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Subject: Blogging- Become A Social Media Destination Resort
(Posted on Aug 14, 2013 at 05:40AM ) Tags:

If you are not hosting a blog on your website start one. If you are not posting relevant information and blogs to draw in potential customers do it.
 

Bring the traffic to you and become a destination resort for updates and information so you can reap the benefits and attention that this personal form of content marketing is commanding.


Blogging is like having your own newsreel that provides a direct channel of communication between you and your potential customers.

 

When you communicate with and encourage people to get to know you as well as your business (A name and a face they can related to), your relationship with them becomes more personal and makes you more credible.


Since starting the blog on my Company website traffic has shot up over 2800 percent per month and people are spending time there. Also on our Facebook Page for our Foundation, Funlicoma Foundation, by just finding and posting interesting articles on different subjects draws hundreds of readers per week.


This astounding increase led me to do some research on how blogs ranked in terms of overall Content Marketing.


I found that Studies show that over two thirds of consumers will spend the time to read content on a subject they’re interested in. And blogs and articles that contain images get 94% more views.

 

Blog content is one of the benchmarks by which success in Social Media is tracked. Blogging can also improve your search ranking. Based on a Wishpond Infographic put out this year, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages and see 55% more traffic to their sites.

 

Blogging is a main component of content marketing and provides many benefits– including increased traffic and visibility and SEO optimization. A company blog is also an effective form of inbound marketing.

 

Blogging is highly beneficial when it comes to improving your social presence. In fact, according to Wishbone, interesting content is one of the top three reasons consumers follow brands on social media.

 

Blogging is cost effective with time being the only real cost. Make your Social presence today and become a part of this social phenomenon mainstream and become a Social Media Destination Resort and you will have customers coming to you.

Written by Bill Cosgrove
DealerNet Services

Subject: From The Top Down “WHERE’S THE BEEF?”
(Posted on Jul 28, 2013 at 07:01AM ) Tags:
There have been a lot of postings and discussions over how best to improve a Sales Organizations performance. I personally have written many of them.
One thing that they all have in common is the need to have the right people in the right positions and the need for Leadership.
It all starts with Leadership because a true leader will posses all the qualities needed to do the things necessary to make a business successful. Because a true leader is always striving to hit that next level of success and surrounds himself with other leaders who have the same goals.
True leaders are the people who can leave the emotion out of the equation. All emotion stems from insecurity and has no place in running a business or in life in general for that matter. Insecurity gets in the way of truly clear thinking and objectiveness that is the benchmark of a true Leader.

And this is where we hit the first wall to climb because in my career I have not met many totally secure people who fit the true definition of a leader.

You can have all the systems in place that are designed for success but if you don’t have true leaders it won’t matter how well the system is designed it will not function properly.

One big reason that Businesses today lack the leadership needed to build a truly successful business is the lack of compensation. This for some reason lately has become a dirty word in some circles.

All this touchy feely talk about remembering someone’s birthday, giving extra time of and pats on the back in lieu of compensation is just placating the powers that be. Anyone who talks like this is either doing it so as not to upset clients or have never been in the trenches in commission sales trying to make a living-or both.
All this is good stuff but if it isn’t backed up with proper pay for performance you will never attracted the true Leaders that can get the job done.

And other members of these circles are comprised Darryl, Darryl and Darryl (For those of you who remember) who are quarterly driven publicly owned companies that will do anything for a buck for Top Line and Bottom line growth. Doing more with less for the Bottom line and ethically questionable things to grow the Top Line. We have all seen it.
Unfortunately a lot of private companies have adopted the same kind of practices to their own peril which brings me to to “WHERE’S THE BEEF”

You can have all the proven systems in place that you want if you don’t pay for performance the true Leaders will find another home in the same or different Industry. Because the real talent in sales can perform anywhere.
If you think about it and have studied or have been in the Automotive Industry long enough the forerunner of the 4 square, the track system, came along in the late seventies, early eighties.
This system owners thought, would give them the ability to hire any sales clerk off the street at lower compensation and get the same results as the real talent.

This didn’t last very long and I know because I was one of the salespeople who left when they lowered commissions. On top of that, in the early eighties, I was making much more money as a Manager “then” than is being offered today. Add the rise cost of living into that and it gets ridiculous.

Before I went back on my own in 2010 I was making much more as a salesperson than most managers without all the responsibility.

The Commission Sales Industry is a unique Industry in the fact that commissioned sales is one rung below being self-employed. There are a very limited number of truly talented professionals in management or sales who can make it happen consistently.

You give me a group of talented professionals with a pay plan that is going to draw them and I’ll take any system out there and make it seem like the best thing since sliced bread.

