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2012 (14)

http://www.internetsales20group.com

http://www.alanvinesautomotive.com 

AUDUBON, N.J., Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GSM of Alan Vines Automotive & AutoSuccess Magazine September Cover Story, Durran Cage Will be a Speaker at the Internet Sales 20 Group Workshop in ChicagoOctober 23-25th

Sean V. Bradley, Creator and Moderator for the Internet Sales 20 Group, is quoted as saying, "It is an honor to have Durran Cage as Speaker at this year's Internet Sales 20 Group. Durran brings a unique perspective to our community. He started as a Chrysler OEM rep then he got recruited to a dealership as an Internet Director and he took that department from 25 units online to 95 units online. He did such an incredible job in the Internet Department that the Dealer Principal, Mr. Alan Vines promoted him to General Sales Manager of the entire dealership.  I think Dealer Principals, GMs, GSMs, Internet and BDC Directors alike will get a tremendous amount of information and value from Durran's presentation."

The upcoming Internet Sales 20 Group will be held in beautiful downtown Chicago at the Hilton from October 23rd, 24th and 25th.

This is a major industry event with some of the most prestigious companies in the Automotive Sales industry sponsoring the event, such as:

  • Dealix
  • KPA
  • Carsdirect
  • Car-Mercial
  • ReachLocal
  • Autobytel
  • AutoUSA
  • Cars.com
  • CarChat24
  • Social Dealer
  • AutoSuccess Magazine
  • Cactus Sky
  • AutomotiveInternetSales.com
  • Dealer Synergy

Additional Speakers at the Internet Sales 20 Group are:

  • Sean V. Bradley – CEO of Dealer Synergy, Founder of www.AutomotiveInternetSales.com, Creator of the Internet Sales 20 Group, a Certified FranklinCovey Trainer, a proud member of the National Speakers Association (NSA). Sean has spoken to over 80 NADA and NCM 20 Groups. He has also been a top rated NADA convention Speaker 3 years in a row.
  • Bill Finocchiaro – President of Peruzzi Toyota. Bill has built an Internet Sales Department in his dealership that went from 30 units per month online to over 125 units per month online. Bill's Internet Sales department is responsible for over 50% of his entire dealership's business.
  • Robert Wiesman – Sales Consultant at Massey Hyundai. Robert delivers 30+ units per month and has more online visibility than the average dealership. He has literally created his own online business at the level of an entire department.
  • AJ Leblanc – Co-Founder of Car-Mercial. AJ is one of the pioneers of Video Search Engine Optimization and is the leading subject matter expert on the topic.
  • Ralph Paglia – Founder of www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com and www.autocon2012.comRalph Paglia is one of the top Automotive Digital Marketing Experts in the country.
  • JD Rucker – Vice President of Digital Marketing at KPA / TK Carsites. JD is one of the absolute best Social Media experts in the country in any vertical. JD has a special workshop presentation on the subject "Social Signals".
  • Peter "Web Doc" Martin – CEO of Cactus Sky and Former CEO of AskPatty.com.  Peter is one of the top experts on Email Marketing and Data Mining. Peter has an incredible workshop presentation combining both subjects.
  • Susan Givens – Publisher of AutoSuccess Magazine. As publisher of the #1 Magazine in the Automotive Sales Industry, Susan has access to a tremendous amount of information. Tips, Tactics, Strategies, Secrets, Experts etc... She will be presenting a workshop based on best practices at the Internet Sales 20 Group.
  • Stan Sher – Editor of www.automotiveinternetsales.com As well as a speaker for The Greater New York Dealer's Association" Stan is a subject Matter expert on Automotive Internet Sales and Social Media.
  • Fran Taylor – President of Taylor Techniques. Fran is the "Undisputed Prospecting King". Fran Taylor is one of the absolute best Sales and Sales Management Trainers in the country.
  • Karen M. Bradley – President of Dealer Synergy. Karen is a Certified FranklinCovey trainer / facilitator on both the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" as well as the "5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity". Karen is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA).

** The first 20 Dealerships to sign up before September 15th will receive a FREE consulting Package worth $1,500. Package includes:

  • 2 Mystery Shopping Calls (At two different times). The calls will be recorded and graded on a "report card" with the attached MP3 of the call. The calls will be graded on both qualitative and quantitative measures.
  • A thorough assessment of your dealership's Social Media initiatives. We will use analytics and software to evaluate your Social Media visibility and relevancy.
  • A thorough assessment on your dealership's online reputation.
  • A thorough assessment on your dealership's website.
  • A thorough assessment of your dealership's Search Engine Optimization presence and penetration.

