Day Two: Showcasing our innovation and our appreciation at NADA 2015

If Day One was a celebration of our transformation into a new Dealertrack, then Day Two was about the difference we make to our clients and the spirit of innovation that drives the development of our products and services.

It certainly means that Dealertrack products and services make selling cars easier than ever – which is why our booth at NADA 2015 is so crowded.

Preparing for the Affordable Care Act with the help of your DMS

If your dealership management is feeling anxious about new federal mandates under the national Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” you’re not alone. The ACA goes into effect in 2015 and requires employers to offer health coverage to all full-time employees. If they don’t, they could face fines of as much as $3,000 per employee. 

The good news is that your payroll team doesn’t have to go it alone. We’re handling things on our end with our dealer management system (DMS) to make complying with the ACA a smoother and easier process. 

3 Steps for a Smoother Annual Parts Inventory

It’s that time of year again, when your dealer principal or CPA requires a “firm” parts inventory count for tax and factory filing purposes. If you dread the event, you’re not alone. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. If you put several steps in place throughout the year to improve consistency and better secure your parts asset, you will minimize variances, risk of theft, and dread of the annual inventory. Industry consultant Mike Nicholes recommends every dealership put three steps in place to ensure a smoother annual parts inventory.

How to transition your reports from measured to meaningful

When I visit dealerships, the general manager wants to hear about the latest product enhancements, extra features, or how to increase productivity. I have never had a dealer approach me with excitement about reporting. I think of it in the same light as my college days when no one was eager to hear all about the math majors’ educational insights.  Reporting might not be the sexiest DMS featur, but if you follow these three steps, you can master your dealership reports, while also saving time, cutting costs and boosting your income. 

What do women want? Answering this age-old question for your service lane

What’s the best way to find out what women want when they go to have their vehicle serviced? Ask them. The answers can go a long way toward helping dealerships attract and retain more women in the service lane. That’s critical, because there are more women on the road today than men, and women increasingly call the shots when it comes to household purchases. Isn’t it in your best interest to cater to them?

Dealertrack sat down with Anne Fleming, president and chief executive officer of the women-focused dealer review website Women-Drivers.com, to share results of her company’s 2014 year-to-date survey results and tips for driving  more women into your service lane. 

Top 3 questions service managers should ask

Smart dealers know that the fixed ops department is their best bet for steady, consistent revenue. Yet the majority of service departments are leaving major money on the table. Why is this happening? It’s a perfect storm of a lax inspection process, no accountability and a service-not-sales mentality. In a market where competition is up and ROI is shrinking, you can’t afford to have your service technicians missing opportunities or just picking low-hanging fruit – like brake and power steering flushes – instead of completing a thorough inspection and selling customers on services they actually need. Not only does this approach improve sales, but it also improves customer loyalty and trust. Want to get more revenue out of your lanes? Make sure your service manager can answer these three questions. 

Protect Your Dealership Data

Do you know who has access to your data? And, what they’re doing with it?

Needless to say, these are the questions on the minds of a lot of people lately. If you’re a dealer principal or a manager, it should be on your mind, as well – in terms of dealership data.

When it comes to valuable customer information and data, you need to take real steps to protect it. And, your dealer management system (DMS) is an often-overlooked asset in your quest to protect your data and profits.

3 Step Plan for DMS Conversion

As a dealer, I am sure that you’ll agree: a dealer management system (DMS) conversion can be an intimidating and difficult process.

However, the potential to cut monthly costs, boost efficiency and streamline workflow for your dealership can far outweigh any upfront inconveniences resulting from a DMS conversion.

In an article titled “How to Find the Right DMS” in the May issue of Auto Dealer Monthly, I explore the three critical elements you need to look at when selecting your next DMS.

Putting a Priority on Customer Service – Dealer Spotlight

When it comes to customers, Florida-based dealer Earl Stewart is the epitome of customer service.

Earl began his career in 1968 selling cars at his father’s Pontiac dealership. Today, he owns the highly successful Earl Stewart Toyota in the small town of Lake Park, Fla., just north of West Palm Beach. His accolades run a mile deep: member of the Toyota President’s Cabinet four times (an honor awarded to only 12 dealerships a year), 12-time winner of Toyota’s President’s Award, member of Toyota’s Board of Governors for four consecutive years, and largest volume car dealer in his market.

Earl talks with Dealertrack about his key to success. In short? He’s really, really nice to his customers. 

Are You Leveraging Your DMS Data for Profits?

Your dealer management system (DMS) is the backbone of your dealership.

However, are you leveraging the data running through and stored on your DMS to drive maximum profits?

In the March issue of Auto Dealer Monthly, I discuss how you can use your DMS’s built-in reporting capabilities to efficiently manage inventory, sales, service and parts. Two key areas where the use of your DMS data and reporting can be invaluable to your dealership are: 

  • Inventory – Inventory reporting from your DMS allows you to monitor the costs associated with reconditioning vehicles, carrying aged inventory and wholesaling vehicles
  • Service and Parts – You can use your DMS data to analyze service technician efficiency and productivity reports to effectively manage your service business for profits.

In my article, I show how several dealerships, including the Gunn Automotive Group, the Heller Automotive Group and the Todd Wenzel Automotive Group, are using their DMS data to improve their businesses. Mining the data in your DMS can help your sales team better prospect for potential buyers and source in-demand used vehicles, and improve your service team’s ability to target customers with service and maintenance reminders and offerings relevant to the individual and their vehicles.  In addition, this mining can help improve overall customer communications, which can pay off for your dealership for years to come.