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Dustin Kerr

Hiring Buy Here Pay Here Salespeople That Produce – The Newspaper Ad

I’ll be blunt; hiring candidates from a newspaper ad is not the most effective way of finding the type of talent that can be molded into a productive salesperson. However, there is a time and place for the newspaper or Craigslist ad, and in this article, we are going to discuss how to make your ad as effective as possible.

Watch the video – Click here!

First, we should set the correct expectations. It’s highly unlikely you are going to find a seasoned, successful salesperson through these types of ads. Salespeople that are already trained and productive are likely making a significantly better income than what the average BHPH dealer is going to be willing to pay them.

So, we are really looking for people that have the right temperament, work ethic, and confidence to be receptive to our training program (because we are going to train them correctly) and to fit in well with the culture we are trying to promote.

Before we go any further, I want to give you two sources that I have used in the past that provide great information on hiring salespeople. The first is a book by Chet Holmes titled “The Ultimate Sales Machine,” and the second is “The Anderson Hiring System” by Dave Anderson, a virtual training program available in NCM OnDemand.

The ad I use and will describe below is a combination of what I have learned from those two gentleman mixed in with my own experiences. Be warned: this ad will eliminate most of the applicants you would get through the typical newspaper or Craigslist ad, and that’s what we’re going for. We don’t want to have to wade through all the applicants who are just looking for another paycheck.

The headline of the ad should get their attention and should show the upward end of what they could expect to make. For example: Now Hiring Sales – No Experience Necessary – Extensive Training Program – $40,000-$60,000.

The body of the ad should then eliminate as many of the undesired applicants as possible and we will do that by using very blunt, straight-forward language.

We are looking for individuals that have the desire to be great. Please do not apply if you only have an average desire or work ethic. Our training program is very extensive and includes a great deal of role playing and practice. We are a rapidly growing company that is a leader in our industry and we are only interested in those that want to be the best.

Too many times we get caught up with trying to sell the reader on why they should apply with our company, generally because we are in crisis mode and desperate for a warm body. This ad will eliminate a great deal of the warm bodies as they will be turned off by the strong, in-your-face language. Those that do apply will typically be very confident in their abilities and open to the idea of training.

Now, this MUST be followed up with a thorough interview process that goes well beyond the applicant’s previous job history and resume. Conducting a proper interview is beyond the scope of this article, but is something we will cover in great detail in future articles.

In the meantime, get these ads running continuously on Craigslist, and if you have any questions regarding improving your hiring process or how being a member of a 20 Group can help your profitability and cash flow, please email me at, or call me at 913-827-6677.


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Jeff Cowan

The Myths of Writing Service Part 2

Writing Service Part 2As you remember from my article last month, myths can be very dangerous things. They can and will impede your ability to grow, expand, and succeed. I discussed some of the biggest myths surrounding the writing of service and will list a few more here today that have come up and continue to come up in the many meetings I am asked to speak at throughout the year.

Myth: Service writers do not need the same amount of training as the car sales staff.

Fact: A Service Advisor who works with just fifteen customers a day will generate more gross profit for a dealership in a month than a sales person does who delivers thirty vehicles in that same month. In addition, due to the volume of customers they will talk to in a month, they will have more impact on your survey scores and customer retention than any other employee in the dealership, including the dealer. So why would they not need the same amount of training or more?

Myth: Women service writers who are mothers are risky due to parental responsibilities.

Fact: Tell that to Abigail Adams, wife to President John Adams. While John was overseas for many years, she stayed behind and ran the farm, ran John’s businesses, and raised 6 kids, one of which grew up to be our nation’s sixth president. One of my daughters is at the child bearing age. She and ten of her close friends have all had children in the past twenty-four months. While one of them quit her career and became a stay/work at home mom, the other nine not only continued their careers, but eight of them actually increased their hours or took on more responsibility. Why? Because they quickly realized that if their kids were to have a life equal to or greater than their own, they had to work harder and smarter. If all things are equal and I have the opportunity to hire a male service writer versus a female service writer with kids, especially young ones, I will take the female with kids every time. Think grizzly bear with cubs.

Myth: Service writers who work in economically challenged areas cannot sell as much as service writers who work in affluent areas.

