Wednesday, December 30, 2009 Screenshots and Information

Exciting News Everyone!!!

Hi, Everyone! I am very excited to announce that will be going live on 1/1/2010. What is it? It is my new online CRM system. Right now, it will support car salespeople and in the future it will support...
  • Insurance salespeople
  • Real estate agents
  • RV, 4-wheeler, motorcycles, snowmobile salespeople
  • Doctors, Lawyers, other Professionals
  • Cell Phone salespeople
  • Appliance Salespeople
  • Boat sales, etc. The sky is the limit!
As the name states, it is an online program that you run through your browser. It works well on windows, mac, cell phones, net books, etc. It will work over any browser from any computer. Check your customers at home, at work, on a plane, in a train, on the beach--wherever!

I will be charging a small charge to use it--probably $10-$15 per month per user (more for dealership versions with the manager stuff...) and will be giving away free months for trials, for referrals, for people that post a lot in the forums, etc. We are going to have fun!

OK--first question people may ask is, "What about security?" Here is what it will have in place...
  • 128bit SSL encryption
  • Encryption of sensitive data like addresses, emails & phone numbers.
  • Encrypted passwords to get in the program with encrypted online folders.
Here is a screen shot with a sample of the encryption. It is (as far as I know and have studied) un-crackable.

Here is what the main screen will look like.

On the upper left, notice the "Money Made"--you can keep track of where you are. Under that are a ton of quick links. Next to it are some easy to use search functions and then lists of your customers sold this month, hot prospects and pending sales/sold orders. To the far right is a "To Do List" as well as your appointments.

If you notice the menu, it is a pull-down type and makes it easy to create certain types of customers or prospects. Here is an example of creating an internet lead.

After you click NEW INTERNET, you are taken to the PROSPECT SCREEN to enter the internet lead's information. From there you can edit data, track contact history, print letters, set appointments, send emails and more! Here it is.

If you will notice, unlike my previous versions of CSA, only important information for prospects are on this screen. I also made it where you put "Vehicle Wanted" and "Trade Info" into text boxes without having to have a field for Year, Make, Model, Color, etc. It makes it a lot easier and faster to create a prospect or customer. Notice the "Contact History" on the bottom right. Put what you talked about in the text box, click ADD and it is added to your history. If you print a letter or send an email, it is automatically added to your contact history. See the field that says "Last Contact?" When you add to your contact history (or print a letter or send an email) it makes that into todays date so in the main form, you can call certain types of prospects or customers at certain intervals. Here is a screen shot of the settings where you can set up your own values for call intervals.

In this example, I will contact internet customers every 2 days and sold customers every 45 days, etc.

What about automated follow up? makes it very easy. The easiest it has ever been in any of my programs. You can create your own custom letters and emails and save them for laster. The program automatically merges your data with them. By the way--the emails are full HTML so you can have colors, images (you have to link to them on an external website), different fonts, etc. Here is a screenshot of the word processor.

See the stuff like ~firstname~ and ~lastname~? merges that with your data. If you print a letter, it is converted to a PDF file and you can use a pdf reader like Adobe Acrobat (free from or any other one to view and print the letters.

Setting up follow up is very easy now. Here is a screenshot.

In this example, 1 day after a sale, it will generate a letter for a sold customer that is either new or used that has paid cash, financed or leased. You can break it down and send a csi letter (for example) to only new car cash deals 14 days after the sale. You can have an unlimited amount of follow up items and it can generate phone calls, letters or emails. Also, if you set up a follow up email for an internet lead and they come in and buy, the program will know this and quit sending them follow up emails as a prospect and switch over to sold follow ups.

Speaking of email, when you are a paid user (not available with trial) you will get your own email address. You will be able to use it to send emails to your customers. You can send a monthly news letter, a thank you email, etc. If someone responds to the email, it gets replied-to your real email address so you can use it as usual. I have to give users a email address because that is the only way that godaddy (my host) will allow people on my website to send email and because it will stay out of spam filters better if the email is from the hosted website.

One more screen shot of the program in action. This is the customer screen. Notice the differences between it and the prospect screen.

Oh yeah--did I mention that this program works well over a cell phone? At no extra charge? Proof is in the pudding. Here is a screenshot of the program in use via my I-Phone. That is an older version of it so the final product might look a little different (the zip code won't be wrapped for example...)

Well, everyone, as you can tell, I am very excited. I hope you all give my new program a try. I'm even going to have a button that you can click if it helps you sell a car so everyone can see how effective it is.

Best regards and Happy New Year!
Marv Chomer

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Coming on or around 1/1/2010:!

I am proud to announce that my new service, will be up and live on 1/1/2010 (or within a couple of days LOL) Instead of a one time big charge, there will be small monthly charges for its use--I'll keep it reasonable, I promise! Also, I will be offering free trials so people will be able to see the ease-of-use and the power of this program.

Think of it as Car Sales Assistant that runs online through a web browser on any computer, net book or even cell phone that has a true browser on it (I-Phone does and I think Blackberry does, I'm sure Android does, etc.) It will be very cool! I am using it full time right now and I love it--I love the fact that if I am on the lot and need a #, I can access my data through my I-Phone, click to dial, and call my customer.

Initially, it will be released for car salespeople (since I am one.) Next, there will be a version for dealerships with cool manager stuff like averages, closing ratios, blah blah blah. Then, the fun starts--versions for boat salespeople, insurance agents, real estate agents, RV salespeople, etc. You know what? I had an insurance agent give me a quote for health insurance 2 months ago and she has never called me to close the sale. Whoops! FollowUpCRM will almost force her to call me and make a sale (I'm ready to hook up but her laziness might cause me to shop her--just like your customers will shop you if you don't do a decent job of follow-up.)

OK--I'm on a rant. Lets just say that I am very excited about this one.

