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Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson

Author's details

Name: Emily Johnson
Date registered: August 29, 2016
URL: http://www.ncmassociates.com

Biography

Emily Johnson began her career with NCM Associates in February 2013. A graduate of the University of Central Missouri, she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Technical Theatre with a Minor in Business Management in May 2007. Three years later, Emily received a Secondary Speech & Drama Teaching Certification from Avila University in Kansas City. Emily has previously been employed in the non-profit sector as an executive assistant and in a medical office as a records clerk. Prior to joining the NCM Marketing team, Emily focused her skills on helping NCM 20 Group members have successful, productive meetings in her role as Client Services and Meeting Coordinator. Today, Emily enjoys her exciting position as Marketing Coordinator at NCM.

Latest posts

  1. From the Customer: 4 Car-Buying Lessons — May 30, 2017
  2. To Fax or Not to Fax? — March 21, 2017
  3. Five Steps for a Successful 20 Group Meeting — August 30, 2016

Most commented posts

  1. To Fax or Not to Fax? — 4 comments
  2. From the Customer: 4 Car-Buying Lessons — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Emily Johnson

From the Customer: 4 Car-Buying Lessons

Couple in car

My husband and I have purchased so many cars recently that we should probably start a club for people who love to car shop. (Facebook group, anyone?) In this blog, I will summarize our past shopping experiences and explain the four internet marketing and sales techniques that got us to buy.

In the last two years, we have traded in and purchased four different cars. Throughout all the vehicle juggling, we’ve done our fair share of online research, pricing, test driving, dealership visiting, and negotiating. From a large conglomerate “no haggle” dealership, to the small store with fully commissioned sales staff who will aggressively sell you any vehicle on the lot, we have seen it all. As someone who works closely with the automotive industry, I can imagine these four lessons might prove helpful in YOUR dealership.

1. “No haggle” and “ease of access” reign supreme.

Our first and second car trades were almost identical because we used the same dealership and salesperson. We wanted to trade in our gas-guzzling “college cars” for svelte hybrid or electric vehicles.

Each purchase was as smooth, stress-free, and “no haggle” as the dealership’s advertising touted. We found our cars online, test drove the exact cars we would take home, sat down to do the paperwork, and left with smiles on our faces. The paperwork period was a tad lengthy but was tolerable overall.

While my husband enjoys haggling and negotiating (i.e. the “typical car buying process”), I prefer this easy, stress-free approach. And I’m not alone, only 17 out of 4,002 customers surveyed prefer the typical method of buying a car. That’s only 0.5%!

Given that most shoppers seem to be like me, you should evaluate how your dealership handles customers’ online experiences. Consider letting customers shop, negotiate, and sign their paperwork online, and use the online experience to lessen the pressures of the process and keep it low-key. Give your customers the power to choose, pay for, and drive away their new car on THEIR terms. To further ease the buying process, some dealerships have employed tech-savvy tactics such as a virtual document signature capture desk or test driving cars from a massive vending machine! While I don’t think it’s essential to go THAT far, a few simple digital changes could drive more business to your dealership.

Learn from our encounters …

Six months after we purchased the hybrid and electric cars, we decided the full-electric wasn’t the right vehicle for us (range anxiety, anyone?). Instead, we wanted a cheap car that we could run into the ground, a true workhorse. Like before, we used our trusty smartphones and began looking online in our area for a used vehicle that was inexpensive but would last for many years to come. After trolling many car lots trying to find the cars we had bookmarked online (or looking for cars that weren’t online), we found an SUV and a sedan at a small dealership in a “dodgy” part of town. Once we rolled onto the lot, a salesperson appeared at our window—in the rain—asking if we needed help. My husband and I looked at each other, and we braced ourselves as we got out of the car.

Not only was this buying process longer than the first two, but the dealership strung us along for DAYS before we finally crawled out with an SUV at a decent price. While this was not ideal, there are a few things the dealership got right: They had a significant and well-advertised online presence, and all vehicles were merchandised online with their best prices prominently displayed.

2. Being online matters.

My husband and I use online resources in every one of our car buying endeavors and have become car-searching powerhouses. Unsurprisingly, we’re not alone in this. On average, customers spend 14.75 hours shopping online for just one car (so for four cars, we shopped a total of 59 online hours?!), and 59% of an average customer’s car-buying research is done online as opposed to in-store, word of mouth, or in print. Shoppers tend to use smartphones when searching but also utilize desktops, laptops, and tablets, depending on where they are (home, work, out driving around). In fact, 46% of average customers use multiple devices to search online during their car buying process.

What does this mean for your dealership? Own a strong online presence. Post your best prices online to entice customers to come in and not be disappointed when they do. Utilize SEO (search engine optimization) to improve a buyer’s chance of finding YOUR dealership over another. Show your inventory online, on your site AND third-party sites. Ensure your dealership address and hours of operation are prominently displayed on your homepage, and in a Google search. Your customers are shopping online: Help them find what you want them to find.

Enter the shiny blue truck …

A year after the SUV buying experience, we (my husband) decided we needed (he wanted) a truck. So, we went truck shopping! (Note my sarcasm …) I’m pretty sure we visited every dealership in a 50-mile radius of our home over the course of three weeks.

Like before, we started by using digital devices to find the perfect truck. During our search we scoured the web, our budget rose and fell, and we test drove every truck we could. Finally, we agreed that our favorite truck model was WAY outside of our budget, so we found another option that was just the truck for us.

Our research into this chosen truck model eventually landed us at a dealership in a neighboring suburb. We arrived at the lot, saw the truck, (which had only been there for two days and was balloon-clad on the rotating pedestal out front, with a radiant light surrounding its shiny, blue physique) and asked for a test drive.

3. Test drives are not the end all, be all.

When my husband and I bought our hybrid/electric vehicles, we only test drove the cars we would purchase. This is typical, 52% of average customers only test drive one vehicle when they’re car shopping. From my research, I confirmed that “car shoppers are influenced about what to buy and who to buy from. The time to influence and convert them is online, where car buyers spend the majority of their shopping time making decisions.” This couldn’t have been truer during our truck shopping experience. We test drove many vehicles during our SUV and truck searches, but ultimately we made up our minds based on the deals and information we found online. We didn’t care who we talked to at the dealership; we just wanted to get the deal done.

My takeaway? If your sales team currently throws all its effort into making the sale during the test drive or after, perhaps utilize that selling talent on your company’s Facebook page or website instead.

4. In-store does not mean offline.

Even after my husband and I made it onto a lot in any of the above scenarios, we were still on our smartphones searching for the next best deal. When looking for the SUV and the truck, we drove through many lots, many dealerships, scouting for that one car, that diamond in the rough. We armed ourselves with statistics and features, the prices and current sales, anything we could before we spoke to a salesperson. 63% of shoppers report using their mobile device at the dealership.

To keep those customers on your lot and urge them to engage with your sales team, you need complete online transparency. What do you want shoppers to buy? The balloons and rotating pedestals are a nice touch, but invest in online advertising, social media sponsored posts, website banner ads, and third-party website top spots; THAT is where customers are looking, not in the skies above your dealership.

For more tips on internet management, check out the NCM Institute’s two courses Mastering Digital Marketing and Internet/BDC Operations Management.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/05/from-the-customer-4-car-buying-lessons/

Emily Johnson

To Fax or Not to Fax?

Fax vs Bike

After four years’ experience as an NCM client services and meeting coordinator, I’ve become a strong advocate of “out with the old, in with the new.” While I don’t consider myself a millennial, I am firmly planted somewhere between the generations currently active in the workforce. This position allows me to appreciate the ways of my predecessors, while also eagerly staying on the lookout for new and exciting improvements to technology, business practices, and social strategies.

It then comes as no surprise that I have some opinions about the fax machine and the role it plays in the modern workplace. And here’s my position: If you haven’t already, now is a good time to begin phasing out your company fax machine.

Lost in translation

Coordinators request specific information from clients for their 20 Group meetings, and that information frequently gets lost in translation when the fax is utilized, simply because of the technology.

The biggest issue is that faxed documents are usually handwritten in some capacity. Once these documents pass through dated machinery, over phone lines, and print out on the other side, they often end up a blurry, illegible mess. As a result, clients spend valuable time corresponding with coordinators to confirm faxed data, something that could have been avoided by using a typed, legible email.

The story of Joe

One coordinator—let’s call her Megan—shared a story with me about a client—we’ll call him Joe—whose meeting was derailed because of the fax machine. (Just to be clear, I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent!)

Joe thought he had faxed his 20 Group meeting registration form to Megan but had instead “faxed” it to Megan’s phone number. Megan hadn’t even included a fax number on the meeting registration form! Joe received a reminder email from Megan and didn’t see his name on the meeting attendance roster. He immediately called Megan and was very upset because he had faxed his forms, but wasn’t on the list. He thought he had done what he needed to do, but Megan had no idea Joe was even planning on attending the meeting.

To make matters worse, Joe had to book a room at a nearby hotel, not the hotel where the meeting was held. By the time Megan realized he needed a room, the hotel was completely sold out, and the group’s block of hotel rooms was full. This cost Joe valuable time and additional money, all because a fax was sent but never received.

