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25 Things Veteran Managers Need to Hear

(But don’t want to…)

In life, we all need someone to just tell us the hard truth.  Even when it’s something we really don’t want  to know.  Call it tough love, a reality check, or the ugly truth..  It is what it is.

My wife is talented beyond measure in this department.  For example, if it is apparent that I need a Kleenex (I think you know what I mean) my wife will give me a subtle elbow to the ribs and say, “Hey Batman, you have a bat in the cave.”  She finds this un-naturally entertaining, I might add.  The next exchange goes a little like this.

“Gone?”

“Nope”

“Now?”

“Still there.”

“Damnit!”

“Got it.”

“Thanks”

But even though I am a little embarrassed, I’m glad I didn’t walk around the party for two hours with an uninvited guest hanging out of my nostril like a baby kangaroo.

The bottom line is this.  The longer that you have been in the car business, the more you need this list.  You are guaranteed to disagree with me on some or all of this list.  It’s just my opinion.  Remember, I’m the guy who can’t even keep his nose clean…

  1. Quit worrying about the number of leads you’re getting and worry about HOW your handling the leads you currently have. There’s a good chance you’ve got this backwards.
  2. Trust me, you’re not spending enough time or money on training. How about consistently spending wasted, untracked advertising dollars on good training?
  3. Quit worrying so much about Average Gross Profit per unit and start measuring Spread. (Published Internet Price minus What you actually ended up selling it for, including under/over allowance.) You’ll find out who your strong ones are.
  4. There is practically no such thing as a “Walk-In” or “Drive By”.  Assume all of your customers are from the internet.  You’ll only be wrong 1 out of 10 times.
  5. You don’t HAVE to use 900lbGorilla.com. I think we all know the providers I’m talking about.  You have the ability to create more of your own leads, you know.
  6. Stop generalizing about advertising. (“XYZ never works” or “ABC always works”) It’s all in the offer.
  7. Stop using clichés: “This is the way we’ve always done it.”  “We tried that once and it didn’t work.”  “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  I don’t care if they’re true, I’m just sick of hearing them.
  8. Stop only looking at your desktop when thinking about your website.  Wake up, we live in a handheld world.  The average person looks at their mobile device 104 times a day.
  9. Quit procrastinating on using video to communicate with customers.  Start creating a video culture, now.
  10. You DON’T need more inventory. You DO need better inventory. This IS a net profit thing, right?
  11. Shut up about having to give cars away on the internet.  It’s getting old and it’s making you look silly.  No matter how loud you cry, the internet is not going away.  Just make sure your customers don’t.
  12. Stop managing petty things and start managing your people’s habits and expectation levels.  People produce exactly what they expect to produce.
  13. Stop saying that Facebook doesn’t sell cars.  Read “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk.  He is smarter than you.
  14. Start treating your employees better.  Get them involved.  We all want to feel like a part of something bigger.
  15. Quit being lazy and implement a strict aging policy and a turn policy on your vehicles. Quit managing cars and start managing parking spaces and ROI on your inventory dollars. Does the term “Holding Cost” mean anything to you?
  16. Get your cars cleaned and online within 48 hours of getting them. If your vehicle is not online with pictures, thoughtful pricing, and good descriptions, it’s invisible to EVERYONE but you. (and your floorplan company)
  17. Stop talking so much about units. Start talking about net profit.  This goes for vendors, too.
  18. Your pay-plans probably suck.  I just said probably.  I have seen poorly constructed pay plans derail good intentions.
  19. Start treating your Internet/BDC Department like a REAL Department.  If 90% of your customers are online, why are you spending 10% of your time thinking about this department.  The Internet Manager needs to be treated and paid like the rest of your managers.
  20. Take off your bib and put on an apron. Practice servant management.  Serve, serve, listen, listen. Cook your damn employees a hamburger, for goodness sake!
  21. Start paying more attention to retention.  Quit ignoring your OWN dealership’s owner base.  Your sitting on a treasure chest.  Get off your butt and open it.
  22. Start listening to your incoming phone calls.  Just make sure there are no sharp objects nearby.  Then hold your vendors accountable for REAL number of leads.
  23. There’s a sales GOLDMINE on your service drive right now.  Next time you’re bored, count the number of ROs in your service department versus the amount of showroom traffic for the month. Where’s the opportunities?
  24. Stop teaching the “Silent Appraisal”.  While you’re at it, stop using VHS tapes, Sony Walkmans, and rotary dial phones.
  25. Stop getting upset when someone hires the superstar you developed.  It’s the ultimate compliment. When people leave you better than they came, you’re doing your job and your company is getting better.

I hope I didn’t ruffle your feathers.  I just don’t want you walking around with a bat in the cave.

Who’s your Danny?

