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Modernizing the Sales Process

If you've been in the car business for long enough, you've probably seen the changes that have been happening to the way people buy cars. Thanks to the internet, people are armed with more knowledge about the vehicles and the dealerships that sell them. This can be a bad thing, but it can also be a tremendously great thing when a dealership embraces the changes and empowers their team to do the same.

In this article on AutoSuccess by Joe Clementi, he breaks down the modern process and offers tips to dealers to not only cope with the way the business is today, but to thrive in it.

The consumers' destination is determined by several elements up to and including dealership customer service ratings and customer-written reviews. Once the dealership becomes a destination, the dealership experience, and not just price indicators alone, will be the final denominator.

Read more on AutoSuccess.

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Dealer Takes Risk with "Keys in a Box" Video

There are times when a dealership knows they simply need to give it a shot. Sometimes, the risks involved with a video, particularly one that is attempting to be funny, can be too high. That didn't stop Oak Lawn Toyota from putting out a video spoof of the SNL skit "D**k in a Box".

The execution was excellent. They used the right equipment, the right people, and a song quality that was professional. It is being well-received so far; out of 35K views to date, it has over 300 thumbs up and only 14 thumbs down. One YouTube commented wrote, "I actually want to drive 3500km to get to that dealership and buy a car from there. If only they would allow Canadians to buy a new car from America."

According to DealerKnows:

Keys in a Box. It’s being called the “single greatest video ever produced by a car dealership.” And it was from the mind of DealerKnows’ very own Joe Webb.  Nonetheless, beyond the concept and a few lyrics I fashionably reverse-engineered, all the credit goes to our clients: the team at Oak Lawn Toyota and their Internet Manager, Joe Mallet, for amazingly parodying “D*ck in a Box” from SNL’s Lonely Island and Justin Timberlake.

Watch the video on DealerKnows.

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Money AND Time Determine ROI

When dealers look at the return on investment of any product or service, they often focus strictly on the cost versus rewards. How many leads will it generate? How many sales will it bring? This is great, but there's another level that dealers must consider. How much time will it save?

In this article on Dealer Refresh, we examine the importance of timing and look at some of the products and services out there that are recommended as time savers even if the return on financial investment isn't necessarily there.

At most dealerships in North America, there is a huge gap in the free time available to people in different roles. Some people such as General Managers and eCommerce Directors could probably count the free minutes they get in a day on one hand. Other roles seem to have a hard time staying busy at all.

Read more on Dealer Refresh.

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LotLinxFrom Brian Pasch to Micah Birkholz, outspoken automotive industry experts are really starting to latch onto the concept that LotLinx is bringing to the table. Their model is to take people who are visiting third-party inventory sites and send them directly into the dealership's inventory on their own website. This "deeplinking" concept has been adopted by hundreds, perhaps thousands of dealers across the country.

Is it the real deal?

One of their biggest proponents described the solution nicely:

Lotlinx uses many of the same lead-generating sites that the lead-selling vendors use, but rather than selling you a lead, they push the buyers off of the third party sites with everyone’s inventory on them and onto your vehicle details page. The leads generated are higher quality as a result and they belong to you and you alone.

Read more about LotLinx and decide for yourself.

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Is Edmunds Biting the Hand that Feeds It?

A new commercial created by automotive pricing and lead-generating company Edmunds makes a mockery of the haggling process utilized by most car dealerships. It's causing an outcry by many in the industry and makes one wonder if they're really serious about helping dealers to sell more cars.

Their "Haggling is absurd!" video captures the reactions of grocery store shoppers as they are hit with outrageous prices for their food items. Then, a checkout clerk who is supposed to represent a car salesman utilizes old school stereotypes and poor haggling practices to try to get people to overpay for their items. It's funny. It's also insulting.

As we mentioned in an article before about the modern buying process, the industry is trying to fight these old stereotypes. Buying a car in the digital age is nothing like it was just a couple of decades ago, but there's still a perception that car salespeople are still rip-off artists. When insider companies like Edmunds perpetuate this invalid perception, is it really good for the industry? Are they really here to help dealers sell more cars or are they against the dealer?

Here's the video followed by links from the a couple of news publications covering it.

Here is coverage on Automotive News and Dealer Refresh.

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Car Salesman Gives Back on His Birthday

They say that in the world of car sales, you don't just sell the car. You have to sell yourself and the dealership. Edward Tomilloso from Honda of Santa Maria did something that you won't see many people ever do. He gave away "gifts" on his own birthday.

Some (the cynical types) might say that it's a publicity stunt or even a worthless gesture, but here's the reality that we can tell simply by watching the video: he enjoys what he does and he isn't afraid of trying new things to promote his business. Those who have been selling cars for any significant amount of time know that it's as much their own business as it is the dealership's and Edward is doing what he feels will position himself to run a successful venture. We wish him much success, but it would appear that he doesn't need our help to make it happen.

He's going to be successful at anything he does.

Here's the video:

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The Mustang is Here

After much anticipation, the 2015 Ford Mustang started hitting showrooms across the country last month and is already showing signs of breaking records. There has been so much written about it over the last year that there's really nothing more for us to add, so here's Motortrend's take on the thoroughbred:

This is the first Mustang to ever have an EcoBoost engine. EcoBoost is one of the greatest automotive marketing coups in modern history, pairing the green "eco" name with a direct-injection, turbocharged engine that creates incredible power. God bless all of those hemp-wearing, unshaven people who have demanded more accountability from carmakers. You helped create EcoBoost. Thank you.

Read more on Motortrend.

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Did Facebook and Ferrari Collude to Steal a Fan Page?

"Collusion" is a strong word to use, one that can get people in hot legal waters, particularly when going against mega-companies like Facebook and Ferrari. With no legal background and only a cursory understanding of the situation, we're prepared to call it what we think it is. Ferrari and Facebook colluded to take a fan page from someone who was simply better at social media than the manufacturer was.

According to a story on Automotive News, Olivier and Sammy Wasem created a fan page (completely legal and within the bounds of Facebook's TOS) in 2008 that went on to become more popular than the official Ferrari fan page. As a result, the page was given over to the company despite the work that the Swiss father and son had put into it. Again, we don't know all of the details, but on the surface it certainly sounds like the big guys squashing the insignificant little guys. If it's true, shame on both Ferrari and Facebook for being so obtuse.

"Ferrari wanted it," the Wasems said in a complaint filed Oct. 14 in San Mateo County Superior Court. "So, with Facebook's knowledge and substantial assistance, Ferrari took it."

Read more on Automotive News.

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Is One-Price Car Selling on its Way?

This is one of the most contested topics in the automotive world. Those who have adopted one-price car sales say that it's changing the way they do business for the better. Those who have either never tried it or who have tried it and failed say that it doesn't make enough sense for various reasons. Is it the future?

That's the question that they asked over at Dealer Refresh recently. Brian Chee wrote the article and wants to know your thoughts.

It seems that we’ve been talking about a revolution in automotive retail for a long time. One-price car shopping. Salespeople as order-takers. Whole teams of dealership employees left to do little more than collect leads from a computer and process financing.

Read more at Dealer Refresh.

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General Motors and Facebook go back a long way. They were one of the early adopters of Facebook advertising. Then, they were notable for pulling out shortly before Facebook went public. A year later, they made waves again by getting back into the advertising ring.

Now, they're using Facebook to reach people with an important recall.

Despite the fact that the news anchor called them "General Mills", we all know the car maker and the recall problem. This is one of their most important ones ever because of the fatality rate with "dozens who have lost their lives" as a result of the faulty ignition switches preventing airbags from being deployed.

General Motors is stepping up to try to prevent more from happening. Here's the news report:

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Follow DealerBar on Facebook

Here's our self-promotional piece. We promise we won't be doing it often.

Facebook has become one of the most prominent methods of communication. There are several places on Facebook where car dealers and automotive vendors like to dwell. We'd love to be one of them!

If you haven't already, please take a moment and like our page on Facebook. We don't over-post so no worries about us flooding your news feed. We won't just be promotional, either; many of the things we post on Facebook are on other websites, not just ours.

Thank you for your support!

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ADM Breaks the 10,000 Member Mark

It's the biggest and one of the oldest automotive social networks still in existence. Now, it's hit a milestone that nobody else (that we know of) has hit in our industry. Automotive Digital Marketing has over 10,000 members.

The site, started in 2007 by Ralph Paglia, has been a top venue for automotive professionals to share ideas, debate hot topics, and network with like-minded pros. It has seen is share of ups and downs over the years, falling into some challenges with companies like TrueCar and Cars.com because of content that was posted on the site, but for the most part everything has flown very nicely for the last 7 years. Now, with over 10k member, it's poised to continue its reign at the top of the heap.

See what others are saying about it on their forum post:

Congratulations to Ralph Paglia and his team of editors! This is a great milestone and demonstrates the type of education and networking that ADM has brought to the industry for the last seven years.

Read more on Automotive Digital Marketing.

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Online Reviews Continue to Influence Sales

They say that word of mouth is still the best way to improve business in the car industry, but online reviews continue to grow as a leading factor in whether or not customers are willing to do business with you. This comes from a study discussed on FI-Magazine this month that highlights some pretty interesting statistics.

Perhaps the most telling of the statistics is the drop from 33% in 2011 to just 14% in 2014 of people who do not trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations. It's as if these customer reviews act like a virtual form of word of mouth. Here's what they had to say:

In the age of online reviews, it turns out that word of mouth may still be the most common way consumers recommend local businesses — but habitual use of the Internet to find reviews is increasing. That’s according to a survey by BrightLocal, which found consumers prefer to give recommendations to people they know on a personal basis.

Read more on FI-Magazine.

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Why #DSES is Awesome

What started as a niche little conference six years ago has turned into one of the premier automotive educational events of the year. Some say that despite being much smaller than NADA, it's actually more rewarding to dealers that attend.

