Guest Post: The Secret Behind a 1920’s Factory And How To Improve Your Dealership

1920s factory

 

I  apologize for sleeping on posting this awesome guest post by my man Mike Haeg.  He has taught me a tonne of great things when it comes to the importance of the phone in the dealership AND with my own sales team.- RT

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Imagine a dingy factory in the outskirts of Chicago in 1922.

An ambitious manager has an idea for improving productivity: brighter lights! He thinks that a well-lit workspace will lead to fewer mistakes and better morale. The manager wants real data to prove the success of his new idea, so he installs a guy with a clipboard to monitor the workers on the day he cranks up the lights.

Productivity shot way up, and our manager is a hero. Better lighting produced better workers.

Or did it?

A skeptical professor asked if he could try something different. He came in and turned the lights down to the lowest setting. Now the factory was even darker than it had ever been. But the professor also made it a point to include the clipboard guy to observe the resulting behavior.

Guess what happened. Yep, productivity went up again. It turns out that the real hero was the person who was monitoring the results. When the workers knew they were being measured, they were better workers. It had nothing to do with the lighting.

This experiment took place in Hawthorne Works, a Western Electricity factory. The revelation became known as the Hawthorne Effect, which states that subjects improve or modify an aspect of behavior that is being experimentally measured in response to the awareness that the behavior is being studied.

Personal Branding Interview W/ Robert Wiesman “The Showroom Executive”

robert wiesman dealer geek

 

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that I am “all in” when it comes to building a Personal Brand as a sales professional.

Lately it seems there is finally a branding movement in the Automotive Retail world among retails sales guys and gals.

The days of pressing your nose up against the showroom window and waiting for a “lay down” to pay your rent are over.

If you are a 100% commission salesperson you are pretty much self-employed. Why wouldn’t you invest in, umm, I don’t know, how about YOU!

A new generation of sales pros are entering the retail automotive space and they’re “Drinking The Veterans Milkshake” (don’t know what that means? Watch THIS VIDEO).

Creating blogs, shooting videos, being active on Social Media, and turning your phone into a weapon is what separates the new kids on the block from the lot lizards of the past. We know that the Internet is the most important source for car buyers.

The question is “Are you there to answer their questions?”.

This Personal Branding movement is not smoke and mirrors I promise.

Heck this little blog your are reading right now has over 2500 Unique Monthly viewers and has allowed me to create relationships with Automotive Professionals all over the world.

But…. it’s hard frigging work.

Okay… back to the post.

One of my favorite things to do when talking through city streets of Toronto, is to listen to Podcasts.  I have around 20 that I subscribe to and think I have band with for a few more.

Automotive Success puts out a pretty good weekly 10 minute segment, that interviews sales pros and vendors from around America.

I had heard a few episodes with Robert Wiesman, and he really caught my attention.

Maybe it’s his enthusiasm, or his “cool guy” voice that won me over. Either way, this cat stood out from the hundreds of interviews I’ve sat through over the past couple of years.

Check out an episode with Robert HERE

Real Proof That The Internet Is The Most Important Source For Car Buyers

Car buyers are spending less time online shopping for a car than they did 2 years ago according to a study conducted by Autotrader.com and Polk.

The original study was conducted in 2011 and stated that new car shoppers were spending 19 hours shopping for a car vs 13.75 hours this year.

So what does this mean?

Is the Internet not all it’s cracked up to be?  The answer is quite the opposite.

Proof-Internet-Most-Important-Source-Car-Shoppers

I’m going to highlight some of my findings from the study that confirm a lot of the things I’ve been talking about to dealers across Canada (this study is based on U.S. data but I can’t imagine Canadians shop any different).

Quotes and Charts in this post have been pulled directly from the 2013 Automotive Buyer Influence Study.

Less is More

new buyers vs used buyers shopping time_study
 “According to the 2013 Study, New Buyers spend 10 out of 13.75 hours (73%) shopping online, and Used Car Buyers spend 11.75 hours online out of 15.25 hours (77%). (decrease from 2011)

So why are we spending less time online during the car shopping process?

My guess is that websites have become more efficient over the last 2 years, which has made it easier for car buyers to find the information they are looking for.

Consumers are spending 10-12 hours online scouring through:

  • 3rd Party Sites such as Kijiji and Trader
  • Review sites like DealerRater and Yelp
  • OEM Sites (Ford, GM, Honda)
  • Individual Dealership Websites

Don’t forget Mobile.  All of those Ipads, Iphones, and Androids that we are so addicted to have made it extremely easy to get online and consume all of the above content.  This would play apart in the decrease on time spent online.

In summary….

The Internet is huge and it’s basically the sole resource for buying a new or used car in 2013. 

