Steve Stauning's Blog (34)

Why I Still Write About Process (and Why You Should Care)

Yesterday, I posted a short article about perfecting the automotive internet sales process and a LinkedIn connection asked, “Why do you still write so much about process?”

Why I Still Write About…


Added by Steve Stauning on October 25, 2017 at 7:19am — No Comments

Chatbots are Here, They’re Necessary, and They’re Surprisingly Inexpensive

Chatbots are Here, They’re Necessary, and They’re Surprisingly Inexpensive …oh, and for car dealers, chatbots are moving metal!

Time for some quick level-setting with the car dealer readers out there:

  1. Facebook is not going away;
  2. Most of your customers are already there;
  3. Your kitten pictures and inventory vomits aren’t being read; and
  4. Facebook Ads work, but you need to start communicating with these prospects!



Added by Steve Stauning on April 4, 2017 at 6:59pm — 4 Comments

Hey Car Dealer: Stop Letting Carvana (and Everyone Else) Define You!

Hey Car Dealer: Stop Letting Carvana (and Everyone Else) Define You! 

If you believe the corporate manifestos and marketing pitches of every automotive retail-related startup for the last twenty years, then you’d think America’s car dealerships are staffed by a bunch of puppy-kicking…


Added by Steve Stauning on March 27, 2017 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

Culture, Customers and Your Dealership in a Flattening Market

If you examine the average dealership’s sales since 2010, you’ll notice that they’ve steadily been growing year-over-year. Of course, the average dealer has been growing because the market has been growing; and while everyone has seen sales increases over the last several years, only a small…


Added by Steve Stauning on February 15, 2017 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

The Leads Are Dead

“The Leads Are Dead”

According to those who struggle to generate consumer sales leads for businesses, “Sales leads are dead.” Furthermore, these (interestingly, mostly digital) marketers claim that today’s connected consumers are simply unwilling to trade their personal information online in exchange for…


Added by Steve Stauning on January 26, 2017 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment

The Lead is the Shizznizzle!

Lately there have been some pretty hip writers talking down the old, dusty website lead as if dealers should forego this antique in favor of the more Avant-garde “engagement” or the equally vaporous “VDP views.” Their argument – when they bother to attempt one – basically boils down to “consumers don’t…


Added by Steve Stauning on November 18, 2016 at 5:31pm — No Comments

The ONLY Goals of Your Website

I hate to break it to you, but if you run a for-profit business – like a car dealership – then your website has just two important goals:

  • Goal #1 – Attract Visitors
  • Goal #2 – Convert Visitors

Sorry, that’s it. Attracting and converting visitors are the only real…


Added by Steve Stauning on June 30, 2016 at 2:44pm — 1 Comment

Ask for Referrals? If I was the Dealer, I’d Prefer You Ask for a Little Yelp

Among the many activities I complete in advance of a dealer consulting visit is a thorough analysis of their online reputation, as this can often help define much of the visit’s focus. During one such analysis this week, I discovered the following for an upcoming dealer visit (numbers have been estimated…


Added by Steve Stauning on May 7, 2016 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Is Duplicitous Pricing Good Business?

In a transparent, information-rich world where showrooming is commonplace, a pricing tactic used by many retailers seems strangely shortsighted. For lack of a better term, let’s call this shortsighted pricing practice “Duplicitous Pricing” or DP for short.

Simply put, DP occurs when a retailer posts one price in their store while maintaining a different price somewhere else – like the Internet. Interestingly, the practice of DP didn’t originate with the Web; as it was fairly…


Added by Steve Stauning on March 27, 2016 at 4:37pm — 7 Comments

Is Your Online Service Scheduling Application Chasing Your Customers Elsewhere?

Let me start this post by stating unequivocally that I am big fan of online service scheduling applications for car dealers. When set up correctly, these little tools can save you and your customers the headaches and hassles of numerous service phone calls.

When set up correctly.

Without getting into the weeds, suffice it to say that online service scheduling is a great way to balance the load and maximize the labor in your shop without having to employ a service receptionist…


Added by Steve Stauning on November 23, 2015 at 12:41pm — 5 Comments

The Great BDC Robbery: How Reconciliation Allows Your BDC to Steal from You

If you're a GM or dealer principal I have to ask: Do you have any idea what your BDC is doing right now? 

A few weeks ago a general manager I’ve known for some time was bragging about the performance of his group’s Centralized BDC. He was almost gushing about how well they were doing and how there was no…


Added by Steve Stauning on October 23, 2015 at 2:12pm — 1 Comment

Email & Voicemail Best Practices

(Quick Note: This is an excerpt from the 2015 Automotive Dealer Mystery Shop Study we released this year; and the best practices shared below relate to the email and voicemail messages that car dealers should be using when responding to an internet sales lead.)


It’s important to remember the goal of this process: That is, to drive a reconnection;…


Added by Steve Stauning on September 15, 2015 at 7:26pm — No Comments

Attention Dealers: Your Sales Managers Are Costing You Millions Because They Don’t Care About Perfect Data

I almost titled this post “Perfect Data Matters,” but because it is one of the MOST IMPORTANT blog posts I’ve made this year, and because that title is so stinking boring to you and your managers, it would guarantee the least amount of interaction.

And that is sad. Perfect Data matters.

As boring as that sounds, not only does Perfect Data matter, it matters more than the Up getting out of their car right now. In fact, compared to Perfect Data in your CRM, that Up is…


Added by Steve Stauning on August 17, 2015 at 9:18pm — 7 Comments

Empowering Your Team to Solve Problems in One Simple Step

Six months ago I watched a service manager struggle with the amount of customer complaints he had to deal with on a daily basis. Most of the complaints were just silly, and almost all of them should have been solved at the advisor level.

Unfortunately for this manager, he was really, really good at solving customer issues.…


Added by Steve Stauning on August 11, 2015 at 10:12pm — 2 Comments

Why Would Dealers Even Want an e-Lead?

[With the on-again/off-again debate about Third Party Providers currently on (again), it seems appropriate to present this excerpt from our 2015 Online Automotive Leads mystery shop study.]

A high percentage of dealership desk managers still look at the Internet and their own internet sales teams as the enemy. For these shortsighted managers, the elimination of e-leads in their dealership might likely be viewed as a blessing.…


Added by Steve Stauning on August 3, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Hey Dealers: Speed Up Your F&I or Else!

NEWSFLASH: Consumers are tired of wasting 3-5 hours of their lives buying a car.

The average prospect today has done more than 19 hours of research before they ever set foot on your lot; so they know what they want to buy, they just don’t want to spend an entire day buying it from you.

Recognizing the need for speed, some dealerships have done a decent job of abbreviating their Road to the Sale for many customers: getting them from the Meet & Greet through the…


Added by Steve Stauning on July 26, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Why Does Lead Response Even Matter?

(Another helpful excerpt from our free 2015 Car Dealer Mystery Shop Study of more than 400 dealers.)

Why Does Lead Response Matter?

Lately, much has been written about the drop in the number of electronic sales leads dealers receive – not coincidentally, of course, most often by those wishing to sell more of their own brand of marketing to these same dealers – and while the decline…


Added by Steve Stauning on July 21, 2015 at 11:46am — 1 Comment

Here is Every Reason You Should NOT Create a Centralized BDC

Quick Quiz: If you’re part of an automotive dealer group comprised of anywhere between 2 and 290 stores and you do not run a centralized sales BDC, then you’re:

  • A) Wasting Money
  • B) Losing Sales
  • C) At a Competitive Disadvantage
  • D) Not Leveraging Your Economies of Scale
  • E) All of the Above

If you answered E, congratulations! You’ve recognized the downside of sending your inbound leads and phones to those black holes…


Added by Steve Stauning on July 16, 2015 at 10:30am — 3 Comments

The Great Auto-Response Debate

We just finished a 30-day, full (email, phone and text) internet sales mystery shop of 21 dealers for a 20-group presentation I’m delivering next month. Of the 21 dealers we shopped, only five sent an auto-response to the inbound e-lead. Five! This means more than 75% of the dealers did not use an auto-responder.

The 20-group I’m addressing is a mixed group with mostly GM dealers; and it’s interesting that only one of the General Motors dealers used an auto-response. This…


Added by Steve Stauning on July 12, 2015 at 12:18pm — No Comments

What's Your REAL Response Time?

(This is an excerpt from our 2015 Mystery Shop Study which provides lots of free best practices and other great advice for dealers.)

OEMs, dealer groups and even Dealer Principals expect…


Added by Steve Stauning on July 10, 2015 at 4:05pm — 3 Comments

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