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The inaugural Women in Automotive Convention will hit Downtown Orlando this fall. August 18 - 20, female automotive professionals will come together to learn the latest industry trends and network with one another. Currently, women account for 17 percent of employees in auto dealerships. The creators of the Women in Automotive Convention hope the workshop will help women will see the career possibilities available to them and facilitate cultural changes inside dealerships. 

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http://www.dealersynergy.com 856-546-2440 

Sean V. Bradley Wins The Auto Dealer Live Debate Against Alan Ram, Thanks The Dealers That Voted For Him & Elaborates On His Philosophy

** If you missed the Auto Dealer Live "Thrilla With Villa" Debate with Sean V. Bradley & Alan Ram, then watch the video below:

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http://www.automotivedigitaltraining.com 856-546-2440
Automotive Internet Sales Coordinators, BDC Reps, Appointments Setters MUST "TO" 100% Of The Time

I was onsite training a High-line Dealership's Internet Sales Department / BDC and shot this video for them and all of YOU.
I believe that the Internet Sales Coordinators, BDC Reps AKA The Appointment Setters should have a 100% "TO" Policy! Yes, I sometimes travel with the Dealer Synergy Video Production Team and a Green Screen LOL! Enjoy the video!!

http://www.internetsales20group.com Sign Up Now!

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http://www.automotivedigitaltraining.com 856-546-2440
http://www.dealersynergy.com

STOP Believing The B.S. About Your Internet Sales Department Or BDC NOT Being Able To Make A Minimum Of 120 Calls Per Day Per Rep!

Most dealerships on a daily basis hear excuses from their Internet Sales Department, BDC or their Sales Team in regards to how many phone calls they can ACTUALLY make in a day. I have said it for almost 15 years that an Internet Sales Coordinator, BDC Rep AKA an appointment setter can and should make a MINIMUM of 120 calls per day. BOTTOM LINE, PERIOD but YET, there are dealers that ALLOW their employees to be COMPLACENT in MEDIOCRITY. That is right… they ALLOW Mediocrity. Please watch these videos over and over again. PLEASE go to the search bar on this site and search "Power Hour". This is NOT the first time I have done this and VIDEO RECORDED THE RESULTS. It happens ALL THE TIME!!

All I have to do is put up a $100 Bill… tape it to the wall and BOOM!!!! I SHATTER THE Mediocrity. I shatter the myth that they can't make all of those calls… I SHATTER their FEAR THAT THEY CAN'T do it. BOOM!

PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW Mediocrity in your stores or in your life.

If you would like to discuss this video or how I can help you obliterate Mediocrity in your Internet Sales Department, BDC or Showroom. Please feel free to call me or email me-

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Your website provider should be able to provide you with a monthly report that lists the number of hits your site has garnered, the sources of those hits, how long the average visitor spends on your site and what they are visiting on your page.

Your website provider should be able to provide you with a monthly report that lists the number of hits your site has garnered, the sources of those hits, how long the average visitor spends on your site and what they are visiting on your page.

Most dealerships now have an Internet department. Some stores have gone full speed by appointing an Internet manager, hiring representatives to follow up on leads and creating an advertising budget. Other stores have approached the digital age more cautiously, just dipping their toes into the vast pool of online media.

I visit dealerships across the country, and there seems to be no similarity at all in how Internet sales are handled and accounted for. Some dealers think they are maximizing their online sales revenue just by answering every e-mail and chat request.

There is a lot more to it. It just depends on how much money, time and resources you are willing to commit to the project. Full speed or not, from an accounting standpoint, it may make sense to set up a separate department to manage the income and expenses you derive from online sales. Here’s a six-step plan:

1. Hack Your DMS

It should be very simple to set up a new department on your dealer management system (DMS). Assign your new department a number and name, set up income and expense accounts and assign them a factory financial statement line number so they show up on your monthly financial statements. This step forces you to decide how you are going to track your Internet sales, as most factory charts of accounts don’t have separate accounts set up for Internet sales, cost of sales and expenses.

2. Track Your Sales

To properly track your Internet sales, you must set up separate sales and cost-of-sales accounts for each model of new vehicles you sell. Do this for your used inventory as well. If you don’t track these sales, cost of sales and gross profits separately — whether on a spreadsheet or in your accounting software — so you can subtract them from your financial statements, you will probably not have a clue if the money you are spending for this department is worth it.

3. Establish Your Structure

Decide whether your Internet personnel should handle the lead all the way to the finish line or hand the lead over to one of your regular salespeople. If it changes hands, you have to decide how you want to record the deal on your books. If not, note each Internet sale on the deal jacket so accounting knows which sales account to record it in, where to post the commission and where to list other costs associated with the sale.

4. Separate Your YTD Expenses

Once you have the department and the general ledger accounts set up, you can move the year-to-date (YTD) expenses from the accounts you have posted transactions to all year to the new accounts. That will allow you to start your department analysis in the current month.

Once you begin posting the sales and cost-of-sales accounts separately, you can easily see whether your Internet department is profitable. Make sure you allocate the correct payroll costs for the personnel working in this department. It should be based on the percentage of time they are spending there. Now you can calculate the average gross profit per unit sold, the commission or cost to sell it, and the variable expenses associated with it — the same as you would with your new- and used-vehicle departments.

Make sure you have set up accounts for Internet-centric expenses such as website design, in-store Internet usage, monthly web hosting maintenance fees, search engine optimization and lead-management software costs, not to mention your manager and sales representatives’ salaries and commissions.

5. Separate Your Fixed Expenses

If you really want to do it right, you should be allocating some of your semi-fixed and fixed expenses to the Internet department. How much is up to you. This can be a real pain to analyze and allocate, so you may want to have the department up and running for a while before you take this step. Your office manager or accounts payable expert can probably tell you which expenses pertain to your new department.

For the most part, your largest expenses are going to be personnel and electronic media software and usage fees for each click, etc. These are the ones you need to pay the most attention to, as they are variable and controllable costs. If the cost of each sale is larger than the revenue you are generating, you will need to decide how to drive more people to your site that may buy, or start reducing some expenses so the department is not a drain on your dealership’s profits.

6. Order Your Reports

The profitability of any department depends on performance. Your Internet manager should track how long it takes to respond to a lead and how many leads are closing as actual sales. Your website provider should be able to provide him or her with a monthly report that lists the number of hits, the source (e.g., Google search terms), how long the average visitor spends on your site and whether they are visiting different departments.

With the right information at hand, you should be able to compute your cost for each lead and unit sale. Better yet, you can make intelligent decisions on how to improve your website, your inventory mix and your process for handling Internet leads.

Under Review

Once you have set up new accounts for the income and expenses generated by your Internet department, you can determine whether the department is profitable. If it isn’t, you need to act fast. Look at your site from the perspective of a potential customer and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your site graphically appealing and easy to navigate?
  • Does it look as nice as your competitors’ sites?
  • Is your inventory easy to find?
  • Are your vehicles listed with good photos, videos and descriptions?
  • Are your online prices competitive for your market?
  • Do you know how many of the same vehicles are for sale in your market area?
  • Do you make it easy for customers to contact you?

Source - http://www.autodealermonthly.com/article/story/2013/10/a-web-of-lies.aspx?utm_campaign=Enews-20131029&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter 

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http://www.dealersynergy.com 856-546-2440 

Sean V. Bradley has 15 years Automotive Internet Sales experience selling over 110 INTERNET units per month when he was an Internet Director at Pine Belt Automotive in NJ 

 

Joe Cala was the Internet Sales Manager at Nelson Mazda in Tulsa Oklahoma that took their department from 7 units - 80 units per month online. Joe then went on to Gateway Toyota, a Penske store to become the Internet Director for 6 years. Joe was delivering 150 INTERNET units per month. Cala also worked for Autotrader.com for a year.

Both Cala and Bradley have extensive Automotive Internet Sales experience and have created a 5 part Internet Director responsibilities series. 

If you would like more information please go to www.automotivedigitaltraining.com or call them at 856-546-2440 

 

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bigpc

In a world where everyone is in search of the magic bullet that will increase both sales and website traffic, what if I told you that all you had to do to start immediately performing at a higher level is to differentiate yourself from your competition?

