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Lifting Service Revenue With Showroom Demos – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Recently passing my hometown fire station, a new billboard caught my attention. “Car Seat Demos” illuminated the dark sky.

My childhood fire station is reaching out to the community to educate drivers about car seats, and dealerships can too!

Winter is an especially critical time for hosting safety demos. Maintenance needs to change as driving conditions and temperatures worsen – and demos give fixed operations staff opportunities to engage with buyers in your area. While these buyers may not need a new car today, if they attend a helpful “how to” session in your showroom, you begin to build brand recognition for upcoming automotive purchases and expand your reach to attract repeat business.

 

In addition to contacting your nearest fire station to run a car seat installation class, here are two other time sensitive ideas to capitalize on during winter months.

 

 

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that car owners check their tire pressure once per month. Have your service manager instruct on how to gauge tire pressure and make sure gauges are available to purchase from your service counter. You can increase the reach of your demo by filming it and uploading to your store’s YouTube channel and website.

 

  • The nights are getting longer, and according to Weather.com, traffic deaths are three times more likely at night. The site also argues that depth perception and color recognition are impaired in the dark.  Your service team can compile a PowerPoint deck to present regarding night driving tips.

 

During my driver’s education course, my instructor emphasized the importance of functioning taillights and head lights, looking to the fog line of the road when an oncoming car is blasting its high beams, keeping a safe following distance, and signaling with plenty of yardage to spare. Other prudent night driving recommendations can be found via AAA and Department of Motor Vehicles. Consider personalizing your presentation by including local gas stations where drivers can go to seek help if needed.

 

Earlier this year, one of the dealerships that I work with in Ohio placed a link to tips for driving in the fall and at night. My Business Development Coordinator has stated that buyers are viewing and have appreciated the information. Take this idea and make it even more powerful by inviting buyers into your store for a formal demo, and then post the content in your digital channels (e.g. website, social media, e-blasts).

 

As stated in our eBook, Multichannel Marketing: Coordinating Existing Media for Maximum Con…, “Aberdeen’s “July 2012 Customer Experience Management: Using the Power of Analytics to Optimize Customer Delight” research, businesses who engaged in multichannel marketing saw growth in key performance improvements across the board, such as: a 6.8% increase in customer retention, a 5.1% increase in customer lifetime value, and a 4.0% increase in customer satisfaction.”

Not only will running a service demo this season get new buyers into your store, but you’ll show them the value of your desire to educate while boosting your service bottom line. Schedule an event today!

Featured Webinar

Featured Webinar

How can you turn MultiChannel Marketing into car sales? Auburn Volkswagen’s General Manager & Principal Matthew Welch will reveal 5 best practices for incorporating MultiChannel Marketing into your dealership’s strategy.

 

Watch on Demand

 

 

About the Author

Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Cobalt Account Advocate Marissa Dogeagle Smith is an Account Advocate at Cobalt, working primarily with Hyundai and General Motors stores. Marissa and her teammates provide and implement ongoing website optimization strategies that help dealerships distinguish themselves and drive qualified showroom traffic. Marissa is extremely passionate about the value of using website data to formulate and employ powerful strategies. Like many Toyota owners, Marissa learned to drive in a Camry and now owns a Corolla. Marissa holds a Business Administration degree and Marketing Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Feel free to reach out to Marissa directly at msmith@cobalt.com.

TrueCar Sponsors Ten Full Ride AutoCon 2013 Scholarships – The 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition

AutoCon 2013 Announces a Special Program Sponsored by TrueCar to Award Ten “Full Ride Scholarships” for Dealership Managers to Attend AutoCon 2013*

Automotive Media Partners, LLC is proud to announce the creation of a “Full Ride Scholarship*” program sponsored by TrueCar of Santa Monica, California.  TrueCar’s pioneering sponsorship of this program provides the funds to cover the costs of transportation to and from Las Vegas, lodging at the Aria Resort and full AutoCon conference registration. 

One of the most surprising aspects of TrueCar’s sponsorship is that the company has funded ten (10) AutoCon “Full Ride Scholarships*”.  Ten automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition at no out of pocket expense for travel, meals during the event or conference fees to themselves or their dealerships. 

  

The TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship Program is further evidence of the remarkable transformation that has taken place at TrueCar since the beginning of 2012. After receiving a remarkable level of criticism within the auto industry during the second half of 2011, TrueCar has evolved and revised their automotive purchasing programs for consumers and affiliated corporations to be far more dealer friendly. 

TrueCar’s objectives supported by these changes have included raising dealer profit margins to levels that provide more room for dealers to cover facility costs and the staffing levels needed to properly service new vehicle buyers sent to them by TrueCar.   


