sales rep puts the customer’s phone number
  7. 7. AS: Have you dropped all your traditional advertising? TC: No. Our advertising strategy has improved dramatically because we consolidated our marketing vendors and hired one company to develop and implement a more targeted marketing strategy that speaks to people who are in the market. In the past, we worked with an ad agency and eight other companies to execute every part of our strategy. The vendors didn’t work together, however, so the campaigns were not integrated. It was confusing for my customers because my TV and radio commercials had one message, direct mail had another, my to upgrade their vehicle at the same or lower Internet manager was sending e-mails with payment that they are currently making, and other offers, and none of it was on my Web give them service offers that relate to their site or point of purchase materials. We hired a current mileage, including the option to buy marketing company called Tier10Marketing. an extended warranty if our records show com, that specializes in digital and traditional they don’t have one. Our system notifies the advertising, and now we have one strategy original salesperson when their customer that that is completely connected and consistent. is in-equity comes in to service their vehicle. To make sure our customers are treated The service advisor is also notified so they right, we monitor we use a company called can put a hang tag in the customer’s vehicle CallRevu.com to monitor all our calls 24/7 to inform them of our “Vehicle Buy Back and they send real-time alerts to our managers Program.” If the customer is inactive or lost, when a customer is mishandled on the phone. we send more aggressive incentives to bring Our managers save a lot of deals because they them back. contact customers immediately before it is too late. We also review daily and weekly reports After we sell a car, our system also creates that tell us what marketing the customers a personal automotive Web site for each responded to, the appointment rates, show customer with their vehicle info, owner rates and closing ratios by ad source. With information, pictures and video, and it updates this information we adjust our marketing to them with service reminders, recalls and other spend more where we get the results and less information related to their vehicle. When a where we don’t. customer spends money in any department, we send them an automated survey, and if AS: It sounds like you are doing a lot they rate us four out of five stars or higher we at a young age; how do you manage automatically post their review on our Web and monitor it all? site and their personal Web site. We then send TC: My brother Ryan and I have a great them an e-mail to invite them to share their team, and we learned a lot from our father, opinions on the most popular review sites on who built the business from the ground up. Google, Yahoo, DealerRater.com, etc. If the He taught us the importance of having cost customer gives us lower than four stars, we controls and efficient time management. That direct their survey to a manager for follow up is why we are always looking for ways to do as a part of our concern-resolution process. things better and cheaper. We also target customers who bought from AS: So, what’s next? another dealership but live in our market. TC: We just had the best month in the When we lose a sale to another dealership, dealership’s history, but we don’t want our salespeople have to tell our system that to take our success for granted. We will they “bought elsewhere” and our CRM tool continue to work hard to constantly grow and automatically sends an e-mail from me, improve how we serve our customers and our congratulating the customer on their purchase employees. from the other dealership and inviting them to use our service department to maintain their vehicle. Then system also automatically sends out communications to our customers via e-mail, text, voicemail and mail throughout Todd Crossley is the general manager for the ownership cycle to retain them for service Gary Crossley Ford. He can be contacted and re-sell them when they are in equity or at at 866.580.1013, or by e-mail at the end of their lease. tcrossley@autosuccessonline.com.14
  8. 8. Used Inventory Turn ROI increased by 33% #% #% 12 16 turns turns 2008 2009 Almost everything my franchises bring to our new car side, vAuto brings to our used operations, including pulling customers into my front door. —Dwayne Hawkins President Crown Automotive Group St. Petersburg, FloridaBeyond the leading-edge technology. Beyond the exclusive features. Beyond the data-driveninsight. For a select set of dealers nationwide, vAuto has become much more. It has becomeall the power and the privilege of a franchise — refocused on used car operations.License to proprietary software proven to drive profitability. Access to the VelocityManagement™ playbook and coaches. Entrance to a community of like-minded, highlysuccessful dealers. Contact with customers predisposed to buying from you. It’s“the franchise”— reinvented for today’s used car market. vAuto is The Franchise 2.0.Get a live demo today. Visit www.vAuto.com/nextfranchise or call 888-536-4086.
  9. 9. leadershipsolution JoeAbraham DEALERSHIP OWNERS - HOW TO BUILD EXCELLENCE IN YOUR DEALERSHIP I was on the phone But what I am saying here is that most of the You’ll see past the politics, jockeying and with a frustrated success in the process of transformation is water-cooler talk to find out exactly who used car dealer the other day. Here was his within your control. really fits the brand position you have frustration. engineered. You’ll be left with a team who Building a culture of excellence begins with believes in you — a team who will go to “My people just don’t show ownership,” the owner. So the big question you have to ask battle for you. You will have a team who he said. “I just need to figure out how to yourself as the owner of the business is this: isn’t just there to collect a paycheck, but get them to have some sense of passion there to make an impact (while getting paid and excitement for what they do. I’ve got “Does my business need more productive handsomely for it). to get them out of ‘J.O.B.’ mentality into a employees, a positive environment and mindset of excellence. Don’t they know that fanatical customers?” The new team will live the creed/brand if they do, we’ll all make a ton of money — position and it will impact everything from together?” If “no,” skip to the next article in the how they market to how they operate and magazine. If “yes,” then read on.… serve customers. Think about your last He was right. experience walking into a WalMart and an A committed dealer can build a culture of Apple store. The employees in both locations Passionate and excited employees with an excellence into their dealership in these three earn about the same hourly wage — but ownership mindset and a drive for excellence steps: your experience in those two stores was do generate better results. But the question 1. The Brand — When you look at highly probably quite different. (If you have not of the day remains, “How do we accomplish successful and adopted brands like Virgin and been into those two stores back-to-back, I’d that in our business?” More specifically, how Apple, there is a culture of excellence that strongly recommend that field trip so you can do we accomplish that in the highly complex permeates everything. It is a culture that is experience what brand positioning can do for dealership environment? visible in their products, their employees and your business). even their customers. The answer is a bit of a “good news/bad The CEO controls and drives the company 3. The Customers — If you do step 1 and news” situation. brand. So, if your brand is positioned 2 authentically, you will see your customer correctly, it will result in the right culture base transform. Oh, don’t get me wrong. First, the good news. — a culture you are proud of. If, however, it You’ll still have the tire kickers and “I’ll-only- is not positioned correctly (or if over time, be-happy-if-you-lose-money-on-this-deal” Regardless of how dysfunctional, negative, it has picked up some faulty DNA), it will people come by. However, you will notice the beat down or chaotic your current corporate manifest itself in symptoms like weak morale number of fanatical customers (I call them culture may be, you can turn it around and low productivity. evangelists) will go through the roof. Fans (virtually on a dime). become fans when they have something to I want to strongly encourage you to take be fanatical about. Again, walk through a Now, the bad news…. an hour this week and go through a brand WalMart and an Apple store and ask yourself re-positioning exercise. You can download where you feel more apt to make a purchase Most of the work takes place in the CEO’s a free copy of my favorite exercise at and tell people about the purchase experience. office. I know that doesn’t sound like what JoeAbraham.com/autosuccess. This is the you may want to hear, but from having mission-critical step in the process. Commit to these three steps, and your worked with thousands of business owners, I dealership will thrive and explode into can assure you that is the case. You’ll come out of the process with the this consumer marketplace while your equivalent of the mission statement that Tom competitors focus on beat-downs of their A culture of excellence, performance and Cruise did as Jerry Maguire. sales team and service managers. productivity trickles down and out of the CEO’s office. Take that statement to heart 2. The Team — Just like in the movie and understand why it actually could be a Jerry Maguire, when you present the new very good thing. After all, if I told you that it brand position of the company, some team Joe Abraham is a managing partner at En all begins with your GM, sales managers or members will not agree with it. They may Corpus Group. You can contact him at 866.461.5751, or by e-mail at marketing gal, you’d be in a bit of hot soup. disagree with it enough to even end up jabraham@autosuccessonline.com. Until you got their buy-in on a culture of leaving you. That is a good thing, because it excellence, you’d be up a creek with no paddle. will extract any cancers in your business.16 www.autosuccessonline.com
  10. 10. leadershipsolution JockSchowalter ARE YOU OFFERING A COMPETITIVE CONVENIENCE ADVANTAGE? Imagine that your buying decision without the high-pressure dealership was the first tactics that have given the industry such to put up a Web site and capture the Internet a poor reputation. Whether or not your customer in your market. Imagine further that dealership is guilty of these types of sales your competitors didn’t catch on for months, tactics, you are a victim of this perception, or even years. That would be an enormous even if you don’t deserve it. If you were the competitive advantage. Imagine how much consumer, which path would you choose? money your dealership would have made if this had happened. It’s probably millions of Businesses have capitalized on the dollars. Well, there is no time machine to go Competitive Convenience Advantage since back and rewrite history; however, I believe the invention of the wheel. It is the main goal the same opportunity to reap millions in of innovation and technology. This value additional profit and take business away from proposition says “buy our product; it will your competitors is making itself available make your life easier.” Some examples are again today. disposable diapers, microwave ovens and the washing machine. These products had I like to call this the “Competitive profound impacts on our lives because they Convenience Advantage.” Consumers are were convenient and saved us time and hassle. busier than ever these days. Most households have two full-time incomes, with both Mom Beyond the core benefits of a new product, and Dad working full time. Throw in a marketers often lose sight of the idea that part couple of kids with school activities, sports, of the product’s success is how that product down to the video household chores, etc. and there is less and can be obtained. Let’s look at a few examples store. The core less free time. This free time is increasingly that made our lives easier by offering new product is exactly the valuable, which makes the idea of spending ways to obtain an existing product or service. same. Watching Talladega an entire weekend haggling to purchase a new Nights on a DVD from Netflix is no different car less appealing than ever; especially since A great example of this is the Drive Through than watching it on a DVD that you rented most consumers see new car shopping as window. The In-n-Out Burger chain claims from BlockBuster. The difference is in the about as fun as a trip to the dentist. to have built the first drive-through restaurant delivery of the product. On April 2, 2009, the in 1948. Harry and Esther Snyder, the chain’s company announced that it had mailed its two So the consumer now has a choice. On the founders, built their first restaurant in Baldwin billionth DVD. one hand they can spend their precious free Park, California, with a two-way speaker to time driving from dealership to dealership, enable patrons to order directly from their So if all things are equal and you are the enduring a high-pressure sales environment cars. A hungry consumer could go to any only dealer in your market to offer this just trying to find out what kind of a financial restaurant and get a hamburger and fries, but convenience advantage, you will have an commitment they have to make to purchase they could only go to the In-n-Out Burger incredibly powerful competitive edge in the vehicle they want. If there are children if they were in a hurry and wanted to zip capturing buyers that want to purchase their involved, they must pay for a babysitter or through the drive-through window. Harry and next vehicle by negotiating online. bring the kids along. This only adds to the Esther offered essentially the same product stress. They have to spend money on gas. (the meal), but provided a new way to acquire If you would like to receive a free preview They are, in many cases, going to have to that meal. Today, you would be hard pressed electronic copy of my upcoming book, On- deal with sales staff who are not empowered to find any major fast food chain that does line Negotiation is Now a Reality, please to give them the information they are seeking, not offer a drive-through window. Good ideas e-mail me at the address below. which only adds to their frustration. catch on quick. On the other hand, the consumer can choose A more recent example is Netflix. Netflix will Jock Schowalter is the president to negotiate online from the comfort of their automatically send you movies every month and founder of DealerPeak.com and home or office. They can do this at their in the mail. Netflix saw that there was a more WideStorm. He can be contacted at 866.869.1108, or by e-mail at own convenience and save hours and hours convenient way for consumers to rent movies: jschowalter@autosuccessonline.com. of their valuable time. They can receive the by delivering them to the mailbox rather than information they need to make an informed making the customer get in their car and drive 1 7 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  11. 11. marketingsolution ToddStrause HOW CLEAN IS YOUR PREVIOUS CUSTOMER DATABASE? I have been in the old vehicle stays in the system, resulting in elect to use that particular company, you can business for 19 years multiple pieces of mail delivered with the always do a final test. and have found that there are key components same offer. that make a direct marketing campaign My final test is to review the overall successful. Just like baking a cake or making So how do you know if your current improvement percentage after the cleansing the perfect swing on the golf course, if you marketing company is cleansing your data process. If there is not a 20 percent minimum stick to the fundamentals, it makes all the correctly and protecting you from wasting improvement of the data from the initial difference in the world. money? Just ask them! Make sure they can extraction, you can’t help to question their explain in detail their processes. If they have abilities. This percentage holds true even if The No. 1 priority for any dealer who is trouble responding (which several will), you you think your data was very clean to start. It actively mailing to their previous customers will most likely have your answer. will back up or disprove the direct marketers should be to continuously cleanse their abilities. database. In fact, I recommend updating your Don’t be impressed with certain words like data at least every six months. “data extraction” and how they run your Remember, direct marketers generally make list through “NCOA” (National Change of more with higher volumes of mail sent. With It’s no secret how this data gets into a dealer’s Address). These are basic surface terms used less data cleansing, in most cases, more DMS. In most cases, someone at a computer by everyone. names will be available to mail, thus making with mediocre typing skills is manually your direct marketer more money — an entering data. Misspellings and typos are Dig deeper. Ask them to talk specifics about instance, in some cases, where your best easily made and rarely corrected. their processes, such as how they remove interest might not be the primary goal. duplicates, or which duplicate takes priority Not only does misinformation get entered, but to stay in the system. Ask them how they Todd Strause is the president of Strategic there are other reasons for data inaccuracy. complete “incomplete data” in the system Marketing. He can be contacted at Customers move out of the marketplace daily, to guarantee the customer can be reached. If 866.426.5182, or by e-mail at customers purchase a new vehicle and their you are satisfied with their answers and you tstrause@autosuccessonline.com. Out Now side Hiring TEXT Sale s Re ps WITH ITH SUCCESS FACT: Text messaging has risen 700% since 2006. Text “answer” to 89000 to see how many messages were sent in June 2009. • Inventory on the go! • Text for info • Text to win contests • Text customers responses to inquiries • Text to join Websites | Hyper SEO | ILM | Mobile | Texting | SEM DealerHD.com Call to setup your demo | 866.222.771218 www.autosuccessonline.com

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