Here are some cool features...
  • Full html email support with a built-in editor where you can create templates and use them over and over--FollowUpCRM will even merge it with your customer data!
  • Print letters to your customers ONLINE! How? FollowUpCRM will take your letter and create a PDF file that you can print. Don't like the cheap ink jet printers at work? Print at home on your big-daddy $1000 color laser! Oh yeah--your letters can have colors now. Sweet!
  • Set the number of days to contact certain types of customers. For example, I have mine set to call my sold customers every 45 days and my internet leads every 2 days (as well as phone ups, prospects, people on your general mailing list, people on a want list, etc.) If the person is not contacted (email, letter or phone call) within the # of days, they will show up on a quick link until you contact them! (Too bad the insurance agent I spoke about didn't have this feature--I would have already hooked up!!!!!)
  • Speaking of contacts, FollowUpCRM keeps track of your contact history AUTOMATICALLY!
  • I'll admit--the automated follow up feature on CSA7 can tend to stink. I have simplified it dramatically. It is very easy to use and set up and has automated letters to print AS WELL AS automated emails to send. Whoopie!
  • When you first log on, you go to a main screen--there you see all your quick links (like CSA7 has) as well as your money made (today, month, year, career), a quick search area, a quick list one (for example, if you want to quickly see all your phone ups from last month or your sold customers from March of 2003...) It also has your sold customers for the month, your HOT prospects (people you are working), a cool TO-DO LIST and your appointments.
OK--this just scratches the surface of what this program has. A few people have asked me about security. I take security very seriously--I don't want people snooping at my customers and I know you don't either. Your customers are your property, not mine--I just store them for you and provide a program to manipulate the data to help you sell more cars.

Here is a list of the security measures that this program will employ...
  • Your log on password is encrypted. For example, if you use "password" as a password, it is encrypted to read rN20SDiz6HJ0fJ6xHUHAjA== (which is "password" encrypted)
    The password has some "salt" added to it--do a google search for "encryption salt" for more info--lets just say that it adds an extra layer to protect from dictionary attacks.
  • All sensitive data (address, birthday, phone numbers, vin #'s, email addresses, etc.) for your customers will be encrypted using a 128 bit encryption process that even the defense department can't crack. There will be a private key to insure that if someone were to steal the database, even they wouldn't be able to read your data.
  • The database will be hosted through They take security very seriously and back up the data on a regular basis.
  • The folders will be "role protected." In other words, if someone doesn't log in to get access to the data, they will not be able to access the folder where the data resides. Since your password will be encrypted, they will not be able to log in!
  • All data transmitting over the internet (to and from the FollowUpCRM server) will have a SSL 128 bit encryption layer so if you transmit the data over an un-secure connection (like a public wireless) someone will not be able to hack in and even if they could, they would see a bunch of giberish.
Simple data like a customer's first and last name or any notes you type in and even the vehicle year and make will not be encrypted--why not? Well, if someone were to steal the data and see that you sold a "John Smith" a "Chevy Impala" in the state of Ohio--well, what the hell would they do with that info? They won't have John's phone #, VIN, email address, home address, etc--all encrypted!!!

I just want people to understand that I will keep all of their stuff private and make follow up a very pleasant experience. Oh yeah--referrals will get you free months!!!

Thanks everyone and once again, Happy Holidays.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Service Customers

I have a new routine. Every day, I get handed a stack of everyone who has used our service department on the previous day. Here is what I do with them...

  • I call them and if they answer, I thank them for stopping by our service department.
  • I then ask if everything was handled to their satisfaction.
  • Most of the time, the customers are very satisfied and tell-me-so with joy in their manner of speaking.
  • I can see from the service sheets where the people have bought from before and probably 80% of the people did not buy at our dealership. In that case, I'll tell them, "I'm going to send you a business card. Please call me personally if you ever need anything."
  • Usually they are very appreciative because of their good service experience (we have an excellent service department.)
  • I then put them into my new program, (not up yet for the public but will be soon...) and I print a "Thanks for stopping by our service department" letter. FollowUpCRM keeps track of the fact that I sent them a letter and I have it set up to contact these people every 90 days.
  • In the letter, I thank them again and let them know that I am a salesperson at the dealership and to contact me if they, or anyone in their family need anything.
I have been doing this for about 2 weeks and here are a couple of thing I have noticed...
  1. Once again, I work for a dealership that has an excellent service department. It actually makes me happy to hear that from our customers because...
  2. When I'm trying to sell a car, I can bring up the fact that I contact the service customers and 99.9% of them love their experience.
  3. Once in a while, I get a buyer on the phone. I talked to a guy originally from Canada the other day (across the river from my home town of Wyandotte, Michigan) and he told me, "The vehicle you are calling about--it was a lease and I just turned it in. I'll stop by in a few days because I need another vehicle."
Now, if you know sales statistics, I have a huge chance of selling that guy when he comes in--probably 50% - 75%.

"What about missing an up when you are on the phone?" you may ask...

Well, I have a nice office on the corner of the dealership and have a nice bay window (no more cubicles for me) where I can watch the used car lot ($$$) and we only have two salespeople so I catch a good portion of the customers anyways. Also, it keeps me busy and sharpens up my skills because I am constantly talking to people.

The owners love it (no managers at this dealership--yay!), the customers love it, I love it and the other salesperson at the dealership laughs at me. LOL

Keep checking back to this blog. I know I haven't written much lately but I have had some huge changes in my life (moving across the country), I sell cars a lot (55-60 hours a week) and program a lot (20-30 hours a week.) I plan on opening to the public soon--I'm not kidding--you are gonna love it.


p.s. I'm going to have cool email alerts--FollowUpCrm will contact you via email to remind you about appointments, etc. It's gonna freaking rock!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Online CRM Coming!!!

Well, things are going pretty well for me in Tennessee. I just perhaps just finished my best November in my life--all during deer-hunting season which in Michigan, was usually the kiss of death.

I'm working on an online CRM for car salespeople (and later real estate agents, boat salespeople, RV, motorcycle sales, etc.) that is going along very well. I'm going to charge a small monthly fee for use instead of a one-time fee like CSA7 but it will have some cool features like...
  • A simple design that makes it quick and easy to do follow up.
  • An enhanced automated follow up system that will allow you to differentiate between new and used customers as well and purchase types (cash, finance, lease). It rocks!
  • The ability to use from ANY computer with a web browser. You will not need to install the program and updates happen on my server-end so when I add a new feature or fix a bug, it will be there instantly.
  • You can use this program over a cell phone--I have tested it on my IPhone and it works well and fast. Another cool feature is that the IPhone automatically takes phone numbers and makes it so you can click to dial. This helped me the other day when I wanted to call a customer--I looked them up, clicked their # and called them. Cool feature that I didn't expect!
  • When you print letters, the program creates a PDF file that you can save to print later, move to another computer to print or print on the spot.
  • Speaking of printing letters, the program puts the name of the letter into a follow-up history so you can keep track of who you have called and how long it has been since you have called them.
  • Speaking of how long between calling people, you can set the number of days to call your people. For example, I have it set to call my sold customers every 45 days, unsold prospects every 3 days, internet leads every 2 days, people on a mailing list every 90 days, etc. When you contact a person (whether call, email or send a letter) it will reset the date so it will not notify you again until the number of days have elapsed.
Quite frankly, I think this program is the future of my business. I'll still make computer versions that you purchase and install to a single computer but I think this will be easier to use as well as more versatile for my customers because of the instant updating, ability to use anywhere, etc.

I'll be giving away free trial copies soon so you all can check it out.


p.s. A dealership version will also come out that will rock and roll!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finally Settled-In!

Me all relaxed at work!

Well, it has been a few months since I have written anything here. My family and I have made a huge change and have moved to Tennessee (my wife's home state.)

The cool thing is that I have a job at a local Chevrolet, GMC and Buick dealership. It is a smaller dealership that really takes-care of their customers--everyone knows everyone else in the town, they have loyal customers, are community orientated, etc.

Speaking of the customers, they are mostly truck buyers. It is back to being cool selling vehicles because people around here buy because they need a vehicle (cattle farmers, etc.) instead of buy because one leases for $200 per month (a-la Michigan.) I love the fact that I can go back to selling on value instead of, "What is the cheapest lease you have?"

Oh yeah--I sell new and used vehicles now (mostly used) and like that a lot better than just selling new.

More articles coming!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Steve McNair found Shot and Killed

Wow--as a seven-year resident of Tennessee (including 2000 when this great quarterback took the Titans to the SuperBowl) this is a shock for me. Steve McNair was found shot and killed in a Condo in Nashville, Tennessee.

He was a warrior in the classic sense--it seemed like he was always injured and hurting yet he still came out and gave it 110%. He was my all-time favorite quarterback--may he rest in peace.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Free Online Payment Calculator

Hi, everyone! I've been out for a few weeks--I actually spent some time in the hospital and had my gall bladder removed. I've lost a little weight, no longer have a sick stomach all the time and feel great! I want to thank everyone who contacted me and wished me well.

While recouperating, I wrote a couple of nice payment calculators. There is a basic one (rate, finance amount and term) and an advanced one that is actually a full deal builder (shhh...don't tell your manager!) They are online and totally free to use. Please tell all of your fellow salespeople about them--the more people who use it the merrier! Here is a link to check them out...

Please keep in mind, though, that there is no error checking built into them yet so if you do something wierd like put "gagagogo" as your sale price instead of something like 20000, you may get an error.

Also, I have a coupon out right now SAVE10 that will knock $10 off of your order at my carsalesassistant store. CSA7, using this coupon, is now on sale for $59.99. Here is a link to my store...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Be Nice to Customers

I guess I could just leave the title on this article and it would say enough but then who would read it???

OK--I had a customer a few months ago. The guy grew up with my dad, I got along great with them and guess what--they bought somewhere else. They didn't buy my brand, by the way.

I found out about it after making a follow up call. When they told me that they bought a Saturn--I could have been like a ton of salespeople out there who try to make the people feel guilty--you know the types.

"I spent 3 hours with you!"
"I have a family to feed!"
"Thanks for wasting my time!"

Or I could have been a professional and said what I did, "Congratulations! I really like the Vues. Do me a favor--if you ever need anything in the future, please let me know."

You know what they did? They had a sister looking and sent her to see me. I sold her a car. If I would have been rude to them in any way, this would never have happened.

Referrals are without a doubt the most important aspect of selling cars. Repeat customers are a given and if you do a good job following-up, you would get a ton of them. Referrals, on the other hand, are people going out of their way to recommend you.

Thanks for reading this blog!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Day the Dealerships Closed

I work at a Chevy dealership in Southeast Michigan about 15 miles away from Detroit.  To say that the economy has hit us hard is a huge understatement.  I'm going to make a few claims before going on with this article...
  • The media (local news, newspapers, etc.) is a huge reason that the economy is tanking.
  • The media "likes" to publish/broadcast negative articles because fear sells.
  • In 13 years of selling cars, this is as bad as I have seen it.
With those three assumptions, on with the article!

Well, GM is closing a shit-load of dealerships and the big thing was waiting for the "package from FedEx" that would be a letter stating that you were one of the closing dealerships.

Early in the day, our dealer got a call from someone at GM--we were safe from closure.

A half an hour later, someone from a local Detroit news station came by--he had his little news truck parked outside--filled with cameras, microphones and the other evil tools to spread the bad news that spreads harder and faster than the swine flu!  Here is a little script paraphrasing the conversation with the bad-newsman and our dealer.

Bad News Man: So--did you guys get the "package?"

Dealer: No.

Bad News Man: So--you still might get the package, right? (he was really hoping that we would!)

Dealer: No--we got a call instead.

Bad News Man (Smiling): Did they say that you are getting a package?

Dealer: No--they said we are safe.

Bad News Man (Grasping...): But--you still--uh--might get a package, right?

Dealer: No--we are safe.  We are not closing.

He looked like someone told him there is no Santa Claus.

Dealer: Do you still want to interview me.

Bad News Man (Sad): I guess we can do a quick one outside.

Me (Marv): (Grinning but acting serious) Do you want us to act like we're closing so you can get your story???

You should have seen the bastards face then!!!  LOL.  Needless to say, they went outside for a hurried interview and the "good news" article never made the evening news.

OK--a few hours later--I'm talking to a Bad News Woman.

Me: have you been to any dealerships that are closing.

Big Fat-Assed Bad News Woman (Visibly Depressed): No--but we have several crews out there and a couple of them have gotten "lucky."

Me: Well, I hope you get "lucky" and find a dealership that's closing.  While you're at it, maybe you'll get "lucky" and find a baby that's killed in a fire or something.

BFABNW: I didn't mean it that way.

Me: Naw--it's alright.  It's good that you are doing this because you will be going through this in a couple of years when the three news stations merge or close down because people can get news faster and better through the internet.

You should have seen the look on the fat bastard's face!

OK--the day is almost over.  In pops a young dude with a camera.  I can't help myself at this point.

Me: Are you here to do an article about the great news?  You know--the new camera that the astronauts are putting in the Hubble Space Telescope?  It will increase its power by ninety times and allow us to see deeper into the universe!

Him: Yes I am! (He laughs)  No, actually I'm here to report the great news that you guys are staying open.

Bless his heart!

Well, there are still going to be more cuts and I hope we don't get chopped.  I feel I have some basic skills and that I can sell cars anywhere but I like where I am.  I have 6-years worth of customers there, the managers have faith in me and leave me alone, it's close to home and I work with some good friends and for an honest dealer.  My heart goes out to all of you who have gotten the bad news--I wish I had some words of encouragement but this is all I have.  You are skilled at what you do and can sell cars anywhere.  Good luck.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CSA 7 On Sale for the Month of May Save $10

I know it's slow out there (I still sell cars!) so I am running a sale during the month of may. CSA 7 is now on sale for $69.99 per copy (normally $79.99).  Also, CSA-Pro (the dealership version) is on sale for $850 per copy instead of the normal $999.

To purchase, visit my store.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Script I Created to Generate Referrals!

OK--you're making your follow-up calls to a sold customer (say six-months after purchasing) and you are unsure what to say.

Here's a great script that I came up with the other day that will generate family referrals for you and maybe even some sales.

You: Hi, Jim.  This is Marv at ABC Motors--I sold you your Mustang a few months ago and I just wanted to check in with you to see how everything is going.  How's the car running?

Customer: It's running fine.

You: Great!  You know what?  I've never asked you--what other cars do you guys have in your household?

Customer: We have a 2005 Ranger and a 2003 Lincoln.

You: OK--the reason I'm asking--my used car manager told us in a meeting that he is looking for some great used cars.  He's selling so many--he's running out and he even said he will give top dollar for them.  Are you thinking about trading any of those in?

Customer: My wife's been thinking about trading the Lincoln for something newer.  How much will he give for it?

You: I don't know--I'd have to get it looked-at by my manager.  (Change the subject.)  What is your wife thinking about getting--another car or maybe a SUV this time around?

(Investigate a little and then go for the appointment.)

You: Tell you what, Jim--lets get together so I can get my manager to look at the car and so we can get your wife to look at the newer models.  What would be better for you guys--this afternoon or maybe this evening?

Customer: How about this evening...

You get the picture.

OK--what if the customer says the wife wants a car but a few months down the road?  Simple--put them into Car Sales Assistant 7 and have the program create a pop-up reminder to call them a few months later.

This script, I am discovering, works very well and it isn't a real high-pressure script.  Either the customer is going to tell you that they are in the market for a car or they aren't.  Either way, keep track of what they are driving so you can try it again six months later.

You: Jim--remember when I called you a few months ago when my used car manager was looking for cars?  Well--he told us this morning that he is looking for used Lincolns and I remembered that you had one.  Have you guys been thinking about trading it in?

Hopefully you get the picture!

Thanks for reading this blog.  I know it is getting tough out there--especially for you Chrysler Dodge Jeep salespeople and us GM people.  It is time to become professional and sell all you can. People are still buying cars--even from companies that have gone B.K. and those about-to. Follow-up on everyone, follow the steps of the sale, don't give up when closing your customer, realize that "I want to think about it" is an excuse hiding a true objection and most importantly, use my software!  LOL.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Minor Update to CSA 7 Online

Hi, Everyone--I just uploaded CSA7 Version 2.0.1 to now.  It fixed a small bug with widgets being in front of windows.

If you have already installed CSA7 and are not using version 2.0.1 then download the patch here. Make sure you do a fresh reboot of your computer before installing.

Haven't downloaded CSA7 yet?  If you are using Vista or XP Media edition (or if you know you have .Net 2.0 or higher) then use this link.  Otherwise (XP, ME, 98, etc.) then use this link.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Update for CSA 7 Online

Hi, everyone!

I'm very pleased to announce that the new update for CSA 7 is up and running.  It includes a number of widgets such as a "To-Do List", a better appointment calendar, a car-anniversary widget, leases expiring in 7 days or less, birthdays today, etc.

If you are using anything but version 2.0.0 (on your main screen) with a build date of 4/26/09 then download it here.

Note that if you are using an earlier version of CSA (like CSA 2008, 2007, 4.0, etc.) then you will need to download and install the full program, not the patch, to use it.  Visit my website to do-so.

If you have any problems whatsoever, please let me know.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Car Sales Assistant on Twitter

You can now watch what I am working-on with the help of Twitter. See what I am adding to CSA as well as what bugs I am squashing.  Here is a link...


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CSA7 Widgets Almost Done!

A lot of people are wondering what I have been working on in regards to CSA7--here is a screen shot of some of the widgets.  You can actually choose up to 6 widgets that show up on your main screen of CSA.

