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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

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Fundamentals of BHPH

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Special finance is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. The demand for financing is growing as consumer credit shifts lower on the spectrum and several national non-prime lenders scramble for cash during the credit crisis. This combination of events has created a very challenging dilemma for many car dealers—how to finance customers in the “no-man’s land” of credit? This tier I am calling the “no-man’s land” is for customers with credit scores

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

ILM is Not CRM

By Jonathan Ord

Jonathan Ord - Imagine that your dealership was sectioned off into little rooms. When a customer approached your dealership ... they would be escorted to one of the rooms based on something arbitrary, for example, hair color ... Each room would have assigned salespeople ... would have a computer with customer information separate from every other computer. None of the rooms would interact or

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

State Park Motors and Onaway Auto

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

For more then 30 years, Willard “Bill” Davis has maintained two successful pre-owned operations on sound business practices. Davis’ roots in the automotive industry run deep. His career started on his brother’s used Jeep lot, where he worked for 13 years before beginning an 18-year career with Hertz.

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Maximizing Lead Performance

By Josh Vajda

Third-party lead providers are still some of the best sources for online leads. The right provider will help you generate the quantity and quality of leads your store needs to boost profits. But it can take more than having a reputable lead provider on board to ensure positive results. Good in-store processes are also necessary to guarantee high close rates...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Zoombak

By ADM

Not so long ago, a BHPH dealer always had to sweat a little when watching his collateral go over the curb in the hands of a high-risk customer. If the customer defaults, how much time and effort will go into locating and repossessing the vehicle?

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Prestige Volvo Sees the Future Online

By Kimberly Long

When he was growing up, Matthew Haiken had no doubt about the career he wanted to pursue. “I wanted to be a car dealer from a very young age … I love the business, every aspect of it. I love the competitiveness, the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. In fact, he started attending 20 group meetings at the age of 16. “I loved being around car dealers; to me they were ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Internet and Its Effect on Accounting Departments

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

Dave Keller - You, your accounting personnel or your accountant can access your data from any Internet connection using communication software such as PC Anywhere, VPN, VNC and terminal services connections. This enables real-time analysis of your dealership data with your accounting personnel. The Internet also lets you download the data to other software or third-party vendors you have authorized to receive your data ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Three Streams of Special Finance Leads

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - ... the reporting of the death of the SF industry is beginning to sound much like the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline from 60 years ago. Yes, the industry has definitely changed, but it is still alive and kicking. Although it’s more challenging than in recent years, much can be learned from the SF Top 10 dealers ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Warning Bells: The Internet, Pricing and Discounting

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - "Dolly" saw a 2006 Nissan Murano advertised on the Internet. When she contacted the dealer about the car, a dealer representative quoted the purchase price as $15,500. When Dolly drove to the dealership to pick up the car, a second representative told her the purchase price was actually $21,500. “Molly,” Dolly's sister, agreed to act as a co-signer so that Dolly ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

What You Can Uncover with a Few Keystrokes

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Knowing the basics of how many visitors your site has, the number of page views and the amount of time spent on the site is fairly easy these days, but it is possible to learn so much more. There are several products on the market, many of which are entirely free, that allow you to view your site and marketing efforts from several different perspectives ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Time for Change

By Jason Ezell

Jason Ezell - If we can bring people in on pre-owned car deals, then we can show them the excellent deals we have on new vehicles and try to make that switch. Almost half of all people who submit a vehicle lead via the Internet will buy a different vehicle than the one they first inquired about, and over 42 percent of people who submitted a lead on a new vehicle ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Key Auto Mall Sets the Standard with Centralized Dispatch

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

At Key Auto Mall – one such example – overall business is good, and the 20-bay service department is booming. The auto mall, which spans two city blocks, is located in Moline, Ill., and has three separate sales showrooms encompassing Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Dodge and Mazda. However, all service is completed in a centralized ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Value of Service Data

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Often, it’s the service department that keeps the dealership doors open during down sales cycles, but this is only achieved when the dealership drives ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Ten Questions Top Sales Managers Can Answer

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Every high-performing sales organization is led by a manager who has the answers to 10 common performance questions that separate the strong from the weak. Your answers to these questions will be your compass for action and execution. They are your roadmap for improving sales ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Should Car Dealers be on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace?

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - Social networks have been used as marketing tools since they started getting really hot a few years ago. Businesses have been using MySpace, Facebook and more recently, Twitter to get their message out to an online audience that is willing to listen. The problem that most businesses, including car dealerships, have with marketing through social networks is ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Compete with Professionalism

By Michael Rees

Michael Rees - So, Jessica was put in the unenviable position of having to find a replacement vehicle. The insurance company wrote her a check for just under $6,000 for her truck. Jessica started her mission to buy a used vehicle for $6,000. She started as most buyers do nowadays, by surfing the Internet ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Thank God I'm Crazy

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - The influx of calls and sudden popularity of BHPH reminds me of when I first made the decision to start financing customers myself. My family thought I was crazy ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Raising the Internet Department of Behlmann Automotive

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

The Internet can be incredibly rewarding with proper nurturing and commitment, and Anthony Bartoli, Internet director and sales manager at Behlmann Pontiac Buick GMC, treats the Internet department like a child—a method that has proved successful at more than one dealership in St. Louis, Mo.

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Practice Safe Shipping

By Scott Naz

Every person in the car industry, at one time or another, has had the need to transport a vehicle from point A to point B. The scary fact facing many dealers is that they have absolutely no idea if their so-called reputable transport provider is

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Revving Up Fixed Ops in A Down Economy

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Economically speaking, Newton’s third Law of Motion – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – is certainly applicable today. Applied to the automotive industry, the action is decreased vehicle sales and the reaction is increased sales in service and maintenance. The question is: Are customers bringing their vehicles to you or your competitors for service? Now is the prime time to rev up fixed operations to gain more service and maintenance ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Bank Defrauded, So I get a Free Car

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - The bailout mentality seems to be everywhere. Here’s an example. Customers borrow money from a bank to finance their car purchases. They default on their loans, and the bank undertakes court actions to recover the vehicles. The consumers discover that the loan officer they dealt with had pled guilty to defrauding the bank. The consumers decided that was reason enough to let them keep their cars ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Thoughts on the New and Used Vehicle Market

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

Dave Keller -Chrysler and GM have yet to prove how eliminating dealers is going to save them to a profit. They should let the economics of business weed out the dealers who are not profitable. Sooner or later, the non-profitable and under-capitalized dealers won’t be able to ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

BREATH - Keys One and Two

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - If you are not modeling the way of a winner, then maybe you need to get some coaching. Once you identify your beliefs, write them down. You must have written belief statements that are positive, forward-thinking and reaffirm confidence in yourself. This alone is a powerful tool. Here’s one more piece of advice: Do not give ...

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Analyzing Inventory - Deja Vu 1980

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - When it comes to the car business, 2009 is not much different than 1980. The details, circumstances and causes for the recession were different but the end effect on the car dealer was basically the same. Credit was very limited if not non-existent. Thirty years ago Chrysler, led by Lee Iacocca, was pleading in front of Congress for some sort of financial relief. Unemployment was ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Hangin up the Keys

By Ron Smith

Ron Smith - If, for whatever reason, you have decided that the time has come for you to exit the industry as a franchised new car dealer, the following is a very brief synopsis of things to consider. The following is a checklist I have given to some clients considering exiting...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Outsource to In-House - Part Four

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - Up to this point in the outsource-to-in-house-BDC transition, the bulk of the in-house preparation has been planning, along with some training. While the entire transition can take up to a ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

F&I and Service Can Work Together

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - In today’s unpredictable market, one thing is certain, vehicle service contracts (VSC) make for happier customers. Realizing that the economics of the current conditions are daunting for many consumers, the VSC is a true value not only at the time of ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Your Vendor Agreements

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

Dave Keller - ... dealers use many third-party vendors which have DMS access for downloading information to their software to furnish dealers with add-on products and/or reports. Maybe it is time to inventory all these programs to find out if you are still utilizing them and if ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Properly Allocate Your Internet Marketing Dollars

By Jason Ezell

Jason Ezell - As dealer Web sites grew in number, popularity and robustness, Web space got crowded—especially on search engines. The solution for more visibility amidst the crowd was to buy your way in front of competitors to position yourself closest to the shopping audience. It’s the ultimate auction with no ceiling on pricing, and the more you spend the ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

CRM in Service and in Sales

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - As consumers shy away from purchasing new and pre-owned vehicles during this difficult economic cycle, customer relationship management efforts should be solidly focused on service opportunities. From any 100 customers who purchased a vehicle, from a retail dealer, data base management system information indicates about 30 of those customers are ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Owen Motors Focuses on Helping Customers

By Kimberly Long

During the many years he’s been selling cars, Don Owen has most definitely seen some ups and downs. “More ups than downs,” he stated. “[Last year] was the worst year I’ve seen in the car business in the 60 years I’ve been in [it].” However, he pointed out, “It was also a learning year.” The store went from selling 50 to 60 units per month in 2006 and 2007 to selling ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How Employee F&I Fraud Can Come Home to Roost

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - So, your dealership’s employee dummies-up a credit application with bogus income information in order to get the bank to buy the deal, enabling the employee to earn his commission. No one else at the dealership is aware of the fraud. Then, the employee’s acts are discovered ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Full-Spectrum Financing

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Full-spectrum financing is an absolute necessity for car dealers today. It affords them the ability to offer vehicle-purchasing options to every customer who visits the store, regardless of their credit and with less emphasis on down payment. It removes an important limiting factor from the typical sales process and, if done correctly, will help dealerships create ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Eighteen Internet Marketing Tips

By Howard Polirer

Howard Polirer - The goal of automotive Internet marketing is not to sell cars online; it’s to get potential customers to see your car, click on your car, come in to your store and ultimately purchase the vehicle. To get consumers to move through this process, your online presentation must create value ..

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Subaru Dealer Anchors CRM in Store Culture

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Many people relate CRM to customer follow-up. While follow-up is an integral part of CRM, some believe managing your customer relationships long before the sale is just as crucial. At Anchor Subaru and Anchor Pre-Owned, customer relationship management (CRM) begins as soon as a potential customer ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Become the Exception to the Rule

By Jim Jackson

... the one thing I’ve noticed all dealerships have in common is the weakness of their staff... they can’t hire great people. It’s as though a long-winded response justifies (or obscures) poor hiring practices. You can’t find good people and if you do, you can’t keep them! People don’t mind being the president or manager, but no one wants to be the ...

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
Fasten Those Seatbelts

By Jim Ziegler
With a major slowdown imminent, Da Man says it’s time to ditch those new-age theories and get back to the basics.

Objects in the Rearview Mirror

By Jim Ziegler
The past is right behind us and the future is coming fast. The Alpha Dawg plots a course for your store’s success and shares advice for Elon Musk, Johan de Nysschen, and pre-owned managers.

The Big Talent Drain

By Jim Ziegler

A Faster Horse

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb