sales presentation platform. However, I think that you may have misunderstood my intention in placing it.
The value of IntellaCar as it relates to your legitimate concern about the potential for a self serving abuse by dealers to coerce a "positive" response from their customers at a time when they are easily influenced is that it allows annonymity to the customer to post their experience directly to their online friends and/or related consumer sites like DealerRater vs. on some internal dealer form or website.
I purposely included the value of posting problems as well as compliments because dealers need to know about problems if they hope to fix them. Any attempts to cover up problems would be counter intuitive to the Intellacar sales platform which is designed to enhance the customer buying experience - not cover up blemishes in the sales process.
Simply put, the ability for customers and dealers to use technology to enhance the sales process has opened new doors that provide efficiencies to communicate problems in a more timely manner and what could be more timely than at the time of delivery?
The customer is in charge of the sales process and the sooner he can communicate his experience to friends, neighbors and relatives the better. Dealers that presume to think that they can influence customer opinion with anything other than superior service will soon discover the error of their ways!…
Simply put, my understanding is that events like AutoCon are intended to allow dealers to meet their virtual friends in the real world to share best practices and listen and learn from vendors and various industry experts who have set aside any self serving agendas to support dealers who have invested their time and their money to improve their businesses - not to be sold something.
AutoCon - and other similar auto industry focused venues - are openly defined as dealer centric forums - not conventions for vendors. They offer separate vendor forums that are clearly separated away from the learning forums that offer vendors the ability to sell their products and services for which vendors pay a premium to set up a booth or host a personal session which is clearly defined.
As far as the registration fees, you would be amazed at how expensive a full floor at a hotel with all of the asociated food, security, set up etc. can cost. The risk to reward is high and allowing vendors to slip in the front door with the dealers to promote themselves without any of the related costs or risk is unreasonable. That is why vendors who openly want to share in the sales value of the conference pay for exhibit space above and beyond the registration.
That said, the true cost of the Autocon is in the time and energy invested in attending by the dealers, the exposure of the promoters and those that decide not to attend who are not involved in the discussions that are the true marketplace.
After all, what are friends and AutoCon for!…
as I saw it -- was to put your customers to work for you to supplement your own efforts. The impact of Ford's C2C conversations building top of the mind awareness and shared experiences to build value in their Focus, Explorer and other related products may only impact your Ford franchises, however, his shared wisdom that the market is a conversation between potential buyers before, during and after their buying cycle that you and yours must join is universal.
Facebook is a media that can be leveraged to resource content as well as conversations as long as you position you and yours in the conversations from the inside out -- as a friend -- vs. from the outside in as an auto dealer with a self serving message. People buy and sell cars, not processes or dealerships. The solution lies in developing processes that create efficiencies that will facilitate conversations that can then be monetized by sourcing them back to relevant information on your website or other online resources such as targeted microsites that address only those issues that center around the conversation that drew potential customers -- and friends -- there.
If you stop trying to sell to your customers on social media like Facebook and start listening to them and answer their questions with no expectations or reciprocal demands you will start a viral message that will resonate in a targeted circle of qualified and interested friends and potential customers. People like to do business with people that they like so get them to like you first by helping them find what they went online to look for --- which was not an auto dealership or a sales person. Everyone likes having a friend in the car business when they need to buy a vehicle and it might as well be you!
After all, what are friends for!…
eCar shares data that is very personal to the dealer's business" This is factually incorrect and the Company has stated this numerous times. TrueCar uses data from the Dealer solely to confirm transactions. I know this with certainty and suggesting otherwise is improper unless you have some evidence of such a breech.
Jeremy Alicandri visited the Company and confirmed (http://jeremyalicandri.com/)
Scott Painter made it unequivocally clear, in writing, that TrueCar does not currently, nor has the intention to use the dealer’s DMS data for any other purpose than verifying referral network sales transactions. I feel confident this statement is accurate for two reasons
At this point, if Scott was deliberately misleading dealers on the dissemination of DMS information, he would be civilly and potentially criminally liable. I believe that Scott is telling the truth as it relates to DMS access. For all it’s worth, he personally assured me, and I believe him.
Moreover, with respect to anti-trust concerns, I do not believe AutoNation executives would risk accessing this information and also face civil/criminal charge
There is certainly an agenda on this Blog but let me be very clear. The business of TrueCar relies heavily on Trust in its data and making written and false accusations about data theft or security (particularly after multiple notices that the statements are untrue) is unacceptable. I must request that you retract your accusation about TrueCar's misuse of Dealer data or support it.
d mortar facilities. Risk management is more than a word when it is your money and reputation that is at risk!
Given the increased exposure of a problem amplified onto the World Wide Web through a well meaning -- or not -- employee using less than good judgement and/or an already reduced staff abusing their online time while at work to plan vacations vs. a sale, your post surfaces a common problem that fortunately does have a solution which I would be happy to share.
