Friday, October 5, 2012

To BDC, or NOT to BDC?

Getting anyone to recommend a BDC process, lay out a live agent pay plan, and do some comparison between an in-store, centralized, and 3rd-Party BDC at the same time is often difficult.  Especially written down and public--well, here is mine on the link below.

Local Market factors must still be taken into account, and I'm willing to learn from anyone doing it or who has done it.  I've done it, and I'm doing it, too, so let's discuss, if you want.

And there may well be a typo or two.  One thing about putting something like this out there is that, whether folks comment or not, there will be a LOT of opinion.  :)

Enjoy!  Here's the link to the file, which you can share to your heart's content:


Keith Shetterly

Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zen and The Art of The Shot Glass

I’ve often asserted that a shot glass is the perfect gift for both the pessimist and the optimist, as it is never half empty or half full!  It’s a “Zen” point, to me, as the statement generates an opportunity for clarity amongst disparity and confusion—because, if shot glasses are used properly, they are always a full gulp taken, or a full gulp declined.  They have no middle ground to argue about, no viewpoint of half-way down or half-way up, no half-way back or half-way ahead.  You are either taking the shot or you are not.  And that’s another Zen point about shot glasses:  They clearly represent a spiritual step in the act of taking the full shot.

And that step is commitment—It either is or isn't; it’s either made or it's not.  No middle ground.  

For us all, then, commitment is the clear “Shot Glass of Life”, and yet so often we hedge our bets on taking that shot.  We try to sip it, or we try to wait it, or deny it, or talk around it.  Or think about it.  And yet a full and successful life has no half shots in it, nor does it allow half shots to last.

Is someone engaged without a wedding date?  They’re trying to take a half shot.  Are they afraid to talk to someone about hard things because they might lose them?  They’re trying to take a half shot.  Are they trying to hold out for more money at work by not working as hard?  They’re trying to take a half shot.

And a full and successful life, as I wrote above, doesn't allow that.  Even committing to the full shot doesn’t guarantee success—however, the Zen point is that, in attempting to take only those half shots, from the very start of raising that glass then a person has already accepted failure as an option.  And they've planned for it, even.  And so, guess what?  They eventually fail.

A full shot taken is a guarantee only of commitment to success; a half-shot attempted is a guarantee of failure.  Because, in the Zen, the spiritual commitment to oneself and one’s life is not made in the half-shot.

So, take full shots of life, and you’ll have the best success.  And you’ll never have to listen to pessimists nor optimists, just to the sweet feeling from the Zen of your own settled spirit.

Commitment is not half-lost or half-attempted.  And so neither is success from Zen and the Art of The Shot Glass.  To life, then –

Drink up!

By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2012  All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Spheres of DiMaggio

Yeah, I’m talking about baseball, kind of:  When we’re in a rut, or when we don’t get the result we want, or when we fail, we often use sports analogies like “in a slump”, “swing and a miss”, and “struck out”.  And so often, especially in the car business, we are very parochial about who we discuss these issues with—we look to our peers, our friends, our relationships for advice and answers.  People inside our “sphere of influence”.  People in our game on our field.
However, maybe nothing changes.  Maybe the results continue to be bad, or they cycle back from good to bad, and they baffle us.  And we turn to our sphere of influence, again and again, and maybe we succeed in the end.  However, was our success as high or great as we could have had?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.
What do I mean?  In baseball, it’s easy to see that the “spheres” you normally think of are certainly baseballs, but even a baseball park itself can be a "sphere of influence".  For example, Joe DiMaggio is a famous baseball player, still, holding several amazing records 70 years later.  Would you believe, as a right-handed hitter in his home Yankee Stadium, his home run percentage always ran less than on the road?  That’s because Yankee Stadium was uneven, having a deeper fence in left field than right.  That was the “sphere” that such a champion as DiMaggio had every home game.
So, in the other ball parks on the road, DiMaggio hit more homers.  Outside his normal “sphere of influence”, his abilities grew from that interaction with something other than what he was used to.  And he was great on the road!  And then also greater back at home, building on success and feeding from those other “spheres” back to Yankee Stadium;  DiMaggio still has the record for most consecutive games with a hit (56), and his record for hits in 73 of 74 games also stands today.
The lesson from DiMaggio is that we all need to expand our spheres of influence to get the most success we can.  And it’s funny, the effect of that:  A friend of mine in the car business went to Brian Pasch’s Napa Executive Retreat, and he came away with great gems—and he felt that the greatest were from Tom Baldwin, who as CEO of Morton’s Steak House, had led that company into a growth period unprecedented in restaurant history!  From meeting and listening to Mr. Baldwin, my friend says he got several great things to implement towards his own success.  Not in restaurants, but in the car business.
And that’s what happens:  Studies of humans show that we often hear “good” when our friends and peers give us “great”, and we react according to what we hear.  And, yet, outside our normal sphere of influence, we can hear the same “great” as “great”!  Our ears are open, and so we hit some homers in the ballparks on the road, and that leads us to more hits and homers back in our “home” sphere.
We need to learn from the Spheres of DiMaggio:  Success comes from more than just our “home sphere”, and being "on the road" brings that success to greatness.  Come on—don’t you want to hit, run, and throw better than ever in this business?  Then take your Sphere of Influence on the road, and grow it, and bring the things you learn back home for even more success.
“Joltin’” Joe DiMaggio did, and he achieved greatness from his spheres (of all kinds) that lasts even now, 70 years later, and is still going strong!
Different spheres of influence:  A hallmark of greatness.
And, for the greatest success, a hallmark you need.
by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Death of the BeBack (Fight)!