One thing we've always adored about the Driving Sales Executive Summit is the fact that it comes with a constant educational focus. It's not just an event. People can learn throughout the year through their website and communicating with presenters in a way that's different from most conferences.

In this short article on Driving Sales, they detail what the real value of coming to DSES is. If you're not already registered, you should do so now. It's in less than two weeks!

​DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES) is less than two weeks away. Both dealers and speakers are preparing for the greatest DSES yet. For individuals who are still deciding to attend or who are not familiar with how the conference operates, allow us to provide a high-level overview—as well as a link to a free ebook download.

Read more on Driving Sales.

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Negative Reviews Can Be Good

No dealership likes to hear bad things about the way they do business. What's worse is when this negative feedback is broadcast to the world in the form of negative reviews and hateful posts on social media and review sites like DealerRater. This can be both disheartening and cause much worry amongst the internet department - what will the dealer or GM say when they see it?

These negative reviews can be an opportunity for the dealership to shine. We're not expected to be able to make everyone happy. In fact, negative reviews are often expected about all businesses, including car dealerships. How you handle them can be the difference between the reviews turning people off and actually helping to demonstrate your dealership's willingness to address the issues.

In this article by Rob Hagen on Dealer Elite, he details the steps that a dealership should take when negative reviews pop up:

Mistakes happen, people realize this. Nobody expects a business to be perfect, as everyone has bad days. However, how you handle these mistakes is the secret to formulating long-term opinions of your business.

Read more on Dealer Elite.

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How to Pay for Good Website Traffic

There are dozens of ways that dealers can pay for traffic to visit their websites, but only a few ways to get good traffic that can actually convert or come in and buy a car. Knowing the difference between the two is one of the keys to success in an increasingly competitive automotive market.

The obvious way to do it is through search PPC, but that's something that everyone's doing. Some of the things that very few are doing include LotLinx and social PPC, both of which are covered to some extent in this article on Driving Sales by JD Rucker:

We've been very careful with how we approach inventory marketing on dealer websites. On one hand, we know that a dealer's inventory is the primary lead and sales driver for dealers. On the other hand, the concept of driving everyone directly to inventory is a flawed one. Sometimes, it's better to put people on an appropriate landing page rather than push them directly to the cars.

Read more on Driving Sales.

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KNOW Where to Advertise with Geo-Coding

Have you ever dealt with a PPC company that asks you a few questions up front and then goes on for months, even years without gathering more data from you? Have you ever wondered how they can know what and where to advertise for you if they aren't collecting data? If you've never wondered about either of these things, you're doing just fine. Nothing to see here.

If, on the other hand, you've asked these very questions and wondered where the answers lie, then the solution is relatively easy and pretty darn cheap. For $5 per year, you can take advantage of Google's own tool to help you map out where your advertising is working, where it's not, and how to fix it.

In this article on Dealer Refresh by Dan Mondello, he gives a step-by-step look at how to take advantage of this simple but powerful analytics tool.

How far, on average, are your customers willing to travel to purchase their next vehicle from your dealership?

Read more on Dealer Refresh.

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Controlling Vehicle Pricing

We're big fans of the concept of using market data to guide your advertising. It makes sense to know where the buyers are, what they're buying, and how much they're paying in order to make educated decisions about how to spend your money.

On the other hand, we're not as big of fans to the concept of pricing automation using tools that dive into the market prices. Here's the problem with the theory. If most dealers are using the same tool (and they are) then how can any of them get the upper hand with their pricing? Those who believe that nobody should have an upper hand with their pricing isn't understanding what's made the car business so special for so long. Ours is a model that wasn't built on parody but on competitive drive.

We like controlled pricing with effort put into it rather than software and market driven pricing automation.

In this article from iCarBusiness, Michio Hasai takes a deeper dive into the concept and offers insights into why controlled pricing is better than automated.

There is a shift happening in the automotive industry. It’s been happening for a while and the majority of consumers have no idea. A good chunk of the used cars sold by dealers are priced based upon the market rather than the value.

Read more on iCarBusiness.

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Customers for Every Department

Customer loyalty is hard to come by these days. Those of us who have been selling cars for long enough remember a time when the majority of customers would work with a single dealership for a long time, perhaps even their whole lives. Those days are behind us to some extent thanks to the internet, but there are things you can do to win those customers back.

In this article on Automotive Digital Marketing by Jon Lamb, he explores some of the options that dealers have in order to try to make their service customers buy cars from them and to have their sales customers get their cars serviced at the dealership.

We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately, the habits of the general population has changed over the last decade to create a separation between where they buy cars and where they have them serviced.

Read more on ADM

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RB is now a member of Dealer Bar
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"The other sites just have too much spam."
That was the complaint that we received most often when discussing with dealers and other vendors about the variety of sites out there that serve the automotive industry. One would have to sift through sale…
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Simon Leggett posted a blog post
A number of traffic accidents are associated with distracted driving. This includes the use of mobiles which results in severe injuries or even loss of life.The continuous pings on our phones happen to distract us. You feel the urge to attend that m…
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