Used Vehicles Bring Penske Record Earnings

“…consolidated reconditioning locations and double discounting played a role in the company’s record earnings.”

When companies get their reconditioning working well, good things happen.

Read the full story in Auto Remarketing here.

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.

 

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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.

Press Release: DMS Integration with Frazer Computing

AutoMobile Technologies Integrates With Frazer Dealer Management Software


ReconMonitor’s certified integration helps dealerships seamlessly manage reconditioning workflows.


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — AutoMobile Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in auto reconditioning software, today announced that it has partnered with Frazer Computing, Inc. to provide integrated vehicle reconditioning management capabilities to users of Frazer Dealer Management Software.

“Frazer is thrilled to be working with AutoMobile Technologies,” said Michael Frazer, president of Frazer Computing. “Making it simple for our 19,000 dealers to work with the partners that best suit their needs, and making the process easy is an important part of what we do!”

AMT’s ReconMonitor provides end-to-end visibility of the vehicle reconditioning process from acquisition through all phases of the recon process and helps identify, process, or vendor inefficiencies that increase cycle time. The software includes both mobile and back-office modules to ensure everyone in the reconditioning cycle is informed about where and when work is required. This keeps cars moving at optimal speed and results in fewer days to frontline status.

The certified integration of ReconMonitor with the Frazer DMS will allow dealerships better command and control of the recon process with full visibility as each vehicle progresses toward frontline readiness. Other notable dealer benefits of ReconMonitor include:

  • Mechanical and Cosmetic Inspections – Multiple inspections per vehicle, including OEM Certified Pre-Owned Inspections, Cosmetic Inspections, and Vehicle Condition Reports.
  • Parts and Labor Hours Management – The system provides access to OEM parts & numbers, mechanical labor hours, and parts ordering.
  • Vehicle ROI – Know the estimated and actual cost of repairs and keep all vehicles in your targeted ROI.
  • Vendor Management and Payment – The system manages all of your vendors and their workloads and shows you how much to pay each vendor per repair.
  • Real-time Reporting – You and your team know the status and stage of every vehicle in process, and can quickly identify bottlenecks.

“Frazer Computing understands the needs of its customers and has built its reputation by providing software to help their dealers better understand their own operations. We are proud to enhance that value with ReconMonitor’s efficient workflow management capabilities in vehicle recon,” said Paul Maximov, CEO of AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. He added, “Dealers lose an average of $35-50 per day that cars spend undergoing reconditioning. Our partnership with Frazer will allow dealers to reduce costly delays and make better vehicle recon decisions early in the cycle. That results in better inventory availability and ultimately, increased margins on vehicles sold.”

AutoMobile Technologies joins a diverse group of Frazer integration partners. To date,  Frazer works with more than 200 third-party vendors whose services are optimized and integrated with the Frazer DMS.

For more information, please visit https://amt.company/dealership-software-and-operations.

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 to 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 Frazer Computing, Inc.

Frazer provides full-featured dealer management software to over 19,000 independent used car dealers. The Frazer DMS includes unlimited contract printing and form customization, a full accounting suite, numerous sales, inventory and customer reports, unlimited technical support, and over 200 integrations with companies that help used car dealers grow their businesses. www.frazer.com

Media Contacts

Ted Gaines, AutoMobile Technologies, Inc.
Phone: 949.614.0799 ext.708
Email: info@automobiletechnologies.com

 

Press Release: CDK Global Integration

AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. Joins CDK Global Partner Program

AMT-CDK Logos

AutoMobile Technologies, Inc., an industry leader in automotive reconditioning software, today announced that it has become a participant in the CDK Global Partner Program. As a member of the largest third-party partner program in the industry, AutoMobile Technologies is now part of a marketplace of applications and integration choices developed to help automotive dealers succeed.

“CDK Global understands the value of efficient supply chain management in vehicle reconditioning,” said Paul Maximov, CEO, AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. “Dealers lose an average of $35-$50 per day that cars spend undergoing reconditioning. Our solutions work to reduce costly delays and make better vehicle recon decisions early in the cycle, resulting in better inventory availability and ultimately, increased margins on vehicles sold.”

The CDK Global Partner Program provides its partners with the ability to integrate with a range of CDK applications, as well as with CDK dealer websites. AMT’s ReconMonitor software provides end-to-end visibility from vehicle acquisition through the reconditioning process and helps identify vendor inefficiencies that increase the cycle time. The software includes both mobile and back-office modules to help ensure everyone in the reconditioning cycle is informed about where and when work is required. This software keeps cars moving with optimal speed and results.

“We’re very pleased to welcome AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. as the newest member of the CDK Global Partner Program,” said Howard Gardner, vice president and general manager, CDK Data Services. “In joining our vibrant program, AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. will bring new skills, solutions, and choices for our dealers to choose from, which will seamlessly integrate with our applications.”

The approved integration of AMT’s ReconMonitor solution with the CDK Drive DMS will allow customers to better command and control the reconditioning process with full visibility of each vehicle as it moves through to frontline readiness. Other notable features include mechanical and cosmetic inspections, parts and labor-hours management, vehicle ROI, vendor management and payment, and real-time reporting. Additional details about these features can be found at link.

About the CDK Global Partner Program

The CDK Partner Program now numbers more than 360 partner companies and 475 unique applications auto dealers can use to run their businesses. As part of the CDK ecosystem, the CDK Partner Program provides data and workflow integration to a wide range of third parties, OEMs, and dealers. For a full list of partners and applications available through the program, visit cdkglobal.com/partners.

About CDK Global

With more than $2 billion in revenues, CDK Global (Nasdaq: CDK) is a leading global provider of integrated information technology and digital marketing solutions to the automotive retail and adjacent industries. Focused on enabling end-to-end automotive commerce, CDK Global provides solutions to dealers in more than 100 countries around the world, serving approximately 28,000 retail locations and most automotive manufacturers. CDK solutions automate and integrate all parts of the dealership and buying process from targeted digital advertising and marketing campaigns to the sale, financing, insuring, parts supply, repair, and maintenance of vehicles. Visit cdkglobal.com.

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 to 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.

Media Contacts:

Roxanne Pipitone
CDK Global
roxanne.pipitone@cdk.com

Rob Duda
Peppercomm
cdk@peppercomm.com

Ted Gaines
AutoMobile Technologies, Inc
gaines@automobiletechnologies.com

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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Budgeting for a Successful Independent Dealership in 2018

2018 has just begun and the economy looks to be off to a great start. A strong jobs outlook and low unemployment means more people are driving again, and these people are replacing their cars. You may have noticed this for a while now at your dealership.

But even with this increased demand, you still have to compete with the larger dealerships. One way to get ahead is to borrow tips and ideas straight out of their playbook. As a software company who sells to auto dealerships of all sizes, we have unique access to everything from a dealer’s operations to their accounting practices. We get to see behind the scenes of dealerships all over the country, and we know what makes the best dealerships successful.

As an independent dealership, you may not have the staff or even the time to always step back and look at the big picture of your operation, but it is an important exercise nonetheless. As you prepare your goals for 2018, you can’t make smart decisions until you take a long hard look at your company financials, and yes that means setting your budget.

Performing these budgeting tasks does not have to be a chore, in fact we are making it easy for you with this tutorial. Consider this budget to be a guideline, a scorecard or a report card for how you are doing financially as a business every month. It will help you make business decisions such as when to buy more inventory or how much to spend on advertising.

Building out your budget doesn’t have to be hard or even time consuming. Many of you are already using some form of accounting program and we have created an excel spreadsheet that you can use or modify simply by clicking the download here:

Get the Spreadsheet Template

 

Why you need a Budget for 2018:

  1. Determine your milestones so that you recognize when you pass them. You get into a routine. You have your auction days, you are involved in the remarketing needs of your purchases, you manage your sales people, you keep an eye on the finance department. But how do you know when you are ready for a second lot, or a third, if you don’t have a plan with set milestones? A good budget will help you find those milestones.
  2. You will need to borrow money, your bank will want a plan. If you do grow to that second location you may need to increase your floor plan. Your bank is going to want to see the plan, and how you expect to make your payments. A good budget will help you execute your business plan.

