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Well The Old car Biz is Alive and Well

Steve Stauning

Jr. Refresher
Mar 15, 2012
231
156
43
First Name
Steve
Sadly, at least half of the dealers I've worked with this year did not have any measurements in place for their digital vendors. They had no clue whether any provider was providing a return on their investment; yet each felt educated enough to make decisions about these vendors.

To a person, they were buying from the vendors that wowed them with a combination of big words and big promises. Most were wasting upwards of $20,000/month.
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,170
598
113
First Name
Alex
Sadly, at least half of the dealers I've worked with this year did not have any measurements in place for their digital vendors. They had no clue whether any provider was providing a return on their investment; yet each felt educated enough to make decisions about these vendors.

To a person, they were buying from the vendors that wowed them with a combination of big words and big promises. Most were wasting upwards of $20,000/month.
I believe that statement 110%. I've seen that lack of analysis as well. However, the automotive attribution groups out there aren't really able to drill down as much as they preach, especially with Google pulling out their IDs. It's just not there yet. We'll see with Google Attribution.
 
Jan 25, 2012
25
30
8
First Name
Ralph
Dear Diary,

Day 4. Walked the U/C Inventory 3 times to get to know it. Still eagerly awaiting the off-lease list that I asked for on Tuesday. No-one seems to know how to pull it.

Did I tell you this is a Group of 45 stores? Haven't received an employee handbook. Don't know if one exists. The N/C Mgr was off, but since she hasn't said more than Hello and Goodbye-when prodded, it didn't matter much.

I forgot to tell you that I met a consumer on Monday night. The CRM is connected to all the stores and I can see the other salespeople's follow-up. He came in late and was very aware of closing time so we got his information. Had been to 2 other stores comparing product. Sent and email with reviews on Tuesday. Other salespeople who have met him sent templated emails on Tuesday. Texted on Wednesday-no response--"old pro" saiid he knew he was a "stroker"--left a message yesterday--he called while I was with a consumer and set and appointment for Saturday.

Watched a consumer walking, walk around the showroom past 3 free salespeople at their desk. He is of an ethnic persuasion. Shook his hand, and he pulled out his Smart phone, and asked about 2 lower prices Used Vehicles we have online. After a few questions, I got the keys to one, couldn''t find the other. Asked about it. Wholesaled. 4 weeks ago.

Did a walk-around. Opened the hood and low and behold it's a hybrid with 93k. Demo ride, answer lot's of questions pulled inspection and Carfax and showed. Offer. based on KBB. U/C Mgr was good--no pence back. Gave me KBB, Black Book and MMH. Justified price, 2nd offer up $850. Accepted. Was told to fill out credit app.

Consumer was going to Credit Union. Got him to fill out credit app in CRM tool. When it was complete, sent and F&I said it didn't come through. The learned that the correct credit app that's tied into DMS is---on the dealership's website. :huh?: Filled out the other. Discussed the advantages of financing with us and he was interested.

F&I had 1 ahead of me, so sat him in the lounge. 30 minutes. F&I then started to input the deal. Said the U/C Mgr hadn't closed it out and she was going to take another delivery. that was in system. :dunno: Took her to UCM and "discussed." He finally agreed that if we make mine wait we would probably lose him and gave the go-ahead.

F&I Mgr said she would be right back. Turned out that she went to the lunchroom for 15 minutes to eat her Taco Bell. Came back and took another 15 minutes to input the deal. (When I did F&I we input and printed the info while the consumer was with us--but what do I know). Took 20 minutes to get through the paperwork. He signed the contract with the understanding he could come in by Monday with a C/U check to replace it.

Had car shined and plated. Took customer and went over things like connecting Bluetooth, setting seat memory and Nav. Happy consumer. Happy Ralph. The 3 salespeople who passed on him wrote it off to green-pea luck -- until they heard about the $3k gross on the deal, :yabuddy:

So, I'm off on Friday. Wasn't looking for this but got a call yesterday. Have a verbal offer from a big, High-Line Import store to come in and run their BDC -- 6 people & need more. Get's about 950 "Internet Leads" a month. 30% appointments. 10% sold. Grew beyond the guy who started it's capabilities. BDC doesn't do chat or phones (yet). Going back on Monday to discuss. Not sure what to do -- but am listening.

Will post Saturday's adventures later in the weekend. Market is closed on Sunday's. Blue laws. Should be interesting to see how the weekend shakes out as they have more Saturday traffic than they can handle.

BTW, for those of you who are checking my LinkedIn profile to see what store this is -- don't bother -- I'm not listing it. The people in this Forum are obviously ahead of the curve on digital. But the more I see and hear, the more I'm convinced that this IS the car biz as it (still) stands today. Enjoy your weekend! :hello:
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,464
1,057
113
First Name
Jeff
BTW, for those of you who are checking my LinkedIn profile to see what store this is -- don't bother -- I'm not listing it. The people in this Forum are obviously ahead of the curve on digital. But the more I see and hear, the more I'm convinced that this IS the car biz as it (still) stands today. Enjoy your weekend! :hello:
@Ralph Ebersole, I didn't check LinkedIn because I knew you too well. And YES, this is STILL the car business. We touched on this topic today on #RefreshFriday. Many of us in the DealerRefresh community work in this bubble and are ignorant to how most dealers are still operating. I have several friends that service dealers to one degree or another, and the stories they tell me.... I often figure they're over embellishing the story. But they're not, unfortunately.

Looking forward to your updated posts Ralph!
 
Jan 25, 2012
25
30
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First Name
Ralph
Dear Diary,

Well today's Sunday and Illinois has Blue Laws. Yesterday was interesting to say the least. The day started with a "Sales Meeting" in the GM's office, which the store has once a week. GM's expounded on how we need to keep customer parking open for customer and park cars in their proper place. She pointed out that a "Hot" model had come in Friday evening, and is for sale, as we are taking almost all future orders for it.

N/C Manager was late and didn't have much to say, other than rates will probably go up on Monday, U/C Manager pointed up a couple of vehicles that are good money makers, and reminded us that any dealer in out 45 Dealer Group could sell them. U/C Manager then took us on an inventory walk--which was very good. So this is the extent of formal training I received for the week.

My 1st customer was a professor at one of the uppity Universities in the area. She wanted to sit in some our vehicles to see if they were a "fit" for her. She has a BMW Wagon that her dad got for her in Texas. She said "he likes to buy and sell cars." It isn't comfortable for her as she's 6'1". After deciding that my vehicles aren't either, she made haste to get into her car and leave.

Second customer -- husband and wife. Interested in our largest Used SUV, Drove it. Liked it. Then went to Crossover. Drove it--liked it. I asked how they liked them and she said "I'm not in love with them." Switched to new with all the new tech features. Drove crossover -- LOVED IT. Drove bigger one -- LOVED IT.

Husband then said he had a MFR discount through his work. GM came in and about blew their brains out. She told me to go to her office and get her 'grid." (WTF's a grid?) So I picked up what I thought was a grid and she stormed out from my desk and got the correct document. Oops.

She came back and started going through the papers and rattling off different incentives. Not only did my customer not have a clue what she was talking about, neither did I. After she left, we decided to drive one more vehicle. In the car, the customers asked if - "she's always like that?" I assured them that she was just having a bad day and we continued.

Upon return, we got into numbers. This was after about 2.45 hours and they were getting hungry. After presenting figures, that asked to go to lunch, so I went to the NCM and GM in the same office and asked to send them in the car they were interested. They said no. Didn't say why, but just no. :huh?: So they left in their current vehicle after I spread 3 pounds of Be-Back Powder on them.

The dealership brings in lunch for sales and service employees on Saturday, and it's one of the best things that's happened there all week. GM came in to try to tell me why they don't let customers drive all their cars -- they have "drivers" for new vehicles. She also threw in the I'm a reason she doesn't like to hire cars salespeople without recent experience.

I texted and called my morning customers 3 times over the next couple of hours.

Dealership traffic died from around 2-4pm. Then there was a deluge. My part of it was a young lady who walked in to "look" at our Crossover and also to drive the larger one. She was dressed on a tattered sweater, knit hat and gloves with no finger coverings. After a very fine (If I do say so) feature/benefit presentation we drove both. She LOVED the Crossover and we have 1 2018 left. Right color, equipment, etc. Got an appraisal from UCM-$5500. NCM desked it with discount and showed $5150 on her trade. Being the dum dum I am, I asked if she pulled back on the trade -- she said "maybe." Huh.

Presented numbers, worked to get an offer, gave all the justification and reasons to buy now. She committed to come back on Monday am with her husband (she originally said he didn't need to be involved). I asked the NCM to take a turn to firm things up. She refused.

I texted the customer with more information today, and she re-confirmed tomorrow's time. Before she left, she said she would be more appropriately attired on Monday. BTW, she explained she "purposely dressed like a homeless person" so I wouldn't take her seriously. :cool: I do think she will come in and buy tomorrow. But I think that about everyone I speak with.

After she left, I checked my text. My morning customer replied that they bought a BMW X-5. They said to be sure and "Thank" (in quotes) my GM. It was a lengthy 'you're the best salesperson we worked with..." that many of us have received.

Oh, and the NCM came running out telling everyone of us that they just realized the "Hot" model that many of us had shown during the day, and one salesperson had started to write up was a customer order and had come in sold. Oops. :egads:
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,780
1,386
113
First Name
Alex
Oh, and the NCM came running out telling everyone of us that they just realized the "Hot" model that many of us had shown during the day, and one salesperson had started to write up was a customer order and had come in sold. Oops. :egads:
I only worked with 1 sales manager, during my dealership days, who was organized enough to keep these kind of things from happening. That was Paul Sudo and he was a great influence on my life for appreciating the power of being organized.

But HowTF is this such a bad problem at so many stores around the nation?
 
Reactions: Ralph Ebersole

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,464
1,057
113
First Name
Jeff
Geessshus, Damn @Ralph Ebersole did you eeny, meeny, miny, moe yourself into working for this dealership? I as going to say "welcome to the car business" but you found yourself a doozy of a dealership. Thanks for sharing this and PLEASE keep going with this. We're excited to have DealerRefresh as your "diary platform."

BTW - keep your eyes open for a direct message from me.

:popcorn:
 
Jan 25, 2012
25
30
8
First Name
Ralph
Geessshus, Damn @Ralph Ebersole did you eeny, meeny, miny, moe yourself into working for this dealership? I as going to say "welcome to the car business" but you found yourself a doozy of a dealership. Thanks for sharing this and PLEASE keep going with this. We're excited to have DealerRefresh as your "diary platform."

BTW - keep your eyes open for a direct message from me.

:popcorn:
Well I actually looked at reviews on DealerRater and Edmunds. I made the mistake of not looking at Yelp. It seems that many in the business direct their happy pappy customers to the car sites. But many of the Yelp reviews are brutally honest. And I thought the a part of a 45 dealer group would be different. :unclejoe: