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http://www.InternetSales20Group.com 856-546-2440

Dorothy has a tremendous amount of Automotive Sales, Management and Internet / BDC experience and knowledge.
I am honored to have such great feedback from her about the Internet Sales 20 Group as well as about the Dealer Synergy system that we just installed into her dealership, Honda Manhattan (BRAM Auto Group).

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What Has Been Your Experience With VinSolutions?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=878526905513532&set=a.181141865252043.43794.100000686934552&type=1&theater

www.VinSolutions.com

What Has Been Your Experience With VinSolutions?

With any large company there will be lovers and haters but as a national consultant, it is my responsibility to identify the truth and value of any and all corporations that effect dealerships, especially my Dealer Synergy clients.

I posted a simple question on my Facebook and in less than 24 hours it received almost 200 comments. It seems that there are a lot of people that have an opinion about VinSolutions. There were a lot of people passionate in their positions! It shows that CRMs are very important for a dealership to be successful. Even more important is that dealerships choose the right partner to help them achieve that success.

Here is the "Cut and Paste" from my Facebook Thread.

* I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and experiences about VinSolutions.

#CarPeople I want to get your opinion about VinSolutions as a CRM. I have a lot of Dealer Synergy clients that have been giving some candid feedback and I want to ask my network here on Facebook your thoughts. I am curious to hear from DEALERS, NOT from Vinsolutions or their employees. Please let me know what you like and what you do NOT like. As a national consultant and trainer, It is very important to gauge what the dealers are thinking so I can make the best decisions and provide my clients with the most accurate feedback. Thank you all in advance-

Shane Locke It's great for the salesmen as far as accountability goes , you have to complete tasks or u cannot input a new customer . Internet sales is another story , dealer peak was great from a internet perspective . Dealer peak allows you to make high volume calls without losing your place with the "last action" option . We miss dealer peak.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you Shane Locke for the feedback. I too think that DealerPeak is a good tool!

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Stanley Damer I'm a dealer in the D. Bout to sign up with there new web platform that's adaptive with mobile! Great new product. Other than this platform I never been impressed with them. Sean V. Bradley Csp if ur interested with the best CRM that all us large ford dealers use in Detroit message me! Ford are high volume in the D and follow up is the key (33 ford dealers in 3 counties) let me kno. Love money Mondays

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Stanley Damer Thank you so much for your insight!

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John Roberts Like Shane said, the accountability of Vin is great. The main drawbacks I find with it is a lack of inventory page for salespeople and it does not remove a no longer owned car from marketing campaigns, so you find need your trade emails going to people that no longer have the particular car.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp I would love for you to post here what the CRM company that you DO prefer on this thread but if you prefer not to make your opinion public I respect that. I guess it is enough that you do NOT recommend their CRM...

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Sean V. Bradley Csp John Roberts, Thank you very much. Shane Locke is on top of his game... like it seems you are! I appreciate your opinion

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John Roberts One other issue I forgot to mention, Vin does not update from DMS, so if something changes in DMS it will not push to Vin.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp That can be frustrating

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Gary Reed Been using Eleads, seems to be working pretty good. I thought it was a jr. Vin solutions crm as I have used Vin before.

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Kristin Buckley Don't even get me started.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp I have also heard some really good things about eleads!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Kristin Buckley please do, you have been a valued Dealer Synergy client for a LONG time and are a Veteran of the Internet Sales 20 Group events and even a "Best Idea" contest winner. Your Ford dealership has been in business for OVER 100 years! I would LOVE to hear your opinion

 

Kristin Buckley Okay... Let's see.. Their "support" sucks. No one ever knew what they were talking about, they could only ever "open a ticket".

We couldn't get one good, accurate report to come out of that thing they like to call a CRM/ILM to save a life.

Anyone who has any type of BDC should just track everything on paper and save themselves a shit ton of money because it is definitely NOT designed to work based off of your dealership. They definitely think you should run your store based off of how they have their CRM set up.

Oh, and Sean Rancier was the worst account manager I've EVER dealt with (and I deal with almost all of our vendors). He told me he had too many accounts to pay attention to us, and if I wanted a certain report I should learn how to make them myself because support was only there to try and fix something if it breaks, not create reports for us.. I wonder if I still have his emails........

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Brian Keith Redmond and James D Brafford say hello to RC Lacy Ford Lincoln Subaru

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Sean V. Bradley Csp WOW! I am sorry to hear that Kristin Buckley.

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Kristin Buckley DealerPeak has been amazing. Their staff always knows what's going on, they definitely communicate with each other, and go out of their way to try and make their tool work around our stores processes.

My favorite part is the fact that it's not just set up for "admin" "manager"
And "salesmen" logins. They control each piece individually.

I wanted the salespeople to be able to close out their own sales and 15 minutes later they all had access to it.

If I have a suggestion on something they either work on changing things, or at least give us the option to have it built for us by their support team. Couldn't be happier

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Sean V. Bradley Csp I am very happy to hear that! Jock Schowalter Joel Matteson and the rest of the DealerPeak is AWESOME!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp For the record, Dealer Synergy works with 13 DIFFERENT CRM / ILM companies with dealerships all over the country. I am VENDOR neutral. I only want to know what dealers like and don't like and why-

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John Roberts Thought of another, any problems that come up they want three samples before opening a case. Not everything happens in threes.

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Megan S Barto DISCLAIMER: I am a dealer.
I love VinSolutions. We've been on them since 2007 and every issue I've ever had has been rectified.
As far as "support ticket issues" - find out who your Performance Manager is - go through them. The custom reports are amazing. I have 20-30 of them set up for just about every person that needs any kind of reporting. Including salespeople! "Save A Deal" - delivered to my sales professionals email inboxes. Daily. With their ups.
Salespeople CAN close out their own visits - or they can't. If you don't trust your Green Pea? Don't let them close out visits! VinSolutions does integrate bi-directionally with your DMS - all it takes is a simple phone call to set it up. Id anyone needs any help with VinSolutions - let me know - I'd be happy to help!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you Megan S Barto You have been nationally recognized for your Internet Success. I appreciate your insight-

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Kristin Buckley My performance manager was the biggest problem we had.

The system wouldn't track customers for our BDC reps at all.. Once it was switched over to a salesperson it stopped tracking for them. I tried like hell to make that system work for us because it costs so much money to switch systems, plus loss is customers etc. but it just wasn't going to happen. I am very computer savvy and I knew that system inside and out.. The problem is that not everyone was/is that savvy and VinSolutions is complicated for the average user

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Kristin Buckley did you meet Megan S Barto at our Internet Sales 20 Group ?

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Kristin Buckley Not officially but I know of her. We were on Auto Dealer Live together once

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Megan S Barto Kristin - you can assign specific BDC agents and there's even a system report (not a custom report) that's "Performance by BDC Agent" which makes a FANTASTIC tracking/breakdown sheet. And if you don't like your PM - you can ask to have them changed!

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Kristin Buckley I know the report.. We had a problem with it because it would round robin a BDC agent onto every customer added to the system. So it was definitely not accurate. Believe me, I spent a lot of time on the phone with whoever would listen to me from Vin. It wasn't designed to work with our store and by the end of it they could have completely redesigned their tool and I wouldn't have used it if they paid me to.

