Send a Multi-vehicle
Quote; Win on the Call
The Myth of E-mail Leads
and Rise of the Internet as
an Influencing Medium
Five Truths about
Technology Kendall Chevrolet
Trends: page 16
Profiling your Customers
T ABLE OF CONTENTS
PRESIDENT AND CEO
VICE PRESIDENT AND
FEATURES EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Digital Dealer Cover Story cbanks@Dealer-communications.com
16 Larry Barditch
Director of Business Development PUBLISHER
Kendall Chevrolet 607-264-3359
Digital Dealer Vendor Profile CONTENT COORDINATOR
20 Dealer.com – The Power of One Platform MARIA BURKEL
COLUMNS ART DIRECTOR
AAISP Notes PRODUCTION MANAGER
8 Dealer Communications Launches New Web Site ELIZABETH BIRCH
Cliff Banks PRINT PRODUCTION
Internet Sales COVER DESIGN
10 Send a Multi-vehicle Quote; Win on the Call
Tom Mohr COVER PHOTOS
TRAVIS HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY
12 The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of the Internet CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION
as an Influencing Medium 314-432-7511
Chip Perry www.Dealer-magazine.com
NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES
14 Five Truths about Social Media adsales@Dealer-magazine.com
Stephen Stauning 607-264-3359
Technology Trends Dealer magazine makes every attempt to ensure the
23 Profiling your Customers accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be
held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied
Sandi Jerome herein. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part
without written permission from the publisher. All rights
reserved. The publisher encourages you to submit sug-
gestions. Submitted materials become the property of
Horizon Communications, Inc. and will not be returned.
Send material for publication to 330 Franklin Rd., Suite
DEPARTMENTS 135A, PMB 386, Brentwood, TN 37027. The editor re-
serves the right to edit material; submission of material
4 Digital Dealer E-mail constitutes permission to edit and publish that mate-
rial. This publication is designed to provide accurate
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A PUBLICATION OF
C O M M U N I C A T I O N S
DD 2 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
D IGITAL DEALER E-MAIL
Dealer welcomes your letters and after
verification will run them signed or unsigned.
Letters may be edited for space and clarity.
Paige Presley, videos for each vehicle and a variety of useful car- March
I read your article in December’s Digital buying tips such as OEM-specific information.
Dealer magazine, “Ways to Create a Sticky There are companies that offer these types of
Web Site”. I am fairly new to the automobile products and services that help customize dealer Intern
industry and would like some guidance from web sites, as well as tools that allow dealers to A Dar
for Su inian Figh
outside sources. As the business development upload video content for vehicles, send alerts to
Your Si t on
manager my job is to develop, drive, and shoppers when the vehicles they’re looking for Techn
maintain business. I also assist one of the appear in your inventory and post vehicles to logy Tr
your ITg Profit wit
owners with all of our web sites. I would like Craigslist.
of Sociuel Mistres
your professional opinion on some of the Thanks, page
things we could do better to attract custom- Paige Presley
ers to our web sites. What are a few strate-
gic things you are doing? Do you have any Joe Orr,
examples of your work? I was so impressed with your cover story
Thank you, article in the March issue of Digital Dealer what we as dealers should be sharing with each
Devon Applewhite magazine. I want to learn how to do this but other to make us stronger and more profitable. I
Business Development Manager I am about out of capital. I have East Texas have noticed as I have become more involved in
Lindsay Honda and Lindsay Acura Ford in Winnsboro, TX. We have been there building relationships nationally that some of the
Columbus, OH for 15 years this April 15, 2010. I owned one dealers in our country are getting very impressive
of the GM dealerships that General Motors results in very different business categories.
Hi Devon: let go and now I am in arbitration to get that It is my hope that we will be able to form a
First, to drive more traffic to your web site, store back. I would like to set up for success. I type of Internet 20 group. Not a traditional 20
you should include plenty of relevant content, am having the hardest time right now. I didn’t group, but a group of digitally committed minds
especially search terms for your inventory make/ go bankrupt but I do not have the cash I really that will offer real analytics behind new thought.
models, as well as specific locations. This will need. What can I do to pull out of this? I envision a group of people whom are voted in
help users find you through “long tail search”— Thank you, and out, dependent on their involvement. There
searches specific to makes and models in particu- Suenan Gober is software available that makes it possible for
lar areas. You should also be aware that many Owner up to 100 dealers to video conference from their
of today’s shoppers are looking for cars on their East Texas Ford/Gober & Merrel Chevrolet, office/home and share spreadsheets and so on
smart phones, so having a version of your web Buick and GMC Inc. with no costs to travel.
site visible on those platforms is key. And, of Winnsboro and Sulphur Springs, TX I know that we can learn and benefit from
course, always be sure to promote your web site each other’s successes and failures more than
in all of your offline advertising. Suenan, anything else that is offered to us.
Relevant content is equally as important as First of all I want to say that I would love to I welcome a call from you Suenan, and I
it keeps users on your web site. What good are have a telephone conversation and that you are know that many dealers around the country
your efforts to boost traffic if your site’s visitors not alone. I also want to say that the two things are also willing to offer assistance.
are leaving as fast as they’re arriving? The page that I have done that have made the biggest It is my belief that an executive management
that usually generates the highest traffic on a traffic/ROI/culture movement in my 30-year team with unshakable intentions, unusual focus
dealers’ site is the specials page, so always keep history cost very little (under $1,000 a month). and a love of the game can turn their store
your promotions up to date. Also offer these items: With the new type of business that is evolving around or feel massive improvements in this
tools to help car buyers build customized vehicles, and taking shape and actual control of our auto- new “real time” business model in short term.
the option to compare multiple vehicles side by mobile business, it is my belief that we can no Let’s chat when you have time,
side, a media center with multiple images and longer afford to hide from the facts. And facts are Joe Orr
Send letters to: 2000 Town Center • Suite 1900 • Southfield, MI 48075
FAX: (248) 351-2699 • e-mail: email@example.com
DD 4 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
There’s a Reason Why More
Top 125 Dealers Choose Dealer.com
“We’re most impressed with the customer
service and technology that Dealer.com
provides. They have really helped us stay at
the forefront with new ideas and new
technologies that keep our websites fresh
and up to date.”
