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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Car Salesmen Must Have These 5 Emotional Intelligence Traits

5 Emotional Intelligence Traits That Sell More Cars

These 5 Emotional Intelligence Traits Are Required For Automotive Sales Success!

One of the mysteries of the auto dealership world is why general managers and general sales managers assume that low productivity and the resulting high turnover are inevitable with their sales teams.
...poor sales productivity and high turnover rampant in the industry are the result of faulty hiring practices.

Research has shown that it is appropriate to apply the Pareto principle to salespeople, whereby 20 percent of all salespeople now make 80 percent of all sales.
That means 80 percent of the sales force fights over the remaining 20 percent of the business not produced by the top sales pros. With so many salespeople competing for shares of such a small pie, the turnover rate in sales is obviously very high. But many general managers are willing to accept, as a cost of doing business, the unending expenses of recruiting, selecting, and training the continuing flow of newcomers into the sales ranks. They should, instead, recognize that the poor sales productivity and high turnover rampant in the industry are the result of faulty hiring practices. Research has shown that 80 percent of the essential competencies required for success in the workplace are emotional intelligence, which is far greater than IQ or personality traits.
Emotional intelligence (EI) has been a buzzword” in the business world for the last several years. By definition, EI is an individual’s ability to recognize and regulate emotions in.... In practical application, it is one’s ability to understand how our emotions and the emotions of others impact action and performance. Emotional intelligence has no greater application than in a sales position.
In an objective study of more than 2,000 auto dealer salespeople designed to measure the EI competencies among those salespeople that were successful versus those that were unsuccessful, the following five competencies were the most critical to predicting sales success and retention in the industry:
1. Intuition & Empathy. This is the salesperson’s awareness of the prospect’s feelings, needs, and concerns. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
  • Attitude toward others: one’s ability to look positively and objectively on others· Customer service orientation: the ability to anticipate, recognize, and meet customers’ needs
  • Understanding others: an intuitive sense of a prospect’s and/or customer’s feelings and perspectives and showing an active interest in their needs
2. Results Orientation & Decisiveness. This is the salesperson’s adeptness at inducing desirable responses from the customer or prospect.
  • Communication: sending clear and convincing messages that are understood by the customer or prospect
  • Influencing: using effective tactics and techniques for persuasion and desired results
  • Gaining commitment: one’s ability to develop a motivation act
3. Self-View. This is the salesperson’s level of courage and self-esteem that provides thick enough skin to persevere through various obstacles he or she encounters throughout the sales cycle. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
  • Handling rejection: one’s ability to handle a no or a non-sale and to not take it personally and be able to recover and restart quickly to try again
  • Self-esteem: the higher the self-esteem, the more passion and courage the salesperson will have in the social arena
4. Self-Awareness. This is knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, strengths, and limitations. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
  • Self-confidence: one’s ability to believe in his or her own abilities and strengths to personally take charge in achieving and exceeding his or her goals
  • Persuasiveness: one’s ability to stand his or her ground in negotiations and in handling sales objections to exude to the customer and/or prospect that the product or service meets their needs
  • Competitiveness: one’s desire to win and be perceived as competent in the eyes of others, as well as desire to be personally recognized for his or her accomplishments
5. Self-Expectations. This is the salesperson’s emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals and his or her sense of personal commitment to responsibilities. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
  • · Achievement drive: striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence we impose on ourselves
  • · Initiative: readiness to act on opportunities without having to be told
  • · Optimism: persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks
These are all essential competencies for a sales professional in the auto industry. The salesperson who knows the product or service inside out will not succeed in the long term without possessing these essential competencies.
“Since we implemented an emotional intelligence pre-employment profile to help in our sales selection process, our retention has jumped from 10 percent to 77 percent. And not only do the employees stay longer, but they are more productive, catch on more quickly, and require less time in training,” says Regina Roat, HR Director of Sterling-McCall Auto Group in Houston, Texas, and part of Group 1 Automotive.
Auto dealers who are forward thinking and realize they are competing for top talent with other companies in their market are now implementing emotional intelligence into their selection process. Additionally, they are also providing emotional intelligence management development programs to assist their managers in leadership development, which has a major impact on improving the manager/employee relationship and is a critical piece in improving employee retention.

