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I have just read an eye-popping article from the fine folks over at eMarketer titled, "Auto Industry Braces for Major Shifts in Search Marketing." If you don't have time to read it, I'll point out the highlights and give you some of my own thoughts. 

As all of us know, paid, as well as, organic search helps drive leads, increase a dealership's traffic, and sell vehicles. This remains true. Yet, the emergence of digital marketing and its impact on search is changing the way your customers find your dealership online. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of it, take a moment to check out this graph.  As you can see, there's a myriad of ways your customers, when shopping online, can find your dealership.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that MORE and MORE people are going online to search for their next car. (See: ZMOT; See also: it's 2013!! Everybody is going online first to do research before buying!!) So, how do you increase your traffic? Well, in a recent survey of US Auto Dealerships for, Datium found that 55% of respondents' digital ad spending went to paid search engine marketing (SEM).

Think of searching online like putting together a puzzle. You dump all the pieces onto the floor, and now you have to somehow make sense of the rubble and construct one collective entity. That's what customers are doing when they go online to search. They are trying to sift through all the information to eventually make a purchase, and hopefully with a sustainable and effective digital and search marketing strategy, it's made at your store!

The thing, however, that blew my mind reading eMarketer's article is this little tidbit of information: "Only 20% of new-car shoppers in the US buy the brand they first searched for, according to Google data."

As the article aptly points out, "OEM brand sites—often developed with major digital agencies, strong media support, and cutting edge SEM and search engine optimization (SEO)—attracted more attention in search results than dealerships." While this is certainly true, things are changing.

Dealership websites are becoming more and more sophisticated, user friendly, and even mobile-friendly. If we had a time machine, we could go back a few years ago and compare a dealership's website back then to what it is today. The difference would be astounding. More and more dealers are recognizing the power of  SEO as well as VSEO. The dealer with an optimized and indexed site is going to show up first on Google and as a result, draw in more traffic. After all, your goal should be to show up on the first page of Google. The recent studies have found this to be case as auto dealerships are in "direct competition for influence over U.S. Car shoppers." 

Lastly, according to a 2012 survey done by a conjunction of folks like Google, Compete, TNS Global, and R.L. Polk & Co., 74% of U.S. new vehicle shoppers visited used dealership websites via desktop. They also surveyed the sties on mobile phone and/or tablet during the buying process. 

This change in auto search marketing, due to advances in digital marketing, isn't exactly going to push OEMs out of the lineup, however. OEMs and other related agencies are still able to push foot traffic to your dealership thanks to such things like video content. 

Where do you see search in the automotive industry going in 2013? Given the advancements of digital marketing, video social, social media, online reputation, the best it yet to come when it comes to search!

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Come Say Hello this Weekend at #NADA2013

Dealer Synergy & Automotive Digital Training are in sunny Orlando this weekend for NADA! Stop by Booth #4179 and say hello! We will be unveiling the Automotive Industry's MOST Comprehensive and Powerful "Video On Demand" Training, Tracking, Testing & Certification Software.

You'll be able to talk one-on-one with Super Star Trainers / Experts such as 

Sean V Bradley, Karen Bradley, James A. Ziegler, Peter Martin, Danny Alkassmi, Craig Lockerd and much more!

Here's our booth!

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3 Minute Book - Part 2

Why do we need a goal? The answer to this question touches on the deepest, most basic need in humans: purpose. It is the why, the drive, and the reason for doing what you do. The purpose of having a goal is that it gives you a reason to keep playing the game of life. When you get down to the basics, it gives your life meaning. It is necessary if you want to keep moving forward. If you're not moving forward, you might as well pack it in and accept mediocrity.

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Recipe for Life - LA Williams

Assume there are no universal mistakes. Life with a capital "L" has given you all the ingredients you need to bake a perfect cake. It comes pre-loaded with all the supplies necessary for you to create a masterpiece or a pile of trash that your dog won't even eat. The deciding factor - the art and the artist...YOU. Make a conscious decision about what you will do with what you have been given. Make your life a masterpiece and share it with the world.

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3 Minute Book - Part 1

You should let your imagination go wild with a Vision Board, and place pictures of all the things you want. You should include pictures of how you want your life to be. Make sure you put the Vision Board in a place where you see it and look at it every day. Feel the feelings of having those things now. As you receive, and feel gratitude for receiving, you can remove pictures and add new ones. This is a wonderful way to introduce children to the law of attraction.

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Rapport and Influence - Equal Partners

Rapport is a topic that is often discussed in the automotive industry. According to Wikipedia, rapport occurs when two or more people feel that they are in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel similar or relate well to each other. The questions are "How do you really build rapport with someone on the phone?" and "Does rapport really matter?" People are more receptive to people like themselves. To build rapport on the phone, make sure you take the correct approach. Before you ever pick up the phone, you must be confident in yourself, your dealership, and in your products. Notice, I said confident...not cocky. You never want to talk down to your customers. Have a tone in your voice that makes them feel comfortable and welcome. Your customers should get a feeling of chatting with an old friend. Find common ground, if possible. The more comfortable they are with you, the more they will listen and trust you. Many trainers will teach you to mirror your customer. Mirroring someone is easy in person. On the phone, you can mirror the customer's enthusiasm, urgency, and tone. You wouldn't expect to have the same conversation with one customer who is "all business" and with one who is very laid back. The tone of the conversation is different, but it should still be a conversation. We aren't robots. This is not an automated service. They want to speak WITH another human being. To answer the other question, ABSOLUTELY! If you can build rapport with someone, they are more likely to set an appointment, show for the appointment, and work with the sales team. The better your rapport, the more influence you have. Would you rather deal with someone you have no connection to or someone who feels like a friend? Most people, both at a dealership and in life, would rather go to their "connections" than to total strangers. If you build rapport with a customer, you get beyond the stranger category. Your customers are more easily swayed or influenced by someone they are connected to than Joe Smoe who works down the street. Just make sure your influence is positive. You can just as easily send them running if you build the wrong kind of rapport. When you ask questions, give them the respect of listening to their responses. Identify their concerns, wants, and needs. If they have concerns, explain the answers. Dealing with customers is building relationships. But like everything else, building rapport and relationships is a skill. It must be practiced to be perfected. Find out what works for you. Once you start working at it, building rapport will become "just the way you do it" and it will seem effortless.

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In the automotive industry, there is a lot of emphasis put on price. In society, we often hear the word value. These two words seem to be interchangeable. Are they really? I don't think so. Most of us have paid a price for something that had a value higher or lower than what we paid. Some of the things in our lives that we value the most didn't have a price and we wouldn't sell for any price...such as our families, our memories, and our time. When speaking to customers who are focusing on price, try to build the value of the vehicles instead of giving a price. The value of a vehicle is about more than the money. If you investigate correctly and actually listen to the customer's responses, you should be able to find the perfect vehicle for their needs. The value is in how they will use it, how it will make their life better, and how much enjoyment they will receive from it. The price is just dollars and cents. Don't get me has a big impact on people. There aren't many people who have money to burn. But if you can show them how the value is more than the price, it seems that they are getting a better deal. Let's face it. Only about 20% of customers are truly price motivated. Building value for them is much more effective than focusing on price.

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To Script Or Not To Script

How important are scripts? 

Any time I hear a sales trainer, manager, or a rep demean the use of scripts, they lose credibility with me. Sometimes the problem is in their definition and perception of a script, which usually has more to do with the delivery, such as reading something in a monotone voice. In that case, I agree. Kids like to be read to, adults don't. 

I suggest you look at a script like an actor, and deliver it the same way. Otherwise, "winging it" and generally being unprepared usually yields horrible results. It's actually kind of a contradiction. Many people who don't like scripts feel that way because they say scripts cause a person to sound like a doofus. Well, what happens when someone gets on a call, unprepared, rambles, stutters and stammers? What exactly do they sound like? Really. If you are able to prepare for what you'll say, and then edit, practice, and fine-tune it, why wouldn't you? 

You wouldn't turn in a rough draft if you were going to write a very high-profile article in your industry publication would you? Well, a rough draft is precisely what you deliver when you aren't totally prepared on calls. Every day, salespeople insist on diving blindly into calls, and puking all over themselves with the first words that come to mind. Would a surgeon walk into an operating room, slap on the gloves and say, "OK, give me the knife. By the way, what are we doing with this guy?" Would a lawyer dash enter a trial, pop open a briefcase, begin an opening argument, then turn and whisper to the client, "What are we working on here again?" In either case, I hope not.

Let's grade your level of preparedness as of right now in each of these areas.

Screeners and Assistants

Can you instantly provide a response to the question, "What is this in reference to?" And I mean a good, results-oriented answer, not one that gets you screened out. 

Opening Statements and Voice Mail

These most certainly need to be prepared, word-for-word.

 Early Resistance

Ever hear, "I'm not interested," at the beginning of a call? Are you able to breeze past this reflex response--which isn't a real objection, by the way-- and engage them in conversation, moving them to a state of interest and curiosity? 

