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Automotive Retail: What Makes a Great Employee? And How Do We Notice Them?

Posted on June 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

When you think about the automotive industry, the first thing that comes to mind are the sleazy used car salesmen, of yesterday, with their plaid blazers and the pressure they place on you to buy a car. This is NOT how the automotive industry works today. The same tactics used in the 1980s will not work with buyers today; so the automotive industry had to change. Now you have people who are specifically working in guest relations, finance, management, internet sales, call center representatives, and much more. With the growth of various automotive groups, there has been a need for accounting, human resources, product trainers, and even talent development! But how can you tell if someone is cut out for today’s automotive industry?

The automotive industry requires bright talent that can produce results (such as sales or finding more efficient ways to operate, allowing the business to save money) or support those who produce results. It is still, very much, like running your own business in most positions. You need to be able to sell your product as well as yourself. Those in the supporting roles need to make sure to keep up with the busy, daily demands that keep processes running smoothly. I have narrowed down 6 qualities that make a great automotive retail employee, both customer-facing and behind-the-scenes:

(1) Integrity. This is defined by hiring those that exhibit honesty and morals. Honesty and morals are qualities thought to be forbidden in the automotive retail world, but integrity must exist!

(2) Respect. This is the ability to appreciate others for the qualities that they exhibit. To be able to truly understand a customer, co-worker, leader, or subordinate… respect must be a quality each candidate possesses.

(3) Tenacity. Tenacity is the desire to go after a goal with the utmost intensity and desire. We need folks in the automotive world who have an “itch” to work on projects until completion. These are the folks who clock out when the job is done, not when the clock tells them to.

(4) Transparency. When you show your hand, so to speak, to your employees or your customers… you are being transparent. Not hiding things, or being deceitful, will help to build trust with others. Trust is the most important aspect of trying to build a team or a relationship.

(5) Cleverness. This isn’t the kind of cleverness to find your way around tasks. This meaning of cleverness is the ability to understand and learn quickly. To keep up with an ever-changing automotive industry, you have to be willing to learn. To build on this idea of cleverness even more, the ability to learn from your mistakes and make changes is an ability that all automotive industry personnel must have to truly be successful.

(6) Accepting. This is an important idea so employees are not trapped in the stone age. Processes change, automobiles change, management techniques change… being accepting of these changes is very important to continue developing new and better ways of working in the automotive industry.

In order to find the talent that possesses the aforementioned qualities we, as automotive industry recruiters, must find a way to vet the quality talent. This means to change the interview process a bit. Develop a ranking system, based on hypothetical and past experience questions, that focus on asking about the qualities you deem as important. You don’t just have to interview once, interview a second time to see if you get the same feeling and similar answers. Set minimum standards for the people you want to hire. This doesn’t mean that a dismal background history should exclude them from consideration, but do look to see if they have learned from their mistakes and taken action to be better. Find out if their motivators are suited for their particular position. For example, take the sales consultant who lists that they desire a $40,000 per year salary versus the sales consultant who lists that they desire a $100,000 per year salary. The $100,000 per year candidate, most likely, has a higher desire to sell cars and will outperform the candidate who is complacent with a $40,000 per year salary. The $40,000 per year candidate may be better suited for a different position.

With these tools in hand, and the ability to vet candidates before presenting them to the hiring manager, it should be easy to spot and hire the right candidate for the right position. A cliché I’ve heard floating around for a while is, “hire hard, manage easy.” I believe this cliché is the living embodiment of proper hiring to ensure a quality workforce.

Automotive Technical Schools

Posted on June 9, 2019 in Uncategorized

Automotive technical schools are specially designed to prepare students in the automotive field as professional automotive technicians. During the past decade, the number of automotive technical schools has increased manifold and most offer unique specializations. The automotive industry is not just confined to engines and repair work; opportunities are diverse. With the automobile industry at an all-time high, job opportunities in this field are many.

Automotive technical schools offer a wide range of career programs in the areas of fuel and ignition systems, engines and repair, brakes, power trains, electronics and diagnostic equipment, transmissions, auto electronic fundamentals, custom motorcycle body fabrication, collision repair and refinishing, emission testing, and much more. Some of the common programs to be found in the automotive technical schools include automotive technician training, collision repair and refinishing, diesel and industrial technician training, automotive service management, and mechanical drafting design and CAD technology.

Based on the courses, students finishing automotive technical schools are awarded diplomas or degree certificates. Almost every automotive technical school boasts experienced and highly qualified instructors from the automotive sectors. The fees at most of the schools are a bit high but financial aid packages are available at most schools.

Besides full time programs, online and distance education programs are provided by automotive technical schools. Online courses are particularly designed for those who are working full-time and can’t attend regular classes, or for students who wish to study from the convenience of home. Automotive technical schools provide online programs in a variety of fields. These include automotive and diesel technology, auto body repair technology, career development training, fuel, and emissions control systems, and ignition systems and functions.

Before enrolling into any automotive technical school, always check whether the school or college you selected has an accreditation. Also, make sure that the college can provide you with the best technical assistance that covers all your needs. As new cars are becoming more and more complicated, always choose an automotive technical school that teaches latest technological advancements.

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Automotive Advertising Agencies Must Lead, Follow, Or Get Out of the Way

Posted on June 8, 2019 in Uncategorized

I am a self described old school car guy but perhaps my definition of that well earned title has a different meaning than many of my contemporaries have assigned to it. My definition of a car guy is an entrepreneurial business man that is driven to win, who values relationships as a team builder and who prides themselves as being a community leader. The people skills needed to accomplish most goals in the car business are built on an understanding of human nature which has survived in the virtual world of today’s Internet Super Highway. However, the technologies and online processes needed to communicate to customers have changed dramatically and us car guys need to stay ahead of the curve to stay competitive.

Similarly, automotive advertising agencies serve the retail auto industry in much the same way that they have for decades. However, since the one constant in the auto industry is change — and human nature is also a constant — then change in the automotive advertising industry must be limited to the technologies that have developed to serve the newest media of choice; the Internet. Agencies are still striving to improve the reach, frequency, cost per impression and the basic R.O.I. of their automotive advertising campaigns delivered to a qualified and targeted audience, however in my considered opinion there has been a paradigm shift in automotive advertising as a result of the empowerment that the Internet has extended to the online car shopper.

Conventional wisdom supports the position that selling processes on the virtual showrooms being built on the Internet Super Highway must replicate and integrate with those used in the brick and mortar showrooms on local car rows, however that is reflective of the needs of the auto dealers, not the customers. Structured selling systems require repetitive processes that eliminate redundancy of data input and accommodate follow up and management monitoring which has little value to consumers who just want to know if the auto dealer has the vehicle that they want and how much will they have to pay for it.

Old school wisdom suggest that the goal for the dealer after an initial contact by phone, email or by an online visitor to their website is to make an appointment to get the customer into the showroom since, after all, you can’t sell them a car on the phone or on the Internet — or can you? New technology based solutions like AutoTransaXion introduced by Argistics provide an online transaction tool with a two way video customer interaction application that links to the auto dealer’s DMS, CRM and ILM in a comprehensive push/pull manner that replicates the real world selling process. The enhanced transparency and relevancy provided by this online communication tool satisfies the needs of the online car shopper while providing a seamless transition that allows the auto dealer and the consumer to complete an online transaction.

Most Automotive advertising agencies recognize the need to provide transparency and relevancy to attract online car shoppers but few are aware of solutions such as AutoTransaXion to convert these new opportunities on the World Wide Web to sales. Budget challenged auto dealers are demanding that their automotive advertising agencies deliver more for less and staying in touch with new technology is one way to deliver.

Another opportunity to leverage online resources for automotive advertising agencies in the know can be found in new online inventory based marketing platforms like ronsmap.com that utilizes its game changing technology to integrate social networking media with their platform. The extended reach and frequency of message provided by their vBack Ask-a-Friend / Tell-a-Friend application increases S.E.O. for the auto dealer by integrating their social networking engine with every vehicle posted on ronsmap, the auto dealers’ website and third party sites that the auto dealer posts their inventory on. As a result, leads and sales are increased exponentially as they tie into the viral messages powered by their C2C marketing methods vs. more commonly utilized B2C methods offered by banner ads and other attempts to market into social networking communities from the outside in vs. the ability for vBack to market from the inside out.

In addition, the Intelli-Leads gathered by ronsmap and their vBack application are enhanced by the market intelligence gathered by their SellersVantage application which provides real time information on the online consumer beyond the typical name, IP address, contact information and questions regarding the vehicle they selected. SellersVantage provides the auto dealer with the comparable vehicles that the customer may have considered through ronsmap as well competitive information on similar vehicles currently being offered on the Internet. As a result, conversion rates are increased for the auto dealer and the transparency and relevancy for the car shopper is enhanced. Of course none of this is possible if the automotive advertising agency doesn’t know about ronsmap and similar leveraged online marketing platforms to recommend to their auto dealer clients.

Understanding and applying the rules established by the search engines to maximize the S.E.O. for their auto dealer clients is another challenge for automotive advertising agencies that requires them to listen and learn about new Internet applications before they can presume to serve their clients’ needs. Social media has earned a weighted position on Google that is only matched by their similar respect for video to reflect consumer preferences. A generation of T.V. watchers has matured into video-centric consumers that prefer to watch an online video of a vehicle vs. a typical display ad listing features and benefits or even a set of pictures. SiSTeR Technologies has a video production platform, Video CarLot, that hosts applications like their vShock and VidBrid that produce professional quality videos from still pictures extrapolated from an auto dealer’s website using human voice, existing video footage and multi-schema layers with interactive information for the consumer to increase the transparency and relevancy of the experience.

In addition, SiSTeR is able to increase the vSEO of the dealer by distributing each produced video directly onto the search engines through their dedicated API with You Tube with their own URL, file name and associated search words and meta tags. Couple that with the linked micro-site offered by their vShock application that follows custom business rules established by the auto dealer to display the selected vehicle video with other similar vehicles chosen from their online inventory and you can see the added value of an automotive advertising agency that knows to suggest this video platform to their clients.

Other new vendor solutions offered by companies like CityTwist.Com who offers a do it yourself email platform with over one hundred and twenty five million double opt-in email addresses to facilitate conquest sales for auto dealers and Bull Dog Marketing Technologies who provides an internal data based marketing platform capable of delivering direct mail or email messages with personal URLs and custom vehicle selection and price quotes in monitored monthly campaigns for sales and service will also provide enough of an R.O.I. to support the fees that they paid to the automotive advertising agency that suggested them. Simply put, today’s automotive advertising agencies must lead, follow or get out of the way of those forward thinking agencies that accept their new areas of responsibility that include listening and learning about new Internet based technologies to recommend to their clients.

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