About The Author
Mike Poskey is President of ZERORISK HR, a Dallas-based human resources consulting firm that focuses on developing, hiring, and retention programs for the auto dealer industry and is the exclusive provider of the ZERORISK Hiring System.   For more information, visit

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Automotive Digital Marketing Tactical Trends Report Released By Search Optics

Search Optics Releases Automotive Digital Marketing Trends Report

Search Optics Announces Results From 1st Annual U.S. Automotive Digital Marketing Tactical Trends Survey

More than 160 automotive dealers reveal their needs, wants, and decision-making strategies as the importance of digital marketing rises

SAN DIEGO, CASearch Optics®, a leading global digital marketing provider with expertise in the automotive industry, today announced results from its first annual digital marketing trends survey, which spanned more than 160 U.S. automotive dealers associated with a variety of leading automotive brands.
The phone survey, conducted in association with Incept Corporation last quarter, provides definitive insight into today’s most pressing digital marketing challenges facing automotive dealers—from decision making, to their needs, wants, and service provider satisfaction levels. Insights from the survey are available on the Search Optics blog in a post titled “Five Essential Questions to Ask Your Digital Marketing Service Provider.”
The survey participants included dealers representing automotive brands from Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Regardless of brand, the dealers unilaterally agreed that their most important goal with digital marketing is to achieve results and a reasonable return on investment. More than 80% of dealers surveyed also said SEO was the most important service they procure through external marketing partners, indicating not only the value that they place on organic website visitor traffic but also the gaps that exist in their internal digital marketing skill sets.
“Digital marketing plays an enormous role in the success of today’s automotive dealers, from driving traffic to the lot to advancing the sales cycle through the use of digital strategies,” said Troy Smith, president and founder, Search Optics. “The survey provides clear insight into the greatest challenges dealers face as the speed of digital change in our industry advances at a rapid rate, and winning more business depends heavily on their ability to keep pace.”
Key findings from the survey include:
  • Top digital services: According to the survey, knowing how to best spend digital marketing dollars across an optimal mix of services is a top concern for dealers. SEO ranked as the top service being leveraged through digital marketing service providers, followed by website, paid search, social media, email, display advertising, and video services.
  • Expert guidance: Dealers expressed a tremendous need for insights and strategic guidance from their providers. They want a partner that knows their business and is constantly thinking of ways to help them grow.
  • Greatest business challenges: Staying ahead of the competition remains one of the biggest challenges for today’s automotive dealers. Other major challenges include keeping up with technology, gaining insight into market demands, and implementing the most effective digital strategies.
  • Top service provider traits: Honesty and integrity are among the most important traits desired from third-party digital marketing service providers.

As part of the survey, Incept researchers asked dealers about their expectations and satisfaction levels when it comes to digital marketing service providers. More information on the survey findings is available on the Search Optics blog.

About Search Optics

Search Optics is a leader in global digital marketing that specializes in custom, integrated solutions with an emphasis on outstanding measurable results. The company uses an uncommon blend of class-leading technology backed by real people. In 2016, Search Optics was named the Google Mobile Champion for the second consecutive year. The company was founded in 1998 and has offices in the North America, APAC, EMEA, and LATAM regions. For more information, please visit You can follow Search Optics on Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and Facebook.
Media Contact
Paula Johns,
Paula Johns Communications, Inc.
Twitter @paulajohns
Mobile +1.760.522.0941 | Office +1.760.487.1799
BONUS: Search Optics Mobile-First Infographic

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Did October Car Sales Deliver Mixed Messages to Auto Industry?

