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How To “Speak Dealer” | Dealer Terminology

Posted by Joe Mathes on Oct 30, 2014 9:27:24 AM

Selling digital or print advertising to Auto dealers is no easy task. Though not always, they can be rough, tough, intimidating and demanding. And worst of all, they speak their own language…most of it in acronyms that come out like some kind of encrypted message that only they can understand.



I’m going to paraphrase here a little, but this is an actual question I got from a dealer…

“Can you get a data feed from my DMS and send an ADF file to my CRM so my BDC can measure my ROI?”

- Of course I said YES! Thankfully the AutoConX platform is in tune with the needs of auto dealers so I had no hesitation that I could accommodate this request.

Use this handy cheat sheet to study up and learn these terms and what they mean.  Learning how to “speak dealer” with dealer terminology will help you sell.

DMS: This stands for dealer management system. Usually a bundled management information system created specifically for car dealerships, large equipment manufacturers, or RV and boat dealers. These systems often contain software for finance, sales, parts, inventory management and administration. A dealer’s data feed of inventory typically comes from their DMS, but not always.

CRM: or customer relationship management.  This is a system for managing a dealer’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. Many dealers use a DMS that also acts as a CRM but they can also be separate.

ADF: Auto-lead Data Format is an XML file designed to parse information into a dealer’s CRM specifically for communicating consumer purchase requests or email lead form submissions. The AutoConX platform can send leads to dealers using ADF or Text files. It’s important to know which the dealer prefers. Sometimes dealers wish to send an ADF file to their CRM and Text files to their GM’s or sales managers. AutoConX can do both.

BDC: The term BDC stands for Business Development Center. A BDC at an automotive dealership usually involves a call-center staffed with customer service representatives. The BDC typically handles Internet leads and their main goal is to set appointments with salespeople at the dealership.

ROI: Means Return On Investment of course. Auto dealers are masters at measuring ROI. They have all the tools at their disposal. Many CRMs can produce reports that not only tell the dealer where their leads are coming from but how many sales can be attributed to every source of advertising. Some dealers go so far as to place a cost per lead or even a profit per lead on their dollars spent. The more sophisticated the dealer the more challenging expectation management becomes.

VDP: or Vehicle Detail Page view. This is one of the key metrics dealers look at to gauge their ROI. You can find this number in the AutoConX Activity Reports. Your dealers know them as VDPs. A VDP is an actual page view of a vehicle detail page. Some national websites also show dealers the number of times their vehicles show up in a search, but the vehicle detail page view is the important statistic for dealers.

VIN: Stands for Vehicle Identification Number. Every vehicle manufactured after 1984 has a unique VIN. Its VIN tracks everything about a vehicle. The AutoConX platform provides a free basic VIN decode for dealers entering their inventory themselves. AutoConX Pro provides a full VIN decode. The dealer simply types in the VIN of a vehicle and all the options and features of the vehicle show up automatically.

ROOFTOP: This is simply a dealership location. In the auto world though we talk about physical and virtual rooftops. A dealer might have 5 physical locations or rooftops but only wants one virtual rooftop on your auto vertical. In this scenario their entire inventory from the 5 dealerships goes into one virtual rooftop. The tracking number assigned to the dealer rings into their BDC and the lead is assigned to the appropriate physical dealership. Many dealers with multiple locations adopted this strategy to save money on the national automotive websites. Some dealers on the other hand prefer to keep their virtual rooftops separate. This is an important question to ask when selling a dealer with multiple locations as AutoConX accommodates either preference.

F&I: Stands for finance and insurance and refers to the sales department that arranges for financing of vehicles and sell warranties and insurance. This department has become more important to dealers as the internet has made car prices more competitive and dealers see less profit from car sales.

BACK END: This term refers to the profit a dealer makes in their F&I department after the sale is made.

FRONT END: This refers to the profit a dealer makes on the actual sale of a vehicle. Financing and warranty sales are called back end.

Do you think you're falling short on revenue potential? Contact Us!

AutoConX is pleased to partner with Joe Mathes and his team team at Delta Online to bring you an On-Site Sales Solution. Delta Online has been working with AutoConX since 2011 and has helped generate tens of thousands of dollars of new monthly automotive revenue for media companies across the country.

Delta Online understands the complexity of the automotive industry, which gives us immediate credibility with auto dealers in any market. Their print media background gives them credibility with your company and your sales reps.

Topics: Sales, Advertising, Auto Dealer

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