Friday, August 24, 2012

Eric Nichols of Apple Honda Gives Dealer eTraining and Stan Sher a Testimonial

Eric and Apple Honda are a proud Dealer eTraining client.

Eric Nichols, Internet Sales Manager for Apple Honda put out this video on SocialCam.  I had to share this because it makes me appreciate what I do for a living even more.  I love working with automotive dealers and helping them become successful.  I was able to help Apple Honda achieve improvements the same exact way that I have done it for myself in past.  When I work with a client I give them my best and I do things exactly how I would do them if I was working for them.  Eric also thanked TrueCar for sponsoring his trip to Las Vegas for AutoCon 2012.  I had to share this video here with everyone.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Major Dealer Group in NY Looking for Internet/BDC Managers

Here are two great opportunities with one of the largest dealer groups in the country.

The position is in Suffolk (Long Island). I need someone with a solid 2-3 years BDC manager experience.  The requirements of the candidate are as follows:

-Be able to manage a department of 3-4
-Train on our phone scripts (Alan Ram phone script experience preferred)
-Experience with internet leads, phone ups unsold showroom traffic follow up and lease retention handling a comprehensive BDC department
-Has knowledge of Reynolds Contact management, and the ability to train on it in its basic forum
-Understanding of social media.  Has a portfolio/examples of their capability showcasing postings to Facebook, Twitter, even Pinterest, if used yet.
-Be able to provide good references
-Wants to build a career, not a clock watcher…..
-Self starter, proactive, not reactive.

Compensation 65k-85k per year based on experience.

Small store that needs a facelift in all things digital with the help and guidance of GM, sales management staff and group BDC Director.


Also need one-Internet Manager only for high line Nassau (Long Island) store. Similar qualities as above, but one man department handling internet leads only and other digital aspects, social, Google Places, Google analytic, online rep management etc. This one paying 45-65k based on experience.

If you are looking to make a change or know anyone that is please contact

Eric Nichols of Apple Honda Awarded AutoCon 2012 Scholarship Sponsored by TrueCar®

Before you read this, I just want to say that I am proud to be able to work with this dealership and help them become successful.  Eric and Apple Honda are a proud Dealer eTraining client.


Automotive Media Partners LLC and First Class Educators are pleased to announce the ninth recipient of the TrueCar® Scholarship program. The program grants a full scholarship for automotive professionals to attend AutoCon 2012, September 5-8th at the Aria Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Eric Nichols, Internet Sales Manager for Apple Honda, is the ninth recipient out of twelve to receive the scholarship that will send him to AutoCon 2012.  Matt Tucker, E-Commerce Director of Bommarito Automotive Group, Katia King, BDC Director for Pat O’Brien Chevrolet, Sean Rancier, Internet & IT Director for Bill Rapp Superstore, Ashley Lopez, Internet Marketing Coordinator of Access Ford Ltd., Jillian Lopez, Director of Operational Marketing at Bolton Ford, Kevin Gordon, Ecommerce Manager for Jim Pattison Auto Group, Andrew “Jake” Bower, Internet Manager of Ruxer Ford Lincoln, Mike Warwick, Director of Digital Marketing for Kelly Auto, and Jennifer Chartrand, Internet Director for Auffenberg Dealer Group, are also scholarship recipients.  Three more scholarships are yet to be awarded.

“TrueCar is honored to support automotive professionals across the country through our AutoCon scholarship program,” said Mike Timmons, executive vice president at TrueCar. “TrueCar understands the importance of working with dealers and is dedicated to the betterment of the industry through training and thought leadership exchange within the retail automotive landscape.”

TrueCar® is happy to give Eric the opportunity to attend AutoCon 2012.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CRM Manipulation: Get the Most Out of Your CRM

As I travel and work with dealerships all over the country I am constantly amazed at how often I find that the CRM in dealerships is not functions properly.  It is pretty scary that when I ask dealers and managers to tell me how well it is being used and they tell me how it is being utilized properly.  However, when I log in I see no process for anything.  I see showroom customers not being logged, closing ratios not making sense, no processes installed (making sales and BDC people work backwards).  Basically everyone is just “winging” it and using what they can.

The other day I was talking about how whenever I ran or sometimes still run the Internet, BDC, or sales department in a dealership that my CRM is clean, updated, and easy to manage.  I never let anything slip through the cracks.  I know every customer that walked in was logged.  I also know that sales people and sales managers typically do a bad job of updating information or resulting out what happened in the sales processes.  This is where I lay down the hammer and question everything.  The key here is to monitor to everything like a hawk and be able to fix what mess gets created.  The other key ingredient is getting on sales staff and managers to do what they need to do.  In some cases, utilize the receptionist to help keep proper traffic count just like Eric Nichols does at Apple Honda in Riverhead, NY.

