AutoSuccess .june11


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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 .june11

  1. 1. 2011JUNE
  2. 2. TURNING YOUR indyRELATIONSHIPS cleINTO REVENUE. atl bos nyc d.c. minHundreds of dealers have discovered the value of equity lead and reputation chimanagement by attending, the 2011 Nationwide Seminar Series TURNING YOURRELATIONSHIPS INTO REVENUE. If you were unable to join us, theres still detopportunity to learn what so many others already have. tamYou can still find out how to leverage your relationships and the data from dfwcustomers you already own to drive significant revenue, right from your own desk! laDiscover the untapped potential.Call today to set up yourFREE on-site consultation.888-502-8954 Autobase has provided auto dealers with the premier Automotive CRM since 1988. As the most experienced CRM provider in the industry, Autobase delivers marketing and sales solutions that help nearly 80,000 auto dealers and their dealership staff tofind, market, sell, and retain more customers, more profitably, every day.
  3. 3. How about a brand new, hi-tech, impossibly easy to sell product that sets your store apart from the competition? How about a new high margin profit center for your F&I department? How about a product that prevents lost sales by notifying you of low battery levels? How about all this AND being able to locate every car in inventory, at any time, from anywhere? Introducing VehSmart™, distributed by G&A Marketing. What is VehSmart™? It’s the newest and most advanced in-vehicle communication system. It combines the power of GPS/Satellite with cellular technology, so your customers can connect with emergency services, roadside assistance, or get live help 24/7. VehSmart™ has more advanced safety & security features than the most popular “on-demand” service. And it can be installed quickly and easily on any vehicle - new or used.* Plus, VehSmart™ gives you the ability to locate every vehicle in your inventory, accessible anytime, from anywhere. VehSmart is a registered trademark of VehSmart Services, Inc. For free information, details and exclusive pricing, send an E-mail to Put “Smart” in the subject line. No purchase necessary, no obligation. *VehSmart™ can be installed on any vehicle manufactured 1996 or after (866) 460-0539 www.gamarketing.comOUR MISSION: To be the industry’s best at leading dealerships to achieve maximum performance through marketing, training, consulting and motivation.
  4. 4. 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 what woulD happeN iF you prioritizeD your aDvertiSiNg h.i.c.c.u.p your way paSt competitorS oN Facebook you’re builDiNg eQuity with Social aND reputatioN veNDor proFile: viNSolutioNS aND autotraDer: the ‘how-to’s’ iN proSpectiNg – aND the reSultS DollarS oN leaDS that are eaSieSt to cloSe? harNeSSiNg the power oF perSoNality SaleS SucceSS iN 10 SecoNDS or leSS how to Quickly overcome objections and move Forward iS your DealerShip aSymptomatic? invest in mobile and be ready for your Shoppers are you in the Fast lane or being passed by? the making of a Digital marketing Juggernaut mobile ShoppiNg iS a reality aNother braNDiNg leSSoN maNagemeNt...areN’t you? Stop whiNiNg about price the pSychology oF a t.o. the Next Direction in Digital marketing the truth about crms... mobility iN marketiNg the power iS Simple: using the Softening Strategy For your braND . by DalePollak 32 30 26 10 28 16 38 20 14 22 08 18 34 24 36 markTewart ScottJoseph marshBuice SusanGivens SkipMurphy glennPasch mattBaker troySpring chadPolk genaeGirard Seanv.Bradley FranTaylor tracyMyers peterBond markSpringer 12 8 6 22 1 2
  5. 5. SusanGivens marketing solution veNDor proFile: viNSolutioNS aND autotraDer: the making of a Digital marketing JuggernautPublisher’s note: Although we don’t often with too many tools that didn’t talk to each 2001 and BZResults, which ADP bought incover automotive sales news, in favor of other, so we built one tool that could replace 2006) and his experience and advice has beenproviding sales-improvement help to our the rest” said Dullea. Dullea worked with invaluable,” said Dullea.readers, we believed there are enough Matt Watson, one of VinSolutions’ foundersprofessionals in the industry affected by these and CTO, to build an “all-in-one” sales and “Mike and Matt built an extraordinary teamevents that it warranted coverage. service marketing system that is DMS agnostic. with talented guys like Kendall Billman “If you can think it, Matt and his team can and Sean Stapleton, the best salesperson inAutoTrader continued to surprise the build it,” Dullea said. “His team releases the industry,” said Wolfington. “Dullea is aindustry when they announced they were enhancements every other Tuesday based on relentless leader who has built a fantastic teamacquiring VinSolutions, an automotive digital requests they receive directly from the users.” and Watson built an extraordinary technologymarketing company that serves manufacturers As a result, VinSolutions users help them build platform.”and retailers. “We are thrilled to acquire a platform that includes search marketing;VinSolutions and add it to our best-in- online advertising; social media marketing VinSolutions digital marketing system hasclass portfolio of dealer software solutions tools; Websites; Internet lead management; been widely recognized in the industry.companies,” said Chip Perry, president and CRM (customer relationship management); Recently they won the DrivingSales award forCEO of “VinSolutions will sales force automation; sales management