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Megan S Barto The nice thing about VinSolutions is there's a work around for just about everything. Just in certain situations - you just need to find a Performance Manager with some knowledge of the system and some imagination.

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Kristin Buckley I imagined that system going right out the window.... And it was so weird because the next thing I knew, it was gone.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp LOL!

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Subi Fernando Ghosh I'm no longer a dealer, but it's been less than a year after 6 years in a showroom but I had vin (among others) and had a single really bad experience. when I took it to them, they addressed my issues, took input for opportunities to help the platform and really dove into great options with reporting. I ended up with a strong vin relationship with my reps after they helped me out. I will say that their new restructuring efforts have made huge differences for the better. I'm impressed with their direction and growth in the last year. I would definitely recommend them but ensure (like with any Crm switch) that they have an individual in house that understands the ins and outs of CRM for proper set up. My experience is that poor set ups usually set the tone for poor experiences with CRMs. I've even had a great experience with ADPs CRM that most complain about after setting up a great partnership for my dealer group.

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John Roberts I would love to find out about getting ours to be Bi-directional. Don't take my posts wrong, I do not hate Vin, it is head and shoulders above our previous CRM, just wish a few things were better.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp This is not an Anti VinSolutions thread. This is a clarity thread. We have heard from numerous people naming the pros and cons of the tool

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John Roberts I agree, just want to make clear my feelings

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Absolutely! Thank you so much for your insight

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Kristin Buckley The way Subi and Megan talk about vin is how I feel about dealerpeak. The entire staff has treated me like gold and I love the fact that I can name probably half of their staff by their first names. Not only does their tool work so much better for our store, and performance wise, but they're less expensive.

Having been treated like we were not important from a company we were spending $3500+ monthly was all I needed to move on.

People buy from people they like, right #carpeople!? Lol

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Megan S Barto John - DM me your questions about Vin - I'll be happy to answer any!

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Tammie LeBleu CRM thats the key to being successful in todays market. I used Car Research and had phenominal success with it. When I was still at ORR Group I trained some Internet Managers on VIN Solutions and found it hard to navigate. There are so many components that are not utilized. I had the honor of training my first store over a week ago in BDC and their CRM was VIN. I am not one for bashing but I defintely prefer Car Research to VIN.. I am partial because of the great succes I had with it but lets just cut through all the red tape. It doesn't matter what CRM tool you use. You must marry it adapt its processes and put those strict processses into place and you will be successful. It is the road map to great success and must be utilized everyday....

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Subi Fernando Ghosh Aaaand tammie comes in to lay it out! Preach on sista!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you Tammie LeBleu you (and I) are on the COVER of AutoSuccess Magazine for this very subject... CRM! http://issuu.com/autosuccess/docs/as.nov14

AutoSuccess November...

issuu.com

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Nathan Hays Our DMS Import from Autobase to VINSOLUTIONS was/is atrocious. 56,000 people, 4 brands, 3 rooftops and 4 store IDs. Data wasn't scrubbed. Each store/ID has different settings, permissions. Part of it our issue, part AutoBase, Part ADP. It's brutal.

The customer merge function is better than it was. The website provider/software compatibility is mediocre. Minimal Cheome/Firefox support. Internet explorer sucks, but I'm forced to use it because of VIN. The mobile app is better, however my settings have been shut off at random.

Their support is pretty good. Very quick, yet very concerned with closing tickets, even without resolution. I have a few other complaints, but many of it is out of my control.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Tammie LeBleu for the record... you were the #2 Nissan Consultant in the United States, selling 47.5 units in one month and 400.5 in one year and made OVER 1.5 Million Dollars selling cars on the showroom floor in less than 5 years right?

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Kristin Buckley We had auto base before vin too. It was like living with the Flinstones and then moving in with the Jetsons lol

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Subi Fernando Ghosh One last note. If we're talking CRMs DealerSocket has a fantastic product, is incredibly intuitive, and excellent customer service.

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Tammie LeBleu Right! And Car Research was my tool and my road map to success!!!

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Megan S Barto I was on the cover of AutoSuccess talking about CRM as well! #smallworld http://issuu.com/autosuccess/docs/as.july14/0

AutoSuccess July 2014

The #1...

issuu.com

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Sean V. Bradley Csp I gave you kudos Megan S Barto!!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Ours was last month... #JustSayin

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Megan S Barto So you're copying me???

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Actually... you were copying me. My clients and I were on the June issue too http://issuu.com/autosuccess/docs/as.june14

AutoSuccess June 2014

The #1...

issuu.com

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Sean V. Bradley Csp LOL!!!

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Megan S Barto My GM is in on this month's cover. http://issuu.com/autosuccess/docs/as.dec14

AutoSuccess December 2014

Sean V. Bradley Csp OUCHHHHHH! You GOT ME

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Megan S Barto I know - it doesn't happen often.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp This thread is one hell of a plug for Susan Goodman Givens and AutoSuccess Magazine!

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Nathan Hays Needs some Midwest love.

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J.r. Batchelor I've used almost every CRM personally and what I noticed with Vin was that you can't use their follow up process or you would not touch customers daily during the initial 30 days. I agree with Tammie LeBleu unless managers and salespeople own and master the CRM any tool the dealer chooses will be in vain.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you J.r. Batchelor I appreciate your insight!

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Megan S Barto JR - I absolutely agree with you. A CRM is a *tool* you need to have competent people running the tool - no matter what the CRM is. With Vin - their processes are a great base, but as with anything you need to add your own "flair" to it. Which is why I've modified every single process in VinSolutions. It's also the job of their Performance Managers to help you modify them for your store!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp I will say this though Megan S Barto, you are one of the exceptions... as you pointed out, you were on the cover of AutoSuccess Magazine. So, you know what to do, how to do it and how to modify it and make it better. There are a LOT of sales reps, Internet Managers / Directors that do NOT have that knowledge or experience and are dependent of Customer Service / Client Support to guild them and assist them, to coach them, to assist them and if it isn't there... then the dealer is screwed. And this goes for ANY CRM COMPANY.

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Kristin Buckley We are process driven, not task driven.... Right Sean V. Bradley Csp lol

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Sean V. Bradley Csp YES!!! Kristin Buckley EXACTLY

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Dealer Synergy does NOT want the CRM to tell you WHO to call in the "task list". Process driven versus task list driven wins all the time, every time. Task list driven leaves too many errors and gaps.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp That is J.r. Batchelor 's point

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Kristin Buckley Another reason I love dealerpeak.... But they're going to have to start signing my pay checks if I keep going lol

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Sean V. Bradley Csp I am referring to CRM as it relates to an Internet Department or BDC that has "Coordinators" or BDC Reps... b/c these people do NOT have to get up and do product presentation, deliveries etc...

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Sean V. Bradley Csp LOL! Kristin Buckley

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Kristin Buckley Applies to salespeople too. Our "guys" have their folders they go through daily to keep their customers in front of them. They don't operate just based off of tasks either. I've been able to set our system up to work for THEM. We have folders for everything.. Makes life much easier

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Look at this Video I created in April, 2014 about VinSolutions and how to actually set up VinSolutions the RIGHT WAY! This is the Dealer Synergy system (qucik version). Do you hear the COMPLIMENT I give VinSolutions? This is TRULY a NUTRAL post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jyo5w0aTM40

Set Up VinSolutions...

youtube.com

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Sean V. Bradley Csp If you are not part of the solution... you are part of the problem-

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Joshua Shackelford Dealersocket is a far superior CRM.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you Joshua Shackelford. There have been numerous people on this thread that have spoken highly of DealerSocket and I have a lot of Dealer Synergy clients using DealerSocket but I would love to hear what you like about them most and what you think they do that sets them a part from all other CRMs...?

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J.r. Batchelor As we all know this is a people driven business. You can have all the best tools in the world and have an $200K ad budget but when the rubber meets the road you MUST have the right PEOPLE. Processes without the right people are utterly worthless. Sean V. Bradley Csp Megan S Barto

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Well said!

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Joshua Shackelford Compared to VinSolutions is like comparing Harvard to grade school. Endless amount of data to pull. It gives you alerts daily on all previous customers, ups, and service customers as well. I run a Ford and GM store, I can pull equity positions (you're no longer upside down), APR (based on your rates and payment history I can save you X amount of dollars when you trade in and up), how much they would save on fuel by trading out of an older car they're in to our newer one that's also under warranty, time since last service, warranty expirations and renewal etc. It gives the amount of data I can have my employees mine nearly endless. It's much more complex but it's reports and data on MY employees as well as the salesman has helped show me who's working it right and who's not. I can automatically generate birthday, anniversary or purchase etc and link directly to the customers social media to communicate, congratulate etc. It brings more "development" of business than any other CRM, including Vins than I've ever seen. It's allowed me to help make actual "salesman" out of salesman instead of product pushers. Makes all the difference in building and retaining a customer base.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you very much for the detail Joshua Shackelford!!

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Joshua Shackelford I tried to be objective but it's honestly apples to oranges. What do/would you prefer?

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Joshua Shackelford Oh yea, the mobile app of socket is second to none. It really makes my job as manager of 2 lots much easier.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp What do I prefer as a CRM? or do you mean as to your feedback?

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Joshua Shackelford CRM.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp LOL! of course...

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Sean V. Bradley Csp First, I want to say that I truly believe that there isn't a perfect CRM. There are NUMEROUS functions of a CRM, BDC, Dealership(s). And different CRMs specialize in Different things. For example... some CRMSs SPECIALIZE in Special Finance, some CRMs specialize in Data Mining, some in LEAD MANAGEMENT, other in showroom control / desking...

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Joshua Shackelford Haha.. So are you obligated to prefer vins? Lol.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp So it is important for a dealership FIRST, "Begin with the end in mind". What are THEY looking to accomplish...how are they going to use the CRM?

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Now with that being said... As it relates to Internet Sales, BDC... Lead Management. I have my (NEW) Top 5 in NO particular order...

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Joshua Shackelford The downside to socket is teaching those less tech savvy how it can help them. Some guys are pen and paper guys, but it's MY job to show how the benefits of managing leads in their customer bucket and every detail of their deal and how it can make them money. If I'm not showing them how it's here to make them money then I am failing them.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp 1. DealerPeak 2. DealerSocket 3. eLEads 4. Dealertrack DMS 5. AutoLoop (VERY SOON)

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Sean V. Bradley Csp LOL!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp THAT is ANOTHER issue... NADA just released its 3rd Annual Industry report on Workforce. It states that Dealerships have a 66% Turnover rate on the showroom floor! http://www.nadafrontpage.com/Dealership_Workforce_Study... That means that with such a HIGH Turnover... all of the new sales reps that join the force have to be accimated to the CRM ASAP... who is doing that? Who is monitoring that this is getting done the right way?

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Joshua Shackelford BDC managers are the most under appreciated people in any dealership.

Because who's going to teach them? We are. And in our market, producing 50 additional sales to a 150 car a month lot plus cleaning up sales staff garbage, spending most my day on 700 credit to pre-qualify.

I've turned my departments out of appointment based and into qualified buyer based. Im incentivizing getting credit apps more and more. It's saving and making my company more money in the long run for all the obvious reasons... What salesman wants to waste 2 hours on a guy 7k hooked who can't even buy paper?

No one. We sat at a 50% show to sale conversion last month which is absolutely unheard of.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Strong!

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Joshua Shackelford The manager I replaced had 82 shows and 4 sales in her last month.

That's essentially stealing from the company.

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Tom Hawkins We install Vin Solutions starting at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Over the years, I have been on Autobase, Interflow, Dealer Socket, back to Interflow, and then Car Research. After a painful year on Car Research, I decided to give Vin a try after running into Sean Stapleton at Driving Sales Executive Summit. We are already using Cox products vAuto, HomeNet, Auction Genius, and Auto Trader so going to Vin Solutions was an easy choice and a large savings due to consolidation. I am sure I will have my share of frustrations with Vin Solutions at first, but he two things I like about Vin are: 1. The marriage of all these products under the Cox Automotive label will allow the exchange of data that will benefit dealers a great deal...now and well into the future. 2. They use the performance manager model similar to vAuto. We are very satisfied with our vAuto performance manager process. I will be holding them accountable for how well we use the system. To be fair to Car Research, the previous owner was draining the company and not investing in the future of the product. I believe Auto Loop, with Tammie LeBleu's leadership, will make it much better company by upgrading the platform and giving them the tools to succeed (I was on the Autoloop Dealer Advisory Board). However, I couldn't wait, especially with the advantages for me of the platform consolidation. I guess I will know for sure when we're fully into it. But as you can see I have had enough experience with different CRM's to have a little bit of an idea.

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Tony White My thoughts as I am a user of VIn.

I myself have been in the industry for about 14 years. I have used many programs and there's not a single one that has it all.

Vin needs to work harder on their fixed operations side. Not as robust as the sales. And we all know how much business comes out of service.

Vin like anything is accountability. Fair warning to those getting ready to buy it. Map your processes out on paper first. This way you don't create useless processes that people won't follow and you have a printed out manual of the processes and email responses. This way no one can ever say they didn't know.

I worked for Autotrader and KBB as well. There is still a lot the COX corporation has to do to get everything to work together. Some of it never will unless they rewrite the entire code.

Vin is good. But like anything, it's only as good as the users and management team. I would be happy to help you with it if you need. Or to run ideas.

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Tony White You also need to know the depth of involvement your dealership is going to have in the tool. Are you only going to use it for Internet department, sales and Internet? Finance, forms, write ups? Trades? Marketing? Farming? Are you willing to make your service department use it? I think that has to be a big discussion. Then base your CRM around those needs. Not the other way around. Or you will be stuck with another headache and looking for the next shinning toy. Good luck!

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Tony White Sorry Sean V. Bradley Csp for writing so much. Just a huge topic. Bottom line is VIN is good. But only as good or as bad as you make it.

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Tina Ledoux Norton The best CRM depends on your dealer group and your level of usage. Tony White said it well above. In 2010 - 12, we made the decision to leave Autobase and we shopped everyone under the sun - it took everyday of 2 years to decide our next step. For our situation, we felt that VIN did not have the enterprise reporting necessary for a large dealer group - there were a lot of promises for what it would do in the future but we did not want to experiment. At the time, their poster child was Gary Crossley Ford. We visited them and found slowness issues, usage issues and because they were not a multi-point dealer, they could not address a lot of what we would need in a CRM. We also did not feel that it was as BDC friendly as some other tools on the market. In the end, we went with DealerSocket. Change is always difficult and there will always be those that resist. Roll out took almost a year and then it was another 6 months to a year beore I could say that we were truly users of the system and we are still learning more every day.

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Jeremy Lewis Great Topic, if VIn was smart someone would be reading this and using it to their advantage!

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Jarrod Kilway Sean V. Bradley Csp just throwing this out there if any of your stores need assistance or have a question please give them my contact info.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you Tom Hawkins for the feedback!

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Tony White, great sincere insight as always! Thank you

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Tina Ledoux Norton, thank you so much. There have been a lot of great kudos for DealerSocket.

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Sean V. Bradley Csp Thank you Jarrod Kilway

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Susan Goodman Givens Thanks everyone for the AutoSuccess shout outs. I am feeling the love!

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Vicky Cooper An Internet dealership will utilize all their available tools to their maximum but having the right tools can definitely have an impact on success. Vinsolutions is horrible about the "bad leads", customer merge, and support. One the other hand, it is somewhat user friendly, has mobile app, and is easy to edit templates & auto responders. The push from the DMS is less than desirable.

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Megan S Barto Vicky - have you tried their most recent Customer Merge? It's wonderful and is eons above the previous version.

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Read more…

What's the NEW TOP Reason Women Buy?

Today's Women’s Wednesday we are focusing on the new top reason women are buying from their sales advisor. Trust has always trumped price when it comes to buying from a sales advisor, but now, in our latest mid-year #bigdata report directly from women's reviews, “trust” no longer has the top spot.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Aretha Franklin couldn’t define it better. Respect is now the #1 prerequisite to trust in the formula to selling to women.

The top 5 reasons women buy from their sales consultant are ranked as follows:

1. Respectful
2. Trustworthy
3. Likeable
4. Knowledgeable
5. Understanding

Did You Know?

The 6th reason women buy a car from a salesperson is price. Of course, it doesn’t mean that price is not important to women. It means that having a personable, empathetic, real, approachable, open, and friendly engagement is paramount first and foremost. Pretty much like a first date. Nothing can happen before she sums you up. You have to pass the first test - then, and only then will there be a discussion regarding the price of the vehicle.

 

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here.

Read more…

Today’s Women’s Wednesday focuses on women’s reviews, and why they MUST be a critical, daily and intentional component of your business practice – both with the sales team and in the service drive.

As the #BigDataAuthority on women’s dealership experiences, we have shared that this powerful buying segment will purchase 27 million cars at new and used car dealerships this year. That equates to over 75,000 vehicles a day. What is your share of this?

Did You Know?

1. Women rely on and use car dealer reviews 50% more than men. This makes sense as they don't want to get it wrong.

2. JD Power reports that women leave higher scoring dealer reviews than men.

3. Women go to 2 dealerships before buying a car. If they leave your dealership and don't buy - 70% of them will NOT return.

4. The top reason women buy from your dealership is NOT price. The way she is treated is paramount.

Market your trust and transparency via the positive reviews you have received. Women especially trust other women reviews and experiences. This helps them narrow down their choices on where to buy a car.

How to Be the Go-to-Dealership for Women

  1. Dealers that market reviews have women walking into the store with an expectation of trustworthy and respectable service. And they get it.
  2. Stop marketing on price alone. Advertise your CERTIFIED logo in TV ads, classifieds, and lead gen sites (AutoTrader, TrueCar, Cars, etc.)
  3. These dealers are report selling 10 – 15 more cars a month – a huge increase to monthly sales performance.

So stop selling exclusively on price alone.

Begin advertising to women+families on what matters to them: they are treated exceptionally and are provided a tremendous value in the product they are buying. And, reviews reinforce that your shoppers can count on that.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women? Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download.

Read more…

Most reliable car brands

There was a great article published by Motoramic about the most reliable car brands which you can read here. The author determined the most reliable automotive brands by looking at almost 350,000 appraisals performed by “professional car buyers who are trained to detect mechanical and structural issues” with no biases. The study is beneficial because most reliability studies are on new cars within the first 90 days. Longer term reliability studies don’t usually go beyond three to five years.

We wanted to come up with our own algorithm to determine reliability and see if our findings matched Motoramic. We analyzed over 500,000 cars, model years 1995 to 2014, listed for sale on MojoMotors.com to determine the average selling price depending on a vehicle’s mileage. Using a linear regression model, we were able to calculate the dollars of value lost as mileage increased and ultimately, the number of miles until a car lost all value.

In other words, we found out how much mileage could be racked up before a car became valueless. Less reliable brands will lose value quicker since they have a greater chance of breaking down with fewer miles on the odometer. Make sense? One thing to remember – just because a car is considered valueless beyond a certain number of miles in this study doesn’t mean it won’t drive for another 100,000 miles.


10. Mazda – 177,729 miles until worthless

Mazda has been known for building economical cars. Their lineup has expanded in the last few years as they now offer compact, midsize and full size crossovers that have fared well in reviews. Go here to learn more about the different used Mazda models and reviews.

9. Acura – 178,947 miles until worthless

It doesn’t hurt that Acura is the luxury brand powered by Honda engineering. It should also be noted that Acura is the only luxury brand to squeak into the top ten most reliable car brands. For further reading, read reviews of used Acuras here.

8. GMC – 188,584 miles until worthless

GMC has been building quality pickups, SUVs and crossovers a very long time. Since GMC splits many parts with Chevrolet, repairs aren’t usually too expensive. This is why you’ll see Sierra pickups with miles well into the hundreds of thousands. Read more here for used GMC reviews and research.

7. Subaru – 189,370 miles until worthless

It isn’t too surprising Subaru is on this list. According to Polk’s auto data, 95% of Subarus sold in the last ten years are still on the road. Pretty impressive. So are their all wheel drive systems and boxer four cylinder engines. For additional Subaru reading material including Subbie reviews and different models, go here.

6. Nissan – 195,593 miles until worthless

Nissan is consistently one of the most Followed brands on Mojo Motors, but they usually aren’t perceived as being one of the most reliable brands on the road. They should be. Nisan vehicles, especially their cars, are among the most reliable shoppers can buy. Learn more about the best Nissan rides and read reviews here.

5. Chevrolet – 195,754 miles until worthless

If you’re a prisoner of the present, you might think Chevrolet is anything but reliable. Ahem. Recalls aside, the last few generations of automobiles built by Chevrolet are their best ever. Especially Chevy pickups, SUVs and crossovers. For reviews and research on a variety of Chevrolet vehicles, keep reading here.

4. Dodge – 198,266 miles until worthless

Dodge, like Chevrolet, is known more for their pickup trucks than cars. Thanks to the resale value of a Ram pickup, the brand makes it into the top five of this list. Our advice? Stick to a high mileage Ram pickup or Grand Caravan minivan, the same can’t be said about Dodge cars. Go here for reviews of popular used Dodge cars and trucks.

