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When it comes to inventory marketing best practices, Gibson Truck World in Sanford, Florida has so many, we had to omit several from this article to fit this space. With sales topping 1,800 units annually, 65 employees, and $7 million in inventory on 14 acres, Gibson is the largest used truck dealership in the world and ranks No. 18 of independent dealers in the U.S.*
Impressive, to be sure, but what’s more impressive is how they sustain these numbers. The biggest clue lies in the fact that a whopping 60 percent of their sales result from referrals and repeat customers.

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  1. 1. 2011OCTOBER
  2. 2. It Damn Near Brown Daub Kia PA, enjoyi ter… on ng some in Easton, a Saturday. Killed Me... , owner of use with his daugh Tom Ring ke ho ESP at his new la of people are sitting it out because some were pouring in. Money was flowing. problem is keeping them from what they How could I have known the car But how long would it last? I’m really want. But that inner desire amongbusiness would try to take my life? Maybe happy to report that it’s been nearly three most people has power that overcomesyou’re a lot like me. Or at least how I used to years since I first found these guys. And logic. That craving remains, untouched,be. I was working endlessly in the dealership. every year has gotten better. 2009 was a in the unconscious pleasure center of ourI had my life’s savings wrapped up in the record profit year, until 2010 shattered the brains, where typical advertising messagesbusiness, and when “the crash” came it record. And we netted more by June 2011 never reach.nearly ruined everything. My kids, my wife, than we had in all of 2010. The only thing I Jim & Travis knew that the mostmy mortgage, my life…it all passed before can say is “hold on tight” because it’s the ride powerful part of the human brain was themy eyes as I watched sales get cut in half and of your life. unconscious “lizard brain.” So they beganprofit all but disappear completely. The best part is, not only did they crafting messages that subtly speak to the I was frozen in fear for a while, then help me increase sales (from about 80 new subconscious mind and virtually hypnotizegot moving, when a Google search led me to and used per month to over 250 new and customers into buying from you—and lovinga couple of guys you may have heard of used per month now) but they convinced me the experience. They’ve sold more thanbefore – Jimmy Vee & Travis Miller from to slow down and appreciate life more. I’ve 2,000,000 cars this way, and as you readRich Dealers. Of course, I’d heard it all never felt more alive…and my family has this, every two minutes another car is sold.before…increase traffic, increase sales, over never really known me before now. I’ve been What makes their program sopromise, under deliver. What else is new? able to rebuild cars with my boys and be much more effective than other ordinaryFrankly, I didn’t believe there was anything there when my daughter left for her first solutions? First, they write the creative forout there I hadn’t already tried. But I didn’t date. My wife thinks she married a new man. you. They don’t ask you to come up with thehave much to risk, so I gave it a shot. “Prove Jim & Travis call it ESP – Enjoyable, Simple ideas. Every month they develop a fresh, new,me wrong, guys,” I said. & Prosperous. It’s the ultimate goal of being winning campaign based on their formula. Reluctantly, I got involved. I gotta a Rich Dealer. And it’s real, very real. What a relief! I was so glad not to have to comesay…they were talking about things nobody Since then, my experience has up with the ideas myself anymore.else was talking about. In fact, they seemed convinced numerous other dealers around The other high impact portionto be telling me the opposite of what most the country and in Canada to check out the of their program is the interaction with theirpeople were telling me I should do. It was program. Over the past few years I’ve seen a other members. Jim & Travis host a privateanything but “common knowledge” and I lot of different people join the program. I’ve meeting four times per year. I’ve learnedwas even more skeptical at this point. How seen a small independent dealer from more (and shared more) in those meetingscould these two guys know something Kentucky (Tony) start taking Saturdays off than I have in any other group or seminarnobody else did? Seemed unlikely. But keep while grossing $500k per month. I’ve seen a I’ve ever attended. Plus, all the members arereading… big mid-west Chevy dealer (Courtney) go connected online 24/7 through the Internet. So, back at the dealership, I figured from 250 cars per month to 400 cars per Got a question? Some other member has thewhy not try some of what they were suggest- month by doing what I did. I’ve seen answer. And since there’s only one dealering. So, I ran the ad they gave me, I followed Hyundai dealers, Dodge Chrysler dealers, per market area, people are always willingtheir strategy and I made some simple Kia dealers, and everything in between come to share their best ideas and secrets.changes to the way we positioned our dealer- in and turn everything around by doing The first step toward becoming a things differently than all the other “gurus” member yourself is the free Market