I was recently watching a stock watch show and they were discussing the most productive countries and their work force.  This got me thinking. In virtually every country in the world the work week is a Monday-Friday 9AM to 6PM schedule.  Austria is the same except Friday’s are a half day, no wonder they are all beautiful over there (insert smiley face). Most if not all middle eastern countries work Sunday-Thursday with Thursday being a half day for religious reasons. A few unique schedules are Brunei their work week is Monday-Thursday and Saturday with Friday and Sunday being the days off. In Nepal students go to school everyday except Saturday and Afghanistan and Iran the only day off is Friday.

If any of what I am about to say holds true with you and your life then you will understand my work schedule proposal.  How many times do you finish the day at the office and do one if not all of the following:

  • Pick up the kids
  • Take them to their sports or other practice
  • Make dinner
  • Help them with homework
  • Play or interact with them
  • Walk to dog
  • Clean the house

I could go on and on but you get the idea.  You do all of this while being dead tired from a long day or in a bad mood from the days events.  All of this can affect the amount of energy, focus, time and your attitude with your loved ones. I am sure we all agree that our loved ones are the most important part of our lives and that we would/do everything for them we can. So the fact that we don’t always give all the time, energy or attention we want and it happens to all of us at some point is not because we don’t want to.

Let’s take a quick look at the kid’s schedule.  How many times have I heard a teacher say that half the children are in a trance in class until 10AM and yes it gets worse as they age.

So here is my proposal and with a little social media we can get this on the Presidential agenda before the election (again insert smiley face here):

School and Work will start in the noon time frame and end late in the evening!

This would give you quality time in the morning with your kids, they will be less tired for sports or other practices they have normally in the afternoon and parents will be fresh and full of energy.  Let’s not mention that most homework gets done the morning before school anyway (you guest it insert another smiley face).  No need for lunch breaks at school or work because lunch can be had with family prior to school or work starting. When the day is over both adults and kids will have about enough time for a family dinner and then ready for bed.

By now you are either laughing or thinking what in the heck is Terry Holbrook thinking? So while you’re still laughing let me tell you what I am thinking.  I am thinking outside the box and of course this idea however brilliant it is will not work but, if for one second I got you to think outside the box then my blog goal was hit!  I don’t want you to consider a new life schedule but I do want you to be brave enough and willing enough to think outside the box, break down your own paradigms as you run your business or departments. In closing and most of all remember this one very important statement: 

“Just because we have been doing something a certain way for years does not mean it is the right way or most effective way to do it”…. Me

Thank you for following our blog, Twitter @liquidmotors and Facebook posts we all hope you enjoy them.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the process that buyers go through before making their final decision to purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle from a dealership. Back in the old days of the car business it was as simple as the potential buyer hearing or seeing your ad on the radio or in a newspaper, getting in the car and driving to your dealership, test driving the car, negotiating a deal and ultimately diving off in their new car. While this is still a part of the car buying process a bigger piece has been thrown right smack in the middle of it all. This new trend referred to as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT for short), relates to how buyers are now more than ever utilizing as many forms of media (digital, print, radio, television) to make their final decision. While the ZMOT theory relates to pretty much any industry and the process buyers undergo, it is even more important than ever when you consider the financial and emotional impact of buying a car.

Take a look at the chart below from a Google/Shopper Sciences study on the sources that buyers use in the car buying decision. According to this same study the average buyer visits nearly 18.2 sources when researching their next vehicle purchase.

 

So what does this tell us? The simple fact of the matter is that buyers are spending more time online to obtain as much information as they possibly can before making a buying decision. If the above numbers hold true it tells us that a dealership now has to focus their efforts on everything from search engine optimization, website design, 3rd party advertising sources, social media and reputation management and more to stay in front of potential buyers. Dealerships with poor search engine rankings, negative reviews, poorly designed websites and a disregard for the importance of social media are going to fall behind their competition of who understand this is the new way of marketing.  

At Liquid Motors we offer dealerships a consolidated approach to getting their hands around all aspects of their online marketing. By streamlining processes and speeding their time to market we are able to help them tackle the Zero Moment of Truth and increase their visibility across the multiple online channels that buyers are using when buying their next car.

Humans have always had a desire to visually represent what is in our minds and memory in order to communicate our ideas to others. The purpose of visual language has always been to communicate ideas.

Think of it this way. If you’re at a museum and see a painting that intrigues you, what is your first reaction? You want to touch it, right? The same thing happens when a person visits an automobile showroom. Automobiles are like beautiful paintings or sculpture. The color or model of a car represents a person’s style and desires. You can see it when a person walks up to a car and touches it. The car is a visual representation of the individual.

Automobile manufacturers create brands based on these ideas. Using myself as an example, BMW speaks to my love of minimalist design and refined quality. In my opinion, all of their communications are directed at an audience who desire to drive a vehicle with those qualities.

As a dealership you should never design a website or any marketing material that deviates from your manufacturer brand. Designing your communications based on brand standards will appeal to the audience you seek to find.

I was thinking of what to blog about this month and was looking at my iGoogle homepage and started to wonder, what is happening to the world. Trying to get inspiration of a great automotive Internet marketing topic is hard when all I am seeing are headlines around the world screaming the sky is falling. Heck the more headlines I read the more I thought maybe the sky is falling (chuckles).

I mean really look at the headlines: 

  • Romney vs. Obama – Obama vs. Romney
  • Iran’s Leader Keeps push for Nukes, says Israel will be eliminated
  • Marines in court
  • Syrian Mediator has no plan only a few “ideas”
  • Iran says, “Israel is bluffing”
  • Syrian war threatens region
  • Stocks close lower on Euro gloom, Facebook shares slammed
  • Japan trades words with China
  • Attacks by Muslim’s all over the region over movie
  • Unemployment rate moves higher

WOW, the news sure is depressing!  Maybe someone should start an all Positive news channel.

This all got me thinking of how we treat customers, fellow employees, complete strangers, loved ones and even ourselves. We have all seen or heard about “pay it forward” but I have a much easier challenge that I hope all of you reading this blog do and pass on the challenge to people in your life.

 The GOAL:

Each and everyday the goal is to make 1 person smile or laugh.

Imagine how the world would be if everyone did this.  Thank you for following all of our blogs, tweets and Facebook postings.  Liquid Motors is your partner in Internet marketing.

NOW SMILE!

            “Can you hear me now?” Because of Verizon’s past marketing efforts, this question is forever linked with the Verizon guy testing their network’s ability to provide a solid cell-phone signal in all areas consumers might roam. This is one example among many where a communicative strategy left a lasting mark on consumers’ minds and their purchasing decisions.

            Communication is a powerful thing that can make or break your business. While it is critical to have a well-formed vision that drives your business efforts, if you want your business to move from a day-to-day mundane experience to a cause that energizes your employees and market, it is also essential to communicate your vision clearly, consistently and with passion in all aspects of your business.

 Communicate your vision clearly

           You could have the most dynamic, well-formed vision that defines what you want to accomplish in your business and how you will get there, but if you do not express that vision well, you derive no real benefit from it. Consider your vision as your central theme for your dealership that is present in everything you see and everything you do.

            Taking the example of a “No hassle” approach used in my last blog, I was on the telephone with one dealership and when they placed me on hold, rather than hold music playing, there was a monologue about that dealership’s no-hassle philosophy. Within 30 seconds the speaker said the words “no-hassle” four times expressing this dealership’s vision for their sales approach. By the time the salesperson answered the call I knew exactly what I should expect when I step foot on that dealership’s lot. That is communicating your vision clearly!

Communicate your vision consistently

            The reality is a statement on the wall is not going to go the distance with incorporating your vision in the fabric of your dealership. Your vision statement printed in places like your dealership’s wall, brochures, and stated in your media ads is essential; however, this is not enough. The old adage is true that what you do says volumes more than what you say.

            With that in mind, once you are communicating your vision through printed and visual media, there are two areas to address that will ensure your vision’s success in your dealership: your employees’ actions and attitudes toward your vision. It is imperative that your employees not just uphold your vision statement, but that they completely buy into it – lock, stock and barrel. When this happens, their actions: how they handle their transactions, how they manage their leads, how they provide customer service, will all rise to the level of excellence you need. Those that do not will be obvious because they will stand out like a sore thumb in the atmosphere you have cultivated.

Communicate your vision with passion

            Attitude is one of the elements that differentiates between those that work hard but do not experience great success and those that work hard and do. A salesperson can do all of the right actions but if their attitude does not express their confidence in your vision then they can do more harm than good. While it is good to have your vision printed everywhere and said consistently, if it is not expressed and lived out in the work day with passion, it will lack the quality that energizes your business and inspires your market to do business with you. 

            Communication can make or break your business. How are you communicating your vision to your employees? How is your business communicating your vision to your market? A well-formed vision has the potential to drive your dealership where you want to go. To unlock that potential, communicate that vision clearly, consistently and with passion!

