From 80-100. My store's journey to 100 units a month

What channel are you using when following up? As in: email, text, phone call? Or a combo of all 3?

If it's email, are you including alternative inventory selection?
We are using all 3. If the Vehicle of Interest is sold, we always include alternative inventory. I honestly can't say that we do that in all instances. That is something I need to look at closely especially on Facebook Paid leads. Those leads are never on my website so only see one vehicle.

Thank you!

Data Your Way?

Last 6 months only 6 results on Google (2 being from DR) the one article has a transcript of an interview. So look like it's still super new

Here is section on Data Your Way

[00:19:00] Ankit Raheja: to do some kind of a co development with them. We did it for one of our product offering called Data Your Way. It's a data product, it's not an AIML product, but that's what we did. We got their feedback, and we launched the product within a few months after working with them. After the co development phase, next came for us, the beta stage.

[00:19:25] Ankit Raheja: There we expanded our sample set to around 15 dealer groups. There's a difference between dealerships and dealer groups. One dealership group can have multiple dealerships under them. So we worked with 15 dealerships for our beta stage. And finally, We launched our product after they being in beta for for, for a few months and now the product is in GA.

How do you evaluate a good CRM?

One of the perspectives that most impacts a CRM is what stage the company is at. If you evaluate all of the CRM companies based on employee size, founding date, whether they've been acquired or not the reality is companies hit their sweet spot right before they get acquired. If you go back in time and look at who was the hot CRM at any given time it was likely the one right before they hit this window.

Most of the CRM providers in our space have been acquired, which means the core team is gone and they have rebuilt the company at least once but probably 2-3x depending on duration. So within that group the gaps are pretty vague now as they are feature matching and working to get more profitable. There are however key differences in how they are building into their acquisition's sister company landscape.

But if you want to innovate your likely going to have to sacrifice in some other areas (integrations, reporting, etc.). All things are in flux and we've seen the post acquisition chaos and entire products evaporate from ownership change. The signs for this are typically pretty clear and that's why its important to have flexibility contracts and your ear to ground for what's out there.

Any companies that Deduplicate CRM Data

This should be pretty straightforward, but will take time:

1. Export customer database to spreadsheet program. Vin support should be able to handle the export for you with the desired criteria included.
2. Identify the customer ID's you want to delete. To do this I would use simple conditional formatting to highlight duplicate values and then decide what retention or deletion criteria works best for your dealership. I believe Vin has a customer lifetime value figure you can export.
3. Send the "delete list" to VinSolutions support and have them remove.
It's more complicated than this. The data is stored across many tables. The customer list you are referring to is a flattened version of what is derived from around 10 tables.

They were will many unique keys, and the crm is also at the mercy of the dms and their keys. So you have to understand the whole system. Think of all the associated tables also, appointments, ROs, sales, leads etc. You have to handle those as well.

The reason no one does this as a service is it totally sucks, dealership aren't willing to pay what it actually costs to fix it and the definition of clean/done is very blurry.

You also have to establish a foward looking way of preventing duplicates. That means managing people and hiw they use your systems. That's on the dealership to implement and maintain.

Running ads in December: Stop on the 24th?

This is a no brainer. The last week of Dec is the arguably the best week of the year. A lot of dealerships will see >40% of their monthly sales in one week alone. For luxury this number can be >60%. As Jeff already said it's the last week for businesses to purchase vehicles. A lot of smaller business wait until they know how their year will finish financially before they decide to buy a vehicle. So all mediums, all audiences need impressions.

Bottom line, you should spend more on ads not less during this time. Yes people are with their family, but people are still addicted to their phones and will see ads. TV viewing is also up on holidays.

Has anyone here used Vinsolution's Vinessa (Virtual Assistant)

Hi Everyone,

Has anyone used VinSolution's Virtual Assistant Vinessa?

Could you please talk about your experience in terms of Vinessa's accuracy and perfromace?
We tried them last year for several months to give the AI time to adapt. NOPE. It basically just sends basic emails/texts like you can schedule yourself via the task manager. We didn't find the value of what it cost and had no sales we could attribute to Vinessa.
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From 80-100. My store's journey to 100 units a month

We're probably one of the more low-key dealers out there for internet lead responses. We text first, call if they don't opt-in within 30 minutes and call again after about 4-5 hours on day one and day 2. One attempt after that for the next 5 days. Dead if no response. We don't follow up any more than that. With email only it's 2 emails the first two days. After 5 days with no contact we kill it.
Every time I see you talk about this Bill, I migrate a little closer to your process.