Fact: Many times, they can sell more for one simple reason; the more financially challenged a person is, the more important their vehicle becomes to them. Financially challenged customers know that if their vehicle does not run and they cannot get to work, then their financial situation will only get worse. I have worked in countless service drives with countless service advisors where their customers were financially challenged and the sales made were either equal to or greater than those in service departments where the reverse was true. The difference is that the financially challenged customer requires a service advisor who has a slightly different skill set and outstanding follow-up and over the telephone selling skills.

Myth: Women service writers have a tougher time in service because men prefer to talk with men.

Fact: This is not a gender specific problem. A service advisor who is strong at taking control of the customer and exudes confidence, can and will be able to handle your customers. While this myth used to have some validity twenty years ago, it has none today. If I were to list the top ten service advisors that I have worked with over the past twenty-nine years, seven of the top ten would be women.

Myth: It does not take as much skill to be a quick service writer as it does to be a full shop service writer.

Fact: Arguably, it takes more. Think about it. A quick service writer is many times the first person a new customer will work with in service after purchasing a new vehicle. Their ability to handle your customer and convince them that your shop is the only place to go for service, has to be near perfect, if not perfect, to get the job done. Although the path to full shop writer begins many times in express, the express writer should be trained to expertly handle any scenario that a full shop writer would. Again, they are likely to be the first point of face to face contact in the dealership after purchasing a new vehicle. Express should be trained to impress every time on every level.

Myth: It is impossible to train veteran service writers to adapt to changes in their customers’ demands and in new technology.

Fact: Not if you have established a culture of constant change in your department. The service writer or employee who cannot adapt to change and evolution in retail sales will become a dinosaur within five years. When you consider how rapidly your customers and their buying habits have changed in just the past few years, and how rapidly technology changes, any employee who can not keep up is costing you money. In the future there will be two types of sales people; those who sell technology and those who use it. The rest will become obsolete.

Myth: Service writers can handle setting their own check-in times, checking in your customers’ vehicles, following up on those customers throughout the day, closing those customers over the telephone, closing out their own repair orders, contact customers who have been waiting for parts, cashier their own customers, actively deliver vehicles back to each customer as the vehicle repairs are completed, send a thank you note to each customer, contact customers who missed their check in times, contact customers who previously declined repairs, contact customers they have not seen in over six months, while at the same time getting and maintaining high survey scores and customer retention.

Fact: Only if they write ten to fifteen repair orders a day. Just like on the vehicle sales side, you want to free your service writers (sales people) up as much as you can, to talk to your customers.  Sales people make you money when they are talking to your customers.  The more time they have to talk to your customers, the more money they will make you. From the beginning of car sells through the early 1960’s, vehicle sales people answered the dealership’s incoming sales calls, did their own financing and helped people when they came in for service. When dealers realized that those activities kept their sales staff in the building and not out on the lot where the buyers where, it ushered in the era of the telephone receptionist, the F & I department and service staff, and significantly more vehicles were sold. The more you can do to support your advisors by freeing them up to talk to your customers, the higher your retention, survey scores and sales will be.

Myth: Service writers will not sell or are not good at selling additional products like special wheels, extended warranties, details, etc.

Fact: Not true. To sell anything on a service drive requires three things; a great product, great training in how to present and sell it, and a great pay plan.

If you are consistently not hitting your sales, retention and survey goals, it is a sign of great weakness not to try something new. Trying something new can be as simple as taking a look at what you or your staff say can’t be done, and testing to see if the reason is based on fact or myth.

You should make this a common practice and part of your monthly routine to dispel myths that may exist in your work place. I get blamed from time to time for being too willing to test and eliminate these myths and reasons that hold my business back. I am told I need more patience. The fact is, I do have patience for the time it sometimes takes for myths to be tested.  What I do not have patience for is the lost customers and revenues that myths produce.

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Dustin Kerr

4 Tips to Supercharge Your Buy Here Pay Here Sales Training Program

Is your Buy Here, Pay Here (BHPH) sales training lousy? That is the cleaned up version of what I hear from most dealership owners and managers when I ask how they would rate their overall sales training program.

The good news is that this is one of the quicker and easier problems to fix in your dealership and I am going to give you the tools to implement a very successful BHPH training program.