I recently wrote an article where I talked about compensation and even offered anyone interested in a "pay for performance" pay plan to e-mail me and I would gladly sent it to them.

I even gave an example of a Dealership who had this pay plan who had the highest front and back end grosses in their region and district and were growing sales.

I received “0” requests.

You can argue all you want about systems and team work but in the end if you  don’t get off that diet your on and put the “BEEF” on the menu to attract the real heavyweights you are doomed to high turnover and mediocrity.
Written By Bill Cosgrove
DealerNet Services
Subject: The Social Animals We Humans Are
(Posted on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:33PM ) Tags:
Human beings are social creatures and our lives depend on other humans. We are born unable to care for ourselves. We develop and learn about the world around us through others. Our connections to others are key not only our survival, but also to our happiness and the success of our careers.


And being social creatures comes the need to interact with others to reassure ourselves that we are liked, admired, respected; and noticed.


Then on April, 30th, 1993, it was announced that the World Wide Web would be free to everyone and the rest is history. Since then, the introduction of social network sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and even AOL in the beginning, to name a few, has transformed the way we communicate.

Along with the Internet Social media will probably go down as one of the major influencers of every generation since the Baby Boom generation and take its place as one of the wonders of modern time.


Between 2000 and 2002 the number of users on the internet grew a staggering 566.4% Nowhere else nor at any time in history has there been a forum even close to the scale of the World Wide Web.

WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS
June 30, 2012

World Regions

Population
( 2012 Est.)

Internet Users
Dec. 31, 2000

Internet Users
Latest Data

Penetration
(% Population)

Growth
2000-2012

Users %
of Table

Africa

1,073,380,925

4,514,400

167,335,676

15.6 %

3,606.7 %

7.0 %

Asia

3,922,066,987

114,304,000

1,076,681,059

27.5 %

841.9 %

44.8 %

Europe

820,918,446

105,096,093

518,512,109

63.2 %

393.4 %

21.5 %

Middle East

223,608,203

3,284,800

90,000,455

40.2 %

2,639.9 %

3.7 %

North America

348,280,154

108,096,800

273,785,413

78.6 %

153.3 %

11.4 %

Latin America / Caribbean

593,688,638

18,068,919

254,915,745

42.9 %

1,310.8 %

10.6 %

Oceania / Australia

35,903,569

7,620,480

24,287,919

67.6 %

218.7 %

1.0 %

WORLD TOTAL

7,017,846,922

360,985,492

2,405,518,376

34.3 %

566.4 %

100.0 %

With all this connectivity we are now being faced with the loss of our privacy being subjected to Government agencies and even Employers spying on us and collecting information. By putting it all out there for everyone to see one should expect and understand that they are relinquishing their right to privacy to a large extent.


We use all this technology to interact with friends and family, to get the latest news and entertainment, and to research things we want to know about. It was only a matter of time before business saw the opportunities that Social Media offered.


Business saw the opportunity that getting involved with social Media would open up a huge potential resource. Social Media presented Business with ways to reach people in ways that were never possible with other forms of media. It allowed them to put a face to their business and to identify them in new ways.
But this new social medium also comes with risks that if they are not socially responsible in their advertising and communications or have any kind of misstep the consequences could be very costly.


It is all boils down to how you use it to your advantage or disadvantage. We are influenced by, and we are able to influence, people who we know as well as people we never met. We need to look at what social networks hold our interests and decided if the people we are interacting with are the people we want shaping our lives and careers.


We can influence others and gain recognition by posting blogs, getting involved in discussions, participate in forums and even help people by being a tutor online at a language site or any of the many sites available on the World wide Web.
Social interaction can open doors to job or other opportunities. You can meet like-minded people and have discussions with people who can give you new perspectives. The possibilities for whatever we are looking for or want to accomplish socially are limitless.


In the end, we need to take responsibility for how we act socially on the internet because in the end the internet as a social whole will make the final judgment on how it reacts to, responds to and accepts to what it is being disseminated.
Written By Bill Cosgrove

DealerNet Services

Subject: Who’s Minding the Store?
(Posted on Jul 23, 2013 at 08:48PM ) Tags:

I recently read that today the reality is that, whether prospective buyers are in your virtual showroom or your physical showroom, they’re a buyer. Maybe not today, but statistically the Internet customer is highly likely to buy within 90 days.

94% of car buyers begin the process online, according to recent estimates, yet most dealerships attribute less than 30% of actual sales to Internet leads. Why the discrepancy? Most consumers do research online but instead of submitting a lead, they decide to call or walk into a dealership when they’re ready to buy. Because of all the research they can do on their own, though, customers today visit only 1.4 dealerships before purchasing a car, down from 4.5 in 2005, according to J.D. Power.