Mathematically and certainly, the BeBack Fight is dead.  JD Power shows us in the graph below that the average dealerships visited by vehicle shoppers dropped from 4.1 in 2005 to 1.3 in 2010.  Don’t expect 2012 to raise that number.
Why does this “kill” the BeBack fight?  First, logically, it at least kills it as we’ve known it.  If a person left the dealership in 2005, statistically we knew they were prone to leave and we fought to get them back.  This number tells us that we were one of four dealerships visited in 2005, so we were right to fight.  We were competing.
Yes, what you’re thinking right now remains correct:  We should still contact customers to get them back, of course.  However, the shopper’s  choice of who to come back to is not our biggest issue any longer--to begin seeing why that is the case, start here with the aforementioned JD Power data graph (thanks for the graphic to a friend of mine):

NOW, clearly, the big fight is to be the ONE dealership they visit. To be the first dealership, actually!  Because shoppers, of course, can’t visit a partial dealership, so they must visit 1, 2, 3, and so on.  And mathematically, in order to average 1.3 that means that at least 70 out of 100 shoppers (that’s 70%!) visit only ONE dealership during their shopping.  If we account for rounding down from 1.34 to 1.3, for 100 shoppers that still means that at least 65% of the shoppers visited only ONE dealership during their shopping.  And, if you believe that the maximum number of dealerships normally shopped is no more than five, then the math shows that 91 out of 100 (or 91%!) shoppers visit only one dealership!
Why is this happening?  Because the customers are, of course, shopping ONLINE now (84% here and 90%+ according to some OEMS), and so they don’t need to visit until they are ready to buy!  Really, on a customer visit nowadays the sale is in our hands more than ever and is, really, ours to lose.
So, to help, what makes them come to you first?  Some of that is their habits:  Are you making your customers habitual for service and repeats?  (“Habitual” will be the subject of a later article).  The rest is your advertising, your website, your online presence—essentially, your digital lot—and your work with leads, equity, and the like. Everything you learn here and in workshops, conferences, battle plans, etc. is VERY VALUABLE on this issue.  It is all gold.
However, there's also platinum--and diamonds!--to be had for being the first dealership visited, as well!  And we need all the help we can get with that.  Including the most powerful sales-enabling tools we can muster.
And that leads me, in this article, to Big Data.  Would you like to know who in your customer base and aged leads are shopping for vehicles?  What their targets are for vehicle type and price range?  How to help them come to your dealership first?  Or what households in your area to best target?  So that you are as position ONE in the “1.3” and get the most sales?
THAT is the promise, really the result, of Big Data for Dealerships for sales: Because being #1 isn’t just a "thing" now.
It’s the ONLY thing.

(P.S.  How can Big Data specifically help you with this?  More to come on that!)
By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2012  All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Big Data: Not Internet 3.0, Internet to the 10th Power!

Big Data is hard to think about for some and so it becomes nebulous:  So, what is it?  It IS a business advantage--it’s not Internet 2.5 or Internet 3.0, it’s Internet^10.  These are some of the coming things possible (some already here!) for dealers to target for SALES with Big Data:
  1. KNOW when your current customers are shopping elsewhere for vehicles:  Customer Retention.
  2. KNOW which of your Aged Internet Leads are still in-market.  And what they are shopping for:  Maximize Lead-Based Sales.
  3. KNOW when your current customers are hitting “life-changing” (read that “vehicle-sales-making”) events such as increase in income, pregnancy, or house purchase:   Life-Targeted Marketing.
  4. KNOW which area to target shoppers who are NOT your customers: Conquest Sales.
  5. KNOW what sources of advertising most drive your business:  Advertising Sourcing.
  6. KNOW what inventory is trending so that you can adjust your lot:  Laser-Focused Inventory Management.
  7. And more . . .
And these are some of the things possible for vendors who would like to sell to dealers:
  1. KNOW which dealers you currently have who are online using search terms that apply to your business:  Customer Retention.
  2. KNOW which area has dealers you do NOT have signed up but are searching for your services:  Conquest Sales.
  3. KNOW which dealers are under-performing for their DMA (in sales, customer satisfaction, etc.) so that you can target them for help:  Growth Sales.
  4. And more . . .
Sound crazy?  It’s not.  Not at all.  Big Data is coming for the car business, and it’s going to change everything.  Want to know when and where it can help you?  Stay tuned!
P.S. I recommend everyone really interested in this topic to set a Google alert on "Big Data". Here's a short sample below to consider.

By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved

-----------sample "big data" Google alert article list follows------------
hanging the World: Big Data and the Cloud
The Atlantic
But while two years ago, Cloud computing was appealing mainly because of its "pay per use" model (ideal in tough economic times), today, it is becoming more important because it is the enabler ofbig data analytics. As a quick review, big data is a ...
See all stories on this topic »
By Decade's End, Big Data Will Be Bigger Than Ever
U.S. News & World Report
Information technology will be one of the fastest-growing fields this decade as commerce has gone digital in industries across the board. While the world may not see the turn-of-the century staffing crunch that was feared during the transition to Y2K ...
See all stories on this topic »
The Promise of Big Data in Public Safety and Justice
Government Technology
The world is overwhelmed by data — and the prospects are for more than we can drink in for as far as we can see. Studies by IBM and Cisco have concluded that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been acquired in the past 18 months, and that ...
See all stories on this topic »

Government Technology
LexisNexis Showcases Big Data to Contain Costs and Improve Health Care ...
The Herald |
ATLANTA — LexisNexis® Risk Solutions announced today its participation in the National Health IT Week celebration ( September 10-14, highlighting the use of data and analytics to drive down improper payments and ensure ...
See all stories on this topic »
AppFirst DevOps Dashboard Delivers Systems, Apps, Business Metrics ...
AppFirst collects millions of infrastructure, application and business metrics that are aggregated and correlated in a single big data repository. Data is collected continuously to provide customers with visibility into their entire infrastructure and ...
See all stories on this topic »
HP Unveils New Enterprise Data Security Offerings
With businesses using more cloud, mobile and big data strategies, perimeter-based security needs to be updated to proactive, intelligent security methods, says Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard unveiled several new data security products and services Sept.
See all stories on this topic »
3M on Winning the Second Click with Big Data Appliances at BrightEdge ...
Search Engine Watch
On Wednesday I will be moderating a panel at BrightEdge Share 12, on the theme of a "New Direction of SEO" and will be joined by Raj Rao, VP of Global eTransformation at 3M, Leo Haryono, SEO Director at Macy's and Andy Johns, Product Manager of ...
See all stories on this topic »
Group Emerges to Develop Big Data Privacy Standards
Compliance Week
Companies are just starting to consider how to unlock the massive potential of Big Data—the enormous and variant streams of information they are capturing, coupled with sophisticated tools to analyze them—and how to avoid the privacy and data ...
See all stories on this topic »
Social/Mobile Analytics Company Kontagent Commits To Future In Toronto Via ...
IT News Online
The company foresees developing products that address Big Data analytics in a number of new and expanding business categories, and intends to leverage Toronto's considerable engineering talent base to help with product innovation and development.
See all stories on this topic »

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Winning Dimension

Every successful business or sports team wins because it has at least these dimensions:  The Playing Field, The Plan—and The People.   