Unexpected Answers to Questions

We're all able to build sales momentum when they follow the script we'd like ... answering questions with the positive, interest-filled responses that lead to our objective. But what about the ones we DON'T want? The ones that resemble a hard-drive crash, wiping away all of your memory. 

Real Objections

Too many sales reps dread objections because they feel that to deal with them they must "overcome" them with a canned, argumentative answer. Those types of "rebuttals" actually throw gasoline on the fire. Instead, we must be prepared with questions.


In each of these areas, I recommend the same prescription for excellence: work and preparation. There's no easy way to sound smooth. It is said that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" well..."Scripts are in the mouth of the deliverer". James Earl Jones could deliver a script and Earl James Jones could deliver that same script and you'd experience totally different effects. A sales rep told me at a recent training seminar, "You make it look so easy, coming up with quick answers. How do you do it?" Oh, it was easy, I told him. After almost 700 sales training presentations, thousands of sales calls, and thousands of hours of writing, reading, and practicing, it just comes naturally. See? No one is naturally smooth, although almost everyone can sound that way. But we must be un-smooth and uncomfortable first. 

What baby do you know that comes out of the womb walking and speaking as you have the ability to do now.  It takes most of them about a year or two or three just to get down the basics. If you want to raise yourself to the next level, go back to the basics and beyond. 


Lock yourself in a room with a pad of paper. Begin by writing out the headings above, and any other difficult situations you encounter. Then, stretch, knead, and rack your mind until you create word-for-word statements, responses and questions you're comfortable with. (Members, go to the archives of to get examples to work from. Not a member? Sign up for a test drive.) Then, go to the next level. Like a military strategist preparing for all possible scenarios, brainstorm for their possible responses. Keep repeating the process. Then practice it out loud. Role play with a partner. 

Recite--don't read--into a recorder.  

What's great about this is that the more you practice, the better you become, which means better results. Which means you have more fun on calls. Which also means you're more confident. And people will be saying about you, "You sound so smooth! You're a natural." Thanks to your scripts.  

Remember, neither Roam or Beyoncé was created in a day. 

Continue having your best week ever!

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Building Customer Relationships

Building Customer Relationships

Training Tips from Dealer Synergy

One of the biggest keys to remember about automotive sales is building the relationship with the customer. From the first email to the first phone call, to the keys in their all builds the relationship. We all know that buying a vehicle is one of the most significant purchases in a person's life. If we are going to get someone to buy from us, we must earn their trust. We could have the best prices, best service departments, earn more awards, and give away the most to charity, but if we don't work on building a good relationship with our customers, it all goes to waste. When you greet someone on the phone or on the lot, the customers tie you to the entire dealership. Treating customers with respect will go a long way. Think of them as family (if you get along with your family). How would you want your parents, grandparents, or siblings to be treated if they contacted your dealership? Would you want someone to answer the phone and rush to the next call...blowing off most of what they said to rush to make their quota? No. You would want their experience to be pleasant. You would want their concerns heard and addressed. You would want them to feel comfortable and know they are getting the best vehicle to fit their needs and the best deal on that vehicle. Think about these things on the next customer you encounter. What kind of impression are you making on them? What are they going to tell all of their friends and family about you and the dealership? 

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Today the internet is playing a bigger role than ever before in marketing cars. Research and statistics have proven that internet shopping has become more popular than flipping through pages of a catalog or a news paper. There are a variety of websites out there, such as,, and, whose purpose is to attract people who are shopping for vehicles. With the purpose of distributing the leads to dealerships, each dealership also has its own website to provide information about the dealerships vehicle inventory, employees, reputation, etc. What separates your website from your competitors? Is it your websites inventory? Is it your company’s reputation?

The bottom line is this...Internet Leads are here to stay regardless how your website looks or how easy it is for the customer to find what they are looking for. The challenges of building rapport with an internet lead are much more difficult compared to that phone call lead. Your company’s website has to be one step ahead of your competitors. Lead follow up must be ten times faster than your competitors. Your internet department must be tight, well organized, have a process that is proven to work and more important, your internet department must be properly managed.

Call me at 866.314.2553 EXT24 for a free consaultation on just how to do these things.  Done correctly, you will sell more cars, more profitably, more often.


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One-on-One with LA

Did my first "One-on-One" phone training with LA Williams today and it's safe to say I'm hooked! It was nice to be the focus and have all of my questions/concerns answered without any distractions. I've always enjoyed LA's technique because it sounds so genuine yet effortless. His ability to connect with customers, people he's never even met before, blows my mind. Thanks for the motivation LA, I really appreciate it!

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