AutoSuccess .jan11


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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 .jan11

  1. 1. 2011JANUARY
  2. 2. THE #1 SALES-IMPROVEMENT MAGAZINE FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONAL 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 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 Kentucky 40299 | 877.818.6620 / 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 an improved detail department is all about change paragon honda and acura recognized as the cpo dealer of the a good mobile website can significantly increase year at the national cpo conference in san diego, california creating ‘vision 2011’ with a four-step approach why online reputation management should be the death of the traditional dealership part 7 call tracking is key to keeping up with leads bi-lingual marketing in automotive industry resolving customer or co-worker conflict in six simple steps , internet sales 20 group review, part 2 the solution is right in front of you... growing hispanic demographic urges single provider simplifies complex your no. 1 new year’s resolution what non-verbal messages are one more tool to get a Jump on the competition want to sell more? eat more! conquering confrontation autosuccess: the podcast rebirth of a smarter bdc consumer engagement you sending women? dealership overhaul measuring hype mattMurray 32 38 14 16 26 42 10 18 40 28 24 20 22 30 34 36 08 cindyGentry markTewart stephenBeamish erikStuttz seanv.Bradley mattBaker JodyDeVere marshBuice bryanAnderson billPhillips susanGivens JoeHigh carlitoMojica daveDavis budAbraham richardWinch susanGivens 12 26 36 20
  3. 3. SusanGivens marketing solution paragon honda and acura recognized as the cpo dealer of the year at the national cpo conference in san diego, californiaBrian Benstock and Paragon Honda and Paragon certified pre-owned vehicles of the second- breaking the all-time record for both brands.Acura’s cohesive marketing strategy helped place Honda Certified retailer, and broke boththem grow from 17 to the No. 1 Honda and Honda and Acura’s all-time records by selling Paragon’s vehicles are front-line ready inAcura retailer, selling the most new and certified more than 300 Certified Hondas and 100 less than 72 hours, and their average turnpre-owned sales of any retailer in the country. certified Acuras in one month. is less than 30 days. The dealership has zero 60-day vehicles, not due to wholesaleThis year, Benstock and Paragon Honda and Benstock, the minority owner of Paragon policies, but rather to better retail marketing.Paragon Acura were selected to receive Auto Honda in Queens and the Vice President Paragon promotes their certified pre-ownedRemarketing’s inaugural CPO Dealer of the Year and General Manager of Paragon Acura, has vehicles online and through targeted e-mail,Award, presented by Dale Pollak from vAuto. mirrored his work ethic after that of the late text and direct mail. When customers visit“Brian Benstock is exceptionally deserving Paul Singer, the founder of what is now the their Certified Pre-Owned Center, they areof being recognized as the Certified Pre- Paragon Auto Group that also includes White surrounded by the value message of Paragon’sOwned Dealer of the Year,” Pollak said. “With Plains Honda in White Plains, N.Y. and is Certified Pre-Owned marketing materials,intelligence and boldness, Brian thrives in an headed by majority owner Edith Singer, wife which include posters, brochures, table tops,urban environment where few could survive.” of the late Singer. hang tags and window clings, so it is easy for consumers to learn about the their certified pre- owned vehicle process. “We give every customer an ‘auto-biography’ that includes the vehicle’s history, lemon check, service history and pricing information on competitive vehicles so our customers have a lot of confidence when they buy a certified pre-owned vehicle from our dealership,” Benstock said. “Paragon also gets most of its certified vehicles from customer trade-ins because they have "paragon gives every dramatically increased their new vehicle sales to customers who are eligible to trade quality customer an ‘auto-biography’ two- and three-year-old vehicles as a result of a folder with lemon check, service customized targeted marketing strategy,” added history, positive reviews and five Sean Wolfington, owner of the marketing comparable vehicles that have a higher company that Paragon uses for their CPO and price to show their vehicle’s relative value," said sean other profit centers. wolfington, owner of, the company Paragon’s integrated marketing strategy that created the folder and does all of paragon’s marketing. embraces both traditional and social media platforms that have proven phenomenally“We’re proud to honor Edith Singer, Brian After more than two decades of working successful. They implement results-orientedBenstock and the entire family at Paragon alongside the Singers, “this business is in my marketing strategies that include in-depthHonda and Paragon Acura with our inaugural DNA,” said Benstock, adding “Edith is the market research, traditional advertising, digitalCPO Dealer of the Year Award,” said perfect business partner; it’s great to have marketing, targeted direct mail, publicity,Bill Zadeits, Associate Publisher of Auto someone intelligent who knows and lives reputation management, niche marketing,Remarketing, during the 2010 COP Forum the business and cares about our people and in-store merchandising and sales and servicein San Diego. “Paragon’s innovation in the customers.” retention — all key components that contributecertified space over the last year has been to their on-going CPO success.industry-leading, and their stores’ success in With drive, determination and an innovativeCPO sales is reflective of that.” approach to selling certified pre-owned, Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. Benstock and Paragon Honda and Acura will She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or byParagon Honda sells more than twice the sell more than 4,000 CPO vehicles in 2010, e-mail at
  4. 4. Control you need.Experience you trust.Service you expect.Meet Henry.As a member of our 800+ field specialists around thecountry, Henry is committed to delivering professional,consistent and quality service every day to local dealers.You define staging parameters, frequency of visits andphoto requirements. And let Henry do the rest.Service Excellence is Our Business.With 20+ years of experience, Dealer Specialties is committed to putting our system, service and support inyour control. With our innovative inventory management system, dealers can take advantage of the industry’smost rich, integrated and real-time data distribution network. Our proven system combined with professionaland experienced local specialists, like Henry, are committed to delivering countless hours of service andsupport to local dealers every day.Service excellence is our business. So you get back to the business ofserving customers and selling cars.Visit: or call 888.242.1762
  5. 5. BryanAnderson marketing solution and will change over time; however, when reviewed consistently, documented accurately rebirth of and organized properly, the CRM data hub is leveraged to its fullest potential. a smarter bdc Above all, as the smarter BDC uses a strong CRM to bring balance and organization to the dealership; it helps to make everyone’s jobs more manageable. A well-designed BDC provides a support that naturally drivesDark clouds descended upon the automotive BDC rep provide a constant flow of business to performance throughout the organization.industry two years ago. The strong winds of both fixed and variable ops pipelines. Without Smarter design means stronger efficiency.change blew, the credit temperature dropped these efforts, valuable customer data — though Stronger efficiency means increasedand jobless rates rose. Many were not prepared available in the CRM — is rarely translated productivity. And increased productivity drivesto manage the storm. It forced dealers to re- into business. incremental sales and a quantifiable return onanalyze budgets, re-evaluate spending and what constituted a true business Many dealers have woven the managementneed. Because of this storm, the comfortable of Internet business with their business While remnants of the storm remain, thelandscape we once knew quickly changed. development strategy. With the appointment skies are beginning to clear. Clean-up and as the central point of focus, the smarter BDCs rebuilding efforts are in full swing. AsOne change in landscape was the numerous have used fully integrated ILM and CRM an industry, we have learned from manyclosures of Business Development Centers solutions to standardize how large quantities challenges and are making better decisions for(BDCs). Looked upon as a luxury by some, it of leads are qualified and moved through the future. One such learning experience is theseemed to be the first choice when cuts were the store. This provides the BDC with total smarter design behind business development.made. While most dealers saw the value of a visibility across what formerly were silos of Bringing the BDC back to life in the CRMCRM, many thought they could live without sales, Internet and service business. at your dealership or starting one anew is thethe call center. But they made this choice at beginning of that solid footing.what cost to the future? Additionally, the overall health of customer data in the CRM is stronger when managed andWhen organized and managed properly, a maintained by a BDC. Due to such high levelsBDC is the epicenter of customer interaction, of human involvement, the BDC offers farbringing to light areas of opportunity that basic greater data cleansing — data that is absolutely Bryan Anderson is the founder of Autobase.sales follow-up might never uncover. The vital in the marketing that drives additional He can be contacted at 866.667.9659, or bypersistent and tenacious efforts by a strong sales and service. Customer information can e-mail at
  6. 6. The landscape: So many providers, so many the resources to continually monitor and understand these changes, the average car dealer candifferent technologies. Each dealership has an quickly fall behind. There are many resources a dealer can call on to assist with this strategy;astounding number of tools, each with their understanding the basic premise and goals of SEO, however, is essential to selecting the rightown purpose and specific set of best practices. service provider.The challenge: Understanding where to focus PPC, at first look, is much simpler and easier to digest. You bid on a set of keywords intendedand how to measure the effectiveness of your to drive high-quality traffic to your dealership’s Website and only pay when someone clicks onefforts. Are you reaching the customers you your ad in the auction results. It’s pretty straight forward. PPC, however, has come a long wayshould be? Is each and every advertising in the last few years. Below are some must-haves for a successful PPC campaign:dollar going as far as it could? Are these many 1. Deep linking. When someone clicks on your ad that was placed because you bid on “2011separate tools competing against each other, or Ford Edge,” they should be directed to an internal page that shows them the Ford Edge, notworking in harmony? your home page. 2. Inventory-aware PPC systems will bid on your used inventory based on actual units inThese questions are not easy to answer. stock. Gone are the days of bidding on every make and model because you “might” have aToday’s digital marketing is the traditional used one on the lot. This is a huge advance in PPC technology and has been proven to savemarketing of yesterday — essential. What are dealers thousands in advertising spend.the core strategies, and how can you levy them 3. Granular, transparent reporting, down to the keyword. You should be able to answer thefor continued success? question, “How does model A perform in paid search results compared to model B?” PPC can track all shopper activities, from clicks to forms to calls. Proper optimization of thesesearch engine marketing campaigns depends on this level of reporting. Insist on it.Search engine marketing (SEM) is comprised 4. Bid scheduling. It’s important to have the ability to schedule your ads with Google and othersof two main strategies: pay per click based on your business needs.advertising (PPC) and “organic” search engine 5. Dynamic Ad Text. Ads should include the keywords that a searcher used in their query.optimization (SEO). They are the drivers oftraffic and the awareness tools. Much like print, PPC is a technology-driven service. In 2011, the technology that drives your paid searchradio and direct mail were the staples of driving campaigns will ultimately determine your success. The days of manual management of PPCshowroom traffic in the past, these are now the campaigns are over. As with SEO, there are many opportunities for a dealer to get in the game.drivers of digital traffic today. Ask the right questions and select the right provider.Organic optimization is a much-embattled, the dealer websiteever-changing process. The basics, however, So you’ve got your SEM strategies in place; what now? Traffic is flowing into the Website; whathave remained the same: should you do with it? Is the site ready? There are a bevy of Website-oriented best practices,1. Search engines rank sites based on checklists and vendor audits available to you the dealer. Here are some highlights to focus in on: keywords in your Website’s text, the ranking authority of links into and out of 1. the home page 4. specials your site and the geographical location of • Custom dealership photos • Have specials for every profit center the searcher. • Featured vehicles • Have a clear call to action2. Creating a robust Website which houses • Simple navigation • Specials must align with offline messaging content that serves the needs of customers in every profit center is, and will remain, a 2. inventory pages 5. must have dealership pages best practice. • Have a clear call to action • Contact Us with clear call to action3. Organic search results now offer many • Pricing displayed • Staff page with photos of staff different resources and content types for a • Custom photos • Testimonials single query, such as video-hosting Websites • Video for each vehicle • About Us (,, etc.), news results, • Convenient access to CPO • Special events pages local business results, press releases, social media updates and review sites. Being aware 3. profit center pages of and optimizing these resources is a must. • Must differentiate you from your competitors • Hold custom photos and videoOne of the single greatest challenges in organic • Link to corresponding specialsoptimization is keeping up with the changes • Have a clear call to actionmade by the major search engines. Without
  7. 7. Although not as alluring as social media or paid search or SEO, proper management of thedealer’s Website is the foundation of digital marketing mediaTouted as the newest form of marketing, social has been the topic of conversation everywhere forthe last 18 months. It’s the newest digital frontier and, because of that, it can be intimidating. It’simportant to remember that before there was Facebook and before every customer and prospect hada digital voice, they were sharing their thoughts and opinions at the water cooler, at the dinner table,the grocery store, the church and everywhere else they traveled. Dealers have been managing theirreputation in their communities since there were dealers. The difference? This is a visual and highlyaccessible medium; it requires thoughtful management. Some simple pillars of social media:1. Listen. Being able to monitor the conversation around your brand online is extremely powerful. There is no need to go out and create 25 dealership profiles at every review site if your customers are not there or will not use them. Reputation-monitoring tools will allow you to find out where the conversation is happening in your neighborhood, so you can focus your efforts.2. Talk. You’re listening, and so is everyone else. Put your voice out there and make sure that you are heard. Facebook is one of many ways to tell people who you are; syndicate your message and interact with your customer base. Give people a reason to keep you top of mind by offering up engaging, valuable content.3. Connect. Reach out to your active users and let them know how valuable they are. It’s not about one-way conversation or getting lots of “likes” on a specific post. It’s about building a team of customers who support your brand and voice their positive sentiment on your behalf. Connections are the fruit of a well-thought out and executed social media strategy.The basic belief that we hold about social media is that no one has more potential to deliver theengaging, valuable content than the dealer. Photos of deliveries, videos of happy customers inthe service department and new model year video vehicle walkarounds are content that can’tbe delivered by the third-party management service, and can’t be matched. Make your contentgenuine and passionate — the community will form around you.service marketingAs the battle to retain service customers rages between dealers, local mechanics and nationalrepair chains, a few dealers are quietly winning the war on their dealership Website. The keys towinning this billion-dollar battle in 2011 begin on your service pages:1. Service content. If the Service Department has goals to reach the coveted 100-percent absorption rate, then why is only 10 percent of the Website dedicated to service? Take the time to create pages on your site that cover the services offered by your dealership; we all know that content is the key to Web traffic.2. Targeted, personalized e-mail messaging based on vehicle information. Make your messages relevant and timely.3. Give your customers control of their experience. They should be able to access and interact with content specific to their vehicle. What services do I need and why? What is included in that service? It’s about demystifying the service process and building trust.4. Differentiate yourself. What makes your service department unique? Use photos and video to showcase happy service customers and introduce your friendly sales staff. You are merchandising your vehicles; why not merchandise your services?5. Specials… again. This topic has been reinforced numerous times over the past several years. Your Website has to have specials up for every profit center, and service is no different. This is basic automotive digital marketing.Dealers can claim this revenue and attract more returning customers to the service bays byturning their digital prowess on the service department.analyticsWhat are analytics? Are they gobs and reams of PDF and XLS reports that you pour throughevery month? Notice the word “reports” in there? Reports are data streams that youhave to interpret, and then act on. Analytics guide you to the right answer and cansuggest your next move. The right analytics platform is another employee —an extremely smart and intuitive employee.The challenge that any analytics platform has is being able to see and understandthe data from all of these different tools. Unless all of the tools are on the sameplatform this may, in fact, be impossible.2011 will bring the need for better vision across multiple tools. Dealers should expectand vendors should deliver this capability. Without a proper analytics platform, there aretoo many opportunities for inefficiency in the form of wasted ad dollars and the potentialfor misaligned priorities. These are things that dealers cannot stand for and cannot afford in amarket of shrinking grosses.Matt Murray is the director of digital marketing at He can be contacted at866.389.5430, or by e-mail at
  8. 8. MarkTewart leadership solution the death of PART 7 the traditional dealership“The more things change, the more things the roles both areas play in your business. from continued business and referrals that thestay the same.” This quote can be an accurate amount spent on retention is paltry comparedreflection of most industries. With all the I find the majority of emphasis is still placed to a typical dealerships advertisement budget.massive changes underway in the automotive on customer acquisition in most dealerships.industry, the majority of the industry operates If you want to build a solid business, you tips no. 2 – create forcedin much the same way as it did 50 years ago. must emphasize acquisition and maintaining continuity programs — this is how to experience exponential A forced continuity program is a programOne small part of an industry begins to change versus linear growth. Here are a few tips in that forces your customer to use your serviceand reaches what Malcolm Gladwell termed making that happen: department in exchange for something of valuein his book the “tipping point.” That tipping they receive at no charge. Over the last severalpoint allows the change to gain momentum tip no. 1 - create continuity, years I have asked more than 100 dealers whatand become norm for an industry. This change loyalty, rewards, vip or recognition their long-term service retention as a percentageusually occurs in one small segment and can programs with enough real teeth of their sales are, and only one dealer knew thebe isolated. If you examine the business or in it to motivate a customer answer. The answer to that question a vital signindustry as a whole, you find that even with Every time I shop at Kroger’s grocery store to the future of your dealership.the change being influential, the rest of the I love putting in my reward number and thenindustry or business remains intact adhering to watching the total bill go down as my rewards When conducting sales training sessions, ourtraditional thoughts and norms. points are deducted. At Panera Bread when trainers tell salespeople that in the beginning of I give them my rewards card, I usually get their sales career they should spend 80 percentWith dealerships there are a couple of old something free and build redeemable rewards of their time on customer acquisition and 20sayings: “The front-end sells the first car and for the future. I love when I make flight or percent on customer retention. However, asthe back-end makes the next one,” or “the front- vacation reservations for free using my airline time progresses, salespeople should work onend gets the customers and the back-end keeps and credit card rewards. I love when I get a flipping those percentages. A dealership is nothem.” There is a lot of truth to both of those free car wash after my tenth visit. different than a salesperson.sayings and to the importance of understanding Do you get the A product our company provides for point? People love dealerships is lifetime power train coverage. to be rewarded with I have witnessed firsthand that with the right free bonuses and underwriter for this product, lifetime power will be motivated train programs are worth their weight in gold. more to get that It is simply amazing how much this forced free bonus than continuity program provides in increases to to get a discount sales to service retention, new and used sales, on something. gross and net profit, vehicle maintenance Rewards and loyalty and vehicle service contract penetrations and programs influence repeat sales. Just like the loyalty and retention shopping patterns programs mentioned earlier, I have heard and behaviors — every fear-based excuse dealers have for not bottom line, end of having programs like this in their dealership, story. Stop making but nothing in well-executed experience proves lame excuses like those fears are real. “rewards programs To quote one of the greatest marketing lessons get expensive,” I have ever learned, “You must put an iron “loyalty programs cage around your customers.” If what you do take away my and what you provide is exceptional, your profit” and “I am customers will want to continue to do business giving away profit with you. Your goal must be to stop further I don’t have to give commoditizing a commodity business and away.” become a category of one. Most dealers spend To receive my free Special Report, “Putting an vast fortunes on Iron Cage Around Your Customers,” e-mail me getting customers with the term “Iron Cage” in the subject line at and little on keeping the address below. them. It would be hard to spend too much effort and Mark Tewart is the president of Tewart money on customer Enterprises, and the author of the best seller, retention. Your How To Be A Sales Superstar. He can be profit creation for contacted at 866.429.6844, or by e-mail at long term is so great
  9. 9. Visit vauto at NaDa booth #800S 38 percent increase in gross profit 2009 to 2010 36 percent increase in CPO sales 2009 to 2010 14 used inventory turns 2010 1 solution to master the market Brian Benstock and Paragon owner Edith Singer started using vAuto in 2007 and immediately saw positive results. But this year was their best yet. How’d they do it? “We moved beyond just managing our inventory, and started being more efficient, more empowered in negotiations and more visible to the market. Our record numbers are the result.” With vAuto, Brian and Edith are now Market Masters. You can become a Market Master, too. Visit or call 877-828-8614 to learn how. Brian Benstock Paragon Honda Queens, New York
  10. 10. StephenBeamish leadership solution single provider simplifies complex dealership overhaulBecause of the economic conditions of the past communications software and solutions. The technology was simplified to the point that thefew years, the opportunity to buy embattled two companies then worked together to create IT staff could focus on training. This alloweddealerships has never been higher. When solutions that would allow the dealerships to be the staff the time and attention they need to getDenver-based Booth Creek Management, refitted in the tight time constraints provided. up to Summit Automotive, expanded into theautomotive retail field, they found a buyer’s An adaptable and resilient network was created Having a network based on the samemarket and rapidly started buying and using Oracle’s class of ultra-thin clients that technology across the board also had benefitsoverhauling dealerships across the United work in conjunction with remote servers. This in the voice communication field. CapabilitiesStates. While this was an exciting opportunity, provided simplified and secure authentication such as network-wide six-digit dialing haveit also posed some interesting challenges. for both voice and data. Because of this, BCIT helped the company completely revamp their didn’t have to deal with an assortment of PCs workflow, Griewahn said, and has allowedOne of these challenges was that vehicle at each location, but rather could set up a them to be more creative in their efforts tomanufacturers place limits (72 hours, to scalable network to which each new dealership streamline. When Summit purchased fivebe exact) on the time a dealership can be could be connected. Not only did this provide dealerships within 100 miles of each other inshut down for the change over. One of the a standardized experience, but because the New England, they were able to pool phonesignificant challenges was the data and phone thin clients are much more reliable than PCs, operators together in one location, reducinginfrastructure. BCIT, the centralized IT arm of BCIT believes that the savings under the thin expenses while improving flexibility.Booth Creek, had to integrate voice and data client model is $270,000 when compared to afor the new dealerships, as well as enable their conventional PC environment over the seven- The result of calling in outside experts hascustom DMS. And, since voice communication to eight-year lifespan of the thin client. made the business of doing business quickeris often the first point of contact between and easier in some cases, and simply possiblecustomers and the dealerships, it’s vital to get The advantages of this new system became in others, Griewahn said.this step right from the beginning. apparent once Summit acquired Denver Mazda and converted the voice and data infrastructure. “Enterprise-grade solutions are about moreChad Griewahn, the CTO of BCIT, remembers “Standardizing on the Mitel Unified IP Client than the right architecture,” Griewahn said.retrofitting a dealership in July 2009 clearly. at Denver Mazda was a game-changer for the “With a single point of contact, everything“Reimaging more than 200 PCs, setting up the whole industry,” Griewahn said. from ordering to professional services andnetwork, and reconfiguring the phone system support is extremely simple and scalable.”in one weekend was extremely difficult,” he This unification and standardization hadsaid. “We managed, but we clearly had to find other benefits, as well. Because Summit hasanother route forward.” a customized DMS, the staff of dealerships Summit acquired would have to have a crash Stephen Beamish is the vice president ofBCIT started to look for outside experts course in the new system to be effective after marketing and business development for lighten and streamline this load, and the dealership opened under new management He can be contacted at 866.387.9064, or byeventually turned to a company that provides in 72 hours. Because of the standardization, the e-mail at
  11. 11. BillPhillips marketing solution and support policies. When you call them and need help, will you get a real, live person with measuring whom you can quickly resolve the issue? Ask for a guarantee of their policy. In fact, ask for a guarantee of anything I’ve written about in hype this piece. In the end, you should have a functional, attractive site that is optimized correctly and requires the least amount of your time to keep itRequesting (and measuring) betterment from a to your site every month. That number should that way. If the organic SEO is working correctlynew vendor is something very few dealers do. exclude Web crawlers of any kind from search and your pay-per-click marketing dollars areBut when it’s done, it is very revealing of the engines, and exclude your own dealership’s being spent wisely, customers will be able to findvendor’s true capabilities. If you are switching IP addresses. This increase should also be you quickly in the appropriate, popular searches.vendors because they tell you they will put you accomplished using the same amount of money This is the No. 1 priority of any site and thehead and shoulders above your competition, spent on search engine marketing (SEM). ultimate test of any Website vendor.then make them prove it. If they backpedal and Don’t increase your SEM spend and allow thesay things like “market conditions affect this” new vendor to claim victory. In the end, you have to make sure you areand “we can’t guarantee that,” you should hear selecting a vendor for the right reasonsthese words in your head: Make ‘em guarantee Visitor’s time onsite should also increase, for your store — their products work asit. If they can’t, it may be the beginning of many number of pages visited should increase, advertised, they can back up their claims ofthings this new vendor won’t be able to prove. conversion rates should be higher and bounce increasing your business and they’ll be there rates should decrease. No change means no when you need them. Also, don’t believeWebsite development companies — small or real results, and no measurement means you the “we are the biggest” or “look at our longlarge, startups to giants — need to be asked probably just bought the hype. Hype won’t sell reference list” hype. It is irrelevant. Many(at a minimum) the following questions and cars – ask for the measurements. dealers are selecting vendors for the wrongmust be held accountable for the answers. If reasons these days — don’t be one of them. As a given, the site should look good andyou can’t get good answers, you need to take a function well. If the vendor tells you howcloser look. You should measure your current Let’s all be like our new breed of Customer - “self-adjustable and workable” the backendprovider by certain statistics and ask the new smarter and well-informed about our decisions. of the site is, make sure you have a full-timevendor to guarantee an improvement by a staff member to do this and calculate their timestated amount. into the total cost of operation for the “self- Bill Phillips is the president and CEO of adjustable” site. Automotive Internet Management, Inc. HeFor instance, the new vendor should be able ShipCarsNow-UsedCarDealer-1/2 p horizontal Jan 2011 issue, sent 12/10/10 AM be 1 of 1 can p contacted at 866.593.7212, or byto increase how many unique visitors come You should also ask about the vendor’s service e-mail at Time to rethink auto transportation! SIGN UP TODAY WITH YOUR AuctionACCESS ID Call 1-866-207-3360 � Nationwide or register online for � Door-to-Door our lowest rates � Online � Easy ShipCarsNow is a Union Pacific Company18
