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August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Marketing a BHPH Operation

By Gene Daughtry

Gene Daughtry - What business are you in? I think that is your first marketing question. I believe you need to decide what you are doing. Are you a BHPH operation that will sell some vehicles for cash, or are you a retail store that will carry the note on some cars? I know they are both “the car business,” but the marketing for each business model is very different.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Power of Bowser Finds the Right Equation for F&I Success

Power of Bowser, a three-store automotive group just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., encompasses six new car franchises and averages 500 sales per month. The dealership implemented an F&I menu years ago for compliance reasons, but recently discovered it's also a profit generator.

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - In lean times, dealers must take measures to be certain they are maximizing each and every deal, and the F&I department is one of the main places to look for opportunities to increase profit. However, it also contains a potential landmine—compliance.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Service Advisor Training

By Don Reed

Don Reed - A significant number of dealers these days are becoming more and more aggressive in selling used vehicles. Some have even lost their new car franchises and now rely solely on used vehicle sales, along with parts and service sales to pay the overhead and hopefully provide them with a significant return on investment (ROI).

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Big Move: Changing Dealership Management Systems

"When it's all said and done and you do make a switch, it's a painful process, but because I let [the department managers] in on the decision-making process itself, they accepted that a little bit better because they felt ... like they had quite a bit of input." Matt Bell, Owner Greg Bell Chevrolet - Adrian, MI

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - If a dealership were a living organism, it’s safe to say the dealership management system (DMS) could be considered the creature’s central nervous system. There isn’t an area of the dealership the DMS does not touch; it holds huge amounts of the data necessary for the dealership to function—customer data, parts and vehicle inventory information, service history, financial data and much more.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Lease Is Hot at Boch Honda

At Boch Honda, in Norwood, Mass., leasing is regaining popularity among car buyers. About one-third of the dealership's new car business is leases. The dealership leased about 1,200 vehicles in 2009.

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Leasing is coming back in a big way. Just ask Ernie Boch, president of Boch Automotive, which has dealerships in Norwood and North Attleboro, Mass., covering Toyota, Scion, Honda, Ferrari and Maserati. “Leasing is really, really getting hot right now,” he declared.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

What Happens When Customers Call

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - These days it seems everyone is talking about digital marketing, Internet leads, social media and CRM, but are we overlooking the oldest and most useful piece of technology in our business—the telephone?

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Active Listening is Essential to Mastering Communication Skills

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - Communication is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior,” according to Merriam-Webster. While the definition does not directly mention listening, it is a key part of exchanging information.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How to Solve the Biggest Challenges Facing a BHPH Business

By Mark Dubois

Mark Dubois - No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The flip side of that expression is more likely what we encounter in real life: If it ain’t working, fix it. At a recent buy here pay here performance analysis meeting in Tampa, Fla. I surveyed the dealers in attendance and asked them, “What is the single biggest challenge facing your buy here pay here business today?

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Speed Still Sells

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - Most Internet sales managers or BDC staff will tell you the frustrating part of their job is customers who won’t connect. What you hear is, “We respond quickly, quote a great price, leave numerous voicemails, send several e-mails and never hear from the customer again.”

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Choosing a New Web Site Provider

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane, Jennifer Murphy - Technology changes so fast that it’s difficult to keep up, and that’s especially true when it comes to a dealer’s Web site. What was cutting-edge and met a dealer’s needs a year ago may now be lackluster in performance.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

When Catastrophe Hits, Are You Covered?

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - I recently assisted a client with reviewing their claim for insurance due to business interruption. Their facility’s main roof collapsed due to the weight of an excessive ice and snow storm, causing damage to a substantial amount of equipment and making the facility unusable for approximately eight months until it was rebuilt.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Building a Customer Base from Scratch

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - For a store that’s only two years old, Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida has made some major headway in its market. General Manager Andrew DiFeo said, “I opened the dealership in May of 2008. Hyundai didn’t exist in the St. Augustine market before that.”

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why Outsource Your Parts Inventory?

By Jennifer Conner

Jennifer Conner - A dealer’s parts inventory can be valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars to well over $1 million. This large of an asset needs protecting and auditing, ideally by an unbiased third party.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Turbo-Charge Your Internet Sales With Five Checkpoints

By Tony Troussov

Tony Troussov - Nowadays, your Internet leads could account for more than half of your walk-in traffic. Is your Internet team prepared to handle this volume effectively? Regardless of how productive your team is, there is always an opportunity to improve. If you’re ready to increase your market share and profitability, take some time to assess your team in the following five areas.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

I’m Supposed to Pay You $20,000 to Take My Trade?

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - I excitedly ripped open the “Owner Notification” from an area car dealer who sells the sort of SUV that we use to haul ourselves and the dogs to and from our place in South Carolina. Our old bus is pushing 70,000 miles, so I’m thinking that in this market, maybe I’ll get a real steal.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Your F&I Office can Influence Customer Retention

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - There are many strategies that have developed over the past several years to positively influence customer retention. Customer loyalty programs with a points reward system and special discount pricing on select dealership services provide some level of success.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Leveraging Online Auction Leads One Click at a Time

By Clayton Stanfield

Clayton Stanfield - Dealerships have been heeding the call to build an expansive online presence in order to sell used cars and hard-to-sell vehicles for some time now. However, as more dealers are realizing that other parts of the dealership, such as parts and accessories and new cars, have a viable and active market online, they begin to transform into virtual dealerships with all aspects of the sales floor available online.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Finance Effect

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - As the $200 Billion TALF (Term ABS Loan Facility) ether starts to wear off, it is going to be interesting to see what happens to non-prime automotive finance for the remainder of the year.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Auction Direct USA Networks its Way to the Top

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - “My focus is really just the entire online experience … building our online brand, getting that footprint out through as many different channels as possible. Obviously, with the explosion of all the social channels, that makes it a lot easier, especially with all the other platforms we have,” said Miltsch.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Internet, How I Love Thee

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - The Internet is the greatest invention since, well, ever! I don’t know how we as a society ever survived without it. When it comes to buy here pay here, not taking advantage of this wondrous tool will almost ensure a short and lackluster future in our industry.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Increase Service and Parts Business Online Now

By J.D. Rucker

J.D. Rucker - What if I told you that over 95 percent of your service and parts business comes from "traditional" marketing—word of mouth, past customers, location. Nearly everyone who spends time in your service or parts department got there because they already knew something about you.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By George Dans

George Dans - Have you ever noticed the three types of salespeople you hire—the good, the bad and the ugly? It’s always good when you hire one of the good ones, but for some strange reason, there aren’t many of the good ones to be found.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Jeff Wyler Toyota Employs Multi-Pronged Media Strategy

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - For 2009, national Toyota sales were down more than 20 percent, while Jeff Wyler Toyota was up 28.6 percent. When the Toyota dealership originally opened 25 years ago, it was named Green Tree Toyota after a new, nearby mall, Green Tree Mall.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Special Finance Companies Making Great Strides in the Dealer’s Eyes

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Twice each year, once in April and once in November, Auto Dealer Monthly reports the temperature of the retail finance climate. Having begun this process in 2005, this is the twelfth time we have asked dealers and their dealership personnel to offer their opinions of the retail finance companies they are doing business with.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Departmentalize Your Service Department

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Your service department is one of the busiest departments in your dealership. Service deals with more customers than any other department on a daily, monthly and annual basis. The service department also sees more potential customers than any other department.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

New Direction for Disenfranchised Dealers

By Kimberly Long

Too many dealers have had to learn how to pick up and move on with their lives after getting a “Dear John” letter from their manufacturer(s) to which they had been loyal for decades. At first glance, it would seem the disenfranchised dealer has three options: close the doors, acquire another vehicle franchise or go it alone as an independent.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Deciding Where to File

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson, Cathy Brennan - Often a plaintiff’s lawyer has a choice about where to file his or her client’s lawsuit. Those choices can involve whether to file the suit in state court in an urban or rural county or whether to file the action in a federal court rather than in a state court.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

New & Pre-owned Leasing

By David Keeney

David Keeney - If we were to ask 1,000 new or used vehicle prospects whether they prefer to buy or lease their next vehicle, how would they answer? Most likely buy unless they have been presented both options. We as professionals realize that 80 percent or so of people’s thinking is based on attitudes and feelings, while only 20 percent is fact-based.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Service Powerhouse at DeBoer's Auto

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - To the casual observer passing by DeBoer’s Auto in Hamburg, N.J., the dealership might appear to be a small, rather unassuming-looking used car lot. To be sure, DeBoer’s isn’t a gigantic operation – they stock about 20 used vehicles at any given time – but the area in which the store truly excels is its fixed operations.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

RoadLoans: A New Kind of Lead Program

By ADM

RoadLoans is a combination of a lead program and a finance program. Dealers belonging to the program’s Preferred Dealer Network pay a subscription rate for a group of leads (no per-lead fees) to receive exclusive leads on near-prime and non-prime customers, and each lead comes with a built-in offer of financing from RoadLoans, a division of Santander Consumer USA.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Make Your Customers Tick

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - To determine what motivates a customer to buy a vehicle, we first must identify the different things that make customers tick. Each customer has a hot button, but combinations of the following motivators are usually present in each customer’s decision-making process.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Using Your DMS to Analyze Operational Results

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Review your year-to-date income statement as compared to the prior year, specifically whether vehicle gross profit percentages remained consistent or were lower than the prior year.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Your CRM is One of Your Best Employees

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - Every dealer has a few great employees, but few dealers think of their CRM as one of them. I’ve always thought otherwise. There are 10 reasons you should feel the same way

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Hidden Costs of a CRM

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Customer relationship management (CRM) software and systems can be an incredible waste of time and money, and the resulting exposure to liabilities is an ever-growing concern for the small business owner. These systems can also be the most valuable tool available to stabilize revenue and grow your business, and the difference starts at the top.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Findlay Automotive Launches New VW Store

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - During one of the worst recessions in the country’s history, many businesses abruptly halted any plans for growth. However, while 2009 may have been a risky year to launch a new dealership, Findlay Automotive Group took the next logical step in growing the company’s footprint by opening their newest store.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Web Traffic is Up

By Richard Valenta

Richard Valenta - Analysts and dealers alike are saying this spring will be great for business. Traffic to dealership Web sites is up across the country. During the past year, reduced expenses affected many dealers’ marketing and advertising efforts, including their Web sites.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Protecting Your Customer’s Privacy

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - When we do a dealer F&I compliance audit, one of the things we do is to go dumpster diving, or at least “trash can rummaging.” That’s because there seem to be an awful lot of dealers out there who haven’t yet gotten the word that we have laws protecting the privacy of their customers.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How to Design a Fixed Ops Marketing Plan

By Don Reed

Don Reed - A worthy goal for every dealer would be to sell a new or used vehicle today and keep that customer coming back to your dealership for life. You want them coming back for all their service needs, for parts, for body repairs, to buy additional vehicles for their family and of course, to trade in the vehicle you just sold them to buy another. Makes sense, right?

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Rogers Auto Group BDC Nets Customers Online

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - When fishing, a net will usually yield a better return than a fishing pole. At Rogers Auto Group in Chicago, Ill., David Ortiz understands and employs this concept to drive traffic to the dealership. Although he’s the BDC manager, he also manages the dealership Web site, which is where most dealership traffic is spawned.

Tags: BDC

May 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

CRM and BDC in BHPH

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - Is a CRM right for you? Maybe a BDC is what you need. Whether they realize it or not, all BHPH dealers have some form of both, or at least they’d better if they want to survive.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Trust but Verify

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - The practices of reviewing deal jackets on a regular basis (once a month at minimum, once a week is preferred), analyzing production reports, and conducting daily managers’ save-a-deal meetings continue to be the gold standards for our industry.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Traditional Media Once Again Working Well in Special Finance

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - As the calendar turns to March, good news seems to be abounding in the special finance world. E-mails and phone conversations with dealers and their managers indicate that business is indeed returning to that of the old days (late ‘90s) when SF was solid and deals were reasonable.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Factors

By J.D. Rucker

J.D. Rucker - Search engine optimization is both an art and a science. While there are factors that every professional in the industry agrees contribute to the success of an SEO campaign, the differences come in how much weight is given to each factor.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Are You Equipping Your Managers?

By Tony Troussov

Tony Troussov - Training people should be a top priority when developing a successful team. Most dealerships or dealer groups focus on improving salespeople while ignoring the skill set of employees in other revenue-generating departments.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Getting to the FAAQs

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - During the course of a year, accountants are asked many different questions. Some of the more frequent questions are: What should I pay myself for salary? What should I pay myself for rent, and what should the lease term be? Should I consider starting a buy here pay here (BHPH) operation if I am a new car dealer? Getting to the FAAQs

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

SEO Need to Know

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Successful search engine optimization (SEO) is ever-changing, which is why many dealers enlist the help of third parties to properly optimize their Web sites. And choosing a reputable provider can be a challenge. If you’ve recently evaluated providers, you’ve likely learned a little about SEO, but your education on the subject was probably embedded in a sales pitch.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Finish Line Ford Laps the Competition by Building a Used Car Presence

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Proper inventory management is a fast-paced race, but it is one a dealer can come from behind and win. Case in point: Finish Line Ford in Peoria, Ill., is currently averaging 300 sales per month. When compared to the 70 per month it was averaging throughout most of 2008, it’s obvious the dealership came from about the middle of the pack and is now leading the way.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Responding to All Things Internet

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - The Internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy. To effectively communicate and maintain strong relationships with Internet customers, responses to inquiries must be immediate and consistent and you must interact with customers on the latest Web 2.0 Internet avenues.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Solving the 2010 Profit Puzzle

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - It happened one Thanksgiving Day. My mom and her sisters gathered around the dining room table and placed a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. I’d seen them do it every Thanksgiving Day of my life.

Tags: BDC

April 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Be Optimistic Even in this Economy

By Bill Leslie

Bill Leslie - That was an odd comment, so I asked him what he meant. "They don't like their customers, and they don't like their own business. They are rude, and expensive, and when you are done working with them, you'll feel pretty bad about having given them your money."

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
All Things Must Pass

By Jim Ziegler
Ziegler mourns the loss of Gregg Allman as Ford and Hyundai shake up their leadership teams and Carvana struggles to stay afloat.

Join the Battle of Jericho

By Jim Ziegler
Ziegler has harsh words for the so-called geniuses behind escalating factory incentives, political support for autonomous vehicles, AutoNation's 'millennial-friendly' pay plan, and the Carvana IPO.

Don't Run, We Are Your Friends!

By Jim Ziegler

The Future Ain't What It's Cracked Up to Be

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb