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Feedback: So What Exactly Does IM@CS Do?

This post is a long time in coming, even though not our typical cup of tea. Why? Because we want clients and the industry to understand more (and in some cases, even something) and talk about us. Tooting our own horn is a turnoff, and publishing papers, studies and books with mostly repeated content is deplorable. However, after nine years of “what does IM@CS do?”, it’s likely (beyond) time to make it a little more known…

Interactive Marketing and Consulting Services (a.k.a. IM@CS) was founded in September 2007, when the amount of non-vendor companies/consultants dedicated to digital in the Automotive Industry could be counted on two hands. In other words, if you don’t count website developers, ad agencies and the like, you could hire less than 10 entities to truly grow your digital results independently.

Some of our firsts that lead the industry:

  • Website maintenance (developed into SEO Services) started December 2007 and micro-sites in 2009
  • Social Media services started in December 2007 (we launched the first Audi and second Porsche dealership on Twitter, for example, and many of the first-10 on Facebook dealership accounts)
  • Vendor coordination/accountability yielding fastest-in-class response times (with Gary’s background at eVox, Edmunds and izmoCars, nearly all OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 vendors were on a direct, one-to-one relationship with IM@CS before other digital consultants knew them)
  • First OEM-direct relationship (Toyota/Lexus) secured in January 2008, educating hundreds of Lexus dealerships around the country (replaced incumbent and scored highest dealership satisfaction from the summits over a five-year period)
  • Mystery shopping of dealers in 2007 (started in 2004 while at eVox), then introduced lead scoring (rather than mystery shopping for clients) in 2011 and rolled out to OEM programs
  • First 20 Group presentations in 2009 (Porsche US Pre-Owned Forum and Volkswagen Canada digital) yielded transformational changes for dealerships
  • Advocating, coaching and maintaining online reputaiton management since 2008

Not easily known unless you followed IM@CS in the early days, our work resulted in many industry-leading benchmarks as well as brought other consultants and vendors to the forefront and awareness over the past nine-plus years. Gary May has been a sought-after speaker since opening the J.D. Power & Associates Internet Roundtable at Red Rock Casino Resort in 2008. In addition, Gary has spoken at the first six years of DrivingSales Executive Summits as well as dozens of other conferences, 20 Groups and private vendor events. Eric Trytko and the content team have driven industry-exclusive vehicle editorial and content direct from auto show launches since 2010, something that no other dealer provider has done (most repurpose OEM and publisher releases and articles or use spun -software based- content, a search-engine flag).

IM@CS has created over 350 blog posts and has contributed to top Automotive forums.

Our team (currently a staff of nine) touches all parts of your digital presence:

  • Website maintenance
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social Media content management and marketing (organic and paid)
  • Reputation Management (tracking and maintenance)
  • Creative assets (banners/graphics, landing pages, email marketing)

We carefully vet all dealer digital processes through hands-on assessment, highlight low-hanging fruit as well as build long-term strategies, weigh competitors plus develop strategies around acquisition and conquest, bring unrivaled education to executive and management-level staff and build unmatched results for salespeople.

Some of our competitive advantages and benefits to business leaders:

  • Out-of-the-box solutions (no cookie-cutter/duplicated approaches including content and lead management/CRM/templates)
    • what works in your store, not others
  • Commission-free vendor recommendations (giving up 5-and 6-figure revenue per year in kick-backs)
  • Best-practice approaches influenced by both automotive industry leaders as well as out-of-the-industry strategy and results
  • Six day per week support 6a-6p PT and beyond
    • Most requests receive 24-hour turnaround

We have been a trusted, non-contracted (month-to-month services since day one) partner for dealerships with an average duration of over two years and we have been hired back or advised by 25% of our clients. Our partnerships with stores develop long-lasting results while keeping executive management up-to-date with all digital aspects. Our R.O.I. is unmatched in over 90% of clients.

When you and your business are ready to stop splitting hairs with me-too vendors and are ready to grow your sales, marketing efficiencies and knowledge in order to build sustainable results, contact us for a review call or an assessment meeting. Yes, it can be this simple to stop receiving only slight benefits while paying vendors for their lifestyles. And understand why, in most cases, your co-op OEM-run programs will never serve you to profit and actually only serve your vendors and manufacturers with piles of data about you and your operations.

 

Here’s to your success in 2017!

DrivingSales Executive Summit: Learning Over Listening

One of the things we're most passionate about is education. Above anything else, education moves businesses forward. You can sell them all day long, and most vendors would given the chance, but until education (and support) is part of the equation there is no momentum.

The DrivingSales Executive Summit has set itself apart from other conferences since its inception in 2009 and continues to do so today. This year's lineup of keynotes is incredibly impressive and the team at DrivingSales has set the bar higher once again. However the magic is in the breakouts, along with the innovation sessions, where dealership staff in attendance get to break out their notebooks, tablets and other note-taking technology and build executable strategies.

Last year's DSES delivered some of the most creative and independent means for dealers to lead their markets with digital marketing strategies. One of those sessions was Gary Sanders of Stevinson Lexus of Lakewood (Denver, CO) talking about what he and his dealership did to better set the stage for customers looking at their inventory online and to direct how conversations and conversions would take place.

Simply put, businesses innovating trumps those who simply copy and in today's market it is essential to win. It all starts with the ideas and strategies. As simple as this sounds, most sessions I've attended at the breath of events around the industry center around "you need to be doing this" rather than "this is how you do this".

Come to the DrivingSales Executive Summit in three weeks with an open mind, it will change your business. Yes, you'll be able to learn more than simply listening…

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

You can participate (read: actually participate) in the DSES session that Joe Webb and I share on Tuesday, October 23 at 3:55-4:40p Click here for the DSES agenda 
Remember to use code IMACS12 when regsitering for DSES

Wow… New Auto Industry Pain Point!! Um… This Is Not A New Issue!

The constant challenge in the auto industry is for retailers to implement strategies, execute on their plans, follow process, create awareness, promote accountability and stop making excuses for doing anything less. There will always be a party to throw a finger at, many times deservedly so. That, however, does not take the greater point of responsibility away from an operator of a business and the business's staff.

There are always opportunities to learn, grow, adjust and review. There will always be new opportunities to add capabilities, add products, add services, add partners and add resources. You need the first group before the second, always.

Products and services, good and bad, make any industry go 'round. Companies tend to follow the herd, good and bad. It's why 20 Groups, marketing associations and other collections of automotive retailers are so attractive to companies selling their services and the reps who speak. People will buy blind without the first grain of sense…"My golf buddy uses that website company", or "my 20 Group chairman recommends the third party lead company we just signed", or "It was hard to make up my mind on which new CRM company to call so I looked at the ads in the back of Automotive News/the NADA directory/fill in the blank source" and other oft-heard stories are nothing close to strategies and typically are doomed to fail.

Car dealers need to start looking at track records, company histories and more before even considering where their hard-earned money goes. The majority of dealership spends are not very different today then fifteen years ago. Yes, some are doing thing very differently, it's just not the majority or even close to parity. Stop and ask yourself "do I really need to buy this service or product?" and then ask others than are AND are not for at least some benchmarks and common sense. And start realizing that companies incapable of answering the tough questions before you sign are almost always less equipped to do so after you sign. Which is harder: losing money due to an improper commitment or not making enough from not executing well with the right one? Either way…. this is not a new issue!

The ongoing rants and discord due to one service provider are well warranted, regardless of which position you take (or none at all). At the same time, they are absolutely no surprise at all. If anyone had done their homework, they'd realize that what is being asserted should not be a jaw-dropper to anyone. People just followed the bounding ball/shiny object without question… this is not a new issue!

Sometimes we're fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Another ongoing issue in our industry (while not as hot as the one just mentioned), as well as every other industry, is what's happening to search – predominantly Google – around content propagation/redundant content, link building and more related to site quality and ranking. Back in 2006 the company that employed me was warned by Google to stop syndicating their content all over the web as it was lowering quality scores and other factors that would affect their traffic and revenue. Fast forward to today and website and SEO companies are struggling with issues under Google's Panda initiative? Who thought that it was a good idea to have 100 blogs all over the country with the same exact content, let alone 700 auto-related websites with the same car reviews? And what to think of website companies that give 40 pages in your site the same name and/or metadata, let alone missing metadata??? The reasons to not go with these strategies are over six years old…this is not a new issue!

If more businesses (dealers) would be willing to listen more, learn more, challenge more and measure more, we'd all be a lot better. And dang it so would our websites. Stop following the heard, start paying attention and making sense even if it hurts a little or you're not in the "product of the week" club. So much $10 garbage gets purchased by $10,000,000 businesses every day it's amazing, but…. this is not a new issue!

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results


p.s. I just checked the market value of this post and you're not paying enough!!!!!

 

When The Cover Comes Off The Onion

Let's face it, we still live in a marketing-based world. And nearly all of it still screaming for attention, sales, mass following, validation, acceptance and more while typically ignoring what matters most. Yes, it's morphed and transitioned and (partially) gone to the place called online but it is created and delivered in the same way it nearly always has. And for automotive, in both B-to-B and B-to-C arenas, the deliverables suck (we'll try to not use any more technical terms in this post).

It's not that the market, the public, the customers, the industry or even the actual providers don't expect any different, it's just that it's what's done. Is it that when you stop screaming "we're #1" it allows another company to scream the same thing, making it true? In the experience garnered by partnering with dealers all over North America, the most dissatisfaction expressed comes from dealing with companies screaming about top results while not backing it up.

Have we become so skewed that we'll actually do what we don't want to take part in ourselves? Or have we become so numb to the barrage of messaging that we don't notice? So let's take a layer off!

1. Old school. We practice what we preach, right? There is a lot of talk, once again, about "back to basics" and "blocking and tackling". Are you practicing what you preach, or is it time to get real? For starters, look at how salespeople are being "taught" typically, if at all. Motivational speakers? In-your-face, Glengarry Glen Ross "coffee is for closers" stuff (even though it may be true)? "Seasoned veterans that can do everything" sessions in your store? So…do you actually do that to customers? Do you talk to them that way? If not, why do you need it?

Salespeople are motivated by, wait for it, MONEY! If a salesperson is not on the ball, they may need a pep talk from an outsider for $5,000-$30,000. Right? More likely they need a couple days off, fresh air, a good book, some exercise and to get away from the naysayers at the dealership (which can also include management!). The first layer of the onion feel like the first burn of summer vacation…

2. Hyped 20 Group sales. For good and for bad, dealers talk to dealers that talk with other dealers. They recommend things. They invite speakers and presenters (don't forget the pitch masters) to their groups, associations and getaways. And then it happens: after providing a dealer/group with some great info, recommending appropriate partners, showing them how to best get the true answers as they consider the next move…you walk into the store that has been desperately needing a real kick in the behind treatment to get going, and alas…they had a round of golf with their buddy 86 states away and bought the same (fill-in-the-blank solution/vendor) because "they're selling cars like water".

No real research, no real competitive bids, no idea what they're doing. And, being as how it's automotive retail, after the install and training, the 30 days of excitement wears off and it's just another check. Until the next company comes in and…"nope, we don't need any new fill-in-the-blanks…we're all over it!". Yeah Bill (if you're a Microsoft fan or Steve if you like Apple more), you're all over it. That layer of the onion just put a divot in your business way bigger than the one you did on the 14th hole with your buddy.

3. Media. While that should be enough said, it still needs clarification. You are what you eat right? So, it is worth venturing a guess that you are what you read as well. Did you ever like a newscaster so much that the news was somewhat not as believable when someone else was on camera? That sure explains a lot in the automotive industry. A change of scenery is becoming more and more what the doctor ordered. Social media has surely facilitated the fact that a handful of sources is not as good as many good sources. Considering, at the same time, that there is definitely garbage out there called news, the world would just not be the same place anymore without the streams of great, timely and absolutely valuable information.