I started out chasing the hell out of these people for 45 days. What a waste of time and focus. Right now I am down to Days 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 30. The difference is that we don't mark them Lost. We put them in Long Term Follow Up and will check in every 6 months.

#RefreshFriday Merchandizing - Someone is Launching a new Service | Joe Pistell

Forbes/AutoPacific Link
Here’s the top 10 features the study says buyers want the most in their next vehicles:
  1. Heated seats: 66%
  2. Blind-spot monitoring: 60%
  3. Front and rear parking sensors: 55%
  4. All-wheel or four-wheel drive: 54%
  5. Lane-departure warning: 54%
  6. Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto: 53%
  7. Power front passenger seat: 52%
  8. LED accent lights: 52%
  9. Ventilated or cooled seats: 50%
  10. Memory driver's seat: 49%

#RefreshFriday Merchandizing - Someone is Launching a new Service | Joe Pistell

11,000 surveys*
71% of new vehicle intenders say their next new vehicle should “have technology that prevents careless mistakes,”
PROFILE of Biggest Tech Seekers, AutoPacific Post
--Gen Y (+14%pts)
--With 1 or 2 children in the household (+10%pts). Additionally
--luxury brand vehicle and have a stronger interest in alternative powertrains, from hybrid to electric.

*11,000 licensed drivers in the U.S. who plan to acquire a new vehicle within the next three years

How do you evaluate a good CRM?

AI is to work what the Gasoline Engine was to the Horse. Its impact to commerce is as dramatic as the RailRoads were to the Erie Canal.

The AMZN/NVDA joint AI presentation (youtube) shows off the speed and profits that will come to giant orgs. AI will cut staffing by amounts that will scare Washington. AI will shift the structure of Dealer org.
We dissolved a 12-person sales BDC because of the volume downturn in the last year and don't see that coming back because of DriveCentric's use of Ignitify's AI in lead pursuit, engagement, and follow-up. I had a 20Group peer, Steve Koch with Joe Cooper, tell us, "You won't be replaced by AI. You'll be replaced by those leveraging AI." Love that quote.

How do you evaluate a good CRM?

AI is to work what the gasoline engine was to the horse. Its impact on commerce is as dramatic as the railroads were to the Erie Canal. AI will reshape the structure of dealer organizations. My next post will be a vision document on its impact on the CRM tool.

Below: The joint AI presentation by AMZN/NVDA showcases the speed and profits that will benefit all organizations capable of pivoting. C-suites will have no choice but to fully embrace AI. The AI rollout will reduce staffing to an extent that may raise concerns in Washington.
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Is your lead generation process world class?

I totally understand where you're coming from. I've seen a number of different posts designed to be informative albeit promotional nonetheless. They don't seem to attract scrutiny. We all operate in the same ecosystem. Through collaborations we all do better business collectively and the economy is better for it. That's the aim here.
@Dealersolutions but you'll notice all others, that are allowed, are all adding valuable information (industry data, white papers, etc) as well as are transparent about who they are. What is your company and what is your website? You seem to be active in multiple industry forums but you're elusive with details in all instances as well as your posts have been removed from those forums.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 12.57.21 PM.png

EVs are coming, but for how long?

Ford's rollout of the Lightning has been an absolute disaster. It's a low volume truck. All they had to do is follow what GM did with the Volt. Farley put the cart WAY ahead of the horse and is expecting major upfront investment when dealers aren't even allotted a handful of these things a year. It's going to be a long while until Ford can crank out 500k of these things a year. Worse, there's no place to charge them! I'll put up with a Tesla charger in a hotel parking lot if I'm driving a Tesla. But they really have to start getting gas stations retrofitted with DC chargers if they expect any mass adoption. Or along every major highway. So I'm happy OEMs are pausing.

Is your lead generation process world class?

Fair request. Droves of satisfied customers and daily referrals ought to be a substantial testament to the impact our solutions have on our customers businesses.
I was just calling out the puffery, Bill. v12solftware is you right? Or is that a past company? I can't find a website for "Dealersolutions"?
7,200 dealers is impressive. Do you have any OEM partnerships or are you mainly working with independents? First dealer I called that is on your video said "sub-par" and no longer uses you. The second one I called is out of business. May want to update that video and the California business incorporation record says v12software was inactive as of Jan 2018. Just wanting to make sure you are who you say you are. Set me straight if I'm completely off and you're not v12

Lay off the EV's Joe Biden - dealers speak out!

Nearly 4,000 dealers have signed a letter to Joe Biden telling him people don't want EVs: Voice of the Customer

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We have 37 Mach-E's piling up in the mid-West and are praying for a tornado.

Lay off the EV's Joe Biden - dealers speak out!

Nearly 4,000 dealers have signed a letter to Joe Biden telling him people don't want EVs: Voice of the Customer

Tom Maoli at Celebrity Motor Cars said:
“We're now backed up to 12 months with EVs. Consumers don't want them. They're not buying them. We have up to $15,000 in rebates from the manufacturer and $7,500 tax credits. We're talking $22,500."

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How do you evaluate a good CRM?

@Pedram pinged me and asked that I toss in my $0.02.
I believe the CRM model as we know it is toast (as are most of the old CRM KPIs)

LLM-Powered CRMs: A Brand New AI World is Here

Executive Summary: In the rapidly evolving landscape of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a transformative shift is underway with the integration of advanced Language Models (LLMs). This vision document explores the profound impact of LLMs on CRM systems in the context of automotive retail. It highlights the tasks LLMs can replace and the pivotal role they can play as sales reps' personal assistants. Moreover, it demonstrates how these advancements will revolutionize the current Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), ushering in a new era of CRM effectiveness.

Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction
    • The Unprecedented Potential of LLMs in CRM
    • Purpose and Scope of this Vision Document
  2. Tasks Replaced by LLMs
    • Automating Routine Administrative Tasks
    • Personalized Customer Assistance
    • Data Entry and Maintenance
  3. LLMs as Sales Reps' Personal Assistants
    • Enhancing Customer Interactions
    • Streamlining Workflows
    • Real-time Information Support
  4. Impact on Current CRM KPIs
    • Evolution of Traditional KPIs
    • Introduction of New KPIs
    • The Importance of AI Utilization Rate
  5. Conclusion
    • Embracing the LLM-Powered CRM Revolution
    • Preparing for the Future of Automotive Retail
1. Introduction: The integration of Language Models (LLMs) into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems represents a groundbreaking shift in the automotive retail industry. This document explores how LLMs are set to redefine CRM practices, making them more efficient and customer-centric than ever before.

2. Tasks Replaced by LLMs:
  • Automating Routine Administrative Tasks:
    • LLMs can take over time-consuming administrative tasks like data entry, appointment scheduling, and report generation, ensuring accuracy and reducing human errors.
  • Personalized Customer Assistance:
    • AI-driven CRM can provide personalized product recommendations and assist sales reps with real-time information during customer interactions.
  • Data Entry and Maintenance:
    • LLMs can handle data entry and maintenance tasks, ensuring data accuracy and completeness, freeing up sales reps to focus on building relationships.

3. LLMs as Sales Reps' Personal Assistants:
  • Enhancing Customer Interactions:
    • LLMs enable sales reps to offer more personalized and engaging interactions with customers, improving satisfaction and conversion rates.
  • Streamlining Workflows:
    • AI-powered CRM streamlines workflows, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks, allowing sales reps to focus on core sales activities.
  • Real-time Information Support:
    • LLMs can assist sales reps with real-time information and decision support during customer interactions, ensuring a smoother sales process.

4. Impact on Current CRM KPIs:
  • Evolution of Traditional KPIs:
    • Traditional KPIs like IRT, Connection Rate, Appt Set, Appt Shown, and Close Rates will evolve to incorporate AI-driven metrics such as AI Utilization Rate, Personalization Effectiveness, and Workflow Efficiency.
  • Introduction of New KPIs:
    • New KPIs will measure the impact of LLM-powered CRM on customer engagement, satisfaction, and revenue.
  • The Importance of AI Utilization Rate:
    • AI Utilization Rate will become a critical KPI, reflecting how effectively sales reps and the CRM leverage LLM capabilities.

Legacy CRM vendors need their most brilliant minds on this. They must understand that Perdram's team has no revenue to defend, they can start fresh and build the reps personal assistant.
Mark My word,
Car shoppers will have their own personal car assistant that will include negotiating the deal.

p.s. My AI assistant and I brainstormed this vision doc with about 6 revisions in 60 mins.
p.p.s. If you don't think this is coming fast,
here is SalesForce PR
p.p.p.s. google "AI Agent Swarms" and then, buckle your seatbelt & google: "Q Star (aka Q*)"

How do you evaluate a good CRM?

@Dan Sayer And yet, DriveCentric has been unable to replicate any of the custom VIN reporting we've given to their team for months (yes, we've been trying to work them for months). Not even close. Moreover, the clients I have who switched from VIN to DC run centralized BDCs. I ran two reports for one of them last month that (allegedly) use the exact same data, yet the opportunity counts were different by about 20%.

