Advantages of the Trade Tariffs for the Reconditioning Industry

Increased prices on new cars and parts spur greater reconditioning investment

The reconditioning industry has been experiencing a huge boon in 2018. This is partially a result of the 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum placed by the US on Canada, Mexico, China, and the European Union. And while automobile manufacturers and new car dealerships are scrambling, the reconditioning industry is popping as consumers continue to drive and maintain their vehicles longer.

According to V12Data, the reconditioning industry is forecasted to reach $722.8 billion by 2020. So while there are legitimate concerns surrounding the increased costs for manufacturers driving up the price of new cars, things are looking up for anyone working in reconditioning.

The automobile industry is still profiting despite the impact of the tariffs, but there’s an air of anxiety that increased prices may be discouraging consumer purchases. V12Data reports the average age of vehicles out on the road in 2018 is 11.5 years old. So while decreased new car purchases may be a result, the older age of cars means consumers are spending more to keep their vehicles up and running.

According to the International Trade Administration and Washington Post’s, Heather Long, 79% of all steel and 90% of all aluminum are imported into the U.S. Beyond that, automobile brands such as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota are manufactured in Canada, Mexico, and Europe before being shipped into the U.S. Essentially, this means both vehicles and car parts imported into the U.S. cost more under the current set of tariffs– impacting domestic brands like Jeep, Chevrolet, and Ford, as well.

Despite the worries, many PDR and SMART Repair practitioners are seeing increased growth now more than ever, with 75% of reconditioning in the United States done by independent, and domestic auto repair shops. To put it simply, the tariffs aren’t doing car manufacturers or new car dealerships any favors; but they’re helping the reconditioning business become heavy hitters in the marketplace. As new car prices rise, drivers are inspired to operate and maintain their vehicles for decades at a time.

Even prior to the current administration’s tariffs, the reconditioning industry has been increasingly popular. SMART Repair practitioners receive business for dent removal, windshield chip repair, paint correction, wheel repair, and detailing. In comparison, dealerships, outside of vehicle purchases, mostly receive business for tire rotations, oil changes, air filters, and car washes. So, SMART operations are providing consumers with a lot more options when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

And beyond that, there’s an incentive for consumers to seek out SMART Repair professionals because they are driving and maintaining vehicles for increasingly longer periods of time. So with the tariffs on manufacturing, new cars, and OEM parts, the reconditioning industry has been steadily growing in popularity among owners of used and older cars. So if the trends continue, reconditioning will remain incredibly profitable for years to come.

AMT is committed to helping reconditioning professionals maintain and grow their business for optimal results. With owners willing to invest in keeping their vehicles in good condition, demand for recon and cosmetic services will become more active. Managing your workflow and employees to capitalize on that demand is crucial for your operation. We can help.

Subscribe for More!

We hope you enjoyed this post. We actively work to find and develop the best industry news and information to share with you. Fill in your information below, and we'll be sure to alert you about information vital to your business.

Used Car Reconditioning – A Dealership’s Supply Chain – Part II

Part II: Common Dealer Reconditioning Pitfalls

The quality of vehicles coming through the recon process defines the brand of your dealership. If the process is inadequate and quality is an issue, your customers will notice. Overcoming that negative brand perception can be very difficult. The reconditioning process is also what feeds the machine. If the “get ready” process takes weeks or months per car, then your salespeople will not have the vehicles they need to keep selling. If this can be improved to a few days (and it can), then sales will improve as the number of vehicles reliably available to be sold will increase.

Here are 3 of the common causes of dealership reconditioning problems:

  1.  Not prioritizing reconditioning:

Not prioritizing the reconditioning process is something we see in lots of dealerships around the country. Reconditioning of a used vehicle can be an afterthought of lots of dealerships for apparent reasons. Dealerships are often headed by former salespeople and managers. Their goal is to drive sales which increase revenues and puts money in everyone’s pockets. Sometimes, reconditioning of the vehicle becomes an afterthought or is viewed as a necessary evil in the sales process – something that drives up costs which lowers profits. Because of this, we see the reconditioning process not getting the attention and TLC it deserves.

  1. Not having a standardizing reconditioning process:

Not having a standardized reconditioning process is a major issue if you want to have a repeatable process that you can leave to anyone. The more structured and consistent your process is, the better your outcomes.  If there is a lot walk where people just walk around the car looking for damage and then a mechanical inspection that is just the mechanic looking for issues without a checklist, then you risk overlooking different issues. Worse, all of your vehicles will have differing quality when going through the recon process. We highly recommend that both the cosmetic and mechanical inspections be done in a multipoint checklist. This will ensure that all aspects of every vehicle are checked and addressed the same, 100% of the time. This will improve quality and increase trust in the recon team. You may no longer even need to have all managers come to look at cars in a lot walk manner. The same standardized process should apply to the general workflow of the reconditioning process. All vehicles should follow the same general process from A-Z and only deviate as needed (e.g. waiting on parts).

  1.  Vendors rule the henhouse:

There is nothing wrong with having good, trustworthy vendors helping you in the reconditioning process. We are not even suggesting that you bring all vendor work in-house. What we are suggesting is that dealerships take back control of the reconditioning process and own it completely. If vendors are finding and bringing work requests to you for approval, then see number 2, above. Work should be identified during the standardized process of inspecting the vehicle, and then assigned to the vendors. This allows the dealership to control costs, know what work per vehicle needs to be done, and have the flexibility to adjust the vehicle reconditioning workflow to suit its needs. When the vendor shows up to your lot, they should have a list of vehicles already approved for work. This keeps them busy doing what they do best instead of trying to find work and driving your per car to spend up.

