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Hey ZAG - Enforce your own rules or drop them!

Discussion in 'Marketing Gripes' started by NTIV10, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. NTIV10

    NTIV10 Getting Refreshed

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    Am I going to be pegged as the one who trashes vendors? LOL this is not trashing... nor were my posts about that other vendor. This is positive criticism wrapped up in the extreme frustration of a customer who has to deal with the shortfalls of his vendors on a daily basis and IS TIRED OF IT!

    OK ZAG... I like the fact that your leads are free unless we sell a car. That's good. I like that your affiliates are popular among my customers (USAA, AAA, Cap1, Consumer Reports, etc). The part where you add in dealer cash, and tell dealers "not to include manufacturer to dealer incentives" in their "ZAG special pricing" is where you have really pissed me off and wasted a lot of my time.

    You know damn well that when someone is posting their price at $1,700 under invoice, that is not just holdback they're giving up. The honest dealers who are willing to give up most of their holdback suddenly look like the jerks who charge more than a grand more than the competition. Wait a second, is it perhaps because there is $1,000 worth of dealer cash on that car? Oh, but ZAG discloses that to their customers. Too bad, because the shady bait and switch jerkoffs who I have to compete with will add the dealer cash to their "discount" and sometimes even take out freight as well for their ZAG pricing. But of course, ZAG pricing policy states that it must include freight and must not include dealer cash! Except when the customer goes to that other store and they find out that the dealer's ZAG price was BS, and the staff beats them into submission, they still buy there. They're not happy, but they buy there. Meanwhile, the honest dealers (*raises hand*) look like the crooks for charging so much more than the competition.

    My thoughts to ZAG: if you're going to tell dealers not to include manufacturer-to-dealer incentives in their pricing, you need to ENFORCE YOUR RULES. If not, take dealer cash out of the information that you're feeding to OUR customers because you are just making YOUR customers (us, the dealers) pissed off.

    My GM has been bitching at me to drop ZAG for weeks because of this nonsense. What kind of lead provider penalizes the dealerships that want to be straightforward, upfront, and honest with their pricing? The ONLY reason I was able to keep him from dropping them was because they don't cost us anything unless we sell. However, at this point, I am close to giving up on them myself.

    /rant over... is the end of the month getting to me? nah... :lol:
  2. AndrewDiFeo

    AndrewDiFeo Refresh Team

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    Have you talked to your zag rep about this? Has zag received any complaints from customers about a particular dealer not honoring the zag price? I'm curious to see what your zag rep has to say as we have a florida dealer that is also 1000 below our invoice less holdback price and I think they are including the factory rebate.
  3. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner Founder Staff Member

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    I propose ALL dealers DROP ZAG!

    They are doing no good for dealers NOR the consumer. If you really break it out - most dealers are NOT seeing a positive ROI or not enough to continue with the service. USAA are the only really quality leads you are getting from them anyways. Find another source to make up for these leads and move on.

    PLUS they are using your data against you.
    http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f40/truecar-using-zag-dealer-data-create-value-743.html?highlight=truecar

    http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f44/anyone-have-any-feedback-zag-776.html?highlight=truecar
  4. KristiA

    KristiA Noob

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    Oh my, how timely. I've been dealing with ZAG for 3 months, the dealer signed up just before I started there. We are receiving leads primarily from the other side of the state and they expect their "special" discount, then find, because of course they are still shopping us, that they can get the same or lower price by walking into their local dealership. Customers are also using their member sites, USAA, AAA, etc, to negotiate with their local dealers, so as a ZAG dealer, we're basically helping the customer get a better price somewhere else. We are not giving up any holdback, but price primarily at invoice. My dealer is taking the cost of the sold lead out of the deal rather than advertising, so we get into holdback in that respect. I was so frustrated with the salespeople complaining because all these deals are minis and mostly locates, that I said "enough is enough". When I broke it all down the leads were costing us over $26 a piece. Done with ZAG, just signed up with Dealix, I have used Dealix in the past and realize they have had their own issues, but am willing to give them another shot. AND - before I told the Dealix rep that we were using ZAG he volunteered that they are partnered with ZAG - the same customers are still going to see our inventory, but only those customers within a 50 mile radius.
  5. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    :iagree: 100%
  6. NTIV10

    NTIV10 Getting Refreshed

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    The military population in my area is huge... I need ZAG simply because if I didn't use them, I'd be losing access to those USAA customers.

    But I hate everything about the way they do business. I've been really torn on this one...
  7. Jerry Thibeau

    Jerry Thibeau Sr. Refresher

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    Dealers create these monsters. It's like owning a pet alligator, they're probably real cute when they are real small. Over the years you keep feeding it until one day it eats you for lunch.
  8. NTIV10

    NTIV10 Getting Refreshed

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    Let me add to this thread what I just said on the Carfax post on the front page.

    WHY do we keep working with vendors who claim to “work for us” when in fact they’re just figuring out how to SCREW us? In what other industry would any company in their right mind pay someone to tell customers why they should pay less for their products?

    This isn’t just for CarFax… this is for every lead provider, and hell, every media outlet in the industry.
  9. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Hampton Roads houses the world's largest naval base and America's largest concentration of naval planes (to stock those aircraft carriers). Not to mention Norfolk and Newport News build most of the big Navy ships. In Virginia Beach we have a few SEAL teams, Marines special teams, Amphibious Squadrons and 2 Army Bases. Not to mention Oceana NAS, in Virginia Beach, is predicted to employee over 20,000 people alone. The navy population in Hampton Roads is well into 6 digits. Between the bases, the ship yards, the support, the military builders (Boeing, etc), and who knows what else I would venture to say that if a Nuclear attack was coming to the US, Norfolk would be hit long before any part of Maryland (other than DC).

    NTIV10 - I say all that just to build-up to this one point: We don't use Zag.

    We tried it for years before it was called Zag and even a little time after it got the Zag name. We hated it. It never had a ROI we could be happy with and it was often more hassle than not. Plus, the contracts they put us on were nothing like what any other automotive vendor was pushing - it was nasty.
  10. ddavis

    ddavis Sr. Refresher

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    Jerry, You obviously have never played with a freshly hatched alligator. They are born mean and their temperment doesn't improve with age.
    Dealers do create these monsters. I didn't buy ZAG, Dealix or even factory leads. They were all low percentage. I concentrated on the marketing on my website and third party display ads. My lead counts and closing percentages increased faster than I could acquire new ISMs, computers, phones and desks.

    This new TrueCar is an abomination. For complete disclosure, the contract needs a check box next to "I'm a weak slut" above where the GM signs.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
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  11. JesseJ

    JesseJ Refresher

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    From my perspective, Zag is a cash cow. I'm paid solely on units and appointments. That of course raises the ethical dilemma of my own income vs. dealership profit. Of course the two are directly related and we certainly don't lose money via zag. It's just a matter of time and energy and the fact that every deal or negotiation becomes a huge pain in the ass.

    None the less, I'd say I set 10-20 appointments per month from ZAG usually resulting in 3-6 sales. The appointment close rate is lower because it turns quickly into trying to explain, no we can't match so and so dealer's ridiculous $2,000 price under invoice. The reason they stop here first is we are the only dealer in our market with ZAG. We work the fee into the deal as well so I feel like we often if anything lose a price war to non-zag dealers rather than other ZAG dealers.

    I've had success so far in this business because I'm genuinely an honest person maybe too much so for this business and when I talk to the customer personally they usually understand. If it's through email or if they come in and meet with someone while I'm not there, it doesn't go as well.

    In the end, as long as it generates sales I guess I'm willing to deal with the BS. The sales staff can do what they will to generate gross and have had a little success making money on the back end and buying trades right.

    Speaking of which...what the hell is with the policy that you "can't offer financing to pre-approved customers etc?
  12. ddavis

    ddavis Sr. Refresher

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    The closing ratio for shown appointments is horrible. I would hate to see what it would be as a percentage of leads. I'm out on working low percentage leads and putting up with a bunch of leeches. There is nothing wrong with asking yourself, "what is in it for me"? I protect the store.

    I've been around a lot of stores and I don't know any that bid cars at two grand below invoice unless there is a disclaimer in the fine print.

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