Jana Kusin, Director of Advertising, Gillman Auto Group
Ranked 40th in the 2009 Automotive News Top 125
SEARCH MARKETING | DEALER WEBSITES | LEAD MANAGEMENT | PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS
888.785.5418 | www.dealer.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
2010 Top Rated Web 2009 Net Promoter® 2010 Diamond Award 2009 Automotive Search
Provider, DrivingSales.com Score Survey “Best Website Provider” Marketing Association
Top Awards for Websites, Top customer service Auto Dealer Monthly Most Comprehensive
SEO, and Internet ranking in the nation’s 2010 Dealers’ Search Marketing
Lead Management software industry Choice Awards Platform Award
D IGITAL DEALER TECH NEWS
Sales, Manheim also introduced a pro-
motional campaign to keep its customers
informed about the variety of online
events happening daily at Manheim. As part
of the campaign, Daily Sales promotional The StoneEagle Group
e-mails will provide dealers with regular news integrates DealerTrack
and updates on upcoming sales. In addition, DMS tool
an interactive calendar on Manheim.com
The StoneEagle Group announced it has
will ensure that all visitors can track and set
Manheim launches new joined DealerTrack’s OpenTrack program.
updates for sales in which they are specifi-
The OpenTrack program provides StoneEagle
online ‘Daily Sales’ cally interested. Promotion for the Daily Sales
customers with real-time bi-directional access
program line-up also include a banner ad campaign
to a dealership’s data, increasing operational
and advertising at Manheim’s in-lane auction
efficiency and profitability. OpenTrack’s six
Manheim announced the launch of its new locations, ensuring that even more buyers and
touch points into the Dealer Management
Daily Sales program, a powerful, expanded sellers connect online.
System (DMS) will allow StoneEagle to
portfolio of online buying and selling oppor- Customers who want to stay up-to-date on
deliver optimum performance and results to
tunities for dealers and consignors. Designed Daily Sales digitally can add events to their
dealers utilizing the DealerTrack DMS. The
to capitalize on the popularity and success of electronic calendars, set reminders for specific
OpenTrack program gives dealers the flexibil-
its current Online Event Sales efforts, the Daily event sales and receive alerts through e-mail
ity to use solutions delivered by StoneEagle or
Sales program brings together existing Online on the Daily Sales web page by clicking on
any third party application they desire to meet
Event Sales such as Manheim Monday, Dealer the sale of interest.
the unique needs of their business.
Wednesday, Thunder Thursday and M’OVE www.manheim.com
“StoneEagle is pleased to participate in the
it Friday with newly-launched Online Event
OpenTrack program to deliver the highest
Sales, creating a comprehensive online line-up Dealer Impact releases levels of security, reliability and scalability to
of fresh inventory for dealers.
Individual Online Event Sales are designed
unique Facebook app our customers,” said Jason Gillette, director of
sales and marketing, StoneEagle Group. “The
to address specific needs of Manheim’s Promoting auto dealerships on social
OpenTrack program will enable StoneEagle
customers. With Manheim Monday, the media has gotten easier thanks to the release
to increase efficiencies and performance for
company took what was a traditionally slow of Dealer Impact’s innovative Facebook
dealers using the DealerTrack DMS. In addi-
sale day for auction locations and created a Inventory App. The dynamic program is
tion, the OpenTrack program has been very
highly successful program that helps deal- specifically designed to integrate with the
easy to work with and completely reliable.”
ers to search, buy and sell the freshest used Facebook interface.
“We are delighted to welcome StoneEagle
vehicle inventory online. Today, 60 percent The Facebook Inventory App functions
to the growing list of technology vendors
of all transactions each Monday on OVE. like a second web site for a dealership. The
participating in the OpenTrack program,”
com occur during a Manheim Monday no-fuss program allows dealers to display cur-
said Rich Holland, vice president and general
Event Sale. rent inventory on their Facebook fan pages
manager, DealerTrack DMS. “OpenTrack
“Since introducing Online Event Sales last as well as add inventory videos and specials
represents the realization of our vision of an
year, the feedback from both buyers and sell- to Facebook. The app also has the ability to
open platform that enables dealers to choose
ers has been extremely positive, so Manheim automatically update a dealer’s web site and
any third party solution they want without
decided to offer these sales daily,” said Nick Facebook fan page simultaneously.
sacrificing the efficiency benefits of real-time
Peluso, senior vice president customer man- Dealer Impact offers the most comprehen-
integration with their DMS.”
agement, Manheim. “The program provides sive digital marketing products on the market,
the freshest inventory for buyers and selling including video test drives, mobile web sites,
opportunities for both dealer and commer- and social network marketing. Dealer Impact
cial consignors. Promoting Daily Sales on began building web sites in 1998 and wrote
Manheim.com allows us to inform customers the auto industry’s first online inventory pub-
of all the buying opportunities Manheim lishing tool in 2000.
offers, from Manheim Monday to weekend For an example of the Dealer Impact
events and everything in between.” Facebook Inventory App visit: http://www.
