Financial Planners Barre VT
Milne Financial Planning, Inc.
Retirement Planning & Distribution Rules, Middle Income Client Needs, Ongoing Investment Management, Socially Responsible Investments, Investment Advice without Ongoing Management, Divorce Planning
NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor, BS, CDFA, CFP®, MBA
Lee A White & Associates
Zenith Marketing Group, Inc.
Areas of Specialization
Asset Allocation, Business Succession Planning, Charitable Giving, Employee and Employer Plan Benefits, Estate Planning, Insurance Planning, Investment Management
Randolph Center, VT
Farrow Financial Inc
Drive Up Hours
J. Cole Financial Advisers, Inc.
Ongoing Investment Management, Financial Issues Between Generations, Socially Responsible Investments, Helping Clients Identify & Achieve Goals, Hourly Financial Planning Services, Charitable Giving - Trusts & Foundations
NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor, BS, CFP®
Community Financial Services Group, LLC
Areas of Specialization
Asset Allocation, Comprehensive Financial Planning, Education Planning, Employee and Employer Plan Benefits, Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Investment Management
Average Net Worth: $500,001 - $1,000,000
Average Income: $100,001 - $250,000
Profession: Not Applicable
Granite Financial Group
Black Diamond Financial Planning, LLC
Drive Up Hours
Advertising Within A Budget
One of the easiest places to lose one’s butt is with advertising. Many dealership owners, (and managers alike), look at advertising with a hidden fear. They venture to the edge of the deep abyss of the unknown, knowing that they have to dive into that pool, but unsure of how to swim. Just standing on the edge looking down at the water’s murky surface is enough to drive many men and women mad. After all, most people don’t open a motorcycle dealership for their love of marketing.
So, what works? Where do I spend my money and how do I get the best results? These are not questions to ask of your local media salesperson: they’ll tell you that their paper or their radio station is the only way to go. “Spend lots and spend often it’s all about consistency,” they’ll say. Hmmm. I disagree. At one time, I bought annual contracts for the entire back page of the local paper. I laid-out a fictitious newspaper that covered stories of our sponsored racers, our sale items, our growth … it was neat, but ultimately a huge waste of dollars. Had I continued, my kids would grow up without the hope of straight teeth or a college education.
Soon after, the local cable rep talked me out of newspaper ads and onto the tube. I purchased commercial airtime and a friend and I hosted a 30-minute weekly TV show, which ran on the local cable access channel. Modeled after Home Improvement, we did crazy things like pull office chairs behind ATVs and even tow a running push-mower behind a KTM 380SX. Why? Who the hell knows? It was popular as heck, but the cable viewers remained loyal only from the seat of their couches.
After spending like I was mad at money, how is it that I’m still alive? I finally remembered a concept that I learned from a former radio station GM, with station promotions that we ran. “Peppy and cheap!” he would say. The guy knew his stuff.
My typical ad campaign changed quickly. First, I created an event planner spreadsheet including a two-week, pre-event window by day and all of the local media outlets as row-headers. With this spreadsheet, I‘d plug in the amount of money to spend with each medium on the day that that outlet’s ad copy was due. At the bottom, a running total tracked my total event investment, (that way there are never any surprises). I’d spend a smaller amount in week one and then blitz for the second week leading into the event. My philosophy was to advertise the way I would respond to ads at the last minute. Drill it into my head at the last minute and I might possibly respond. Guess what? It works. I’m not the only forgetful person reading the papers!
Direct mail is a biggie for me. Big and flashy isn’t always the best bet on these pieces. Trust me, I’ve bulk-mailed everything shy of my own mother in an attempt to bring in the masses. It’s my experience that an impression is an...
The ROI of F&I
Have you assessed your finance department’s return on investment lately? This department is often overlooked because of the relatively low cost of operation. This department has no inventory and a low staff size, so it can drop off the ROI radar. The fact is, this department can and should be producing at least the same gross profit numbers as your service department. In our best dealerships, we see the F&I department producing a net contribution close to 100 percent of our absorption rate.
One thing is for certain: if you are not paying close attention to this profit center, you are leaving dollars on the table. Here is a simple evaluation to assess your commitment to F&I profitability:
How much do you annually spend on special tooling and technical training in your service department?
How much do you spend on annual training for your F&I department?
Many of us got into this business because we loved to talk about the latest technology, how cool a new exhaust system is or how to tweak a few more ponies out of your engine. How many of us decided to open a dealership because we loved to chat about extended service contracts, priority maintenance agreements and GAP (geeks excluded)? Because of this, we often overlook the F&I department, unless it is performing poorly or fantastically. Most owners and GMs are more likely to help spin a wrench in service than push paper in a box.
Where is the greatest profit potential for our investment? Review the chart to the right.
The investment we are talking about is time, energy and training dollars. If we are not investing in our F&I profit centers at least to the level we invest in our service departments, why are we surprised at the limited growth? Most of us just try to hire turnkey success. This sometimes works, but is only as sustainable as the employee’s attention span. We need the current knowledge, skill and execution to optimize this profit center.
In sports, the best athletes never stop training. They don’t train by themselves, either. They invest significant time and effort to seek out the coaching and methodology that will provide the biggest return. How many coaches does it take to get a single team to the Super Bowl? How often does a PGA pro have someone critique his swing? Selling is a skill that needs to be constantly honed to stay on top. You must find a coach better than you if you want to improve.
Your F&I product vendor should have training and coaching programs in place and available. If they don’t have a dedicated program, start shopping! Inquire about web-based coaching, on-site implementation and off-site seminars. As an example, RPMOne provides multiple levels of F&I and sales dealer development training to their clients. Interstate National has just launched an F&I certification program that includes a three-day workshop with continuing education through their Star Trai...