In the example above, there is (there are??? Never was too good at grammer!)...
  • A "To-Do" List: never forget to do anything again--whether it is to send out follow-up, meet a buddy for lunch, hit the bar, etc.  When you create an item, you rank it in importance from 1 through 5 (where 5 is the most important) and they show up in order of importance. Check the checkbox when the item is done and it will get deleted.
  • Random Sold Customer: I have a bad memory.  Sometimes I sell a car and don't remember the person's name a week later.  Sometimes I forget about customers.  Sometimes I will go through my records and say, "Wow--I haven't heard from that dude in a while.  Maybe I should call him.  Sometimes that helps me sell a car.  This widget picks a random sold customer and shows their picture (if you have one.)  Click the picture for a close-up or view their entire record.
  • Today's Birthdays: Bored?  Call everyone who has a birthday today and wish them a happy birthday!  I promise you will be about the only one who does that (at least as car salespeople go) and they will be very thankful (unless they are my mom who doesn't like to be reminded!)
  • Today's Leads: Everyone you have logged today.  Could be an internet lead, a phone up, an unsold prospect or a sold customer. If your manager comes by and says, "What have you done today?" then point to your Leads.  Hopefully, there will be one or more sold people so he can say, "Good job!"  Oops--I forgot we are in the car business.  It is against the rules to say that!!!
  • Money Made: How much have you made today?  What about this month?  What about this year?  How about your career (or at least since you started using CSA7?)  Now, if you choose, it will always be in front of you.  Nothing motivates you more than a big "goose egg" (a ZERO for all of you new to the car business).
  • A True Blue Appointment Book: I'll admit--my old one sucked.  Now you can see all of your appointments broken down by the time.  TIP: schedule appointments at the quarter-hour like 5:15 and they will show up more often than not.  Double click the text to pull up the customer who the appointment is for.
Not Shown: 
  • Want List: Everyone who is on your want list--you know--someone looking for a specific vehicle.  Got the new Camaros in yet?  (me neither!  Have 2 sold though)  When you get them, call the million and a half of the people who want a call when you get them!
  • 3 Month Averages: Your closing ratios and units sold, on average, calculated from the last 3 months.  3 months is the magical time span that shows how well you are accomplishing your career of a car salesperson.
Coming Soon:
  • Car Anniversary: Vehicles that you sold 1 year ago today
  • ??? (You tell me and if I use it, you get a free copy of CSA7 for yourself or a friend!!!)
By the way--I added the R buttons on the quick links and monthly progress.  It is a refresh button to immediately refresh the data.  It actually refreshes on its own every minute, or so, but heck--I'm also impatient!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Any Ideas for Widgets?

Right now I am adding some widgets to Car Sales Assistant 7 such as a "To-Do List", birthdays today, appointment book, etc.

Does anyone have any ideas on what they would like to see? If you come up with a good widget and if I use it (as long as I didn't come up with the idea first--I'll be honest!) then I will give you a free copy of CSA. If you have already purchased, give (sell???) it to a friend.

Thanks for your help in advance,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Huge CSA7 Update Coming!

I have been working hard at adding some cool features to CSA7, the newest version of Car Sales Assistant.

By the way--there have been a lot of people calling CSA7 "CSA 2007."  It is not 2007... here are all of the versions I have done.

Car Salesperson's Assistant (sometimes called CSA or CSA1)
CSA 2.0
CSA 3.0
CSA 4.0
CSA 2007
CSA 2008
CSA 7 (the 7th Version of CSA)

The reason I have decided to call it CSA 7 instead of CSA 2009 is because I am going to keep adding stuff to it--maybe into 2010 and I don't want people to think it is outdated.

OK--Back to the major update coming--I am very excited about it.

Here are some of the new features.

I have added widgets.  What are widgets (at least in this program?)  They are little windows that have some useful info in them.  You, as the user, can choose what widgets to show including these ones (I will add more later)
  • Today's Birthdays: All of your customers and prospects who have a birthday today.
  • Today's Leads: All people (phone ups, internet leads, prospects and sold customers) that you have logged today.
  • Appointments: Your appointment book--it now breaks it down by the time so you can get a good graphical look at your appointments.  Click on appointment and it will show that customer for a closer look.
  • To-Do List: I had this in older versions and really missed it.  It will be back!  You can now rate the item on the to-do list by importance and if you don't get all of the stuff done, you can reschedule it automatically.
  • Random Customer Picture: I have recently added a digital picture frame to my desk and when it is slow (a lot lately unfortunately) I look at the frame and try to guess the customers name.  My memory is bad and this helps.  This feature will show a random picture of a customer and allow you to double click the picture to view the customers information form.
  • 3 Month Average: Your selling averages, money averages and closing ratios for the last 3 months.  Great for setting goals and watching progress.
  • Want List: I know that you can click the number next to "Want List" to view these but this will keep prospects who are looking for something particular right in front of you--great for all of you used-car salespeople and people like me who have a list of people who want to see the new Camaro.
  • Money Made: How much money have you made today?  What about this year?  What about your entire career (or at least since you started using this program?)  It is now right in front of you.  What about month-to-date, you say?  That's under the progress thingy on the left side of the screen, remember?
Once again, you can choose which widgets (if any) show up and where they are--you can have a total of 6 on the screen and change them at any time.  It will also update every five minutes to help make your life easier.

I will send out a mass email when this update is done as well as put that info on this blog.


Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Sell Cars to Service Customers

This is probably the biggest gold-mine in the dealership for car salespeople and one that is almost 100% of the time neglected--the service customer.

Did you know that people come to your service department who bought at another dealership?

Did you know that people come to your service department who bought off of a salesperson who is no longer at your dealership?

If you answered no to either of the above questions then wow!

OK--how would you like to sit around in the service department all day and talk to people and try to gain prospects for future sales?

Didn't think so--that would take too much time.

Here is a technique to have the prospects come to you.  I went to the office supply store and bought a small box--about 1 foot square.  I then went to the dollar store and bought some shiny paper to put around it so it would stand out.  I then put a slit in the top so cards could fit into it.  I put a sign on the side of it that said, "Enter to  Win Gas or Food Gift Cards" on the side.  I then printed up some post cards that had this on it.


Name: _________________
Address: _________________
Phone: __________________
Email: __________________
What Car are you Driving? __________________
Where did you buy it? __________________
How do you own it?  ()Lease     ()Finance        ()Own Outright
If a Lease, when is the lease up or expires? ________________
Who in your family is next in line for a car? _________________
What would they like next? ______________
When would they be in the market? ________________
May I contact you when we have great sales or promotions? ()Yes  ()No

Of course, the post card is much better formatted than the example above.  You know what else?  I had 30 people fill it out in 2 days.  Of course some have salespeople at my dealership (I am not a skater so I give the cards to the appropriate salesperson but hey--you do what you want!) but there are some great leads.  You know what else?  Someone will win the prize--especially if they are in the market for a car right now if you get my drift!

