Article

Schomp Automotive Puts One-Price To Work

September 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by John Zieglar - Also by this author

Respect. That’s the key word at Schomp Automotive, and every member of the Schomp family lives by it every day. Respecting the customer starts with an innovative one-price-plan that eliminates the price battle and proves a commitment to satisfying the needs of the customer. While many dealerships may pay lip-service to the concept of one-price, at Schomp it is not an “experiment” but an intrinsic part of the culture.

Respect also means that Schomp sells according to the needs of the customer, saying goodbye to outdated one-size-fits-all high-pressure sales techniques in favor of a highly individualized sales approach that draws in customers and turns leads into sales.

“Our approach to sales is two-pronged,” Lisa Schomp said. “We pay equal attention to providing a superb Web site where customers can research and find exactly what they need and to our state-of-the-art CRC that ensures our telephone customers’ needs are met promptly and efficiently.”

Lisa Schomp said she made respect the cornerstone of her dealership and increased sales and retention by coupling a one-price-plan with a highly interactive Web site and customer relationship center (CRC) system.

“Our results, both in customer retention and revenue have been incredible. We have seen a phenomenal repeat and referral increase as a direct result of treating our customers with respect and taking away the price battle. One price does not necessarily guarantee our success–it is much more about a commitment to satisfying our customer. We are dedicated to our one-price philosophy, and this is what makes our dealership so unique. Our customers know this, so they continue to come back, and they refer us to their friends.”

Schomp said the CRC made a huge impact on customer retention.

“I’m a big advocate of customer retention and recently shifted to a CRC. The move affected the entire dealership. Implementing the CRC system has led to increased sales because it greatly enhances follow-up by our sales staff. Our customers are no longer slipping through the cracks. This is because we take all of the dealership’s phone calls and find the proper person to handle them. But we respect our customers’ needs enough to know they don’t just want a call back, they want to speak to someone who can meet their individual needs with timely and correct information. For this reason, our CRC representatives are much more than operators. They take in-bound sales calls and decipher the customers’ needs so that they can answer the question, or forward them on to the correct sales consultant. We provide prompt responses with real, to-the-point answers and a genuine interest in the needs of the customer. The focus is to set an appointment, and this is a true team effort.”

“In our Honda store, if you buy a new Honda and do your factory-scheduled maintenance here, we offer you our “Schompfidence” warranty package,” Schomp said. “It is a free seven-year/100,000-mile warranty that covers considerably more than a power-train warranty. It has fostered a sense of loyalty in both sales and service and has added a very effective selling benefit to our presentations.

Schomp said training is one of the most essential aspects in the CRC.

Aside from actually finding the right people for the job in the first place, training is the CRC’s irreplaceable element. Our CRC is in constant change and keeping everyone up to speed is a constant as well. Our CRC representatives are cross-trained in Honda, BMW and MINI sales and our used car inventory. They maintain a great base of knowledge, constantly study new products and do what it takes to keep their phone skills sharp.

Using a Web site had also drastically increased sales, Schomp said.

Our Web site is integral to our success. We sold over 1,000 vehicles online in 2004, and currently one in seven vehicles is sold online. Our Web site provider, BZ Results, built us a fantastic site, and they continually offer us incredible customer support and the ability to anticipate our needs before we even know what they are! The Web site offers literally hundreds of ways for a customer to contact us. It gets the customer’s attention with the messaging and with the state of art technology that loads fast on even a low speed connection. You can view a mini-movie about “Why Schomp,” take a virtual test drive and view our Internet specials. It is simply putting out as much bait as possible and letting the customer decide which avenue to take. We try not to overload them and turn a buyer into a shopper, but at the same time, we try to balance the information we make available. We also use a suite of powerful multimedia Buzzmails to selectively target our clientele with highly interactive campaigns, but without overdoing it.”

Schomp said she has noticed the impact of electronic marketing.

“We have had tremendous success with our Buzzmail e-mail broadcasts and have moved to a heavy duty multimedia e-mail broadcast to announce big events and custom campaigns. We have had a 10 percent return on e-mail promotions, and our Web site provider seems to always have something new for us to try,” Schomp said. “The way we look at it is if we broadcast 400 e-mails for free and make two sales from five minutes of typing, that’s a medium that cannot be beat. Our customers seldom opt out since we do not overwhelm them, and we provide them with the information they want and need.”

We collect, on average, 700 new Internet leads per month, but we also solicit e-mail addresses from our entire customer base. We then extract that data from our DMS and import it into our CRM tool. We do this type of import two or three times per year. It costs nothing.

By ramping up the e-mail marketing and putting a heavy emphasis on our Web site and our CRC, we have done very little advertising over the last dozen years and have centered our energies on developing our employee’s sense of understanding our customers. As a result, we’re seeing a high level of customer satisfaction. A small presence in newspaper and radio, our Web site and e-mail, are about the only coverage we have,” Schomp said. “We are firm believers in independence from “lead generators” and auto brokers. We post our inventories on a couple of services like Cars.com and AutoTrader, but we rely mainly on our own Web site and treating our customers the way we would like to be treated. By using our own site to pull in leads and treating customers fairly when they walk in the door, we’ve increased our site leads 10-fold.”

“Generating leads is not enough; you need the people and process for turning those leads into appointments and sales. Prompt responses with real answers, a genuine interest in helping the customer, and dual points of contact really help to cement us to our customers. We never bring a customer here under false pretenses or tell them what they want to hear–we have a good blend of salesmanship in addition to giving them a reason to want to come in. We operate from a foundation of respect. This means we never try to lead the customer, but listen to their wants and needs and then guide them toward what they’re looking for,” Schomp said.

To grow your business in today’s highly competitive market, you need to accept that change is inevitable, and don’t be afraid of it. Five years ago, we had no idea digital marketing would account for so many new customers and sales. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it,” Schomp said. “With the help of our Web provider, we’ve created an exceptional system that has changed the way our dealership works, and for the better. They know technology like we know customer service and sales. It’s important to know your strengths, and look to someone else to alleviate your weaknesses.

What Sets Schomp Apart?

Schomp Automotive includes Chevrolet, Honda, BMW and Mini franchises that sell about 6,000 vehicles a year.

Schomp sold over 1,000 vehicles online in 2004.

One in seven sold vehicles is sold online.

Schomp’s informative and easy-to-use Web site generates 700 new Internet leads per month.

Schomp’s digital marketing has accelerated sales from 730 vehicles sold in 2003 to 1,001 vehicles sold in 2004.

Schomp enjoys a 10 percent return on e-mail promotions at no additional costs.

Schomp’s targeted e-mail promotions result in three to four sales after each no-cost e-mail distribution.

Lisa Schomp attributes additional sales to the right people, a commitment to respecting the customer and a state-of-the-art digital marketing system

To boost loyalty, Schomp offers a free seven-year/100,000-mile warranty that covers considerably more than a power-train warranty.

Vol 2, Issue 5

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