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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

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Different Perspective - Lead Providers Weigh In

By Kimberly Long

Much of the talk regarding the slowdown in car sales and the recent difficulties in special finance has come from the viewpoint of either the dealer or the finance company, each looking back at the other. However, there’s another unique viewpoint to consider ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Audubon Credit Center Launches During Turbulent Times

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Nestled in a small cabin with a fireplace, one wouldn’t expect to find an up-and-coming special finance department, but that’s the locale of the Audubon Credit Center, the newly-opened special finance department at Audubon Chrysler Center in Henderson, Ky. Mind you, the dealership did not build the cabin for housing ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Search Engine Reputation Management

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - How often do you search Google and the other search engines for your dealership name? Weekly? Monthly? Rarely? You should be doing it often. Your potential customers do. It's actually the most important ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Auto Finance Companies Still Buying Deals

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - It only seems appropriate that this month’s column focus on the auto finance companies that are serving the special finance market. Without a doubt, it has been a tumultuous year, but contrary to the perspective of many dealers, finance companies are still issuing loans. One of the most often-asked questions I used to receive was, “Who is hot?” Nowadays, it has become, “Who is in the market?” The good news is that there are still options ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Mining for Precious Profits

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Many dealers dig into reports that spell out how many units each salesperson sold, how many ROs the service department has written and how many ancillary products the F&I office has sold. As informative as the data in those reports are, they are all history reports and don’t do much to drive more traffic or sales. Today, many dealers are digging through their ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Riverside Hits the Tech Ground Running

By John Carroll

For the three Dagenais brothers, one of the biggest challenges they faced while negotiating to buy out the local Ford store in Escanaba, Mich., involved keeping their pledge of strict confidentiality. In a Midwestern town like Escanaba, that commitment required ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Manage Your Inventory for Profits Today

By Mark O'Neil

Mark O'Neil - ...think about the most successful retailers across the country, operators such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Best Buy. One thing they have in common is they don’t leave much ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Put Your Money Where Eyeballs Are

By Jason Ezell

Jason Ezell - Although OEM sites are still the most visited by online shoppers, third-party sites are no longer the second most visited sites. For the first time, dealership Web sites are the second most visited Web sites by online car shoppers! A reported 60 percent of these shoppers went to the ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Art of Turning Cars into Cash

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Unlike traditional financing, where a dealer earns his profit at the time of sale, BHPH dealers earn their profits over long periods of time. This business model, on more than a very small-scale operation, can quickly drive a dealer out of cash and business. The solution for many BHPH dealers is ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Five Sources to Drive Traffic to Your Web Site

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - The scope of the automotive industry has changed over the last several months. Web sites are becoming more functional, offering the quality that consumers demand when trying to research vehicles online. They're not all perfect, but for the most part, they offer inventory, credit applications and other ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Finance Companies Concerns Mean on-Target Inventory is Required

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Suddenly it became crystal clear. Well, maybe not crystal, but for the first time in a long time, I really get it. I understand the special finance landscape from many of the finance companies’ perspectives, which also gives me a leg up on trying to help give dealers better ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Discipline is Expecting to Win

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson -You may say, “Well, I’m not very disciplined.” Yes, you are. You just haven’t learned how to focus it toward a specific goal. Discipline means doing something that is going to move you closer to your ...

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

2008 Auto Finance Survey

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

No doubt, many finance offices feel like they’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster ride over the past 11 months, with finance companies tightening their belts, exiting the subprime sector, exiting leasing, dropping dealers or ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Walk the Talk in Inventory Management

By Harlene Doane

We’ve all heard the statement before. You have to walk the talk. It’s not enough to say you will do something; you have to do it. It’s time for dealers to manage their inventory better. Dealers are talking about inventory management in record numbers, but ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Right-Sizing in The Current Economy

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

As with any industry, the automotive retail industry has seen its fair share of buzzwords. The new buzzword in the industry is “right-size.” In order to avoid being a causality of the economy (NADA estimated 700 dealerships shut their doors in 2008), many dealers have been advised to ...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

First-Party Internet Leads

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

It’s no secret; dealer-generated leads close better than purchased, third-party leads. Not only can third-party leads get expensive, but some in the industry are saying third-party leads aren’t what they used to be.

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Old School Meets High Tech

By Tom Langas

Tom Langas - Every company out there that does Web site design has their vision of what your site should be to be successful. They are not aware of your market's nuances, quirks and hot spots. It is up to you and others in your company to stick by your guns and make these talented designers see your vision.

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why Should You Have a BHPH Web Site?

By Charley Pompey

Charley Pompey - Picture this: you leave your office on a Monday night and the last thing you do is make sure your desk is clear and ready for the next day. On Tuesday morning you find five completely filled out and signed credit applications from customers neatly arranged on your desk.

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

High Performance Auxiliary Web Sites

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel- As I have been saying for months, the reporting of the death of the SF industry is beginning to sound much like infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline from 60 years ago. Yes, the industry has definitely changed, but without a doubt it is still alive and kicking, and while it’s more challenging than in recent years, much can be learned from the SF Top 10 dealers.

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Mobile Marketing Today

By Todd Swickard

Todd Swickard - The hype is building about mobile marketing and how it will affect automotive in 2009. Early adopters are pushing text messaging and mobile Web advertising. Those who sell mobile marketing services say it’s the future of CRM. After all...

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

BHPH Marketing and Advertising

By Kimberly Long

The mortgage meltdown, the shrinking of the subprime credit market and the tightening of credit across the board have been bad news for many in automotive retail. However, buy here pay here dealers seemed to be in the perfect position to reap some benefits from the effects of the credit crisis.

Tags: BDC

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Jim Shorkey and Courtesy Suzuki

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

“When they first started talking about this recession, I announced to my team, ‘There’s all this talk about a recession. I’m not participating. If you’re participating, you’re in the wrong room,’” said Jim Shorkey, dealer principal of Courtesy Suzuki and Jim Shorkey Kia in North Huntingdon, Pa.

Tags: BDC

April 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Misdiagnosed Dealer Plague

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - I have talked to many banks in the past few months, and guess what? They don’t seem to be in the business of loaning money anymore. Seems strange, as they should have a hard time making a profit if they pay depositors and...

Tags: BDC

April 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Part Three: Outsource to In-House - The BDC Ramp-Up Process

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean -There are many different functions a BDC can perform. Some of the most popular ... in-house BDCs performing well include: working Internet leads, working purchased leads, taking incoming sales calls from advertising and direct mail and ...

Tags: BDC

April 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Growing Rate of Technological Change

By Rick Gibbs

Rick Gibbs -Despite current economic conditions, the rate of technological change continues to grow at exponential rates. This is extremely important to your dealership because it ultimately affects the way consumers shop and make purchase decisions...

Tags: BDC

April 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Rising to the Challenge

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Last year at this time I was preparing to run my first marathon. It was a goal I set for myself a decade ago, but had never come close to accomplishing. This time was different however, as I had armed myself with a proven training plan. By executing it, I was able to cross one more thing off my “Bucket List.” ...

Tags: BDC

April 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Collection CSI - Should You Measure It?

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - How would your collection department CSI (Customer Service Index/Indicator) measure up to everyone else’s in the BHPH industry? Most BHPH operators haven’t given it a second thought. As yet, there hasn’t been a...

Tags: BDC

April 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Hidden Cost in Your Workman's Compensation

By Harlene Doane

There are two ways to address workman's compensation. The first is risk management.... The second is before and after the injury that has occurred.

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
Turn Out the Lights, the Party's Over

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg says goodbye to recordbreaking sales, uncovers the truth behind Trump vs. Ford, seeks justice for criminals in the executive ranks, and throws ‘The Book’ at Cadillac.

The Leads Are Weak

By Jim Ziegler
Did you ever try to cancel a lead provider for poor performance and, all of a sudden, their leads started closing at a crazy percentage? 'Da Man' reveals the ugly truth about the lead provider business.

It's a Nerd Meltdown

By Jim Ziegler

There’s a Vacancy in Mom’s Basement

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb