Press Release: NIADA Partnership

AutoMobile Technologies Partners With NIADA to Help Dealerships Create and Manage CPO Inspections

Custom Software for NIADA Members Enables Digital Inspections for CPO Designations on Used Vehicles
Arlington, Texas (Dec. 12, 2018) —  Auto inspection and reconditioning software provider AutoMobile Technologies, Inc., has come on board with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association as a new National Member Benefit partner, making AMT’s digital inspection software available to association members and enabling them to designate select vehicles with certified pre-owned status.
AMT_logo.pngAMT’s cutting-edge technology delivers best-in-class mobile vehicle inspection and auto reconditioning management services to independent auto dealers and brings a powerful, mobile-enabled, innovative, easy to implement, efficient and customer-centric vehicle inspection reporting resource to NIADA Certified dealers, enhancing inventory listing differentiation and customer trust through the digital or physical lot.
AMT’s InspectionNotes software enables the association’s members to complete the comprehensive 125-point NIADA Certified vehicle inspection electronically and generate digital and paper condition reports for the certification.
That allows dealers to integrate CPO inspections into their existing intake and reconditioning operations, and provide the value and security of CPO designation to their customers while increasing margins and decreasing turn time.
“We are proud to join with NIADA in providing its members the ability to offer NIADA Certified vehicles to their customers,” AMT executive vice president of operations Eric Meahan said. “We have seen the competitive advantage CPO vehicles have given our franchise clients, benefiting them in both revenue and customer satisfaction. The NIADA Certified program allows independent dealers to level the playing field with a similar solution.
“We applaud NIADA for adding this valuable program to its member services offerings.”
The InspectionNotes software allows technicians to scan a VIN on their mobile phone or tablet to begin the process, which takes them through a series of questions, ensuring each required item is inspected and verified. The resulting report is delivered in PDF format that can be loaded to website listings, emailed or printed to share with buyers.
InspectionNotes is a component of AMT’s ReconMonitor software, which gives dealerships visibility, command and control of the entire reconditioning process from acquisition to front line and every step in between.
“AMT brings an innovative commitment to the best in market technology, ease of use and corresponding profitability for our dealer members on the front and back end of their stores,” NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja said. “For our CPO dealers in particular, the mobile inspection solution is a huge enhancement over the current manual process, enhancing productivity, quality and ability to display both on the physical and digital lot.”
For more information, visit https://amt.company.
About AutoMobile Technologies
Since 2006, AMT has been building software applications to help companies in the automotive industry replace paperwork, enforce processes and gain instant visibility into business operations, regardless of team size and geographic distribution. Our mission is to distribute easy to use, affordable solutions to help dealerships, PDR and SMART Repair technicians, detailers and reconditioning companies improve customer service, make more money and eliminate back-office inefficiencies.

About NIADA

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) is among the nation’s largest trade associations, representing the used motor vehicle industry comprised of more than 38,000 licensed used car dealers. Since 1946, NIADA has represented the voice and interests of used car dealers at the federal level in Washington D.C. Coupled with its state association network across the country, NIADA’s grass-roots framework provides a dual layer of advocacy unmatched in the used motor vehicle industry.

For more than 70 years, NIADA has engineered programs and leveraged technology to fulfill its mission to advance, educate and promote the independent used car dealer. NIADA members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics of duty, honor and integrity, and believe in the advancement of small business in support of the free-market system. More information about NIADA programs and educational opportunities is available at www.niada.com and www.niada.tv.

NIADA HEADQUARTERS
2521 Brown Boulevard
Arlington, TX 76006
(800) 682-3837
FLORIDA OFFICE
1800 Second St., Suite 104
Sarasota, FL 34236
(888) 906-8283

Original release link here.

How to Manage Your Inspections Without the Paper Chase

Knowledge is power, and complete and thorough inspections are your best source of knowledge for damage assessment and reconditioning operations. But did you know how else you can use inspections to boost your sales and profits? Click to watch how InspectionNotes gives you what you need without all the paper.

InspectionNotes for Catastrophic Damage Inspections

With hurricane season upon us, are you ready for the vehicle appraisals and condition reporting the bad weather may bring? Even though some experts are predicting a less active Atlantic hurricane season this year, it only takes one storm to claim lives and property. AutoMobile Technologies’ InspectionNotes mobile inspection software includes CAT scope sheets in electronic format, and we can send them to the carriers in CCC One or Audatex format automatically, saving everyone time and money. The software allows you to take and attach photos while you are filling out the scope sheet on your mobile device, so there’s no need for an additional camera.

With a Mobile Phone or Tablet, scan and decode the VIN, perform damage inspections and create condition reports digitally and error-free. After inspection, all information collected, including photos and notes, are wirelessly transmitted to your back office for instant viewing and tracking anywhere. InspectionNotes will integrate through API with any software management system, so sending reports to carriers with complete documentation is a breeze.

Do you have unique paper forms for your particular specialty? InspectionNotes will digitally recreate any form in digital format. The InspectionNotes app relieves your reliance on paper forms, and speeds up your entire inspections process with digital integration, helping you to be prepared for any inspection job.

Valuable, Versatile, Vehicle Condition Reports

Vehicle Condition Report Forms

Knowledge is power, and you can’t know what you don’t know. These are two undisputed truths, and they are all you need to understand the importance of Vehicle Condition Reports.

Think about your own business. Whether you repair vehicles, sell them, lease them, or all of the above, do you have easy and reliable access to the condition of every vehicle your business has touched? How complete are those reports? How legible are they? How consistent is the quality and completeness of your vehicle condition reports from one to the next? If you didn’t answer “100%” to each of those questions, then you should consider vehicle condition report software included with our mobile software solutions InspectionNotes and ReconMonitor.

 

How can improved reporting make a difference for your business? A short list includes:

  • Perform inspections including photos, videos, and notes to document prior damage and defend against false claims.
  • Customizable digital forms can trigger additional steps or activities based on question responses. If the vehicle arrives for one service, but the inspection reveals other issues, you can automatically create an estimate for the additional repair to present to the customer.
  • Forms can enforce process to ensure all steps are completed in the most efficient order, review data as it’s entered, and trigger next process steps and notifications.
  • Updates to vehicle condition are fast and easy. A VIN scan brings up the latest condition report for editing and all changes are logged, so history audits are a breeze.
  • Any conditions indicated on an inspection can trigger additional estimates or work orders for on-device or quick-link signature approvals.
  • Digital reports are formatted to suit your business, with your brand, and always presentable in digital or printed formats.
  • Post the report on your website to assure the buyer of the vehicle condition.

Your business operations and customer satisfaction will benefit from quality vehicle condition reports. Contact us for more information and a free demonstration of our powerful vehicle condition report app.

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.

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Auto Analysts’ Crystal Ball Says Prepare Now for a Surge in Used Car Demand

How prepared was your dealership for 2017’s roller-coaster ride of new and used car sales?

If you are like many dealerships, you weren’t prepared for the unusual hurricane-induced car buying demand spike in the Fall that usually happens after tax refund time in the Spring.

crystal ballIt’s a dealership’s worst nightmare to be caught during a spike in sales demand at a time of low inventory, and then be forced to sit back and watch as potential customers head over to your competition.

Then, as you scramble to purchase inventory and get it frontline ready, you can almost watch the revenue slip past your balance sheet. Will you get the cars cycled out before the demand is gone?

Oh, to have a reliable crystal ball during auction time!

Actually, if you know where to look, there already is one. Auto Industry forecasters are expecting lower price volatility than 2017’s record highs and unusual fall spike. These same prognosticators also predict higher volumes of used vehicle sales in 2018.

The crystal balls reveal that a more desirable mix of late-model vehicles entering the marketplace and higher take-home pay as the new federal tax law is implemented, will heat up the used car market, so you might want to prepare yourselves now and reap the rewards when the buyers start coming.

From almost the minute the new tax law was passed, large corporations began announcing bonuses and pay raises for American households. Cox Automotive Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke, revised his forecast of 2018 total used-vehicle sales to nearly $40 million.

At a recent conference call with investment analysts and reporters, Cox stated that they estimate 85% of US households will see an income increase as a result of the new tax laws. Cox also anticipates a 2 to 4 percent decline in 2018 U.S. new light-vehicle sales to fewer than 17 million units.

By now, all the Harvey and Irma hurricane victims have replaced their cars, so that spike in new and used car sales as replacement vehicles ended in December of 2017.

Still, experts believe that the U.S. economy will continue its strong demand for new and used vehicles in 2018 due to a low unemployment rate, strong financial markets and consumer confidence, and incentive offers from automakers.

 

Where will the used inventory come from?

It has been predicted that 2018 will be a slowdown in the increasing numbers of late-model vehicles entering the used market, with 2018 lease returns growing only 8.1 percent to 292,000 units.

And most of the growth is in pickups and SUVs, which are more in demand, so grounding dealers will retain more off-lease vehicles themselves.

Expect to see lower rental car-fleet vehicle returns, fewer coupes and hatchbacks, will fall this year, But there will be an increase in pickups, SUV’s and crossovers.

How to stay ahead of the demand.

Following the economic downturn started in 2008, car buyers’ desires for new vehicles leaned heavier towards cars than trucks. This caused a mismatch in the used market as consumers started leaning back towards trucks and SUV’s during the upswing.  But in 2018, half of off-lease vehicles are expected to be light trucks.

Heed the warnings.

Retailers who sell late-model SUVs and crossovers will benefit from declining used-vehicle prices this year, that could squeeze dealerships’ volumes and margins on new light trucks

Cut your frontline cycle times.

Now is the time to focus on the operations and look for ways to eliminate bottlenecks and unnecessary snarls.