If the items above sound revolutionary for your dealership, then you may need a revolution. You’ll be amazed at the improvements your dealership will enjoy focusing on a consistent and repeatable process in your reconditioning operation.

This is the second in a series of articles. Read part 1 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:

Top Auto Dealer Management Software Picks for 2018

Automobile Dealership Management Software

Automobile Dealership Management Software in 2018

Running a successful car dealership involves countless moving parts, and within all these revolving pieces, productivity shortfalls are inevitable. Successful dealerships know it’s due to human error– because constant communication between individuals eventually leads to confusion and potential misinformation. So while most dealerships acknowledge these shortcomings and use management software such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds and other DMS software, these systems can leave gaps in efficiency when maintaining sales, inventory, and F&I information.

Despite our limitations as individuals and the shortcomings of the automotive management software above, we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where we have several software solutions to fully digitize inventory acquisition, marketing, and even inventory management– filling the gaps along the way.

To help reduce your time researching possible software solutions, we have compiled a top-5 list of management tools every dealership should consider adding.

Sales & Marketing

Hubspot

HubSpot offers various marketing, sales, and customer relationship management software to fit whatever business needs you may have– and while the individual options are powerful, they’re even better when used together.

Obtaining prospects and making sales on new or used vehicles relies on you meeting a customer’s needs and working with their budget.

In today’s world, almost every single car purchase begins with an “internet search.” These searches could yield potential new customers if your dealership provides the “right answers.” This inbound marketing, where you draw in customers through social media, branding, and search engine optimization, revolves around creating and publishing content which attracts visitors and converts them into leads as they travel the sales funnel from awareness to consideration.

HubSpot assists in creating and publishing lead generation content– allowing you to track, measure and target your leads.

Reconditioning & Supply Chain Management

AutoMobile Technologies – ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor software helps dealerships monitor and manage the process of reconditioning pre-owned inventory and auction purchases from Acquisition to Front Line Ready. It can track each individual vehicle, the progress made during all reconditioning phases, help get vehicles ready in a quick and efficient manner, and save dealerships both time and money.

ReconMonitor is web-based dealership supply chain management software that picks up where your DMS leaves off, and gives any dealership stakeholder access to all in-process vehicles, the current repair stages, and deadlines from any device, at any time.

It establishes an early warning system in order to keep repair momentum from the initial acquisition to frontline readiness– tracking each vendor, employee, and repair phase to manage performance while identifying bottlenecks in the reconditioning process.

Social Media

Sprout Social

For dealership marketing teams, the primary goal is to advertise the business in the best and most efficient channels– and social media is the largest avenue to get the word out. Sprout Social allows you to track likes, shares, conversations, new contacts, and more with an incredibly clean and easy design.

Data is the driving force when it comes to marketing and understanding which posts drive the most engagement, and Sprout Social offers various monthly subscriptions to monitor your social media marketing campaign.

Sprout Social’s management screen has tabs for messages, tasks, feeds, publishing, and reports. Messages allow you to read and respond to comments left on various social media platforms all in one inbox. While publishing and feeds allow you to analyze the most viewed content and make postings on a timed schedule.

Reports are manageable both on a macro and micro scale– meaning you can view the analytics for all social media in one location or view them all individually.

If your dealership has a team using social media for customer communication, Sprout Social allows you to track tasks and measure post-performance.

Sprout Social offers in-depth data analysis for all your social media marketing on a simple and sleek platform ready to improve your business’ content.

Dealership Accounting & Sales

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP sells itself as a tool to assist any size business to expand. Its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides planning and management tools to help automate and simplify business processes in real time.

Netsuite lets individuals at the dealership automate various tasks, enabling data collection, viewing, and sharing without interrupting other functions.

Since NetSuite is cloud-based (meaning all information is saved online in a cloud server), updates, maintenance, support, and customization are all available and automatic across all devices using the software. To elaborate on customization, the package offers the ability to fully edit processes to work as efficiently as possible for your dealership.

NetSuite provides financial reporting, financial planning, revenue recognition (for compliance with accounting standards), global accounting and consolidation (for transparency), billing (to improve accuracy and remove errors), and real-time financial monitoring to drive success.

For Smaller Dealerships: Dealer DMS alternative

Everlogic

Everlogic is a Gold Certified Partner for Quickbooks with a complete management system designed with small dealerships and businesses in mind. Everlogic has several integrated modules which show sales, F&I, parts, services, and administration departments all under one roof. It’s known for its excellence in customer service, and much like the other options above, it’s easy to use, understand, and update all current business processes.

Summary

If recent reports are correct, the two or three-year new car sales tidal wave has begun to slow down. Dealerships will scramble in order to find solutions to boost sales and bolster profitability. The competent and savvy dealer will stay one step ahead, see the trends, and use the best and latest software available. These are our top picks for 2018, and we hope they assist your dealership to increase productivity and profitability this year and beyond.

Used Car Reconditioning – A Dealership’s Supply Chain

There is a magical number floating around most dealerships, and that number is 3. Three days to get a car frontline ready. The problem with this arbitrary number is most dealerships either don’t know what their days to the frontline are or how to fix the process to get it where it needs to be. There are consulting companies that promise to help you fix your used car recon process for the lower rate of $150 per hour, and there are software companies promising the moon.  There isn’t anything wrong with buying a software package or paying for a consultant, but don’t be surprised if you still have the same issue as before, but with less money in your pocket. The problem is how the process is viewed and the methods employed to improve it.

