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

  • Customer Experience Study Identifies Expectation Gap Between Dealers and Consumers

    We at DrivingSales recently concluded a very thorough customer experience research study revealing clear indicators that trust and transparency are paramount for sales growth and future success in automotive retail. Read post

  • Does Social Media Sell? A Harvard Professor Says No

    An interesting article published in the Harvard Business Review by a Harvard professor makes some claims that many would argue against. Senior Lecturer, Frank Cespedes, argues that social media doesn’t affect the bottom line for companies and, due to that, is a waste of time. Perhaps the most compelling reason for his conclusion is that the available metrics focus mainly on “likes, tweets, reviews, and click-through-rates…not cause-and-effect links between medium and market results.” Cespedes argues that services that sell followers and likes devalue most social media interaction in terms of data value. Read post

  • CallSource Manages Nearly One Million Calls a Month for OEMs/Dealer Groups, a 100% Increase Year Over Year; Automotive Veteran Bill Bieser Joins as VP Strategic Accounts

    Bieser brings 25+ years of automotive sales experience to the company that invented call tracking; CallSource has tracked over one billion calls since inception   Westlake Village, Calif. – March 31, 2015 - CallSource, the U.S. leader in call management, tracking, and training, today announced its call management volume for its OEM and enterprise group customers has doubled to nearly one million calls per month year over year. This significant growth parallels the increase auto dealers are seeing in incoming phone leads from consumers who are ready to purchase a vehicle. The company also announced that Bill Bieser, an automotive retailing veteran, has joined the team as Vice President Strategic Accounts. Bieser is charged with managing and accelerating the continued growth within these market segments. CallSource invented call tracking and has tracked more than one billion calls to date. Today, with state-of-the-art call management innovations, the company qualifies incoming lea...Read post

  • DMEautomotive Offering New Services to FCA US LLC MarketCenter

        DMEautomotive’s innovative mobile app, call management program and parts lead generation now available to Alpha Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and RAM dealers Daytona Beach, FL – March 31, 2015 – DMEautomotive today announced that it is adding services to its long-standing relationship with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) MarketCenter, an online marketplace designed for Alpha Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat and RAM dealers. DMEa has been offering services as a MarketCenter supplier for 9 years, through its Wholesale Parts Lead-generation program. Among its industry-leading marketing programs now available through MarketCenter are Driver Connect, the industry-leading, dealer-branded mobile app; and MasterCall, a highly effective inbound and outbound call-management program.   “We are proud to extend our long-standing relationship with FCA MarketCenter to include services that, in light of mobile’s skyrocketing popularity and the influx of incoming calls,...Read post

  • When Should You Kiss Your Customers?

    Yes--KISS your customers. Would they get freaked out? Perhaps... So, thankfully I am talking about KISS as the acronym. Go ahead and put your chapstick away. KISS Keep It Simple, Stupid. Now, I am not in love with the stupid part, but keeping it simple is necessary when talking to customers--especially customers looking to purchase a car. How many times have we potentially talked a customer out of a car because we sent an email with too much, overly complicated, overly specific information. OR we were on the phone with a customer and over-answered questions which introduced new, more complex questions. It is time to apply KISS to our connections and conversations with our customers. Here are some steps that will help guide your BDC or Internet Department towards the simple and effective way to communicate with your customers in an honest, transparent, and positive way. Use Scripts: There is always the discussion of whether scripts make your BDC sound….well s...Read post

  • Automotive Sales Could Grow 24% if Retail Experience Improved

      56% would buy more often if the dealership process was not so difficult New research from DrivingSales identifies how the growing gap between consumer expectations and the current automotive buying process is suppressing car sales volume   New York – March 31, 2015 – Automotive sales could grow up to 24% if the retail experience improves, according to key findings released today from a new research initiative from DrivingSales.  The DrivingSales Consumer Experience Study is based on a 16 month-long ethnographic and quantitative research initiative with over 1,300 shopper and buyers and looks at the rational and emotional factors that cause modern automotive shoppers to connect, or disconnect, with automotive dealers in the buying process.    “Yesterday’s formula for automotive retail success is deterring consumers and suppressing sales volume.  Our research shows the key to sales success today is building trust through an open and transparent customer experience a...Read post

  • Social Media, the Puppy

    My wife recently decided it was high time to get a pet dog for the family. I had been delaying this decision since my wife and I first moved in together (years and years ago). I just wasn’t ready for the responsibility. (And, on top of that, I’m allergic). Nonetheless, almost 15 years and two sons later, I acquiesced and began researching a suitable breed. Long story short, we decided upon a Havanese. We researched breeders, investigated, awaited a litter, and picked up our new puppy.  Cute as can be, I realize that this ball of hair will be essential to the growth and development of my children. But these first few weeks have been a lot of work. To tie this together, I was recently honored to have been hired by Jacuzzi corporate to speak at their International conference on the subject matters of lead management and process improvement. Even though I was the one to be dispensing knowledge onto the audience of franchise owners and manufacturer reps, I was able to walk away with m...Read post

  • Reviews...how much do they really help

    We really push getting reviews on  the sales side. We use Dealerrater and also push people to do reviews on google plus. We average about ten a week. We do the ocasional spiff for reviews but do not do it all of the time.   My question for the community is does this really help the dealership? We have a person that is responsikble for responding to every reciew....good or bad. We recently one dealer rater dealer of the year  for Florida (Hyundai).   I am also wandering if these have any seo value as well.   ...Read post