Article

Used Car Dealer Invests In Technology Frank Myers AutoMaxx

April 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by John Zieglar - Also by this author

Every dealer marches to the beat of a different drummer.  Just ask “Uncle Frank!”

Frank Myers Auto Maxx is well known in the Triad region of North Carolina for their zany TV personalities like “Uncle Frank,” “Mr. Poot,” “Ching A. Ling,” and “Frankie Cutlass.” 

The comical and sometimes wacky characters, slinging catchy slogans, are portrayed by enthusiastic employees of the pre-owned vehicle enterprise, but there is plenty of substance behind the image.

Owner and second-generation dealer, Tracy Myers, recently brought home the prestigious 2006 National Quality Dealer award presented by the National Independent Auto Dealers Association (NIADA).  The honor is reserved for one distinguished dealer in the nation possessing the highest commitment to quality, customer service, and community service in the used motor vehicle industry.  Myers was one of twenty-three dealers from across the country to be nominated for the National Quality Dealer award.  Northwood University in Michigan provided a panel of judges to evaluate all the entries and select the winner.  The long-standing tradition of naming an NIADA National Quality Dealer began 30 years ago in 1976. 


Filling the Shoes

Myers’ story is a classic “from the bottom up” chronicle.  You would think the son of a dealership owner would be initiated into the business from the top, but Myers’s dad, founder Frank Myers, had other plans in store for young Myers.  At the age of 15, his father introduced him to the detail shop.  While away for college, Myers increased his knowledge of the industry by working as a salesperson at an area dealership.

Upon returning home years later, his father welcomed him back to the business…and re-offered him a position in the detail shop which didn’t hold Myers back.  Myers’ inherent love and passion for the industry would eventually lead him to purchase the dealership from his father in 2005.  Today, Frank Myers Auto Maxx is highly acclaimed as one of the top used vehicle dealerships in the country.

Following the “Gut”



The foundation for the dealership was laid more than 80 years ago by Myers’s great grandfather who owned and operated a general store in the community that was known for a high level of customer service.  The tradition continued when his father established the dealership.  Much of the recent success of the dealership can be attributed to Myers’ insight and dedication to monitoring industry trends. 

In 1999, Myers acted on a “gut” instinct that led him to establish a Web site and an Internet sales department.  “It was one of the toughest business decisions I ever had to make,” explains Myers. “Back in 1999 you just couldn’t make the numbers work.  I fought many hard battles to keep it open because I looked at the department as a future investment.”  An investment, indeed it was.  Myers’ investment in the technology and potential of the Internet has proven to be a strategy that enables him to continue the legacy of providing quality products and quality service to drive and keep quality customers.

Implementing the Technology and Tools
Myers has recently expanded on his technology investment by partnering with a leading Internet consulting firm with automotive expertise.  The dealership has done away with the antiquated “old school” version of a Web site and replaced it with an innovative, fully interactive virtual dealership, www.FrankMyersAuto.com!  Myers explains that there are a lot of companies that create great looking Web sites, but a great looking site is not always a functional site.

His philosophy - “It is sort of like that snazzy looking two-seater convertible.  It is great to look at, and you’ll get a lot of compliments, but it’s probably not very functional…You can’t put your family in it, you can’t fit your golf clubs in it, and you can’t go on vacation in it, so what real purpose does it serve except to be eye candy?”  Myers adds.  “It provides all the information a potential customer is seeking while enticing them to submit pertinent information in exchange.”  Since launching the new virtual dealership, lead conversion ratios have increased to a phenomenal 30.5 percent.

 

Recruiting a Team & Building Processes
Any dealer knows that the greatest technology in the world is only as good as the people who run it. Frank Myers Auto Maxx maintains their high standard of excellence by staffing their team with people who have a great attitude, an outgoing personality, and eagerness to learn. Internet Sales Coordinator Jesse Murphy came to Myers with a successful background in telemarketing and has been instrumental in scheduling appointments.

Since implementing their new digital marketing strategy, the appointment-show ratio has grown to 42 percent. Consistent and precise processes contribute to this success. Myers contends that leads coming into their BDC during business hours will be responded to within 10 minutes. If an inquiry is received after business hours, an automated e-mail response is generated to assure the customer that a specialist will contact them first thing the next morning.

The only goal of the BDC is to set appointments and follow them through the system to make sure the appointment is kept. Once the prospect is on the showroom floor, they are greeted and assisted by a qualified sales specialist.

Creating Raving Fans
For the past eight years, the dealership has run “over the top” television ad campaigns that have become cemented in the minds of the community. The Triad region of North Carolina has come to know Myers’ light-hearted, zany personifications as common household names.

“When we signed on with BZ as our partner, it was natural for us to have custom Buzzmails created using the same catchphrases, slogans, and characters that our TV commercials had been featuring. We receive an incredible amount of feedback from our Buzzmails. We have slowly been able to pull away from our expensive TV campaigns and focus more on the much less expensive virtual dealership while remaining consistent in our marketing message. Additionally, we use our Virtual BDC Manager, BuzzTrak, to fully automate our bulk e-mail campaigns. We now have the ability to set up and customize different e-mail campaigns for potential customers at any part of the sales process. Our e-mails are no longer generic and cold, but personal and intimate in a way that lets our customers know that we still value and acknowledge them,” adds Myers.

 
Reaping the Results
“We put our Web address everywhere…on our rear deck decals, ink pens, envelopes, signage, TV commercials, water bottles, and on-hold messaging…you name it and our Web address is there. Our new virtual dealership is a results generator, and our results speak for themselves.

After just a few short months, our leads have increased, our sales have multiplied, and our gross profit has grown by an additional $729 per unit, while the cost per sale has been cut in half,” said Myers. Their new online marketing strategy has helped bring their ad cost per sale down from an already low $250 per car to an incredible $125 per car! They are currently discussing investing in search engine marketing for 2007, and are excited about the possibilities that it presents.”

Myers is breaking the mold for independent automobile dealerships and pioneering a new standard for the industry.  Along with the aid of technology, Myers attributes his success to the support of his family, the legacy of his forefathers, and to his parents who continuously encouraged him by modeling and molding his work ethics.  The future looks promising for Myers and his entire extended family at Frank Myers Auto Maxx.

Vol 4, Issue 2

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