Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Technology – the Dealers’ new CRM BFF

By Sak Ryopponen, Director – Business Development at Go Technologies

Picture this: one of your customers is driving along and the music he is listening to (which he selected using voice control) is interrupted by a voice text message telling him he is approaching a florist, in case he wanted to buy flowers for his wife for their wedding anniversary. Your dealership sent the message. Pretty good CRM compared to what you might be doing today.

Reading this, you may have started wondering how far into the future are we talking about? The short answer is that it is all possible today. BMW have already announced that they will launch location marketing in Germany via their ConnectedDrive system.
As a dealer, you are either eagerly awaiting the launch of these new technologies by your franchisors, or are dreading the thought of being dragged into “all this technology nonsense”.

As a technology-aware dealer, is there anything you can do to advance or broaden the impending benefits of new technologies? Again, the short answer is yes, especially if your particular franchisors are not going to act for some time.

Breaking down the various components of the opening scenario:
  •          Your customer’s anniversary date (or other relevant data) is already able to be extracted from your DMS or other customer database, and an electronic message sent to your customer.
  •           There are smartphone apps available with gesture control, voice control, text to voice etc
  •           Plug-in GPS tracking devices can monitor vehicle location, and match it with the location of retail outlets etc. By monitoring data such as odometer readings, they can also trigger electronic service reminders, for example – and not just scheduled services, but early or additional services based on driver behaviour.
You have so far probably been picturing how this applies to new vehicles – well, what about the $60,000 used vehicle in your yard that has technology that is positively “state of the ark” compared to today’s GM Holden Barina? That 3 year old used car could have technology that is 12 years old, given a new vehicle development time of four years, then new vehicle purchase at the end of a five year model cycle, then previously owned for three years. Judicious installation of available aftermarket technology may well make for a quicker sale or higher gross, and make it easier for you to stay in touch with the buyer.

In summary, there is a huge amount of technology available to dealers to win customers, keep customers and increase your whole of ownership profitability per customer. The timing of launching your dealership into this new technology is a point of consideration. When discussing new technologies with dealers, I wait for the inevitable question: “Are any other dealers doing it already?” The answer that provides comfort to most dealers is “yes”. The answer that provides greatest opportunity for progressive dealers is “no”.

photo credit: mikeyp2000 via photopin

Study: 87% of your customers will give referrals – if you just ask

David Martin, President and
co-founder Mar-Kee Group.
David Martin is President and co-founder of Mar-Kee Group. He heads one of the most influential sales training companies in North America and has addressed the NADA Convention on eight separate occasions and has been named the #1 speaker at six AADA Conventions.

Wouldn't you love to get all your business from referrals? After all, just sitting around waiting for a customer is not very productive.

And there is definitely great value in referral business. The closing rate on referrals is double that of normal customers. Referrals tend to close more quickly and be more profitable.

So, if there are such compelling reasons to seek referrals, why don’t more salespeople ask? After all, a recent study indicates that 87% of contented customers would pass along names, but only 7% of sales reps ever ask.

Roadblocks: Fear of rejection and incorrect technique
Two issues stand in the way: fear of rejection and incorrect technique. Even though rejection is something sales consultants face daily, somehow a rejection seems more personal, when it involves asking for referrals.

In addition, asking for a referral opens the door for possible negative feedback from customers. As a result, salespeople often avoid the referrals issue entirely – to keep the relationship positive and avoid stubbing their toe during the sales process.

Another factor is that salespeople generally ask for referrals incorrectly. There are plenty of top performers who have built an excellent book of repeat and referral business. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

Don’t just ask
While the majority of sales consultants don’t ask for referrals at all, those that summon the courage to do so tend to ask in a weak, general sort of way. Examples: “Mike, do you know anyone else who would like to buy a car?” or “Linda and Frank, do you know anyone else in the market for a car?”

There are a couple of problems with asking like this, even when you do it at the end of a successful customer interaction. 1) Caught off guard, most customers can’t think of anyone on the spur of the moment. 2) Customers are often sensitive to giving out names of friends for fear that you will expect them to buy now.  You can solve both of these by taking the pressure off like this:

First, have a pre-printed form available that provides space for several names and contact information.

Sales consultant: “May I ask a favor? Most of my customers do this for me. I get much of my business from referrals from happy customers like you, so would you mind giving me the names of several people who you think may be in the market for a car at some point in the future? Please know that I’m not expecting you to know anyone in the market today, just someone who might consider purchasing a car one of these days.”

Then excuse yourself to go “check up on something” so they will have time to think.  When you return, ask why they thought of those people and get permission to contact them.

This approach works for two reasons. 1) You provided them a form and most people feel a little obligated to fill out forms they have been given. 2) You have acknowledged that they probably don’t know anyone in the market today, but you open up their mind by asking for someone who may consider purchasing “one of these days”. That is almost everyone!

Try this approach with your sold customers and you will be pleasantly surprised how effective it is.

David can be contacted at

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Got something to say?

We're calling for submissions!

With the phenomenal success of the first Automotive Dealer magazine in March, we’re now calling for submissions for the next issue due for release in May.

This is your opportunity to gain exposure in front of automotive dealers across Australia and beyond!

Submissions of no more than 600 words on a topic that is relevant to the industry such as dealership operations, human resources, marketing, F&1, service solutions, new products etc are welcome.

Editorial contributions are required by 5pm Wednesday 30 April, 2014. Submissions only accepted in a Microsoft Word document, complete with headline as well as your name, company and title. A high resolution photo (head and shoulder) of the contributor is also required.

Please email your contribution to

For all online and magazine advertising, please contact

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Free Cloud Reporter upgrade

Updated Cloud Reporter 
welcomed by industry.

Savision, the leader in innovative solutions for Microsoft System Center, announces a free new release of Cloud Reporter, the most comprehensive product for reporting on Hyper-V capacity issues today. 

Cloud Reporter is a robust capacity planning solution for private clouds based on Microsoft’s Hyper-V, which has the ability to predict when memory, processors and storage resources will be exhausted. Cloud Reporter uses data from the System Center Operations Manager data warehouse to generate its reports and forecasts.

Unfortunately, Operations Manager only provides basic roll-ups like average, maximum, and minimum when aggregating data. When analyzing metrics such as idle processing power, these roll-ups are of limited applicability and in fact, predictions based upon them may be misleading. “We’ve been listening to the feedback from our initial customers and are working hard to tailor the product to their needs. We’ve put a great deal of effort into augmenting the roll-ups provided by Operations Manager.  In particular, we’ve added percentile values so, for example, we can present in-use memory and processor at the 90th and 95th percentiles”, declared Steven Dwyer, lead developer at Savision.

Using percentile values means Cloud Reporter is now much more accurate when forecasting when your private cloud will exhaust its resources and the graphs are more meaningful as well.

In the newest release, all reports also come with an explanatory section at the top detailing how the values in the report were calculated and providing reasons as to why particular clusters or hosts would or would not appear in the report.

Savision also made all sorts of other little tweaks and adjustments for his current Cloud Reporter users, simplifying the input parameters required for some reports, adding more information to other reports to improve their clarity, and providing greater precision on capacity predictions.

If you’re a current Cloud Reporter user, you can upgrade your version by clicking on 

Savision is the market leader in visualization tools for Microsoft's System Center. Its products and services are designed to help companies accelerate resolution time of IT problems, increase organizational efficiency, prevent business downtime and reduce IT costs. 

Saivision's solutions offer industry-specific capabilities within different fields and have been adopted by over 600 international companies worldwide. For more information visit


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