Social Media, Social Networking, Social Selling... all terms that have been the center of MANY conversations at car dealers across the country and Canada over the last year or so. The problem is that like many (some would say ALL) changes that the car business is slow to embrace, these conversations are years and YEARS too late! There seems to be so much focus on whether or not sales people should be using social media as a sales tool, lead generator etc when the real issue isn't a lack of sales people willing or wanting it is the extreme lack of automotive leadership that is willing to except that social is here and it isn't going away!
As the sales manager its part of my job to inspect what I expect from my sales team and one of the areas most often overlooked is the emails being sent out to our customers. A good part of each day is spent reviewing the outgoing emails to ensure not only accuracy but also the quality of the message, call to action etc. In addition I am always doing mystery shopping to see whats going on in the car biz and I sometimes find things that I really like... most of the time I find myself screaming at my screen as I find yet another haphazard, poorly written or just plain lazy attempt at an email! SERIOUSLY FOLKS?!! ITS 2016 C'MON! Most dealership CRM's automate many emails to streamline a salespersons daily work load and I get that, but the emails that are set up to go out really, REALLY need to be scrutinized...
There has been a great amount of discussion about the culture of auto sales and the changing customers, I was asked to share some of my own insights and how I have helped turn a Riverside Ford dealership into a powerhouse. A great discussion with some of the best in today's car business, honored to have the chance to share on this panel!
Focus on ole Betsy and take the confrontation out of the sale:
Many Sales Managers across the country have grabbed onto the technique of focusing a walk-in customer’s attention back to the vehicle they are trading in very early in the meet and greet, I am a HUGE fan of this having learned it from my fav trainer Mark Tewart. Most of us see the value in getting to better know the customer and their wants and need by going straight to the thing that can give us the most info about them, their own car! While this is a very common practice for out on the lot, at least it very well SHOULD be(!), it can also be tremendously affective in other avenues of a car deal as well.
I am always honored when asked to join a conversation on AutoDealerLive, its a chance to share ideas about the industry and learn from some of the best car people in the business today! The panel discussed the future leaders of the business and whether they are being developed in today's 'Internet Sales Departments'. Lots of great perspectives and really good discussion! :)
I posted this response to the question quite a while back however its a question I am asked OFTEN so its worth reposting I would think :)
Q: Can I do better selling my car on my own or trading it in?
A: Wow, tough call to make. Each situation is of course different; no that’s not the beginning of a cop out... There are so many things to consider; do you owe money on the vehicle, do you have the time to spend showing it to potential buyers, is it clean enough to display and be worth top dollar? There are many more aspects but for the sake of brevity I will only address a few here, most folks these days are wanting to trade long before the loan they took out to pay for it has been paid in full so there is money still owed. Remember that the loan balance is not related to the value of the vehicle itself, almost all of the time vehicles will depreciate at a much faster rate than the loan is paid down by making normal payments. When you bring a vehicle to trade we (dealers) look at many things to assess its value to the dealer, things like Kelly Blue Book, Manhiem Auction reports and others. Some folks look online and see a certain value listed for a vehicle and then expect that the dealer should adhere to that number, most of the time this does not happen. It’s impossible to simply plug in info about your vehicle and get a real number for its value, remembering that real value is only what someone will actually pay the value can only be found after an in person inspection/appraisal. Things looked at include tire wear, dents dings and scratches, interior condition and proper operation of all equipment. It’s very easy to forget the stains on the carpet or that lil ding you got at the supermarket when trying to get a top dollar trade in value, I see it all the time! After the vehicle has been inspected most dealer used car managers will then look at recent auction reports to see what that year, make and model has sold for there. If I see a vehicle just like the one I have just looked at sold for say $10,000.00 last week it’s a tough call to come close to the customer’s request for $15,000.00 trade in value. Kelly is a great source of info but it is info mostly used for loan values when financing vehicles, Kelly does not buy or sell vehicles. Auctions sell vehicles, and that is what a dealer tries to stay in line with in most situations. As the trade in is only one piece of the puzzle often times its best to wait and see the whole picture when all the pieces are put together, do the payments on the new vehicle make sense to you with the trade in amount offered? If they do then that is usually a better thing to look at because after all its what you will be seeing each month!