Internet is THEE Place to Be (just in case you were still skeptical)


internet most used_study“In this 2013 update, internet usage increased significantly, with three-quarters of buyers indicating they used the Internet in their car-shopping process – up from 71% in 2011.”

Okay this is getting serious now! It’s official the Internet is not a fad.

It amazes me that not all car dealers are aligning their online advertising spend according to what is actually happening out there in the real world.

most influencial source leading to dealer _study

With stats and data like this, how can dealers spend MORE on traditional media (print, radio, T.V.) than the Internet?

Guest Post – 3 Tips To Owning The Phone at Your Dealership

phone trainingYou did it.  You executed a great marketing campaign.  You delivered the right message at the right time.  The shopper picks up the phone and dials.  Your friendly receptionist picks up!  The shopper is transferred to the sales department.  Why is it ringing over and over?  Why is no one answering?  Now a generic voicemail box is playing.  Well, at least we know the shopper will leave a message with their full name, phone number, email, VIN, and a clear objection to why they shouldn’t buy from you.…..right?

Nope.  They hang up.  Lost and gone forever.

Dealers have long realized the significant value of a phone call.  That realization rarely translates to proactive management of phone processes though.  Most dealers laugh when phone mismanagement or lack of simple phone skills are brought up in conversation.  That topic is an area considered “unfixable” or “just the way it is.”

It’s not difficult to see how we got to this point.  Phone calls are a step removed from management’s view.   Phone conversations happen constantly, unexpectedly, and often out of view of others.  Call tracking technology has helped bring clarity to this area but many dealers still go with the “It’s just the way it is” mentality.  It doesn’t have to be like that.  Below I offer three simple ideas that will shed light on your phone processes:

 

1.) Take 30 minutes to review your current phone processes.  I’m not talking about phone skills, but instead your basic phone setup.  Understand where your phone lines are pointed and to whom. If a phone call rings to the receptionist and is passed along to a particular department, test this department’s phone line.  Confirm what actually happens to calls after hours.

Review each voice mail box to ensure they are actually set up with a friendly message.  If you have multiple extensions for numerous employees, test the extensions and confirm they are published correctly across your marketing.  Call tracking providers should act as consultants in this review, don’t hesitate to ask them for guidance.

 

2.) Identify where callers are left stranded.  Remember my example phone call from earlier?  The receptionist answered quickly but that doesn’t mean the caller, who was eager to learn more, actually reached someone who could help them.  To some extent, dealers are using my Step 1 to make sure that calls hit the dealership.  That’s a good start but I assure you dozens of calls were left stranded at your store last month.

Generally, it’s because the red hot shopper asks for a specific sales representative who is unavailable.  Other times it’s hanging up after being left on hold or passed around the dealership.  You know the receptionist who only works weekends?  They may not know how to handle / transfer calls properly and many are left stranded.  If you use a call tracking provider, ask if they offer any sort of reporting data on what happens after the call is answered.

Don’t Be The Dealer That I-Frames Their Inventory

I thought it would be fun to put this quick slideshow together on the dangers of I-Framing your inventory into your dealership’s website.
It’s not just me that is hating on this archaic practice.
Kevin McKillop from Moveyourmetal.com just posted this article over on Driving Sales – Thousands Lost In Sales When You I-Frame Your Inventory

“It’s very oldschool, it’s bad for business and to put it bluntly, it’s just being cheap – Kevin McKillip”

 

Your Turn

Why are dealers in 2013 still cutting corners? It can’t just be about being cheap! Share your thoughts below.

ps. I I-Framed the slideshow into this blog post…… sue me!

Canadian Website Vendor Review: How does your vendor display used cars?

I’ve been getting a lot of dealers ask me which CANADIAN website vendor should they go with AND who is the best?  This is such a complex answer that I don’t really know where to start…… so I decided to explore the used inventory.

SEO, CRM, Blogging platforms, and Lead Management systems are not included in this post.  This is simply my favorite, the good old bread and butter of dealer leads……. The Used Car Inventory

 

I took 3 separate screenshots from 7 of Canada’s most popular Dealer Website Vendors.  This way you can easily compare each vendors search results and display pages to decide what will work for your store.

Some things to consider when talking to your vendor about conversions (HOW MANY VISITORS SUBMIT AN INQUIRY ON A USED CAR):

  • How long are the forms?  This can prevent the visitor from filling out the form completely if it takes too long.
  • How many different type of leads can your VDP generate? (Best Price, Test Drive, Credit Application, CarProof)
  • How do these pages look on an IPAD?
  • What does the mobile version of the site look like?  Pull the Iphone and see for yourself.

Used Car Section is your money pages!

If you check your Google Analytics (you do have those right?) you will notice that used car inventory is always in the top 3 of the most popular pages.  If you don’t believe me see for yourself.  I’m guessing your Used/New Vehicle specials pages also attract a lot of attention.