AutoSuccess Feb09


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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

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AutoSuccess Feb09

  1. 1. Listen to Our Industry Experts at February 2009
  2. 2. turn your online inventoryinto Powerful online marketing text "gotext" to 486 9 6 Unlimited inventory distribution to Save time and money by printing your website and online classi eds window stickers & buyers guides Manage all online advertisements Premium VIN Decoding provides the from one centralized location most accurate and consistent vehicle data Customize your vehicle descriptions Maximize “all” of your marketing to inspire mental ownership dollars - Online and Traditional! 877.738.3313
  3. 3. February 2009 every department in your dealership. That means more profit potential for starting as low as Don’t be a stranger Packages Unlimited campaign you initiate... distancing Updating 8 DMS system you will be reaching FOCUS StephenR.Covey customers with every marketing DMS UPDATE yourself from your competition. Create a Compelling Scoreboard 199 address: By having current data in your per month 3834 Taylorsville Rd. YOU CAN’T OVERCOME EVERY OBJECTION 10 TomHopkins Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville Kentucky 40220 12 phone / fax: $ DEALERS EXCEED SALES EXPECTATIONS WITH JimmyPeters UNIQUE STRATEGY 877.818.6620 / 502.588.3170 web:JUST BECAUSE ‘WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY’ DOESN’T MEAN IT WASN’T A STUPID IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE 14 JohnBrentlinger 15 SO, YOU ARE DIFFERENT? JohnDobrick team: Susan Givens Publisher 18 WHAT IS YOUR ONLINE STRATEGY JodyDeVere TO REACH WOMEN CAR BUYERS? Thomas Williams VP & Creative Director REFERRAL SALES MAKE THE WORLD GO AROUND 19 SusanGlandon Dave Davis 1-866-702-1566 20 ADDING VALUE TO THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP SeanStapleton Editor and Creative Strategist Brian Ankney ONE MONDAY IN NASHVILLE 22 DalePollak Sales-Improvement Strategist 24 RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS John Warner ChipGrueter Sales-Improvement Strategist THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE 26 Dr. JohnC.Maxwell general information: They should still be your customers. 28 IT’S NOT OVER YET SeanV.Bradley eNewsletter: Internet Sales 20 Group XIV DMS system (such as ADP or R&R) is current, accurate, and in DMS Update automatically insures all of the information in your 30 Is your message reaching them? AutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3834 Taylorsville Rd., HERE’S WHAT I’M GOING TO DO... DarrenHaygood Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. How to Get 80 Percent of Your Internet Appointments to Show Up Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or They change email addresses. Subscription rate is $69 per year. AutoSuccess welcomes unsolicited editorials and graphics (not responsible 31 They change phone numbers. TACTICS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR WEB SITE ‘SING,’ PART 1 ScottWeitzman 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 compliance with the latest government regulations. expressed are not necessarily those of AutoSuccess and by no means THE LEADERSHIP RECESSION 32 reflect any guarantees. AutoSuccess accepts no liability in respect of the PaulCummings content of any third party material appearing in this magazine or in respect The Cause - The Effect - The Solutions 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 34 changes in procedures.© All contents copyrighted by AutoSuccess PLAYING WITH KNIVES SteveBrazill Magazine, a Division of Systems Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Your customers move. 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 IS NOW THE TIME TO CUT EXPENSE 36 KevinCunningham interest; readers may request that names be removed by calling IN PARTS AND SERVICE? 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3834 Taylorsville Rd., Building A, Ste. 1B Louisville, KY 40220. THE CHALLENGE TO CHANGE YOUR SALES STAFF’S CULTURE 37 HowardLeavitt12 24 28 helping to support...
  4. 4. leadershipsolution StephenR.Covey FOCUS Create a Compelling Scoreboard In prior columns, I’ve talked about the The measures are clear 35% epidemic lack of focus in organizations. This lack of focus results in an “execution gap,” the gap between setting a goal and achieving The measures accurately track progress 32% it. To close the execution gap, organizations must practice four disciplines of execution: The measures are visible and accessible to everyone 35% 1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goal We regularly discuss our performance 2. Create a Compelling Scoreboard on the measures 37% 3. Translate Lofty Goals into Action 4. Hold Everyone Accountable All of the Rewards and consequences are clearly Time based on our performance on the measures 30% In this column, I will explain the second of these disciplines — creating a compelling 25% 50% 75% scoreboard for your goals. key goals. In a recent xQ study, more than should be discussing it all the time. They One of the key principles of effective team 12,000 American workers were asked this should never really take their minds off it. leadership is this: People play differently question: when they’re keeping score. 1. List your “wildly important goals,” Which statements are true about the those your team simply must achieve. Have you ever watched a street game of measures used to track progress toward your 2. Create a scoreboard for each one with some kind — basketball, hockey, football team goals? these elements: —when the players were not keeping score? • The current result (where we are now) • The target result (where we need to be) Players tend to do whatever they want, the Clearly, only about a third of the respondents • The deadline (by when) game stops for a few jokes, and the playing can refer to clear, accurate measures to The scoreboard might take the form is not very focused. But when they start gauge their progress or success on key goals. of a bar graph, a trend line, a pie chart keeping score, things change. There’s a And only about three in 10 believe that or a Gantt chart. Or it might look like new intensity. Huddles happen. Plays are rewards or consequences have anything to a thermometer or a speedometer or a improvised. Players adapt quickly to each do with performance on measurable goals. scale. You decide — but make it visible, new challenge. And the speed and tempo dynamic and accessible. build dramatically. Think of the tremendous motivating power 3. Post the scoreboard and ask people to review it every day, every week, as of the scoreboard. It is an inescapable appropriate. Meet over it, discuss it and The same thing happens in a work team. picture of reality. Strategy depends on it. resolve issues as they come up. Without crystal-clear measures of success, Plans must adapt to it. Timing must adjust members of a work team are never sure to it. Unless you can see the score, your The compelling scoreboard has the effect what the goal truly is. Without measures, strategies and plans are simply abstractions. of keeping score in a street game. All of a the same goal is understood by a hundred So you must build a scoreboard for your sudden, the tempo changes. People work different people in a hundred different ways. team and consistently update it. faster, conversations change, people adapt As a result, team members get off track quickly to new issues. And you get to the doing things that might be urgent but less How to Build a Scoreboard goal precisely and rapidly. important. They work at an uncertain pace. Your task here is to identify key measures Motivation flags. for your team goals and transform them Originally ran in CLO Magazine into a visible, dynamic scoreboard. This That is why the second discipline of scoreboard should make three things Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., is co-founder of execution is “Creating a Compelling absolutely clear: From what? To what? By FranklinCovey, and is the author of The 7 Scoreboard.” Most work teams have no when? And all team members should be able Habits of Highly Effective People. He can clear measures of success nor do they have to see it and watch it change moment by be contacted at 866.892.6363, or by e- any way to see how they are doing on their moment, day by day, or week by week. They mail at
  5. 5. sales&trainingsolution TomHopkins YOU CAN’T OVERCOME EVERY OBJECTION In the business of If the potential client simply cannot meet selling automobiles, the financial requirements of the purchase, you’re bound to hear objections or concerns there is no sale. You’ll be wasting your that interfere with or slow down the sales valuable time continuing to talk with them. process. They range from “I’m just shopping Again, keep the door open by letting them around,” to “We haven’t decided what kind know how much you’d like to help them get of vehicle we want yet,” to “I’m just looking involved with a vehicle, but do not let the today.” When it comes right down to it, most process drag on if you can see clearly that objections or concerns can be addressed or they cannot afford it. overcome through effective selling strategies. You help them tell you their needs and match You can’t come right out and ask if they can those needs to the right vehicle. Usually, it’s afford it or what their credit score is. But just a matter of clarifying information and you can provide them with a dose of reality educating your potential clients. Sometimes about the financial aspects of owning. Your “...keep the door open by it can involve switching gears to another type timing has to be right not to scare them off, letting them know how much of vehicle from what they initially thought but you also don’t want to invest several you’d like to help them get they wanted, but most challenges can be hours of your time with someone who can’t involved with a vehicle, but overcome. possibly make the financial decision. do not let the process drag on if you can see clearly Occasionally, you’ll hear something that is At times, you’ll meet with clients who that they cannot afford it.” more than a concern or objection to your are relatively uneducated about vehicle offering. It’s a condition of the sale. With purchases. They could be young and making or person receiving the referral will some experience, you’ll learn to recognize their first purchase without mom and dad’s appreciate your efforts and, hopefully, send conditions and handle them appropriately. assistance. It could be a spouse who never referrals your way in return. What is a condition? A condition is a valid had anything to do with vehicle purchases in reason for not going ahead or not going the past and now must be the one making the I strongly recommend that you pay attention ahead now. It’s an objection that may be decisions for whatever reason. Once you get to those clients whose needs you can’t difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. them talking about their needs, it could very meet. If you’re seeing similarities in their well be that they aren’t good candidates for a needs, you may want to seek out the best In some cases, the condition may not kill vehicle after all. resource to meet those needs in your area the sale entirely. It may just be impossible to and establish a relationship with the business meet today. If that’s the case, your sale turns If you realize you cannot provide what owner or one of their salespeople to set into one of timing. When can you deliver the these clients are seeking, offer suggestions up a lead exchange. It’s possible they will vehicle with all of the options they need? If as to where they can find the right provide you with a referral fee for clients the client is convinced that your vehicle is product. Always maintain a high level of who end up owning their products. This can right for them, you may simply have to re- professionalism. Try to give them sound be a great way to create a win-win situation sell them on the timing. If their timing and advice as to where or how they can get what for everyone involved. The client gets yours don’t match up, you may have lost they truly need or at the very least what satisfaction. The other company gets a sale the sale, but not the opportunity. If you can’t will temporarily serve their needs until they and you get either remuneration or qualified meet their needs when they need them met, become qualified to take advantage of your leads in return. It’s all in how you choose to at the very least keep the door open for a service. If you know of a good source, refer approach the conditions you will encounter future opportunity to serve their needs. the clients to someone better able to serve in business. their needs. In today’s world, a vehicle is the second World-renowned master sales trainer Tom largest buying decision that most people Sending appropriate referrals to others will Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins make — after the purchase of their home. work in your favor in two ways: First, the International. He can be contacted at So, the most common condition for not clients will remember you as being helpful 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at making large investments is lack of money. and providing good service, even though it That includes having no credit or bad credit. didn’t result in a sale. Second, the company10
  6. 6. featuresolution financed. If you make a modest $2,500 per copy, that is $70,000 in gross profit from a single sale. The right list, right message and a happy pre- approved customer make the entire process To far easier at the dealership. Doing a direct To have mail sale the right way will eliminate many of a successful the headaches that plague dealerships. When direct mail campaign, customers come to your dealership, meet a you must start with a great sales person, select a unit, take a test drive, list. You need to target people with go for a service walk, have their car appraised a 625 – 700 credit score with a five year and then finally find out that they can’t get a credit file and at least six trade lines deep. You want loan, they leave unhappy. More importantly, the people who have no derogatory credit in the last six your salesperson feels terrible. He or she just months with at least $2,500 of income per month. The banks will wasted two hours, and the next time they give these people loans. From within this group, select the people might skip a couple of steps and get on the that have an 80 to 95 percent paid auto loan. These people have next one. This is dangerous. Keep your people good trades. The age and source for the list are equally important. positive by driving in the good-credit people Use a quality source like Equifax and be sure to get the list 24 who can drive out in your cars. hours before you mail, so it is fresh. Starting with the right list from the right source is the first step towards a successful direct mail Once your direct mail campaign with the right campaign. message has gone out to right people, you need to know what to do when they start to respond. The message is equally as important as the list. You must use a It is important that everyone in the dealership message that this type of buyer will respond to. Umbrellas, golf is aware of the sale, and knows what to say to Today’s market is balls and free hats will not motivate today’s credit-worthy buyer. customers on the phone, in the showroom and affecting the types You need a strong legitimate reason for credit-worthy buyers to on the Internet. Make sure that every person of customers who want to visit your store rather than your competitor’s. The mail who touches the phone knows what to say respond to traditional piece needs to arrive at the customer’s home in an official- and when a customer inquires about the sale. Work advertising. urgent-looking envelope. This will increase the number of people with your salespeople on the verbiage you Television, radio that view and read the message. Next, you must grab the customer’s would like them to use to describe the sale. Make sure the dealership and the newspaper attention and get them excited and emotional. “Auto Loans Direct and everyone in it are ready for a successful sale. are driving in more from the Bank! This Week Only is Your Chance to Pay What the and more credit- Dealer Owes On Their Vehicles!” This is a new message that the Direct mail sales are still the best way to drive buyers into your store challenged shoppers. customer has not seen hundreds of times, and will create interest. and sell more cars. Anybody can fill your showroom with roaches. JimmyPeters Aren’t you tired of telling people you can’t sell them a car? Why Unfortunately, the Next, grab them and get them more emotional with a $1,000 same market climate shopping spree or other substantial gift. not bring in the customers you can sell? has made the banks unwilling to extend credit to these people without enormous hedge fees. It has become difficult to sell cars Direct the customer to call and get a pre-approval amount. This is Call or e-mail for your free copy of “How to these people, let alone make a fair profit from them. low risk and requires very little time on the customer’s part. Find to Fill Your Showroom with Credit a direct mail partner with a strong BDC to set appointments with Worthy Buyers for under Nine Grand.” These credit-challenged people in need of transportation are these buyers. Even skeptical customers who normally wouldn’t Jimmy Peters is the president of driven to the Internet and show up in your inbox from a third- waste their time driving to the dealership will call and you’ll need Big Time Promotions. He can party lead provider. Where are the people that can buy cars? talented car people on the other end of the phone to drive them into be contacted at 866.850.6926, Your dealership is not a roach motel; stop inviting in only the your store. When they call, they are given the amount they have or by e-mail at roaches. You want shoppers that can buy. Put the bait out for the been pre-approved for, and now they know that they can buy a new good credit buyers — the deals that fund fast with no headaches. car. This is a great feeling. This process will bring more customers to your store and will have them feeling more positive about your The best dealerships have the smarts to know that, if their dealership when they arrive. business isn’t growing and sales are shrinking, then they need to change the way they go after new prospects. For these people Consider this… who seek out and find the sales-building strategies that work in any economy, success is almost guaranteed. If you mail 10,000 mailers to the perfect customers and only 1.5 percent respond by calling to find out what’s going on, that is In this market, it is necessary to select the people who you want 150 perfect customers. Pick the right direct mail partner and their to receive your marketing messages. You can get the people with BDC will set appointments with around 75 percent of your perfect good credit into your store so you can deliver vehicles and make buyers. If only 50 percent of the appointments show up, that’s 112 profits. Direct mail provides you the opportunity to pick only the opportunities. If you deliver 25 percent of them, you will have 28 people that can buy a car today and market only to them. car deals. These buyers are not flipped in their trades and are easily1 12 3
  7. 7. leadershipsolution JohnBrentlinger JohnDobrick sales&trainingsolution JUST BECAUSE ‘WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY’ DOESN’T MEAN IT WASN’T SO, YOU ARE A STUPID IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE DIFFERENT? This year is going process. Find out what your salespeople bonuses. The selling business runs on profit, Try this; bring all your • …because of ME that, blah blah blah blah blah.” Remember to be crucial for don’t like about your selling process. Find not on volume. Don’t try to be the biggest; salespeople together • …we’ve been in business for 30 years you are different. Your “unique” message our country, our economy, the automotive out what your customers don’t like about the just be the best. Best products, best service, and ask them the same question that every • …We have the best people should be presented as early as possible; industry and each of us in particular. Anyone selling experience. Ask the tough questions, best salespeople, best process, best at helping single prospect who has ever walked into And so on don’t treat your “unique” message as a in this industry who thinks they can keep and have the guts to listen to the honest your customers and, while you’re at it, learn your dealership has asked —every customer “throw-in” when it has become too late. doing business as usual is simply not paying answers. Then have the courage to change to be the best leader you can possibly be. every time. How close did I get to your sales teams attention. A psychologist once said, “Man the things that salespeople and customers actual responses? Next, how do we deliver our “unique” is the only animal who finds something that don’t like. Step up to the plate and have the Control the urge to be “No. 1.” Stop the What’s the one