Archive for the “auto dealers” Category

Cedar Falls, IA,;  Team Toyota was featured in the cover story of the June 2014 Edition of AutoSuccess Magazine titled, “Winning The Loyalty Game! The Retention Strategy That Added $3 Million To Team Toyota’s Bottom Line.”

Paul Muller’s Team Toyota Auto Group includes Team Toyota Princeton, Team Toyota Langhorne and Team Toyota Glen Mills. All three of these highly respected operations have collectively received 70 Toyota Excellence Awards for outstanding performance in sales, service, parts and customer relations and they all credit Driving Loyalty for contributing to their shared success.

Kevin Stroble, The GM of Team Toyota, confirmed his support of Driving Loyalty and their comprehensive customer loyalty program, “All three of our stores use the same partner to automate loyalty-related marketing activities because they give us the flexibility to experiment with our bricks and mortar processes without sacrificing the quality or consistency of the marketing going out to our customers. This is important because it means that our results don’t dry up when we have turnover or someone has an off month. We set our parameters and profit requirements and they take care of all of the behind-the-scenes activities. Kevin credits his dealership’s recent success on a simple formula, “The key to our success was eliminating points of failure. We focused on doing what we do well and automated the things our people didn’t do or didn’t do well.”

Scott Davis, the President and Founder of Driving Loyalty, explained the unique value added services that his solution contributed to Team Toyota, “The heart of the Driving Loyalty marketing platform is “The Undeniable Offer.” We deliver these undeniable offers every month to qualifying customers that are designed to educate the customer as well as encourage them to engage with the dealership. Every statement compares the customer’s current vehicle against a newer vehicle with little or no money down. Giving customers real payment options on real vehicles increases engagement because it creates questions that only the dealership can answer. The customer feels like they are making an educated decision and the dealership gets to earn the customer’s business while earning a reasonable profit. It’s a great win-win.”

In addition to providing retention related marketing campaigns Driving Loyalty provides Team Toyota with real-time dashboards and closing tools to keep everyone on the same page when the customer visits the dealership. All marketing activities to the customer are easily accessed along with advance notice of any planned customer visits for sales or service. This link between sales and service has proven to be an invaluable tool that has greatly enhanced profitability for Team Toyota in both sales and fixed operations.

About Driving Loyalty, LLC: Driving Loyalty has been operating out of their facilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa since. 2003. They started as a family owned operation but several industry savvy investor partners have joined the company supporting their expansion and shift to the more comprehensive solution they currently provide. Their automated database marketing platform is powered by proprietary software and algorithms that have proven successful for over 200 auto dealers. Driving Loyalty has been selected as “One of The Top Ten Companies To Watch” by AutoSuccess magazine for three years in a row.

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Cedar Falls, Iowa: August 12th 2014, Driving Loyalty will be introducing their newly announced B2C and B2B Social Marketing Initiative at Autocon 2014 as an enhancement to their Database Marketing Platform. Autocon 2014 will be held at The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas September 03rd through September 5th 2014.

Autocon 2014 has a unique reputation as a “Dealer Generated Conference.” Scott Davis, the President and Founder of Driving Loyalty, explained why he decided to exhibit at Autocon 2014, “They share our focus on relationship based selling and the power of networking. As a result, it is the perfect place to launch our new B2C Social Marketing Initiative that adds Social Media to our email, Direct Mail, PURL’s and outbound Call Centers to leverage established relationships for our auto dealer clients with their customers. Our B2B Social Marketing Initiative allows us to network with complimentary vendor partners to leverage our resources and improve the R.O.I. for our shared dealer clients from our combined products and services. Autocon 2014 features speaker sessions by many successful auto dealers, including some of our valued dealer clients, and exhibits by several of our B2B vendor partners, such as CallRevu, making our decision to participate in the conference an easy one.”

Auto dealers speaking at Autocon 2014 include Chris Saraceno, Vice President and Partner at Kelly Automotive Group, Bernie Moreno, President of The Collection Auto Group, Brian Benstock, General Manager and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Richard Bustillo, General Manager of Rick Case Honda. According to Scott, “The real world experiences and advice that these speakers provide represent a unique advantage over the typical vendor sessions hosted at competing auto industry conferences. I expect to be able to listen and learn as much as I will presume to teach.”

