Sales Related Posts Archive:

It’s not just about 4 square selling, or grinding away at forlorn folks who happen to cruise into your dealership.  Sales is a science. It’s a psychological, sociological, technological, and cultural process that is as complex as any human interaction there is.  Our articles elucidate “sales best practices”, in ways that will give you a better understanding of human behavior and how to best use the available tools at your disposal to sell more cars and create lifelong relationships and friends along the way.

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Podcast Interview: Shelley Washburn of GSM

Not all dealerships are prepared to handle their traffic during busy times or after a big campaign. This is part of what GSM helps them do.

Branding Yourself

Steve Roessler, aka Jimmy Neutron, explains why branding yourself through personalized videos is the best way to communicate, influence and retain customers.


What were you doing the day of the Eclipse? We are SELLING! Welcome to the DriveCentric Family, Abeloff Auto Group. You can take off your glasses now….It’s time to go

David Tarczynski of Carcasm Discusses Web Services

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Patrick McMullen of Chats With Dealership News

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Video is the Way of the World!

Video is the new frontier.

Why Podium is the Dealer’s Choice for Reputation Management

Would YOU choose you?

(GUEST BLOG) Auto Dealership Increased Results with Website Provider

It just makes sense that a family-centered auto dealership priding itself on relationships would result from a solid foundation of friendship. In the case of Atlas Motors, that was co-owners Mike Lewis and Andy Baltz’s friendship-turned-partnership when the dealership opened its doors seventeen years ago. “On my first day in the car business, I knew whose job I wanted – the owner’s,” says Lewis, who started out as a car salesman in 1987. “I also knew I wanted every job between myself and the owner to work my way up.” Lewis worked in retail until the mid-1990s when he decided to make a transition and go into the wholesale auto business. Meanwhile, Baltz was deciding between medical school and selling cars – he had a small lot with about thirty cars. The two connected when Baltz reached out to Lewis to expand his inventory. Lewis and Baltz became friends, and Lewis offered some knowledge about the used auto industry from his years spent in retail. As business started growing for Baltz, talk of merging the two companies started to come up. While Lewis was initially against the idea, three years later he agreed and the two bought a piece of property together. Nearly two decades later, Lewis credits much of the success of the business to the family-centered atmosphere at Atlas Motors. “The culture of our dealership is family,” says Lewis. “We stay with our customers – used cars are generally sold as is, but that’s not the way we do it.” He estimates that 35% of his customers are repeats and 30% are referrals, so nurturing existing customers is a top priority. “Our slogan is ‘Families Trust Atlas’ – and it’s true,” he says. Atlas Motors is one of the few independent used auto dealers with a Better Business Bureau membership and an A+ rating, according to Lewis, and they work hard to maintain that reputation. There are other facets of the industry that Lewis thinks Atlas Motors does better than other independent used auto dealerships. “We try to be on the forefront of adapting to the needs of our customer base,” says Lewis. “When I first got into the business all advertising was done on paper – in magazines and whatnot. And many independents have hesitated to upgrade to digital because it’s complex.” The Atlas Motors team, however, has not only upgraded but taken their online presence to the next level by tracking high-level data. “We are data rich,” Lewis explains. He and his team needed a strong web provider to support their data-driven efforts. Prior to partnering with Dealer Spike in 2016, Atlas Motors’ previous website was “first generation, with first generation tools,” Lewis explains. The previous provider failed to grow with time. Vital upgrades such as responsive software and optimized search fell by the wayside. When Lewis and his team were introduced to Dealer Spike, they were impressed by the level of engagement they received and willingness to accommodate to Atlas Motors’ digital needs. “Dealer Spike was open to learning more and growing with us,” Lewis says. Atlas Motors saw an average of 250% increase in leads per month in the first year after switching from the past provider, and the team was impressed. Lewis commends the staff at Dealer Spike, calling the relationships he’s built “real and perpetual.” He says, “We’ve worked together to create the best digital presence possible.” “Dealer Spike is proud to partner with Atlas Motors,” says Jay Mason, CEO of Dealer Spike. “This team provides a great example of an auto dealership that has consistently adapted to the changing landscape of digital marketing.” The Atlas Motors team is committed to quality in what they offer and in what they do. They take the extra step to cultivate relationships with lenders to get customers the best financing available. They go beyond what is expected from a typical small business by giving back to the local community as well as national foundations and causes. What Atlas Motors and Dealer Spike have in common is a genuine desire to take care of customers. While Atlas Motors goes above and beyond for their buyers – checking all recalls, getting fixes done prior to sale, and running the vehicle through a double inspection process for safety and quality – Dealer Spike also makes customer experience and value the #1 goal. Staying ahead of the game in technology, keeping customer service at the forefront, and a consistent willingness to learn are all priorities for both Atlas Motors and Dealer Spike, making the two a good match and a solid partnership. Atlas Motors One of the largest and highest-rated used car dealerships in the Portland area, Atlas Motors has been serving automotive needs for over seventeen years. The dealership has a huge inventory of used cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans that stretches over two city blocks with new inventory arriving every day of the week. Dealer Spike Dealer Spike is a digital advertising software-as-a-service (SaaS) company focused on helping dealers increase leads and sales online. The company provides innovative, powerful, distinctive web solutions and tools to thousands of dealers worldwide. Dealer Spike’s expertise comes from real-world dealership experience and a passion for listening and responding to dealers’ needs in the marketplace. Lauren Labunsky

Taking Time with Alan Dickie

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Bill Wittenmyer of ELEAD1ONE Talks Automotive!