question? Every customer message? Let’s examine what is probably does not work, and then keeps doing it.” courage to do what needs to be done, to learn bragging, stop the greed, stop the playground ultimately asks, “Why should I buy from Is it reasonable to assume that if we were occurring now: After the “Hi, my name is He could have been talking about the car and grow and change for the better. behavior. You want to be No. 1? Then try you?” Your prospect will probably not to invite the sales staff of your biggest and you are…” introduction, your prospect business. Just because we’ve always done it being No. 1 at home with your spouse and “verbalize” this question, but be certain of competitor to join this conversation, and we is being asked a series of uninvited questions this way doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a stupid Here are some particulars, if you have the your children. They’re the only ones who this: When your prospect decides to “show- were to ask them the very same question, such as: idea in the first place. courage.... count anyway. If you get your approval from up” at your dealership, they are asking “Why what do you suppose their responses would • Are you looking for a new or used your spouse and children, you won’t have to should I buy from you; as opposed to the be? How closely would they simulate your vehicle? Americans love their cars, but they hate the Develop an honest selling experience. If you look for approval from the strangers at work. infinite other options out there?” responses? And, you are different how? • Are you looking for a car, truck or SUV? car buying process. Funny thing, that’s all we have to lie to the salesperson or the customer • What is the car being used for? have to sell: the car and the process. Guess to get a sale, you’re better off not getting the Don’t be a jerk. You may have the power to Here’s the good news! If your sales team will Now, let’s dig a little deeper. Let’s look at • Do you prefer light colors or dark colors? whose fault it is that they do not like the car sale. Tell the truth, every time, about be a jerk, but you never have the right. Treat remember that the “why should I buy from this through the eyes of your prospective buying process? Right, it’s you. You’re the everything, to everyone. Once you are caught your people the way you want to be treated. you” question is being asked 100 percent of customers. We have determined that your Does that sound familiar to you? Guess who reason. Get a grip. Stop the nonsense about in a lie, by salesperson or customer, you have The golden rule has not been suspended for the time, they can build a strategy around salespeople convey the same message as else it sounds familiar to, too? Yes, your building value. They already love the vehicle. no more credibility with either. More sales car dealers and managers. Be a jerk-free this question. If you know what is always your competition. Here is the irony: How prospect. Get off of the insane idea that if you just do are lost by lack of credibility than you can dealership. being asked, doesn’t it make sense to build can everyone be the lowest-priced dealer? what you think is a great presentation, trial imagine. a response that demonstrates preparedness By definition when someone is the lowest, This series of questions make you look close, handle objections, close, close, close, Make your lot user friendly. Many lots are so for this question? Instead of being surprised, there can be only one. So, how can everyone pushy to your prospect. We are asking these lower the price and beg like a trained seal for Develop a sales system which reflects the crowded, no one can get out and look. Make you now can anticipate the question, creating be the lowest priced, have the best service uninvited questions before we’ve earned the sale, you’re selling. That’s not selling, psychological make-up of the customer. your lot, and your dealership, a place where an opportunity to differentiate yourself, your department, the highest CSI, most cars in the right to ask these questions, so let’s give it’s begging. If begging worked, the big three Sell like the customer wants to buy. Cut people want to spend time. Stop spending dealership and your vehicles. The challenge inventory and be the friendliest dealership? something to your prospect first. Provide CEO’s would have gotten the money from out the force, the pressure, the trial closes, so much money trying to get customers to is this: your prospect will not simply ask your your prospect with interesting information Congress the first time. the pushing, just get rid of all the tricks the come to your lot, and spend some on making salesperson the “why should I buy from you” The cold hard truth is this: Through the eyes or additional value. Create a “baby-step” cars business is known for. Learn about it a place they will want to visit. Having question, so it is critical to always remember of the prospect, all dealerships are the same. during your meet and greet. This small tweak We have only two things to sell: the product personality, birth order, ego states. Learn how salespeople rush customers the second they that when the prospective customer shows Let that sink in for a moment. All dealerships should assist your sales team in selling the and the experience. The products we have to a buyer thinks. Learn the difference between get out of their car is not user friendly. Stop up, they are ultimately asking that question. are the same. Need proof? Pick up Sunday’s salesperson, the dealership and the vehicle by sell are the absolute best the industrial world power with people and force over people. Stop pressuring the customer. Start pressuring newspaper and tell me who is unique? providing