To paraphrase Seth Godin, there are a lot of brown cows out there – but nobody notices brown cows. If you want to get noticed, you have to be a purple cow. A purple cow in a field full of brown cows is sure to get noticed.

Want to be a purple cow? Read on to learn how to stand out from your website’s competitors:

Know Yourself

The best brands in the world know themselves. They know their strengths, their weaknesses, their successes, their failures – and they know not only where they are now, but also where they’re going in the future. A successful brand is one with one foot planted firmly in the present that also knows where to place the other foot in the future. You only get to this point by taking a true audit of everything you do – right and wrong.

Know Your Competitors

What do they do right? Is there anything they’re offering that you aren’t? When thinking in terms of consumer experience, what can your competitors offer that you can’t?

Once you understand the reason behind why people aren’t choosing your company, it’s much easier to fix any holes in your website or product offerings that are holding you back.

Create a Differentiator or a USP

Great websites and great brands do things differently than others. They offer what’s called a “unique selling proposition” or USP.  Finding your USP requires serious introspection and keying on that one item or trait that separates you from your competition. If you don’t have one, create it.

Specialize

There is a time and place to be a jack-of-all trades, but the web isn’t one of them. In a place where consumers can find just about anything from the companies that specialize in these items, they aren’t going to want to purchase one item that you really excel and several others that are of a mediocre quality. Find what you’re good at it – additional offerings are just noise.

KISS

Keep it simple, stupid. There are two basic principles to the KISS method when it comes to online business…

The first is making your product or service easily understandable at a glance. If the average consumer needs to watch a three-minute video to understand what it is you do, you’re losing customers.

The second KISS method revolves around user experience. GoDaddy might make a ton of money selling domains and upgrades, but their checkout process – with all of its upgrades and add-on options – is maddening. KISS!

Invest in Your Brand

Too often, online business owners make good money, but fail to put enough of it back into their brands in order to grow. There are always things you can make better, whether it’s enhancing your product design, user experience or additional product offerings.

Identify Consumer Pain Points

The best products and services are those that make somebody’s life easier. No matter what niche you’re in, there are pain points that you must document in order to create the products or service offerings that will make your customer’s life easier. Solve the problem; cash the check.

Hire the Best People

At some point, your web-based business is going to need additional help. And when it comes to hiring, you need to ask yourself whether your candidates truly have the potential to bring needed value to your position. If not, they aren’t for you – the world doesn’t need more mediocre employees.

Retain Them

Keeping your employees happy has been shown to increase workplace productivity, as well as decrease stress and turnover. Once you find good employees, it’s always cheaper to retain them than to go through the process of finding others, training them, and hoping they stick around.

Make Bold Guarantees

“First page of Google in 90 Days!!!”

“100,000 Facebook Fans in 6 Months!!!”

These are the kinds of guarantees that get people’s attention. While you shouldn’t offer empty promises or guarantees you can’t meet, bold statements like these are undoubtedly powerful. Remember, though, if you can’t deliver, don’t say it.

Over Deliver

Following the above examples, what if, instead of just getting a single web page to the Top 10 results in Google, you got the client a second result in just 55 days? How about 150,000 Facebook fans in just five months? People never complain about someone who over-delivers on a promise. In fact, they may just share how happy they are with others.

Track Success and Failures

It’s easy to document the things you did well. What’s much harder – but much more important – is the ability to document your failures. Having a list of things you did wrong makes you more likely to learn from the mistake, rather than repeating it. In fact, mistakes are often the best thing that could happen to a business. Success doesn’t teach the way failure does.

Be Transparent

The days of private operation of a business are all but over. Let your customers take a peek behind the screen, and show them that you’re willing to share how you do things. Customers feel safer and more loyal to brands that they feel aren’t hiding anything.

Be Innovative

Go ahead; re-invent the wheel. This goes back to the purple cow idea. If you do something differently, you’re bound to get noticed. Apple revolutionized the way in which we listen to music. What’d it get them? A bump in revenue so large that they became one of the most successful companies on the planet.

Test, Test, Test

Great companies are always testing new ideas. Even if you’re just rolling out a specific feature to a certain segment in order to gather feedback, you should always be testing. You can’t be innovative if you’re afraid to fail, and you’ll never know if a feature will be a success unless you put it out in front of your market.

