April Simmons is the Corporate Internet and Marketing Director at Horne Auto Group, an automotive company located in Gilbert, Arizona. She has been in the automotive business for over 20 years and has honed her expertise in every element of the retail automotive space, from desk management to the sales department and finance management.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- April Simmons shares her experience attending Digital Dealer and speaking on three different panels
- The inventory challenges dealerships are facing
- What dealerships need to know about recovering from a recession
- April talks about doing a panel on social media and shares her advice on creating authentic content
- How to get your team to participate in building rapport and creating authentic content
- Digital Dealer’s panel on e-commerce and understanding the sales funnel
- The technology April uses at Horne Auto Group to build better processes
In this episode…
There are some key steps you need to follow in a dealership to increase the chances of selling a car. The first steps are always the same: meet and greet, sell yourself, sell the dealership, and build rapport. These are the most important steps because they play a big role in driving sales.
However, following these steps in the digital space is difficult. Dealerships often fail to build rapport with online shoppers as easily as they would in person. So what should dealerships do to solve this problem? According to April Simmons, this is where social media comes in handy.
In this episode of the InsideAuto podcast, Ilana Shabtay is joined by April Simmons, the Corporate Internet and Marketing Director at Horne Auto Group, to discuss the recently concluded Digital Dealer event in Las Vegas. April talks about the three panels she participated in, shares advice on how auto groups can recover from a recession, and explains what dealerships can do to encourage relationship building with customers. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Aharon Horwitz on LinkedIn
- Ilana Shabtay on LinkedIn
- Horne Auto Group
- April Simmons on LinkedIn
- Digital Dealer
- David Lemmon on LinkedIn
- Hannah Lifson
- Laurie Halter on LinkedIn
- Melanie Borden on LinkedIn
- Marija Cvetkovska on LinkedIn
- “Tackling Inventory Shortages and Changing Consumer Behavior” with Jamie Kent
- Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
- Google My Business
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.
Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.
Visit their website at www.autoleadstar.com to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.
Welcome to InsideAuto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you’d want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.
Ilana Shabtay 0:14
Ilana Shabtay here, host of InsideAuto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GM marketers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today’s guest, this episode is sponsored by AutoLeadStar.com. The auto answer platform is built on a technology so powerful, it allows you to market, sell and service cars as you would in the real world at scale and online, making one to one matches between shoppers and inventory. Auto meter is the only platform that is powered by scale speed and specificity to change the way dealers do marketing today. And today’s guest is April Simmons, if you have not heard of her before. I’m so excited that she’s on the InsideAuto Podcast today. Hi, April. How are you?
April Simmons 0:58
Good morning. I’m fantastic. Yourself?
Ilana Shabtay 1:00
I am doing well. Even better now because I’m so excited for this conversation. April’s fresh from Digital Dealer. So we’re gonna hear a lot about that. But quickly, I’ll introduce April. She’s currently the Corporate Internet and Marketing Director for Horne Auto Group, which is a total of 10 dealerships. Lots of things to do, very busy, lots of responsibilities. And that’s located in Gilbert, Arizona, which I know is a pretty competitive market as well. So she’s got her hands full. April has been working in the car business since 1997. where she worked everywhere from office farming to sales to finance was a top performer so she basically a GM came to her and was like, all right, no one’s able to do internet here. You don’t want to sell. Can you please just run our internet department and put the entire process in her hands? And since then, I think I haven’t looked back, right?
April Simmons 1:54
Yeah, yeah, that’s pretty much the gist of it. I just found a ditch that really needed help and took the ball and ran with it.
Ilana Shabtay 2:03
That’s awesome. I think that’s really an admirable thing. And you’re probably you. When was that? 2000?
April Simmons 2:11
Or 2000? No. 910. Okay, loving?
Ilana Shabtay 2:19
Basically, 10 years, you have so much that you can tell us today. We’re looking for Yes. Yes. Awesome. Okay, well, let’s actually start since it is so fresh. And we haven’t got to really recap Digital Dealer on InsideAuto Podcast yet. So I’m really excited to talk about it. It was last week in Vegas. Pretty much the first in person event, although Tambo was kind of the first this one I think was maybe a little bit bigger. But
April Simmons 2:43
definitely bigger. I tend to agree with and I yeah, I was at both. And I will say I don’t know if it was double, but it was like it was a lot more people and a lot more people.
Ilana Shabtay 2:55
Okay, well, that’s really good to hear. And with that you had three panels free. April has been on three panels, and some other things at the conference as well. So I’d love to hear it since I missed it. I don’t I can’t even begin to describe the phone that I was having. So I need to relive it through this. Tell us a little bit about the panels and what you spoke about.
April Simmons 3:19
was so super exciting. I think first and foremost, there was a lot of energy buzz, and there were so many more people there in attendance. And, you know, so much conversation. And I think there’s been so much that has happened in the last two years, between, you know, previous to COVID and things were starting to adjust. And then we hit with COVID. And now we’re dealing with the inventory stuff, and a whole new generation of people coming into the space. And so it was just a really great thought, you know, outside of the education and the booths and everything. But the conversations just you know, getting to me, everyone. There’s a lot of people I met for the first time face to face that I’ve been having conversations with for years, you know, like I would see a name badge and like, wait a minute, are you selling to Yeah, no. And it was just like, a family reunion is what it felt like, right? So that part of it was a super lot of fun. And yes, I spoke on three different panels, and all of them touched on different things. But ultimately, there was a lot of this theme. Core theme. And I feel like there was a lot of the same core theme, even even on totally different subjects that people talked about, because I also tried to attend as many sessions as I could as well to support other people but also to hear other ideas. And you know, people have had different pain points throughout the country that are in different spots, like things that I’m struggling with are not necessarily the same struggles that somebody has in a different state, for instance. So it was interesting to hear how Other people are struggling and then understand why then somebody is coming at me with those certain, hey, we need to do this or you should do this. Well, that doesn’t make any sense to me. So just having that approach and stuff. Yeah, that’s interesting, it was really interesting
Ilana Shabtay 5:13
for you is not necessarily a pinpoint, and someone in a different market. Correct.
April Simmons 5:18
That was really kind of a fun way to get all that out on the table, and really have that open conversation in a way that you can never do one on one and one on one on one on one. So having those small group sessions and stuff was fantastic to do that. The first session that I spoke on, I actually spoke with a guy from revenue marketing and binary and had funding for her and she just recently moved over to quantum, but that session was really talking about, hey, we’re in this weird spot right now where we’re all making massive amounts of money. But we have this inventory problem. And what’s going to happen when things finally normalize, how are we going to prepare for 2022 and move forward. And we all took a little different piece of what that looks like, and what we need to be considering. And, you know, Fleming really touched a lot on the leadership and the training and the idea that, you know, if we don’t do this now, and it’s something I also preach with in my stores majorly, because I’ve watched this happen in the 2008 crash, which we dealt with and got hit with heart just before that, you know, you didn’t have to have any skills, you can sell cars, and it was easy. And you know, it was not a problem. And then 2008 hit, and boom, suddenly, you had to really have the best skills, the best service, you had to do the things that nobody else would do. And it was really hard for people to adjust. So those dealers, I think, right now that are making those adjustments today, we’ll come out on the other side in a much faster, easier, you know, Northern trajectory. I talked a little bit about marketing and how to strategize today, tomorrow and next week, next month. And one of the big things that I really realized when COVID happened, and it was, how do I put a marketing strategy together when nobody knows what tomorrow is gonna bring? Right? Like, most things we do in marketing have a plan and a strategy. And it’s based upon last week, last month, last year, right? So we do these, you know, 10% growth increases. And we want to do this until we do that. You throw it all up in the air and go now what? So we had a lot of people disagree, right, like some people felt like you should do no marketing, some people felt like, No, we should go hard and heavy. And there’s a lot of what we do? And so I said, Look, let’s do this, we don’t have a crystal ball, we don’t know how much Co Op dollars we’re gonna have put on how many customers we’re gonna have. We don’t know if we’re going to be shut down tomorrow. So we kind of put in the strategy of a good, better, best marketing strategy, right? Like, ABC, a good, better, best. And then we were ready. And I worked with the marketers, and then we were ready to pivot on a dime. So if I needed to make a quick adjustment and say, Look, I know we thought we were going to do this but now we just got shut down or, you know, half my staff quit or you know, whatever was happening, we could easily adjust. So now I will kind of apply that same approach in this inventory situation, because we have no idea and doing this low marketing, funneling low marketing strategy right now it just doesn’t make sense to spend a whole bunch of money on a mailer, people show up, you got no cars. But now what, right? So I think I’m going further up the funnel right now and taking the opportunity to do the things that none of us usually do. Like we really are dealers, we like that instant gratification. That’s who we are. That’s what we love. That’s what we thrive on. However, that slow, longer tail, you know, when you think about it, and I like to use the analogy of sem and SEO, most people have finally started to subscribe to the need for SEO, right? But you don’t see that instant gratification, right? It’s not you turn it on, and boom, it works. It’s layer after layer where branding is also the same thing. And so right now what dealers do today will help them so much on the other side of this, if they take the time to spend those the marketing dollars in their branding space, go a little further up the funnel, work on the reputation, work on building out who they are, the why by messaging, all of those kinds of things and help solve those pain points along with the internal approach and an internal process of making sure that your team is then ready when those customers come on the other side of that so I think that that’s you know, that was a lot of the base of that first session was just how to be prepared how to deal with today, but prepare for tomorrow.
Ilana Shabtay 9:55
Great. I think that’s so interesting and one of the things that you said in the beginning I think you’ve touched on. I think you said maybe Fleming spoke about this. But training, I just want to emphasize because I spoke with someone last week from Shift Digital who was on the InsideAuto Podcast. And he said he was like, right now, no one needs to know how to sell because there’s no inventory, the second that there’s inventory, any person is going to come and pick up that car, what happens when we check inventory, and your staff forgets what it’s like to negotiate to sell to, to, to conquest. And I think there’s just a little bit with dealers right now. So the same, of course, transit transitions into what you said about marketing and making sure that those processes are in place. But it’s just so interesting to think about that because especially people entering automotive now, it’s not going to be like this forever.
April Simmons 10:48
Now, and it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a shock to the system for so many of them. You know, there’s the few of us, right, that have been through, like, a good amount of trials and tribulations, right? Like I went through 911 and I went through 2008, and the tsunamis, and the cash for clunkers, and all those different hurdles. And so you learn to say, hey, history repeats itself, right? So we need to do this to prepare for that, you know, the people who haven’t liked it for a long time, right? 2008 think about that, that’s 13 years ago now. Right? Right. So there’s a lot of people who have never dealt with hardship. And so they’re coming in now and it’s like, oh, curse those kinds of things inside sliced bread, and we’re making money like it’s great. And then they’re going to hit this wall. And it’s shocking, and it’s difficult and it’s hard. And you know, I remember in 2008 One of the things I did with my team because it was really we went from having you know, they would get five bucks a day to suddenly they’d get one up over three days. Like it was Yeah, and shocking, you know, and so trying to get them to do that outside of the box things that nobody likes to do, right, go talk to service guests and make more phone calls and do all the little things that nobody typically does because it’s not worth their time. How do you get them to actually do it? So one of the things I adopted was we actually read Who Moved My Cheese, right? Every day we sat in a room with my team and we took turns and they would read it for you know, five minutes every day just to try to get them mindset wrapped around why it’s okay to just be like things are different, but it doesn’t have to be right and so I think that’s something we just really need to start laying some foundation on today so that we’re ready for tomorrow and that was that was the I think a lot of conversation that a lot of people had and I get concerned that we’re grasping at straws right now with you know, digital retailing and some of these things and I’m really concerned like we’re trying to put in all this technology like technology is gonna solve our problems and people solve problems people buy from people and I’m just really concerned with what I’m seeing with all these you know solutions and I understand that vendors you know, they have a job to do and they’re trying to sell it but at the same time, dealers need to be conscientious that a computer will never solve a problem. It still
Ilana Shabtay 13:12
has to be oppression that technology needs to help the people do their job more efficiently. That’s what I believe in. Yeah, quick coffee break over. That’s so funny. We’re on the same exact time. Okay, so that was panel one.
April Simmons 13:33
That was panel two. I had an opportunity in Tampa . We did a panel on social media and it was really really well received. And so we thought okay, there’s so much we didn’t cover in that face. So let’s do it again. But let’s cover totally different content, but in the same space, so I again had Laurie halter myself, Maria and Melanie couldn’t make it who attended with us in Tampa so we brought him in to listen in. Just like we had we had such an amazing turnout and it’s because you have to have the best pair of people like doing a panel with you. And people show up because they’re like, once in advance, they’re like, okay, here’s here’s your social send this out today since the sound was great, it was so fantastic. But we all bring a different perspective because we all come from totally different spaces so you had you know Laurie who can really touch on that personal branding and realizing you know how much she does and was clearing and being able to help bring female leaders through and and that support and so is really, you know, really impactful for a lot of people on that personal experience and Maria Working with PCG, she was able to really talk about the paid ads and how you can take your organic content and make it work for you by doing, you know, the ai, ai ads and you know, leveraging that paid search or a paid social to really drive sales to take that final push. cannot really speak on what we just talked about with the GMB and the reputation management and how GMB really is a show for the channel now. And as we’re seeing more and more zero click that it’s superduper important that you have your why by messaging right there in your GMB, not just your reviews, which I think we all subscribe to now is how important that is and how to drive reviews, but all the other spaces that can be that show a customer why they should actually come to you versus somebody else and and if that really is a social channel, right? And then I covered realistically, all the social and how I have now figured out the why, you know, I had an aha moment where I really realized that as things go more to a digital platform, and as people are more visiting your website that we are missing one of the most important aspects of of car sales. And when I first learned how to sell cars, and when I first taught how to sell cars and everyday sense, we have steps to the sale, right? And it doesn’t matter who you talk to, they learned eight steps, 10 steps, 12 steps, they’re the same steps. It’s just whether we expanded them into you know, one step or two steps. But the first steps were always the meet and greet, sell yourself, sell the dealership and build rapport. And in those steps, we were told 90% of your time should be in those first steps. Because if you do that, then what happens with restaurants?
They go really easy. Now in a digital space, where are we going, we’re skipping all those steps. Because by the time you hit the website, we’re talking about payments, we’re talking about price, we’re talking about inventory, we’re talking about those things, which misses the sell yourself, sell the dealership, and that’s that social needs to take in. So when you’re building your organic social content, you need to have those same, that same content should be coming out in that space. And then how do you go about doing it? Because there’s all the different social channels. So you have you know, Facebook, and you have Instagram and you have Tick Tock and you have LinkedIn. And you have YouTube and you have GMB. And how do you make sure that you’re posting in all those faces, true authentic content that’s happening within your stores, not, you know, some cookie cutter vendor, you know, a picture of car salesmen that aren’t even the car salesman that works the store, right? So, you know, finding a social champion and how I was personally able went through all my trials and tribulations because we all have that right when trial, failed trial, failed trials, and then you figure it out. And so for me personally, it was hiring college kids that go into the stores, and everybody knows them, they share their cell phone, and everybody at any store at any time can take pictures and videos with their cell phone and text it to them. And then they clean it up. And they put it in the proper spots on the social channels. And it’s worked really, really well, you know, it’s worked really, really well. Because it’s authentic content now. And you know, everyone, everyone feels comfortable taking a video, but not everybody feels comfortable cleaning it up, or how to hashtag it to actually post it. And let’s be honest, as dealers we don’t want to give everybody access anyway. You know, we really don’t, there’s a space where you like I want to have one throat to choke. So if someone types something super inappropriate, I know who I’m going to, I know who made the mistake, right? So, um, you know, you don’t necessarily even have to hire somebody, you can have somebody if you only have one rooftop, you find that one person who you pay a couple extra bucks to who is the receiver of all the content, who then posts content. So there’s a lot of different ways you can go about doing it, but it’s really important that the dealership is the one to tell the story and you’re not letting somebody else tell your story.