Selling your vehicle yourself is an option and lots of folks try it. Private sales will generally bring higher sale prices however there are some things to consider. If you still owe on the vehicle can you pay the difference between the loan balance and what you sell the vehicle for? You will have to in order to pay off the loan and get title to the new owner, in this case you can look at what it might cost you out of pocket in cash and what the dealer would roll into your next loan, does a little bit higher payment make more sense than spending money on a car you won’t have any more? Once you decide to sell it most people will advertise it in some way, Auto Trader is a popular option for this as they are probably the most recognized name in used car sales. Is the vehicle ready to show to buyers or is it full of your crap? A really good detail can do wonders for its presentation and actually get better results, can you afford to have it done professionally and can you keep it fairly clean until it sells? Are you ready to answer the phone at all hours and navigate the hundreds of caller’s questions about the miles, condition, tires, radio ect? When a buyer does come to look at it do keep in mind that you’re a car salesperson now and be ready to handle the lower than asking for offers, it’s called negotiating! Just because you slap a price on the window, make it clean and pretty and think it’s worth your price doesn’t mean someone will automatically pay it! Believe me, I KNOW! In the end with some investment of time and effort and maybe even a little cash you can sometimes do better than what a dealer might offer. Then again, now you have to start the whole thing over again when you go out to get your new car! Before you commit to either do your homework, see what similar vehicles are selling for online and also see what the whole sale values are, only then can you see what your options are for yourself and then know what is the best course of action for you. If you are still baffled, email me and I can help!
Hey there Riverside truck fans, you know that awesome all-new 2015 F-150 you have read about? Well, they are here at Raceway Ford! Over the last week we have received more than 20 of this incredible new truck and they are already starting to move! If you have been wondering if the all aluminum bodied new face of 'Built Ford Tough' can live up to all the hype you simply HAVE to stop in and drive one today! To find out if we have the specific trim, color and equipment package you are looking for you can always email me direct at mcorrera@racewayford :)
WoW! Soon after the article mentioned below hit the ole Internet the folks from Car Biz today contacted me to see if I wouldn't mind speaking with them for a segment on their daily CBTNews show. Needless to say I was floored and jumped at the chance to be interviewed by the site that regularly features such powerful people in the automotive industry, and huge personal inspirations, like Mark Tewart and Renee Stuart! I was pretty stoked to get on the line with Russel Brown who co-anchors the show I watch and recommend to my staff so enthusiastically and it went great, I felt honored that the things we are doing here at Raceway Ford have got the attention of others and are looked at as 'how to do it right'. I feel like I am tooting my own horn a bit much lately so I will try to taper it off however the interview is HERE of you'd like to check it out!
A few years back I began to focus my efforts in learning about and getting involved with the mysterious digital black magic that is Social Media and how I could help my dealership not only increase its online presence but actively engage with our customers in all the areas that THEY were spending time. To that end I have created and manage pages for our store in many different online areas such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest etc... and we have built quite a nice community of friends and followers online. Being knee deep in the efforts of our dealership it was easy for me to assume that many dealerships were doing much the same thing and yet, surprisingly most aren't! A writer for the website Edmunds.com contacted me recently because she had become aware of Raceway Fords level of online activity and was impressed enough to want to write an article about us! While speaking with Laura she shared with me how our store, while not exclusive to having a great presence online, is still somewhat unique and after an interview wrote a very nice piece about the things we are doing to keep us engaged with customers in many areas to share Ford knowledge, entertain and educate as much as we can. Its a great piece and can be read HERE. For me, the recognition that we are on the right path was pretty awesome!
Famous horses have been featured in works of art for since the dawn of time, in the days of old a prize stallion would be immortalized in oil and the canvas hung proudly above its owners mantle for all to admire. Today your prize pony can also be immortalized and hung for admiration with an original print from the ‘Automotive Michelangelo’ himself, Mr Danny Whitfield. For a limited time with the purchase of a new Ford Mustang from Raceway Ford in Riverside, CA, you will receive a framed print signed by the artist of your new car purchased for you by me, Mike theCarGuy! Imagine having your co-workers admiration of your new Mustang when they see it hanging on your office wall or your friends and family being able to see your prized stallion as it hangs prominently on a wall in your home! I have been a huge fan of Mr Whitfields work for a long time and two of his prints myself, I wanted to offer my customers the chance to own one of these amazing works of art as well... and owning a new Mustang wont be all that bad either! The remaining 2014 Mustangs are moving briskly so time is critical, if you have your sights on a new Pony the time is now, and when you buy your new car you will get one to hang on the wall too!
You can see more of the amazing automotive artistry of Danny Whitfield HERE:
Hello and welcome to the home for all things Auto! No, this isn't some sales site, its more of a place for car folks of all types to hang out, find out and share about the cars and the car biz we all love. Take a look around, maybe you will learn something or at the very least find your self smiling, and if you do... leave me a comment so I know I at least did something right! Thanks for stoppin by...
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