Don’t Skimp

It’s easy to grab a freelancer from Elance, Guru, or oDesk to do your SEO, content and social media. Does that make it the right way? Probably not. One small flub can seriously tarnish a business’s reputation. A few shortcuts in the SEO process could lead to huge penalties from Google or being de-indexed from the SERPs entirely.

The key here is accountability. Find people that have something to lose if they make huge blunders and they’re far less likely to make them. Cheaper isn’t always better.

Get the Referral

This is “Sales 101” stuff, but online business owners often forget it. Get the referral. It’s easier than ever to get a referral online. The sale doesn’t stop with the current customer. Ask for a Tweet or a Facebook status update in exchange for a freebie or discount. It’s that easy.

The web opens up new doors that we’ve never seen before. These doors have the potential to lead to huge successes or monumental losses. Those that are making the money are those that are willing to be different from their competitors in order to deliver a better product or service than those around them. Listen to your customers, respect them, and find ways to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Follow these rules and you’ll be counting your cash in no time.

Source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/17-ways-stand-websites-competitors/67977/

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BEWARE of YOUR Internet Or

Business Development Department Infrastructure

For more than nine years, I have traveled the country conducting consulting and training for approximately 500 dealerships, and before that I worked on the front lines for five and half years. I have tracked trends, patterns, common situations that effect dealership’s success, and what is crystal clear is that region, franchise or demographics don’t matter. I want to share some revelations I have identified that will help you sell more cars, more often and more profitably.

Dealerships are not staffing their Internet or business development department the right way.  I see the same thing over and over at dealership after dealership. For example, dealers will have 500 leads in their CRM and have one or two appointment setters working those leads — or worse, they have no appointment setters. They just rely on showroom consultants to handle all of those leads.

Let me just dive into my concerns in this scenario, beginning with having too few appointment setters. This doesn’t work because there are far too many leads to be handled for only one to two appointment setters. Understand that you only have an 11 to 14 percent connection ratio from phone call attempts. I train clients to make 120 calls per day, no exceptions. However, we find that the average dealership’s appointment setters are making only 50 to 75 calls per day.

Let me break this data down for you:

  • On average, 50 call attempts will only convert to five to seven conversations. Does that sound productive for an eight-hour day? Of course not. With two appointment setters each making 50 calls, they will have 10 to 14 conversations for the entire day. Remember that is only 10 to 14 conversations out of 500 leads. Leads mean opportunities to do business. These prospects are in the market but we do not engage them?

  • Even if your people were making 75 calls each. One rep’s connections would be seven to 10 conversations and two rep’s connections would be 14 to 20 connections. That’s still inadequate compared to the lead volume.

Now, let’s discuss the scenario of having no appointment setters and just utilizing your showroom sales consultants. The average dealership has approximately 10 sales consultants, and they have lots of responsibilities as well as ways for them to sell an automobile. Let’s look at the eight different ways a showroom sales consultant can sell an automobile:

  1. Walk-Ins

  2. Be-Backs

  3. Phone-Ups

  4. Internet

  5. Referrals

  6. Prior Customers

  7. Service

  8. Prospecting

Lets be honest: I believe the vast majority of automotive sales consultants do not engage the full eight ways to sell an automobile and even if they do, the majority do not do it consistently. But, let’s pretend for a second that they do. How can the average sales consultant handle their full sales responsibilities plus handle the 50, 75 or 100 fresh Internet leads they receive per month? If an appointment setter — who does not have to do a product presentation, demo drive or a delivery — only makes 50 to 75 calls per day and converts only five to seven conversations per day, how many phone call attempts do you really think your sales people are making?

Exactly.

Let’s add another crazy, but important, variable called the residual flow factor. That means the “carry over leads.” Remember that the average Internet prospect is approximately 45 to 90 days. So, if you receive 400 leads in the month of June and you sell 40 units, it doesn’t end there. Just because you close your month doesn’t mean that all of those 370 other leads that didn’t buy are garbage. On the contrary, those are actual working (“cooking”) opportunities. So, let’s say that out of the 370 remaining leads, 200 are still active and viable opportunities. You will start July 1 with 200 “carry over” leads, plus you will receive an additional 400 “fresh” leads for a total working lead opportunity of 600 leads. This is known as your residual flow factor.

