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Digital Dealer Magazine - April 2009

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Digital Dealer Magazine - April 2009

  1. 1. April 2009 The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers Internet Sales: Why Do I Need to be on Facebook? page 10 Are your Online Vehicles ‘Consumer Optimized’? page 12 Technology VOLKER JAECKEL Trends: Counting your Assets with Technology page 25 e-Commerce Director BDC/CRM: SONS Automotive Group page 22 You Cannot Have Faith and Fear at the Same Time page 26 CIAL FF I O e e ottiiv o v tom alls om a s Autess on ff Auffessiio n no on o Pro org rg o iattiioales P rnlie.e.o a es nlin n oc i so c Sa l N Assernett S.AAISPo Ast erne wA AISPo n t ww . IO IIn w ww PU B L I C AT
  2. 2. Q:60 ©2009 Manheim Inc. All rights reserved. WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU PUT MORE THAN NATIONAL SELLERS IN ONE PLACE? A: EVERY VEHICLE E, YOU CAN IMAGINE, PS. AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Plus 20 more national sellers. Find the world’s largest selection right on your computer at ove.com or call 866.423.5678.
  3. 3. 6TH 1 9- 21, 2009 LAS VEGAS CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION APRIL Attend the 6th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas on April 19-21 FOR A TOTAL COST LESS THAN $999! www.DigitalDealerConference.com Registration, hotel fee at the fabulous Mirage, and airfare* from the airports listed below totals less than $999 with early bird special registration (expires March 20) and booking online now with Southwest Airlines (official un-official airline of Dealer Communications). Arizona San Francisco- $873 San Antonio- $1,003 Phoenix- $899 San Jose- $941 (For Houston and SA, we’ll refund y’all the Tuscon- $899 difference over $999 Colorado when you get to Las Vegas) California Denver- $843 Burbank- $899 Utah LAX- $913 Oregon Salt Lake City- $873 Ontario- $899 Portland- $923 Orange County- $913 Washington Oakland- $941 Texas Seattle- $933 Sacramento- $953 Dallas Love Field- $1,111 San Diego- $899 Houston- $1,007 So what are you waiting for?...Can your dealership afford to not have someone at this event in this economy...for less than $999? For conference info, speakers and agenda, go to www.DigitalDealerConference.com. Register NOW! *all airfares quoted are as of time of printing of this magazine. Hotel rate calculated on two-nights stay, arriving the morning of Sunday the 19th, and departing on Tuesday the 21st. You may miss the Sunday am free "newbie" session and free peer roundtable discussion if you arrive at the hotel after 9:00 am Sunday. Many are flying in Saturday night (Saturday night in Vegas...WOOO HOOO!) Sat. night hotel would only cost $115.
  4. 4. T ABLE OF CONTENTS CIAL FF I O vee oti v mo ti ls uto m na ls uto io na off A fess io o A ss on Profe .o tion Pro .org rg ciatiSales o line e ociatt Sale sPonnlin N Ass orne .AAISP s Astern e w AIS In te ww .A IO In w w w PU B L I C AT The Technology Magazine for Dealers & Managers APRIL 2009 FEATURE MANAGING EDITOR LINDA DI PIETRO Digital Dealer Cover Story ldipietro@Dealer-magazine.com 22 Volker Jaeckel PUBLISHER e-Commerce Director GREG NOONAN 607-264-3359 SONS Automotive Group gnoonan@Dealer-magazine.com ART DIRECTOR COLUMNS JOE BIRCH jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com AAISP Notes 8 Mike Roscoe PRODUCTION MANAGER ELIZABETH BIRCH Internet Sales PRINT PRODUCTION DAVID MANTHEY 10 Why Do I Need to be on Facebook? Volker Jaeckel Phil Sura DESIGN CONSULTING SONS Automotive PUBLICATION DESIGN, INC. Group 12 Are your Online Vehicles ‘Consumer COVER DESIGN JOE BIRCH Optimized’? jbirch@Dealer-magazine.com Pat Ryan, Jr. COVER PHOTOGRAPHY PAUL AMODIO 14 Location, Location, Location CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION Joe Webb RICH JARRETT 314-432-7511 rjarrett@Dealer-magazine.com 16 Be a Great Used Car Retailer NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES Josh Vajda adsales@Dealer-magazine.com 607-264-3359 18 Five Reasons Chat Might Fail at your Dealership Dealer magazine makes every attempt to Todd Smith ensure the accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied herein. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part 20 Using your Web Stats to Enhance your without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. The publisher encourages Marketing Strategy you to submit suggestions. Submitted materials Paige Presley become the property of Horizon Communications, Inc. and will not be returned. Send material for publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor Technology Trends reserves the right to edit material; submission of material constitutes permission to edit and 25 Counting your Assets with Technology publish that material. This publication is Sandi Jerome designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering BDC/CRM legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is 26 You Cannot Have Faith and Fear at the Same Time required, the services of a competent profes- sional person should be sought. From a Chuck Barker Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers. DMS Workshop 30 What is All the Fuss about Microsoft Getting into the Dealership Management System Business? A PUBLICATION OF Jim Skeans DEPARTMENTS 6 Industry & Tech News DD 4 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  5. 5. D IGITAL Dealer INDUSTRY & TECH NEWS Forrest Scott memorial technology and he displayed a passion and normally slow day. Chase’s experience – excitement for it through his final days. and success – with the online event sales scholarship founded by Forrest was born January 3, 1949 in the model helped Manheim develop the tools automotive pioneer Bronx, New York and graduated from West and services that consignors need most to Forrest Scott, 60, of Waxahachie, TX Islip High School in 1967. He married drive online sales. passed away January 13, 2009, after a Cathy (McLeieer) Scott in 1981. Forrest Manheim Mondays connect buyers to courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. and his family lived in western Michigan online inventory from several national He began his career in the automotive until 1991, when they relocated to a sellers on a day when dealers generally industry in 1972 and ran several automobile Detroit suburb in 1997. Forrest and Cathy prefer to stay on their lots. dealerships in New York before relocating to purchased property in Waxahachie and www.jpmorganchase.com Michigan in 1977. Though he left the car made it their permanent home in 2001. www.manheim.com business for a brief period to pursue other When Forrest wasn’t working or traveling interests, the automotive business was in his for business, he enjoyed the peacefulness O blood and in 1987 he was back at the helm and beauty of his “Texas ranch.” of a dealership when he purchased Forrest Forrest was a devoted husband and Scott Ford in Constantine, MI. While living father and will be lovingly remembered by in Constantine, he was president of the Cathy, his wife of 27 years, his children Constantine Rotary Club and served on the Erica and Ryan, and their respective Ford National Dealer Council (1989-1990). fiancees, Steve and Tisha. Forrest will be In 1994 Forrest founded “The remembered with love and affection by his Dynamic Group” (Dynamic Marketing brother Barry and his wife Ruth, his niece Strategies, Inc., and Dynamic Results Marci and her husband Craig, and his Consulting, Inc.). Under his leadership great-nephew Max and great-niece Rose. The Dynamic Group has grown into a At Forrest’s request there was a private nationally recognized company and is the standard of excellence within the auto- family service, with cremation following. It was Forrest’s desire to establish a schol- AutoSoft rolls out its motive and RV industries for marketing, arship fund at Navarro College for GM Sales Workbench consulting and sales training. Over the students who have difficulty financing a integration years, he trained numerous salespeople higher education. Those who desire to DMS provider AutoSoft International across the country, many of whom have make memorial donations in memory of has announced it has begun the roll out of developed into the top salespeople in the Forrest may do so at Navarro College GM Sales Workbench integration to its industry today. Forrest’s family would like Foundation Scholarship Fund, Forrest General Motors dealership customers. to thank those who have shared their Scott Memorial Scholarship, 3200 West GM Sales Workbench integration gives stories of success with Forrest in his final 7th Avenue, Corsicana, TX 75110. GM dealers the ability to access a variety days. Forrest was also known to many in of GM sales tools, including the ability to the automotive world as “Mr. BDC,” configure and build vehicles directly writing about business development O through GM’s GlobalConnect portal, centers for several years in Dealer maga- which replaced GM DealerConnect. zine and was a pioneer for this very AutoSoft is one of two GM-endorsed successful business concept in the auto- Integrated Dealer Management System motive dealership world. (IDMS) suppliers to provide GM Sales Forrest always loved a challenge and he Workbench integration at this time. It never saw a problem that couldn’t be makes building a precise quote for the solved. He recognized that one can’t customer seamless: always change the cards that are dealt, but • Pulls real-time GM incentive, rebate he always looked to maximize the hand he and discount card pricing from had. Forrest believed in building “teams” Chase Auto Finance, GlobalConnect wherever he went and he never asked Manheim teamwork • Pulls accessories additions and their anyone to do anything that he wasn’t drives online sales surge prices willing to do himself. For those who came Chase Auto Finance sold 10 times as • Lets dealers input trade value dollars in contact with Forrest, his energy and many vehicles on Manheim’s OVE.com as well as customer information passion always rubbed off. People who in January than it did a year earlier. The • Pushes all pricing, trade and met him quickly recognized that integrity sales for just the first month of 2009 customer information into AutoSoft’s and reputation were at the top of his play equaled 20 percent of Chase’s 2008 Finance Assistant F&I module list. Forrest also was always looking OVE.com sales volume for all of 2008. • The dealership adds APR, terms, toward the future and what was on the Chase was a key factor in helping taxes and fees and prints a complete next horizon. In recent years, Forrest had Manheim develop Manheim Mondays, a buyers order. expanded his consulting and training weekly online blockbuster sales event www.autosoft-asi.com interests into the world of GPS tracking intended to give buyers more options on a systems. He was energized by this new O DD 6 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  6. 6. D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES Mike Roscoe 6TH CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION APRIL 19-21, 2009 • LAS VEGAS Here’s what your dealer/GM is reading to take advantage of every opportunity in the Editor’s Note in Dealer magazine to increase sales and cut expenses. Now this month. I thought I would use this more than ever you need to learn how space to share it with you...because after to take advantage of these opportuni- he reads it, now he might be willing to do ties. Now more than ever, you need some of the things you’ve been suggesting to...send someone to the Digital Dealer that need to happen in your department. Conference & Exposition. “I found a way to get through this “A Sunday, a Monday and a down time and not only stay afloat, Tuesday...that’s all it takes to get your but stay out in front and be positioned dealership up to speed and doing what for growth...if and when things ever the best of the best are doing. Sixty turn around. sessions/workshops, an exhibit hall with 60 exhibitors, and 300-plus deal- “The first thing I did was accept the But if you stopped here, it’s not ership attendees to network and share possibility that things might get so bad enough. You need to create a new busi- ideas with. There is nothing that you my business might go under. Don’t get ness model for your business. A could do for your dealership(s) during me wrong...I have always been an business model that will allow you to those three days that will do as much eternal optimist. Hear me out...when survive during these tumultuous times for making your business model fit the you see what I’m doing, you’ll see it’s far and take advantage of the inevitable current market than having someone from throwing in the towel. upswing. And sometimes this means... attend the 6th Digital Dealer spending money. Conference & Exposition at the “Once I accepted the possibility of Mirage, Las Vegas, April 19-21. going under...I stopped worrying about “We are implementing a new maga- it. Once I conceded that possibility...I zine publishing software program that “Check out the web site listed was liberated. Once I embraced that will make my entire operation run below...or have one of your Internet- possibility...I could focus on re-invent- more efficiently. The goal is to have savvy salespeople/managers check it ing my business to fit the current sales spend less time on non-sales tasks out and tell you what they think. market conditions. It’s a mental thing, and duties and leave them more time Once you see all we have to offer and I’ve found it to be very powerful for selling. It will also allow me better (including rooms at the Mirage for because worrying about it doesn’t do a control and oversight of sales and $115/night), I’m sure you’ll at least damn bit of good and only gets in the accounting functions. In other words, I strongly consider it.” way of doing all you can to make it am spending money on something that through. will give me better ROI. “That’s the first step. The next step “You can do the same...using tech- was what you’ve already done...cut all nology and the Internet to maximize Michael Roscoe expenses that are not absolutely neces- sales and make your operation more Editor-in-Chief sary and reduce all expenses that are. efficient. Now more than ever you need www.DigitalDealerConference.com DD 8 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  7. 7. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Phil Sura Why Do I Need to be on Facebook? I will start with a confession. I didn’t in 2008 with 3,800 new unit sales, they lished, you can then add “fan pages” for open up a Facebook account until I were number one in sales with four individual customers. This is the power started working on this article. My different models. Mike has a strong associated with working within the two teens have had Facebook pages for background with technology and he has social sites. The average person has at two years but the only time spent on been involved with a number of start-up least five to ten friends that they connect their sites was to make certain that tech companies tied to the automotive you to. If you have one site with 50 fans there wasn’t anything inappropriate. space. He runs the technology initiatives and each fan is only connected to five Social networking, blogs and sites like for the Sage Automotive Group. Mike other friends, you have the ability to Facebook are exploding in popularity. gave me the history of how his opera- reach 250 people. According to a recent article in Time tion got started with social networking. From this beginning, Mike’s team magazine, Facebook is adding 150,000 Mike would periodically witness one of started to work with other social sites new users daily (three times faster than including MySpace, Twitter, Friend the growth with My Space). Facebook Feed and Gmail contact. Mike found a was founded by Mark Zuckenberg in “Social sites are a great portal managed by ilist.com that will his Harvard dorm room three years automatically link to each of these sites. ago. He is 23 years old and recently and inexpensive way to Mike demonstrated how easy it is to rejected a $1 billion offer from Yahoo. navigate with the ilist tool. He created a According to Compete’s blog, connect with your campaign for a Versa ($2,000 rebate Facebook is now the number one social and 2.0 APR) and added a file photo of network in the U.S., with 68.8 million customer base.” the Versa. Within four minutes, the unique visitors and nearly 1.2 billion campaign was created and with one —Phil Sura click, it was sent to 5,000 people and visits in January 2009. MySpace had 58.6 million unique visitors and 810.2 their friends. Mike received two million visits the same month. the employees, James, visiting his responses within ten minutes. Here are the top social networking Facebook site during work hours. After After each corporate social site was sites in the country: several conversations with James, Mike built, Mike started to encourage his January monthly visits (in millions) concluded that if he could leverage salespeople to open and link their 1. Facebook 1,191.4 Facebook into a business opportunity, personal pages to the dealership 2. MySpace 810.2 he would create a win-win. Of the 1,000 Facebook site. It is an easy way to 3. Twitter 54.2 employees, James became the Facebook connect with your customers and their 4. Fixster 53.4 champion for the entire operation. friends. It doesn’t cost anything and the 5. Linkedin 42.7 Facebook was created to be a social site investment of time is minimal. Mike According to eMarketer Daily that included “faces of people”. The believes that the future of social initial intent was not to include “pictures networking is with the mobile phone So we know that people are going to of a dealership”. According to Mr. Sage, markets. Mike’s logic is that the kids these sites. How do you leverage these Sage Nissan was the first automotive communicate primarily by phone. He sites? To answer this, I connected with dealership to register with Facebook. It is working with Gumiyo to prepare his key members of three operations: became a bit of a back and forth battle. team for the applications associated Galpin Ford, Sage Automotive Group “We would register and have a picture of with the mobile phone market. and SONS Auto Group. the dealership up and Facebook would Another leader nationally is located Mike Sage is the owner of six dealer- take it down”, stated Mr. Sage. The deal- 45 minutes from Universal City ships in the Los Angeles area, including ership didn’t fit the model that Facebook Nissan. Galpin Ford is the number one Universal City Nissan. Two of Mike’s was looking for. This went back and volume Ford, Jaguar and Lincoln brothers are also involved in this auto forth until the Facebook team agreed to Mercury dealer in the world. They also group. Universal City Nissan is celebrat- provide Mike with a page designed for have the largest Mazda dealership in the ing its 40th year in business and they the business community. Since this time, western states and they earned dealer of have been a sales leader for Nissan for a number of other companies have the year honors from Saturn. I visited the past 35 years. In addition to being added their operation to approved areas the largest volume dealer in the country of Facebook. Once you have a site estab- continued on P-DD34 DD 10 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  8. 8. Be ready for the Red Flag Rules to be instituted on May 1, 2009. The final rules and guidelines of the Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act were issued by several federal regulatory agencies in November 2007. Dealers are required to have a program in place by May 1, 2009. Attend the Dealer magazine Red Flag Rules WebSeminar to make sure your operation is in compliance. Gil Van Over will host this informative and critical session. You will: Gil Van Over, a long-time editorial contributor to Dealer magazine and the retail automobile business’ foremost authority on this subject, will share his experience, knowledge and expertise to help you get compliant and stay compliant. www.gvo3.com Two sessions to choose from: April 16, 2009 10:00 am (EST) or 2:00 pm (EST) Go to: www.DealerWebSeminar.com for complete details and registration
  9. 9. Be ready for the Red Flag Rules to be instituted on May 1, 2009. The final rules and guidelines of the Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act were issued by several federal regulatory agencies in November 2007. Dealers are required to have a program in place by May 1, 2009. Attend the Dealer magazine Red Flag Rules WebSeminar to make sure your operation is in compliance. Gil Van Over will host this informative and critical session. You will: Gil Van Over, a long-time editorial contributor to Dealer magazine and the retail automobile business’ foremost authority on this subject, will share his experience, knowledge and expertise to help you get compliant and stay compliant. www.gvo3.com Two sessions to choose from: April 16, 2009 10:00 am (EST) or 2:00 pm (EST) Go to: www.DealerWebSeminar.com for complete details and registration
  10. 10. Page 11 Red Flag ad coming
  11. 11. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Pat Ryan, Jr. Are your Online Vehicles ‘Consumer Optimized’? If not, a competitor is capturing your customers online I f you ever saw the movie Men in consumers to their web sites. However, 3. Inserting a photo – Vehicle photos Black, then you no doubt remem- the majority has not spent the same were included, but sometimes included ber when Will Smith’s character, effort trying to win the online vehicle only a single, low-quality photo. Agent J, first put on the trademark ad battle for the consumer. By optimiz- black suit and sunglasses and quipped ing an online vehicle ad for the What all this tells us is that the first to Jones’ Agent K, “You know the dif- consumer (consumer optimization), a generation of online vehicle advertising ference between you and me? I make dealer can turn online vehicle ads into a was the equivalent of “showing up.” this look good." powerful funnel that drives traffic to Dealers met the bare minimum of qual- While not likely intentional, in deliv- their stores. ification – posting hundreds and even ering this witty one-liner, Agent J has thousands of vehicle ads online – but encapsulated the fundamentals of good Online vehicle advertising: Then they did nothing to effectively appeal to advertising. (Internet 1.0) consumers and beat the competition. The most essential concept in adver- When the Internet first became tising – the reason why dealers hire prominent, dealers suddenly had the That was then; this is now advertising agencies to create TV, radio option of moving their individual (Internet 2.0) and full-page newspaper ads – is to vehicle advertising beyond the two-inch Today’s consumers have gone from optimize every ad to win over the newspaper classified ad. Dealers began “Internet savvy” to “Internet empow- consumer. This concept of “consumer by transferring their newspaper classi- ered.” In fact, over 80 percent of optimization” of advertising boils down fied ads into online repositories and consumers shop online before ever to the advertiser’s ability to answer two advertising sites such as dealership asso- setting foot in a dealership. And unlike key questions: ciations, third-party classified sites the old days of going from store to 1. What is it about your product that (such as Autotrader.com and Cars.com) store, today the average consumer only is uniquely appealing versus the compe- and OEM-certified sites, as well as visits 1.5 dealerships in person. tition? consumer driven sites such as eBay. In While consumers are doing their part 2. What do you need to do to ensure the first generation, online vehicle ads to stay on top of online vehicles, dealers that your differentiation points typically involved: are earnestly working to make sure that resonate with your target audience? 1. Including a price – In the early those consumers have plenty of ads to Internet era, the question of including a review – posting inventory on five Despite the billions of dollars spent price for a vehicle in the online ad was different web sites and often as many as by the automotive industry each year hotly debated by dealers. However, over 10 or more. Let’s examine a dealer I on advertising and billions more spent time that debate was quieted when recently encountered in Minnesota. on the Internet, this most fundamental consumer behavior demonstrated that The dealer had over 200 pre-owned and profound concept in making without a price on the vehicle ad, vehicles in inventory, posted on 12 advertising effective has yet to make its consumers were far less likely to visit web sites, adding up to over 2,400 way into online vehicle ads. that dealership. individual vehicle ads online. While Why does this matter? Go online to 2. Filling out “seller notes” – Seller the dealer is certainly doing a good job any major advertising web site, such as notes, a concept used a great deal by ensuring that his vehicles are seen in all AutoTrader.com or Cars.com and consumer sellers, offered dealers a the right places, if those ads are not search vehicles. What you will find is chance to highlight the unique selling appealing to the consumers who view the four most common vehicle attrib- points of their vehicle. Because of the them then the dealer becomes vulner- utes listed in the first line of too many time and labor involved in managing a able to competitors who are ready to dealer vehicle ads are “power locks,” large online inventory, this “highlight” capture his customers in an online “power windows,” “power steering” and field was typically populated by dealers battle for attention. “air conditioning” – all features that with vehicle data from a generic VIN Given the changing dynamic of have not been vehicle differentiators for explosion. While this did include a lot both the Internet empowered decades and are not the unique features of data, it tended to bury important consumer and dealer fervor for online that online shoppers look for. features in a mountain of VIN data and vehicle posting, it is more critical than Dealers have long known the value of omitted important data that was not search engine optimization to draw included in the VIN. continued on P-DD32 DD 12 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  12. 12. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Joe Webb Location, Location, Location L ocation is considered king in per or billboard ad, except a digital owner, to post a sign advertising a the world of real estate. If you ad’s effectiveness can be tracked. You location unless the end result drives feel the auto industry is tough, cannot click on a billboard. That someone to see you. try real estate. My wife is a realtor, form of advertising is simply for Dealers must tighten the notches on but unlike others, she is thriving brand/dealer recognition. However, their budgetary belts and realize they because she understands the need to dealers don’t need location/brand cannot be everywhere. Take a close market homes digitally and through recognition unless they are a new look at your digital ads and determine several online portals. (You wonder dealership or have recently relocated. if they are getting the impressions and who gave her those ideas?) In the If you’ve been in the same location the click-throughs for the money. It dealership realm, surprisingly, loca- for 25 years, you don’t need dealer takes a little, simple math. tion is also key. However, It is not For example, at my former dealer- where your dealership is located that ship, we briefly ran skyscraper ads matters most, but the location of running on the web site of a local your digital advertising. radio station. Impressions were enor- Those of you reading Digital Dealer mous, but the click rate was minimal. magazine are already on the path of “…the location of Considering it was not an industry- online profitability. Those of you related site, I shouldn’t have taking workshops, seminars, webinars, your digital ads will expectations that the web visitors and attending conferences are achiev- clicking to the web site were very far ing significant Internet sales. Those of predicate the success down the sales funnel. If you receive you staying abreast of market trends, 100 clicks on your ad and your web new technological solutions, and your of the ad dollars.” site converts, say, 5 percent of every own internal metrics are taking the —Joe Webb visitor to a lead, you can expect to right steps. All dealers have web sites. receive five leads. If your dealership They have their inventory listed has a good closing ratio of your own online. Most are dedicating budgets to web site leads, call it 20 percent, third-party leads, SEO, SEM, and anticipate to realistically sell one car. other digital marketing tactics. These awareness. In today’s market, you Continue to drill. Does your average dealers have taken the next step in need to be present and available to gross profit from one Internet sale becoming more than a dealership with shoppers while they are on the equal the cost of your digital ad on a an Internet department, but an Internet researching, regardless of site? If you aren’t seeing the return on Internet dealer. The problem arises their place in the sales funnel. The investment, rethink the need to be on when dealers are dedicating their primary goal of a digital ad, as we the site. Is it a good location? budgets to online initiatives every- know, is to get the attention of online “Breaking even” doesn’t pay the bills. where. Vendors can provide one good visitors and have them click onto You may want to pack up and set up reason to be advertising on their site, your ad thereby linking them to your your digital shop elsewhere. but online saturation in this market is web site. Obviously, these online ads Many use their gut instincts when an impossibility. can deliver traffic to your site. Much determining where to have the ads Digital display ads are the most like a realtor placing an “Open placed online, while others use logic. common form of online advertising. House” sign at an intersection, point- I contacted my ad exec-extraordinaire You find these as banner ads, ing you in the direction of the home, for my former dealer and asked her skyscraper ads, leaderboards, and the digital ad offers the “driver” the the first step in deciding where to those aggravating pop-up boxes. same opportunity. Those who are place a dealership’s digital advertis- These can contain text, graphic prompted by the sign to visit the ing. Beth Hoover, account manager images, interactive material, or multi- open house/web site would be for Pinnacle Advertising and media rich content. These online ads considered a “click-through.” There is Marketing, said, “Advertising web are very similar to any other newspa- no use for a realtor, or for a dealer banners on specific sites, based on continued on P-DD33 DD 14 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  13. 13. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Josh Vajda Be a Great Used Car Retailer I f you’re like me – and most of our pricing your vehicles competitively urgency only used cars present – that it customers – you probably go with the market, more customers will won’t be around forever. Since most online to research a big-ticket item see your vehicles, click through and customers are typically flexible – nearly before heading out to buy it at your call, e-mail or visit to see them. If you 50 percent buy a vehicle other than the favorite retail store. And I’m guessing insist on being the highest price one they originally requested – be ready you expect that the retailer’s web site online for the majority of your vehi- to offer other options that may fit their will provide you with the information cles, you’ll discourage customers from needs. Don’t take for granted that your you need to be confident in your pur- further shopping. staff knows what to say or how to say it: chase. The best retailers know this is train them, certify them and audit what you’re looking for; they have a them. Take a T.O. on customers you comprehensive product marketing can’t get in. strategy that fulfills your needs online “While it’s part and drives you to their store. Do you Don’t forget about the new car take the same care with your used cars? customer The best used car retailers have of the equation, Nearly 20 percent of customers who strategies that share similar key submit new vehicle leads end up elements: they use online merchandis- having the purchasing a used vehicle. Tie your ing to drive traffic to the store, and they used car selling strategy to your new car have the right people in place to handle lowest price leads. Offering online customers used the traffic when it arrives – whether it’s car options (in addition to new vehicles online, phone, or floor traffic. online doesn’t that match their criteria) that save them money, will help differentiate your Create a content-rich online ‘lot’ guarantee a sale.” dealership from other stores. You can Just like customers in the dealership —Josh Vajda also sell higher-profit used cars to “new expect your used vehicles to be clean car” customers. and presentable, they expect good, clear An effective, comprehensive used car pictures of your vehicles online – and Tell a story strategy will link your online and front- lots of them. Most web sites can now We know that used car buyers love line merchandising and selling efforts. display dozens of photos, so take as hearing the story of the car – why it Keep your inventory in front of as many vehicle photos as you can. Pull was traded in, who owned it, what the many online customers as possible – it’s the vehicle out of line and make it stand car has to offer. It’s no different cheap frontage – and pay attention to out. Take pictures of the interior and online. Take the opportunity to use the same details online as you do on exterior in a clean, presentable, well- the Internet as a virtual salesperson. your front line. lighted area. Good photos give Satisfy the online customer’s craving customers a compelling reason to click for information. Since customers rate Josh Vajda is the director of Inside Sales through, get more information and features and options as most impor- for Auto USA. contact the dealership. A dirty car won’t tant, make sure they are listed. You sell quickly, and a bad picture won’t need to create enough interest so that generate interest and traffic. Go to your the buyer sends a lead, makes a phone web site as a customer. Make sure the call or visits the store. If you wish to discuss this article with inventory looks good, and it’s easy to other dealers, or with the author, find what you want. Be ready to handle the traffic please go to the “Discussion Forums” If you don’t have the right people and at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com Price vehicles competitively processes in place in your store, the and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or While it’s part of the equation, time and money you spend improving e-mail him at jvajda@DigitalDealer- having the lowest price online doesn’t your online presence will be wasted. magazine.com. guarantee a sale. If you focus on When responding to leads, create the DD 16 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  14. 14. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Todd Smith Five Reasons Chat Might Fail at your Dealership T raveling across the United most out of using chat you will need to your staff can direct your shoppers States visiting dealerships has do the same. Yes, five seconds is your through a series of questions and web taught me many lessons about window; any longer and the potential pages, moving the customer through an using chat to engage web site visitors for that individual to abandon the chat online sales process all the while satisfy- and sell more cars. From the dealer- goes up exponentially. Let’s recap; you ing the shopper by giving them ships that do it themselves to have to make sure you are covering snippets of useful information to make dealerships that outsource the whole enough hours during the week to their purchase experience better. operation, I have identified five key actively engage shoppers while also 3. Knowledge is power – The more “must do” things to make chat work making sure you do it at lightning information and data you have readily for you. Chat is not for every dealer- quick speed. The best part about using available to understand the customer’s ship, but for those dealerships that are chat is the ability to see people shop- needs, the better you can address them. looking to build better rapport faster ping your dealership’s web site and Plain and simple. You need access to with online shoppers and engage more insert yourself in their shopping previous chats the visitor might have web site visitors and convert them into process. already had, plus the previous click leads, there is not a tool out there that path to get inside the shopper’s head to is better than chat. I have come to real- anticipate his or her needs more effec- ize chat is like the phone in that it can “Taking your web site tively. Also knowing the approximate add a higher level of sales, service and location of the shopper using GEO-IP support for your dealership, or it can to the next step of can establish if this is a shopper in your ring and ring and ring and produce local market. Make sure your chat poor results. Let’s take some time and interactivity is critical system can deliver this information and go over just how to leverage chat to more at the click of the mouse. To be actively engage your web site visitors to meet the growing successful using chat you need knowl- and, more importantly, turn them into edge. Combining that with action will sales for the dealership. demands of result in more dealership sales from 1. Online and on time – As I speak your web site. with people that don’t seem to be automotive shoppers.” 4. Service and parts matter too – Not getting the most out of using chat, the —Todd Smith all the people that want to chat will first thing that I usually uncover is the result in sales leads. Get used to it; your limited amount of time they spend in dealership doesn’t just sell cars, it serv- front of the computer trying to engage 2. Direction equals success – I have ices them too. Chat can be effective at shoppers. To make this work you will the great privilege to review hundreds, booking online service appointments need to operate at least 60 hours per if not thousand of chats. I can assure and also to dampen heat cases before week. In our experience, 9:00 am to you that you need to direct your shop- they become a fire. Using your dealer- 9:00 pm Monday through Friday is the pers using a chat script no different ship’s web site as not only a sales optimum time since the vast majority than how you manage and direct generation machine but also as a of your dealership’s Internet traffic will customers through a systematic process customer service and support system is occur during this time frame. The for a phone up. When a customer gets critical to building customer rapport. second part in the “online and on time” on a chat and starts asking questions We found it incredibly useful to have piece is that people online are incredi- and you just start answering them, who an online service appointment sched- bly impatient, similar to a small child. is in control? Not you and that’s not the uler tied into your web site. We are able The Internet is a place where 15 position you want to be in, so you must to either walk the customer through the seconds feels like an eternity. If you gain control back by offering informa- process or do it for them while they just don’t believe me, time it for yourself. To tion while asking questions to gather give us the information. It creates a be successful chatting with online shop- the customer’s information. Control on great first impression with your service pers you need to reach them with a chat is one of the most critical parts of department, and that matters in the personalized response in five seconds or making it work at your dealership, competitive business we all operate in. less. This is the benchmark we continu- while ensuring your shopper has a great ously strive to hit, and for you to get the first experience. Chat only works when continued on P-DD32 DD 18 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  15. 15. D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES Paige Presley Using your Web Stats to Enhance your Marketing Strategy D ealer web sites place just directed shoppers to your web site, you should certainly be consistently updat- behind manufacturer web sites might see more responses from one ing all content, you’ll want to pay as the most popular sites for search engine over the others. That’s a special attention to the most popular automotive shoppers to visit on the good sign that you should invest in a areas so car shoppers are seeing the Internet, according to Mintel’s 2008 good pay-per-click (PPC) campaign most up-to-date details about your Automotive Purchase Process report. and strengthen your search engine business and what you have to offer. But do you know what’s driving optimization campaign with that One other source for analyzing your them to your web site? particular engine. site traffic’s effect on your advertising Any good stats report will provide You may also want to look at the budget comes from your lead reports. details about what visitors are doing on other search engines and adjust the When a person submits a lead, you your web site: average time spent on the amount of time and money you should be able to see what that shopper site, average pages viewed per person, spend with them based on the has done on your site: from what cars browser details and so on. But the number of people they’re directing to they looked at in your inventory to how single most important piece of infor- your web site. much time they spent on other pages. mation to grab from this type of report Another extremely important section On top of that, you’ll have contact is where your shoppers were before they of your stats page that deserves more information from your leads. arrived there in the first place. focus is the one that tells you which In addition to using this information to Knowing this key piece of informa- pages on your web site people visited contact potential customers and tell them tion is the important when deciding most frequently and which pages they you have the car they were looking for, where you’ll allocate your advertising spent the most time on. you can also use it to let them know when dollars in the future. This information tells you where to you’ve updated certain parts of your web For example, if you look at the direct your attention when editing and site that might be of interest to them. breakdown of which search engines updating your web site. While you You should always be monitoring the success of your web site by checking its statistics on a consistent basis. When you start the next round of planning your marketing strategy, you’ll have a clear idea of what you should do and where you should focus. So if you haven’t been using those statistics when determining how to market your deal- ership, now’s the time to start. Paige Presley is the marketing analyst/writer for Dealerskins in Nashville, TN. She enjoys mixing her passions for all things technology and for following con- sumer trends by staying involved in market research for the auto industry. If you wish to discuss this article with other dealers, or with the author, please go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com and enter the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail her at ppresley@DigitalDealer- magazine.com. DD 20 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  16. 16. D IGITAL Dealer COVER STORY Volker Jaeckel e-Commerce Director SONS Automotive Group SONS Automotive Group in Atlanta, the gift of seeing opportunity in every Germany with two boxes of books and Georgia, is helmed by the fourth genera- challenge, Jaeckel grabbed the reins of the a suitcase, and our new life began. tion of Nalley men – brothers Clay, Slater, Sons Automotive e-Commerce depart- When I arrived in the states I had a and Street – a family name synonymous ment a little over a year ago, and has been consulting assignment with a German in the state with successful car dealerships. steering the auto group to Internet success company that needed help with their Yet the Nalley name is carried on by every since. Combining consistency, American branch. Then the horrible another dealer group, an irony that helps persistence, and ‘conversation marketing’ tragedy of 9/11 happened, our explain why SONS Auto Group is so with a management style that emphasizes economy took a big hit, and my successful today. process and procedure, Jaeckel is the company could no longer afford to In the 1990s Jim Nalley, family patri- perfect balance of out-of-the-box thinking employ me. Here I was just married, arch, combined his nine car and truck and German ingenuity tempered by with a baby on the way, no American outlets with other like-minded dealer results-driven realism. Read on to learn degree but German BA degrees in groups in a partnership called Asbury. more about how he has helped SONS marketing and business, and with a Asbury inherited the Nalley family name Automotive Group craft a first-class thick German accent. My schooling for business purposes, while father and Internet department. and job history in Germany was in sales sons assumed roles within the new and marketing, so I put all my energy company. When Jim retired as CEO, the How did you get your start in the into marketing myself as my own stage was set for the brothers to break out automotive business, and specifi- brand. My name is unique in that of mid-management and reclaim their cally in automotive e-commerce? many Americans cannot spell or destiny as Atlanta’s first family of cars. That is a many-layered question, and pronounce it, Americans liked and SONS Automotive Group was born. the answer really begins with my wife. commented on my accent; what was The choice to eschew the safety of a big We met over the Internet when I was the best way to capitalize on these char- corporation for the chance to make their living in Germany – where I was born acteristics? Sell German cars. I called a own destiny says a lot about what the and raised – and she was living in local dealership specializing in German brothers value and why they are success- Michigan. I like to say it was my brands and persuaded one that it made ful: independence, an intrepid spirit, destiny to find a career with the sense to have a German native, with a courage, and confidence. Those traits Internet! I traveled back and forth to strong German accent, selling true must be what they look for in employees Michigan many times and then we German cars – BMW, Mercedes, and as well, since that is exactly what they got decided to get married and I moved for Porsche. I started selling and within in Volker Jaeckel. A German native with good. I arrived in September 2001 from eight months was in the top 20 in CSI DD 22 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  17. 17. recognition for three regions and the digital marketing for all of the SONS up and schedules an appointment, or top salesperson for the auto group. This Automotive Group’s nine franchises tells us they have already bought a was in 2002 when many dealerships did and supervise between 16 and 18 vehicle. At that point, as long as the not understand the power of the employees. The dealerships include two customer never opts-out of e-mails, Internet or what to do with Internet Honda stores, one BMW, one Mini, they receive bi-monthly e-mails detail- leads. I volunteered to handle all these one Acura, one Suzuki, one GMC, one ing a dealership promotion or fun car Internet leads and made Internet sales Pontiac, and one Jeep store. Overall, 30 facts. And this works! Just recently I my niche and specialty. to 40 percent of dealership sales come received an e-mail from a customer As my automotive career was taking from the Internet. who bought from another dealership off my wife and I experienced a great two years ago. He’s back in the market tragedy: our son passed away at the age Please tell me your process for and e-mailed with an inquiry. It pays of four months. With all of the sadness soliciting and distributing to keep in contact with all prospects and turmoil we decided we needed a Internet leads. and customers. change and moved to Arizona. I My theory is that you cannot have worked my German sales skills there for one leads strategy work for every store. What tools or lead generators Chapman BMWs as Internet director I figure out what is the best recipe for work best on your sites to pull in under Dan Berry and for Schumacher each location, depending on demo- leads? Mercedes-Benz under Michael graphics and brand, and continually BlackBook online and our interactive Schumacher – two top organizations in troubleshoot to find the best strategy. chat/IM service are considered the best the country. In 2006 my family and I For example, I use Dealix at our lead generators for us. Also very decided to move to the Atlanta area Honda and Acura location, but not at successful are our ‘call to action’ where I came into contact with Slater BMW. They work well for one loca- buttons that I create. Since I stared Nalley, whose family and Harvey tion, but that does not mean they work creating my own buttons, instead of Jackson had just opened a new Acura well for every location. I consider it using those supplied by our web site dealership that needed sales staff. I did working like a surgeon, figuring out in provider, we’ve recorded a 15 percent well selling on the floor and they asked each situation what to do next to get increase in button clicks. I also think me to help with the Internet depart- the best results. the structure and easy navigation of our ment which was not performing at all. Once a lead comes in, we employ a sites pull in traffic. Plus, the visuals we My guarantee was that I would triple round-robin system and from there our offer really stand out. I put a lot of time Internet sales in less than 90 days, and I follow-up process is easy. The first into finding exceptional vehicle images did just that. thing that happens is an auto responder so our sites always look different from Eight months down the road I message goes out to the customer. The our competition. The site modifica- received a phone call from Slater Nalley. assigned sales get a phone alert, and tions I’ve made since being here show He asked me if I could help the Nalley then they try to reach the customer via terrific measurable results. A little over family with the development of an phone within ten minutes. If that does a year ago traffic to our BMW site was Internet department at his brothers’ not work, within 20 minutes they send approximately 4,500 visitors per BMW and MINI franchises. They had an e-mail explaining that we are getting month. It is now at approximately tried numerous processes and nothing them the requested information and/or 7,800 visitors per month. Our Honda had worked so far. I met with Clay quote. In less than 50 minutes, the site went from about 1,100 visitors a Nalley, the oldest son of the Nalley customer receives a quote. My policy is month to 3,800 a month. The sticki- family and president of the SONS to always send a price because if you ness and duration time a visitor spends Automotive Group. We clicked. I put don’t, the customer assumes you are on our site has increased by more than my strategies and ideas in place and hiding something, and you are marked 12 percent. went to work with the promise to put automatically as the “highest price”. If the BMW/Mini on the “map” and to after sending the quote the customer Do you use search engine market- make them a successful Internet sales still does not respond, the sales associ- ing (SEM) to generate traffic to department. I built the department ate makes one additional follow-up call your web sites? from the ground up, with complete that same day. The next day the sales We definitely invest in search engine support and trust from Clay Nalley, associate will attempt to contact the marketing with search engine optimiza- and sold 40 cars in a month compared customer twice again via phone or e- tion and pay-per-click advertising. The to a maximum of 15 cars in a month mail. If after the fifth day of this kind of biggest thing I’ve done is start a blog before my arrival. I am now one year follow-up the customer still does not called ‘BMW of South Atlanta Weblog’ and four months into my current posi- respond, he or she is placed in our with a link to and from our dealership tion as e-Commerce director for SONS automated response process which home page. It is a combination sales Automotive Group. means that over a period of 89 days and news site with informative articles, they receive nine pre-defined e-mails. photos, news feeds, etc. I have been Please tell me more about SONS With a 40 percent hit on target, we’ll blogging for four months and already Automotive Group and your receive an answer from the prospect have 8,000+ readers. I cannot tell you if Internet department. after the fifth or sixth e-mail. The we have sold a vehicle because of the I oversee Internet activities and customer either thanks us for following blog, but we are creating web site and DigitalDealer-magazine.com April 2009 DD 23
  18. 18. brand ‘stickiness’ that is very powerful nature of the medium and the fact that Dealership partners in profit: for our marketing. With a constant it is constantly changing. Many in the Dealership name: approach of “intelligent SEO” we are automotive industry are stuck in anti- SONS Auto Group able to get Google and Yahoo search quated, long-term thinking and it just engine rankings high up on page one, does not work anymore. The Internet is instead of a ranking of 18 on the a 10.5 on the Richter scale because it is Web site URLs: second page, which is where Sons Auto an enormous change from traditional http://www.sonsauto- Group ranked before my arrival. We vehicle advertising and selling, so many group.com further integrate micro-blogging tools in the industry just didn’t see it coming. into our digital marketing mix, so that But it is coming and whoever is not on Web site provider/hosting: BMW or Mini enthusiasts can follow board now will be obliterated. I always Reynolds Website and stay in frequent contact with us. like to refer to the dinosaurs, they did My approach is called ‘conversation not see it coming either; and we know Solutions marketing’ and it is very powerful. I’m what happened to them. establishing us as an expert in the space Web site vehicle photos and a reliable source for vehicle infor- What do you think most sets your taken by: Netlook / mation and news. Similar to a “circle of dealership apart from your com- trust”, the tools I am integrating in my petition? AutoUpLinkUSA dealer group will help each franchise I think it is a big advantage that we and prospect to connect, whenever are a family-owned company. We don’t Vehicle marketing: they want. Nothing is intrusive; every- have a lot of overhead or layers of Netlook thing is totally permission-based. This administration to navigate when imple- is a gentle way of influencing buyer menting new campaigns or programs. behavior. This allows us to react very fast to DMS provider: obstacles, challenges, or changes in the Arkona How do you use e-mail campaigns industry. This is especially important to generate leads? for our Internet sales department. I We do e-mail campaigns twice a have to compliment my boss, Clay BDC software/vendor: month to prospects. Exactly one year Nalley, who gives me the freedom to try Webcontrol.AVV ago, in February of 2008, we did one of new things and follow my vision and our most successful campaigns, cheap! believes in what I am doing. Without At that time President Bush had just an open-minded superior, you can’t CRM program: come out with the idea of sending achieve anything! ProMax ‘stimulus checks’. The word “stimulus” I also have a very talented team of was new, and the idea was as well. So I Internet sales associates who are excep- Online lead generators created an e-mail template, most likely tional at their jobs. My theory is that you not including the OEM looking as a stimulus check in conjunc- hire good people, train them well, and sources: tion with BMW’s available dealer-cash then trust them to do their jobs well. That Autobytel for the 3-series, 5-series and X5-series. being said, I also live by a well-known Dealix It was called the Presidents’ Day BMW German phrase: “Trust is good but Stimulus Package and the design was control is better.” I am not domineering Edmunds.com very simple: we listed the vehicle stock or overbearing, but I expect my team to numbers available, included an eye- follow the processes and I step in when I Vehicle history reports: catching photo, and the line “this is feel they are not doing what they should. your $XXXX stimulus check for a I am a coach for my team. This control Carfax BMW 3-series.” We also stipulated that and allegiance to process gives us an edge customers must print out the check because it ensures we are consistent and Vehicle valuation tools: and bring it to our dealership. The next persistent when following a lead. I often Black Book upcoming days we sold three cars. The saw my competition failing in the easiest campaign took me 20 minutes to create approaches to follow up with customers. vAuto and yet generated a big response. I find that on average an Internet lead will receive three weeks of follow-up e-mails Third-party sites where As an Internet professional, what from a dealership, and then maybe one or inventory is posted: do you like best about the Internet? two for the next month, and then Autobytel What I like most is the fast paced nothing more. There is not consistency in AutoTrader.com environment and the constant change. their processes and they don’t seem to Everything happens so fast it requires understand the meaning of the word eBay Motors us to think in the short term. When persistence. The difference is that we are Vehix you hear about a new tool or trend you consistent and persistent and it shows in Craigslist have to check it out and decide what to our sales numbers. do immediately or it’s too late. Long- term goals in the interactive marketing vjaeckel@DigitalDealer- world cannot be defined because of the magazine.com DD 24 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
