Fire Your Internet Sales Manager
I know I am going to get a lot of heat on this article, but it has to be said. I have worked with thousands of dealerships over the years and there have been numerous reasons given for mediocrity, and even failure. In the beginning of automotive Internet sales in the late 1990s, it was a novelty and an incremental business, but most dealerships were not able to truly harness it and make it a major profit center. However, over the years and through evolution of the automotive sales industry, and the country as a whole, there has been a lot of change — change in how people are researching, shopping, making decisions and ultimately buying a vehicle. There has even been change inside our industry by dealer principals, GMs and sales consultants. It seems that dealers are getting it. They understand that Internet sales, business development, digital marketing, and social media are all important.
What I am seeing now is a scary pattern emerging. A lot of dealerships are not maximizing on opportunities right in front of them because they do not have the right person in place. The Internet sales manager or BDC director that they have in place is the wrong person for the position, and they are hurting the dealership! Here are some problems I’ve seen at dealerships:
• A computer geek in the position who is not an automotive professional. There is nothing wrong with being a geek. I have a problem if they have no idea how to sell a car, and don’t have the respect of their team and employees. They can’t motivate and drive the department to success.
• An IT professional is the head of an Internet sales department or business development center. Just because they are good at fixing computers or understanding technology does not necessarily make them the best choice to run a million-dollar sales department. “Internet sales” is still sales.
• Instead of terminating a sales consultant from the showroom floor, they are given a “second chance” running the Internet sales department. I don’t get this one at all. If someone can not be effective on the showroom floor, why would you have that person be the head of a department where 92 percent of Americans go before they ever step foot into your dealership?
• A sales consultant is promoted from the showroom to running the Internet department. Please understand just because someone can sell a car does not mean they can run a department, let alone an Internet sales or business development department. Just because they can sell cars does not mean they are capable of being a manager or a leader. There are a lot of successful sales consultants who sell 20 or 30 cars per month, but don’t work well with others. They have no concept of interdependence.
• There is no Internet sales manager/BDC director at all. That is just bad, and again, makes no sense whatsoever. When 92 percent of people are going online, there needs to be major attention to this area.
• A dealership’s manager also manages the Internet department. I have seen it all, my friends. The dealer principal or general manager takes on the Internet department as an “additional” responsibility instead of having a dedicated manager, or they dump the responsibility of the Internet department onto the GSM or sales manager. This is not a viable solution.
Remember Basic Math
The average dealership in the United States delivers fewer than 100 units per month. But the average dealership has:
• A GM or GSM
• One to two sales managers (new car/used car), or “closers”
• An F&I manager
• 10 Sales Consultants
If you want your Internet or business development department to deliver units, you are going to need the right Internet manager or BDC director.
Yes, you might need to fire your current Internet sales manager or BDC director. You might have been thinking about doing it for months now but weren’t sure. Let me make it easier for you.
Think of your current Internet sales manager or BDC director:
• Are they a family member or in a relationship with anyone else in the dealership?
• Do they have any automotive sales or management experience?
• Do they have an aversion to the phone?
• Do they have the ability to take a “TO” from their employees, sales consultants, appointment setters, etc?
• Do they have the ability or desire to proactively “TO”?
• Do they have the respect of their team (or the dealership for that matter)?
• Can they, or do they, lead by example?
• Do they train their team? Do they know how to train their team?
• Do they have “one on ones” with their team?
• Do they know how to project and forecast, and not merely guess and hope?
• Are they rude and or mean to their team or their customers?
• Do they have Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P.s), or do they just “wing it”?
• Can they desk a deal?
If you are reading this and you are a dealer or GM, do this calculation before you open the showroom tomorrow:
Look at your electronic leads, phone leads and walk-in leads. Say your electronic and phone leads are 70 percent or greater of all leads. Now look at your manager running your Internet or business development department. Are you comfortable with them in charge of 70 percent of your opportunities? If not, make the change today. If you can’t promote that person as your nest general sales manager, you have the wrong person in place.
If you would like a free personalized analysis of your Internet Sales Manager, contact me at the email below with “ISM” as the subject line.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at
Automotive Internet Sales and Google’s ZMOT for Car Dealerships
By now, nearly everyone has heard of ZMOT and how it might possibly be relevant for the automotive industry. In case you haven’t, ZMOT stands for “Zero Moment of Truth,” a concept developed by Google. It states that today, decisions on brand selection are happening before a consumer arrives at a store to make a purchasing decision. This also applies to how consumers shop for a car. This might not sound like anything new; we have all heard from NADA, JD Power & Associates, Cobalt, Autotrader and the OEMs that almost everyone goes online before they step into the dealership. Personally, I’ve been immersed in Automotive Internet Sales for more than 13 years. So, the fact that people are going online first isn’t a huge revelation — it is what it is. However, what has evolved is what is happening and why. People are finding out about a product or business (whether they know the URL or not). To be specific, more than 72 percent of all transactions start online, from one-dollar transactions to jet engines. The first place people go to is search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), or they may something on TV, radio, see something on a billboard or in a newspaper, magazine or hear about a product from a friend. In any event, they wind up on search engines relatively quickly. People believe that they will get the “real deal” on what they are looking for. “If it is on Google, it must be real,” they think. So, the consumer will do the initial research on the product or service online. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are accessing the Internet from a home computer or laptop. They can be accessing the information through their mobile device like an iPhone or Android. The next logical step for the prospect is to validate that information even further. Prospects can (and do) go to a myriad of review sites such as Google Places, Dealer Online Reputation, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Edmunds Dealer Reviews and Cars.com Reviews, just to name a few. The consumer wants to make sure that they do not waste their time with bad choices. They have access to too much information for them to have to deal with headaches. Take for example a couple choosing where to go eat out for their once a week “date night.” If you only had one time a week you were going out with your spouse because you have three kids, a puppy, a career, etc., try to imagine how someone will feel when they are spending $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or more. That is why 80 percent of consumers say that peer reviews influence their buying decisions. An automotive purchase is usually the second most expensive thing the average human being will ever buy in their lifetime, next to a home. But there is another variable: social media. Consumers will also go to their social networks and ask their “friends and followers” thoughts, opinions on products or services before they ever go to the store or the dealership.
I am going to focus on online reputation for the rest of this article, and the next article I will dive deeper into the other parts of automotive ZMOT strategy.
Dealerships need to make it mandatory to collect client reviews and testimonials from both sales and service. It is not enough to simply “suggest” to your team to try to get a review or testimonial. You need to make it part of the standard operating procedure. You might want to create incentives for your team, for example:
• Whoever gets the most reviews wins a reward (gift card or cash, etc.)