TrueCar understands and recognizes the need for ongoing training and thought leadership within the ranks of the retail automotive industry.  Their management team has decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate this commitment to betterment of the industry is to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2013. 

 

TrueCar executives Bernie Brenner and Mike Timmons approached the founders of the Automotive Digital Marketing and dealerElite professional communities, Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers because these online networks have served as “Ground Zero” for some of the industry’s harshest criticism of TrueCar in the recent past.  Surprising for a company as large as TrueCar is, their management team has reviewed the criticism published by members of the ADM and DealerELITE networks and taken corrective actions, changed their business models and worked with State dealer associations to create vehicle purchase programs that make sense for participating dealers. 

How will the TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships be Awarded?

TrueCar has asked that the AutoConnections Conference Management Team take full control and responsibility for ensuring that the 10 Full Ride Scholarships be awarded based on merit and need.  Criteria will include a wide geographic representation by selecting automotive professionals from every region in North America.  Another consideration will be to award scholarships to professionals who represent a diverse range of vehicle brands and positions within the dealerships they serve.  

Written TrueCar Scholarship Application

The application process will be a simple online application that includes all the expected contact information, a description of the applicant’s role in the dealership where they work and space for them to describe in their own words why they should be awarded a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship to attend the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas from September 4th to the 6th

Video TrueCar Scholarship Application

If you are better at explaining your reasons why you should be selected for a scholarship in a verbal manner, the AutoCon 2013 TrueCar scholarship committee will also be pleased to accept your proposal in a video format. Simply explain why you should be selected in a YouTube video that is either uploaded or embedded to eitherAutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com or dealerELITE.net . Please be sure to include the link to that video in your scholarship application where you write out your explanation of why YOU should be selected to receive a “Full Ride Scholarship”.

The AutoCon Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Mike Myers, Carrie Hemphill and Brian Pasch.  As applicants are being considered they will be contacted by a committee member and interviewed via phone and email.  Final selections will be made by committee vote and the awardees notified by email and phone.

AutoCon 2013 Scholarship Selection Committe

  • Ralph Paglia
  • Chris Saraceno
  • Mike Myers
  • Carrie Hemphill
  • Brian Pasch 

                                                    

Applications for TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships will be accepted starting Monday July 1, 2013 and award selections will begin Monday August 5, 2013.

 

With 10 TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships being awarded, the odds of being selected are probably better than any other similar program in the auto industry… So, do not hesitate to apply and encourage other automotive professionals to do so!  All of us who are stakeholders in the AutoCon event are thrilled with the investment being made by TrueCar to support what we believe is the best event in the auto industry.  The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon 2013 and the Full Ride Scholarship Program is appreciated and respected. 

In the past, TrueCar was a company that received an enormous amount of criticism, much of which has been emotionally charged and at times, crossed the boundaries of decency and professional behavior.  Many other companies faced with similar criticism and public ridicule would have released a barrage of legal actions to defend themselves.  TrueCar has consistently taken the high road and responded to their critics with program changes and by sending their senior executives to major auto industry events and meetings. 

 

The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon is further proof that this company is led by professionals who want to be valuable contributors to the overall success of the auto industry.

 

On behalf of the AutoCon team and the 10 auto industry professionals who will receive the benefit of these scholarship awards, a sincere thank you to TrueCar is extended.

Apply for a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship online at http://AutoCon2013.com

    

*PLEASE NOTE: “Full Ride Scholarship” is the brand name for this category of award and is owned by Automotive Media Partners, LLC.  All “Full Ride Scholarships” associated with an AMP promoted event with include a travel stipend that reimburses the scholarship recipient for airfare expense submitted up to a maximum dollar amount. Recipients will also receive lodging for the nights of the conference itself. Any room charges authorized by the scholarship recipient, or incidental expenses are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. Also included are the conference fees for registering and attending the event, which will usually include scheduled breakfasts and lunches that all event participants receive. It is important for scholarship recipients to understand that ANY expenses outside of airfare to and from the event, hotel lodging and conference registration fees are NOT INCLUDED in our version of a “Full Ride Scholarship”.  Furthermore, we strongly advise all scholarship recipients to travel with a valid major credit card and two forms of government issued ID. Adequate cash should be brought by scholarship recipients to cover meals outside of those scheduled on the conference agenda, local transportation and miscellaneous expenses… After all, you will be in Las Vegas and “Cash-In-Fist” is strongly advised!

   

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Is Your Job Worth Going To Prison For? – DealerELITE.net

For those that react with “That could never happen to me”, let me attest from personal experience to the fact that over the 30 years I have worked in the car business, I have seen numerous cases where people I worked with have been prosecuted, arrested and served time in prison for actions they took OR SIMPLY ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.  

For example, I worked with a Sales Manager by the name of Dan Mourneau while selling cars in San Diego.  Dan “curbed” a used VW Beetle that he bought from a customer when the dealership would not provide an acceptable ACV… Dan and a salesperson resold the used VW and signed odometer statements that the mileage shown was true and original.  The vehicle had been “rolled back” by the previous owner that traded it in at the dealership.  Dan served 6 months in California State Prison for odometer fraud.  

On another occasion, I saw a Finance Manager create a second contract showing a much higher down payment than the customer had actually paid. This was to allow the customer to get a better loan rate from their credit union… John Downing, the Finance Manager was charged with bank fraud and was put on probation for several years and banned from working in a car dealership.  I could go on and on, but let’s just say that Jim’s article is not an exaggeration, nor is it far fetched… People who do the wrong thing, or let those wrong things happen in dealerships can and will be held accountable.  

Two of the best car guys I ever met, the Daly Brothers (twins) came to work for me in Phoenix in 2005 after one of them was released from prison and both of them were banned from working in any car dealership in California for forging customer signatures on routine documents.  These highly talented automotive professionals made the mistake of doing something that seemed harmless enough, and saved them the time of getting customers back into the dealership to sign ATFI, Demonstrator Statements and other routine documents, but ended up getting them convicted of Forgery, one of them going to prison and both of them basically run out of the highest car sales state in the country.  Yes, it can happen to you if you DO THE WRONG THING!

Google +1: Now in PPC Ads and Affecting Search Engine Ranking – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

 

Google makes it clear that the +1 button does have an impact on your organic rankings, regardless of whether they come from a PPC ad or your organic listing.  As long as the URL of your PPC ad matches the URL of the organic listing, +1’s will show on both results.  The company also notes that while +1’s will affect your organic search ranking, they will not change Quality Score or ad ranking.  However, the most important component of Quality Score is Click-Through Rate (CTR) and I suspect that the primary reason that Google is testing this functionality in PPC ads is that they believe (as I do) that when a user sees a +1 from a trusted source, they will be more likely to click on the ad—increasing CTR, Quality Score, and Google’s ad revenue.

J. D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study Reveals New Vehicle Purchase Decision Points

Study Shows: Jaguar Continues To Excel At Treating Their Customers Right And Audi Continues To Suck At It!

The manner in which customers are treated by the dealership is more important to overall new-vehicle buyer satisfaction than the actual transaction price, according to the J. D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released November 18, 2010.

The J. D. Power and Associates SSI study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle automotive purchase experience. Overall customer satisfaction is measured across four factors:
  • working out the deal (33%)
  • salesperson (25%)
  • delivery process (21%)
  • dealership facility (20%)
J. D. Power’s 2010 SSI study finds that more than one-half (52%) of new-vehicle buyers cite dealer treatment as a reason to purchase their new vehicle from a specific dealer. In comparison, 38 percent of buyers cite vehicle price or the deal offered as the reason for selecting their dealer.

The SSI study reveals one aspect of car buying satisfaction (or lack of) that is of particular interest; once the selling car dealership is selected, the ease of coming to an agreement on the final vehicle price has the single-greatest influence on buyer satisfaction, surpassing the importance of fairness of the actual price paid.

With the exception of selecting a vehicle, negotiating the deal is the aspect of the new-vehicle buying process that takes the longest time (53 minutes, on average).

“The process of working out the deal is the primary indicator of whether new-vehicle buyers have a satisfactory purchase experience,” said Jon Osborn, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. “While there are some buyers who enjoy the negotiation process, many find it to be the most unpleasant part of purchasing a new vehicle. It is particularly important for retailers to make this process as efficient and collaborative as possible, given its importance to overall satisfaction.”

For a third consecutive year, Jaguar ranks highest among luxury brands in satisfying buyers with the new-vehicle buying experience. Jaguar performs particularly well in the salesperson and working out the deal factors. Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz follow in the luxury brand segment rankings. These two brands also ranked second and third, respectively, in 2009.

Among luxury brands, Lincoln demonstrates the greatest improvement from 2009, moving from sixth rank position to fourth in 2010.


MINI ranks highest among mass market brands, performing particularly well in dealership facility, salesperson and delivery process.

Mercury and GMC, respectively, follow MINI in the mass market segment rankings. The mass market brands demonstrating the greatest improvement from 2009 are Hyundai (moving from 16th rank position to seventh in 2010) and Chrysler (moving from 15th rank position to eighth in 2010).