Used car reconditioning isn’t a unique process that only happens in the dealer world, where outside examples of process improvement don’t apply. The process of buying a car from an auction, delivering it to your location, assembling a team of people and vendors to prepare the vehicle for sale is a supply chain problem. Cambridge Dictionary defines supply chain as, “the system of people and things that are involved in getting a product from the place where it is made to the person who buys it.” The dealerships and vendors are the systems of people that repair a vehicle and get it ready for the person who buys the vehicle. It is important to view this as a supply chain process so we can start applying supply chain management principles to help address some of the issues. That also includes applying lean supply chain and Six Sigma principles. We no longer have to make things up or try and tweak the process until we get some perfect combination.

I will be writing a series of articles over the following months that discuss this topic. We will dive into some common pitfalls most dealers face with their reconditioning process, and how supply chain management and methodologies can be applied to address them. Many of these topics may not apply if your dealership is only reconditioning 30-40 vehicles per month, but there will still be some good information that can apply to any operation.

Salesmanship Tips for the Mobile Repair Professional: How to Land More Deals

> Find and Secure New Accounts

> Stand Out From Competitors

> Maintain and Grow Current Customers

Continuing our series of articles focusing on the “year of growth”, today we are turning our attention to sales tips. All businesses need sales in order to survive and grow. Many rightly consider sales the foundation of a company. The truth is, some are born salespeople and some are not. Sometimes even the most seasoned sales pro could use some fresh sales tips now and again (we’ve found that the most successful salespeople are also the most active seekers of new ideas and methods).

Our salesmanship tips presented below are geared towards helping you increase customers or land a new shop or two, depending on your specific business needs. These range from basic sales tips to learning how to find and secure new account leads, standing out from competitors, and maintaining existing clients.

Salesmanship Quick-Tips:

1. Knowledge is Power

One of the best tools mobile repair professionals have in their arsenal is an intimate knowledge of the services they are offering to current and prospective clients. They know what sets them apart from others trying to sell in the same industry. Having this subject matter expertise provides a level of credibility dealerships are looking for when being presented with new opportunities. When a customer realizes you know what you are talking about, it builds a level of trust. They can then put faith in the idea that everyone in your company knows what they are talking about. Look for opportunities to demonstrate your expertise. For the dealership or body shop prospects, consider sending  a monthly or quarterly newsletter with information from your industry that could impact their industry. Another effective tactic is to offer a “lunch and learn” where you head out to a prospect’s shop, bring a few pizza’s and do a live demo during lunch. These are minimally invasive to a shop’s day and few people will turn down the opportunity for a free slice of pizza.

2. Know Your Competition And How To Outsell Them

One of the biggest objections salespeople will hear on a call is with a prospect who is happy with a competitor. What can you do in this case? Sometimes, it can be impossible to overcome this. Effective salespeople can still benefit in this situation where lesser folks would just take the “no” and move on. Learn what the prospect likes most about the competitor. What are they providing that makes the prospect loyal? This kind of inquiry can improve the way you sell your own services, and sometimes even expose areas where your prospect might be underserved.  Sometimes perseverance pays off. You never know when you might catch your prospect having an issue with your competitor and you reach them at just the right time. Sometimes it can help to offer a service, or multiple services, for free as a test run. This allows prospective clients to see what they can get that is perhaps different from what they currently have with someone else. In some instances, it might be worthwhile to try to hire the technician away from your competitor onto your team in order to get and keep that new business.

3. The More Services, the Better

Mobile repair pros have an opportunity to be better than competitors at selling services if they can offer a wider range. For example, if the primary service a mobile technician is hired for is paintless dent repair, but you have technicians who can also perform wheel repair or paint touch-ups, consider offering package deals. When you can offer a bundle of services, dealerships will be more inclined to hire your business. They do not want to search for different people who do different things with different companies; one vendor who can do it all is more appealing and cost-effective.

4. Listen, Don’t Assume

One of the best qualities a mobile repair salesman can have is great ears. It can be difficult approaching a dealership not knowing what their exact needs might be, but never assume what they do or do not need. Mobile repair professionals need to make themselves available to dealerships in any way they can. When a dealership calls asking for help, a technician should always be sent as soon as possible. While it may feel good to ignore a call from a dealership that initially turned business away, being there in a time of need will only set your business apart from competitors. If a technician can show up and fix a damaged wheel to help close a sale, your business will be represented as reliable and efficient.

5. Tell a Story

According to HubSpot, 60 percent of people find a generic sales pitch irritating. However, telling a story draws prospects in with memorable accounts of similar clients you’ve helped. Humans have a unique ability to empathize with stories they hear about other people. That is why storytelling is so powerful, especially when it comes to landing a sale. During a pitch, a mobile repairer pushing PDR can throw out a plethora of statistics about their success rate. But at the end of the day, 63 percent of people recall stories because of similarities the characters share with their needs and wants. Craft your pitch to include a mini case study about your prior work. Describe how the services you provided to a client ultimately led to their success – higher sale price, faster turn-around, disaster avoidance, etc.

6. Ask for a Referral

Whether you are new to being a mobile repair tech or have been working at it for years, it can be difficult to find more work once you have established yourself with one primary dealership. But don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility. Chances are, if a mobile repair technician has been asked back to the same dealership multiple times because of their skills, that same dealership won’t mind referring them to the shop down the block. Never be afraid to ask for help; knowing your worth and demonstrating confidence in your trade will only help you outperform other mobile repair technicians fighting for the same opportunities.

7. Help Clients, Don’t Sell

Truly connect with your client. While you ultimately engage with a client to help with repairs, you are also selling a connection. No one should be sitting through a cut-and-dry sales pitch they’ve heard a million times. Not only appearing helpful but actually being helpful is the best way to land a sale and maintain a working relationship with the desired customer. Whether it is the first phone call or email, or you are meeting in person, here are a few guidelines to assist you with helping, not selling:

  • Personalization – Always reference the specific problem plaguing the dealership in need and provide the correct solution.
  • Deliver – If you’re promising the best paintless dent repair in the city, you better deliver the best paintless repair in the city. Stay up-to-date on industry trends and research new ways of upgrading a service.
  • Be timely – Always be on time. First impressions are everything, but lasting impressions are made over time. Always answer repair calls as quickly as possible.
  • Be Human – Go ahead and wish someone a happy holiday or a nice weekend. Also, commend the customer on their current successes; the more you can connect on a deeper level, the better.
  • Customer Service – Start small and work on building great customer service. Call clients once a week to follow up, ask about work, and see how you can improve. Focusing on the quality of your accounts is better than scrambling to service multiple accounts.
  • Stay Casual – At the end of the day, a mobile repair provider is having a conversation with a client, so use natural verbal and body language. Being yourself will allow you to connect with your client as a person.

8. Streamline Your Operations for a Quicker Transaction

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how a software such as AMT’s Repair 360 and ReconPro can help you streamline your operations and make the transaction quicker and easier for your customers. This can be used as a sales tool for your business and you can demonstrate how quickly you can go from estimate to approval, then from repair to invoice. If you can make the case that using your services will be easy and streamlined, it can be a major competitive advantage.

The sales journey for mobile repair professionals doesn’t have to be rough. The best way for these technicians to help the company sell any type of product is simple – be honest. Stay up-to-date on all updates to reconditioning software and industry news to be able to confidently talk about them with clients. Know what your competitors are doing and work with your audience to find out ways to be better. Form lasting connections with dealerships and auto shops that focus on the needs of the clients, not selling the capabilities of your business. Relationships built through natural connections are a surefire way for mobile repairers to become the salespeople they never knew they could be.

  • 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:

Dealerships: Steal These Emails and Give Your Sales a Boost

Dealerships, swipe these emails with 60% open rates to boost sales today!

Even though email is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, it is still a very effective method for gaining new sales, or for moving prospects down the sales funnel.  According to a 2017 study from Hubspot, the average email open rate in autos and vehicles is 35%. This lags slightly behind the average open rate across all industries of 37%.

When your salespeople are not directly with a customer, they need to be generating activity to bring in and close more sales. In fact, activity-based sales, as reported by SalesForce, has been proven to:

  1. Produce higher revenue production per sales employee.
  2. Create robust data to make forecasting easier based on activity levels.
  3. Allow for insights on sales capacity so you know when to hire new salespeople to hit future goals.
  4. Create a team of outcome and data-driven sales experts.

When you move to an activity-based sales approach, you can utilize data to drive higher sales. With email marketing, you can enter these activities into your CRM to keep an eye on activity levels. But just kicking out emails isn’t enough. You need to create highly-converting emails in order to see the return on the time investment. Below are eight email templates for a variety of sales scenarios that your dealership sales reps face every day. These are proven to have as much as a 60% open rate when used properly. Fill in the appropriate information to replace the [italics], and you’re on your way,

 

Scenario 1:  They visited your site

Based on the prospect’s browsing behavior, you know which cars they are looking at or even seriously evaluating. Position yourself as a trusted advisor who can walk them through the decision-making process and answer questions as they arise.

Subject:  Resource for [make and model] questions

Hi [prospect name],

I’m sending this note to introduce myself as your resource here at [dealership]. I work with car buyers and have an expertise in [make and model], and I noticed that you had viewed these vehicles on our website in the past.

This inspired me to spend a few minutes to reach out to you and see if you had any specific questions about [make and model] that you were not finding clear, or decisive answers to.

As an employee of [dealership], I am committed to being a knowledgeable resource for car and truck shoppers in [town name] and I have helped [number] of customers find answers to similar questions.

When do you have 15 minutes to connect today?

Please also feel free to book time directly onto my calendar here: [Meetings link].

Thanks,

[Your name]

 

Scenario 2: If you’re a stranger to them but got them as a referral from an existing customer

Subject: 26 seconds (or less)

Hi [prospect name],

I’ll keep this short and sweet to make the 26 seconds it takes to read this worth your time (yes, I timed it.)

As a salesperson at [dealership], I get to speak with people like you about purchasing a new or used vehicle. You made your way to my radar because we just sold a [new or used][make model] to [referral source] and they recommended that I reach out to you because they knew you were in the market for a vehicle.

Could we schedule a 15 to 20-minute call to discuss your vehicle needs, which challenges you are currently experiencing, and how you plan on solving these needs? Even if you decide not to continue the conversation after our call, you’ll leave with some advice for car and truck buying that will make an immediate impact.

Best,

[Your name]

 

Scenario 3:  If you just called them

Use a quick email to reinforce the voicemail you just left.

Subject: [prospect name] — just gave you a ring

[prospect name],

Saw that you were checking out [make and model], and wanted to give you a quick shout after checking out the [dealership] site. The last thing I want to do is waste your time or mine, but I thought it would be helpful to quickly speak and learn a bit more about what your needs are that is driving the need or desire to purchase [make model], and perhaps answer some questions you may have about this vehicle or similar product offerings.

We have found that our happiest customers began their purchase with a quick call like this to get things started in the right direction.

Is there a good time for you today or the next few days? You can book some time directly on my calendar here: [Meetings link].

Best,

[Your name]

P.S. Thought you might like this as well while getting started:

   [Helpful link #1]

   [Helpful link #2]

 

Scenario 4:  If there’s been a trigger event (filled out a form or stopped by the dealership)

The old adage is that when they are ready to buy, sell. A trigger event gives you a compelling reason to reach out, boosts your credibility by proving that you pay attention to what’s happening on the lot, and establishes urgency.

Subject: Congrats on deciding on [make and model]

Hi [prospect name],

Your [interaction (email, dealership stop by)] inspired me to reach out. That tells me that you are narrowing down your options in the purchase of [make and model].

Within the last six months at [dealership], we have sold [number] of [make and model] to happy and excited new [manufacturer] owners. I’d be happy to answer any remaining questions and share a few ideas about how you could accomplish the same.

If you’re open to it, when would be a convenient time to chat? Say, [XYZ time]?

[Your name]

 

Scenario 5:  They requested a test drive

This email helps you establish a relationship with the prospect and set the right expectations for the process. If they’re not prepared for a discussion of their needs and budget before the nuts-and-bolts product talk, they might become impatient.

Subject: Showing you around [make and model]

Hi [prospect name],

I noticed you requested a test drive of [product]. I will be your contact here at [dealership], and my goal is to be helpful during your evaluation process.

Our test drives are two parts. The first is a conversation focused around helping me to understand what you’re hoping [dealership] can help with, as well as your desired options and even desired colors when purchasing [make and model], so then I can customize your test drive accordingly.

To get started, you can book time on my calendar here: [Meetings link].

Looking forward to connecting,

[Your name]

 

Scenario 6:  If they opened your email but never replied

The prospect is interested in learning more — after all, they read your message — but they’re either too busy to respond or not interested enough. Get the conversation going again with an explanation of your dealership or if you know the particular make and model they are looking at, and an offer to give them a test drive.

Subject: Helping you evaluate [make and model]

Alt subject; Helping you evaluate [dealership]

Following up on my last email, I wanted to see if [dealership offering, or make and model] was something you’d be interested in discussing.

[dealership] offers vehicles for [prospect need] that include the following:

   [Feature #1 and why it’s helpful]

   [Feature #2 and why it’s helpful]

   [Feature #3 and why it’s helpful]

I’d be happy to give you a brief walk-through of these vehicles and their features so you can evaluate whether there might be a fit for your specific vehicle purchase needs.

What do you think?

[Your name]

 

Scenario 7: If they still don’t respond

Haven’t heard anything back? Before you give up on this prospect, send a few more resources their way. You’ll add value while simultaneously reminding them your vehicle might be able to solve a pressing pain point — as it has for other buyers.

Subject: Resources used by [make and model] buyers

Hi [prospect name],

Following on my previous email, as they have a tendency to slip through the cracks. At the very least, I wanted to provide you with the top resources that people who are shopping for [make and model] or [vehicle category (SUV, light truck sedan etc)] found helpful:

   [Helpful link]

   [Case study]

Would it be helpful if we scheduled 15-20 minutes to discuss how some of these links may help narrow down your selections and discuss how a particular model may suit your needs? Just book some time on my calendar here: [Meetings link]

[Your name]

 

Scenario 8: If they went dark

This light-hearted email gives the buyer a chance to change their mind. It’s a great way to re-engage them without using a guilt trip.

Subject: Not nearly as bad as a blind date

Hi [prospect name],

But it still stings 🙁 Sounds like we weren’t meant for each other. But I wanted to reach out to you one last time. I have a few suggestions on how you can purchase that [new or used make and model]. If I don’t hear back, I’ll assume that the timing isn’t right.

In the meantime, here are two [links, resources] I thought you might find of value because [reason why they’re relevant]:

   [Link #1]

   [Link #2]

Best,    

[Your name]

 

It is our hope that these proven car and truck sales templates will be just the thing you need to re-energize your sales force. If you found these useful, we encourage you to check out other similarly useful content on our blog, as we are dedicated to helping dealerships just like yours grow sales in 2018. If you are also looking to re-energize your profitability in your dealership, we encourage you to check out our suite of software offerings, ReconMonitor and InspectionNotes, designed to improve frontline readiness of your used car fleet and trim waste from the process.

  • 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:
GA Report

Hubspot Free VS Google Analytics:

What is the Best Free Resource for Your Mobile Repair Business Website?

So you built a great website, and you feel like it is doing its job. You are satisfied with how well it ranks on the search results pages and you are getting some decent leads. That is fantastic, and you are doing better than a lot of businesses with a less effective web presence. But how do you know if your site is really a peak performer?

The simple answer is to measure it because that which can be measured can be improved. You don’t need to be a web developer in order to manage or monitor the traffic on your website thanks to some very robust and free resources available to all website owners and managers. Today we are going to discuss two of them: Google Analytics and Hubspot Free.