In conjunction with the launch of Daily facebook.com/karlchevrolet
DD 6 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES
Dealer Communications Launches
New Web Site
his month, we launched our new web in the conversation by commenting on our At each conference we see companies that
site – www.dealer-communications. many blogs. were once small start ups begin to scale and
com. This project has been a labor of hit it big. And that is exciting. I also get a
You can also create friends lists, post pic-
love since I began at Dealer Communications charge out of seeing Internet directors grow
tures and send private messages to other reg-
in October 2009. and improve their businesses.
istered users. We trust you will find the site
I can say confidently this is the most robust, valuable in providing you information you This is one reason I believe the conference
content-laden and informative web site that need in your endeavors. and Digital Dealer magazine are so success-
is focused solely on new car dealers and their ful. It’s the people on the front lines, in both
needs. 8th Digital Dealer Conference & the dealerships and with the vendors (many
Exposition of whom are former dealers) who are pas-
We have content going back to 2005 that
We just finished the 8th Digital Dealer sionate because they understand they are at
covers every department in the dealership.
Conference, and it was the biggest one to the front of a revolution and are helping to
As you poke around, you’ll find columns
date. We had nearly 1,200 attendees, of which write history.
from the leading automotive retail thinkers
550 or so were dealers, general managers and
in the industry. For just about any question It may sound Pollyannaish, but the people
you have about managing your dealership that attend the Digital Dealer conferences are
or your department, you’ll find an answer It was rejuvenating to feel and hear the opti- the ones who are determining the long term
on the new site. mism in Orlando at the conference. Sales are future of our industry.
up. Solutions are getting better and dealers are
You’ll also see our magazine cover stories It doesn’t get any more exciting than that.
finding new ways to connect with customers.
featuring highly successful dealers, Internet
If you weren’t able to join us in Orlando,
directors and fixed operations directors. Not The conference has become the place to
the next conference is just a few months away
only are these Profiles of Success inspirational, be if you want to learn, share ideas and get
and will be in Las Vegas at the Mirage October
they are filled with ideas and nuggets of infor- the creative juices flowing. There may not be
mation you can use in your own dealership. another conference in which this much brain
power is assembled. I’ve written before, the
We’re going to be posting stories and aggre-
technology space in automotive retail is the
gating content daily, scouring the web to find
most vibrant, fertile and exciting sector in
the most pertinent news stories for you.
which to participate.
I invite you to register and play around on Cliff Banks
We like to beat ourselves up saying we’re
the site. We’ve incorporated several aspects
behind other industries when it comes to
of social media throughout, including blogs Vice President and
technology. I disagree. Granted, we may not
and forums. Editorial Director
always respond to every lead correctly, nor
Setting up a profile gives you access to our handle customers the way we should all the
forums where you can post content, com- time, but this is an industry where anyone
ment on posts, ask questions, set up polls and with an idea, hard work and a little bit of
much more. You’ll also be able to participate luck can make it big.
DD 8 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
Send a Multi-vehicle Quote;
Win on the Call
hen you respond to an Internet their helper as they sort through their options. — also in 10 minutes. That’s the best practice
lead, do you just send back a All of a sudden, an adversarial conversation to catch the customer when they’re in the
quote on the requested vehicle? becomes a consultative conversation. active shopping process. With a multi-vehi-
If that’s what you do, you might want to It’s hard to overstate the significance of this. cle quote, your conversation changes from a
reconsider. competitive price shopping conversation to
Instead of responding with a single quote, comparative feature shopping conversation.
provide quotes on multiple vehicles. Doing Think about it – that’s where we all want to
With a multi-vehicle
so fundamentally alters the phone call. What be, right?
does the customer talk about when you just quote, the conversation Use the call to review the alternative vehi-
send a quote on the requested vehicle? Price. cles you have presented. As the customer’s
It’s all about how your price is higher turns away from price to questions start to fly, as they reveal their pref-
than the next guy for the same vehicle. If erences and price points, you gain a foothold,
you change your response to a presenta- the features. inch by inch. You have begun to build a rela-
tion of three alternative new vehicles sur- tionship. It’s a relationship based on your role
rounding the trim-level request, and add as consultant. You’ve taken the conversation
three to four used vehicles of like trims, At the “moment of truth,” when a customer farther than the other guys, because you’ve
you will have set up an entirely different sends you a lead, you are on trial. The same discovered more about your prospect. These
phone conversation. lead has been sent to two or three other com- are the stepping stones towards a sale.
With a multi-vehicle quote, the conversa- petitors. How you respond at that moment is Many have said, “It’s all about the phone
tion turns away from price to the features. Do key. Your goal is to create a relationship, and call.” That’s true, with this qualification: “It’s
they want new or used? Do they like the navi- turn that relationship into a sale. Speed of all about the speed and content of the phone
gation system or not? This is the type of con- response and quality of personal engagement call.” If you can get back to the customer
versation that changes how you are perceived. are the two ingredients of success. very quickly — in 10 minutes — and if
The customer is more inclined to reveal their The first critical step is to respond with you can use the call to turn the conversa-
price point requirements as they mull over a multi-vehicle price quote back to the cus- tion from price to features by reviewing the
the alternatives you have presented. You are tomer in 10 minutes. Next is the phone call five to seven vehicles you have presented
in your price quote, you will have gained a
huge advantage. If implemented effectively
for every lead every time, you will transform
your sales results.
Tom Mohr is CEO of ResponseLogix, and has
worked closely with auto dealers for 25 years.
Prior to ResponseLogix, Mohr was president of
Knight Ridder Digital, where he was on the
board of Cars.com.
If you wish to discuss this article with
other dealers, or with the author,
please go to the “Discussion Forums”
and enter the “Internet Sales” forum
or e-mail him at tmohr@Dealer-
DD 10 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
The Myth of E-mail Leads and Rise of
the Internet as an Influencing Medium
any dealers using the Internet as a through the Internet. for e-mail leads to roll in. Online shoppers
marketing resource are still heav- Response time is one of the most crucial across the spectrum now expect fresh, detailed
ily focused on e-mail leads as the components in driving this satisfaction; the content that highlights what a showroom has
measurement of a successful online presence. longer it takes a dealership to respond to an for sale and gives the shopper reasons to buy
But what is the current state of the e-mail lead, e-mail lead, the less likely shoppers are to be from one outlet over another. The Internet
how satisfied are shoppers with e-mailing satisfied. In surveys by AutoTrader.com, it increasingly offers opportunities for dealers to
dealers and how else should dealers be using was determined that almost half of dealers influence shoppers’ choices and dealers who
and evaluating online marketing? did not respond to consumers on the same have educated themselves on the techniques
According to recent studies, the number of day that the lead was received. that can help maximize this influence are
people e-mailing during the shopping process But even among consumers who got a gaining market share at the expense of those
has not grown over the past few years, despite response within three hours of their initial who have not been closely watching and fol-
an increase in the number of car shoppers request, satisfaction was only 68%. Many lowing current best practices.
using the Internet. Today, about 75 to 80% of consumers were put off by the dealership Fortunately, most third-party web sites
car shoppers utilize the Internet in their shop- not answering their specific questions regard- are now well equipped to share information
ping process, but the use of e-mail leads has ing availability, price and details of inventory and market intelligence that can help dealers
stayed stable–and low–for years. In 2004, only listed for sale. understand how their store’s performance
20% of those online shoppers sent an e-mail Satisfaction among consumers drops sig- compares to “best in class” dealers.
lead as a part of their shopping process. In nificantly the longer it takes for a real person Dealers should also be sure to fully utilize
2008, that number had only grown to 22%. at the showroom to answer that shopper’s the customer tracking tools and insights pro-
This reality differs sharply from dealers’ inquiry. Only 54% of shoppers were satis- vided by the third-party vendors they already
perception of the situation. In a 2008 study, fied with the response received under a day’s use as well as popular web analytics tools such
dealers said they believed that 17% of their time, and only 35% were satisfied with the as Google Analytics, which is available for
showroom traffic first establishes contact via response from one to three days. And among free for any store. Using these tools will allow
e-mail and that an additional 41% call before consumers who did not get a response until dealers to improve their use of the web as a
coming in to the store. But in surveying con- three days after the initial e-mail inquiry, the marketing medium, both with their listings
sumers, the reality is that typically only 2% level of satisfaction fell to a mere 9%. on third-party sites such as AutoTrader.com,
of shoppers on dealers’ lots initially contact Dealers and the automotive industry in as well as on their own web sites.
the showroom via e-mail first. Phone wasn’t general should realize that most shoppers Of course, there are still e-mail leads
much better, as it was found that only 17% prefer not to send e-mail leads to dealers. coming in, even if they are not as big a slice
of shoppers on the lot called before arriving In fact according to a recent market study of the pie as dealers think. With these leads,
at the dealer. The vast majority, 81%, simply commissioned by AutoTrader.com, two in dealers should improve response times, as
walked in. three shoppers prefer to visit the dealer in well as the quality of responses. By doing
This fact doesn’t mean that e-mail leads person. Therefore, it is critical for automotive this, along with using better online marketing
aren’t important, but they are clearly not the advertisers not to measure campaign success techniques, dealers will see improvements in
“main event” when it comes to Internet mar- solely by clicks and e-mails leads. the most important measurement of all: the
keting and sales. Instead, dealers should focus on tracking bottom line.
That being said, dealers clearly recognize dealership foot traffic and identifying what
the value of walk-in traffic. According to deal- elements of online marketing and other Chip Perry was the first employee of AutoTrader.
ers in an internal study, about 14 e-mail leads sources of information influence shoppers com in 1997.
are needed to generate one sale, versus nine to pick one car over another and one dealer-
leads generated via phone calls and just seven ship over another. If you wish to discuss this article with
for walk-ins. Dealers who competitively price their other dealers, or with the author, please
Perhaps part of the reason why it requires vehicles and effectively merchandise their go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.
twice as many leads via e-mail than leads via inventory find they have much more suc- Dealer-communications.com and enter
walk-ins is the low satisfaction rate shoppers cess attracting shoppers to their stores and the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him
have with asking for information from dealers than those that just post basic ads and wait at cperry@Dealer-communications.com.
DD 12 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
Five Truths about Social Media
f you’re like me, you’ve read so much – though I do recommend you stop posting Facebook). Those same pundits who pro-
about social media lately that your eyes and tweeting specials, and you stick to report- claim that social media will be with us forever
are ready to gloss over whenever you even ing about social activities and non-sales events are also very quick to point out that “MySpace
see the words “face” and “book” in the same – remember that everything you write or post is dead.” Which is it? Is it a medium that will
sentence. It’s beginning to border on the on the Internet will likely be there for as long be here until the next Ice Age or one where
ridiculous – so much so, that I almost talked as there is an Internet. Write your content, let major players like MySpace are declared dead
myself out of writing “another article about it sit, let someone else edit it, reread it, then the moment they are overtaken in the traffic
social media.” post it online. rankings? The top five web sites in the United
For dealers, this is a confusing time as For those of you ready to tackle social
expert after expert line up to tell you the what media, it might be helpful if you understand
and wherefore of social media. The truth is these five basic truths: The trick here is that
that social media is so new no one can be Truth 1: The future for social media will there is no trick: manage
certain where it will fit with your long-term be much different than the present social
marketing plans or how much it will really landscape. Have you heard the automotive your business as if all of
matter to your business. As of this writing, experts touting that “social media is here to
there are no dealers facing “make or break” stay” or “social media is not a fad?” Very brave your future customers
time with respect to social networking, micro- of these folks to proclaim that the most talked-
blogging or social bookmarking (reputation about, most visited and most coveted web were watching –
management, of course, but not the other sites in the world are going to be here forever.
