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Transforming The Dealership Part 3 - A Live Week By Week Case Study (Dealer eTraining)

Welcome to Part 3 of a live dealership case study in which Stan Sher from Dealer eTraining is working on location with a dealer, management team and the entire customer facing staff. 

 

It has been two weeks since Part 2 was published.  Stan has been working in Chicago while consulting with another client, along with his role in presenting at and facilitating the Internet Sales 20 Group 3 day series of workshops...

 

Here is Mr. Sher's Part 3 Report for this series:

 

I came home to a major hurricane which slowed things down considerably.  But here is what we were able to accomplish:

 

CRM Implementation:

We have been working on pre-installation processes with eLead by installing email headers, templates, and other important parts of the CRM.  It has been a simple process as the CRM company is accommodating.  eLead will be spending the week at the dealership training and installing the CRM at the dealership which means we will be live in a few days.

 

Dealership Website:

Once again, the major challenge is that it is OEM mandated and certain things are not able to be done while others are being developed as we speak.  As much as I respect what OEMs are doing to make all dealers in the same brand unified I feel that they make it difficult for a dealership to create a unique image to stand out from the competition.

 

We are in the process of updating employee pictures.  This is a tough task because the owner wants all pictures to be the same exact size.  The challenge is getting the pictures to show up on the website in the same size.  I am still trying to figure out with the vendor what is going on and this is the one time where I feel they are not helping me as they should.

 

We drastically improved the way the specials pages look with come great content and even more specials.  We started to add video testimonials to the website which was a challenge also because the videos did not want to upload from my end.  In addition, we made proper changes for the new month and any news pertaining to changes.

 

Social Media:

I have begun to focus on Facebook this past week.  I have been posting engaging content and getting people responding it.  In terms of twitter, I know we have followers but for some reason I am looking for the login which no one can seem to find.  I might have to setup a new account but I will give it a week before I do it.

 

I have continued to blog and syndicate content.  The content has been getting some views which tell me that people are reading it.  We had an announcement from the OEM that there is a hurricane relief discount available to people in certain areas that lost their vehicles to flood and hurricane damage.  I was quick to post it and promote it on facebook before any competing dealer can think of doing the same, if they normally do it.

 

Videos/Pictures:

It was disappointing to me that when I left for a whole week and asked sales people to start getting their own videos and pictures that not a single person took an action.  They got all excited about the fact that they can brand themselves but they took no action at all.  I addressed that with management because the process takes all of one minute and I am even here to get the content up.  All they need is to have a form filled out, snap a picture or capture a 30 second video and have me handle the rest.  I hope that they fix the situation and get to it.  However, one person did get a picture for me that is now posted.

 

I added more content to the Flickr account.

 

Traditional Advertising:

I have not had to be involved with this.

 

Online Reputation Management:

I discovered a challenge that I have never had before.  In all of my years doing this I was always able to grow a dealership’s online reputation without problem.  I sat in and listened to reasons why the service department has a hard time getting reviews and I am noticing from the sales department why they are not doing.

 

The sales department is not pushing for it at all.  The service department explains that whenever they ask for a review to get posted that customers do not want to post it.  The understanding that I am getting is that a lot of the customers here are generally in aged in the mid 40s and range as high as 70+.  They do not want to leave an email address and they prefer to leave a survey in pen and paper. 

 

This raises a challenge to me, a social and digital warrior that believes that everyone and everything should be online.  I am thinking that we need an iPad in service and sales with a 4G connection and we should work closely with the customer to get what we need by guiding them or assisting them.  It is obvious that post cards with links to review sites do not work well for the customers as they do not pay attention to them.

 

I have never been a fan of spiffing customers for reviews.  However, cars.com has a really neat format of how to generate reviews.  Cars.com offers to place customers into a contest where the customer has a potential of getting $100 for leaving a review.  There is an email template for it.  I am thinking of also creating a process strictly for cars.com to let customers know about the offer not just as delivery but also after delivery where they can be guided through.  I mean, “Who wouldn’t want a chance to get $100?”  It is also my goal to learn from cars.com if the review can somehow be syndicated just like the way DealerRater does it with google.

 

If anyone has suggestions of how to get reviews from customers that are more mature and not as computer savvy, I am open to some responses on here.

 

Dealership Process and Operations:

While walking around the dealership looking for things that needed improvement I noticed a binder with parts specials that looked sloppy.  I took it upon myself to let management know about this and created a new professional looking binder with better specials and more transparency.

 

I have been spending time watching how the sales department functions from how sales managers are managing their people to how they work deals.  I have to say that when it comes to working deals and selling cars they do a great job and they have decent grosses.  The managers get involved in deals and are aggressive to sell cars.  This dealership is generally number one in its district.  The other things that I have been observing are how the one internet coordinator functions throughout the day.  The GSM complains about the coordinator because he finds him playing on his cell phone a lot.  The fix to the problem was that I monitored CRM activities in the old CRM and read comments along with emails that were being sent to the customers.

 

I noticed something interesting and disturbing.  When an internet appointment comes in the internet coordinator sits with them and talks with them sometimes as long as 20-30 minutes.  When I approached management they agreed and said that it needs to be fixed.  I had the perfect fix for that.  At the Internet Sales 20 Group, Ralph Paglia introduced the “Showroom Appointment Reception Agenda”.  This form is a professional way for the coordinator to meet the customer that they communicated with.  What is amazing about this form is that it explains in a quick and transparent fashion what the customer will accomplish on this visit which is a 4-5 step process.  The coordinator turns over the customer to a sales consultant and moves on with their job.  This takes 1-2 minutes.  We are implementing this as of this week as the new CRM is installed.  There were major changes made to the document that Ralph provided which I will describe in the next section.

 

Call monitoring is not very strong in the dealership.  The dealership relies on cars.com and their website provider to have toll free numbers.  It is amazing that the newspaper always had a local number.  No one really ever listened to phone calls.  In fact, all sales calls are being handled by sales consultants and not the internet coordinator.  This is a whole other issue that I will be tackling soon if I get the chance to.  The way I monitor the calls is I stand in the showroom and listen to the sales consultants talk to phone ups.  I then log into to my limited tools and listen to the conversation.  My plans are to do the same with service and parts soon.  While taking many notes, I have discovered flaws in phone skills and will be planning on phone training sessions at this dealership after the CRM is installed. 

 

Ownership Challenges:

The only real challenges in the improvement and transformation of the dealership are dealing with ownership in this case.  The dealer principle is not hands on yet has very interesting opinions to how things should run.  As far as sales and service is concerned, she lets the managers do their thing and make money for the store.  But when a highly paid expert that has built numerous success stories is brought in a challenge is created.  Now, I am not saying that challenges are not fun.  This is a unique challenge where I am working with a personality that involves me trying to figure out how they think. 

 

Every best practice email installed needs to be edited because the writing does not work for them.  This stalled the processes of installing emails into the CRM by two weeks.  Take website content, wording of some serious best practices just never work and they need to be changed.  My challenge is that I need to change content and write it as if I was this other person.  Again, it is an interesting challenge.

 

The best practice implemented by Ralph Paglia was another example where 60% of the content was rewritten and another 20% was omitted just to satisfy their feelings.  Now I am not saying the document became a bad document but it had changed the TO process from internet coordinator to sales person in a way that I personally would have done differently.

 

I respect the challenge and although at some point it is frustrating it is what makes me better at my job and what ultimately brings more success to the dealership.

 

That is all for Part 3. 

 

If anyone has questions, always feel free to contact me. 

http://dealeretraining.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dealeretraining

http://www.drivingsales.com/ratings/companies/dealer-etraining

 

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Your comments, feedback, observations, recommendations and suggestions are encouraged and Stan Sher would greatly appreciate any ideas you may have by posting them below...

Views: 324

Tags: automotive digital marketing, automotive internet training, automotive phone training, automotive reputation management, dealer etraining, dealership operations, stan sher

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Comment by Tom Gorham on December 7, 2012 at 5:57pm

Adam,  I thank you for sharing your experience with the iPad phenomena.  A year or so ago, I was speaking with a dealer group who had very bad reviews and almost no good ones.  I asked them what they planned to do about it.  They said, "We're going to get iPads and make people do the reviews while they are still in the dealership."

They were very satisfied that many professional "Reputation Management" companies were recommending that.  My question was, "Why don't you work on your customer service, the way you do business and REAL reputation?"  You know... the hard way.

Needless to say, the iPad "revolution" in reputation management was short-lived.  The same applies to any "technique" for getting good reviews.  There's only ONE lasting and acceptable way to get good reviews and that's to earn them and then ask for them.


The bell is sounding for the future where companies will be judged for their actions rather than for their rhetoric and boastfulness.  You can read some of my previous articles here on ADM about this very subject.  All aboard!

Comment by Stan Sher on December 7, 2012 at 9:23am

Thank you.  I am glad that I can help anytime.  

Comment by Adam Barish on December 7, 2012 at 8:10am

Stan, just getting caught up on your posts.  Again, great job! Heads up on the ipads.  I put ipads in the showroom and service area to capture reviews after attending #DSES in 2011 when the people from google said is was ok to do and actually recommended it.  Well - not so much.  We were blacklisted on dearlerrater and google.  After investigating, it didn't matter that they were 3g with their own changing ip...dealerrater didn't like it and my entire staff needed to go through DR's webinar on proper technique and rules.  Google said it isnt so cut and dry and Jacy Young @exteres helped us through that debacle.  Your suggestion of a good, solid template in the CRM PRECEEDED by a phone call is our best device to get reviews.  I didn't know about the cars.com template and reward so thank you for that golden nugget.

Comment by Stan Sher on November 28, 2012 at 12:57pm

Thanks Alyssa, it worked out perfect.

Comment by Alyssa Gomez on November 12, 2012 at 11:49am

Download Gimp, it is a free tool to resize pictures and change the format. Save all pictures of employees at the same size and send to the website company this way. When I add customers to contact at once, I do this. It seems to work.

Comment by Stan Sher on November 12, 2012 at 7:55am

Thank you everyone.  I appreciate the feedback.

Comment by Doug Davis on November 12, 2012 at 7:38am

If anyone has suggestions of how to get reviews from customers that are more mature and not as computer savvy, I am open to some responses on here.

Stan, I am really enjoying the progress.  You really have no idea of the depth of the issues until you get really involved.  It can really get ugly.

This suggestion works for customers at time of delivery.  They need a smart phone but it is really easy.

I used a large blank index card and put the dealership logo, address and phone number at the top.

Across the center, I had several oil change coupons.  The first one was free and the others were specials that they were offering on the website.

At the bottom were two QR codes.  The first went directly to DealerRater's "rate this dealer" application.  Once scanned, you were able to complete the review without seeing the dealerships other reviews.  It didn't take 5 minutes to complete and because it came from the customer's own phone, it would not be removed. This activated the coupons.

The other QR code goes to the dealer website to make an appointment in service.

One of my friends, back in Dallas, is using this and they had 10 reviews in just 3 or 4 days.

The card looked professional and fit into the customer's owners manual.

Comment by Tom Gregg on November 10, 2012 at 7:24pm
Thanks Stan. I really enjoy reading this live case study and look forward to reading about the continued success you will be bringing to this dealership. Although your templates and process may be better than what the dealer selects, it is more important to get their buy-in. If you don't, they store will recede back to their old ways once you leave.

Thanks again!
Comment by Tom Gorham on November 10, 2012 at 7:17pm

Getting buy-in is crucial and often elusive.  You can easily get buy-in from a green-pea and if you could isolate them from other sales staff, you might produce a digital winner.  If I had my way, every green-pea would start in the Internet Department until they had great follow-up habits and only then be allowed on the floor.  (I've never been able to sell that concept)

Getting buy-in from experienced and successful sales staff is much more difficult.  If you can force them or incentivize them to try new things, AND experience success, they MIGHT buy into the concept.  Nothing sells like results.  Our most successful sales staff tend to be those who are open to trying new things and seeing results.  They must be held up as an exmple for the rest who are "sure" it won't work.

Comment by Tom Gorham on November 10, 2012 at 6:54pm

Stan, thank you again for providing us with this week by week case study.  In many ways, I would like to say welcome to my world.  Many of the frustrations and challenges you seem to be facing are not because you don't know best practices and what the dealership employees should be doing.  It is frustration in getting the employees, and in some cases the dealer to practice and fulfill the agenda.  I believe you may never have that "Aha" moment where everything falls into place.  It is a constant battle that someone will have to assume for you when you leave.  You must be training leaders who will assume that mantle and be persistent.  I believe in your sincerity of purpose and willingness to accept the challenge before you.  I wish you success!

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