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So it may not technically be summer yet, but I know a lot of us are feeling like it’s already here.  Kids are getting out of school.  The 6am sun is our new alarm clock.  Jeans are becoming intolerable to wear.  This is the usual standard every year at this time.

 

Let’s make a change starting this summer – a new annual routine rather.  Mark it on your calendar to have a professional look over your vehicle(s) for precautionary measures, i.e. tires, battery, brakes, belts.  I know every person has had it ingrained in their head to “Check Your Oil” – at least my Dad said that every time I stopped by the house.  Yes, oil is obviously important for your car to run, but one of my biggest concerns is to make sure your vehicle will stop.  Stay with me…

 

My background is from the Fixed Ops side of a very well known local dealership.  Who knew my first job out of college would be selling oil changes?  Honestly, the job ended up being life saving not only for me but also my customers.  I know that sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true.  For instance, you know when you’re driving down the highway and about every few miles you’ll see pieces of tire rubber off to the side off the road?  If you think about how often you see those pieces of rubber and the amount of vehicles having the same tire trouble, it’s not a coincidence.  There is no pile of nails strategically placed causing the blow outs.  A majority is due to the neglect of tire wear.  Very few people know or will admit that their tires will need to be changed.  Yes, it is expensive and uncontrollably the prices continue to go up.  Most people will need to budget for a purchase like this.  This leads to another good reason to get the car checked out – it gives you a better time line of when tires and other car maintenance items would be needed giving you the time to budget accordingly.  The worst thing that could happen is to have a blown out tire causing danger to you, passengers or other vehicles on the road.  Plus, think about the inconvenience it will put on your plans waiting for a tow truck or having to change the tire yourself in the summer heat.

 

Let’s be preventative and not wait for the worst to happen!  Now that I hopefully have your attention, I will say what I’ve always wanted to ingrain in my customer’s head as a new catchphrase – “Check Your Tires” – plain and simple!  Have someone inspect them going into every season.  The summer sun can be extreme on your vehicle!

 

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I have to admit that when Pinterest came out I had no intention of joining. I was already up to my ears in social media; ie Facebook, blogs etc. and Pinterest was one more thing to suck me in and suck up my time so I was saying NO! Well that lasted all of a few months..I know I’m weak. All of my friends were talking about this amazing recipe or that awesome home remedy  and every time I asked where they found X,Y or Z they replied “Pinterest”..duh Ashley. So I caved and joined and I love it and it doesn’t take up too much of my time and it has been a great source for everything and anything under the sun. Want to know how to get spots out of the carpet?? Just look on Pinterest. Want plans for a sandbox? Ask Pinterest! Want to learn how to defog your headlights at home? Ask Pinterest! So I was wondering if dealers use Pinterest and sure enough they do, here is a dealer I found. I am still having a hard time deciding as to how this benefits a dealer or if nothing else is it just important for dealers to be tuned into all forms of social media regardless if it directly benefits them on not? What do you think? If you are a dealer that is currently using Pinterest what are the benefits you see? We want to know!

I know that I have blogged about this before, but I cannot stress enough, the importance of testing your leads AND verifying that they are being parsed correctly in your CRM tool! Last week we had a situation come up where leads were not being parsed correctly in a dealers CRM tool. Come to find out, the leads were going into the unmatched category. Which brings up another point…always check for unmatched leads!

On a daily basis I look at all my dealers websites. Whether it be a website that we host, or that is hosted by another vendor, I can expect one thing to remain the same the majority of the time. Yes, I go to a dealers website and chances are, it has not been updated. My job as an Account Manager is to monitor my dealers websites on a monthly basis and make sure they are updating their slides on the homepage, the service coupons are active and current, the staff pages are up to date etc. Some of my dealers are great! They email me weekly with new incentives, new slides, coupons, staff page changes and I get so excited to see all of the new changes! Then there are a few others, those that it’s like pulling teeth to even get the price of a basic oil change. Potential customers want to see up-to-date websites with current information, current offers, non-expired coupons – it really does make a difference. So please make sure you are reviewing your website on a monthly basis to make sure it is up to par!

Most of you will probably have no idea as to what I am talking about when I utter the phrase “Gilt Groupe?”. Anyone? Anyone? Gilt is similar to Zulily, again any man know what I am talking about? Both sites are similar in the sense that you must be a member, membership is free, they send daily offers discounted up to 50% (or more sometimes), and you basically have a certain amount of time to purchase before the offer is no longer valid. Maybe I should have said Groupon or Living Social and a light would have gone off for most. Similar to those sites, but a little more “high line”, especially Gilt. I received my daily Gilt email yesterday and something immediately caught my eye. I have never seen anything like it before! Infiniti is offering their brand new, never been on the road, absolutely gorgeous, 2013 Infiniti JX for HALF OFF if you are a Gilt member. Of course there are rules and regulations and the main one is that you must put down a $5,000 deposit at the time of purchase, however the money will be refunded at the time of purchase, so all-in-all, not a bad deal! Better yet, the MSRP is $54,850 and with the Gilt offer you will pay only $27,425 and Gilt will donate the full retail price of the JX to Coaches vs. Cancer. So you not only get a beautiful car at an amazing price but you are also donating to a great cause! Now…(insert deep sigh here)… if only I could persuade my husband into buying me that car!

I was trying to come up with a brilliant blog, and in my search of a topic to write about I came across this article, “It Drives Me Crazy! A Short Screed On The Stupidity Of Car Salesmen” by Becky Quick, that was recently printed in Fortune Magazine. After reading the article, I felt like I was transported back a decade or two. It goes to show that no matter how much we think the car business has changed, we are reminded, thanks here to Becky Quick, that maybe it hasn’t changed all that much. Although frustrated by salesmen at 5 different dealerships, Miss Quick still returned to purchase a vehicle from one of them due to the time crunch with her baby arriving soon and simply being “tired of shopping around”. So ultimately, the salesman got the sale and the dealership can continue to treat women poorly with the knowledge they will continue to get sales. Two steps forward three steps back. So what are the sales practices at your dealership?

We are headed to Vegas for NADA on Friday and it just so happens that NADA is on the same weekend as the Super Bowl. You know what that means….COMMERCIALS! Oh, and football of course. In case you haven’t seen this Honda commercial yet, it’s a must watch. Who doesn’t love “Ferris Buellers Day Off”??? I have many fond childhood memories of this movie and think Honda did it right with this one! Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhkDdayA4iA

Over the weekend, my husband and I were looking for cars online on Autotrader. We are about to add another little one to our family so we need a larger SUV. We have just begun the search and haven’t narrowed down what we want exactly, so we were checking out a few different makes and models just to see what is out there. Being in the auto industry, I am not the best person to look at these sites since I look at them daily. And yes, I was instantly annoyed by the lack of information the dealers in our area provide on their vehicles! Being the main “chauffer” for our children, I have a list of must-haves such as: captains seats, 3rd row seating, DVD player and remote start. We started the search by looking at Expeditions to see what the interior was like and what kind of leg room the car had – and let me tell you how frustrated we got by the lack of interior pictures! Again, I expected it, but it really was ridiculous! I can’t tell you how many cars we started looking at and as soon as we noticed that there were no interior pictures we were on to the next car. Even if the vehicle had notes and said it had everything we wanted, we didn’t look any further. Why not take pictures to back it up…a picture is worth a thousand words right? I will say across the board, and not just in the case of Expeditions or any dealer in particular, the amount of pictures was really disappointing. Luckily we have some time to decide on what vehicle we want – but instead of conveniently going online, we might be forced to go the dealership from the get-go to see with our own eyes what the interiors look like.

We recently added a new account manager to the team and yesterday he was in the middle of a dealer report for one of his accounts and asked me “Ashley, do dealers really read these reports? Do I really have to tell them that each car should have notes and photos?” My answer was “yes and yes”. Yes, dealers (some not all) do read our reports and find them valuable and yes we do have to recommend the obvious when it come to having photos and notes on all vehicles because clearly dealers are STILL not doing it! I am not going to lie…it’s getting old Mr. Dealer telling you every month that 50% of your inventory is without photos and 100% of your vehicles are without notes. But I am going to keep telling you every month and hopefully one month I won’t have to. But come to think about it maybe the dealers that are lacking in those areas are the ones that are not reading our reports….hmmm.

We will be heading out to Vegas for NADA 2012 in a few short weeks and I am curious as to what everyone is looking forward to this year? To be honest I haven’t really heard much buzz around this years NADA so I am interested to see once we get there what the “big thing” is this year. So in the mean time I’ll ask all of our loyal readers to tell me what is on your list this year? What are you hoping to accomplish at NADA?

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