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October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Inventory Management

By Scott Dreisbach

Scott Dreisbach - The importance of precise vehicle inventory management has never been more clearly defined than it is today. It is well known that precise vehicle inventory management can be the difference in whether or not we operate our stores at a profit or loss.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Technology in Business Development

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - We can’t wait for success to come to us. We have to go after it, and technology can help in a lot of ways. Technology can enhance communication with prospects, target certain segments of past customers, locate new customers who are in the market for a vehicle and simplify certain BDC processes.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Acton Toyota Internet Division

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Nearly every dealership these days seems to have some kind of online presence, although to varying degrees. Some have just a Web site, while others have a Web site and listings on sites like AutoTrader.com or cars.com.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Simplify Through Technology

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Here we are and our automotive world has changed so much we hardly recognize it anymore. Who would have thought a few short years ago we’d be in this spot today?

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Here Comes Web 3.0

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - First came what is known as Web 1.0, which was basic Web design that included a number of static pages that basically pushed information out to online shoppers.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Stolen Any Good Forms Lately?

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - “No. Why should we pay ABC Forms Company 58 cents a form for those things? My brother-in-law says he knows a printer who’ll run them off for us for 12 cents each. Give me a copy of one of the ones you have left, and I’ll get us a bunch made.”

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Technology Marketing

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - Twitter, Facebook, blogs, grapevine—of these four choices, which do you think has the potential to provide tremendous growth in leads? If you said Twitter, Facebook and blogs, you’re right.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Technology-Driven Dealership

By ADM

Opening a dealership today can be very different than opening a dealership just 10 years ago. Through technological innovations, processes in all areas of the dealership can be improved for both the dealership staff and the customers.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Dealers Identify Top Performing Finance Companies at 2009 Special Finance Convention

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - The past 12 months have provided a bumpy ride for most of those involved in the special finance industry. As credit tightened after capital markets vanished and delinquencies rose, dealers felt the pinch all across the country.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Tips and Tools for Managing Automotive Social Media

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - One of the biggest challenges for businesses entering into Web 2.0 and using social media to promote their products is finding the time to do it all. Every site has a different interface, a different user-base, and different ways they can be used to enhance your marketing.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Standardization is Key to CarBiz Success

By Kimberly Long

CarBiz CEO Carl Ritter did not set out to launch a chain of buy here pay here stores. His company began as something much different.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Training and Testing Your BDC

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - There are plenty of dos and don’ts when working in a business development center. How often do you train and test your business development representatives (BDRs) to ensure they know the dos and don’ts and are performing to the best of their ability? ...

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Third Party Lead Generation

By Harlene Doane

The difference between a $1,000 gross profit and a $2,500 gross profit on a special finance deal is the amount of work that goes into the deal... ...None of that is easy, especially in today’s market.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Against The Tide

By Tom Langas

When we are as busy as we have been, I become anti-technology and pro-people. I know, some of you hard-core geeks out there are thinking, “Master your technology, have more time for people.”

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

All-Pro Team Selling Service Contracts in the Service Drive at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Would you like your service department to gross tens of thousands of dollars more each year? The answer seems like a no-brainer, but many dealerships aren’t taking advantage of additional profits that can be had by selling service contracts on the service drive. Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet’s service department, however, is grossing an extra $7,000 a month by doing just that ...

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Behind the Scenes with SmartAuction

By ADM

When it was launched in 2000, SmartAuction was intended to serve as a means of remarketing off-lease vehicles for GMAC to GM dealers. As it exists today, SmartAuction has grown well beyond its original concept and shows no signs of slowing down.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Traditional Values, Non-Traditional Dealership Jennifer’s Auto Sales and Service

By Kimberly Long

It’s not unusual for a visitor to Jennifer’s Auto Sales and Service, an independent dealership in Spokane Valley, Wash., to find Dealer Jennifer Johnson in her facility’s fully-equipped kitchen cooking up a pot of spaghetti or baking cookies for her staff and customers

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Maximum Accountability Creates Maximum Profitability

By Don Reed

Don Reed - After spending the last nine years working with hundreds of dealerships all across our country, I have discovered an amazing phenomenon permeating fixed operations. One could compare this phenomenon to cancer. The good news is this cancer is 100 percent curable for every single dealer who really wants to be cancer-free! The cancer is called “Lack of Accountability.” I find maximum accountability for everyone’s performance in the sales department ...

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Marathon of Special Finance

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - It has been a while since I have used a running analogy for special finance, but based on recent events in my life and the auto industry, I feel there is no better time than the present. Prior to taking up marathon running in late 2007, it had been many, many years since I was identified as an athlete, so regardless of whether or not you run, this article is still very apropos ...

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Red Flags Compliance Options

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Although the August 1, 2009 enforcement date for the Red Flags Rule is upon dealers – provided the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn’t delay it at the last minute again – many dealerships have yet to comply. For those who still need to put their Red Flags program in place, here’s a sampling of the products available on the market to help you become compliant ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Winding Down Your New Car Dealership

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - What a month it has been! For the past three to four weeks, we have been busy assisting our GM dealers who received a “non-renewal agreement” letter to effectively close their new GM franchises down by October 2010 ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Automotive Website Compliance | Automotive Websites | Todd Swickard

By Todd Swickard

Dealers have a sort of love/hate relationship with compliance, especially in terms of their Web sites. Before manufacturers implemented standards for dealer sites, there was a kind of “Wild West” feel to things ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Car Smart Updates Advertising and Inventory

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - While some dealers have had a Web presence for years, CarSmart in Kansas City, Mo., didn’t have one until April 2009. Co-Owner Ted Heater, Jr. said, “We were in business for 11 years and didn’t have … any kind of Internet presence … Business was always so good by our direct mail, TV and radio campaigns, nobody would have had time to do a Web site. Now, [with] a 40 to 50 percent decrease in business, well, I have a lot of time now.” ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Ka-Boom

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - I was conducting an on-site dealership compliance audit of a buy here pay here store, looking over the dealership’s sales and F&I process from A to Z in an effort to decrease the dealership’s potential liability for violations of state and federal law. It’s a good thing that it was only lil’ ole me probing this dealership’s operation. If, instead, an FTC SWAT team had descended on the car lot, the dealer would be out of business ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How to Expand Your Pre-Owned Market Area

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - You have the cars. They want them. How do you bring them to you? How can you stand out from your competitors? With marketing budgets being cut, many dealers are looking to the Internet to “spend smarter.” There are still obstacles. With hundreds of vendors and marketing firms flaunting their products, it’s possible to spend more online than offline. Luckily, there are only three areas you have to cover to make sure you’re geared for success ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Copeland Toyota's BDC Puts Customer Service First

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - If you ask some dealers, the purpose of a dealership’s business development center is to manage leads and set appointments. However, that’s not quite the approach taken by Copeland Toyota in Brockton, Mass. The dealership operates on a customer service philosophy of full disclosure, and while one of the functions of its BDC is indeed setting appointments, its primary purpose is to operate as a buyer’s advocate ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Best BDCs Win with Shared Leads

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - My favorite part about working shared leads is that a shared lead gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from everyone else who is calling these leads. Effectively working shared leads is more about selling the appointment than setting the appointment, and your phone skills are just as important as a quick response. You won’t set yourself apart with a hard sell. Instead, with shared leads, you set yourself – and your dealership – apart with very subtle influence and pers

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Time is Money in Used Vehicle Operations

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - It’s no secret, with so many woes in the world of new car sales, dealers are focusing even more energy on areas like fixed ops and used vehicle sales. In many cases, with the loss of franchises, used vehicle sales have become matter of life and death for their dealerships ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Essence of a Team

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Have you ever noticed the differences between really good companies that stand out among the competition and those others that just seem out of step? How about sports teams? Why did the Bruins dominate the Canadians during the first round of the Stanley Cup? Why do Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick routinely field championship racing teams? And, why is Richard Branson so successful? The one common difference that all successful businesses, sports teams or organizations share is r

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Cash is King

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - Availability of cash is definitely not as prevalent as this time last year. The good news is that it is still available in the BHPH industry unlike some of the other unfortunate industries. It’s just not as easy to find or secure, not to mention afford, since the rates we enjoyed a year ago no longer exist ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Improving Used Vehicle Management

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Technology is giving today’s buyer the same information dealers have, creating what some people say is an efficient market. This efficient market is causing dealers to change the way they inventory and market their used vehicles. For years, dealers have been working towards a 60-day turn policy, some even had a 30-day policy for used vehicles, but in today’s inventory market, those policies might be outdated ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Mastering Buy Here Pay Here

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - To say the least, BHPH is in high demand today. More and more customers need alternative financing to replace the void left by several non-prime finance companies that have changed their programs over the past year. As the market continues to evolve, several dealers also are looking to BHPH or LHPH (lease here pay here) as a new source for sales and revenue. So, if you are a dealer who is thinking about financing subprime customers yourself, let me give you some words of advice

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Gentilini Motors Focuses on Internet Sales

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Almost a decade ago, the owners of Gentilini Motors in Woodbine, N.J., began to notice traditional advertising trailing off and the Internet catching on. “The Internet was becoming more of a craze. It was becoming more prevalent in everybody’s household,” said Paul Gentilini, co-owner. In 2000, Gentilini Motors’ focus shifted to building an online presence ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Market Data v. Product Data

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - The customer will have a well-prepared story about why they should not buy. This begs the question, are you going to buy their story (objections), or will they buy your story of why they must have this coverage? ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Stability and Opportunity in Subprime Auto Finance

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - I write this month’s column while on the plane back from the Non-Prime Auto Finance Conference hosted by the National Auto Finance Association. While this conference is oriented towards the non-prime auto finance companies and the industry vendors that serve them, I do recommend it to dealers who desire a better understanding of the other side of the fence – the challenges finance companies face on a day in and day out basis ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Diminishing Cash Position