Auto dealers are attending conferences to gain access to auto industry insiders supporting these events. Next generation sales and service processes being introduced at Autocon 2014 are often powered by technology driven vendor solutions like Driving Loyalty and learning about them is worth the price of admission. Autocon 2014 also includes educational sessions on 15 different categories covering advertising, digital marketing, social media, retention, certified pre-owned and more. All-in-all, over 150 best practices will be shared over the course of the three days.

About Driving Loyalty, LLC.: Driving Loyalty has been operating out of their facilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa since. 2003. They started as a family owned operation but several industry savvy investor partners have joined the company supporting their expansion and shift to the more comprehensive solution they currently provide. Their automated database marketing platform is powered by proprietary software and algorithms that have proven successful for over 200 auto dealers. Driving Loyalty has been selected as “One of The Top Ten Companies To Watch” by AutoSuccess magazine for three years in a row.

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Most dealers recognize the value of their data base of past and present customers.  Many even invest in automated marketing programs that rely on algorithms to target qualified customers and deliver equity alerts for vehicle exchange programs and properly timed service alerts based on factory recommended maintenance to improve customer retention and loyalty after the sale.

The following potentially missed opportunities to maximize the R.O.I. realized by managing your most valued asset – your customers – includes many that I have overcome and a few that hopefully my friends will add in their comments:

1) Cross promotions between sales and service and service to sales:  Most dealers have a process in place to introduce new customers to a service writer to schedule their first service appointment and anchor future maintenance to preserve their warranty.  (If you don’t, make this a two for one missed opportunity and set up a process to insure a T.O. to service that extends beyond your service hours.)

However, few dealers have a similar structure in place to monitor and manage sales processes in the service lane that remind customers when they qualify to trade-up their vehicle to a new or newer one.  Typically, this is due to a lack of data, resources or staff that can research and notify customers when they have enough equity to qualify to trade-in their vehicle with little or no money down for a new or newer vehicle for similar payments.

As mentioned in my introduction, vendor solutions like Driving Loyalty can automate this discovery and notice to the customer.  However, to take maximum advantage of their marketing platform, they suggest a proven process that includes a dedicated individual in the service lane to assist the customer with their decision to exchange their vehicle vs. paying for the scheduled service that brought them to your dealership.

Driving Loyalty reminds their dealer clients that when quantifying their R.O.I. from this process they should consider not only the front and back end profit from the new or pre-owned vehicle sale but also the value of acquiring a potentially qualified Certified Pre-Owned vehicle and the increased customer loyalty and retention realized by your efforts.

2) Social Media – Marketing – Networking: Many dealers have become frustrated with using social media/marketing to communicate with their customers primarily due, in my opinion, to unrealistic expectations.  Sourcing vehicle sales and service appointments from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinetrest, Instagram, Linked-In and a number of yet to be discovered consumer centric social networking communities is not be as easy as through conventional and digital media.  However, once again, technology driven vendor solutions can provide a realistic R.O.I. from your social marketing initiatives.

Next generation apps like HELIOS developed by xChange Automotive reside entirely within the Facebook environment and provide relevant/transparent information to a customer without distracting them from their more socially driven conversations.  HELIOS provides everything from contests for cash to integrated processes that host one on one discussions with their “friend in the car business” about a considered vehicle purchase or pending service need that can be shared with their online friends and family in a non-confrontational manner.  More uniquely, the customers never have to leave their comfort zone within their Facebook page and the dealer is able to deliver/receive the information directly through their CRM/DMS and established sales/service processes.

3) Dealer Reputation/Referral Platforms: Soliciting positive feedback and referrals from customers before. during and after the sale is an old school technique that has survived into today’s technology driven marketplace.  Word of mouth advertising, bird dogs and simply asking for a referral is common place, however, third party marketing platforms that profess to be consumer centric and dealer focused have often left consumers out of the formula.

Carfolks.Com is a site that has existed for some time that adds an additional feature/benefit for consumers as well as dealers on several levels.  As expected, they notify a dealer of a poor review to offer them an opportunity to address and resolve it, however, to preserve credibility for consumers they do not allow the dealer to eliminate the bad reviews.  Instead, they insure that the dealer has the last word vs. posting a string of unwarranted attacks with the expectation that the dealer will either resolve the problem or support their position in a positive manner.

More uniquely, they offer sales consultants and service writers a “free” page on their site so customers can post their comments directly with/about the people that they actually did business with. As a result, the dealer can identify where/who the problem/opportunity originated with so they can address the individual and either critique or compliment them.  In addition, the sales consultant or service writer can learn from their replies and hopefully develop a customer base that will allow them to improve their sales techniques and increase their income.  The resulting increase in customer satisfaction/retention is coupled with an increased employee satisfaction/retention which directly benefits all parties; the customer. the employee and the dealer!

I can continue listing other examples of how/why a dealer can/should focus on their past and present customers vs. constantly investing new advertising dollars to attract new ones.  However, now would be a good time to ask you for your thoughts on the subject and suggested examples of how we can all maximize the R.O.I. from our DMS and our collected list of customers.

After all, what are friends and Ad Agency Online for!

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The Auto Industry Insiders Show, hosted by Philip Zelinger the President of Ad Agency Online, LLC, scheduled to air on June 12th. 2014 at 12 Noon EST includes an interview with Kurtis Smith discussing his training programs that teaches & equips managers to intentionally improve employee performance, revenue & the customer experience.

Auto Industry Insiders Interview Kutis Smith

Auto Industry Insiders Interview Kutis Smith

 

K-Method Academy Launches the automotive industry’s first training resource center to equip dealers to impact the customer experience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kurtis Smith, info@kmethod.com

Chicago, IL – The K-Method Training Group announces the launch of the K-Method Academy, a robust & comprehensive training solution created especially for dealerships and their professionals. Kurtis Smith, Director of Training & Content Development explains that the goal of the academy is to become a tool and resource for dealerships everywhere to equip their managers with the training content, resources and support to develop millennials, the next generation of dealership professionals.

K-Method’s executives believe that today’s dealership professionals must have access to a more modern and focused training curriculum based on the principle of the continuous improvement movement and centered around strategies to improve the customer experience. They believe that this curriculum should include skills, systems and process based material, available on-demand, to address specific performance issues in real time when the training can be most useful and relevant. Additionally, they believe that this approach lends itself to addressing some of the concerns of today’s consumers regarding the competency and professionalism of many of the dealership employees they encounter.

As more manufacturers implement their version of the continuous improvement program, Mr. Smith believes dealership managers will need access to this type of training methodology to aid in intentionally promoting employee “course correction” and performance improvement.

What makes this approach so unique is that it empowers managers to take control of their workforce training. They are able to choose from a single course, or a pre-built learning plan, or a full blown certification training program without committing to long term contracts or costly training initiative with low ROI.

Mr. Smith states that the K-Method Academy is positioning itself to be the resource that dealerships can depend on to train new hires, have access to learn new skills, systems and processes to continually develop and educate their workforce regardless of the skill level and experience of its personnel. He states that we should think of K-Method as the Kahn Academy for the Automotive Industry.

To learn more, visit http://kmethod.com or to take a tour of the learning center visit http://kmethodacademy.com/sp-free-membership-sales-page1/ .

Contact To learn more about the K-Method Group & the K-Method Academy, please contact Kurtis Smith The K-Method Group, Inc. O (866) 277-7681 ext. 703 F (877) 698-8891 kurtis@kmethod.com

About The K-Method Training Group, Inc

The K-Method Group is a training organization specializing in the development of performance improvement training courses to be used by dealerships as a resource for the continuing education and development of their workforce. Our processes and strategies were born out of the Kaizen philosophy, which literally means; change (kai) – to become good (zen). The company operates its own online training platform known as the K-Method Success Academy, designed to deliver training based on the unique developmental needs of each member on the team.

The K-Method Value Proposition

Every day in Every Dealership, Without Exception, there are employee performance related issues that continually surface that negatively impact the customer experience and rob the dealership of revenue.

