Category Archives: Best Practices

Set More Appointments: Videos Alone Will Not Sell Cars

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Branding yourself on Youtube is no simple task. Elise Kephart has managed to make her videos so popular amongst those in the auto industry that some stores are using them for training purposes. The Youtube Diva is on the cutting edge as far as incorporating the technology available to us today into her sales process. She’s also become quite good at it; being recognized by the likes of Jim Zigler as far back as 2010. She’s now sharing a lot of her insights at automotive industry conferences and of course, via her YouTube channel.

In the beginning Elise’s videos were very focused on the vehicle, which the customer had stated they were interested in. The vehicle on the lead, whether that was received via email or form filled out on the dealer website set the tone for the entire video. Her videos struggled to hold the attention of the prospect in todays busy world. They contained loads of information up front and rounded out at about 5 minutes run time a piece. Elise found that by pairing these videos down, to focus on starting that relationship with the customer, she had a lot more success and better customer response. Focus on the customer experience and the personal relationship, more than the vehicle and sales pitch right off the bat. You want to put the customer at ease, show them you are a real person and begin a friendship. Including video clip referrals from her past customers has also become a trademark of Elise’s videos which she send out to prospective new buyers.

This process has been tried and tested with exceptional success by Elise. Below is her process for contacting new internet leads step-by-step:

1. From your Office Line, Call the customer at about 9am.
a. Tell the customer that you have “Some Great News” and ask for a return call
b. Keep it short and non-specific but give your hours and contact information
c. Let the customer know that if you don’t hear back from them you WILL try them again later today
2. Send your Video email message immediately after your first call attempt.
a. Introduce yourself and your store
b. Tell the customer briefly what you discussed if you got ahold of them and thank them for speaking with you
c. If you left a voicemail, then give them your vehicle options that match the customer enquiry e.g. “We have the 2013 Honda Accord available in the red or white today”
d. Give the customer your direct contact information clearly and your On Hours in store
e. Make it Personal. Use the customers name and be casual and conversational
f. Keep your video under 90 seconds and under 60 seconds is optimal
g. Ask for the Call back and let the customer know that you WILL contact them again if you don’t hear from them.
3. From your Mobile Phone, Call the customer at about 11am.
a. Do NOT leave a message
4. From your Mobile Phone, Call the customer at about 2pm.
a. Again Do NOT leave a message
5. From your Office Line, Call the customer at about 5pm.
a. Leave a Message again with your contact details and hours in store today
b. Ask for the call back and explain that you WILL call the customer back again tomorrow if you do not hear from them before then

Some people may call this borderline harassment, but the simple fact is that the customer has requested this information, about a car that interested them, from your store. You may get some negative feedback on occasion, however for the most part it is your job to reply to these leads. Furthermore, you aren’t doing your job, if you don’t get in touch with the customer.

The goal is to Set an Appointment. You can’t sell a car if you don’t get that customer on the lot. How you begin your relationship with each lead will determine if you get that appointment set. Treat each lead as Elise suggests above and I bet you set more appointments. It’s our job to sell cars and put the numbers on the board sure, but giving the customer the most wonderful car buying experience should also be high on your personal agenda. Once you get the customer on the lot they can fall in love with the car. Videos and that personal touch will build trust and help the customer to fall in love with your store. It also removes the awkward from your first appointment as the customer feels that they have already met you and you can get straight down to business as soon as they arrive.

What’s your Follow Up Process? Are you utilizing Videos to Prospects? How are you accomplishing this while using CRM? Let us know in the comments below and share this article using the social buttons below 🙂

Original article published on Dealer20.com in late October 2013
Special Thanks to: Elise Kephart for allowing us to interview her and share her follow-up process within this article. Follow Elise on Twitter @theyoutubediva 

What is the central hub of your store?

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What is your epicenter? Where does everything happen? What do you need for everything to happen? YOU! Your body. You are your own epicenter will limbs attached that assist you in your everyday life. If you were restricted from using one of those limbs, how difficult would that be? Not entirely impossible, but it would for sure make things more difficult. Nothing would flow correctly. In the car world, the epicenter is the showroom floor. Everything stems out from the Showroom right at the time you sit down and say, “I want that one!”

