Nothing like some geek SEO Rap! Keep’n the standards in the hizzel.
Nothing like some geek SEO Rap! Keep’n the standards in the hizzel.
In the Dealer Refresh article “Wrath of the Net – talk about Ouch!” we told you a one-sided story about how one small incident can go completely awry for a single dealer. Our intentions for the article were to help other dealers understand how strong the Internet can be and realize how important it is to take reputation management seriously. We linked some things simply to help show how far things can go. Since posting the
article we have been made privy to the other side of the story, and now also know there is a larger group behind things. This is a group we have the utmost respect for, and would like to help them tell their side of the story. Here is a release from them:
On behalf of Husker BMW, the following is an update on this situation.
Per the conditions of the eBay auction, the successful bidder is required to purchase the vehicle within 72 hours. After acknowledging its initial mishandling of the situation, Husker gave Mr. Tanisaka another fresh 72 hours to consummate the transaction at the $60,000 bid price. There were absolutely no conditions attached to that offer.
This 72 hour period has now expired. Husker BMW will agree to extend the time period for Mr. Tanisaka to purchase or lease the vehicle until the close of business on Monday, March 31, 2008, which is now the dealership’s second 72 hour extension of the time period.
There have been baseless details reported concerning the dealership’s handling of these negotiations. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Tanisaka has supplied the dealership with no financial information, and contrary to statements made, Mr. Tanisaka has never presented the dealership with pre-approvals from Capital One, BMW, or any other financing source. For any pre-qualified buyer, Husker would, as it does on a routine basis, make delivery the same day of purchase.
At no time has Husker requested Mr. Tanisaka to fund his purchase through the dealership. But unless and until the dealership receives the agreed upon funds, the transaction is not complete and the vehicle cannot be delivered to the buyer.
Mr. Tanisaka has refused to accept Husker’s assistance in obtaining financing, and has chosen to seek leasing terms through a financial institution of his selection. Husker has
attempted to accommodate Mr. Tanisaka at every turn, including providing everything requested by his outside financing company in a timely manner, but no funding has been received. While Husker does not intend to suggest that Mr. Tanisaka does not have the financial wherewithal to consummate this transaction, any inferences that Husker has been delaying his consummation of the transaction are entirely unfounded. In fact, Mr. Tanisaka has routinely been dealing very cooperatively with Husker’s sales manager and has been very complementary toward him. Another unreported fact is that, as a gesture of
goodwill, Husker offered to pay to fly Mr. Tanisaka to Lincoln to take delivery of the vehicle, and also offered to pay the costs associated with shipping the vehicle in a covered truck from Lincoln to California.
Husker does not seek to silence or in any way limit the rights of those who wish to express their opinions on this now widely publicized ordeal. But based on several reckless distortions and omissions of fact, the dealership and its employees have been grossly mischaracterized. Husker acknowledges and commends the comments posted by Mr. Tanisaka, his attorney, and the many others that have requested the personal attacks to cease. Husker would ask Mr. Tanisaka to go one step further and provide his truthful commentary on his agreement, or disagreement, with the statement of facts set forth above.
Husker will hold the vehicle in inventory for Mr. Tanisaka until the end of business Monday. For the sake of all involved, Husker BMW would like nothing more than to have this saga end with Mr. Tanisaka proudly driving his new E90 M3 and showcasing his “Husker BMW” plate frame throughout Southern California.
Thank you to the Husker Automotive Group, your corporate leaders, and representatives for enlightening us. We hope you continue to allow other dealers to learn from your unfortunate example, as we would expect you to learn from any of ours. We will continue to honor our invitation to give you a forum on Dealer Refresh anytime you like to help us make the car industry a better place for everyone!
-Jeff & Alex
P.S. There may be some varying opinions on the time constraints put forth in this letter against what has been posted in other areas. That is something between the Husker BMW store and Mr. Tanisaka. To further clarify, Dealer Refresh is not taking sides in this debate. As dealers ourselves, we sympathize with the situation, but we are simply posting what was given to us.
The power of the Internet is being felt by the Husker Automotive Group at their BMW of Lincoln store. Before we get into the details of this debacle, we want you to know it was debated as to whether this should be posted on Dealer Refresh or not. At the end of the debate, the spirit of teaching other dealers a lesson from this mistake won out over just pointing a finger. We don’t strive to kick people when they’re down.
