Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 is here….and your dealerships soft little underbelly is showing!!!

2012 is here……and your dealerships soft little underbelly is showing!!!

It is time to modernize your thinking and TAKE CONTROL!!

The time has come to take control of your dealership, your departments, your data and yourselves!!

It’s time to mold “old school basics” with “new school” tools and technologies….

I’m speaking of your processes…or lack of processes…

I’m speaking about correctly training all employees on a daily basis….so that you stop having a massive turnover of people…..

I’m speaking about having a REAL plan for retaining your database of customers…

I’m talking about improving your team’s motivation and morale by having a policy of open and honest communications between all departments……

I’m talking about getting your employees participation in identifying and correcting all profit leaks and customer leaks throughout the dealership….

I’m talking about truly embracing tools and technologies that can move you forward in today’s marketplace….

Or how about perfecting the solid core basics of customer interaction by your employees??...every customer, whether it be in the showroom, on the service drive, on the phone or over the internet still needs to be acknowledged warmly…..asked about their wants and needs….have the product or service presented to them….and shown a great value for their hard earned dollar….

The time has come for you to look in the mirror and check your egos at the door….

Your dealership is spending money on advertising and marketing…..but what about spending money on training and educating all of your people??....for if you don’t train and educate your people on how to take care of the customers….you won’t have any customers….

When was the last time you upgraded your own skills and abilities??

When was the last time you went to a seminar with your team in an effort to improve your dealerships processes and profits??

Dealerships have rested on their laurels…..the days of doing things “the same way as we have always done” has ended….

Most dealerships have a lack of process…or if the dealership has a process…no one is held accountable for the execution of it.

Most dealerships do not have “defined” roles for their employees….no one knows exactly who is responsible for what at any given time….

Most employees could not tell you what the dealership’s “mission” statement is or what it’s “culture” is all about…..

The time has come to take MASSIVE and SERIOUS action in getting yourself and your dealerships future in focus!!

Because if you fail to take MASSIVE action….NOW….you are in danger of extinction…..

The time is now to create a real culture and a real synergy between all departments and all employees….

The time is now to seek out solid training and expertise on all of the shortcomings of your dealership….

Don’t wait….don’t hesitate….the clock is ticking…..

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website: www.JimKristoff.com 

Twitter: @jimkristoff

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holidays are a time for giving!

The holiday season is a great time to combine “giving” and your dealerships social media presence!

While I am sure you and your dealership have your own charities that you give to during the holidays, a sure fire way to expand your social media footprint is to contribute to the charities of your customers!

A great way to do this is to simply ask your customers if they would like to be involved in a special “Dealership Charity contribution” contest! This contest will have 3 prizes. First, second and third place winners will receive ($X)…..

The contest will take place on Facebook. The charity that receives the most “likes” for their charities video will win!

Send a message to all of your customers soliciting them to send you a message back, (in less than 100 words), why their particular charity should be chosen for this special contest. My suggestion is you narrow it down to 10 or less charities.

Here is where the fun begins!

After having it narrowed down to 10 or less charities invite each one of them into your dealership and produce a 60-90 second video. This video should include the person whose charity is being promoted and the Dealer or General Manager of the store. Have fun in the video and keep it short and to the point!! The more fun the video is, the more “likes” it will receive!!

Each video that is taken can then be tagged correctly for SEO, (search engine optimization).

You can then upload these videos to your dealerships website, dealerships Facebook page and YouTube.

Have a “special page” for these videos to reside on your dealerships website!

The video that gets the most “likes” wins….so encourage your customers to view the videos and vote for the video or charity that they like best! Encourage your customers to “share” these videos on their own pages to gather more “likes”!

Of course, the person whose charity you are promoting will “share” this video on their own personal Facebook page and encourage all of their friends to “like” and “share” the video as well! The more it is shared and liked…..the better!!! The videos will go viral very quickly!!!

This will be a great promotion for you and your dealership! The whole idea of social media is to be SOCIAL! The last thing you want to do with social media is to constantly promote yourself and the dealerships “specials” or events.

The amount of exposure for your dealership will be tremendous! It is the kind of “goodwill” exposure that you want to create with social media! ALL of these videos will have a tremendous amount of “views”, “shares” and “likes”!!! It is also important to continue to promote the charities yourself! Continue to re-post the videos on your dealerships Facebook page. Get the word out!!!

When the contest deadline is over, invite the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners to the dealership to receive their prize. Make sure you produce another 60-90 second video of you giving a check to the charity and congratulating them on their success! You can then use those videos to once again promote the goodwill of your dealership!!

