Computer mouse keyboard

Is It Time To Kill The “Internet Special Price” From Your Dealership Website?

There is no denying the fact that the internet and internet marketing have changed the way people shop for and buy cars. The way we use the internet and what we need from it has continuously evolved, and companies like Google have continually updated their search results and algorithms to match better the way we search.

Starting about six or seven years ago, when Google began using machine learning and artificial intelligence to alter their search results, Google was able to quickly adapt to how we search for things and even how we set up our websites. The keywords and tricks you had to use to find what you needed in the past have been replaced as the internet has evolved. Just look at voice search. Google will display or even speak results back to you without even having to look at a website.

So how does this impact your dealership? Well, has your website evolved in a similar fashion? Have you adapted to modern search intent, or are you still relying on old gimmicks to get people to your lot? And are they backfiring for you in a new decade?

One tactic that could arguably be a remnant of a bygone internet era is the “internet special pricing.” It may be a simple phrase, but it implies that purchasing a vehicle through the internet affords the dealership enough leeway on the price that they can further reduce the price. But how many transactions are ever completed 100% on the web at your dealership? Probably very few, if any.

Does your web pricing match the pricing of the vehicles on the lot? If one were to visit your lot, would the price be higher on the vehicle than on the internet? Probably not.

When a person goes to buy a used car, they are entering the sales process as a skeptic with their guard up. They don’t want to buy a lemon, and they certainly don’t want to overpay for it. By having two prices for the same vehicle advertised already builds doubt about what the real price is.

This example is where Carmax was able to gain so much ground so quickly. Their sales process eliminated all the doubt, all the haggling, and to the best of their ability, all the fear of purchasing a used car. They even offer free returns. That’s why, on any given Saturday, there is a wait to talk to a salesperson at Carmax while the dealer down the street is just passing the time before the next prospect shows up.

“Special Internet pricing” or “Get your E Price” or “One shot Internet pricing” all served the same purpose in the past. It was first designed to draw people in, get their information, and build a database of possible clients. What are you trying to accomplish with Internet Special Pricing? Are you trying to generate more leads, or do you believe having “special internet pricing” will help close the sales leads you do have?

Even if you do have “special internet pricing,” your customers are still going to use that number as the starting point of negotiation. It doesn’t matter what brand you sell; people are going to want to negotiate unless your dealership’s policy is a “one price, no-hassle” operation.

So in 2020, is the “internet special price” doing anything for your business, or is it time to evolve? Where else can you make changes to be more open and transparent about the vehicles that you sell? Where will evolution take your dealership in 2020 and beyond?

Used cars on dealer lot

News from NADA Is Good News For Used Car Dealers

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) at the 2020 NADA conference in Las Vegas issued an analysis of U.S. auto sales and the economy, which implied good news for the used car dealer.

“All in all, the year ended strong with 17.1 million units,” said NADA chief economist Patrick Manzi. “In December 2019, we saw a continuation of many of the trends we have seen throughout the year.”

December 2019 trends include OEM incentive programs to boost year-end sales with increased incentive spending, a continued shift to crossovers and pickups, and an increase in consumers choosing used vehicles or leased vehicles in light of affordability concerns.

Both of these points are good news for used car dealers. Leasing increases mean the pool of marketable used cars will remain in good supply. It also means more opportunity for used car purchasers who just turned in their lease.

Affordability issues with new cars are also good news for used car dealers for obvious reasons, especially if there is an opportunity to sell a visually similar but model year or two older versions of the new vehicle a purchaser is considering.

Trucks continue to drive sales

In 2019, light trucks continued to drain market share from the car segment. As of December 2019, light trucks represented 72.1 percent of all new light-vehicle sales. Compared to 2018 sales, this is an increase of nearly three percent. By the end of 2020, NADA expects the light truck segment to be larger than 75 percent when compared to an anticipated 25 percent of sales going to new car sales.

Used as an alternative to expensive new car purchases

“As affordability remains a challenge, more consumers chose used vehicles in 2019,” added Manzi. “New cars are getting too expensive for many consumers. Even consumers with great credit or the ability to buy new are instead choosing a used vehicle.”

