Spread The Word

By: Jeff Hatch

May 10, 2017

To Succeed in the Lucrative CPO Market, You Need to Make a Commitment – and Make Sure Your Customers Know It

As many as 60 percent of all pre-owned customers are interested in seeing a certified vehicle, and the CPO market continues to grow – 2016 was the sixth consecutive year of record CPO sales. 

Those statistics lead to an important question dealers should be asking themselves: “How can I get my share of that segment?” 

It’s simple. Find a certified pre-owned program you like and start advertising. 

When starting a certified pre-owned program, it is best to remember a saying I once read in a fortune cookie: “Who saw the antelope jump in the forest?” 

That might sound silly, but it points out that while few of us will ever see an antelope jump in the forest, everyone can visualize it because they have read and seen pictures. No event can be widely known and accepted unless it is publicized with a message broadcast to the public.

That’s the message of that supposedly ancient Chinese proverb. If you want your program to succeed, you must be ready to broadcast your commitment loudly and constantly to everyone.

When deciding on a CPO program, the gains must be weighed against the costs. And the best way to achieve a positive in that equation is to make a full commitment to the program. 

Your commitment needs to be accepted by everyone involved – your employees, customers and even the people you get your inventory from. 

In order to broadcast that commitment, you must analyze why you are starting this project in the first place. 

In the car business it is always about profit, which usually comes from selling more vehicles or making more on the ones that we sell. For dealers, that is the purpose of a certified pre-owned program.

The logical first step is to analyze what commitment you are making. 

In some cases a dealer will be changing his market niche to a certified pre-owned inventory or elevating his inventory to more current models. Most dealers, though, will still be acquiring the same type of inventory, and will most certainly be getting it from the same places. 

For them, the commitment isn’t to better cars or inventory. Rather, it’s to providing a better ownership experience for the customer. 

CPO accomplishes that by backing what customers purchase in a manner that gives them the peace of mind that they did the right thing by buying the vehicle from the dealer that they purchased from. 

That’s a long way of saying the commitment is just the right thing to do.

And if you are going to do the right thing, you might as well do it the right way. When looking at CPO, you need to have a program that follows three main criteria in governing the quality of the warranty. 

First, you must have an administrator that has the capacity and desire to pay claims promptly. That is easily ascertained by looking at the administrator’s other customers. You’ll want to partner with someone who has partnered with the giants in your industry. 

Second, the idea of CPO is to sell more cars and create more repeat business. That means the CPO program you commit to must have an unremitting drive to customer service. 

Remember, the customers who interact with your claims administrator are going to be in what is for them a crisis situation. When it comes to encouraging repeat business, it’s here the difference in warranty companies is felt. 

The third criterion is name recognition. Not simply because the name is recognized, but because the name is known or can be explained as synonymous with high ethics in the used car business. 

Once you have found that, you’ll have something worth broadcasting.  

When a dealer makes a commitment to any program, it is critical to the success of the program to broadcast it to the widest audience. The beginnings of success depend on how this project is presented to all parties. 

Studies show that resolutions of any kind made in quiet are not as successful as those that are written, posted and told to as many people as possible.

Kevin Corley, owner of Second Chance Auto in Charleston, S.C., recently made the CPO commitment. He chose to use the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program because it provided the necessary three criteria.

Since General Motors and Microsoft had done due diligence on the administrator, he felt he could trust it to pay claims. He found the principles NIADA was founded on mirrored his. And he saw the NIADA shield would be recognizable in his advertising media, helping to brand him as a certified pre-owned dealer.  

Once Corley had made his commitment, he wanted to make sure that everyone knew what he now represented at his car lot. 

“Kevin is so excited about representing this program,” said Mike Sims, an NIADA CPO program representative, “that we actually baked a cake.” 

Corley demonstrated his commitment in a meeting with his entire company. In that meeting, he expressed his wish for the employees to embrace the program – and he capped the meeting with the aforementioned NIADA-themed cake. 

He explained that when you start a program with a special event like the cake ceremony, the employees know it is different – and a very important.

Once he had announced the program to his people, Corley immediately wanted to get the word out to his clients. So he broadcast the announcement of his new program on his number one marketing tool, Facebook Live, from which he can broadcast his entire operation to the customers – from coming off the truck through make-ready to on the lot. 

The result?

“We had 363 likes from broadcasting the cake ceremony in a matter of minutes,” said Corley. “The thing is, if they are watching on Facebook Live, they are in the market to buy a car, whether they know it or not.” 

Second Chance Finance Manager Milan Edwards said the Facebook broadcasts make a big impact on consumers.

“By the time customers watch a car go through the inspection process – the cleanup process, even pulling the car off of the truck – on the Facebook Live broadcast, they are ready to belong to something special,” she said. 

“Since the store has been involved with NIADA Certified Pre-Owned, we’ve sold 26 vehicles. Nine of those were CPO deals that would have gone somewhere else had we not notified our constituents of our commitment to this program.” 

Donald Holt, Edwards’ associate in the finance department, pointed out that only one of those nine early CPO sales was hesitant to extend the warranty protection with an extended service contract.

“And her husband was a mechanic,” he said. “Once they know the program, it is not selling to get them to do the upsell. It’s just filling out the paper work.”

Making sure the public knows about your commitment to their vehicle purchase is important in driving customers from the Internet to your car lot. 

Having vehicles marked as certified pre-owned on your dealership website is a good start. A deeper dive is using a CPO program that coordinates with websites such as Carfax or eBay. When you post your CPOs and they show up at the top of the selection criteria because of certification, it allows you to charge into the growing millennial CPO market.

Dealers can also broadcast their commitment to CPO by emphasizing the program in their lot decorations.

“NIADA Certified is actually a full marketing program that allows the dealer to maximize exposure to the public of his certified pre-owned program,” Sims said, including numerous marketing materials to dress the lot for the success of the program. 

Corley’s business partner Derrick Middleton said the pole banners provided by the NIADA program “create an atmosphere or excitement and tell the customer we have cars that have been given special consideration.”

And that excitement, combined with a strong CPO program, can give independent dealers a boost in their competition with franchise dealers for market share, said Natalie Suarez, national director of the NIADA program for administrator Warrantech. 

“Those dealers who fully commit to a program such as this find that the more they promote the certified pre-owned concept, the easier it is to compete with the local new vehicle franchises for certified buyers,” she said. 

“When they are part of the NIADA program and use their online and on-lot methods of marketing their vehicle as certified, dealers see an increase in all traffic – phone, Internet, appointment and walk up.” 

Dealers who have been successful in implementing programs such as NIADA’s say it is extremely important to get the information out to your potential customers before they are looking so they know they can find a certified pre-owned vehicle on your lot. 

And, they say, it is equally important to continue to broadcast the program’s benefits once the customer is on the lot. 

Auction Direct USA is one of the nation’s largest used vehicle operations, with stores in Rochester, N.Y., Raleigh, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla. In 2016, its managing partner, Todd Hoagey, was named NIADA’s CPO Dealer of the Year. 

Broadcasting its commitment to NIADA Certified Pre-Owned has been incorporated into the dealership’s sales system. 

When customers arrive at Auction Direct they are met by a salesperson who “walks their wall.” The wall shows the story of the store, including how and why Auction Direct adopted its marketing system. And it all starts with the commitment the store makes to the customer through the CPO program. 

“Starting the sales process with the certified pre-owned explanation is integral in establishing a trust between us and our customers,” Hoagey said. “It makes it clear up front that this store is special and the customer can feel safe with our process.” 

One way to advertise the program is to dress the cars on the lot to identify them as having gone through the 125-point inspection required for NIADA certification. That can be accomplished with windshield banners that are visible from the street, as well as mirror hangtags that remind customers the vehicle has been through a special process and therefore is provided with coverage that most pre-owned vehicles don’t have. 

So who saw the antelope jump in the forest? 

Almost no one. But through broadcasting the beauty of the event, everyone knows about it. 

When you broadcast in all of your media – Internet, newspaper and radio/TV ads, on your cars, in your sales process – you can get that all-important bump in sales. 

“Once customers know about this program, why would they shop anywhere else?” Second Chance Auto’s Milan Edwards said. 

The key is making sure your potential customers know about the program and your commitment to their ownership experience. That includes consistent messaging and using identifiable logos that flow throughout your advertising, allowing you to be successful by branding yourself as a dealer customers can count on.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Carr is a longtime auto industry veteran in sales, management and training and a regional training manager for Warrantech Automotive, Inc. administrator of the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program. For more information on the NIADA CPO program, visit www.niadacertified.com/dealers

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of Used Car Dealer magazine and can be found online at: http://bit.ly/2q1lEsz 

Filed Under: automotive, Carr, certified, CPO, dealership, NIADA, pre-owned, sales, William

Let Warrantech’s Extensive Industry Expertise Take Your Business Further

By: Jeff Hatch

November 29, 2016

There’s a lot to be said for experience. Having someone in your corner who has a greater understanding of what you are trying to accomplish can help you fully realize your goals and even uncover new opportunities that you never knew existed. That’s what we do best.  
 
Warrantech is comprised of service contract / insurance industry veterans and is led by a management team whose members each average more than 23 years in the business. Our executives are thought-leaders who serve as industry board members and conference speakers, and possess numerous industry designations and certifications. This expertise translates into a comprehensive perspective with vast insight that enables us to uncover hidden growth opportunities and structure programs that offer a high-value proposition for our partners and their customers. 
 
Our real-world experience also guides our team to help clients refine their sales strategies and create lucrative programs that build customer loyalty and enhance brand image. With a team of highly skilled underwriters, actuaries, legal/compliance professionals, marketing and management experts, Warrantech has the depth of knowledge to launch and administer your program successfully within your defined timelines. 
 
Our experienced team is masterful at driving large, complicated projects, based on years of integrating, developing and managing a variety of well-positioned acquisitions and meaningful, large-scale client programs. We are able to design, develop and implement a program with minimal strain on your team, while working within any desired parameters you establish. We typically focus on:
 
Optimization of price tiers and bands
Ensuring all eligible products are covered
Designing clear and concise customer terms and conditions
Continuous development of marketing materials and sales tools
Robust field and online training programs
Aftermarket and renewal marketing activities
Development of appropriate compensation and incentive programs  
 
The Warrantech team has the expertise to ensure that you receive a carefully coordinated program that integrates all aspects of your business, including sales, service and marketing. In turn, this ensures a perfect fit for both your business and your customers.
 
Visit warrantech.com or give us a call at 800.833.8801 to learn more about how we can help you.

Filed Under: business, expertise, industry, marketing, sales, service, Warrantech

Top 10 Ways To Improve ESP Attachment Rates On The Retail Floor

By: Jeff Hatch

November 23, 2015

In the world of extended service plans (ESPs), extended warranties, or service and parts replacement programs, many consumers have become immune to the common tactics used to sell these programs. In fact, if your sales team is still selling the “what if” scenario to today’s ultra educated consumers, your store is losing out on valuable sales that help drive high-margin growth and revenue.
 
According to NBC News, extended warranties help fuel a booming $15 billion-a-year business; therefore, it’s imperative that retail sales personnel hone their sales approaches for “add on” sales such as ESPs. Through ongoing training and education, sales teams are better able to overcome “new” objections to these profitable plans and figure out which plan best suits the consumer’s need.
 
The below selling strategies are simple, but effective ways to help your sales team illustrate the value of ESPs and therefore convert more consumers:

  1. Get consumers’ attention — By stating the obvious such as, “This product is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty for only one year,” you may pique the consumer’s interest enough to have him/her asking more about warranty coverage.
  2. Listen to consumers’ answers — It seems simple, but often sales representatives get so busy pushing sales out the door, they don’t hear what consumers really want to know more about. If a representative addresses some of the comments consumers share during the sales process, then consumers may be more inclined to listen to sales talk about protection plans. Remember, always address consumers’ objections and point out how ESPs overcome the objection.
  3. Give options — Often consumers may be more inclined to purchase extended coverage if they know they have options. This puts them in the driver’s seat to select the coverage that best suits their needs. For example, offer extended or standard warranty coverage and let them ask questions about the difference, which will lead to the sale of a plan that they believe in.
  4. Stay positive — Much like in life, if you focus on the positives, you’ll more likely receive favorable feedback. Focusing on the strong features and benefits of the ESP, consumers may find the up front fee is well worth the investment.
  5. Expert source — Provide consumers with sales representatives’ credentials or the training they receive prior to selling on the floor. (This is most effective if the store posts signs on the floor about the quality of its staff.) In doing so, when a sales member states, “In my experience, ESPs are essential,” the consumer has a frame of reference for why this is a quantifiable statement. Testimonials are another great way to communicate value and benefits (leverage your personal experiences, your customer, your store’s customer, etc.).
  6. Brands that matter — We’ve all fallen victim to the brand game at one point in our lives and consumers are no different. Consumers generally buy the brands they think represent quality or status and frown upon unknown brands. But while some brands make a great washing machine, they may not make a great TV and it shows in the manufacturer warranty details (especially parts and labor). Your staff needs to know the details of the manufacturer warranties just as well as the ESP to help drive home the value extended coverage offers.
  7. Explain the fine print — Helping consumers better understand what’s covered, what’s not and why makes your sales staff their ally. This type of dialogue not only builds trust, but also gives sales staff an opportunity to reveal some of the holes in the manufacturer’s warranty. 
  8. Think about it — Once consumers have all the facts about the warranties or ESPs, it’s okay to let them think about their options. Have them walk around the store, talk to their spouse/significant other or speak with customer service representatives about the items they see coming back or how much it costs to repair various products. Often, a different source can be a welcomed change of pace for consumers who don’t want to fall victim to “sales hype.”
  9. Recommend it — If you believe in it, your customers will too. Familiarize yourself with the features and benefits and remind customers how costly repairs or replacements can be if they’re not backed by an ESP.  
  10. Ask “why not” an ESP — Sometimes the most obvious questions go unasked such as “Why wouldn’t you want to protect your purchase?” or, “What’s holding you back?” Once your sales staff knows the answer to why, they may be able to employ any number of sales tactics to sell or attach an ESP. 