Efficiencies save profits

The focus on fast and efficient reconditioning becomes even more important to maintaining margins on new car inventories as used car demand puts pressure on new car pricing. A small investment in a recon software such as ReconMonitor can mean the difference between profit and loss during a squeeze like the one being predicted now.

As a used car dealer, the decision to pursue CPO designation for select vehicles can be advantageous, making initial inspections even more crucial. Again, any investment in automation can pay for itself. When used car demand is high, each day lost in the recon stage is money wasted. Consider streamlining the intake phase with an investment in inspection software such as InspectionNotes from Automobile Technologies. Why waste time entering and transcribing vehicle details and management of recon needs on paper, when a single mobile recon app can eliminate hours of work?

 

2018 may not be as bumpy a ride as last year, but it’s sure to have surprises of its own. Staying attentive to the market is as close as we’ll get to that crystal ball, and maintaining an efficient operation will keep your dealership rolling smoothly.


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Auto Remarketers: Stop Building Your Own Software!

by Automobile Technologies, Inc.

Do I buy or build software in-house or use SaaS?

Large remarketing firms, car rental companies, fleets, or auctions, profit and grow with deeply rooted sales and operational efficiencies. Simple right? Sell more, and trim the fat from the operation.

As growth happens and processes get put into place (often on the fly), the processes do not always grow with the organization. Over time, they can even become bottlenecks. This is the point when a lot of companies turn to software to streamline many of these inefficiencies and to trim the fat from the organization.

Software tools such as vehicle trackers, inspection software, and vehicle reconditioning management, are all available in various forms. The question then is which software is the right fit for your needs?

 

Sure you can. But why?

Many organizations find it tempting to turn to their own IT department to investigate the feasibility of just building their own software. The eager to please IT department always responds with a resounding “sure, we can do that”. The question often left unasked is, should you?

 

There are three types of software that remarketers use:

  1. A custom scratch-built application developed by the company’s own IT team.
  2. Software code that is purchased and then modified to suit the company’s needs.
  3. SaaS- cloud-based software that is sold on a subscription basis.

The lure of not having to pay subscription fees can be tempting to companies looking to trim overhead costs, and with code snippets available for purchase by eager IT guys, the investment never pays for itself and here is why.

 

Consider the time spent to define it.

When you buy a SaaS product it is available immediately. The only time spent is the time it takes to implement the software and train your staff. This is time you would have to spend anyway even if you built your own program.

Whiteboard Planning Meeting

Consider how many meetings it will take to lay out the features, the functionality, and the workflow, before you even begin to build the tool. This can take an organization six months or more just to determine what needs to be built and what it should do.

Calendar

Consider the time spent to build it.

Now that you know what your software should do, and even how it should function, you can finally start to build it. But how long will that take? A couple of months perhaps even with a dedicated IT team who is not busy fixing other hardware and software issues within the business already.

 

Consider the time spent to refine and debug it.

Here we are nine months later and you finally have something that resembles a software. The only problem is when you click this button here, it crashes, or when you enter text there, it doesn’t show up on the report. Add a few more months to test and refine the software and you are now twelve months in before you have something functional.

 

Consider the fact that you will need to continually update it.

Let’s fast forward six months to a year and your organization has been utilizing your new software. But accounting has learned that its missing two crucial steps. Your buyer wants to be able to scan VIN’s and pull carfax reports, and marketing wishes that there were fewer steps to upload images to your website.

Also, because your software has been somewhat effective at cleaning up some processes, you were able to drastically streamline how you handle paperwork, but the software wasn’t built to handle the new process.

It’s time for some updates, and this will take some time and more capital investment.

 

Consider the savings you could have realized this whole time.

At eighteen months of development, refinement and field implementation, your software is working, but still needs work, and you will forever be chasing these updates. That is 18 months of organizational spend that you could have eliminated immediately had you simply purchased a subscription-based software.

 

The benefit of SaaS

Let’s look at this same eighteen months through the lens of a SaaS development company. Before even going to market, the needs have been identified, the business case made, the process mapped out, the testing had been done, and the software has begun to get purchased and implemented in early adopting dealerships. Now the feedback loop begins as customers start to identify bugs and new feature requests. The updates are immediately addressed, and the features are built quickly and brought to market to stay competitive.

 

But what about customization?

The last big lure for a dealership to develop their own software is the argument that it is 100% custom built for their organization. And while it is true that a SaaS product has been built for mass consumption and mass appeal, most high-end SaaS companies will offer customization to suit your needs.

You also get customer support and constant updates, refinements and new features at no additional cost.

 

Why reinvent the wheel?

That is an old saying but it holds true nearly every single time. At the end of the day, if you could build your own Quickbooks, why would you?

Companies, learn from those who have tried this before and have come to the same conclusion: Building your own software slows company progress when SaaS alternatives keep you out in front of the competition.