** Once all of this data is complied from all 20 different dealerships we will then create a powerful "Internet Sales 20 Group Composite". (Which will be given to the entire 20 group at the workshop".

If you want to register for the Internet Sales 20 Group you can use this registration code DSIS20 to save $500 off Registration.

For more information on the upcoming Internet Sales 20 Group in ChicagoOctober 23rd, 24th and 25th please go to www.internetsales20group.com or call 267-319-6776.

Contact is Amanda Melendez

SOURCE Synergized Media


PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1mccS)

GSM of Alan Vines Automotive & AutoSuccess Magazine September Cover Story, Durran Cage Will be a Speaker at the Internet Sales 20 Group in Chicago, October 23-25th

Read more…

http://www.alanvinesautomotive.com 

http://www.dealersynergy.com 

Durran Cage went from a Chrysler OEM Rep to an Internet Sales Manager... He was delivering 25-27 units per month. They brought in Dealer Synergy and we helped them get to:

  • 95 Units Per Month!
  • 2.3 Million Dollars Gross Profit from Their Annual ONLINE SALES! 
  • Durran Cage, Internet Sales Director gets promoted to GSM of the Dealership!! 

This is such an incredible success story and it couldn't have happened to a better person, a better department or a better dealership.

So, from everyone here at AIS... CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Read more…


 

http://www.applehonda.net

Congratulations to Eric Nichols, Internet Sales Manager in Riverhead Long Island! 

Eric is Delivering 52+ units per month in a 2.5 person department- 

AIS - How Long have you been in the Automotive Sales Industry? 

EN - 5 and 1/2 years. I was in the United States Navy before that for 4+ years.

AIS - How did you go from Navy to a Car Dealership? 

EN - I worked some dead end jobs until my brother, Brian gave me a job in a BDC.

AIS -What type of training did you go through? 

EN - Nothing except what was regurgitated down from the managers at the dealership, who were making it up as they went or heard something from somebody or the OEM. Until we hired http://www.DealereTraining.com / Stan Sher. 

AIS - How did you meet up with Stan Sher and his company?

EN - Ironically, the GM brought him in after seeing that Stan Sher was a trainer for the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.  At first, Stan "Mystery Shopped" my dealership. Needless to say, I wasn' t that thrilled at first LOL!  However I have become close with him and have learned a lot.  Basically all of the ideas I had that were swirling in my head, Stan helped me articulate them and implement them. 

AIS - So, I am going to transition the conversation for a little bit...

Tell me about your department in detail... 

EN -

* Website Provider - http://www.dealer.com

AIS - Do you like them?

EN - Yes, no issue to date.

* CRM - http://www.dealersocket.com

AIS - Do you like them?

EN - I actually LOVE them!! It is my biggest tool! It is my command center. It is my complete accountability for my GM.  After, Stan Sher helped setup processes in the CRM and create a guideline for how to measure the results in the BDC the tool has become my best friend.

AIS - Since you got excited when I mentioned the CRM, lets go a little deeper... 

How do you use your CRM? 

EN - We have an automated Email Action Plan, Data Mining, Lease Retention, Unsold Showroom Follow Up, Internet Leads, Incoming Phone Ups... Everything. 

AIS - Any Social Media Integration with your CRM? 

EN - Not at this time.  Although we learned from Dealer eTraining the importance of incorporating social media into follow up especially with leads that have no phone number or leads that are unresponsive.

AIS - What is your internet lead process?

EN - First, there is ONLY 1 "automated" email template... The 1st one. Then we send manual emails for the next 14 days... THEN it goes into the "automated category" until day 44. Then it goes into a MONTHLY Email Protocol.  We incorporate value builders and stress the importance of our positive online reputation in our process.

AIS - How long do you follow up with a prospect? 

EN - 180 days... 90 days is NOT Enough Anymore.  In fact, some OEMs require longer processes.  We noticed that our customers have extended their buying cycle to as long as 180 days.

AIS - How do you handle the Phone Call Follow Up Process? 

EN - It is different... 

As soon as we get the lead, we IMMEDIATELY make the phone call. If we do not connect, Then we call them AGAIN, later on that day.  

So, another way of explaining it is for the first 10 days we call TWICE a day... Morning and night, for a total of 20 calls in ten days. 

Then we go from 10 days to 12 days to 14 days...

Then we call 21 -26 - 31 THEN we start calling monthly.

AIS - Who is your inventory solution?

EN - We have our own photo studio then we upload to http://www.VAuto.com 

AIS - Who is your call monitoring solution? 

EN - Call Measurement powered by DealerSocket

AIS - What is your Online Reputation Management Strategy?

EN - We were using Dealer.com but just cancelled to go to www.flipstreammedia.com - THEY ARE AWESOME!  We are of the highest rated Honda dealerships in New York on DealerRater, Google Places, and other sites.  It is a requirement of all of our staff members to attain at least one review per week.

AIS - What are you doing for Social Media? 

EN - 

* FaceBook 

* Twitter 

* YouTube 

* Posterus 

* Tumblr

* Blogspot 

* Carmind - http://www.carmind.com 

AIS - What is your video and or VSEO strategy? 

EN - We are using Flip Stream for it all.  We learned basic in-house strategies for VSEO from Stan and use these practices at times.

AIS - What other additional resources, tools, websites, blogs etc... do you use as part of your "success strategy".

EN -

  • Stan Sher / Dealer eTraining Blogs and Videos
  • Sean V. Bradley / Dealer Synergy Videos
  • www.automotiveinternetsales.com 
  • All Google tools... ESPECIALLY Google Analytics
  • DealerRefresh 
  • Driving Sales - I actually wrote an article on Driving Sales

(I will POST it HERE) 

Use the Source” By Eric Nichols

For the first time in automotive history dealers can now get an accurate idea of where their marketing dollars are going and how well they are performing. Yes I am taking about the all mighty source. No not the force, “THE SOURCE”. It may not be able to help you move items around or read people’s minds, but it does something even better…. MAKES YOU MORE MONEY…

In my years as a BDC rep and a BDC director, I have learned that the source can be mastered and understood now more than ever before. How is that you ask, quite simple with the following simple steps I have come up with you will be able to not only save on your marketing dollars but will you can profit off of it.

Step 1- Understanding Sourcing…. The traditional advertising types radio, TV. Newspapers never gave you an accurate idea of if your marketing efforts where effective. When sourcing you need to use the parent, child approach.If your paying for all these campaigns you need to know what is working

PARENT= SOURCE   meaning the broad spectrum source.

EXAMPLES OF SOURCE CODES

Fresh-up- A fresh up is any customer that comes to the dealership for no other reason but driving by or just walking into the dealership.

“NO ADVERTISING YOU ARE DOING BROUGHT THEM IN”

PHONE UP- Any customer who calls into your dealership that cannot be sourced to any specific advertising or 1-800- tracking #. Meaning if a customer calls your dealership using one of your individual 1-800 #’s and it shows up under that marketing effort, such as website, auto trader, cars, autousa, vehix, dealix etc……..THEY ARE NOT A TRUE PHONE UP THEY ARE WHATEVER MARKETING EFFORT THEY ARE TIED TO. INTERNET, TV, RADIO, ETC… EVERY MARKETING EFFORT SHOULD HAVE INDIVIDUAL AND SEPARATE TRACKING #’s FOR EACH AD.

Internet- any prospect that comes from any form of digital advertising online. It’s pretty simple as stated before if they send a lead/email into you it is pre-sourced in your CRM and labeled where it came from. Same with the internet phone calls your call tracking will say what website it came from. “INTERNET IS NOW ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE MAJORITY OF YOUR CUSTOMERS YOU TALK TO. LIKE IT OR NOT ITS FACT.”

INTERNET/FRESH-UP-  Last but not least my own creation. So before I explain to you what an Internet/Fresh Up is. Let me ask you a question.

A customer walks into your dealership and you ask how did you hear about us? They are going to say the either one of the above sources. It is your job to dig to see where they came from. ASK ASK ASK.

Statistics say out of 100% of all traffic

8% emailed before coming in

12% called before coming in

80% came in without emailing or calling.

Now that 80% is a curious thing do you think that 80% just came in for the heck of it, No something brought them in. Now are you ready for the Shocker out of that 80% of unknown origin. 75% of that # saw you on the internet, Car buyers will hit your website or your car listing about 7 times before they come in and the time searching is 15hrs or more online shopping. All you need to do is ASK... Don’t take the easy way out it’s your money either you ask or make sure your people ask.

- YOU COULD POTENTIALLY BE EITHER..