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - This past year, most dealers struggled to make a profit or attempted to keep losses at a minimum, conserve cash and basically just stay alive. They were hit with some strange tax consequences generated by the headlines noted earlier in this article. Used vehicle wholesale prices, in most instances, were drastically reduced at December 2008 versus December 2007 due to diminished demand from customers. This resulted in LIFO income, rather than normal LIFO expense ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Viable Option to Save Money and Generate Traffic

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - There are two ways to improve cash flow—reduce spending or increase income. Today, many dealers have been forced to reduce spending – whether through ad budget cuts, layoffs, contract renegotiations with vendors or other means. One department that has been cut in many stores is the business development center (BDC). “When dealers are cutting overhead left and right, they can’t afford the luxury of an in-house BDC,” said Matthew Dennis, president of Dealer Apps, Inc ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Creating a Service BDC

By Gary Kay

Gary Kay - There are things you just never forget. It happened in the spring of 1994. Something that unexpectedly shakes your business soul so dramatically that you swear you will never go there again ... we hit a small slump, not a major downturn in service volume, ... Service is a little cyclic, just as sales are, although the swings are usually much less dramatic. I was determined that my service department was not going to dip further even if ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Merging Business Development and Internet Department Activities

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - While credit for a sale and issues with the pay plan were problematic, Rimas cited a bigger concern: “The biggest reason [for integrating the departments] was customer rapport.” A customer submitting an Internet lead could be contacted by an Internet manager, a salesperson and possibly a business development representative (BDR) before ever visiting the dealership. “There may be three or four people that touch that customer before we even actually see them at the door,” he said.

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

AGs Don't Even Have to Open the Envelope

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - A friend who is a consultant to auto dealers regularly supplies me with examples of direct mail advertisements from his dealer clients. Almost always, the ads he forwards to me are ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Getting Results or Making Excuses

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - Do you have a dream or goal that you’ve always wanted to accomplish? Would you like your business to be better or more profitable? Are you unhappy with where you are right now? ... I have good news for you: You can change. You always have a choice. The power of choice is ...

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Foundation of the Special Finance Department

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Some department managers self-prophesied themselves out of a job. After convincing their senior managers and dealer principals that SF was no longer viable and finance companies were not willing to finance the subprime credit customers, their positions were easy to eliminate as dealerships were looking to ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Double Your BDC Efficiency

By Jonathan Ord

Jonathan Ord - Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Columbus, Ohio, and Allen Cadillac GMC Hyundai in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Both of these dealers have gotten creative in their use of a BDC, call center or combination of both. Hopefully, their method of success will give you some insights into how you can improve ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

It's Nothing Personal. It's Just Business

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - Buy here pay here is a very personal business. The moment you forget that simple notion is the moment you will start to lose your perspective on perhaps the single most important element of success in lending. People borrow money because they need it, and if you’re lending it, you better know what the money is for, why they need it and most importantly,...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Putting an Empty BDC to Use

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - In the average dealership without a BDC or call center, the handling of phone calls is still abominable. In reality, business development is more important today than ever and cutting costs in business development can have devastating effects. In some cases, manufacturers are putting more pressure on ..

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Importance of Having a BHPH Web Site

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - An effective BHPH Web site should have two primary goals: 1) to generate leads in the form of credit applications and/or contact information and 2) to collect money. Trying to do or be more will be counterproductive. Research has shown that today’s surfers have a tendency to exit sites that are too ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How BDCs Engage: Phone Calls, E-mails and Twitter

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - While it is possible to complete the details of a car deal through correspondence and ship it to the customer, for the most part a BDC is still shooting for the all-important kept appointment, whether for new customers or be-backs. The tools, however, have expanded tremendously. Every BDC should be taking advantage of the new ways ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Toyota Sunnyvale's Direct Sales Department Accounts for Half of Dealership Sales

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

The last month the store topped 600 was September 2008. Its three-month average for December ‘08, January ‘09 and February ‘09 was about 350 units per month, and while those three months are typically the slowest months of the year at Toyota Sunnyvale, Scott Pettitt, direct sales director, said the dip in sales was also partially due to market conditions. The direct sales department, which is similar to an

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Building a Special Finance Department from the Ground Up

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

A topic that polarizes industry professionals still today. While some dealers are pulling out of the SF arena, several dealers think now is the opportune time to build a special finance department because they believe the future of SF is bright.

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Red Flags Rule

By Randy Henrick

Randy Henrick - You probably know that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) delayed the enforcement date for the Red Flags Rule, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Compliance with the Red Flags Rule may prove to be the best thing you can do for your dealership, especially if you are located in a high-identity-theft state such as Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, Colorado, Florida or New York. The dealer and the dealer alone is the loser when an identity thief buys a car, and just one sa

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
A Faster Horse

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg wonders where the demand for driverless vehicles is coming from and has good news and bad news — but mostly bad news — for Fiat Chrysler and Cadillac dealers.

Strangers in the Mall

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg makes new friends, stands up for Cadillac dealers, charts the rise of the independent lots, and reconsiders free trade agreements.

You Can’t Handle the Truth

By Jim Ziegler

Watch Out for Grizzlies

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb