Steve Stauning's Blog (43)

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. So good, in fact, that his team seemed…


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 much more from their internet sales efforts today than…


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

The Three Cs of Phone Skills Mastery

While I tend to do a lot of phone training, it’s not my favorite skill to teach.

This is not because my phone skills training lacks substance or robustness or even uniqueness – it provides all three (and you can even get most of it for free online) – it’s because that no matter how much phone skills…


Added by Steve Stauning on June 23, 2015 at 4:10pm — No Comments

Free Video Training for Everyone from the Receptionist to the General Manager

Free Online Video Training for Automotive Dealers

Are you an automotive dealer in search of an expensive, online, video training offering for which you can overpay and yet improve nothing? Well, my online video training is still 100% free and it’s helping dealers and salespeople all over the world sell more for more - so it's probably not a fit for you.

If you are interested in growing your business through actionable lessons that cost you nothing, here is a…


Added by Steve Stauning on May 7, 2015 at 10:04am — 1 Comment

It's All About the ROI


Every now and then I find the automotive digital marketing controversies and handwringing on sites like LinkedIn, and others to be both humorous and disturbing.

Humorous, because it’s really not all that complicated (yet some people insist on adding drama to everything); and disturbing, because no matter what the issue, the bad advice always seems to outweigh the good. (Usually because those creating the…


Added by Steve Stauning on April 30, 2015 at 2:30pm — No Comments

5 Simple Rules… for Eliminating Skating Forever

If the only place you’ve ever worked is for one of America’s car dealerships, then you may not be aware that other industries don’t reward those who steal from their coworkers. Only dealership employees enjoy the added perk of being rewarded for cheating each other at will.

We call it skating; and it works like this:

A prospect I assisted a few days ago (and properly entered into the CRM) arrives at the dealership while I’m at lunch. He asks for me, though one of my…


Added by Steve Stauning on April 16, 2015 at 8:30am — 8 Comments

The Three Car Dealership Biases to Making a Change in Culture

Training and consulting with America’s car dealers is both fun and frustrating. Fun, because selling cars at retail presents one of the most challenging and (yes) entertaining pursuits one can endeavor to undertake. Frustrating, because car dealers have been presented with so many “quick fixes,” “magic bullets,” and “game-changers” over the past 100+ years that most…


Added by Steve Stauning on April 8, 2015 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

Yippee! We're Above Average!

“What’s the Average Closing Percentage for Automotive Leads 30, 60 and 90 Days Old?”

I recently received a variation of this question from a visitor to my free video training website, and given that many automotive managers, salespeople and BDC agents likely have the same question, I…


Added by Steve Stauning on April 6, 2015 at 9:54am — 1 Comment

What I Sincerely Hope My Local Car Dealer Can Learn From Tire-Rama

(I originally posted this on LinkedIn; thus the first few paragraphs were intended for those readers who might not enjoy working with and in car dealerships the way those of us on DealerElite do.

Before diving into this topic, I want the readers to understand why dealerships are so near and dear to my heart. While it’s true that I…


Added by Steve Stauning on March 30, 2015 at 11:48am — 5 Comments

What's the Best Internet Sales Structure for My Dealership?

At virtually every dealership 20 group I address, at least one dealer will ask the question I hear most often with respect to internet sales:

“What’s the best internet sales structure for a dealer today: End-to-End; a BDC; or giving the leads to the floor?”

I’ve been asked this question over and over again since 2009; and until early 2014 my answer was always the same: “Any of those will work, provided you and your sales managers support the efforts.” This was true then and…


Added by Steve Stauning on March 15, 2015 at 5:13pm — 1 Comment

The Five Things Dealers and OEMs Can Do Today to Stay On Top During the Next Downturn

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the next down market in automotive retail is coming. No one knows precisely when – and none of us is certain what will trigger it – but, it is coming. Moreover, given the current market realities, it might be coming a little faster than most of us in the industry imagine. Take, for example, these fast facts:

  • The average length of a new car loan in 2014 was 66 months.
  • The number of subprime borrowers missing payments is at…

Added by Steve Stauning on March 7, 2015 at 10:06am — 3 Comments

The Five Absolute “Musts” for a Successful Automotive Sales BDC

If you’re like most dealers I speak with lately, you’re either looking to add a Business Development Center (aka BDC) or trying to find ways to make your current BDC more successful? If so, then there are just a few simple “must haves” that are truly non-negotiable if you’d like your BDC to succeed today and over the long term.

MUST #1: BDC’s Must be Profit (not Cost) Centers

The primary reason BDCs failed in the past is they simply weren’t very successful at…


Added by Steve Stauning on March 2, 2015 at 7:30pm — 12 Comments

Online Automotive Leads: How Well Do Dealers Respond? (A 2015 PLADOOGLE Study)

I'm very proud of the study our team just released that tracked and graded over 400 Automotive Mystery Shops for 30 days. In the study, we read every email and listened to every voicemail. Also, we graded dealers' REAL response time: that is, the time it takes them to actually pick up the phone and call the prospect. Since we used a valid, working…


Added by Steve Stauning on January 5, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

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