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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Auto Industry Insiders Jeff Spreen Screen Shot

The Auto Industry Insiders show scheduled for Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 12 Noon EST has Philip Zelinger, the President of Ad Agency Online, LLC, interviewing a third generation “Car Guy” – Jeff Spreen, the GM and Owner of Spreen Honda in California.

Jeff’s family history in the business started in 1952 at Bob Spreen Cadillac in Downey California.  At that time they were the third largest Cadillac Dealer in the world. Spreen Honda starting serving the community in 1982 following the same customer first philosophy that built their first dealership.

According to Jeff, the secret to their success is best defined by their Mission Statement that says it all:

Spreen Honda is dedicated to perfecting the customer experience through continuous improvement of our processes and procedures. Spreen Honda embodies a true family experience for the discriminate customer. Our goal is for every customer to feel as though they truly enjoyed their experience whether it is in a car purchase or a simple oil change.

One of Jeff’s main focuses over the years has been with computers.  When he came to Spreen Honda in 2003 he applied his computer skills as the world moved online.  Under Jeff’s leadership Spreen Honda has always ranked in the top 5 dealerships in new vehicle sales in CA., but they have been one of the first places people look for quality Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles..

Philip and Jeff will discuss best practices applied by Jeff in his varied self assigned areas of responsibility that include overseeing all day to day operations.  However, Jeff takes personal pride in what he sees as his most important role; attending to customer complaints to ensure that a high level of customer satisfaction is obtained.

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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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HELIOS Blog Talk Radio

WAAOL – Auto Industry Insiders

Auto Industry Insiders is a blog talk radio show that reviews next generation technology based vendor solutions.  The show airing on Thursday, 04/24/14 at 12 Noon EST features an interview with Charles Chamblee III, the founder of xChange, discussing their new social marketing customer engagement/conversion platform - HELIOS.

xChange provides social and mobile marketing services and applications for existing automotive retail market service providers and OEMs.  They develop marketing programs that create lifecycle relationships with online, mobile and social media members, application users and shoppers by establishing a “cradle-to-grave” relationship with them and their vehicle.

HELIOS uses incentive gamification and predictive analytical marketing communications to encourage vehicle services and sales via patent-pending social engagement and conversion processes.  HELIOS, creates a virtual dealership within the Facebook community, equipping the dealer with automated social-mobile customer relationship management, customer vehicle maintenance schedules, maintenance appointment services, vehicle search and shopping, real lease and loan information and instant customer credit checking into a seamless customer engagement and conversion program.  The principal expectation of the program is customer retention, recapture and new customer acquisition by making social members application users, and then convert them through pull-activities that result in recurring lifecycle vehicle services and sales engagements through proactive and reactive data mining algorithms and social communications.

What is the pain point solved by HELIOS?

HELIOS converts social marketing to social engagement, customer conversion to continuous lifecycle management to include the continuation of business and product awareness, all within the social-mobile community.

How does HELIOS solve that pain in a differentiated way?

It sponsors continuous customer engagement through proactive and reactive social communications… software algorithms that learn customer service requirements and sales wishes based on customer interactive behavior within the program application through smart data mining.

Who does HELIOS solve it for?

Their program provides both the social customer and the dealer the opportunity to engage and build lasting relationships through a customer-driven engagement-to-sales conversion process. 

About Charles Shamblee III

Chief Executive, xChange Automotive

April 2010 – Present (4 years 1 month) Charlotte, North Carolina

Chief Executive, ImpactWare

February 2012 – Present (2 years 3 months) Charlotte, North Carolina

ImpactWare is developing the next generation social media integrated ecommerce applications as an online software service (SaaS). Small businesses require management, sales and service applications with real-time integration to 3rd party systems. ImpactWare will provide small businesses with a holistic software solution for fixed and variable sales processing; inventory management; customer finance and payment services; product service scheduling, including maintenance and repairs; parts inventory management; accounting integration and smart data analysis capabilities.