Business plans require financial projections, tax schedules, depreciation schedules, staffing plans and so on. All of this will be spread out over multiple pages and you will need to keep going back and forth between pages.  I have found that the best way to start a business plan is to create a single page cheat sheet that has all the numbers in one spot. As you begin to fill in numbers in a business plan, it is helpful to have a single sheet that has all the numbers in one spot.

  1. A budget can help you make hard decisions quicker and easier. Scalable businesses are built on the backs of efficient processes. Time saving tips tricks and yes even software like our very own ReconMonitor will save you money. But how do you know when you can afford to invest in new equipment or software without being able to look at your own numbers? A budget will help with that. Your budget will help you determine whether you can afford every single business expense before making the purchase.

 

How to make a budget for your Independent Auto Dealership

The easiest thing is to create a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can create your own or you can download our template below. On your spreadsheet include the next twelve months going from left to right in the top columns. Leave room in the first column to list out each expense.

Next, in the first column, start labeling all of your expenses. It helps to have a couple of recent bank statements handy; you will be surprised at how many little expenses that you forget.

 

Start with your ongoing business expenses.

The way I like to do mine is start with the bills that you know that has to be paid each month, stuff like mortgage on your buildings or rent, utilities, etc. Put every business expense you have in there. This will give you a good idea of what you need at a minimum to pay break even. Now add a row for each of those columns to tally up.

Note: We have included a column with industry average percentages pulled from the NAIDA used car industry report.

Next it’s time to start entering the employee expenses.

Begin entering values and lines for all of your employees, salaries and average commissions. Again review those bank statements and try to come up with a number for each type of expense that you have. Add a line to tally up each business expense by month.

Inventory and reconditioning expenses are next.

Like most dealerships, you probably have a good bead on what sells in your market, and what your average reconditioning costs per vehicle are. This data can be pulled whether you do all your remarketing in house or you use outside vendors. If you use outside vendors ask for their help in determining an average per vehicle figure and use that as a multiple for how many vehicles you plan to buy in a given month.

Customers

Here is where the business owner’s crystal ball comes into play.  Obviously, you can’t predict what cars will sell at exact times, but as an existing and successful dealership, you probably have your own data and formulas.

The purpose of this part of exercise is to start determining what revenue is coming in and when. If you offer repairs and service in addition to used cars, you probably have a good idea of what the revenue from the shop is each month as well.

Note: Our spreadsheet gives you the option to use a monthly average/projection, or you can enter specific cars if you want to get really accurate and track your performance.

 

Spreadsheet Formulas.

Next you will need to create a few formulas. First you want to create a line that totals your office overhead along with any salaries.

Subtract this number from the total sales in per month, and you have a fairly accurate idea of what revenue is left for taxes.

Next take this number and apply the following formula: =C54*(1-29%)  In is case C54 is the cell with our remaining net cash after salaries office expenses and inventory expenses.  This formula takes your net cash and subtracts 29%, which is a pretty good approximation for a small business tax burden and includes state taxes. We recommend that you speak with your tax professional to figure out what the percentage it for your specific situation. Whatever tax rate they suggest simply replace the 29 in that formula with the new number.

In the line below this, add the formula =SUM(C54)-(C55). This gives you the monthly tax payment that you will owe (even though you will pay quarterly). In this instance C54 is the net income and C55 is the tax payment.

Keep in mind this spreadsheet is designed to give you a quick and pretty accurate picture of your cash flow month by month, but it does not factor in things such as depreciations, etc.

We hope you found this to be helpful and we look forward to helping you achieve a prosperous 2018.


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