Anyway, this all started on March 20th, 2008 when this eBay auction ended:
click for actual listing. There was only a single bidder and he won the auction for $60,000 on a brand new 2008 BMW M3 Sedan with a MSRP above $70,000. Obviously BMW of Lincoln was not watching the listing close enough, and they also forgot to set a reserve (mistake #1).
When the auction ended the winner was contacted, by email, with the statement “Congratulations” – according to the winning bidder. Then that email was followed by a second email and phone call stating the listing was an error (mistake #2). After some dispute over things, the winning bidder started a thread on one of the M3 forums:
click here for that thread.
Two days later, AutoBlog picked the story up:
click here for that article. Since AutoBlog put it out, the story has traveled across every automotive forum we’ve seen.
Remember lightsabre boy, the lol’d owls, and the chubby-cheeked Asian boy? Well, we can now add the General Manager of BMW of Lincoln to that list. His photo was found here: Husker BMW staff. Now he is the latest Photoshop child of the Internet. Since his Internet popularity took off, he sent an email to the winning bidder asking him to stop all the things happening around the Internet (mistake #3), as if the winning bidder can do anything about it. But the winning bidder has been posting all the email communications from BMW of Lincoln, and now the General Manager is a YouTube hit:
Upon further debate, we decided to take the video down. Even though the video is technically hosted on YouTube (not Dealer Refresh) we decided it was not compliant with Dealer Refresh site rules. We must admit we were caught up in the hysteria and were not thinking things all the way through when we linked that video to this post. We would like to apologize to the people who have been targeted in this whole mess, and let those people know we sympathize – this must be an incredibly difficult time. Just remember: “this too shall pass.” We would also like to put on the record that we have a lot of admiration for the larger dealer group encompassing Husker BMW. We started this post on the notion that it will help other dealers be cognizant of reputation management (a hot topic in the dealer world right now). We would also like to extend an invitation to any representative of Husker BMW, or the larger group, to participate in the comment thread attached to this post. We welcome any insight you can give, and hope you’ll take this opportunity to help your cause.
Jeff & Alex
“These bloggers out there, they have lots of time on their hands to do this.” …one of the salesmanagers.
“Did it ever occur to the dealership that they created a situation that compelled complete strangers to MAKE time?”….the winning bidder.
It only takes 1 person, 1 posting to really screw things up.
There is a lot to learn from BMW of Lincoln’s mistakes. Let’s recap those:
We’re sorry this happened to you BMW of Lincoln, but you really did it to yourselves. Hopefully you’ll do the right thing, and have learned the power of the Internet!
Co-authored by Jeff & Alex
As everyone knows, I sometimes like to share some of the emails we get here at DealerRefresh. This is an email from Pete out in Chicago, Illinois…
Great to have found your site and your common sense approach to selling.
I started in the retail automotive business over 20 years ago and the one thing I know to always be true is that people sell vehicles and web product services promote and market.
I can’t stop wondering in amazement when people in the auto industry and dealer principles believe that this process can be fully automated using CRM or lead generators and quick pricing quotes alone.
There is the law of diminishing returns can apply to the level of customer satisfaction with regard to how well internet salespeople are paid and treated.
Why would anybody want to follow up on a bunch of maybes when the customer calling and walking through the door is the most likely to buy?
When I started we all had salaries and demos. I felt a sense of obligation and consideration of the well being of the dealership I worked for because I would not starve…never did and always made a living till it became too much risk and effort for too little pay and time.
I would bet that half the internet managers where so so salespeople that are willing to work for less than what the top 20% make.
People say the profits aren’t as high. Not true. Pay plans are lower and the front margin has been put into the "do not talk about" holdback.
I still remember dealer principles laughing at Carmax not so long ago, or was that a billion dollars ago?
A person won’t get rich but at least they can earn a living and be treated well. (So I heard)
Too much said and all the best.
Pete, Chicago Illinois
AutoUSA had 400 automotive dealerships surveyed AND 90% of respondents ranked "accuracy of the information" as the most important feature!?!? No Shit! The "amount of contact information" and the lead "closing ratio" were also very important. No Shit! x 2
I’m not sure we needed a study to figure this out.
Phil DuPree, president of AutoUSA said:
"Providing dealers with a volume of leads that can’t be worked because of inaccurate or incomplete information will drive down closing rates. Lead quality continues to be the overriding factor in achieving high close rates and dealer satisfaction with third party lead providers."