Ilana Shabtay 19:04
I think that’s also a really practical way that you explain to dealers in the panel, how they can actually you know, hit those four steps with social which is why I love so much what you’re saying because it really is something that is maybe easy isn’t the right word but it’s it’s it’s plausible, and with the right amount of effort, and something that they can get used to doing and really become part of their strategy. So I think that’s I think that’s like really golden anyone who missed it now, you know, it’s really cold advice. And the truth is, offenders should be doing it you were talking about it all the time, where I’m like, you know, there’s such good content going around the office like today everyone was wearing, our CEO, he’s gonna kill me for saying the story, but he like took off his sweater and there was just a huge stain on his shirt. And we were like, Aharon, what and he was like, oh, it must be for my kids. I don’t know. So he went in the back of our office and was like, I’ll just get like an old auto lead star shirt, he puts it on. And then we’re all like, we all want that. So everyone ended up wearing or at least our shirts. And I was thinking in my head, like this is just authentic content that we need to put out there. So there’s moments like that that happened at the dealership. And that’s what people want to get into the meeting. People want to see and that’s the people that I met through stuff people really connect with from a brand perspective. And now is the time like, now it’s time to do it. Yes,
April Simmons 20:29
Yes, because you have the time. So take the time now to build the habits because it is really hard. I had, you know, in the q&a, the q&a, one of the people said, okay, but how did you actually get people to do it and participate because I’m really struggling with what I said, I did like massively struggling with it. So I had to force them. I mean, ultimately, at the end of the day, I genuinely had to be the one to force my hand for the first probably three weeks to a month. And then after that, it got easier and easier and easier. And now, I barely even have to ask somebody usually ready to go because they understand that’s what it is. Are they typing? You know, exactly. While I was out literally while I was Digital Dealer I had you know, videos coming to my cell phone, Hey, can you send this to the kids because I didn’t have their number, whatever. Again, it’s fun stuff. It was, you know, one of them was one of my stores. The office manager decorated the whole office for Halloween. And they had all gotten their masks, right. Like they’re called the mask. And so something
Ilana Shabtay 21:36
I totally mask, because yes, Halloween masks,
April Simmons 21:39
we have to know Oh, yeah. Like the big like, that’s like, like the magic. Yes. And so they kind of video of her scaring one of the sales managers coming out of the office, right? And it was golden, right? Because it shows we’re fun. And we do these things. And it’s just showcasing who you are. And then when we talk about the South now we have a showcase video every week. But it’s something of building rapport like, right what is, you know, right now, football just started, right? And so it’s, Hey, who’s your favorite football team, and what’s your favorite tailgate food, you know, and you do these little interviews, I’ve nothing about selling cars, it’s about building the rapport. Because now somebody feels like when they come in, they’re more comfortable, they feel like they know you. And you know, when we say you’re, you know, you’re a guest, not a customer, you want people to feel that. And I think if they can see that content, before they show up to your store, they’re going to be more comfortable with putting those walls down so we can actually help them versus sell them, for sure.
Ilana Shabtay 22:43
And great. So thank you for sharing that. And then we’ll go to your third panel, because we were full of knowledge at this conference. Tell us what you spoke about at the third panel for the
April Simmons 22:53
third conference, or the third panel was just myself and Dave Levin with dealer OMG. And he really did a full, full talk on e-commerce today. And really understanding the funnel, understanding multi point attribution, some of it piggybacking what I even just said about about branding, and the need to, you know, go up the funnel and understanding what that really looks like, and how you’re driving that traffic actually down and that the ROI is so much better. So you know, kind of full circle all the things that I’ve just said. It’s kind of tied up to a nice little ribbon at this last panel, because what is the purpose of going up the funnel? What is the purpose of doing the branding? What is the purpose of doing the social and the reality of it is you know that the low funnel transactions cost a lot of money. You know, the CBC on anything like when they’re at that zero point a truth or whatever it is that we call it, right? When they’re ready to buy a car today, that customer if you’re trying to capture that customer today, they cost a lot of money, right? That customer today? Yeah, well, here’s the other thing, you also haven’t built a relationship with that customer. So your likelihood and gross profit, not today I get it. But on normal days, your gross profit on those customers is also not going to be there because they don’t trust you. So there was a real upheaval all they care about is price. And you get a customer where it’s combative and it’s not as good of a process for them or for but when you go further up the funnel, and you start to have conversations with them in the consideration phase, when they’re when they’re just considering what they want to buy who they want to buy from. And you start to build a relationship there. First of all, it’s way less expensive to get that customer. Yeah, so your ROI there is great, but you also have a customer that you’re going to have better gross profit on. We all know that the happiest customers we make the most money on that’s not a secret. So at the end of the day, I think trying to make sure we build that relationship before they’re ready to come in. It is huge. Again, it goes against the grain. Because people want instant gratification, but at the end of the day, if we really are about profit, and we really are about selling more cars and helping more customers and building relationships for life, you got to go, you got to consider your marketing going a little bit more of the funnel to do that.
Ilana Shabtay 25:18
Yeah, and actually, I know about Bob Lamb who couldn’t make it from Facebook since they haven’t opened up travel yet. But he talks a lot about this as well. And he actually posted some interesting stats, so you want to go. I don’t remember exactly what they are, but I’ll just tell the listeners to go to his LinkedIn page and see him because it’s exactly aligned with this. Um, and this brings up this brings me to a nice way to wrap which is you talked a little bit about how people make like a successful dealership, right? And well, this technology may or may not be important. And that’s what I want to hear from you. You know, you talk about e-commerce and branding and how you’re going to do this with social, I’d love to know what you’re doing at Horne Auto Group, specifically, what technology you are investing in that complements people in process, which is so important to you. Just because I think it’s a different perspective than what we usually talk about on this podcast, we talk a lot about technology on this podcast. And I think, you know, especially AutoLeadStar, I mean, I think technology is extremely important to dealerships’ marketing. But again, we don’t talk about that other side. And I do think it is, it is crucial to strategy, it’s true,
April Simmons 26:31
It’s true, because you gotta have, you gotta have a process that aligns with any digital that you’re putting in. And so too many times, you know, something gets sold to a person and quite frankly, I have different stuff in different stores. Because in one store it might work great but in another store, because of their type of clientele, or the way their processes or the way their OEM process needs to flow or whatever the case may be. It may not be the case or budget restraints, you know, sometimes the ROI can’t be there, because they just really can’t afford this shiny, new new toy, so to speak, right. But one of the biggest ones, and I’ll hit the heavy, heavy one on the head of digital retailing. So this first came out, like in April of one COVID happened, like every OEM was like shoving it down your throat and having this conversation and I was like, Okay, the next person who says this, I’m literally going to go pick them up and put their head through my wall. So I was getting angry, I was getting angry about it. And the reason I was getting angry about it is because I personally felt like they were selling the tool in the wrong fashion, they were selling the tool in this fashion of like, you need to put this on your website so that people can buy cars from A to Z, because that’s what they want to do. And I don’t believe that that’s what they want to do. And quite frankly, I’ve had a tear tool on all of my sites, all of my Metro stores for years. In fact, even before starting with a warrant, you know, I thought I was an early adopter, I was literally, you know, and Oji was his causton and incarna. Like he will tell you like she is my dog, because I’m one of the very first people who said, Look, this is amazing, let’s do this. But for me, it was about customer experience. See, I wanted people to be able to come to my