Personalize Your Experience! Log In Sign Up Help

EasyAutoSales Blog

8 comments

Interview with Rhett Blanchard President of Blanchard Hyundai

rhett-blanchardWe’re very excited about this next interview with Rhett Blanchard, the President of Blanchard Hyundai in Asheville, North Carolina.  Rhett provides some great insights into the auto sales business, as well as specific advice on running a successful car dealership.

If you’d like to be interviewed for our Car Dealer Interview Series tweet us @EasyAutoSales or shoot me an email at will(at)easyautosales.com.

1. Rhett, can you tell us a little bit about Blanchard Hyundai?

We opened the doors about 3 months ago, as North Carolina’s newest
Hyundai dealer.  Prior to this, we were Asheville Dodge, a Dodge dealership that we have owned and operated for the last 12 years. We are a member of Keffer Automotive Group out of Charlotte, NC who owns or operates over 25 stores in the Southeast.  We have since sold the Dodge point to the local Chrysler-Jeep dealer and are exclusively a Hyundai Dealership.  The transaction was virtually seamless.  The day that Chrysler announced bankruptcy plans was the very day that we received our first Hyundai vehicles.

2. Can you give us some background on your own automotive career?  Why did you get into the business and what do you like about selling cars?

I started selling cars during college at a Nissan dealership in the Charlotte Area and was immediately hooked. The daily interaction with people and trying to both meet the customer’s needs and still sell something was a huge draw.  If you don’t love people, you will fail in sales, period. After college I was recruited by Keith Hawthorne who at the time was the General Manager at Keffer Dodge to do finance there.  That was an amazing experience with a lot of high energy exceptional people who really have molded my career and helped me grow.  I was later promoted to Sales Manager and then General Manager at out new location in Asheville.  The thing that I enjoy most out of the automotive business is the daily interaction with the customer and our employees.


3. What has been the biggest challenge your dealership has faced in 2009?  How has your dealership adapted to meet this challenge?

The biggest challenge we have had to face in 2009 is the fact that we are switching from a domestic product that doesn’t have a high customer perception, to an import brand that is very highly thought of. We are still struggling with inventory stocking levels, what to stock and the most effective marketing strategies.  The staff was very lean as a Dodge Dealer, it seems that we went into this recession first.  We have actually had to hire additional staff and get them up to speed on the new product.  Of course with Hyundai, we are anticipating a huge sales lift with the government CARS program.

4. Do you do anything special to ensure your shopper’s dealership experience is a good one?

Our people are paid on customer satisfaction.  I believe that your pay plan IS your job description.  I think that is best reflected in our repeat and referral percentage of business every month.  I also try to make sure that we are priced competitively in the market, so they don’t have to pay extra to do business here.  We have several managers and sales people who have been here for a couple of years.  I also believe that customer satisfaction begins with employee retention.  When the customer comes back into the store for a second vehicle and sees a number of familiar faces, that is reassures them of their experience being a good one.

5. What are some unique marketing tactics Blanchard Hyundai is doing to get more people in the door?

We are not doing any print at all.  All of our marketing is electronic. We have several annual radio contracts, as well as local personalities driving our vehicles and doing our commercials.  Internet is becoming a bigger part of our budget now with the new product.  We are sticking our feet in the water in buying some leads as well as some Google Ad words. Because we are “new” we had another Grand Opening and did a weekend with remotes and a cash tube.  Hectic, but worth it.

6. What are your most effective online marketing channels and how do you measure their success?

Our most effective online channels are third party sites like Autotrader.com and Cars.com.  We update them daily and re-price new and used inventory weekly.  They both have very effective integrated reporting tools that we monitor. These sites are spending extraordinary amounts of money to bring visitors to them, so if your aren’t there, you really aren’t reaching the market.  Our organic leads have a much higher closing percentage, and a much smaller funnel.  Our own website continues to be our number 1 online medium as well as the Manufacturers’ site and leads.

7. How involved is your dealership with social media? What kind of success, if any, have you seen from this medium? Are there any obstacles preventing you from getting more out of online tools like Twitter and Facebook?

We have both a twitter account and a facebook fan page, as well as a youtube channel. We knew that buying youtube likes will get our feet off the ground, and so, we decided to do that and stick with only Youtube, Twitter and Facebook in the beginning. I think that the biggest misconception about both sites is the corporate media strategy employed by other dealers and vendors.  It seems that a high number of companies on twitter employ strategies to get the highest number of followers regardless of interest.  If these are people who are not in your market, or will not ever transact with you then what is the point?  Our goal is to cultivate a group of followers with common interests and a regional location, so that when we have a marketing message or service special, I can get some traction.  I end up blocking most companies feeds from my twitter account that continually spam, or try to get me to sign up for more followers.  Our strategy is quality over quantity.  Very much like our customer service strategy, we want loyalty throughout a buying cycle, not a good survey score 1 time.

Thanks for your time Rhett!  If you have any further questions for Rhett please leave them in the comments.  Hopefully we can keep the interview going.  You can also find Rhett on Twitter @Bhyundai.

Find us on twitter @EasyAutoSales if you’d be interested in doing our next interview.

  • This is my first visit to your blog.Please accept me as a member.As i run a car business i think this blog will be useful for me.I wish to visit soon.

  • The landlord, I found the information is very well.It provide some chargeable to client's choice. Nike Zoom Blur Self travel, decide our own travel, this travel more wonderful.We can buy something while travelling.Iprovidesome websites for you that is wonderful.suchas

  • Pretty good points, and I agree quality over quantity for social media.

  • Pretty good points, and I agree quality over quantity for social media.

  • Happyascanbe

    You're finally out of business you fucking scum. I hope you and your whore wife end up out on the street. Good luck you greasy fuck.

  • Inventory

    Thank
    Very good interesting article.

  • 3boyzwithlotsatoys

    Your self proclaimed “Happy as can be”, might be better read,”miserable and jealous as any lowlife scumbag could possibly be” I am amazed that you could even think such an untruth, let alone WRITE it. Climb out from under that rock…put the bottle down…throw away the bottle of qualudes and get a hold of yourself and SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP…..there might still be a glimmer of hope. However small…..give it a whirl dude. U need help.

  • Blevinshvac

    He kept my brothers keys for his truck. My brother test drove a truck over the weekend and when he decided he didn’t want it they said they didn’tknow where his keys for the truck he left were and they really didn’t care. It got ugly and the police were called in . My brother never got his keys back. To make it worse when he went back home ro get a spare key they locked it up in the service dept. he had to come back the next day to get it. When he went back h. ome to get the spare key it was sitting outside. How do you move a truck with no keys. Brett is a piece good luck if you shop there and remember HOLD ON TO YOUR KEYS.