They say that reports generated by the CRM are non functional and can provide improper data.  Well I got news for you.  The data provides misinformation as the people that misuse the CRM are ultimately responsible for creating the misinformation.  Depending on the size of the dealership operation there might be a need to have a CRM master specialist to make sure that all data is correct from sourcing, to usage, to accountability of management, in many cases the Internet manager is in that role as they battle to prove to the dealer why they need to get paid on this deal or that deal.

So how do we have a grasp on our CRM?  Well it is really easy but requires a lot of work and management.  This is why we call it “Customer Relationship Management”.  Find someone in the dealership that will master the system and use it the proper way.  I am talking about installing proper processes (follow up, internet leads, phone calls, showroom traffic, etc…), managing how the system is being used by sales and management (this includes manually cleaning up the mess that is created at times), and measure proper reports according to the proper data.  Yes, it takes work and it requires someone that is very sharp to be on top of the game.  However, at the end of the day all of your results can be properly accounted for one you calibrate the system right.  My advice is to set it up right the right time and manage it on a very high level.  I cannot tell you how many times dealerships have contracted me to come in for 1-2 days and just fix their CRM system.  It becomes difficult work when you are fixing years and years worth of errors.  While there are CRM systems that are way better than others, it still all comes down to how you use it.

Dealers looking to improve on how to use their CRM should reach out to me directly so that I can help them come up with an effective strategy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Improve Internet Lead Quality (Recorded Session)

How to Improve Internet Lead Quality from KPA - on Vimeo.

Instead of changing the status for an internet lead to "dead" or "bad" because there is no phone number available, learn how to fix bad leads that have no phone numbers by using social media and cost effective tools in order to maximize opportunities and increase connections with more prospects. Also we will cover some simple word tracks that help build rapport with that prospect once they are on the phone.

Presented by:

  • Stan SherStan Sher President , Dealer eTraining As one of the top experts in automotive internet sales and business development today, Stan Sher has been training dealers best practices with regards to internet lead management, sales process, and business development process. He currently writes for numerous automotive dealer publications including where he serves as the editor. In addition, Stan is a frequent speaker for the Greater New York Automotive Dealers Association as well as numerous industry conferences.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 2012 Automotive Internet Sales "Dealer of The Month Winner" Martin D'Amato of Pine Belt Automotive - Congratulations!

Congratulations to Martin D'Amato, Internet Director of Pine Belt Automotive in Toms River, NJ! 

Martin oversees 4 dealerships that are Delivering over 275 units per month in an 8 person department- 

AIS - How Long have you been in the Automotive Sales Industry? 

MD - 6 Years. The 6 years are not like the normal 6 years.  You work bell to bell 6 days a week.  Whenever one of our stores is open I am in one of them.

AIS - How Long have you been with Pine Belt?

MD - 3 Years.  I started off with the Chevy store that was doing 55 units per month total without a BDC.  Before joining Pine Belt, I was at All Star Mitsubishi and All Star Motor Sports.  I learned the sales and marketing aspect of the business while working in these stores.

AIS - How did you get in to the car business? 

MD - I did not exactly choose the business.  It chose me.  I was in college going to St. Johns where I graduated.  I was a double major in sports management and finance.  There was not a lot to offer out there.  I had to choose a field and that was the field that I chose.

AIS -What type of training did you go through? 

MD - Trial and error.  You either have it or you don't.  In other words, you either want to grow and be the best or you don't.  I was hungry, motivated, and treated this as my career and way more than just a job.  I never gave myself an opportunity to fail and would never let anyone else do my job for me.  It was sink or swim and I did the backstroke (lol).  I attended conferences and networked with professionals such as you.  In addition, I have read numerous magazines and been involved with sites like this.  The bottom line is that you never stop learning and you learn something new every day.

AIS - So, Tell me about your stores in detail... 

MD - We have 4 dealerships. 2 Nissan dealerships that are high powered and are constantly doing around 250 units per month each.  They are both two of the top dealerships in the region.  1 Chevrolet dealership and 1 Cadillac dealership that does around 85 units per month.

AIS – Now, I visited your operation a few months back and was able to see your setup.  It was impressive.

MD – Thank you.  We were glad to have you visit.  We have continued to evolve and it is just exciting to continue to grow.  I am never satisfied and that is what keeps me motivated to be better.

