Have You checked In?

By: Jenn Mayer

I have to admit I am late to the foursquare game. Although the app was first launched in 2009, I have only recently joined. After moving away from my hometown earlier this year, I was forced to learn the ins and outs of a new state, new city, and a new neighborhood. foursquare became my ultimate tool for discovery.

foursquare (that’s right, it is not capitalized) is a free app that allows you to share with your friends where you are, tips about your favorite places, and helps you discover new places in your area. foursquare gives you personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends, and people with your same taste have been. The app has also recently undergone a makeover, giving it a simpler look and making it more user-friendly.

foursquare allowed me to discover coffee shops, restaurants, nail salons, and more. If it was lunchtime and I was hungry, I would simply type in “lunch”, and foursquare would search the tips and check-ins that had been logged around my current location to suggest places I should try for lunch. This is different, and possibly more effective then using Google, because foursquare was able to more accurately search around where I was, and also took into account how popular the places around me were. Now, I am addicted to checking into my location on foursquare. Not only do I get points, badges and mayorships that encourage me to keep using the app, my past check-ins help to shape my recommendations.

So, how can your dealership use foursquare to enhance business and marketing? First, you must encourage people to check-in when they visit your dealership. One way to do that is to offer a deal. Many businesses offer discounts to patrons who check in at their location. You could offer a free oil change, or even a discount for someone who checks in and signs a purchase agreement on a new vehicle that same day. People will be encouraged to check in and thus make your dealership a more popular place in the area.

You can also encourage employees and customers to leave a tip, or some advice, about your dealership. For example, you can post any specials you have going on, whether you offer free refreshments in your waiting area, or even the best sales people to work with. When people search for your dealership using the app, they’ll see the great things about shopping there and will be more likely to stop in.

As with all advertising and social media campaigns, foursquare must be interacted with regularly. If no one has checked in recently, or if the last tip is from six months ago, the value is lost. Encourage your employees and customers to download and use foursquare and watch its positive effect on business! Take it from me; I’m the mayor of Potratz on foursquare!

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Life Is A Highway And, I Want To  Ride It All Night Long

I don’t know if you've noticed, but Honda has recently adopted a new advertising tactic. Well-known and well-liked music has taken a front sesat in their commercials. This makes them memorable and effectively grasps the attention of potential consumers. According to Honda, the reason behind this is to ‘conjure up the rush consumers experience when they first drive off the lot in a new vehicle’.

It seems to me that Honda is on to something. Music is a great advertising technique for any business, but it's particularly practical for car dealerships. Of course, the songs being used in Honda commercials come at a high price,, but there are still opportunities for dealerships to include catchy theme music to help draw a consumer in.

Why is music a sensible element in a car commercial? Think about it this way: what is one of the first things you do upon entering your car? You turn on the radio. In my opinion, cars and music go hand and hand. Personally, I don’t drive anywhere without my music on. So why not take advantage of putting a catchy musical undertone to your commercials? As Honda says, driving and music go hand in hand, and having music in your commercial can help the audience relate to the car driving experience more realistically. Contact us now to see how we can help you make your commercials more memorable, and invoke that ‘rush’ for your potential consumer.

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 Journey into Purchasing a New Car

By: Kimberly Roselle

Simple fact: I take care of my cars. In the 17 years I have been driving, I have only had three cars. I am currently driving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I bought the first run of this car during Employee Pricing. Despite some issues with the fit and finish I have no serious complaints. But now after seven years and 120 thousand plus miles there are some issues. I can no longer ignore the fact that it's time for a new car, and therefore the hunt has begun.

This weekend I test-drove three cars: The Chevrolet Cruze, The Ford Focus, and The Honda Civic. My experience at each dealership was as varied as the cars.

Lets start with Chevy Cruze. My husband and I drove onto the lot and quickly found the Cruze. We walked through and peeked in at a few. Then the salesman arrived. I will call him Junior Joe. He was full of energy and knowledge and was very excited; he actually reminded me of a puppy. I went for a test drive and I was honest that I was not looking to buy today. Today was all about test drives and gathering info. Junior Joe never pushed me, and before I left he gave me a brochure and his business card.

At the next dealership, we drove around and did not see a single Focus, so we decided to walk around and look at Fusions. While we were perusing, no one came over, so we walked next door to the Honda dealership. We barely stopped at the Civic when salesman Safari Sam approached. He was not overly knowledgeable about the car and barely knew any incentives. Before I left Safari Sam gave me a brochure and his business card.