Now, let me give you the “secret formula” to success. I have numerous nationally recognized client success stories. Clients using this formula have graced the cover of every major automotive magazine, including AutoSuccess (The most recent would be Alan Vines Automotive, in the September 2012 issue).

Alan Vines Automotive has five appointment setters:

  • Five coordinators X 120 calls per day = 600 calls per day

  • 600 calls per day X five working days = 3,000 calls per week

  • 3,000 calls per week X 4.3 weeks in a month = 12,900 calls

  • 12,900 calls X 12 percent connection ratio = 1,548 connections with prospects

  • 1,548 connections X 25 percent appointment made ratio = 387 appointments

  • 387 appointments X 60 percent appointment show ratio = 232 appointment shows

  • 232 appointment shows X 42 percent close ratio = 97 units delivered.

  • 97 units delivered (as documented in the cover story)

Alan Vines Automotive receives 600 to 700 fresh leads per month and has a residual flow factor of 800 to 900 working leads.

My final point is that your Internet sales appointment setters should not be doing anything other than dealing with fresh and carry over Internet sales leads. The only exception is if you have them take incoming phone-ups. That is perfectly in alignment with the system. Do not, however, have them working on:

  • Unsold showroom traffic

  • Service

  • CSI

  • Data Mining

  • Credit

  • Getting lunch, coffee, etc.

  • Taking pictures

  • Greeting

If you think your one or two appointment setters (if you even have them) can work 300 to 500 fresh Internet leads plus do any or all of these things, you are wrong. If your dealership has these efforts tasked to the Internet appointment setter, I suggest that you delegate to someone else, hire BDC appointment setters or accept mediocrity.

If you have any questions or comment about this article, or if you would like me to personally review your Internet or BDC infrastructure with you, please feel free to e-mail or call 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 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at sbradley@autosuccessonline.com.

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How Windows 8 Could Help You Sell More Cars

This past week, I made the risky move of upgrading to the newly released Windows 8 operating system; Microsoft’s bold attempt at upgrading their OS which has kept the same fundamental functionality for more than a decade. While slightly hesitant to upgrade before a service pack was available, I ultimately chose to take advantage of Microsoft’s limited time $39.99 upgrade offer. Talk about utilizing the "urgency" close right?


As I’ve played around with the new OS for the past few days, I’ve made some observations that may turn out to be a prediction of a new technological frontier for dealers who are looking to kick things into high gear... or I may just be out to lunch. Whatever your opinion may be, just go with me on this for a minute.

New Windows 8 Features

The most noticeable of all the new features for Windows 8, is the shiny new start screen which really acts as a dashboard to your most visited apps. Though some critics complain that Windows 8 is optimized for tablets, I haven’t had any problems finding my way around with a mouse.

Microsoft has redesigned the UI for many of their apps and have included some new apps, all of which come with a very streamlined and integrated experience. Among my favorites are the new music player app which comes loaded with the ability to stream full length music and a new “smart dj” tool that automatically creates a playlist based on an artist genre of your choosing.

How Dealers Could Benefit From Windows 8

Thanks for listening to me ‘nerd out’ for a second. Let me get to how car dealers could actually use Windows 8 to leverage new business and reach larger groups of car shoppers in their own home.

What got me me thinking was the newly added “Store” app which allows users to browse from a variety of both paid and free applications. Simply select the category of app you wish to download and you have the ability to select from hundreds if not thousands of apps to have installed on your PC. If you know your way around the app store or play market, this will be quite easy for you.

Imagine what would happen if you created a Windows 8 app that was compatible on both desktop PCs and Windows tablets? There has been a lot of talk around whether or not Dealers should develop iPhone and Android apps vs. keeping with dealership mobile websites, but think about the doors you could unlock by tapping into an even larger traffic source!

Let’s talk numbers. By 2008 (according to Forrester), there were 1,000,000,000 (Billion) PCs in use with a forecast of 2 billion in use by the end of 2015. It took 27 years to reach the 1 billion mark and will only take 7 years (from 2008) to reach 2 billion. If that’s not simply incredible to you consider that the average number of PCs needing to be sold year after year since 2008 is 142,857,142 in order to reach the forecasted target by 2015.

