One-on-One with an AutoRevo Dealer

JFR Cars has been using the AutoRevo Vehicle Marketing System for 10 months now. How do you like it so far?
I can’t say enough about how professional it has made our online presence.  JFR Cars now stands out among the competition in our area.

Speak for a moment about the daily use of the system?
We were able to get quick user adoption here within the dealership.  The system interface flows very well and has an intuitive feel to it.  As we took a deeper dive into the product settings, the AutoRevo support team was always there to take my call and help explain to me what I needed to know.

What kind of feedback are you getting from your customers about your website?
WOW! People love our website! I have previous customers and other dealers going to our website daily to see what is new in our inventory.  It is not uncommon for us to get comments about what a great looking site we have and how nice it displays our inventory.  Even our website is user friendly and easy to navigate the inventory.

Has AutoRevo changed the way you do business?
Yes, in that we are getting more leads and sales from the internet that we were not getting before. We are selling vehicles in other States and even other countries. We have sold and shipped cars to the Netherlands, Germany and Africa.
If you look at last year’s sales figures verses this year’s (pre and post AutoRevo). How is JFR Cars comparing?
That is a simple answer: we are up about 15-20 cars per month.

How would you rate your experience with AutoRevo’s support team?
My experience with the support team has been excellent! I get quick answers to my questions and fast solutions to my challenges.  They have responded to both online and call-in support requests.

You have been using AutoRevo’s Craigslist tool for some time now. What kind of results are you seeing?
Craigslist has definitely increased our leads and sales…and the response seems to be immediate. As soon as I post cars to the site my phone starts ringing.


About JFR Cars:

We are Auto Consultants and we specialize in locating your new and used vehicles. We have over 26 years of experience in the auto industry. Our team of professional Consultants knows the automobile industry inside and out. We are here to offer you the car you want, at a great price. Let us help you with your next vehicle purchase, and you will see that having an automotive expert on your side can really make a difference.


Click here to view their website:

jfr

Open Ended Questions for Sales

At the end of the day sales is sales no matter the industry, product, or service.  So we have re-purposed some open ended questions from one of our favorite selling websites justsell.com.

Information Gathering

  • What are your requirements in this vehicle purchase?
  • Do you have any “must have” options on this vehicle?
  • What process did you go through to determine your needs?
  • What cars have you purchased in the past?
  • What are the best options on the cars you have purchased in the past?
  • What is the most important priority in the car purchase?
  • What other options are important to you?

Qualification

  • Who else will be involved in this purchase decision with you?
  • What is your timeline for making a vehicle decision?
  • Have you established a budget for this?
  • What concerns to you have?
  • What do you see as the next action steps?
  • Will you be able to put money down on this purchase?  If so, how much?

Drive Business by Embracing Social Media Marketing

You don’t have to be a Gen-Y blogger to take advantage of the latest Social Media Marketing techniques.  For auto dealerships, the network of people has historically been the greatest asset of the store, right?  John bought a car and told Rick, then Rick bought a car, Rick buys his wife a car, then she drives it to soccer practice for all to see….you know the rest.

So why not recreate that cycle on the internet in this day of online social networking?

Start a blog
Many times internet sales managers do not have ultimate control over their dealer website for constantly refreshing content, heavy search engine optimization, and lead capturing as you would think.  But, with a blog you do!  Setup can be as simple as getting an account with Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, or others.  More importantly, a blog should be the centerpiece of a dealer’s social media marketing initiative.  Why?

  • You control 100% of the content and look
  • It can be updated daily (or as your schedule permits)
  • Publish dealership news in real-time
  • Show testimonials
  • Create a badge or links to your photo hosting services (Flickr, Snapfish, etc.)
  • Embed your YouTube channel
  • Visibility into your social networking accounts (Facebook, MySpace, etc)
  • Add your press releases
  • Include some of your posts to social bookmarking sites (Digg, del.icio.us, Technorati, etc)
  • Add links to your eBay Store, Cars.com, or AutoTrader inventory
  • Consumers can subscribe and bookmark your blog

The blog platform is the one place where you can bring all of this together.  And the best thing is that it’s highly indexed by search engines.  The more consumers know about you or your dealership the more trust is established. And we all know how big trust is when shoping online.

Online Networking
Probably the biggest, most important technique that successful social marketers use is networking.  Networking with the community should be common practice for dealers.  There are hundreds of automotive review, OEM, and vendor blogs, along with other car chatter on the internet to comment on, link to, and network with.

Also, part of networking is creating a LinkedIn and/or ZoomInfo account.  These are professional social networking sites to hook up with colleagues, friends (who tell other friends), and customers (who have friends).  Sell a car, look the customer up on LinkedIn and request a connection.

Use Technology to Get the Word Out
Blogs have a technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS) which is just a feed used to publish frequently updated content.  RSS content is read through an easy “RSS Reader” such as Google Reader, Newsgator, MyYahoo, and many more.  Corporate America is online all day long.  You don’t think they’re working 8 hours a day do you?  They’re reading the news online with their RSS readers!  People simply subscribe to your blog and get immediate updates of your posts, etc.

By embracing online networking and adopting the latest practices in social media marketing, an auto dealership can be visible and build a reputation with the consumers.  Through all of these social marketing channels you gain valuable traffic and visibility with the search engines, and ultimately build a community of buyers.

New AutoRevo.com Features Released

Here are some notables in our latest release:

  • Craigslist template has been updated to enhance indexing of the ads
  • eBrochures updated to support motorcycles
  • Consumer facing AutoCheck logo enlarged for more visibility in the ads
  • Ability to archive the vehicles from the Showroom Inventory List
  • Send eBrochures page has been updated with more leads functionality
  • Pricing Manager now shows vehicle mileage
  • eBay Successful and Unsuccessful lists now have filters of 90 days and 180 days

Photo Resizing on Windows XP

Dealers are realizing how important it is to take great photos. When they are doing eBay ads or website, they see the difference good photos can make. One of the biggest misconceptions is that higher resolution photos will make the quality of your web pictures better. If you take a 7MP you will get great quality but the photo will be huge.

Most cameras’ today have a menu setting that allows you to take “web ready photos”. This setting will still take good photos just much smaller and will allow you to upload to the web much faster.

If you want to continue taking high resolution photos, you have options. Resizing the photos will allow you to keep the originals but have smaller copies that you can upload to the web. This will save a ton of time and will allow your customers to see your inventory faster.

I have been using a tool from Microsoft (free) for about 2 years now and my dealers love the ease of use. You can download it here.

After downloading and running through the prompts.

Select all and right mouse click on a highlighted photo and you will now see the option to resize pictures. Pick the size you want (AutoRevo uses 640 x 480).

resizing1

Now you will see the photos copied with the name small next to them. Those are the ones you will want to upload to the web.

resizing2

Hope you like this easy to use tip.

AutoRevo Appoints Bill Berry as Managing Sales Director

Bill Berry to Lead Sales Efforts and Capitalize on Growing Demand for the AutoRevo Platform

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AutoRevo (autorevo.com), a provider of on-demand software for selling cars online, today announced the appointment of Bill Berry as Managing Sales Director.

Berry brings more than 14 years of sales experience to AutoRevo’s management team and will be responsible for driving the company’s sales strategy, managing customer and dealer group acquisitions, and ensuring customer success with the AutoRevo platform. Berry is also tasked with the overall management and coordination of the sales department.

“This is a great move for the company as we continue our exponential growth in the automotive dealer space,” said Chad Polk, CEO of AutoRevo. “Bill’s expertise and leadership will be instrumental as we accelerate our sales and marketing efforts in 2008 and beyond,” concluded Polk.

“AutoRevo has had an incredible run over the years as an acknowledged leader in automotive marketing for car dealers. The passion and talent at AutoRevo provide a wonderful opportunity to build a world-class operation,” said Bill Berry. “I can’t wait to get to work every morning.”

Berry most recently served as the southern territory sales manager for SCM Warranty Company. Prior to that he was involved with dealer services related to eBay Motors. Bill also founded Main Street Listings, a digital home tour company in Dallas. He began his career as a sales representative for the staffing industry.

About AutoRevo:
With more than 600 clients across North America, AutoRevo has established itself as the premier provider of on-demand software for automotive dealerships marketing and selling cars online. Delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), the company’s vehicle marketing system (VMS) provides dealer websites, VIN descriptions, photos, custom ad templates, vehicle history reports, custom window stickers and other buyer tools that empower automotive dealerships to advertise and market inventory in real-time.

The company is aligned with some of the world’s leading automotive e-commerce sites and makes it easy to incorporate existing content from eBay Motors, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Craigslist, Google, Vehix, CarSoup, and hundreds more. AutoRevo is headquartered in Dallas, TX, and is recognized as a Preferred Solution Provider for eBay Motors. More about the company can be found on its Web site www.autorevo.com and blog http://www.autorevo.com.

Full Story: http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/digg/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071108005957&newsLang=en

AutoRevo Hires Industry Veteran Sean Scally as Chief Software Architect

Scally to Drive Product Architecture and Development Strategy

DALLAS — (BUSINESS WIRE) — AutoRevo (autorevo.com), a provider of on-demand software for selling cars online, continued its aggressive expansion today by announcing the appointment of Sean Scally as the company’s Chief Software Architect.

Scally, an industry veteran with more than 15 years of software experience, will be responsible for driving key architectural and design improvements for the company’s on-demand, automotive marketing platform. AutoRevo’s platform is software-as-a-service (SaaS) and is built on Microsoft’s .Net infrastructure.

“I’m extremely pleased that Sean has joined the AutoRevo team. He brings a wealth of software experience to AutoRevo,” said Mark Hoffman, CTO of AutoRevo. “We’re committed to accelerating our technology leadership in the online automotive marketing space, and Sean’s addition ensures we have the right resources in place to expand the AutoRevo platform and serve our broad client base,” added Hoffman.

Prior to joining AutoRevo, Scally held various senior software development positions, most recently at Pier 1 Imports (PIR) and RIA/Thomson. Prior to that, he worked for Satama Interactive. Scally began his career at Tech Law, Inc., and earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Dallas in Computer Science.

About AutoRevo:
With more than 600 clients across North America, AutoRevo has established itself as the premier provider of on-demand software for automotive dealerships marketing and selling cars online. Delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), the company’s vehicle marketing system (VMS) provides dealer websites, VIN descriptions, photos, custom ad templates, vehicle history reports, custom window stickers and other buyer tools that empower automotive dealerships to advertise and market inventory in real-time.
The company is aligned with some of the world’s leading automotive e-commerce sites and makes it easy to incorporate existing content from eBay Motors, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Craigslist, Google, Vehix, CarSoup, and hundreds more. AutoRevo is headquartered in Dallas, TX, and is recognized as a Preferred Solution Provider for eBay Motors. More about the company can be found on its Web site www.autorevo.com and blog http://www.autorevo.com

Full Story: http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/digg/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071108005984&newsLang=en

AutoRevo Integrates with AutoCheck DirectLink

The integration with AutoCheck’s vehicle history reports was in the latest release from AutoRevo.  With AutoCheck growing in popularity over the last year, we have responded to dealers requesting this feature.  So now from eBay Motors, Craigslist, or our dealership websites the links to vehicle history reports will be tied directly to any VIN displayed or AutoCheck logo.

autocheck1
See a full sample report here.

Learn more about AutoCheck

Auto Dealers Should Blog!

Social media is here and dealers should take advantage of this community of car shoppers right now.

So then you ask yourself “What would I blog about”? Here are a few suggestions for possible topics at a dealer’s blog site:

– Internet specials and why certain cars are well equipped and well priced
– Dealer events open to the public
– Community involvement
– Charitable giving initiatives
– New car incentives and promotions
– New car reviews and additional photos
– Customer stories (you know how you like telling these)
– Unique experiences with customers
– Service department specials
– Give away campaigns
– Why customers choose your dealership

How do I get started?
There are many blogging software companies out there.  They all have their advantages, but just getting started is more important than over analyzing the software.  Here are just a few:


Promoting the blog.  Keep it simple.
Promoting your blog can be as simple as:

  • Putting links on your dealer website (eye catching)
  • Getting all dealership employees to add a link to the blog in every email signature (configure in MS Outlook)
  • Creating a link on your eBayMotors and Craigslist postings template

In the internet age of car shopping and social media, it will soon become the standard for every dealership to have a blog.  The best advise I can give is… get started right now!