Sales Strategy

For generations, the fundamentals of automobile sales strategy remained pretty much the same. Cars were sold in ways that produced results, year after year. However, in an era of rapid change, it is fair to ask how long the status quo will suffice.

Futurist Alvin Toffler warns that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

There are those in our industry who will survive and even thrive because they are truly willing to learn, unlearn and relearn. Or, put another way, “lather, rinse and repeat.”

Inertia, the tendency to do nothing, is a powerful force. Many won’t change until negative stimulation demands it. Individuals and businesses will finally change when their very survival is at stake. In today’s automobile marketplace, that time is fast approaching.

Times of Change

There’s evidence the traditional way of doing things is rapidly falling out of favor. There are three key reasons for this.

First, when Google surveyed North American automobile buyers, it found that 49 percent were frustrated during their dealer visits. Results were even worse among younger purchasers, with 63 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they were frustrated by the process.

Second, the long-term brand loyalty that automakers once enjoyed is fading fast, and consumers are more than willing to look at new brands. In fact, 59 percent said they would consider a new brand, opening the door for a new wave of competitors.

Brand loyalty must be earned during every interaction between businesses and consumers. Today’s consumers won’t hesitate to flock to better deals and more interesting offers. They will often respond to innovation with a viral intensity unknown before the advent of social media.

Third, the consumption of transportation is rapidly shifting. In addition to radically new products, there are more transportation options, including ridesharing, flexible transportation platforms and even subscription-based services.

Where does this leave us?

Although we don’t have the financial resources of marketplace giants like Google, Walmart, Amazon, and Facebook, we can certainly learn from them. For example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos teaches us about leveraging existing technologies to provide new levels of service to consumers.

In our industry, there’s simply too much friction damaging too many transactions. We must learn to leverage technologies from both inside and outside our industry to achieve more frictionless transactions.

Recommendations

Accordingly, I offer you these five recommendations:

1. Their experience, not yours

It is vital to develop innovative sales strategies that enhance your customer’s buying experience rather than your team’s selling experience. Walk in the customer’s shoes to the extent that you truly empathize with them and understand where they are coming from.

2. Stay current

Thanks in part to the power of the internet and social media, today’s consumers are more broadly educated and more aware. To keep up with them, you need to keep pace with changes inside our industry and in the world-at-large. Understand emerging trends in technology, retail and marketing. “Bundle” your emerging skill sets, and you’ll be better positioned to make new connections before your competitors do.

3. Think like a customer

Carefully listen to your customers in order to better see things from their perspective. You’ll quickly generate new ideas that will positively impact your business. Walk a mile in their shoes, and you’ll be glad you did.

4. Innovate with purpose

Don’t innovate simply to innovate. Align change with new consumer behaviors that are disrupting our industry. Embrace change, and focus your innovative efforts where they truly address the needs of today’s customer. Customers will ultimately do what’s best for them. Become the best alternative there is, and customers will seek you out.

5. Read an hour a day

Your mind is the very best tool you have. Lubricate, refine and expand your mind by reading at least an hour every day. In times of rapid change, an agile mind is priceless.

Finally, I urge you to look for other ways to follow Toffler’s advice to “learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

As you consider how your customers are disrupting the industry, disrupt your own long-held perceptions and challenge your traditional beliefs. Forge a new path into the unknown with confidence, dedication and imagination. Change always separates the also-rans from the leaders of tomorrow.

Remember, there is no better way to predict the future than to create it yourself. Carpe diem! Seize the day, and create your own compelling future!

Amazon effect

As segmented as the modern marketplace has become, one lone retailer has impacted nearly every facet of commerce, no matter the industry – Amazon. What started in books has now exploded to reach its ever-expanding tentacles into everything from cloud storage to grocery delivery, and nearly every possible point in between.

In fact, Amazon has grown to the point where it has taken almost mythological proportions, enamored and envied by some, detested and reviled by others. No matter what your personal opinion on Amazon might be, as a business owner or entrepreneur, you cannot deny the fact that what started as a little online bookstore in a Seattle garage has become the stuff of legend.