Quality used car inventories, coupled with these affordability hurdles, and the used vehicle market will continue to pull new vehicle customers away from the new-vehicle market.

It is not all good news however

In 2020, NADA anticipates the used-vehicle sales of 39.5 million units, a similar in volume to what was seen in 2019. Even though you may see more used car buyers, the number of units sold is expected to remain flat.

It is worse for new car sales

Going into 2020, NADA anticipates new-vehicle sales of 16.8 million units – a 1 to 2 percent decrease from 2019.

“Consumers are feeling confident in the economy. Interest rates are low. Unemployment is low,” said Manzi. “In the U.S. economy, things look really good, and I’m confident we will have another solid year in 2020.”

Plan for profit now 

With these predictions in hand, the time is now to plot out the profit for the year, especially as we begin to wrap up the first quarter. How will your used car dealership increase profitability this year with a flat units-sold count? One way is to make more by selling the right mix of vehicles. Certainly, the mix of more trucks and SUVs will help drive more profit.

But making more money per unit is crucial, especially with reconditioning costs. Get a handle on your reconditioning expenditures by adopting software designed to help you plug the holes that are costing you money. Shaving recon time is a sure-fire method for increased profit. Contact your AMT rep today to learn more about AMT’s Suite of products designed to help growth-minded dealerships like yours.

How Now Neon

5 Key Tips For Conquering More Market Share At Your Dealership

Being a successful car dealership is much more than attracting customers, efficiency among your departments, and selling cars. Those are all the basics any dealer can tell you are necessary to run a dealership business. We’re talking about knowing your market, which means understanding who you are marketing to instead of assuming everyone is a customer. That won’t do you any good if you aren’t able to meet their wants and needs. 

Here are five tips on how any dealership can conquer their market: 

1. Leverage Your Geography: A car dealership based in southern California is going to have a different market than one in northern Vermont. That’s why you want to make sure your inventory accurately reflects the area you are located in. From there, you can create promotional events and sales specifically for that region. For example, a Winter Clearance event on all 4-wheel drive pickups and SUVs would do well in Vermont, but may not make sense in sunny California.

2. Make Sure Sales Knows Your Inventory Inside And Out: In the 1950s, car makers did a great job educating their salesmen on how to sell against the competition. They developed training materials, crib sheets, and other sales aids. This is a lost art these days and is nonexistent with used cars. If your sales team took the time to look up the models in your inventory and study the safety features, performance, and options, they will come across as experts in the models they are selling, build buyer confidence and close more deals. You’ll have a better idea of what your customers want, and as a result, it’ll affect what cars you choose to have on your lot.

3. Study Customer Demographics: By having a better understanding of who the majority of your customers are, you can also determine the right cars to sell. What is the average age of your customers? Are they single professionals or families? By knowing who your customer is, you’re able to make the car buying process less of a transaction and more of an enjoyable experience by perfectly matching a car to your customers based on who they are and what their wants and needs are.

4. Have the Right Cars Ready: Knowing what your customers want will help inform your acquisition decisions, but even acquiring the right vehicle won’t help if you don’t have ready and available when the customer arrives. Your make-ready process needs to be in sync with your sales operation, to ensure the cars you need are ready and available. Keep your reconditioning operation efficient to ensure your cars are frontline-ready when you need them. Management software from companies such as AutoMobile Technologies can help keep your recon employees and vendors focused and fast.

5. Create Customer Loyalty: Dealerships can create customer loyalty in several different ways. Where a lot of dealerships fail in this department is by letting customers go as soon as they drive away in their new car. As a result, there’s a negative stigma surrounding car dealerships assuming a dealer only cares about a customer to get the sale. If you want to conquer your market, show how much you appreciate your customers (including previous ones) by sending emails, service coupons, follow up calls, and more. If a dealership goes out of its way to make a former customer feel valued, they’ll remember and let people know. 

Conquering your market as a dealership is not as simple as target advertising and selling an SUV to a couple who are expanding their family. It’s about connecting with the area you serve and creating a relationship with your customers that is far more valuable than any sale. After all, customer loyalty is one of the most useful things any business can have. Although you can’t buy customer loyalty, you can conquer your market and establish a name for yourself in the area you serve. Follow the above tips and stay consistent, and you’ll become the dealership to beat.

Detail microfiber wipe

5 ways To Grow A Mobile Detailing Business From Scratch

If you have the entrepreneurial spirit and are good at detailing cars, becoming your own boss may be easier than you think. The one thing that all businesses need to survive and grow is sales, and we’re going to cover five ways to find a new business when you are just starting. Surprisingly it is hard for some auto businesses to find and retain detailers. Body shops and dealerships seem like they always have an ad out for a detailer, and this is where you can start.

  • Auto Body Shops- Auto Body shops are busiest on Mondays when they take cars in and Fridays when most people pick up their vehicles. Even if a shop already has a detailer, it’s typically just one guy, and a good shop can fix 12-15 cars a week. If you have a mobile detailing shop and can get to your customers onsite, chances are you could probably pick up a couple of jobs a week just by demonstrating some reliability. Auto Body shop detailers are the most entry-level position, and as a result, they are some of the most unreliable employees at a shop. But the cars must be detailed before they are delivered so an excellent strong business acumen, skill, and reliability could probably land you some new customers very quickly, especially if their detailer calls out.
  • Dealerships- Just like auto body shops, dealerships are always struggling to keep detailers. The beautiful thing about dealers is the cars need to be clean to sell, and they sit out all day long and get dirty. It is a great way to get some early work for your detailing company if you can be a mobile detailer, especially after major weather events such as heavy snow, or a particularly rainy week.
  • Fleet owners- This may take a little more salesmanship on your part, but anybody that has a large fleet of vehicles has a lot of business, which also means that they know how to market themselves. Think of your local HAVC guy or plumbing company where you see their trucks all the time. Offer to come in when the trucks are off the road for the day and get them cleaned up by the next time they go out. The pitch here is reminding the fleet owner that their image is what got them there, and a clean vehicle sells more than a filthy one.
  • Large Office Complexes- Every town has an industrial complex with multiple businesses with tons of employees. Surprisingly not many people come through these complexes offering their services. You may run into some non-solicitation issues. Step one would be to try and approach the office manager or receptionist and offer a group rate just for that business. The second option would be the old-fashioned flyer under the windshield wiper. The trick is to get the first couple of jobs in that office complex. Use your network to try and get a couple of jobs even if you have to give one away. Once employees see you out there cleaning co-workers’ cars while they are working, word will spread fast.
  • Amazon Last Mile Depots- This one will be the hardest for you to get into, but once you do, it will be the most lucrative. In every major city, there is an Amazon last-mile depot. This is where packages get sorted and delivered to individual locations. These are typically called DPX’s. Each depot has multiple fleet owners inside some having anywhere from 5-20 sprinter style vans in their fleet. The key is getting to one of these owners, and identifying them is as simple as asking your next delivery guy for the name of the company they work for and who to contact and at what number. The guy delivering your package in that grey Amazon truck does not work for Amazon; they work for a Logistics company that Amazon has a contract with. Get in with that one fleet owner, and you have access to dozens of more owners just like him. Also, Amazon trucks are typically parked overnight in a leased parking lot. With a mobile detail business, you could have more vehicles than you can handle if you do a little hustling. The key is to get them clean before they head out for the next day. 

So there you go, five ways to get started in your mobile detailing business. And once you get up and running, be sure to check out AMT’s suite of customer management products to virtually eliminate all the annoying back-office work that you will need to do to get paid on time.

Dealer Metrics Graph

6 Crucial Metrics Every Used Car Dealer Should Track

As you’re gathering everything you need to evaluate your dealership’s performance, what are the metrics that matter most?

ReconPro mobile app 2.20.1 for iOS devices

Easily find services by specific tags and add services with tags to work orders if these services are grouped by tags on the work order type level.

New Features

  • Showing work order services grouped by tags

Fixed Issues

  • Gray squares were shown instead of deleted pictures after refresh
  • Employee times were not recorded on timesheets correctly

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

  • Did you like what you just read?

    Don’t miss out on future items. Sign up for important news and information about AMT and the Industry below:

ReconPro Back Office 2.12.4.0

Configure part provider settings that will be used for punchout part ordering and enter generic part provider settings that will be used for getting quotes

New Features

  • Set up part providers

Improvements

  • Pie chart enhancements on the ‘Active Devices’ page

Fixed Issues

  • An issue with manual sorting on the repair location ‘Phases’ page
  • An issue with showing services on the ‘Quantity of Services with Split’ report

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

  • Did you like what you just read?

    Don’t miss out on future items. Sign up for important news and information about AMT and the Industry below:
Dealership team

Why Cultivating A Great Dealership Culture Benefits Your Dealership

  • Performance
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Hiring

As soon as a customer walks inside your dealership doors, they’ll be able to instantly tell whether it’s a welcoming environment or if they’re about to be eaten whole by salespeople after their money. It permeates from every employee and ultimately affects your customers in an undeniable way. 

We’re talking about company culture: the very essence of what determines a dealership’s success and your customer’s satisfaction. New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuck, once said, “company culture is the backbone of any successful organization.” If you look at the highest-performing dealerships, they have effectively established an influential culture that can withstand the possible triggers of a poor dealership culture. Some common examples would be: 

  • Changes in management, sometimes resulting in disrespect to employees who aren’t in leadership positions. 
  • New hires who are unskilled, making seasoned employees feel disregarded and unmotivated. 
  • No organization across different departments, which doesn’t allow your employees to be heard, valued or appreciated. 
  • Little to no opportunities to grow together as a company, to understand what areas need improvement, and where the strengths are. 

These all happen far too often and the result affects your dealership’s performance. Your customers can distinguish when a business has a strong foundation or is struggling to keep it together. They know as soon as they walk in your doors, which is why you must make your dealership’s culture a priority. 

Experts know what a difference it makes when a dealership’s culture is a priority. Here are some of the benefits of creating an excellent dealership culture: 

Improved work performance: When employees feel motivated, it’s because their supervisors and managers have instilled different ways to motivate their employees. The dealerships that have a strong company culture are that way because they make the well-being employees a priority. Naturally, your employees will feel more positive and motivated, which will reflect in how they treat your customers. 

Teamwork: Although vehicle sales bring in revenue, one department is not responsible for the overall success of a dealership. When each department knows the critical role they play in delivering the results you want, it cultivates a teamwork mentality. 

Open Communication: Where a lot of dealerships fail to reach a certain level of success, it’s because they don’t have open communication between departments. As mentioned above, no department is more important than another. Efficiency and morale are casualties of finger-pointing and blame between departments. Open communication cultivates teamwork, which can lead to the results you want.

Better Hires: When you have a positive culture, you’ll gain a reputation as a place people want to work. As a result, you’ll be able to hire new employees, some from more toxic dealerships, that will want to contribute to your dealership’s success instead of a temporary placeholder job. 

These are just a few of the many benefits when you make the culture of your dealership a priority. The success of any company comes from within, so ask yourself: How can you create a positive dealership culture? 

ReconPro Starter mobile app 3.6.2

Approve work orders, select a service group when adding services to repair orders, allow adding services to work orders and repair orders, and other improvements

New Features

  • Approve work orders
  • Select a service group when adding services to repair orders
  • Allow adding services to work orders and repair orders

Improvements

  • Part categorization for question answer services
  • Link part and labor bundle items
  • Prevent users from adding new customers and changing customer mode
  • Support for layout configuration of repair order list
  • Improvement for getting MOTOR data
  • Support for generic repair bundle operations
  • Delayed showing of the ‘Cancel’ button when wizard loading
  • Showing the ‘Save’ button instead of the ‘Back’ button on repair order details screen

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

  • Did you like what you just read?

    Don’t miss out on future items. Sign up for important news and information about AMT and the Industry below: