Automotive Digital Marketing

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I am good…but don’t take my word for it, look at my work ethic and the results I’ve shown over my years in the car industry. So when I recently took on a new position at Menlove Toyota Scion I wasn’t worried for I have been down this road before and turned around or taken other dealerships to unprecedented heights previously in my Career.

Imagine my frustration now after 2 weeks in my new position and the results aren’t changing quickly enough to suit my instant-gratification O.C.D. personality. I find myself much like a carpenter who is used to using his nail gun to frame multiple houses a day being forced to go back to shaping my own pegs and working with a rock to pound them. I, in my infinite self-grandeur, have believed that I had previously done it mostly alone; and it’s true to the extent I can control such as training and hard work.

However, what I never realized is how symbiotic the relationships are between a productive dealership and the tools (read vendors) it employs!

I have been blessed to have the friendship and backing of many people in this industry: Joe Webb, Raph Paglia, Jeff Kershner, Tim Jennings, Brian Pasch, Phil Zellinger, Doug Blankenship, Frank Davis and many more whether I was a client or not. In turn I have also freely given my time, limited expertise, and opinions when asked and value such relationships.

I’ve never truly appreciated that my vendors were so uniquely tied to the success I’ve enjoyed. From posting-sites such as Autotrader and, direct e-mail marketing with David Javor at, SEO advice from Pasch Consulting Group and Tulsa Website and SEO services, or just batting ideas around and reading reviews and blogs on sites such as,, and, all have had a role in my personal development and professional success. Foremost among these is the responsive, caring and helpful attitude I‘ve enjoyed from VinSolutions. As a premiere vendor of CRM/ILM and inventory solutions, they have still never been too busy or my requests and rants to trivial to receive personal care and resolution.

Now as I adapt to using Dealer Socket I realize how spoiled I was and what a different, holistic, 360 degree approach Vinsolutions actually employs. I have literally wasted hours on the phone contacting multiple vendors to try and get done what one phone call previously completed.

More frustrating is the attitude that I’m in a contract so no attention need be given me or my requests. I now know how a customer who comes back in on Monday after buying days, weeks, or months before can hammer you on C.S.I. because they were “blown off” by their salesperson. The “I’ve got your money so now I’m on to the next conquest” attitude is, unfortunately, on both sides of the Automotive industry.

Hats off and thank you to the many people who give of their time and themselves realizing whether I’m currently a customer of theirs or I just might be someday, it’s worth the effort for us to band together.

Success breeds success.

Take a look and thank those vendors that tie their ship to yours and are rarely shown the appreciation they deserve.

Oh, and if anyone’s seen my nail gun, could you return it?

Views: 148

Tags: Automotive, CRM/ILM, SEO, customer, gratitude, karma, personal, relationships, service, success, More…vendors, websites


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Comment by Bryan Armstrong on May 9, 2010 at 9:07pm
@Ralph-Actually was GOING to contact you and then got caught up in the same river! @Joe-blackmail me for what? lol.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 9, 2010 at 5:30pm
I bought the URL back when it was first mentioned... Then waited for somebody to notice and contact me... Then forgot as the river of work kept on flowing!
Comment by Joe Webb on May 9, 2010 at 6:20am
Nice job, Ralph. Just in the nick of time ;)
Surprises me that no one else jumped on it. Also surprises me you used your own "consulting services" to buy it. Now you can start blackmailing Bryan if you want.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 8, 2010 at 8:53pm
Joe, Tim, Matt and Bryan... You all have underestimated The Incredible Cosmic Polar Bear! Check out and then do a Whois and look at the date and time registered.

Silly Wabbits!
Comment by Bryan Armstrong on March 17, 2010 at 8:20am
Steve you are absolutely right. It is a symbiotic relationship.
Comment by Steve Richards on March 16, 2010 at 6:59pm
Good dealers make good partners as well.
Comment by Bryan Armstrong on March 3, 2010 at 1:09pm
I had forgotten that you and I spoke from a request you made to me on another forum. I'm glad you found a great solution to your issues. Having been with the CRM that one salesperson described as "it looks like Sesame Street threw up" before I can only imagine your joy! :)
Like I said at the beginning and as Doug, Phillip, Rob and almost all pointed out "GOOD VENDORS ARE GOOD PARTNERS"! :0
Doug, I next head South of Utah, I'm looking you up. Your new site looks great BTW
Phillip, Thanks. I like the idea of "friends only" though I have had a larger than anticipated response and new friends out of what started as a thank you/reality check.
A few years ago I railed against Autotrader yet my last 2 reps from that company have been fantastic and gone the extra mile to ensure we got results I know some "get it".
Comment by Mitchell Brenner on March 3, 2010 at 10:39am
I couldn't agree more! When I first got to Precision Acura we had Higher Gear who everyone knows hasn't done a real enhancement in 10 years. I struggled with them for 5 - 6 months while I researched many different CRM's. My main requirement was to have a CRM that was fast to respond to product enhancements, offered good support, an most importantly was powerful yet simple to use. Vin Solutions has not only lived up to every one of their promises but have far exceeded my very high standards. I am not easy on my vendors and they have been up to every challenge I've put in front of them. We just finished our first full month with the solution and our close ration on Internet Sales was up 4% from our average over the last 5 years. Our Be-Back close ratio was at 76%. Salespeople are taking to it and, although it was a slow process to get them to accept change, even the seasoned veterans are coming up to me and thanking me! The program rocks and helps me rock.

Speaking of Vendors who rock, Dealer.Com is by far the best Website Provider I've ever worked with. (The only other vendor that I would also wholeheartedly recommend in this area is Dealeron.Com.) Dealer.Com has far exceeded anything I ever heard about them. My account manager is not only on top of everything that has to do with my website even finding things before I do, which isn't easy, but we have gotten to know each other so well that he anticipates my needs and wants and gets things done!

I also believe I'm awesome just like Bryon does but I know that my awesomeness is only due to these two amazing vendors. It's easy to be awesome when working with awesome!

Comment by Rob Fontano on March 3, 2010 at 9:12am
Great post. I can honestly say that I have fired vendors that chose not to participate in a partnership. I will call on vendors for advice, training and brainstorming sessions. (not to be confused with the "I’m in town can I take you to lunch" meetings.) Some get it and some do not.

It simply boils down to their company’s philosophy, no different than a car dealership. The sales people will represent the product and company the way that it is represented to them.

I have found it necessary at times to call in the vendor whether it is a lead provider or CRM provider, and explain what it is I expect from them. You have to remember, Dealerships that get it and have an Internet Director that gets it are the minority. Many vendors are used to the old plug and play mentality. You'll have to sort them out from the ones that show a vested interest in YOUR success.

Comment by Doug Blankenship on March 3, 2010 at 8:51am
BTW - Kudos to VIN Solutions for giving that "one call does it all" service. In my experience, that is the one thing that separates us from our competition.

Much of the time dealers don't know who to call when they find a problem that needs to be fixed. How frustrating is it when you call your inventory provider to tell them about their inventory not updating on Auto Trader, or, or whoever and be told, "Oh. That's not our fault. You need to call your rep." So, you call your rep and they tell you, "That's not our fault. You need to call your inventory provider." Back and forth you go.

My philosophy is that whether or not it is something I can fix on my end or not, I will make the effort to contact the other party on behalf of the dealership. Most of the time I know where the problem lies anyway, so I know who to call. That is the level of service I want to provide.

I want the dealer to get back to selling cars.

If you are the vendor that feels you don't get paid to do that for your clients, you are stupid. The more time the dealer uses to sell cars and not chase inventory, the more inventory they will turn and the more you will make as an inventory provider since most of us charge per car added.

Also, you help to prevent the other party from getting blind sided by a phone call that might be unpleasant. Many of my referrals come from other companies like and Auto Trader because I have built relationships with them and tried to make their lives easier. We work TOGETHER to help our dealers.

Anyway, I'm just sayin.

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