Chief Executive, NeoSynergy

August 2002 – November 2007 (5 years 4 months) Cincinnati, Ohio – Detroit, Michigan

As the Founder and CEO of NeoSynergy the limited liability software development and services company, we built the first complete web-based automobile dealership management system for new franchise dealers. The product DarwinXE, was licensed to and implemented by Assurant Solutions for their US based recreational vehicle dealer market and to Auto-Mate of South Africa for their South African franchise dealer market. NeoSynergy was merged with MotorAlley in 2007 to create NeoSynergy, Inc under a new venture capital oriented management team in cooperation with Gunn Allan Financial at a market value of over $30MM.

Vice President, Car Company Solutions Group, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company

January 2001 – April 2002 (1 year 4 months) Dayton, Ohio

At Reynolds and Reynolds, I was hired by the CEO to consolidate and grow their direct global car company solutions business. I was responsible for continued business development, product positioning and marketing into all car companies globally to include overall customer satisfaction for product implementation and customer support services. During my term the group reached 140MM of annual recurring revenue.

Chief Executive, Baerli Five – DealerKid

January 1991 – November 2000 (9 years 11 months) Cincinnati, Ohio – Detroit, Michigan

As the Founder and CEO of Baerli Five – DealerKid, I lead the company as Baerli Five from its inception as we built and delivered client server network platforms for automobile dealership operations in our early years from 1991 – 1996.  We subsequently merged our platform services into a greenfield software development operation under the new brand, DealerKid in 1996 and created the first comprehensive automotive retail customer relationship management (CRM) solution “DealerKid” for the demand side of the automotive industry.  I was responsible for the vision and leadership that developed and managed Ford Motors and Nissan Motors – Infiniti’s use of the DealerKid software as a part of their enterprise dealer CRM initiatives until DealerKid was sold to Reynolds and Reynolds in the fall of 2000.  The sale of DealerKid brought an investor return of 10-25X depending on entry point.

Chief Executive, ComputerLand Franchise

November 1988 – October 1990 (2 years) Detroit Michigan

After leaving the military, I purchased an existing ComputerLand franchise in downtown Detroit with the financial assist of a non-institutional private equity investor. The business was expanded from a retail only operation to a retail and corporate product and service provider of IBM, Apple, Compaq and Zenith computer systems including network service products from Novell and Microsoft.  The ComputerLand serviced the major Detroit metro counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb.  I worked as chief executive of the ComputerLand franchise until it was sold to Inacomp Corporation in 1990.  The sale of the ComputerLand brought an investor return of 4X.

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AAE 04-18-14 Best Practices In Social Media

WAAOL – All Automotive Advertising News All The Time

Automotive advertising agencies don’t know what they don’t know about Social Media.  However, they do know where to find out; today’s Automotive Advertising Experts show!

Philip Zelinger, the President of Ad Agency Online, LLC and host of a free automotive advertising resource portal – AdAgencyOnline.Net – will share best practices in the use of social media being applied by several next generation vendors in both their B2C and B2B social marketing efforts.

Driving Loyalty, an automated marketing platform using proprietary algorithms to deliver equity and service alerts sourced from data collected from an auto dealer’s DMS, is presented as an example of best practices with their newly announced Social Marketing Initiative. They invited several complementary vendor partners to extend the reach, frequency and most importantly influence of their social marketing messages.

More uniquely, their shared B2B efforts extend into the real world with enhancements to the sales and service processes at a dealership provided by CallRevu’s telephone management/monitoring system, IntellaCar’s iPad based sales/marketing solution, DealerAppVantage’s dealer branded mobile app to enhance the customer’s ownership experience after the sale and OfferLogix with their data management software that inserts customer specific lease information and payments into the Driving Loyalty equity alerts.

If you represent a next generation technology based vendor solution serving the auto industry that would complement Driving Loyalty’s solution please comment here or reach out to Philip Zelinger at pzads@bellsouth.net to learn how you can join their networking family.

After all, what are friends for!

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