Congrats to the AutoSuccess Best of the Best Companies NADA 2007                                                          ...
MARCH MADNESS                      We’re slashing prices on all of the          stop                  top events in the na...
The Buyer Interview                                                                                                       ...
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sts     fos     ls    ms     sf    fis                                                                            DavidThom...
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SUMMIT VI                                               BEST PRACTICES                                                    ...
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sts    fos    ls    ms     sf   fis                                                                           ChaseFraser  ...
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AutoSuccess addresses the specific, researched needs of new car and light truck dealerships by providing entrepreneurial, cutting-edge, solution-based editorials to increase dealership profits and reduce expenses

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

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autosuccessMar07

  1. 1. Congrats to the AutoSuccess Best of the Best Companies NADA 2007 March
  2. 2. MARCH MADNESS We’re slashing prices on all of the stop top events in the nation during the month of March! Now is the time to give Turn-Key Events a try and enjoy huge results. Enjoy a supersale without the staff. NO TEAMS, NO COMMISSIONS.JUST HUNDREDS OF QUALITY UPS. NEW WATCH THE NCAA TOURNAMENT ON A CUSTOMER BRAND NEW 42” PLASMA. BONUS YOURS FREE WITH SELECT EVENTS! USPS APPROVED BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU® AA RATING The Driving Force BehindC a ll N o w ! Automotive Advertising866-665-5502 www.tkevents.com Copyright © 2007 Turn-Key Events and it’s licensors.
  3. 3. The Buyer Interview 8 TomHopkins The Golden Prospect How to Identify the Prospects That Can and Will Buy Sooner Than Later 10 BrianTracy Improving Your Closing Ratio 11 DavidThomas Behind Every Great Product - A Great Partnership How Cobalt’s Scott Mathews and John Holt Harnessed the Power of Internet Search Marketing for Dealers 12 BrianAnkney Developing High-Quality Employee Communications Tools: An Overview 14 HeatherConary Does Your Brand Image Resemble a 1970’s Multi-Plaid Leisure Suit 18 AllenCheek How to Retain Customers 19 ChaseFraser How to Generate $25,000 to $1,500,000 20 SteveLaPenta 12 of Customer Labor and Parts Sales Fire Your Advertising Agency 22 MarkTewart Make a Plan to Build Customers for Life 26 PaulLong ‘Breaking the Rules:’ To Serve is to Lead 27 JesseBiter Trigger Enthusiasm for Every Prospect 28 DebbieAllen BDC - Hiring and Keeping the Right People 30 SamanthaShaw SEM Strategies to Deliver Consumers to Your Door 32 DavidReeve Eight Keys to Handling Trade-Ins 34 JeffMorrill Do It Right From the Beginning 35 EricMélon Start With a Solid Impression: The Handshake, Defined 36 DeliaPassi The Magnificent Game of Skill 40 MichaelYork Advice From the Strongest Closer in the Store 42 TonyDupaquier May I Wash Your Feet 43 SeanWolfington How We Generated 14,792 Internet Leads Using Landing Pages and Microsites 44 RalphPaglia Patrick Luck, Editor & Publisher Brian Ankney, Sales-improvement Strategist luck43@sellingsuccessonline.com super6@sellingsuccessonline.com Susan Givens, Vice President Brian Balash, Sales-improvement Strategist sgivens1@sellingsuccessonline.com bb11@sellingsuccessonline.com 3411 Pinnacle Gardens Drive Thomas Williams, Creative Director Toni Stephens, Sales-improvement Strategist Louisville, Kentucky 40245 design@sellingsuccessonline.com tstephens@sellingsuccessonline.com Dave Davis, Creative Strategist & Editor Cori Frye, Sales-improvement Strategist toll free: 877.818.6620 ddavis@sellingsuccessonline.com cfrye@sellingsuccessonline.com facsimile: 502.588.3170 web: www.SellingSuccessOnline.com helping to promote... Proverbs 12:24 - Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and never succeed. God is the source of all supplyAutoSuccess Magazine is published monthly at 3411 Pinnacle Gardens Drive, Louisville, Kentucky, 40245; 502.588.3155, fax 502.588.3170. Direct all subscription and customer service inquiries to 877.818.6620 or info@autosuccessonline.com. Subscription rate is $75 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 thismagazine 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 inwhole 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 thatnames be removed by calling 877.818.6620. Printed in the USA. Postmaster: Send address changes to AutoSuccess Magazine, 3411 Pinnacle Gardens Drive, Louisville, Kentucky 40245.
  4. 4. sts fos ls ms sf fis TomHopkins sales and training solution The Buyer Interview The phrase “buyer you’ll want to be certain to cover safety ask them this one, but it’s one you need to interview” may features, or suggest the optional DVD answer on your own. I’ve always taught not be one you’ve players. that you gain a closing instinct by closing heard, but it’s one I • Who will make the final buying too soon, too often. Always work towards strongly recommend decision? There’s nothing more the close and always be willing to close any you understand. disappointing than going through your time, any place. This could be in a conferenceConducting an effective buyer interview is whole presentation and getting to the room, in your office, on the lot or during thesimilar to what a good journalist does when point where you ask for their final test drive. Don’t miss out on the opportunityinterviewing someone for an article. You ask decision, and they say, “Everything by not being ready and willing to closequestions that get them talking about their is great. Let me go talk to my wife/ when you see that they’re ready to make thesituations, their needs, their desires and their husband/dad/mom, etc.” Are you decision.concerns. In other words, you get them to tell willing to have someone else presentyou what they want to own. your vehicle to the decision-makers? Where? Certainly not. They aren’t as familiar • Where will they use it? Help them seeIt will also help you realize those situations with it as you are and couldn’t handle themselves driving to work, taking thewhere what the buyer is telling you they any objections and questions that kids to practice or taking a road tripwant, but it may not be what they truly need. would lead to the close. Always make in the vehicle. Developing this senseFor example, I know of a situation where sure you give your presentation to the of ownership in your prospect movesa man went to a dealership to get a new actual decision-makers. them closer to choosing the rightminivan. He told the sales person he just vehicle for their needs.wanted to replace his old one. After asking a What?few of the questions you’ll learn about here, • What are their motivations for getting a Why?the sales person realized that this man’s needs new vehicle? Is the current one broken • Why should they own this vehiclehad changed since purchasing the minivan. down? Has their lifestyle situation now? It’s your job to create a sense ofHis children were older now, and they had changed? urgency if they don’t already have one.taken up some outdoor activities that would • What will it do for them? Are they They deserve to be driving the rightbe better suited to owning an SUV. When the seeking a status vehicle with all the vehicle for their needs today, don’tsales person repeated back to the client what bells and whistles? Or, something they?he was hearing him say about his needs the simple and durable for their work or • Why are they thinking about it? If theyclient realized that he was right. He didn’t recreation needs? These questions want to think over the decision, askreally need another minivan. He needed are essential because you don’t want them what aspects are holding themsomething different. He purchased the SUV. to emphasize a point that they are back from making a decision today. uninterested in or have had a bad pastSo, what are the typical interview questions? experience with. The vehicle they’re How?The same ones our teachers taught us to use interested in might be available in four- • How can they finance it?in elementary school: Who, What, When, wheel drive. You may think that’s great • How does it fit into their lifestyle? TheWhere, Why and How. It’s truly that simple. because you spend your free time out value of getting them talking aboutIn fact, most strategies for effectively in the wilderness, but these folks may their lives is incredible. They will oftencommunicating with clients are. It’s just a never leave the city. talk themselves into ownership withmatter of using them. you simply acting as their guide. When? By now, you should be getting the picture ofUsing the standard interview style, here are • When will they need it? Is there how the interview will go. Be careful to comesome keys for developing effective questions. urgency for owning a new vehicle? If across as an adviser or automobile counselor.These questions will get the answers you their existing vehicle is in disrepair, Don’t grill them with all of these questions.need in order to help clients make vehicle they are likely to be in a hurry. That’s Simply weave them into your conversations.ownership questions that are truly good for good for you. If there’s no urgency, thethem. sale may not happen today and you’ll Special free offer for AutoSuccess readers: have to serve their needs differently. get a free “Checklist for Building Trust onWho? • When is the timing right? Perhaps an Initial Contact”. Call or e-mail me at the • Who will be the primary driver? That they’re waiting for their tax return. address below. person is typically the true decision- Maybe the vehicle is a gift for a child maker when it comes to ownership. graduating this spring or going off to World-renowned master sales trainer Tom Also, their input as to style, color and college in the fall. Hopkins is the chairman of Tom Hopkins options is critical. International. He can be contacted at • Who else will be in the vehicle often? Another important when question is: When 866.347.6148, or by e-mail at If there are young children involved, do you go for the close? You don’t, of course, thopkins@autosuccessonline.com. 8 www.sellingsuccessonline.com
  5. 5. sts fos ls ms sf fis BrianTracy sales and training solution The Golden Prospect How to Identify the Prospects That Can and Will Buy Sooner Than Later Some prospects are your product or service enables him to take though their prices were slightly higher, the better than others. In advantage of immediately. The more urgent young sales man gained a first-rate customer fact, some prospects the need or more pressing the demand, the who not only bought large quantities from are wonderful to deal lower will be the customers price sensitivity him but who opened doors for him to other with while others are or concern about the smaller details of the people who also became customers. a complete waste of purchase. The more prospects you can findyour time. Your starting point in spending that have an obvious need for what you are Now, here are two things you can domore time with better prospects is for you to selling, the more and faster sales you will immediately to put these ideas into action:define clearly for yourself the attributes of an make.excellent prospect. Then your job is to find as First, ask lots of questions with a newmany of them as possible. For example, imagine a company is in the prospect to find out how important your middle of its busiest season when a critical product or service can be to his or her lifeThere is one special quality possessed by an machine breaks down and cannot be repaired. or business.excellent prospect. One of the most valuable This company is a prime prospect for thethings you can do in your initial conversations person and company who can sell and deliver Second, keep in touch with prospects that canwith the prospect is to ask the kind of this type of machine rapidly. most benefit from what you sell and continuequestions that enable you to determine your reminding them that you want to do businessprospect’s quality ranking on a scale from 1 Not long ago, a young sales man selling with them.to 10, with one being low and 10 being high. construction materials lost a major order to a Never give up. more aggressive supplier. But exactly whenA good prospect has a pressing need for the supplies were required, in the middle of theexactly the product or service that you are construction job, the supplier’s workers went Brian Tracy is the chairman and CEOselling. He or she has a problem for which on strike. The customer was desperate and of Brian Tracy International. He can beyour product or service is an excellent called the young man to see if his company contacted at 866.300.9881, or by e-mail atsolution. Or he or she has an opportunity that could deliver quickly. They could, and even btracy@autosuccessonline.com. 10 www.sellingsuccessonline.com
  6. 6. sts fos ls ms sf fis DavidThomas sales and training solution Improving Your Closing Ratio When do you start to in your home. How do you greet your friends close your customer? when they arrive at your home? A. During the Customers shouldn’t have to and don’t want test drive. to walk through a crowd of sales people B. During the walk- in a “smoke fest” on the front porch of the around. dealership. If you must smoke, do it away from C. Standing on the showroom floor. customer areas. I remind you of this because D. When your customer starts to leave. you would be amazed at the impact that your E. When your boss tells you. initial greeting has on the closing process. F. None of the above. Customers decide in a matter of seconds if they like you and if they are inclined to buy you are their cureThe correct answer is F. You start closing a from you. What does all this have to do withdeal in the first three seconds after you greet the closing? It’s simple. If they don’t likea new customer at the dealership. No, you’re you, they probably won’t buy from you, ornot asking for the sale in the first few seconds, they will be much more difficult to close. Putbut you are starting to build a relationship more energy into the first few minutes whenand initiate rapport. People want to (and will) you meet, and it will make your test drive andbuy from someone they like. I didn’t sell over product presentation much more effective.3,000 cars in 3000 days because I was the Now that you have fine-tuned your greeting,best sales person. I sold a lot of cars because work on your closing. Turn what they fear mostI made extreme efforts to be likable and to be into the most enjoyable part of the experience.easy to do business with. I always promised How do you do this in an efficient, profitable,my customer an enjoyable buying experience, timely and friendly manner?and I lived up to the task. I started doing everydeal with personality, not with discounting or Your goals are to maintain gross, minimizesales tricks. If you do this, you will close more any negotiating and motivate an immediatedeals and make more money. buying decision.Here Are Some Suggested Tips: • Be aware of the first impression that you Focus on a relaxing, friendly closing make. You either relax your customer or environment where the customer truly scare them immediately. perceives a win-win outcome. This can be • Smile – even when you’re on the phone. the easiest part of selling a vehicle. A typical closing could sound like this: These kids and A smile disarms and puts everyone at Sales Associate: (Manufacturer’s name) has millions more ease. • Be enthusiastic. It’s contagious. If built an enjoyable car to drive. How was your Mary Tyler Moore International Chairman have Juvenile you’re excited, they’re excited. test drive? Customer: Very nice. Diabetes, a disease that • Be knowledgeable. Know the answers to the questions your customer asks. Sales Associate: Our service department has threatens their lives every day. • Be user friendly. It should be easy and made it easy to service your new car. You met None of them can outgrow it. pleasurable to do business with you. your personal advisor, correct? • Dress professionally. Your appearance But we’re closer than ever to will effect their overall impression of Customer: Yes, he is great. a cure. Please, help us make you and your product. Sales Associate: This (vehicle make and • Make eye contact. Show your customer model) is enjoyable to drive. We’ve made it life-saving research possible. the respect that they deserve. enjoyable to service as well. My mission is to Call 1.800.533.CURE or visit • Be fun and exciting. People like to laugh make it enjoyable to buy. I pledge to keep it www.jdrf.org. and be entertained. simple and straightforward. • Be sure to connect. People know if you Customer: Fantastic. really care about their needs. • Ask questions with positive answers If you truly strive to produce an enjoyable - How are you? Isn’t it a beautiful buying experience for your customers, be a morning? good communicator, be straightforward and • Nod your head while you listen. Instill keep it simple, you will be surprised how positive feelings. many customers just say “yes.”Some dealerships do an outstanding job of David Thomas is the owner of Subarumaking customers (your guests) feel at home of Dallas. He can be contacted atand comfortable in the first few seconds of 866.429.6803, or by e-mail attheir arrival. Make everyone feel like a guest dthomas@autosuccessonline.com.march 2007 11
  7. 7. fs feature solution Mathews: At one end, there’s the underlying Mathews: I’d say it’s been very positive. sites, we were able to position ourselves An Interview by - BrianAnkney technology, which we have to scale as more Dealers LOVE using an advertising service when the need for services – especially Behind Every Great Product and more dealers sign up. One of the key that helps them actually measure and track Internet search marketing services – arose. technological features of PowerSearch is their ROI. For the first time ever, with That need is going to continue to grow. So the way it automatically optimizes keyword Internet search marketing, they’re able to Cobalt will be doing more and more as a - A Great Partnership bidding based on known results. As our identify the true value of their spending service provider to help our dealer customers customer base grows, so does our store of AND understand how it’s actually helping get maximum value out of their online data, and we have to feed what we learn them to sell vehicles. The great thing about marketing initiatives – whether it’s attracting back into the system so that its efficiency Internet search is that you can track the new customers or doing a better job at keeping How Cobalt’s Scott Mathews and John Holt Harnessed the improves over time. consumer – from the moment they type in the customers they’ve already won. For the keyword, then click on the dealer’s ad, example, acquiring Dealix gave us the ability Power of Internet Search Marketing for Dealers At the opposite end, there’s the customer- then as they peruse the dealer Web site, and to provide dealers with new-vehicle leads facing sales team. How do we convey the true / or pick up the phone to call the dealer. It’s from leading third-party Web sites. This past value of this service to customers, without very exciting. summer, Dealix re-launched UsedCars.com,Every month brings another dozen or so would be a substantial need for Internet Holt: Let me offer some more background. overwhelming them with the complexity the premiere portal on the Internet for pre-articles focused on the growth of online marketing expertise in all the major In the fall of 2004, we held a retreat and of our technology? How do we prepare our AutoSuccess: What’s next for PowerSearch owned vehicles. We also acquired an owneradvertising and the struggles of newspapers. consumer verticals, including automotive. spent the last day talking about Internet sales people to sell it successfully? In a way, Complete? marketing solution, OnStation, which helpsJohn Holt co-founded The Cobalt Group search. The “big idea” was “measurability” PowerSearch Complete had to be sold to dealers retain customers through innovativein anticipation of these headlines – well Obviously, it was impossible to build – the fact that Internet search advertising our own sales people before we could start Mathews: We’re paying close attention direct-mail and e-mail marketing services.over a decade ago. Today, Cobalt is widely PowerSearch in 1999, or 2001, or even 2003, was going to offer, for the first time ever, a selling it to our customers. to dealer feedback. Because our Accountacknowledged as the leading provider of but all along we were positioning ourselves way for dealers to calculate the real value Advocates are in frequent contact with our As “online marketing” continues to morphonline marketing products and services - as the leading provider of automotive Web of their advertising investment. In the fall Finally, in between, there’s the pure customers, we’re able to incorporate their and change, Cobalt will be at the forefront ofto the automotive industry. Credit this to sites - so we would have the expertise and of 2005, after a lot of research and technical operational side. PowerSearch Complete changes and improve the service as we go that innovation. But, at the end of the day, it’sHolt’s vision, yes, but there are other factors knowledge to assist dealers in transforming work, and after initiating relationships with doesn’t come in a box like a piece of along. And the service itself provides for lots all about helping dealers create and convertat work, as we learned when we spoke to their advertising spending from newspapers all the major search engines, we began a software; it’s a service. For it to work, it of flexibility. For example, dealers can choose more opportunities, so that they can sell moreHolt and Scott Mathews, head of Cobalt’s and other traditional media to the online pilot program involving approximately a has to be backed by a team of very smart, to allocate their ad spend across the month: vehicles and services more efficiently.Applications Division. arena. During the past two years, vision and dozen dealerships. This led to a number of very customer-focused people. This poses all while we collaborate, they’re the ones who tactical opportunity came together. refinements, and we launched the product at sorts of staffing and management challenges can decide the monthly spend, and they can AutoSuccess: Gentlemen, thanks for sittingAutoSuccess: When a company’s idea NADA in February of 2006. – and it’s another area where scalability is put a cap based time of the month, or based down and talking about your partnershipabout the future turns out to be right, there’s AutoSuccess: Who do you rely on to make key. At the pilot stage, you have a handful on success with certain results (e.g., click- and how it’s benefited Cobalt and youra tendency in the business media to focus it all happen when the time is right? And that’s when Scott stepped in. It was his of true experts who can service every aspect through rates, or leads generated). Dealers customers.on the prediction and overlook the work it job to professionalize and operationalize the of a search campaign. When you quickly can choose to focus on certain keywordsactually took to bring the vision to reality. Holt: I couldn’t have done it without Scott effort. Scott is the most talented operating go from a dozen customers to hundreds and and / or makes and models – and they canJust how much of Cobalt’s success results Mathews. Back in 2001, we knew for certain executive I’ve encountered in the 30 years then thousands, you must have a plan for continue to tweak their requirements, as they Scott Mathews is the executive vicefrom accurate vision? that, in order to succeed, we had to develop I’ve been working. He has a special gift distributing the responsibilities and required analyze their success. president and chief operating officer of the operational efficiency and scalability that for keeping “big idea” people from falling skills that match the reality of who’s available The Cobalt Group. He can be contactedHolt: We founded the company in 1995, often eludes young companies. We set out to on their faces. But he does more than take at 866.469.9613, or by e-mail at for hire. AutoSuccess: Sounds good. What else is smathews@autosuccessonline.com.based on the belief that newspaper find a guy like Scott, who has done far more what he’s given and keep it alive; he’s able Cobalt cooking up?advertising budgets would move to the than simply run a tight ship. He has been to get at the heart of a strategy and motivate AutoSuccess: John, is it hard for you to give John Holt is the president and CEO ofInternet. We were wrong about the timing, instrumental in transforming Cobalt into the troops to enhance that vision, so that the your babies to Scott when they’re ready to Holt: Cobalt is always evaluating ways The Cobalt Group. He can be contacted atbut 100 percent correct about the predicted a company that backs up its big ideas with product improves over time. go out in the world? to improve our products and services for 866.467.4116, or by e-mail attransformation – one that has now gained successful products and services – products dealers. As a provider of automotive Web jholt@autosuccessonline.com.momentum. Of course we didn’t know how and services that provide enormous value to Mathews: One of things I realized while Holt: The more I can give to Scott, the bettercompanies like Yahoo! and Google would thousands of dealers across the country. interviewing for this job, and one of the Cobalt will perform. One of the ways I’vedrive this revolution - Google didn’t even things that made me decide to accept it, was grown as a CEO is to realize the importanceexist at that time, and Yahoo! was still an AutoSuccess: Scott, how did you come to that Cobalt is a company that’s 100 percent of surrounding myself with people who are Dealers LOVE using aninfant. Anticipating the future is one thing, play the special role that John is describing? committed to its customers’ success. What smarter and more capable than I am. Havingbut it’s impossible to predict the exact I’m good at, and what I really love doing, really talented folks who complement my advertising service thatroad you’ll drive down to achieve yourgoal. We’re here and on our feet because Mathews: The first big project we worked on was upgrading to a more modern, more is managing the complex set of interactions that, when perfectly balanced, become own strengths is a key part of Cobalt’s helps them actually success, and it’s what makes my partnershipour vision was right and because we were robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) something greater than the sum of their parts. with Scott so strong. Here at Cobalt, we measure and trackflexible about exploiting opportunities as system. Typically, this is an expensive, That’s what makes PowerSearch a great talk a lot about “servant leadership.” Ifthey materialized. lengthy project that ends in disaster. Getting product. It leverages dealers’ investments you view your job primarily as serving the their ROI. For the first it done on time and under budget was in their Web site, OEM advertising, and people around you and helping them to be time ever, with InternetAutoSuccess: It was a year ago that you probably what made us see that John and dealership advertising. Internally, we refer successful, you will create extraordinarylaunched PowerSearch Complete, a service I had complementary skills and a common to PowerSearch Complete as leveraging value and inspire significant commitment search marketing,that creates and manages organic and paid interest in teamwork. the “Power of Three” – optimizing organicInternet search marketing for dealers. How search, paid search, and the Web site. And and loyalty. If you’re lucky enough to they’re able to identify have a partner like Scott, who’s got broadwas the development of PowerSearch AutoSuccess: What role did you play in the it’s true – one plus one plus one equates to shoulders and lots of stamina, you can even the true value ofComplete an example of merging vision development of PowerSearch Complete? orders of magnitude of ROI for the dealer. have breakfast with your kids every once inwith execution? It’s pretty cool to launch a product like a while – something that was unimaginable their spending AND Mathews: I was on the team that provided PowerSearch Complete when you know it’s for me during Cobalt’s early years. understand how it’sHolt: Well, first off, no one predicted that oversight on the development phase of the going to provide such large and measurablethe surge in Internet advertising would project, which means I was involved every benefits to our customers. AutoSuccess: So now that PowerSearch actually helping themtake this specific (and incredibly complex) couple of weeks or so. It didn’t become a has been launched and is out in the market,form called “Internet search.” But what managerial responsibility for me until we AutoSuccess: Operationally, what’s required what are you discovering? What are dealers to sell vehicles.we did know back then was that there launched it as a commercial product. to make PowerSearch Complete a success? telling you? 12 www.sellingsuccessonline.com 13
  8. 8. sts fos ls ms sf fis HeatherConary marketing solution Developing High-Quality Employee Communications Tools: An Overview In the Business involved with the company, leading to Once you’ve addressed your capabilities Keynote speech at the increased satisfaction. and requirements, it is important to develop 2007 National Auto • Having tools and information available a plan. Determine what tools you will be Dealers Convention at their fingertips allows employees to providing to employees, how often you will last month, Jack find answers and help faster, ramping be providing them and how you will provide Welch, former CEO of up productivity. them.General Electric, stated that the No. 1 asset • Human Resources and top managementof a business is its employees. can prevent having to answer many If you are planning to do this in-house, you similar questions, leaving them time will want to involve your IT/TechnologyHow do you keep employees aware of to deal with the big issues. Manager, as well as Human Resources andcompany news and programs, as well as any • Tools are available after hours, so the top management team. It may be helpfulbenefits information and employee policies? employees can get questions answered, to involve department managers, as well as aOne of the easiest ways is to develop high- even when top management and handful of employees to serve as an advisoryquality employee communications tools. Human Resources aren’t available. panel.What Are Employee Who Should Develop the Employee If you are planning to contract with a third-Communications Tools? Communications Tools? party provider, it is helpful to have yourEmployee communications tools are Ideally, someone in the top management team requirements and needs documented, so youmarketing materials developed to maintain should have supervision over the development can determine quickly and efficiently whata consistent method of contact between of the employee communications tools. tools to begin developing.a company and its employees. Thesematerials are not for public audiences, such All departments, managers and, in some What Are the Most Important Things toas customers, but rather for employees and cases, employees, should have the ability to Remember About Getting Started Withtheir families. contribute information and ideas for stories Employee Communications Tools? and news, as well. This ensures that the The most important keys to developingWhat Are Some Examples of Employee entire company is represented well, and also successful employee communications toolsCommunications Tools? increases cross-departmental familiarity. are simplicity and consistency. • A dedicated employee Web site • Print newsletters If there is nobody within the company who It is much easier to start with a simple plan • E-mail newsletters can take on the duties of producing and and scale up later than it is to start large and • Presentations maintaining employee communications have to scale back. • Promotional items tools, contracting to a third-party provider is • Interior signage an easy alternative. These types of companies Being consistent in your provision of these • Pamphlets and brochures will work with your business to develop and tools is another key to success. If employees • Employee handbooks and policy manage tools for your employees, according begin to use and expect these tools to be manuals to your standards. available to them, it is highly important to be consistent and provide them as expected.What Are the Benefits of Having High- How Do I Get Started With EmployeeQuality Employee Communications Communications Tools? Upcoming: Over the next several issues,Tools? The easiest way to get started is to ask we will examine several different types of • Employees and their families are kept yourself some questions about your business employee communications tools, their pros informed of company news, policy and your employees, such as: and cons and some suggestions for their changes, and benefit information. development. • Information distribution is • How large is my business? standardized for all employees across • How many employees (both part- all departments, ensuring that nobody time and full-time) do I need to misses an important announcement. communicate with? Heather Conary is a co-owner of ID • Providing information is easier and • What resources (human, capital, Communications, a division of Illumination quicker for top management, Human technological) do I have available Design. She can be contacted at Resources and department managers. to begin providing employee 866.386.4914, or by e-mail at • Employees feel as though they’re communications tools? hconary@autosuccessonline.com. 14 www.sellingsuccessonline.com