While at the final dealership of the day, we found one Focus. We hadn’t even gotten out of the car when the salesman came over. I’ll call him Mafia Max. He kept pushing me to drive it and then during the test drive tried to insist that we stop so my husband could also drive it. This was problematic to me because I had made it very clear to Mafia Max that this was to be my car. We got back to the dealership and he tried to push for the sale but I stood my ground informing him yet again, that I am only researching. Before I left he gave me a brochure and his card.

We arrived at home and that’s when the true comparisons began. Of the three brochures. Ford was the worst, containing no specs and no details. Chevy and Honda were both comparable.  As I was looking at the brochures I realized the Honda wasn’t for me and I quickly crossed the Civic off my list. Now it’s a duel between the Chevy and Ford.

As of now I have yet to make up my mind, but there are various factors to weigh before making my decision. Obviously this includes the features available for each of the vehicles, including fuel economy and safety. But, I have found myself also analyzing my decision based on the salesmen themselves and the experience they provided me while I was at their dealership. I have many factors to consider, but after reading this I’m wondering, which dealership would you choose?

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The Secret of Effectively Making Sales 1. Set Goals
  • When you think about your dealership, it might seem that the goal is obvious: to sell cars. While that is true, the important thing to remember is that a more specific goal and action plan is easier to obtain. Rather than the basic goal of "sell cars", you have to develop a realistic plan and set specific goals for who is going to make these sales, what vehicles, when you need to meet this goal and how your going to meet it.
2. Track Your Progress
  • Setting your goals is the first step. The second step is to make sure you are accomplishing those goals. It is important to track your progress to confirm whether you are meeting your pre-defined plan. This action is much easier said than done, but, you have to ensure that you are keeping an accurate report of which goals have been reached. Set a schedule of who will evaluate your progress and how often - then stick to it!
3. Evaluating Your Numbers
  • The third step to effectively making sales is analyzing your data; is what your doing working? If not, your next step is deciding how to fix the problem. What efforts will you take to effectively meet your pre-determined goals? The important thing is to keep an open mind and remember to be willing to try various avenues to reach your set goals. It may seem like trial and error, but finding the right strategy will ensure that you meet your goals, and ultimately sell cars!
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QUIET ON SET: Production Woes and How to Avoid Them.

By: Matthew Klein

In the last installment, I discussed the importance of pre-production and how it, when played out effectively, positively plays into the rest of your production. This time, I'll be discussing what it's like to actually be working on a production set. I'll go over some of the quick dos, don’ts, tips and tricks about the exciting life on set.

DO’S and DONT'S ON SET and HOW TO MAKE THE CREW LOVE YOU:

I've been on a bevy of sets, and it's always funny to me how, despite the fact that everyone always seems to have their own little of bag of tricks to employ, there's a quiet syntax of behaviors that are widely appreciated across any crew on any production. Below is a small list of the things you should probably be doing if you're working on a set, no matter what your job may be.

1) Be Aware - BE VERY AWARE: Safety is a #1 priority on any set, and usually the key grip is considered the 'Sheriff of Safetytown". But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be doing your part to make sure you don't end up tripping over a cable, or getting your eye poked out by a C-Stand. So stay alert and be sure to pay attention, as things can get rather hectic.

2) Coil-ing All Cables: In an age when everything wireless - the film/video set has yet to make this leap. This becomes apparent when one takes into account ALL of the pesky cables that get left all over the ground during a shoot (your light cables, power strips, extension cords, sash-rope, ratchet straps and bungie cords - man, it is a JUNGLE out there). All it takes is one P.A. to stumble over an extension cord and down a flight of stairs into the basement furnace to end the whole show for everyone. A great way to prevent this is coiling cables! If you're standing around, and you notice that the floor is riddled with random cables/wires all over the place, help wrangle those suckers! You can use the over-under method of cable-wrapping (http://techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/flipcoil/howto.html) or simply tidy them up as best you can! If you're a best-boy grip, P.A., or anyone authorized to do so, you can also use gaffer's tape to tape the cables to the floor so people are less likely to trip over them. This simple act greatly reduces risk, and is totally worth the effort.

3) Put Things Back: The larger your shoot, the more things you need to bring with you. Props, costumes, equipment, office supplies, computers, printers, paint, your camera lenses, de-glossing spray, sound blankets, batteries, coffee, coffee, more coffee, lots and lots of coffee and things related to coffee. As you can see, the sheer magnitude of 'stuff' that gets brought to set can be staggering. It can be seemingly endless. In the fast-paced world of production, organization is crucial, and more than often the most innocent of mistakes or misplacements can RUIN a shoot. One example: a tripod plate. You know, the little plate that holds the camera on the tripod? It's this teeny little thing, but guess what? If someone loses that, NO MORE TRIPOD! And if you don't have extras around, guess who is holding the camera for the next six hours? You got it, an infuriated camera operator who wants you fired - stat. So, moral of the story here is, if you use an item, ALWAYS return it to where it originally was. Simple lesson, but often ignored.

4) Stage Your Equipment: Many people don't realize that when a crew gets to a set the first thing they do is unload and 'stage' their equipment before doing anything else. Basically, 'staging' is when you prepare every item of equipment as much as you possibly can without actually using it. That means every single light stand gets set up. Mic packs are fitted with new batteries. A charging station is set up for all of the walkie-talkies. Gels are set out and labeled. Each camera is prepared and rigged. Dolly tracks get lubricated. For the best way to tackle how to stage equipment, I would recommend researching how grips prepare their equipment for a production day! There are tons of videos on the web about this. Even C-Stands have a particular way of being 'soldiered' (large nuts on the right, small on the left, and stack them right next to each other so the larger legs overlay the smaller legs). This might seem rather silly, but when the sun is setting and you're going to lose thousands of dollars in budget if you don't get this 'ONE LAST EPIC SHOT' taking five seconds to grab a properly staged C-stand as opposed to taking two minutes to find and then stage one makes a world of difference to your crew.

5) Mission - Make Everyone's Job Easier: In the end, you'll notice that a reoccurring theme of the previous 4 tips has been 'look out for your crew and try to help things move along as smoothly as possible'. This brings me to the most important thing I was ever told while working on a set, by the Key Set PA for the movie Unstoppable. He told me that with any job on set the point should be 'to make everyone else's job easier'. Adopting that policy translates to the people around you, and your crew will surely notice when you're going out of your way to help, do your job, and lighten the load for them as well. Surely, they'll be doing the same for you.

So there you have it! There are many more tips I could provide, but I find that these basic five are the most important and effective when working on a production crew. Blunders are avoided, and progress is influenced. Plus, the crew will love you.

In the next installment, I'll be going over the basics of post-production. Until then, thanks for reading!

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No, It CAN’T Wait

Procrastination

We all know about it– continuously pushing things off until the last possible moment, always saying tomorrow, next time etc. Well one Argentinean publisher says no more, recently developing special ink that will disappear within two months time of coming into contact with the sun and air, allowing a reader a limited time to complete the book before all the ink vanishes.

I believe this is a very effective way to ensure the product is seen and used. It’s very easy to make a purchase and then never use it. I mean I know I have lots of outfits in my closet still with the tags on them; but given the idea that they would dissolve within a few months time, I might consider wearing them especially since the alternative would equate with having just thrown my money away in the trash. I’m sure there will be many people who will not purchase the product knowing it won’t last, but I think there will be a lot of people who will purchase and subsequently use said product in order to beat the constricting time limit.

I think it’s important to apply this way of thinking to your car dealership; how can you make something non-lasting? Now I’m obviously not suggesting we develop dissolving cars; that would just be crazy, but I am saying providing some serious incentives to your customers. Why should they buy this now? Most people purchase a vehicle when they need one, not because they want one but if the deal was really sweet wouldn’t you consider the purchase a little bit sooner?

What Customers Want

Offer your customers something worthwhile. Now, I know you can’t just go out on the lot and decide the prices of vehicles, but you can provide really strong incentives for why they should buy now. The words ‘for a limited time’ are extremely effective because let’s be honest, nobody wants to be the one who missed out. Establish programs that only run for short periods of times such as come in before 3pm to save x amount of dollars on a selected service.

In addition, you could develop contests such as the 100th person to come in a test drive this car today wins an iPad. The opportunities are endless; depending on your dealerships location you could work with a local organization to help promote an event such as free tickets to a theme park, the movies, or even a gift certificate to a popular restaurant.

Have you given your customers a reason not to wait? What are you waiting for? Contact us now and let’s get started!

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