  • WASTING MONEY ON BAD ADS
  • CANCELING MARKETING EFFORTS THAT ARE MAKING YOU MONEY. Example... My dealer principal wanted me to cancel a major listing company because we were not tracking well with leads. I put the foot to my people to ASK ASK ASK….. And low and behold it was one of the top reasons for my walk-in traffic sales.

So the point is that just because they are a walk-in doesn’t mean that you can’t source them correctly. Yes they did not email or call but a certain marketing approach brought them down find out what it is. If it’s the internet you need to know that. Hence INTERNET/FRESH-UP. It’s neither a true internet nor is it a true fresh-up.

CHILD = TRACKING CODE

Don’t worry no long drawn out explanation on this one. Tracking code is the exact marketing listing, basically whatever company you are using that is promoting your listing. Simple as that.

So now that I have explained the different sourcing structures, how do you us put a plan into effect to get these sources? The only efficient way to do this is the following way and it may sound like a pain in the rear but it’s the only effective method.

HAVE A GREETER AT THE FRONT DOOR TAKE ALL INCOMING UP SHEETS AND LOG THEM INTO YOUR CRM… MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. WE ALL KNOW THAT SALES REPS DON’T CARE AS LONG AS THEY MAKE A SALE THEY DON’T CARE WHERE THEY COME FROM AS LONG AS THEY COME IN. IT IS ON MANAGEMENT TO ENFORCE THIS. Having the greeter enter all info into the CRM will also ensure an accurate count of how many showroom visits you truly have. I have worked with managers who don’t collect log sheets, they throw them out to increase their closing ratio, they lose them the list goes on and on. As a GM, GSM, Dealer principal, BDC Manager it is on you to make sure that this is followed to a tee. The reason being is not only proper sourcing but proper follow-up is completed. And as you know that means more money in all of your pockets. Times are hard in our business now make the most out of everything you get in the door.

TO BE CONTINUED..... EPISODE 2: THE RETURN OF THE DUPLICATE 

SOURCE - http://www.drivingsales.com/blogs/usethesource/2012/06/10/use-the-source 

AIS - GREAT STUFF! 

AIS - What types of advice do you have for other ISMs or Internet Departments reading this article?

EN - EASY... Analytics.  Analytics.  Analytics...

VERIFY everything. Be sure. NEVER Guess.  I learned that by mastering your CRM reporting, Google Analytics, and other reports that you will always be able to monitor the success and/or shortcomings for the BDC department as well as the dealership.

Read more…

Schedule your priorities, Not prioritize your schedule

“Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

—     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 http://www.dealersynergy.com 

Have you ever looked at the clock and seen it was the end of your shift and you thought to yourself, “Wow — where did the day go?” Or worse, “Uh oh, I got absolutely nothing done today.” Well, you are not alone; most people in our industry feel the exact same way. Automotive professionals sometimes describe working at a dealership as “chaotic,” “a constant fire drill,” “not organized,” “overwhelming,” “stressful,” etc.

 

A lot of dealerships feel like they are grinding to sell cars, but wonder why they constantly fail to hit their objectives. They are confused why they are not selling as many units as they need to, even though they have their team working bell-to-bell most of the month. There is a logical reason of course: They have no understanding or training when it comes to proper time management. Remember, there are only 86,400 seconds in a day. When they are gone, they are gone. For the most part, most dealerships just “react” versus being “proactive.”

 

You can get up and have a positive attitude and want to work really hard, but if you have no plan, you can’t expect to be tremendously successful. Don’t get me wrong — I am sure you can have some success. It will only be short lived, however, or not at the full magnitude that you are capable.

 

Here is an example: If I said to everyone reading this AutoSuccess article that I am giving away $1,000,000 to anyone who can drive from Houston, Texas to Philadelphia, would you be in? Of course you would be. But here is the catch: You can only use this map that I give you. Are you still in? Of course you are. But there is more to the catch. The map is of the city of San Francisco. Uh, oh. That changes everything, because the rules of the $1,000,000 giveaway is that you have to use this map and only this map.

 

So how in the world are you going to get this easy million dollars? Oh, I know: You can have a great attitude. You can think positively, and you can be happy about the opportunity. Is that going to help you accomplish that goal? No. A positive attitude is great, but it is not enough in this example, and it is not enough in the real world at your dealerships.

 

OK, how about working hard? If you work really hard at looking at this map of San Francisco, maybe you can unlock some secret rout to Philadelphia from Houston? No, you can’t. So, working hard is important, but it is not the sole answer. You need to have a map; you need an internal global positioning system (GPS). You need to begin with the end in mind. Car dealerships are awesome, but they are hectic; there is a lot going on. Plus, it is a month-to-month business. I get it. You need, though, to take control of what you have control of — yourself.

 

We all have multiple roles in our life. We are not just automotive professionals. Some additional roles that you might fall into include:

 

• Parent • Son/daughter • Brother/sister • Manager

• Leader • Owner • Trainer • Motivator

• Analyst • Friend • Volunteer • Veteran

• Paramedic • Athlete • Pet owner • Community activist

• Baby Sitter (which can have multiple meanings…)

 

So, now take into account how busy your day is, how hectic a dealership is, how intense our industry is and now add all of the roles you play in life. How are you juggling everything? Are you even trying to juggle or are you neglecting important things?

 

There is a better way.

 

Internationally respected leadership authority Dr. Stephen Covey says that the most effective planning is weekly planning — not monthly or daily. It is truly best to pick a time once a week (my wife and I prefer Friday, after work) and map out the following week. The key is not to overload or “pack” as much as possible into a short amount of time. Rather, you want to identify your priorities — a.k.a. “must do’s” — and schedule them first. This should include your different roles. You want to make sure that you put first things first. Here are some examples:

 

• Showroom appointments

• Training sessions (can be from the dealership or on your own)

• Phone call and follow-up time

• Breaks, lunch, etc. (it is important to refresh yourself and “sharpen the saw”)

• Any days off

• Clients anniversaries, birthdays or other important dates

• Personal friends’/relatives’ anniversaries, birthdays or other important dates

• Special time with family (and or friends)

• Health appointments (doctors etc…)

• Relaxation time

 

If you have any questions about this article or would like some advice on how to create a powerful weekly planning road map, please feel free to call me or e-mail me.

 

Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 267-319-6776, or by e-mail at sbradley@autosuccessonline.com.

Read more…

  • Happy Memorial Day 2012!
  • "It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor
    those who died in defense of our country
    in wars far away. The imagination plays a
    trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old
    and wise. We see them as something like the
    Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But
    most of them were boys when they died, they
    gave up two lives -- the one they were living and
    the one they would have lived. When they died,
    they gave up their chance to be husbands and
    fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance
    to be revered old men. They gave up everything
    for their county, for us. All we can do is remember."
    -- President Ronald Wilson Reagan
    Remarks at Veteran's Day ceremony,
    Arlington National Cemetery November 11, 1985
  • "For over two centuries, brave men and women
    have laid down their lives in defense of our great
    Nation. These heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice
    so we may uphold the ideals we all cherish. On this
    Memorial Day, we honor the generations of Americans who
    have fought and died to defend our freedom.
  • "On this solemn day in which Americans unite in
    remembrance of our country’s fallen, we also pray for
    our military personnel and their families, our veterans,
    and all who have lost loved ones. As a grateful Nation,
    we forever carry the selfless sacrifice of our fallen
    heroes in our hearts, and we share the task of caring
    for those they left behind." President Barack Obama
    May 27, 2011 Memorial Day Proclamation
  • "I, a humble citizen of this great country USA,
    proudly salute the men and women of our Armed
    Forces all over the world! Thank You for securing
    our freedom, and providing us unmatched safety,
    peace, and making USA the greatest democracy
    in the world!

  • "I moved to USA from India in 1987 to study.
    I became a U.S. citizen in 2008, and voted for the
    first time - this was a terrific experience. I am
    very grateful to USA for providing me great
    education, fantastic work experience, freedom,
    entrepreneurship, and success!! Above all, I am
    very thankful and grateful that I have been able
    to raise a wonderful family and grow here.
  • "As U.S. citizen, I am particularly proud of
    the constitutional first amendment:
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an
    establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
    exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
    speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
    peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
    Government for a redress of grievances."

    The fourth amendment:
    "The right of the people to be secure in their
    persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
    unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not
    be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but
    upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
    affirmation, and particularly describing the
    place to be searched, and the persons or
    things to be seized."

    The fifth amendment:
    "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, 
    or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a 
    presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, 
    except in cases arising in the land or naval 
    forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service 
    in time of War or public danger; nor shall any 
    person be subject for the same offense to be 
    twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall 
    be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness 
    against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, 
    or property, without due process of law; nor 
    shall private property be taken for public use, 
    without just compensation."