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Interview with Mike Jarman of MobAuto

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Interview with Cathleen Lewis, Executive Recruiter for Lithia Motors

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Interview with Larry Tabloff of Digital Dealership System

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Quickcast: JD Byrider Interview with Aaron Hershey

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Vicimus is on the Podcast and Moving Fast Into 2018

Software helps your R.O.I.

The Affordable Vendor Every Dealer Can’t Afford to Ignore in 2018

Many of the bigger franchise and Indie dealerships have a hard time attributing where their leads come from. Typically, a single lead may touch a number of different advertising and classified platforms at any given point in the shopping process, including the dealer site itself. Dealers feel they need to maintain a presence on a variety of increasingly expensive, publicly traded, comp sites to maintain a certain level of visibility in order to hit that lead every step of the way. Because of this misconception, dealerships are continuously burning ad dollars by over-exposing themselves financially with inefficient advertising and marketing practices. Dealer Analytics provides clarity by elucidating the waste, and helps streamline dealership advertising/marketing processes with top notch analytics…not guess work. Attribution is just part of that analysis, albeit a major component to be sure. Simply put, Dealer Analytics is used as a dealership’s insurance policy against wasting advertising and marketing dollars, and ensuring that their website is producing traffic and leads at optimum levels. Dealer Analytics assigns each client a Google Analytics expert who acts as a “dedicated Account Manager”. The account manager is tasked with the following practices: Monitor and report on the performance of website traffic through Google Analytics Generate weekly reports reviewing the performance of each dealer’s website and vendors Monthly one-on-one screen shares to go over website/vendor performance Alert regarding any issues with traffic, tracking or website performance Work with dealership vendors and/or web company to correct issues that are affecting the websites lead generation Direct line provided to each dealer’s account manager, no 800 numbers, for quick answers and help Over the course of a single year, Dealer Analytics saves each dealer thousands of dollars in wasted ad budget and inefficient online practices. The cost to dealers is $269/month with a 12 month contract. This also includes unlimited phone calls for the top tier and help from the assigned account manager. During my conversation with Tracie Costabile, VP of Dealer Analytics, I asked her to give me a couple examples of how they can make a measurable difference in a dealerships online performance. Here is her response: “A small Chevrolet dealership in Montana recently enlisted our services to help them determine how to spend their very limited marketing budget. After analyzing the data in their Google Analytics, we were able to show exactly which vendors were bringing quality, engaged traffic, and which were sending junk clicks that weren’t helping the dealership’s bottom line. This dealership saved thousands of dollars per month by getting rid of what wasn’t working, including some expensive, big name vendors. As a bonus, taking that money and putting it into the programs that were producing for them, produced more first generation leads from their website, which in turn boosted their sales.” “A Ford dealership in Las Vegas was able to benefit from our website monitoring service. Part of website monitoring is checking on the backlinks the site has. When the website’s quality scores plummeted, a check into their backlinks revealed that they were being unscrupulously targeted by a competitor who was linking X-rated websites to their main dealership website. Quality scores are what Google uses to determine where a site will be returned in an organic search. If the scores go down enough, the dealership disappears from page one of organic searches. We were able to help the dealership disavow these bad links and restore their quality scores, giving them back their organic, page one placement.” As a digital marketing veteran of 10 plus years, I’m impressed with Dealer Analytics overall approach to analyzing data and providing actionable advice that makes substantive improvements in performance. To have an experienced analytics expert provide a monthly audit of your dealership’s digital operation, including digital ad spend, attribution analysis, and website performance starting at just $99, is perhaps the greatest bargain in automotive vendorship history. These guys are a leading candidate for Automotive Vendor of the Year 2018!

Dealership News: Top 2 Automotive Vendors of the Year Award

There are a heck of a lot of vendors serving the automotive industry and a lot of really good ones to boot. We’ve done our research, compared reviews, and made a few calls to determine customer satisfaction. We decided that our top 2 picks for 2017 are truly the cream of the crop, medium-sized operators. So without further ado, here are our top 2 vendors for 2017! ( In no particular order) DealerLeads The entire concept of DealerLeads is to provide as much organic traffic to their dealership base as possible. Essentially, they do things to deliver superior results that tend to be beyond the ken of dealership level SEO talent. Steve Tackett, the owner of DealerLeads has an understanding of SEO garnered over 20+ years of working with dealerships that is very hard to rival. For example, the shear volume of backlinks he generates for his clients would astound the late Carl Sagan it’s so astronomical. This next anecdote may sound like an advertisement, but to those at DealerLeads, it’s a real problem. By July of 2017, the company had literally over-delivered some $,1,650,000 worth of lead traffic it will never collect on. That problem has apparently been solved. Leads that dealers receive are actually enveloped within a flow of organic traffic that consists of a higher percentage of “likely” buyers based on legit conversion metrics. Those leads are aggregated via a stack of practices that include research pages, on-site SEO, tens of thousands of back-links, and placement on up to 350 behaviorally targeted (O&O) classified sites with domains based on popular “exact match” search engine queries. Serious buyers are much more likely to click on domains that match what they type into the search engines. For example: Used Cars Near Me as a domain would be DealerLeads also builds websites that are harmoniously in-tune with Google’s best practices and rank much higher in local searches than their competitors do. The company also offers ppc management for those who are seeking instant visibility or page dominance with no management fee attached. In the bang for the buck and customer satisfaction categories DealerLeads is definitely in the lead. DealerLeads: 5-Star, 1st-time winner of the Dealership News: Vendor of the Year! Social Ordeals This vendor is not specific to the auto industry but provides a long list of dealerships with an inexpensive package of off-site SEO services that get serious results. It’s impossible to to find anything less than a 5-star review for this company. Chris Montgomery, the President of Social Ordeals brags that their rate of client retention is an astounding 97%, which not only sounds impressive but is impressive because it’s factual. They offer listing distribution updates to over 300 listing sites which basically guarantees that your store will always be listed with the proper contact information online, where it counts the most. Most dealerships have incorrect info on dozens of listing sites and don’t realize that they get penalized by Google for such infractions. Social Ordeals also offers social media management for a fraction of the cost of most other vendors, and that includes managing FB ad campaigns as well. They focus primarily on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Social Ordeals has in-house ppc account managers, all of whom are former Google employees and certified Google AdWords specialists. Chris’s staff has seen it all and done it all within the Google platform as they manage hundreds of thousands of dollars of daily AdWords budget. WTS, perhaps the most intriguing service they offer is their reputation management/marketing suite of services. They employ a software that automatically surveys dealership customers, filters out any reviews that are less than 5-stars, and prompts those who write 5 star reviews to post those good words on a variety of review sites from Yelp to Google Plus, to Facebook, DealerRater and more. Their account managers respond to all reviews that are internally generated in order to make sure that all customer concerns are addressed, be they favorable or not so favorable. After 5 years of operation, and running one of the tightest operations in business today, Social Ordeals wins for itself and its customers. Social Ordeals: 5-Star, 1st-time winner of the Dealership News: Vendor of the Year! Kelly Kleinman/Content Director Dealership News 818-817-6343

DealerLeads: An Exception to the Rule of Automotive Marketing Online

As I search the web for positive reviews about outstanding vendors serving the automotive industry, I tend to have a hard time finding legitimate 5-star reviews about anyone. It’s not that outliers don’t exist, it’s just difficult to identify them through a miasma of bogus review sites, poorly written press releases, and company-generated hyperbole. With that said, difficult doesn’t mean impossible. One such company is DealerLeads ( This company approaches lead generation in a completely unique fashion and in essence, doesn’t really sell leads at all. Rather, they provide state-of-the-art SEO optimization on a level no one within the scope of my research can even come close to matching. DealerLeads builds websites that are harmoniously in-tune with Google’s best practices. Because of that, their sites frequently rank high and attract a great deal of organic traffic, thus displacing other competitive dealerships and publicly traded classified sites that would otherwise box the DealerLeads client out of the local organic rankings. Leads that dealers receive are actually enveloped within that organic traffic consisting of a higher percentage of “likely” buyers based on legit conversion metrics. Those leads are aggregated via a stack of practices that include research pages, on-site SEO, tens of thousands of backlinks, and placement on up to 350 behaviorally targeted (O&O) classified sites with domains based on popular search engine queries. They also run highly efficient ppc campaigns for dealers with such needs in more competitive markets seeking maximum visibility. This next anecdote may sound like an advertisement but to those at DealerLeads, it’s a real problem. By July of 2017, the company had literally over-delivered some $,1,650,000 worth of leads in the form of dealership web traffic it will never collect on. That means dealers most likely sold cars on traffic/leads emanating from DealerLeads at under a dollar. Some quick math also suggests some dealers are selling as many as 10-15 cars based on DealerLeads traffic for free! There are clearly two scenarios at play, one bad and one very good: A) DealerLeads had a serious issue with over-delivery B) Their system is extremely effective at delivering qualified traffic and dealers love it Here is a sample of DealerLeads reviews from actual car dealers taken from 1) DealerLeads is great to work with Reviewed by an Internet Director November 15th Recommended: YES Pros: Have been working with DealerLeads for 3 years, would recommend Tracie and her team to anyone who wants to drive leads. 2) Best ROI Vendor we have. Hits our Google Analytics Goals more than any other vendor. Reviewed by an Internet Director November 14th Recommended: YES Pros: We signed up with Dealer Leads a little over two years ago. These guys are the one vendor I don’t have to worry about. Nobody else performs month in, and month out, so predictably. We actually hired an outside attribution company to come in and assess all our vendors. Even they were amazed with the results delivered by Dealer Leads, and if you’ve ever hired one of these companies, you know it takes a lot to impress them. 3) Great product! Crushes SEO and Great for Google Analytics Reviewed by a Dealer Professional Sep 30, 2016 Recommended: YES Pros: I am a huge fan of DealerLeads! Their reporting is through Google Analytics so you know there are no shady statistics. They are the champs of backlinking as well. They are great about meeting each month to go over the stats and even helped us set up Goals in GA! Cons: none You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please everyone all of the time and that goes for DealerLeads as well. Customers come and customers go, and some like to get snippy with bad reviews. Still, vendors have ways of filtering out bad reviews via reputation management software but DealerLeads has no such implementation in place. For those who may not have had a successful experience with them, or had a management change that cleared the vendor cache, none apparently felt it necessary to voice their displeasure with DealerLeads. So here’s to, a true industry outlier, and the first subject of my “best vendor” All-Star reviews. Kelly Kleinman/Content Director DealershipNews 818-817-6343  