To that point, Amazon is a living, breathing example of what innovation, tenacity, and a forward-looking point of view can do for any company, including your own. The Amazon Effect is very much real and ready to help guide you down your own path if you’re willing and able to follow its lead.

We’ve taken lessons gleaned from concepts like the Amazon Effect to heart at Paragon Honda. However, as intimidating, frustrating, or overwhelming as today’s dynamic marketplace might be, I assure you of this – something like the Amazon Effect should motivate and inspire you to accel, not fill you with terror.

The Amazon Effect and Reinvention

While the Amazon effect might have started as a case study in supply chain logistics, it has become more of a catch-all to a way of operating or even looking at the market in a way that refines, redefines the status quo. In short, the Amazon Effect is about intelligent disruption, refusing to accept things as impenetrable or immovable but just in need of a new perspective.

To give the concept the proper context, think about what the supply chain was like just a few decades ago. It was big and cumbersome, inflexible and lacked any semblance of agility. Historical sales figures exclusively informed product shipments and inventory levels so any shift in consumer preferences would inevitably require months for distribution analytics to catch up.

Now think about the modern supply chain and how it has evolved over the last 20 years, primarily due to Amazon and its revolutionary distribution model. The marketplace is now almost entirely pliable, able to instantly bend and contorted self according to the ever-shifting demands of a fickle consumer base with interests that change by a stiff breeze.

Rather than waiting four to six weeks for an order to arrive, customers now expect deliveries to be sitting on their doorstep hours from the time of the initial order. This concept, in a nutshell, is the Amazon Effect – a complete reinvention of standard business practices, changing the customers very definition and perception of “good service” across every vertical.

Learn, Don’t Shy Away From the Best

You might be asking yourself what the Amazon Effect has to do with you and your own ambitions. Don’t look at the concept is something strictly about the supply chain but, instead, about a different way of looking at modern business. There are always going to be competitors that are bigger, faster, with more capital and for more resources available, but that doesn’t mean that your best response is to run in the opposite direction.

Instead, follow Amazon’s lead and make the absolute most of what you have at your own disposal to carve a niche out of the market. Just as Amazon did in the 1990s, leverage the benefits of readily available technology to maximum effect. Amazon didn’t invent the internet, nor did they create Federal Express/UPS, instead Amazon leaveragered the stuffing out of these existing technologies/platforms to provide unheard of service for their clients across multiple business models.  Automate your marketing message across social media, email campaigns, and any other distribution channels you think beneficial to establish brand identity and a unique, compelling narrative.

The point is this – take Amazon’s lead and never stop innovating, disrupting, and reaching. Make the most of the tools available to maximize impact. And most importantly, always take direction from the best in class, bending their innovative thinking, practices, and procedures to suit your specific needs.

I’m joined today by David Spisak: President & CEO of ReverseRisk and a Retail Automotive Data and Operations Expert. In today’s episode, David shares his journey with us and we get into the details of the future of automotive retail.

Lisa Copeland teaches sales organizations “The Art of the Big Sell.” — stop selling, start mobilizing. Build a movement, build an empire so you can do good. She’s a huge advocate for women in the automotive industry and is here to talk with us today about how she broke into and dominated this male-dominated industry.

Brick and Mortar

For centuries, brick and mortar stores have been the cornerstone of business. Until the invention of online stores, there were no other options for you to choose from to get the things that you wanted and needed unless you could make them yourself. Last year, more than 6,500 businesses in the U.S. alone closed for good. Major chains like Sears, Macy’s, and Toys R Us are struggling, is my industry safe?

Many people blame the retail apocalypse on the development of online stores like Amazon, but the real reason goes much deeper than that. In fact, online sales may be the key to saving many companies. Here is a look at why brick and mortar stores are failing and how online sales can save them.

Brick and Mortar

External Problems

It is fair to say that a large part of the downfall of brick and mortar stores comes from external problems. The last two decades have seen consistent market volatility and economic downturns. When potential customers experience cash flow issues, that usually becomes a problem for stores as well. Even if people have money, they will save it if they feel that the economy is in a crisis. Because of this, many companies lost a lot of their customers as the overall amount of spending in the country on non-essentials dropped.

