High Octane Blog

Turning Back

By Tom Hampton

There are times that one must go past a problem to get at a solution. Recently, I had to get back into a wheelchair to assist with mobility and surgery recovery. Although I am no stranger to them, having spent lots of time in wheelchairs and on crutches during my childhood, I had forgotten the issues of tight quarters maneuvering.

As the family cook, the challenges have been unique both with height issues and retrieving ingredients; The biggest challenge being the fridge. To access it, I must roll past it a bit, then turn around 180 degrees so that I am at the right angle to retrieve what I need.

Challenges in our business really are not much different. There are many times in our day we do just that, roll past a problem, only to turn around and find the solution readily available! To follow-the-logic of rolling past challenges & problems and turning back for solutions; we must see that our emotions are why we get stuck on the wrong side of any given challenge. When we learn to get past the emotional charge surrounding the challenge, then we can move forward in finding available, possibly unseen solutions.

I feel an example is in order:

Monday morning at the office checking voicemails and an upset client has left 6 messages over the weekend – each one getting a bit more heated. The phone begins ringing and caller I.D. shows – guess who? The upset client calling again, loaded for bear and aiming at whoever picks up.

Some owners would let the call go to voice mail again, thus angering an upset client even more. Instead, we know the issue is not personal. Be like water off a duck’s back, and patiently listen to your client and their concerns to find a solution.

I suggest having a pencil and paper to mark relevant points and only address the clients concern(s) once their frustrations have been fully vented. Once past the initial challenge, now it is time to turn back to the challenge and seek solutions. Those notes you took are the key!

First and foremost, people want to feel as if they have been heard, especially after an uncomfortable situation has occurred and they feel mistreated or cheated. Many times, due to charged emotions on both sides, it can be far too easy to misinterpret the facts of the situation. Clarity of your clients concerns and challenges, brings opportunities. Once your client has expressed their concerns, restate what the perceived problem is to verify with the client that YES; You are listening! The restatement of the challenge adds clarity and shows your client their concerns are important. This is not your first time as a business owner solving difficulties with clients, you are an EXPERT at it!

With our emotions out of the way and the client being heard, solutions will quickly follow and is generally a compromise between client and owner. Sometimes there is nothing we can do for our clients concerns due to outside circumstances; however, most challenges do rest within our abilities to solve equitably. It is taking the effort to go past the challenge and turn around – aka – clarity without emotion – to see or access the solutions!

Practice makes perfect my friends…

Create-A-Great-Day,

Tom

To buy or not to buy…

April showers bring may flowers, but this year’s February freezes brought us auction squeezes! We are seeing prices are far above normal tax-time hikes, with no signs of tapering off. Playing the usual Price Game is the surest way to the poor house in our current market!

 

How are the new car dealerships holding on to high mileage trades and still getting their money for those units? Trust, transparency, and a supply-and-demand mentality! With less inventory on hand, we know that that means every unit we already have needs to get adjusted for retail. Time to re-appraise all your current inventory and start looking at replacement cost / availability.

Trust and Transparency are a symbiotic relationship. The more transparent you become in all your processes and procedures; the more trust is built along the way. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and all your policies and procedures are outlined in detail. Finance options/information should be easy to understand and access and make darn sure it is all secure!

There has been so much success in providing customers with an online credit application. Financing and an approved loan amount first, vehicle second, then delivery in minutes (not hours!) Knowledge of one’s financial abilities in any type of purchase is empowering and removes a lot of fear from the entire process! For us, it removes having to show them 20 different cars, only to find out 3 hours later, they can’t even afford the porters ’98 hooptie!

Find your technique to symbiotically build Trust and Transparency in today’s marketplace and on your website. Remember my friends. Without us, the independent used car dealer – most Americans would be walking! The better you serve your prospects, the greater your client base becomes.

Create-A-Great-Day

Tom

Getting through the slow season: Evaluating our basic operations.

This is a shiny new year; It will be what we make of it! Poor sales are rooted in poor foundational business practices. To ensure that our dealerships have constant sales, 102030units every month… then these 3 paragons of business must be done to perfection. Shall we roll up our sleeves and go to work? 

 

The foundation of any business…Communication.  
Communication, on all levels, must be concise, honest, diligent, and thoughtful in their nature. Give the client what they asked for, after you have listened thoroughly to determine you understand what they need. Provide your customers with plenty of pictures, finance requirements, options for test drive arrangements, and any other information frequently requested by customers. It is vital to get back with them in a timely manner. Try setting calendar reminders for yourself along the way or finding a good phone app by searching “Appointment Reminders.” 

