Developing the Next Generation of Leaders is Critical to The Future of Automotive

We live in a world entirely ruled by technology, and younger generations utilize the internet for basically everything. As such, modern car shoppers expect communication to be fast and their experience to be impeccable when shopping for vehicles online. In an ever-changing world of automotive retail, dealers must now learn how to adjust to each and every customer. This is just how the “new age” operates.

Maritz Northwood Partnership

One major challenge that dealers have encountered is a generational shift in the way younger shoppers view car ownership. Unlike generations past, these new shoppers typically do not prescribe to the notion that buying the nicest, newest car on the lot is important—such an act is “uncool” to the Gen-Z crowd. Instead, they’re taking advantage of modern technology – i.e. conveniences like Bluetooth and navigation – incorporated in affordable late-model vehicles. Add on society’s insistence to transition to cleaner, fuel-efficient EVs, and you’ve got millions of drivers who expect more from the car lot.

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CRM Tips: How To Manage Duplicate Leads In VinSolutions & Make More Sales

The choice in CRM makes or breaks a dealership – this is an undebatable fact, like helium being lighter than air or how cats will suck the souls out of newborns when threatened – as a quality CRM allows dealers to truly maximize their potential to convert leads into sales.

Indeed, a good CRM is quite a powerful sales tool – when used properly. The best dealers utilize it in any number of ways: to engage with customers, manage relationships, review reports to uncover additional efficiencies. Yes, some will even go to great lengths to review their duplicate leads.

However, the reality is most stores simply aren’t doing that, nor are they taking full advantage of their software to address common problems with poor staff performance and improper lead handling. (Our analysts and coaches see these issues every day in auditing clients’ CRM usage.)

In our short how-to video and the written tips below, our very own Dealer Operations Analyst, Matt Trudell – enjoy your 15 minutes, bud – showcases ways in which your dealership can make the most of VinSolutions’ Lead History software to locate and assess duplicate leads. Mr. Trudell, take it away. (That means click the image below to watch the video.)

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VinSolutions: Understanding the Lead History Tools

First things first, you’ll want to get acquainted with the VinSolutions platform and its various sections. VinSolutions is a great piece of software, and one of the benefits it gives you is the ability to find and link to a customer’s lead history and pertinent details – from many, many accessible places within the CRM.

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Customer Lifetime Value: The Secret to Managing Marketing Spend

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.” – W. Edwards Deming

Pie chart and trending line Marketing budget allocations and analysis can be dreaded processes for anyone running a business. These frustrations usually stem from some sort of uncertainty of what aspects of your marketing spend are bringing you a profit. At the core, one of the biggest driving factors when analyzing budgets is determining your customer lifetime value (CLV). This metric puts into perspective the value of each customer acquisition over time and how much you can spend on each acquisition and still bring a profit. By understanding your CLV, you can make better business decisions regarding your company sales and marketing efforts.

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Move over General Motors, there’s a new “GM” in town

How will Google's driverless car impact the future of automotive sales?

And its name starts with “Google!”

The classic 60s cartoon show “The Jetsons” starts off with George Jetson (literally) dropping the kids off to school and wife, Jane, to the hyperspace-mall (minus his wallet). Then George soars off to work at Spacely Sprockets, Inc. high above the clouds in his flying car with its signature panoramic bubble roof.

While George did in fact “drive” his lime-green flying car using a joystick, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that he could just push the “auto-pilot” button and let his car safely zoom him to his destination (at a leisurely 2,500 miles per hour) while he relaxed and checked the morning sports scores on his iPhone 6000 (are you listening, Apple?).

And it would no doubt help him avoid a “close encounter of the bad kind” with an oddly familiar DeLorean broken down in the space lane up ahead.

Marty McFly: “What happened, Doc?”

Doc Brown: “Marty, either the flux capacitor is on the fritz or we need to throw a couple more beers into ‘Mr. Fusion.”’

Marty McFly: “Crap, Doc. Not again!”

Upon arrival at his office, Jetson would press another button and his flying car would neatly fold itself up into a briefcase.

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6 Steps to Solid CRM Management

Your CRM can be a goldmine of actionable insights — but only if you and your people are using it properly. Take your dealership to the next level by committing to your CRM. Use these six steps to get started.

6 Tips for CRM SuccessTrain your staff

Make time to train all of your employees on how to use the CRM. Then, hold them accountable for doing their part. This may require a culture change at your dealership, but it’s worth the effort. Once your people are using the CRM the way their supposed to, you’ll have a clear look at how your leads are being managed.

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B…b…b… Bad to the bone!

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Outrageous. Bodacious. And ready to “IROC” your world!

Warning! If you’re a guy with bladder-control problems and you are lucky enough to see the 2014 Camaro Z/28 up close and personal at a Chevy dealership near you, please use the appropriate absorbent undergarments. Trust me. You’re gonna need ’em.

With a 7.0 liter Corvette Z06 16-valve, OHV V8 under the massive hood throbbing with 506 hp @ 6,100 rpm which generates a prodigious 481 lb ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm, this isn’t a car; it’s Godzilla with a great script and much better special effects.

This ultra-wicked iteration of the legendary Camaro Z/28 is so bad-ass that even the Prince of Darkness himself (no the other Prince, not the rock star from Minneapolis) would say: “That’s way cool. Where do I get one?”

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10 easy ways to succeed at auto dealer marketing

  How not to fail at auto dealer marketing   A recent landmark online customer survey by Google revealed this about car buyers:

  • 71% use a search engine
  • 61% search dealers’ online inventories
  • 59% comparison shop cars online
  • 56% seek information from a dealer website
  • 53% request an online quote
  • 49% search online for a dealership

88% of consumers research retail businesses online before they buy. In fact they check out, on average, 10 sources during their search. “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Understanding that famous line from the movie “Cool Hand Luke” is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy.

our top 10 ways to succeed at auto dealer marketing:

  1. “Inspect what you expect.” It means don’t take anything for granted. Examine your entire digital marketing footprint, diligently seek out points of failure and fix them immediately.
  2. Review your website’s heat and scroll maps to see which pages are the most effective and which need an overhaul.
  3. Conduct “mystery chats” to make sure your BDC staff is following up every hot lead.
  4. Freshen up your customer emails with new, compelling graphics.
  5. Motivate your customers to visit your dealership with exciting and unique themed events.
  6. Take out your smart phone, do a search on Google or Yelp and find out whether you’re a one-star failure or a five-star superstar compared to other dealers in your area.
  7. Investigate what your competitors are doing. Conduct mystery shops. Gather intel. Get inside their heads. Then counterattack with a strategy that neutralizes their effectiveness.
  8. Demand accountability. Hold your team to the same standard of excellence you hold yourself.
  9. Write blogs featuring helpful car-maintenance tips which also include service special coupons
  10. And finally, do the little things right.

If you put just some of these suggestions into practice and then make sure to execute them consistently, you will see improved results.

Top Three Tips for Dealership Succession Planning

Passing the ownership torch at your dealership

Passing the Ownership Torch at Your Dealership

It was recently announced that Ford CEO Alan Mulally will retire on July 1st with COO Mark Fields stepping up to become CEO. Fields had been groomed for taking over the reins at Ford since 2012 when the position of chief operating officer was created specifically to prepare him for transitioning into his new leadership role in Dearborn.

Fields already established himself as someone who would have the confidence, support and respect of Wall Street, senior management, and the rank-and-file by leading a turnaround of Ford’s North American operations, which is the engine that is driving Ford’s resurgent profitability.

Clearly the Ford brass had a well thought-out succession plan in place to ensure that passing the torch would be seamless, with minimal impact to the bottom line. They succeeded.

Now, what about your dealership’s succession plan? Have you even thought about what will happen when you step down, or are no longer capable of running your business?

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Spanish: The new language of car sales

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Can you really afford to ignore a $1.5 trillion economic market?

According to a recent study by Nielson, if the U.S. Hispanic market were its own standalone country, it would be one of the top 20 economies in the world!

Stop reading for a moment and let that jaw-dropping statistic sink in.

Any consumer retailer should stand up and take notice. The message is clear: If you are not properly and aggressively marketing to Hispanics, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to dramatically increase your sales.

The study goes on to say that the median age of the Hispanic demographic market is 28 years old. More importantly, the study identified seven key sectors of the economy which stand to benefit the most from this rapidly growing market. Transportation, which includes automotive sales and airlines, was included in this list.

So, practically speaking, what does this surge in Hispanic buying clout mean for your dealership?

First of all, you need to look at your website. You should consider creating a separate Spanish-language website with Mexican and American flag icons that allow users to easily switch between the two. You should also have a Spanish-language section on your dealership’s Facebook page. The buzzword which describes this is “bicultural.” Read more about it here: http://www.hispaniconlinemarketing.com/.

The most important take away is that second and third-generation Latinos are equally comfortable in either the American or Hispanic cultures.

Now, let’s talk about staffing. How many Spanish-speaking sales people do you employ? How visible are they? What about your receptionist and BDC? Do you have Spanish-speakers manning your chat lines? Is there a function on your phone system with instructions in Spanish? What about F&I and your fixed-ops? Do you have bi-lingual staff in these key areas? And consider this also: The sales negotiation process for Hispanics is somewhat different, so having seasoned Hispanic staff on your front line is essential to success.

In terms of both your digital and traditional advertising, you should consider promoting the bi-lingual nature of your dealership. Foster a welcoming attitude which embraces both the language and the culture of Hispanics.

These are just some of the things you can and should be doing to attract Hispanic buyers to your dealership. So don’t be afraid to learn a new auto dealer marketing language. Because at the end of the day, it will translate into more sales. To which we say: “Bueno!”

Is your online reputation worth only a “fistful of dollars?”

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The good, the bad and the really ugly truth about accountability

He traveled the West alone. He was accountable to no one except his own conscience. A “high-plains drifter” with a quick draw and even quicker wit. A gunslinger with a reputation to die for.

 “Crazy bell-ringer was right, there’s money to be made in a place like this.”

Clint Eastwood,  A Fistful of Dollars

It’s been said that the Internet is the new “Wild West” of marketing. It’s a place where the rules of engagement are always changing. There’s always a new sheriff in town, which means your reputation will either make you a hero or be your death sentence.

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