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The hard work of digital lives inside your Business Development Center. It’s a tough place where process means everything, where systems must work as designed and where the consequences of failure equate to confused dealership departments and a less-than smooth customer experience. It takes dedicated employees, smart thinkers and a manager who runs a tight ship.
Fortunately for the Rallye Auto Group -- and DSES attendees -- building and managing an optimized BDC is Shaun Weissman’s specialty. For the past nine years, in fact, Shaun has brought his fierce competitiveness and talents in process management, communications and analytics to the work of building one of the nation’s leading BDC departments.
About that work: From Shaun’s experience, it starts with forward thinking about emerging trends and how to apply them to the day-to-day. It means identifying areas of opportunity in the management of all aspects of digital marketing and CRM. Most of all, however, it takes a competitive spirit, attention to detail, and knowledge -- lots of knowledge -- about how people use digital tools and what they expect from car dealerships.
This year at DSES, Shaun will share some of his knowledge with a Breakout presentation about “Evolving your BDC into a true Business Development & Marketing Department.”
DSNews: What can DSES attendees expect to hear from you?
SW: Business Development Departments are critical to the success and advancement of a dealership, and my presentation will focus on giving techniques and tools to use in building or maintaining a Business Development Department. I intend to show that a successful department not only handle inbound and outbound leads, but also integrates marketing and the customer lifecycle. It should be the backbone of your dealership.
DSNews: What do you love about the car business, or digital marketing?
SW: I love that digital marketing is constantly evolving, and doing so at an exponential rate. It used to be cutting edge to have a website, or to contact customers by email. Now we live in a world where 10-year-olds have smartphones! Everyday I get to use new techniques and ideas that 20 years ago were science fiction. I also love that I am constantly learning and constantly developing new methods of getting my message to my customer. I know people that go to work everyday and do the same thing, I love that I’m not one of them.
DSNews: What’s your passion? What makes you get up early in the morning?
SW: My passion is to be better than my competition. Let’s face it; marketing is all about being better than the next guy.
DSNews: What was your best car memory?
SW: It was Winter 2001 and I was home from college for about three weeks. Every time I wanted to go somewhere I would borrow my mother’s car. I remember, on the night before I was going to go back to school I walked into the living room to borrow her car again, and my father said: “Why do you want to borrow her car when you have your own?” I stared at him with some confusion, and watched as he flipped me the keys to his 1997 Thunderbird. Growing up, I idolized my father, and for as long as I can remember he ALWAYS owned Thunderbirds. When he put too many miles on one, he would replace it with the new model. So I always wanted to own a Thunderbird.
“Take good care of it,” he said. And I did.
DSNews: Biggest accomplishment?
SW: Before I arrived, my dealership did not have a Business Development Center. I had to build it from the ground up, which was challenging at times -- especially finding the right people and implementing the systems. I also had to convince management and existing dealer personnel to buy into the concept and to support its development. Today the department is one of the more successful departments in the U.S., and that's something I take a lot of pride in -- both personally and professionally.
DSNews: Tell us about a recent dealership [or organization] pain point that your team was able to solve.
SW: My dealership had an issue with delivering a consistent message across all departments. I found that Sales and Advertising were generally on the same page, but neither department was particularly well-versed on what Service was doing, and vice-versa. I believed that the inconsistent message was hurting customer loyalty. For example, if Sales leases someone a car, they see the customer only once at the beginning of the lease term. The service department may see that customer a couple of times a year. If the message delivered to the customer isn’t consistent, then the whole dealership looks bad; it jeopardizes the relationship with the customer. Customers don’t want to be told by the Service department that the information given by the Sales department was incorrect! In order to ensure that this would not happen, we implemented new communication channels between the departments to resolve these issues before they started. We also put a system in place to share customer communication messages with all departments -- that way everyone is speaking from the same sheet.
DSNews: What are the three main topics dealers should be focused on as we head into 2013?
1. Managing the customer’s ENTIRE lifecycle
2. Reputation Management
3. Being in touch with new technologies and techniques and being prepared to implement them.
DSNews: Speaking at DSES is…
SW: DSES is the leading dealership event in the country. To be recognized for the work I have done, and to be asked to share my experiences with this community, is an honor and a privilege.