The People dimension.  The third dimension.  The Winning Dimension.

The three dimensions of every object are length, width, and the third which is height.  And any business or sales plan on paper or a computer screenor a basketball pick play sketched on a handheld board at time out, a baseball double play scratched in dirt at first base, or a football play laid out on a chalkboardis no different.  They all have length and width, two dimensions, but people add that third dimension.  And that third people dimension is the critical dimension for success on the field, court, or marketplace.

Even in our lives and personal successes, I think you'd agree that it's been the people in our lives who have made all the difference.  And in business, people execute the administration, marketing, and sales that make profits, just as in sports, where they execute the running, kicking, and passing plays; the on-base hits, double plays, and home runs; and the picks, defense, and baskets that bring the winning difference in the score!

It's all the same:  The third dimension is where all sports and business success happens.  Not on the line, but moving across the line; not on the field, but running down the field; not on the flat paper, but rising in the person.  People are the critical third dimension of success, and without them in that no business or sports team wins.  And being successful is winning!  In the third dimension.

And that means in you.

People:  The Winning Dimension!
Copyright 2012 Keith Shetterly
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big Data: Our New "Internet Moment"

When it comes to our data and how it affects our business, how we can and must make money with it, retail automotive needs to wake up!  We need an "Internet Moment"--but, first, what the heck is that?  Understand that the "Internet Moment" was birthed this way at a very famous company:  The mid 90’s were a crazy time at Microsoft. The Internet was taking off, and it had left without Microsoft—and that was Bill Gate’s mistake, as he had written quite a bit internally at Microsoft about how the Internet was not going to be big.  I worked there back then, and he had led in that direction.  To put it in our perspective for automotive, that would be like Henry Ford and his descendants deciding way back that larger engines and eventually automatic transmissions were not important.  But worse.
And what would have happened in Ford’s case when he realized not having those was going to lose his market?  Bill Gates had that realization, that “Internet Moment”, because he finally listened to the people who worked for him—and the rest of the world—that the Internet was going to be huge.  Bill Gates turned Microsoft around overnight to match the market, and the strategy extended Microsoft’s dominance another ten years—not forever, but to be part of that certainly changedme forever.
In retail automotive, I feel that we are at our own “Internet Moment”, but it's not about the Internet alone any longer:  It's about our data.  I have recently seen, with my own eyes, just a small business wave on what is an enormous ocean of data.  The immense size of it is hard to grasp, and so some have suggested we can stop the data sharing and lock it back up.  We cannot.  Absolutely, we cannot.  First, the size of what is already happening with the data is thousands of points of data on every shopper in the USA, regardless of what they are shopping for.  Billions of data points.  The size of that d ike in just automotive alone is far past the number of our fingers, and far past the amount of time it would take to even try:  By the instant we achieved even a fraction of "stopping the leak", we would already be drowned by the other data sources.  We cannot stop it.
We have to decide, in our retail ships that ride this giant sea of data, whether we will sink in it or do business on it.  And it's not because of TrueCar.  It's not because of Google Cars.  It's not because of Yahoo.  It's not because of anybody else, in fact:  As Pogo once famously said, "We have met the enemy, and he is US!" (Google it if you don't get the reference, as ironic at is is to suggest you do that while writing THIS article!).
This is the mantra I look for and measure companies and partners by:  I support companies that protect and use this data to help dealers close deals and make more profit.  Nobody is perfect, but are you a partner to build business or a parasite taking profits?
We are having our "Internet Moment", and it is about our data.  It won't matter what we want to happen, it will only matter what the consumer wants to happen.  If someone like Bill Gates can't control the consumer, do we think we can?
Of course not.  We cannot fight it, because for sales we must follow where consumers go.  And the data (including OUR data) is how we will get there.
The 2010's will be remembered as the "Data Decade", but don't end up a memory, yourself.  You can do great business with your data for profit, with all the data, and you should.
In fact, it's no longer an option:  In our "Internet Moment" for Data, you must.

P.S. "“Big Data is the new definitive source of competitive advantage across all industries,”… “For those organizations that understand and embrace the new reality of Big Data, the possibilities for new innovation, improved agility, and increased profitability are nearly endless.” - Forbes, 2/18/2012"
by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved
Like this article?  Register and attend for more great information just like this!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

People Chess!

There’s a real human talent in arranging the right pressures (positive and negative), at the right time, on to the right people, to get a desired result.  It’s a hallmark of effective leadership, in fact, and the name “People Chess” is an easy way to summarize this talent.   And we all know its uses in relationships of all kinds, really, both to us by others and by us to others.   
Every organization is led by someone with this talent, and every organization has several people who are strongly playing People Chess.   And it’s not only used in leadership:  It’s also used by people pursuing a leadership position in order to establish the early hierarchy that leads to that position.  And it can even be used during a temporary leadership position such as deciding where a group will go for lunch!
And it’s certainly not without risks and misuses.  Hardly!  Like actual chess, it’s even possible to play People Chess well and still lose—so we need to improve our skills as far as we can, if we want to play.  However, unlike actual chess, it is also possible for People Chess to be played poorly, or to be played for nefarious purposes (shamefully), and then folks on the chess board—who are not pieces, but people!—can be hurt.  Sometimes badly, and sometimes irrevocably.
The best results in People Chess for an organization will be had from maintaining good ethics towards both those you lead and your peers.  It can become very complicated, as there are dozens, if not many thousands, more dimensions to People Chess than to an actual chess game.  However, a good strategy starts with a positive goal and flows from there.  And People Chess in an organization has a priority default of three drivers to consider for the best team results:  What’s best for the people in the team, what’s best for the organization, and what’s best for you.
And know that you will not always be able to arrange that priority within every move of People Chess.  Realistically, there is no “best for the people in the team”, for example, if another player has a bad motivation in a move that forces you to consider the organization first in your reply move.  And that's okay.  Just be careful with it.
Finally, don’t forget that, though People Chess exists no matter whether we choose to play or not, we have a human responsibility to sincerely aim at a good outcome for those involved.   No matter how anyone else plays, aim to do right by the people that you work with and lead.
Because, if you take shortcuts towards your goal that will hurt people, then just hope you never play People Chess like that against me.  Or against someone like me who cares about people, not pieces.  
Aim high and positive, do right by others, and rally your skills in People Chess.  Your organization needs you!  :)
Excerpt from the book "I'm Not Listening as Loud as You are Talking!" by Keith Shetterly
Coming November 2012 on
Copyright 2012,
All Rights Reserved
This post sponsored by AutoCON2012.  Come see me there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Road Less Profited

We talked for years in automotive retail about “The Road to the Sale”, and I’m clearly one of the many supporters of that path to sales success.   However, too many of us are still on "The Road Less Profited".  Why?  Because we are not getting more sales (and profits!) from "The Road to Retention”!
Retention sales link the positives of variable and fixed operations together, and their teaming allows each part of the dealership to amplify the other.  Unfortunately, even in 2012, we don’t see that profitable interaction very often, and in fact it seems programs and efforts at retention—which will gain a lot more money for the dealership in both operation and by advertising—don’t get much attention.  Or action for sales.
And that is a huge, profit-abandoning, mistake
And the “how” is not complicated.  For sales and service, here’s The Road to Retention:
  1. Capture the newly-sold units into service with service walks and with discounted first-service and detail offers, etc. in a programmed, post-sale fixed ops monthly marketing effort.
  2. Mine your existing owner base for the locals that still don’t visit for service, and send them service and detail offers in a programmed, post-sale fixed ops monthly outbound marketing effort.
  3. Mine your sold-to-service owner base for flips from service to sales, both during appropriately-timed and/or large-service visits and also by making service-loyalty-prompted outbound equity calls and email/direct mail efforts.
  4. Mine your service-only customers for flips from service to sales, both during appropriately-timed and/or large-service visits and also by making service-loyalty-prompted outbound equity calls and email/direct mail efforts.
  5. Offer notable and marketable customer-facing “ease of use” features for your service drive, to include “loyal customer” loaners/rides, a great service drive and waiting room experience (and market to them there, too), easy mobile and online appointment scheduling, valuable email service reminders with offers (and body shop reminders/offers), timely opt-in text repair status, etc.
  6. Perform equity calls to all owner-base customers every month, and email/direct mail the local owners in good equity position, as well.  If they are not ready for a purchase, invite them into service with a good incentive.
  7. Concentrate on the fixed-ops up-sell AND CSI!  They go hand-in-hand, generating good repeat customers.
  8. Provide great sales and service, and focus on capturing customer reviews to support your position.  And ADVERTISE your great reviews to all your potential and existing customers.  Online and offline.
  9. Organize and measure all this with the best DMS, CRM, and 3rd-Party tools you can get.  And use them all!  If you can’t keep track of it, you can’t measure it.  If you can’t measure it, you are guessing—and dealerships are businesses not the Vegas tables!  KNOW.  Don’t guess.
  10. Operate all of this as the “Great Turning Wheel of Retention”, because your bestnew customers are always your previous customers.  There is a lifecycle to all sales, and the strongest lifecycle is when the cycle is worked for retention—abandonment chases customers away.  Draw them back into your dealership for sales and service!  They already visited you once to purchase, and they will again if you manage them in a lifecycle focused on retention.
Dealers:  Don't follow "The Road Less Profited” any more.
Instead, follow “The Road to Retention” and make more money than ever!

by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved,
P.S. Many thanks to the late Robert Frost and his poem "The Road Not Taken" (with the famous "The Road Less Traveled" line) for inspiration for the title.  Check it out of you've not read it!  And be sure to attend this fall--I'll be there, and think about this:  If you can't measure all this, how do you do all this?  Measurement:  Not just common sense, but a good idea!  :)  Find out how at AutoCon2012!
Also please check out the rest of my "The Road . . ." sales series at The Six ONLINE Steps On the Road to the Sale and Road to the Sale is More than Ten Steps--You Knew this, Right?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Six ONLINE Steps On the Road to the Sale

The Internet has infiltrated your classic Road to the Sale—did you know that?  Think about it this way:  Would you let your salespeople lot-drop dozens of UPs without a turn?  Would you let them yell at, confuse, or manhandle your shoppers on the lot?  Or, worse yet, would you let them ignore your shoppers?
Your website does this EVERY DAY.  Take a second to ask yourself why you allow that, and when in the next second you realize you should NOT allow that—then take these six steps with you to measure what you are doing and work to get it right!
Here you go:
The Six ONLINE Steps On the Road to the Sale
1. Meet and Greet: Reputation and Website – This may be as early in the process as a shopper looking at your online reviews—does their story welcome the shopper to do business?  Or drive them away?  Do you appear interesting and trustworthy on their social media?  What do you say and more importantly what is said about you?  And then they click through to your website from social media, SEO/reviews, PPC, or a banner ad—OR coming to you directly from knowing your website name.  Does your website welcome them visually and invite them to chat?  Can they see pictures of your facility and especially of the people they will likely buy a vehicle and service from?  Do your PPC campaigns land the shopper on pages of your inventory which are directly relevant to the advertising message that led them to click?  And are your PPC landing pages “closed” to navigation so that the shopper isn’t “lifted” off their car to do other things?  Does your SEO strategy also lead the shopper directly to what they asked for?  And are your pages friendly to the shopper with easy navigation?
2. Interview: Inventory and Chat – This is a shopper reviewing your inventory, and better yet engaging in chat that is relevant to information they need in order to understand THEMSELVES what they want.  It’s not a full needs assessment, except that it is a SELF-SERVICE needs assessment (depending on the strength of your chat AND on their own comfort with chatting about their needs—usually, they ask direct questions rather than answer them, regardless).
3. Vehicle Selection: Inventory Information Navigation – Now they’ve landed on a cars in your inventory and you’ve got to let them know how to select one.  Can they sort by feature?  (long, short bed)  By price?  (under $10k, etc.)
4. Walk-Around: Pictures, Video, History – Do you provide enough pictures?  Video walkarounds?  Good comments about the history of each used car?  CarFax or other such service?
5. Trade Evaluation:  Positive Trade Message – KBB, Blackbook, etc. plug-ins for your website satisfy some of this, as do things like Autotrader’s Trade-in Marketplace (TIM).  Do everything you can to make them feel comfortable bringing in their trade!!
6. Test Drive:  CONTACT ME/LEAD/APPT.! – Now we are into a gray area of sorts!  Is a video walkaround from #4 also a test drive, for example?  Maybe.  However, what I think this is, really, is the shopper’s affirmation via a contact action-to-a-lead on their part (a form, email, or call) that they would like more information/contact and schedule an appt.  By the way, does your website offer an APPOINTMENT to see the car that they can ask for directly?  If not, why not??
Note:  If you like this, check out Road to the Sale is More than Ten Steps--You Knew this, Right?  Thanks!

By Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Road to the Sale is More than Ten Steps--You Knew This, Right?

Yeah, you know the Road to the Sale (RTTS) like the back of your hand, right?  Do you also know the additional Road to the Sale From the Sold?  Or the additional Road to the Sale from the Unsold?  
And do you train your staff on any of this?  Even if you like a shorter RTTS, take a look below and see what you are missing!
This post is short and sweet, because sometimes the best things are simple.  Good selling!
Keith Shetterly
Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved 

1. Meet and Greet 
2. Interview 
3. Vehicle Selection 
4. Walk-Around 
5. Test Drive 
6. Trade Evaluation 
7. Present Numbers and Ask for the Sale 
8. Close 
9. F&I Turn 
10. Delivery and Service Drive Intro

1. Ask for Referrals at Delivery 
2. Ask for Online Review at Delivery 
3. Make a Properly-Timed CSI Reminder Call (New Vehicle Sales Only) 
4. Follow-up at Six Weeks and Mine the Household 
5. Follow-up every six months AND Birthdays/Anniversaries and Mine the Household 

1. Follow-Up Objection-Isolating Call From Manager/3rd Party ASAP the Customer Leaves the Lot
2. Follow-Up BeBack Call Next Day From the Salesperson
3. Follow-Up Beback Call EVERY Friday From the Salesperson for a MONTH
4. Put Customer on Monthly eMail Newsletter
5. Follow-Up Beback call EVERY Mid-Month for Four Months

Saturday, May 19, 2012

GM is "Dot Dumb" ...Again

There's a great article here called Doing It Wrong: 11 Boring Things GM Posted on Facebook.   I couldn't agree more with the article.  And, like the article itself, I have more to say than just comment on the "boring" Facebook page operation by GM, as well:  GM is stupid, or "dot dumb", for revoking their paid Facebook ads.
What is going on?  This is really "Old Media vs. New Media" and nothing new for GM's advertising, unfortunately.  I don't agree with the folks who claim Facebook cannot be monetized well--in fact, if I were running GM's online efforts, I would have wanted to WORK WITH Facebook to tune up their ad system!  The press from such an effort would have been very big.  And positive, even if the project itself didn't work (which I think it would).  We will sell 14 million vehicles this year, give or take, and spend (between the OEMs and dealers) $14 billion dollars in advertising!  That's $1,000 a vehicle.  And that's a lot of money to direct to the right places.
And yet Facebook--with a standing audience of many millions that includes both domestic GM customers and possible conquests (not to mention SERVICE customers)--is somehow not, in GM's eyes, worth working it out?  Evidently.  Well, whether you believe Facebook is the Next Online Ad Giant or you don't, GM's move to revoke $10 million of Facebook advertising (very important, though a drop in the bucket for both OEM car ads as well as Facebook income) is indicative of a systemic problem:  GM has never, ever really "gotten" the Internet.  From their matching funds efforts for digital ad strategies to their lead programs, they don't understand what it takes to really advertise vehicles much less sell vehicles leveraging the Internet.  And this was true before the bankruptcy and is true after.
Phrases like "Emperor's New Clothes" and "Calling Their Baby Ugly" come to mind, as clearly GM has an entrenched mindset that has continued to not "get" the Internet OR social media for years--and so I don't expect either to make a change at GM or make a friend from this article (and I do have friends who work at GM, by the way, and for the record as individuals they are very smart).  I'm just one guy who DOES get it writing a blog in an online community.
However, change is needed for GM.  And how long does it take for GM to really change?  Another decade will be equivalent to at least 50 "Internet Years".  How much must happen for GM to really change and not be "dot dumb"?  A bankruptcy couldn't even do it.
Which is sad.  I'm a long-time GM vehicle buyer, by the way.  A true fan of the product.  Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer of us:  Most of the "unaffiliated" vehicle buyers are on Facebook.  And they're under 35.  And maybe under 40.
And, as the most-marketed-to age group in history, they are not stupid.  They are "dot smart".
Maybe GM Marketing/Advertising should hire a few of them.
by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved, 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Facebook is the Most Important Digital Ad Spend for Dealers to Make