  9. 9. SUMMIT VI BEST PRACTICES 866.432.8718 Experience real Case Studies that can help your dealership LEADERSHIP • INTERNET • CRM • MARKETING • BDC • SALES immediately. Tuesday and Wednesday, Some of the Featured Speakers include: May 15th and 16th 2007, at the Venetian Resort and Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Howard Polirer David Thomas Director of Industry Relations, AutoTrader.com Owner, Subaru of Dallas Dealers & Managers Only! You will learn: You will learn: - Power prospecting; when, where and Two days of intense - How to turn “leads” into “prospects” who how buy from you - How to generate more referrals from learning. Dramatically - How to identify Internet prospects your sale force improve your results. - How to measure your online success - How to maximize results from your “Virtual Showroom” Limited Seats, Register Today! After taking what I learned at the Best Practices Summit back to my Case studies from dealership, our back-end gross has more than doubled, we are cutting down our third-party leads (and thus our spending) and are selling about Dale Pollak Tony Rimas successful dealerships 20 more cars a month. It all has to do with the process that we use and Co-founder and Chairman, vAuto Red McCombs Automotive Group across the country. with the way that we respond to customers, things I learned at the Best Practices Summit. Case Study: Expand your Internet Increase pre-owned sales with pricing Department through creative optimization presentation, superior staffing, and Classroom style seating - Jason Reed, Internet Director, Miller Toyota/Scion of Anaheim You will learn: tactical process only $569. Special You will learn: - How to connect the Internet and pre- - Inventory pricing and aggregation Venetian room rates for owned department - How to use three killer strategies to techniques - Select vendors and staff for low volume $249 per night, while achieve pre-owned Internet sales or high volume dealership locations they last. success - Increase ROI through inventory selection and lead allocation - Maximize Web site conversion Speakers and times subject to change Eric Stuttz Bryan Hopkins Vice President of Sales, BZ Results BDC/Internet Director, Hare Auto Group You will learn: You will learn: - How to find your best Internet process, - The “5 Key Metrics” that the best and create a process-driven team dealerships in America focus on - Daily, weekly, and monthly goals - Use these “5 Key Metrics” to increase - How to increase lead conversion rates their overall results within sales and from your Web site service - How to maintain a customer data base - How to decrease your advertising - How using customer data bases can expenses and cost per sale create current and future leads - How to customize your Web site to your market conditionsCall today to register. Seating is limited. toll free: 866.432.8718 web: www.autosuccessonline.com
  10. 10. sts fos ls ms sf fis AllenCheek marketing solution Does Your Brand Image Resemble a 1970’s Multi-Plaid Leisure Suit Your company brand It is mission critical to evaluate and develop in companies that have multiple offices reflects how each a brand that can withstand the test of time, that have de-centralized their marketing customer and prospect since there are inherent costs associated campaigns. Have corporate protocols and sees your company, with developing and maintaining a powerful quality control standards to ensure that product and/or brand image. Think for a moment what it everything leaving the design board meets services. It is critical would take, along with the level of effort certain standards.to have a polished, organized and consistent necessary, to implement a total brand make-look. For instance, if you assembled samples over. Close your eyes and imagine theof your current advertising, sales literature, following headline: Home Depot Inc.’s new The foundation for brand awareness is anproduct packaging, company newsletters, chairman and chief executive, Frank Blake, ongoing campaign. Keep a constant eye tobusiness cards, logos, stationery, signage, decides that the company should change its detail. Brand awareness is paramount and thebrochures, Web site, vehicle decoration and identity, and decides his first declaration is to benefits are lasting. A successful campaignuniforms, what would it look like? Is there a change the color orange to match his favorite can increase brand awareness, recognitionharmonized appearance or does it resemble color, indigo blue. How many cans of Home and ultimately brand recall. Not everyonean old multi-plaid leisure suit? Depot paint in their warehouse would it take needs your product or services today, but to compensate for a directional brand change they may need it tomorrow. When they do,It’s important in branding to have an of this magnitude? Just imagine the costs you need Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA)organized and consistent brand look that is alone to replace those orange aprons for the so they make contact directly with you.woven throughout the fabric of the entire 355,000 associates.organization – from the materials (i.e.,collaterals) to hardware (i.e., vehicles) to Although a branding or re-brandingthe people (i.e., uniforms). Probably no one awareness campaign may be simple for start- Allen Cheek is the president ofdoes this better than UPS or Home Depot. I up or small businesses, it does become more CLARITY OMS. He can be contacted atthink every item they own is dipped in either complex over time and when many hands 866.611.0998, or by e-mail atbrown or orange, respectively. are at work. There could also be challenges acheek@autosuccessonline.com. CREDIT REPORTS LEAD SOLUTIONS COMPLIANCE TOOLS ID VERIFICATION Lead Prospector Solutions Know ‘em. Reach ‘em. Close ‘em. First Advantage CREDCO, the leading provider of specialized credit reports, offers Lead Prospector Solutions – a powerful suite of lead generation tools. From highly-motivated bankruptcy and subprime leads, to targeted demographic and Internet leads, we have a leads solution for every prospect so you can close more deals! 866.745.2485 CREDCOServices.com Lead Prospector TARGETED of our leads Direct Mail bought cars within 90 days* *Source: Survey conducted by R. L. Polk & Co. from June 2004 to June 2005. Individual results may vary. 18 www.sellingsuccessonline.com
  11. 11. sts fos ls ms sf fis ChaseFraser marketing solution How to Retain Customers As you examine your in the shoes of the customer standing on role as a leader within the showroom floor or service drive. What your dealership, it’s would you want if you were standing there? sometimes easy to How do you think your spouse would want forget who pays the to be treated? Ask your sales people and bills - your existing service writers that question this week, andcustomers. A lot of dealerships focus see what type of answers you get. A few ofmore on acquiring new customers than on them just might change their attitudes aboutretaining their existing customer base. Both how to approach the next customer.approaches are important, but if customeracquisition and retention are given equal Touch the Customerfocus, a dealer can realistically expect to One of the most effective strategies for adouble the profitability over time. leader is to spend time with their customers a few times each week. Sounds simple, butWe took data from 800 different dealerships, most leaders don’t do it. If it takes an hour,and found some interesting statistics: it’s the most important hour you’ll spend that day. Randomly pull a Service and SalesIf a Dealer Sells 100 Cars in a Month: customer from the DMS, and have lunch • 28 of those people will be “loyal” with them. Ask what they liked about their service customers, returning regularly experience. What did they dislike? How • 32 of those people will never set foot could you improve? You’ll undoubtedly hear in the dealership again some things that make you cringe, but that’s • 40 of those people will visit the service part of the process. Just remember to be department 1 or 2 times, and then never sincere, and you’ll get sincere feedback. return Understand Your Customer DataWhere do you think your dealership falls? You can discover your strengths (andThink about this - what if you retained an weaknesses) by reviewing trends in yourextra five percent of those customers? That DMS data. Here are a few of my personaldoesn’t seem too difficult based on the favorites: Over the first three months ofabove statistics. That five percent represents ownership, what percentage of customersan increase of 60 percent to your bottom made their first service appointment atline. Here are four high-level suggestions to the dealership? How do you improve thatincrease customer retention to record-levels: percentage? What percent of customers haven’t been into service in more than 10Get Out of Your Ivory Tower months, and how should you market toSorry to be so direct, but it’s true. I find them?that most leaders of organizations makedecisions about their customers from “on That’s where we come back to retention, andhigh,” without getting much input from who keeps the lights on in your dealership.others. I have certainly been guilty of this. The customer. Your customer. You’ve gotI’ve found that when I make decisions based them; now you have to keep them.on what I think a customer wants, but don’tspend time with others who may improve So, get input from others on decisions thatupon my decision, the decision usually is not affect your customers, put yourself in thea successful one. Get with your management shoes of the customer, spend in-depth timeteam, your sales people or other dealers to with your customers and become a customercompare notes and discuss your ideas. You’ll data expert. If you do these four things, you’llusually find the answers you are looking for. see happy customers and higher profits.Peter Drucker said it best - “The customerrarely buys what the business thinks it sells As Henry Ford said, “It is not the employerthem.” Simple concept, but powerful. What who pays the wages. Employers only handledo your customers think you’re selling? the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”Empathize With Your CustomerWe are all consumers, but I find there isa tremendous disconnect between what Chase Fraser is the CEO ofwe want in our personal buying process, MarketView 360. He can be contacted atand what we actually give our customers. 866.667.9659, or by e-mail atEmpathy is a profound tool. Put yourself cfraser@autosuccessonline.com.march 2007 19
  12. 12. sts fos ls ms sf fis SteveLaPenta fixed operations solution How to Generate $25,000 to $1,500,000 of Customer Labor and Parts Sales In today’s industry, build trust and confidence with each customer. copy of the inspection report findings many customers Most vehicle inspections reports have color and thank them for their business. choose to have routine coded, green, yellow and red check-off boxes maintenance and next to each vehicle inspection item. What Do Customers Want and Expect? repairs performed Red Box – indicate that the customer requires When surveyed, customers indicated when at quick-lube immediate attention on this item(s). visiting an automobile dealership serviceoutlets, independent franchises and mass Yellow Box – indicate that the customer will department, these are the most important itemsmerchandisers, resulting in only 20 percent require future attention on this item(s). that they expect in the order of priority:of customers returning back to their selling Green Box – indicate that everything is okay 1. Relationship with the service advisor atdealership service department for routine with this item(s). the dealershipmaintenance or repairs. 2. Early warning of vehicle maintenance The marketing strategy behind this approach and repair needsService departments have a tremendous is that everyone in the world understands 3. Choices on oil changes, brakes andfinancial opportunity to generate more the simplicity of what green, yellow and red tiresmaintenance and repair revenue if they stands for. The vehicle inspection report will 4. One-stop shopping that meets all thecommit themselves to maintaining a do some of the selling and closing work for customer needs in a timely mannerconsistent “vehicle inspection” process. the service advisor, if applied correctly. 5. Repairs explained in simple languageUncovering this financial opportunity will 6. Competitively priced and value addedrequire making adjustments to your current The Following Steps are Required for servicesdealership business model plan and involves a Successful and Profitable Vehicle 7. Concern for their safety and of theirtaking employees out of their comfort zone. Inspection Process: family • Service advisors need to introduce,Implementing a “free vehicle inspection” display and offer the “free” mutli-point How will vehicle inspections impact myprocess has many benefits, one that will vehicle inspection report with every service and parts department bottom line?immediately bring customer labor and customer towards the end of the customerparts profits to a new level while increasing consultation process. Obtaining upfront Gross Profit Potentialcustomer retention. approvals from your customers will Vehicle inspections will create an average make them feel more comfortable when of $125 to $375 in additional customer payBusiness Growth Strategy Plan for reviewing the findings with them. parts and labor sales.Service-Parts and Sales Department • Service advisors need to apply the • Increase customer visits to the service inspection process on the customer’s Here is an Example: department. first visit to the service department, 1. Service department writes 60 repair • Increase customer parts and labor sales which is typically at the 3,000- to 5,000- orders per day. and gross profits. mile interval range. This will allow 2. 60 customer vehicles receive a free • Obtain 100 percent Fixed Operations the customer to receive “good news,” inspection, but only 50 percent of Absorption – covers overall dealership meaning a lot of green boxes checked your customers approve the needed expenses. off on the inspection report for at least maintenance or repairs (average - $125) • Sales department can apply aggressive the first three to four service visits. The uncovered by the technician during the pricing strategies and be more objective is to have the service advisor free inspection process. competitive in their marketplace. build trust and confidence on each visit, 3. 30 repair orders X $125 equals • Increase showroom traffic and sell more so when it comes time for any additional additional $3,750 customer parts and vehicles. work to be sold, selling and closing labor sales. skills become much easier. 4. 240 work days X $3,750 equals anOil and Filter Service Pricing • Technicians need to perform a additional $900,000 in annual parts andThis is the most important maintenance item in bumper-to-bumper, under-hood and labor sales.today’s industry and will keep your customers under-vehicle inspection process that 5. Gross Profit Margin Average of 40coming back to visit the service department. It includes removal of all four wheels. percent equals $360,000 in annualis vital to maintain a very aggressive pricing The technician must correctly detail service and parts gross profit.strategy for this routine maintenance, while the inspection report and process theremembering this serves only as a “service inspection report to the service advisor. For a free sample of a vehicle inspectionlane traffic builder.” Consider advertising a • The service advisor must display and report and how to present it, send me an e-loss-leader oil change service for as low as present the inspection report findings mail with “inspection report” in the subject.$19.95 on most vehicles. to the customer and let the customer Steve LaPenta is a fixed operations decide what needed services they would consultant and owner of DealerPerform “Free” Vehicle Inspections like to have performed. Automated Systems, Inc. He can beThe vehicle inspection report is a great tool to • Even when a customer declines needed contacted at 866.652.3968, or by e-mail atstart applying with your customers, as it will repairs, provide the customer with a slapenta@autosuccessonline.com. 20 www.sellingsuccessonline.com
  13. 13. sts fos ls ms sf fis MarkTewart Fire Your sales and training solution Advertising Agency There is a startling way expect this to be a magic button to do this acquire new customers as it does to keep the for most dealers to for you. ones you have. It is also the surest and best way double their business to grow your business exponentially while – fire their advertising You must first decide what results you want also insulating your company from so-called agencies. Dealerships and work backwards to design the steps bad economies, mistakes from manufacturers spend an enormous to accomplish it. Let’s say that you want to and new buyer behaviors and patterns.amount of money on advertising for new reward your customers and create an ongoingcustomers. Unfortunately, often that money personal relationship. Design a whole year’s When you have designed a system that touchesis wasted. The money is wasted because worth of contacts based upon a theme or your customer base a minimum of 48 timesthe agencies are strictly placing ad dollars several themes, offers and added value. a year, you can now begin to work on yourin media and doing production. Often, the mass merchandising. Mass merchandising forad dollars are spent without any knowledge new customer acquisition is also vital to theand use of direct response marketing, and thegame plan that will be used towards keeping Before you health of your company.those customers. spend one dime I would invite you to think first in ways that cost a lot less dollars. Try creating couponBefore you spend one dime on getting new on getting new swaps with other businesses such as drycustomers, try putting a fence around the cleaners, coffee shops, restaurants, carones you’ve got. First define who your active customers, try washes, etc. Try creating alliances with otherand inactive customers are. Your activecustomers bought from you and service with putting a fence companies where you can do a mailing to each other’s businesses that introduces eachyou. Nationwide, these active customers onlyaccount for an average of 19 percent of your around the ones other as a trusted source and offers a large inducement to take action.total customer base. you’ve got. Think lead generation in your mass mediaNext, identify who your inactive customers advertising at first. Create a “Free Specialare and begin a campaign to make them Use multiple media to deliver the message, Report: Seven Things Everyone Shouldactive. You may send a cycle of three letters such as postcards, letters, dimensional mail, Know Before They Buy a Vehicle.” Createwith the same theme. Maybe the first letter is e-mail, e-mail newsletters, voice broadcasts, an e-mail, fax or toll-free telephone line auto-something to the effect of “We Miss You,” the free recorded messages, special reports, responder system to deliver this report tosecond might be “You Must Have Not Gotten coupons and others. All the media should people who request this from your ads. ThisOur First Letter,” the third would be “We Are have what my colleague Nido Quebin calls will create a two-stage lead generation sourceSending Out a Search Party.” “Intentional Congruence.” Each choice of that asks potential customers to raise their media should feed the other and connect the hand and show interest instead of asking themEach letter would contain a significant reward dots between each other. Each department to make an instant buying decision.and bonus if they become your customer should intentionally feed the other.again. It’s not enough to sell them every four If you use an advertising agency and they areor six years; we have to create a continual Many dealerships contain four or five different not talking to you about your overall marketingrelationship with contact that encourages and businesses within a business, such as new plan that contains elements for your existingcreates servicing and purchasing other goods vehicle sales, used vehicle sales, F&I, service, customers, lead generation and how to createand services. parts, and body shop. Each department in your continuity programs, you should fire them and dealership should have its own marketing get someone who has the correct knowledgeDon’t spend one more penny toward new messages, tailored to fit its unique services. of marketing. They should create a plan thatcustomer acquisition until you have designed Try breaking your database down into active, creates a healthy and wealthy business foran ongoing continuity program to keep them inactive, different departments, different make you now and in the future.active by rewarding them. You can keep those buyers, different model buyers, different yearcustomers by actively designing an ongoing purchases and more. Segment your database Mark Tewart is the president of Tewartautomated contact and reward system. Don’t and talk to them differently. Enterprises. He can be contacted atbuy a Business Development System or a 866.429.6844, or by e-mail atCustomer Relationship Manager System and It costs seven times the amount of money to mtewart@autosuccessonline.com. 22 www.sellingsuccessonline.com

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