  19. 19. D IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Sandi Jerome Counting your Assets with Technology O ne of my favorite movies is charging me the correct floorplan your PCs? Having a daily overtime The Princess Bride. At the interest for the month? How much report will help you control this, but climax of the movie, when does an average vehicle cost to floor it needs to be automated and most the heroes are against immeasurable and how does that compare to my DMS systems already have this. odds, Wesley asks, “What are our lia- gross profit? Next, it’s time to get a Now it is time to ask, “What are bilities?” As Inigo tells him that they our assets?” Find out where your are against 60 men guarding the cas- cash is going with a cash flow state- tle gate, Wesley then asks, “And our ment. I like to flip back a few assets?” With this economy fore- financial statements until I find a casted not to recover until later this month that had lots of cash, and year, you might need to go to battle “Find out where your then do the cash flow with that to survive the upcoming months. month as the first column and the Your first question should be, “What cash is going with a current month as the 2nd column. are our liabilities?” and use the tech- Please e-mail me if you’d like a free nology you already own to prepare cash flow statement.” cash flow spreadsheet. You’ll be for battle. —Sandi Jerome counting your receivables (vehicle Your balance sheet is the first and trade) as current assets so be sure place to discover your liabilities. At they are collectable and any write- the top of the list are your floorplan, offs were handled with year-end. accounts payables, and accrued Any of your inventories: parts and payroll. How can technology help vehicles that aren’t making enough you with these three items? First you full list of your accounts payable. profits should be converted to cash. need to reduce your floorplan This is much different than your Again, use your technology to expense by making sure you’re not detailing of expenses since it perform an ROI (return on invest- being overcharged or creating excess includes parts, body shop supplies, ment) analysis to see if it pays to expense. A simple report to down- reconditioning, and prepaid keep these inventories, or purchase load to Excel is a list of your VIN purchased. But you’re going into any new fixed assets. By counting numbers, date received and date battle, and all payables reduce the your assets and knowing your liabil- sold. Calculate the floorplan charges assets you need to win. This might ities, hopefully you’ll be as successful for each sold unit sold that month be the time to only carry a few as Wesley and win your battles! and for the full time it was floored. weeks worth of shop supplies Next, download your floorplan instead of six months. You also don’t Sandi Jerome is a former controller, report from your lender (or ask need a full year’s worth of repair CFO, system administrator, F&I, them to e-mail it monthly.) Using orders. Your vendors are feeling the assistant GM, and fixed operations Excel’s vLookup function, look up pinch and might be trying to push manager with over 20 years experience the VIN number in the lender’s list product your way. But looking at in the automotive industry. She is the and get the monthly charge and your accounts payable might is too owner of Sandi Jerome Computer accumulated charges. Compare late. A better process is getting that Consulting. these two amounts and make sure automated purchase order system that they agree. Your variances will going (the one that you’re already come from the difference between paying for, but nobody knows how If you wish to discuss this article with the date sold and date paid off. to use). Your other liability is other dealers, or with the author, With this information, you are payroll. I don’t think many dealer- please go to the “Discussion Forums” looking for the answers to these ships have extra employees, but at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com questions: Why do vehicles take so there is unnecessary overtime. Are and enter the “Technology” forum or long to pay off? What is the differ- you using time clock software? If e-mail her at sjerome@DigitalDealer- ence between our date received and not, why not try one of the low-cost magazine.com. the date they are floored? Are they or free products that you can use on DigitalDealer-magazine.com April 2009 DD 25
  20. 20. D IGITALBarker Chuck Dealer BDC/CRM You Cannot Have Faith and Fear at the Same Time Ideas for keeping the faith and steering the ship through the storm L eadership has never been more over the years is that average people are choosing to add the word “extra” important than its role in this have average problems. Ordinary in front of ordinary. That is the business right now. Leaders people have ordinary challenges. But secret, choose to do something extra need to be acting like this will all remember, you can choose not be and watch the difference it makes. end, and when it does we will have average. Choose not to be ordinary. So what are some of the extra things not only survived but we have made Choose to be extraordinary. Keeping you can do right now? Begin by a profit, gained market share from the faith and remaining positive with ensuring that the following areas are our competitors, developed great positive initiatives can and will create fulfilled by your leadership on a very people and teamwork and are com- regular basis. ing out of it much stronger than when we went in. Replace doubt 1. As we all know, a lot of dealer- with confidence in your people ships out there have lost or scaled because positive emotion creates “…you have to back the number of sales profession- positive motion. And when you als on staff. That is okay in my book engender positive motion, positive consistently exhibit because we no longer (if ever) need things begin to happen. a battalion of salespeople to cover When you get into your car at faith leadership and the floor and associated sales efforts. night to go somewhere, you can’t see But what we certainly need more all the way there. You must rely and be clear about how than ever right now is a Delta Force trust upon your headlights and your or Navy Seal team who are highly ability to guide you to your destina- you are going to find trained, skilled and disciplined in tion. We usually spend more time their “extra” efforts. Yes, this means looking through the windshield and safe harbor.” you have to exhibit disciplined well- not the rear-view mirror. Looking thought out consistent training —Chuck Barker programs that are far removed from forward in a positive and encourag- ing leadership fashion day after day the old school principles by replac- will create new ground from which ing them the new communications, your team can stand upon with negotiations and CRM derivatives. confidence. As a leader you must exceptional opportunities, and Yes, you will also have to invest a guide the direction of your team and exceptional people do face excep- little money to bring some of these create faith that the elements you tional difficulties. When you have an new initiatives but you will most implement will indeed lead the team incredible problem, instead of being certainly derive an enhanced ROI to the right destination. discouraged, you should be encour- on those investments. In addition, aged knowing that you're an this investment in your greatest “The way a team plays as a whole incredible person and you have an assets, your people, will build team- determines its success. You may have incredible future. Your path is work, morale and a sense of the greatest bunch of individual stars shining brighter and brighter purpose. It will also eliminate the in the world, but if they don’t play because when you are faced with wishing and hoping strategy I see together, the club won’t be worth a exceptional problems it only means tons of dealers defaulting to. One dime.” —Babe Ruth (1895-1948) that you can handle it because you cannot put in negative influences are an exceptional leader. and expect a positive result. Simple We all face challenges. We all have Be encouraged today because your physics. Remember Zig Ziglar’s obstacles to overcome. But if we can life is on an extraordinary path. quote, “The only thing worst than keep the right perspective, it will Sure, there will be potholes in the training people and having them help us to stay in faith so that we can road but by keeping a positive faith leave your employment is not train- move forward into victory. You may you will have shock absorbers to ing them and having them stay.” feel right now like the challenges weaken the bumps as they present How true. that you face are too big, or too over- themselves. Back to choosing to be whelming. One thing I've learned extraordinary simply means that you continued on P-DD28 DD 26 April 2009 DigitalDealer-magazine.com

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