 

Transparency is not just an industry buzz word. It is the future and YOUR present. 
As most business struggle to implement transparency in their operations, for us as dealers, it is very simple. We tell folks what needs to happen, what is going to happenand hopefully entice their input during the process. Many dealerships are still suffering because they are not transparent. Ask yourself these questions when measuring your company’s transparency: 

 

Is there plenty of access to information?  

Is your website easy to navigate and intuitive?  

Are your company’s core values represented clearly?  

Is your company consistent across all platforms?  

Do you actively engage with customers & employees to encourage  feedback? 

 

The bottom line, transparency makes the buying process easier, less frightening, and much faster! 

 

TRUST, the biggie! 
Just how, my friends, do we convey trust? To start, community is a very crucial key! What your clients say about you, your inventory, your policies/practices, and how you respond when things go sideways, is where the magic happens (or doesn’t). No business is perfect. We all get the occasional black eye on social media or reviews from an unhappy customer. How we deal with those mistakes, (even when they are not our fault) is being closely watched by all those looking to do business with us! Your customer service practices are the quickest way to ensure trust and loyalty in this business (Or any for that matter!).  

 

Communication, Transparency, and Trust: Done well, equals opportunitiesMore opportunities, naturally more growth! As alwayswe are here and can assist you in the future growth of your business. Drop us an email, shoot us a text, or just pick up the phone and call to set up a consultation! 

 

Create-A-Great-Day, 

Tom Hampton 

 

Join our Dealer Group on Facebook or send us a friend request! https://www.facebook.com/groups/950701648698454 
We regularly post industry updates & reminders, growth opportunities, and promotions! For a complete list of our services, please visit us at www.TomHamptonAgency.com  

Is your business text compliant?

Established in Europe, the phrase “Penny wise and pound foolish” means a person who is stingy with small expenditures and extravagant with large ones, most often, wastefully. I see a lot of owners scrutinizing over business processes and expenses, and act accordingly to ensure those savings grow. Then when things get toughthose savings get spent on something drastic to try and draw in businesssuch as an enormous electric sign (and an enormous electricity bill). 

The savings garnered would have been better allocated on something that both the owner and the clients can utilize daily. Something that will help in the overall growth of the company.  

With growth in mind, texting has become the standard for most businesses in 2020How has your company adapted to all the industries major changes this year? Unfortunately for many, compliance to the law and control over information, has not been a top priority. This leads to TCPA violations that can result in penalties of up to $1500 per violation, with no cap on statutory damages.  

Are you staying compliant? Check out the top 5 kinds of text messages getting companies in big trouble!  

 

Unsolicited Texts  

Unsolicited text messages can get you in big trouble! You must have and maintain records of prior written and explicit consent to send your customers text message marketing campaigns. This also applies to customers on your list you may have collected years ago, before these permissions were required.  

 

Unknown Identity  

According to TCPA, your text messages must include the identity of the entity sending the text. Regardless of how your customer signed up to receive texts, your very first text must be a carrier compliance message confirming opt-in. It needs to include:  

Your Identity, Message Frequency, How to opt-out, and the fact that message and data rates may apply.
 

Inappropriate Hours and Too Frequent Texts 

Marketing text messages are TCPA allowed between 8 am and 9 pm, local time of the receiver. However, not all customers prefer the extremes of either end. Get to know your customers and try to text accordingly.   

As mentioned earlier, the frequency of promotional texts they can expect to receive should be clearly expressed in your confirmation opt-in text. Sending your customer too many can cost your business.  

 

Undisclosed Information 

First and foremost, you need an up-to-date privacy policy in place. It needs to include program detailscustomer usage functionality (like how to opt-out) and is accessible from the initial call-to-action (The program the customer signed up to receive marketing campaigns from) confirmation text. When you are asking your customer to sign up, be explicitly clear about what kind of texts you will be sending them. There should be easy access to your terms and conditions and customer care contact information. 

 

Disrespectful Phonetics  

This one is obvious, but worth mentioning. Speak to all your customers thoughtfully and carefully. Avoid using slang, overusing emojis, and make sure to double check your speech-to-text and spelling before sending a message.  

 

The average text is read within 90 SECONDS of being sent. Let your business outshine any billboard advertising with personalized (and compliant) marketing contentThe knowledge and advantages that compliance is completely taken care of also frees your time to nurture areas of potential commerce. Put your business in overdrive and get on the road to success today!

Click here to get started now!

 

Create a Great Day 
Tom Hampton 

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TCPA Violations can cost you BIG!

By Tom Hampton

TRUE fact, 95% of texts are read in 90 seconds or less after you send it. Texting is unquestionably an integral tool to engage consumers in 2020, HOWEVER, it is not without extensive legal and regulatory risks.

In order to survive and thrive, businesses must be mindful and play by the rules set forth by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, known as the TCPA founded in 1991. Car dealerships directly put their business at legal and financial risk each time they text, be it to correspond with a lead, with a customer, for collections, or sending inventory pics…the list goes on! TCPA penalties START at $500 and can go up to $1500 per text sent.

Example:

A customer submits a complaint that 5 texts were sent to without their permission. At a minimum, fees will start at $2,500, likely much more, as well as setting the way to a full investigation looking for compliance violations, often adding more fines.

How can the average dealer keep track of all the texts sent by the entire team, on top of the 5,000 other things they are currently doing? The solution is very simple and so cost effective it is scary! For less than one average auction fee and no long-term contracts, you are covered-7-ways-to-Sunday, 24/7/365.

Just like having a DMS to keep all your paperwork records and compliance, this is also a tool to keep your texting compliant! Did I mention that with this service, you see it all! No more guessing what your employees are texting to prospects, customers, or account holders! No more getting blind-sided by customers who say…’your salesman told me if I did this…. then y’all would do that for me!’

SOLUTIONS are what we do at Car Guys Agency. Effective, affordable solutions for your dealership. Give me a call or visit www.carguysagency.com

5 Effective Ways to Get More out of Your Website

Blue Grey Photo Fitness Blog Graphic

By Tom Hampton             

November is upon us my friends! And shortly, so will be the end of 2020. Can anyone honestly say they will be sorry to see the year go? Actually, I can. 2020 has been the BEST year we have seen in the car business for almost 100 years! The playing field got leveled. Not only did the game change, but so did the rules we used to play by!  

Customers have raised the bar on us at least 10 times in just 7 short months. Test drives became delivered, financing went remote, texting and emails going ballistic overnight. The retailers of the world had to re-invent almost every process in their business to survive and start to grow again as the term in-person became obsolete.  

Which brings us to the topic at hand: Your website. Let’s explore 5 foundational tools your website should offer consumers to be truly impressive!  

1. Ease of navigation 

You do not have to spend a lot of money to have a website that navigates easily. Think about why customers are on your site. What are they looking to learn? They want to see specific vehicles and prices, finance options, reviews, and what steps they need to start the process. Can your customer easily contact you with questions? Each area should be easily identified and navigated to easily! This goes double for your mobile platform, especially as research shows nearly 60% of shoppers are on their devices.  

2. Clear/concise information 

It is really important that your customer can get all the facts from the information you present on your website. Are your photos accurate, good quality, and loading quickly? Is there a condition report posted with each vehicle? Eighty percent of consumers research a product online before purchasing. Providing your customers with both quantity and quality sources of information to make an informed purchase will give your website the advantage over your competitors. It can also really helpful to add a chat box to your website for customer who have questions and want immediate answers from available staff.  

3. Your values 

The values you and your team bring to the used car industry support the vision of your company.  Why should a stranger buy from you? What makes your company stand out? Let your customers know who you and your team are by including short bios, corporate goals and credos, and a commitment to providing an honest, satisfactory experience. Make sure there is a page for feedback from customers. This not only lets your customer feel heard, but also helps you improve the buying experience for future customers.  

4. Easy/Secure access to financing with payment calculator 

The major point to be made here is your customer must become a part of the process and not the subject. Your financing process should be clear, easy to follow, and the steps and required documentation listed. If you aren’t doing your own financing, let your customer know who you do use, with information about their process.   

Consumers nowadays want information about pricing and payments before they take the next step of speaking with a salesman. If you are using WordPress, search for a simple payment calculator plugin to add to your site, so customers can get an idea of what they will be paying.  

5. Transparency  

Transparency boils down to one underlying point…trust. In 2018, The Transparency Imperative Report found that 75% of consumers are more likely to switch to a brand that provided more in-depth product information. The same truth applies today, both to the vehicles you sell and the experience you and your team deliver.  

To conclude, invest the time for a thorough website evaluation. Remember that what you perceive as a value, may not impress your patrons. It is good practice to ask other team members and friends to also evaluate your site periodically and provide feedback of their thoughts and experience. If you are interested in taking your website to the next level, contact us for more information on Auto-Pilot Advertising!  

Create-A-Great-Future…only you can! 

Tom Hampton