an additional “value proposition.” has to offer. In America, the vehicles we trying so hard to sell; start helping them buy. yourself to find a better way to treat your OK, so let’s get back to the beginning of Your prospect will understand that, not only drive have no equal. If you want a huge, safe, customers. this discussion; I asked you to bring all your Let’s look specifically at when and how your do you have a quality, competitively priced comfortable SUV, go buy one; there are Stop allowing managers to close sales. Teach salespeople together, so you could ask this: salespeople should deliver your “unique” vehicle, but you also provide this “unique” numerous great ones being made. If you salespeople to sell. Teach them responsibility. This year is going to be a shake out year. When a prospect asks the “why should I buy message. service or that “unique” service, or we also want a tiny, economical gas saver, go buy If a manager has to close sales, then those Those who are willing to learn, grow and from you” question, what is your response? provide you with this or that. one; there are many being made. Americans salespeople are not necessary. If a manager is change will have a good year. Those who When you deliver your “unique” message love the cars America is making. That is not selling, he is not managing. Hire salespeople want to do the same old thing…, well, they Let me take a wild guess at what responses is just as important as the message itself. If I am absolutely certain that it is far easier to the problem. The problem is that Americans and let them sell. There is no commission on will get the same old thing. If you want your salespeople are currently using with you are like most dealerships it is probably continue down the current “road,” and keep do not like the way cars are being sold. managing, only on selling. A sales manager different results, you’re going to have to do your potential customers: “You should buy being regurgitated as the customer is walking your meet and greet status “just like everyone And so we have two opportunities here: the who cannot/will not teach his people to sell is something differently. from us because…” we have the… out the door, and you get to recite it to the else.” I challenge you to be unique, and opportunity to change, and the opportunity to not a sales manager. • …we have the best price back of your prospect’s head. It may look dictate how your market will proceed — with get into another line of work. John Brentlinger is a sales and • …we have the best selection like this: “Mr. and Mrs. Customer, before you leading the way. Stop the volume bonuses. Profit is sanity, management trainer, executive coach • …we have the highest customer you leave please keep in mind that we are the This article is personal. Please take it that volume is vanity. If you teach salespeople to and author. He can be contacted satisfaction volume leader for a reason, we provide the at 866.859.6504, or by e-mail at John Dobrick is the president of way. Nothing will change at your dealership help the buyer get what they want, need and • …we have the best service department highest level of customer satisfaction and we FOCUS Growth. He can be contacted at until you do. Stop trying to over-explain will pay for, you’ll make a profit on every • …we have the friendliest staff are confident that you will not find a lower 866.490.5672, or by e-mail at the product and start inspecting the selling sale, and your salespeople won’t need the • …we have the best location priced vehicle anywhere, and in addition to 14 5 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  8. 8. sales&trainingsolution JodyDeVere SusanGlandon sales&trainingsolution WHAT IS YOUR ONLINE REFERRAL SALES STRATEGY TO REACH MAKE THE WORLD WOMEN CAR BUYERS? GO AROUND The advent of the 1. Integrate the Message 4. Focus on Relationships Referrals are the economy hits the skids, and the walk-ins dry Internet has enabled Make sure the woman-friendly message Create relationships with your women salespersons not-so- up. They are just not sure what to do next. women to find the resources and information is consistent across your brand, from the customers by providing information and secret weapon. And it doesn’t just apply to They are not good prospectors, or hunters. they need to take charge of their own showroom to the service drive, your Web site content on your Web sites and in your our industry. It doesn’t occur to the reluctant salesperson finances and buying decisions, and give and your Internet sales department. Signal marketing programs designed specifically that there may be a way to keep business voice to their needs and preferences. to women in your marketing and advertising for women. Set up a two-way approach, No matter what your field, your business coming. They have listened to too much you are thinking about them and their needs answering her questions, speaking her can thrive by paying attention and putting a negativity. The stream has dried up, period. With this rising tide of the economic power and are striving to win their business. language and listening to her needs. Provide fraction of your time every week into your The advertising industry, a huge industry by of women, car dealerships and automotive content that interests women consumers favorable word-of-mouth advertising from any estimation, understands and capitalizes retailers need to devote time, resources and 2. Polish the Approach — car seat safety, crash test ratings, car care your current customers. on this concept, and they charge accordingly. budget to gain a larger share of this huge Treat and picture women as capable and tips and so forth. You can advertise your way into getting market. professional