@Danny_Benites

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2013 GMC 2500 Denali. $45,000. Below Blue Book!!!! Why you ask? This truck may be more loaded than an Irishman in a whiskey-drinking contest, but it is no Sunday driver. It is a ¾ ton, 4-wheel drive, luxury work horse and it was cast from smelted bullet casings and stealth fighters by God’s own iron fist to be rode hard and put away wet. It may have a couple of scratches on it but that is ok. And do you know why? Because it’s a truck. And you’re a man. And together you are Maximus Meridius from Gladiator. And while women may swoon at your kind hard heart and gentile touch, underneath it all you are a BAMF who doesn’t back down from a fight and you have the scars to prove it. Because you sweat pure gasoline, and bleed oil and all you need is your 360hp Vortec chariot to get you to the promise land.

Your boats and snow machines are nothing but a light snack for this 6-speed auto, HD, demon-powered towing machine. With its Z71 Off-road package, you can enter dirt track races while towing your 17,800-lb life-size robot collection and a hot tub full of topless super models, and still win. All while outrunning the cops and mowing down zombies with your Mack truck-resembling chrome front bumper.

More technologically advanced than the Starship Enterprise, this truck will transport you in style while trusting you with all of its secrets. Wondering what your oil pressure is but don’t want go outside to check? Simply consult your smartphone and unveil everything you desire to know. Tire pressure, engine temperature, gas level, oil pressure, can all be summoned and accessible to you alone at the touch of your fingertip. Your friends will start to wonder how you became so wise and the Oracle from the Matrix will be calling to ask you for advice.

With its 6.0 liter V8, this truck will transport you to your destination faster than you can say Bad Mother Fu@#er and will arrive with about the subtlety of a tectonic plate shifting during the 1964 earthquake. Yes people will stare, my friend. Because you are always the winner in the reaux sham beaux that is your life; because rock trumps scissors, paper trumps rock, but a swift kick to the balls trumps paper, every time.

The rear automatic sliding glass window allows you to make sure that the grizzly you killed with your bare hands hasn’t come back to life. Or the sled you loaded up to high mark Mt McKinley hasn’t budged an inch. Since your 6 1/2′ bed is Rhino Lined with ¼” of near bullet-proof rubber, your big boy toys will be safely transported to the fiery inferno’s of hell and back, because that is where you go to play.

But what about the interior you ask? Hundreds of lambs died an honorable death to effectuate leather soft enough to make-up this hulk’s supple interior. The climate can be controlled to subliminal perfection by the shear omnipotent power in your callused right hand. The perpetually-complaining-about-the-cold woman in your life will be happy to know that heat can be generated at the touch of a button that will literally light a fire under her ass. In addition to heated (and cooled) seats, it’s power can be summoned from anywhere on the planet; it’s 8 powerful pistons coaxed into roaring to life for you alone, because you are the Lone Ranger, but Silver has nothing on this faithful steed. Sitting in the command center of this 2013 batmobile black, panty-dropping stallion, you will have more features at your fingertips than that kid David in “Flight of the Navigator,” but you will look like a lot less of a douche, because you aren’t flying a talking space ship 3 yards from the ground. You’re Han Solo, flying the Millennium Falcon, and The Force is for pussies.

Yes, this truck may have more options than a menu at Village Inn, but don’t let its Babylonian luxury fool you. It may have you feeling richer than a Russian Czar but it is about as tameable as a rogue wave and will chew you up and spit you out if you do not give it the respect it commands. But command it you will, and respect you will have because this truck is intimidating. Corvettes, Challengers and other gutless vehicles scurry out of its way, even when it’s in the slow lane. The pilot car in construction sites escorts it through immediately, even when it’s the only vehicle in line. It can out run the cops in 2nd gear, and does. It will park in a handicap space, then tow the tow-truck away. It will be the best man at your wedding, sleep with your bride, and never call her again. Yeah, it’s that bad.

If you like the looks of this truck but don’t think that is worth every bit of $45,000, then do not bother calling. Because this truck is the lovechild of Optimus Prime and Kit from knight Rider and if you don’t recognize its true potential, than you do not deserve to be at the helm of such an almighty machine.

Skip the dealership, all you will get there is a long-winded sales pitch. . …

For more information email, call, or text Caitlin xxx.xxx.xxxx

Who's Your Danny?

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My Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine

Hi, my name is Johnny Dealer.  I spend my mornings listening to incoming sales calls from the previous day.  I then, go into a deep depression.  I guess I am like most dealers, but today, I'm going to do something about it.  I am going to create a system that will eliminate missing all of these opportunities.  I am about to create a Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine.

Here is how I'm going to do it.

First, I'm going to TOTALLY commit to my new lead department.  I am going to commit finances, facilities, training, equipment, and most importantly, PEOPLE.  I am going to hire a real-life Manager to run this department and I'm going to pay this person just like the rest of my managers.  After all, this department is every bit as important as the others in my dealership.  I know that the future of this department is wholly dependant on MY buy in.  I AM IN!

What am I going to call this department.  BDC?  Internet Department?  I think I am going to call it the Appointment Department.  That is the most accurate name I can think of, plus, calling it the Internet Department only makes me feel more techno-ignorant.  I want these employees to know that the appointment is the objective.  We'll hand them of to specialists when they get here.

I want to make this Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine to run smoothly and most importantly, be reliable.  I can't have it breaking down at inopportune times.  I think I'll begin with my people.  I'm going to take my time and only hire the best and pay them well.  Training?  Of course.  I think I'll do this in two stages.  First, I'll get my hands on the best phone scripts and email templates in the industry.  We will train them relentlessly until they can recite them in their sleep.  After that, I will teach them our incoming lead concepts.  1. We got what you want. 2. You got what we want. 3. You're special, we're special. (see my article, "Incoming Calls are as Easy as 1,2,3.)  I want my people to not only memorize the word tracks, but I want them to UNDERSTAND the content and CONVEY the motivation to the customer.

This machine is beginning to take shape.

Now, I must set up a process that works for everyone.  Everyone in my store needs to know this process, inside and out.  When a lead comes in, who takes it?  At what time do they turn it to a Manager?  Can they discuss price?  If not, who then?  How about follow up?  When and how often do they get back with a customer?  Do they do it by phone, email, video, or in person?  When do they stop trying?  I will make sure that ALL of these questions are answered in my process.....my WRITTEN process.  How can I expect my people to perform if they are not clear on my vision.

I spend a fortune on tools in my service department.  Every time I turn around, my manufacturer has generously shipped and billed a new piece of equipment that is now needed to work on the new models.  In my new Appointment Department, I'm not going to cut corners on their tools.  They are going to need their own area, with fast computers, great phones with headsets, and a great CRM.  The equipment and resources they have are a reflection on my commitment to this department.

How can I make this machine consistent?  If I dump a specific number of leads into my machine, how can I be sure of exactly how many car deals will come out the other side?  This will boil down to tracking and expectations.  I have learned over the last 30 years, that if you want to see numbers increase, simply track them.  What are my expectations?  I guess I will leave that to the experts.  I want to set appointments with 60% of my fresh leads and 40% of my leads that are a week old or more. 50% of them will show.  I want to sell 45% of the appointments that show up.  I know everyone has different numbers that work for them, but these work for me.....for now.  That leads me to "expectations".  I know that my people will perform to their expectations.  It is MY job to not just manage people, but manage their expectations.  I promise make my expectations so clear that they become their expectations.

When my machine is built and running effectively, I vow to soup it up.  You know, like a turbocharger.  I can start getting innovative with video appointment confirmations, fancy .pdf proposals, bringing in trainers, hiring phone coaches, data mining, lead screening, video search optimization, email marketing, social media promotions, and the like.  Heck, my new machine will even be able to handle service leads!

If is a big two-letter word.  But...

  • IF I manage this department with the same vigor that I manage my Finance Department, Sales Department, or Service and Parts Departments, it will succeed.
  • IF I dump 300 fresh leads into my new Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine, then, it will produce 180 appointments, 90 of them will show up, and 40 of them will buy.  This does not even include re-hashing my lost opportunities from the last several months!
  • IF I continue to commit to my new department, every time I dump 100 new leads into my machine, I will get 13 more sales.

My mission is simple now......Find more leads to feed the machine!

Who's Your Danny?

 

PS - My apologies if your name is, in fact, Johnny Dealer.  Any negative references to this name is strictly coincidental, especially if you actually live on 123 Elm Street, Anytown, USA. or work at ABC Motors.

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http://www.dealersynergy.com
Internet Director That Sold 150+ Units Per Month ONLINE Gets Promoted To General Manager
Joe Cala has 12 years Automotive Sales Experience, holding positions in:

* Showroom Sales

* New Car Sales Manager

* Used Car Manager

* Internet Sales Manager

* Internet / BDC Director

Joe Cala also worked for 1 year as an Autotrader Account Executive.

Joe is going to make an incredible General Manager of Dealer Synergy

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Dealer Principals & General Managers, When was the last time you…

 

When was the last time you actually went and listened to your Internet Sales Coordinators, BDC reps, appointment setters, sales consultants and sales managers’ phone calls? If you have a call monitoring system, do you log in yourself and listen to the MP3 calls, or do you delegate it to someone else? Do you ever “mystery shop” your employees? Or, if you have hired an outside company (training or consulting) and they conduct call monitoring and/or mystery shopping on your behalf, do you ever read the corresponding reports and assessments?  

