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Being successful as an auto dealer in the US is hard. Each year, there are a ton of companies in the US that default, because they fail to beat the competition, can’t craft and execute an effective market strategy, or simply neglect to keep up with industry innovations. But we learn as we go along, and there are many organizations and people in the business from whom you can “steal” an idea or two.
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It Takes a Village

This is the first (and most likely last) time that I will use a Hillary Clinton book title as the concept for a blog post. I didn't read the book, but the concept is definitely applicable in social media.

I was speaking to a potential client yesterday who was telling me some of their challenges with social media. The main challenge they were having was in coming up with interesting content to post that was associated with business. As a car dealer, they had plenty of pictures of cars to post, but they weren't very active in the local community and the person in charge of social media didn't consider herself to be creative.

"Does anyone at the dealership do anything interesting?" It was a simple question that sparked a 2 minute conversation that turned into an hour-long brainstorming session. At the end, we came to the conclusion that she worked at the most interesting dealership in the world and didn't know it.

The parts manage was in a country band that played at the local steak house saloon on Saturday nights. They had a customer that came in 5-days a week to get what he considered to be the best coffee in town with their fancy cappuccino machine in the service waiting area. A sales person was a little league baseball coach that recruited the top talent in town to take to tournaments across the country.

Last night, she did some further research and found even more interesting things. The land on which the dealership was built turned out to have a rich and somewhat controversial history. One of the secretaries had a son who was likely going to he starting for the state university basketball team the following year. Another sales person had a photography business on the side where people posed in or around classic cars.

Everyone gets into a rut. We try our best to be creative and to come up with interesting things to post to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+, but sometimes it seems that you're posting the same things over and over again. Finding images is easy. Unfortunately, social media needs to be richer, more robust. It's not just about pieces of content. It's about stories that affect the local area and the people that make up your business, customer base, and community.

You don't have to live on social media island. There are people around you who can inspire you, spark an idea, or become the subject of content that can all be tied back to the business itself. The difference between being isolated on social media and having a flood of potential content is often about getting up from your desk and talking to people. In essence, the key to successful social media is often as simple as being social in the real world and applying it to your business presence.

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Invest 90 Seconds to Make More Sales!

With all the competition in the Automotive World and so many websites, targeted ads and retargeting display ads vying for consumer attention it seems harder than ever to know whether or not your customer will remember you.

How do you set yourself apart from the competition and stay in the customer's mind?

USE COMMON SENSE AND THINK ABOUT USING MOBILE TO CONNECT WITH MOBILE! Niesen did a study in November about Mobile Auto Shoppers and it showed that 49% of mobile Auto Shoppers intend to buy within 24 hours. Rather than debating intention, let's talk about how you can capture the attention of most of these customers. 

Get their attention and keep it with TOUT

#1 - Download the TOUT app! Get it for iPhone HERE or Get if for Android HERE

#2 - Make sure you get the customer's mobile phone number or email address  when you meet with them. Obviously you can't send them a message if you don't know how :)


Tout gives you the ability to record a 15 second video for anything in the world and since it's so short it FORCES you to make your point fast!

Here are some Follow Up Video Ideas you can try. Please share your feedback and let everyone know how it works for you :)

First follow up video: (Just a video of you in any spot at the dealership - NOTE: SMILE) "Hi Bob & Sue this is Mat at ABC Motors saying thanks for stopping in to see the CTS. Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX if you'd like to take another peek at that or any other vehicles. I'd really love the opportunity to show you why our customers love us."

Second follow up video two days after they were in: (Offer an incentive or some other reason to come back) "Hi guys. I wanted to say hello and invite you back for another look at the CTS you drove. You can get a special savings coupon this week if you text the code AC to the phone number 71441. Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX if you'd like me to bring it by, or if you'd like to stop back in. 

Third follow up video if you haven't heard from them within another 2-3 days: (Alternative Vehicle Offering) "Hi Bob & Sue, I was walking our inventory and saw this (alternative vehicle - maybe a 3 series or C Class) and wanted to give you a quick peek at it. I have a few other vehicles that you may like to see so give me a ring at XXX-XXX-XXXX if you'd like me to bring one over."

Every one of these little scripts are just over 14 seconds so they are perfect for a TOUT!

Chances are, if you haven't heard from them by the time you send the third video, there may have been something that turned them toward purchasing elsewhere but don't give up hope! By sending these quick videos will make you different than everyone else by actually sending personalized follow up PLUS, it will keep you at the top of their mind.

Will this work with everyone? Of course not, but it will take a total time investment of 15 seconds to make and another 15 seconds to send to your customer so invest 90 seconds with your next customer and see if it will help you sell a few more vehicles :)

My name is Mat Koenig, and I was born and raised in Western Michigan. I'm VP and Partner of AutoOption and the CEO and Founder of KonigCo, the best mobile marketing company for Automotive Dealers, located in Kalamazoo, MI. Learn more here:

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“I sit down at the computer and think of things to post on social media.”

This is the problem. It’s the challenge that faces many dealers as they try to explore new ideas to post about on social media. They have “social media time” set aside, and while this is good to schedule and maintain, it also allows people to miss some of the best opportunities available in social media.

It’s what happens in the day to day affairs of a dealership, the things that come to us when we least expect it, that really makes for strong social media posts. Dealers all too often try to come up with their social media posts while they’re at their computer and fully in “social media mode”. This is a mistake.

Social media is a reflection of life. In business, it’s often what happens at the dealership every day that makes for the most interesting social media posts because it is during these times that the reflections of real life actually occur. Examples:

  • The happy customer who is really excited about their new car (beyond what we normally look to for testimonials)
  • The employee who’s going to be playing with their band this weekend at a local bar
  • A great coffee mug that an employee brought in
  • An interesting quote from someone at the store
  • A random thought that pops up in your head that is both relevant to your business and interesting enough to share

These all seem simple. They seem like they’re mundane aspects of life. They are. That’s a good thing. Find the little things that happen every day and make them interesting through creativity while in “social media mode”.

If you walked around the store or simply chatted with people throughout the day, both customers and employees, you’ll be shocked to find what kind of interesting things are happening at the dealership at that very moment. Take notes. It could be as simple as pulling out your smartphone and hitting the voice-recorder to get the ideas in a safe place for when it comes time to “do” social media. It could be recording a video at that very moment or shooting a picture of the scene. There are lots of choices available to us through the various technologies at our fingertips. Often, it’s just a matter of staying in “social media mode” at all times.

The best social media posts are natural. If you keep your eyes open for the opportunities, there will be nothing blocking you when it comes time to make the post itself.

* * *

Opportunities” image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Don't Get Sucked Into The Holiday Advertising Abyss

If you're a retailer of items that are often purchased as gifts, holiday advertising makes total sense. You're competing for a portion of the most lucrative sales season and getting the word out about the deals, products, and sales that you have going on at your store is important.

If you are not a retailer with holiday items for sale, don't try to take advantage of it all by getting "in the spirit" of the season. You can do more damage than good.

There's an anti-holiday sentiment that has been growing for a few years. Consumers are getting tired of the mess that Christmas shopping has become. It has always been stressful, but now the increase in communication and marketing styles has put it front and center whenever we're connected to media. Television, internet, mobile - all are being bombarded with holiday messages.

This negative sentiment is a dangerous realm if you aren't bringing anything real to the table. You might be having a holiday special of some sort, but if it's not directly tied to something of immediate interest - gifts, food, or travel - you're just participating in the noise.

Instead, take a different approach this year. There's a difference between being "jolly" and trying to capitalize on the season by offering trumped up specials or events that don't directly influence how people will celebrate. Here are some ideas:

  • Give - The one noble aspect of the season that most people don't mind is the need for giving. There are plenty of those who could use the help of your business and by participating in local causes and encouraging others to do the same, you'll be doing good while improving your brand image. Be careful not to latch onto the guilt notion - all too often we're bombarded with messages that are supposed to make us feel guilty for having more than others. This is another type of message that gets overdone around the holidays. Give, support, promote, but do it in a celebratory manner.
  • A Message of Relaxation - A couple of years ago I saw a car dealership create a "Holiday Triage Center". They set up their service center waiting area with snacks, drinks, comfortable chairs, and a very prominent "no holiday music allowed" atmosphere. They then advertised it as a place to get away from the holiday hustle and bustle for a while, a pit stop to recharge and relax.
  • Focus on 2013 - We might not be done with this year, yet, but it's not too early to start pushing out a message of what's to come.This is particularly effective when reaching those who are beyond their holiday hysteria, who have already done their shopping and preparing.

Just because the holidays are upon us doesn't mean that your message has to center around it. Today, there are plenty of holiday messages that are both relevant and irrelevant. If you aren't selling something that goes under a tree, into an over, or that gets people from here to there, don't get sucked into the abyss. Be different.

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Master Your Craft


Do you want to be successful in Automotive Sales? Do you want to sell 30, 40+ units per month? Do you want to make $120,000 - $200,000+ selling cars? Well you can! All you have to do is MASTER YOUR CRAFT.

The key to being successful in this business is mastering your craft, being the absolute best you can possibly be. But why is it that EVERYONE wants to sell lots of cars and make lots of money and only a small percentage ever achieve that level? Same reason why there are so many people that want to be professional athletes and why there are only the few elite professional athletes making small fortunes while the rest of the population watches them on television or pretends to be them on Xbox 360.


Do you think Michael Jordan said to his coaches and managers “Uh, I am Michael Jordan… I don’t need to go to practice”! No way… he practiced harder than everyone else because he was Michael Jordan. That is why he has 6 NBA rings… and his own sneaker!


Tiger Woods says that he hits 1,000 practice balls for every 1 real shot in a live round.  There is a difference between hitting a golf ball 144 yards versus 144 and a half yards. One puts you next to the hole and one puts you a foot and a half away from the hole.  You want to be as accurate as possible, as close to perfection as you can possibly get.


Anderson Silva, Undefeated Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) constantly studies his own performance as well as his future opponents performance by dissecting video footage of past fights. Literally spending hours and hours reviewing video footage of angles, punches, kicks. Looking for patterns, opportunities, weakness etc…


Success is a few simple disciplines practiced everyday repeatedly. So if you would like to master your craft you must develop the following three disciplines: Dedication, Desire, and Diligence.

The definition of Dedication is the quality of being dedicated or committed, i.e. Devoting oneself, time, and/or efforts to a particular task or purpose; The definition of Desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen; and The definition of Diligence is a carful and persistent work or effort.

So how does this all correlate to the subject at hand, Mastering Your Craft. Simply put, if you want to BE the best, then you have to BE the best. Will Durant, a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

Success is earned, not given people; No one is entitled to greatness; everyone in the past, everyone in the NOW, and everyone in the future will have or has had to have an outrageous amount of dedication in their specific field of expertise, an extraordinary burning desire to win, and must diligently execute their detailed plans toward their idea of success.

I want to give you some bullet points of things that you should focus on mastering if you want to truly be that absolute best automotive sales professional:

  • Communication(s) – As a sales professional, you need to be an effective communicator. You need to be able to clearly articulate your message and you have to do so with passion and style.

How can you master this skill?

  • I suggest mastering the “Science of Communication”… Knowing that 55% of communication is visual perception and body language, 38% is tone and inflection and only 7% is the actual words that you use. You can study this online, you can take a course, you can go to a “communication” workshop or seminar.
  • You can join which is an organization that is dedicated to helping develop communication and leadership skills for professionals. It is like a “gym” for speakers / communicators.
  • Video Record (or audio) yourself with prospects in the showroom or on the phone or in the BDC. Record yourself engaging a prospect, working a deal, dealing with objections / rebuttals etc… Then REVIEW the Video / Audio footage. Study it, be critical of what you sound like, what your body language is, what your prospects sound like, what their body language is. Try to identify loss opportunity, identify areas that you can improve and or utilize a different strategy or approach in a particular situation.


  • Product Knowledge
    • You should truly be a master of your product(s).  At the very least you should be certified through your OEM as a sales consultant but… Most OEMs have advanced training and certification. I suggest you look into what curriculum, what training, what OEM resources you can utilize to enhance your product knowledge.
    • Most OEMs have “Product Launches” or Special Seminars / Workshops on new or enhanced models within their line up. You should ask your management team to send you to any and all OEM opportunities that come along.
    • Study, Study, Study your product. Take all vehicles on test drives, get familiar with them. Not just conceptually but literally know your vehicles inside an out.
    • Competition Knowledge… Do NOT just study YOUR brand. You need to know EVERYTHING about your competition. For example if you are a Ford Sales Consultant and you sell a ton of Ford F-150s then you need to know EVERYHTHING about the Chevy Silverado and WHY your F-150 is BETTER than the Silverado etc…


  • Mastering Objections and Rebuttals
    • Stop playing checkers… Start playing Chess. Document all of the “expectations” and “objections” you come across on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
    • Identify the TOP 10 objections and or expectations and then create at least 5 POWERFUL responses for them. If you need help, get with other sales consultants, your closers, your managers, the owner whoever!
    • Go online and search for the best objections and rebuttals. There are free sites out there like  that offer a tremendous amount of free information, word tracks, scripts, objections / rebuttals etc… use them!
    • Practice them everyday… role play with your co-workers, with a friend, your spouse.
    • Record them (video and or audio). Upload them to your ipod or burn them to a cd. Play them on the way to work and the way home, at the gym at night, when you sleep.


  • Self Education
    • Read as much as you can about EVERYTHING related to your career as you can. If you don’t like reading, then buy the audio CDs. Here are some suggestions:
      • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
      • The Secret
      • From Good To Great
      • The Purple Cow
      • Who Moved My Cheese
      • Execution
    • Read Automotive Trade Magazines (Like AutoSuccess)
    • Subscribe to FREE newsletters
    • Subscribe to ALL your automotive vendors newsletters, blogs, email lists like:
      • Autobytel
      • AutoUSA
      • Autotrader
      • Carsdirect
      • Dealix
      • Your Dealership Website Providers
    • Automotive Social Networking Communities like:
    • Search Engines…
      • You can and should be Googling or YouTubing Everything that is related to your profession.

This is only a small list of things that you need to master to truly be the best at what you do. If you would like me to give you a more detailed list or some free strategies or ideas please feel free to email me or call me. It would be my pleasure to help you-

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It is often said by the learned in the marketing field, that customers are not solely price motivated.  This can be proven every day of the year, when people all around the world go to something we call “Convenience stores.”  Think about it, when you're driving in your car, and that yellow light appears in your dash next to the red E, what do you find attached to nearly any gas station? ...Not a penny candy store.  Furthermore, 7-Eleven…doesn’t have the best priced anything, but people still continue to flock to the establishment 24-7.  I only say these things to help you understand the point…that (to 80% of people) price isn’t everything.  I hope you are following me. 

I don’t know about you, but I like to make money.  Most business owners feel the same way as I.  We can’t make money on a consistent basis if we constantly give our products away below market value.  In our industry, we have one of two choices.  We can either discount the vehicle, or build value in our 4Ps.  (More on the 4Ps later.)  I will admit that it is much easier to just go ahead and discount stuff, but to BUILD?  Oh No! …That takes work!  However, look at it this way; discount = less, value = more…are we motivated to benefit from the ease of less or the value of more? 

Let's continue by discussing the term motivation.  It is a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors.  Let’s begin with the end in mind…What is the behavior I’d like to elicit and sustain?  Why... the purchasing of vehicles by potential customers of course.  Wouldn’t it make sense to put a controlled process in place to create this behavior?  Retail Businesses do it all the time.  I got a coupon from Sears the other day for 10-50% off…I MIGHT use it IF it’s CONVENIENT for me…IF I need something from them in the time allotted.  It is safe to say, that I am slightly motivated to shop at Sears when they want me to shop there.  They have something in place to motivate/control my behavior.

Now…we could structure a deal with our customers for 10-50% off of vehicles, and still only experience a 20% increase in business.  Another option is to sponsor a “BuildACar” campaign, or a “Onsite delivery to anywhere in the continental United States” promotion…and savor an altogether different business increase.  What is the draw of a Car Show?  Your dealership could host one once a quarter to boost sales another 20% because of the tactical information available to your customers.

All these are motivators:

  1. Build a car = Availability.
  2. Onsite Delivery = Convenience.
  3. A Car Show = Research.

And if your internet customers hate car salesman, then I suggest you change the way you do business…you can find three very easily executable proposals to do just such above.

 This article actually was stimulated by a whole’nother thought/idea, nevertheless; creative thought bloomed.  I sincerely hope that the words here are exercising your right brain as well…motivating you to sell more cars, more profitably, more often.

(Was that a stretch?)

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