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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jared Hamilton

Jared Hamilton Founder - CEO

Exclusive Blog Posts

Is the Service Department Keeping Customer Data Secure?

Is the Service Department Keeping Customer Data Secure?

A quick visit to the dealership for an oil change isn’t exactly the riskiest behavior someone can engage in. The routine procedure should do noth…

Evolution of a Dealership's Fixed Operations with Dave Foy | KPI Cafe Season 6 Episode 1

Evolution of a Dealership's Fixed Operations with Dave Foy | KPI Cafe Season 6 Episode 1

To kick off our newest season that's all about your dealership's fixed operations, Host Dane Saville is joined by the Fixed Ops Mastermind Dave Foy…

WEBINAR RECORDING - Five Ways to Grow Your Profits in the Second Half of 2020

WEBINAR RECORDING - Five Ways to Grow Your Profits in the Second Half of 2020

Discover strategies to identify and capture additional profit on every car deal. After months of uncertainty, we are seeing dealerships open their do…

Rock’s Rants: Purchase Orders

Rock’s Rants: Purchase Orders

Does your dealership have a purchase order (PO) system? Often when I ask this question in dealerships the answer is, “Sort of.” When I dig deep…

Even Loyal Dealership Service Customers Buy Tires Elsewhere

Even Loyal Dealership Service Customers Buy Tires Elsewhere

It’s widely known that dealerships still have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to selling tires. According to Modern Tire Dealer, auto dealer…

This is not 1996 anymore. It's 2009 and we have some exciting trends taking place in our industry; its time to come out of the cave and participate in these exciting opportunities!  


What’s Out: Internet Departments

What’s In: Teaching your entire staff, desk included, how to handle Internet shoppers

The Internet is NOT a niche market anymore.  Since over 80% of your customers are using the web to purchase cars, shouldn't at least that much of your staff be prepared to handle the demand? 


What’s Out: CRM as a technology

What’s In: CRM as a management tool for your entire dealership

In today’s market follow up is imperative, especially with Internet marketing.  We reach consumers much earlier in the buying cycle, requiring much more robust follow up. 
(Check out CRM vendor ratings right here.)


What’s Out: Traditional marketing to drive customers to your store

What’s In: Traditional marketing to drive customers to customized landing pages/microsites

IF you are still sold on traditional media (this is opening a whole other can) at least send them to a special micro site or landing page to track and capture what is left of your traditional marketing effectiveness. 


What’s Out: Walled gardens of information

What’s In: Leveraging the collective knowledge of peers to think smarter and faster

Individual trial and error wastes time and money; that’s why it said that “two heads are better than one.”  Someone, somewhere has solved the issue you're facing.  The most progressive professionals in the industry are blogging, commenting, discussing and leaning on their peers nationwide for guidance and ideas to improve upon and implement at their stores. Thousands of successful industry pros have flocked to dealer communities like, where they can ask questions, discuss tactics and get creative ideas to be more successful.  Mass collaboration networks have revolutionized the way peers in other industry’s innovate; it's about time it hit the car business! 

What’s Out: Websites that were made to be beautiful.

What’s in: Websites that were made attract traffic and Convert.

Dealers have figured out that a good looking, whiz bang website is not the objective.  Websites that are open to the Search Engines and index well bring in potential customers.  You site must also take visitors and convert them into leads so that your dealership can sell IS the objective.  Stop judging a website by how cool the functionality is, and judge it by the simple equation of  “leads captured”/Site visitors.  That is how a website should be judged.


What’s out: Unprofessional, ALL CAPS LOCKS, misspelled and misaligned emails.

What’s in: Professionally branded l messaging. 

Emails should be short and to the point.  Include a proper signatures and links to more information including video and custom landing pages. Lastly, DON”T YOU KNOW ALL CAPS IS YELLING IN WEB LANGUAGE?  All caps was acceptable in 1996, lots has changed and it is now (12 years later) offensive so its time you caught up with the times.

Lastly a few other things that are IN:

Dealership Chat:  Chat is proving itself at stores across the country to dramatically increase the number of leads a site provides.  Leads = Car Deals and Car Deals = ROI.

Craigslist, and other free online services to list inventory.  Many established companies (Google) and new startups are getting into the space with innovative business models to publish inventory for free and capitalize on upgraded services.  Dealers are taking advantage of these services for gains in incremental traffic and deals to their store.

Creative: (not the verb, the noun)  Beautiful design can dramatically send a visual statement to your customers about your brand.  First impressions set the stage and tone of the relationship. Poor creative is like wearing plad pants, white leather shooes and a fur coat on the used car lot, it doesnt strike positive emotions in your customers.  Get your creative done right.


Matt Watson
Craigslist, Google Base, Vast and Oodle are some of the most important website for dealers to send their inventory to and they don't cost anything! Check with your inventory management providers to make sure they support these sites.
Mathew Koenig
Jared, Great article! My good buddy Ryan Leslie shared it with me and I wanted to thank you for sharing some great insight and I also wanted to let you know that I think the list needed a few other things :) There's one other IN/OUT you forgot so I wanted to share it: What's out: Blaming (or anyone else) for your dealership's lack of success when you are too lazy to merchandise properly by taking good photos and writing good ad copy; not experienced enough to stock the right inventory that consumers actually want to buy; or not training your staff well enough to sell cars when a customer actually makes it to your lot in spite of your other two shortcomings. IN: Taking 100% responsibility for your actions, successes and failures so that you can grow your dealership in spite of tough economic challenges. 2009 has the potential to be a GREAT year for those who are willing to do a few simple things. 1. Train their team. If the sales leadership and sales 'professionals' in the dealership aren't equipped to handle consumers properly there isn't enough advertising in the world to fix that problem. Instead of picking up that $9,000 Ad on Sunday in the paper, pick up a phone and spend the money to train 5 of your Salespeople! 2. Take 100% responsibility for success AND failure. We can't say "I'm the man..." when things are going great and then say: "My advertisers suck..." when we're not having success. If you had the same advertising partners when you were successful and they're still driving you traffic, perhaps it isn't the advertiser who needs a tune up?!? Think of it this way: If we blame our failures on others that means that THEY are in control of our success. If someone else is in control of your success that means they have the power so by default it would make you weak in comparison. To be successful in 2009 one has to decide: Will I be weak and hope others carry me or will I take control and carry myself. 3. Remember there is no such thing as 'saving your way to a profit'. Profit comes from growth and increased sales and there are dealerships in the united states that sold more cars in 2008 than they did in 2007. If you aren't one of them you may want to change your strategy. Think of it like a Nascar race. If you've been losing the race the entire time because you were driving slow and safe you have to ask yourself a question: "Would I rather go slow and safe and still lose in the end or would I prefer to hammer the gas, get this old car over 200 miles per hour and have a chance at catching that checkered flag?" SURE THERE IS RISK! You may end up hitting a wall blowing up and becoming a #3 static sticker on the back of some redneck's pickup truck but if you're going to go down - would you rather go down as someone who did everything they could to be a winner or someone who played it safe and knew they would be a loser the entire time? "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.". Margaret Mead Everyone has the potential to make amazing things happen in 2009. Congratulations in advance to those of you who will make it happen. Helping the best get better, Mat Koenig
Jared Hamilton
It's funny how many people "subscribe" to or (or any classified service for that matter) and think the job is done. The subscription is just the beginning of the opportunity. They provide the exposure, its the dealers job to take the necessary steps to make the phone ring or the emails to come in. You mentioned pictures, ad copy and inventory stocking. I completely agree. I would also have to add market based pricing too. The right inventory priced through the roof (or no price at all) is a show stopper in todays market! Love your thoughts and appreciate the comments.
Jayme Roberts
Wow!!! Mat you are right on. Your statements along with Jared's market based pricing could help a lot of dealers quit their crying and actually be selling more cars than they did last year. Everyday I see dealers that are lighting it up and then go across the street to the dealer that is ready to throw in the towel. What's funny is the dealers that haven't figured this out yet will be the last guys to join a forum like this and fall even further behind. How many "old school" managers, GM's, and owners are out there scratching their heads right now when others are thriving? It's really not that complicated if you think about it....but they are so stuck in their ways. Will they ever wake up to reality or will they just close up shop?
Matt Watson
We strongly recommend to a dealers everyday how important it is to take control of their Internet marketing by taking their own pictures in house. Post your vehicles online faster, take more pictures, and several other important reasons. Chris has a great article about the top 10 reasons why to take your own pictures. Our software also have built in tools for market pricing and vehicle bookouts so you know your vehicle is priced correctly.

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