Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing, General Mgt

2013 DrivingSales Executive Summit Recap Part 1

By Eric Miltsch on Oct 19, 2013

 

Wow. Five and half years years ago I received a phone call from Jared Hamilton. He asked, no - told me, I had to head out to Las Vegas to attend a new event he was holding specifically for "progressive dealers." I had no idea what he meant by that; as a relatively new dealer on the scene I just assumed every dealer was progressive. It sounded awesome and I knew I had to be there. so off to Vegas I went. 

Jared described a conference that would speak to dealers about their current problems, provide greater awareness and help dealers actually improve operations. I recall him telling me how this was going to be the best thing ever and that someday, eventually, it would be the biggest & best retail conference. I also remember getting off the phone saying to myself, "I like that kid - he's a dreamer, but I like him." 

True to his word Jared has delivered on that promise to the retail industry. After five years the DrivingSales Executive Summit has become the defacto retail automotive conference to attend. Nearly 3000 people have attended all five events over the years, thousands more have followed along online to soak up the knowledge from the speakers and the attendees. (The event has even been a national trending topic on Twitter. Twice.) 

Jared and his superstar event planning team have attracted the best industry speakers, world-class keynotes from outside the industry and the best retail dealers to contribute their experiences with attendees. This year was no exception. In fact, this year's event was extended to include a special pre-DSES Canadian section for our dealer neighbors to the North. This group of dealers, vendors and speakers nearly equalled the same number of attendees from the 1st DSES. 

The Canadian portion of the event signifies a new shift in the retail industry. The Canadians appear to be even thirstier for the information flow US dealers have been sipping at the past few years. The speed at which they're absorbing and implementing this content is staggering. These dealers needed their venue due to the culture changes and DrivingSales was able to respond with the help of Jay Radke. (Did you know that Canadians are the largest consumers of YouTube content in North America?) Jay assembled an all-star cast of successful Canadian dealers such as: Robert Karbaum, Aleksandra Banas, Dave Hicks, Doug & Andrew Maciver. Brent Wees (Glovebox) was also invited to share his knowledge on responsive web design and mobile strategies. Bringing everything to a close and validating everyone's presentations was Al Awadia (Google).

Later on Sunday master of ceremonies Charlie Volgleheim opened up in the festivities tighter than ever and with his unique blend of professionalism and wit. Jared Hamilton wasted no time in delighting the attendees with what to expect over the next couple of days. He then delivered what I believe to be one of his strongest keynotes to date. He whipped the audience into a frenzy with fixed operations stats and performance data over the years and how this segment has fared against other dealership departments. Bottom line - it isn't pretty. His presentation ended like the finale of a fireworks display. He rattled off performance numbers in a Ran Man-esque manner that was not only impressive but made clear and simple sense: dealers need to pay attention to their fixed ops activities, how they manage this department and how their marketing activities can impact their fixed ops efforts.  

- 62% of drivers research the service technicians recommendations before coming in.

- 43% of drivers search online when deciding where to take their car for service. 

- Dealers must go with a fixed ops approach in your BDC structure.

Scott Hernalsteen took the stage next and shared some of their and insights on how to help improve merchandising efforts. While he offered some general best practice reminders, the data points can clearly help any dealership with regards to their 3rd party merchandising efforts: 

 - VDP views increase by 34% when vehicles arelisted below MSRP.

- 186% more VDP views when priced below the market and also have multiple customer photos.

- 70% of new car buyers actually pay more than the price they saw online.

 - 26% more people traveled 30+ miles to a dealership when there are custom vehicle comments

Up next was Leif Babin, US Navy SEAL Officer. This was an intense keynote with one simple message: Leadership. Also important to note, Leif is only the second person in DSES history get a standing ovation after his presentation. (Gary V. was the 1st) 

Rather than try to convey the emotions his keynote elicited, I'll share some of the hard hitting items Leif provided us: 

 - If the team fails, everyone fails. 

- Laws of Combat: 1. Cover & move. 2. Simple. 3. Prioritize & Execute. 4. Decentralize Command.  

