In this week's Episode of Make Money Mondays Dealer Synergy's Nation Sales Director, Joseph Argento, explains how you need to lead and motivate your team if you want to be successful. You need to get your people behind you and supporting you which means, everyone has to be on the same page. Everyone needs to understand the goals of the dealership, how to approach those goals, and the consequences if those goals are not met in order to work well as one unit. It's about planning, being on the same page, motivating, and the execution.
Make Money Mondays - Special Edition - Lead & Motivate Your Team
If you like Make Money Mondays, you will love Bradley On Demand: http://www.BradleyOnDemand.com/
For more information about Dealer Synergy, visit http://www.DealerSynergy.com/
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If you have any questions, call or text Sean on his cell 267-319-6776
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Autobytel ACQUIRES AutoUSA - Automotive Internet Sales - 3rd Party Lead Source Provider
- Transaction Significantly Expands Autobytel's Dealer Network;
Expected to Deliver Meaningful Increases in Revenue and Cash Flow -
IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), pioneer of the automotive Internet and the company dedicated to connecting automotive consumers with dealers and manufacturers, today announced it has acquired Ft. Lauderdale-based AutoUSA, a longstanding, premier Web-based auto leads and services provider, from AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN).
The purchase price included $10.0 million in cash, a $1.0 million, 6% convertible note payable in one lump sum in five years and convertible to Autobytel common stock at a conversion price reflecting a 20% premium over the price of Autobytel's common stock on the date of closing, and warrants giving AutoNation the right to purchase approximately $1.0 million of Autobytel's common stock at an exercise price reflecting a 5% premium over the price of the stock on the date of closing. The transaction was financed by Union Bank, N.A. through a newly established $9.0 million senior secured term loan, and by drawing on Autobytel's existing secured working capital revolver. Both the term loan and the revolver carry interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 2.5%. The term loan is amortized over a period of four years. AutoUSA generated 2013 revenues of approximately $30.0 million, with positive operating income and cash flow. The company believes that the transaction will be accretive to Autobytel's 2014 results.
Autobytel said the acquisition expands its reach and influence in the industry by increasing its national new and used car dealer network to more than 5,200 from approximately 3,800, while boosting its business with auto manufacturers. It also enables the company to offer its new mobile and SaleMove products to a larger customer base, while continuing to build on relationships with OEMs and large dealer groups, including the AutoNation family of dealers.
Autobytel, which was founded in 1995 by former Southern California car dealer Pete Ellis, has again grown to become one of the most influential automotive services organizations, providing high quality leads and innovative marketing and mobile services to dealers and OEMs. The company serves a critical role in the industry in helping car buyers find the right vehicle while delivering highly relevant consumer purchasing information to its industry partners.
Phil DuPree, President of AutoUSA, has joined Autobytel as Executive Vice President, President of Dealer Services. As an inducement for joining the company, DuPree was granted an option to acquire 40,000 shares of Autobytel common stock at an exercise price equal to the closing price of Autobytel's common stock on the acquisition closing date. The option will initially vest based on certain financial performance criteria related to Autobytel's dealer services group and then on DuPree's time of service with Autobytel.
"AutoUSA brings a new, high quality client base to the Autobytel family and strengthens our existing relationship with AutoNation, which is the largest U.S. automotive retailer," said Jeff Coats, Autobytel's president and CEO. "The transaction solidifies our leadership role in the industry, enabling us to offer an even larger base of dealers and automakers top quality products, including leads that convert to sales at nearly three times an estimated industry average, and a wide range of mobile products designed to sell more cars.
"AutoUSA represents an outstanding fit with Autobytel. In addition to its core leads business, AutoUSA's suite of complementary third-party, Web-based services includes payment-based pre-qualification tools, incentive programs and other products and services designed to help dealer customers and manufacturers increase their sales," Coats added.
"Since 2000, AutoUSA has developed very strong relationships with dealers across the country. The combination of Autobytel and AutoUSA adds strength to both organizations and represents an opportunity for consolidation in an industry segment that remains fragmented," said Mike Maroone, president and chief operating officer of AutoNation, Inc. "This combination benefits automotive consumers, dealers and manufacturers, alike."
As previously announced, in addition to AutoUSA, Autobytel also recently acquired Advanced Mobile, LLC, now known as Autobytel Mobile, which provides a full lineup of auto industry mobile products and services such as mobile apps, mobile websites, Send2Phone capabilities and text message marketing, and TextShield, a web-based portal that allows dealers to centrally manage text communications. Also as previously announced, the company recently made a strategic investment in SaleMove, which enables auto dealers and manufacturers to enhance the online shopping experience by interacting with consumers in real-time. These new services will be available to Autobytel's expanded network of automotive dealers and manufacturers.
About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States and offers consumers robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive internet in 1995 with its flagship website www.autobytel.com and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and helped every major automaker market its brand online.
Autobytel is pleased to announce some enhancements to our Used Car program!
Autobytel is now able to post your Used Car listings on Craigslist. This will provide additional exposure for your inventory. There are a variety of benefits to this new display even if you are already posting your inventory with us.Please click here if you do not wish to post your inventory to Craigslist.
We have updated our Dealer Extranet to provide you with the ability to view your current Used Car inventory and to update and make changes with a few clicks. Below is a sample of what the online tool looks like. Click here to login to the Dealer Extranet and view your live inventory!
Jim Ziegler and Tim Martell Talk Cars.com Controversy | Wikimotive Podcasts #1
Jim Ziegler and Tim Martell discuss the Cars.com controversy. When a consumer submits a lead on a paying dealer's inventory, is it wrong for cars.com to feed the consumer the competition's inventory too?
A quick jaunt through our reports in January proved most fruitful. I was very excited to see that more than 20% of our customers enjoyed 30 or more appraisal leads for the month of January. The start of a new year tends to be a beleaguered time for dealerships, especially in the Northern states.. As consumers make dates at the health club, and place light wallets (fresh off holiday spending splurges) on the shelf… car purchases are usually not quite top-of-mind; especially with tax season around the corner when dealerships do see a nice boost in web traffic and sales.
While 2012 showed a small rise overall in reported sales and transactions across the country, we know that it’s still very much a ‘wild-west’ and not back to pre-recession rates. And when things are thin in the showroom, lead generation is the crucial key to making or breaking your business.
With that being said, we know just how important it is then, to convert the web traffic (which ain’t cheap!) into qualified leads. And for 1 out of every 5 dealership partners using TradeInVelocity… seeing between 32-124 leads in a slow month has only led to good things.
We reached out to some dealers to find the HOW and the WHY behind their success. For more on what we learned, check out out blog here.
We recently conducted a survey in which we asked Internet department personnel to share some key metrics. In one question, we asked:
How much total gross does your Internet department generate for every $1,000 spent on Internet leads from all sources (SEM, independent and third-party leads, classified site subscriptions, etc.) ?
Of the 183 responses, the answers broke down:
3X or less: 33%
7X-10X or greater: 20%
Don’t Know: 29%
These answers reveal there is quite a large disparity between auto dealers’ return on investment (ROI) on Internet spending, as well as a surprisingly large percentage that don’t even know their ROI.So I wanted to know: what should a dealership target for a reasonable Internet marketing ROI?
One of the experts we consulted for measuring this metric was David Kain, President of Kain Automotive. He suggested that 5X ROI was the absolute minimum that a dealership should strive for, and ideally Internet departments should be seeing 7X ROI on their Internet spend.
But how do you calculate your ROI? Basically, ROI is what you get for what you spend. Here is a simple formula:
(Gross Profit – Marketing Investment) / Marketing Investment = ROI
This formula represents three steps.
1)Marketing investment should be simple to figure out as it is the total cost of a campaign. For instance, if you spend $1,000 per month on a Pay-Per-Click campaign, $1,000 per month on independent leads and $1,000 per month on a subscription site, then your total marketing spend on Internet leads that month is $3,000. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to suggest here that the cost of overhead, while included in some ROI measurements, should not be included when figuring out ROI for Internet leads, regardless of source. So in this formula, don’t worry about including labor costs (for staff), web site maintenance costs, etc.
