Shetterly's Laws

The series "Shetterly's 3 Laws of..." below is my attempt to boil down and simplify modern marketing, sales, technology, process, etc. to the necessary essentials for a dealership to focus on increasing sales.  I kept them simple, too, as so many people make these modern and straightforward "meat and potatoes" points seem like an old plate of spaghetti!

This causes hesitation, and--as the surviving deer across America could tell us if they could talk--"hesitation kills".  These days of the Web, mobile phones, etc., no dealer can afford crippling (or perhaps business-deadly) hesitation.

And so I hope this series "Shetterly's 3 Laws of..." helps dealers understand the modern essentials they need to increase sales.  For more information, or to hire me to help your dealership, please email me at or call/text me at the phone number in the header of this site.

If you like them, you can also buy a mug of several of these laws (and t-shirts, bags, etc.) at  Regardless, enjoy!

Thank you,

P.S. Here they are:  

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Dealer Data

1) No Dealer shall allow access to their business data (DMS, CRM, etc.) by any Vendor without restrictions to specific data needed and on the use of such data for onlyproviding a clear and very strong business advantage to the Dealer.
2) No Vendor shall use their access to a Dealer's data for any purpose other than advancing that dealer's business only and, as well, shall not break or attempt to break the restrictions on data access levied by the Dealer.
3) If Laws 1, 2, or both are ever broken, data access for the Vendor involved shall be ceased by the Dealer in every way necessary and immediately.

by Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved 
P.S.  Want to understand this better?  Check out Jim Ziegler's Record-Setting Blog on TrueCar,, and this blog The Truth About TrueCar.  

Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Online Video

1) Keep It Short.  People don't watch commercials, they Watch Shows and Put Up With Commercials.  And the Internet did NOT improve their patience!
2) Make It Fun to Watch and Share.  Entertainment is the largest video audience, NOT education--so tell a great story, show your product, and leave the detailed info for a store visit.  And remember:  If your video makes them smile, they'll share it.
3) Include Calls to Action and SEO.  Tell your viewers to come buy something and how and why!  And remind them to share your video--and don't forget to tag the video with your website URL, keywords, etc. so that you get the full value of online video SEO.

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Sales Calls

1) Rapport Gets'em in the Door:  Smile!  Shoppers buy from people they like and trust, and that process begins from the first moment on the phone.  Be and sound happy and interested, and they will be, too.  They can see your smile through the phone, and always give it to them--so that they want to come see you and your vehicle for sale.

2) Conversation Leads to Conversion:  Give in Order to Get.  Give your name to get theirs; give your enthusiasm to get theirs; give your phone number to get theirs; give your urgency to get theirs; and so on.  And answer enough of their needs only to convert to the appointment, not close them on a vehicle.  Which is actually the next rule . . .

3) Close on the Appointment, not on the Vehicle:  For best selection and terms, they must be present to win!  An appointment is faster and makes best use of their time; you'll have several vehicles pulled up and ready for them to choose from; the particular pre-owned vehicle is very popular so your manager is scheduling times for test drives; finance will already be prepared to discuss terms; etc.  An appointment gives all that in perception and is your well-proven best shot at actually delivering both a great shopping experience for your customer and a sale for you!

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Internet Leads

1) Don't Forget to Still Answer the Sales Calls Correctly: An Inbound Sales Call is Still Always Much Better than an Internet Lead. Studies show that nearly 8 out of 10 shoppers who contact us from our web presence call us for that first contact. Just because Internet Leads might be easier to measure doesn't mean you can or should ignore needing great sales phone skills on your inbound sales line--online shoppers are going to call you, so be prepared to close them on an appointment!

2) Be Ready to Work for Your Money: The Only Fact You Actually Know About an Internet Lead is That You Got One. The email address might be wrong; the vehicle of interest might be the result by a bad shopper selection; the lead might be a prank (on your dealership or on the shopper); etc. Really, all you know for a fact is that you got a lead, so work it via email and phone until you are sure that you've done your best to get the information needed to reach the shopper. And then . . . CALL them, and text them, if you can. See the next rule.

3) The First Bird Gets the Worm: Any Sale From an Internet Lead Will Most Often Go to the First Dealership to Convert the Lead to a Good Phone Call.  Of the 22% or so of online shoppers that do email you or send in a lead, email them back immediately what they want to know with calls to action, especially ones that will lead them to call you.  And, if the shopper gave up a phone number in the lead or email, my successful rule is to also call them immediately--and with compelling reasons to talk to you and come in as soon as they can. Great phone skills still get you sales from the Internet, and likely will for some time to come.  Won't answer the phone?  If it's a cell phone, try texting them--it's a great way to start with many shoppers nowadays.

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Reputation

1) Reputation is advertising.  Good or bad, you don't buy it, but you pay for it one way or another.

2) Reputation begins with customer service that people must talk about.  If you fail at great customer service and you fail to be talked about positively, you are going to fail at great reputation.

3) Reputation is something you own as far as responsibility, but your customers always own it as far as content--it's what they say, not you, that is your reputation.

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Women Buyers

1) Hire some women!  Women buyers will, on average, prefer to buy a vehicle from another woman when they can--and women salespeople are awesome.  By the way, women salespeople will do a great job with male buyers, too.

2) Smile and understand their power.  Lots of women are on their own and earning money these days, and, when in families, women statistically make most of the car-purchasing decisions, anyway--so, if you can pleasantly help women smartly enjoy their vehicle purchase, you will get some of your best sales.  And referrals.

3) Sell with polite confidence.  Women don't want to buy vehicles from mean or weak people, male or female, which means--no matter your own gender--you'll lose the sale if you are condescending or disrespectful.  Or just don't know your product.

**To help be sure I wasn't a total Neanderthal about this, I vetted some of these ideas with Dr. Elizabeth Archuleta,  whom I would like to thank.  Regardless, though, I take full responsibility for the idea and content of this article.   

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Excellence

1) Mediocrity is a habit; excellence is a choice.

2) The ability of a competitor does not govern your excellence:  Competition for excellence begins and ends within yourself.

3) Excellence is not a measure of effort--it is a measure of results.

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Social Media

1) Be social:  Wherever two or more of your customers are gathered, so should your dealership be there also (to paraphrase), and that applies to social media.  And, if you're not there personally yourself, too, get on Facebook NOW--having a business page and not being on Facebook yourself is like buying a newspaper ad when you can't read.

2) Start smart social:  Launch your social media business pages, etc. with a plan, or don't do it at all.  If you can't monitor it, don't have it; if you can't add interesting content on a good schedule, don't start it.

3) Keep it social:  Your Mom wouldn't care to see your inventory stapled to her walls--at her house OR on her Facebook newsfeed--so don't think your customers will like that on Facebook, either.  They'd all like, however, to hear about your customer's new truck that trailered their boat to a great lake trip.  Act otherwise and your page will be ignored by your customers--and you won't even know it.

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . The Internet

1) Every customer is an "Internet Customer".  With upwards of 90% of people car-shopping online, don't focus on the 10%.  They're ALL educated by the Internet now.

2) The Internet isn't "going away"--either your business is going to absorb the Internet and all it means, or the Internet is going to absorb your business and all it means.  And YOU get to go away.

3) The Internet will amplify business-damaging negativity about dealerships all by itself, and the world will know all about it--and you cannot stop it from doing that.  To have it amplify your dealership's positives to consumers far beyond those negatives, you must do work both creating lots of real positives and having the Internet present them to the world.

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Shetterly's 3 Laws of . . . Sales Success

1) Great technology is not success; it is only part of process or marketing, or both.

2) Great marketing or great process is not success; each alone only prolongs less-than-best results.

3) Great processes + great marketing = great sales, which IS success!