  12. 12. ErikStuttz leadership solution creating ‘vision 2011’ with a four-step approachAs we conclude another year, and reflect on Over the past few months, several of our the four-step approachthe past few years, it truly has been some dealers committed to make 2011 their best year Step 1: As a team, what are our goals? Whatchallenging times in our industry. History ever and lead their organizations with a clear do we desire or wish to improve upon inshows that there have been many incredible vision and direction; thus, with these dealers, 2011 within each of these seven areas? (Overleaders of our industry who have had to “Vision 2011” was born. These committed a series of sessions, we ultimately exploremake decisions to make the best out of the dealers have found it to be critically important all seven automotive profit centers within achallenges they faced. They, too, had to rally to have an accountability partner, helping them dealership)their people towards a common goal by define their vision, document action plans and Step 2: What are we currently doing withincreating a vision that all could be inspired and measure their success. each of these seven areas? (Honesty andwilling to follow. It’s clear that a leader creates humility is critical here)vision by beginning with the end in mind. To start, each dealer completed both an in- Step 3: What are the challenges, obstacles depth variable and fixed operations assessment. and roadblocks that are standing in our wayHistory also shows that leaders without vision When examining their holistic business to accomplish our goals? (People, process orfall an easy prey to worry, fear, trouble and through the answers to these questions within communication)self-pity, all of which indicate weakness and these assessments, they saw clearly their Step 4: When do we start? (Execution of anserve as precursors to failure. While success areas of success, as well as a need for a plan action plan is created)cannot be sustained without vision, vision is to correct the areas of needed improvementnot enough to achieve success. Why do some within their perspective dealerships’ seven The reason why this four-step approach is sovisions succeed and others fail? Why do some profit centers. From these assessments each powerful is that we should never start out anvisionaries enjoy fleeting success only to fail dealership created a strategic action plan, and assessment by asking the Step 2 question the end? A true leader who treasures a grand more importantly a vision for those involved to Because of human nature, people sometimesvision is more likely to realize his or her lofty execute the plan. The outcome, thus far, from will become defensive of what they areideal than someone who merely wishes for each dealer has been very successful. “currently doing,” with comments such asan outcome. But a vision does not guarantee “This has been our policy,” or “This is the waysuccess. A vision requires action. Here’s how it works: we have always done it” — they never allow After completing their assessments, meetings themselves the opportunity to explore the StepWhat determines the staying power of any were held with all key personnel involved 1 questions first. The key here is to rememberleader’s vision? Recall Henry Ford; he within a series of strategy sessions. Through to start by asking the first question (Step 1)cultivated a vision of affordability, and he facilitation, everyone looked with intensity within an assessment.mass produced it. He had a vision and he within their seven profit centers:accomplished what he not only believed in, but • Showroom process It has become clear to us that all leaders whomore importantly he had the determination, • Phone process (inbound/outbound) create success for their organizations must firstfirm resolve and commitment to become a • E-commerce (holistic Web presence/ clarify the vision, but more importantly inspirechange agent to inspire others to see his vision initiative) others on the vision. All that a leader achieves,— he became a catalyst of change. • Sold/Unsold follow-up process and all that he or she fails to achieve, is the direct • Prospecting abilities by leveraging their result of the clarity of his or her own vision.When we look back at automotive history, CRM (data mining)there have been many automotive leaders and • Loyalty renewal process (lease/retail) Take this time to clarify your vision for 2011pioneers like Henry Ford, who have shared • Complete fixed operations so you’ll increase the staying power of yoursome of these same common traits; they were own success, as well as the success of thosepeople who dared to set out and accomplish a From these seven profit centers, each were you lead within your organization.central purpose and a vision for not only their rated on a scale of 1 to 10. Then, with thebusiness, but even more importantly a clear rated number of each profit center completed,vision for the people they have rallied and led. they explored why they determined how theyThink of the visionaries you know or have arrived at that number or consensus.known personally within your automotivejourney, and I’ll bet that they were persuasive, Lastly, while conducting these strategy sessions Erik Stuttz is the founder of Automotivepersistent individuals and were fueled by a with key personnel, each of these seven areas Legends Group USA. He can be contactedburning vision of what could be, rather than within the dealership was approached by at 866.386.0661, or by e-mail athaving run from what pained them. following a proven four-step approach.