• Whoever gets the most video testimonials wins a reward
You can create a mini-survey (maybe three to four questions) at delivery (mandatory). For example:
1. How would you rate your experience at the dealership from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest)?
2. Did I (sales consultant) exceed your expectations? If so, how?
3. What did you like (or appreciate) the most in this experience in purchasing this vehicle?
4. Would you recommend me and this dealership to everyone / anyone?
You should then have at the bottom of the survey a legal disclaimer (have an attorney draw up a simple disclaimer) that says that they (the customer) give you full permission to post (or use) this (review/testimonial) anyway and anywhere you want. By doing this, you can repost or repurpose all of these reviews to all of the relevant reputation sites like:
• Google places
• Merchant circle
• Edmunds reviews
• City Search
• Yellow Pages
• A review blog you’ve created yourself
It is TRUE that some review sites are IP Address specific and do NOT allow a client to post a review at the dealership, Here is the reality... there are a LOT of ways around that.
*** Please understand what I am saying here... I am NOT advocating using fake reviews or irrelevant reviews. I am saying ONLY to use REAL reviews that REAL clients give you and give you permission to use.
Try to image if every salesperson and service writer made 100-percent attempts to collect testimonials both in text as well as video, and you posted (syndicated) them to all of the relevant places online. In a short matter of time, you will be able to dominate the search engines with a ton of positive reviews.
I want to show you a quick example of a highline dealership that has bad online reputation. I happen to think they are an awesome store (and they are not a client). I serviced my brand-new vehicle there and I was so impressed with their service that I felt bad for their bad online reputation. On my own, as simply a customer, I shot a quick positive video review and posted it to YouTube and did the proper video optimization. Now, when you Google them, my video shows up prominently on the first page of Google (just Google “Cherry Hill Porsche”). That is just me as a client — can you image if this dealership did what I did? Their online reputation will turn around very quickly!
Here is another screen shot:
If you have any questions about this article, Google’s concept of “Zero Moment of Truth” / automotive ZMOT or how you can better equip your dealership (or individual sales consultant) to dominate with a positive online reputation, please feel free to call or e-mail me.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 856-264-0564, or by e-mail at Sean@dealersynergy.com.
My name is Robert Wiesman, a true front line automotive sales professional. I have roughly about a year and a half in this business and if want to be a six figure player YOU NEED TO INVEST AND TREAT THIS LIKE YOUR OWN business!! I can not stress that enough! Everybody knows it, everybody says it, but hardly any one really does it! I do!!
Invest in yourself
1. Look good
2. Drive what you sell
3.Training materials, role play everyday and when you get home with your signifigant other, buy any books, audio, dvd and virtual training you can get your hands on, Derek Jeter hits the batting cage daily, if you are a pro you should as well.
4.Dominate social media, custom pages, solid informative content. You can not post too much.
5. Brand yourself. Look at www.robertwiesman.com. Build yourself as a brand and keep it in front of people.(Not going to give away all my secrets.
6. Your own website. Make yourself stand out to your clients as a true professional. 'Before we get together sir take a moment and check out my web page to learn a little more about the services I provide. Helps with credibilty. Keep it posted consistently with strong information that will make it a resource for car buyers.
7.YouTube Channel. Consistently record informative videos that give great information on one of life's biggest accomplishments buying a new car. Service tips, specials, up keep, performance, etc.
8.Prospecting tools. Keep your name in front of as many people as possible. Stickers with your information on them in the door jams and gas cap, pens of course drop them off at every bar, restaurant, etc. magnets for the refridgerator, insurance/registration card holders with your information on it, referral cards with your bird dog program on it,brochure with your information and a brief desription of the services you provide. I use many more and I am determined to stay on every ones mind and stay in front of as many people as I possibly can.
9.Marketing. Treat yourself like you are the dealer. Utilize SEO, VSEO, old school but effective is ads in local magazines ad newspapers. Radio is still solid but what is even better is being a guest on a local talk radio show as an "auto expert". I can not stress how important it is to brand yourself and keep your name buzzing and on the tip of everyones tongue. I am not going to give you all my creative ideas.
10. Technology. Maximize and utilize all this amazing technology. The iPhone and iPad have some great tools to run your business more efficently. This is 2012 baby it's time you joined us!
There are many other ways to invest in yourself and YOUR business. It really is your business so why would you even think for one second you do not need to invest in it? Treat you as if you are the dealer, the entity. Become a house hold brand, that is a automotive professional that geniunely cares about others vehicle needs.
The few ideas I listed above will plant many seeds and if done on a consistent basis will turn into many many deals that come to the showroom asking for YOU!!!!
Put your money where your mouth is!
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.
After 12+ years in Automotive Internet Sales...
I have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. I have seen firsthand how powerful automotive Internet sales can be for a dealership. I have also seen how it can wreak havoc in a dealership that doesn’t execute properly. After speaking with and training more than 2,000 dealer principals and GMs personally, I have identified a lot of similarities that are consistent all over the country and do not discriminate.
First, dealers see the value, need and urgency to maximize the Internet not only to increase market share, volume and gross, but actually to retain current market share and profits.
The problem is that there is a lot of disinformation everywhere. Everyone has an idea and a strategy, but finding the right information that fits a particular dealership’s scenario and goals is hard to find. There really isn’t a lot of continuity out there. Sometimes “experts” contradict the ideas and strategies of other “experts.” The other issue is that there are a lot of these “experts” out there, but mostly these people have an “expertise” in only one or two fields — not enough.
Maximizing an Internet department is more than knowing how to build the “ultimate” dealership Website. It is more than having 5,000 followers on Twitter for your dealership. It is more than having a state-of-the-art BDC. The issue I see is that dealers are told if they do or buy something, it will be a “silver bullet.” There are no “silver bullets.” There never have been and I doubt there ever will be any. An Internet department (or any department, for that matter) is made or broken, maximized or underutilized in four key areas: Products, People, Process and Promotions. That means that all “4-Ps” need to be working “synergistically” to ensure maximum success. You cannot have all or most of your attention in one or two areas. You need to make sure that all four “cylinders” are firing.
Here are the questions that dealers should ask:
• What are you looking to accomplish with your Internet department? Increasing only Internet sales, or maximizing all profit centers online (parts, service, finance, body shop, etc.)?
• Do you want to sell volume, gross or both? Are you looking to increase new vehicle sales, used vehicle sales or both? Each possibility has a different strategy.
• Do you want to be proactive, reactive or not at all for special finance?
• Do you have all of the right tools (technology, resources, programs, etc.) for a viable department?
