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Chris K Leslie

Chris K Leslie Digital Operations

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7 Tools I Use Everyday to Save Our Dealership Money


It's easy to get drawn into the grasp of a sexy new vendor presentation. Huddling over slide decks and looking at all the pretty charts, graphs and colors. It is usually followed by illusions of Increasing Gross revenue or Selling More Units. However when feet are held to the fire no one is interested in standing next to those coals. Which is why i've put together this small list of tools that I use everyday to save our dealership money.


We all use various tools and vendors for various things. Some of them may fall into a Costs bucket while others fall into a Services bucket.



However you choose to identity them. There is one thing that is constant. They both fall into the expense category. In a lot of cases we pay for an entire product or service only to take advantage of a small piece of it.


So i'm always looking at ways to increase Net Profit because that's the reality we all operate in. If we live in a world of gross revenue then we operate in a world of net profit. One is reality and one is what we wished reality was.


decreasing expenses can be just as sexy as increasing profits as long as the margins between those lines keeps getting wider.


Which is why I put this list of


7 Tools I Use Everyday to Save Our Dealership Money.





Cost: Free is a free messaging app that lets you monitor and chat with

visitors on your website or from a free customizable page


We used to pay anywhere from $399 to $500 per store for chat software. We now pay a grand total of $0 dollars for chat and have a much more robust tool in most cases.


What you can do with


  •      Monitor website visitors in real time
  •       Answer chats from your Mobile Device
  •       Proactively engage visitors with Triggers
  •       Customize your Visitor Widget to suit your site
  •       Localize greetings and messages in your Language
  •       Respond quickly with Predefined Shortcuts
  •       Integrate with Wordpress and any website provider


    Check out the full feature set here:











Cost: Free


Design shouldn't be hard but somewhere along the way we became bogged down with expensive, complicated software that put design out of reach for most people. Canva is here to change that, with a tool that makes design simple for everyone.


Canva gives you everything you need to easily turn ideas into stunning designs. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more.


It’s online and free to use

Simply search for the best graphics, photos, and fonts, or upload your own, then use Canva’s drag and drop tool to create a design.





Carcode SMS


Cost: Free


The value in the tool lives in the TCPA compliance. This is the law that requires business interactions to be a 2 step opt-in process. Their platform takes care of that for you and supplies you with an easy script to add to your site so customers can text you if they wish.


Carcode SMS gives dealerships a phone number for mobile shoppers to text and provides the dealership with an app that allows staff to respond and manage conversations in a compliant environment.





Youtube Capture


Cost: Free


YouTube Capture was launched to simplify the process of recording and uploading video to YouTube by putting all the tools to do so in a single app. Once a user has finished recording a video, it lets them add captions, tags and other metadata, and the app instantly uploads the file directly to his or her YouTube channel, or it can be saved as a private video if they’re shy about sharing with the world.


For those who want to make minor edits to their videos, the app even includes color correction, auto stabilization, trimming, and music options. And it uploads video in the background when the app is closed, so users don’t have to worry about keeping it open while they move on with their lives.


Some companies provide a slideshow they stitch together and throw up on your youtube channel but what fun is that. If you want people to get involved in the process then make them part of the process. Our campaigns include a simple walkaround video that our BDC teams record every morning. It's the simple things like this that get our teams involved in creating the process that lead to better overall results of our email campaigns.







Hosted -

Non Hosted -


Cost: Free


When it comes to wordpress you have 2 options. You can either have wordpress host your site which gives you the URL of “” or you can host your own blog as its own domain or as a subdomain for you current domain.


Either way you choose to go the important thing is that you get used to having a blog presence. This one is really hard for a lot of folks to understand because it seems like it’s hard. The reality is that it is as only as hard you make it. You could have the best blog in the world but if the content sucks or there is no content there at all. Well, you get the idea.


As with everything else in life mastery comes from doing something over and over again. If you aren’t dipping your whole body in this arena you really just need to go ahead and do a cannonball off the high dive already and face those fears head on.





Edmunds API Widgets


Cost: Free


There are not very many companies in the automotive space that are willing to open up their API to developers. I understand the idea of proprietary technology and all of that but in a lot of cases tools like those edmunds have for anyone to use and build off of are what separates them from everyone else in my book.


You can create widgets to use on your site or your blog that allow people to play around with shopping tools that you would have to pay money for elsewhere.


I don’t know about you guys but as I mentioned at the beginning of this article. I am looking for ways to keep money in our dealership.






Final Thoughts:






With new technology, software and minds being directed at the automotive market. It makes sense now more than ever to re-evaluate the tools that you are using every day. Figure out exactly what you are trying to accomplish with those tools and ask yourself what you are paying for and if there is a free tool that does the same thing.


The internet is a very large place with lots of smart people and great ideas. Not everything needs to be directed solely at our segment in order for us to use it.


If there are any other tools you’d like to highlight please share in the comments below.











Based in Las Vegas, NV. Chris K Leslie mainly writes about Automotive, Marketing, Fitness and the Internet. He heads up Digital Marketing for the Heinrich Automotive Group in Las Vegas, NV /



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