their Website, Internet lead management toolfurther ramp up our dealer solutions product and desking; appraisal; finance; used vehicle and their new VinLens product, a customersuite to provide dealers with a simpler, more market pricing; inventory management and information application that lets dealers seefunctional one-stop-shop solution of Internet distribution; handheld inventory marketing who is on their site and what they are lookingmarketing software tools accessible by the tools; window stickers; automated video at so they can deliver custom messages anddealer through a single sign-on tool.” tours and targeted marketing with e-mail, promotions based on what’s important to the text, mail and telemarketing services. Their customer. VinLens also lets the dealer seeVinSolutions software tools will be offered on “Dealership Marketing System” is one of the where the customer has been before visitinga flexible a-la-carte basis with no long-term first companies to include complete mobile the Website so they can track their advertisingcontracts, and dealers’ will have the flexibility integration so dealers can access reports better. VinSolutions also took the top prize atto work with their other software vendors, from any mobile phone that has access to the the Automotive Website Awards for buildingsince AutoTrader promotes open platforms and Internet, including Blackberry, Android and the most complete digital marketing system inintegration across its software solutions and iPhone. Currently VinSolutions is certified by the industry.other dealer software tools. all major OEMs and integrates with most DMS companies, including certified integrations Consistent with’s approach evolved from a start- with ADP, Reynolds and Reynolds, AutoSoft their previous acquisitions, VinSolutions willup inventory management company to the and Arkona. VinSolutions also has alliances be a subsidiary of, and the33rd fastest growing software company in and integrations with CARFAX, Autodata, current management team will remain intact,the United States according to the Inc 500. RouteOne and DealerTrack, as well as vAuto led by Mike Dullea (CEO) and Matt WatsonVinSolutions took off after the company and Kelley Blue Book, both of which are also (CTO) from their headquarters in Overlandreleased their all-in-one dealership marketing owned by AutoTrader.” Park, Kansas. “Our team is very excited to joinsystem a few years ago. forces with because we are To launch the new all-in-one dealership both passionate about helping dealers use theVinSolutions was founded by entrepreneurs marketing system, Dullea recruited the help Internet and innovative technology to growwho had a vision of building one solution of a few industry veterans who had a proven their business,” Dullea said. “Together we willthat tied together all the technology a dealer track record of helping other companies grow. strive to constantly improve how we serve ourneeds to market their dealership online. Led by Dullea recruited Sean Stapleton as their chief dealers and how we help them attract, serveCEO Mike Dullea, the company experienced sales officer and Kendall Billman to lead their and retain their customers.”growth of more than 100 percent a year over Web marketing initiatives. Stapleton was thethe last few years after releasing their new EVP of sales at Who’s Calling where he helped Both AutoTrader and VinSolutions are pioneerssolution. “I was spending too much money create a new category of call monitoring and in the industry, so it will be interesting to seewith 15 different companies that did not measurement, and Billman helped develop how they can leverage all the synergies tointegrate,” said Todd Crossley from Gary Web platforms for both Third Coast Media serve their dealers better. One thing is for sure:Crossley Ford, the No. 1 Ford retailer in the (acquired by Reynolds and Reynolds) and Neither company has a reputation of standingKansas City Market. “Now I have one system AutoONE Media. still for long so it will be interesting to seethat does everything, from managing my how this new partnership helps dealers and theInternet marketing to desking to service, in one Dullea also recruited Sean Wolfington to join industry move forward.tool that is easy for my team to use. We are VinSolution as a mentor and advisor. “Wespending less for one system that does more brought Wolfington on board because he ledthan the 15 it replaced.” two of the biggest digital marketing companies Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess. in the industry, (CyberCar and Automark, She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by“Dealers were complaining about working which Reynolds and Reynolds bought in e-mail at
  6. 6. TroySpring marketing solution aNother braNDiNg leSSoNLast month we talked about de-branding messages and stereotypical advertising doesa store by the actions we take and by the not always provide direct results. For example,advertising we do when it is inconsistent with say you launch a branding campaign with thethe culture — or the desired culture — of message “Hey public, we are in business 75the dealership. This month, let’s talk about years and we love you!” You can’t expect to“branding” versus “direct impact” advertising. sell a car on Saturday as a direct result of thisLet me state up front as a disclaimer that I am the direct mail business and may be a littlebit biased; however, the chicken came before So, if you can find a way to advertise with “So, if you can find a way to advertisethe egg on this one. I firmly believe what I am a direct results message that you believeabout to preach — and I practice it. is consistent with the personality of your with a direct results message that dealership, you will see the long-term branding you believe is consistent with theMany times, we have to make the decision results, as well as immediate results. A perfect personality of your dealership, youinside the monthly advertising budget between example of this is a dealership with a small will see the long-term branding results,a direct results (or “promo”) type of campaign, “branding” message buy on the radio. You may as well as immediate results.”or to launch a branding message campaign. as well just keep the money because there isWhen it comes to this decision, remember that a dealership with a large “direct results” buy for their trade than any of your competitors.when using direct results advertising, it does completely dominating and dwarfing your The dealers who are advertising this way willstill in fact brand you by getting your name branding message. You must tell the customer be the ones who are remembered and, after all,out in front of the public. It will brand you as something that they care about. They really isn’t that part of what branding is?an aggressive dealership seeking the business do not care how long you have been around Troy Spring is the president of Dealer World.and ready to make deals. However, it does (as long as it is more than a year). What they He can be contacted at 866.906.7884, or bynot work in the opposite direction. Branding care about is that you plan to give them more e-mail at
  7. 7. On October 15, 2010, I sold vAuto to AutoTrader Corporation. Few addition, we now know the price point at which they are most popular. Withexperiences could be more gratifying than starting a business in your this information, the dealer’s used car buy lists will begin automaticallyhome with an idea and seven short years later, have it acquired by an populating with those winners that meet their stocking objectives.industry leading media giant. To be sure, the sale of vAuto was therealization of a dream, but not the fulfillment of a mission. I needed to Along with each vehicle on the buy list will be a dollar amount thatensure that the sale was not just good for me, but also our employees, the dealer can justify paying for the vehicle. This amount will bedealers and AutoTrader. Therefore, how everyone would win was a automatically calculated by subtracting from the optimal selling price, thequestion that needed a clear answer. dealers profit objective, average reconditioning costs and transportation.Fulfilling the mission Next, the system will automatically search the vast network of ManheimFor many years, I recognized an opportunity in the fact that Cox auctions to determine the location at which such vehicles will be sold inEnterprises owned both and Manheim auctions, the the coming days. Once these auctions are identified, they’ll be rankedpreeminent retail and wholesale automotive marketplaces. In spite of their by the likelihood of being able to purchase the vehicle at or below thecommon ownership, these two giants were run independently, and largely target amount. This ranking will be determined based on the prices of thewithout strategic connection. To me, this appeared to be the greatest of all most recent identical vehicles sold at each location. Once the matchesopportunities for everyone. are found, a dealership representative will be notified with a request for approval. The dealership representative can specify the minimalRecognizing an opportunity and acting upon it, however, are two different acceptable condition grade and, with a single click, a proxy bid will bethings. The recognition of the opportunity was the justification for the submitted on their behalf. When the target vehicle is acquired, it will besale, what is ultimately to be unveiled will be its fulfillment. Therefore, immediately transported and instantly posted on the Internet with a price,mapping a strategy was one of the first priorities to fulfill the promise photos and a complete the industry. To do so required a thoughtful analysis of both today’sand tomorrow’s industry challenges. What follows is an overview of a New competitive edgeand insights to my thoughts about the future of the business, dealers and Traditionally, dealers have made profits by using strategies and tacticstechnology solutions. to maximize transactional gross profits of new and used vehicles. Today,a New Day however, it is both the wholesale and retail markets that largely determineAs the domestic auto manufacturers return to profitability and the transaction profit, rather than the persuasion of talented sales people.employment rebounds, the optimism of the American automobile dealer Progressive dealers who have recognized this new reality have foundreturns. Evidence of renewed confidence can be seen in growing numbers success in improved profitability with focus on velocity, rather than largeof dealership renovations, inventory expansion and dealer’s lifestyle gross margins. Although it has been extraordinarily difficult for dealers toenhancements. To many, the current outlook appears to be a long- adopt this new strategy, it has proven to be effective.anticipated rebound from the trough of an unusually harsh but all-too-familiar industry cycle. The American car dealer has seen it all before and Dealers who joined the competitive price bandwagon early enjoyedhas once again persevered and emerged triumphant. success at the expense of their traditional higher-priced counterparts. Now that more dealers are pricing aggressively, the challenge is to find theWith a broader perspective however, there are many new realities and next competitive edge. The good news is that there are new advantagesunfamiliar challenges awaiting dealers. One such new reality is a margin- to be found; however, they may not be easy for many dealers to adopt.compressed used car market. With shortages of used cars and historically One such opportunity for competitive advantage is to modify thehigh wholesale prices, dealers have found the sourcing of used vehicles at organizational structure and business process of the dealership to createreasonable prices to be a complex task. higher efficiency and greater profitability. This is presently being achieved at many dealerships by transitioning to little- or no-negotiation sales.a New way These dealerships are able to employ fewer managers as well as lower-As a result of the AutoTrader acquisition, vAuto will soon introduce a new priced and easier-to-find sales consultants. Some of these dealershipsgame-changing solution for the sourcing, stocking and merchandising have even eliminated the expense of dedicated F&I personnel, as they’veof used vehicles. The new solution begins with the recognition that split this responsibility between sales consultants and the few is a giant voting machine. Millions of cars on this site are supervising managers. The results are a lower cost of sales, fastervoted on every day by car shoppers using their mouse. With the ability to transaction time and improved customer and employee satisfaction.tabulate the votes on a weekly basis in each market, the winners can nowbe declared — those cars that are most sought after by used car shoppers. In Key to the transition to little- or no-negotiation sales is an understanding
  8. 8. that documentation must replace negotiation. Systems like vAuto’s in favor of corporate consolidated enterprises. Many of these enterprisesRealDeal provide salespeople and consumers the ability to arrive will continue to be controlled by families, but operated in accordanceat consensus by documenting the prices of all identically equipped with standards of corporate governance and efficient markets.competing vehicles in the market. In such cases, the dealer’s vehicledoes not need to be the lowest price, but rather the dealership only needs conclusionto credibly demonstrate why lower-priced vehicles are not of the same While there continues to be great opportunity in the American automobilevalue. The differences are automatically identified by mileage, equipment, industry, today’s dealers and solution providers must recognize that thecondition, number of previous owners, accident history and the selling emergence from the most recent sales cycle slump comes with a host ofdealer’s service and warranties. The result of using RealDeal is that new realities and challenges. The mission of AutoTrader, vAuto and itsboth salespeople and shoppers derive satisfaction while the dealership growing collection of subsidiaries is to anticipate and meet the needs ofmaintains the gross profit that it anticipated when the vehicle was priced. dealers in both the present and future. The mantra within the AutoTrader,In fact, most dealerships today using the RealDeal system are negotiating vAuto and other subsidiary companies is to place the dealer’s interestsless than $200 per vehicle from their original asking price. first and create value for the company by anticipating and fulfilling dealer’s needs.Another opportunity for competitive advantage is a restructuring ofthe dealership facility. Today, vehicle shopping occurs more in the Since the AutoTrader acquisition six months ago, I’ve been inspired byvirtual than physical realm. Large, expensive, high-profile facilities the aggressiveness, intelligence and competency of the managementare luxuries that most dealerships can no longer afford. Dealerships team. I’m also impressed by the genuine dedication of the field team toof the future should be located in desirable and accessible commercial serve the interests of dealers and transform their roles into ones of trustedareas, but not at the proverbial corner of Main and Grand. These new advisors. While there is still much work to be done, I am part of a teamdealerships should be positioned on one-and-a-half acre plots and be built that is positioned to be an industry leader of marketing, merchandisingvertically. The ground floor should be a modern corporate-compliant and sales solutions. With strategic vision, professional management andshowroom with an open-air parking structure above. Such structures financial strength, I am confident that our mission will be fulfilled. Asare low cost, relatively maintenance free and, with proper lighting, can said by Charles Darwin, “the future belongs not to the strongest, nor theaccommodate customer parking as well as new and used car display. smartest, but the ones most ready to adapt.”Similarly, it is not economically efficient to perform mechanical repairson the most expensive real estate in the community. Service and parts Dale Pollak is the founder of vAuto and a best-selling author.need to be located off-site in lower-cost commercial or industrial parks. He can be contacted at 866.274.1226, or by e-mailThese locations need only be accessible, safe and clean. Perhaps like- at dealerships will ultimately create service center parks as theirpredecessors did decades earlier with their sales facilities.Because it’s difficult for dealers to extricate themselves from present landand buildings, this transition will require cooperation and partnershipamong the dealer, their OEM and municipality; all three are keystakeholders in the dealership’s continued viability.the New breed of buyersAnother new reality facing dealers and one that also supports the physicalrestructuring of the dealership is the fact that Gen Y buyers prefer lesshuman interaction in the car-buying process. With shrinking marginsand technological advances, progressive dealers are beginning to investin systems to facilitate true e-commerce automotive sales transactions.Today, buyers can already research vehicles online, find them in dealer’sinventory, get a price, dispose of the trade in and arrange financingwithout ever visiting a dealership. Meeting the sales-process desires of theGen Y buyers while reducing selling costs through the use of technologyis, therefore, inevitable.the New breed of DealersScale and centralization of operations will also become a priorityfor profitability in the years to come. The fact is that one CFO, oneoperations manager and one used car director can and should performmanagement oversight across multiple locations. Shrinking marginsand higher costs make it increasingly difficult to support profitabilitywith a self-contained operation under one roof. Such advantages willbecome available to organizations that scale locally and/or regionallyas opposed to those with a national footprint but without geographicconcentration.Further, single log-on technology systems will be used to facilitatemission-critical functions across the enterprise. It will no longer becost effective or operationally efficient to support separate systemsat multiple locations. CRM, desking, new and used vehicleinventory management and similar systems must be standardizedacross all locations. Future dealerships will be more like salesoutlets rather than self-contained dealership operations.The landscape of family-owned single dealerships will dissipate
  9. 9. ScottJoseph sales & training solution what woulD happeN iF you prioritizeD your aDvertiSiNg DollarS oN leaDS that are eaSieSt to cloSe?There are a lot of options when choosing how Are you better off investing into third-party sure these types of leads are handled correctly?to invest your advertising budget. Normally, leads that are distributed to dealers all overyou may think of dividing your budget town, or investing in pull-ahead programs Perhaps the most amazing benefit to this typeacross channels such as TV, Internet, radio, right out of your own customer database? If of innovation is what can be done throughnewspaper, direct mail, e-mail, social media, your goal is to sell more vehicles, what is the the Service Department. Imagine these sameetc. Why not look at it a different way? Why easiest way to get there? Are you going to have calculations being run every business day withnot put the priority on attracting leads that you a higher closing percentage with a third-party your dealership’s new service appointments,have the highest probability to close? In other lead or a previous customer who can actually thereby matching your appointment customerswords, what if you divided your advertising upgrade his or her vehicle for no money down to vehicles currently in your inventory.budget based on referrals, previous customers and actually lower his or her payment?and conquest (new) business? If you prioritized Today, the tools to sell a vehicle have neveryour ad spend based on the closing percentages With today’s innovations, dealers have more been more innovative. Are you prioritizingof these segments, how would your advertising tools at their disposal than ever before. Like your advertising dollars in systems andbudget look different? anything, you’re only going to get what you processes that create the type of lead you have put into a program. With used cars in demand, a better chance of actually closing?There are multiple channels to target each of how important is it for you to acquire morethese segments. With referrals and previous trade-ins from your previous customers? How would I prioritize a budget? I wouldcustomers you can use e-mail, direct mail, prioritize these segments in this order (ofthe telephone, social media and texting, and Imagine marrying your dealership’s customer course only you can choose which programsyou can combine these with micro-sites. With database and vehicle inventory with current and channels work best per segment for yourconquest or new business, you have options manufacturer incentives and the specific profit store and personnel):such as third-party leads, TV, radio, newspaper, level you would like to achieve. Then complex 1. Referrals (you must have a good referralInternet, direct mail and e-mail (assuming your algorithms generate a list, pairing customers program and process)prospects have opted in). So, out of all these with the vehicles in inventory that they are 2. Previous customer offers (both sales andopportunities, which will give you the greatest eligible to trade into for lower payments. Using service)return on your investment? the Black Book value of the customer’s current 3. Conquest vehicle and his or her current payment andLast month, I wrote an article on setting up a financing information, the customer is matched I look forward to hearing your thoughts.referral process. Without question, referrals with a new or upgraded vehicle with no cashwill give you the greatest return, but you can’t down and often a lower monthly payment. Issurvive on referrals alone. So, based on your this lead easier to close compared to a third- Scott Joseph is the president of J&Ladvertising budget, where do you invest most party lead? How much do you invest in a Marketing, Inc. He can be contacted atof your money, and is it prioritized based on program like this compared to third-party leads? 888.835.1689, or by e-mail atwhat gives you the greatest return? How much do you work with your staff to make
  10. 10. More Visibility. More Clicks. More Sales.Increase your visibility with effective Pay-Per-Clickcampaigns by optimizing your exposure to onlinecar shoppers. Our Search and Analytics teamtakes a personalized approach to developing yourcampaigns producing more clicks and traffic toyour website…all designed to bring you more learn more, Call today at877-834-2030You can also scan the QR code below, or visit usdirectly at with us:
  11. 11. MarkSpringer marketing solution you’re builDiNg eQuity with Social aND reputatioN maNagemeNt...areN’t you?Trying to find time to get the important things to your business and look for creative ways to technology and Website vendors are buildingdone along with selling cars and making a tie your audience to your brand and showroom applications designed to help dealers effectivelyliving is hard enough. For today’s dealership floor, such as having your used car manager and proactively manage social and onlinepersonnel, adding social and reputation tweet about a hot trade in you just appraised. reputation. You can, however, manage this viamanagement to the daily work plan seems free apps on your smart phone, or with freeludicrous. Who has time for that? The result is more business now. More browser plug-ins or for free in the back end importantly, it cultivates more followers, fans of these social sites. Most important, theseThis article is for those who are trying to find and engagement, equaling more social activity. applications may not answer the big questionsanswers to those big questions surrounding asked earlier in this and reputation management: “How can reputation managementbeing proactive with social and reputation There are a number of techniques for managing Our advice to dealers reading this and lookingmanagement actually result in a better bottom your dealership’s reputation online. Examples to answer those questions is to seek out anline? ” and “If I invest the time, effort and include monitoring popular forums or blogs application that does indeed allow you toresources to manage my online reputation and related to your brand or dealership name, more effectively and proactively manage bothsocial assets, how can I actually build tangible subscribing to RSS feeds that funnel up-to-the- social and online reputation, but one that alsoequity in my business?” minute information via e-mail or a Web browser is architected in a way that delivers equity and tracking your brand or dealership’s “buzz” that you can actually see and results that areThere are a few obvious intangibles. Being online with technology such as Google Alerts. tangible. Find a SRMS (social and reputationcourteous and responsive is good. Being positive management system) that harnesses your effortsand talking up your brand and your dealership is By far, the method of reputation management and hard work, and delivers that content directlysmart. But aren’t these things we do naturally as that is given the most credence, and the one we to search results in the form of indexed pages insalespeople when the opportunity arises? I am will pay close attention to, are online reviews. a slew of geo- and brand-search markets.not talking about these obvious intangibles. I am As you know, Google has changed the way ourreferring to tangibles that result in more sales, potential clients enter our digital dealerships by Imagine you are a Lexington, Kentucky Fordhigher profits and repeat customers. I want to providing an additional layer of consideration dealer. A local consumer searches for a Fordoffer a few tips on how to turn your social and for the consumer prior to the click through. F-150 near Lexington, Kentucky, and Google’sreputation management into tangible equity for With a tug on the subconscious of the consumer, first page is saturated with positive reviewsyour dealership. Google now displays those little yellow stars or Facebook posts left by your dealership’s as a snap shot of your reputation right next to loyal customers — and you have 237 reviewsWhile reading this, remember a couple the link to your Website in search results. Most averaging 4.7 of those little yellow stars at theimportant things: dealers are now scrambling to address this new same time. Wouldn’t that be great?• Everything you do online should be centered reality with internal procedures to solicit new around SEO. and consistent positive reviews from the happy bottom line• With SEO, original content is king. customers hoping to offset and strengthen If your social and reputation management their mediocre averages brought down by the investment does not yield tangible equity, it maySocial management previously buried reviews from upset customers. be time to adjust some priorities. Get engaged,If you do not already have them, get your be proactive and make certain you are notdealership clean, professional Twitter and If you are not taking this action, do it now. over-paying for SRMS applications that deliverFacebook business pages created. Promote them Compiling positive reviews at every turn. Offer zero equity for their investment. In today’s caraggressively. Run promotions to increase your discounts and promotions in exchange for business, it’s all about finding efficient, revenue-fans and followers every chance you get. Do reviews for your dealership. Do it