Using Facebook only for fan pages for your customers and spending all your digital ad spend with Google is incorrect.  Facebook is where your customers are for many hours per day, and--despite Google's additional audience from Google+'s much-smaller social media presence--advertising on Facebook can be more effective than Google.  And it could be the strongest addition to your digital ad spend.


The first key point is understanding that Facebook is where people are connecting with each other, where people are chronicling their lives and the lives of friends and family.  Nothing like Facebook has existed before—and so digital advertising on Facebook keys in on important purchase factors far earlier in the buying cycle than Google.  And far more effectively, and thus less obtrusively, because Facebook advertising follows the flow of people’s lives, rather than sitting sidesaddle on those lives as Google does.

Sidesaddle?  Yes.  Specifically, Google is ready when targets email folks using Google Gmail about their possible car purchase, or when they have reached a decision to investigate via search results.  Essentially, with Google your targets are further down the sales funnel BUT are not involved in the funnel.  They simply reach for it when they are ready and reach only for Google’s funnel, which is large . . . but nowhere near as large as Facebook’s.  And nowhere near a part of their very lives—really, for Facebook digital advertising, the sales funnel for targets is always ready and already there:  In fact, in the case of Facebook digital ad spend, Facebook IS the sales funnel!

As well, the target group in Facebook is larger, first by the fact that Facebook is huge and users can be on any email system, not just Google’s, but can still communicate via Facebook email and timeline events to all their friends in Facebook. And they therefore do so in a cross-platform manner--and nearly constantly, if the truth be known, so that content can always guide Facebook's advertising.  

Therefore, while your targets are organizing and notating on events, on friend’s and family’s Facebook walls, fan pages, and of course using a very, very strong gaming component, you can advertise based on their activities.  And not be riding your on isolated decisions for a later Google email or search.  In Facebook digital advertising, you as the advertiser are *participating* in your target’s lives, needs, wants in ways Google nor anyone else can match.  The strength and impact of that is enormous.

Oh, yes, don't forget:  What about mobile?  Facebook dominates as an app on mobile phones.  And your targets who are on phones seeing mobile ads are IN MARKET like no other source in history.  Who do you want to be with on Mobile?  Your dance card had better include Facebook.  See what is happening with mobile ads on Facebook here and here.

How does this apply to dealerships?  It’s huge.  Long before someone decides to search for a car, or even emails a friend about a car, on Facebook they have liked their friend’s car purchase and new-car pictures, talked about the two highest-performing life events for car purchases (new child and house closing), etc.  And, like Google, Facebook watches content to alert for advertising, but, unlike Google—nay, a universe BEYOND Google—Facebook ads are presented at the earliest and strongest discussion touch points for the target consumers.  They are part of the “stream of life” and flow along to actual purchase in a natural way.  In the most influential ways.  And in ways Google may never achieve, even with Google+.

Do you want the strongest results from your digital ad spend?  Then choose Google but ALSO be a part of your prospects' and customer’s lives in Facebook’s digital advertising.  Available data strongly shows Facebook digital advertising as more effective than Google’s and that it it is also very valuable for sales (both vehicle and service) to your current owners!

And I’m not saying abandon Google!  Not yet, anyway, and not any time soon, as search is still very, very important and likely will remain so.  However, Facebook digital advertising puts you in the position of being known and experienced by your targets long before they do any Google search.  Do you want to be the partner along the life they know in Facebook or only the one they search for in Google?  Don’t you want to be both?  

Sure you do!  Now go get those Facebook ads started! by Keith Shetterly, Copyright All Rights