Try this out--it is a non-confrontational way to gain new prospects--you can even call each one of them and do a survey asking how their service experience went and ask them directly for prospects (Who in your family will be next in line for a car?)

Thanks and have a nice Easter!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Selling Cars Can be Thrilling!

Sometimes I hate my job. We all know the times--when it is slow and managers have nothing better to do than nit-pick, when it snows for all of you people in the snow belt (you know what I mean--brush the cars off, move them, plow and repeat the process the next day when it snows again) and when you are not selling any cars (in a rut.)

But there is a complete 180 when it comes to the times when you are a dead-on closing machine and people are buying left and right.

I had an experience today that absolutely thrilled me. I met a couple looking at the all new Chevy Traverse. I greeted them and saw that they guy was wearing a Michigan State sweatshirt--my sister went there and they are in the final-four and quite frankly I'm not a college basketball fan but it gave me something to talk about. We hit it off great and I did a quick demo and we drove the vehicle and I actually feel that I made some friends.

We came back to my desk and told them what their payment was at zero percent for 60 months and guess what--it was $120 higher than where they wanted to be!

A little back-story--they had gotten a hold of all of the low-ball ads in the paper (you must have a lease, join up and go to Iraq, be a member of a credit union in Zimbabwe and have been born in Rhode Island to qualify for all the rebates--I'm sure you know the type.) So, needless to say, they had a $350 payment in their head for a $30,000 vehicle.

Here is what I overcame to sell them a car.

  • "I want to think about it."
  • We are on a fixed income and can't afford over $350.
  • We have to rent our house first because we have two house payments.
  • Lets go home and study it.
  • A Buick salesperson just called me and told me that they got a huge shipment of Enclaves in and said they can get us to our payment.
  • We should buy from our hometown dealership (200 miles away) so we can service it there.
  • We need to shop your competitor to make sure we are getting the best price.
  • Let us have your card and we'll get back to you.
  • "Don't you have the ability to drop the price?" (They got an employee discount so NOPE I don't")
I over came all of these objections and they left in a new Traverse. When they left, the wife came up to me and thanked me for coming outside to greet them (most people wait until they come in at our place) and told me that if I wouldn't have greeted them, they would not have bought because they were just looking.

What a thrill! I took a couple of was there to honestly look and just gather information and they left in a vehicle--I made a full commission and they were very happy to pay $120 more than their newspaper-ad-misguided goal because I actually made some friends and built value in the vehicle. I cannot wait until tomorrow to try to do it again!

Have any good success stories? Please respond and share with the readers of this blog!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some Helpful Tips for 2009

As someone who sells cars for a living (13 years this month by the way) I have learned a few things here and there.

First--a little note. In the last two weeks, I have noticed a huge difference in the attitudes of customers. Three weeks ago, it was all gloom and doom and sales were almost non-existent but during the last two weeks, I have been absolutely rocking. Part of it is the attitude of the customers (spring is here and that always changes attitudes, the stock market is climbing, GM didn't ask for any bailout money in March, etc.) but part of it is that I have still been trying to work hard and drum up business. Plus, not to pat myself on the back, I have learned a few things about selling cars over the years.

Here are a few random tips and tidbits that help me sell cars. Perhaps they could also work for you.

1) Stay away from negative people, negative talk, negative news, negative web sites and anything else that is negative.

2) Send postcards to your customers once every month or two. I sent out some postcards advertising the 0% last month and today, a previous customer from three years ago, called me from the card. They came up today and left in a new Chevrolet Cobalt. Postcards are easier for the customer to read than letters in envelopes and they are cheaper to send out ($0.27 instead of $0.42 each)

3) If you have a customer who wants more for their trade and you switch the conversation to payment and have some room where you can drop the payment while keeping the trade the same (rate, term, money down, etc.) the prevent a future objection from happening by saying something like this. "Mr. Customer, I know you want to be at $300 and we are at $350. I'll see what I can do with the payment but it may involve other factors besides your trade-in. As long as I can get the payment down to $300, you don't care how I do it, do you?"

4) Learn how to handle "I want to think about it" or any variation like "I want to go home and study it" etc. Say something like this. "Mr. Customer, I have learned that when someone says that they want to think about it, they usually want to think about the car, the equipment or the price. Which one are you going to be thinking about?" They will usually answer with price and you can overcome it by focusing on their budget (instead of the price) and if they answer with the car or equipment, you are probably on the wrong vehicle!

5) Try to avoid dealer trades at all costs. I will quite frankly rather drop the price a little rather than do a dealer trade. There are a ton of "little birdies" that will tweet little tweets in their heads while you spend a day or two getting a car for them from another dealership. You know what the little birdies will be tweeting to them?
  • You are getting ripped off. I saw an ad in the paper that was $4000 less!
  • My friend at this dealership (who gives me a birddog) can get you a better deal.
  • You need to go look at a Ford instead (or Chevy if YOU sell Fords ;-)
  • (Wife) Are you sure we need to spend all of that money?
  • (Husband) Maybe I should get a Harley instead!
You get the picture.

6) Use a good greeting. "Hi, Welcome to Biff Motors! My name is George and you are...?"

When I walk into a place and someone welcomes me, I actually feel special even though I know that they are "supposed" to say that. Conversely, I order from a local pizza place and the people who answer the phone don't thank me for calling and sound like they hate their job. I'm sure it costs them business. People like doing business with people who appreciate them. Thank your people for calling!

7) Speaking of the phone, when you answer it SAY YOUR NAME! I can't stand when I call a business and they answer with one word like "PARTS" and I have to ask the name of the person I am talking-to.

8) Get a Mac computer! It won't crash, won't get viruses, won't slow down from ad-ware, is cool and will make you feel cool--that will help you sell more cars.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Car Sales Assistant 7

CSA 7 is going along very well--I'm getting some good, positive response from it!

I will have an update up tonight that will allow previous users to import their data (from CSA 3, 4, 2007 and 2008)--I am also working on a module to import from CSV (excel) files.

I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Cool Thing I Started Doing

Hi, everyone!