Dealership For Life: Majoring in Customer Rentention Stategies

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COO Tracie Costabile of Dealer Analytics Discusses Google Analytics

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Automotive News Marketing 360 Luncheon Highlights

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Cory Mosely Takes a Time Out with Dealership News!

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Interview with Chris Montgomery of Social Ordeals

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Steve Roessler Goes #LiveWithDrive

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Gary LoCicero of Crystal Fusion Technologies Pitches Windshield Shielding!

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Flick Fusion’s Christine Little: Verifies Veracity of Video Marketing

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Brandin Wilkinson Discusses His New Book “Rethink Selling”

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Click Dealer Shares Stats

Click Dealer’s partnership with leading live chat provider, Visitor Chat has seen as many as 187 retailers sign up for the cutting-edge customer interaction software since they joined forces back in January. Visitor Chat is the most widely used provider of dealer live chat in the UK, providing its solution across more independent and franchise locations collectively than any other chat provider. These days consumers expect answers immediately online and on average, Click Dealer clients who have signed up for the live chat upgrade have seen an increase in web leads of anything between 50%-60%. As part of the live chat enhancement to their websites, Click Dealer customers can benefit from the expert Visitor Chat team pro-actively engaging website visitors, answering simple questions and passing leads through to their sales team. Once Click Dealer has integrated Visitor Chat’s ‘chat box system’ into a dealership’s website, dealers just need to sit back and enjoy the enquiries being professionally handled on their behalf by automotive industry trained online chat experts. As part of the popular package dealers receive a monthly report detailing how many enquiries Visitor Chat handled on their behalf and also the number which were passed through to their sales staff. Through Click Dealer’s advanced integration, the leads from live chat conversations also drop directly into the company’s market leading DMS product, for dealers who are with them for both website and DMS packages. For dealers who prefer to retain more control of their own leads, Visitor Chat offers the opportunity to handle your own chats through their latest software, for those who aren’t comfortable with an external company professionally handling potential inbound sales. Click Dealer Director and Head of Web, Ollie Moxham said:” The enormous initial success of our Visitor Chat website upgrade comes as no surprise, given that consumers expect instant responses online in this day and age. “We’re thrilled to be partnered with such an innovative company as Visitor Chat and despite the popularity of our websites, DMS and online retailing platform, ClickEngage™, we’re under no illusions that providing live chat is essential to enhancing the consumer journey for car buyers. “The Visitor Chat solution provides an industry leading chat – lead conversion rate of 64%, 12% higher than any other live chat competitor product we’ve seen.” Visitor Chat Chief Executive, Robert Arthur, said: “Live Chat provides the convenient answers that consumers want, while also adding significant benefits to the staff and bottom line of dealerships. “Web customers are drawn to the prospect of real-time responses, all accessible from the dealer’s web platform and available at the convenience of the customer. “The result is that the dealers we work with see a significant uplift in the number of leads coming from their websites. Since signing up for Click Dealer’s Visitor Chat upgrade at the start of 2018, Saxon Bridge Car Superstore have seen a much larger volume of web leads and significantly improved their efficiency. Brett Whiles, Managing Director said:” Live chat integration through Click Dealer and Visitor Chat has enabled us to manage a larger volume of leads and become more efficient in the way we do it because they automatically drop into our Click DMS. “Our recent expansion into a new Milton Keynes Car Superstore site means that we now have over 700 vehicles, and our stock generates a lot of interest. “Without the leads dropping into the DMS, it would be tough to manage everything ourselves, the Visitor Chat agents do a great job and as always, Click Dealer made the whole process easy to setup.” With close to 200 dealerships already utilising Visitor Chat across the Click Dealer network, resulting in the creation of many thousands of additional monthly leads, the numbers make a clear point: live chat is a strong lead generation tool and 24-hour customer access to an instant support channel is resulting in many more opportunities for Click Dealer clients to turn web visitors in to paying customers and that can only be a good thing. As well as the successful partnership with Visitor Chat, Click Dealer has also been working hard on the development of ClickAssist™, to support its award-winning online used vehicle retailing platform, ClickEngage™. ClickAssist™, is designed to offer a higher level of support for customers buying online using the ClickEngage™ platform. In the future, Click Dealer hopes to offer expert support from FCA approved automotive specialists via web chat and telephone at a crucial phase of the consumer journey. This would then enable ClickAssist™ to provide the ultimate freedom to the consumer whilst always keeping the dealership in complete control. Click Dealer anticipates that ClickAssist™ will launch by the summer of this year and is currently trialing the product with its dealer BETA testing group. The Automotive News – Car Dealerships Can Really Use  

“UsedCarsForSale.Com” is Every Car Dealerships BFF

The domain, just recently sold for $340,000.00. It was the largest purchase of a domain name in the automotive industry since in 2008 and in 1999. This adds to an extensive list of domains (5,000) owned by Steve Tackett that are predicated on behaviorally targeted “Exact Match” Google search phrases, and make up an extensive network of Google search-based, classified listing sites. The value of such a domain is largely measured by the traffic a site generates based on keyword search inquiries. Said Tackett, ”Car dealers now have a classified site that they can list unlimited inventory at no charge whatsoever, all leads will be free as well. I like the trade-off, dealers get great leads, traffic, and sales for free, we get to see which emerging technologies are the most effective at driving car shoppers to their sites, it’s a win-win”. The “Free” initiative does face some dealer pushback, and although they’re signing up 100 lots per week, it seems that the more weary dealers who believe that there is no such thing as “free”, are less inclined to participate. However, the payback for Tackett is that he gets to test emerging technology which he values much more as part of a bigger picture than nickel and diming dealers with listing and lead fees. An example of such technology is a live streaming system by DropIn Auto. Streaming live video (think Facetime) can prevent bait and switch tactics by making the dealer prove that they actually have the vehicles on the lot. It also allows the consumer to save an enormous amount of travel and possibly unwanted face-time with a car salesmen. You can literally do all of your shopping on your cell phone and take a full tour of the targeted dealer’s lot as if you were there. In fact, there are several platforms now in play that start and finish a vehicle purchase online with the consumer never having to face off with a used car salesman until a test drive is scheduled. There’s also advanced “geo-fencing” technology that tracks buyers in a relatively small area, perhaps limited to a city block, that can “see” where the shopper is in real-time, records where they’ve been, and can reach out with texts and banner ads enticing them with calls to action to perhaps visit another dealership with the technology to do so. Marketers can insinuate themselves into a shoppers journey in more ways than ever before.Tracking technologies currently exist that allow a car dealer to see exactly what was sold by their competitors in near real-time and how frequently that shopper had a touchpoint with their own staff or had actually visited their lot! It’s a great way to keep score and figure out what may be working or lacking in your overall treatment of the potential buyers who reach out to your dealership but end up buying from someone else. According to the many used car dealers we’ve spoken to, Craigslist tends to outperform all of the other “paid” classified listing sites, but has had the same basic “free” business model for many years. The main issue car dealers face with Craigslist is that as more vehicles are added by other sources, their vehicles get pushed back page by page. To combat that “piling on” effect, there is now a moderately priced 3rd party software that re-lists each vehicle periodically to keep it at the front of the stack. It’s a constant battle to stay visible and provide the consumer with a great shopping experience. In the competitive automotive industry, keeping up with the Jones’s is a must. Inevitably, he with the best technology will win, not the most expensive lead stream. In harnessing “best in class” technology, and offering it as an upsell to tens of thousands of dealer clients on his site, Tackett believes that he can be very successful affording dealers enhanced visibility and leads for free forever, but offer a technological advantage at a fair price. With innovations in marketing coming out monthly and his own platform to test it on, this might prove to be a very novel strategy. Kelly Kleinman Dealership News/Content Manager 818-817- 6343

What is Automotive Leads?

What sets Automotive Leads apart from all other vendors in automotive marketing is a massive 350 site-strong syndication network of behaviorally targeted classified sites that drive large volumes of traffic and leads directly to a client’s websites OR rings their phones. There is no sharing of leads, all leads are 1st generation and in the form of organic traffic routed to the dealer’s very own VDPs. It’s truly a revolutionary approach based on Google Best Practices, search engine queries and then applying that data to build the perfect network of classified listing sites such as and hundreds more. The reason this model can’t be reproduced easily is because the company actually owns over 3,000 such search-term based domains. No one else does. The traffic is organic, contains great 1st generation leads and is driven to each individual dealer whose inventory is perused and hopefully, clicked. Is it Affordable? It’s an affordable solution that works far better and more cost-effectively than any lead gen system we know of. Who wouldn’t want their inventory on as many highly trafficked sites as possible with the sole purpose of selling cars at a much faster clip? Listing sites can tend to get pricey and the transparency can be not so clear. We’ve found that a majority of used car dealers aren’t exactly sure what their ROI is with the bigger more expensive listing sites that will go unmentioned in this blog. Keeping up With Buyers Shopping Habits Generally speaking, Automotive Leads is a great way for dealers to increase online traffic, generate more leads, improve conversion ratios, and increase sales through proper and effective dealership SEO and SEM. Search engine optimization is the key to sustaining a successful business in today’s online world. The bulk of dealership shopping today is done online, as this is where the majority of prospective buyers begin searching for their next vehicle. With the majority of consumers relying on the Internet for pertinent car buying information no dealer can afford to be without a well-developed and well-executed SEO and supporting PPC plan. The better your dealership’s website layout, social media presence, keyword lists, content, and online reputation the more online traffic you will receive, the greater your conversion opportunities will be, and the more sales you will ultimately make. Kelly Kleinman

A Chat Brittany Hibdon at IADAC

While at the IADAC Conference in Lake Tahoe, we took a few minutes to chit chat with the used car Queen of Orland, Ca. Brittany Hibdon. Dealership News: As a woman owner/operator, do you find it gives you an advantage or a disadvantage in dealing with customers? Is it easier dealing with male buyers or do you find the women are more trustworthy of you than they would be a man? Brittany: I believe talent and personality play more of a role than gender. However, there is a lot of stigma attached to the idea of a “typical salesman.” The majority of my sales staff is female, and we’ve had people walk in the showroom and comment in surprise at the number of women employed. Breaking the stereotype expected might be an advantage all on its own! Women also tend to have more empathy – nurturing is in our make-up. With male or female customers, we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves, and customers see that we care. I think this may allow us to break down walls and connect faster with our customers. Brittany: I’ve actually found that customers are less concerned with my gender than fellow industry members! When I first started buying cars at the auction, it was clear I had entered a man’s world. I think since it’s still fairly uncommon to meet a female dealer, most dealers are simply surprised by it. I’m very grateful for the friends I’ve made and the respect I’ve been given as I’ve made my mark in this industry. Dealership News:Tell us a little bit about the dynamic of working with your husband who runs the service dept. Who gets in who’s hair the most? Brittany: That’s debatable (LOL). In all seriousness, we get along quite well. My husband does a fantastic job of overseeing our Service Department, and knows more about fixing cars than anyone I’ve ever met. Even other shops in town call him for advice. I stick to my role of General Manager and we stay out of each other’s hair for the most part. In addition to regular managers meetings with our leadership team, he and I recently started a “Same Page Meeting” once a week, and that helps us by purposely setting aside time to discuss any issues that we both need to work on together. Dealership News: Every small-town dealer has its main competitor, without naming names (we know who it is LOL), what do you do better than they do, is it service, is it sales, is it selection? Brittany: I have a lot of respect for our largest competitor. However, I believe that our niche separates us from all of our competition. Our mission statement says it best: Brittany: We put our customers first, before everything else. We believe everyone deserves to drive a Nicer, Newer car®. Our business is different- our business is not selling cars. Our business is finding solutions to the everyday problems that keep most people stuck in a car they hate. We’re on a mission to change the world one person at a time by helping them get the car they want and deserve. Dealership News: Who are your favorite vendors and do you use classified listing sites so you can pull from surrounding cities or do you use other methods such as social media, radio, or cable TV to bring folks in? Brittany: We’ve done well with radio and social media. We work with an incredibly talented marketing company that has helped us increase our reach to surrounding cities and grow our customer base. We’ve found that speaking to masses works better for us than targeting specific buyers or spending money on classified listing sites. It’s not for everyone, but it works well for us! Dealership News: You can’t satisfy all of the people all the time but you sure can try, what measures do you have in place to make sure you aren’t held hostage by negative reviews or questionable review sites like the good folks at Yelp? Brittany: I appreciate your classification of Yelp as “questionable!” I think best way to handle a negative review is to respond. If the customer is upset or frustrated about something, I try to leave a short reply and then take the conversation off-line. We reach out and often can get to the bottom of the situation and find resolution. Some people just like to complain and won’t respond to us, but that’s OK too. I’ve had situations where customer see our replies to negative reviews and “like” or comment in agreement with us! People want to see that we are real, and that we care about the things they care about. Dealership News:Where do you see the future of the automobile industry after the electric, autonomous cars kick in, say 10 years down the road? Will the used car business survive? Brittany: Since I am in the solutions business, not the car business, I think there will always be customers to help and problems to solve. I also believe customers want great service, they want human interaction, they want to touch and drive and smell and see. Electric or autonomous cars are probably not for everyone, and as the industry shifts beyond just new technology to buying online, etc. I believe giving the customer an unexpectedly wonderful experience will stand out even more. Kelly Kleinman Dealership News 818-817-6343

Millennial Marketing Uses Facetime-like Technology

The so-called “millennial movement” has arrived at a time of heightened, “in your face at every turn” advertising, and according to numerous studies, they have summarily rejected it. Aside from turning off to “old school” push advertising and pushy salesmen, another aspect of this movement is the concept of doing everything online, and that includes buying cars. In order to accommodate younger buyers and those who reject the pressures of buying big ticket items face to face, Louis Ziskin of DropIn Auto DropIn Auto was cajoled to repurpose a Facetime-like video collaboration process (originally used for the insurance claims business) to help sell cars. The process is simple and very straightforward. A consumer selects a vehicle of interest on a dealer’s VDP, clicks a button and immediately initiates a call to an app on a salesperson’s cell phone. Within seconds they embark on video tour of the vehicle they selected on the lot, they don’t have to take a salesperson’s word that the vehicle is in stock. This also allows a salesperson to expose the caller to other vehicles on the lot as well. If all goes well, a credit app can be sent in real-time and the sales process initiated without the potential buyer ever leaving home or even disclosing their full contact information for that matter. For the dealer, the lead is extremely high quality and easily trackable. Aside from warm referral leads or return buyers, it’s the most cost-effective and time-efficient way of engaging an active buyer I can think of. A simple line of code is installed on the website and the dealer is ready to go. According to Louis Ziskin, the average cost of this kind of lead runs around $5 when all is said and done. Essentially, a dealer will pay $20 for such a lead. Whatever personal info is captured during the call is placed immediately into the salesperson’s CRM. Ziskin identified three main elements in the sales process that his system takes into consideration that few marketers have stitched together. First, “on a new car customer, 70% of incoming calls ask if the car is on the lot, basically you spend all of your digital money to get folks to a VDP, and a phone call is the best converting lead”. With DropIn Auto, you’re engaged with the customer instead of the them shopping on the next site. With Facetime or messenger the customer doesn’t have their anonymity. With DropIn Auto, the shopper maintains their anonymity as long as they prefer to. It eliminates a lot of the unsavory contact attempts a salesperson has to engage in the shopper has to dodge. What’s most important is that it eliminates much of the anxiety and pressure both seller and buyer experience in the overall process. Kelly Kleinman Content Manager/Dealership News 818-817-6343

Pow Wow with Jason Knight of LOTLINX

DN: Since some of your marketing will no doubt include a concise explanation of what you do, what would your elevator pitch sound like? JK: We know people are in the car market these days and no one wants to give up their personal info anymore, that’s why we got in the business. We detect car shoppers and score their behavior (intent to buy) as they transition from shopper to a buyer and then we feed them ads across social platforms, websites, dealer sites etc. We are a cost per action provider with close to real-time data that allows us to detect likely buyers closer to the bottom of the sales funnel and entice them with vehicles that they are interested in but are considered slower movers (75% of the inventory). We’re the cure for “aging inventory” or “lot rot” (DN’s term). DN: What is the cost to the dealer and what is the business model? JK: Our basic lead generation program charges $3.99 per lead (per action). The dealership basically has a budget (i.e.$4,000) and draws down on that budget as leads are delivered on specific vins or perhaps slow-moving vehicles the dealer selects. Our user experience optimized program is $4.99 per action and includes a specialized page with chats, texts and elements that are proven to increase conversions. All unused budgets are rolled over to the next month. It’s not “use or lose”. DN: How do you differentiate yourself from competitors and define your use of the term AI? JK: Attribution is very hard to determine these days. LOTLINX can see engagements, basically what shoppers are doing via social, video, vehicle views, lead form fill out email etc. and we can prioritize them by engagement as we track them and use an omni-channel approach to feed them ads based on what they want and what the dealer has in inventory to match their search. DN: How do you drive traffic to a VDP JK: 75% our more of our traffic has never been to a dealer’s site. We don’t do retargeting per se. We serve ads if to car shoppers on dealer sites, CNN, review pages, Google ppc, virtually anywhere they go we can serve them ads all based on their score in our buyer algorithm. We don’t advertise the same Honda a dealer advertises to everyone, we advertise any one of the other Hondas they have in their inventory. Many dealers actually spend most of their ad budgets for VDP views on 5 cars! DN: What do you mean by mobile first VDP? JK: More than 80% of traffic we see is mobile traffic. We created CS Amp page that renders really fast and has features that lead to 400% better conversions by adding graphics, text, chat etc. We haven’t cracked any special code but we know what leads to more conversions and that’s what our $4.99 per lead program is. If a mobile site doesn’t load in 3 seconds, you lose 50% of the traffic so that’s why we developed CS AMP which is a play on the Google platform and a play to increase a dealer’s profit. Kelly Kleinman Content Manager/Dealership News 818-817-6343