    Finally, the fourteenth amendment:
    "All persons born or naturalized in the
    United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
    thereof, are citizens of the United States and
    of the State wherein they reside. No State shall
    make or enforce any law which shall abridge
    the privileges or immunities of citizens of the
    United States; nor shall any State deprive any
    person of life, liberty, or property, without 
    due process of law; nor deny to any person
    within its jurisdiction the equal protection of
    the laws"

source: http://creativityandinnovation.blogspot.com/2012/05/happy-memorial-day-2012.html

Read more…

Automotive Internet Sales and Google’s ZMOT for Car Dealerships

By now, nearly everyone has heard of ZMOT and how it might possibly be relevant for the automotive industry. In case you haven’t, ZMOT stands for “Zero Moment of Truth,” a concept developed by Google. It states that today, decisions on brand selection are happening before a consumer arrives at a store to make a purchasing decision. This also applies to how consumers shop for a car. This might not sound like anything new; we have all heard from NADA, JD Power & Associates, Cobalt, Autotrader and the OEMs that almost everyone goes online before they step into the dealership.


Personally, I’ve been immersed in Automotive Internet Sales for more than 13 years. So, the fact that people are going online first isn’t a huge revelation — it is what it is. However, what has evolved is what is happening and why. People are finding out about a product or business (whether they know the URL or not). To be specific, more than 72 percent of all transactions start online, from one-dollar transactions to jet engines. The first place people go to is search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), or they may something on TV, radio, see something on a billboard or in a newspaper, magazine or hear about a product from a friend. In any event, they wind up on search engines relatively quickly. People believe that they will get the “real deal” on what they are looking for. “If it is on Google, it must be real,” they think.

So, the consumer will do the initial research on the product or service online. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are accessing the Internet from a home computer or laptop. They can be accessing the information through their mobile device like an iPhone or Android. The next logical step for the prospect is to validate that information even further. Prospects can (and do) go to a myriad of review sites such as Google Places, Dealer Online Reputation, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Edmunds Dealer Reviews and Cars.com Reviews, just to name a few. The consumer wants to make sure that they do not waste their time with bad choices. They have access to too much information for them to have to deal with headaches. Take for example a couple choosing where to go eat out for their once a week “date night.” If you only had one time a week you were going out with your spouse because you have three kids, a puppy, a career, etc., try to imagine how someone will feel when they are spending $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or more. That is why 80 percent of consumers say that peer reviews influence their buying decisions. An automotive purchase is usually the second most expensive thing the average human being will ever buy in their lifetime, next to a home. But there is another variable: social media. Consumers will also go to their social networks and ask their “friends and followers” thoughts, opinions on products or services before they ever go to the store or the dealership.

I am going to focus on online reputation for the rest of this article, and the next article I will dive deeper into the other parts of automotive ZMOT strategy.

Dealerships need to make it mandatory to collect client reviews and testimonials from both sales and service. It is not enough to simply “suggest” to your team to try to get a review or testimonial. You need to make it part of the standard operating procedure. You might want to create incentives for your team, for example:

• Whoever gets the most reviews wins a reward (gift card or cash, etc.)

• Whoever gets the most video testimonials wins a reward

 

You can create a mini-survey (maybe three to four questions) at delivery (mandatory). For example:

 

1. How would you rate your experience at the dealership from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest)?

2. Did I (sales consultant) exceed your expectations? If so, how?

3. What did you like (or appreciate) the most in this experience in purchasing this vehicle?

4. Would you recommend me and this dealership to everyone / anyone?

You should then have at the bottom of the survey a legal disclaimer (have an attorney draw up a simple disclaimer) that says that they (the customer) give you full permission to post (or use) this (review/testimonial) anyway and anywhere you want. By doing this, you can repost or repurpose all of these reviews to all of the relevant reputation sites like:

• Google places

* Local Business Rater

* Dealer Online Reputation

• Merchant circle

• Yelp

• Edmunds reviews

• City Search

• Yellow Pages

• A review blog you’ve created yourself

It is TRUE that some review sites are IP Address specific and do NOT allow a client to post a review at the dealership, Here is the reality... there are a LOT of ways around that. 

*** Please understand what I am saying here... I am NOT advocating using fake reviews or irrelevant reviews. I am saying ONLY to use REAL reviews that REAL clients give you and give you permission to use. 

Try to image if every salesperson and service writer made 100-percent attempts to collect testimonials both in text as well as video, and you posted (syndicated) them to all of the relevant places online. In a short matter of time, you will be able to dominate the search engines with a ton of positive reviews.