Ratership to the customers. They showed me how recommend. It’s refreshing. And it’s fun to Analysis. A Rich Dealers Advisor will analyzeto be in command of the actions of potential your market to determine how muchbuyers by speaking to their subconscious double your business, take more dough untapped opportunity exists. Then they’llmind. My expectations were low. home and spend more time with your family answer your questions about the program What happened next? Well, I could at the same time. and explain how you can try it yourself, riskhardly believe it. It was like someone How does it work? Jim & Travis free. To schedule, call 866.852.0145turned on the lights. It was a complete say, “Stop selling cars, start selling and ask for Wayne Harris or visitand rapid reinvention of our business. solutions.” And they’re right! They energy in the sales department went recognized what so many others havethrough the roof. People were excited to missed: only a tiny part of the population ®come to work again. The phones were are actively, consciously shopping for aringing, the showroom was busy, leads nicer, newer car…while the vast majority
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  5. 5. AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or THE #1 SALES-IMPROVEMENT MAGAZINE FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONAL 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, 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299. 2300 Hurstbourne Village Dr, Suite 1200 Louisville, KY 40299 | p 877.818.6620 / f 502.588.3170 | | 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 jwarner@autosuccessonline.comfeature solution leadership solution marketing solution sales & training solution afTer 12+ years in The auTomoTive inTerneT sales... manual To aTTracT more cusTomers and close deals hone your adverTising To hiT The narrow TargeT adopT The digiTal-age equivalenT of The evidence do you have a sTraTegy for connecTing wiTh arTificial inTelligence is paving The way To maybe iT is Time To change your bodyshop cusTomers before They hiT The inTerneT? when To use you vs.why To choose you ‘zmoT’ and your online repuTaTion whaT would fooTball have To do your own personal gold mine “no price” markeTing meThod: guilTy unTil proven innocenT The 8Th wonder of The world a new approach to stocking used vehicles cusTomer relaTionships 101 define your experT brand craigslisT has rules an interview by gretchenKennedy financial sTaTemenT wiTh selling cars? increased sales provisioning: hype or reality? why f&i? 18 26 22 16 08 42 10 24 34 38 14 20 30 28 32 36 44 40 JohnNorman chrisCochran russellGrant bryanAnderson marshBuice JohnBrentlinger glennPasch TomKain TracyMyers dalePollak heatherMacKinnon daveDunn peterBond JimmyVee & TravisMiller drakeBaerresen markTewart seanv.Bradley chuckPatton 12 0 0 4 2 3 4
  6. 6. You Are GUARANTEED to Increase YourBottom Line in 1 Year by $250,000 or More...or I’ll Pay You $10,000!Hi, my name is Mark Tewart. I may have had the honor of coming into contact with youthrough my seminars, association meetings, NADA or NIADA conventions, articles inAutoSuccess or other magazines, my old Automotive Satellite Training Network shows oryou may have read my best-selling book How To Be A Sales Superstar.Whether you know me or not, you may be wondering what allows me to be able to makesuch an outrageous claim. The answer is simple: If a client follows my no gimmick, no BS,fool-proof and proven methods, the results are as predictable as the sun coming up everyday. That may sound arrogant to some of you, but to me and my select clients it’s just reality.Every year I have many dealers who ask me to work with them to help improve their salesand pro ts. I reject most of them. I only choose a few each year to work with on such alarge scale. There are a few reasons why I carefully hand pick who to work with. Mark Tewart, President of TewartThe rst reason is that it’s easy for you to say you want to improve but most people don’t Enterprises, Inc.want to do the things necessary to make it happen. This isn’t some magic-button,pie-in-sky fad. These are real-world and proven methods for massive pro t improvements. Author of the Best-SellerIt takes hard work and lots of commitment. ‘How to be a Sales Superstar’The second reason for me being picky about who I work with on these projects is thatfrankly I don’t have the time. To create the massive results that you and I are looking forrequires a great deal of my time and e ort. Because of my time restraints, I refuse to spendtime and e ort with uncommitted dealers. I only align myself with passionate peoplecommitted to winning.The third and nal reason for me being selective is my reputation. I can’t write ads like thisand make such incredible guarantees unless I can bring the results. We are the only totaldealership solution provider in the automotive industry. We provide training, products andservices for every department that you need to take your dealership to another level.Myreputation is beyond solid.By the way, the $250,000 bottom line improvement is just an example. I have had somedealers increase their bottom lines by more than $1,000,000. Look at it this way; I don’t take$10,000 guarantees lightly. I put my money where my mouth is.Call my 24 hour Dealership Success Hotline to receive your “Dealership Success Check List” – Call Now at 888 612-5884 Ext. 90001 or Go to ***Dealers or General Managers Only***Sincerly, Mark Tewart | 888 2 TEWART - (888 283 9278)P.S. There is one very simple thing most dealers aren’t doing that you can doto unlock an additional 7 gures worth of pro t with no extra risk in the next5 years. I know it sounds too good to be true, but you can see for yourself.Call my 24/7 Dealership Success Hotline at 888.612.5884Ext. 90001 or Go to
