by 3 comments · 2 likeson Aug 27, 2014
If you're anything like me, you love and thirst for learning. I have always been of the mindset that the more knowledge I can get my hands on, the more effective I can be.
On the morning of October 12, just prior to the 1st session of the DrivingSales Executive Summit, DSU Live will push the boundaries of dealer thinking in regards to Structure, Marketing & Analytics. The session attendees can expect personalized and interactive learning using their own store's numbers, and plugging them into Digital Data Composites that DrivingSales will build for those who choose to attend. WARNING: Often it is a bit painful to look under the hood at your digital performance! But, it is always beneficial.
Attendees will hear from three different presenters who all have many years of perspective in the auto industry.
Ron Henson (Yup, that's me): Over 20 years of Automotive Operations experience and Director of Dealer Services for DrivingSales & DrivingSales University.
Mark Rodger Read Post
by 4 comments · 1 likeson Aug 14, 2014
I often like to reminisce about some of the seemingly lost arts of sales. When I got into the sales business over 25 years ago, I read everything I could get my hands on in regards to the art of building relationships and selling. I loved, and still love, reading Joe Girard, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar and many others. Here's the thing.....I often wonder if the art of putting a customer at ease, bringing down barriers, and building rapport has gone the way of rear facing third row seating in station wagons and smoking on airplanes. Read Post
by 1 comments · 2 likeson Jun 26, 2014
In my 20+ years in automotive retail I was always a firm believer in the notion that the dealerships that spent the most time training their employees were the ones that would thrive rather than simply survive. I am still a believer in that way of thinking, but with the caveat of “Training for Sustaining.” What do I mean by that? Sometimes as a dealer executive it’s possible to get caught up in the egocentric method of training. Have you ever had a conversation with someone that you could immediately tell really enjoyed hearing themselves speak? I’m sure it is gratifying to them, but not so much for the person at the other end of the conversation. When preparing to conduct a training meeting of any kind (i.e. sales meeting, managers meeting, staff meeting etc.) it is imperative that we keep the best interests in mind of those that will be in attendance. What is the intended outcome of the training? Who are the participants? Is this session an open forum or lect... Read Post
by 0 comments · 1 likeson Aug 6, 2013
How many times have you returned to the dealership from a 20 Group meeting or factory conference with a list of fantastic ideas that you want to put before your team to get "Buy In" from the troops, only to hear doubt and complaints?
"That won't work in our market."
"Our staff won't embrace that idea."
"The way we do it works, so why change it?"
Have you ever considered the possibility that your team doesn't want to embrace new ideas, processes, marketing, or training because they don't want the DP or GM to have an accurate measurement tool of exactly how much they aren't doing? If you institute a new way of tracking floor traffic, internet traffic or service traffic that really gives accurate data of the number of opoortunites that are slipping through the cracks, it will certainly eliminate some comfort zones, but it will definitely improve p Read Post
by 0 comments · 0 likeson Jun 8, 2013
June 7, 2013 - 12:22 pm ET -- UPDATED: 6/8/13 5:20 am ET
Toyota staged a Hollywood-style party with celebrity chefs, performance artists and acrobatics to introduce the redesigned 2014 Corolla Thursday in California. Here's a look at what journalists, bloggers, social media and analysts have to say about the all-new compact.
"The 11th generation ... brings a clean-sheet redesign to the Corolla nameplate. Underneath the crisp, modern bodywork is a new chassis that stretches the wheelbase by close to 4 inches to boost interior space. And yet the front and rear overhangs are shorter, so the overall look is more taut. Extensive use of high-strength steel has kept the weight below 2900 pounds, no matter how much optional equipment a buyer selects. In our recent test of compact sedans, not one of the Corolla's competitors managed to tip the scales at less than 2900 pounds, so that's an impressive number."
-- Ben Stewart of&nb Read Post
by 2 comments · 3 likeson Jun 8, 2013
Are you under-living your life?
How do we release all of the potential inside of us?
1st: What is potential?
First Nature: What you inherited through the genes passed down to you from your parents, grandparents, etc
Second Nature: Everything you have learned. All of the knowledge, skills, the habits, all of the information you have stored, is a part of your potential.
Third Phase: Very simply, your inner desire, your aspirations, your goals. Something inside of you that wants you to become more than you are. The most important factor in this is EMOTION. You can have a desire to do something, and you can have the abilities, but you can’t seem to get yourself to do it. YOU CAN’T RELEASE YOURSELF.
&nb Read Post
by 0 comments · 1 likeson May 3, 2013
by 0 comments · 1 likeson Apr 11, 2013
In this age of transparency I wonder if dealerships were completely transparent with customers, would they want to do business with them. If your answer is yes, then good for you! Kudos & bravo!
I believe that the things we think and say shape the people we are and the culture around us. While I certainly hope that the following things would never be said in front of a customer, I challenge you to ask yourself if they get said in the back room, or the sales office, or the shop, or anywhere else that is not within ear shot of a guest.
Have you ever heard these terms in your dealership?
The list can go on and on and I'm sure you could add a few of your own. However, is this a protected secret language at your store and a time honored tradition or is it polluting your view of how important customers are to your business?
CSI Read Post
by 1 comments · 1 likeson Apr 8, 2013
by 23 comments · 5 likeson Apr 2, 2013
One of the popular buzzwords (It's actually 2 words) in the industry when it comes to Internet Sales is "Response Time." Oftentimes dealers fall into the trap of thinking that managing their response times on Internet Leads is the Holy Grail of Digital Operations. I was chatting with a dealer recently who was frustrated because they had worked very hard to reduce their response time from an average of 5 hours 35 mins (YIKES!) to 25 minutes. While 25 minutes is certainly respectable, and a massive improvement from where they were before, it is not anywhere near a best practice benchmark. Anyway, the dealer was frustrated that the improved response time had not had a measureable effect on their conversion percentage to appointments. So he and I began to dig a little deeper into what was going on.
Over the next couple of days the dealer and I started to take a look at what was going on in his CRM. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have the de Read Post
by 4 comments · 0 likeson Mar 13, 2013
I definitely think Picasso was on to something when he was quoted as saying "Action is the Foundational Key to all Success."
That has been the basis of my philosophy when it comes to Professional & Thorough Follow-Up whether referring to my 20 years in the dealership world or my time with DrivingSales.
I have this friend and client in Canada named Wayne C. Wayne is a tough car guy on the outside and a great human being on the inside. I would like to share some of the experiences that Wayne and I went through in forging our business & personal relationship. We went through quite a tumultuous process to arrive at where we are today. A fairly good case study on follow-up on both sides.
Stages of follow-up with Wayne:
9/10/2012 ~ Emailed & Phoned Wayne to respond to his request for information
9/10/2012 ~ Received email containing pricing objections
9/10/2012 ~ Sent email explaining value & benefits
9/11/2012 ~ Sent email with a &q Read Post
by 46 comments · 1 likeson Mar 11, 2013
TRANSPARENCY. Love it or hate it, it is relevant and plays a big part in your Digital strategy.
Let's see if we can look at things from a customer's perspective for a moment.
Google the product you're looking for.
Read through the results on pages 1-5 to narrow your search. (Yeah, right!) More like, Read through the first 3, maybe 4 results.
Visit a couple of the sites to gather information including pricing and availability.
Visit 3rd party sites. (Autotrader & Cars.com)
ASSUME THAT NO PRICE = HIGHEST PRICE AND MOVE ON TO NEXT DEALERSHIP.
So is #5 happening? You better believe it is! If you aren't pricing your inventory and pricing it "On the Money" you are out of the Internet game. Remember, we're looking at things from a customer's perspective. So here's the rub, some dealers dig their heels in the sand and say, "Listing prices online just costs me gross and those moo Read Post
by 5 comments · 1 likeson Feb 28, 2013
When was the last time that you walked onto your showroom and saw that gathering of sales consultants standing around in the "Ring of Despair" and thought to yourself, "I'll bet that's a productive and uplifting conversation?"
Truth is that there are Problem Causers (yes, I know that's not a word) & Problem Solvers in every business in America. Car Dealerships are certainly no exception and I submit that the Problem Causers seem to gravitate toward car dealerships for some uncanny reason.
As a leader, should your valuable time be spent putting out the fires caused by Problem Causers or fostering the growth and goodwill generated by Problem Solvers? The answer seems quite clear at first blush, but the execution of the concept gets a little tricky. We all know that misery loves company so unless you have a sales staff loaded with high performers and the bottom guy on the totem pole is still rocking 18 units per Read Post
by 12 comments · 2 likeson Feb 15, 2013
In my capacity at DrivingSales I get the opportunity to analyze the Internet Lead Response Process of many dealers. The results certainly are varied and surprises pop up almost daily. These surprises are often received less than favorably by the dealer and understandably so. Dealer Principals and General Managers are confident that their process and response times are solid, that is until they see some actual results. Read Post
by 0 comments · 0 likeson Jan 18, 2013
Would this skew how Ford performed in Organic Google Searches? :-)
by 1 comments · 0 likeson Jan 16, 2013
by 4 comments · 0 likeson Jan 9, 2013
Ok, full disclaimer. I know that this is a polarizing topic in dealerships everywhere. That having been said, without bias to either side, I would like to present an argument for both sides and see where the community lands. Hilary Clinton once said, "Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize, and debate openly.
So, SPIFF. A dirty word to some dealers and a heavenly gateway to results for others.
Position A: I have spoken with many dealers who take the position that their sales consultants are very well compensated within the confines of their pay plan and should be expected to perform to certain standards without cash bonuses playing a part. One dealer also expressed the very analytical opinion that the additional expense generated in manpower required to track such cash bonuses and assure that they are properly accounted for in payroll for tax purposes was not worth any "lift" they would receive from offering them. &nbs Read Post
by 0 comments · 0 likeson Jan 7, 2013
I was so impressed with this article that I just had to share. Technology rocks!
by 4 comments · 0 likeson Jan 2, 2013
Here is an interesting question; What are your competitors saying about your dealership to potential customers?
Herbert Hoover was quoted as saying, "Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress."
So here's the challenge. Whether you are a Dealer, a GM, a Sales Manager or a Sales Consultant, take the time to walk into your competitive facing dealerships and mystery shop them. Find out what they do well and what areas need improvement. Pay attention to things like:
* Initial Greeting
* First Impression
* What questions are asked to discover your needs
* Product Knowledge
* Professionalism of the Demonstration
* And finally, and perhaps the most important, ask them why you should buy from them and why they work at that dealership rather than the one down the street. (Your dealership!)
This exercise will be beneficial regardless of the answers you get or how well the &quo Read Post
by 9 comments · 3 likeson Dec 27, 2012
As a new year approaches and everyone is thinking about resolutions, I humbly offer the following list as possibilities for Dealership Operators: Resolve to sell more from stock rather than managers arranging dealer trades all day long. Are you ordering the correct New Car inventory if dealer trades are a daily activity? Resolve to hold your sales staff accountable for product knowledge on your product as well as key competitors. (Manager’s responsibility) Resolve to find the balance between holding respectable gross on new cars and maintaining world class CSI. Remember: CSI = Customer Supplies Income Resolve to assure that your Variable Ops departments and Fixed Ops Departments work as a team. Resolve to have the GM or Dealer Principal personally complete a physical inventory monthly. Your flooring source will love this! Resolve to commit to a sustained and consistent training program for your team. ... Read Post
by 0 comments · 1 likeson Dec 22, 2012
Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win - essential to success.
by 0 comments · 8 likeson Apr 12, 2012
What are a prospect’s expectations when they submit a “Request for Contact” on your website? "Dude, we'll totally sell you a car." “What’s it gonna take to get you into our dealership today?” “If I could, would you come down today?” “I don’t know if the manager will even let me do this…” “You’re not going to believe this, in fact I think it may be a mistake!” A dealership’s greatest opportunity for growth in 2012 is online, but old school, traditional tactics will not be tolerated by today’s savvy customers. The shopper in 2012 is a well-informed, tech savvy shopper that demands a certain level of respect and an even higher level... Read Post