Google Analytics

If you have ever dabbled with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or sought ways to boost your web traffic, you have probably tried or at least heard of Google Analytics. Whether you sign up for an account or not, Google is tracking all kinds of metrics on your website and they provide this data to you for free in a dashboard called Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Menu Bar

But despite all the collective genius at work at Google, some people find many of their tools very hard to work with, clumsy, and not very intuitive.  There is certainly some valuable information in Google Analytics, but the information can be very difficult to interpret or even put into action. Google Analytics allows you to track visits to your site, how long they stay on your pages, bounce rates, what percentage of your traffic comes from various devices, what times of day are the most popular, and a whole lot more.

If you are very analytical, you might really enjoy clicking through your Google Analytics statistics and clicking all the tabs on the left bar to learn all about the most granular metrics that Google is tracking on your site.

Google Analytics Dashboard Report

For the most part, small business website owners just want to track and see at a glance if the visits are increasing month over month, and if their web leads are increasing month over month. If you have a solid SEO and or blogging strategy in place, you may want to see what blogs are bringing in visitors, and for those who convert from visits to leads, what the typical behavior pattern is for a buyer (the so-called “buyers journey”) through your website.

Well if that describes you, check out an amazing and totally free tool called Hubspot.

Hubspot Free

Hubspot is credited with inventing the concept of Inbound marketing which is a system of content designed to attract a visitor to a website and eventually convert that visitor to a lead through a series of steps. The ultimate goal is for that visitor to hit on a particular item on your site where they are willing to leave their contact information to receive an email or a download link. Once you have that information, your anonymous visitor has now become a self-identified viable sales prospect.

Like all software-as-a-service providers, you must pay for Hubspot in order to have access to all of its features, and Hubspot is not cheap. Luckily though, they have released a free version that gives you a pretty darn good set of analytic tools that are easy to implement and easy to understand.

With Hubspot Free, you can track visits month over month (or even week over week) and you can track lead conversions month over month. You can track your top blog posts, landing pages, emails and contacts all in one very easy to read dashboard. If you take the time to set everything up correctly, you can learn a lot about your website and how customers interact with your site without having to spend hours interpreting a bunch of hard to understand charts.

The novice user may need to spend some time watching tutorials to learn how to set up their Hubspot correctly, and set up may take a half a day, however, a more intuitive user could have everything set up in just a couple of hours.

Hubspot Dashboard  Hubspot Lead Source Report

Installing Hubspot is not as easy as Google Analytics, and you will have to install some code. By contrast, for Google Analytics, all you need to do is sign up for an account and prove that you are the site owner. If you have a WordPress site, there are tools available such as plugins to install the code easily to your site. Otherwise, you can reach out to your web development company to add the tracking code.

Conclusion

If you want your Mobile repair business to succeed online, you need to deal with SEO at some point. The point of this post is not to teach you about SEO, or even convince you that you need to manage it, but rather to help you find the resources you need to begin to measure and manage your site in order to make the right decisions to optimize.

There is no reason why these tools have to be mutually exclusive, and if you use them both, you have the ability to see what the trends are at a high level with Hubspot and you can dig deeper to see specific performance metrics with Google Analytics.


  • 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:

Are You Letting Revenue Slip Through Your Service Department?

 

In this line of work, I get to tour a lot of collision repair shops. Some of those shops are dealership body shops that are either under the same roof or located in the same lot as the dealership.

One thing that always surprises me is when I find that the service department, the sales department, and the body shop do not communicate with each other as a whole. In other industries, this situation is referred to as “siloed” where departments are in silos and either afraid to or unwilling to work with each other.

Just recently, I was at a shop in Pennsylvania and I overheard a customer who was getting an estimate for a new side mirror as a result of a sideswipe. What struck me is that the customer was there because the insurance company had sent her there, not the service department, despite her having just had the car serviced in preparation for a Pennsylvania safety inspection. Had the insurance company sent this person to another shop, the dealership would have lost out on some decent revenue.  If I was the dealership owner, I would be furious.

This situation plays out every day in dealerships all over the country. I have even worked with shops that are not allowed to email blast their sales and service customer databases. Does this sound like your organization? It doesn’t have to be this way.

 

Today, we are going to uncover some ideas to put an end to lost revenue in your service departments.

The first step is to realize that it is not your customer’s duty to remember that you also have a body shop or a service department. These should be kept top-of-mind with all customer contact points. For every sales piece you create to drive new car sales, you should think about how this could also drive revenue for the other departments.

Break down the barriers.

If you have a dealership marketing team, a service department marketing team, and a body shop marketing team, all these people should be working together to generate leads for the dealership as a whole. In fact, you may consider putting them all in the same location in adjacent offices or cubicles so that they can easily work together.

Mine your databases

Each car that is leased should be a lead passed over to the service department and the body shop. Some leases require the use of OEM collision repair parts. And most lease vehicles will require some reconditioning prior to trade in. Your body shop should have access to all leased vehicles who are due for trade-in six months prior to the trade in date in order to reach out and offer deals on trade in preparation.

Incentives

Money always talks. Consider implementing a cash bonus referral program for all work referred among departments. This should not be limited just to managers, empower your technicians to make recommendations. Vehicles declared a total loss should be an easy referral to sales, but service should routinely scan vehicles for body shop upsell work.

Train your staff to pay better attention to the customers coming into the service bays.

Take notice if they have any family lifestyle changes, like a new baby, a new driver, or upcoming graduation and discuss options that might help address the need for a new vehicle. Your service drive is an excellent business center to support your dealership’s CPO and new retail programs. Stay engaged with your customers to maintain their brand and dealership loyalty.

Staffing co-location

Consider having a body shop estimator work out of the service department to write complimentary estimates on any potential work they see in the repair bays. You don’t even need to ask the customer if they want an estimate, simply provide it along with the service work estimate and offer to set a time to have the car in for the repair.

Something as simple as that written estimate attached to a postcard advertisement for the body shop could generate additional revenues.

Text Messaging

Another option is to include this in a text message if your service department uses a texting service to update customers. Text a link to an estimate for the body shop while the car is still in the service bay to make the transaction smoother. For example, if the car has to stay in service to receive parts, now would be a great opportunity to take care of those dents, scratches or quick bumper repair.

Texting can also be a great way for customers to communicate with service managers, get answers to questions, and schedule appointments. However, we caution dealers against advising staff communicate with customers on their personal cell phone devices without the use of a texting platform that tracks conversations, manages opt-ins and opt-outs, and integrates into a dealer’s CRM tool.

Community outreach

Another suggestion is to host customer car care clinics, which includes all makes and models, and offer free vehicle inspections, appraisals on vehicle resale costs, or reconditioning costs. This positions your business as your customers’ advocate while giving you the opportunity to generate new business and goodwill.

We hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to stop the leak of potential profits that you may not even realize are slipping past your Dealership, as we continue our mission to make 2018 the Year of Growth for your business.


  • 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:

Winning Local Search – Control Your Google My Business

Last week, we taught you how to dominate the Google My Business local pack or “three pack”. But that advice only works for people who have control of their Google My Business (GMB) listing. If you don’t have access to the listing, don’t worry. We are going to walk you through it with easy to follow visuals.

Your first step is to see if your listing has already been claimed.

Here is how you do that: Search Google for “Paintless dent repair near ____” and add your city. You will get a list of three businesses in your area.  If you do not see your business there, then click “more places” at the bottom of the three.

After you click the “more places” link, you will get an expanded list of businesses in your area, and yours should be listed, even if you have not yet claimed your listing.

If you begin clicking on any of these listings you will start to see expanded results for each listing, that will look something like this:

If you look closely just under the phone number, you will see an option or two to interact with Google on this listing. If you only see the words “Suggest an edit” then the listing has already been claimed by somebody who once worked for the business and had the ability to verify the listing.

Last week, we discussed how to dominate the Local stack or “three-stack” on a Google local result.  The article assumed that you had already taken the steps necessary to claim your own Google My Business Listing.

If you see the words “Suggest and edit – Own this business?” then that means your listing has not yet been claimed.

Whether or not your listing is claimed, this article will help you claim or reclaim your listing.

Let’s start with claiming the listing.

Click on “own this business?”  and you will be taken to a screen that shows you the business and the address and asks you to confirm that you have the authority to claim the business.

Click Continue and you will be taken to this screen:

At this point, you have a couple of options. You can click the “Call” button and Google will automatically call the phone listed to confirm.

Note: this ONLY works if that number goes straight through to you and you are standing by the phone. If you have a call assist service where the caller has to make selections from a menu to reach you, this option will not work.

The second option is to receive a text but this only works if you have a cell phone listed and not a landline.

The next best option is to request an email or a postcard mailer. The postcard will take up to five business days and will have a code on it. Once you press the button to receive a postcard, you cannot proceed until you have that code. The same thing goes for the email.

Once you have verified your listing, you are free to make edits to it. You can add logos, change the cover photo, add photos, hours, website addresses and more.

 

What to do if you are a business owner with a claimed listing but you do not have access to it?

This second set of instructions happens all the time, especially if you have been in business a while or had several employees over the years. As Google became more sophisticated with its local maps and local search capabilities, its products have evolved over time. There used to be options like Google Places, Google Places for Business, and others. Now everything is under the banner of Google My Business. It is possible that you or a former employee claimed this listing under a different Google product and you don’t know your logins. What makes matters even more frustrating is that Google has no number that you can call to fix it. Instead, you have to jump through a few hoops to reclaim your listing. But don’t worry, we are going to walk you through it.

Step One- go to https://business.google.com/create

You will see a screen like this one:

Since you have an existing listing, as you start typing your name it will begin to pull up listings. Click on the listing you want to change and click next.

Next, you will be asked to verify the address.

For a  mobile PDR shop, you’ll want to make sure you check “I deliver goods and services to my customers”.

Next, you will be asked to verify the business type.

Verify the info and click next. You will be asked to verify the contact information.

Finally, you will be taken to this screen:

This screen will tell you the name of the person who claimed the page and will give you enough of an idea to see if you recognize the email address of the person. If you do, all you need to do now is contact that person and ask them to add you as an admin.

If you do not recognize this person, or if it was a former employee that you no longer have contact info for, you can click to request access.

What happens next is Google sends an email to that person and informs them that you are requesting access to this account. If that person grants you access, you will be notified.

If they ignore it after 5 days, Google will email you again and allow you to have a verification postcard sent to the business address listed. It is very important that somebody at that address that you can contact will be on the lookout for that card. If this is your current address then all you need to do is wait. If you have moved your location, you need to contact your old location and let them now to be on the lookout for the postcard from Google.

Once you receive your code, log back in, enter your code and you will have full access to your Google My Business listing.


  • 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:

Twenty Tips to Help Rank Your PDR Business in Local Search

In the paintless dent repair world there are two kinds of businesses, fully mobile shops who move around from town to town chasing hail storms, and then there are local shops who service a local base of customers. If you are in this second group, this post, the first in a two-part series, is for you.