So much effort is placed now days on our digital marketing efforts that it seems that some stores are almost “expecting” for people to just simply show up and buy a car from them. The overall goal of any marketing activity is to produce some sort of call to action. While the end goal is of course a conversion/sale there are many activities that must take place after a web event takes place and before a sale can be made. The shift of how dealers find new customers has definitely changed from more traditional forms of advertising to digital ones (even though traditional advertising is still important). However, the sales people, finance managers and dealership staff are effective in turning that Internet lead into a car deal. If your dealership is missing the basic fundamentals of selling and customer support then all of the effort and hard earned money you have put into getting that buyer to your store will be wasted. So as you are investing in driving more buyers to your lot make sure you are taking the time to invest in sales and customer service training and I guarantee you will see your conversion rates increase!

Drive your business or your business will drive you. This principle is true not only in business but also in life. There are so many day-to-day variables in business that if your day is not met with some sort of plan it quickly becomes a day of riding the waves of problems and concerns that arise at a moment’s notice without any navigational plan ensuring you will arrive at your goal when the day ends. The first key to solve this chaotic scenario is to develop a well-formed vision that becomes the beacon that guides you, and everyone involved in your process, to the destination at which you want to arrive in your business.

If you are like me, you have seen one too many worn out vision statements written on the wall of some business while receiving service in such a way that contradicts 90% of the goal it articulates. Vision statements only become powerful when they truly reflect the heart of the business and are taken seriously by those called to support it. This applies not only to the leadership level of businesses, but also to those in the departments that carry out the leadership’s direction. Whether you are a general manager, internet sales manager, or a salesman, a strategic vision statement can help greatly in making your business day more efficient and successful. So how can you go from moving directionless during the work day to intentionally advancing toward your goal? Here are a few steps to follow to develop your well-formed vision.

 Answer the “what” of what you are setting out to accomplish.

           Too often we get so caught up in playing the game that we lose sight of the prize for which we are playing. It helps greatly to know what you are trying to achieve. When answering this question, it may be wise to set your goal to something that will provide on-going success. For instance, we all want increased revenue, but if your only goal is increased revenue you may quickly lose sight of what brings your revenue, customer satisfaction! A better approach may be that your ultimate goal is to help your customer truly receive what they want so that the result is you receive what you want, which is exponential growth in revenue with repeat business.

 Adjust the “what” of your vision to include the “how.”

            If you want to take your vision from an average, ho-hum statement to a dynamic vision with depth that takes you where you want to go, make your vision statement tell those involved with your business, not only what you want to accomplish, but also how you will get there. One approach many dealerships have is a “No Hassle” approach. A great way to incorporate that approach into a vision statement that tells the “what” and the “how” might be to say, Our dealership exists to provide a no-hassle atmosphere as we connect customers to the optimal vehicle for their lifestyles. This statement tells the reader what the dealership wants: a comfortable atmosphere where the customer gets what he or she wants, and it tells the reader how: the customer will get what he or she wants by the dealership providing a no hassle approach and seeking to find the right vehicle that matches the customer’s lifestyle.

 Simplify.

           Once your vision answers the “what” and the “how” for your dealership’s purpose, its time to put it in words that are easy to read and remember. You may have a thorough vision statement, but if it is too long and too wordy it will be challenging to make it stick. Taking the vision statement already suggested, it might simplify to read, Our dealership exists to give no hassle treatment and connect you with your optimal vehicle! This is succinct and applies to everyone from the general manager to the salesman on the lot to the customer shopping for his or her new car.

 By following these simple steps it can make a profound, long-term, positive effect for your business experience. When all three of these steps are utilized it can produce a vision statement that is easy to say, easy to remember, and easy to hold yourself accountable to your dealership’s purpose as you make decisions throughout your day so that you arrive at the goal which you determined.

            What’s the point? This question has been repeated countless times in countless situations. While this question is asked when you’re ready to throw up your hands and give up on a matter, it is also asked when you witness missed opportunities while receiving less than average service at a business. When you frequent a customer service-oriented business and the greeting you receive is, “Yes?” or “What do you need?” you might be like me and tell yourself, “This person is missing the point.” This is never more true than in the automotive industry.

Recently, I was in the market for a new vehicle. I had researched the market and knew exactly what vehicle I intended to buy. When I visited the first car lot that had the vehicle for which I was interested, the greeting received from the salesman clearly communicated to me that he was interested in selling any vehicle to me and moving on rather than identifying my vehicle needs and pairing me with the optimal one that would meet those needs. Then, when I let him know the exact vehicle I found online that brought me to that dealership, his response was to let me know that wasn’t the best vehicle and that he could sell me a completely different make and model because they were “better.”  This salesman missed the point!

His interest was in selling a car and moving on to the next victim. While he may sell a car from time to time, he will not generate repeat business and promote an inviting reputation in the community for that dealership. I finally found a dealership that provided the customer service that instilled confidence in buying from them and instilled in me a desire to be a life-long customer for them.

By now you might be asking “What is the point?” The point is it is crucial for your dealership that you have an ingredient that will shape how you and your employees conduct business. It is vital that you have an ingredient that will separate your dealership above the rest, especially in the area of customer service. It is imperative that you have an ingredient that will make your dealership more than just a business. The ingredient for your dealership that will transform it from a day-to-day exercise to a cause that energizes your employees to sell and your community to buy is a well-formed, well-communicated and well-supported vision.

A solid, dynamic vision provides your dealership with, not only a destination you at which you want to arrive with your customers, but also the road map that will take you there. It is the means by which your employees can gauge their level of service and skill as they interact with customers. Your stated vision provides customers with a clear expectation as they visit your store and a means by which you can hold yourself and your dealership accountable to what you set out to do, so that you can weed out those who stand in the way of making your dealership thrive in the market you serve.

I’m not talking about a worn out statement typed on the wall of your dealership, but a way of life for your store. Over the next few weeks, I want to cover a few tips on developing this dynamic vision and incorporating it into the D.N.A. of your dealership. The point is that your dealership can move from a lack luster performance in selling vehicles to a thriving business with a vision that inspires its employees, and as a result, inspires your market to buy from you!

 

                                          

This feels like an ongoing topic for the last couple of years, but gas prices don’t seem to be getting down to what we remember them to be in 2007 and before.  Not only are the prices going up, but it feels like more and more manufacturers are building vehicles that recommend using higher premium gas to fuel your vehicle. 

Putting the recommended gasoline in your vehicle is the best way to keep your asset as perky as possible.  Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Look at manufacturer recommendations. Often, the clearest and most direct advice on what grade of gasoline to use is clearly written in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
  2. Evaluate diesel or unleaded fuel options. Most vehicles on the market accept either diesel fuel or conventional unleaded gasoline. What’s tricky is that some consumer vehicles, including compact cars and sedans from the Volkswagen brand, take diesel fuel. Understand which one your vehicle runs on before filling up, since making the wrong choice can be dangerous.
  3. Understand the need for specialty or high-performance cars. Most vehicles simply take the lowest grade and lowest octane gasoline at the pumps, the 87 octane. The exceptions are usually either specialty cars with high-class construction and engines, or high-performance cars that need a higher octane fuel to help resist engine knocking because of a hotter combustion chamber. Figure out your car or truck’s engineering, and you’ll know which type of gas it should use.
  4. Consider the age and condition of your vehicle. Mechanics will sometimes recommend that the drivers of older, ailing vehicles switch to higher octane as a possible way to keep the car running longer. This is not a general recommendation, and it only applies in specific cases, so don’t do it unless you have solid evidence that it will improve how your engine runs.

Not only is the right gasoline needed, but did you know there are different tiers of quality of gas?  Top Tier Detergent Gasoline help drivers avoid lower quality gasoline which can leave deposits on critical engine parts, which reduces engine performance.  So if you want to get the most out of your vehicle, do what is recommended. 

Here are the Top Tier gasoline retailers:

USA Phillips 66
76 Stations Quik Trip
Aloha Petroleum Rebel Oil
Chevron Road Ranger
Conoco Severson Oil
CountryMark Shell
Entec Stations Texaco
Exxon Tri-Par Oil Co.
Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN) U.S. Oil
Holiday Stationstores, Inc. Canada
Kwik Trip / Kwik Star Chevron Canada
MFA Oil Co. Esso
Mileage Stations Petro-Canada
Mobil Shell Canada
Ohana Fuels  

 

Keep in mind, a Top Tier provider does not necessarily mean that they will be the most expensive.  Fuel your car like you fuel your body, you will be happy you did!

 

http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-Fuel-for-Your-Car

http://www.toptiergas.com/

 

“There’s no shortage of money, just a distribution problem!”   

The same is true about markets.

There’s no shortage of markets, just a distribution problem.  And that means one key to expanding your market share is expanding your market base.

Fortunately, the auto industry has an almost limitless supply of buyers – and those buyers need sellers.  Smart “sellers” have every incentive to go wide with their offerings.  For every new or old car, someone has a “want”.  Exotics and kit cars need parts.  And what are now called Muscle Cars were once known simply as cars.  This market is especially rich for suppliers and buyers.

Almost every Baby-Boomer out there has a rich memory of a muscle car.  Maybe it was a first car, a graduation present, or your high school sweetheart’s…..you name it, there’s a point of reference.  Now that those Baby-Boomers are grown up, have some disposable income, and time on their hands – getting back in touch with those cars that made life carefree and fun are becoming a real focus…and a real money-maker.

Grab some time, check out the web and see just how many local, state and national car clubs are out that need new cars to fix, new parts to buy, and new memories to make.  Discover a new market and find the solution to distribution!!

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