First I shoud answer your post directly by saying that most of my dealer clients allow their sales and service staff to access face book and other social medai sites during business hours to represent the dealer. However, that is only because I require them to have a written policy approved by their corporate attorney and HR department governing their employee's use of social media during business hours and/or while representing the dealer. In addition, there are policies in place to inspect what they expect as well as processes -- like anchoring all links and comments back to an email address or microsite managed and monitored by management -- as well as performance expectations based on speciic goals established by experienced best practices within their sales and service teams that are shared for the common good.
Another solution to address the obvious concerns related to exposing the dealer to abuse of content and time by an employee representing the dealer -- or proporting to do so -- is through the use of new technologies and applications that are focused on managing and monitoring the use of social media. Reputation management tools like Google Alerts and other more comprehensive applications that notify the dealer when thy are referenced on the Internet Super Highway offer one way to monitor activities in the dealer's name but unfortunately they are after the fact. Similarly, strict control of content before it is posted can stifle the spirit of a good online conversation that often invests more time in personal and relationship based dialogue than an actual "sales pitch"; or they should!
I suggest that you consider a vendor client of mine -- DealerMouth -- that allows a dealer to host personal websites for their sales and service staff that exist on their individual desk tops as a form of "Why Buy Here Book" for showroom visitors as well as an online personalized website that can anchor to social media sites like face book, twitter, My Space, etc. These sites offer personal content as well as direct links and access to everything that is available on the dealer's main website -- including their inventory and special offers -- when the converation and situation warrants it.
More relevant to your concerns of abuse surfaced in this post, there is a management dashboard that monitors all online activities for both time online and content. The ability to moderate comments and material before it is posted is less obtrusive yet equally effective and sharing successes as well as failures between the participating members of the staff in a productive constructive manner to repeat best practices improves the R.O.I. for the staff as well as the dealer.
Relationship based selling on social networking communities is vital and it shouldn't be limited to after hour efforts. After all, what are friends for!…
midatingly fabulous, it made me quickly reassess my life as a "worthless study in futility–again," and urged me to locate the nearest chapter of your fan club so I could immediately join!) I then went on to your HookLogic website which made understanding your post and position much easier.
Regarding your content, I'd think most here would agree with you as your points are well established and your presentation is excellent. (So good, in fact, that Ralph jumped on in one of his rare appearances to substantiate we're getting mighty close to large scale on-line "front-to-rear" selling.) With that, who could argue the Internet isn't here to stay? My business has next to nothing to do with it, but no one in ADM has more respect for its relevance and power.
However, I'm in the "David Ruggles camp" on nearly every one of his points. His observations about the importance of "friction" and the imbalance of information relating to dealer profit is classic. (I wished I'd said it.) I especially appreciated his concern that dealerships regularly "run off" talent to the detriment of customer relationships. Fortunately, experience has taught me the problems of IT-created activities like "showrooming" and "lowest price dominance" do have viable counters.
I usually discount statistics as I'm a founding member of the "If you torture data enough, it will say anything" club, but I'll share one to reinforce the importance of salesmanship. A recent AN broadcast reviewing a MaritzCX study as to the most influential source of information for the car shopper, #1 is the "salesperson at the dealership" (21.5%) and #2 was "family and friends/word of mouth" (18.8%). They dominated the other 20 sources listed, which means, if you know what customers really want to hear, and back it up with solid after-the-deal follow-up, you've got a pretty good chance of surviving the Internet onslaught. …
nology and it will all make sense.
I have always recognized and agreed with the need for a "brick and mortar" dealership and the human element needed to relate to the american love affair with their vehicles. The truth is that any effective technology or application will weave in the personality and preferences of the consumer or the free marketplace will force them to do it. Today's brick and mortar facilities are already making way for local service centers and one central "showroom" - for example.
I will review DealMaker tomorrow but if the application doesn't integrate an open channel to the consumer to address and explain their options then the answers will be found in other applications and/or information resources already on the internet before or during the transaction. Online chat and click to call elements could solve the problem with today's technology and who knows what tomorrow will provide! Online transaction tools are already able to accomodate signatures, credit applications and even contracts pending a few legislative stumbling blocks.
The current shift to "on demand" parts and Internet based communication / distribution systems will soon allow an assembly line to build a vehicle to a consumers specifications to replace the need to build and floor plan inventories and the savings in costs could easily allow for a very liberal return policy. Artificial intelligence tied to very realistic and accurate 360 degree videos already take out a lot of the guess work and "live" video Skype calls could already allow a central staff of professional sales consultants to support a buying decision prior to a test drive.
The point - technically even the "human element" can be considered in an online purchase with today's technology so just imagine what tomorrow will bring. For example - would you purchase a vehicle online for $2,000 less than in a showroom if you could return it with no penalties after seven days? The savings in floor plan, sales commission, facility/storage/distribution costs alone would allow that to be a reality without the OEM losing one dollar in profits.
Are cars a commodity - sure! Just give us some time to let the technology catch up to what people need to make a buying decision and we're there!…
ears of content written by you and/or others, all employed by you, using his name? The latter is how it appears, and others involved in this have claimed that is so. What is John Zeiglar's documented car business history?
2) Performance Company is not a real company that he was said to work for. I have it on good authority, “it” was used as a placeholder until you could create an entity for him. 10 years later, it is still holding a place. Who else works for Performance Company? What does it do?
3) The apparent intent of articles by “John Zeiglar” wasn't employment of your brother-in-law, in my opinion, but instead they were in pursuit of support of your businesses, both in profit and agenda. If I am not mistaken, “he” was promoting BZ Results prior to ADP purchasing it, at least I have been told so by those involved in that history.
You have come to this thread and implied that “him” being a "real person" (your brother-in-law) matters more than what I have outlined above. I don't agree. To summarize:
“John Zeiglar” was on the byline of articles at DMM as late as November of 2011. And “he” has a ten year history of articles with no documented car biz employment to validate them and no real "Performance Company". You apparently were using “him” from supporting BZ Results all the way to your work at Paragon Honda . . .”He” was presented, by these articles, to the dealer body as a 3rd party, independent source.
You apologize here and say “In hind site I wish we would just authored the articles ourselves…..” Well, I believe that is EXACTLY what you did. You, your employees, your family, and your business associates as they relate to “John Zeiglar”, are all you in the end. There never was an independent, 3rd party as he was presented to the dealer body, in my opinion.
In the end, I appreciate your apology to all of us, but I don't feel it addressed the real issues.…
e "big fish" like Edmunds and KBB have been doing this a lot longer than TrueCar, and 3) Larry is protective of dealer data from being used by ANYONE, not just one small player in the industry like TrueCar.
As I've said in other posts, Edmunds, KBB/AutoTrader, JPDA/PIN (the "big fish") and many others like them have NOT been targeted by the vocal minority like they have gone after TrueCar because our biggest detractors:
Are afraid to go after the "big fish," or
Are avoiding the "big fish" because of something to gain (e.g. speaking engagements, sponsorships, whatever)
IMO, I think it's probably a little of both. Look at it rationally....last year, Edmunds impacted about 7 times the number of customers than TrueCar did; KBB even more than that; and even JDPA falls in this bunch too in terms of broad industry impact (positive IMO). And each of them have FAR more dealers in their ranks than TrueCar does. So why not target all the players collectively instead of singling out the smallest player on the block?
Regarding incrementality, the claim that TrueCar does not generate incremental sales for a dealer is simply false, but again, if you haven't run a dealership or worked in an OEM sales and marketing organization before, you probably wouldn't understand the true financial impact and dynamics of automotive market share to an OEM or dealership, or understand Tier 1/2/3 strategies as it relates to net profit and market share.
Regarding TrueCar leads allegedly resulting in:
"100's of dealers from NJ, PA, and even CA call me to follow up with me because they thought I was an internet lead. These leads came from TrueCar."
...that is completely misleading and false, as no action from TrueCar could EVER cause this to happen. Even Edmunds and others have validated this when we investigated similar claims. If you think we're lying, then I guess Edmunds and other lead providers are lying too. We're all a bunch of liars apparently!
As for TrueCar closing rates, overall, TrueCar closing rates are among the best in the industry largely because it is very far down the purchase funnel, unlike many content-oriented sites. But if you've never managed a marketing/sales vertical or purchase funnel, then this probably would not make sense as to how this happens.
And at the end of the day, we:
Have multiple business models in operation today (one of which could easily operate just fine in any state because it is a basic subscription model, but subscription and CPL models are just not as beneficial to dealers as a CPA model, hence why we don't just flick the switch to make the change)
Have several product enhancements to be released this month alone (none of which are in Larry's presentation above) to address a handful of specific issues in the six states nationwide who have expressed concerns about one of our business models. We have always been positive and proactive in addressing these concerns and will always be.
Have massive (silent majority) support from partners, customers, dealers (5,000+ dealers who refuse to leave the program, and the record number of sign-ups in the past month sums it up), OEMs (e.g. key executives have contacted and visited with us to learn more about what we do and to see how we can do MORE business together to help them and their dealers), and heavyweight industry consultant support (Grant Cardone, Tom Stuker, Randy Brenckman, et al)
Provide a lower New Vehicle PNVR Marketing/Advertising Expense to dealers versus national dealer averages for Certified Dealers...but if you're a sales consultant, intern
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