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Online Negotiation Almost Doubles Conversion Ratio Comparing Same Market Same Brand Stores.

I wanted to share with everyone something very exciting we are seeing in regards to Conversion Ratios. We recently launched the on-line negotiation system for Portland Oregon dealer Ron Tonkin Honda. The pilot which is considered a "soft roll-out" commenced on February 1st. and is the first planned roll-out to be followed by Tonkin's other 16 locations. The soft roll-out involves nothing more than posting a call to action on their website that takes the customer through the on-line negotiation system.

After just 10 days with no more than posting the link to negotiate on-line, Ron Tonkin Honda is actively managing 1 to 3 new negotiation requests per day. In fact they delivered a vehicle to a buyer within hours of turning the system on. This is great for a start, but something else is really jumping out at us, which is the big jump in conversion ratios.

The conversion ratios jump is almost double what is was in the same period from the previous month before launching WideStorm. What's also interesting is this is mildly scientific. The Tonkins have another Honda store less than 7 miles away. They do the same advertising and everything else is pretty much the same. We looked at their conversion ratios compared to the previous month and theirs had not jumped a bit. The obvious conclusion is that consumers are generating more opportunities on the dealer's website given the invitation to negotiate online.

Brent Hillyer, Director of Sales Operations for the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships (www.Tonkin.com) was very encouraged by the results. "We didn't quite know what to expect when we turned the system on. We are getting so many negotiation requests now, the challenge is to manage expectations and respond quickly enough. Initially we trained just one manager, but now it's clear that we will have to train more managers given the demand. It's perfectly clear that our customers want to do business this way."

WideStorm, a division of DealerPeak is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and has hundreds of dealer clients throughout the United States. The WideStorm product is focused on providing dealers with a "competitive convenience advantage" by offering their customers the ability to negotiate on-line. DealerPeak solutions include CRM, Websites, Desking, Digital Marketing and Transactional Websites that work seamlessly on a unified Web-based platform. This allows our dealers to reduce the number of vendors they deal with and drive cost out of their business.

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Comment by Jock Schowalter on April 23, 2009 at 3:42pm
Todd, you need to get on here and answer some of these very good questions. Like Tonkin's $3500 average gross so far.
Comment by Tony Giorgione on April 6, 2009 at 8:14am
Todd
I am always looking for new ways to increase sales and make gross. After installing AAX last month our grosses are up 1028 across the platform. I am of course looking to increase that number again. Please follow my thinking and help me move in your direction.
The question is - If conversion to a lead is up "agreed". How about the car burning gas? Is it also Increased ? And is so are the dealerships overall number of Interned sales UP? If so what percentage? For our dealerships my numbers are stable accross platform. My numbers are 80% of my customers engage my sites for just short of 5 minutes the other 15% call the phone numbers and 5% bounce. What I have looked at another that the Dodge dealer in Texas used Spring Dodge that also boast great conversions according to Bruce Glasscock. And I would be curious how your product compares to the bargan button. Thank you TG
Comment by Chris Olson on April 4, 2009 at 6:34pm
It would also be interesting to hear what defines "holding gross".
Comment by Al Hall on April 4, 2009 at 8:44am
Would you please post the actual conversion rates? This will help authenticate the performances realized from the system. If the conversion rates were 1.5-2% to begin with, the improvement is unimpressive. If they were 4 to 5%, then the improvement is extremely impressive. Without the numbers of the actual conversion rates, the results you are showing are inconsequential.
Comment by Todd Mathews on February 24, 2009 at 9:31am
New update regarding conversion ratio. Ron Tonkin Honda website is converting 85% better than sister store MTD.

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