Taking Ten with Bill Wittenmyer of ELEAD1ONE

DN: What are your thoughts about the direction dealers are taking these days in regards to the ever-changing digital marketplace? BW: These days, you see a mixture of dealers going with what they know. There are still some old dinosaurs out there, but in this industry, if you don’t reinvent yourselves every couple years you’re going to get left behind. Many of the old school dealers I know have been able to reinvent themselves, and it’s amazing how many have adapted. The dealers that are doing the best are those that have become very good at figuring out where the attributions are from a digital standpoint. DN: Are dealers hiring young kids right out of college to handle digital or are they nurturing the expertise from within? BW: The dealers that do it the best are developing that position from within their own dealerships, but I’ve seen a mixture of both. The best dealers have first educated themselves. Lower-performing dealers seem to be hiring from outside sources, but they have no way to be able to monitor and track their internet results, especially if they don’t know what’s going on in the first place. DN: How do you train dealerships to properly follow up leads considering the fact that only 19% of internet leads are ever responded to according to a number of sources. BW: The first thing is there is no such thing as an internet department anymore — all leads should be worked from the cradle to the grave. It should be like a shark tank where the person who grabs the lead first gets to work that lead. Consumers expect more information, and they expect it quicker. Provide the information they want but don’t make email love to them – get them on the phone. Don’t get tied up with email templates and auto-responses, etc. Having that one-owner accountability would help on the tremendous amount of leads that go without proper follow-up. DN: How do you suggest a dealership deal with an Internet sales department and the physical lot staff and should there be a difference? BW: Every person who comes onto the lot has searched online at some point, as well as on that dealership’s website. The setup to have a split deal between the two salespeople is probably ludicrous at this point. First, managers have no idea where the lead originally came from, and now they have unhealthy and frictional competition. We should give the customer a much smoother one-person (salesman) experience throughout the transaction. The more people they get handed off to, the greater the chance of miscommunication. At this point, it makes no sense to have a separation between the two salespeople in different divisions. DN: What is your opinion on full transparency regarding giving information such as inventory availability and price for those who really don’t want to be dragged into the dealership? BW: My philosophy has stayed the same today as it was ten years ago – the consumer must wonder if the dealer isn’t giving them the information they want now, then how will it be when they get to the dealership? You have to give the customer the information they want in a timely manner and be authentic and genuine. If you have the inventory, great. If not, here is a resolution, but be trustworthy and honest. Don’t put pressure on the customer to come in even if you do have the inventory they want. Give them the opportunity to do the transaction in their own time frame, and they’ll be much more likely to want to deal with you. DN: Where will our industry be in 25 years when most of the vehicles will be autonomous? BW: The one great thing about this industry is that it always finds a way to hit curve balls thrown at it. Whether we look at the post 9/11 economy or the post-2008 economy (etc.), we can go through a litany of catastrophic changes that hit the industry, and we’ve always found a way around it. Autonomous vehicle technology is still well into the future. There are still a lot of details to be figured out, such as insurance, laws, and the many obstacles that we’ll have to overcome first. From a business standpoint, the major manufacturers will lead the movement, and most likely go through the same dealership channels they do now. There’s always something about everybody wanting the latest and greatest shiny object, and it will have a lot to do with what features are available. You may even be able to do a monthly car rental deal like a few companies already offer now. Either way, dealers are going to have to keep up with the technology and advent changes. Kelly Kleinman Content Manager/Dealership News 818-817-6343

Cary Greenberg Discusses Reputation Marketing

We caught up with Cary Greenberg at the Digital Dealer Conference & Expo and sat down with him for ten minutes to capture his views on the state of our industry from the perspective of a company who focuses on reputation marketing to an industry that has long been reputation challenged. DN : What is the difference between reputation marketing and reputation management? CG: First of all reputation management does not make a dealer money, Reputation Marketing does. Reputation Sensei, our Reputation Marketing solution, is proactive. Reputation management, which is reactive. We take the positive customer experience and market it for the dealer. We match the customer experience with the online reputation to drive traffic. These buyers are similar to referrals. They have a higher level of trust before they walk in the door. This increases sales, lowers lead costs and grows profit. Reputation Sensei is a comprehensive approach that uses numerous ways to create dealership reviews based on customer experiences. This includes in-dealership signage, review cards, emails, short-code texts, social media, and a system to push reviews to all the major review sites. Digital Media Nation is not a review company. We are a marketing company. DN: Is the system fully automated? CG: Our proprietary platform is fully automated and integrated with the dealership’s DMS. We take reputation marketing to a higher level. We are very involved in training either in-person or virtually to create a better culture based on providing a 5-star customer experience. Without a process in place for soliciting feedback from everybody, you are losing opportunities. We use in-store video responses to make sure the consumer understands that all reviews are taken seriously and that our main goal is provide that 5-star customer experience. DN: Explain to us the social media component of your program CG: We prompt customers to share their experience with family and friends on social media. We also promote positive reviews on the dealer’s social media channels and website. We’ve created a dynamic and interactive micro-page called the Reputation Branding Page. We launched these new features at the Digital Dealer Expo and Convention whereby the customers can share their dealership experiences. We even have people responding and commenting on reviews so it’s interactive. Reputation Sensei turns best social media practices into a measurable ROI for the dealer. This awareness of the importance of positive reviews keeps staff on their feet and guards against complacency and the cardinal sin of receiving a bad review! The idea is to create trust to drive a pipeline of traffic to your business, decrease lead costs, and increase your closing rates. Digital Media Nation can be reached at 770-263-7455,, Kelly Kleinman

Interview: Napoleon Rumteen explains automotiveMastermind

Naploeon discusses the behaviour prediction software behind automotiveMastermind