And, according to a recent study by CAR-Research XRM, only 25% of people leave showrooms because they are “still shopping.” The rest leave because of inventory, financing or some other issue. These customers are ready to buy, the only question is, are they buying from you?

Statistically speaking this means that you have a better than a 50/50 chance of selling 75% of customers that walk through your door. You now have the best odds for conversions than ever before.

So if you don’t have the right sales management, finance management and sales team you are losing sales. Patting people on the back is great and there isn’t anyone that doesn’t appreciate praise but if you want to have the managers and salespeople who are true leaders; that will have the right inventory;  Mangers that want to get involved with every customer that drives on your lot and salespeople that know how to deal with customers to get the sale- you need to compensate them. This is the only way you are going to recruit the real talent. In other words you need seasoned people that have a solid track record of consistently exceeding goals and objectives.

Marketing:

As I stated in my blog "Take Back Your Marketing” The technology exists today for dealers to get much better results from their own website. Technology is constantly changing the marketing landscape and dealers today can use smaller more efficient marketing companies that will work for them and cut back on the1000s of dollars they are paying the big classified sites and big marketers (they don’t need anymore) in much more productive ways with much better results.

Once you have built the right sales and marketing team you should have an outside consulting company come in quarterly to audit the performance of the sales and marketing departments who can provide fresh out of the box ideas of new industry developments, potential problem areas that are not being noticed and possible solutions to ongoing problems.

This means that by putting your precious resources to work efficiently in the right areas your ROI will be higher and give you results that will drive more to the bottom line.

Posted By Bill Cosgrove

DealerNet Services

Subject: Reeling Them In! How to make your Website Work Harder For You
(Posted on Jul 19, 2013 at 06:04AM ) Tags:
First! Watch this video (click here)






Previously seen as an afterthought, more companies are seeing the value to be had in actively improving their website.

Is your company’s internet presence going unnoticed? This might be because what you thought was the hard part, has only just begun. These days it’s not enough just to simply have a website to bring in visitors, you have to actively make it an attractive destination for consumers who are surfing the web. The Internet can play an important role in marketing your business, however you have to know how to make it work for you.

Your online presence can be seen in two phases. The first is successfully bringing people to your page, while the second is keeping them there long enough for your message to have been communicated. The following are some tips that can both increase the traffic that is coming to your site and encourage people to continue looking once they have arrived.

Reeling them in
Events on the Internet happen in the blink of an eye. This means that you need to keep your website fresh and up to date if you want to see it coming to the top of the Google and Bing searches. Strategies like maintaining a blog or a current news feed are easy ways in which to keep the content on your website fresh and give people new reasons to visit your site.

Having said that, it is important to keep the content you publish meaningful. If you are simply posting the same thing using slightly different terminology, not only are you compromising the quality of your website, you are not doing meaningful work to improve your website’s search engine optimization, as search algorithms can decipher deliberate attempts to put as many keywords on your website as possible. But if you truly believe the work that you do is important and can offer invaluable service to your customers, content should be able to flow with a little bit of insight.

Keeping visitors engaged
So you having given them a reason to visit, the challenge is being a good host and giving your guests a reason to stay. Inc. Magazine explains that websites can be viewed in a sense like newspapers. In the “olden days” of hardcopy newspapers, the attention grabbing news stories would be listed “above the fold,” meaning they would be the first thing that a reader saw so as to draw them into the paper. This concept can be applied to your website as well, by making the most attention grabbing and attractive pieces of content the easiest to access. It is only so much to have a great piece of content – you have to put it in a place that makes visitors want to see it.

Software can now point out where the highest and lowest amounts of traffic on your website are arriving, and in doing so, see what sections are receiving the most action. If you notice that a particular page is not being visited nearly as much as others others, you may want to consider where its short comings lie. It could simply be that it is in a difficult to reach spot or it could be that people are not interested in the information it has to offer. This should prompt you to evaluate what it is this particular page is doing for your site. If you feel that information is important for your visitors, it should be put in an easier to access location, but if you feel like it might be extraneous, it probably is.

A website is all about giving potential customers a reason to visit and a reason to stay. What forms of content have you used to accomplish these goals?

Article by by Chelsea Segal Intro by DealerNet Services
Subject: Things Are Changing - But Are Things Really Changing With Them?
(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:44AM ) Tags:

"And Round And Round We Go"

 

There seems to be a great deal of commonality and consensus in the disconnect between the Sales Department and The BDC Department just to name two and problems within both. It almost seems to be the rule and not the exception that management has not fully embraced the impact of recent changes among them being Digital Marketing is having on the marketplace today.