Did October Car Sales Deliver Mixed Messages to Auto Industry?

October Car Sales Delivered a Mixed Message to Auto Industry

October New Car Sales Offer Mixed Messages
to Auto Industry, Forecasts Edmunds

SANTA MONICA, Calif. —, the leading car information and shopping network, forecasts that 1,356,250 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in October for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 17.8 million. This will be a 5.2 percent decrease from September 2016, and a 6.8 percent decrease from October 2015. projects that 14,464,835 new cars and trucks will be sold this year in the U.S. through the end of October, down 0.2 percent from the 14,500,744 sales recorded through the first 10 months of 2015’s record-breaking year.
“On the surface, it might look like a slow month for sales, but in fact the industry’s performance was much stronger than the raw numbers suggest,” says Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Even with month-to-month and year-to-year sales decreases, a 17.8 million SAAR in October would tie for the highest monthly sales rate of 2016. And considering that there are no popular weekend sales events in October, automakers and dealers can feel encouraged by this month’s performance as they head into what they hope will be a busy holiday season.”
Sales Volume
October 2016 Forecast
October 2015
September 2016
Change from October 2015
Change from September 2016
Fiat Chrysler
*NOTE: October 2016 had 26 selling days, October 2015 had 28 and September 2016 had 25.

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 14.8 million vehicles in October 2016, with fleet transactions accounting for 16.7 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.2 million used cars will be sold in October 2016, for a SAAR of 38.7 million (compared to 3.2 million – or a SAAR of 38.7 million – used car sales in September).

Market Share
October 2016 Forecast
October 2015
September 2016
Change from October 2015
Change from September 2016
Fiat Chrysler
More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in’s Industry Center at

Car shopping destination serves millions of visitors each month. With Price Promise®, shoppers can buy smarter with instant, upfront prices for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse not only dealer inventory, but also vehicle reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories on Edmunds' wired site and on its acclaimed mobile apps. 

Regarded as one of the best places to work in Southern California, was also named one of “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Automotive” by Fast Company. Edmunds welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Live Help Line at 1-855-782-4711 and, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook.

The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Mich., but you can find Edmunds from anywhere on YouTubePinterestLinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Flipboard.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do Your Employees Have a Suggestion Box?

Do Your Employees Have a Suggestion Box?

Joe Webb writes: "Consider putting up an anonymous suggestion box.
Willfully ask everyone to submit thoughts or feedback. Or it can be an open email inbox where people can send anonymous emails from fake accounts. (Don't think of this box only in the literal sense. It can mean a digital representation of one, one found in an open social media forum, or another version)."

"Only the owner should have access to this "suggestion box", or someone from HR that is entirely unbiased to a situation, and never should they try to uncover who it is that made the suggestion. Or, you can promise to make the suggestion box entirely confidential with a promise that no direct negative action will occur from being open and honest. If presented to the team as a professional yet safe way to be heard, the suggestion box won’t be abused."
"One way or another, you should rely on your people to give you the best feedback on how to make processes better. So long as they feel it won’t come back to bite them, these unfiltered opinions and peeks behind the curtain are the necessary ingredient to building a winning team. That is how organizations evolve."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Millennials Are Busting Car-Shopping Gender Stereotypes

Millennials Are Busting Car-Shopping Gender Stereotypes

Millennials Are Busting Car-Shopping Gender Stereotypes

Redefined Gender Roles Underscore the Need for Personalized Car Shopping Experiences

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — October 25, 2016 – The notion that women are “damsels in distress” and that men are the confident decision-makers has been a persistent car-shopping stereotype. But new research from, the leading car information and shopping network, reveals that these antiquated generalizations don’t reflect the attitudes and behaviors of today’s car shopper, and are becoming more archaic as millennials begin to make up a bigger portion of car buyers. The revelation is one of many important findings from Edmunds’ Car Shopping and Gender Report, released today.

According to the study of 3,000 U.S. adults ages 18-65 commissioned by Edmunds and conducted by the research firm Hypothesis, more than 70 percent of both men and women feel self-assured during the car buying and negotiating process. However, when broken out by generation, Edmunds found that millennial men and women are more alike in their feelings towards car shopping than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. For example, when asked if they believe if women are equal or better than men at car shopping, 64 percent of millennial women and 54 percent of millennial men agreed. When baby boomers were asked the same question, 67 percent of women agreed while only 48 percent of men did, resulting in an opinion gap nearly twice as large.
“The world where millennials grew up was very different than that of older generations. For many, both parents worked and financial decisions were made equally, which is reflected in their different attitudes about gender roles in car shopping,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analytics at Edmunds. “Millennials are poised to become the predominate consumption group in the automotive industry, making it key that automakers, dealers and marketers understand how their perceptions are changing the way consumers approach car buying.”

Other noteworthy differences between millennials and older generations include:
  • Millennial men are more likely than older men to believe that women are equally or more logical than men during the car shopping process. There was a 15 percentage point gap in gender opinion for millennials (59 percent of men vs. 74 percent of women), compared to a 27-point gap among Generation Xers (52 percent of men vs. 79 percent of women).
  • Millennial men and women feel nearly equal levels of self-assurance and empowerment during the car shopping process, with a gap of only one percent and two percent respectively between the genders. This gap widens within the older generations, to eight percent for Gen Xers and 14 percent for boomers.
  • When it comes time to close the deal and purchase the vehicle, millennial men are more confident in women than men in older generations. Sixty percent of millennial men say that women are stronger negotiators versus 50 percent of Gen X men and 49 percent of boomer men.

Even as the gap between genders is getting smaller by generation, there are still nuanced differences that drive home the need for personalized car shopping experiences. Across the entire population, while more women feel assured that they made the right purchase than men (80 percent of women vs. 75 percent of men), 30 percent of female respondents stated that they didn’t know where to start the car shopping process, compared to just 18 percent of men. Additionally, 67 percent of all women wish there was a faster, more efficient way to shop for a car, compared to 57 percent of all men.
“Gender inequality has been in our society for a very long time,” said Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds. “Shifting gender roles have been a main catalyst for lowering gender inequality, but this change is still in motion and the differences aren’t fully dissolved yet. As this continues to decrease on a societal level we’ll see its impact manifested in major industries like automotive, but until gender inequality is completely gone, the old fashion notion that men control the garage will still linger.” 

The survey also showed differences within each gender based on the needs of individual shoppers during the different stages of their process. For example, a millennial female who is a luxury buyer has a different set of needs than a Gen X non-luxury buyer. This finding is supported by Edmunds’ site engagement data, which reveals that men and women both engage in similar shopping activities, such as new inventory search and dealership research.
“With amount of consumer data available to us, we’re no longer forced to look at shoppers under the lens of these over-generalized stereotypes,” said Michelle Shotts, senior director of customer insights at Edmunds. “As more research continues to debunk these outdated assumptions, there is no excuse why automakers, dealers and marketers can’t begin to engage with car shoppers on a highly personalized, individual level.”   

To see the full report and additional information about the survey, visit Edmunds’ Industry Center...

About the Methodology
The survey was conducted in July of 2016 and polled 3,129 U.S. adults ages 18-65 and included a mix of respondents who recently bought a car within the past year, or who intended to within the next six months. Data was weighted to reflect the national representation among adults 18-65. All significant differences noted at 95 percent level of confidence.

About  Car shopping destination Edmunds serves millions of visitors each month. With Price Promise®, shoppers can buy smarter with instant, upfront prices for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse not only dealer inventory, but also vehicle reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories on both Edmunds' wired site and on its acclaimed mobile apps.  Regarded as one of the best places to work in Southern California, was also named one of “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Automotive” by Fast Company. Edmunds welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Shopper Advice Line at 1-855-782-4711 and, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook. The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Mich., but you can find Edmunds from anywhere on: YouTubePinterestLinkedInInstagramGoogle+ and Flipboard.

About Hypothesis
Hypothesis is a full-service research and consulting agency headquartered in downtown Los Angeles since 2000, with a second office located in Seattle. We work with clients in a variety of industries including entertainment, consumer packaged goods, automotive, apparel retail, and QSR. Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques, and our in-house analytics and design teams, Hypothesis conducts research for a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and globally. For more information visit

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversion Rates

Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversion Rates

Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversions

European Marketers Say Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversions

Roughly 2 in 3 client-side marketers (predominantly from the UK and Europe) engage in some form of personalization in their marketing activity, according to a report from Econsultancy and RedEye [download page]. While few are personalizing channels beyond email, those who have implemented personalization in other channels are reporting sizable benefits from doing so.

In particular, although the use of personalization in search engine marketing is quite sparse (18% of company respondents), almost half (48%) of company respondents have experienced a major uplift in search marketing conversion rates since implementing personalization. Moreover, another 43% report a minor uplift in search marketing conversion rates after having implemented personalization.
[The Blended Attribution Playbook]

Personalization is credited with varying levels of conversion rate improvements across other channels, too. More than one-third say they’ve experienced major uplifts in conversion rates since implementing personalization of SMS (37%) and website (36%) channels, and more than one-quarter say the same about social media (28%) and email (27%).
Compared to a similar study carried out in 2014, it appears that more marketers today are seeing gains from personalization. In 2014, for example, 32% reported a major uplift in search marketing conversion rates from personalization, and one-quarter experienced an uplift of that magnitude for SMS.
The only channel for which personalization’s impact seems to have declined over the past couple of years is offline. In fact, only about half as many respondents this year are personalizing their offline marketing (12% vs. 23% in 2014). Even so, about 9 in 10 respondents to this latest survey say that they’ve experienced at least a minor uplift in offline conversion rates since implementing personalization.

Read more about trends in personalization here.

Marketers Finding Email Personalization Effective, Web Content Personalization Difficult

The most important goal of a data-driven marketing strategy is to personalize the customer experience, with this of far greater importance than customer acquisition or measuring ROI, according to the latest study [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners. Luckily, with marketers confident in their data-driven strategies, few feel that personalizing the customer experience is a significant barrier.

Instead, integrating data across platforms and enriching data quality and completeness are considered more significant barriers to data-driven marketing success, per the 229 respondents.

However, various personalization tactics differ in both perceived effectiveness and difficulty, per the report’s findings. The most effective data-driven personalization tactic is email message personalization, cited by 47%. Indeed, increased personalization ranks as the leading method by which US companies feel they can improve emai..., according to recent Experian Data Quality research.
Beyond email, marketers also consider targeted landing pages (43%) and contact data segmentation (38%) to be effective forms of personalization. Interestingly, triggered emails (36%) are slightly further down the list, despite having high response rates as evidenced by these benchmarks.

Web content personalization is not perceived to be as effective as email message personalization, but that may be related to difficulty. Indeed, marketers feel that web content is one of the most difficult personalization tactics to execute, behind only lead intelligence collection.
In order to build content personalization capabilities, research from Forbes Insight and PwC indicates that marketers are prioritizing strong data collection and analytics as well as improving their content creation and distribution speed.
About the August 2016 Data: Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report is based on 889 respondents to its research request, which took the form of an online survey fielded in August 2016. Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents work for client-side organizations who are trying to improve their conversion rates. Some 71% of client-side respondents are based in the UK (56%) or another country in Europe (15%), and 61% come from companies with at least £10 million in annual revenues.
About the July 2016 Data: The Ascend2 data is based on a survey of 229 marketing influencers around the world. Respondents were fairly evenly split between B2B (41%) and B2C (36%) channels (the remainder marketed to B2B and B2C equally). The majority (70%) come from companies with more than 500 employees.