three types of social media). This is not to While they are probably correct, the way busi- because they are.
say you should wait and see before ventur- nesses successfully leverage these sites will
ing into certain types of social media, rather likely evolve so much over the coming months
States (based on unique visitors) today are: 1)
it is merely a suggestion that you can tread that what we do today on our Facebook pages
Google; 2) Facebook; 3) Yahoo!; 4) YouTube
carefully as you grow your dealership’s social will seem dated in just a couple of years.
and 5) MySpace – begging the question: If the
footprint. Truth 2: MySpace is more socially rel-
fifth most popular site in the U.S. is “dead,”
Regardless of how you proceed online evant than all other social media sites (except
what does that say about number six and
Truth 3: Your social presence/reputa-
tion/existence online will be there with our
without your involvement. The consuming
public will be sure to let the world know about
your business whether you like it or not. As
dealers, this usually means negative reviews.
Understanding the fourth truth could ulti-
mately help you manage that which you do
not control: the public.
Truth 4: What you do offline has much
more to do with how you will be perceived
within social media than what you do online.
Hire all the consultants or in-house teams you
want and pay them to repair your online repu-
tation and manage your social networking
account. If you run an old school dealership
continued to P-15
DD 14 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
that revels in “crushing” every customer, photo-sharing, podcasting and video-sharing take the place of sound processes, trained
“stealing” every trade and packing payments, accounts – should be encouraged to include people and smart spending that focuses on
your consumers and former employees will their relationship with your dealership in long-term growth.
skewer you online. Ultimately, it won’t matter everything (legal and moral) they do online.
how many Facebook fans you have or how For example: if your mechanics and other Steve Stauning is the co-founder of Kain-
many twits are following your tweets, the service employees divulge on their Facebook Stauning, a leading automotive dealership
public will out-shout-you at every turn. pages that they work for your dealership (and training and consulting services firm focusing
The trick here is that there is no trick: hopefully include a link to your web site for on digital marketing and Internet sales. Prior to
manage your business as if all of your future SEO purposes), people in their network will his work with Kain-Stauning, he has served in
customers were watching – because they are. seek them out for advice. The advice they various leadership roles, including as the Asbury
Truth 5: Your employees can make or provide and the subsequent goodwill begins Automotive Group’s director of ecommerce, the
break your social media persona. Dealerships to build greater social cache for them and for director of the Web Solutions division of the
seem to be spinning their wheels creating you. The combined power of your employ- Reynolds & Reynolds Company, and as general
Facebook and Twitter accounts, getting fans ees’ social networks is much greater than the manager for Dealer Web Services at Dealer
and followers (who are most-often dealership power of one dealership Facebook page and Specialties.
employees, vendors and their friends) and one Twitter account – and ultimately more
then posting their latest specials to no one. trustworthy to the average consumer. If you wish to discuss this article with
These dealers are missing the point of social Social media has its place. In my opinion, other dealers, or with the author,
media: it’s supposed to be social, not sales- that place is at the end of a very long line of please go to the “Discussion Forums”
driven. Social media “success” will be fueled Internet process and marketing basics that at www.Dealer-communications.com
by how others interact with your dealership, most dealers don’t do very well. While social and enter the “Internet Sales” forum
not how you force yourself upon them. Your networking can likely be a tool that helps or e-mail him at sstauning@Dealer-
employees – most of whom already have active dealers build a solid customer base, it is not communications.com.
social networking, blogging, microblogging, a stand-alone marketing plan and it cannot
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DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 15
DD 16 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Larry Barditch owned a water bottling company for 19 years before Van
Olp, the owner at Kendall Chevrolet, convinced him to run the dealership’s
Internet department. Larry has been Kendall’s director of business develop-
ment almost 10 months now. He shares his perspective as a former outsider
to the industry and walks us through the changes he’s made at the dealership.
You’ve been in automotive retail for less I just feel like I am a very fortunate guy and -- customers would remember me. I brought
than a year. I actually love what I am doing. That’s one of that philosophy here.
Yes. I owned a bottle water company for 19 the things when you get up every morning,
years in south Florida until I sold it in 2008. and you have that great feeling and you love You also have to set clear defined goals. I
I’m the president of a local chamber group. what you are doing, there is not much that can don’t just tell my BDC girls to follow-up on all
Through that I’ve known Van Olp, who is the bring you down. Although, the auto industry of the unsold floor traffic from the day before.
dealer principal here at Kendall Chevrolet, for has challenged me more than any other. I tell them they have to follow-up on all of
about five years. the unsold floor traffic and get one appoint-
One of the books I really love is Good to ment for the next day. I give them precise goals
We were having lunch when he asked me Great by Jim Collins. He talks about getting that they need to hit. It is kind of like being
what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I the right people into the right positions. When dropped in the middle of Italy and not having
said, ‘I’m not sure, I kind of enjoy sales training I started here we had a hodge-podge of what a road map and told to go and visit the Vatican.
and playing golf when I want to and picking was an Internet sales department and half
up the kids at school in the afternoon and BDC department. A lot of people confuse activity with pro-
coaching baseball.” ductivity. You don’t get paid for the time you
But we didn’t have the right people. I hired are here, you get paid for the results that you
He shared with me his vision of what he two BDC girls for the dealership. Their hours get. So don’t waste your time on activities that
wanted to do with technology and Internet are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., so I hired one that works don’t produce results. I see a lot of that in the
sales. He wanted to hire somebody who was 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one that works 5 p.m. to car business.
non-car guy, had no experience, and wanted 9 p.m., so I had it covered all day long. Then
to know if I was interested. I wanted to do I hired two Internet sales guys, one that had You brought some discipline into it, what
something with technology and the Internet. been in the car business for 30 years, and one were the results? How long did it take before
So I agreed to try it for six months. That was that’s been in the car business for 15 years. you starting seeing results?
nine months ago. That was huge, because I had their experience Well, 30 days was kind of an absorbing and
of the car-sales process, which I didn’t know learning period. I have had some great men-
Did he say why he was looking for a non- anything about. tors, guys like Matthew Belk, who came here
car guy? with a program called ‘Best practices for reply-
He had four salespeople that he promoted My strength was the process and discipline. ing to Internet leads.’ I’ve had guys like Glen
as Internet sales managers in the course of one I had two guys that knew about how to sell Hardy, with General Motors, who showed me
year, and none of them could seem to get this the car and I knew how to put in the disci- our e-mails weren’t any good.
thing working on all eight cylinders. That is pline and process to make the Internet BDC
one of the reasons why I liked Van and why I department work. Before I took this job, I mystery-shopped
jumped on this opportunity. He is the guy that several stores. I found a lot of people do a
takes risks. What he tried hadn’t worked. So he Define process and discipline in context of mediocre or bad job. The response I got back
thought bringing someone in that is popular the BDC and Internet sales. from Kendall Chevrolet was a response where
in the community, president of the business Every month I put together an action plan. my name was not capitalized. There were mis-
association, had been a business owner for 19 My April action plan says, “You can’t hit the spellings in the response. And it didn’t answer
years, might change that. bull’s eye if you don’t have a target.” my question.
Walk me through what you did when you In my bottling business, my retention rate How hard is it to hit spell check before you
first came on board almost a year ago? on customers was three times higher than the send an e-mail? That is just a discipline you
You know, it’s funny, I said I wasn’t going industry average. I believed in extraordinary just have to get into every e-mail that you send.
to change anything but my underwear for the customer experience. Anybody can give aver- You do not send an e-mail without hitting spell
first 30 days. I sat back here and looked at what age service, most people give bad service, but check. How hard is that? Glen Hardy slapped
was going on here. The auto industry is like I believed for 19 years that if I gave extraor- me around a couple of times and really got
nothing else I have ever seen. dinary service -- white-glove kind of service me to shape things up. I talked to him on the
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 17
phone probably every two months and and
he spent some time with me, so he has been
a great mentor.
I have great vendors, and have great rela-
tionships with them. Not just the person who
comes and sees me every day, but the national
sales director. I am on the phone with them,
getting advice and helping get it done. I’ve
been very, very fortunate. And then I have
a dealer principal that provides me with the
tools and resources that I need to be successful.
He is a visionary when it comes to the digital
Did you change any of the technology or
any of the vendors?
We’ve improved our technology. We had “A lot of people confuse activity with productivity. You don’t get paid for the time
some great tools in place, but we didn’t know you are here, you get paid for the results that you get. So don’t waste your time
how powerful they were. By meeting with on activities that don’t produce results,” says Barditch.
the vendors and getting tutorials on how they
work, enabled us to automate better. next week, so I am learning how to do that. three hours I had 26 hits.
That is more of a feel-good, this is what I do
Who do you use as a CRM? in the community kind of thing. I am not We’ve steered away from the GM-looking
AutoBase is our tool. And our Internet lead posting: ‘Check out this new car’ or ‘Come site Cobalt creates. Most of the Chevy web sites
management tool is called Aeros. I struggled to my dealership for service.’ I am not selling look like Chevy.com. We did that differently.
with them at the beginning. They had that tool on social media at all. Our web site doesn’t have that cookie-cutter
for over a year and nobody knew how to use it prototype.
right or set up a rotation. It just wasn’t the way We have a great YouTube page and our
it needed to be. Just working with the vendor videos are getting hits like crazy and I just Has GM given you any feedback back on
and learning about it and getting it automated started putting them on. We are the south that?
helped us set-up the way we wanted it to be. Florida dealership for Mary Kay. And they Not on the web site, but we do a lot of good
are using Chevrolets now, so no more pink things for GM. They just implemented a digi-
Who built your web site? Cadillacs. When they come here and pick up tal rewards package and raised the standards.
Cobalt does our web site. That was another their courtesy delivery, I’m there with my Flip We crushed it last year when 98.7% of our
vendor that the relationship wasn’t there. I’ve Video camera taking video of the delivery. leads were responded to in under five hours.
got the best customer advocate there, Joshua There’s got to be 20 or 30 people here and Our average response time was 38 minutes.
Eubanks. He is great. I speak with him weekly. they have flowers and balloons.
Apparently, no one from here would call him. I knew we had to respond quickly within 30
I’m constantly updating our web site. We It is a big show when someone reaches that minutes with a response that blows you away
recently changed the style to make it more car bonus. All her friends are there, it’s a party. and it had to be back quick while you were
user-friendly. I’ve got it online and on YouTube and I have still at the computer.
e-mailed it to her even before she leaves the
We’re embedding videos into the site itself. dealership. We post it, we make her a friend What is your process for handling the lead?