Now, have you purchased a new PC lately? Don’t they come pre-loaded with a Windows operating system? According to Amazon, every new PC sold between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 will receive a special upgrade offer of only $14.99, thus placing Windows 8 well within the reach of hundreds of millions of people.

Just To Get The Juices Flowing

Consider how many of the 142,857,142 PC buyers this year are also in the market to purchase a vehicle or are at least conducting some level of vehicle research. I’ll tell you what - that new Microsoft ‘Store App’ is pretty fun to navigate and somehow sucks you in just like Apple’s famed App store and Android’s Play Market, so imagine what competitive advantage you’d have by placing your dealership and your brand in front of the masses.

I envision a personalized shopping experience filled with user reviews, dealership videos, blogs and news. Since the app is installed on the personal computer, (and I’m just thinking out loud here), imagine if there was a way to have your app send notifications to your potential customer's calendar, email, social networks and more. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and if done strategically, dealers could tap into a massive market of vehicle shoppers.

To take it one step further, though Windows 7 and 8 tablets don’t contribute much to tablet sales as of current, Windows 8 tablets are forecasted to help tablet sales increase by 4% according to Gartner. Apple still remains king of the mobile arena with roughly 60% market share, however,with an estimated 117,000,000 tablet shipments in 2012 alone, 4% works out to 4,680,000 (4.68 million) Windows 8 Tablet shipments and that is more than enough users to inject your dealership with some serious prospects.

In closing, let me say that there are many, many avenues to help drum up new business. I had the pleasure of attending Lon Safko’s keynote at AutoCon in which he enlightened us on the various social media marketing opportunities from Facebook to Second Life. I swear - by the end of his presentation there were multiple silent explosions in people’s heads, followed by smoke trailing out of their ears.

The point is that there are sooooo many ways to prospect for new business and technology, whether revamped or emerging provides you with more ways to reach out to potential buyers than ever before. Windows 8 is just another example of something you could use to leverage new business for your dealership.

What do you think? Kindly leave your comments below. Happy developing.

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http://www.dealersynergy.com

 

I am telling you all that this dealership... John Hinderer Honda is AMAZING. Look at this dealership!! They have a GREAT team. Lets wish them luck and assist them anyway we can in growing their department.

 

SVB-

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http://www.internetsales20group.com

http://www.dealersynergy.com

Internet Sales 20 Group, November 8th 2010 - Mid Day Recap - Automotive Internet Sales - Sean V. Bradley

This morning was VERY exciting! We have dealerships from all over the country in attendance as well as a diverse group. Most of the attendees are executive management (Dealer Principals, GMs etc...). We also have a Video Production and Photography team. We are going to create a TON of content that we can post to this site as well as provide to the attendees to reference back. This is going to be a POWER PACKED 3 day workshop with a ton of valuable information...

We first introduced the group to each other... discussed their internet operations as well as identified their individual goals for attending this Internet Sales 20 Group. I also asked what challenges are they experiencing at their dealerships / departments... After we collected all problems, questions and issues. I went one by one and addressed each and every issue. Gave action plans, advice and direction.

We also went over metrics, statistics and benchmarks.

*** We also as a group came up with the 20 Group composite / data metrics we are going to follow and analyze in this group.

It was truly awesome to moderate this group... I am learning as much as I am educating.

After everyone comes back from lunch we are going to do some break out sessions as well as some Mystery Shopping Calls, Some ILM / CRM disecting and investigations...

Then later on tonight we are having a VIP Dinner... all of the 20 Group will get together and network and socialize with each other.

Internet Sales 20 Group-

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http://www.dealersynergy.com http://www.internetsales20group.com "The Power of the Network" originally published in Digital Dealer Magazine June 2007... Currently Verizon Wireless television commercials show crowds of support people for their wireless network. This conveys in a very clear fashion that Verizon customers have an incredible amount of support behind their service. Business people have known that networking is a great way to get the word out about their business. Think about MBNA credit cards. They offer private-label “affinity” programs for all sorts of fraternal collegiate and charitable organizations. Consumers’ loyalty to their college institution means a MasterCard with a campus image on the front and fees for the credit card company and the college when the card is used regularly. Business development is an art form; you cannot expect to do what everyone else does and be great at it. You need to think outside the box. What would you say if I told you there was a way for your dealership to attract an audience of over five or ten thousand possible buyers and control that opportunity and literally steer them to you and your dealership? This program takes the best aspects of affinity marketing and leverages it to the next level to create excitement, build loyalty and sell more vehicles. Instead of prospecting one person at a time, the goal is to go after major accounts, organizations that have hundreds to thousands of members. Think of it as fleet sales on steroids. Just so we are clear on what I am sharing with you, here are examples of the groups you can target for your dealerships: • The United States Military: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard • Law enforcement agencies: local branches of the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, ATF, INS, state police, police departments, sheriff departments, and correctional facilities • Fire departments • Hospitals • Teachers’ unions, schools, colleges, and universities All you need to do is contact these organizations, build some rapport and establish a relationship with them. To aid in that effort, offer them a “Value Partner” Program (VP). What you are going to do is let them know you have designed a “special” program and a website not open to the general public. The web site is exclusively designed for the sole purpose of providing valuable information for their group. Once members of the organization log on to the site and enter their password they will be admitted to the site and receive real benefits such as: • Discount pricing on vehicles • Discount pricing on service • Discount pricing on parts • Free or discounted items or services from other businesses Imagine a program with a military base close to your dealership. You would have access to a huge demographic. Instead of prospecting one by one you would have an entire military base where you could focus a specific marketing message. You can include not only the soldiers but also all the civilian department of defense workers on base. Then you could extend it to all of their family members, too. The potential prospect and the opportunities are incredible. If you tell these members with the military and their affiliated groups that they will get incredible services and discounts, why wouldn’t they explore their options with your organization? Think about this from your perspective. If your spouse is a teacher and in a union and that union offers discounted interest rates on vehicle loans wouldn’t you look into it? This would be irresistible to many of the members in the group. Where do you begin? Before you approach an organization you want to secure commitments and services from local businesses in your local market. What do you look for? Frankly just about anything should be under consideration. Discounts on beauty salon services, spa visits, sporting events (both professional and collegiate), dining, nightclubs, limousine services, electronics, computers, dry cleaning, and so on. These are all items that can be part of your offering. For the program I created in the Philadelphia area, I went to prominent and well-known establishments and pitched them on how they could increase their business by being part of my network. Naturally you want to speak with the owners who have the authority to implement these types of programs and discounts. One nightclub/restaurant was a favorite watering hole for athletes, actors and musicians and always had a line waiting to get in the club. I shared my plan with the owner and the potential audience we were targeting. They offered $25 off coupons on any meal $50 or over. I then asked him to provide an awesome prize once a month that can be raffled off or given away. With hopes of increased business, he provided an unlimited amount of those $25 coupons and then once a month he committed to offer a bottle of Cristal Champagne or another top shelf champagne plus two complimentary entrances into the establishment, plus two VIP entrances so the winners can go mingle with celebrities in the crowd. The point was to have a night out with VIP treatment for the lucky winner. The retail value of the monthly prize was over $600, and there was absolutely no direct cost to the dealership. The net value of the donated monthly prize was less than $200 for the night, but the advertising the restaurant got to the military base members and others in the group was worth thousands of dollars. Plus the idea is that they have such an awing experience they will want to come back and, at the very least, tell everyone about their great experience at the restaurant. A limousine company provides another good service. They often have downtime and are looking to pick up extra business. I packaged the monthly night out to the restaurant with a limousine ride and again, the limousine company received great visibility in the program, and our members received free limo rides. We were able to promote our dealership services and the products and services of our partners on radio, television, in print and of course on the Internet. This program differentiated our dealership from every other one in the market. We had articles written about us in the military newspaper on base and that helped feed the number of users on the program. I guess today they call this viral marketing, but we just saw it as a great way to leverage existing networks, add strong value to the program and provide incredible service to the members at our dealership. This program was business development at its best. Sean V. Bradley
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