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Latin Toolbox Partners Up With Ricky Lopez
The Hispanic Market Has A New Advocate On Board, Ricky Lopez Pairs Up With Latin Toolbox To Lead The Way Into The Future Of The Hispanic Market
By: Latin ToolBox
HispanicBusiness.com named Greenway Auto Group as the Number One Hispanic Auto Dealership Nationwide in 2012, with a growth rate of 105% from 2010 to 2011. Frank J. Rodriguez is CEO of the group.
Known as ‘Internet Ricky,” Greenway Chrysler Jeep Dodge’s Internet Director Ricky Lopez recently shared with Dealer magazine, some of the secret sauce to his success.
First, Ricky, how did you get into the car business?
I joined Greenway Chrysler Jeep Dodge as Internet Director five years ago.
I focused on Internet sales and in 2009 the dealership sold 766 Internet units. 2010, we saw growth to 1,735 Internet units and in 2011 we hit 2,730 Internet units. In 2012, we drew in more than 16,000 Internet leads and sold more than 3,200 Internet units.
How do you account for your phenomenal success?
Our salespeople are phenomenal. Our dealership is open seven days a week from 7 am to 8 pm. Shifts are staggered for the inbound and the outbound team and members are on a pay-for-performance basis. We have 21 Internet salespeople and. I’ve only lost four of my salespeople in five years, and I’ve lost them through promotion within the dealership. They’ve become managers.
Our sales group enjoys each other and does well and makes money. We hire well and we train them intensively. First thing we do is train them for a month before they work with customers. They spend the first week in the BDC answering incoming calls. The second week we do internal training with myself and my assistant, and they are updated with Chrysler certification. The third week, new salespeople shadow an established sales person and learn how to work a deal from beginning to end. The fourth and final week, they’ll have two days with me.
Another factor in our success is the stability and continuity of our processes. I’ve stayed with 90% of my same technology vendors for Internet sales and marketing for over five years. Some people have changed wives or husbands more often than I change my vendors.
Tell us how these vendors have helped contribute to your success.
Two additional strong vendor partners are NCM Associates and Kain Automotive. A few years ago, I joined an NCM Associates 20 Group for Internet and BDC managers in collaboration with Kain Automotive. Led by David Kain, the group helps members find solutions to the challenges faced by their Internet departments and improve their performance and closing ratios. We’ve tripled our Internet sales since joining this group and we are on track for a 19% closing ratio on Internet leads.
The 20 group I’m in meets three times a year and gives me the chance to ask questions of my peers concerning how they handle leads, manage their CRM process and about coaching methods they use for their employees.
Last year, I asked David Kain to visit us and audit our lead handling processes. One of the things that came out of this was a significant improvement to our BDC process.
After studying our BDC and Internet sales group’s process, David Kain and I recognized that the leads coming in were being “cherry picked” and some of the sales staff were not following up on what we felt were sales leads with good potential.
So, together, we came up with the idea of a “Nurture Team” to do the follow-up on these leads that we needed. I recommended that we hire a couple of people and let them do follow-up after the first three days on leads that nobody has gotten in touch with.
Now, any lead not being actively pursued by a salesperson after three days in the system automatically flows to the Nurture Team. The Nurture Team then works these “cold leads” and brings many back to life. We started with two and now have seven individuals on the Nurture Team calling and e-mailing these leads until the customer either says: ‘Don’t call me anymore,’ or they buy a car or set an appointment.
Since instituting this program, deliveries for these “throw-away prospects” have never fallen below 40 units a month and many times are closer to 50 units..
How do you drive so many leads to your website?
YouTube videos are either about a new or used car. Starting in April, I’m going to ask customers to give us permission to use their testimonials in press releases and videos. Right now, we have over 1,000 videos on YouTube.
How much have third-party lead providers contributed overall to your Internet sales leads?
Cars.com has done a phenomenal job getting leads for us. I’ve been so enthusiastic in my praise of Cars.com and the results that they’ve brought us, that at NADA, Cars.com had my photo on their booth, as their Number 1 satisfied Internet Director in the nation.
They asked me to talk with their customers and explain how well Cars.com works for Greenway Chrysler Jeep Dodge.
How are you handling social media and online reputation management?
We put testimonials from customers on Facebook. Right now we are concentrating on Yelp, which is becoming really popular. So we’re trying to get ahead of the game on Yelp. There and consumers are listening to it. If you go to Yelp to research a car dealer, nine out of 10 of them will have bad reviews. we’ve got over 600 reviews On Cars.com.
A hot new tool that we are exploring to create leads is Instagram. It’s a free app for your phone. For ages 16 to 25, it’s the hottest thing in the market. It took Instagram only six months to get to the popularity level it took Facebook two years to get to. With Instagram, you put a photo with your information and send it out. It will piggy back your message to Twitter and Facebook automatically.
What do you see for the future of the industry?
I think the future is mobile and videos.
Every year people are buying tablets and iPhones. The old desktop and laptop are going by the wayside little by little every month.
I’m either going to e-mail you from my iPhone or my iPad, because that’s what I have on me all the time. It’s amazing. I’ll be in line at the coffee shop, and I’ll look around and everyone either has a tablet, or an iPhone, or a Droid, but no one has laptops anymore.
A lot of dealerships don’t understand that mobile marketing is different from regular marketing. The dealers that know this and take it into account are doing so much better, because they are not bouncing viewers who are trying to look at their website with a mobile device. So, that to me is the future
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