The study also finds that 60 percent of new-vehicle buyers visit more than one dealership during the shopping process. While many dealers are rejected for not having a vehicle that the buyers wanted to purchase, a significant number of buyers (18%) end showroom visits primarily due to poor customer treatment by the dealer’s salespeople. While some new-vehicle buyers complain about dealer sales staff applying too much sales pressure, “With new-vehicle retail sales remaining soft and manufacturers spending considerable amounts on incentives to get customers into showrooms, the value of prospects coming in to a dealership is extremely high,” said Osborn. “Dealers cannot afford to drive away customers through poor treatment. In addition, most of these rejecters go on to purchase a different brand of vehicle entirely, meaning that both the individual dealer and the automaker lose out.” The Internet continues to play an increasingly important role in the new-vehicle shopping process, with more than three-fourths of new-vehicle buyers (79%) using the Internet during the shopping process.

 

Twenty-four percent (24%) of all new vehicle buyers in 2010 submitted an online request for quote to a dealer, and were, on average, more satisfied with the negotiation process and the price paid. However, perhaps expecting a quicker sales process, these buyers are more likely to express dissatisfaction with the length of the sales process than are buyers who did not submit an online request.

“Dealers need to streamline the new-vehicle buying process for customers who do a lot of research online,” said Osborn. “These buyers tend to be affluent, well-informed and time-sensitive. They generally know the exact vehicle they want and how much they expect to pay for it. Despite often having little familiarity with the dealership they are buying from, they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Dealers need to balance respect for the customer’s time while still providing what the customer needs.”
The J. D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 25,244 new-vehicle buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in May 2010. The study was fielded between August and October 2010.

Ping.fm – Buzz This, Integrate That! http://ping.fm/OYPoy

Location:Chicago, IL

Jim Ziegler and Ralph Paglia Host Dealer Battle Plan Workshop in Atlantic City on July 6-8th

ATLANTA, June 2 — Top automotive industry trainer Jim Ziegler presents a dynamic workshop to help auto retailers meet online marketing challenges. Automobile retail sales are a fiercely competitive and erratic market. Ziegler’s plan is to give dealers an Internet Sales and Marketing Strategy to outperform the competition. This powerful event will be held at Bally’s Atlantic City, just minutes from the Philadelphia and New York City areas.

Change is constant. Nothing is the way it was, and will never be that way again. After working with thousands of automobile dealers over the years, Jim Ziegler needed to be sure his clients kept up with the new realities of changing technologies and the emerging influence of social media. So he assembled an all-star faculty for this dynamic event. All four presenters are world-class online retail practitioners. Their expertise and hands-on experience has shown they know what works and what doesn’t work in the online sales arena.

Workshop Instructors Ralph Paglia, Joe Webb and Tim Jennings have all been top-rated speakers at premier industry events and have managed both large and small InternetDepartments. When interviewed, Jim Ziegler smiled and said, “I’ve assembled a killer team for this event, combat tested veterans with more than four decades of in-the-trenches experience.”

Now, Ziegler and friends are delivering the real deal, content-rich sessions, hands-on “real-world stuff”, not theory. These tactics and processes are battle-tested on the front lines in dealerships all across the country.

Jim continued, “Dealerships can’t afford to miss a single opportunity to do business.” Having a dominant and effective presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other portals is critical to dealership marketing strategy. Ziegler and Paglia are masters of Social medium relationship sales and marketing. Students will take back an in-depth understanding of how to leverage online relationships for sales and profits as well as…

  --  The pathway to success; from email, to telephone, to the appointment
      to delivery
  --  How to Maximize Existing Profit Centers and Create New Ones
  --  How to use self-produced videos to capture customer trust and create
      credibility
  --  Focus sites, micro sites, and 12 other secrets to drive high-volume
      traffic
  --  Internet stealth marketing techniques with 'Ninja' Search Engine
      Optimization
  --  Marketing and Advertising with ultimate Video Search Engine
      Maximization
  --  How to turn your dealership into an Internet Sales Powerhouse
  --  Customer Relationship Management and CSI Engineering Projects for High
      Average Profitability, Top-Rated CSI Scores, Customer Retention and
      Referrals!
  --  YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: How to profitize
      relationships with consumers through customer-friendly "Pull
      Marketing"

  About :

Ziegler SuperSystems is an automotive training and consulting organization based in the Atlanta, GA area. President Jim Ziegler is a member of the National Speakers Association and has been a keynote speaker at National and State Dealer conventions, and has trained over 75,000 Dealers, GSMs, Sales and F&I Managers. Course and Training information is at: http://zieglersupersystems.com/ Jim can be reached at: 800-726-0510

Jim Ziegler and Ralph Paglia Host Dealer Battle Plan Workshop in Atlantic City on July 6-8th.