Need for speed

NCM gets its faxes on a machine that integrates faxing, printing, and copying. So, how does this affect our ability to get your faxes? When you send a fax, it gets mixed in with all the other materials in this machine’s output tray. It’s not unusual for faxes to be temporarily misplaced, and it’s common that a fax never reaches the coordinator.

If a coordinator knows about a fax, she can go searching for it, but if she doesn’t, it could be a while before she receives the fax in hand (or never receives it, like Megan). In comparison, an email arrives in the coordinator’s inbox in an instant, and she can respond immediately. The speed of delivery is increased dramatically. Even if you choose not to switch to a scanned document or PDF file, I highly recommend that you at least email your coordinator every time you send a fax so she can watch for it.

Be sure to look for emailed reservation forms and other documents from your coordinator. Scan and email those forms back to NCM, or fax them (to a verified fax number–don’t be like Joe) and immediately call your coordinator to let her know to watch for it. If your document includes sensitive information, like a credit card number, go ahead and call NCM to give it to us over the phone. Or, for a safer email option, check out this free system for sending secure emails that’s been hailed in Forbes as the most difficult to “hack.”

Overall, when you switch to email, your NCM coordinator will be able to help you faster, enter your data more accurately, and provide a better customer experience. And you won’t end up at La Quinta instead of the Four Seasons, taking an Uber to your meeting like Joe.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/to-fax-or-not-to-fax/

Emily Johnson

Five Steps for a Successful 20 Group Meeting

composite

It may be just three times per year or a weekly email, but as a member of an NCM 20 Group, you likely work with the Client Services & Meeting Coordinators team at NCM. We are the “behind-the-scenes” meeting planners who make all the cogs in the machine of a 20 Group work together.

We do many tasks to ensure your meetings are productive and fun, but there are a few simple things that you can do yourself to ensure you have a more successful 20 Group meeting:

1. Actively work towards completing your commitments from the previous session. By making a conscious effort to post those commitments in your office and look at them daily, you’re staying in the 20 Group mindset year-round. You’ll make the most of your 20 Group Membership and put to work the tips and tricks you’ve learned in the meeting.

2. Submit your financial data monthly. Always. The BEST meeting composite is a COMPLETE meeting composite. At NCM we know that while we live, eat and breathe NCM, you do not—you are focused on your business! But if you come to a meeting without submitting financial data since the last one, you can’t get the full benefit of the agenda’s composite section.

And that’s where our moderators shine. They LOVE financial data and want to help you dig into that composite and find where your numbers can improve (and praise you for doing other things well)! So next time you get a reminder email from me or one of my fellow coordinators, open it and do whatever you have to do to get that data submitted on time! Trust me; you’ll be glad you did.

3. Make your flight & hotel reservations. One of the things I end up spending the most time on as a coordinator is chasing reservations. I ensure that every member (and his or her guests) has a place to sleep and reservations for dinners, activities, receptions—even golf outings! And it’s my responsibility to make sure no one in the 20 Group gets left behind, so I don’t rest until I hear from every member and member candidate.

You can minimize travel and hotel issues (and disappointments) by watching for my email reminders and taking a quick five-minute break to complete the two attached forms. Then, click on the link to reserve your hotel room. Not only does this ensure that your hotel and activities are booked, but once I have your registration, I won’t bother you about it until our next meeting. And the fewer emails, the better, right?!

4. Read the agenda. Your 20 Group moderator (or, in some cases, your coordinator) will send you the meeting agenda before your first day. The agenda is the roadmap for your 20 Group meeting, and it is critical that you open and review it immediately. Look for parts that are bolded or bolded AND red. These are the most important items, and you will need to set aside an hour or so to prepare these items before your next meeting.

Every group is different, so for the sake of simplicity, I’ll just say that everyone has some assignment to complete before their first meeting day. Make sure you get it done, so you can get the most from the time you have with your peers and moderator.

5. Write your commitments. Remember those commitments I was talking about earlier? Well, we’ve come full circle! If you write your commitments down in the meeting room (or even better, go to the NCM Member Website and type them into our new online form), please send them to your moderator or coordinator. We will type them into a nice, tidy sheet that you can print and hang on your office wall, making it easier to complete Item 1, above, in time for the next meeting.

What’s my point in sharing these five action items? My number one goal is for you to have a great experience with us. Each NCM 20 Group is a partnership between the member, you, and NCM—aka me and a bunch of other cool people who work together in Kansas City. Our collaboration can’t succeed if we don’t all put in our best effort. I promise to do my part and, if you do the five items above, you’ll reap the benefits from doing yours!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/five-steps-for-a-successful-20-group-meeting/