website and not leave to go find information on other sites because I knew I would pay all this money to get them there. I want to keep them there. I want to convert them on my site. So it was about customer experience. It was about letting people do what people do, which is research, they want to play around and they want to figure out about what their trade is meaning you’re never going to know exactly but about what it is and they want to know about what looks like And hey, if I went to this currency card what what if I extend my turn so is about the ability to have a good customer experience and then building a process with your BDC internet however you handle it staff that could read those leads and understand those leads and have conversation as real time as possible, how guide the customer to hold their hand, you know through that process. And so I really started to get frustrated because I felt like the conversation around Dr. Completely went against what I believe in my heart of hearts, my soul souls and what I’ve seen, and it made me nervous, like, okay, just plug this into, you’re gonna sell more cars. And I actually felt like, you would sell less cars, if you don’t really know and understand what it is that you’re doing. For instance, and I’ve seen it where, you know, somebody sees a payment, and they’re like, Whoa, that’s too much payment. What do you think they do at that point? Do they call you and say hey, I was online and it said my payment would be this and that’s too much now that you just don’t even get an opportunity to talk to them. Right? So it’s really, you know, I just feel really, really passionate about the fact that we have to be very, very careful on the timing of transition and understand that the majority of customers still buy something different than they intended to buy when they walk into one of my new car stores. 80% of customers still buy something different. in a different color, a totally different car 80% of the time, your computer cannot do that, right? So we need to just be really conscientious of that. Now, I do believe in all the customer experience tools, I believe that your website, more than anything else should have all those customer experience tools. And I also believe in in all of the pain points of parts of the process that we just have to understand, no matter how many times you tell your salespeople to do it, they’re not going to do it, when you can get some help and technology for those faces, whether it be long term follow up, whether it be staying in front of your customer base, whether it be equity mining, you know, those are those are the the pain points of space, where your salespeople are never really going to do it, you might get one or two, you’re never going to really get them to do it. So those are the types of vendors that I always want to have a conversation with . Okay, how can we relieve that pain point, but also make sure that they all work together, because not everybody works together. And sometimes, you know, even though I have to be careful about this, you like too much on your website. And guess what happens now you got three chat tools running at the same time, and they’re overtop of each other and anything even worse, like. So when you do all of this, you also need to inspect what you expect, right? on both sides, on your people side, and on your tech side. So you need to go back to your website, click everything, make sure everything works. You need to have conversations with your staff, make sure they understand when you’re making these changes, what they should expect and how they should adjust and align with that. And then just be careful, you know, be careful, make sure you understand what’s really going on, and that it aligns with what’s happening in your, in your backyard, right? Like, again, my backyard, it’s different from somebody else’s backyard. But in my backyard, we’re weird seeing massive growth. And we’re not seeing this, you know, we never shut down, we were considered essential all the way. So I never closed the door. So it was just a little different
Ilana Shabtay 32:06
here for us in Phoenix. Yeah. And I think just to reiterate, the process is what’s going to make the dealership successful, especially if you put the emphasis on customer experience. And I think you really hit it on the head with that one because it’s all about the customer experience. And sometimes that’s not buying a car online, sometimes it’s being able to access the information. Sometimes it’s doing as much as possible online, but making sure that it’s there and that the customer experience is seamless, and that you’ve trained your BDC and your sales team to follow up appropriately. I mean that’s really the heart of it all. So Wow, April you just shared with us I don’t know, I don’t know there’s at least three to four things dealerships can do today that you spoke about that can change the face of their marketing. So thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge. You really are just like a wealth of knowledge here and I’m sorry that I missed your panels but I will be at the next one and I’m sure you’ll be at like at least three panels but who knows? Maybe you’ll have more than maybe two. But thank you again so much for joining the InsideAuto Podcast. It’s great to have you personally
April Simmons 33:18
I really appreciate you taking the time and getting to talk to your viewers and such and anytime anytime and great to catch up with you as well.
Ilana Shabtay 33:28
Thank you. Yes, it was good to catch up with you as well. And for anyone who’s listening please tune in InsideAuto Podcast. You can find us on all wherever you listen to your podcasts. I Heart, Apple, Spotify, Spotify, all the information, it’s on insideautopodcast.com. Thank you so much.
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