Are you a master or a student?
Do you know everything that you need to know to pass on your knowledge to others?
Recently, I spent four days on site at a dealer group consulting and training a brand new BDC Manager. This BDC Manager is a remarkable…
Do you know what kind of population is in your area?
What is the crime rate where your dealership is located?
What is the percentage of households with college grads?
What areas have a high average household income and what areas have a low average income?
Right now, as you are reading this you are asking yourself “what the point to these questions is”.
Before we go any further, let me start out by saying that this is in no way meant to teach you to prejudge your customers. Please do not judge a book by its cover. However, consider using data to help you improve your field intelligence in terms of investing money in your adverting.
I have been spending some time working with a small dealer group over the last two months. This dealership is located in an interesting part of the state. On one hand you have a high crime rate area which is also the state capital while other parts of the county have towns with upper class households in some of the most prestigious areas in the country. While working with the OEM to consider lead quality and quantity we had discovered this interesting website called ZipSkinny.com. I had a chance to play around with it and compare zip codes. Based on the brands that this store sells and on the fact that there is a special finance department I was able to pinpoint where I want to put a heavy focus on special finance opportunities and where I wanted to place a heavy focus on customers with great credit who can buy the products that the store is selling.
This site is great for me as a consultant because when I start to build out a plan for every dealership that I consult I like to examine all data and analytics from closing ratios (OEM leads, third party, websites, etc) as well as how many leads come in. I also examine the quality of the sales staff and management to measure why deals are being missed in the dealership. A resource like zipskinny.com can help a dealer strategically plan out their spending to either cut or increase their budget strategically. This will also help to create customized processes for lead management. A customized book of word tracks, phone scripts, and business practices needs to be created to handle all of the situations that can be encountered in the dealership. This will upgrade the way your team performs and ultimately increase business opportunities.
Dealers and managers that are looking to learn about these and other similar strategies for managing and evolving their business development operations need to attend my workshop next week at the upcoming Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Orlando, FL on January 5-7, 2013.
Dealers who are looking to measure the ROI of their digital marketing investments need to master the basics of Google Analytics. Dealers need to know how to customize reports that will give them ACTIONABLE data to increase the profits at the dealership. Since a dealership website is the new “storefront”, does it make sense to ignore the rich insights and reports that Google offers car dealers for free? Absolutely not!
Brian Pasch will lead dealers through three workshops on Google Analytics. Check out thefull listing of workshops at DMSC this year. Each Google Analytics session will also feature a leading industry expert showing attendees how to practically apply Google Analytics for car dealership management. Taking a general Google Analytics workshop will not give the same impact of a customize series of classes designed for car dealership websites.
Three Part Workshop Series
The three workshops that will be lead by Brian Pasch on February 6th are:
- “Part I – Segmenting Your Data For Better Marketing Analysis” 9:00 am
- “Part II – How To Attribute Influence To Website Traffic Using Napkin Math” 1:30 pm
- “Part III – Creating Custom Reports To Guide Your Business” 4:00 pm
Brian Pasch will introduce the power of measuring “In Market Shopper Activity” (IMSA), a concept first defined by Thomas Gage of Autotrader. Attending these workshops will allow you to measure the In Market Shopper Activity on your website.
Attendees will learn which advertising sources and strategies are INCREASING In Market Shopper Activity. As a special bonus, Thomas Gage will join Brian Pasch in Part II of the series to share his work with dealers and Google Analytics.
Learn how to diagnose your website for problems as well as comparing the impact of new advertising investments, merchandising choices, and website design changes. This is a must attend set of workshops for dealership staff responsible for website conversion, marketing budgets, and car sales.
Dealers that attend all three Google Analytics workshops will receive $1,000 in merchandise credits from PCG Consulting that will automate Google Analytics reporting as well as reporting on all their marketing investments.
That’s right, attendees can gain access to a customized marketing dashboard to view the most critical elements of their website data for six months, free. The dashboard has dozens of widgets to show you things about your marketing strategy and website that you never knew!
This software bonus covers the cost of attending DMSC and will help dealers master their marketing budgets and website traffic in 2013.
So what is it that makes the Internet Sales 20 Group so great?
Yesterday I spent some time in the Dealer Synergy to get on the 5 week post event follow up call.
What follow up call? What am I talking about? You mean a major automotive industry event that hosts a follow up call to hold its attendees accountable?
Seriously, out of all of the fall conferences and events that occurred in October the Internet Sales 20 Group was the only event to really show care for the dealers and the success by implementing a live virtual meeting with attendees to review what they learned and what they implemented at the event. The moderators for the Internet Sales 20 Group had attendees fill out workbooks and sign official contracts which held them accountable for their action when they get back to the dealership.
My friend, Sean Bradley held a call yesterday and it was amazing to see how many attendees improved business practices in just a few short weeks. This is powerful stuff that I have never seen before anywhere else. I have been to numerous digital conferences and workshops where I walked out with information and never a guideline of how to implement my learning. In fact, I am one of the rare people that have been able to be creative and actually put things into practice. However, the majority of attendees are overwhelmed when they get back to the dealerships and no one follows up with them. All that money spent on a conference and the information was barely retained. Again, the Internet Sales 20 Group ensures success for your dealership. When people like Ralph Paglia, Peter Martin, JD Rucker, and myself jump on the band wagon to continue making this event more successful you know it has substance.
So… What should you do next?
Register for the Internet Sales 20 Group March 19-21, 2013 in Dallas, TX by visiting http://internetsales20group.com/
We pulled off a very successful Internet Sales 20 Group during a major conference week where we drew close to 60 dealers. Dallas, TX will be taking it to another level where we are going harder with sponsors and will plan to attract up to 120 dealers. Dealers from the last Internet Sales 20 Group have started to signed up and dealers that missed out are expressing major interest.
I will be representing this powerful event on behalf of Dealer eTraining as well as speaking on topics that dealers need to focus on in today’s business environment. This fall and winter I am spending time working on major in-dealership projects. I spent 6 weeks transforming a single dealership with operations that included digital marketing, CRM, social media, lead management, and overall dealership processes in all departments. I am focusing the next few weeks fixing a small BDC/Internet Sales department that consists of 3 people for a 2 franchise group. I plan to bring some new data, updated practices, and a refreshing attitude to my craft so that every attendee in the room can walk away with helpful tips to really shine in 2013.
The Internet Sales 20 Group is about industry leaders and top performing dealerships working together to improve the industry.
Click on the image above to access the online form for the AutoCon 2012 Special 2-for-Tuesday discount – Please include the name of the SECOND ATTENDEE in the attendee shirt box in the form that appears on the linked page…
The 2012 AutoConnections Conference & Exposition (aka AutoCon 2012) brings unrivaled energy, experience, and education to the fall conference circuit. Held at the majestic Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, this conference was created to help all members of your dealership from Dealer Principals to Marketing and Service Managers.
ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Richard Bustillo, Brian Pasch, JD Rucker, Jerry Thibeau, Jody DeVere, Joni Stuker, Joe Mescher, Alan Ram, Craig Lockerd, Joe Castle, Vane Clayton, AJ LeBlanc, David Page, Jack Simmons, and many top presenters.
MORE REASONS TO COME
- OVER 70+ WORKSHOPS & LABS
- DEALER PRINCIPALS ATTEND FREE
- AUTOMOTIVE WEBSITE AWARDS SHOW TICKET
|PLATED BREAKFAST + LUNCH |
Network with other dealers + speakers while enjoying complimentary group meals twice a day.
|FREE WIFI IN ALL ROOMS |
Never worry about connectivity. Enjoy free wireless service both on the floor and in your hotel room.
|OVER $10,000 IN FREE VOUCHERS |
Go home with free vendor vouchers that let you try new products and services you discover at AutoCon.
|ONE-ON-ONE LABS & ASSESSMENTS |
Vendors will prepare customized evaluations for your dealership, and give you personalized training on their products.
Learn ways to gather the right information to improve the quality of the lead.
- Stan Sher President , Dealer eTraining As one of the top experts in automotive internet sales and business development today, Stan Sher has been training dealers best practices with regards to internet lead management, sales process, and business development process. He currently writes for numerous automotive dealer publications including automotiveinternetsales.com where he serves as the editor. In addition, Stan is a frequent speaker for the Greater New York Automotive Dealers Association as well as numerous industry conferences.
Congratulations to Eric Nichols, Internet Sales Manager in Riverhead Long Island!
Eric is Delivering 52+ units per month in a 2.5 person department-
AIS - How Long have you been in the Automotive Sales Industry?
EN - 5 and 1/2 years. I was in the United States Navy before that for 4+ years.
AIS - How did you go from Navy to a Car Dealership?
EN - I worked some dead end jobs until my brother, Brian gave me a job in a BDC.
AIS -What type of training did you go through?
EN - Nothing except what was regurgitated down from the managers at the dealership, who were making it up as they went or heard something from somebody or the OEM. Until we hired http://www.DealereTraining.com / Stan Sher.
AIS - How did you meet up with Stan Sher and his company?
EN - Ironically, the GM brought him in after seeing that Stan Sher was a trainer for the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. At first, Stan “Mystery Shopped” my dealership. Needless to say, I wasn’ t that thrilled at first LOL! However I have become close with him and have learned a lot. Basically all of the ideas I had that were swirling in my head, Stan helped me articulate them and implement them.
