Last month, I wrote an article on how Jimmy Fallon announced during “The Tonight Show” that he was in the market for a truck. Manufacturers immediately took to social media in attempts to convince the popular talk-show host that he should choose them, including Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet and Nissan. Fallon announced last week that he had chosen to purchase a 1015 Ford F-150 King Ranch. He then further announced that, while he had chosen the truck, he had not decided who he was going to buy it from. A cooperative effort between Ford and “The Tonight Show” conjured up a contest they named “Fingers on a 4x4,” in which 10 salespeople from around the country would participate for the opportunity to sell Mr. Fallon a truck, by putting their hands on a Ford F-150 located on the aircraft carrier U.S. S. Nimitz. The contest being that any salesperson would be eliminated from the competition if they removed their hands from the truck. The last person with their hand on the truck would get the privilege of selling Mr. Fallon his new truck. ..
A recent event held by Edmunds named “Hackomotive” brought together some of the brightest technology innovators in the automotive industry. The purpose of this event was to streamline the automotive buying process for consumers. Technology and shopping portals are increasingly becoming more prominent in our industry. A couple of companies that are gaining steam include the Google Autos program that passes along leads via anonymous contact information, and TrueCar’s no-haggle pricing. These highlight how today’s consumers are seeking ways to avoid many of the pain points involved in the process of purchasing a vehicle. Some notable entries in this event included Carvoyant, which allowed customers to test drive vehicles without going to a dealership or even speaking with a salesperson, along with the ultimate winner, CarCode SMS, which let consumers interact with consumers via text messaging. This trend of anonymity and consumer desire to no longer interact directly with dealerships is something to keep an eye on. It presents some unique challenges that it would be wise to plan for: ..
A recent interview with former Apple VP of Worldwide Marketing, Allison Johnson, offered up some interesting insights into the legendary businessman Steve Jobs. In her interview, she explained how the two words that Jobs hated most were “branding” and “marketing.” According to Johnson, people equated branding with advertising and she stated that, “In Steve’s mind… the most important thing was people’s relationship to the product. …marketing is when you have to sell to somebody. If you aren’t providing value, if you’re not educating them about the product, if you’re not helping them get the most out of the product, you’re selling.” Johnson further explained how deeply integrated the marketing team was with the development and engineering teams. This was to ensure that they had a deep understanding of the thoughts, motives and uses that the product was designed for. ..
An interesting article on the Forbes website shared the results of a recent study by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends. The study was the result of an extensive survey of over 2,500 companies in 90 countries. Based on the survey results, the author shared the importance of engaging employees in growing a business and how this relates to customer retention. The survey found that over two thirds of employees today feel overwhelmed, which prevents them from engaging with their employer. The survey further found that company executives recognize that their businesses have difficulties in this area; over 75 percent reported challenges in the following areas: ..
Last week, the newly appointed host of “The Tonight Show” mentioned on the air that he was in the market for a new truck. Of course, manufacturers couldn’t resist the golden opportunity to try and convince the star to choose theirs. ..
Warranty work is a large part of any service department’s revenue. The recent announcement by the NHTSA mandating manufacturers to use specific labeling on recall notices could prove to be very helpful to dealers; helping them get the work faster and at a lower cost. However, there are challenges associated with this and dealerships need to be prepared to handle them. With the introduction of this new labeling system, consumers will gain knowledge of the recall sooner, which will increase the influx of service requests earlier. ..
Many dealers are intimidated by the concept of “customer loyalty.” The simple attempt at trying to design and implement a strategy that creates lifetime customers is certainly a daunting one. It takes a lot of work and effort to accomplish this, for sure. However, just like you train your sales advisors in the steps of the sale and the importance of following each step in order, customer loyalty is achieved in the same manner. ..
As reported by Automotive News, Audi has begun integrating iPads into their franchise dealer’s sales force. With their iPad tablets, which they’ve named, Sales Assist, they believe that young consumers will feel more comfortable as they use technology which “lets shoppers compare Audi models to rival models, configure an Audi vehicle or see what’s available in a dealer’s inventory.” Also integrated into the app are negotiation and finance tools designed to streamline the sales process and reduce the time a consumer spends at a dealership when purchasing a vehicle. This creates a more efficient sales department and a better customer experience. ..
In recent articles by both CNET & Automotive News, it’s reported that U.S. regulators are looking to institute mandatory vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications designed to prevent collisions and increase driver safety. Similar technology exists today in systems like OnStar that transmit vehicle data which is recorded and reported to the service as well as to the selling dealer on an opt-in basis. Regulators want to mandate all vehicles be equipped with this V2V technology, which they claim, “will prevent 70-80% of all crashes involving unimpaired drivers,” according to Automotive News. OEMs have already committed to integrating this technology into all vehicles by 2015. ..
There’s one thing that all auto franchises have in common when it comes to service: battling independent auto shops. I’m fairly certain that not a day goes by when you have either a customer on the phone or in person who is price-shopping you with an independent. There are many ways to build value in dealership service versus independent service shops when talking to customers: factory parts, instant access to service records for warranty purposes, and certified technicians are just a few. Sure, independents can advertise low pricing and fast service and, in some cases, may be able to deliver on those promises. However, there is a price to be paid and consumers should be aware. ..