2)Gross profit is the next metric you’ll need to figure (my first GM used to say, “Volume is vanity. Gross is sanity.”). If you can pull the actual grosses on all Internet deals, that’s great. If not, take the number of sales and multiply it by your dealership’s average front and back combined gross profits. So if $3,000 in marketing spend delivers 10 sales at an average of $3000 combined gross, then your total Internet-related gross profit will be $30,000.
3)Next, you need to subtract the initial marketing investment ($3,000) from your gross profit ($30,000) for a total of $27,000.
4)Divide that number by your initial marketing investment ($27,000/$3,000) and in this scenario you end up with 9X ROI, an excellent result.
Why is it important to know your ROI? Any time you spend money on anything, whether on Internet leads or a marketing campaign, it is an investment. Like any investment, it should be measured, monitored and compared to other investments so you know where you should be spending your money.
Also, knowing the ROI for all your lead sources gives you leverage. How many Internet marketing budgets were slashed in 2009 and 2010? Perhaps some cuts were deserved, but do you know which ones? Cutting back on a lead source that returns a high ROI is only going to hurt the bottom line.
Of course, our question focused on the overall Internet marketing spend, not on the ROI of various lead sources. But applying this formula to your separate lead sources is highly recommended and gives a better measurement of success than just closing percentage or other metrics. After all, ROI is what goes to the bottom line.
I’d love to hear some feedback: how do you calculate your dealership’s ROI on your Internet leads spend? What do you consider a good ROI? In my next blog, I’m going to give some tips on how to drive your team to improve ROI.
AutoUSA Introduces Payment ProSM Powered by DriveItNow®, Payment-Qualified Website Leads for Auto Dealers
Fort Lauderdale, FL – July 31st, 2012 – AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions (www.autousadealers.com) today introduced Payment ProSM powered by DriveItNow®, a payment-based conversion tool for auto dealer websites. Payment ProSM is a service that provides online shoppers with instant, real car loan payments based on individual credit and inventory eligibility, generating pre-qualified, first-party leads from dealer websites.
With Payment ProSM, consumers click on a button showing real payments on any vehicle listing on a dealer’s website. A form appears that the shopper fills out, but no social security number or birth date is required. Based on the individual’s entered criteria, the system determines their credit eligibility without impacting the consumer’s credit score, instantly displays personalized monthly payment options, and delivers the dealer a dramatically-enhanced lead.
“Payment ProSM is good for the dealer because it shifts the shopper’s focus from what the lowest price is to what they can afford every month,” said Phil DuPree, President of AutoUSA. “The leads generated from these inquiries open the door for immediate engagement and more seamless negotiations.”
Payment ProSM offers auto dealers the following benefits:
Converts more traffic on dealer websites because consumers want to know monthly payment options based on their credit.
Generates the industry’s first dealer-website lead that includes the customer’s credit eligibility and desired payment from dealers’ own websites, resulting in high-closing prospects.
Eliminates wasted time showing customers vehicles they can’t afford, as well as time spent negotiating.
Puts dealers in charge of setting their own prices and financing terms, unlike lead services that force dealers into price wars in order to deliver the lowest price for the consumer while lowering gross profit margins.
Shifts consumer focus to monthly affordability, giving dealers more flexibility in pricing and negotiations.
Payment ProSM is a new service powered by DriveItNow’s patent-pending technology. “We chose to partner with AutoUSA because of their tremendous industry reputation of bringing best-in-class tools to the market to increase Internet sales for automotive dealers,” said Tarry Shebesta, President of DriveItNow. “The launch of Payment ProSM shows they understand the value of producing high quality leads and the need for payment quoting.
Payment ProSM is available immediately for auto dealer websites and mobile sites. To learn more, visit http://www.paymentprodemo.com or contact your AutoUSA sales representative at 1-800-243-9935.
About AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions
AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions brings the best-in-class tools to increase Internet sales and lower costs for automotive dealerships. Leading products include Payment ProSM, a payment-based pre-qualification tool for dealer websites; ShowProSM incentive program, proven to turn more leads into shows; Leads&ListingsSM, providing the highest quality, new and used car email and phone leads from 100+ sites; PowerListingsSM 2.0, helping dealers increase traffic to—and leads from—their social media sites; and AVA Virtual Sales Assistant, helping dealerships manage more leads at a reduced cost. AutoUSA products are currently benefiting thousands of active dealers all across the U.S.
For more information, visit AutoUSA’s web site, subscribe to our blog at http://blog.autousadealers.com, follow us on Twitter @AutoUSALeads and “Like” us on Facebook at /AutoUSADealers
DriveItNow is a patent pending payment marketing technology service of Automobile Consumer Services, Inc. (ACS). ACS leads the industry with innovative proprietary technology, superior customer service, and over twenty years of auto financing and leasing experience.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jul 23, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Edmunds.com has officially surpassed 100,000 Facebook likes, and is now the most popular automotive information website on both Facebook and Twitter. As of this morning, Edmunds.com's 101,700 Facebook likes and 34,400 Twitter followers topped all other independent automotive shopping or research sites.
"Consumer engagement is a top priority for Edmunds.com and sites like Facebook and Twitter have been our front lines to interact with online car shoppers," says Michelle Denogean, Vice President of Marketing at Edmunds.com. "Our social media team has worked tirelessly to create fun and memorable experiences that resonate with everyone from first-time car buyers to seasoned auto enthusiasts."
Edmunds.com crossed the Facebook milestone just days after launching its first ever cross-platform ad campaign. The debut TV ad "Ask the Car People" premiered July 9th on airwaves in four local markets, and has been featured on each of Edmunds.com's social media channels. Online users can watch the ad any time at http://www.edmunds.com/about/ask-the-car-people-commercial.html .
To celebrate its 100,000 likes, Edmunds.com has posted a gallery of $100,000+ dream cars selected by members of Edmunds.com's editorial staff. Fans are invited to share their opinions on these fantasy cars on Edmunds.com's $100K+ Cars for 100K+ Likes post on Facebook.
Edmunds.com's social media presence extends well beyond Twitter and Facebook. Edmunds.com on YouTube offers reviews and instructional videos, while Edmunds' InsideLine.com on YouTube showcases video of some of the rarest, fastest and most expensive cars in the world. Pinterest users can pin Edmunds.com at http://pinterest.com/edmundsinc/ and Google+ users can track Edmunds.com content at https://plus.google.com/106326607174519341980/posts .
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its acclaimed mobile site, Edmunds.com Android App and five-star Edmunds iPhone and iPad apps make car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and on the go. Its automotive enthusiast web site, InsideLine.com, is the most-read car publication of its kind. Its highly regarded mobile site and iPhone app features the wireless Web's most comprehensive gallery of automotive photos and videos. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and like Edmunds.com on Facebook.
Google has entered the New Car Lead business with the recent unveiling and introduction of the Google Commercial Unit For Cars (CUFC). There is very little information regarding this new lead program for dealers, but here's what we know:
Essentially, Google will pull the new inventories of dealerships (those participating in the program) in the area of the consumer and display the search results
However, these unique search results with dealerships' inventory will only pop up when the consumer types in what Google calls "low funnel" search terms.
Here are an example of a few "low funnel" search terms: "New Honda Civic", "Toyota prices," etc..
This new program is still in BETA mode, and therefore, dealerships will have to pay per lead. It is unclear/not known whether or not this will change once in the future.
Worth noting: Some states deem it illegal to pay per lead, so we shall see how it plays out.
What do you think of Google's New Car Lead Program?
TrueCar Inc., an online car-shopping service, has ended after just six months its exclusive relationship with search engine Yahoo to send auto shoppers to auto dealerships.
Yahoo Autos plans to keep TrueCar and sign other sales-lead generators, Yahoo confirmed in a statement.
Under TrueCar's original deal with Yahoo, TrueCar agreed to pay Yahoo a huge sum -- $50 million per year for three years -- to be Yahoo's exclusive auto-shopping partner. Shoppers on Yahoo Autos were referred automatically to participating TrueCar dealerships.
Under the revised deal, TrueCar's payments to Yahoo will be triggered when TrueCar receives a minimum number of leads and a minimum number of high-quality leads from Yahoo Autos, according to a TrueCar source. Terms of those minimums were not disclosed.
In a statement, TrueCar said: "The new relationship has been forged as a result of a better understanding of both parties' capabilities and aligns economics and services around a vision of mutual success."
The original deal, signed late last year, said Yahoo would deliver 10 million auto shoppers to TrueCar each month. It's not clear if Yahoo delivered that total, and statements from both companies did not address the issue. The exclusive partnership began Jan. 1.
Under the new arrangement, TrueCar will appear as a button that can be clicked on Yahoo Autos. Yahoo says it is opening Yahoo Autos to "multiple dealers and third parties."
Today, though, TrueCar was still displayed prominently on Yahoo with the phrase "Y! Autos in partnership with TrueCar."
Calls to Yahoo for more information on how shoppers will navigate the revised site were not returned.
Under the revised deal signed June 29, Yahoo Autos can sign other lead generators immediately, a TrueCar source said.
Another prediction that I wrote about has come true. Change is in the air again at Google. Paid Search just took a big step forward or backwards, depending on how you think. It's called "Google Cars"
In November 2011, I wrote about a product called "Google Advisor" which will change the landscape of paid search marketing for new car sales. It has taken a very long time for this product to get off the ground. This type of product has been around in the mortgage lead generation business for years.
Well the Google Advisor product for automotive leads is here and it has a name: Google Cars.
I finally was able to see the product live today and so can you. Just change your browser location to Zip Code 94301 and conduct a search on Google with this phrase:
Palo Alto Toyota
What you will see might shock you, as Google has clearly entered into the new car lead generation business. I created a few screen shots to explain how the model works, and I am sure this will be evolving. I would love to get your opinion on this strategy and if you would be interested in testing this new service.
San Francisco Bay Beta Test of Google Cars
Currently, this product is only available in the San Francisco Bay area. We will find out when this will open up to other markets. This is only for new cars and it requires a dealer to provide and inventory feed of their new cars.
Google Cars Inventory Model Results Page
When you Click on the first photo of the Toyota Camry in the red box above, you will be shown this page
Google Cars Pricing Info
If you click on the "Google Price Info" link, you might get a chill down your spine, like TrueCar did for car dealers.
The Google Price popup box is shown on the right. If you click on the "Learn More" link, you can read about how these prices are determined.
The "regional price paid" data according to Google comes from data shared by dealers to the DMV in their state. Here is what Google says:
Regional price paid tells you how much the vehicle you want tends to sell for in your area. It is calculated from real new car sales in your area over the past 90 days, as reported by dealers to the DMV.
Regional price paid is specific to the make, model, trim, packages, and options shown. It includes destination charge; it excludes taxes and fees. It may include incentives and other promotions running at that time that may have impacted the average price paid."
Google Cars VDP
When you you click on a specific vehicle, you will be taken to a VDP page that looks like this:
Google Cars Email Contact Options
And when you click to contact the dealer, you have three options. Clicking on the "Email Dealer" choice reveals this screen.
Notice that the consumer can easily select other local dealers to quote on the same vehicle. Today, I have no details on how this advertising product works and the costs associated with it. Give me a few days.
We know the fun part. When you first get your hands on one. They are new to you. All coddling is out the window and it is time for action. These first intimate interactions are exciting. It is that magical time when you first get together…
I am speaking of the moment the lead arrives.
Imagine a lead, as it grows, becomes an infant. It enters your dealerships CRM world brand-spanking new. It is helpless. It needs your immediate attention and devotion. Like a baby, it needs your warmth and your motherly/fatherly care. This is a beautiful time. You get to read the information the customer submitted on the lead, read into the customer with a little lead deconstruction and smile at their peccadillos. You get to garner pricing for it, check the inventory, and coddle the lead with a detailed, personalized first manual email response and phone call. The world is new and you love that lead. It represents hope…the future… a sale.
While a good motherly/fatherly Internet Sales Manager is still caring for that newborn lead at three months with the same utter devotion they did at one day old, other ISMs do not. Unfortunately, for some, that new baby smell wears off. They don’t feed the lead daily. They don’t call out to it. They don’t keep a watchful eye and make sure it isn’t in need of help. And this is the problem with lead management at car dealerships.
I’ve devoted my life to only a few things.
My children and family. (I am insanely proud of the Dad I’ve become).
My comedy and writing. (Hey, everyone needs a creative passion outside of their daily duties).
Improving the way dealers do business. (More specifically, how improved communication with customers can change the way car dealers are perceived.)
At DealerKnows, from our in-store consulting to our Virtual Dealer Training…from the watchful eye we are in a dealer’s CRM and website to the honest and progressive brand that DK has become, our love of improving dealers’ phone, email, chat, text and video practices make us incredibly proud. We witness the growth and transformation of their Internet profitability the same way a good parent cherishes watching their children grow and learn. Now why can’t more Internet Sales Managers feel the same way about their very own leads?
Today’s ISMs must take ownership of their leads and be proud of the care they give them. They must recognize that managing a lead isn’t just a Day 1 wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am task, but a consistent, long-term daily regimen with each and every lead they parent.
Regardless of the statistics showing that Internet sales are being closed sooner and sooner to their arrival in the CRM, we believe that a lead has value (and the ability to sell) at any point in its lifetime. And this is where Internet teams fail. They give up. They skirt their responsibilities of being the lead’s guardian all the way through from conception to conversion. They like the lead when it is new to them, but don’t want to participate in the diaper-duty associated with long-term lead management.
What are you doing to ensure all tasks are completed in the CRM?
How often are you looking to guarantee leads aren’t being flipped to lost or bad far too early in the cycle?
You need to check regularly. We find this to be one of the most common process breaks and profit leaks in every dealership. As we at DealerKnows monitor the daily goings-on inside our clients’ CRMs, we see when they are ignoring the babies. They don’t try to raise them or educate them. They simply tend to them in the first few days and then pay them no mind after a few days. It is neglectful. And we can assure you it is happening at your store too if you’re not training them to be better parents.
Reinforce the need to follow-up with all leads until their adulthood, or at least until they buy. If you are a dealership operator, you need to be the social services of your store. Make sure your people are caring for the store’s leads consistently and don’t just focus on those first few response-time metrics. If you are the Internet Sales Manager, don’t think your job is over after your first interaction with the lead. Take care of it. Love it. Care for it until it matures. Don’t abandon your leads too early in the process.
You can’t just make the baby… you have to raise the baby.
One of my Dealers just forwarded me this official email from Vehix sent him yesterday...
Dear Vehix Dealer,
As you may know, Comcast Spotlight has owned Vehix since 2008. As part of an ongoing evaluation of Comcast Spotlight’s business strategy and focus, it was determined that the Vehix business does not currently align with the company’s strategic direction. As a result, Vehix operations will be winding down by June 30. This business decision does not change Comcast Spotlight’s commitment to the automotive segment. In fact, we are continuing to devote significant resources to ensuring Comcast Spotlight remains the advertising services provider of choice for the automotive community.
Q: What does this mean for your business?
A: Vehix leads and dealer advertisements will be delivered through June 30, 2012.
Q: What does this change mean for dealer support?
A: The Vehix dealer team will provide regular support through this process. This support includes questions about inventory feeds/photos, lead disputes and credits. To ensure your invoice is accurate, please review and submit all lead disputes and credits by July 10, 2012. Your prompt payment on all invoices is appreciated.
Q: Who do I contact with questions about the transition?
A: Please call a Vehix dealer specialist at 801-401-6060.
As Vehix leaves the highway, I want to sincerely thank you for your support. Vehix.com has long been a valuable place to promote your vehicles and reach buyers as they search for a new or used car. It’s easy to look back and say with pride that it has been a great ride.