"Dealers are looking for the right mix of lead providers that deliver the best coverage for their dealership and a high volume of quality leads," said DuPree. "They’re not afraid to switch providers if they aren’t seeing results."
Those are some impressive key factors to point, AND….I hope they didn’t pay too much to have that survey performed.
I’m not going to knock AutoUSA too hard (even though I still never got a solid answer for my duplicate lead issue). In my previous positions at past dealers, I did get my better leads from AutoUSA. Though, if you wanted to break it down even deeper, it was actually the leads from Edmunds.com that had the highest closing ratio (BUT..too often had the worse front end gross). Guess you can’t have both?
If you want, you can make the jump over to the
full press release..AutoUSA Study Finds Accuracy of Information Keeps Dealers Satisfied with Third Party Lead Providers
Sean V. Bradley at Dealer Synergy has put together an impressive deal for ALL DealerRefresh readers! Please take advantage of this very generous offer. THANKS SEAN!!
I (Sean V. Bradley) want to invite EVERYONE to this year’s absolute best conference…2008 Synergy Sessions in New Orleans!
It is brought to you by Dealer Synergy, AutoSuccess Magazine and Mark Dubis. This is the 3rd annual event. It is going to be off the hook!! We have worked incredibly hard to make this better than anything you have ever seen before. We got the best of the best in the industry… experts and dealers. We cut the prices completely to the bottom. ONLY $295 with a DealerRefresh discount code DR0508. We have included breakfast, lunch for two days PLUS a VIP PARTY at the famous House of Blues…food, drinks and AWESOME live entertainment.
We are NOT trying to make a big profit into this event. We are looking to create the most powerful brand out there for workshops / conferences. There are a lot of companies working very hard to give you all the absolute best in class event and not charge you very much for it.
Here is the hook…I want your help…WE NEED your help. To make this the absolute best, we are going to need your feedback as to what your wants, wishes and expectations are.
We want to hear from you.
*RESPOND TO THE POSTING WITH YOUR IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS AND YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED INTO THE "DEALERREFRESH" DRAWING and we will pick the winner on April 15th. Dealer Synergy and AutoSuccess Magazine will give an ALL INCLUSIVE VIP TRIP to the 2008 Synergy Sessions in New Orleans.
Approximate value is $2,000… not bad for sharing some feedback!
Thanks a lot, Sean V. Bradley-
Click here for more information and to register for the event.
Researchers at the University of Iowa recently found that people who have only a little information about a product are happier with that product than people who have more information. Does this go hand in hand with the customer that pays the most is usually your happiest customer?
"We found that once people commit to buying or consuming something, there’s a kind of wishful thinking that happens and they want to like what they’ve bought," said Dhananjay Nayakankuppam, marketing professor at UI".
eMarketer analysts Lisa Phillips has this to say about the study:
"So if 70% of US automotive shoppers research their purchases online before buying, does that mean 100% of them will be really ticked off within three months of the purchase? Or maybe 50% of them will be ok with what they bought, but 1% will be swayed by the US Ford TV commercials that they really wanted an Edge, not a Nissan Murano? "Realistically, people research products to either make themselves comfortable making a choice or to rationalize their primary choice. Either way they can defend it to their partners, parents, friends and siblings."
Another eMarketer analysts, Ben Macklin said:
"There is only a certain amount of information and choices a human can absorb. The choices now available to consumers in terms of broadband, voice, TV and mobile services—and their possible bundles—from a host of different providers is completely overwhelming for some."
I think this really depends on the individual. We know that many of our online car shoppers are definitely considering other makes and models. It’s not like the days where you had fewer choices.
Case in point: Our lease is up on my wife’s Mercedes SUV (no remarks please, I got one hell of a lease deal on it), so it’s time for another vehicle and she of course wants another SUV. So here I am in shopping mode. I know what options she likes and what we need to have. What do we get? What are my choices? The truth is, the options are totally overwhelming to some degree. Another Mercedes ML, VW Touareg, Mazda CX-9, BMW X5, Subaru Tribeca, Acura MDX and even the Saturn Outlook is on the list. That’s a lot of choices!
Now of course the sales person in me says, "come on Jeff, you have SUV’s from each end of the spectrum here. You need figure out which one you like the most!" But you know what, I initially thought I would consider driving anyone of these vehicles as long as the lease payment made sense and the vehicle provided my wife and I with the features we need and want.