1. Hiring the Right Person

If I were sitting down with you in your dealership and implementing a long-term strategy for consistently attracting and hiring quality salespeople, we would spend a great deal of time on this subject before moving to anything else.

However, for the sake of this article, I will boil it down to this: quit begging people come to work for you! When we hire out of a classified ad, the majority of the respondents have very little sales skills and then we, compound the problem by conducting a lousy interview.

So what’s the solution? RECRUIT!

You probably notice people every day who would be a good fit as a salesperson in your dealership. Why don’t you get those types of people to apply? The reason is because they are already employed.

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for classified ads, but it should only be part of your strategy. The best people I have ever hired weren’t looking for a job.

2. Proper Job Descriptions

A lot of potentially good salespeople fail because they don’t know exactly what is expected of them every day. If you do not have extremely detailed job descriptions with your sales staff, I would stop right now and get this in place before trying to proceed with any further training.

A description should tell them exactly what their job entails on a daily basis; an objective should tell them what they are expected to produce. For example, an objective might say they are expected to sell at least 13 cars per month with an average down payment of $700.

3. Road to the Sale

Every person that has ever sold a car has been told about the road to the sale, but are your sales people following it? Are they following it every time? How do you know?

It doesn’t matter what your particular road to the sale is as long as it’s in writing and continually trained on. The road to the sale is far more important in the BHPH industry than it is in the new car franchises, yet the new car dealerships train on it every day and most BHPH lots rarely discuss it.

4. “Did it Today” Sheets

Did It Today sheets (or DIT sheets) are one of the best ways to hold your salespeople accountable and to have them show you how they won at work each day.

DIT sheets should list all of the tasks they accomplished for the day such as phone calls made, customer interviews completed, appointments set, etc.

The DIT sheets should be turned in and reviewed every day by the sales supervisor and compared to the goals set at the beginning of the month.

If you will commit today to giving your sales staff complete job descriptions and objectives, making sure they are trained daily and using your road to the sale, and having them fill out daily DIT sheets, I believe you will be very pleased with the results you will see.

In future articles, I will go into more detail on hiring the right person form the beginning, the road to the sale that I teach and believe to be most effective, how to properly use DIT sheets, and much more.

If you have any questions on how to implement any of the processes above or would like me to do sales training for your staff, please contact me anytime.


Want to learn more from our BHPH specialists? Click the link below for a free copy of Brent Carmichael‘s whitepaper:tablet

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Ali Mendiola

40 Percent or More of Your Website Traffic Comes from Mobile. Are You Ready?


You build a website thinking that customers will take the time to go to a computer and do their research. After all, they’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a new or pre-owned vehicle, so you want the experience they have on your website to be scalable, colorful and rich in content and tools.

And you’d be right. Your website must offer lots of brilliant content in a design that makes your cars shine, and with digital retailing tools you must connect the online world with your in-store shopping experience. Your website must be a digital conversion machine.

There’s only one catch: That picture is changing, and fast. Today, according to comScore and Mobile Metrix, around 80 percent of people in the U.S. own smartphones. So when it comes to car shoppers, it makes sense that many are actually using a smartphone, or tablet, to visit your site, search inventory and conduct those all-important first purchase steps. In fact, according to traffic on the network, more than 40 percent of visits to dealership websites come from mobile devices.

That’s four out of ten potential buyers looking at your inventory on a screen that could be as small as a business card.

That’s not a trend. It’s a fact. Mobile shopping behavior will and is continuing to gain momentum, to the point that your sales and marketing solution must accommodate the differences. Check out this interesting article from on the most important differences between Responsive, Adaptive and Seamless mobile design. Part of that design approach must also include retail tools that help ease the process of conversion from shopper to buyer.

It’s not enough to have a search-and-user friendly mobile experience; the same digital steps that dealers count on to help speed car buyers through the initial purchase steps of a website should do the same on the mobile equivalent. From searching inventory to calculating payment, checking realistic finance offers and trade-in values, these types of efficient digital tools – when designed correctly – are more valuable because they’re available when and how consumers want to shop, and when they want to buy. That sort of on-demand and mobile-first approach to digital retail is a significant difference maker.