It’s Mostly Their Own Fault

While external problems contributed to the downfall of brick and mortar stores, it is mostly their own fault. Regardless of what the economy looks like (unless it is the Great Depression or Recession), potential customers still spend money. It is up to stores to find ways of attracting customers. In many cases, stores stopped growing and adapting to make sure that they could survive in a tougher economy. You can see this in constantly increasing prices and poor business practices even when spending started to fall. Companies simply stopped evolving to meet the needs of customers and many companies continued to offer costly and unfulfilling services that customers were no longer willing to pay for. Customers will do what is perceived to be best for them, ALWAYS! We need to make sure that our products/services represent what is best for the customers. Doing what is best for the customers is often what is best for the retailer.

Changing Tactics

To survive in the current economy, online sales can be a critical component in your business strategy. The key is not to change over completely to an online platform, as there is a sizeable segment of the market that still wants to shop for things in person. The key to survival is to combine a stellar retail experience with the support and flexibility of an online shopping experience.

Big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart began to follow this model. When you walk into the store, you have access to a wide selection of items that you would not buy without experiencing them in person. This includes expensive items like appliances, cars, computers, and food items to name a few. The brick and mortar store is used as a showroom so that customers can experience each item in detail before making a decision. Then, you can give them the option of buying from a limited quantity on the spot, or shipping to them from, an online platform. The key is to build in flexibility and shared control for your customers. Take nothing for granted and be willing to disrupt your own business. By deliberately disrupting your own business, you will notice opportunities that have been ignored and that are not obvious.

This model can be highly successful for bringing in customers and giving them a better experience than your competitors. The better the in-store experience is, the more likely they are to come back and try new products. After the initial purchase, customers may begin to restock from the online platform since they’ve already seen the product. However, your customer experience will inspire them to try your store for new products. Combined with effective pricing strategies, you can secure a segment of the available market in your brick and mortar store, and convert customers into repeat customers by offering more convenience online.

 

The first of the new generation vehicles has just hit the Acura showrooms with the launch of the new 2019 Acura RDX. Yes, that’s right, Acura is the hottest franchise in the country!
When you combine precision crafted performance and affordability the results can be shocking.
Acura is the country’s hottest franchise right now, and some of their new offerings are sure to surprise and delight you, regardless of whether you’re a long time Acura fan or not.
Learn more now.

What to Expect From Acura’s Newest Lineup

This lineup represents the first major addition to a new generation of Acura products. Combining the best features of the past with wicked new additions designed to exhilarate your senses and make driving fun again!

These innovative new products are designed with the brand’s Precision Crafted Performance brand direction in mind and offer outstanding performance and style. To put it bluntly, these are the best products Acura has ever designed.

Even for tried-and-true Acura lovers, the brand’s new direction has been a welcome change. “We are seeing a new type of interest in the 2019 RDX from people that previously would not consider the brand. The customers are excited, and engaged” said Murat Deljanin, General Sales Manager of Paragon Acura.

The Potential of the Acura Brand

“Acura is a franchise with tremendous potential. At current multiples, buyers could see very high returns on their investment,” says Erin Kerrigan, Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors, founded in 2014. Kerrigan Advisors is a national buy/sell advisory firm focused on providing exception sell-side representation to higher value dealerships and dealership groups.

Wondering which model stands out the most? That depends on what it is you are looking for.

In the SUV category, our MDX is a shining star. Rated one of the best vehicles for the money. It has been a consumer guide “Best Buy” winner for 5 years in a row and has claimed the title of US World & News Report’s “Best luxury SUV for the money.” Sales of this world-class SUV will hit a new record with the addition of the A-Spec trim level, to be released in just a few weeks.

The 2018 RDX was a “Best Buy” winner for 5 years, as well, with US News & World report rating the vehicle the “2018 Best luxury SUV for the money”.

With the release of the new 2019 Acura RDX, sales are forecasted to set an all-time record.

Looking Forward at the Acura Brand

The 2018 Acura TLX has been rated “Best Buy” for 4 years in a row by Consumer Guide. Looking forward, the A-Spec addition to the lineup is going to give the competitors some sleepless nights. It’s beautiful, it’s fast, it performs like no other, and it’s packed with value.