We’ve added an appraisal tool on the front on Facebook and we post it to her Facebook I send the initial response back. Then, the
page along with a 30-second credit application. and say, “Look, here’s the new car she just follow-up call is done almost immediately after
got delivered.” the e-mail. I, the general sales manager or the
Cobalt manages the majority of our search senior BDC representative, which is Erika Diaz
engine optimization and does a great job. I ask Her friends are calling her before she makes the call. Erika has been a God send to
Joshua all the time why they do something a leaves the dealership to congratulate her on me. She makes a majority of the calls for the
certain way. In my mind, I think it sounds her new car. So that’s the way we are kind of Internet leads. She will print an invoice of the
stupid. And he says, “Yea, but you are the first using the social media now. It is just shows car the customer is requesting. She gets the
rank in Google search aren’t you?” customer testimonials. We’re sponsors of the trade information and will run the paperwork
Corvette Club down here in south Florida, over to one of my Internet salesmen. So now
I see you are doing some social media stuff we promoted our Corvette show and we do all they have to do is sell the car.
too: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. things like that. I took video and pictures of
I am definitely in the infancy stage of social all of the guys with their 1963 Sting Rays. So your BDC sets up all of the appoint-
media. I went to the NADA Conference and I They walked me through the restoration of ments and hands them to the Internet
am signed up for the Digital Dealer conference it and we posted it on YouTube and within department?
DD 18 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Yes, they set up a majority of the appoint- department. One of the things we were missing
ments and hand them to the Internet sales- was the turnover from service to sales, and sales
people. Now, if they are following up on the
unsold traffic or missed appointments, those
go back to the salespeople. We don’t just set-up
to service. We now take the customer over to
the service department and introduce them
to the advisor. Every customer gets their first
an appointment, we set-up VIP appointments. oil change free and we let them know that. the Most Likely
A VIP appointment merely means, it is show-
room readiness, it is what you should be doing
We added a customer rewards program in the
service department where for every dollar cus- Recommended
anyway, having the car you are looking for at
the front of the dealership, waiting for you
tomers spend, they earn future dollars on either
service or parts or accessories at our dealership. DMS Delivers –
with the key in hand. It’s not showing up and So we are making more of that connection
having the sales guy having to go to the key between sales and service. Not Simply Software as
box and get the car, or having to walk out to
the parking lot and hope it’s there. It is get- What is your biggest challenge?
a Service, But Software
ting that car ready for you and making that I think it is every dealers’ challenge. There With The Service!
extraordinary customer experience from the is always turnover and technology that is con-
beginning. So that’s our VIP appointment. stantly changing. So getting people to do the When asked in the recent
We’re ready for you when you get here. People right thing every single time is the challenge. NADA 2009 Bi-Annual
don’t like spending six hours at a car dealership Keeping everything on track, that is always a Survey of Dealership
anymore. And quite frankly, Internet custom- challenge, it just keeps you motivated. The car Satisfaction with Dealer
ers have done a lot of the work already. They business is a people game. You have to keep System Providers’
come in with a manila folder knowing what the salesman happy and you have to keep the
Products and Services
the rebates are, and what the invoice is. They customer happy. It’s all about the people.
know terms I haven’t heard of yet.
When Van asked you to come on board, at Our Users
Ranked US #1-
They don’t want the gloves on, they don’t that time I think GM was going through
want a boxing match anymore, they don’t want bankruptcy issues, and dealerships were
to be here to six hours, they want a clean deal, being eliminated. You were an outsider to
they want transparency, and they want you to the auto industry, what was your thought
• Speed in Getting Changes
be on your game. about the industry as a whole? and Modifications Made
Because I was the president of a business
In what mediums do you advertise? organization that had 200 members, I talked • Maintenance of Your
We don’t do newspaper at all. We do TV and to a lot of people every day. And nobody in Daily Business with
we’ve just put a lot of additional money into any industry was able to tell me their business Minimal Interruptions
Spanish television. South Florida is a predomi- was better than it was the year before.
nately Hispanic community now. And we’ve • Problem and Concerns
spent a lot of money on digital. No matter what I chose, it was going to being Fixed Correctly
be challenging. It was evident when Cash for the First Time You Call
In terms of digital advertising, what are you Clunkers came out that people were holding • Prompt Follow-up to
doing besides search? their money, they were scared, but everybody Handle the Needs of
We’ve got the highest package that has to drive a car. We don’t have a great public You and Your Staff
AutoTrader offers, I think it is the Platinum transportation in south Florida, so our high-
Package, so we’ve got all the banners. We’re at ways and our streets are filled to the rim. So
the top of every search and we’ve just become everybody’s got a car. It was a matter of getting
the first AutoTrader buying center in south into something that people need. Van sold me
Florida. That means if you just want to just on the whole technology aspect. It was going
come here and sell your car, we will appraise to be my baby and I could run with it. It was
it and we will buy your car. just one of the many challenges I’ve had.
We’ve also got the best package with Cars. Van received his ‘go forward’ letter from GM
com. All of our vendors we’ve pretty much have dated July 1st, and I met with him on July 3rd.
the best package from all of them. So he was able to show me the letter saying
we’re not one of the dealerships going away.
What gets the most traffic on your web site?
Our inventory is definitely seeing the most GM owns the property that we are on, and at
traffic. that time Fritz Henderson, who was the CEO,
lived here in south Florida and played golf with 877-427-4367
Do you get a lot of traffic on service yet?