AIS - So, I am going to transition the conversation for a little bit…
Tell me about your department in detail…
* Website Provider - http://www.dealer.com
AIS - Do you like them?
EN - Yes, no issue to date.
* CRM - http://www.dealersocket.com
AIS - Do you like them?
EN - I actually LOVE them!! It is my biggest tool! It is my command center. It is my complete accountability for my GM. After, Stan Sher helped setup processes in the CRM and create a guideline for how to measure the results in the BDC the tool has become my best friend.
AIS - Since you got excited when I mentioned the CRM, lets go a little deeper…
How do you use your CRM?
EN - We have an automated Email Action Plan, Data Mining, Lease Retention, Unsold Showroom Follow Up, Internet Leads, Incoming Phone Ups… Everything.
AIS - Any Social Media Integration with your CRM?
EN - Not at this time. Although we learned from Dealer eTraining the importance of incorporating social media into follow up especially with leads that have no phone number or leads that are unresponsive.
AIS - What is your internet lead process?
EN - First, there is ONLY 1 “automated” email template… The 1st one. Then we send manual emails for the next 14 days… THEN it goes into the “automated category” until day 44. Then it goes into a MONTHLY Email Protocol. We incorporate value builders and stress the importance of our positive online reputation in our process.
AIS - How long do you follow up with a prospect?
EN - 180 days… 90 days is NOT Enough Anymore. In fact, some OEMs require longer processes. We noticed that our customers have extended their buying cycle to as long as 180 days.
AIS - How do you handle the Phone Call Follow Up Process?
EN - It is different…
As soon as we get the lead, we IMMEDIATELY make the phone call. If we do not connect, Then we call them AGAIN, later on that day.
So, another way of explaining it is for the first 10 days we call TWICE a day… Morning and night, for a total of 20 calls in ten days.
Then we go from 10 days to 12 days to 14 days…
Then we call 21 -26 - 31 THEN we start calling monthly.
AIS - Who is your inventory solution?
EN - We have our own photo studio then we upload to http://www.VAuto.com
AIS - Who is your call monitoring solution?
EN - Call Measurement powered by DealerSocket
AIS - What is your Online Reputation Management Strategy?
EN - We were using Dealer.com but just cancelled to go to www.slipstreammedia.com - THEY ARE AWESOME! We are of the highest rated Honda dealerships in New York on DealerRater, Google Places, and other sites. It is a requirement of all of our staff members to attain at least one review per week.
AIS - What are you doing for Social Media?
* Carmind - http://www.carmind.com
AIS - What is your video and or VSEO strategy?
EN - We are using Flip Stream for it all. We learned basic in-house strategies for VSEO from Stan and use these practices at times.
AIS - What other additional resources, tools, websites, blogs etc… do you use as part of your “success strategy”.
- Stan Sher / Dealer eTraining Blogs and Videos
- Sean V. Bradley / Dealer Synergy Videos
- All Google tools… ESPECIALLY Google Analytics
- Driving Sales - I actually wrote an article on Driving Sales
(I will POST it HERE)
“Use the Source” By Eric Nichols
For the first time in automotive history dealers can now get an accurate idea of where their marketing dollars are going and how well they are performing. Yes I am taking about the all mighty source. No not the force, “THE SOURCE”. It may not be able to help you move items around or read people’s minds, but it does something even better…. MAKES YOU MORE MONEY…
In my years as a BDC rep and a BDC director, I have learned that the source can be mastered and understood now more than ever before. How is that you ask, quite simple with the following simple steps I have come up with you will be able to not only save on your marketing dollars but will you can profit off of it.
Step 1- Understanding Sourcing…. The traditional advertising types radio, TV. Newspapers never gave you an accurate idea of if your marketing efforts where effective. When sourcing you need to use the parent, child approach.If your paying for all these campaigns you need to know what is working
PARENT= SOURCE meaning the broad spectrum source.
EXAMPLES OF SOURCE CODES
Fresh-up- A fresh up is any customer that comes to the dealership for no other reason but driving by or just walking into the dealership.
“NO ADVERTISING YOU ARE DOING BROUGHT THEM IN”
PHONE UP- Any customer who calls into your dealership that cannot be sourced to any specific advertising or 1-800- tracking #. Meaning if a customer calls your dealership using one of your individual 1-800 #’s and it shows up under that marketing effort, such as website, auto trader, cars, autousa, vehix, dealix etc……..THEY ARE NOT A TRUE PHONE UP THEY ARE WHATEVER MARKETING EFFORT THEY ARE TIED TO. INTERNET, TV, RADIO, ETC… EVERY MARKETING EFFORT SHOULD HAVE INDIVIDUAL AND SEPARATE TRACKING #’s FOR EACH AD.
Internet- any prospect that comes from any form of digital advertising online. It’s pretty simple as stated before if they send a lead/email into you it is pre-sourced in your CRM and labeled where it came from. Same with the internet phone calls your call tracking will say what website it came from. “INTERNET IS NOW ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE MAJORITY OF YOUR CUSTOMERS YOU TALK TO. LIKE IT OR NOT ITS FACT.”
INTERNET/FRESH-UP- Last but not least my own creation. So before I explain to you what an Internet/Fresh Up is. Let me ask you a question.
A customer walks into your dealership and you ask how did you hear about us? They are going to say the either one of the above sources. It is your job to dig to see where they came from. ASK ASK ASK.
Statistics say out of 100% of all traffic
8% emailed before coming in
12% called before coming in
80% came in without emailing or calling.
Now that 80% is a curious thing do you think that 80% just came in for the heck of it, No something brought them in. Now are you ready for the Shocker out of that 80% of unknown origin. 75% of that # saw you on the internet, Car buyers will hit your website or your car listing about 7 times before they come in and the time searching is 15hrs or more online shopping. All you need to do is ASK… Don’t take the easy way out it’s your money either you ask or make sure your people ask.
- YOU COULD POTENTIALLY BE EITHER..
- WASTING MONEY ON BAD ADS
- CANCELING MARKETING EFFORTS THAT ARE MAKING YOU MONEY. Example… My dealer principal wanted me to cancel a major listing company because we were not tracking well with leads. I put the foot to my people to ASK ASK ASK….. And low and behold it was one of the top reasons for my walk-in traffic sales.
So the point is that just because they are a walk-in doesn’t mean that you can’t source them correctly. Yes they did not email or call but a certain marketing approach brought them down find out what it is. If it’s the internet you need to know that. Hence INTERNET/FRESH-UP. It’s neither a true internet nor is it a true fresh-up.
CHILD = TRACKING CODE
Don’t worry no long drawn out explanation on this one. Tracking code is the exact marketing listing, basically whatever company you are using that is promoting your listing. Simple as that.
So now that I have explained the different sourcing structures, how do you us put a plan into effect to get these sources? The only efficient way to do this is the following way and it may sound like a pain in the rear but it’s the only effective method.
HAVE A GREETER AT THE FRONT DOOR TAKE ALL INCOMING UP SHEETS AND LOG THEM INTO YOUR CRM… MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. WE ALL KNOW THAT SALES REPS DON’T CARE AS LONG AS THEY MAKE A SALE THEY DON’T CARE WHERE THEY COME FROM AS LONG AS THEY COME IN. IT IS ON MANAGEMENT TO ENFORCE THIS. Having the greeter enter all info into the CRM will also ensure an accurate count of how many showroom visits you truly have. I have worked with managers who don’t collect log sheets, they throw them out to increase their closing ratio, they lose them the list goes on and on. As a GM, GSM, Dealer principal, BDC Manager it is on you to make sure that this is followed to a tee. The reason being is not only proper sourcing but proper follow-up is completed. And as you know that means more money in all of your pockets. Times are hard in our business now make the most out of everything you get in the door.
TO BE CONTINUED….. EPISODE 2: THE RETURN OF THE DUPLICATE
AIS - GREAT STUFF!
AIS - What types of advice do you have for other ISMs or Internet Departments reading this article?
EN - EASY… Analytics. Analytics. Analytics…
VERIFY everything. Be sure. NEVER Guess. I learned that by mastering your CRM reporting, Google Analytics, and other reports that you will always be able to monitor the success and/or shortcomings for the BDC department as well as the dealership.
In my recent travels I have started to see dealerships do away without a used car manager. I am talking about dealerships that are selling between 70 and 100+ used cars per month. In fact, it seems to be a role and responsibility that a GSM or even GM have started to take over. The technology that we have in place for merchandising and pricing inventory has turned used car sales into a simpler process where a few marketing tools such as vAuto, HomeNet, and others have eliminated the need for having a costly six figure manager on staff. In fact, the dealerships that have no used car manager have a used inventory merchandising manager that is just in charge of making sure that inventory is properly being taken care of, the right amount of pictures get taken, and the inventory is posted properly on the internet. They also deal with buyers and are in charge of making sure that inventory arrives as it should. I noticed that these people work for less money then a used car manager and are basically an assistant to the GSM or GM.
Some might see this is as a negative thing because they might blame technology for putting people out of work while others might see it as a positive thing because they do not have to deal with the extra ego of an arrogant used car manager. In all reality it is great to have technology that allows us to keep our processes in the dealership simpler and allow for a faster turnaround time. When it comes to managing used car sales for multiple dealerships there might still be a need for the used car manager because the duties change.
What do you think of this? Has the time come for used car managers to be extinct? Please share your thoughts…