Personalize Your Experience! Log In Sign Up Help

EasyAutoSales Blog

6 comments

Interview with Eric Miltsch of Auction Direct USA

eric_miltsch_auction_direct_usa

Check out our interview with Eric Miltsch, the Internet Director for Auction Direct USA Used Cars Superstore.  He also blogs professionally at WhyBuyUsedCars.com in his effort to help change the way consumers buy used cars.

If you’d like to be a part of our Car Dealer Interview Series, please shoot me an email at will(at)easyautosales.com or twitter us @easyautosales.

1. Eric, tell us a little bit about Auction Direct USA and your own career in the auto industry?

Auction Direct USA Superstore is a unique used cars dealer intent on changing the way consumers buy used cars. We’re passionate about improving the entire buying process for automotive consumers – starting with the online experience, the in-store experience and continuing with the post sale relationship. Every element is fertile ground for improvement. My automotive industry experience actually began with Auction Direct three years ago, shortly after the company opened its doors. I’m not a traditional car guy and have never worked for a dealership. From my perspective, we’re not selling cars, we’re making it easier and more enjoyable for people to find their perfect vehicle.

2. How has Auction Direct USA been specifically affected by the current economic situation?

Like many dealers, the credit market issues has been a challenge.  It has somewhat limited the total number of available solutions to credit challenged guests. However, the current economic state has also made more consumers consider used vehicles. As more people feel the effect of the economy, they want the assurance they’re getting the best value. We’re fortunate that we’re positioned as the low-cost provider of quality use vehicles within the markets we serve. The buying cycle may increase for some, but eventually they find the best value.

3. What expenses have you cut from your daily operation?  What new programs have you added to your daily operation?

Auction Direct runs as lean as possible, keeping a cautious eye on expenses. The expenses that were cut, or re-balanced, include those items simply not providing a positive ROI. Technology expenses always need to be monitored as well. We work with our vendors to get the best pricing; tracking advertising/marketing expenses is definitely a priority.

One new successful item is our Order A Vehicle Program. If we don’t have the vehicle a customer wants, our In-Store Locate Specialists help them quickly find the exact vehicle within our large auction network. A customer’s vehicle purchased via this program is usually delivered to our location within five to seven days. This has been very popular because of the simplicity and speed of the entire process. Customers are amazed at how easy it is to complete their purchase.

4. Have you seen any trends regarding selling cars outside 100 miles of your dealership? Does it pay to get people from around the country to view your cars?

Traffic, leads and sales, from outside 100 miles of our locations, continues to increase at a moderate pace. Consumers are looking for the best prices, especially big-ticket items like automobiles. Referrals play a big part of our business too, we make it easy for customers to connect with family and friends to help “spread the word.” The extra exposure has resulted in vehicles being shipped to California, Germany and even to The Congo.

5. What has been your most useful tool for selling cars?

Its not necessarily the tools that are important, its the message sent out via those tools. We  believe a key factor is a well designed vehicle detail page. Our detail pages quickly provides customers with everything needed to make intelligent buying decisions. Another useful tool is our in-store research computers. We encourage our customers to research competitor’s prices. Lastly, it all comes down to the most important item: qualified sales professionals committed to helping our guests have the best experience possible.

6. What do you do to foster customer loyalty?

Loyalty comes only once trust is established. We begin building trust the moment a guest walks through the door. Open and honest communication helps foster that loyalty. Our used cars blog, Facebook Fan Page and our Twitter account are just a few examples of how we’ve improved our communication methods and built authority.

Creating a memorable, positive experience before, during and after the purchases also helps. Our customer’s loyalty is demonstrated by their repeat purchases and especially from the word of mouth/referral business we receive.

7. What are your thoughts on online reputation management? Are online reviews of dealers the next IT thing?

It appears traditional dealers may get the short end of the stick with online review sites. I’ve seen several sites with nothing but continuous streams of negative reviews.These sites are even pushing their RSS feeds to Twitter. Unfortunately, dealerships may not be equipped with the proper resources to manage, monitor and respond to the negative reviews. Nobody is 100% immune – we’ve had our share as well.
The key is quickly identifying the comments and providing a professional response. If the opportunity exists to correct a problem for an unhappy customers, it needs to be seized. Google and Twitter alerts can help; the best solution is a social media monitoring program. (Think Google Analytics for your brand ) Monitoring your brand is critical given the power of the online customer voice today.


8. What are your thoughts on the future of dealerships as many people start shifting their shopping patterns towards online research and browse?  What can dealers do to adapt?

Online research will continue to grow as tools become easier to use and access. So many dealers realize consumers want detailed descriptions with multiple photos, video capabilities and vehicle history reports – but its not stopping there. I see the integration of social tools playing a larger role in the decision making process as well. The ability to provide vehicle information, comparison shopping tools and user-generated content in a easy to use environment – with multiple entry points and contact methods, will make things even easier for car shoppers. We’re excited because these tools fit perfectly with our philosophy of changing the way consumers buy used cars.

Thanks for your time Eric! |  Thank you too!

Readers, if you have any more questions for Eric feel free to add them in the comments.  Hopefull we can keep the interview going.  Again, if you’d like to be interviewed on our blog shoot me an email at will(at)easyautosales.com or twitter us @easyautosales

  • somaie

    Many affiliate guides forget to mention that it is always prudent to build traffic first and then consider affiliate marketing. There is no magic potion. If there is no traffic, there are no profits. Don’t worry, if you haven’t got hordes of visitors, even a few visitors will do initially. Once these visitors start trickling down the web drain, you can place banners and advertising in appropriate places to get the results. A good affiliate marketer doesn’t care about the number of clicks but on the average number of clicks per visitor.
    Such techniques, slowly but surely brings success. And with it comes a potential for much higher rewards

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  • coetsee

    Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  • coetsee

    Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  • jansens

    visit to indonesian business to business marketplace http://www.tradegigs.com

  • jansens

    visit to indonesian business to business marketplace http://www.tradegigs.com

  • used construction equipment

    */
    @font-face
    {font-family:”Cambria Math”;
    panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
    mso-font-charset:1;
    mso-generic-font-family:roman;
    mso-font-format:other;
    mso-font-pitch:variable;
    mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;}
    @font-face
    {font-family:Calibri;
    panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;
    mso-font-charset:0;
    mso-generic-font-family:swiss;
    mso-font-pitch:variable;
    mso-font-signature:-520092929 1073786111 9 0 415 0;}
    /* Style Definitions */
    p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
    {mso-style-unhide:no;
    mso-style-qformat:yes;
    mso-style-parent:””;
    margin-top:0in;
    margin-right:0in;
    margin-bottom:10.0pt;
    margin-left:0in;
    line-height:115%;
    mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
    font-size:11.0pt;
    font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
    mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
    mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
    .MsoChpDefault
    {mso-style-type:export-only;
    mso-default-props:yes;
    mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
    mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
    .MsoPapDefault
    {mso-style-type:export-only;
    margin-bottom:10.0pt;
    line-height:115%;}
    @page Section1
    {size:8.5in 11.0in;
    margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
    mso-header-margin:.5in;
    mso-footer-margin:.5in;
    mso-paper-source:0;}
    div.Section1
    {page:Section1;}
    –>

    I’m sure Tripatini is a useful site. The forums here on
    Frommers give some excellent advice and information. For those of you who.

    http://www.assetline.com/internet/index_e.html