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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Gary May

Gary May President

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What Have You Done For You Lately? (Ooh ooh ooh yeah...)

You're back but your bags (and head) may still be packed from your Las Vegas departure. The whirlwind of powerpoints, data, applications, widgets, speakers, vendors and pitches that opened October 12 with Digital Dealer and ran through DrivingSales Executive Summit at Encore, came to a close mid-day last Friday with the departure of over 1,000 from JD Power's Annual OEM and Ad Agency shindig called Internet Roundtable at Red Rock Resort (where more upfront talks than Internet dealings happen, but let's digress).

So your notebook, FlipCam, voice recorder and brain are packed with thoughts, visions, ideas and goals around everything you heard. But the "back to normal" is so gratifying that you may have not done a cotton-picking-thing since switching off the neon and turning on the flourecents. And besides, it was kind of touching to see that 88-day old unit turn 100 now that you're back (ooops!).

So if you're stuck with not knowing where to start, you didn't leave with goals. If you've got three or four places you want to start at, you may not know what your greatest weaknesses or opportunities are. And if you didn't gather enough information on how to get started and the first steps to take from that high-ranking speaker, call them for a freebie. And you may just want to "x" off that session or conference next year because the value didn't get delivered.

So, what have you done for you lately? (Sorry Janet, it's not about you). It's time to crank that Internet machine thing to the next level, right?! Do yourself a favor and start looking everywhere else but automotive and get your bearings. Why? Because there are Facebook pages selling more Snuggies than your website sells in service. There are blogs feeding more contacts to start-up S-E-O, K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E companies than you get leads from $199-a-month leases. And we have ourselves (and many vendors) to blame.

Start Thursday with a goal to add one task from your volume of Notes 'de Las Vegas and start it. Not Friday, not next week. October 28. Haven't secured your Google Places/Maps location? Do that or learn about it. Haven't secured your Foursquare venue? Have 60 domains you registered a bunch of years ago and one is perfect for a blog? Start it and who cares what it says as long as it says something about what your store is passionate about regarding your customers and the products you sell. But what have you done for you lately?

"Good thing I cook or else we'd starve to death..." How appropriate is that today? Automotive retailers must thank their customers for coming in year after year and driving off in new and pre-owned cars with little more than a smile. It was about the badge, the new product, the incentives and the advertisements. Now it's about you. Matter of fact it always was but the industry lucked out for more than a decade. So what have you done for you lately?

Yes there's half-cooked information all over. Yes, there's "experts" who haven fallen into something that, for obvious reasons, they can't quite explain in an hour on stage. Yes, there's going to be more consolidation in the indsutry which means your ____________ company may become part of another company you're not doing (or don't want to do) business with. But what have you done for you lately?

There are many really good, and some extremely good, tools and providers out there to settle for what someone in your Twenty Group has or what your read in an ad or study. Last week it was amazing to watch the Innovation Cup at the DrivingSales Executive Summit. The "let's never settle for me-too" juices were really flowing there. Put easily, if something can't be verified by a neurtal third party, don't necessarily run away, rather gain more information before making a decision. Chances are you're right that it wasn't a good choice in the first place.

Today you have to be prepared to do something for yourself and stick with it. Even though it's so easy to quit and go back to what you knew. It's also more costly than ever. If you invested the time and money to be around that much addictive behavior for a week or two in Las Vegas, everything you brought back deserves to come to life in your store. That is if you can find your notes among the free schwag of flying monkeys, free model cars, light-up bounding balls, mints, pens, flash drives, logo hats, t-shirts, notepads, shopping bags and fliers for products that are pay-for-it-now-cuase-it's-almost-to-market-so-you-can-be-first (wink, wink).

So what have you done for you lately? Come on, we've got to .......uh, wait....come on.....wait for it.....wait for know you want it.....SELL MORE CARS!

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

You can read more IM@CS posts here on or on our blog.

Daniel Boismier
Gary, Here are my takeaways and things we are going to start working on. Important note and word to the wise, you can't do everything right away because if you try you will get mostly nothing. Prioritize and execute. 1. Listening. Our stores need to improve at listening to the social buzz. I'm looking forward to working with the GOSO team and the new Nitro product so we can listen to our customers, our competitions customers and people who are talking "shop". 2. Engage. In the past we have been trying to engage by "starting the conversation". We believe if we are listening we can better engage by responding to the conversation and becoming a trusted resource. We plan on doing this via Twitter, FB and Foursquare. Actually writing job description and planning on hiring someone soon. I think we are going to call them the Suburban Social Superstar or some crazy title like that ;-) 3. SEO. The hardest thing about SEO imo is time to create. A great tip was given privately to me about a website called were you can post your work and get people to bid on it. We are going to set it up and try it for model specific content generation. So these are the high level takeaways or executables we have. There was soooooo much good content and I could write about 8 pages of things I want to do, but these are the top 3.
Jerry Evans
What a great post. I hope there are Dealers taking notice. Gary, you are a wise man. As your Twitter Bio says, you are in it for others, your reward is behavioural change within the Industry, and I applaud you. And such a great comment from Dan. Hints of @BrianSolis me thinks. I am so pleased Dan mentioned the word LISTEN. As an industry, we are caught up in trying to 'out-shout' our competitors, with more brash, more garish, more 'We are the Cheapest' traditional advertising. In this ever evolving information age we live in, the traditional approach is even less effective than it used to be. Remember, that full page Ad you approved for an end of month push, that cost your dealership $XXX is trusted by just 14% of the people that found it, amongst all the other Auto Ads saying basically the same thing. 14%. This means 86% of that hard earnt Ad budget is wasted. While we are on the subject of traditional media, how do you track it's response? it's ROI? How fuzzy are those numbers? How accurate and honest are your Consultants when they fill out the 'Source' box? How detailed is that answer? Internet, Newspaper, radio, 1st Up, just doesn't cut it. One of the many joys of New Media, of Social Media, is the ability to track, monitor, measure and listen with amazing accuracy. The (FREE) tools that are available allow you to quietly monitor your chosen sites for Social Mentions, keywords, sentiment, buzz, are 100% accurate. LISTENING for your keywords, your products, your OEM, your competitors, as Dan said, allows you an opportunity to respond, to react according to the situation. People use Social Media to be.. SOCIAL. They ask for advice and opinions. They state their opinions. They look for reactions to their opinions, they seek validation. They seek empathy, sympathy, knowledge and understanding. Provide them with what they need! The Retweet, the 'Like' on a comment or status update is a form of 'digital applause' It's validation that someone out there is a) LISTENING b)Interested c) Agrees. And How much does it cost? to have meaningful interaction with a prospect on Social Media? How much does it cost to improve your Brand Image? Your Community Standing? Is it more or less than what you spend using Traditional Media to holler at people who are by and large, not listening, or not interested? I'm also glad to see Dan has realised that responding to a conversation, rather than starting one is a very important strategy in the early days. Try the 12 to 1 Rule. Praise, positively comment, RT or Like 12 people in your community for every 1 self promotional post, tweet or status update. You'll soon see meaningful engagement and interaction. Save your self promotion for when you really need it, because by then you will have earnt it, and earnt the right to ask for advocacy on your behalf. So, what did I learn from the Las Vegas shenanigins? As an Industry we are lagging behind joining the Social Media Revolution. Even if we managed to start a Facebook page and Twitter account, we don't fully understand the rules, how or what to use them for. Of course there are exceptions, and their advantage will become clear as time moves on. Is Social Media going to save the Retail Auto Industry? Not on it's own. Does it represent the biggest opportunity for the industry? Most definitely. But, like everything worthwhile, it takes time, it takes strategy, planning and policy. If your Sales process is broken or non existent, Social Media will not help. If you are looking for more sales right now, Social Media is not the solution. BUT. If you are looking to be in business in 5 short years, take some advice and get your head around Social Media. Trust me. Actually, hear it from someone better than I. Erik Qualman from Socialnomics Many thanks Gary.
Glenn Pasch
Gary Great viewpoint. Even for a vendor, coming back with so many contacts, so much information, so many new relationships can be overwhelming. For dealers there can be the guilt of missing out on work or not being able to show quick results. I agree totally and have used a similar approach in my training. Take one thing you can accomplish today. sometimes it may not be the biggest, but by starting to check things off of your list, you build momentum. Not everything has to be changed at once, but having that list will be a very good road map to success. I thought one comment in one DD9 session said it best. Everyone in the room is now your competition due to the internet. If you are not willing to commit to improvement each day, your competitor will. And if anyone cannot find their "notes" amongst the swag they picked up, reach out on this forum. Many of the speakers are members and will be more than willing to help. Keep up the nice work Gary!!

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