So lets say I visit the Subaru dealer and the sales person is useless, doesn’t know the product and is sort of on the pushy side. Guess what? I’m no longer interested in the Subaru. I have so many other choices that it’s highly unlikely that I even visit another Subaru dealer this time around.
I then visit the Saturn dealer. The sales person is laid back (maybe too laid back) but easy to work with. I just can’t bring myself to buy a Saturn.
The BMW X5 lease payment comes out to be too high as does the Touareg. Both were impressive but not enough for me to swallow the payment.
So far I have shopped 4 different vehicles at 4 different dealers. By now I’m starting to get a little worn out. I hate to shop..but I love to BUY! That is usually the truth for all consumers. Shopping is a pain, buying gets you gratification.
I now have it narrowed down to another Benz ML, Mazda CX-9 or the Acura MDX. Still 3 choices to consider.
My point here is, many of your customers are on the same situation and all the choices quickly become overwhelming. This is where CUSTOMER SERVICE and PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE plays a key role in obtaining a sale.
Coming back to the study: "people who have only a little information about a product are happier with that product than people who have more information" I do agree with this BUT this is NOT today’s average consumer. We are in the age of information and at the click of a button. People want information even if they are aware that it could be totally overwhelming. Recognize this and use this to your advantage!
Most of you (the one’s that sell cars for a living) may have to make a concentrated effort to look past the way you like to sell cars in order to answer honestly. With any luck, everyone that comments will do so from the perspective of a consumer.
Is there anything in the traditional or expected car shopping/buying experience that consumers really like? I’ve had dealers, General Mangers and salesmen tell me over and over for years that “buying a car is an emotional experience.” Those words are always spoken with an “I’m so smart and I really understand people” kind of tone. Do I disagree? Yes and no. Buying a car obviously involves some emotion, but the truth is that it’s primarily negative emotion. Car dealers and the typical way they run their businesses create tension, worry, frustration, anger, fear and depression often before the customer has even considered them.
Not that any of you read the newspaper, watch the boob-tube, listen to the radio or use the internet, but if you did then you’d know that car dealerships advertise in these places. Have you ever seen a TV commercial advertising a vehicle at what seems to be an impossible price? Have you ever seen a newspaper ad doing the same? Can you say loss-leaders? Can you say trickery, manipulation, coercion? So, what’s my point? When dealers market and advertise themselves in these ways they’re already stirring emotion in consumers. Guess what kind of emotion? Maybe this video will help paint the picture.
So…what do consumers want in a car buying experience? I have my opinions, but I want yours. You took the time to read this, so think like a consumer (if you can) and let the community know your thoughts.
With encouragement and hope.
Shaun is the CEO and Consultant for Dealer Advisor
OK, this is my first initial attempt with my own videos on DealerRefresh. I got really excited about Grant Cardon’s new "GPod" and thought it would be fun to do a small video on it. It’s all of Grant’s training CD’s and DVD’s stuffed into an Apple iPod.
I know this might come off a little on the sales pitchy side but believe me, it’s truly not intended to be that way. I have been following Grant Cardone’s training for many years and if you want to sell more cars, there is nothing better then consistent training. I think Grant’s new "GPod" is on the cutting edge for delivering training to the automotive dealer industry. It’s no doubt a powerful tool!
Props to you Grant!
Note: Nic Olsen over at GrantCardone.com put together a nice little promo for all DealerRefresh readers if would would be interested. Be sure to watch the video in it’s entirety and then give Nic a call at 310-777-0293.
Cars.com will be holding a live DealerADvantage webinar on Friday, March 14, 2008 with yours truly on the panel. I believe Mr. Matt Lamoureux from Acton Toyota and John H. Isaac from My Dealer Report will be joining me as well.
We’ll be discussing the rise of social media, consumer generated content and those wonderful dealer rating websites like DealerRater.com, My Dealer Report.com, Dealership Ratings.com and let’s not forget about
insiderpages. Have I missed any??
Car shoppers now have a broad platform from which they can share opinions and influence others’ buying decisions. What’s being said about your dealership can either drive sales or divert buyers to your competition, making it more important than ever to monitor, manage and influence your online reputation.
In this DealerADvantage session, we’ll discuss how to:
I encourage all DealerRefresh readers to join in and participate! How many readers we can get to register??
Are you ready to manage the online conversation about your store?
Time: Noon to 1 p.m. (Eastern)
Location: Your Computer
P.S. After the webinar, click back here to
DealerRefresh to share your thoughts and opinions about the conversation.