Or do you still get it from the same 10 people over and over and over? Better yet, do you get it from a place that sells what you end up seeing? Trust is absolutely required and good data is needed. So is a great line of questioning that deserves an honest, unbiased answer. Have you got your answer yet? The pain from that layer of the onion comes with a tear, a grimace and a cost.

 

Change is necessary, more than ever. And more than ever, things are remaining the same: The OEMs' ads. The Tier II ads. The vendors' pitches. The automotive media. The balloons. The gorillas on roofs. The radio spots. The newspaper. What are you trying to tell a public that is wide awake and ignoring it all?

Look outside, there's a new day. It's called opportunity. And it's not wearing yesterday's clothes. It's not driving a….oh boy. Better not go there. That onion might end up being really sour….

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

2011 Will Be A Great Year…Even If You Don’t Participate

It's no secret that over the past three years, some pretty forward-thinking information was provided to the automotive industry franchise dealer body. All 24,000 plus of them (not ignoring the independents here, just making a point). Over the coming weeks, all 20,000 of the franchise dealers will get more critically important data. Just like before, it's up to them to participate.

2011 will be a great year. Fewer than last year will make up the bulk of increases in sales, count on it. The most web-versed, socially-minded, communication-skilled and forward-thinking will win. Many of those dealers will win impressively. So the same question bears repeating: why not more? Has the carnage not been great enough? Is there too much money in the coffers still? Or is it that management is still happy sitting on their "duffs" of the bay?

2011 will be a great year. There will be more talent available for dealers to select their next sales, service and parts teams and management from. Efficiency will increase, while hopefully not at the sake of bottom lines. In other words there should be more people working at dealerships unless dealerships ignore the potential increase to their business.

2011 will be a great year. The product lines continue to get better and consumer demand for a wider array of cars (not the same car re-badged) is greater than ever. Floor traffic at the dealers that deserve it will most definitely increase. Savvier dealer marketing and engagement will increase penetration in service departments, expect it. And many dealers will experience true conquest for the very first time because they did it, not the badge.

2011 will be a great year. Technoloy will continue to becon to a larger and larger customer base so those more comfortable with technology will take advantage of that. Chaging interests in Green and alternatives will compel a few more dealers to become as engaged with those movements as their customers. Building dealership brands will become a more heated conversation than building new dealership facilities (no, that won't go away).

So how great of a year will 2011 be for you and your store? Everyone, yes everyone, is betting their bottom dollar — and bottoms — that the numbers will be up. We even believe that will be the case. Remember: it's not what you make, it's what you keep. So if you didn't like what 2010 brought, you may not really be satisfied once 2011 closes it's doors.

2011 will be a great year. Oh by the way, for the ones that will be successful, 2011 has already begun. For those that want to join us, what's stopping you???…

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

LA Auto Show Day 1…In A Nutshell

Well that was a blur….and a pain in the feet. It's always that way after sitting in the office, or the car, or client's dealerships and OEM offices. But to stand for all but 90 minutes in a day is tough. Anyway, the day was full to say the least. After breakfast (Thanks Motor Press Guild!), it was time to listen to Stefan Jacoby, Volvo's new CEO. Hmmm. Insightful but the conversation around the table with High Gear Media at breakfast was more than a bit higher on the engagement meter.

Then it was time for the Volt road trip replay, oops, the GM press conference. Aside from the obviously dirty car and great impact that their trip from Detroit to LA provided, the car part of it didn't have the normal sizzle. The Camaro convertible was nice…

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VW's booth was packed. And that's not only becase of the food spread after their conference. Lots about the EOS convertible and Heidi Klum, not enough about the Golf Blue-e-motion or next-gen Passat. Not earth-shattering, but better than GM. Could have been more "we're taking over the industry by 2017".

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Jaguar (ok, and Land Rover too), which has surprised my since changing ownership, seems to be getting their swagger back (pun intended). The concept and approved-production cars seem to be edgier and willing to take more risk than in the past 10 years. The stand didn't seem to really work for the media trying to see but it was clear that they're gaining on the buzz factor.

Mercedes may have won the "our press event can kick your press event's butt" based on the Ducati and cupcake tie in, but so did the car stuff. It was the second bland presentation of the day (both German) but the CLS63 is just simply rocking and the B Class did get a lot of nods. They'll continue to sell cars and compete for the luxury sales title with Lexus and BMW. It seems to be about little notches in the bedpost these days….

Porsche was about the Cayman R. And food. And wine. The historical video was cool and the Cayman definitely hits on way higher marks than the past version. They didn't disappoint this year and their booth (room) always seems to be just beyond pristine. So someone should tell their people to turn down the stuffed-shirt feeling and have some fun. Isn't that what Porsche is about anyway?! (that and a lot of dead presidents).

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Sorry, Nissan was accidentally missed but onto Fiat. After taking part in Mini and Smart press conferences and being around the Audi A1 marketing machine, it's not surprising to see a small car. I hope the 500 can make the brand, dealers and customers happy. I'm still reserving comment but my temperature is going to have to go up slightly…soon.

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Subaru is just killing it in sales and they don't need much in the way of redesigning their product line. So that's when it was lunch.

Ford continues to impress. Got to hear/see about a few of the buzz models and spent 15 minutes chatting with @ScottMonty. The upcoming Focus ST definitely got my attention on the spec's alone. Then there's chatter about an electric Focus. What really was fun? Slot car racing and a new simulator (they've had some over the past few years at LA Auto Show, SEMA, NADA, etc). Still bummed that I missed them when they were penny stock just a few years ago…

IMG_20101118_125903

Honda seems to be going steadily, but slowly, down the path of alternatives. You can count on that. Honda's Fit EV keeps the drum beating but their gas cars are so efficient, where is everything going? The cars still need more life (but the last two seem to at least be designed by someone with a pulse) but their engineering is so sound, you just have to listen for 40 minutes. (Actually I started a conversation with Brian Glickman from Edmunds so my story should be changed!). No oohs or aaahs but some nodding heads at the close.

Skipped Dodge and Lotus for compelling conversations and walking around before the early departure this afternoon.

A few things are clear:

  • Budgets are coming back, spurred by sales and profits. The booths are bigger again, there's espresso machines and music blaring, heck all companies had their lights on the whole time! The buzz is back and it feels good. As one of my friends said today, even the carpet padding is a couple grades up from the last couple years and that's a great sign!
  • Giveaways are cool, but if it's less than two inches by two inches or you wouldn't want/keep it yourself, send it back to the ad agency or widget maker.And make sure everyone there gets your media kits…you never know how many of the non-media people acutally do stuff for lots of dealerships!
  • IMPORTANT: Now get the excitement from the show flloor to the dealers, back it up with better education than they've been receiving and we'll really have something to celebrate. Retail sells cars. Not the OEMs.

That's my story and I'm…sticking to it! Maybe another round tomorrow. Press conferences are Hyundai, Audi, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Wheego, Morgan and Perana.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Social Media Is Just Like Sales: It’s What They Say And Think That Matters, Not You

It's been said that in business, it's not what you know but rather who you know. In social media it's not much different! It's not what you say, it's what everyone else thinks about what you say (and who repeats it that has a significant following). In today's auto industry social landscape, we're ruled by "buy here", "special of the day", "unbelievably cheap oil change", "home of the bla-dee-blah-blah-lease!" and more ranting and ravings about "me me me" than I'd care to acknowledge.

It seems that the opportunity for a bunch of folks to so-called "save" their dealership from "paid advertising" and more importantly "relevant advertising" by getting "free advertising" has horribly skewed the mindset of otherwise savvy people. I can see it now…just imagine with me….(fake clouds of dry ice are filling the stage in your mind)…

"Hey boss, you're not going to believe this! Me, your amazing but otherwise unknown Internet salesperson, just came up with the way to save $20,000 a month or more from your advertising budget! Guess who ran smack dab into Twitter and Facebook!? ME!! If you can manage, I'll take over our social stuff and you can get someone else to close all of the leads that I'll generate FOR FREE!! Ok, ok, ok, get this: I'll put all of our inventory on Facebook, post all of our specials on Twitter, upload videos to YouTube for vee-ess-ee-ohh or something like that, put photos of happy customers on Plaxo and get EVERYONE to do write ups on Yelp, Google and all the industry reputation sites! And guess what else?! I'll respond to every comment, squelch every heater and unwind and steal our competition's customers…all online!! Whatdayathink boss???!!"