Let me make one last suggestion. Please make sure you make a small contribution to the other charities that didn’t win. After all, it is the season for giving…..and everyone wins that way!!

Combine the “Season of giving” and your social media campaigns to get the very best advertising for your dealership!!

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

This blog originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of  “The Social Dealership”

Here is the link:

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website: www.JimKristoff.com  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

Friday, November 11, 2011

My "Body of Work" with links and pictures

I want to thank you all for your never ending support and friendship!

I produce as much “material” as I can to help everyone in their quest to be the very best that they can be!

Leadership and Personal Development are my passions!

I have MANY different places on the internet to view my different videos, blogs, articles and Magazine articles.

Here is a listing of "links" with pictures of the sites to include in my "Body of Work"

Please feel free to share these links and pages with everyone!!

On my website you will find over 40 videos that are all about 3 minutes in length. The videos touch on subjects such as Leadership, Accountability, Employee AND Customer Retention…etc…..

On my Wordpress blogsite, I have over 60 articles that all pertain to the automotive industry. Most of these blogs are derived from some of the many different training and motivational meeting that I continuously give.

Many of my articles are featured on the website DealerElite.
In September, I was recognized for my efforts with a special reward.

Here is the link:


This is my LinkedIn profile which contains many recommendations. 

I have over 1400 connections and link to nearly 11 million people!


This is my personal YouTube channel which contains all of my videos.


My Blogspot site contains my various blogs on Automotive processes and training.


I am a contributing author to the new social media dealership magazine, "The Social Dealership". Here are the links to the magazine: 

August 2011 issue:

September 2011 issue:

October 2011 issue:

November 2011 issue:


Here is the link to “Auto Success” Magazine, September 2011 Issue.


Automotive Digital Marketing.com: 


Once again, thank you very much for your support!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are you executing your processes???

How can you make sure that the processes you have throughout the dealership are executed every time….. and with every customer?

This has been and still remains one of the toughest things to get accomplished in the dealership.

Every dealership throughout the country has their own processes and procedures when it comes to selling and servicing their customers.

Every dealership has slightly different “steps to the sale” in regards to selling a customer a new or pre-owned vehicle.

Every dealership has their own processes on what transpires in the Service lane.

Every dealership has their own “playbook” on how they want their customers handled.

So how do you get your employees to execute this “playbook” each and every time with every customer??

You need to build a “video” library of ALL of your processes so that each and every one of your employees know exactly WHAT you want executed and HOW you want it executed.

In this video library, you need to “role play” each and every scenario in every step in every process.

Take each step in the “road to the sale” and have your management team role play exactly how you want your salespeople to execute these steps!

Take all of the processes in your Service Drive and video each one so that your employees flawlessly handle each and every step.

In building your “video library” of training material, you can give your employees the confidence and competence to succeed! Otherwise you leave the employee to “interpret” what your processes are.

By having this video library you build efficiencies and consistencies throughout the customer interaction. An efficient and consistent process is very important to having customer satisfaction AND customer retention!

Once you have this video library of every step to every process, have some fun by having your employee’s video role play each step.

There is no better training tool than seeing yourself execute a process. Every professional sports team in America utilizes “game film” to help train their team to see what they executed well and where their opportunities lie.

In building a video library of your processes, it provides a tool that your employees can utilize to sharpen their skills on a daily basis. It also provides a new employee ALL of the information that they will need to succeed and “get them up to speed” in your dealership!

Build your “core” process video library TODAY!!!

Your employees, customers and profits will ALL benefit!!!!

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website: www.JimKristoff.com  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

Thursday, November 3, 2011

“The formula for MAXIMUM R.O.I. in Social Media!”

There is a rather simple formula when it comes to getting the MAXIMUM return on your investment in Social Media.

It’s so simple…..it might overwhelm you!

And while the formula is simple…..the actual implementation is the hardest part!

The formula???????................”Embrace it”…….

That’s the ENTIRE formula…..”embrace it”

That’s right!!…....go ahead and “embrace” social media!

Most Dealers and dealerships are scared to death to go ahead and try!

BUT…go ahead…..”Embrace it”!!!

Let’s start with the Sales Department.

We would ALL love to have an entire showroom floor filled with salespeople that could sell 20-25 units a month without EVER having to take any floor traffic.

Some dealerships have these salespeople already! Salespeople that have their own book of business and continue to sell their 20-25 units in good times and bad.

How do these salespeople accomplish this month after month??

These salespeople do an excellent job of calling their customers, following up, sending birthday cards, holiday cards and keeping them abreast of all the latest incentives, deals and new models that are coming out!