  7. 7. TracyMyers marketing solution define your experT brandThe past three articles, I’ve shared the process Here is how we would rephrase the most important of Kipling’s questions for your brand:I’ve developed to become the “go-to” expert • Who are you? This may be simply your name and an overview of your your highly profitable marketplace. Let’s • What do you do? This explains what you do for people — always in terms of the resultsreview: people get when they work with you. Never talk about the process or the job title.1. Understand yourself and your offer. • How do you do it? This is where you explain the process of working with people — for2. Understand your market and what they example, it may be that you set up an initial meeting or you may arrange weekly coaching want. sessions over six months.3. Match your expertise to your perfect • Why should I buy from you? This is important — you need to give people specific reasons market. why you are the right person to meet their needs. These are the key questions in defining your brand, but the other two questions can be important too.Now that you’ve identified what makes youspecial and have learned what your market is Answering the question about “when” describes your availability. This is most important iflooking for, it’s time to start developing your you have some element of exclusivity, such as a waiting list for your services, or they are onlyexpert brand. available at fixed times (such as training courses).When you have a strong expert brand, you will The “where” question is about how people get in touch with you — it may be simply a Websitestand out from the competition. When people address, or an office, or it may be the types of places you advertise.need your product or service, they will quickly This process may seem simple and the explanations can be short. However, these are importantsee that you are exactly the expert they are questions that help you clarify who your customers are and how you can help them. Mostlooking for to give them what they want. importantly, it helps you understand — and explain to your customers — why they should do business with you.Your expert brand needs to answer thequestions that a prospective customer will Getting the right answers to these questions can help you define a powerful expert brand. It’shave in their mind about you. The 19th-century important to note that these answers are designed to help you establish whether a potentialEnglish poet Rudyard Kipling had a good way customer is right for you as much as to persuade them to work with you. If they can relate to theof identifying the key questions you need to way you are positioning what you do, there may be a great fit.ask. He wrote: On the other hand, it helps you avoid wasting time with people who are not looking for what you“I keep six honest serving-men (They taught are all I knew); Their names are What and Why Being able to work with your ideal clients is not only more fun — it will also be more successful.and When And How and Where and Who.” People who are in tune with the way you work will get better results.If you can give good answers to these Tracy Myers, C.M.D. is a noted small business marketing and branding solutions specialist,questions about your business, you have the best-selling author, speaker, car dealership owner and entrepreneur. He can be contacted atbuilding blocks of a strong expert brand. 866.860.0029, or by e-mail at reviews from last year’s sold out event L A S V E G A S One of the L A S V E G A S Best Automotive Conferences CONFERENCE I have ever been to. Erin Touponse ~ Director of Communications, Harte Auto Group ...this conference You get the Brought The Future Top Industry Speakers to us now. to answer all your questions. Troy Dixon ~ Director of E-Sales, Pohanka Honda Dave Page ~ Dealer E-Process EXPERIENCE THE HYPE
  8. 8. TD Auto Finance Chrysler Financial and TD Bank Group have joined forces to become TD Auto Finance.Introducing TD Auto FinanceTD Auto Finance is a North American, top-5bank-owned auto finance company that We’re ready for your business.combines more than 45 years of automotive Call TD Auto Finance today at 1-800-200-1513financing expertise from Chrysler Financial or visit us online at the financial stability of TD Bank Group.All of which means we understand yourbusiness and are committed to helping itgrow, today, and into the future. Part of the TD Bank Group, a Aaa-rated bank ranked as one of the safest banks in North America.TD Auto Finance LLC, is a subsidiary of TD Bank, N.A. TD Bank Group is a trade name for The Toronto-Dominion Bank. Used with permission. For detailed credit ratings for The Toronto-Dominion Bank and TD Bank, N.A. visit Credit Ratings are not recommendations to purchase, sell, or hold a financial obligation inasmuch as they do not comment on market price or suitability for a particular investor. Ratings are subjectto revision or withdrawal at any time by the rating organization.