While in the automotive retail sector myself, I observed that just like the limbs of your body, all departments need to work together. This ensures we reach the ultimate goal as a store; get the customer on the road happy. Let me paint a picture for you: Mr. Customer walks onto the lot to be greeted by a salesperson, once a vehicle is selected, the next step is the showroom floor where all the magic happens. Numbers are agreed upon and Mr. Customer goes to finance. When the customer is waiting to enter finance, their selected vehicle is rushed to the back to be spruced up by the car port employees. Roughly 50% of the time, the customer is out of finance before their vehicle is finished. Many dealerships will then set up their customers first oil change. What’s that? Now the service department is involved? Of course it is! The limbs all work together.

You may not think all departments in a dealership need each other, but they most certainly do. All work in accordance! Lot, showroom floor, finance, car port and service. Those are just a few of the main departments. Many departments have people who work behind the scenes, most your customers will never see. How do we thank them? How do we show appreciation? It’s the little things! Pizza, Starbucks or even donuts on occasion. We all need each other to function. Show you’re grateful!

Have you ever taken a step back to see the big picture at your store? Has a certain part of the dealership ever fallen “short?” How did you overcome? I want to know!

6 Stereotypical Boss Profiles

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Does anyone truly like their boss?  Is your boss typical or not so much?  I have been working since I was 13 years old and have encountered many different types of bosses.  I have my favorites and then I have those who I wish I could forget.  I have bosses I still speak to and go to for advice.  Bosses, what a love/hate relationship!  Can you relate to the five types of bosses below?

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1. Best Friend-Ever
Have you worked for that person who wanted to be your best friend?  I have, sometimes a good thing but usually terrible!  With this person, you have an edge.  You can get that day off to hang out and shop or go do something fun.  You get preferential treatment, no crappy duties for you!  However, since this is your boss, you can’t say no!  You feel like you have to go to lunch with them.  You have to accept that invite to their weird house party.  You also feel like you have to do more for them than anyone else, like run errands or plan parties.  Best friend as your boss, maybe not so great!

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2. Invisible Boss
I love and hate the bosses who are never at work!  What is to love, you might ask?  Easy!  The fact that they are never at work checking in on you and making you nervous with their micromanaging and heavy breathing down the back of your neck.  What is to hate?  Agonizing all day on the days they do show up, wondering if you did something wrong, or if there is some big change happening which will affect you negatively.  What happened to make then suddenly show themselves and the unknown regarding how that affects you can make all those carefree days not quite worth it.

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3. Over-achiever
Ever have that boss who tries to do everything, all the time!?  It is great when you have a big thinker who likes to try new things but it can get out of hand.  I had a manager who would try to close deals, complete follow up, demo cars, and help in finance.  He was completely incapable of delegating.  It was nice that he tried a bit of everything but in some cases, it is best to do what you do best, and let others do their jobs.  This person tended to convolute things more than help them.  It may have cost me a couple of deals in the end, to be honest. But it was also nice to know that he kept the Sales Process fresh in his mind and had real experience of how deals went down at that store in order to make management decisions for the rest of the team.

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4. Jerk
I think a good portion of my dealership bosses were total jerks.  Main reason for me, they didn’t remember the time prior to being a boss.  They didn’t remember what it was like to test drive 5 cars, to sit through negotiations, to dig out 6 cars for an appointment to find the people cancelled or didn’t show up.  The jerk that didn’t step in to help you but once your client left, had nothing but crap to say about you and your lack of performance.  Jerky bosses can be frustrating because you feel like it’s you against them instead of the reality which is that you are both part of the same team.  Some bosses have yet to realize that the Football Coach management style doesn’t quite work on everyone.  These Bosses need to learn the best way to motivate all of their team members.

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5. Effortless
I have had maybe two bosses who made it look easy.  They’re born leaders!  They show their employees respect.  They listen to the staff and try to implement any recommendations which made sense for the store.  They genuinely show an interest in their team members lives by not just making small talk by the coffee pot or water cooler.  This is the boss who you want to invite to your home for dinner or out to watch the game.  This is the person within the company who you go to for advice.  Usually, these bosses remain friendly after they are no longer your boss.  You feel that they truly have your best interests, and that of the store’s, at heart.  If they all could be this way, the employment world would be so much more enjoyable!

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6. Micro Manager
We all know and Love… to Hate this Boss. They’re the one who checks on you constantly. Managing your every minute, of every day, like you’re an incompetent kindergartener who needs to be told when to go to the bathroom or eat your meals or smoke your cigarettes… Not that Kindergarteners are smoking cigarettes (nor should anyone be, for that matter) but for the sake of argument. These bosses will make you feel like you have to justify your every effort and decision. In fact you spend more time justifying your actions to them than you do actually Working a Deal. Honestly, with proper CRM implementation most of these bosses wouldn’t need to even chat with you about your efforts on an hourly basis. They could see where you are and what you are doing or have done with a few clicks… That might not make them so terrible after all.

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These are just a few examples of typical boss types that I have encountered over the years.  Do you have any examples you want to share? Which was your Favorite and which was your Least Favorite? Or what type of Boss are you?  Let us know your thoughts on Bosses or how proper CRM use has helped cure your store of a Terrible Boss.

Sales Representative Best Practices for Automotive CRM

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The benefits of deploying and engaging your team with a customizable and intuitive CRM are numerous. We could bore you with the stats and go on about how wonderful our CRM system is, and it is truly wonderful, but we understand you only care about one thing. How to sell more cars, move the metal off the lot and the money into your pocket. How do we know this? Because we have been there my friend. We have stood in your shoes early on a saturday morning fixing our ties and straightening our hair ready to take on the world… and make some deals. But I digress, what we want to do is help you use your CRM to it’s fullest potential.

Let the CRM take the Names, while you Kick Ass

We don’t care if all you have right now is a name and number. It’s a start. Add every single customer you come into contact with to the CRM system. Make it your personal rule of thumb to add 100% of the people you speak or engage with, 100% of the time, without fail. Customer relationship management software is only as good as the data it is given and the team who use it. Get as much data from your potential customer as possible… without sounding like a stalker. Then let the CRM take over.

If you commit to a task… Do it.

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Your MyDay in DealerCRM says you are scheduled to make X number of calls and some other tasks today. You told a customer you would touch back with them “tomorrow” because you understand that the Actions Plan in your CRM, which your dealership custom designed for your store, will fire a follow up for the next day. Well, it’s tomorrow and that call is chilling on your MyDay screen. Bottomline? Clear it. Make that call.

Following through with commitments is Business 101. If you don’t call the customer on the day they’re scheduled, then you appear unprofessional. Especially if they’re expecting a call from you. Your store also appears disorganized and flakey which is exactly the opposite of the impression you want to give people who could potentially build a lasting buying and service relationship with you and your dealership.

Time is the killer of deals and by not contacting them, they could decide to purchase elsewhere. By completing your daily tasks you’re ensuring that every customer that you’re supposed to contact actually gets contacted. Thus every opportunity is maximized and nothing falls through the cracks.

Get it Right

Vehicle information, stock numbers, car color, is the car a surprise? (ask Vitale about this one), deal structure, customer nickname, and how your customer prefers to be addressed (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. etc.) make sure you enter it all correctly into the system the first time. Or at the very least correct any errors post haste.

Correspondence which is sent on your behalf, from the system, reflects on YOU and the dealership. If an email, postcard or letter are generated with inaccurate information then everybody looks bad. Let’s face it, we’ve all heard stories about botched info on personal invitations and junk mail from other industries. What do the addressees remember? Well, I guarantee it wasn’t the killer Labor Day Weekend special.

Having all your ducks in a row also ensures that if something comes up and you are unavailable the show can go on, because the show MUST go on! Life happens, days off happen, illness happens, stuff happens… A sales manager needs to be able to jump into any deal efficiently and seamlessly, without having to make a client wait, while they contact you on your day off. This makes your store look like everyone is on the same page, you all function as a team, and the entire staff are professional and on the ball. If there is fumbling and pointed fingers and customers forced to wait while calls are made that’s all that will stand out in the mind of those customers down the road.

Record all of your interactions in real time

By successfully resulting the outcome of your client contacts and interactions, you ensure the software schedules the next contact due. It’s important to log information as close to real time as possible in order to allow the action plan to trigger follow up actions properly. How effective will a “3-Day Follow up call” be if you log the action which would trigger it 2 days later than it occurred?

There’s also nothing worse than a manager following up with a client to ask why they missed their appointment when the customer called you to reschedule. Or worse… they made the appointment and you didn’t log the results of that interaction in the system. The goal is NOT to look foolish but to portray a unified front whereby everybody is on the same page. When a customer has confidence that you and your team are on top of your profession they also feel more comfortable parting with their money and making a purchase.

Reply to customer emails, texts, calls and Internet leads IMMEDIATELY

Especially now in the internet age of instant gratification, time kills deals! The majority of people today are communicating via mobile device. The customer has an even higher expectation of a nearly immediate response. The sales person who responds first and fastest has a much greater chance of winning that lead. Which is sort of the idea behind our LeadBlast lead handling system.

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Response Time Statistics:

  • For Internet leads, the first dealership to engage the customer is 5 times more likely to sell that customer a vehicle. How is that for a 5 times rule for you?
  • 35-50% of sales go to the Dealer/Sales Rep who responds first.
  • Call within 5 minutes, and the chances of reaching a lead is 100 times higher than calling 30 minutes after the lead comes in.
  • When you’re not talking to leads right away, you waste about 92% of your time and budget.
  • The odds of qualifying a lead, if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes, drop 21 times.
  • A study by M.I.T reveals that the average company takes 1 day, 18 hours & 15 minutes to respond to an email lead by phone. Now that’s Terribleness…

Maximize your Reach

Follow up is key, if you want your be-backs to have a better closing ratio you need to have multiple avenues with which to communicate with your customers. Once you have a foot in the door so to speak, make certain you ask for Two Phone Numbers and an Email Address with EVERY customer.

According to NADA, 7 out of 10 customers will provide their email address if they are simply asked for it. Mobile numbers are even more critical today. People are much more likely to be near their mobile phone than a landline.

Most people are more likely to read a text message than take a phone call from a number they don’t recognize. For that reason the ask for text message opt-in is a word track you must master. Be sure to place phone numbers in the appropriate, corresponding fields within the system. Mobile numbers in the mobile field, home landline numbers in the home landline field, work numbers in the work number field and so forth. You can’t text a landline and calling the customer’s office at 10am on a Sunday probably isn’t the best use of your time.

Consistency is Key

You’ll have much better success with your CRM if you follow the best practices mentioned above… but the key is to do each of these things consistently through every opportunity, every day, always. It’s sort of like flossing… it only works if you do it every day. And fibbing to your dentist about skipping the task isn’t going to help anyone.

Do you “floss” everyday? Tell us about your Best CRM Tips in the comments or take us to task on the tips above.

You can always reach out to us via Social Media as well 🙂

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What could be more important than your greeting?

AgreementThe Greeting, most people think nothing of it.  A simple “Hi, how are you?”  Or maybe something more structured like, “Welcome to ABC Motors, my name is Jenn Brockway.  Your name is?”  Or, better still “What’s up?”  Salespeople spend so much time on the Demo, the negotiations, the close, that they forget the all important Greeting.  These first few seconds can make or break your deal!

A greeting is supposed to introduce yourself, first and foremost.  You don’t want it to be too simple, as it may go ignored, however you don’t want it to be too wordy either.  You want them to know (and Remember) your name but you also want their full name in response.  Ever get this?
You:  “Welcome!  My name is Jenn Brockway, and you are?”
Them:  “Bob” (while walking away.)
How effective do you think this is?  Do you believe that Bob will remember your name?  I don’t think so.  First impression, down the drain.  Sale, possibly lost!

A good greeting has just a couple elements.  Its quick, it provides your info, and you get their info.  You don’t want it to be too quick nor do you want to take up an hour to tell someone your name.  I used various greetings over the years, depending on how I was first meeting my clients.  A few examples are provided below:

  • Email Greeting:  You can have a greeting in an email.  Let’s face it, many people never walk into the dealership until they are finalizing their deal which makes a good email greeting extremely important.  Mine went something like this:

    Good Morning Bob,  Thank you for your inquiry on (vehicle.)  My name is Jenn Brockway and I will be guiding you through your purchase adventure.  If you should have any questions along the way, stop me and ask them!  I have included the information on the vehicle you requested below.  I would like to speak to you to provide more information, what number and time works best for you?  Please let me know.  Thanks so much!

  • Phone Greeting:  Ever bomb that phone call on that used car?  We all have.  The best thing to do is to have a script like greeting in front of you.  Something to help guide you from fumbling your words but can be easily adjusted depending on the request.  My script was as follows:

    Thank you for calling ABC Motors.  This is Jenn Brockway, who am I speaking with please? Great, what is the purpose of your call today?  Thanks, in case we get disconnected, is this the best number to reach you (read off the number from the caller ID) and verify if home or cell.  Also, just in case, what is your email address?  I promise not to bombard you with a bunch of SPAM but just in case I get your voicemail when I call back, I would like to be able to send you the same info via email, for you to review at your convenience.

Then proceed to provide them information.  You may not get all of the info right away, but a professional way to ask for it may get it for you after more info is needed.

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  • Walk in Greeting:  Of course, this one may be more difficult as your body language is a key factor.  I was always professional, with good posture, and a smile on my face.  Nothing says I want to sell you a car like a slob with their hands in their pockets and wandering eyes, right?  I used something like this:

    Hi there!  Welcome to ABC Motors!  (With hand out ready to shake) I am Jenn Brockway, your name is?  Wonderful, what brings you in today?  Perfect!  Come this way (leads to a desk to enter into DealerCRM) let’s have a seat and discuss your likes/dislikes, needs/wants, and preferences so I can pull up the car of your dreams!  Would you like some water or coffee?

Most dealerships have refreshments somewhere.  I worked in various dealerships that had these for guests but I kept my mini-fridge well stocked with cans of pop, water, tea, juice, etc.  I even went as far as purchasing a Keurig for coffee for my clients (and me of course!). Whatever methods you use, make sure you put yourself in them!  Don’t be fake and try to be someone you are not.  Be welcoming, sincere and use your abilities to read your customers response and navigate your follow up questions and comments.

Have some key pointers you’d like to share around greeting best practices?  Feel free to contribute them in the comments below.

Does your store truly behave like a team?

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When you think of Dealership Personnel, do you think of a team? I used to think Salespeople were on their own, no team, no one to help them along, until I became one. When you are new in a dealership, you rely on everyone, managers, receptionists, other sales reps, porters, service, etc. Everyone in the Dealership plays their part to help make you successful. It is how you roll with it which will make you a good salesperson, or a failure. Below are a few people who played a huge part in my career. I wouldn’t be where I am, without each of their assistance, along the way.

Porters:  Porters seem like the lowest on the totem pole.  But, they are one of the most important groups of people you will ever meet. They gas up your cars for test drives and deliveries. When that new car you have been waiting for finally comes in on the truck, they are the ones who peel back the protective covering and make sure it is ready to take your customer out in for a test drive. When that vehicle is sold, they determine how fast that vehicle gets ready. If you are rude and do not show these people some respect, your 30 minute delivery could turn into a 2 hour long fight to keep your deal together. Moral of the story: Treat these people with some respect, they may save your deal someday.

Service:  I, personally, had a love/hate relationship with service. If I needed a new car PDI’d or something corrected, they were my best friends! However, that used car I just sold that is leaking oil, after they fixed it, then I was their worst enemy. Either way, without them, I had no way to sell a car. I couldn’t sell a Certified vehicle without their inspection sheet. I couldn’t test drive a new vehicle until it was properly inspected. I couldn’t get that windshield fixed without their approval. What is worse? That person who just bought the car with the defective radio. Treat your service department terribly and watch your customers get it passed on to them in return. What can we take away from this – without total buy-in from your service department, your deal may blow up in your face.

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Managers:  There were only a couple managers whom I cared for, during my time at dealerships. They treated me like a human being (most of the time) and taught me so many things. The only reason this was the case was because I wanted to learn those things. I wanted to be a professional and do things for myself, without relying too much on anyone else. Some managers can be completely rude and holier-than-thou when it comes to the dealership but without them, what can you get done? In most dealerships, my managers provided the numbers/pencil. They had the power to make a wrong into a right. Be sure to foster a good relationship with your management while putting any personal issues aside for the greater good. If they aren’t on your side, watch your CSI (and the bonuses that go with it) fall down the drain!

Salespeople:  I would like to think I was a team player. I didn’t like EVERYONE but I would help ANYONE who showed me respect. If you ask nicely, I will help you dig up that car that is in the spare lot and 6 other cars deep. If you have the client that is on a roller coaster of a test drive, I will help you and go out and make sure cars are brought up or put away. Maybe even take a ride for you so you can shove some pizza in your face for lunch. Regardless of what you feel about every salesperson in the dealership, competing for that fresh up walking through the door, it’s important that you have a few on your side. These people will help you when you need it and you can return the favor. They can also break you and bust your whole deal if they feel slighted.

Receptionist:  This person answers EVERY call within the Dealership. They might even sit at the front door and greet EVERY customer. Why wouldn’t you want them on your side? Do you really want to anger the person who guides YOUR clients in the door? Picture this: You are waiting for that call from the customer who has been in the store 6 times, with 5 test drives in a million different vehicles, you say something to your receptionist that ticks them off and then go to lunch. Guess what? Your customer calls to tell you they are on their way and then the call is put to your voicemail. Five minutes later, your client walks in the door but you are at lunch and they are in a hurry. Woohoo for you, you just got a split deal. Why, because you didn’t respect your Receptionist, the most important person in the dealership.

Regardless of who you consider your team, you want to be sure that you treat the people you work with respectfully. You do not have to like them all the time, but you rely on these people for guidance, assistance and support, so do your best to be a part of the solution, rather than a thorn in their side. At the end of the day, your ability to be a team player may just save a deal or two when you really need your teams help.

How does your store function at a team level? In your experience, who are the most important player on YOUR team?

3 Top Tips for Successful Sales Management

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Sales Management is a tricky task to do well all 365 (or 366) days a year. It seems like there is always SOMEONE who needs SOMETHING from you, doesn’t it? Tasks you committed to doing daily, get back burnered while you put out the more urgent fires of the day. Soon days turn into weeks and you realize you’re going to have to recommit and begin the process all over again. It’s time to take back control of your time and efforts to steer your team to success.

1.) Get Organized

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Decide the Tasks you want to make Daily, Weekly and Monthly exercises for yourself and/or your team. It could be anything from reviewing your teams lead handling and phone calls, using RealityScore, to organizing and cleaning off your desk. No one knows your store’s flow like you do. Pick days you know are slower, and times that are quieter, to schedule these tasks in your calendar on your computer. Set reminders for these tasks and alarms that go off well enough in advance for you to wrap up anything you are currently doing and get ready to tick the box next to the task in that calendar alert. Then stick to it. If the time and day you pick doesn’t work, keep trying until you get into a good rhythm. Soon you’ll know that on Thursday at 9am, after you’ve handled all your emails and polished your sales trophies, it’s time to rally the troops and touch base with them before they start their day on the lot.

2.) Get Prideful

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It’s time to take a look at your store from the customer perspective. It’s easy to become blind to the flaws, when you spend the majority of your waking hours in the same environment day after day. Tomorrow morning, when you walk through the door, give your store the most critical of once overs. Chips in countertops, scuffs on floor tiles, rips in carpets, clutter, that broken chair that one of your sales reps decided to test the limits of one rainy Tuesday, they all need to go. It’s time to take pride in your environment. Plug in one of those smelly things so your store smells fresh and clean. It’s time for your team to get in gear and follow suit. Take pride in their store and keep it immaculate. Are all the cars on the lot in pristine shape, angled perfectly and lined up with uniformed spacing? There’s something energizing about working in a clean and well maintained space.

3.) Get Motivated

Your enthusiasm is contagious. How can you expect your team to be energized if you are a wet blanket? You may need to grab a Redbull energy drink or a Trenta Latte from Starbucks, drag your red Nikes out of your closet or take some extra care in getting dressed this morning. Really do your hair and get out the power tie or pair of heels, whatever it takes to make you feel like a million bucks. Now go into your store with that energy and SPREAD it. As silly as Jeremy Piven’s character in the movie “The Goods” truly is, he’s also basically a genius. If you’re enthusiastic about selling, so is your team, and if they are energetic and positive, so too are your customers. Happy people buy cars. Fact.

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While it’s easy to become complacent or get stuck in the daily grind, a gentle reminder of these three points once a month or once a quarter is going to benefit everyone on your team. Spiff up the lot, get the store in order, get your dealership life organized and go back to selling rejuvenated and fresh.

 

What are your thoughts on the above points? What works to keep you and your store on point with each of these items? Share your insights and thoughts in the comments below.