My advice to all dealers is make a CRM change at your own peril. What makes you think your team will use the new one any more than they used the old one? Unless you're using one of the "OMG, this CRM sucks" tools (I won't name names), there has (so far) been very little (if any) upside to making a switch.
I would say that initially, my complaints of Reporting were met with a fairly dismissive attitude from Drive. "It's just because our terminology is different than Vins" was their initial response. I was in a little disbelief off how bad the reporting still was knowing some of the dealer groups they deal with. I was figuring some of those players would have pressed for a better Reporting set. There was A LOT of context confusion with my Drive support team on "tomato, tomato" for Vin terms and math (Part of what prompted my post below earlier this month). Since then, we just finally got to a point where our reports work for us but only in Custom. @Steve Stauning if your stores are having issues, DM me and I'll trade notes with you on the route I took to get ours.
Those of you familiar with the path of "Internet Sales" over the last 20+ years, whether Retail or Vendor, probably have a single KPI that sits atop your reporting: Internet Lead Close Percentage. This one metric has been the center of debate among the "nerd" department in dealerships for decades. I'm not going to get into the typical retail arguments that sway topics of Internet close rates like, "That's not a Good lead, they didn't buy, don't count it," or "That's an Internet lead because they called from AutoTrader," or my favorite, "Can you delete this lead, they're unrealistic about their trade".

But let's talk about a particularly elusive math puzzle that still baffles many: Sold from Leads or Sold in Timeframe. In full disclosure, I've been calculating Internet Close rate by the latter since 2001. Internet Leads Sold in timeframe divided by Lead count within same timeframe. I didn't even know of the "Sold from Leads" math until I joined a dealer group with Ford stores in 2010. Some "Internet god" in a suit and tie from FordDirect would come with Internet Close Rates for our month. His numbers never matched ours PLUS prior months seemed to change ongoing. It took a couple of visits before he and I figured out we were doing different math. FordDirect, at the time, was using and defending "Sold from Leads". I think they've since shifted to "Sold in Timeframe"? Ford "Internet god", you still out there?

Breaking it down...

Sold from Leads
(old FordDirect, VinSolutions option, DriveCentric Standard Reporting default are the ones I know)
10 Leads in October
1 Sold from those 10 Lead names = 10% Close Rate

10 new Leads in November plus still working the 9 names from October that didn't buy
1 Sold in November but it was one of the October names
0 Sold from those 10 Nov names = 0% Nov Close Rate BUT
October Close Rate is now 20% because 2 names in the October lead bucket of 10 sold.

Sold in Timeframe
10 Leads in October
1 Sold from those 10 Leads = 10% Close Rate

10 Leads in November plus still working the 9 from October that didn't buy
1 Sold in November but it was one of the October names
1 Sold in November (doesn't matter how old it is) and had 10 Leads in November = 10% Close Rate
October Close Rate stays 10% (and will never change) and now November Close Rate is 10% as well.

In the Sold from Leads example, past Internet Close Rates can change. Imagine reviewing salesperson performance and coaching a rep based on their 10% close rate at the end of Oct. In November, they now show a 0% for month end. How do you coach that? "You sold one but it didn't count on your KPI this month. You were at 0% in Nov but good job on getting Oct to 20%!"

This entire topic has been revived in my mind because I learned that DriveCentric actually has Sold from Leads as their core math on their Standard Internet Report. I'm 5 of 7 stores into a CRM change (and very happy about their CRM overall). Their language for Sold from Leads is "Fixed" and their language for Sold in Timeframe is "Rolling". Thankfully, we CAN have them flip that switch within their custom reporting to "Rolling". VinSolutions provided both equations within reporting and you could just select the one you want but their default on Coaching Dashboards was Sold in Timeframe.

So, dear Internet Sales enthusiasts, what's your poison? Sold from Leads or Sold in Timeframe? If you're out there bragging about your Internet Close Rate in peer groups, make sure you know what mathematical sorcery you and others are using so you can be on the same page.

@Alex Snyder and @Jeff Kershner I tried to launch this as a Poll but no go....?

We will be down for maintenance Tuesday morning Dec 5th

It is that time of year again! Time to clean the servers and update all the software. @craigh has been working with our Xenforo experts to prep things and all is looking good on our staging servers.

On December 5th (next Tuesday) around 9 AM Eastern, DealerRefresh forums could be down for a little while. The prediction is up to 1 hour. Here's to a smooth update :hidepc:
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