As it stands now, the Northeast has really taken notice of the incredible value the entire lineup offers. Because of this, the Northeastern market is leading the nation in sales performance. To put this another way – this market understands how beneficial this brand will be going forward, and has already gotten on board.

For markets that are on the fence, it’s worth knowing that Kelly Blue Book rated the full lineup the “Best 5-Year Cost to own Luxury Brand” 3 years in a row.

Acura’s complete SUV and Sedan lineup has also earned a 5-star overall NHTSA vehicle score!

If you’re ready to experience performance at a price you can afford visit us at www.paragonacura.com or buy direct online from our express store 24/7/365 at www.express.paragonacura.com

Today’s special guest is Master Sergeant Cedric King. Cedric King is a double-amputee veteran who lost his legs in Afghanistan in 2012, but that doesn’t stop him from achieving greatness in all aspects of his life. Just as he led and motivated men in combat, he now leads and motivates others to see the possibilities in their own lives.

David Boice, Co-Founder & CEO of Team Velocity, joins us today on The Brian Benstock Show. Throughout his career, he has owned numerous companies in the technology, real estate, marine and automotive industries. Boice co-founded two of the largest technology and consulting companies (AutoMark and CyberCar) in the automotive industry with an enterprise value of $200 million. He’s a self-made entrepreneur and financier and he’s here to talk with us today about the way automobile dealers and consumers interact and the future of retailing.

running a business

Running a business can be difficult and stressful, especially if you aren’t sure if it’s doing well. There are many ways to run a business, but all of them have a few things in common. If you aren’t doing each of those things constantly, then your business won’t survive for very long. Here are the three keys to keeping your business alive.

Focus on Innovation

There are many companies out there that focus on the same services and products. However, the only companies that make their way are the ones that focus on innovation. When your company finds a new method for providing a proven service that your customers need, you develop a unique value proposition that draws in customers and promotes customer loyalty.

For example, grocery stores offer the same basic service — providing a source of quality food products and related services. You can go to any grocery store and buy the food items that you need. However, the grocery stores that are successful are the ones that differentiate themselves through a unique experience. Publix, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, ShopRite, and Kroger all offer similar products but through unique experiences that customers use to decide which store they prefer.

You have to look for new ways to innovate so that your company stands out from all of the rest. Home delivery is the latest innovation. Customers are looking for ways that make the shopping more convenient, and home delivery eliminates the shopping cart entirely.

Market Your Innovations

When you find a set of innovations that make your company unique, you need to find ways to market your innovations. Every company must invest in marketing to build a customer base. Marketing helps you reach potential customers and teach them about your innovations and value propositions, which lets them decide if they want to take advantage of your business. When they do, your company begins to generate profits and brand loyalty.

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Advertising on social media sites like Facebook can be effective ways of reaching a large number of potential customers with manageable financial and time costs. Grocery stores use email marketing, social media marketing, and advertising every week on their specials, which helps customers understand what new items and sales are available. Your company must find a way to let your customers know what new innovations you’ve come up with in order to encourage them to return to your store.

Start with your store database. There are many customers who want to hear from you. Learn how to extract your data in order to communicate with your clients more effectively.

Listen to Your Customers

One thing that all successful companies do is listen to their customers. Your customers are often the best source of information about how your company could be better. They’re deeply involved in your company’s customer experience and have insights from a unique perspective. By listening to what your customers have to say, you can find innovations that your customers will appreciate.

There are many ways to talk to your customers. The easiest method is to approach them when they’re in your store. Another common method is to send out questionnaires and surveys through an email subscription list. The results can be collected when your customer is ready and you can use technology to analyze the data quickly. There are plenty of technologies like Survey Monkey that can help you connect with your customers.

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into starting and growing your business. However, you have to start working toward ways of maintaining it since your competitors are constantly looking for ways to capture your inactive clients. Make, find, serve, and keep your business’s mantra, as well as use these tips to refine your company’s operations and ensure that it can survive.

To kick off the podcast we have speaker, sales expert, and CEO of a multi-million dollar business: Bill Wooditch – you don’t want to miss this! How can we prepare for a world that doesn’t yet exist? By always moving forward. Bill and I discuss how to differentiate yourself, transparency, and being frictionless.