 

When was the last time you went through your own website? I am not talking about a quick log on and review of the homepage. I am talking about you actually taking a deep dive into your entire website by clicking on EVERY single link, button, photo and drill down page. Pretend you are a customer. Is your website providing the type of experience you would hope for and expect if you were the shopper? After all, with consumers shopping an average of 5-8 different websites, will your website’s experience be enough to initiate a phone call?

 

When was the last time you reviewed all of your email templates?

 

When was the last time you listened to the way your people leave voice mail messages? Are they leaving the same mundane messages your competitor down the street is leaving, or are they leaving voice messages that will entice the customer to return your phone call and/or distinguish your dealership from the rest. Was a sense of urgency created?

 

When was the last time you reviewed your Social Media Strategy? You should know:

 

  • What are you Facebooking?
  • What are you Tweeting?
  • What are you posting to your Google + account?
  • What pictures are you uploading on Flickr or Pinterest?
  • What videos are you uploading on YouTube?
  • What are you saying to the public?

 

Have you investigated all of your review sites? For example:

 

  • Google Reviews
  • Yelp
  • Edmunds
  • Cars.com
  • Yahoo
  • Yellow Pages
  • Dealer Rater
  • Judy’s Book
  • City Search
  • Merchant Circle
  • BBB

 

Are you even responding to people that are leaving reviews about your dealership, positive or negative? And if your dealership is responding, is it with the right message? A negative review can turn into a positive review with the right response and action(s) taken.

 

How about the paradigm of the dealership? I travel all over the country and work with thousands of dealerships and what I have found astounds me! I sit with Dealer Principals and listen to their explanation of their organization. I listen to their:

 

  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • Social Responsibility Statement
  • Core Values and Principles

 

I listen to how proud they are of their organization(s). I listen to the AMAZING things they do in their community. I hear about altruism, integrity, dedication, respect, love, honor, tenacity, success and more.  But what I SEE is usually COMPLETELY different from what I hear, and that is a problem! Perception is reality and what people “perceive” is their reality. Dealers might have a strong vision, mission, values and value package, but if it is NOT conveyed to the managers, sales consultants, service writers, technicians, BDC reps, receptionist etc… then it is LOST mission.  As a matter of fact, when I go onsite to dealerships, one of the first things that I ask managers and employees is “What is the organization’s mission statement”? “What is the vision”? And almost ALL of these people have no idea that a mission statement even exists in their organization.  And of the few people that knew that there was a mission statement, they had no idea what it actually was. Sadly enough, this is true for some General Mangers too. There are GMs that have no idea what the Mission Statement or The Vision Statement is. How in the world is the organization going to personify the “vision” of the Dealer Principal if no one is even aware what the vision is? How can the organization perpetuate the momentum of the Dealer? It is difficult to say the least, unless that is EVERYONE is on the same page.

 

The way it should work is:

 

  • Dealer Principal or GM states the Mission, Vision, Values / Principle, Value Package Proposition (Why Buy From Us).

 

  • THEN and only then does the dealership find vendors and employees that align with the dealership’s vision, mission and values.  A lot of times, dealers “Frankenstein” vendors, just trying to sell cars. They also hire people at random without consulting the blue print and guidelines set by the mission statement.

 

  • Make sure that EACH of the following communication mediums; website, email templates, voice mail templates, advertisements, social media etc, are all set up with the Dealer’s vision, mission and values clearly evident. Does the homepage of your website recite the mission?

 

  • You want it to be that when a prospect or a client engages your dealership in ANY way what so ever, it is crystal clear “Who” the dealership is and what the dealership’s unique value package proposition is.

 

Your brand is sacred, your word is your bond and your reputation is everything.

 

If you believe that statement, then you need to make sure your dealership not only knows and understands the organization’s statement, but it is also perpetuating the vision, value and mission of the Dealer Principal / GM through actions, not just words.

 

If you have any questions about this article or if you would like some free advice on how to create a Mission, Vision and Value Statement please email or call me.

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http://www.internetsales20group.com

General Sales Manager Gives Some Advice From His 18 Years In the Automotive Sales Industry.

JP Hocking, the General Sales Manager of Bill Dube Hyundai in Wilmington Massachusetts
was kind enough to sit with Automotive Internet Sales.com and give an interview. JP has been in the automotive sales industry for over 18 years and he shares some of his wisdom and experience with AIS.

Read more…

http://www.internetsales20group.com

Automotive Internet Sales Interviews A General Sales Manager & Former AutoNation Trainer W/ 24 Years Automotive Experience (2) from Dealer Synergy on Vimeo.

http://www.facebook.com/dealersynergy

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