Category Archives: Marketing

Automotive News stats & ranking  “TOP 125 DEALERSHIP GROUPS”

Top 125 Dealership Groups front page

        I’ve yet to find someone who has been able to explain the claims made by the publication  “TOP 125 Dealers for 2013.” Actually it is sponsored by a vendor and when you say sponsored it sound like the stats were compiled by the publication and the study was sponsored by the vendor.  Being in the consulting side of the automotive industry and after Slicing, Dicing & analyzing over 500 dealers including some of the largest groups in the country, I found it fascinating that some of the larger groups and dealers, who are hands down larger and better performers are not in the list. It intrigued me to find the real stats behind the scene, one of my dealers who I have visited and conducted training, the Classic Chevrolet of Grapevine who are the N0 1 dealer in the nation for last 8 years running and I witnessed them selling over 140 New Chevrolet in one single day, which was not even a record day for them.  Not only are they the No. 1 dealer in new cars sales, Classic Chevrolet officially Adds #1 volume GM Parts Dealer title as well. They stock over 7 million dollars in inventory and have about 50 employees to handle the parts and customer requests. In 2003, their parts department was number 76 in the nation. From there, Classic Chevrolet reached number 2 in 2012. Today – in early 2014 – They are the number 1 volume GM parts dealer out of approximately 4,000 GM dealers in the United States. If I give you their mind boggling stats for the used vehicles sales you most likely will scratch your head as to how do they do it? That is topic for another day.

  • Who is No 1?

Classic Chevrolet of Grapevine and the masters orchestrating this huge operation Mr. Tom Durant and Hagen Durant are geniuses in disguise and my hats off to them. Yet they fail to make it to the top dealers list!!!

classic image for Tom and Hagen Durant with awards
There are other dealers and dealer groups, that I know personally, that fail to make it to this list despite the fact that  their successful operations are far better than most of the dealers and groups on the list. Some of these dealers are not interested in divulging their private information for the sake of keeping a low profile while laughing all the way to the bank and others quite frankly were probably not informed to submit the information, since they are not the privileged client of the vendor who is compiling the information for the sake of showcasing their own clients. If all the dealers participated it may not be the case.

  • True Benchmarks

Keeping the above in mind Automotive News should have a disclaimer that their report is an advertisement.  If Automotive News is a credible news authority for the automotive industry, it should be totally unbiased in reporting the news or any stats since most of the industry owners, executives, managers and public who are investing money on publicly traded auto groups are looking at this information and making serious financial decisions. There are some dealer executives who are making these reports as a benchmark for their operations. On the other hand, if and when a successful dealership’s manager offers these numbers as a bench mark he or she will be immediately replaced for a real manager who can and must outperform above and beyond these numbers. I would say it can be a starting point for some real performers.

  • Who is competing here for the Top Spot?

Let’s not forget that currently NADA “National Automobile Dealers Association” is quoting more than 17,000 new car and truck dealers with approximately 37,500 separate franchises. This top 125 dealer list is not reflective of the top dealers doing business in USA. Let’s not kid ourselves and read between lines to see what is the real information presented to you.  Now we understand that the list of these TOP 125 dealers and the dealer group are not the real one, but since it is out on the Internet I wanted analyze it to see how they are performing just among themselves in their own little world. If you study the breakdown you will find it fascinating in a lot of different ways and I would like you to just see from statistically driven point of view.

  • Where do we fit the sales numbers for wholesale vehicle!! Not in RETAIL?

Auction or floor sales

At this point, I would like to highlight one point “WHOLESALE” which is not retail. I do not believe that we should be taking account for the wholesale units as success performance indicators for a dealership or a group. Actually high amount of wholesale should be taken as a negative impact for a performance indicator. Since when is wholesaling a vehicle is considered to be a good thing?   The dealers who are buying your vehicles at auction are taking those vehicles preparing it and selling right under your nose across the street for much higher rate of return.  “If you are serious in taking a wholesale unit as a performance indicator than I would say that Manheim Auction is wholesaling over 10 million units a year with over 50 billion in revenues and they should be the number one dealer in the world”.

  • Seeing the forest from the trees

Let’s talk about another fact before I go into the detail of the analysis, most of the dealers will agree that just selling more cars means nothing if they are not making money! Anyone can give away cars and that is not rocket science. Similarly if a group sells the highest number of cars doesn’t mean that they are the top dealer especially if their per location sales, revenue and profit is below average. For example if you take the top performer dealer group in the list, The Auto Nation Inc. when you see the numbers in the report  states that The Auto Nation Inc. has 228 Roof Tops, Sold 292,922 New Units Average 107 Units Per Roof top per month and if you go back to the top of this article about Classic Chevrolet who sells that many vehicles in a single day not a month.

  • Pre-Owned Vehicles Sales and Profit a strong relationship.

The Auto Nation sold 204,572 used vehicle averaging 75 units per month per roof top.  Now these are the stores just selling and focusing on new vehicles only. Look at your average profitable dealership across country they are selling more pre-owned units vs new vehicles by far and making money hands over fist. In the industry it is well known that you can’t really make huge profits on new vehicles compared to that special pre-owned vehicle which is unique and only you have it. But if you don’t have that vehicle, how would you do it? Back to wholesale, since the same report shows that Auto Nation has wholesaled 70,742 vehicles. We all know who the buyers were at the auctions – the other dealers were the buyers at the auction and they fetch up those units to sell them right across Auto Nation locations.  To be fair to Auto Nation they are not at the bottom in sending cars to wholesale, actually they ranked 29th out of this 125 dealers and the crown goes to  Fitzgerald Auto Malls ranked 1st.  Out of the list of 125 dealers for having the lowest number of units wholesale per location. The highest number of units wholesale was at West-Herr Automotive Group Inc. wholesaling on an average of 1,010 units per location or across 18 locations they wholesaled 18,177 units last year, if Auto Nation with 228 locations were to wholesale at the same scale they would have to wholesale 230,242 units while they only wholesaled 70,742 units. Back to my points – do not lump sum an entire group’s numbers to showcase the larger amount rather see how they are performing across board by per roof top. Like someone said “Seeing the forest from the trees.”

 

  • Can you tell fact from fiction?

At this time I just want to remind the readers that the original report is on the Internet available free to download. It may be a publicity stunt as usual to drum up new business by having a feather in someone’s hat. I have seen numerous times that certain magazines behind the scene partially or wholly owned by vendors who showcase their ranking or awards with great hype. If all the dealers are not participating or informed to participate, you will have more fiction than fact.  This reminds me of vendor, dealer rating and reviews sites. That is another topic and I have a great deal of information on; I will have a blog post especially dedicated to that aspect of our business. Transparency is great but how can you be anonymous and be a transparent at the same. It doesn’t work for me. In my opinion it should not work for you either. I will address that in another article fairly soon.

 

  • Automotive News, Is it a legitimate news source?

Automotive News site header

Automotive news is established and recognized as a legitimate and respectable source that is quoted by C-level executives across the country and across the world. According to Automotive News, “Automotive News is the nation’s pre-eminent newspaper covering the automotive industry serving vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, dealerships, marketers, and others allied with the industry since 1925.”

  • Read between the lines…..

Numbers and the analyses of the report, or slice and dice the report to read between lines: Now let’s look at the report and dissect it to determine the biggest gainer and the losers on ranking among their own little world of 125 dealers. I have strictly taken their numbers as it is published in the report available on the net. Below you will find a quick list of gainers and losers. You can also view the dissected report from this link on Google Drive. You can also view the original report from by clicking this link.

 

  • Biggest Gainer in Ranking:

Bommarito Automotive Group

Bommarito Automotive Group: was ranked 68 by Automotive News by our recalculation and positioning it ranked 6th in the group by gaining 62 positions or ranks in the group. Dealer Website powered by Dealer Track Interactive

 

Biggest Drop in ranking:

Bergstrom Automotive Group

Bergstrom Automotive Group was ranked 67th by Automotive News, by our recalculation and positioning it ranked 118th dropping 51 Ranks / positions in the group. Site powered by Dealer.com 

After a quick analysis over the week-end, I found the results very interesting and I wanted to share them with my network. This information is for your entertainment only and not to grade any provider or company. I would love to hear from you if you find this interesting and if there was another twist that I missed. Even though I have prepared these numbers with care and interest, but I request you to do your own research before making any decision and if you find any errors please let me know and I will update it as soon as I can. Do not use this report to make any financial decision, but if you have a question you can reach me via email at wp.ranking@dealerstechnology.com.

Partial list of Top 125 Dealers and Ranking by AN & Updated by Rafi Hamid

 

Quick info on my next blog: I have come across my next article, we see all the dealers are struggling with reports and reviews for vendors. Just as you know that a shrewd dealer can manipulate his or her reviews & CSI, I have seen vendors and some of the rating sites for vendors are playing numbers and review games. I have been associated with Drivingsales.com as a founding member, on a Board of Directors and have seen the process in action. I have also seen Dealer Rater and other review sites and know how they market their product. What is in it for you and really what is at stake? It is fascinating information that you do not want to miss. Keep your eyes open for my next posting. Follow me on Twitter to stay in touch.  https://twitter.com/AutoExecutive      

Happy Motoring,

 

RafiHamid
“AutoExecutive”
Rafi Hamid VAuto Image

Blogging for Beginners

Blogging for Beginners

How the Automotive Business can benefit from Blogging

Blogging is a good way to optimize pages for the search terms you would like to rank in the main search engines.  Content can be text, videos, audio, pictures, animation, etc. If it can be consumed through digital media, then it’s content. In addition, blog content generates discussion, discussion generates movement, movement catches attention and attention improves search engine rankings.

As much as SEO algorithms change (and they change a lot), at the end of the day the core components remain. With that known, and mixing natural tendency to visit a blog, optimizing articles for important keywords is and always will be essential.

Now that we’ve gone through all that I want to discuss some things to consider in 2013 when blogging. First, try writing something that is guaranteed to attract interesting discussions. (and more on that here) Another would be to create a video course on a website, like Udemy. Evergreen your existing content, refresh it and create a course. Then create new content that talks about the course. Not interested in a course? Then create a short video series, post it on YouTube and then on your blog, with a transcription. That way you have two forms of content to absorb in one article. Interview partners and share the discussion in a blog article, or host a local meetup and write about it for people to say “next time I want to go!” Use visual marketing weapons like cartoons and infographics.

Blogging in 2013 can be the same as blogging in 2012, but I think bloggers should keep taking their content to new levels.

3 Tips to Better your Email Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing

3 Tips to Better your Email Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing Strategy

3 Tips to Better your Email Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing is cheap and effective.  Thanks to the Internet, businesses have many new ways to reach their customers. Email is an excellent marketing tool. Below you will find ways to foster lasting customer relationships and use it successfully.

Let your customers know that their time is valuable by giving them emails that are full of good information.  Always add something of value like a tip regarding your service, a suggested use for your product, or a special free offer in each message you send out.

Always ensure that the links you include work. When the links are not working or arrive at a dead-end, your email has lost all of its value. Broken links will also cause readers to question your credibility.  Remember that these devices have a smaller screen and will not be able to display an entire website. Make sure that you understand how these screens look, and how they show your email.

When your customers are opting in to your list, make sure you at least get their first names. That way, you’ll be able to customize your emails so that they individually address each customer to make the experience personal. Your emails will stand out from other bulk emails by helping recipients feel less anonymous.

You should put two links into the email, one that allows them to confirm and the other that allows them to refute their subscription. Your subscribers will like the extra security measure, and you will have extra proof that you are not spamming your email recipients.

  • Look at some of the spam you receive to learn what to avoid in your own email messages. Sign up for free email accounts, post your address on the web and wait for the spam to come.
  • Test the different formats of emails. Your email should be like a funnel, with the most important items at the top and the least important items at the bottom.
  • The more personalized the emails you send your customers are, the more likely they will be to buy from you again. Let them know about your discounts and limited offers.

Email Marketing can be very effective.  It is true that the Internet has opened up a whole new world of doing business. Marketing emails are one of the new innovations available to the savvy entrepreneur. These tips will help you find an email marketing strategy that will work for you.

5 Steps to Online Reputation Management

Monitoring your online reputation is vital for your online business.  Here are a few tips that will help you with online reputation management.

1.    Monitor online reputation. This is the easiest and most critical step. Monitor what others are saying about the business online. This can be accomplished by simply setting up a Google alert. Searching on Facebook and Twitter can also yield information, as well as sites that serve the business industry

2.    Start to build defenses around for the business brand online. If possible, purchase any domain names that might be connected with the business name or brand. This includes the .com, .net, .org, .us and .info versions. A business may never even use all of these domains, but owning them builds some protection around a business name on the search engines. Do the same on Facebook and Twitter.

3.    Create a social media presence. Businesses should have active Facebook and Twitter accounts. Depending on the specific industry, it may be beneficial to use LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube, too. These social media sites help to build goodwill for the business brand, as long as there is activity and interaction. The sites will help populate the search engines with good content, news and reviews about the business, too. Businesses should actively monitor the sites for company mentions, and respond to any criticisms or compliments in a timely fashion. Think of this the same as if a customer called a business on the phone to vent frustrations or gush about a great experience. More and more customers use social media, so business should, too.

4.    Use the new social media accounts and websites to build positive content. Create positive and compelling content for your sites. Don’t forget to use online press releases, blogs and even advertising sites. Remember, the key to online reputation management is not to remove negative comments from the web (it usually cannot be done), but rather to overcome them with positive content. A negative review that shows up on page 8 of Google search results is not as important as one on page 1. The more positive content you can get onto the first few pages of the search engines, the better protected your business will be from any negative content that might get created.

5.    Commit. This final step ties in with step number 4. Businesses must be committed to continually publish positive company information, or encourage happy customers to do so. Even one new article a week on your website blog could do the job over time. Assign someone in the company for this important task, or outsource to get help.

Keep track of your online reputation management. It is your online business.  It should be you who controls the conversation.

 

Internet Training Consultation

First Page Consulting

Internet Training Consultation

When is it time to bring in a professional?

Consultation is one way a dealership can more effectively execute a plan for their Internet Department.  Internet Training Consultants will research a dealership’s online presence before they arrive and point out areas of improvement.   Once there, they review the Internet Department and how it has worked in the past.  They will work on a process that will make the work for the department more efficient and effective.

When is the best time to hire an Internet Training Consultant? The answer is BEFORE decisions are made on switching website providers, vendors, hiring and firing employees are executed.  These decisions are best made with someone who is fully trained in the area.

Decisions made based on mismanaged and misuse of the tools in place will only lead to more startup fees, setup fees or other fees to start over.  Before…

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Digital Marketing Benefits with Google Tag Manager

The company is aiming to reduce the administrative overhead of both Web administrators and digital marketers, Google has launched a service that will manage their website tags.

The tag management system could aid in organization’s digital marketing efforts.

Google Tag Manager is a free service, such as Google Analytics or Google Adwords.

Using Tag Manager, an organization embeds a snippet of code that connects each page to Google, which then provides the needed tags for each page when it is called by a browser.

Shifting tags from the Web page to a hosted service could potentially help manage tags in a number of ways, according to the company. Google has developed a mechanism to load the tags so they don’t get in each other’s ways and slow the page load times. Google also offers a number of tools for debugging and the previewing of tags. Users can specify which pages, or which types of pages, can be delivered with which tags and multiple sites can be managed from a single Goggle account.

Google is not the first to offer to enterprises a tag management service. QuBit, co-founded by former Google executive Graham Cooke, has offered a tag management service, and plans to incorporate Google Tags into its offering.

The company has estimated that only 5 percent of the top 10,000 websites use tag management software or services, though it expects that number to grow rapidly.

Although the service is primarily aimed to serve digital marketing, it can be a handy general use tool as well, especially as an alternative to the sometimes cumbersome tag controls found in today’s Web content management systems, Cooke said.

While remaining enthusiastic for Google‘s new service, Cooke also expressed concern that Google would not keep its own system open and not be willing to work with partners, such as QuBit.

Digital Marketing will benefit for this tool. “The question for Google is, ‘are they going to allow a marketplace of third parties if they potentially compete with Google?’,” Cooke said.

Pinterest and Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Why Pinterest is Important

Pinterest is currently the fasted growing social network on the planet, with a current user base of over 11 million in the U.S. alone. Businesses should strongly consider how they can use Pinterest to grow and promote themselves, and this video from MDG Advertising does a great job of summarizing the key points, benefits and strategies for Pinterest success.

PINTEREST VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

The People Who Pin:

  • 60% Female / 40% Male
  • 29% are between 35-44 years old, with most users falling between 25 – 54 years old
  • Income levels for 37% of Pinterest users are $25,000-$49,999

Why You Should Be On Pinterest:

  • As of Jan., 2012, there were more than 11 million U.S. visitors
  • Pinterest is the fastest site in history to pass 10 million
  • Pinterest drives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ combined
  • Companies like Etsy and Real Simple are using Pinterest

How You Should Use Pinterest:

  • Pin your own content that has great images.
  • Repin great content and images that other people pin.
  • Collect your pins into Boards.

How To Make Pinterest Work For You:

  • Decide whether your customers are using Pinterest, and how.
  • Add a Pin It button to your site and content.
  • Improve the quality of the images you use on your website.
  • Pin News and Tips as well as products and services for variety.
  • Watch and Follow the large brands and learn from them.

Retarget your Audience to Sell More Cars

Website

Retarget your Audience

Your official website is your most powerful tool on the internet to sell your brand or service.  Everything else is a tool to drive that traffic to your website.  Once you get them to your website they are looking at you and your product or service.  Retargeting is a great way to get an increase on your ROI.  Here are different ways to retarget your audience to your website.

  1. Search Retargeting-This type of retargeting is using keywords and search terms to your website on specific search engines.

  2. Site Retargeting-This works when someone has already been on your site and you can “tag” them and promote your advertisements as they surf the web.

  3. SEO/SEM Retargeting-This is similar to Search and Site retargeting.  You use search terms and keywords to drive traffic, but you also use the information of what they do on your site to refine your website to maximize conversion rates.

  4. Email Retargeting-Just like the name.  You are driving traffic to your site through an email campaign.  Take note on your engagement levels.

  5. Contextual Retargeting-This works when you work with another website.  You exchange pixels between sites that are highly relevant to searchers and targeting the others visitors.

  6. Engagement Retargeting-This is a way to target your audience by using video, rich media and flash games.  Based on the actions the user takes, advertisers can infer things like intent and level of engagement to serve highly targeted display ads.

Advertisers are constantly learning more and more about how people interact with websites.  We can use this information to market to a targeted audience to reach the people who are searching for us in the first place.  We, in the auto business, are in the people business who just happen to sell cars.

Protect your business before it’s too late!
Discover the power that peace of mind can bring.

Call Dealers Technology Inc, Now @ 877-808-3966

How Blogging can Better your Brand

How Blogging can Better your Brand

How Blogging can Better your Brand

Blogging is another great tool to promote Dealership.  You can quickly spread your message to a large audience with your blog.  Here are some tips to help you.

  • Be Engaging-Throw in language that suggests you are open to dialogue in your blog posts and your comments.

  • Show Personality-Show personality in your posts.  People want to see perspective in their readings.

  • Create Interesting Headlines-First impressions are important.  People will read a blog if you catch them with a good headline.

  • Include Images-Pictures and images in your blog posts can keep a reader more engaged.

  • Use Social Media-Use Social Media to promote your brand.  By brand I mean you.  You are selling yourself with your blog.  Over time you are creating a brand of yourself with your blog.

These are just a few more tips on blogging.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.  I appreciate the input, and I would be happy to answer any questions.

Protect your business before it’s too late!
Discover the power that peace of mind can bring.

Call Dealers Technology Inc, Now @ 877-808-3966

Better your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social Media

Marketing

Social Media Marketing is now becoming a standard.  It is another medium to market your Dealership and brand.  The desire for more likes, more fans and more comments is the latest trend.  Here are 7 steps in how to market with Social Media.

  1. Join the fun-Social Media is here to stay.  Join the fun or be left behind.  If you are not engaging your audience about what you would like to say about your business, product or service you are open to someone else saying what they will about you.

  2. Be the leader-Come up with a message to say about your business and stick to it.

  3. Embrace don’t oppose-Social Media is how some of us communicate.  Embrace it and use it to your advantage.

  4. Create a clear message-Your message must to clear to everyone involved, so everyone is on the same page.  Everyone can participate.

  5. Achieve your Business Goals-Your Business Goals should mirror your Social Media Marketing Goals.  Your goals should be to increase repeat customers to increase revenue.

  6. Create a Social Media Policy-A Social Media Policy puts a set of rules in place to discourage employees from posting a different message than what you are trying to convey.

  7. Embrace criticism-opening up a dialog with your audience also will open yourself up for criticism.  Embrace it.  Stay positive.  Remember the customer is always right, and try to resolve any matters publicly.  Your audience will appreciate your transparency.

These are just some simple steps to a better Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Protect your business before it’s too late!
Discover the power that peace of mind can bring.

Call Dealers Technology Inc, Now @ 877-808-3966