By the way, the newest version of Car Sales Assistant has been released.  I'm calling it Car Sales Assistant 7 since it is the 7th version of the program.  You can check it out at my website

This article is not about it, though.  It is about something very cool that I, and one other salesperson, have started doing.

We each bought a digital photo frame that we keep on our desk.  Everytime we sell a car now, we get a picture of the customers in front of the vehicle.  What do people always do when you take their picture?  Besides saying "cheese," they smile.  So--you get a smiling picture of a customer next to their nice, new, clean car and this is what we do next.

We go to Sams Club and get a 1-page calendar made with the picture.  It costs all of $1.49.  We send one to the customer immediately (before they get their CSI survey.)  Then we call them a few days later and say, "Did you like the little gift I sent you?  I know it isn't much but I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your business."  They are 100% of the time always happy to get it.  You know what else?  They will show it to their friends and if you prime them right, they will send their friends up to see you.  You know what else?  Can someone who looks so happy in a picture give you a bad score on your CSI?  Nope!

Back to the picture frame.  Customers always look at it to see if they know someone who bought a car from you.  Everyone in the pictures are smiling (cheese!) so subconsciously, your new customers are saying, " sure makes his/her customers happy!"

Invest the $50-$80 on a reasonable picture frame, a nice cheap digital camera (I use a Sony that is 5 years old--bought them with GM Perqs when we still had them )-: or sometimes my I-Phone) and invest the $1.49 in a calendar plus maybe $0.15 for a picture to put in your file box.  You know what else?  Import the picture into Car Sales Assistant and never forget someones name again!

Have fun everyone!

Very, very easy stuff to do and your customers will love it!

Friday, March 6, 2009

CSA 7 Screenshot and Some Features

Here is a screen shot of Car Sales Assistant 7, the newest version of our follow up CRM software for car salespeople.  Here are some things of note...

Notice all of the quick links on the upper left side of the screen.  21 in all.  Here are some of the cool new ones...

  • Today's Customers:  All people that you have talked to today--whether they are internet leads, phone ups, showroom prospects or sold customers.  So--if your manager says, "What have you done today, " you can show him or her!
  • Internet Leads/Phone Ups: They will show up on this list until you sell them, they show up in your showroom or you mark them as "lost."  Why is this cool?  Well, you don't want to forget about them--if you set an appointment (and that is all you should do over the phone or internet) and if they show up--you will have a 50% average closing ratio.  Get 20 to come in and sell an extra 10 cars!!!
  • Expiring Leases: You can see a list of leases about to expire within X amount of days.  You can set X to whatever value you like--3-6 months is the best for me!
  • Customers/Prospects to contact: If you want to call a working prospect (current prospect in the program, that is...) every 2 days then you can set the value to 2 in your settings and any prospect who doesn't get contacted within 2 days will show up on this list.  This goes the same for customers.  You can actually set different values for both customers and prospects like every 45 days for customers or every 3 for prospects.
  • Family in Market: Very cool stuff--this alone will pay the price of admission!  According to Joe Verde, 30% of family members have someone who will be in the market for a car within 3 months.  What is so great about this?  Well, if you at least KNOW what the family members are driving (and CSA7 makes it very easy to track this) then you will have an opportunity to contact them and perhaps sell a car (with over a 65% closing ratio for all you math wizards!)
This Month's Progress: You can now see what your averages are for each category.

I'll be the first to admit that Car Sales Assistant 2008 is confusing.  To log a lead, you have to follow these steps...

  2. Read a thing that tells you what to do. 
  3. Search for a customer to see if they haven't been logged before.
  4. If they have been logged, click them.  If not, click NEW ADDRESS.
  5. Edit the personal data.
  7. Put in all of their prospect and purchase information.
CSA7 makes it easier.
  1. Click NEW CUSTOMER menu and pull down to the type you want (Sold, Phone Up, Internet, Unsold Prospect)
  2. Bam!  You are now on the customer screen where you can enter their data.
About 50% of the people who bought CSA2008 had questions on how it worked and I had some people say it was a "clumsy" interface, hard to understand, confusing, it sucked, etc.  I had a method for my madness but I think CSA7 will apeal to more people with its ease of use.

Notice that all the data for your customer is on the screen.  At the dealership where I work, we use an untra-expensive CRM that really sucks.  Here is what I need to do when I make a follow up call.  I have to click on the person and see what vehicle they drove.  Click on the notes to see what I talked about last time.  Exit the screen and then click on the button to make the call.

In CSA7 all of that data is on one screen so you can just click, call and watch the $$$'s roll in!

Family Members: This is a feature that I had in earlier versions of CSA (not 2008 though) that I really missed.  It is a great opportunity to sell more cars.  When you call a customer, take a survey and ask them about all the drivers in their household.  Ask what they are driving and put the info in.  If they are leasing, for God's sake--put in the date their lease expires so you can call them if they qualify for a pull ahead or when their lease expires.  Ask them who is next in line for a new or used car.  Enter a date when they will be in the market and guess what--remember the quick links?  This family member will show up on the quick link when in the market or when their lease is about to expire (or pull ahead...)  Do this for every one in your database and you will never have to catch a fresh up again.

Whoops--please note that this is a beta version and missing some of the buttons on the customer screen.

This program will be released in 2 days.  I will charge a nominal fee for previous users to upgrade to this if they like.  In the intial release, there will be no import functions but I will add them later (like from earlier versions or from spread sheets.)

Is there anything you would like to see in CSA?  If so, let me know!

Thanks so much for reading this blog.  Things are really tough right now in the car business (especially here in Michigan) but if you work hard, you can still make selling cars work for you and make tons of money in this business.  CSA7 will make it easy to work hard and accomplish your goals.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coming Soon: Car Sales Assistant 7

I have been hard at work programming CSA 7--the newest version of car sales assistant.  It is about ready for realease.  Anyone who orders CSA 2008 between now and then will get a free upgrade.  

Screen shots coming soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How I got "Sold"

Hi, everyone!  Hope you are all having a good and prosperous new year!