It seems almost silly these days to explain to business owners why they need a website for their business. We see so many companies who do all their digital marketing through one social media channel such as Facebook or Instagram. We have even seen really big body shops that only have a profile on a social media page but no website of their own.

The problem with a social-only digital marketing strategy is that you are at the mercy of the ever-changing rules and whims of that platform. Take for example Facebook’s big change announced in January of this year. Facebook’s goal is to keep its users on the platform and has to continually strike a balance between what keeps people on the website and what pays Facebook’s bills. Facebook’s big announcement in January is a reaction to people who have long said they felt the site had shifted too far away from friends and family-related content, especially after a rise of outside posts from brands, publishers, and media companies.

“This big wave of public content has really made us reflect: What are we really here to do?” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “If what we’re here to do is help people build relationships, then we need to adjust.”

With even a basic website, you are the captain of the ship, and you are in control. You are not under the control (or at the mercy) of the owners of the social media platform with which you market.

Having briefly demonstrated why you need a website for your business, let’s turn now to the instructive portion of this post: how to dominate local search for your Recon business.

No matter what your business is, if you serve customers within a set territory, you are a local business and your website needs to perform that way. You have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and you have likely been inundated with offshore SEO companies who claim they can get you ranked #1 for just $50 per month.

With local search, most small businesses are only concerned with one thing, and that is getting to the three slots in the so-called “three stack” or “Three Pack” of search engine results.

The good news for local marketers is that Google has gotten really good at managing local search for businesses. Even just a year ago, it may have been difficult to find yourself on the first page of Google for your service. But with the development and enhancements to Google My business and its prominence in the search results, small businesses can rank well without having to spend their way to the top.

 

Main Takeaway

The one thing you must understand is that a Local search result is the result of the following formula:

Prominence + Proximity + Relevance= Search Result.

Prominence– is how well you show up on the internet. This includes things like your website, but it also takes into account backlinks, reviews, mentions on other websites, and directory submissions, (although directory submissions are becoming less of a factor).

Proximity- This is how close you are to the person doing the search and unfortunately is not something you can work on or fix aside from opening up office locations all around town.

Relevance- This is how relevant your service is to what the search has asked for. As an example, you will have a harder time ranking for Auto Body Repair near me, than you would for dent repair near me, even though we both know they could often be one in the same. Your reviews also help with relevance as long as the people leaving reviews are using your keywords in their reviews. We’ll cover that more below in the tips.

You could almost write a short book on how to rank high for local search, or even to place in the local pack, but to keep things manageable in this post, we are going to bullet list some key points.

Key Points

  1. Your rankings are relative to those of your competitors. You might be able to do something in one market and rank number one, that wouldn’t get you anywhere in another market.
  2. The ranking factor of proximity to the searcher has increased to be the number one factor.
  3. If you have a strong website and you’re doing a good job with normal SEO, the odds are higher that you’ll show up in the local pack.
  4. You have to be in the proximity radius to have a chance to rank, but you have to have the other factors (prominence and relevance) to really be able to beat the competition.
  5. You can use AdWords and Local Pack ads to broaden your scope and attract business through local search from other cities.
  6. If you’re a service area business located in a suburb, and you want to get rankings in the big city, you should create a page on your site and optimize it for that particular city.
  7. If you’re on the edge of a city and you get more links within the city that you’re not in, you have a better chance at moving into the local pack in that city.
  8. You probably aren’t going to rank too far outside of your radius if you’re a service area business. This is something that Google needs to change, especially for businesses who travel to their customers.
  9. Stop worrying about proximity. There’s nothing you can do about it unless you want to set up an office on every block.
  10.  A lot of the relevance factor is first determined by what category and sub-category you put yourself in in Google My Business, and what the person searched for.
  11. To boost relevance, take the page you link to on Google My Business and optimize that with keywords, and also related topics.
  12. Reviews are very important to relevance and prominence. If your reviews feature keywords relevant to you and they’re from people within your city, they will help a lot.
  13. Use ‘semantic relevance’ in your pages to increase relevance. This is the practice of including keywords parallel to phrases that are important for you (e.g. ‘Manhattan’ and ‘New York City’).
  14. Links can add a lot of location relevance. By joining the local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, sponsoring local events and local non-profits, and getting mentioned in the local media, you can boost your relevance for that particular location.
  15. Aside from the SEO benefits, local link building can drive a lot of traffic directly to your site.
  16. If you have 1-5 locations, point your GMB listing to your homepage. If you have more than five locations, it’s time to start setting up location pages.
  17. Google wants to show the best businesses rather than just any old businesses, and prominence is one way that they try to measure that.
  18. If your citations are screwed up or you don’t have any, fixing them or adding them can help you be more eligible to rank in the pack.
  19. Pay attention to new, native Google My Business features, like Q&As, Posts, and ‘store-within-a-store’, as these will become more important in rankings over the next few years.
  20. Google is now getting data sources that we can’t really have any influence over, such as table reservations from OpenTable, and customer numbers from credit card companies. You can’t manipulate these things, so you just have to focus on being an awesome business, and making that awesomeness visible to your potential customers.

If all this sounds like a lot of work, it is; but it is manageable. Having a solid website is the heart of this, but the Google My Business page is equally important. Stay tuned to part two of this post where we walk you through step by step how to claim, manage or modify your Google My Business listing.

 


  • 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:
Product Updates