Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Auto Dealership...just one!

I came across a JD Powers graph that they have from their 2011 JD Powers Internet Roundtable.  I'm not surprised by what it shows.  I've been involved in the online marketing/selling space for RV's, Boats, real estate, and autos since 2004.  According to their results, the consumer is physically visiting ONE dealership during the buying process!  One, that's it!  This is because the consumers are doing their shopping online, and if you're a dealer who's bent on doing things, "the way we've always done them".  Frankly, you need to look at the studies that have been done on auto shoppers buying habits online.  Heck, look at your floor traffic data for the last five years, and you'll see a large decline. 
Five years ago I created a training program for Realtors called "The Sale Starts With The Online Listing".  It's based on integrating the sales process with your listings, and is the same system I used as the Internet Manager for the dealerships I worked at.  It relates to anything that you are listing online with the intent of selling.  Each year that goes by, shopping overall is consistently growing online.  Just look at's revenue over the last five years.  As the numbers grow, the relevance of what I said 5 years ago becomes more and more important.  The auto sale starts with your online listings!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nobody Knows About You

When we search online for something, the majority of the time we use the manufacture or product name, and then the generic term.  For example, Chevy Cars, Colgate Toothpaste, Duracell Batteries, Dell Computers, etc.  In the last year I've been focusing and following the conversion truck market.  One of the problems that I noticed working for a dealership that carried a conversion truck product line.  Was that, the vast majority of inquiries had never heard of the conversion company before.  It is what sparked my solution to the problem of building a platform where these products could be listed, and pushing it to the public.  For those who aren't aware, pretty much all of the main upfitters in the market are owned by families.  They don't have the billion dollar ad budgets that the large manufactures have, i.e. Ford, Chevy.  So they rely on their marketing efforts at shows, and their individual dealers marketing their products.  Most of these companies have been in business for decades, and yet the vast majority of consumers haven't heard of their products.  What the majority of manufactures are focused on are the conversion trucks, commonly referred to as lifted trucks. is a solution to this problem of obscurity, and the image below validates this problem.  Click on the image to enlarge.

You are already doing it!

     It surprises me when a  dealer say no to coming on board with my service.  What I believe the dealers forget, is that they are already doing what I'm asking them to do.  Because I'm targeting a small part of their inventory, I don't have feeds set up to receive their inventory.  It would be pointless to receive information for 300 units, when I'm only interested in a handful.  The majority of franchise dealers use some third party for their website.  All these third party company's offer to feed the dealers inventory to many different classifieds sites. 
     I remember when I was an Internet Manager for a start-up boat dealership.  The website provider we used sent me a list of all the websites that they feed our listings to.  95% of the sites I had never heard of before.  I had them send feeds to all the free one's, and provided our information for the sites we were paying to list on.  Why?  Because the internet is like building a fire, and if you want a big fire you have to have many "logs on the fire".
     This week I spoke to a person at a dealership that handles their specialty vehicles.  The phone number on their site goes to his cell phone.  His objection to why they wouldn't be interested was because his competitors would be their also.  Really!  Two issues that I see with his comment, one is that I would bet his dealership is already present on the large listings sites.  Yes, your dealership and all your competitors are there.  The other issue is that, obviously your handling all the inquiries into these specialty vehicles.  That tells me that the size of your paycheck is dependent on you selling those vehicles.  Seriously, saying no to potentially increasing leads for YOU, which may generate YOU more sales?  Your competitors that come on board thank you for not being in the space.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The number one reason to drop/switch your specialty vehicle line.

I see it all the time, especially in viewing dealers websites from when I first started my research to now.  The dealer used to carry a specialty vehicle line, or I've seen instances where they've switched products.  I spoke to an Internet Manager a couple weeks ago that told me that they weren't ordering anymore of the product they carried.  I asked if they were switching products, and he said no, they were just dropping it.  He was clearly bummed about it, and I asked if he knew why they decided to drop the line?  His answer was one that I clearly related to, "cause management said so".  I thought what a shame, here's a sales guy who obviously likes the product, and is bummed about dumping it.  What I didn't tell him was that I knew why they were dropping it.  The number one reason a dealer drops/switches a specialty product line is simple...They aren't selling them!  The question is why?  I've worked for dealers as an Internet Manager where I was almost micro-managed to working for an owner that gave me free reign to do as I wish with the Internet Marketing.  I asked if he did any special with the vehicles as far as Internet Marketing, and he said, "No, the managers are "old school", and don't see the value of the internet.  They don't let me do much out of the ordinary things."
I've spoken to many Internet Managers, and manufacture reps specifically about the Internet Marketing of specialty vehicles.  If the product is "going over the curb", that dealer isn't dropping or switching products.  I created a marketing campaign at the dealership I worked for specifically for our Rocky Ridge products.  As the Internet Manager, I made it my mission to dominate the online space with our units, and we moved a lot of units!  The GM knew everything that I was doing, however it didn't get back to the owner.  When dealers complained to Rocky Ridge, it got back to the owner!  He quickly became aware of what I was doing.  One of the other ways he found out early, was we had two different customers at two separate locations looking to buy.  We were including shipping, with the GM approval to do it, and they both were trying to negotiate that.  As a result of what I did, I got abruptly fired.  The flip side is that, they were the first dealer that came on board.  Instead of working for one dealer/manufacturer line, I'm doing it for multiple dealer/manufacturers.
 As a dealer, you may have initial success with a product line, however putting them on your lot and website isn't going to get them "over the curb". is committed to providing a platform where dealers and manufacturers can list their specialty vehicles.  Combined with our goal of getting them in-front of your end consumer!

Hand Slapped For Being Too Persistant?

    I've worked for an RV dealership, boat dealership, and an auto dealership in sales and as an Internet Manager.  One of the biggest things that managers would drill into our heads, especially at those beloved sales meetings, was follow-up.  Always, always be following up with the customer, we would be told, follow up until they "buy or die!"  Not in a literal sense on the dieing part, however until you know that they are no longer in the market for whatever your trying to sell them.  Someone would always ask the Manager, "what happens if they say I'm bugging them? or harassing them?"  The managers response would be, "You let me know if they complain, and I'll personally talk to them, however you will never be in trouble if that happens.  It means that you're doing your job, it's sales 101!"
      A few weeks ago I was taken a back by a response that I received from a company's President:  "You are driving us CRAZY!  You are calling our sales people, calling _____, emailing me and just plain bothering us"
      I was surprised, and wondered did I really do something wrong?  Is there such a thing as being too persistent?   I don't think so, especially when your intent is to genuinely provide a service that helps their business increase opportunities.  Am I being too persistent because I really want to cause a headache for you?  Maybe I'm being persistent because I know what the impact of what I'm doing is going to have on your business.  It can be either negative or positive, and I make no apologies whatsoever for the impact it has on anyone's business.  It could be that I'm seeing visitors coming to my site looking for your product, and your competitors product.  It could be that I'm also seeing the many "sold's" that are on my site that are your competitors product.   Buyers are looking, and whoever is providing them with the information they seek, will get their business.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

If I were boss for the day!

     One of the most common things employees do is say is a some type of variation of  , "If I were boss for the day".  They usually will go into their ideal scenario of how things should be at work, whether it be their job duties, pay, benefits, or a decision that someone higher up made positive or negative.  I've done it before, and listened as other have.
      Now, as being a business owner of, and anticipating bringing on employees very soon.  I think of that same statement, I've heard many times when I was an employee.  I have to say that there's a switch that happens when you go from being an employee, to a business owner/potential employer.  You look at things differently, and you now have an awesome responsibility to have others livelihoods dependent on you.  You have a clean slate to work with, and you can do anything you want with it.  When I think about the fact that I'm going to be the boss.  What things am I going to do that I believe are important to an employee.  As the leader of the business, for your employees, everything reflects directly back on you!  Particularly in a small business, it's easy to see how things get mucked up in large corporations.  Knowing, that my choices/decisions are reflecting back to me.  I have to first look at me, and really look at who I am.  I am a genuine person who cares about people, and  I refuse to stay on the surface.  Everyone has things unique about them, and I want to know those things.  I've worked for superficial bosses/companies before, and it's a miserable place to work.  I'm not that guy!  So, here's what I've come up with for being the boss:

The most important thing to me as a owner, is I absolutely REFUSE to have my employees being the "working poor"!  It's not gonna happen!  I will not allow it to happen!

I was offered health insurance at one of my employers.  Family plan monthly premium that I had to pay, $900.  Yeah, that's rent, and utilities money!  I will pay all my employees premiums for health insurance, again my commitment to not having employees being the working poor.  In addition, I will put additional money into an account to pay their co-pays for visits/prescriptions.  That's for anyone covered under their plan.

Screw this work for a year, get a year vacation stuff.  Employees get a week vacation after six months, and a second week at their one year anniversary.

Minimum pay:  The least amount of pay that I will pay any employee, is $35k per year.  In addition, every employee is eligible for bonuses.

Grant Cardone said in a seminar, "It's not a job, it's your life!"  That statement resonates with me.

It's all about Jobs!!

     One of the things that drives me in building, is job creation.  I can easily think of 5-10 jobs that I can create in my business.  That may or may not sound like much, but it only starts with my business.  I have absolute conviction that as a result of my business.  Those who are present on the site, will see a dramatic increase in their businesses as well.  I watched a new story about a conversion manufacturer that because of the addition of a manufacturer to their product line.  They hired an additional 40 people.  I firmly believe that conversion manufacturers are barely scratching the surface of their true market potential with their products.  
     Yesterday, I was looking at a small local upfitter's site, and was impressed with the radical things they do.  The first thing I thought of was, "I want these guys on my site!"  The impact that my service can have on their business, is huge!  My platform allows the little manufacturers to be present with the big guys.  We are equal opportunity here!  As a result, whether your a big player, or small local player, you have the ability to increase business/revenue to levels that you didn't expect to reach.  These manufacturers will have to increase the number of employees, and that's what drives me!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Rebirth Of The Conversion Van Market

I've been engrossing myself in the conversion market, and at the same time watching what's going on in the auto industry.  What I see happening in the immediate future is a rebirth of the conversion market.  With conversion companies expanding their products to the truck/SUV market, in many cases for survival because of the clobbering of the full size conversion van market.  With manufacturers getting out of the full size van market, the writing was clearly on the wall.  The silver lining, is that manufacturers are developing, and have smaller more efficient vehicles to replace their full size van market.  I've come across two companies that are now converting the Nissan NV into conversion vans.  With the announcement of Ford last week of putting the Eco-Boost engine in the Transit, that was the confirmation I was waiting to hear, it validates my theory.  Now, in order for this rebirth to occur, conversion manufacturers need to see this also.  It's going to be very big!  Those that don't see it, will not be prepared for it, and will suffer.

I firmly believe that will be the nucleus that pushes this rebirth.  Let's face it, conversion companies don't have billion dollar ad budgets like vehicle manufacturers.  In order for a revolutionary rebirth to occur, there has to be a platform that gets their products out to the masses.  If you're in sales, and your closing percentage is 10% of the customers you talk to.  You need to talk to 10 to sell 1, and if your goal is 20, you need to talk to 200 people.  Using that same percentage, and you're a conversion company that wants to double their sales.  You have to double your audience you have now, that's how you'll get those increased numbers.

About founder

I had my first sales job in 2003, working for a very large RV dealership.  During the first year, I was fortunate to have a mentor guide me in learning how to sell.  In 2004, I took over handling the Internet duties at our location.  That's where I discovered my passion for Internet Sales,  and I jumped feet first into my role!  I taught myself many techniques, and greatly improved my skills of closing over the phone.  What I knew from the start was that the Internet, is a whole different ballgame than traditional business practices.  You are literally competing with every single other dealer that sells your products, or your competitors products.  Dealers are competing on such a larger scale than every before, and it's not going away.  At one point, the main office location decided to change things, and have the main location handle all the Internet duties.  I was not happy about this, and I ended up in a meeting with the owner, and the Internet Manager.  I told both of them that how they were going to do things, and my new role in it.  Frankly, didn't fit into my goals.  The owner asked me what my goals where.  I told him, to be honest with you, to run the whole &%#* thing!  Whether it was there, or somewhere else!

About a year later, the owner had sold the company, and was starting a boat dealership.  He was 2 hours away from where I lived.  He called me, and said that he wanted me to come on board as his Internet Manager.  I learned a valuable life lesson from this, when asked, always be direct and honest.  It may not seem like the proper thing to do, however the only thing that's important, is being honest with yourself.  I worked for his start-up boat dealership, and we did really well.  Having creative freedom, provided me with the ability to create a great Internet system.  The experience of leveraging the Internet to generate revenue particularly in a start-up without me burden with risk, has provided very valuable to me in this venture.

Recently, I worked for an auto dealership as an Internet Manager.  We carried the Rocky Ridge conversion vehicles, and I quickly realized that there was no where for us to exclusively market these online.  The other issue I discovered was, the majority of customers had never heard of the conversion company before.  At the dealership, I jumped right into creating an Internet marketing program for these vehicles.  We did very well with them, however my wheels were already turning for this business.  I hatched this business idea in June 2011, and like most things, it's a process getting things to fruition.

When I reflect on my experiences from the dealerships I worked for, it has laid the foundation for what I am doing now.  The progression over the years from, Internet Sales, to Internet Sales/Marketing, to Internet Marketing, and now Internet Marketing of my own business, is just a natural progression I guess.  The only difference from then to now is, I'm indirectly working for multiple dealers/companies, and not just one.  My true passion, is in Internet Marketing.  Why?  I absolutely love what I'm doing, and the challenges that come with it.  Internet Marketing is the area of a business that can have the largest impact on revenue, both positive and negative.  For those that aren't sure about getting on board with my service, the auto dealership that I worked for was Ferrario Auto Team.  They know what I can do, and what I did.  From a business stand point, they are very aware of the direct benefit I am going to provide their dealership with.

Our First Dealer

We are pleased to announce's first dealer to sign-up for our service.  Ferrario Auto Team is based in Elmira, NY with locations in Sayre, PA, and Towanda, PA.  They are one of the largest Rocky Ridge Truck dealers in the US.

In starting a new venture, it is important to have early adopters to your idea/vision.  Ferrario Auto Team recognizes the value in having a platform to market these specialty vehicles.  I can very comfortably say that with their getting on board.  Ferrario Auto Team is now benefiting from exposure that no other competitor has, and they will soon see the results of their presence on