It’s critical that dealers provide consistency across their sites and apps, no matter what device is being used to access the information. That’s not only about the look, feel, and information displayed on a site, but also when it comes to providing an online shopping environment. Too often, in fact, talk of a mobile experience ends at the research phase when what dealers need is a complete package which includes mobile and tablet-ready Digital Retailing tools. From trade-in to finance, those tools empower shoppers to find the perfect vehicle, serve up pricing and payment solutions in line with your dealership criteria, and even provide trade-in offers based on your inventory needs.

The reason? Convenience amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. The reality is that people want to complete more of shopping transaction wherever and whenever they can – sitting in the carpool line before the school bell rings, between meetings, or waiting at the doctor’s office. Those spare 10 minutes are valuable opportunities to get shopping and research done via whichever type of device consumers wish to use. Dealers and their staff, as a result, have to be ready. Those that are ready will improve sales and the overall buyer’s experience.

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Richard Head

Training is Necessary, But Not Sufficient

Writing summary

Let’s take a look at what training is and is not, along with the real purpose of training: learning and development.

Learning is an individual and organizational effort aimed at helping employees acquire knowledge and skills required for the efficient execution of their current jobs.

Development provides on-the-job activities that allow employees to increase their knowledge,  skills, and performance so they can produce work of increasing importance to the organization.

A McKinsey study of companies’ opinions about problems with learning and development showed that:

  • 59% of senior managers don’t spend enough high-quality time developing their people
  • 45% of line managers are not sufficiently committed to development of people’s capabilities and careers

Deloitte’s 2014 Human Capital Trends report stated that fewer than 45% of businesses have a written plan for learning, largely due to lack of leadership and lack of planning. At the same time, the report states that employee development is one of the biggest factors in employee retention and engagement.

Robert Mager, one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of training and other techniques to solve employee performance problems, makes two important points about training:

Skill alone is not enough.

Skill, by itself, isn’t enough to guarantee on-the-job performance. In addition to skill, the employee needs:

  • Opportunity to learn and practice new skills
  • A supportive environment in which to practice those skills, and
  • Self confidence

Here’s another way to think of on-the-job performance: it’s a house that takes TIME to build and maintain.

  • Training provides knowledge, understanding, skills, and a certain level of confidence.
  • Incentives on the job provide everything from rewards and recognition, to the increased motivation and confidence that come with a job well done.
  • Management provides coaching, feedback, direction, support, and opportunity to practice the new skills.
  • Environment is the setting in which the new skills are practiced—the tools, equipment, and other resources to do the job, along with systems, processes, and a supportive culture.

Training can’t guarantee on-the-job performance.

Training can guarantee knowledge and skill, and can assist with self-confidence. But only managers can be held accountable for on-the-job performance.

Your employees can attend the best, most brilliant, most engaging training in the world, and they can come back to work all pumped up and ready to make a difference. But if incentives, management support, and environmental support are lacking — any of the other pillars of the house — then the house will collapse. Training will have been wasted. And, in many cases, the employee will be extremely dissatisfied because they feel the effort they put into learning new skills was wasted.

How does this apply to the retail automotive industry?

Many retail automotive businesses lack written policies, procedures, and processes – particularly when it comes to learning and development. Formalized recruiting, hiring, orientation, job descriptions, performance review processes, and training are at low levels compared with the average American business. In addition, low levels of employee training by the dealership, as evidenced by training dollars spent, contribute to lack of employee engagement and significant annual employee turnover.

NCM Associates’ proprietary composite for 2014 showed that dealers’ training dollars spent were:

  • 0.8% of Gross Profit
  • 0.107% of Sales (with a Benchmark® of 0.102%)

Compare training expenditures with the percentage of gross profit spent on advertising (1.6%) and you’ll be faced with the question, “If I spend twice as much money on advertising as I do training, are my people as prepared as they need to be when they’re doing their job? Is my spending in balance? Will my people be prepared to deliver the best possible customer service?”

The reality is, that on-the-job performance begins with training, but it can’t end with training. As managers and leaders, we must be prepared to do our part to ensure the training effort produces the results we want.

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Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 18)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Business king. Confident businessman in crown standing isolated

A word that works: “Prune”

In this eighteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that work” column a word normally associated with gardening, but whose applications for improving an organization’s culture abound: prune.

I’ll expand on how pruning benefits culture momentarily, but to review the portrait of high performing cultures this series has presented take a moment to review both what must be woven into, and weeded out of, a culture to create optimal performance:

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

To prune is defined as: to remove what is undesirable.

When pruning a bush, less than optimal branches and buds are removed so they no longer zap vital resources from those with the potential to become great. If left on a bush, the dying or dead branches create a visual blight, and cause the healthy branches to go over, under, and around their interference in order to reach their peak form.

In business, a candidate for pruning—what is undesirable and needing to be removed somewhat, or altogether—may range from ineffective or underperforming:

  • Policies
  • Processes
  • Strategies
  • Vendors
  • People
  • Products
  • Services
  • Investment dollars
  • And more

Unlike a sick branch, you don’t automatically remove the listed underperforming entities in organizational culture. Rather, there are three categories of pruning each may fit into. Understanding these three options creates a useful decision-making filter that allows you to make the right choices to build a high performing culture.

Category one: the entities that are good, but have little chance of becoming great. These are normally areas where, regardless of what you put into someone or something, you reap a diminishing return. Since it is good you don’t remove it, but realign time or resources into the aspects of your culture that have a chance to become great. The key word here is: realign.

Example: A solid performer you want on the team; but regardless how much time or training you give them they still produce around the same amount. You’ll need to realign some of what you’re investing in this person into someone who has higher upward potential.

Category two: entities that are struggling and not getting better. These are policies, people, strategies and the like where business as usual is not an option; something must change. You’re not ready to remove it yet, but you need to revitalize it.

Example: A marketing strategy that used to bring results but seems to have run its course. You’re close to abandoning it, but will try one new angle, a new medium, a new something to attempt to revive it. It could also involve a poor performer whom you’re close to terminating, but will try one last time to revitalize through training, or by transferring to a position they’re better suited for.

Category three: entities for which there are no hope. On a bush, this would be the branch that has died and is taking up space. In business this is someone or something you’ve tried to realign and revitalize, but you’re still not getting the desired results. This aspect of pruning mandates that it’s time to remove it.

Example: The performer that, despite your efforts to coach, motivate, and train continues to miss your standards. It could also be a product or product line that has outlived its usefulness; no marketing campaign has been able to save it. It’s time for it to go.

By realigning, revitalizing or removing what isn’t desirable, you are able to efficiently execute the disciplines within your culture that increase your success. Pruning is a key ally to leaders who understand that mediocrity is a dangerously seductive cultural infection; and unless they act on it their culture will become a host and carrier of its disease.


Dave Anderson on NCM OnDemand:

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NCM Institute

NCM® Institute Center for Automotive Retail Excellence Announces Winner of Lifetime of Virtual Training

8827_NADA_DailyAd27_9_8125x7_Jan27_2014_NCM_OnDemandThe anticipation is finally over! Tim Crabtree of Future Ford of Sacramento, won lifetime access to the NCM® OnDemand virtual training platform for his entire dealership from the NCM Institute, the leading provider in automotive management training.

The NCM Institute held this contest throughout January and February, and the rules were simple:  participant’s sign up for a complimentary 5-day test drive of OnDemand, and after taking the brief Orientation Module, were entered for a chance to win.

With over 70 hours of content and access to more than 30 trainers, NCM OnDemand offers a wide variety of courses for any dealership employee. OnDemand provides interactive, virtual training from the best instructors in the industry including the likes of Dave Anderson, Alan Ram, Jeff Cowan, and NCM Institute Instructors. The training provides engaging modules to increase profitability and team performance while addressing a dealership’s various pain points.

NCM is proud to offer Tim Crabtree a valuable tool that he can share with Future Ford of Sacramento. Tim has attended multiple NCM Institute classes and is excited to be a member of OnDemand. “I attended the Service Management Level I and the Service Management Level II classes this year at the NCM Institute in Kansas. Never attending a 20 Group class or discussion before, I did not know what to expect nor what was expected of me,” Tim said. “Steve Hall and Robin Cunningham do an excellent job with the learning format of the class and the overall instruction you receive. NCM definitely offers a wide range of classes that would benefit anyone that is up and coming in the business or the seasoned veteran that is becoming comfortable.”