AIS - Now tell us about your Internet/BDC department?

MD - I have a centralized BDC that I like to call "Pine Belt South" which consists of Pine Belt Nissan Toms River and Pine Belt Cadillac Toms River.  I have three people there plus myself.  I am very hands and stay on top of my leads and opportunity.  We are always looking to grow.  My goal is two turn these two stores into an even bigger operation.  We have two people in Pine Belt Chevrolet of Eatontown and 3 in Pine Belt Nissan of Keyport.  I move between all three places.

* Website Provider -

AIS - Do you like them?

MD - Yes, I love them.  They do a fantastic job and I am very happy with them.

* CRM -

AIS - Do you like them?

MD - I like them.  I am even impressed with their newer updates because I can go back and start to do the things that I have always wanted to do with the CRM.

AIS - How do you use your CRM? 

MD - We have an automated Email Action Plan for some parts while other parts are manual parts of the process. 

AIS - Are you using it just for managing internet leads?

MD - We adapted it for the whole dealership.  I was able to even incorporated service into it with a 3, 6, 9, and 12 month follow up.  I am trying to get everyone on the same page.

AIS - Are you doing Data Mining, Lease Retention, and Unsold Showroom Follow Up?

MD- Yes we are.  We have a huge lease retention business.  We work to make the processes simple for the showroom sales staff.  The BDC is becoming a customer retention center as well as a business development center.

AIS - Any Social Media Integration with your CRM? 

MD - No not yet.

AIS - What is your internet lead process?

MD - It is based on a round robin and your schedule.  If you go out to lunch you clock out.  We work internet leads from the time we get them until we get them in the door.  Our process is 120 days including phone calls and emails.  We mix it up based on the situation at hand.  If a customer has credit situations, we have different processes for them.  At the same time, a customer who is $10 away on payment has a different follow up process.  Everything is customized to the situation at hand.  At that point, we match up our customers with sales associates that we know will work perfectly with their needs and based on the type of vehicle that the sales person does best with.

AIS - Like the "Moneyball" effect?

MD - Yes.  I try to maximize opportunity and gain the competitive edge.

AIS - What are you doing with social media? 

MD -We have about 8300 fans on facebook and 8-10k followers on twitter.  I take social media very seriously and it will be more important then everyone thinks it will be.  We have about 2,000 followers on instagram.  Our blog sees about 3,000-3,500 unique visitors per month.  As far as I can track social media, we sell about 12 units per month.  But it is great for running a digital billboard and being in front of people.  It is more about branding.  However, very rarely do we talk about a sale and about cars.  We make it about the community and play a major role in it.

AIS - How do you handle the Phone Call Follow Up Process? 

MD - Phone calls are at a 45-90 process.  We work the lead until they buy or tell us to stop bothering them.  I was raised in the old school mentality but I am able to apply "old school" with "new school ways".

AIS - Who is your inventory solution?

MD - We use AutoTrader Market comparison because it is free and effective.  Everyone is on AutoTrader and so if you use the data that they give you properly you do not need another piece of software that will help you manage the prices.  If you use the same way you will be able to do the same thing.  It is not different from what these other vendors are giving you in software.  We host inventory through HomeNet and Auction123 takes our pictures.

AIS - Who is your call monitoring solution? 

MD - Call measurement powered by Callbright.  They get automatically integrated with our CRM.  I love that because I know every single call that comes in.

AIS - What is your Online Reputation Management Strategy?

MD - We do very well with that.  We use google as a very important part of the reputation management strategy.  It is a culture that we adapted in the store.  I got all of the sales consultants and managers on board.  Pine Belt Nissan of Toms River went from 61 to 140 reviews on DealerRater in 5 weeks.  Again, it is all about culture and how the team embraces it.  I took it serious and made an account on DealerRater with pictures and reviews.  The buy in there once a customer walked in and asked for a sales person because they read a review.  We use google, DealerRater,, Edmunds, and Yelp.  We publicize it on our websites.  We are not scared of bad reviews because we have a process in place to handle them properly.

AIS - Do you have a video strategy?

MD - We have been getting personal videos off of pictures and customer testimonials.  Our YouTube account has about 29,000 views.  We have a top notch camera and equipment that can record quality videos.  We try to do it the right way.

AIS - What other additional resources, tools, websites, blogs etc... do you use as part of your "success strategy".

MD -

  • I network with professionals.
  • I attend conferences when possible.
  • I mystery shop other dealers daily.
  • I visit various forums daily such as and many others
  • All Google tools... I am a huge advocate of Google Analytics

AIS - What types of advice do you have for other ISMs or Internet Departments reading this article?

MD - Try things.  Try to get your hands in as many things as possible.  See what works.  Put your own customer twist on it.  Trial and error is the best experience.  I am not saying "don't listen to other people".  Just try things and learn all that you can.  You have to be relentless at it.  Keep doing it constantly and never stop learning.

AIS - Thank you very much for giving us some information that will allow other dealerships to be motivated to grow.  You clearly set a great example for automotive dealers nationwide.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

AutoCon 2012 Two For Tuesday Registration Promotion

Click on the image above to access the online form for the AutoCon 2012 Special 2-for-Tuesday discount – Please include the name of the SECOND ATTENDEE in the attendee shirt box in the form that appears on the linked page...


The 2012 AutoConnections Conference & Exposition (aka AutoCon 2012) brings unrivaled energy, experience, and education to the fall conference circuit. Held at the majestic Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, this conference was created to help all members of your dealership from Dealer Principals to Marketing and Service Managers.










ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Richard Bustillo, Brian Pasch, JD Rucker, Jerry Thibeau, Jody DeVere, Joni Stuker, Joe Mescher, Alan Ram, Craig Lockerd, Joe Castle, Vane Clayton, AJ LeBlanc, David Page, Jack Simmons, and many top presenters.




Network with other dealers + speakers while enjoying complimentary group meals twice a day.
Never worry about connectivity. Enjoy free wireless service both on the floor and in your hotel room.
Go home with free vendor vouchers that let you try new products and services you discover at AutoCon.
Vendors will prepare customized evaluations for your dealership, and give you personalized training on their products.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ford Dealer Disrespects a Major War Hero

The Jeans Cruz Story from FILMSTERS on Vimeo.

I want to talk about something that has happened back in mid February of this year (2012).  I was doing contract work with a Ford dealership as the Internet Director.  I came in on a few month contract to help rebuild the BDC department and improve the store.  This dealership is in the NY Metro area but for professional reasons I will not disclose the name.  It was Monday February 20, 2012 (President's Day).  The day was busy and we were selling a lot of cars.  I actually had the Ford Direct rep with me helping me set guidelines for the store.  One of my BDC reps had given me a 2 page email from this gentleman who you can read about.  He had submitted an internet lead and was brought in to buy a car.  There were factors that prevented the dealership from making a deal.  However, the email was so powerful that it hit me pretty hard.  I mean it hit me so hard that I went on google and found out about this gentleman that was trying to buy a car.  I learned so much about him that I was embarrassed for being involved in such a situation.  In fact, I did all I can to apologize and make the situation better.  I approached my general manager who protected that sales person politically along with the sales person and gave them a huge piece of my mind.  In fact, they were so unprofessional about listening to the situation that they made every excuse as to what happened and why the customer got treated like that.  The reality is that the sales person should have been fired.  He brought a huge liability to the store.  Needless to say that a few days later my contract was terminated early and I was let go because I spoke out in an effort to help this dealership.  In fact, that same sales person had been given the job as BDC Manager which he messed up within 2 months and later got promoted to General Sales Manager.  Amazing what happens when the owner of the store takes no control and trusts people that should not be trusted to be a GM.  No one at the dealership learned from what happened or cared but I did.  I wanted to open up this discussion to inspire but also educate automotive professionals on the importance of respecting your customers.  This includes war heroes.  Please take a look at the image of this war hero, click the links above to read and watch the video of his story.  This is eye opening stuff here.



Thank you for reading and being involved.


Stan Sher
President of Dealer eTraining

Friday, August 3, 2012

How to Improve Internet Lead Quality

Wednesday August 15, 2012, 11:00am Central Time

Learn ways to gather the right information to improve the quality of the lead.

Instead of changing the status for an internet lead to "dead" or "bad" because there is no phone number available, learn how to fix bad leads that have no phone numbers by using social media and cost effective tools in order to maximize opportunities and increase connections with more prospects. Also we will cover some simple word tracks that help build rapport with that prospect once they are on the phone.  

Presented by:
  • Stan SherStan Sher President , Dealer eTraining As one of the top experts in automotive internet sales and business development today, Stan Sher has been training dealers best practices with regards to internet lead management, sales process, and business development process. He currently writes for numerous automotive dealer publications including where he serves as the editor. In addition, Stan is a frequent speaker for the Greater New York Automotive Dealers Association as well as numerous industry conferences.