3. Ford – 198,409 miles until worthless

Unlike other American automakers, say Dodge or Chevrolet, Ford has both reliable trucks AND cars. The Ford Focus compact and Fusion midsize, along with Ford’s lineup of crossovers make them the most reliable American automaker on this list. Having the best-selling vehicle in the country, the F150 pickup truck, doesn’t hurt either. Learn more about used Ford vehicles here.

2. Honda – 209,001 miles until worthless

While Dodge and Chevrolet excel at the big trucks, Honda excels at pretty much everything. Look at the ‘miles until worthless’ stat because Honda and Toyota boast a 10,000 mile lead over Ford. If the average driver puts 12,000 miles a year on their car, that 10,000 mile difference is almost an entire year! For reviews and research on used Honda vehicles, keep reading here.

1. Toyota – 210,705 miles until worthless

The public perceives Toyota as one of the most reliable automakers and our study concurs with this perception. While Toyota might not build the most eye-catching cars, they are certainly reliable and efficient. A Lamborghini it is not, but a cost-effective car it most definitely is. Keep reading for reviews, research and pictures of the best used Toyotas.

Graph of How Toyota Depreciates Overtime

Please note that while this data is a great way to understand how vehicle prices correlate to reliability, no study of used car reliability and its value is perfect. This is a make-specific study, not a breakdown of models, trims or years. There can be a large variation between each model’s trims and there are many factors that go into the price of a car. Things like color, options, warranties and whether a car is a certified pre owned or not all greatly affect a cars valuation. Our study did not account for these variances.

Read more…

Today’s Women’s Wednesday is about becoming new leaders in the growing and dynamic market of women consumers.

As competition tightens, the need for exceptional leaders at dealerships couldn’t be greater. Wayne Gretzky, the hockey legend, explained the key to his success, “a good hockey player knows where the puck is – however, a great hockey player knows where the puck is going”.

To be an exceptional leader like Gretzky, a proactive and anticipatory approach is important. Currently, the industry is dynamic, producing great opportunities to differentiate. It is imperative to take strategic risks and be proactive about tapping emerging trends that pertain to women+families.

Did You Know?

1. Women in the U.S. buy 50% of vehicles – about 75,000 a day at new and used car dealerships

2. According to the U.S. Census, over one-third of women out-earn their husbands

3. More and more children are born to single moms

These may seem like just numbers but they are real money-making and business performance boosting statistics for dealers who want to be positioned as the go-to dealerships in their market. How?

1. Recognize Women have the Buying Power: Break from the traditional model and make the store more women+family friendly. Since women are propelling sales, cater effectively to this buying segment by hiring more women sales and service advisors. Hire qualified people that relate and look like your customers for a more comfortable and successful sales experience.

2. The Changing Family: Women are the breadwinners in over one-third of family households. There are many homes with stay at home dads, same gender parents and multiple generations living under one roof. Cater to each potential customer with ultimate respect.

3. Meet Your Customers Where They Are:

a. Problem Solve: As more children are being born to single moms, it is important to know that all parents appreciate a child-play area.

b. A Caring Company: The #1 requested concierge service item from women is an overnight vehicle. This shows you understand the inconvenience of having a car repaired overnight and are willing to go the extra step to do something about it; providing hassle and worry free service.

c. Have women WANT to BE THERE: Have fun services like a boutique fitness and yoga studio with changing area, shower, and rest rooms. (Not everyone wants to sit and watch TV.) How about Play Stations for mom gamers while their car is being serviced? Sound silly? At one time your grocery store simply sold food. Now it has services like banking, café, childcare, dry cleaner, pharmacy, and health and wellness, and other conveniences.

d. Install vending machines with healthy food options and beverages (not just M and M’s & Pepsi) and provide Starbucks coffee and tea. How about a manicurist in the store, part time?

e. Free car wash policy is a winner for you and your customers as they will stop in a lot more frequently – different and more lasting relationships will be created.

f. Engage and Educate: assist customers in getting to to know their new car better with a specialist 1 on 1, or spend time checking out the latest safety+tech features of your top 3 models being featuring this month.

Women visit two dealerships but they buy from just one! What plays are you making to ensure she picks your store? Leadership paired with strategy is a better game than luck in capturing new business.

For more on Leadership and to read about Wayne Gretzky type of Dealers, click here.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women? Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download.

Read more…

With this Women’s Wednesday we will focus on the Service Drive at your store.

Women buy a car about once every 6-7 years, but they visit the service lane several times a year. The good news? This is where on-going loyalty is developed. The not-so-great news is that 42% of women report they no longer go to the service department where they purchased their vehicle. And, you will never know it is their LAST visit, because they may smile, pay the bill, and never say a word, even though they have made up their mind not to return. As the Big Data Authority on women's dealership experiences, the top 6 reasons are:

  1. Not satisfied with the experience
  2. Did not like the way they were treated
  3. Inability to get the problem fixed to their satisfaction
  4. Cost to service the repair
  5. Hours + Location not convenient
  6. Lack of concierge services
DID YOU KNOW?
While 79% of women would recommend the service department to friends and family, less than two-thirds report not receiving follow up communication. Are you and your web provider optimizing platforms to provide educational tips and stay connected with your customers, post visit? Stay in touch by being her trusted advisor 365/24/7 – not just the 3 days a year she is in your store. How? Visit here.

Increase loyalty by paying attention to the little things, like:

  1. Provide Ultimate Respect: Provide respect+treat women graciously every single visit. This builds rapport, trust and loyalty.
  2. Key Concierge Services: The #1 requested concierge item from women is a courtesy car. This shows you understand the inconvenience when the car is undergoing maintenance and repair overnight. Services like Wi-Fi/TV, café and play area for children also help deliver a quality dealership experience while women+families wait.
  3. Best Ear Forward: Your top listeners are the Service Advisors - or, should be. Why? To hear what women are saying and not saying. Your best listener behind the service counter makes female customers more comfortable to ask questions concerning repairs and, when triggered or upset, provides a space to problem solve and get the issue handled and move on.
  4. No Threatening CSI “Requests”: Careful about strong-arming your clients with comments that sound intimidating regarding CSI, like: “Leave all 5’s or call us first before submitting”. This can sound completely inauthentic and uneasy to women.

For the Top 2014 Brand as Rated by Women when Servicing their Vehicles, click here.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women? Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download

Read more…

Buying a Car? Look at the Benefits of Leasing!

Did you know that last year, women purchased an estimated 27 million vehicles? That is the equivalent of 75,000 cars a day at new and used car dealerships. Women are now the fastest growing segment of vehicle buyers and car dealerships are taking notice. To that end, there is much more flexibility when buying a car more than ever!

It seems that women are still more reluctant than men when it comes to the advantages of leasing a car. With the car industry back on its feet after the recession, leasing is at a high of 28% of all new car purchases.

This educational article from Women-Drivers.com offers insights into some “traditional” objections as well as provides a more updated, informed perspective on leasing and its benefits for anyone considering going to the dealership soon. (And, for those that believe ‘buying a car outright’ is the only way to go, consider that over one-third of car purchases today are leased for 72 months. Just because you buy a car does not mean you own your car. You only “own” your car, when the title is in your hand, i.e. the loan is paid off.)

Marlena McCoy, Sales Manager at Moon Honda, a Women-Drivers.com Certified Women-Friendly Dealer, shares her thoughts about leasing “Leasing is just another way to pay for a car, a less expensive way. With little or no money down, you can have an affordable payment, a warranty, free inspections, free car washes, and so much more! Why not pay less and get more.”

Below are the most common objections:

1) “The idea of ownership is important to me.”
Cars depreciate and then have service repairs and costs. Most women who lease don’t pay for brakes or tires because they don’t keep the car long enough to wear them out. If you finance a car for five years or more, it will most certainly need tires and brakes plus other repairs; budget $1,000 a year on maintenance.

2) “I have little or no ownership equity in the leased car.”
The trade-off for a lower or manageable monthly lease payment is that there is no trade-in value. It is fairly common that the market value of a vehicle at lease-end is higher than the purchase option price specified in the lease contract — which means there is some equity trade value there.

3)”I don’t understand how leases work, and I’m afraid of getting ripped off.”
Dealerships – and their sales advisors – are conscientious and will take the time and effort to help you understand the leasing process and the intricacies of the contract.

These contracts can be complex and difficult to understand, so a dealership’s F&I manager should encourage customers to take their time and read the fine print. Leasing is not as complicated as it was years ago nor is it limited to just luxury brands.

4) “I don’t understand the leasing lingo. I don’t know what cap cost is or what comparison pricing means.”
Again, dealers will explain exactly what these terms mean – and in ways you will understand. Dealers who skim over these terms do a real disservice to a buyer and compromise any future dealings they may have with the dealership.

5) “I don’t want to be making car payments forever. I’d rather pay the car off early and have several years without a car payment.”
While you may not have a payment anymore, you will still be spending more in repairs to keep an older car on the road, with fewer safety features than newer cars, and more likely to break down. Your dealer can show how a lease provides a safe, more reliable car at all times, not just when the car is new, and a car protected by manufacturer warranty and with few repair bills.

6) “My car payments will be higher.”
Not true. Depending on a number of factors, monthly lease payments are considerably lower than a purchase loan for the same car and same term today.

7) “I’m worried about any early termination costs. What if I lose my job?”
To break a car lease means breaking a contract, can result in tremendous fees, as well as negatively impact one’s credit rating. Dealers can help customers find other buyers to assume the remainder of their lease, which would take them off the hook, while gaining a powerfully loyal customer. Such transfers are now made possible by companies like Swapalease.com or Leasetrader.com who help car lease owners find people interested in taking over the payments. The fees for both buyer and seller are reasonable, and save the seller from the early termination costs which could amount to thousands of dollars.

8) “I am concerned with excessive mileage charges.”
If a car buyer exceeds the mileage allowance in her lease contract, she will be charged for the extra miles at a specified per-mile rate, usually $0.20 per mile. Your dealer can help you reduce your exposure if you “buy” the extra miles you expect to drive at the time of lease signing. If you choose this option, you will be refunded for any unused miles.

9) “I am worried about excessive wear-and-tear charges, especially with the children and multiple drivers.”
If a buyer returns a leased vehicle at lease-end with dents or scratches, she will be charged. Dealers can explain what is “excessive” so that she knows to get the car repaired before she returns and avoid being charged. Also, it is best to clean the car or have it detailed for the best evaluation.

McCoy further explains,” You may have never leased before, you may not understand leasing, or you might just say that you would never lease a car. No one likes to go car shopping. No one likes to deal with the “typical car salesman”. I am not that “typical salesman”. I treat customers the way I would want to be treated — really. It’s important to be completely informed on all aspects of the car transaction – and that most definitely includes leasing!”

Read more…

Apple’s recent announcement of CarPlay which will integrate the iPhone, Apple maps and Siri into the car dashboard, is a move meant to compete directly with Google’s Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), and Microsoft’s Sync platform. This means big changes are in store for how shoppers driving, commuting and traveling by car will find and learn about your business.

The fast moving map space plus local-search is attractive areas for innovation for software developers. One of the more interesting innovators taking advantage of the mobile trend is YILLIO which takes maps and local search to the next step by offering a patented ‘route-based’ search.

Launched in January, users using YILLIO are able to search for businesses, information and value along their entire route, may it be 10 miles ahead or 150 miles ahead. See our article: Don’t Just Go…… YiLLiO!

What’s cool for your biz is it aims to give users the right information; at the right time, by looking at signals such as where the user is located, their daily habits, their preferences, where they’re going (via their routes), and what they want to do when they get there.

See YILLIO’s user experience video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2igf9WOazo

For brick-and-mortar businesses, YILLIO’s innovation improves marketing relevancy and efficiency. See the short video which explains YILLIO’s route-based search and marketing platform: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noJ4UE7b7AM

Take a few minutes to add your dealership on the YILLIO map to reach mobile shoppers, everyday commuters, and travelers – for Free!

Is route-based marketing and advertising the next mobile innovation? We think there is value in this for you.

Read more…

Welcome to Women’s Wednesday!
Dealers who “get it” know that the key distinction in optimizing sales to women is having exceptional sales advisors who offer exceptional service. But what does that really look like?

Women tell us directly through our car dealer review platform what works for them when interacting with a sales agent.  Below are their top 5 reasons for buying a car from them: 

  1. Trust  52.3%
  2. Being Respectful  52.1%
  3. Likeable  47.8%
  4. Knowledgeable  45.6%
  5. Understanding  40.6%

These percentages add up to more than 100% because reviewers can submit multiple answers.

NOTE: Coming in at 34% was the ‘price of the vehicle’. It is important, but ranks 6th overall. Clearly, connection and relationship are pivotal, outranking price.

  1. Trust:  Women buy from those they trust.  It’s essential to build trust – that rapport can take just a matter of minutes to create. The best way to build trust is to provide valuable and relevant information, quality guidance and advice. Be honest and never try to make a forceful sale because that is a complete turn off. 
  2. Being Respectful: How women are treated matters. In fact, it’s the only thing that matters. Without respect, nothing else gets too close to a purchase.
  3. Knowledgeable:  Women buy from those who are knowledgeable and informative. Since they may not have purchased a vehicle in a number of years and  technology has changed dramatically, they want to be provided with complete and comprehensive information.
  4. Likeable:  Likeability is definitely a trump card. Studies show that women buy from sales advisors who are likeable and friendly. It is easy to talk to a friendly person rather than someone who  is dismissive or doesn’t listen well. Maybe even lightens thing up during a stressful purchase with a smile or a joke. 
  5. Understanding:  Being understanding is vital to meeting a buyer’s expectations. Women buy from those who are concerned and empathetic rather than pushing their own opinions or ‘spiffs/bonuses” on them. Successful sales ambassadors listen to women needs and wants. They are also extremely cooperative and patient.

Want more information on this all important topic, Click here to read. 

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here to learn more.
 
Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download

Read more…

Welcome to Women Wednesdays!

Have you ever walked into a store or visited their website and seen an award that says “Voted #1 in 2010”?

Doesn’t that beg the question and make you wonder what happened since then; who has won it this year?

This situation can be likened to when car dealers have a lapse in (getting) consumers reviews on dealer review sites

– like Google, Yelp, Dealer Rater, Women-Drivers.com etc.  On our site, we have some dealers with great overall scores, but they haven’t had a single review in months. That sends mixed signals and red flags to customers.

Why?

Think about it...having an exceptional score has a lot less credibility to your prospects if there is a huge gap in time with the reviews last posted. It certainly is an indicator that something has changed and could even be detrimental to your business!

Did You Know?

67% of women say they are less likely to purchase a product they were considering after reading negative online reviews – and old reviews can have the same effect.

Here are 15 Best Practices to put in place with Women and Your Reputation, Click here to read.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here to learn more.

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here to download.

Good selling!

Read more…

Welcome to Women’s Wednesday. When women perceive they are not treated the way they expect at car dealerships, 65% leave and do not return. That’s a lot of business walking out the door and buying down the street. What can your dealership do to turn more browsers into buyers? We compile a lot of data from dealer reviews, and below are the top three reasons women buy from the dealership they do.

1.Treatment by Sales Person

How well women are treated is the single most influential factor when it comes to buying from a dealership. Women typically evaluate cars on the same grounds as men like price, mileage, design and safety features. However, the deciding factor of whether to close a car deal is greatly dependent on her interaction with the sales advisor.

Treating her with respect is paramount. Show her that you are glad she’s come into your store, acknowledge her presence, put the smart phone away, and listening to her questions are all part of a winning formula. All this may not matter quite as much to men, but it is highly effective in selling to women car buyers. These little things go the distance in winning a customer for a long-time, maybe even a life-time.

2.Best Price or Deal

The second reason women buy from a dealership is the price of the car. Women prefer to buy from dealerships that understand their needs and budget and don’t try to push them into buying cars that exceed their budget.

3.Car Dealer’s Reputation

The car dealership’s reputation really matters – especially to women – as they are more apt to research and use car dealer review sites than men. They want to make an informed decision where they shop so they don’t waste time and have no regrets.

Did You Know?  

Women are 3 times more likely to leave a review – and, a higher scoring review – than men. So, be sure to ask for reviews from your female customers! If you want to be the go-to-dealer in town, deliver the ultimate car buying experience to every woman who walks in your store.

For more on this topic, click here.

Women are the fastest growing segment of buyers. Market to them before they walk into your store by showing your transparency with your Certified Women Friendly logo.

Sign up and learn more here.

Ps - Did you get your free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here.

Read more…

Whether it’s the film industry or the auto industry, the shift in lead roles is hard to miss. The 2014 Oscars that took place a couple of weeks ago was truly a revelation of the changing gender role trends in films. More than one film nomination had strong female leads, enjoying almost all the air time as opposed to their male roles.

In the Oscar nominated film “Gravity,” Sandra Bullock played the lead role while George Clooney played the supporting role. According to an article in the New York Times, Ms. Bullock occupied almost 87 percent of the film’s running time and was the life of the film. This was an industry first and did not go unnoticed.

Women taking over lead roles is a step towards breaking the “stereotype” and reducing the gender gap. Just like the film industry, the auto industry landscape is also experiencing significant shifts where women are becoming the fastest growing car-buying segment.

Analysis on Professional Women at Dealerships

There remains a tremendous and visible gap in the number of women working in dealerships compared to the number of female buyers. The percentage of women working at dealerships is between 18 percent and 20 percent, while women represent over half of all purchasers.

Yet, many of the women are largely working behind the scenes at car dealerships in business development roles, service, social media, advertising, Internet and office administration. Women in sales roles are fewer in number.

The era when men sold cars to men is over. Today is the genesis of a diverse customer base. How can the needs of these buyers be met, and exceeded?

It’s Time to Mentor & Develop Women Leaders at Car Dealers

Who would have thought that male actors like Clooney would be playing a supporting role while the actress would be the lead? Just like this gender gap is being bridged in film, now is the perfect time for dealerships to implement the same strategy and groom women to be take on leadership roles.

According to CNW Research, of the 17,540 new-car dealers just under 3 percent are women-owned — a significant, grossly disproportionate under-representation.

By having women in leadership and executive positions at car dealerships, it will open up options for buyers to have more choice. In 2010, CNW Research found that when asked, 47 percent of women car shoppers would prefer to do business with women dealers — a huge upside for female-run businesses.

This leads to the bold question: Who will take on recruiting, training and developing women to become GSM’s, board members and dealer principals?

Read more…

Welcome to the inaugural Women’s Wednesday blog. As the leader in connecting women+families with Certified car dealers, look for brief educational tips and nuggets from us to weave into your sales and service practice to expand your sales to women. With our deep vertical expertise, we are here to assist with suggestions to make doing business with women a natural, core value and expression at your dealership. With that, let’s begin:

While women influence over 80% of all car purchases, they actually bought 27 million vehicles last year – most at car dealerships. That is almost 75,000 cars a day! How about at your store? Are you optimizing sales to this powerful buying group?

Did you know?

Women visit 2 dealerships prior to buying a car. When women leave dealerships and don’t buy, 2 out of 3 do NOT return! Ouch -- better ask the right questions and treat her exceptionally the first time. Chances are, there is no second chance. The number one reason women report they did not return is, “I didn’t like the way I was treated.”

How well a women is treated is the most significant and important factor for her staying at, staying engaged, and buying from your dealership. Price is secondary! Stay tuned for the more including the top 5 reasons women buy from their sales advisors. Again, it is NOT price!

Women are the fastest growing segment of buyers. Market to them before they walk into your store by showing your transparency with your Certified Women Friendly logo. Sign up here to learn more.

Ps - Did you get your copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here

Good Selling!

Read more…

Over the last couple of months, I've been researching reputation management companies in and out of the automotive industry. On one hand, I found a couple of shining stars that stood out from the competition. On the other hand, they were only the best but were still missing the boat when it comes to the true potential of what reputation "management" should be.

I've been told that my posts are too long, particularly when I'm in rant-mode, so I'll keep this as brief as possible. Car dealers deserve better. The industry started getting flooded with reputation management services a few years ago and they all migrated to the same basic premise: solicit reviews through emails. While this in itself isn't a bad thing (and I'd debate anyone who thinks it is a bad thing, including anyone at Yelp), it's only a small piece of the puzzle. For a true reputation management solution to work, it needs to have an holistic understanding of how to utilize the components of online reputation as well as a grasp of how to turn a quality reputation into an amazing marketing tool.

Again, I'll try to keep this brief. It will be challenging.

More than Defensive

We've learned that defense wins championships. However, the concept that reputation management is about keeping your review star-ratings high is like saying that a car is about having a place to sit while you travel. Your reputation can do so much more for you than a star-rating just as a car can do so much more for the owner than just act as a moving seat.

The concept of reputation marketing is completely underutilized at best and butchered by some at worst. The first step, getting your star-ratings higher, is good to keep people from dismissing you altogether when searching for you. That part's fine. However, those who click through to the review sites are most likely looking for dirt. They want to know what you've done wrong. They're scanning beyond the good reviews and going straight to the bad ones.

A strong reputation management solution should go on the offensive. Expose the great reviews. When someone is out there talking about how they just bought their fifth vehicle in the last decade from your dealership, your reputation management company should be getting that out to as many people as possible. No, that doesn't mean an automated feed from the review site to your Facebook page that will end up getting seen by 50 people in their news feed and actually read by somewhere between zero and one of them. It takes more effort than that and I haven't seen anyone doing it properly yet at the vendor level.

The Search Component

How in the world has nearly every reputation management firm in the automotive industry missed the tremendous benefits (and potential pitfalls) of utilizing reputation for search engine optimization? When I was at the SXSW convention last year, Google pretty much declared that online reputation and review sites would play a role in organic rankings as well as PPC exposure, yet I haven't heard a peep about it other than a mention on another site noting that Google had taken down an Adwords account because the dealership had a bad reputation.

The two companies that had the best solution that I reviewed both touched on the benefits of reputation from a search perspective but neither have taken the appropriate actions to put together a working strategy, yet. Hopefully, that will be coming, but most in the industry haven't even made the connection despite the clear message from Google.

Botching Social Media

I'm going to keep this part extremely short because I'll start spitting and foaming at the mouth if I talk about it too long. The absolute butchering of dealership social media pages and profiles by reputation management companies and their 2008 social media strategies makes me insane. I want to grab them by the shoulders and force them to listen to reason.

Just because reputation management and social media have a connection doesn't make a RepMan consultant a social media expert. Cars and planes are similar - they're vehicles that get people from point A to point B - but that doesn't mean that having a driver's license gives you the skills to fly a 747. The potential synergies between social media marketing and reputation management are clear, but so far I've seen nothing that even remotely approaches a cohesive and intelligent plan of attack to make them sing in harmony. It's like they took peanut butter, jelly, and bread, tossed them all in a blender and said, "Look, I made a PBJ!"

(wiping foam from mouth now)

Sorry for the Rant

Okay. I'm done. It's been bugging me since NADA and after seeing what I saw last night I had to get it out there. At the end of the day, it's the responsibility of a dealership to train employees on the art of treating customers well. Those of us who have been on the retail side of the car business know that you'll have customers who will burn you no matter how hard you try to please them, but their frequency can be minimized by an appropriate company culture and a well-trained staff.

That's the onus of the dealer. On the vendor side, I'm making it a personal mission to educate reputation management companies on the proper way to position this potentially powerful marketing tool. We deserve better. You deserve better.

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http://www.internetsales20group.com 

Canadian Internet & Digital Marketing Director, Ryan Holtz Reviews the Internet Sales 20 Group 

Ryan flew all the way from Canada to attend the most recent Internet Sales 20 group in Los Angeles. He was blown away by the #is20g. He said it was the BEST conference that he has ever attended... EVER!

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Reputation Management is NOT About Getting Good Reviews

There’s a misconception that has been permeating across many industries over the past couple of years. It’s the thought that “reputation management” is about getting positive reviews on sites like Yelp, Google+, and Merchant Circle. While that’s a portion of it in theory, the practice of it has turned into a huge monster that is ready to burst… possibly before the end of 2013.

 

It’s not the fault of the businesses nor is it really the fault of the reputation management firms. It comes down to the review sites themselves that have found themselves in the predicament of needing more reviews to gain relevance while also wanting those reviews to be legitimate. Some, such as Yelp and Google, are taking steps to eliminate the fake reviews, but even then there’s a challenge. It isn’t always easy to tell what’s real and what’s fake.

 

The bubble that’s going to burst surrounds two components of many reputation management services: automation and filtering. With automation, the same responses are made on dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of reviews. These are the businesses responding to people, but they’re canned and the review sites don’t like that. Google recently removed thousands of these automated replies spread across hundreds of Google+ pages.

 

The other aspect is much more nefarious. It is called filtering. In it, a company uses a 2-step process for soliciting reviews. In the first email, they ask the customer to take a quick survey about their experience. If the survey comes back positive, they then receive an email asking them to let the world know about their experience on the review sites, often with links to the appropriate ones.

 

If the first response comes back negative, the second email is much different. It is consoling. It is apologetic. It declares a need for something to be done about it and normally promises that the response is going straight to the top to be handled by the manager or the owner.

 

At no point in this second situation are the customers told to post a review. This friendly/unfriendly test before soliciting reviews is filtering. It’s frowned upon by most review sites and is a breach of terms of service in some. What’s worse is that if a major publication knew about it, they would certainly come down hard on the parent companies or the individual companies themselves for trying to manipulate their public reputation.

 

The right way to solicit reviews is through a transparent, single step process. Businesses that take pride in their service and boldly ask for reviews regardless of the perspective of the customer is the only way to get reviews the whitehat way.

 

That’s not where it ends, though. Getting more reviews is important, but handling the reviews – good and bad – in an appropriate manner is the real juice in reputation management. This isn’t just about getting a higher star-ranking. It’s about being gracious and humble to those that leave a good review and being helpful to those who leave a bad review.

 

The responses to bad reviews can be more powerful than a positive review. Nobody expects a business to be perfect. They make mistakes. When these mistakes are made, the willingness to listen to the challenges, try to offer solutions, and be sincerely sorry for the bad experience can go a long way towards helping a business improve their chances of getting more business.

 

In other words, negative reviews can be more helpful than positive ones in many circumstances.

 

The other component of reputation management that few companies explore is the search engine reputation component. Review sites are almost invisible if they’re not found on search. To see what people will be viewing, do four searches:

  • [Business Name]
  • [Business Name] [City]
  • [Business Name] Reviews
  • [Business Name] Complaints

The results on the first page of the search engine results pages will be what people are seeing. The things that appear on page two are threats or opportunities. The things that appear on page three or beyond are invisible.

The absolute most important part of reputation management is service itself. If you’re getting bad reviews, it’s not a random occurrence. It’s not “those damn internet folks” trying to ruin your business. It’s probably not your competitors or former employees being vindictive.

If you’re getting a lot of bad reviews, you might just want to improve the way you do business with your customers. As strange as it may sound, your reputation management issues may be justified. Fix those first. Everything else is just strategy and technique.

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“Social Media” is without question the most talked about thing in online marketing right now. But how does it apply to your current marketing strategy, and why should you get involved? Social Media is an incredibly powerful way of speaking to your customers. When you enter their Social Network you are entering a circle of trust – these customers want to hear from you.

One of the most time-consuming tasks within social media is finding, reviewing, editing and posting relevant content your fans/followers will deem valuable. Taking the time to consistently post quality content frequently each day is an important factor to building followers and relationships. If I could take a moment of your time and ask if you would “Imagine This”…..

Here at Bleecker Automotive Group we manage the complete development of our pages, applications and functionality of our links, a real-time virtual community of our customers from our DMS, employees, neighbors and friends all collaborating and interacting online in real-time, sharing ideals, photos, comments and more!…..sounds a lot like Facebook, LinkedIn or even Twitter?….Well It’s not, It’s Facebook & Beyond!!

We currently utilize team management solutions, which reduces the time required for this function by implementing content syndication and automatically pulling our tweets, blogs, news streams, Google alerts search term and any RSS feed content directly into a database with headings, links and descriptions. The Bleecker content can be reviewed, edited, grouped and appended to date/time posting schedules that can be exported and immediately uploaded into our social media management system for syndicated posting…..Change The Way You Increase Business, When You Change The Way You Do Business

Not From the Good Doctor

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