Archive for May, 2010

I want to touch base on this subject “When to say NO” to a family or friend that is a member in the Vendor side of the automotive business. It is nice to have connections close to you to help gain information & ideas of upcoming technology they have to offer but do you have to feel obligated to purchase that product from them?

I have spoken to connections from time to time and occasionally it is brought up that a close friend is working on their website or they specifically purchase products from a family member that is a vendor. I am not saying it is wrong to purchase from family or friends but do they expect you to purchase from them?

I know I do have a few friends / family members out there that like to push products and it gives me an offish feeling because they do expect me to purchase from them because they are a close friend or family member.

What if you said NO? Is that going to cause them to be upset or break a friendship? I hope not. You shouldn’t feel obligated to purchase because of the friendship or relationship you may have. You should be supportive of their due diligence of their product they may have to offer to you and your company.

Trying to break it lightly and being supportive of their product will help them understand you are using a product that may be a little better than what they have to offer at this time. Providing ideas & suggestions to them will be beneficial.

Doing full research of their product will be a great step to take for their product may offer better tools etc. than the current one you are using at this time or plan on using in the near future.

I do refer vendors that I do have close relationships with to help them out to establish a pipeline of some sort for marketing purposes that is if they are looking for a product that will benefit them.

Don’t feel obligated to buy, just do your research. You don’t have to base just 1 decision for you and the dealership you work for; provide them with a variety of choices, features & benefits.


My dog ate my Internet Manager

Where has your internet manager been lately? Have you not noticed? Do you have him / her shoved into a back room or even back of the service department? Holed up and away from the general public? If so it would come down to the old saying “My dog at my Internet Manager” as an excuse.

I am not sure if you told your parents that your dog ate your homework in the past when you were a kid and if that excuse ever worked. This is an excuse many GM’s GSM’s and Dealer Principals use due to the inability to make the change for the evolving technology within the Automotive Industry.

Pushing your Internet Manager into a backroom is a disaster. Why? Let me tell you why.

When an Internet Manager is placed into a backroom, no windows etc. you are preventing your Internet Department to be successful. This is not an encouraging way of enlightening your Online Sales to increase & it surely does not give the IM the encouragement and recognition they deserve.

You may be thinking in the back of your mind “Well the Internet Manager doesn’t even see the online consumer”.  Times are evolving and consumers are getting smarter & smarter each and every day with their online buying experience. Many of them know that dealerships now are implementing the Internet Department.

Internet Departments = Technology NOT Internet Departments = Doghouse

For a tech savvy client to come into your dealership to meet with the Internet Manager and come to find out the Internet Manager doesn’t even have an office in the front, it is way back behind the service department…….!  Come on now….  Would you like to have your office back there? If no, do you think they do?

Let me just say, when your Internet Department / Internet Managers performance starts to dwindle, don’t blame them for their lack of efforts however take a moment to think outside of the box & see where they are located at within your dealership.

This department is where you need to be involved, support & encourage. Why take it away from them & most importantly “Take away more sales from your dealership”?

Before you go searching for a vendor and doing your due diligence for the GM, Dealer Principal and most       important of all the Dealership itself. You may want to dig a little deeper into your vendor on Customer Service.

The Vendor may have a large reputation within the automotive industry with powerful products, top of the line Search Engine Optimization etc; you may want to know what is going on with the customer service side of things?

After doing a bit of research myself, about 80% of companies will lack in the most important department within the Vendor itself. That is Customer Service. Having the utmost & top notch Customer Service to ensure you as a client is happy is the key point for long term cusses. This is overlooked on many occasions.

Here is an example and even you may have experienced this.  When you call a company to ask questions about your loan you may have through GMAC or any large organization. 70% of the time the person you are talking too is foreign, hard to understand and you never speak with the same person. They type in a few key word searches to pull up your account and they review the notes.  That is very irritating on my end and of course your end as a client.

With qualified and a properly trained Customer Service staff, Customer Retention comes in play for the long term effect for the Vendor themselves. This also applies to dealerships to have excellent customer service skills; this will enable a current client to stick with the dealership to purchase their future vehicle from you and your dealership & pass the good word on.

Sticking with your clients through the thick and thin will be a benefit on your end & the vendor you choose for your dealership.

Here are a few key points to help you during your vendor research.

  • Ask the vendor for a minimum of 20 references and 10 clients that are not posted on the vendors website
  • Call each and everyone to speak directly to the main contact. ( questions to ask )
    • How is the customer service?
    • Do you speak to the same person?
    • Do you have a customer service rep assigned specifically to your account?
    • How often does the Vendor follow up with you personally, not including emails, actual phone calls?
    • How available is your Customer Service Rep?

The questions above can help you make a wise, smart & educations choice when choosing a vendor for your dealership. Having your questions answered, problems solved and have the best vendor in the automotive will help you achieve your long term goals.

GM’s and Dealer Principals are pleased to have me as their main contact, which they can call me on my personal cell phone directly or have a fast response via email. Taking the time to show that I care on a customer service level, vendor and personal level the client is happy!

Many vendors again are lacking on this as they are looking for the next deal for which causes the current client to fall behind and unnoticed.

That is the reason many clients go searching for the next provider.

Sloppy Joes…..YES! Sloppy Sales…..NO! – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community (ADM)

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Sloppy Joes…..YES!     Sloppy Sales…..NO!

Yes I love Sloppy Joes and they are a savior after a long day of work. They are easy to make and the family is happy!

What I don’t like are Sloppy Sales! Meaning the sloppy job many Internet Sale Managers do and take advantage of.  Yes it is nice to sell a vehicle online; the vehicle is delivered to their door without even meeting them in person. (Many dealers just use the transporters to deliver and sign the paper work). It boils down to a quick and easy sale for you and your dealership.

Where does the sloppiness come in play? First of all many online consumers don’t even want to deal with a sale man or even let alone the dealership. However there are consumers that do their full research as they are looking for further educating their purchase decision.

If you sell a client via email, online or just that you have a wonderful voice, this does not give you any reason that they are still looking for a follow up. A thank you by video, constant follow up, referrals and such.

Online car buyers that come into your dealership to pick up their purchase & sign their paperwork don’t get the full attention they deserve.

I seen this happen many times when a client comes into the dealership, the team assumes they know all the information they need to know so a proper delivery is not taken place. This is where the sloppiness comes in play.

Regardless if you sent them many photos inside and out of the car, 360 spins, videos, specifications etc. they need to have a full walk around no matter what!

You may be saying “they said they didn’t need one”…..!  If you ask the customer if they would like to have a full personal walk around, it will not just help them it will further educate yourself as a salesperson. Consumers love to be a part of educating the salesman to further their success for more sales.

Online consumers may be armed and dangerous with lots of information but do you realize you may not be armed enough to surprise them with what they may not be aware of.

Don’t let your online sales department crash and burn!

Jennifer Schrader

Posted: May 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

Having fun setting up social media accounts. I never knew there were so many of those things out there. Geeze!!

Number Fluffing? NO WAY………! – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community (ADM)

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Have you taken the time to view your site’s actual performance? Or even your Internet Managers performance at that?

Let me ask you a few questions that may help you understand where I am coming from and where you can improve your habits as a Dealer Principal, General Manager or even as a Sales Manager.

Do you sit with your Internet Manager at least once a week to go over and review what is listed below?

  • Incoming leads
  • Conversion ratios
  • Cost per sales /lead

I am mean hard core actual realistic numbers.

The internet sales business for the dealership is a large way of creating additional revenue for the dealership however are you keeping an eye on it more closely?

Hearing stories & seeing Internet Managers fluffing numbers to make themselves and their department look good can actually be more damaging in the long and short run of success.

Fluffing numbers to show upper management prevents that department to get the help they deserve and identifying what can be done to help improve the sales within that department. This also falls into the category of not needing to fluff the numbers to make that department look good and on top of it the Internet Sales Manager.

I am not throwing the Internet Sales Manager / Internet Director under the bus here. It is hard to find that right person to lead up that specific department that has integrity and honesty with providing the true data to you and your management staff.

You as a Manager of the dealership needs to take and create a habit of checking with your Internet Manager a minimum of 1 day a week for a couple of hours.  Asking the basic questions to start you off below:

  • What are our Unique Visitors?
  • How many leads were generated?
  • How many leads were converted to sales?
  • Cost per sale / Cost per lead?

Have your internet manager show you the facts that are readable to you and actual website stats, lead count etc. can help you identify if there is needed help within that department or another team member may need to take over.

The Internet Manager / Internet Director is only going to hurt themselves and the Dealership too.

Having a structured department and a supportive management team will prevent from the Internet Manager to fluff numbers in the first place. (I will cover that more in an upcoming article)

After reviewing the data provided from your Internet Manager / Internet Director will gain trust & support their passion of what they can do best. Selling more online!