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First, this is not a "Battle!"  This is an opportunity for those who -- like me -- believe that a rising tide floats all boats and that sharing best practices is the cornerstone of ADM.   


After all, what are friends -- and ADM -- for!


Second, since I am starting this forum I would like to propose the rules; subject to the approval and support of the participants of course -- and supported by the response, or lack thereof, by both the consultants and the ADM jury that will vote on each subject as they vote for the best practice provided by the participants.  Of course the winner will be anyone that participates since I hope that we will all listen and learn as much as we presume to teach!


Third; here are the rules;


1) No self serving promotions or agendas by the consultants or their minions before, during or after the challenge.  ADM is one of the few automotive industry social networking communities that supports and even promotes the truth -- that we all make our living in the auto industry and selling ourselves and/or our products and services is an accepted practice on ADM.  The importance of transparency in that process is critical to maintain credibility in the community and this post is not intended to prioritize that element which has its own place and time and -- in my opinion -- self promotion should be clearly disclosed or at least obvious when applied.


2) No contact will be made by any consultants before, during or after the challenge to any voting members of ADM to solicit supportive comments -- or attack other consultant's contributions -- to attempt to sway the vote or to individually benefit from the challenge.  Transparency of purpose requires that no direct solicitations for business will be directed to the voting members.  Of course the expectation for the consultants in the challenge to accept new business earned by their shared wisdoms is both acceptable and anticipated.


3) No "cookie cutter" solutions or individual vendor solutions will be named or submitted as best practices to address any issue in the challenge.  The creative thought required to accomodate individual problems and solutions is the unique work product that I hope to surface in this challenge.  Best practices will always be universal in nature, however, this challenge is intended to spark new ideas, not promote ones that we have already surfaced and applied.


4) There will be five problems covered by the consultants to be selected by our fellow ADM members between NOW and midnight of the day before the scheduled live webinar to conduct the challenge.   I hope that the response will supply sufficient shared problems to fuel the challenge, however, in the absence of sufficient recommendations the moderator and the contributing consultants will select the subjects for discussion.


5) Ralph Paglia, as the host of ADM, will act as the moderator during the challenge and he will also contribute as a consultant and establish the webinar in the platform of his choosing.  Ralph has proven himself to be a consumate professional and supporter of the selfless spirit of this challenge in both his actions and his deeds on ADM.  Since we all will be the winners of this challenge I see no prejudice in having Ralph moderate and contribute. 


6) The moderator will be empowered to disqualify any consultant or voter in the challenge who -- at his sole discretion -- is not conducting themselves in the spirit of the challenge.


7) Any ADM member is invited to register as a consultant before 12 midnight the day before the challenge begins and any active member of ADM is invited to vote for the best consultant and best pratcice that they contribute.


8) The votes will be accumulated as comments on this post commencing immediately after the live webinar is completed and closing 24 hours after the challenge ends.  The votes will consist of the name of the chosen consultant and an explanation of the best practice(s) that they contributed to earn their vote.   For convenience in tallying the votes the consultants name should be mentioned at the opening of the comment. More than one consultant and best practice can be named with the highest total vote count determining the best contribution and consultant.  Again ... we will all be the winners!


OK, that is my challenge -- now it is your turn to determine if it is of any value to my fellow ADM members.  I am awaiting your comments or registration as a consultant in the challenge and of course if Uncle Ralph elects not to moderate I am open to a recommended substitute; although I hope that won't be necessary.


After all -- what are friends , ADM and especially Ralph Paglia for! 

Tags: ADM Members, Automotive Digital Marketing, Consultant, Consultant Challenge, Consulting, Consulting Competition, Contest, Vote

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Replies to This ADM Discussion


It's nice to be you since as the Moderator - it is your call! No need to decide now, I suggest that we keep the ability to post problems and register as a consultant open until 12 MIdnight EST on 04/30/10 at which time we can schedule a live webinar in the evening during the following week after the EOM dust settles -- say 8PM to allow most of us to be avaialble after normal work hours.

Again your call -- just a thought!
I agree with you Ralph. I guess I was thinking that it could be discussed relative to the needs that the dealers who attend this meeting might express at the time. If you've got a room full of new car guys who desperately need help on the new side, that's one thing. If you have a new car dealership that is turning on the heat in their used department, that's another. I think we should be ready to address all four and speak to the audience we gather.
Send the registration link.. I'll be glad to contribute...


Thanks Eddie,

We will be posting the link as soon as Ralph can take a break from making his clients money so stay tuned.

Also, since step one is to post common problems to provide best practices and solutions for in our pending live webinar -- and some have suggested that the best source for that should be our dealer friends on ADM -- why don't you reply with one or two problems that you address each day and then contact your dealer clients and ask them for their TOP THREE problems with the explanation that you and your "THINK TANK" are sitting on a panel to discuss and share best practices! That goes for any consultants on this forum by the way!

After all, what are friends, ADM and the ADM Consultant Challenge for!
Amen Joe! >>> Your comments;

"soc med is NOT about conquest business, but customer retention. The effects of soc med can be seen incrementally today, but will yield dividends in the future, a few years from now. Instead, let's sure up our processes/templates/phone skills/people skills/department structures/digital advertising/and reporting and move the ship forward for TODAY"

*is right on the money in my book too! Dealers are spending way tooooooooo much time on Social Media when they should be more concerned about making sure their processes & "engines" in the dealership are firing on all cylinders! I`m not saying to ignore Soc Med at all, regardless of whatever minimal impact it has in my opinion, it does have its place.
Just apply more time to the functionality of the dealership & less time on the "Adult MySpace" i.e. Facebook -

*Thanks Joe for laying it on the line.........
Hey Guys,

Human nature, relationship based selling and word of mouth has survived on the WWW. Technologies needed to provide resources that provide efficiencies needed to qualify and quantify social media investments are new, but they are today; not tomorrow. Please read the attached material and reply with your thoughts -- not now -- but during the webinar since your comments obviously suggest the problem and I submitt that there really is a solution.
Don't get me wrong I agree that dealers should focus on the sales they are missing by not having their current processes in order I'll also agree with saying that the impact of social is minimal but , yes there is a but, but it doesn't have to be that way and the ONLY reason it is, is because most dealers think that all their is to social media is Facebook and Twitter.

In other words, most people have it all wrong and not just auto dealers. I'm not preaching that I have all the answers, the only person that does is the man above, but I will say that the way most dealers are using social media is ineffective at best. That doesn't mean that social media is ineffective or can't make a major impact on a dealers bottom line because it can. After all, it is just networking with some technology thrown in. If there is anybody that can say that prospecting, networking, and customer retention is a waste of time I will show you somebody that lives under a rock.
How come social media is always referenced to in terms of sales? If thought of in the big picture, it can have a much bigger effect on dealers bottom line than just in sales. I believe it can be an especially powerful to drive business to a dealers service drives. If a customer has positive experience at a dealers service department, JD Powers says they are three times more likely to buy a car there.

What about for a body shop? How many customers know that your dealership has a body shop? Every delivery process requires a salesman to walk the service drive but why not walk a customer through the body shop? Considering an insurance company is paying for the body work most of the time, why wouldn't a customer want to have body work at "their" dealership? Get testimonials from customers in the body shop talking about the quality of work and service.

How about accessory sales? How about aftermarket warranties? What about loan refinancing? All of these can add to a dealers bottom line and the penetration can be increased by having a strong following in a community and social media is the most potent form of word of mouth advertising we have ever seen.

I give this example. How many dealers sponsor a baseball or softball team? They spend their money as a sponsor and get a team picture at the end of the season and everybody that visits the dealership gets to see that they are involved in the community. Why not let everyone in your community know through social media means? Ask the coach to take a few pics and give you team updates and you can post them on your fan page for everyone to see. Parents of the kids will be sharing the info talking about their son or daughter pitched a great game or got the big hit. A dealer is not pounding their chest saying that they sponsored the team but people will know and they will know your involved.

Social media is offline as much as it is online, its a community concept. It may not contribute to 60% of a dealers income today but the percentage it does will continue to grow, not decrease.
I wasn't going to get into it here, but I like your answer so much Rob, I thought I'd add to it. I had the benefit of getting to know a couple of the early Facebook advertising "gurus" last fall. These are guys who worked for Yahoo!, who were black hat "game" developers (the ones that suck your demographic data and then resell it to marketing companies) and they have a very clear path to the monetization of Social Media, especially with respect to FB.

Their paradigm looks like this: Consumer X spends a crazy amount of time on Social Media. X truly cares about and is influenced in their beliefs by what they see and what their "friends" say in the SM space. They develop opinions based on their experiences and the experiences of others. Time goes on and Consumer X decides that they want to purchase a widget. They remember that their friend, Y, introduced them to that Widgets Are Us Fan Page a while back, and they really like all of the cool widget tips, community involvement, and general representation of WAU, so they do a Google Search to find out exactly where WAU is, and bingo, WAU has a new widget customer.

It wasn't a direct path. It was a seed planted days, weeks, even months ago. And over time, WAU has been able to graph the expense on SM and an increase in total sales and revenue and, AHA! , has learned how to monetize SM. This is a really super simple example, and one that I've used over and over again because it works.

The keys to success lie in building your fan base (having an audience to talk to) and then creating meaningful content that maintains those connections (what do you have to say that I care about). Your expense on these tasks, either in dollars or man power, cannot be excessive or you will end up failing miserably and the dealer will kill the whole project.

My recommendation is that you decide what facet(s) of your business you want to showcase, spend some money on a decent Fan Page (I just found a new third party vendor today), designate a few hundred $ a month to targeted PPC, and assign someone the task of making updates in whatever fashion you decide on and move on.

There are a LOT of way cooler things to do than this, as David Johnson would be happy to tell you, but this is the way for a dealer to begin. Start now. Plot the expense vs. the growth in sales and revenue, and decide for yourself. If gigantic retail conglomerates are successfully utilizing this platform, can you really afford not to figure out how to leverage it?
Thanks for your shared -- and confirmed -- insights into social media. Now, the problem that you want to surface sourced from these shared wisdoms are????

The plan is to surface common problems that we can fix together and you raised a number of issues that warrant our attention, but I don't want to reduce your comments to a single issue so WE would appreciate it if you would.

After all, what are friends, ADM -- and this post for the Consultant Challenge for!

P.S: Thanks for the great insights, but now you left me and mine wanting more so please reduce it to a few threads to keep the dialogue productive and constructive in our originally contemplated problem / solution format.
This is a great idea Phil; I am seeing more Dealers and their teams just wanting a straight answer in how to help their online business and internal processes. Can't wait for the link, count me in!
Thanks Dan -- it's official -- you're in!

Now -- what problem(s) do you want to submit for Ralph's consiideration and are you ready to listen and learn -- or teach by registering in the Consultant Chalenge with some of your own shared best practices and solutions to the shared problems?

After all, what are friends , ADM and the Consultant Challenge for!


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