with urgency. positive ways to increase the bottom line.this first and do it right away (Sounds obviousright? Stay with me here because we are setting Seo If I can help you by answering questions orthe table for the tangible equity part). The importance of all of this is the content, providing additional information on how to which you can leverage for high-powered SEO. turn your dealership’s social and reputationHere is the hard part with social: You actually If a consumer writes a 200- to 500-word review management efforts into tangible equity, pleasehave to be social. or post about your dealership, the brand you contact me with the information below. sell or the specific model they purchased, good Mark Springer is the president and COODownload some apps on your smartphone. Set or bad, isn’t that 200 to 500 words of keyword- of BluSolutions Dealer Websites &some alerts. Get engaged socially. And yes, dense content served up on a platter for you? Automotive SEO. He can be contactedanswer every question, reply to every comment, at 866.835.0921, or by e-mail atand get involved in every conversation relevant Here’s the tangible equity part: Some automotive
  12. 12. SkipMurphy marketing solution the power iS Simple: the Next Direction in Digital marketing One thing most used vehicle and Internet through the online vehicle merchandising and Internet managers the ability to update vehicle managers don’t want or need in their lives sales processes. inventory descriptions and prices any time of is complication. The industry has equipped the day or night — across most of the online dealers with all kinds of technologies designed Not only is all this effort time consuming for sites in which you list inventory — so they can to make these managers’ lives easier, but has already-busy Internet managers and staff, be sure to have the freshest, most appealing that been the true outcome? but the effort often results in less-than-ideal online inventory possible. online vehicle presentations prone to listing For example, the industry has given them tools and pricing confusion, out-of-date listings and killer apps to Sell more cars of all kinds to help them merchandise vehicles prices and other errors. Seamless integration of your key digital online and respond to Internet leads originating marketing components — your Website, CRM from those online showrooms. As useful as If you want to sell more cars on-line, your and online inventory management software — these technologies can be, they can require online listings must be compelling, current and means comprehensive digital marketing results more staff effort than should be necessary. consistently merchandised across all online from one source. sites in which you list inventory, especially In fact, dealing with various systems for listing the dealership Website — potentially the In addition, other exciting online marketing and managing online inventory, comparing dealership’s most powerful inventory sales tool. apps will make it a cinch for dealers to online prices with competitors’ and driving build powerful and affordable online selling shoppers to the dealership Website inventory Furthermore, all this activity must be as juggernauts. Some of these exciting apps pages — the most “ready to buy” end of the automated and hands-off as possible so staff include those that deliver: sales funnel — can be frustrating. can concentrate on closing leads — not on merchandising inventory. Improved lead processing: Leads from It can be frustrating because orchestrating all third-party sites, craigslist and the dealership these disconnected processes requires work. Most online buyers visit a dealership Website Website will now flow directly into the CRM, when they’re close to making a final vehicle It requires staff to log into each system and so leads don’t drop through the cracks and and dealership decision. Nothing will send then flip from one screen to the other to move so you then convert more of your digital them scurrying marketing investment into vehicle sales. off your Website faster than Website Improved vehicle listings: Solutions that help inventory that’s you create and manage the most compelling Introducing – Your Buyers. presented, described and comprehensive vehicle inventory listings and/or priced and descriptions on the Internet. differently from IMN Spotlight™ reports enable you to create the other listing Improved vehicle merchandising: Enriched lists of your most engaged subscribers sites where your online content to attract more eyeballs and sell and target those ready to buy dealership also lists your listings. These tools include human voice- from your dealership. inventory. over video, ad writer and custom comment Ready to sell? generators, YouTube and craigslist easy listing a Digital leap tools and direct-to-auction (OpenLane and Forward Smart Auction) tools. Apps are currently being developed in Improved dynamic content: New tools will the marketplace, upload “live” walk-around videos to YouTube however, that will and to the dealership’s inventory pages, as well soon make possible as to sites like AutoTrader, and many multiple, real-time other sites. daily data extraction, compilation Improved social media tools: Jumpstart and and distribution ensure ongoing involvement in your Facebook from your dealer and Twitter efforts. Drive customers in for sales, for life. management system to your dealership’s These are exciting times in auto retail digital Visit Website inventory, marketing. The “power of simple” — integrated key online car- CRM, Web and inventory management — is shopping sites and simplifying how easy it is to use and benefit Innovative Enewsletter Solutions the resulting leads from modern online inventory sales and | 1-800-818-4071 right into your management tools, while improving how dealers CRM. capture, merchandise and sell vehicles online. This new integration Skip Murphy is sales director with Trinity Suite. technology will He can be contacted at 866.295.9491, or by give used car and e-mail at 18 autosuccessonline.comspotlight-ad-4.375x5-FINAL.indd 1 2/25/2011 9:13:45 AM
  14. 14. TracyMyers marketing solution harNeSSiNg the power oF perSoNality For your braNDLast month, I shared with you that the fastest, advice. So, you’ve got to let them in. old, but I actually started to live my dreambest and easiest way of creating a successful, pretty quickly. When I was eight, my brotherhighly profitable business or career in the And yes, that does mean you need to show and I got a couple of the neighborhood kidsautomotive industry was to position yourself as them your quirks and idiosyncrasies. together to put on a play in my backyard. Wea celebrity expert. practiced every day for two weeks after school. Now, there may be things you don’t want toOver the next few issues, I’m going to share get into — such as politics and religion — but I made posters by hand advertising thethe key steps and strategies you need to follow you should be aware that the more polarizing play — remember, this was before PCs, andin order to build a powerful celebrity expert you are, the more magnetic you will become to there was no Kinko’s. We made copies usingbrand. If you follow these steps, you’ll stand those who are like you. carbon paper and put them in the neighbors’out way ahead of your competition. mailboxes. polarizing for SuccessHowever, in this section, I want to share one The more you let people know who you really We didn’t charge admission, but I did passsecret that will take you to a completely new are, the more they’ll either see themselves in the plate. We may not have had an audiencelevel. That secret is the power of your own you or they’ll see they’re not like you. of thousands, but I did manage to get $55 inpersonality. donations —that’s not too bad when you’re So, it’s also true that the more polarizing you only eight.Overcoming the dull, corporate approach are, the more you’ll push some people away. Butevery day in my work, I meet people who have the benefit of that is that the people who identify I gave my two friends and my brother $5 each,amazing personalities. Then I go and check out with you will be even more attracted to you. which left me a hefty profit of $40.their blogs, their articles, videos and books —any of the ways they represent themselves in You can probably think of personalities right So, I was lucky enough to learn three verytheir business world. I often discover that they now — whether in business or in entertainment important lessons early on in life:are totally flat and stale — they have a dull, — that you cannot stand. You just can’t figure • I loved being on a stage in front of people.corporate feeling. out how they have such a big following. Well, I loved the applause, the accolades and the it’s because of this rule. There are people who celebrity! (The money wasn’t bad either!)I have to tell you that if you truly want to be feel like them, and the more polarizing theythe celebrity expert in your market, you have are, the more they’re drawn to them. • Marketing something — in fact, anything —to do the exact opposite. This dull, corporate came naturally to me.approach is not what your clients and prospects I’m going to show you exactly how to positionwant. They want to know who you really are. yourself so that the right potential customers • If you were creative and didn’t mind a littleThe fact is that we connect best with people we are attracted to you. But let me start by sharing hard work, you didn’t have to spend a lot ofcan relate to; who are like us in some way — a little about me and how I started my journey. money marketing to get great results.whether it’s the way they think, their lifestyle,their age, their background...whatever. my celebrity expert I’ve learned lots of valuable lessons that I’m branding Story - part 1 going to share with you over the next fewSo, if you want to build your celebrity expert My story dates back more than 82 years — and issues, plus, next month, I’ll teach you thebrand, your expertise has to align with your no, I’m not that old! That’s when my great- secrets of matching your expertise to yourpersonality and who you’re trying to connect grandfather opened the first Frank Myers store. perfect market.with. This may seem scary at first, but you And, to most people, it seemed obvious that Ihave to let people in on who you truly are. would follow in the family footsteps.You’ve probably heard it said that success is However, I had other plans. I wanted no part10 percent what you know and 90 percent the of the car business. I wanted to be in therest. I’m not sure if these numbers are correct, entertainment industry. From the age of five or Tracy Myers, C.M.D. is a noted small business marketing and branding solutionsbut I am sure the message is spot-on. In short, six, I only wanted to be a rock star, radio DJ, specialist, best-selling author, speaker, carpeople have to know you before they’ll listen or an actor. dealership owner and entrepreneur. He canto you. If they don’t know who you are, then be contacted at 866.860.0029, or by e-mail atthey don’t know if they should take your I guess that’s not too unusual for a five-year-