The BDC department is too often viewed as a bunch of internet geeks that have no conception of the sales process and should not be talking to customers. The BDC often looks at the Sales Department as a bunch of knuckle dragging egotistical Neanderthals that inhibits them from fulfilling their mandate.

This among other organizational problems plaguing Dealers today is an age old problem but one that has been exacerbated by the rapid and momentous changes that are taking the Automotive Industry by storm.

I know that for Digital Marketing this will change if not for any reason than the younger generation who grew up in this technological world and who have been entering the Automotive Marketplace have already embrace it before they even enter the job market. But what is to be done now?

How long are dealers willing to wait before they take charge and make all the changes necessary to correct the problems that are plaguing them? For instance, when it takes days or a week or longer of calls and conversations just get the manager to give approval to the BDC or the BDC to make the call just to give approval to have their data polled-you know you have a problem.

We all know that this is just one of many issues facing many dealers. So when are they going to realize that they need to have a qualified professional from the outside looking in to pinpoint the problems and provide the solutions necessary to correct them.

Once they make that realization and retain someone and after discussing and agreeing on what is broken and how it may be resolved, you need to hope that something is actually done to implement those solutions unless you are directly involved in the implementation of those changes.

You may have the plan that could put them on the path to sustained and continued growth but if the infrastructure is not in place or put in place to utilize them- all has been for naught.

How have you made an impact on your clients in resolving these types of issues and have seen them come to fruition?

Posted by Bill Cosgrove

DealerNet Services

Subject: Beyond The Trap- The Tide Is Turning
(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:27AM ) Tags:

If you have read my blogs “Don’t Fall Into The Trap” or “Take Back Your Marketing” or the many comments I have made concerning this issue, you know that I have been against the large companies commoditizing approach they have been feeding dealer’s- And in particular I am referring to the small and medium size dealers- that you need change your business models and to sell more at a lower price to compete in today’s marketplace.

 

I am now starting to see a trend that is showing support for what I have been saying for a long time. I just read a white paper put out by firstLook which states that used car dealers and private party sales in April climbed 0.7 percent vs. year ago to 3,819,127 units. vs. 3,792,604,

 

Total Value of Used Cars sold, however, slipped 5.8 percent to $34.1 billion compared to last year's $36.2 billion because of lower transaction prices.

 

Transaction prices across all three channels were down 6.46 percent to $8,928 from $9,545. (Excludes aftermarket products, taxes, fees, etc.)

 

“• Buy­ers were kick­ing tires at five or six dif­fer­ent deal­er­ships years ago, and that’s now dropped to 1.8 in-person store vis­its.

 

• As the reces­sion slammed down hard, used car supply waned and commoditizing of the used car industry was born. Many dealers have sold inventory as cheap as possible, turning them as fast as possible for tiny mar­gins, then ran back to the auc­tions to scoop more sup­ply.

 

• The “velocity only” approach hasn’t gone so well. Gross prof­its have been eroded.

 

It doesn’t have to be that way if you can access both the tools and philosophy necessary to turn cars while achiev­ing high gross profits.”

 

“And anyone can stand in front of a room and tell you to price everything for dirt cheap and it will sell faster. The key is how you can achieve 85% Retail Sales Efficiency while maintaining high gross profits.

 

Some seemingly “progressive” thinkers have very simply stated that used cars are a commodity. The only way to be successful in today’s market is to sell cars really cheap at 96% of the market, turn them as fast as possible for tiny margins, and run back to the auction to scoop up more. And quite frankly…a lot of people drank that Kool-Aid. The hypothesis being that this approach will, allegedly, increase turn and volume, and with that volume you can make more money. A velocity only approach they call it.

 

Beyond being a gross oversimplification of the car business, the impact this has on the market is obvious – eroding gross profits. In fact, based on a recent dealer survey, this is the #1 concern for General Managers and Dealer Principals in 2013. “

 

The bottom line is…not all used cars are commodities, and we need to stop treating them that way. Just like in any retail business there are high margin products and low margin products. The key in the used car business is having the tools and philosophical approach necessary to identify the difference between the two."

 

Interestingly, a recent CarMax Consumer Study found that only 23% of people rank price as the most important factor in their buying decision. 77% rank VALUE (typically tied to some aspect of quality) as their top criteria.

 

I remember on one occasion at a dealership I was working at the used car Manager was telling the rep from Auto Trader that he wasn’t happy with the results he was getting. The Rep responded by telling the manager that he needed to lower his prices if he wanted better results.

 

That preowned manager did not listen to the rep and bucked the trend of lowering prices to compete online. - And guess what- average grosses in his department were much higher than the industry average and his total unit sales were improving. Number one that is why you have a “good” sales staff and “good” finance people for and number two you can always come down in price but I never heard a customer say a price was too low.

 

You can only add value by competing within your market area all of which can be done with offers in  CPO, service i.e. loaner cars, shuttles; specials; events and by extracting the vast resources you already have to create campaigns and make in house adjustments that will capitalize on those campaigns.

 

By having the right people that can produce “creative campaigns” and the right staff you can turn the tide and sell the VALUE not the PRICE. 

Author Bill Cosgrove
DealerNet Services

Subject: A Giant Misconception? (Food For Thought During The Cars.com+ Debacle)
(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:22AM ) Tags:
After watching the podcast with Jim Ziegler and Tim Martell about this purportedly growing epidemic of deception and self-serving practices of the giants that historically seem to look out for their interests ahead of their constituencies we must take stock 

Today with the explosion of digital marketing and more giants being created that are affecting the Automotive Industry I wonder if transparency is headed for extinction. The giants of the classified marketing space and now marketing and Dealer services companies who have all but or are attempting to monopolized the the Automotive Industry have dealers thinking that for the moment they have no other option but to pray at the their alter.

I am sure that if there were viable alternatives dealers would be making other choices BUT if we think about there are viable alternatives. There are local classified sites that serve the local communities within a Dealers market area that can do as well or a better job of serving the Dealers. Who came up with the idea of selling customers outside your market area anyway-think about it- The GIANTS.

Dealers in urban areas have population densities that can provide sustainable growth within their market areas and save valuable resources that could be allocated in more productive ways.

The Giants have been conditioning Dealers into thinking that their way is the best and only way. With today’s advances in technology there are much more efficient ways of marketing and operating without the need to constantly be looking over your shoulder for the next knife to be thrown.

This is food for thought that every dealer should ponder. There are plenty of boutique marketers and consultants out there that specialize in their field that are more nimble and have fresher ideas and have the Dealer’s best interest at the top of the list with all ultimately being served much more efficiently and productively.

THINK ABOUT IT

Posted By Bill Cosgrove

DealerNet Services

Subject: Don’t Fall Into the Trap
(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:16AM ) Tags:

Grow your business within your market area- from within your organization

 

The problem I see in the Automotive Industry is that the large corporations, who are trying to take control of the Vertical landscape from B2B wholesaling to the classified car sites to inventory control and marketing, find it easier to market in a one style fits all approach. This may work well for them but it is a trap you don’t want to fall into.

 

The tighter The Commoditization Trap is on a company or an industry, the more that company must look outside – to its customers and prospects to find, and, more importantly, understand the unique concerns that affect them.  Companies must engage their customers to know what adds value for them.  If you want to avoid or escape The Commoditization Trap you must find ways to add value (something people are willing to pay for) before the product becomes an issue.


One of the rules of value creation is:  if your actions don’t create value, then your actions decrease value.  If your sales presentation does not increase the perceived value of your products or services, it decreases the value your customers or prospects perceive they get from you.

 

You can only add value by competing within your market area which can easily be done by drilling down and extracting the vast resources you already have to create campaigns and make in house adjustments that will capitalize on those campaigns. 

Work with a small boutique marketing company who has automotive experience that will work with you in both creating campaigns unique to your company and geographic location to drive traffic and auditing your sales operations to make sure you can optimize your conversion rates on the traffic your campaigns generate.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is crucial for the growth of your business. Therefore it is critical to design your marketing campaigns to what works best for YOU at YOUR location in YOUR geographic area. 

Author Bill Cosgrove
DealerNet Services
Subject: Don't Call Them "BOUGES!"
(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:01AM ) Tags:

Most sub Prime buyers have been in this position for some time realized their car buying experience is different from that of their more credit-worthy peers. Some due to circumstances beyond their control are experiencing the sub Prime process for the first time. These buyers still warrant respect. Despite credit woes, their dignity remains intact and they want to be treated fairly and professionally.

To give you an idea of just how Sub Prime can impact your business, this Past February versus the same month a year earlier saw purchasers with FICO scores below 550 shoot up 48.3 percent year-over-year.

In fact, analysts found that the trend toward lower FICO scores among used-car buyers resulted in an average of 561.3 in the opening days of April. The added  share of sub-670 credit score buyers increased to 46.9 percent from March's reading of 46.37 percent and the year-ago mark of 35.22 percent.


Subprime is the most profitable segment in the pre-owned vehicle segment for which you must be equipped to compete.

 

Go to Dealer Monthly for the Stats


Author Bill Cosgrove
DealerNet Services 

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