- Orders need to be given in a clear & concise manner so everyone understands them.

- When it's overwhelming, relax, look around and make a call. 

- Talk through what could go wrong with your team so they're prepared. 

- Your team needs to understand not only what what to do, but why they need to do it. 

- Leaders take ownership when things go wrong. 

- (And my favorite) It's not what you preach, it's what you tolerate.

I'll follow up tomorrow with the rest of the DrivingSales recap - so much more to review. 

Comments

The conference was great! This recap is spot-on. Jared certainly opened my eyes to some fixed-op shortfalls that we have and will start working on. Looking forward to part 2. Thanks Eric

Oct 19, 2013

When you say "research the service technicians recommendations" are you referring to online reviews and what is a "fixed ops approach in your BDC structure?"

Oct 20, 2013

Thanks Jake - appreciate you checking it out.

Mike - I interpreted Jared's comment meaning that customers are seeking out a 2nd opinion in the form of additional online research; they're checking on the tech's recommendations.

As the BDC structure, fixed ops should also be a focus. Phone reps should be trained on the specific scenarios, customers scenarios and the revenue opportunities - the BDC doesn't need to be limited to just sales appointments, if it is you;re leaving a lot of money on the table every single day.

Oct 20, 2013

Comments 1 - 3 of 3

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Eric Miltsch's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Adult Social Media Usage 2015

    A recent article by Pew Research Center* has shed some light on current social media usage among adults.  Overall, more than 50% of adults are on social media daily, and increasingly on multiple platforms.  While Facebook remains the reigning champion, other platforms are making strides, and if one is to market on these channels, an understanding of demographics can help make advertising more fruitful. Facebook is still the king when it comes to overall adult social media usage.  While it hasn't grown membership at the same rates as other platforms, it still has twice the overall usage of other platforms and has increasing engagement thanks to more precise algorithms being used and more relevant ad targeting. Twitter has seen gains and now boasts about a quarter of adults on social media.  By contrast, Instagram seems to get its social media usage primarily from a younger audience, although more and more adults are catching on and adopting the platform.  Pinterest is still in hi...Read post

  • eLEND Solutions™ Wins Dealer Marketing Magazine’s 2015 Technology Leadership Award

    eLEND Solutions named highest rated in Auto Finance category     Mission Viejo, CA – April 20, 2015 – eLEND Solutions™, the leader in next-generation consumer finance for the auto industry, today announced that it is the winner of Dealer Marketing Magazine’s 2015 Technology Leadership Awards in the Auto Finance category.   “This award is really special to us because our dealer customers nominated us and the review panel that made the final decision is made up of a group of people who truly understand automotive retailing,” said Pete MacInnis, CEO of eLEND Solutions. “I hope that this recognition introduces our connected car buying experience platform to more dealers who are looking to improve the finance process for today’s online consumer - financing no longer needs to be arranged exclusively as an in-store activity.”   eLEND Solutions is behind the charge to reduce the lengthy car-selling process from hours to minutes. The company’s legacy interactive o...Read post

  • Gubagoo’s Latest Release Includes Responsive Web Platform, Chat-to-Text Functionality and Customizable User Interface

    Enhancement to popular “smart” chat platform includes Google Adwords integration for better ROI optimization and an improved mobile experience   West Palm Beach, FL - April 20, 2015 – Gubagoo Inc., the fastest growing chat and website engagement provider for automotive dealerships, today announced significant upgrades to its popular “smart” chat platform interface. Key enhancements to the ChatSmart platform include advanced Google Analytics integration and a new responsive platform that supports all devices – desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, etc. The addition of SMS text-to-chat opens up direct communication on mobile devices and gives customers who are chatting with the dealership the freedom to seamlessly transition from a desktop environment to a mobile device mid-conversation. The new chat platform’s responsive design and customizable interface means it integrates seamlessly within any website – mimicking the site’s look and feel in any environment, encouraging...Read post

  • Despite Auto Vendors' Promotion of Mobile Tablet Solutions, 80 Percent of Dealers Don't Use Mobile Tablets

    ALBANY, N.Y. – April 20th, 2015 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) today announced the results of an informal survey it conducted from November 2014 to April 2015. More than 100 dealership employees responded to questions about mobile usage in the dealership, and it turns out that despite the auto industry's promotion of mobile tablet software solutions, only 20 percent of auto dealerships use mobile tablets in their sales and service departments. Even fewer dealerships have adopted mobile tablets in the F&I department, with only seven percent indicating they use mobile tablets in the F&I process.   "I think we're seeing the classic bell curve in terms of dealers adopting a new technology," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "It's only been in the last year or two that we've seen many vendors make their solutions available on mobile tablets, and 20 percent of dealerships are early adopters. I anticipate this perce...Read post

  • DMEa Launches Service Connect with TCi, Tire Centers LLC: Groundbreaking Mobile App Puts Service Information, Savings in Aftermarket Customers Hands

      Offered as part of TCi’s T3 Prime program, Service Connect’s award-winning customizable mobile technology helps Aftermarket retailers retain and engage with today’s “always-on” consumer   Daytona Beach, FL – April 20, 2015 – DMEautomotive today announced that TCi, Tire Centers LLC, one of America’s premier tire distributors, has selected Service Connect, DMEa’s groundbreaking aftermarket-branded mobile app, to help its retailers increase sales, loyalty and retention among today’s “always-on” consumers.  TCi has thousands of customers across the US and services all 50 states.   TCi will offer Service Connect to its independent tire dealer customers nationwide as part of its T3 PrimeTM program, which offers internet marketing and other services. The technology behind Service Connect is proven to increase sales and retention and drive customer loyalty, especially among mobile-hungry Millennials who prefer to do almost everything through the convenience ...Read post

  • Vendor Partnerships and the Importance of Making Ego Begone

    The word "begone" is such a funny word. It has a powerful meaning but is so rarely used outside of board games and exocisms. We're going to use it today, mostly because it fits in nicely with the topic of discussion. As fate would have it, one of our team members was picked for jury duty. While he is fulfilling his civil responsibility as a citizen of this wonderful country, I'm filling in for him on the social side. It's good to roll your sleeves up and get to work sometimes (which is why I believe even general managers should take ups every now and then) just to get a feel for what's happening in the trenches. Facebook is all about momentum, which is why I normally do not like our posts to run over others. Conversely, I don't like other people's posts to run over ours. Collaboration is an important key to a strong social media strategy that takes some thigns from the dealership and some content that we create, so we like to time everything out to maximize things. Today, I had a ...Read post

  • Dealerships Must Reinvent the Car Showroom

    Spending more time engaging the customer helps build trust and pave the way for a better upsell process. If your dealership hasn’t integrated mobile tablets into your processes, now is the time. Read post

  • Phone Interview Questions: 6 Tips for Running the Show at Your Dealership

    Want to hear something crazy? 103 years ago the Titanic sank. Want to hear something even crazier and completely irrelevant to the first question? Most people do not know how to conduct a proper interview, yet alone a phone interview. Meeting someone face-to-face allows for natural interaction and initial conversation. On the other hand, meeting someone over the phone calls for a bit of effort from the caller (in this case, the hiring manager) to get the conversation going. Therefore, it’s essential to have a guideline or some format to follow when writing up phone interview questions; otherwise the interview is bound to fall apart and lose its purpose. 6 Tips for Phone Interview Questions 1.) MAKE A SCRIPT—Following the same script for every interview helps avoid bias and inconsistency. You want to make sure every candidate has the same opportunity to a fair interview process; this means asking everyone the same basic questions. Plus, this helps you stay on track and keep the interview flowing within your respective time limit. 2.) INTRODUCTION—This means more than just a simple, “Hey, how’s it going?” Introduce yourself, your background and your company first. Then give your candidates an overview of how the interview will flow so they know what to expect. Make sure they understand your interview process. This will help ensure a smooth transition to the next stage of the process, like a face-to-face interview or polite rejection. 3.) CAREER PLAN—Ask the candidates aRead post