By Marylou Hastert, Director of Product Marketing, DealerSocket
Apple, Google, Facebook and Disney were all ranked in the top 10 of Forbes’ 2016 World’s Most Valuable Brands list. Not surprising, right? But if you think about it, all those brands make sense beyond their obvious large-scale marketing budgets. If you peel back the layers and focus on each of these individual companies’ histories, you will see they are all very customer focused. They have made great strides in studying their customers’ shopping and buying habits through thousands of hours of research. They know exactly what their customers want to buy, how they want to buy it and how they want to be communicated to while they are shopping. The world’s top brands aren’t just smartly designed logos and catchy taglines. Top brands evoke a feeling — one that usually is drawn from a consumer’s personal experience with the brand.
So, how can the average dealership follow these same principals to promote their brand to car shoppers?
By David Boice, Co-Founder & CEO Team Velocity Marketing
In 2017, we will all start to read and hear about some progressive dealers delivering “a lot” of vehicles to customers outside the dealership. All that hard effort is being worked on now behind the scenes. Like everything in our industry, this service will evolve and dealers will obviously experience some ups and downs. Smart dealers are setting the table now.
My sense is the first group of consumers who will love the option of completing a sale online and taking a delivery off site are your existing customers. On average, 50 percent of your customers will remain loyal to your brand. They clearly love your products, live nearby and you already have all their information to create an excellent experience for them. Think about it — when you got your first iPhone you probably went to the Apple store and they helped you set it up. But, how many phones have you ordered online since then? Why? Because they make it easy for their customers, and you already know how it basically works. What’s different for a consumer who wants to upgrade to another model of a brand they already love?
By Susan Givens Publisher of AutoSuccess Magazine.
Technology is great, and new ideas and better processes are wonderful, but one of the best things you can focus on to improve your sales and find success in your career is paying attention to the basics.
These efforts might not be the most electrifying actions you take during the day, but simple activities — done consistently — can make a huge difference. Think of it as a form of exercise; you’re not going to get the full effect after one session, but results will build over time — if you keep performing the correct actions regularly.
Here are three simple things you can do each day that might not seem like “power” moves in themselves, but can wind up being some of the crucial building blocks for a successful career.
By Jim Douglas, Director, Frogdata
If you spent any time walking the floor at NADA this year, you couldn’t miss every DMS and CRM company pushing their new version of “data-analytics” on dealers. The reason dealers are seeing this push to use “big-data” is because every other industry has been leveraging data for years. It’s not about fancy dashboards; it’s about making better decisions.
How do you think Wal-Mart decides to build a new store? They don’t just toss a dart at the map. They use data to analyze population projections, proximity to existing stores, property value, competition and a laundry list of other data points that make sure each store is successful.
By Jeremy Todd Sales Manager at a Honda dealership
Many professionals find it difficult to leave their current position with a dealership. There are many reasons —comfort with your position, relationship with the current staff or even the location to your house. As sales professionals in the car business, I believe the average employee stays entirely too long. According to Driving Sales, “The annualized turnover rate for all dealership positions is 39.4 percent. That figure is a 3 percent increase year-over-year. One-year retention for all positions hit 71 percent and three-year retention came in a 47 percent.” Well, if this is true, how can a salesperson stay to long at their dealership?
By Jim Roche, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Managed Services at Xtime.
As a manager, you know your service department inside-out. If there were a problem with your processes or your team, you’d know. Wouldn’t you?
After all, some problems are easy to spot. If you had hours of unfilled appointment slots or parts were constantly out of stock, you’d know right away and get right to work fixing it.
But other mistakes are harder to spot, simply because they’re smaller.
By Ted Dupuy, National Accounts at Flick Fusion Video Marketing.
Attention all auto dealers: If you are looking to increase your bottom line in 2017 by saving your way into a profit…stop offering test drives. The costs associated with customer’s test driving your inventory can be astronomical, from the fuel to the insurance.
Understanding that a test drive is the No. 1 way to create psychological ownership with your customer when they are in your dealership, it in fact costs money that you can save.
By Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate
What's the most important skill a great leader must possess? Above all, I believe the ability to communicate is critical to the long-term success of any business. Specifically, leaders who communicate effectively with their employees benefit from higher levels of employee engagement and morale. The more engaged employees are, the more motivated they become, providing more value to the organization all around.
As a leader, are you communicating effectively? Most leaders don't get to be in leadership positions without good communications skills, so your first instinct may be to answer in the affirmative. But the focus of effective communications is less about your style of communication, and more about what information you choose to communicate.
By Ken Hill, Managing Director, 700Credit
Is your dealership’s compliance program ready for a government audit? What must your dealership have in place for Red Flag, Adverse Action and RBPN?
Laws and regulations change rapidly, making it difficult to stay on top of your dealership's compliance obligations. And yet, the cost of shirking this responsibility is high; you really have no choice.
Ten years ago, compliance was nowhere near as detailed as it is today. Similarly, 10 years ago the complexity and usage of the DMS was nowhere near what it is today. So it makes sense that 10 years ago, DMS vendors forgot about developing features that make credit and compliance management easy.
By Madeleine Low Community Manager at DrivingSales
As dealers, we sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day of our dealership. But sometimes we need to look ahead and see what is coming, and how we need to prepare. It’s time to ask the hard questions to see if your dealership is ready to tackle the future. Here are seven critical areas that will be impacting dealer operations in the next three to five years:
1. Hiring and motivating the perfect sales team. Turnover in the industry is still
extremely high, even with desires to make changes and lower it. How is your dealership going to change pay structures, company culture and flexibility to reduce turnover and save money? How is this high turnover hurting the industry and what can you do to help?