First off, on a personal note.  A little history about myself.  As well as being a car salesperson, I am also a programmer on PC-based computers.  I program in Visual Basic 2008 in Windows and swore that I would never own a Mac. Well, what would get anyone to chunk out $1400 for a laptop when you can get a good one for half that price?  The I-Phone for one.  I have one (and love it) and want to begin to write software for it (such as an I-Phone version of Car Sales Assistant for example) and even to write a few games (I learned how to program writing games by the way.)  In order to program the I-Phone, you must own a Mac.

Last Saturday, I went to Best Buy to look at games for my XBox 360 and walked past the Macs.  I tapped on the keyboard and really liked the feel of the keys.  A young sales dude came up to me and said, "Isn't that nice?"

"Yeah," I answered trying not to look interested.  "I have an I-Phone and have been wanting to check one of these out."

"That's what got me to get a Mac," he said with great enthusiasm.  "I have this one over here. Look how it is made of aluminum and how nice the screen looks. Look at this power cord."  He pointed to a power cord that is actually magnetically attached to the computer so if someone trips over it, it doesn't fling the whole laptop crashing on the floor (what killed my last laptop by the way!)  "The screen gets brighter and fades automatically depending on your lighting conditions and some of the keyboards light up."

"Wow!  That's pretty cool," I said.  "I'm a programmer," I told him, " and would like to program the I-Phone."

"I'm not a programmer," he said, "but it is really cool how the I-Phone and the Mac work together.  You can develop your software on the Mac and run it on a simulator and then when it is ready, you can copy it to your I-Phone and put it on the App Store."

You mean I can simulate an I-Phone on a Mac?  Hook, line and sinker.

"I think I have one of these left," he said, using a sales technique unknowingly--you know which one--creating scarcity in the product to make me want it more. 

God, I hope he has one left!

He typed a few things into the computer and I saw the words, "10+ in stock."
"I have at least 10 left.  Would you like me to go get you one?"

"Uh--I'm married and would have to talk to my wife," I said using the excuse we all hear selling cars on a day-to-day basis.

He looked at me and said, "I'm here until 7:00."  Wow--he fell for my excuse!

Thank God he didn't go for the close!  I said to myself.  I would have bought the computer!  He had me--he was friendly, very enthusiastic about his product and very knowledgeable about something he didn't actively do--program an I-Phone. I got the hell out of there knowing how close I came to spending $1299 + $99 for a warranty + 6% sales tax!!!

While driving home, I had nothing but that MacBook on my mind as I lovingly held my I-Phone in my hand.  Once again, Thank God the guy didn't go for the close!  I already own about 5 computers and do not need a Mac!

OK--what is the moral of this story?  The moral of this story is to not give up after one "No."  I could have been closed by that salesperson.  I was so close to buying it that if I had a Best Buy card with 0% financing and if he would have asked overcome my "want to talk to my wife" excuse, I would have bought one.

By the way--my wife has a Best Buy card and guess what--when I got home, I convinced her to go out and buy me the MacBook--the awesome laptop that I am using to compose this blog as we speak!  I have been using computers for over 25 years and this, by far, is the best one yet.  I love the feel of the aluminum--it is a very solid computer.  I love the keys--I can fly on this keyboard.  I love the mouse touch pad on it--I can actually use 2 fingers to scroll up and down and use pinch modes to zoom in and out--just like on an I-Phone. The soul of Steve Jobs (the CEO of Apple and Pixar) is all over this computer. The asthetics of it, the fact that you don't hear a fan whirling all the time (or ever actually!), how cool it feels and runs, how awesome the operating system is, etc. God--if only he ran GM!

You know what else? There is a program called I-Photo--I imported about 500 pictures into it and my boss (who has the same MacBook) told me about a facial recognition system built into it. You pick a picture and it draws a box around the faces and asks for names. I did my son Alex. You repeat the process with another picture and click a search button and within a fraction of a second, the program shows a bunch of pictures that your son is in and guess what, it is about 95% accurate! I repeated the process with my daughter, wife, mom and myself and it is actually learning. Now when I import pictures, it knows who is in them! I could go on for hours and hours about the cool calendar that I created in I-Photo (click BUY when done and Apple creates it for you and ships it to you the next day--pretty freaking cool!) I could talk about the awesome I-Movie program (go to and check out the tutorial on it.)

Programming on it is going slow--I am learning a new language and programming style from scratch but I promise--there will be cool programs for car salespeople soon.  There won't be the full blown Car Sales Assistant (that is a lot of info for a cell phone screen) but there might be one where you keep track of prospects and appointments on the I-Phone.  I also plan on converting a few games that I have written over the years.

The moral of this story? I walked into Best Buy and on a whim spent $1400 of my wife's credit because a salesperson (even though he didn't close me on the spot) did a fantastic job with me.  You can do the same selling cars. I love this computer and I love what I can do with it. I hope to make a million dollars writing games for the I-Phone but if I don't, I will not regret the purchase.


Friday, January 16, 2009

New Years Resolutions

First of all, hats off to "Sully" Sullenberger--the guy who landed the plane into the Hudson River and saved over 100 lives. Wow--what a hero. Someone needs to buy that guy a trip to the International Space Station, or something!

OK--it's that time of the year. I work with a guy who gets on the Adkins diet every January, another who quits smoking, about 6 who say they will work harder to sell more cars, etc. They all get broken by the way.

So, why even try? Well--if you try to follow a New Years Resolution for even 1 week, you are doing better than not doing it at all.

For example: I set a New Years Resolution to not create objections. What do I mean by that? I had a customer come up on Saturday. We had just gotten 6 inches of snow and the lot was in a shambles. They wanted to drive a red Malibu--her favorite color. "Red is just so pretty!" Now--things don't always happen like this but the only car I could get out of the snow for her was a silver one and as a matter of fact, I didn't even have a red one on the lot. She drove the silver one, loved it and bought it on the spot.

How does this have to do with creating objections? Well, if I would have told her that I didn't have a red one instead of just pulling out the silver one, she probably would have objected. "But I really want red!"

Just a quick one for today. It is eleven below zero today (and that's not even counting the windchill yet!!!) We are expecting another 5" of snow today--my desk at work is in a nice, sunny spot. I just got over the Flu--I think I'm just gonna get a tan today! ;-)