Simply put, social media is not for advertisements. Ads do have their place in social media and some sites, but that's not the driver. Create conversations, share unique and exclusive information (being first still 'sells'), point to great videos, old commercials, one-of-a-kind events, validate both satisfied and unsatisfied customers, promote events that you donate or are somehow involved with and THEN take time to put up a special (and make it really special)…I hope this is getting through…

If all you post is "buy here, buy here, buy here", nobody will listen, care or interact. Imagine going to a number of parties over the summer, getting to know the regulars, and one person is promoting their business and trying to get you to buy incessantly. You'd avoid them, almost at any cost for sure.

Now think to yourself: "why would I want to be that person online"?

Kick the "sell, sell, sell" binge and start some great conversations that turn to great relationships that turn into a larger book of business than you'd otherwise have. Go be great in social media and leave the selling to the tweeps that don't get it.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

How And When Do You Generate Your Traffic? Your Own Program Or Someone Else’s This-For-That?

Whether or not the money lasts in the government's C.A.R.S./Cash For Clunkers program, one thing is clear: automotive retail still waits for someone or something outside of the dealer to drive the traffic. With few (and great) exceptions, people started hitting lots hard over the weekend.The question remains: what happens that's entirely up to you before and after programs?

A couple of OEMs started a little early by creating buzz around doubling or even advancing dealers money. Dealers even sent out email and direct marketing (along with radio and newspaper….aaaaarrggggh!) to promote the fact that they'd have the CARS program at their dealership! Folks, that's just not enough. Remember that people what to know what's in it for them! If they can get $3,500 or $4,500 (or more) for their car ANYWHERE, why are you yelling that you simply have the program? Is your banner bigger? Big (something) deal!

Why not detail how you understand the program's details, that you have a special team at the dealership to promptly handle customers, that you have a 'Clunkiest of Clunkers' competition for a prize or that your staff's outfits are "older than your trade!' and have them come in powder blue ruffled suits? Now, I'm not saying that you need to look like your favorite scene for The Wedding Singer or a bit part in one of my favorite industry guy's videos…what I am saying is that you have to get your head out of the "same place, same thing" mentality and start thinking about how YOU drive traffic.

No consumer typically wakes up in the morning and says "I've got to make it by some dealerships today and spend some time at each one!". That should not be news to anyone. What differentiates you (or doesn't) is the special events, programs and 'why-to-buy-here' calls to action that invite people in. Why continue to fight over the same piece of pie when you can make yours bigger? And with the current economic issues, simply take a bigger piece of a smaller pie! But your way of doing business can't stay in "wait and see", "hold on for 90 more days", "not going to do anything just now" or "watching how effective (fill in the blank)'s promotion goes before we do anything" mode.

Look at your numbers, especially your regional/area performance. Losing sales in your PMA? Why? Asked your customers why lately? How many times have you blind shopped the competition? Did you optimize your website in the last 30 days (or simply put up a C.A.R.S page and/or compete for the same keywords)?

To expect business you need to plan for business:

  • Listen to everyone (yes, your staff is part of everyone)
  • Understand trends and performance
  • Track and adjust in real time
  • Communicate and set expectations
  • Brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand

And remember, you can't live on someone else's brand (including the government's). It is also important to be real. If you don't understand something, say so! Ask questions or your vendors, partners, consultants and industry resources (as long as you are actually using them). If they can't do something, ask them to it and if they can't/won't: drop 'em like they're hot.

See the traffic on the highway? They are all going somewhere. They either have to or want to go where they're going. You might just end up being more people's destination if you play your cards right, plan to be successful and don't reply on ANYTHING outside your place of business to bring in the business.

Be a 'traffic-generating' leader, not a 'take what's left' follower…

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Webinar: Stimulating Profits: Used Cars Drive Sales Success in 2009

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Industry Roundtable Discussion With:

  • Mitch Golub, president, Cars.com
  • Art Spinella, president, CNW Marketing
  • Paul Taylor, chief economist, NADA

With
sales of used cars expected to return to 40 million-plus units in 2009,
used-car sales stand out as a bright spot in automotive retail. For
consumers concerned about their purse strings and possible job losses,
buying a pre-owned car allows them to get the vehicle they need and
maintain their peace of mind. This webinar examines the current outlook
for the year ahead and outlines the practical steps dealers must take
to survive and even thrive in this changing economy.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Fine-tune your advertising strategy and media mix to reach in-market shoppers.
  • Capitalize on economic uncertainty and pent-up demand to drive more used-car sales.
  • Stock your store with in-demand cars that turn quickly and hold gross.
  • Leverage third-party vehicle history reports and factory certification programs to build buyer confidence in your listings.

Thursday, April 9, Noon ET/9:00AM PT

Enroll_Now

Res Firma Mitescere Nescit…And How To Keep It Up

If you've seen the movie, you know the line. It's not earth shattering, but it was more than a decent movie. American Flyers came out in post-LA Olympic 1985 and starred Kevin Costner (very pre-Waterworld), David Grant (as his younger brother), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), Rae Dawn Chong (yes, Tommy Chong's daughter), Alexandra Paul (Baywatch), John Amos, Robert Townsend (plenty of star power there) and an otherwise strong cast.

When the brothers walk into the sports institute, the character played by John Amos (who heads the facility) reads the slogan hanging up above the various people working out "Res Firma Mitascre Nescit". David asks him what it means and he loudly proclaims "Once you've got it up…keep it up!" and then proceeds to yell at the contingent of sweating people "Right?!!" to which they all reply "Right!!".

While the movie has nothing to do with car sales, it has everything do to with perspective, attitude and belief. In regularly spending time with dealers, it amazes me how many salespeople don't keep a sharp mind and eye, let alone know the fundamentals of process and success. Sometimes I'll randomly select a salesperson and ask about their goal setting. Invariably we'll sit down and the first real question they're typically asked is "how much do you want to make?". Once they (sheepishly) reply, the very next question is "how many sales does that take you and how many leads to you usually need to work to get there?". You can guess the answer 99% of the time.

Successful people always find a way to keep it up. Sure, down times happen and you might even catch a leader in a true slump. I've been in weekly sales meetings where the store is down and the top unit (and usually gross) performer is upset with their sales performance even though they are still in the lead. Like clockwork, a person with significantly less to talk about will pipe up, usually with "I'll take those sales any day".

See, the thing is that goal setters hold themselves more responsible than any sales or general manager ever will. They have an idea of what they need to do in February come January 28. They don't need to be pushed into reality on February 21 when they're on the bubble at 3-5 units. Most of them will also have daily goals and tasks that they make sure are complete before they leave as well as writing down the next day's activities.

If you're in a sales tailspin or simply finish 2 or 3 units down from where you want regularly, there are a few things that you can do that will likely get you, well…up!

  1. Work your leads as if they'll close within 72 hours (create action and excitement)
  2. Regularly and effectively touch base with your clients (yes, on top of the 'stuff' the store sends)
  3. Set, adjust and maintain daily, weekly and monthly goals (copy management for accountability)
  4. Track everything you do. It's a pain…do it (don't resort to memory, even if you're 25)
  5. Educate and refresh yourself on products and services (do your own walkarounds if you need)
  6. Eliminate habits and poor performance activities, period (listen to motivational CDs or read)

A few of my contacts have even gone as far as paying for software and/or services out of their own pocket since the dealership won't pay for them, but they know that having them is one of their keys to success. Not letting anything stop you from reaching your goals is what successful people do every day!

Remember that when you're not learning, you're dying. Don't let your thunder be stolen by circumstance, a boss, a coworker, a client or the media. Make sure you can easily identify what you expect to happen every month and take the steps to ensure you're on the cause side of the equation. Oh, and once you've got it up…KEEP IT UP!

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results