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Jeff Cotton's ADM Blog (23)

Where’s Kristoff?

In the kids’ books, “Where’s Waldo,” children are challenged to find the main character, Waldo, hidden within large groups of other people or other situations where finding him is often a challenge – and always a delight. 

We have our own Waldo here, though he goes by the name of Jim Kristoff, and when customers find him, they too are delighted. Jim has a unique way of getting car dealers excited about selling more cars than they…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on September 16, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

An Rx for Rosier Pre-Owned Inventory

How does your dealership acquire its most desirable pre-owned inventory? Aren’t the vehicles you previously sold your best candidates…aren’t they the vehicles your market wants most and that hold their gross best? 

Sure they are. Trouble is, given the increasing buy cycle gap, most dealers aren’t seeing the trade opportunities for such models as they’d like. …

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Added by Jeff Cotton on August 26, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Hay Oro en la Base de Datos

If you’re up on your Spanish, you know the headline is an exciting invitation. It says, in English, There’s gold in your database. In fact, there’s lots of gold there, given recent research into Hispanic automobile shoppers. 

According to U.S. Census data compiled by…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on June 23, 2014 at 9:50am — No Comments

Whom Do You Serve?

Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, we all answer to someone. Ideally, we see this connection as an opportunity to serve others. Serving others may seem old-fashioned but to the contrary, commitment to serving others is the route to true personal and business fulfillment.

My guess is our serve-others intention increases as we walk toward the new up. Yet to what extent do we actively serve those who have purchased from us already? The customer database is rich with existing…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on June 12, 2014 at 2:10pm — No Comments

Make a Direct Impact with Direct Mail

Direct mail response rates depend on a combination of strategic targeting, credibility of message, impactful offers, timeliness of delivery and personalization. 

Yet even the best targeting capabilities and the best-of-breed direct mail strategies cannot deliver the results and return on investment that highly personalized, micro-targeted, direct mail marketing can achieve. 

What advertising or marketing…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on May 20, 2014 at 8:23am — 1 Comment

Create Your Own Buy Cycle

According to AutoMD.com, more than three-quarters of respondents to a 2012 car-buying attitude survey found that “78% now say that 10+ years (or until it dies) is the appropriate vehicle lifespan. Most telling is that over half say that a better economy would not change their habit of holding onto their vehicle longer.” 

You may feel shackled by this reality, but in fact you have much control over how the buy cycle influences your dealership. I can make such a statement because this…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on March 4, 2014 at 8:30pm — No Comments

How to Hit the Hot 40

Believe me, please, when I confess that I understand the psychology and emotions that drive the highs and lows of showroom sales.  Your soul hangs in a valley on slow days yet soars into heaven the moment a fresh up drives onto the lot.

I’ve been there. I’ve lived that, and after all these years I still breathe car sales.

Since those days, however, I’ve learned a few new ideas about selling cars. One of the best tips I can pass along is this: Focus on the hot 40 if you want to…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on February 24, 2014 at 11:17am — No Comments

Help Green Peas Make Greenbacks Fast!

Finding the right individuals to succeed in car sales remains a challenge for the industry. Too many green peas wash out early and NADA reported in February 2013 that there is a 40% sales turnover rate in the USA. Sometimes they fail because they lack the fortitude and energy it takes to sell the volume of cars required to earn a livable income, which is $59,340 annually at dealerships. All too often green peas quit prematurely because most everyone fails to adequately train…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on January 20, 2014 at 7:36am — No Comments

Big News in New Orleans

In case you missed the article, “Mining for Advantage at NADA,” in the December issue of Dealer Marketing Magazine, it reminds us that much of what auto industry attendees will experience at NADA in New Orleans is outside the…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on January 8, 2014 at 11:22am — No Comments

The Need You Meet Drives Gross

If a sales presentation hits a customer’s most compelling need, chances are the vehicle’s sold and frequently with a stronger gross profit than a typical sale. When the sales associate can find the prospect’s hot button and works the deal to meet that need, shoppers turn into profitable buyers. 

A case in point is Draper Chevrolet and Draper Toyota, both of Saginaw, MI.  These stores use of database analysis tools helps to identify existing customers whose situations present unique…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on December 3, 2013 at 8:29am — No Comments

Answers in My Mailbox

Like you, I still go to my home’s mailbox every day to retrieve whatever has been delivered there. Like you, I shuffle through it and end up dropping much of it into the nearest round file. 

What I really want when I go to the mailbox is answers to the question I think we all have: is anyone thinking about me? Now I know such a question can sound selfish, but isn’t it natural? I mean, as we go to the mailbox don’t we hope a friend or family member has dropped us a note or card – or…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on November 15, 2013 at 1:05pm — No Comments

Own this Gorilla

In this era of tweets, texts and Likes, the wise sales associate still recognizes and practices good phone.

 

Good phone means knowing how to engage others using the telephone. For sales associates, good phone means having learned how to sell by phone, practiced those skills and worked to overcome it unfamiliarity.

 

Most any sales associate who makes up their mind to excel at using the phone to drive business can be a success.

 

Yet for many, the…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on October 21, 2013 at 6:26am — 1 Comment

Sales Drop on Newton’s Head

It took a ripe apple dropping on Sir Isaac Newton’s head for gravity to shoot to stardom. Sales to existing customers are waiting to drop on your head, if you’ll simply look up, maybe propelling you to stardom yourself. 

In every dealer’s existing customer database are bushels of ripe apples ready for picking, if you can present them with the right offer at the right time.  Will you pick them -- or will they fall under another dealer’s tree? 

I want them to fall under…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on October 10, 2013 at 8:56am — No Comments

Morph Be-Backs into Buyers

How’s your attitude towards shoppers who walk without buying? 

  • Snarky?
  • Ambivalent?
  • Opportunistic? 

The right first response should be, with curiosity: Why didn’t the customer buy? A range of reasons might answer the question – from wrong inventory and price to poor presentation or dislike of the sales associate. 

For whatever reason a shopper leaves the showroom without buying, the productive attitude is one that focuses on opportunity.…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on September 26, 2013 at 8:03am — No Comments

How Can Vendors Deliver on Great Expectations?

As a technology provider, AutoAlert has the weighty obligation to deliver great service and support to its customers, North America’s franchised automobile retailers. 

As a dealer, do you entertain great service expectations from the vendors with which you do business? If not, you should – and you should hold them accountable for meeting those expectations.

This is an important issue. Because a recent article in…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on September 9, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Half Brain That Sells Cars

Stop what you’re thinking – I am not casting a slur at the new green pea.

Rather, I’m talking about a selling strategy that leverages the left hemisphere or analytical side of the brain to improve the monthly sales tally.

The right side of the brain just doesn’t get it. Right-brained selling goes into panic at month end. It furiously telephones every potential be-back and lost sale from the prior 29 days. By this time, the sales desk has penciled so sharply there’s little left…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on August 8, 2013 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

A Checklist for Closing

Remember your first days in a dealership and the fundamentals the sales manager drilled into your head. That was good advice. We tend to forget a lot of it over time and as experience adds up. 

Yet neglect of the fundamentals can cost sales. This is especially true when working certain opportunity categories. Consider these challenging ones: 

  • You’ve spent time to bring that unsold prospect back to the dealership and they’re coming in shortly. 
  • You’ve…
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Added by Jeff Cotton on July 9, 2013 at 8:07am — No Comments

Yes, Steak Knifes Do Sell Cars

Throw your CRM away. A CRM often becomes too much like a multitasking Swiss Army knife, when what you need to really sell more cars is something simple and powerful. 

As CRM vendors bolt on different applications, the proverbial Swiss Army Knife philosophy emerges. Is it practical for cutting a steak? Or is it a 12-in-one  tool with pliers, toothpicks, tweezers, and multiple blades – something complicated and bulky and not as simple as a serrated steak knife? 

Another…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on June 10, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

The Elasticity of Time

Time allotted to us every day is finite, just 24 hours.

Most of us need six to eight hours of sleep if we can get it, and if we have family then evening hours should be devoted to them. This leaves approximately 12 hours to…

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Added by Jeff Cotton on May 28, 2013 at 1:30pm — No Comments

7 Wrong Ways to Sell Cars

Some observations on selling cars, as I understand our business today:  

  • Hiring: Not only do dealerships in this market need more sales associates, the hiring process should be more selective. Dealerships need people who can sell by phone.
  • Selling: Total sales are the best…
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Added by Jeff Cotton on May 16, 2013 at 10:03am — 1 Comment

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