These salespeople become the customers “friend” in the car business!

Now what if you could get your ENTIRE sales team to do all of that every day??

It’s easy by utilizing Social Media!

Engaging your customers on Social Media sites such as Facebook, allows you to constantly update your customer with your latest incentives, your latest specials and article that pertain to the vehicle that they purchased from you, thus reinforcing that the customer made the correct decision in purchasing from you!

You can also update your customers on any “new” models that may be coming out! Everyone LOVES “spy” pictures of future product!

You can engage your customers to any special events that you may have upcoming.

You can send your customer the latest pictures or video of any accessories that you may have added to another vehicle that they might be interested in.

Did you make a note of the customer’s interests or hobbies in your CRM? You can send them interesting articles on their favorite sports team or television show.

What about the servicing of the customers car?

Wouldn’t it be great to send your customers information regarding any “Service Specials?”

How about some articles or video explaining tire wear or battery life?

Send your customer articles on preparing their vehicle for any seasonal changes, i.e…..snow tires, coolant checks, safety checks before a long vacation drive….etc…..

The amount of information we can send our customers via Social Media is non-stop!

But first…….you have to “embrace” Social Media!

The whole idea of Social Media is that it is a FUN way to interact with your customer!

People have FUN with their friends. And EVERYONE wants a friend in the car business! Friends take care of friends….You can be comfortable DEALING with a friend….a friend will always treat you right….friends always recommend their friends to other friends…..

You see, by “embracing” social media, you become more than just “that salesperson” at the car dealership. You become their friend!

Every dealership wants to have a great relationship with all of their customers. They would love all of their customers to endorse them and support them! They would want their customers to refer all of their family and friends to them!

You can do ALL of this by “embracing” Social Media!

So if you are trying to figure out the pros and cons of social media, what the investment is and how much of a return on your investment will be….. know this…..You will receive ZERO return on your investment if you DON’T embrace social media.

The saying goes….”you will miss 100% of the shots that you never take”….

Go ahead…..take the shot….embrace social media TODAY!!!

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of “The Social Dealership”

Here is the link:

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website: www.JimKristoff.com  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

Monday, October 17, 2011

Service Lane Healthcare – Taking the “VITALS”

Every single time you go to the Doctor’s office, it happens.

They take your “vitals”

They check your pulse, your temperature, your blood pressure and they weigh you.

Your vitals are an indication of how your body is doing “health-wise”.

If any of the “vitals” are outside of the normal parameters, it may be an indication that your body is not as healthy as it could be.

AND….if your body is not as healthy as it could be, the Doctor then diagnoses and prescribes a process to get your body better!

So when a Service Advisor does a multi-point inspection of a vehicle that comes into the service lane, aren’t we getting that vehicle’s “vitals”??

All too often a Service Advisor misses the chance to build trust and rapport with the customer by NOT doing a complete walk-around of the vehicle and taking its vitals!

So let’s get the customer involved in taking the “vitals” of their vehicle so that the customer can understand what is going on with the health of the vehicle.

This entire process, if done correctly, will only take a grand total of 4 minutes!

Start off by having the customer step outside of the vehicle and move to the front of the vehicle. The Service Advisor then gets inside of the vehicle. Explain to the customer you would like them to check ALL of the lights on the vehicle, starting in the front. Then have the customer check their own, headlights, high and low beams, the signal lights and the emergency flashers.

Then have the customer step to the rear of the vehicle and have them check their own brake lights, tail lights, signal lights, the back up lights and emergency flashers.

AND….. beep the horn to make sure it is working correctly!

Get the customer interactive in checking both the tire tread depth and tire pressure of their vehicle. Explain to the customer that a “new“ tire has 10/32’ of tread depth. Let the customer measure the tread depth and the air pressure of their own vehicle!

Show the customer that their tires are either “wearing” perfectly or they are wearing unevenly. Explain to them that at 2/32’ the tire is “legally” worn-out.

Explain to the customer that properly inflated air pressure in a tire is the BEST way to avoid an accident and is best for the longevity of their tires.

Now let’s move under the hood.

Get the customer involved in checking the strength of the battery. With a good battery tester, you can show the customer right then and there how well their battery is performing. You can show the customer how much “life” the battery has or the possibility that it may need replacing.

Check ALL of the fluid levels of the vehicle. Show the customer where ALL of the different “dip-sticks” are. Make sure you get the customer involved in looking at these fluid levels.

Top off the windshield washer fluid while you have the hood open! It takes but a few seconds!