in your online marketing and When I hear, “I need a new car,” I have the more customers, but there are no guarantees, advertising efforts. Society recognizes many If 51 percent of car buyers are women and By 2010, women are expected to control opportunity to say, “You should see Gary you are going to pay and there is no way to valid roles for women, but this isn’t always 85 percent of all vehicle purchases are $1 trillion, or 60 percent of the country’s reflected in ads — seldom are women shown Smith, at Hyundai of Decatur.” Why? “He truly track it. influenced by women, what percent of your treats his customers well, and you will get wealth, according to research conducted by in work settings, business roles or positions marketing and advertising budget are you BusinessWeek and Gallup. of authority. Use real women rather than the a good deal.” That’s a fact, and I also know Running a strong, inexpensive referral willing to devote to attract, sell, retain and he has a great referral program in place to program, and paying your customers rewards runway model as the benchmark for these increase loyalty with this majority of the Women purchase more than 50 percent of graphic depictions of women. reward me for every person I send his way for business sent in, is much more cost American auto-buying market? who buys a vehicle. Is this good business on effective, trackable and buildable. Running a all new cars, and in some brands up to 62 percent. They purchase 48 percent of all used 3. Emphasize Information his end? Absolutely. His referral program strong referral program is also fundamental cars and 40 percent of all new trucks. Having a blog that provides information Jody DeVere is the CEO and president of is posted on the front page of his Web site, to ensuring a salesperson’s or business’s about your dealership, employees, events, She can be contacted at and is right there for anyone to join. Gary continued success, both in good times and Here are the basic steps and tools you will special offers tips and community activities 866.849.9973, or by e-mail at has a successful referral program, and one bad. Salespeople who are taught the basics need in order to market effectively to women, will help women learn more about how who reason it is successful is that it is organized, of referral selling, including those that would gain their trust and, in turn, their business. you are and how you can serve her needs. trackable and he can market to his clients. have dried up otherwise in tough times, will He now knows that he gets 25 to 30 percent make it in good times and bad. They will be of his business through his referral program. doing repeat and referral business, and their customers are walking into the dealerships When I started in the business I was a green and asking for them. Even the “reluctant” pea. I had some retail experience, and a salesperson thrives with the proper tools. A degree in communications. My dealer loved good referral sales tool has the built-in steps me, and recognized that women brought a to success, and is user friendly. When the little something different to the car business. business owner and the salespeople make up I didn’t disappoint him, either. I sold a new their mind to take the extra steps necessary, Toyota my first day at work. Instead of and be proactive in their daily work life, letting me rest on my accomplishment, he setting a habit of increasing their sales told me to go back and ask my customers with the assistance of their already happy for the names and numbers of three friends customers, they will increase their business or relatives that might be in the market for a by 30 percent or more. And that 30 percent new or used car. He was a smart man, and he in today’s market can mean the difference knew the importance of referrals. between success and failure. Who else is served by having an organized Take the time to ask yourself how your referral program? The person I call “the current referral program works. Is 30 reluctant salesperson.” You may know one percent of your business coming to you of these awesome people. They make up a from your current customers? Do your large majority of the sales forces nationwide, current customers know you will reward and are sometimes the sales managers! them if they send business your way? Are Reluctant salespeople often possess you tracking, organizing and managing your excellent people/communication skills. Their referral business? If the answer to any of personalities predispose them to sales, and these is “no,” subtract at least $30k a month they make excellent salespeople, especially from your possible income. during times of prosperity and demand. They are good with clients, and clients are usually pleased with them. Even the Susan Glandon is the national sales reluctant salesperson wants to be a success and marketing director for The Bird Dog in the sales process, and wants to please his Club and Prospector’s Club. She can be or her client. Where does the “reluctant” contacted at 866.618.8561, or by e-mail at part fit, you may ask? Well, the reluctant part appears when times are tough, the 18 9 the #1 sales-improvement magazine for the automotive professional
  9. 9. sales&trainingsolution SeanStapleton ADDING VALUE TO THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP The future of the You have to ask if your current marketing such as new categories have to be added auto industry is being messages are cost effective. Are they better such as “high-mileage units” to the redefined and dealerships need to change than your competition’s? Do they make a segmentation. Last year, that category could their business model to be successful and significant contribution toward your growth have meant 99,000-mile units; now it might profitable going forward. One of the first targets? Are you managing your customers have to be changed to accommodate those things dealerships can do to be successful in a physical customer lifecycle? If you customers keeping units to 150,000 miles. is to recognize the value of their current answered these questions with a “yes,” customer database. Stats show the average you are probably doing your direct mail We have to utilize the marketing dealership only retains approximately 50 properly, which means your costs justify segmentation to easily and effectively percent of the customers that purchase the returns. But in some cases you could be optimize a dealer’s marketing and vehicles from them. In the current economic doing better with greater targeting. messaging. We need to create as many environment, customers will be keeping category segmentations as makes sense. their vehicles for a longer period of time. Let’s take a practical approach to data And when creating these categories, it’s This presents an opportunity for dealerships segmentation. Take all the data and important to understand that there will be to get to know your customers better than information we know about our customers overlaps between segments and in some ever before, understand their needs and and then ensure it is clean, accurate, and cases the overlaps will be better than others. deliver relevant messages to each customer relevant so when we are going to spend at the right time via the right channel. money to get a message to a customer we We want to use the segmentation to can actually deliver it to the right person. understand where the highest probability Data segmentation will significantly increase of an action is going to occur. Marketing’s your marketing effort’s effectiveness and, Then we need to develop a practical job isn’t to sell cars; marketing’s job is at the same time, reduce your marketing implementable segmentation strategy that to create desire, want, need or follow-up. expense. Programs like that are called helps to put your customers into easily The performance of the segmentation is marketing segmentation made easy. This identifiable categories. Next, we need automatically identified by the technology. creates a scientific empirical approach to to make our data segmentation policies Good data segmentation polices should marketing which allows you to experiment, available to run against the data we have clearly understand what the goals are, measure and improve using a statistically seen in the past. In other words, a dealer what the customers’ historical behavior has sound evidence-based approach. creates a category of “lost soul” and sets it been in the past, and help understanding for a seven-month interval. When looking that the tighter the segmentations we get, Dealers need to ask themselves some at the data, however, the dealer sees that the parameters become tighter and the questions: customers driving the Honda’s aren’t constituents of each segmentation become 1. Do you want to segment your data so returning for eight months, or the oil change smaller but the results should become that you can sell the right products to the intervals are far longer. They are now greater. So where you the dealer used to right to the right target through the right doing themselves a disservice because they send out 10,000 direct mail pieces to sell 20 channel at the right time for the right cost? have built the category wrong. You have cars, with good data segmentation we should 2. Does your current response rate for your to look at the historical data to create the be able to send out 2,000 direct mail pieces current direct mail or e-mails fall below right baseline. This may show the average to sell the same 20 cars. the one percent mark? customer comes back 2.4 times per year to 3. Are your conversion rates less than three their store. So even with data segmentation, Let me highlight at this point the importance percent? you can’t make the assumption you can of feedback. All the customer attributes move it to six times per year; we need to should be manageable, measurable and fit Response rates will vary by media, and so be realistic. It is also important to make into segmentation. If you have attributes that do costs. Most people in the past have taken sure that segmentation policies make sense. don’t fit a segment, you should probably the approach of “pray and spray,” which was We have to watch to see if the trends in the create another one. basically to send out a lot of mail pieces and industry are changing the probability of the pray you get a return to justify the cost. This customer responses. For example, today in Sometimes segmentation is not practical strategy no longer pays. this economy, people are buying cars less because the data is not accurate. Maybe an e- often. Historically customers might have mail is missing, a ZIP code is mistyped and traded their vehicle in at 75,000 miles, the customer you thought was 15 miles away but now they are keeping it for 150,000 is actually 100 miles away, or the address miles. That means there are new is wrong because the customer moved. In opportunities and these cases it is critical for your dealership “ALL to work with a company who specializes in S THE challenges, HO CUS these marketing programs and data cleansing MEAULD BE M OMER T before initiating your marketing campaigns. SUR AN ATTR SEG MENABLE ANAGEABL IBUTES Sean Stapleton is the executive vice ATTR TATI D FI E, SEG IBUTES ON. IF YT INTO president of business development at M T Visible Customer. He can be contacted at PRO ENT, Y HAT DO OU HAV 866.406.6337, or by e-mail at BAB O N ANO LY C U SHO ʼT FIT AE THER REATE ULD2 ONE0 .”