• Do you have the right people and the right amount of people in place?
• Have you developed a “mission statement”? Have you created a standard operating procedure for everything in that department?
• How are you planning to drive traffic? How are you going to handle your conventional advertising strategy? What is the proper formula between conventional and digital?
• How are you going to perpetuate success after initial launch?
After you answer all of these questions thoroughly and start to create a plan, you will need to prioritize. This is another sand trap for dealers. They have problems “putting first things, first,” and the result is that they do not focus on the most important items. The dealers who work hard but not smart are rarely successful.
Lack of consistency and acceptance of mediocrity are the biggest reasons for failure or limited success for a dealership’s Internet or business development department. That might sting, but that is the truth. We have found all over the country, no matter what the franchise or geographic region there are dealers who fall into this category. Sometimes it is the dealer principal, sometimes it’s the GM and other times it’s the Internet/BDC director, but it is the same story. Someone at the dealership heard of a successful Internet/BDC department or they read an article or they went to some workshop or 20 Group and were inspired and excited. So, they create a plan (with or without an outside consultant or trainer), and for a short while things are good (sometimes). Then, after a bit of time — or sometimes right after implementation — reality kicks in and they start to deviate from the plan.
Here is what I see on a regular basis from dealerships that succumb to mediocrity:
• They start to compromise their process based on outside influences, such as their competition doing business a certain way, and they feel they must conform.
• They are not consistent. They might do different parts of the strategy at different time. No continuity = No success.
• They do not track details of the department properly, if at all.
• They are not consistent with training, or don’t even bother to train at all.
• They are disorganized. There is no prioritizing of tasks, so the department is working and grinding all day but they are not being effective at their overall mission.
And, as important as all this is, people are the “wild cards” of the “4-Ps.” With money, you can buy everything else. But you have to find and cultivate and keep people. There are a lot of variables to think about in this area, including:
• Do you have the right person for the job? Do they have the right skill set and fit the profile for success? This is a common problem.
• Do you have the right amount of people? I have seen two Internet reps working 600 fresh leads per month. Not the best strategy.
• Do you have a schedule that make sense and maximizes business potential? Statistically, you will connect with more people between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m. So, it might not be a good idea if you have everyone leaving at 5 p.m.
Bottom line, you need to embrace Internet sales. You cannot wait until tomorrow to get it together. If you don’t create a plan for today, there might not be tomorrow.
If you have any questions about this article or if you would like examples (for free) Please call or e-mail me.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at sbradley@autosuccessonline
AutoSuccess September 2011
I received a lot of great responses from my article a couple of months ago on getting Internet sales departments to effectively make phone calls. I had some people contact me with skepticism, but after we hung up from our call, they were complete believers and understood exactly what I was trying to articulate in my article. I also had people excited because finally someone broke it down with details on how things should work and why. But, I also had some communication with people that were a little confused about the numbers and the strategy. So, this article is going to break things down a little deeper.
Let me recap the highlights from that article:
- Your Internet Sales Department is primarily a phone sales department.
- You want to have a minimum of 120 phone calls per day per rep.
- Do not let your team settle for mediocrity.
- Implement the “power hour” exercise ASAP.
- The average connection ratio (From phone call attempts to connections) is only 11 to 14 percent.
- The key to success is understanding the logic: The more people you attempt to call, the more people you will connect with on the phone; the more connections, the more appointments; the more appointments, the more confirmations; the more confirmations, the more shows; the more show, the more sales.
Here, however, is the most powerful advice I can give:
Every dealership should really think about having professional appointment setters in their dealership, and I mean every dealership. We have clients all over this country and abroad, and it doesn’t matter if they are a small dealership, a large dealership, a dealer group, highline, import, domestic or even an independent dealer. Our most successful clients have professional appointment setters and some even have a full-blown team of appointment setters.
One recent example is Gary Mathews of Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee. This is a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Hyundai dealership that went from 35 units per month to 86 units per month and were on track for 102 for August. In a down economy, they have broken dealership record after record. And they are proud to tell you why: their dedication to their Internet business. One of the main keys to their success is that they have a team of appointment setters, and all they do from open to close in shifts is pound the phones and e-mail (the CRM is programmed with an automated e-mail action plan). Think about it: How much more successful would your dealership be if you had a team of trained appointment setters, and all they did at your dealership was make phone calls all day from open to close in shifts?
Remember that you only have a 11 to 14 percent connection ratio on the phones. So, if you only make 50 calls, you will only have five to seven connections. Plus, if you leave this up to your sales team to do, there will be no consistency. How could there be? They have to do follow-ups, product presentations and deliveries; they sometimes chase stips; they have days off, shifts off, personal time, and so on.
You need 100 percent consistency on those phones, from open to close.
I will give you another example. We have a Honda Dealership client in New Jersey that went from 60 units online to more than 200. How did they do this? Well, they had a team of 12 professionally trained appointment setters who made 120 calls per day five days per week for a total of more than 30,000 phone calls in one month. That’s what it takes to sell 200 units online. More than 15,000 phone calls to sell 100 units online. More than 7,500 phone calls to sell 50 units online.
Math is math.
The push back I get from dealers is that they don’t trust “BDC Reps,” “appointment setters,” etc. The reason why most are not successful is that they have the wrong people in those positions and most don’t have the proper training.
At minimum, an automotive Internet sales / phone sales professional — A.K.A. “Phone Ninja” — should be trained in areas including:
- Inbound / outbound phone process
- How to qualify a prospect and Identify wants, wishes and expectations.
- Objections / rebuttals
- The power of leaving a great voice mail
- Outbound / inbound e-mail protocol
- How to execute the dealership’s value package proposition
- Science of communication — tone, inflection, etc.
- Automotive Internet sales knowledge
- Product knowledge
These people are truly phone sales professionals. The only difference between them and your showwroom sales professional is that they do not sell the vehicle; they sell the appointment. They should, however, be no less intelligent, skilled and trained.
If you have any questions about this article please feel free to call or e-mail me.Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400
Special Finance Online
Special finance is back — I am seeing all over the country that sub-prime sales are up. More and more banks are approving people with bad credit and no credit. Special finance is not just for used car dealerships and buy-here pay-here dealerships. Special finance is for every dealership, even highline stores can benefit from sub-prime deals. More than 50 percent of the United States has less-than-perfect credit. So, if you are not actively and proactively taking advantage of special finance, you are missing the boat. Dealerships that are successful with special finance boast grosses averaging of more than $3,000 per copy.