ESPs add significantly to a retail organization’s bottom line because they don’t require inventory space or carrying costs and they offer high margins. Many consumers are receptive to buying ESPs, but they do need to be convinced to add a plan to their basket and are looking to your sales staff to communicate the features and benefits of the plans, as well as your organization’s commitment behind the plans. Sharpening your sales strategies — on and off the sales floor — is a critical step to increasing ESP sales and enhancing the value these plans bring to consumers.

Filed Under: benefits, extended, plans, retail, sales, service, value

Warrantech Wins Gold at the 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

By: Jeff Hatch

March 02, 2015

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Feb. 28, 2015) – Warrantech was presented with a Gold Stevie® Award for Innovation in Sales during the ninth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. The awards were presented to honorees during a gala banquet on Friday, February 28, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. More than 500 executives from the U.S.A. and several other nations attended.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world’s top sales awards, business development awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards. The Stevie Awards organizes several of the world’s leading business awards shows including the prestigious American Business AwardsSM and International Business AwardsSM

More than 1,900 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition, an increase of 27% over 2014. Finalists were determined by the average scores of 139 professionals worldwide, acting as preliminary judges. Entries were considered in 54 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year; 50 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Business Development Achievement of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers. The Business Development categories are new for 2015.

More than 100 members of several specialized judging committees determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging earlier this month.

Warrantech was recognized for its Connected Protection program, which provides repair and replacement benefits for mobile devices utilized in a connected vehicle should such devices malfunction. Available through automobile dealers, the protection plan can be added to the vehicle financing, thereby costing pennies per day for extensive coverage. Enhancing Warrantech's product portfolio, the new offering also provides important benefits to connected vehicle owners and much-needed additional revenue sources for auto dealers.   

“Entries to the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards have more than doubled over the past three years,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “The widespread support of this program illustrates the importance of the functions it recognizes to business success. This year’s Stevie Award winners are the highest rated in the history of the awards, and we congratulate all of the winners on their commitment to excellence and innovation.”

Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Stevie winners in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/sales

Warrantech administers and markets service contracts and after-market warranties on automobiles, automotive components, recreational vehicles, appliances, consumer electronics, computers and computer peripherals for retailers, distributors and manufacturers. Warrantech ESPs are underwritten by sister company The Amynta Group insurance carriers, rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company for their financial strength and stability. For more information, visit www.warrantech.com.

Filed Under: automobile, Awards, Connected, coverage, customer, dealers, Gold, innovation, Protection, sales, service, Stevie, Warrantech

Warrantech’s Parent Company, AmTrust, Named Best-Managed Insurance Company By Forbes Magazine

By: Jeff Hatch

January 14, 2015

Warrantech is proud to announce that its parent company, AmTrust, has been selected as the best-managed company in the insurance industry by Forbes magazine. The article appears in the December 29, 2014 issue.

Forbes screened 1,190 U.S.-listed companies across 27 industry categories and selected the "Best-Managed Company" in each category. AmTrust ranked number one in the insurance industry category.

The following metrics were used to calculate the rankings:

• Minimum of $1 billion in sales
• Sales growth
• Return on total capital
• Earnings outlook
• Stock market returns

Forbes Staff Writer Liyan Chen summed up the report this way: "Here you see the best of the best, by our criteria."

Forbes magazine is a global business magazine published bi-weekly by Forbes, Inc. Founded in New York City in 1917, Forbes remains one of the foremost leaders in reporting on topics relating to finance, marketing, investing, technology, science, government, law and communications.

Click here to view an excerpt of the article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/liyanchen/2014/12/10/americas-best-managed-companies/

AmTrust: Financial Strength, Unprecedented Growth And A Bright Future Ahead

• AmTrust has earned an "A" (Excellent) rating for financial strength by A.M. Best, financial size category (FSC) "XI"
• AmTrust ranks 6th nationwide in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) March 2014 Workers' Comp Market Share Report
• AmTrust has earned an "A" in Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating
• AmTrust continues to experience unprecedented growth across all lines of business

To learn more about how AmTrust can assist you in growing your book of business, please visit our website or contact your regional sales manager. 

Filed Under: best-managed, earnings, Forbes, growth, returns, sales

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