I want to show you a quick example of a highline dealership that has bad online reputation. I happen to think they are an awesome store (and they are not a client). I serviced my brand-new vehicle there and I was so impressed with their service that I felt bad for their bad online reputation. On my own, as simply a customer, I shot a quick positive video review and posted it to YouTube and did the proper video optimization. Now, when you Google them, my video shows up prominently on the first page of Google (just Google “Cherry Hill Porsche”). That is just me as a client — can you image if this dealership did what I did? Their online reputation will turn around very quickly!

 

Here is another screen shot:

If you have any questions about this article, Google’s concept of “Zero Moment of Truth” / automotive ZMOT or how you can better equip your dealership (or individual sales consultant) to dominate with a positive online reputation, please feel free to call or e-mail me.

 

Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 856-264-0564, or by e-mail at Sean@dealersynergy.com.


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‘KONY 2012′ Tops 100 Million Views, Becomes the Most Viral Video in History [STUDY]

shWith more than 100 million views in six days, Kony 2012, a 30-minute documentary about Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, has become the most viral video in history, according to one researcher

In a blog post, Visible Measures found Kony outpaced other record-setting viral videos. For instance the video featuring Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, hit 70 million views in six days. Old Spice’s “Responses” campaign didn’t hit 70 million until five months after it launched.

Visible Measures got its figures by tracking not just the original Vimeo version of Kony, but also responses to the video. By March 8, three days after Kony went live, there were 200 such responses, which ran six minutes on average. The video has also netted more than 500,000 comments.

Despite the rapid rise of Kony 2012, the video has brought a shower of criticism to Invisible Children, the organization behind it. Many of the negative critiques have been targeted at Invisible Children’s practices as an organization, not whether Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, is a war criminal.

SEE ALSO: Documentarians: KONY 2012 Achieved Its Goal

In particular, a Tumblr blog called Visible Children, outlined how just 32% of Invisible Children’s money went to direct services, while the rest went to staff salaries and other overhead.

Invisible Children responded with a blog post outlining its expenses. The post didn’t dispute the 32% figure, but illustrated how another 26% went to “awareness programs.”

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KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

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If There is ANYONE who thinks Social Media is NOT Important, Valuable, Amazing, Useful, Needed - WATCH THIS VIDEO!

I was BLOWN away by this video!
If they can accomplish ALL of that... You can ALL leverage Social Media for your dealership(s).

*** PLEASE FORWARD THIS VIDEO TO EVERYONE YOU CAN!!

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US Auto IndustryShuts Door On Another Strong Year- By Tony Pugh - Re-Post from McClatchy - Tribune http://www.dealersynergy.com

WASHINGTON – After a near collapse at the height of the Great Recession, the streamlined U.S. auto industry defied the odds and outperformed the greater economy this year with solid sales increases, job growth and product innovations that signal that a full industry recovery no longer is just possible, but probable.

Credit better quality and pent-up consumer demand for the industry’s slow, steady improvement. Customers who were unwilling to gamble on automobile purchases during the recession are coming back to showrooms because the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads is more than 10 years – the highest ever.

U.S. car buyers also are getting comfortable with making large purchases in the volatile economy, experts say.

“And that’s a big behavioral change from what we saw in ’08 and ’09. That’s good for the industry,” said Jesse Toprak, the chief industry analyst for TrueCar.com, an auto-pricing Web site.

After selling roughly 11.8 million cars and trucks last year, U.S. vehicle sales to businesses and consumers are expected to hit nearly 12.8 million in 2011, Toprak said. That’s up from 10.6 million at the height of the Great Recession in 2009.

Through November, new-vehicle sales had logged six straight months of year-over-year gains. That should continue in December, when 1.2 million vehicles are likely to be sold, Toprak said.

Those numbers are well off their pre-recession levels, which topped 16 million vehicles a year. But the industry’s plodding recovery in the past two years has helped stabilize the greater U.S. economy and power a regional recovery in the Great Lakes and Rust Belt regions, where auto production is king. Both areas have seen some of the sharpest declines in unemployment in the country in the past two years as automakers regain their financial footing.

U.S. and foreign automakers are poised to add nearly 167,000 U.S. jobs by the end of 2015, according to the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. That breaks down to 30,000 hourly and salaried workers at the Big Three U.S. automakers, 17,000 jobs at foreign automakers and about 120,000 auto-supply sector jobs.

“The industry has pretty much hired back just about everybody from the automotive side that had been laid off. And now they’re hiring fresh, so they’re actually adding to their rosters,” said Aaron Bragman, senior analyst at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich.

Most analysts say the industry’s growing stability is sweet vindication for the federal government’s $80 billion bailout, which allowed General Motors and Chrysler to reorganize. The Center for Automotive Research estimates that the bailouts saved more than 1.1 million jobs in 2009 and another 314,000 in 2010, while avoiding personal income losses of more than $96 billion.

Today, all three major U.S. automakers are on the comeback trail with increased investment in U.S. manufacturing plants, improved new models, greater profitability and thousands of new hires.

Chrysler’s rebound has been dramatic. In its best November since 2007, the beleaguered automaker sold more than 107,000 vehicles in the U.S., up 45 percent from November 2010. It was the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains for Chrysler and the best November for Jeep brand sales since 2003.

Foreign automakers also are expanding their U.S. operations. In May, Volkswagen opened a new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., that now employs 2,000 people. The Mercedes-Benz factory in Vance, Ala., will add 1,000 jobs when it begins producing the C-Class in 2014.

Toyota just opened a new $800 million plant outside Tupelo, Miss., where about 2,000 workers will assemble the popular Corolla. The plant is Toyota’s 14th in North America.

Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia saw their U.S. vehicle sales explode this year. But U.S. sales of Japanese autos faltered after a tsunami in northern Japan disrupted production in March and caused worldwide inventory shortages during the summer months, when car sales are hottest.

“They didn’t have full strength of inventory because they weren’t able to make enough cars,” Bragman said.

U.S. automakers were prepared to capitalize with new designs and models. Chevrolet’s new Cruze became the second-best-selling car in its class this year, behind the traditional industry leader, Toyota’s Corolla.

Improved quality among all automakers also helped drive sales.

“You’ve got to give the automakers some credit here,” Toprak said. “The new products that have come out of virtually every single automaker in the last year or two have been the best that consumers were ever offered. When you have great product, it fuels buying.”

Ford’s redesigned Explorer has continued strong sales even as the U.S. market has moved away from SUVs. This year, the Explorer moved from a truck-style, body-on-frame design to a lighter, more fuel-efficient one-piece body architecture, which most cars have.

“It has been a big success and is selling very well,” said Bernard Swiecki, senior project manager at the Center for Automotive Research.

  

After recently inking four-year agreements with the United Auto Workers union, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plan to add more jobs. The UAW agreements call for 20,000 new jobs over the life of the contracts: 6,400 at GM, 2,100 at Chrysler and more than 12,000 with Ford.

The new pact reduces labor costs for the automakers because new workers will earn lower wages than longtime employees, who will get profit-sharing and inflation-adjustment payments rather than annual raises.

In exchange, the companies agreed to bring back more foreign manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Last month, General Motors said it would begin assembling its Chevrolet Equinox next year at the old Saturn assembly factory in Spring Hill, Tenn., along with a midsized vehicle for the 2015 model year.

Earlier this month, Ford announced that production of its F-650 and F-750 trucks will move from Mexico to its Avon Lake, Ohio, assembly plant in 2014. The move retains about 1,400 jobs at the plant, which is slated for a $128 million upgrade.

New labor agreements and cuts in retiree health benefits also have helped the automakers become more profitable. Before a 2007 UAW labor agreement, Ford and GM’s wage and benefit costs were about $78 per hour. They’re now $58 an hour for Ford and $56 for GM, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the automotive research center.

While Chrysler’s sales have increased the most from last year, its per-vehicle profit margin is only $1,066, according to the center. General Motors clears an average of $3,327 per vehicle, while Ford earns $2,819.

Barring a European debt crisis next year or a double-dip domestic recession, most analysts think that 2012 will be another strong year, with vehicle sales approaching 13.8 million.

“The industry is ready, when the economy recovers, to make a lot of money,” Dziczek said. “If we get back to moderate economic growth of about 3 percent a year, we could be talking about there not being enough (manufacturing) capacity” to keep up with demand. “That’s a good problem to have.”

The vast reach of the auto industry, through its parts and supply chain, helps drive the economy in times of expansion. The industry typically accounts for up to 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product and fuels about 10 percent of U.S. retail sales.

When automakers were cutting jobs in 2008 and 2009 at the height of the recession, the industry’s economic ripple effect worked in reverse, causing millions of additional jobs to disappear.

“Now that huge economic multiplier is once again on our side. It’s working as an engine of growth. But we paid a dear price in ‘08 and ‘09, when the hit was really enormous,” Swiecki said.

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