We have a great relationship with our service continued to P-24
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 19
D IGITAL Dealer VENDOR PROFILE
Dealer.com delivers online automotive retail success to more dealers with the
industry’s most comprehensive and efficient online marketing platform
e all know that the Internet login, from a single vendor. This ends the the industry, providing award winning
has dramatically affected how inefficiency of multiple logins in multiple e-marketing solutions to OEMs, auto
we do business, and constant locations to measure web site, advertising, dealers and media companies.
change is now the only thing that really inventory marketing and lead management
Focus on R&D, customer service
stays the same. Keeping up with these results. Consolidation is smarter, saves time
and company culture
changes is a crucial component of and money, and generates a higher return
business success today; there is simply on investment. As a key component of the company’s
no “set it and forget it” in the world extensive research and development
of online marketing, which begs the When Dealer.com was founded back (R&D) investments, the unified platform
question, “How can busy dealers stay in 1997, few people in the automotive provides enterprise-level online
ahead of the rate of change?” industry realized the potential of the marketing, with the latest tools and the
Internet to reach consumers, and even most intuitive user interface. The single-
With web sites, SEO, SEM, social media, fewer were actively leveraging online login platform benefits all automotive
third-party sites, lead management and marketing. Automotive dealer and sectors by allowing more effective online
more, it can be a challenge to ensure a visionary Mark Bonfigli realized early marketing management, while decreasing
dealership’s marketing message is reaching on that consumers would increasingly overall costs. Recent enhancements
valuable consumers online. Dealer.com begin to seek retail information via the include expanded customer service, with
solves these challenges by providing the Internet. He founded Dealer.com to a doubling of the number of customer-
industry’s most comprehensive online offer the automotive industry the most facing staff, extensive employee
marketing platform. All online marketing innovative and useful online marketing development and training, and a 100%
activities can be managed, monitored and solution. Today, Dealer.com is the global increase in R&D investment for the
evaluated in a single location, with a single leader in online marketing solutions for second consecutive year.
DD 20 May 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Dealer.com’s account management and In addition, Dealer.com’s MobileSites™ LeadMachine™ can track leads from
technical support teams provide the turn smart phones into lead generating the dealership’s web site, AutoTrader,
immediate assistance and guidance to help machines, allowing mobile consumers Cars.com, Autobytel, regional web
dealers maximize the online marketing access to inventory, parts and service sites and more. Leads can then be
platform. The customer service teams hours, integrated inventory videos, contact tracked throughout their lifecycle, with
keep in continuous contact with their busy information and more, from anywhere at response-time monitoring to optimize
dealers to ensure that all online marketing anytime. sales departments’ lead processes.
opportunities are utilized. In fact, there LeadMachine™ allows the creation of
are an average of two outgoing customer Online advertising customized lead lifecycles for all types of
service phone calls for every one incoming The Internet allows unprecedented online incoming leads. In addition, dealer groups
phone call. advertising potential. However, success can manage and track leads by store or
largely depends on the right blend of key individual sales person.
As a testament to Dealer.com’s service technology components: strong search
and technology focus, the company’s Net engine marketing (SEM), website design Inventory marketing
Promoter® Score (NPS) continues to consistent with industry best practices, Dealer.com’s inventory marketing tools
lead the technology sector with the top and well-managed search engine organize, integrate and automate online
customer service ranking in the nation’s optimization (SEO). inventory marketing. The inventory
software industry. In addition, Dealer. management tools push dealers’ inventory
com is the top ranked website provider Dealer.com SmartSites™ combined to eBay®, Craigslist, online classifieds,
on DrivingSales.com dealer vendor with ManagedSEO™ service provide popular social media networks, and
ratings. Further, 80% of the leading dealer optimum organic visibility on the major hundreds of other locations. CarFinder™
groups choose the Dealer.com online search engines. In addition, TotalControl Automated Inventory Alerts send
marketing platform, as ranked by the 2009 DOMINATOR™ premium paid search emails to prospects regarding vehicles
Automotive News ranking of the Top 125 advertising, PowerMail™ broadcast email they are interested in. Further, Dealer.
Dealer Groups. campaign management, and full integration com’s inventory marketing also includes
with popular social media networks allow integrated video. CarFlix™ HumanVoice
Dealer.com also firmly believes that happy, dealers to effectively reach consumers and CarFlix™ Virtual Test Drive videos
healthy employees provide the best service wherever they spend time online. deliver captivating, full-motion videos with
to customers. This philosophy comes from audience appropriate human voices. Video
the top down, creating an environment that Lead management Blogs and transcripts can also be generated
is fast-paced, innovative and fun. Dealer. Fully integrated with SmartSites™, for every inventory video, boosting SEO
com is a pioneer, offering diverse wellness LeadMachine™ lets dealers accept, and providing a more engaging customer
opportunities to its employees, unmatched organize, distribute and track leads experience.
in today’s workplace. Additionally, with seamlessly throughout the lead
the strong focus on R&D, employees lifecycle, across the entire sales force. Performance analytics
are encouraged and rewarded for Dealer.com’s reporting structure is
creating innovative solutions for the designed to produce actionable analytics,
complex business challenges of online with business intelligence that carefully
retail marketing. Dealer.com has been measures success, enabling increased
named one of the Best Places to Work sales and efficiency across all dealership
in Vermont and has also been named as profit centers. Transparent analytics
finalist in the national Inc. Magazine Top monitor the effectiveness of lead strategies,
Small Company Workplaces. merchandising strategies, online advertising
and the entire marketing plan.
Key components of the online
marketing platform The end result
When combined, the components of
Web sites Dealer.com’s comprehensive online
Dealer.com SmartSites™ are highly marketing platform allow OEMs, dealers
adaptable, precisely engineered, search- and media groups maximum efficiency
savvy, lead-capturing machines. Built by unifying all key areas of online
according to Google’s standards marketing in a single location, with a
and results-driven best practices, single login. The consolidation ends the
SmartSites™ are search-optimized, need to work with multiple suppliers to
easy to navigate and edit, and contain manage and monitor marketing results.
more lead-generating forms for higher Further, Dealer.com’s award-winning
conversion. With enhanced video, mobile customer service and technology keep
and social networking capabilities, they their customers years ahead of the
reach, retain and convert more in-market competition, with the maximum return
buyers for all dealership profit centers. on investment.
DigitalDealer-magazine.com May 2010 DD 21