Then walk around the vehicle with the customer to note any existing damage that may be on the vehicle.

You now have taken the “vitals” of the vehicle in the service lane!

Are any of these vitals outside the normal parameters?

It may be an indication that the vehicle is not as healthy as it should be!

And if the vehicle is not as healthy as it should be, aren’t you the “Doctor”??...... And aren’t you going to diagnose and prescribe a process to get the vehicle better??

The customer has seen with their own eyes that they might have a light out on the vehicle.

They have measured the tire tread depth and air pressure themselves so that they know that the tires may be wearing unevenly, so they may need an “alignment” or possibly new tires.

They have watched you perform a battery check so they know that with a new season coming; they may need a new battery.

They have watched you check all of the fluid levels so that they have piece of mind that these levels are correct.

By taking the 4 minutes to go through the vehicles “vitals” with your customer, it will give the customer confidence that you are going to correctly go through the rest of the vehicle and prescribe the proper diagnosis for the vehicles ills.

This process delivers open and transparent measurements so that you instantly build value, rapport and trust.

AND…..what if the vehicles “vital” are perfect?

Well…..we ALL like to have good news when we go to the Doctor!!!!

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website: www.JimKristoff.com  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Armed with ALL the knowledge; customers are still SCARED!

Today’s customers have access to an abundance of knowledge.

They can get on their computer or smart phone and see what the cost of a New Vehicle is.

They can appraise their own trade.

They can see what the lowest interest rates are.

They can do side by side comparisons with vehicles they are looking at.

They can check for the vehicles safety and reliability.

They can check how much insurance costs will be.

They can pretty much check on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about the transaction!

Customers CAN, and in most cases DO, come armed with a LOT of knowledge before they enter the showroom floor.

BUT………they are still scared!

What are they scared of?

They are scared that they will still pay too much for the vehicle, not get enough for their trade, pay too high a payment, pay too high of an interest rate and most of all…….they are scared that they bought the wrong vehicle!

You see, even armed with ALL of the knowledge, there will always be some doubt by the customer that they are making the correct decision.

THIS is where YOU, the Sales Professional, can make a difference!

As a Sales Professional, you have to sell the product, the Dealership and YOU!!!!

“YOU”, make the difference in the sales transaction!!

Customers want to deal with someone that is knowledgeable, professional, and courteous…… and most of all……LIKEABLE!!!

So how do you get to become, “likeable”??

The formula is rather simple.


Ask questions…….

That’s it……ask questions…and a lot of them!

LISTENING to the customer!!!!

You see the art of building rapport and knowing what a customer REALLY wants is the key to closing more deals!

The best closers do one thing better than everyone else! They ask the MOST questions.

When you ask questions, you get a better perspective of what the customer’s wants and needs are.

You get a better perspective of how they are going to use the vehicle.

You get a better perspective of what they “have to have’ and what they would “like to have”.

You get a better perspective of the information that the customer already has.

This is where, “YOU”, can make the difference!

YOU have to have extensive product knowledge of not just your own product, but the competitions product.

YOU have to have the ability to sell the advantages of your product over the competition.

YOU have to be able to know all of the 3rd party websites that are giving these customers their information! Websites such as, Edmunds, Truecar, NADA, KBB, NHTSA, IIHS, Consumer Reports, TheCarConnection, CarData, CarInfo, DealerNet…..the list goes on and on…..

YOU have to have the confidence and conviction of knowing HOW to overcome your customer’s objections with the correct knowledge and information to help them make the correct decision.

YOU can give the customer confidence that they are making the correct decision by purchasing your product!!!

The NUMBER ONE complaint of all customers in regards to the Sales experience is;

“The Salesperson wasted my time!”

The reason the customer feels that the Salesperson wasted their time was that the Salesperson didn’t listen to the customers wants and needs.

The Salesperson didn’t know their product.

The Salesperson didn’t give a good demonstration.

The Salesperson was not trustworthy.

As a Sales Professional, you have to make the customer feel comfortable and confident about their purchase!

The ONLY way you can make the customer feel this way is by becoming the very best at what you do!

Product knowledge, competitions products, comparisons, selling your products advantages, demonstrating, building value, practicing, drilling rehearsing….and……asking a LOT of questions!

Customers are armed with a lot of knowledge, yet they are still scared!

YOU can make the difference by putting all of the customer’s fears aside and making sure you give them the most professional presentation they will ever see!

If “YOU” can put the customers fears aside…..YOU will make the sale!!!

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website: www.JimKristoff.com  

Twitter: @jimkristoff