  9. 9. JohnBrentlinger leadership solution whaT would fooTball have To do wiTh selling cars?I was thinking about football this weekend how bad that would be — there would be no football on TV. It would be the most ridiculous,— no idea why — and I got to thinking about stupidest, mess anyone this side of Jim Brown and Ernie Green has ever seen.what a coach once said: “Training is 99 percentof everything.” No TV studio in their right mind would televise it. Why? Because no one would ever watch it. No one would buy a ticket, and the stands would be empty. Why? Because it would suck, horribly.Let me repeat that please: “Training is 99 Anyone out there in Manager Eyejacking Land catching the drift yet?percent of everything.” If training is 99 percent of everything, what does that say about the car business in general?Now, let’s break that statement down into Right. No one would ever buy a ticket or fill a seat. Why? Because the game is horrible. In thesmall parts. A football team, any football team, car business, we train for 60 minutes and play for 60 hours a week. Every week, every month,plays the game for 60 minutes. Sixty minutes, every year. And then we wonder why nothing has changed for the last 50 years.and they train and practice, oh, let’s round itoff at 60 hours a week for the pros. If you want Good month, bad month. Hire and fire. Terrible turnover. Blame the salespeople. Keep managersto talk high school, it’s probably more like 20 who won’t train their people. Sixty to 70 hours a week. Open longer hours. Build a bigger lot.hours a week. Streamers on light poles. Greeters. Updated show rooms. Make it up in the volume. Blah, blah blah, on and on it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.Are you getting the picture yet? A high school Why all the mess? Because we are training an hour a week and playing the game for 60 hours ateam trains 20 times more than they play the week. No wonder things are the way they A professional team trains 60 times (aweek) more than they play the game. So, I was thinking about football this weekend, and I remembered what a coach once said. He said, “Training is 99 percent of everything.”Think about this: What if they trained for 60minutes a week, and played the game for 60hours? How bad would that be? You want to John Brentlinger is a sales and management trainer, executive coach and author. He can beknow how bad that would be? I’ll tell you contacted at 866.859.6504, or by e-mail at Is your marketing company sending your message... or theirs?If your marketing doesn’t promote your unique message and value, it’s not doing its job. Find your voice The Drive™ program is a fully integrated suite of communication products designed to... • Promote your dealership’s message and value—not just the manufacturer’s • Be flexible and adaptable to market changes or your dealership’s needs • Keep you in control of your marketing while we do the administration10
  10. 10. When it comes to inventory marketing bestpractices, Gibson Truck World in Sanford,Florida has so many, we had to omit severalfrom this article to fit this space. With salestopping 1,800 units annually, 65 employees,and $7 million in inventory on 14 acres,Gibson is the largest used truck dealership inthe world and ranks No. 18 of independentdealers in the U.S.*Impressive, to be sure, but what’s moreimpressive is how they sustain these numbers.The biggest clue lies in the fact that awhopping 60 percent of their sales result from Of course, that won’t impress someone who never visits the dealership, but no matter, asreferrals and repeat customers. approximately 25 percent of Gibson’s sales still come from buyers outside Florida. Perhaps it’s because they offer an unbelievable 12-month, bumper-to-bumper warranty valid across theGibson’s sales staff spends a good portion of continental United States, 12 months of free maintenance, and a 15-day return policy.their time with every customer establishingtrust. To that point, about 10 percent of sales “The majority of our out-of-state customers are so confident in Gibson Truck World that theyeach month are from buyers who never wire us payment without ever setting foot in the dealership or personally seeing the truck untilphysically come to the dealership. In fact, in the we ship it to them,” said Belanger.last two years, they’ve shipped cars to virtuallyevery European country, most of the Caribbean Building such an organization is a seven-day-a-week job for Belanger, who is not only theIslands and as far away as New Zealand. president of the dealership, but also does all of the truck buying, is the shop service manager, general manager and supervises operations for the entire dealership, including sales, body shop,“We assure our customers that the safety and parts, detailing and of their family is our top priority,” saidowner Yves Belanger. “But it’s not just a motto They also create a personality for every vehicle, even naming them. Projecting that personality— we spend more than $250,000 per month is easier with the addition of a full-time videographer on staff (in addition to a full-timeinspecting and servicing our trucks, and I want photographer) to film live video walk-a-rounds for all trucks.shoppers to see that in action. I want them tosee a virtual used truck factory busy at work.” “Our videographer shows off each vehicle’s best assets and adds a great deal of energy and emotion to each video,” said Stockman. “Our nationwide warranty and the live video walk-a-To show off the organization standing behind rounds are what make an out-of-state shopper feel comfortable enough to call us to purchase aeach truck’s warranty (which is impressive, truck over the phone. The combination shows we have nothing to hide and that the truck in thebut we’ll get to that), a tour of the service photos is actually the real truck on the lot.”department is mandatory with every customer.Gibson’s “Disaster Prevention Center” (service At first glance, a live videographer sounds like quite an investment, but Belanger says it paiddepartment) is comprised of 25 bays, eight off immediately. “Since adding live video, our video views exploded, and our Website traffictechnicians, one alignment specialist, one tire increased 10 percent, which in turn increased our sales,” he said. Links to samples of Gibsonspecialist, one assistant shop manager, one shop Truck World’s live videos are at the end of this article.foreman, three parts and service writers, and oneservice advisor, plus detailers and body shop Using Video Online’s live video upload and distribution modules, Gibson then automaticallytechs — totaling half of Gibson’s 65 employees sends videos everywhere their inventory goes that accepts video — 40 sites in all — including— all ensuring that each customer gets the their own Website, YouTube, Facebook,, and Oodle.highest quality truck at the lowest price available. To reach buyers from around the corner and around the country, Gibson invests in establishingAnd get this: They don’t do general service. an online presence for their inventory, including shooting photos before and after prep. Posting aAll after-sale service is reserved for customers vehicle online takes Stockman on average about five minutes per truck and first occurs with thewho purchased their truck at Gibson and it is “before” photos the day it arrives from auction to gain valuable online exposure for the vehiclestill under warranty. even while it is in prep.Before it is sold, however, each truck gets a full The VIN is sent via automatic feed from their DMS to HomeNet’s IOL Inventory Marketing135-point inspection, a diagnostics test and a solution, which normalizes and enhances the raw DMS data. Once the truck is listed in IOL Pro,frame damage check using a tram gauge. Trucks each truck then gets a comprehensive description specifying the truck’s hottest features.they reject are posted on their REJECTS pageof their Website (URL at the end of this article), Every vehicle description is fresh and creative, which also helps to set Gibson apart. “We have somecomplete with photos, VIN numbers and, in pretty unique Monster trucks, and since our inventory is unusual, we physically touch every detail ofmany cases, actual estimates showing the cost the truck so we know exactly what to say about what makes that truck special,” Stockman said.of repairs to bring it up to certification. Each morning, Belanger and Stockman review each new truck’s options, what size and brand of“I love it when we find one of our rejects on new tires the truck is going to receive, add-ons (such as off-road tires or a lift kit) and warrantyanother dealership’s site listed as ‘Absolutely information, so Stockman can accurately create the vehicle description. A few days later, after theflawless, inside and out!’ You can be sure truck has been serviced and detailed, her staff puts all of the warranty stickers on the windshield,we post that, too,” said Angela Stockman, re-takes all the photos, shoots a live video walk-around, enters all the shop bills into the vehiclethe marketing director and Internet wizard description, including brand new tires, brake job, rotors, drums, LOF, etc. (all the work that hasexecuting Gibson’s online initiatives. been completed on the truck), scans in any MSRP sheets, makes truck comparison photos and then exports all the updated information online with IOL.Two years ago, Gibson wanted to showcasesome of the parts they’ve replaced on trucks Unlike many dealers, however, Stockman is discerning about where she exports Gibson’sto get them to certification, so they lined up inventory. “We try to match the Website with our inventory, exporting to sites that50-gallon drum containers full of thousands perform consistently well for those makes and models, like,,of old worn out tie rods, ball joints, rotors,, eBay Motors, craigslist, Oodle and,”and brake pads that have been removed and she said. And where their inventory performs well, Gibson makes an investment in add-ons forreplaced with new ones. their listings. For instance, they rank in the Top 50 of all dealers on
  11. 11. Gibson Truck World employs the following HomeNet products to help them sustain their No. 1 ranking: • Inventory Online (IOL Pro) VehicleBelanger says he also uses the same philosophy when it comes to traditional advertising. Marketing Suite with IOL HostingIn addition to print ads in Commercial Truck Trader, Gibson ads appear regularly in Sports and CARFAX and AutoCheckHorse magazine and Horse-n-Tack. integrationGibson uses IOL Posting 2.0 to list its inventory on eBay Local Market with professional- • AdLogic – image and text adlooking display pages, and they have notable success there, too, attributing on average 75 of generator for every vehicle inunits each year to eBay alone. inventory to post throughout theIn addition, Stockman almost always lists Gibson’s wholesale vehicles online. “Since we Google ad networkwill ship worldwide,” she said, “and we can list a truck simultaneously listed for retail and • IOL eBay Local Advertising Programwholesale right from IOL, it makes it very easy to move inventory.” with no flat monthly feesWhen it comes to social media, Gibson Truck World understands the importance of building • IOL Oodle Pro with Facebookcommunity first and foremost. On Facebook, for instance, they have their inventory separated Marketplaceout from their dealership fan page (it resides under the “Inventory” tab of their Facebookpage), so it doesn’t clog the newsfeeds of their fans. More importantly, however, they are • IOL Posting 2.0 eBay and Craigslistintegrated with Facebook Marketplace, vastly widening their entire inventory’s exposure to the display page generator15 million monthly users of Facebook Marketplace, not just their fan base. • Video Online with Human VoiceoverOtherwise, Stockman uses their Facebook page and Twitter account to build trust and and Live Videoengage fans with truck news, announcements of pet adoption days they host (and they dothis regularly, even devoting a page on their Website to animals waiting for a home at a local • OPENLANE and SmartAuctionrescue), cook-outs, maintenance tips and even local yard sales. wholesale add-on Gibson Truck World also recently purchased AdLogic from HomeNet, For a full description of each of these which automatically generates an image or text ad for each piece of active inventory to display throughout the Google Ad Network of a products and how they can help you, million sites, based on the search terms the shopper used. please visit “What makes AdLogic so effective is its content-driven, meaning an URLs Referenced: in-market consumer who is reading about the new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor on would be presented with a Gibson ad Gibson Truck World: showing a late model Ford F-150 truck from our lot,” Belanger said. “Clicking on it takes them to that piece of inventory on our Website where they see the live video walk-a-round, our warranty, and our $1,000 price guarantee, and then we’ve got them.” Gibson’s Truck Rejects Page: all of this is paying off, big time. Belanger said, “Our message has always been ‘We anotherdealerscheapimitation.aspxhave the best trucks at the best price,’ and then everything we do — absolutely everything —ensures that’s true. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising and bling, Gibson’s live video walk-a-rounds:if you don’t have the best product when the customer gets to the dealership, you don’t have sale. An educated consumer is our best customer. In fact, customers tell us that we come sohighly recommended that they don’t even look at other dealers; they just come straight to us.”*2011 Auto Dealer Monthly Top Dealer AwardsFor more information about the dealership presented, or HomeNet, contact GretchenKennedy, the Director of Marketing. She can be contacted at 866.483.2750, or by e-mail
  12. 12. HeatherMacKinnon marketing solution adopT The digiTal-age equivalenT of The evidence manual To aTTracT more cusTomers and close dealsI would guess that you’ve all seen the three- in Peoria, Arizona, will tell you that employee-specific reviews make a significant differencering binders known as “Evidence Manuals” in a customer’s decision. Although some of their sales associates are more proactive in gettingon the desks of your sales associates or reviews than others, every Arrowhead Honda sales associate and service advisor maintains aservice writers. The typical dealer employee’s separate review page that displays an individual employee picture and biography. This dealer hasEvidence Manual contains letters of fostered one particular champion in its sales department who asks all of his customers to writerecommendation from existing customers as a review upon delivery, and who has also added a QR Code to his electronic business card thatwell as pictures or personal information about links to his specific review page.them. Dealer employees rely on EvidenceManuals as a useful tool to make themselves Many Arrowhead sales associates use their review pages as a key differentiator when negotiatinglook good and help validate what they are with customers by adding the link to their e-mail signature. In addition, several sales associatesoffering a customer when already in the have created business Facebook pages with a link to their individual review pages attachedshowroom or service department. Consider each time they get a new review. On the service side, the dealer’s service advisors rely on theirthe influence that an Evidence Manual would employee-specific review pages as a collective place for accolades (a.k.a. the Evidence Manual).have on a prospect who has never yet visited Arrowhead Honda works hard to ensure that potential consumers find positive reviews on staffyour dealership. In fact, your prospective and has seen the benefits. Customers have come to the showroom and asked to purchase from acustomers can have access to the digital-age particular salesperson based on that salesperson’s review page.equivalent of an Evidence Manual in the formof online reviews. As another example, visit Hyundai of St. Augustine and you’ll see how that dealership uses employee-specific reviews. All sales associates commonly display their individual customerThird-party online reviews at the employee- online reviews on their desktops so that prospective customers can casually read their customerlevel have considerable influence on your reviews while waiting and working with associates. Each sales associate is expected to generateprospects. Employee-specific reviews can a minimum of three reviews per month. Many of the Hyundai of St. Augustine’s customersserve as a powerful tool in persuadingcustomers to visit your store while passing up acknowledge that they have chosen Hyundai of St. Augustine when purchasing a car given theother local dealers. Just like the old three-ring level of trust and credibility that they gain from reading employees’ online reviews.binder, dealer employees can utilize a personalonline review page to bring down the barriers key Takeaways regarding employee reviewsof distrust that exist in this business as well Consider promoting an “employee-review” culture at your dealership as these reviews willas to differentiate themselves from the other enable your dealership to:salespeople and/or service writers with whom • Bring down the barriers of distrust and persuade more customers to visit your store whiletheir customer may be communicating. passing up other local dealers. • Adopt the digital-age equivalent of the three-ring bound “Evidence Manual” and hyperlink aSome car dealer review sites offer prospect into an employee’s “Evidence Manual” even before they enter the store.comprehensive, employee-specific review • Increase your organic search engine results with each unique review page URL indexing intopages where you can include a personal bio Google.and photograph for each dealer staff member. • Ensure your sales and service team has some “skin in the game” with employee-specificEmployees are able to build andSet-Up & Training • review pages.Compliance Chargeback Guarantee • Full showcase their Guaranteed Get your FREE copy of the“15 Keys torespective reviews on these pages and also link • Build reviews faster as your sales team views each newVolume & Profitability.” Boosting Sales review as an opportunity to get athem back to the employee profile section on phone up or improve lead to show and closing ratios.the dealer’s own Website. No obligation. Send an E-mail to Take advantage of this win-win scenario knowing that every new review forin the subject Put “KEYS” the employee orKeep in mind, a review for your employee department “champion” is a new review for the store. it right out! line and we’ll sendrepresents a review for the dealership; so, (866) 460-0539as you build “champions” in your 1995.andThe Staffed Event Leader Since sales Accountability. Reputation. Results. If you are not using employee-specific review pages to generate “review” champions in your www.gamarketing.comservice departments, you can expect your sales or service departments, you are missing out on a powerful closing tool as well as thedealership review counts to soar. opportunity to differentiate yourself from competitor dealers and drive more traffic to the store.dealers reap the benefits withemployee reviewsMany dealers are using employee-unique Heather MacKinnon is the vice president of sales at DealerRater. She can be contacted atreviews to their advantage. Arrowhead Honda 866.488.8398, or by e-mail at Thanks to great dealers with exceptional Get your FREE copy of the“15 Keys to Boosting Sales Volume & Profitability.” reputations, 2011 has been a record-breaking year for us and our clients. Never have our No obligation. E-mail to Put dealers enjoyed higher gross profit per event “KEYS” in the subject line and or more units sold per event. Thank you! we’ll send it right out! Accountability. Reputation. Results. Since 1995. (866) 460-0539. gamarketing.com14
  13. 13. PeterBond marketing solution hone your adverTising To hiT The narrow TargeTThere’s a question you should ask yourself the immediate crash course and they need to grasp the new thinking and the educated consumer tonext time you’re deciding on how to spend compete in this day and age.your advertising budget. Keeping in mind thataround two percent of the population is in the Let’s put this into real-world terms. Let’s assume my market area has 250,000 adults residingmarket to buy a vehicle at any given time, why in my area of dominant influence and only two percent of all these folks are in the market for awould any reasonable thinking person spend new or used vehicle at any given time. My goal would first be to let all those 5,000 people in the100 percent of their advertising and marketing market realize I exist. Keep in mind, by the way, that I must also do this on a consistent basisbudget to reach that narrow target? because there are always 5,000 people in the market to buy vehicles every day.The next question that comes to mind is “What We then need to understand “What makes the buyer’s clock tick?” There are only five decisionsforms of advertising to that two percent of in- in a sale:market buyers is effective, and how do we get • Do they have a want or need for a vehicle?a huge number of those people to respond to • What brand does the consumer prefer?our offers?” Once you understand the buying • Is it the right time to buy?public, you can begin to answer that question. • Which dealership should they choose?Business is not as usual, and today’s consumer • How much do they have to spend on this vehicle?is not cut from the same cloth as they were intheir last trade cycle. Consumers have advanced That’s it. Our advertising must accomplish the answers to all of these buying decisions. Next,in their knowledge and information in just the decide on which vehicles on your floor to focus your time and effort on advertising. Let’s use thepast few years. Dealers must understand this or “one-third, one-third, one-third” technique. Assume you have a total of 24 models in your newthey will quickly cease to exist. vehicle department. Take your top one-third models, and you will quickly discover that around 75 percent of the inventory you sell resides in these eight top models. The middle eight modelsToday’s customer is more experienced in you offer comprises about 15 percent of your sales volume and the remaining eight modelsmany ways, has increased knowledge and probably comprise less than 10 percent of your offered vehicles for sale. So, which eight vehiclesinformation, has a much higher level of in our example do you think you should focus your advertising efforts on?consumer awareness and has a heightenedability to negotiate with this new-found and In advertising, there are basics that cannot be ignored. Any ad must get attention. You mustreadily accessible information. Brand loyalty then cite a value, and then create urgency. Finally you must ask for a phone call or visit. This is— in both foreign and domestic vehicles — is critical. It backs up the only five decisions in a sale, which, as we said, are want or need, timing,at an all-time low. The Internet is a resource brand, source and pricing. It seems logical, but dealers across this nation miss the fundamentalto everyone thanks to Google and many message with consistency.other resources. Dealers do not generallyunderstand the full effect of the Internet Peter Bond is the president of Automotive Resource Group. He can be contacted atin today’s market place. Dealers need an 866.447.0238, or by e-mail at
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