With NCM OnDemand, you can receive great training without leaving your dealership.

If your dealership is among the many struggling to find the right training solution, try the free 5-day NCM OnDemand test drive. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a world of virtual training to gain. Visit today.

NCM would like to thank the participants who entered the contest and congratulate Tim Crabtree and Future Ford of Sacramento as winners of the lifetime access to NCM OnDemand.


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Embracing Mobile in Your Service Department

This article was written by Matt Hurst. 

“Mobile” has been one of the biggest buzz words in our industry over the past couple of years. From configuring vehicles on smartphones to F&I product tours on tablets, dealership personnel have discovered that using mobile devices can increase efficiency and transparency – while giving customers more control. It’s an effective way to boost vehicle sales, products-per-deal-sold, and CSI scores.

So what’s the next great frontier for mobile? Your service department. Integrate a multi-point inspection tool with mobile functionality into your service bays and you’ll deliver that same transparent and efficient customer experience that is the key to keeping customers coming back again and again. Here’s what it can do for your dealership:

Drive customer trust

In the automotive space, we have to build trust if we want customers to come back. For the service department, that means getting rid of the smoke and mirrors and instead making the customer a part of the inspection process. Mobile does that. With an enforced multi-point inspection tool that includes mobility, a technician can document every step of the inspection process on a phone or tablet – including real photos of vehicle issues – and show the customer exactly what is going on, right there in the lane. Some applications also channel that information into an automobile status report that can be printed and sent home with the customer.

Using mobile technology to make the customer a part of the process is where real trust is earned. Instead of a Service Advisor sitting behind a desk and telling the customer what needs to be done, they meet in the middle, scroll through the photos and line items together, and make decisions on next steps. This does away with the old school generic process and replaces it with an individualized approach that puts your service department and your customers on the same team.

Increase closing percentage

A clear presentation of what needs to be taken care of on a vehicle, presented right there in the service lane where a customer can scroll through recommendations, is the ultimate way to get customers back in your store. Think about this: not only is your technician making individualized service recommendations to fix why the vehicle was brought in, but he/she can make maintenance recommendations for future services, and display them with details and photographs on a mobile device. The customer sees the leaky oil pan that brought him to your door, but also sees that the brake pads are getting a little worn and should be taken care of before the next service. These images become part of a vehicle service recommendation, which is then presented to the customer in an open and transparent way, taking the pressure out of the sale and increasing your overall closing percentage.

Score higher CSI

Integrating mobile technology into your service department is also a proven way to increase your CSI scores. The J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Studyfound that the industry-wide CSI score when a tablet is used is 838, compared with 802 when a table is not used. The key performance indicators for CSI include much of what we’ve been talking about, including being focused on customer needs (not following a generic approach), providing helpful advice (remember, a picture is worth a thousand words), and keeping the owner updated about vehicle status (showing them with individual automobile status reports exactly what has been done, and what needs to done).

It is worth mentioning that adding technology like mobile functionality to your dealership processes is not a silver bullet. It has to be used correctly to return positive results. The beauty of multi-point inspection tools with mobility is that they force your techs to complete a thorough inspection and sell customers on services they actually need. However, you still need to be sure your techs are documenting issues with photos, and reviewing that information with the customer in the lane, to build trust and the lasting relationships you want.

When you implement a forced multi-point inspection tool with mobility that allows for an individualized approach where the customer is part of the process, you can’t help but do a better job servicing vehicles and customers. Transparency through images and detailed inspections puts you and the customer on the same team, resulting in more trust, more loyalty, higher CSI, and greater profitability.


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Steve Hall

Why Dealers Should Be In Express Service

Express Service

Dealers know you must provide fast, convenient, and competitively-priced service in order to retain your customer base.  They also know that oil changes and light maintenance are the most requested service items by customers.  Knowing this, why do dealers continually fight express service?

I’ve heard all the excuses: it hurts my hours per repair order; it hurts my gross profit percentage; it hurts my effective labor rate; I can’t make any money in express service; the list goes on and on.  Shouldn’t we think about it differently?

Isn’t it logical that if a customer comes to you for express services, you will have an advantage to getting the remainder of their maintenance and repair work?  Customers generally do business with people they trust.  If you start to grow that relationship from day one, when the only things that are needed are express-types of items, won’t you have the trust of the customer when the “real” repairs come into play?

We need to realize express service is the gateway to real profits, and if done properly you can make plenty of money along the way.   After all, how do you think all the mass merchandisers and independents stay in business?

Let’s look at it this way, have you ever taken a low profit (or no profit) deal on a new vehicle?  I’m sure that every dealer has, many times.  Why do you do this?  Often times it is because you are getting a trade-in you feel you can make money on.  Other times it is so you can move a unit off the lot to reduce your inventory costs, or maybe to help you reach unit bonus levels for factory incentive money.  Possibly, it was just so you would have an opportunity for the F&I department.  Whatever the reason you decided to take the short deal, you have a plan.  The loss of front-end gross on that unit gave you opportunities to make more money in the long run.  You had to make the deal to gain all of the other benefits.

Can you relate this thought process to express service?  We must retain the customer in order to get all of the long-term benefits.

But express service has an added benefit.

If properly structured, you will make money in express while retaining your customer.  That is a win-win, both short- and long-term!

Take a few minutes and examine how much money is spent on a single vehicle over the lifetime of that vehicle.  Include average warranty work, recalls, oil changes, maintenance, tires, brakes, breakdowns and everything else that happens eventually to every vehicle.  Once you add all of these dollars together and look at the complete picture, you really see what the customer is worth over the lifetime of the vehicle.  Now you must develop your plan to make sure that customer never goes anywhere else, and express service has to be part of that plan.

Let’s look at express service for what it can and should be, a profit center with long-term financial benefits.  Remember, customer retention is a good thing.  Get fast, get efficient, get competitive and get profitable!

Increase performance while increasing profits with NCM OnDemand.

Click here to take a free test drive and see what NCM OnDemand has to offer.

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Tom Hopkins

Winning Demonstrations

Car selling or auto buying

When it comes time to demonstrate a vehicle, you need to be very well prepared. Too many automotive salespeople invest most of their preparation time in vehicle knowledge, which is very important, but spend little time thinking about how to actually demonstrate vehicles so their clients quickly envision themselves as owners. There are very specific things you can do to accelerate their acceptance of a vehicle thus leading to more closed sales.

Before getting to the point of demonstrating, you have to use your other selling skills well. Let’s say you did just that. You used some of your excellent prospecting strategies to find a couple who need a new vehicle. You made a competent original contact and warmed them up nicely. They seem very comfortable with you. You qualified them as to their needs, by asking the right questions, and are confident you have a vehicle that will truly be good for them.

Now, it’s time for the show to begin, and you are the master of ceremonies. Are you properly prepared for this step in the sales process?

It’s important you note here that the vehicle is the star of your demonstration, you are not.

View yourself as a sort of matchmaker. The two parties you believe are a perfect match for one another are your product and this prospective client. It’s your job to introduce them and give them an opportunity to get to know each other.

Many salespeople falter and lose sales because they try to make themselves the stars of the demonstration. They want to show how well they know the vehicle. They spout off technical information about engine size, fuel economy, and handling that may be of little or no interest to the client. In fact, the client may not even understand what they’re saying.

Learn this now: Get yourself out of the picture. Let the vehicle shine! The people you are demonstrating to should be up close and personal with the vehicle. If they ask a question about the navigation system, tell them which buttons to push to make it work. Don’t do it for them!

The same goes for any buttons, dials or displays in the vehicle. You are the tour guide, not the chauffeur! If you’re not getting them directly and personally involved with the vehicle, you’re not selling. You’re showing. You need to get yourself off stage and be the one directing the performance instead.

When it comes to discussing service or warranties, be sure to have brochures and other items you can hand to the decision-makers that provide the details you will deliver verbally. Hand them your calculator to run the numbers for any questions that come up. Show testimonial letters from other satisfied clients. This creates both physical and emotional involvement.  The more involvement you get during the presentation, the more comfortable they’ll be with long term involvement with your product.

At the very least, have the stories about other clients who purchased this type of vehicle in mind, and how happy they are with it. Perhaps the experience of others might be just what’s needed to help this new client off the fence and into the driver’s seat.


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