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http://www.kpaonline.com http://www.automotiveinternetsales20group.com

I had the opportunity to go to Irvine California yesterday to the KPA / TK Carsites Headquarters. First of all the facility is loced in Beautiful California. It was great to meet the executive team of KPA / TK Carsites....

I spent a couple hours getting updated on what KPA is currently enveloped in and I got a glimpse of upcoming AWESOME products / services.

Here is a quick update from Ricard Valeta, the founder of TK Carsites-

Richard Valenta, VP of Internet Marketing Products of TK Carsites / KPA Interview

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The Truth About 3rd Party Lead Source Providers, Aggregators & Online Classifieds

I hear all the time that “these leads suck”, “those leads suck” etc… The truth is that most of the times it is NOT the 3rd party provider, aggregator or online classified that “sucks”. It might be several other issues such as:

  • People
    •  There might be too many leads and not enough people to work the leads. If this is the case your dealership won’t be able to put the proper amount of time, energy, focus into cultivating that prospect into an in store appointment. Remember, Internet prospects have a 45-90 day “gestation” period.
    • Or reverse, you might not have enough leads…
    • “Cherry Picking” of leads…
    • You might not have the proper schedule in place. For example, the “prime time” to connect with prospects is between 6-8pm and if there is no one working the leads during that time or if the department or the dealership is closed at that time then you obviously miss out and this will affect the “connection ratio” with your prospects
    • Process –
      • This is a BIG ONE! I see over and over again dealerships that have a BAD process. They ONLY email, or they ONLY phone call, or they ONLY follow up with the prospect for a certain amount of time and assume this lead “sucks” and then they “dead” the lead.
      • Dealers assume leads with “No Phone Number” or “Wrong Phone Number” are “Bad Leads” but that is NOT true! What do you expect for $20? A closed deal? A guaranteed commission? No, what you get for a $20 “lead” is an OPPORTUNITY… That is all. There are no magic beans, there are no silver bullets. It is up to the dealership to cultivate that opportunity into an in store appointment. So, if you have a “lead” with no phone number or a wrong phone number then you should:
        • Open up the original lead in your CRM / ILM because sometimes the prospect info doesn’t parse
        • Call 4-1-1 and do a reverse look up
        • Go to www.anywho.com
        • Utilize Social Medial to find additional contact information. Some CRMs have Social Media integration just for purposes like this!
        • (Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc…)
        • Technology –
          • I can NOT stress this enough… technology is one of the biggest culprits for mistakes, poor numbers, the illusion of “Bad leads”. What happens is that the dealership might not have set up the CRM / ILM the right way or they set it up but it wasn’t managed or up kept the right way so it might get congested, it can become a mess. The best analogy is a file cabinet that has only one drawer, no folders and no color tabs for the (non) folders… CHAOS!

With all of that being said, there is a HUGE value for having 3rd Party Providers, Aggregators and Classified Listings. But before I get into that I do want to stress that you should never put all your eggs in one basket. A dealership should diversify their marketing and specifically their digital marketing efforts with SEO, VSEO, Video Pre-Roll, PPC, Social Media and 3rd Party Sources.

If you are going to utilize 3rdy Party Lead Source Providers, Aggregators and Classified listings make sure:

  • You know what type of “leads” you are looking for. Each lead source provider has its own “specialty” some 3rd Party Sources specialize in New Car Leads, some specialize in Used Car Leads and others specialize in Special Finance Leads. I know that a lot of these companies offer both. I suggest you identify what your wants and needs are and find a 3rd party provider that fits your exact need and wants.
  • Do your research investigate all of the “Major” 3rd Party providers and ask them to do a “Market Analysis” on your market for the last 30, 60, 90 days. How many leads did they generate or were available through their network. Also ask for them to provide those numbers on different radiuses.
  • Remember that the farther out you go from your dealership, the lower the closing ratio. I am not saying don’t go too far. I am just stating a fact.
  • What you can do is secure a radius that is close to your dealership. Maybe you use your PMA given to you from your OEM or a certain mile circumference around your dealership (20, 30, 40 miles etc…) And then surgically creating smaller perimeters around your direct and indirect competitors. For example, lets say you secure a 35 mile radius around your dealership that generates you 100 new car leads. Lets also say you have 4 direct competitors within a 75 mile radius. Instead of just securing a “blanket” 75 mile perimeter around your dealership you secure that 35 mile radius that is yielding you 100 leads and then you can secure maybe a 5-10 mile radius perimeter directly around YOUR COMPETIROS, using their zip codes. This way you are focusing your energy more surgically.

Bottom line, 3rd Party Providers, Aggregators & Online Classifieds are a powerful resource if and only if we utilize them the right way.

If you have any questions about this article or you would like a list of lead source providers please contact me at seanb@dealersynergy.com or call me at 267-319-6776

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Afraid of Losing Your Phone? You May Have Nomophobia Like Half the Population (RePost From Mashable - Written By Samantha Murphy)

If you know the panicked and disconnected feeling of leaving your mobile phone at home, you might be one of the many suffering from nomophobia.

A recent survey by U.K.-based mobile security service provider SecurEnvoy conducted among 1,000 people found that two thirds (66%) of respondents fear losing or being without their mobile phone — a fear called nomophobia. The phobia also includes the anxiety someone feels when not in the range of a cell tower to receive optimal reception.

Not surprisingly, nomophonia is on the rise — up 13% from just four years ago — as more consumers become strapped to their smartphones.

However, women (70%) worry more about losing their phones than men (61%). According to Andy Kemshall, chief technology officer and co-founder of SecurEnvoy, men were more likely to have nomophobia in 2008 but feel less overwhelmed now. Why the change of heart? Men are 11% more likely than women to carry around two mobile devices.

Younger demographics are also more likely to be nomophobic, as 77% said they fear being without their phone. Meanwhile, those ages 25 to 34 are the second most nomophobic group, followed by mobile users over 55.

SecurEnvoy also cited a recent study published by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology found that people check their phones about 34 times a day on average. If you do misplace your phone, it won’t take very long to realize it.

Do you have nomophobia? What tech item can’t you live without? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mbbirdy

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The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet

The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet


The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet
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Honda fights TrueCar's prices

Below-invoice online discounts frustrate some dealers and automakers

 

Honda, leery of brand-eroding discounts, has warned its dealers to stop offering prices below invoice on TrueCar.com and other Internet shopping sites.

The discounts jeopardize payments that Honda sends to dealers for local marketing, the automaker told dealers in October. Industrywide, the payments range from $300 to $600 for a $30,000 vehicle, one dealer said.

TrueCar is a leading player in the growing online retail industry that channels Internet leads to dealers. TrueCar CEO Scott Painter last week criticized Honda's position.

"They're trying to say Hondas are worth more than invoice, but if everybody's paying less than invoice, that's not true," Painter said.

The dispute highlights frustration among some dealers and automakers who say third-party Web sites such as TrueCar are eroding their power to set transaction prices.

TrueCar publishes recent transaction prices on its Web site and offers what it calls guaranteed low prices to shoppers. Dealers who sign up with TrueCar agree to pay the company $299 for each new vehicle sold from a TrueCar lead and $399 for each used vehicle sold.

Honda spokesman Chris Martin said that the automaker considers TrueCar an advertising medium. And Honda does not permit dealers to advertise prices below invoice, in part because it erodes Honda's brand equity. Dealers who do so jeopardize per-car payments from the factory under Honda's dealer marketing allowance.

But Painter said Honda is ignoring the realities of the marketplace, in which dealers compete aggressively on price.

In response to Honda's actions, TrueCar last week began warning Honda shoppers with a banner on its Web site that they might not get TrueCar's low price.

Upfront price guarantees are a key part of TrueCar's pitch to shoppers. And the prices listed for vehicles on TrueCar's Web site often are below invoice.

For example, a TrueCar search near Ann Arbor, Mich., for a 2012 Toyota Camry SE with automatic transmission and four-cylinder engine returned three guaranteed prices from local dealers, two of which were for less than the car's $22,075 invoice price. One dealer was offering the car for $21,875, another for $21,025 and a third dealer listed a car at the invoice price.

In TrueCar's terminology, the invoice is several hundred dollars above the cost of the vehicle to the dealer because the price does not include such factory payments to dealers as the holdback allowance.

Painter said Honda sales via TrueCar have declined since October because of Honda's warning.

He said the 278 Honda dealers under contract with TrueCar sold 2,389 vehicles in November. TrueCar's Honda dealers sell an average 8.6 new Hondas per store per month, and leads from the Web site generate 12.2 percent of the total sales volume of TrueCar's Honda dealers, he said.

"They could be doing twice as many sales through our platform than they are right now," if Honda revoked this policy, Painter said.

Painter was careful to add, though, that he was not picking a fight with Honda.

More clout

Painter: The stats don't lie.
 

On Jan. 1, TrueCar's role in auto retailing will grow. That's when TrueCar becomes the exclusive online vehicle shopping partner for Yahoo.com. Traffic to TrueCar's Web site is expected to jump from a couple of million unique visitors per month to 20 million per month as a result of the deal, Painter said.

Now, though, TrueCar leads account for a small slice of U.S. auto sales. TrueCar-participating dealers are expected to sell about 250,000 vehicles from TrueCar leads in 2011 either from shoppers on the TrueCar Web site or through agreements with more than 100 large associations, such as USAA and AAA.

Painter said he wants to almost double the number of dealership franchises that participate with TrueCar to 10,000 next year and facilitate the sale of about 500,000 vehicles.

USAA, a financial services association for military families, has asked Honda to reconsider its TrueCar action on behalf of its 8 million members who did 500,000 searches for Honda and Acura vehicles this year, according to a recent letter from David Bohne, president of USAA federal Savings Bank, to John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.

Protecting profit

The Toyota Camry SE: In Michigan offers of $1050 below the invoice price.

Mike Warwick, director of digital marketing for the seven-store Kelly Automotive Group in suburban Boston, agrees with Honda's policy toward TrueCar.

"Honda's trying to protect the gross profit in selling a car and trying to protect the salespeople who are the backbone of the industry," Warwick said.

Kelly, with a Honda store and two Nissan stores among its holdings, dropped out of its TrueCar contract this month after just three months as a participating dealer, Warwick said.

In November alone, the group was inundated with 700 leads from TrueCar customers who took a guaranteed vehicle price that Kelly offered, he said. But the stores closed on just 20 of those deals and only three were profitable given the discounts negotiated, Warwick said.

The vast majority of customers went elsewhere, using the deals negotiated on TrueCar to get lower prices for vehicles at other non-TrueCar dealers, he said. Meanwhile, Kelly had to follow up with all 700 customers, Warwick said.

Few Honda dealers, he said, would be willing to risk their dealer marketing allowance for the additional volume that TrueCar can bring.

Industrywide, that type of quarterly allowance is 1 to 2 percent of the sticker price for every vehicle sold, Warwick said. On a $30,000 vehicle, that would be $300 to $600.

Other dealers, though, like TrueCar. Taylor Chevrolet in suburban Detroit is eager for TrueCar's tie-up with Yahoo to begin, said Jeff Kotlarek, Taylor Chevrolet's Internet sales manager. He gets about 15 new-car sales per month from TrueCar.

He said Taylor Chevrolet offers vehicles to TrueCar shoppers at $100 below invoice and still makes money on the vehicles by upselling on warranties, accessories or additional options. The store sells about 175 new vehicles total per month.

In a recent speech, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said of TrueCar: "The good deal that they're pitching to the consumer is lower than average. So to the extent that everyone goes with the TrueCar price, it moves the average down.

"It's a death spiral, and the question is whether they are powerful enough to unleash that dynamic in the U.S. marketplace."

AutoNation's COO, Mike Maroone, sits on TrueCar's board of directors, but neither he nor AutoNation has financial ties to TrueCar.

Amy Wilson contributed to this report

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http://www.dealersynergy.com

Who should be running my internet department or bdc?

 

This is another question I am asked from dealers all over the country — and the dealers who don’t ask me this question really should. While I acknowledge the fact that there are many different types of dealerships, please have an open mind to what you are about to read.

 

First, I am sure that we are all aware that 88 to 98 percent of people go online before they ever step foot into the dealership. We also know that social media is the No. 1 form of communication in this country. The problem that I continue to see, however, is that many dealerships in this country still don’t view the Internet or business development department as a “real” department.

 

Too many times I walk into dealerships and you can immediately feel the tension in the air; it’s an “us vs. them” mentality. There is dissention on the floor, frustration, anger and even sabotage — not to mention disrespect. I often hear the same thing from Internet coordinators, managers, directors and BDC reps; they are neither appreciated nor respected, and are treated as the “stepchild” in the dealership, and that goes from the dealer to the GM to the GSM, all the way down the food chain.

 

And, as we all know, perception is reality. If the dealer feels this way — that the manager of the department isn’t a “real” manager — they aren’t going to have an idea of who the right person is for the job, or what type of a pay plan to put together. They might not give this manager authority in the dealership. They might only make this person a “manager” in title only.

 

They also might put in place the wrong people. They have people who aren’t working out on showroom floor, so they give them a shot in the Internet department. Or, they might hire someone computer savvy because they feel that qualifies them to run an Internet sales department. Dealers also hire young people because they feel they can relate to the prospects better. These are all wrong strategies. The Internet Department or BDC in the dealership should be a major department, on a level with the new, used, finance and fixed ops departments. We are focusing on Internet “sales” department, but it goes deeper than that (Internet sales, service, parts, body shop, finance,

aftermarket, leasing, fleet, special finance, etc.).

 

Here are some facts: The average dealership delivers approximately 100 units new and used a month. An average dealership has approximately 10 salespeople, a finance manager, a sales manager and either a GSM or GM. All of that goes into selling about 100 units. Now, I have dealers who tell me that they want to sell 50, 100 or 150+ units per month from their Internet department, but they don’t want to treat the department as more important than the other departments or profit centers in the dealership. Furthermore, they want to put in place the wrong type of person to manage and run the department. They don’t want to pay the Internet sales director like the other “real” managers in the dealership. They also do not allow them to have any “real” manager authority, but they will put all of the responsibility on that person’s shoulders.

 

So, what exactly is the right profile? Who should run an Internet sales department? First and foremost, you want to make sure you have a person who is an automotive sales manager, or at the very least have someone who is a great sales consultant and closer with the potential to be a great sales manager with the proper training and support. Let’s go deeper: If you are trying to run a department that delivers more than 100 units a month online, you should have at the bare minimum a great sales manager, or even a GSM or GSM-caliber person running that department. Answer this question: Would you ever have a non-salesperson run your entire dealership, or even be a GSM at your dealership?

 

You want a sales manager in that department who can drive the momentum in that room. You want someone who can put a deal together and can even desk a deal if necessary. You also want to have someone who will be respected by the other managers and the showroom sales force — not just by the Internet department.

 

So, how in the world do you expect to deliver that number of units without having the caliber of individual I just outlined? The argument is that dealers need someone to manage the Website, take pictures, create videos, get testimonials, handle I.T., take care of the CRM/ILM, handle online reputation management, SEO, VSEO and all other forms of digital marketing. I agree 100 percent — all of that needs to be taken care of. However, I do not think that the Internet sales director or Internet sales manager should be that person, especially when you are trying to deliver 100+ units per month from the department. You should either hire a person to do those jobs, or outsource those duties. Anything else is not going to be as productive in the long run. They are, at a minimum, two different jobs.

 

Don’t freak out if you are a current Internet sales or BDC director and don’t fit the profile I just mentioned. And don’t freak out if you are a GM or dealer who just hired someone who doesn’t fit the profile outlined in this article. I would say, if they were the “right” individual who you believe in, get that person training on product knowledge, I would have them get certified as a sales consultant from your OEMs and I would get them certified as a sales manager by your OEMs. If you have to invest time, money and training to get the department head at the level of any other department head in your organization, it is what it is. If you don’t, you will suffer.

 

The bottom line is that having the right Internet sales / BDC director is crucial to the success of the dealer’s online initiative. If you have any questions about this article or if you would like some examples or ideas of ways to ensure your department’s success, feel free to e-mail me or call me.

 

Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry.

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http://www.dealersynergy.com

Popular sharing platform AddThis just celebrated their fifth birthday and to mark the occasion they’ve released an infographic that takes a look at social sharing trends based on their five years of experience.

The AddThis infographic covers everything from the peak hours and days that people share so when people click, the top sites in terms of social growth, and more. The stats are based on AddThis’ experience with 1.2 billion users, 10 million domains and 70 languages. Some of the highlights include the following statistics:

•9:30am EST is the peak hour for sharing
•Wednesdays are the peak days for sharing
•The most users click on content two minutes after it’s shared
•Twitter as seen the top growth of all time, in terms of sharing

 

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How Google Social Search Has Changed the Way Dealers Do Social

http://www.internetsales20group.com

Every few months, we see a dip in sentiment regarding social media. It's been going on consistently since early 2009 and we know that it will continue. Dealers try social, see little reason to continue, and set things on autopilot or abandon it altogether. Then, something changes that makes social media more important and the searches for "Automotive Social Media" spike again.

Get ready to do the search. Social just got more important again. A LOT more important.

During the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa last earlier this month, I gave a keynote that highlighted Google's commitment to social media (as soon as Jared, Bart, and Arnold send me the video, I'll be happy to post it here... hint, hint). Google reaffirmed that commitment in a big way earlier today that will change the way savvy dealers do social media.

Google Social Search is a game changer - even SearchEngineLand, a blog that is often conservative about the impact of Google changes, agrees. It will insert links into the natural search stream based upon social connections that share and produce those links. While social search itself has been around for nearly 2 years, it has always been a side-note buried at the bottom and likely unnoticed by most. Now, it has the potential to change the search results important to us with a single Tweet, review, or blog post.

 

With access to Beta, I did 2 searches for "Washington DC Chevrolet." The first, I did while not logged into Google, personalized search off and cookies cleared:

Then, I did the exact same search while logged into Google:

As you can see, a post by good friend Paul Rushing popped up at the top.

What does this mean for search and social? It means that social sentiment, which many dealers are paying attention to more regularly, just got that much more important. It means that dealers who are unprepared have the potential to see their search traffic drop, particularly if a competing dealer in the market is able to take advantage of this.

It means that YOU can beat them all to the punch and start getting prepared today before it rolls out fully.

I am in the middle of exhaustive research on the subject right now, but here are some key points to think about while you wait for our next version of the Automotive Social Media strategy guide:

  • - Tweets Matter. A Lot. - Imagine a potential customer doing a search for one of your makes in your metro area (the most common new car search; "Denver Ford," for example). They under one of the results close to the top your dealership's listing. It's not at the top, but something catches their eye... Co-worker Debbie tweeted your dealership URL. They click through and see that 14 months ago, Debbie bought a car there and tweeted about how good her experience was. Bingo.
  • - If You Thought Reviews Were Important Before... - As Google always does when they roll out new search features, we can expect expansion. While Facebook is almost completely out of the question for integration, reviews are definitely part of the equation. Same scenario as above, except replace "Tweet" with "RatePoint." Bingo again.
  • - That Pesky Blogger... - Remember the guy who thought he'd wreck your business by posting on his blog about how you low-balled him on his trade? You were smart and covered your Google page one results to keep his post off, but now it's showing up again for hundreds, even thousands of people who are either connected to him or connected to someone who shared his post on social media.
  • - Your Connections. - Now more than ever, having a strong and well-maintained Twitter account is important. Do you still have an RSS feed handling your Tweets, driving potential customers to unfollow you, or are you growing your account and being interesting? If the subtle, intrinsic benefits of Twitter didn't get your attention before, how about moving your website up to the top of hundreds of searches? Still want to automate?

I'm not going to sit here and say "I told you so." Not here. Not on Driving Sales. The dealers here represent the top echelon of automotive social media knowledge so you're probably taking advantage of social media in one way or another. Don't let up. Stay aggressive. Keep up with the changes.

And don't forget to bug Jared about getting me that video. It has some information that may further change the way you do your social media.

 

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http://www.internetsales20group.com

http://www.willissmyrna.com/

Congratulations to Willis Automotive, located in Delaware for WINNING the "BEST Dealership Testimonial" Contest!!! We received a LOT of Video Testimonials from dealerships from different parts of the country and I have to tell you they were fun to watch!! Thank you for taking your time to make them and upload them.

Willis Automotive won $300!! I will make sure that Whitney Willis Snow send us a video when she gets her $300 :)

Here is the winning video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keJn-2NlIYQ&feature=player_embedded

Ok, Why did I create this contest and give away $300??? For a couple of reasons...

- First, I wanted to do something fun for the website and I know EVERYONE likes FREE Money so... :)

- I wanted to show how REALLY important Video Testimonials are and I know that just asking dealers to create them isn't enough... I / Dealers need to incentivize salesman and the internet team to create as many awesome videos as possible. It is VERY important that dealerships realize that what other people think about them and say about them is VERY important.

I was VERY pleased with the dealers that entered the contest... I was proud to see some of the dealerships go HEAVY into this project and upload a LOT of videos from their prospects / clients.

- I wanted to gauge the creativity of the videos... And I have to admit, there is a LOT of work to be done. I watched ALL the videos uploaded and noticed the same pattern... dealer after dealer. It seemed for a lot of the videos they did NOT have a strategy... a focus. I actually saw some videos where it seemed like the people did NOT want to be on video!! It is very clear that you all need to CREATE a strategy BEFORE you start to shoot the camera. Remember that there is a reason why people go online... every prospect has an expectation... what they are looking to accomplish. It is important that you "lead" the prospect / client if needed before you shoot the video. Take video testimonials on specific things like: Price, Availability, Convenience, Looking for a different way to do business, research etc... from a first time buyer, female perspective, credit challenged etc...

** Let the prospect or client talk. Try to slow down on the narration of ALL the videos...

- Make the videos FUN, interesting, passionate etc... Video is important but now a days video is all over... so you want to make your content interesting NOT just there.

All in all, this was a GREAT FIRST contest for the new AIS site!!

Thank you for all that participated and Congrats to Willis Automotive for winning the $300 prize!

SVB-

http://www.dealersyenrgy.com

http://www.facebook.com/seanvbradley

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Ok,

This is an oldie but goodie :)

I want to hear all of your opinions...

What is TRULY Vital for a SUCCESSFUL Dealership Website...?

I have Dealership after Dealership ask me these questions:

* Who is the best dealership website company?

* What are the best features for a dealeship site?

* Should I have a Flash site or not and why...?

* How many websites should I have?

* What is onsite versus offsite SEO?

* How often should I update my website?

* What content is important for my website?

**** And on and on the questions go... Please understand these are NOT the ONLY questions... I am simply trying to start the conversation...

I would love to hear from all of you as to what makes the MOST POWERFUL and Successful Dealersgip Website Solution and WHY?

I look forward to your posts

SVB-

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Hey, If anyone knows of a QUALITY Internet Director for the Chicago area.... one of my CLOSEST clients just lost theirs with NO NOTICE... Argh!!!!

This is for a BEAUTIFUL, HUGE and Brand New Honda Dealership!!!!!

Contact me for more details

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