Now that I have your attention, let’s focus on something very special — “special finance online,” where special finance meets the Internet. We know that more than 89 percent of Americans go online before they ever step into the dealership for some type of research. That goes for people looking for a bad credit/no credit car loan. Most dealerships in 2011 are doing unsatisfactory in their Internet departments; most dealerships’ Internet sales departments or BDCs are non-functioning or unprofitable. The bottom line is that most dealers are still struggling with automotive Internet sales, so it would seem absurd for most dealerships to worry about any other form of Internet sales. That fact, however, is in your best interest. There is a huge opportunity with “special finance online.” It is like the Wild Wild West. Since no one really has dominated special finance online, which means the door is wide open for you and your dealership.
Here is what you need to do to dominate special finance online:
- First, create a “special finance” Website like www.autocreditapprove.com – Make sure it is NOT www.abcmotors.com / we do bad credit / no credit. You want to make it a complete separate entity, as if you have your own special finance lead source provider site.
- Make sure that you have the proper “onsite” SEO done to your site. Title tags, descriptions, anchor text, alt tags, key words, site map, and so on.
- Make sure you set up a separate Google Places page for your new special finance company, fully set up with unique content.
- Set up Google Alerts.
- Create an online reputation strategy for your sub-prime site. Google Reviews, Dealer Review Boost, Dealer Rater, Car Folks, Edmund Reviews, Yelp, etc.
- Create a campaign of “focus” (microsites) — one site for each relevant category.
- Create a Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) campaign.
- Set up a full special finance social media campaign/strategy (along with social media SEO)
- WordPress Blog
- Create a powerful search engine marketing campaign (Pay Per Click)
Basically, you are going to build a special finance site and think of it as a brand new dealership. In the same way that you are going to dominate automotive Internet sales, you are going to dominate special finance online. The idea is to make sure that when anyone searches for anything at all related to bad credit/no credit auto loan in your area (and surrounding areas) they will find your sub-prime site. You are going to be the “Autotrader” or the “Cars.com” for special finance online in your area.
You might be asking how is this possible? It’s simple: Everyone is asleep at the wheel. Again, most dealerships are struggling on how to simply survive with automotive Internet sales, special finance online is not even on their radar.
If you have any questions about this article or you would like me to assist you for free in starting your special finance online campaign, please call or e-mail me.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry.
How Many Phone Calls Can and Should Your Internet Department Make?
Here’s a question I hear a lot at my Internet Sales 20 Groups: “How many phone calls should my department make per day?” This question is huge, because simply dialing the phone can dramatically change the outcome of your dealership’s Internet Sales. Your dealership’s Internet Department and BDC are, after all, a number’s game. Let me break it down for you:
- The more people you dial, the more people you get on the phone.
- The more people you get on the phone, the more time you can execute your phone process or sales script.
- The more people you engage on the phone, the more appointments you can set.
- The more appointments you set, the more appointments you can confirm.
- The more appointments you can confirm, the more people show up.
- The more people show up, the more people will buy vehicles.
- More vehicle sales equals more money for everyone — both the dealership and you.
I know that this might sound too easy to be true, but it really is this simple: If you dial phones more, you will sell more vehicles. I have been doing automotive Internet sales and business development for more than 12 years now, and that has proven to be the case over and over again all over the country. Doesn’t matter what type of franchise you have or how big your organization is — math is math.
Let’s go a little deeper. I have dealers who tell me over and over that their Internet sales coordinators, BDC reps, and appointment setters are only making 50 to 60 calls per day, and that is like pulling teeth from them. They complain that they can’t make any more calls — it’s impossible. Or, they don’t have anyone to call, or they are worried that they are calling too much, or that people are mad at them for calling too much, or countless other excuses for mediocrity.
Here are some important statistics:
• 55 percent of communication is visual perception and body language
• 38 percent of communication is tone and inflection
• Only seven percent of communication is text or the words that we use
This means with Internet prospects, it makes a lot of sense to escalate the e-mail to the phone call and the phone call to the appointment. The appointment builds the relationship, product presentation and demo drive, and all this builds value.
The average Internet prospect is searching five to seven other dealerships and or Websites (this can be same franchise or other franchises). That means five to seven other dealerships are following up sending e-mails and leaving voice mails.
The average connection on a phone call attempt is 11 to 14 percent. That means if you dial 50 attempts you are only going to reach five to seven people. Think about that for a moment: If you have full-time appointment setters, BDC reps and Internet coordinators and they work an eight to nine hour day, they are only connecting with five to seven people? That is not enough at all.
On average, you will close 25 to 33 percent of the people you actually get on the phone. That means if you attempt to call 50 people, you will get five to seven people on the phone, and from those you can expect to make about one or two appointments. That is nowhere close to being enough.
Let’s just use a safe and realistic 50/50/50 closing ratio. If you make two appointments per day, five days per week, that’s 10 appointments per week, or 40 appointments per month. Out of 40 appointments per month, about 20 people will show up and about 10 people will buy vehicles.
Our clients are making 120 phone calls per day per rep. Out of the 120 attempts, they are connecting 11 to 14 percent, which means they speak with 14 to 17 people. They are converting 25 to 33 percent to appointments, which gives us between four and six appointments per day per rep. Let’s say they make five appointment per day, five days a week, for 25 appointments per week or 100 appointments per month. Of those, 50 people will show up for the appointment and they will deliver 25 units.
Now that I have your attention, how do you get your department to actually make these phone calls? Its simple: accountability. Do not let them accept mediocrity. They will give you every reason, why they can’t do it. You have to encourage them they can and they will. For a sure-fire way to prove it to them, however, have them go through the “Power Hour.”
The “Power Hour” is a contest you will have with your team. Put some type of bonus, prize, or gift up for the winner. Here are the rules: For one straight hour, your people are going to make as many Internet sales calls as possible. Whoever makes the most Internet Sales phone calls wins the bonus. At the end of the “Power Hour,” you calculate how many phone call attempts everybody made, and then add them together and divide them by the number of people who participated.
For example, I just did this very exercise today at a Ford / Mazda dealership in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A couple of weeks ago, they were kicking and screaming that they couldn’t make more than 50 calls per day, per rep. I put out a $100 bill for a “Power Hour” prize. They have four appointment setters and an Internet director. Here are the results:
- 20 Calls
- 28 Calls
- 36 Calls
- 42 Calls
- 53 Calls
They made 179 calls in one hour, for an average of 35.8 calls per rep. Now, multiply 35.8 phone calls times 6.5 working hours in a day (that’s taking out breaks and lunches), and you get 232.7 calls in a day. Now, that might seem crazy, but the math doesn’t lie. I’m not suggesting that they should be making 230+ calls per day per person, but I am saying that they can sure as heck make a lot more than 50 calls per day.
The reality is that they were killing themselves making phone calls because they wanted to win that $100 bill. They had the desire, the want and the need to make a lot of calls. The end result for this dealership was that they all were floored at the end of the exercise when I broke down the math to them. They could not believe how many calls they were able to make in one hour.
I have been doing the “Power Hour” exercise for more than seven years now and it works every time. If you have any questions about this article, or you would like me to e-mail you the video of this exercise and the exit interview of this exercise, please e-mail or call me and it would be my pleasure to send it to you.
In conclusion, you need to make sure that your team is dialing the phone. An Internet sale is predominately a phone sale. Just think about the math. Remember you only have a 11 to 14 percent connection ratio. Everyone will tell you the hardest part of Internet sales is simply getting the prospect on the phone.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The Truth About CRMs…
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is always on a dealership’s agenda in our 20 Groups, and they almost always come up in every single workshop. And this is how it should be — it is one of the most important tools and resources that a dealership has in its arsenal for automotive Internet sales. Over the last 12 years, I’ve seen Internet lead management (ILM) and CRM technology companies evolve to have amazing offerings.
But over the years I still get the same question “What is the best CRM for dealerships?” The answer is complex, because there are different “flavors” of CRM, and what’s right for one dealership can be the wrong fit for another; we’ll get to that in a moment. The goal of a CRM package is to reduce redundancy by offering with multiple tools and consolidate to one centralized platform. That means if you have multiple tools / products that do the following:
• Digital or manual showroom control system (desk log)
• Service reminders
• Permission-based e-mail campaigns
• ILM tools
• Phone up tracking system
• Inventory management system
• Call tracking software
• Service appointment system
• Data mining
• BDC campaign management
• Special finance
• Reporting and analytics
With the right CRM, you don’t need a separate tool to perform all these functions. Theoretically, the right CRM lets you consolidate all of this with a single technology platform. The benefit here is multiple. It’s certainly cheaper to pay for one CRM tool than having to purchase numerous tools individually. While an individual tool will almost always be cheaper than a full CRM, if you add up all of individual tools out there, the total cost would be much more expensive than the average cost of a CRM.
One of the most powerful benefits of using a single CRM solution, however, is the fact that all information is on one centralized platform. For example, if you have a prospect that sends an Internet Purchase Request, the CRM will have that in its database. If that prospect decides to walk in the dealership and is “logged” into the dealership’s CRM as a showroom prospect, it will be recognized immediately that that prospect was originally an “Internet opportunity.” Furthermore, if that prospect was ever in the dealership’s service department or did any type of business with that dealership, it would show up in reports. Most CRMs will calculate the amount of profit made from each customer, and the dealership can see the whole picture of a customer or prospect. This is important because if the dealership has the full picture on a situation, it can make better business decisions.
Not all CRMs are perfect fits with all dealerships, though. CRMs can be designed to focus more on one area of sales than another. If your dealership also focuses on this area, it’s a good fit. If you don’t have a particularly strong Internet sales department, but your CRM specializes in Internet lead management, that can be a bad fit. You have to do your research before committing to a CRM solution.
The best advice I can give is to stop trying to shove a round peg into a square hole. Too many dealers out there buy one tool, and then try to make it do what it wasn’t designed to do. I’ll give you an example. I have a dealer client that purchased a tool that was 100-percent designed for special finance. It was designed for a “special finance” depart ment, and was designed by a “special finance” branded company. But the dealership uses this tool for its entire store, and they depend on it for their Internet sales department. The crazy thing about this situation is that the dealership doesn’t even have a “special finance” department. They bought this tool without researching the situation, and are now paying the price.
Here are some steps you can take before you buy a CRM:
• First, simply ask yourself “What do we want or need a CRM for —Internet, sales, service, BDC?” When you answer that question, find a CRM that specializes in that area of need.
• If, for example, you have an extreme need for Internet lead management, compair CRM tools that specialize in that area with each other. Find out why they feel they specialize in ILM, and find out what credentials they have for ILM.
• Get references, and then actually call other dealers using the tool. Ask for references who aren’t in their marketing, and speak to the actual department you are investigating. Don’t ask the dealer principle or GM about Internet lead management; ask the Internet or BDC director. Get their real opinion from a day-to-day operational level.
• Accept the fact that you might need to have more than one tool. For example, I have a lot of dealer clients who have multiple tools. They might have a full CRM and an ILM tool, as well. Yes, this goes against the myth that a CRM can do everything, you’ll be better off in the long run with the right tools for your dealership.
Look at it this way: You wouldn’t go to the ophthalmologist if you had trouble breathing. The ophthalmologist is a doctor, but that’s not his specialty. Use this same mindset when selecting your CRM.
Please e-mail or call me if you have any questions about CRM or if you would like a free strategy session/assessment on your current CRM solution.
Sean V. Bradley is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized training and consulting company in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at 866.648.7400, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
marketing solution SusanGivens
video search engineoptimization increases salesby 45 percent
Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO)
marketing solution SusanGivens
video search engineoptimization increases salesby 45 percent
Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO)
their dealership dominates the most popularsearch terms on all of the major search
engines organically with high-impact videos.
This practice has become vital to successful
online marketing strategies. Online video is
fast-becoming a highly effective and cost-
effective means of advertising within the
In the last two years, there has been an
undeniable surge in the number of online
video viewers, with approximately 175 millionunique viewers watching an average of morethan 900 minutes of online video each a
month, based on an October 2010 report by
In 2007, Google pioneered “universal search,”
otherwise known as “blended search,” where
multiple search results are returned in oneconvenient results display that includes
maps, blogs, socialmedia, e-commerce
search capabilityundoubtedlykicked online video
marketing into high
According toGoogle, searchersare 55 percent morelikely to click onthumbnail video
images than staticlinks and because
of this Googlegives more rankingauthority to video,
thus placing videoson the top of search
rather watch the
movie than read the
book,” said KarryMoore, presidentand founder of
com, the company
is the process of ensuring that video assetsgenerate the highest-possible volume of
quality traffic to your Website. Dealerships
such as Gary Mathews of Jackson, in Jackson,
Tennessee, recently implemented a digitalmarketing platform to help them appear ontop of the leading search engines like Google,
Yahoo!, Bing and YouTube in their local marketto attract, sell and service more customers
profitably. “My Internet department has been
doing 40 to 45 percent of the dealership’sbusiness, and that’s true accountable sells,
not just sourcing,” said Duran Cage, InternetDirector for Gary Mathews of Jackson.
With more than 88 percent of ready-to-buy
consumers using search engines to shop,
most dealers are scrambling to outbid theircompetitors to appear on top for the most
popular search phrases in their market.
Gary Mathews uses a VSEO company thatautomates thousands of activities to ensure
that Gary Mathews uses. “VSEO is ‘targeted
TV,’ and VSEO allows dealers to deliver their
message to engaged consumers.”
Additionally, dealers can now have multiple
listings on “Page One” by implementing astrong SEO and VSEO strategy. Traditionally,
dealers could get only one listing for a
keyword or phrase such as “Jackson TN,
Hyundai Santa Fe” or “Hyundai Santa FeJackson TN” because they only had one
Website optimized for that phrase. Now with
VSEO, they can build on that single Website
return to have multiple video listings on thatpage, which creates more exposure for thedealership and keeps the competition relegated
to “Page 2” results.
Google indexes all video-sharing sites, not
just YouTube. This means that the more video
sites a dealer distributes their video content to,
the more opportunity that the search engineswill have to index those videos and consider
it relevant content for search returns; thus,
multiple listings for keywords or phrases such
as “Jackson Hyundai Santa Fe.”
Video has become such a game-changerthat VSEO companies like the one GaryMathews of Jackson uses have developed and
launched the automotive industry’s first truevideo search portal, www.CarBuyersEngine.
com, the only video portal of its kind whereconsumers can research and shop for new
and used vehicles, find a dealership, reviewvehicle comparisons or financing withoutthe typical online “clutter” — meaning, no
pop-ups or annoying previews to sit through
before video begins.
The Internet is an ever-changing landscape and
dealers need to keep pace with the changes.
There are no silver bullets, but clearly videoand VSEO need to be incorporated into a
dealers’ online digital strategy. “We want to
‘own’ the Jackson market and video is helping
take us to the next level,” Cage said.
Susan Givens is the publisher of AutoSuccess.
She can be contacted at 877.818.6620, or by
e-mail at email@example.com.
PRICE PRICE PRICE....Well take a look at these numbers!! AutoUSA is a lead source provider to 4000+ dealerships nationwide!
VERY interesting article...look at what MOST dealerships recognize as the main reasons for growth (where is PRICE at on that list?!?). This why it is so very important to not only be online, but also have a GOOD reputation and reviews by our customers that we deal with everyday! Make sure that when our internet customers close thier eyes and invision your dealership(s)...what do they see? An untrustworthy place to do business? or a fun and easy place to purchase their next vehicle???
You must have a "difference" in the way you do business and treat customers...rather than be the Badger Salesman (see the "Fun Stuff" Group if you have NEVER seen the badger!)
A proven better solution to "buying more 3rd party leads" - as the article suggested dealers are doing moving into 2011 - we all know that generating our OWN leads is a much more successful operation in overall closing ratio, not to mention name exposure and exclusivity.
If you need any help with your Digital Marketing, Social Media, Online Reputation, and/or overall exposure on the Internet, please don't hesitate to contact me personally for a FREE Synergy Session, and a customized digital solution for your dealer group! Happy New Year to everyone!!
VP of Training
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!
First off, we have to ask the question how so many Digital Dealer attendees got spam email from DealerElite.net asking people to sign-up? There were some pretty hefty names thrown around in that email too.
Pictured: Dean Wormer, Jared Hamilton, Joe Webb, Alex Snyder (standing in for Jeff), Gary May, Brian Pasch
Unfortunately one man gets to own this entire section. It is really sad we heard so much around this individual because his conference was actually the best one he’s done yet. And again, neither Alex or Jeff were present for any of this – these are just things we heard.
So let’s start off by saying that we heard “the wise asses at DealerRefresh are on probation and I don’t need them to promote my conference anymore.” So Mike Roscoe, we dedicate this section to you.
Our “piece of $h1t” buddy Jared Hamilton is completely banned from Digital Dealer conferences. This is the same guy who received the Lloyd Richardson award from Mike in 2008 for being the biggest giver in our space. Way to pay him back! By the way Mike, where is Lloyd? We miss him.
Speaking of banishment, another good man, Gary May, caught the wrath of Mike in an email that ended his participation in the conference. Alex got to see it and said it really shows someone’s true colors. The email was in regards to an IM@CS blog post from the Saturday after DD9 recommending that there is still room to improve the Digital Dealer conference for dealers. Maybe Gary will make that email public one day.
And in the spirit of how things should be presented to the public, we heard any non-Dealer Magazine media was not fully welcome to the event. Automotive News and Automotive Digest are two who we heard were snubbed.
Then we get to the ultimatums. When it is all about the benjamins, competition gets fierce. Many players like getting a paycheck, but also have a lot of passion for the industry too. However one individual seems to think that some of the players should dump everything to only participate in Digital Dealer. If rumors are true that both Brian Pasch and Joe Webb were told if they wanted to continue participating in Digital Dealer they had to give-up speaking at the DrivingSales Executive Summit or events that would support or build the DrivingSales brand, then that is just a travesty
October 26th, 2010
I also heard that Dealer HD bought Ford. True story.
October 26th, 2010
Mike Roscoe is a narccist. DD is a great venue for the dealer body but sadly Mike Roscoe now has developed a “GOD” complex. I expect to receive a email notifying me that I too have been banished! Mike pull your head out of your butt and open your eyes. Try building relationships rather than tearing them down. The same people that made DD successful, can and will bury you. I think this would be a good time to start our own conference. The “DealerRefresh Summit” You heard it here first.
October 26th, 2010
We had a serious issue with the Digital Dealer organization as both exhibitor and speaker back in 2008. Our experience has kept us away from the conference since. The purpose of such a conference should be to bring people together – to share in ideas, products, and best practices. The person in-charge should be a politician, not a dictator.
We thoroughly enjoyed the goodnatured and positive content/sessions we saw at the 2nd Annual Driving Sales Summit which we highly recommend as an alternative.
October 26th, 2010
ADP’s CRM tool is the single worst in the industry followed by a close second with Reynolds Contact Management. Anything they can do to get rid of that POS is good. AutoTrader is a cancer. First vAuto, now KBB. We all know they suck. It is only a matter of time before they destroy both those brands.
October 26th, 2010
I know you guys don’t appreciate anonymous post but I’m doing it because I need to keep speaking at Digital Dealer events. And Chili Palmer is the man telling you how it is (Get Shorty). When (not if) DrivingSales gets to over 500 attendees I will gladly give Roscoe the middle finger he deserves and hedge my bets with Jared.
I am so glad you guys finally put something out in the open about Roscoe. I see that it is all rumors and hearsay but I have seen and heard this stuff too many times going back to third Digital Dealer. It is time someone exposes that bastard for what he is.
I can only imagine the cussing and screaming going on at the Dealer Magazine office today. Mike is throwing a fit while the rest of the team is secretly agreeing with what is being said here. Cliff – get out while you can. Have you heard the saying “When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.”
Len -I’m glad to see you show some backbone and post up like a man. I’m sorry I couldn’t do it myself. But I couldn’t resist leaving this completely alone.
October 26th, 2010
Ah…so that cat is out of the bag on Roscoe. I will politely take this opportunity to share why I have completely avoided Digital Dealer for the past 4 years – because I stopped supporting Mike Roscoe after he shit on one of the best friends the auto industry has, whom I will leave unnamed for his own sake. There are a lot of good people doing great things in the auto industry and I get the feeling that this post will end up drawing a line in the sand between them and him.
I will also share that it was really cool to see the DSES via live stream. Hats off to Jared and his team for such a job well done all around. Feedback on the event has been great and I imagine that DSES will become (if it hasn’t already) the premier event for cutting edge auto professionals.
October 26th, 2010
Sad to see people putting down any conference in the automotive space. There should be more and more information shared. Mike Roscoe stepped to the plate when no one else was willing and created a niche conference that has benefitted both the vendors and dealers. Jared has created another format that will allow dealers and vendors share ideas. Both conferences are excellent and with the size of our industry we should be glad that both Mike and Jared are planning on continuing to move forward.
October 26th, 2010
2 Years ago 2 friends of mine and I were doing a series of small speaking events around Texas, Oklahoma, and the Southeast called Auto Training Events. The group still exists on Linked In. I started it, and have not even logged on in over a year. During those events I had the AAISP links up on the site. I figured since 3 of us had opened the Digital Dealer booth at NADA (nobody was there) I would post the links that went to the Conference. I still have the rotten ass e-mail saved from our friend Mr. Roscoe and have been tempted to post it. I did not return to 3 conferences after that until this year. I thought it was a great conference but if these rumors are true I will not be surprised. The words in these posts are true, the people that made Digital Dealer can un-make Digital Dealer.
October 26th, 2010
@Layton that’s all peachy fuzzy but it’s clearly not how Roscoe sees it.
October 26th, 2010
Ryan- If you knew me then you would know that peachy fuzzy is not what I am about. I will tell you that as a vendor in this space for a long time; we need to have more conferences! To put down Mike or Jared is the wrong approach support both and move on.
October 26th, 2010
My take on this situation for what is worth – DSES is a far superior conference for where we are at as a store than the DD8 conference I attended. DD is more 101 as IM@CS stated – call it like it is. Own it.
Did I get a ton a benefit from DD8? Yup. I met a ton of vendors, got exposed to industry leaders, and was challenged to raise the bar. All great things but the majority of the breakouts were sales pitches (I didn’t know any better). Hey – if that is what DD8 is about – showing a wide dealer base about emerging technologies that vendors offer – that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Will I most likely go back another time – probably so.
Why did I like DSES more – it was virtually vendor neutral except for a few plugs – but hey – you can’t blame them. Matt Murray did a phenomenal job talking about PPC yet never pitched their product. Yes – the name of his product was on some of the screen shots – but the talk was more about educating the dealer body about the importance of PPC in todays market – not how his product can take you there.
Also – less car people – more outside influences. We get in a bubble and like to pat ourselves on our back about how “innovative” we are yet – we are so far behind the curve as a industry it is sometimes scary. My head was spinning listening to some of the speakers we had as DSES.
Lastly – I truly believe there is room for everyone in this conference arena. I have learned relationships sell cars – not the car itself. If the rumors are true about how DD folks are handling all this – it will eventually bit them in the rear by burning those relationships…especially given the great alternatives being presented to us #DSES.
Hopefully this post won’t get me banned from DD myself. I heart DealerRefresh.
Jerry Evans @inspiredtrain
October 26th, 2010
How interesting. I got heat for daring to suggest that DSES was a better event than DD9 and it was suggested I would not be welcome at DD10.
As Layton mentioned, it is a huge industry that has room for many conferences, and I’m sure they all offer something useful to all who attend.
I will say this.
We as an industry know the importance of relationship building, follow up and staying connected with previous buyers, the ‘repeat’ segment of our customers is one of the easier sales.
If my budget meant I could only attend one event next year, I would choose DSES over DD9, simply because Jared responded to everything I asked, or tweeted, the positive and the negative.
The actions of the people connected with DD9 and their attitude to any negativity suggests to me if I did attend and had an issue, it would not be resolved professionally. It’s a shame as I certainly learnt from both events. Just goes to show customer service affects future buying decisions.
To those (who shall, for now remain anonymous) who suggested I would not be welcome, fair enough. Why would I pay $1,600 to feel unwanted. Be very careful, though, in this world of new media, bad news spreads far and wide my friends, and you never know, someone with influence and reach might decide to bite back.
Thanks once again for a great post, and to all who commented too, excellent discussion!
October 26th, 2010
Way to go Jeff, glad you posted it…
I’ve never been to DD. Why? Everyone told me it was a big pitch-fest a few years ago. People I just met at DSES this year told me the same thing; I didn’t miss anything.
Yes, I understand these events have their place within the industry. Even more so, these events need leaders to help guide the direction and change needed for the business.
I saw Roscoe’s email to Gary. If that’s the type of leadership being offered up, feel free to add me to the DD banned list as well…probably one of the most unprofessional emails I’ve seen in a long time.
Dean Wormer, aka narcisstic bastard
October 26th, 2010
Seriously? This is what the Internet is for?
I know this is a “rumor” section…and absolutely no effort was made to substantiate these rumors through me, and therefore, totally one-sided. And I hesitate to do anything more than laugh at these types of things when friends say “Did you read…?” But some relevant info I’d like to share if I may:
Automotive News sent a salesman. Not an editor. Not a reporter. Not a journalist. Not even a blogger. Or an anonymous Internet poster. A salesman.
Automotive News, the self-purported “Bible of the Industry”…search their website for “Digital Dealer” and see what comes up. I don’t think they have ever even mentioned this important industry event. They sent a salesman to sell.
“You’re a delivery boy, collecting a bill, for a bunch of grocery clerks.”
~Marlon Brando as the insane Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse NOW.
That’s exactly what I said to the A-news rep while I squeezed a rag full of water on my bald head. I knew what he was there for. Just kidding…registration explained to him that we don’t allow competitors in our event. But I thought you’d get a kick out of the imagery…
Guys, a dealer wouldn’t allow a competitor’s salesperson on their lot to sell to their customers and potential customers. That’s not why they invested and took risks and paid for the advertising that brought them in. We don’t allow competitors onto our “lot”…the Digital Dealer Conferences. Not everybody will agree with or like this policy…but who amongst you wants to argue for letting competitor’s salesman onto a dealer’s lot? How about allowing competitor’s ads on the dealer’s website? Would you recommend that to your dealer clients…or to your dealer principal?
I have had salespeople and a publisher escorted out of competitor’s events. Just as I expect would happen to a competitive salesperson was on a dealer’s lot or in their showroom. Hey nothing wrong with tryin’…no hard feelings when we catch one or we get caught.
Look, Jared Hamilton’s a great guy. He’s spoken at DDs, has video-tapped at DDs, wanted to partner with me and now is a competitor. Competition is good. We will both make the other better. But it just doesn’t make sense to let a competitor on your lot. I am sorry if people don’t like that…or don’t like me because of it. But it’s a business decision…a sound business decision. And did you see what he’s got under his button-front shirt? I can’t afford freaking kryptonite! That $hit’s EXPENSIVE.
As for the individuals directly involved in rumors on or in this thread…
One of you didn’t mind spending time at my VIP tables at two clubs on two different nights during my conference. Didn’t say “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Thank you” or even “Kiss my ass” the first night. Not a word. Not even when I “grooved” with your wife while talking to her. Dynamite lady BTW, very cordial to me…did she not get the memo?
2nd night I finally came over and talked to you to ask what the problem is, because that vodka is $400 a bottle and when it became obvious you were not going to dance for me like the girls the doorman sent over, I made an effort to talk to you, you know…to get my money’s worth. OK, that was embellished for comedic effect, but you get the point.
Two of you I spoke to on the phone directly. I clearly explained why these decisions are made and these policies are in place, and appealed to you to understand our position. One of you responded by openly misrepresenting facts and mis-characterizing the event after the conference and now by complaining about it openly and publicly and showing an email. The other responded by starting a rumor…and it got complained about openly and in a public forum.
One of you I invited up to my suite to discuss. I told you that it was suggested internally to me that we sell your booth to somebody else and find another speaker for your slot after you suggested in a public forum that if someone had been to Digital Dealer before, they should go to Driving Sales this October. I said, because of our unique relationship, I told them we leave it as is and I will talk to you in Las Vegas. Plus I was curious as to why someone who was speaking and had a booth would suggest people go to another event instead. I clearly explained why these decisions are made and these policies are in place, and appealed to you to understand our position. We discussed; I reiterated our position. I asked if you had any questions and you said “No”. Now it shows up here. Oh, and you said, “Mike Roscoe’s a crybaby” at Jared’s event. That HURT!
One of you, whom I tried to help when you left a dealership, saw me at the conference face to face. Said nothing to me about any of this. Now you come here and bad-mouth me because of an email from two years ago? Why didn’t you say something then? Or in Las Vegas, face -to-face? You were all smiles with me then.
Guys these were private conversations and private emails, not “The View”. Is this how you do business? Is it?
I guess “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is right out the window here. But if the “glass houses” thing has any meaning, I have a question for one of you: why would you be involved in starting rumors when you’re boinking one of your older subordinates? You know who you are. Hey, I’m just askin’…
Ryan G, I would really like to discuss the situation re: how I “shit” on someone. I find that scenario disconcerting and would like to find out more, perhaps starting with what is your definition of “shitting” on someone. My email address is mroscoe@Dealer-Communications.com. Let’s try to set a time to discuss please.
Len Critcher, if you are so inclined I would appreciate a chance to find out what the speaker and exhibitor issues were in 2008. I have always had the attitude that we will make up for mistakes in such a way that the person is GLAD the mistake happened. My email address is mroscoe@Dealer-Communications.com. I am available to discuss at your convenience.
Jerry Evans, do we know each other? I don’t recognize the name. My bad if we have met and I’ve forgotten…like I stated previously, I am lousy at remembering names. Taken courses to improve…no help at all. I don’t recall personally being asked or tweeted anything by you, positive or negative. If you were treated poorly by a member of the DD team, let’s discuss and see if we can resolve it, nothing will change by complaining about it here. mroscoe@Dealer-Communications.com
Jeff Collins…have we met? Forgive me if we have and I’ve forgotten, I’m great with remembering faces, names…not so much. Is there anything specific you wanted to discuss or just posting some…uhhh…”constructive” critcism?
Marc McGurren, why would you get “banned”? Thanks for sharing your thoughts re: DSES…we will discuss what you’ve written as we discuss continually improving the Digital Dealer Conferences & Expositions.
Funny that one anonymous poster chose the handle “Chili Palmer” who I believe was a tough guy in a movie, right? Calls me a “bastard”…anonymously, so he can still speak at DDs…CLASSIC! He then applauded another poster for showing “some backbone” for posting up “like a man”. That is so deliciously RICH with irony!
Tell you what Chili…why don’t you prove to us that you are real…that what you wrote is legit. Be a man and state who you are. If you have in fact spoken before, I promise in front of God and everybody you will speak at the next Digital Dealer Conference. I will let you pick your own time slot. Hell, I’ll even make you an affiliated sponsor (a $1,995 value!)
I’ve dealt with a lot of people in the 16+ years since I started this business. You can’t please all the people all the time. As much as they try, dealers will have some people who don’t like them, feel they were treated poorly, yada, yada, yada. I believe I have been honest, direct, and up-front with the people who are slamming me here…except for the ones I don’t know and/or have not directly interacted with. I never claimed that I could please everyone all the time as it is impossible. If you don’t like any of our policies, feel free to contact me to discuss. Doesn’t mean we will change how we do business…but you never know. Or you can just comment and slam in forums like this “The View”-style. Your choice.
We had almost 1,800 people at the conference. Some of them love me, some of them like me, most of them don’t know me…some of them don’t like me and apparently, some of them hate me. I can live with that. I would like to be everybody’s friend, but this is a business and as such, there are competing agendas. That’s business biz…
On a lighter note, Animal House is my favorite movie and John Vernon was AWESOME as Dean Vernon Werner, appreciate the image. He died in 2005. I suppose some of you guys consider yourselves the rascally, rebellious Deltas? Well, then…in the spirit of Faber College’s best dean ever…”You’re all now on double-secret probation…NO MORE FUN OF ANY KIND!!!”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go yell or scream or cuss or make threatening phone calls or whatever the heck it was somebody thought would be happening because of this silly little rumor thread. After all, I have an image to live up to…
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