Managers are on the frontline and are uniquely positioned to impact the KPI’s affecting profits and the customer experience. They are able to observe the employee’s behavior affecting the KPI’s, and impact performance in real time by seizing them as teachable moments where targeted training courses can be leveraged to improve the employee’s performance leading to skill mastery.

Our training solution is that resource that has been designed to elevate the performance level of dealership professionals by introducing a comprehensive training resource consisting of courses that address core skills, frameworks and strategies that the individual will need to know in order to be effective in their various roles.

About Kurtis Smith

Kurtis Smith is the Director of Training & Content Development for the K-Method Group. With a background as a United States Marine, Author, Sales, Management and consulting professional, Mr. Smith brings with him over two decades of experience and know-how to the table. He is the creator of Professional Standards for Sales Excellence (PSSE) training program, a comprehensive library of training courses designed to elevate the performance of dealership professionals. The program consists of courses that teach the core skills, processes and frameworks that dealership professionals will need to know to develop multiple lead sources, maintain client relationships and other activities that impact revenue and the customer experience. Mr. Smith is also the author of two books. The first, Lessons from the Concrete Garden reads like a white paper, in which he builds a case for redefining the sales process & training methods used to develop dealership personnel in the aftermath of the Internet and its impact on revenue and the customer experience. His second book, The Sales Professional’s Blueprint serves as the action plan, where he takes the reader on a step-by-step personal development journey and teaches, in story format, exactly what they need to know to excel in this new process driven selling model. It goes one step further by inviting the reader, at the end of each chapter, to access the online training courses outlined in the book.

Mr. Smith’s guiding principle when it comes to solving problems or developing solutions for his clients is summed up as follows: “What you cannot define you cannot reproduce, what you cannot reproduce you cannot measure, what you cannot measure you cannot control or manage“.

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Consumers always have and always will seek the path of least resistance to get the best deal they can when they purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle; and you can’t blame them.  Similarly, it is understandable that auto dealers always have and always will try to define what the best deal is for their customers; and it typically includes preserving a fair profit.  Unfortunately, their objectives aren’t always weighted the same; even though they should be.

Today’s internet educated customers have fewer reasons to rely on an auto dealer for the information they need to purchase a vehicle.  Online resources by third party providers and social networks of likeminded consumers offer easier access to relevant transparent information and they have more credibility with shoppers than auto dealers.

Competitive product comparisons and even price negotiations are more convenient in virtual showrooms than in real ones.  Next generation technology driven applications have automated the process for online customers who can now select a vehicle, compare it to other dealer offers, appraise their trade, apply and get approved for credit, compute an out the door payment and solicit the advice and support of their family and friends without ever having to involve a sales person.

Frankly, the only control still held by dealers is the fact that most people like to test drive a vehicle before they buy it, they prefer the human touch when making a decision and they will always need to have it serviced at a facility that is conveniently located.  Unfortunately old school auto dealers need to accept that even that control is being eroded.

Video chat programs and video FAQ’s on websites can now answer most questions in real time better than most sales consultants.  Pending changes in legislation will soon allow dealers to deliver a vehicle to a customer’s home or office with a financial agreement that will protect the dealer while allowing the consumer time to return the vehicle for virtually any reason.  Finally, many OEM’s are experimenting with remote service facilities that are not linked to a sales showroom.

All of these evolutionary changes benefit the consumer and even the OEMs who has always had their eye on reducing the costs of their distribution channels. Franchised auto dealers will still play a role in the technology and consumer driven market of the future; as will their sales staff.  However, auto dealers must reduce their expenses and increase the value added services they contribute to the process or they will be designing their own obsolescence.

Auto dealers that want to survive into tomorrow must start making the necessary changes to their business model today.  They must increase their use of technology driven marketing and sales processes in their real and virtual showrooms to improve their margins and remain competitive.  They need to leverage their most valuable asset, their customer base, through the use of social media and automated data base marketing to improve customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty.  They need to provide training for their staff and information for their customers that helps them make a buying decision vs. trying to “sell” them something.

Simply put, auto dealers must accept the fact that change and human nature are two constants in the auto industry that must be recognized and addressed.  More specifically, online transactions powered by consumer demand and acceptance of technology driven solutions is a reality for tomorrow that is already being constructed today!

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