Jesse Biter, Founder of Dealers United

1. STRATEGY & COMPANY MISSION

At Deal­ers Unit­ed our mis­sion is to lev­el the play­ing field for pri­vate­ly-owned deal­er­ships so that they can effec­tive­ly com­pete with MegaDeal­ers. We do that by offer­ing free mem­ber­ships to deal­ers and then group­ing them togeth­er as one buy­er for reduced pric­ing; in addi­tion, we act as their busi­ness devel­op­ment depart­ment by find­ing the best ven­dors based on mem­ber sur­veys and nego­ti­at­ing deals based on vol­ume. We pro­mote nego­ti­at­ed deals to the group, and if enough deal­ers sign up for the offer, the deal ships and they all receive the dis­count.

2. MARKETING OBJECTIVES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Cur­rent­ly we are just build­ing the brand and get­ting the word out. We had a soft launch in Octo­ber and our hard launch was Novem­ber 15, so we are still in the begin­ning stages. We are con­tin­u­ing to work to build a brand and spread the mes­sage by inform­ing the indus­try about what we call “the scary facts” tak­ing place. The scary facts are MegaDeal­ers are sell­ing more cars, gain­ing more ground and have access to more and more cap­i­tal. Mean­while, inde­pen­dent and pri­vate­ly-owned deal­er­ships dur­ing the same time peri­od are los­ing ground and sell­ing few­er cars, and some of them are dis­ap­pear­ing. We’re try­ing to bring aware­ness to the indus­try so they can see the prob­lem and fight back.

Our mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty is real­ly just pro­mote what we are doing to every sin­gle deal­er­ship in the coun­try. The oppor­tu­ni­ties to do that are through print media, direct email, direct mail, indi­rect endorse­ments and trade shows, and also through NADA Twen­ty Groups — so we can con­tin­ue to spread the mes­sage and inform the deal­er body about this trend.

3. MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES

Right now our biggest man­age­ment chal­lenge is build­ing a team. I have expe­ri­enced build­ing a team at Home­Net and I know how effec­tive a good team can be because Home­Net has as good a team as I can imag­ine. So, with Deal­ers Unit­ed we are build­ing a new team and start­ing from scratch. We are look­ing to find the right peo­ple, bring them togeth­er, get them work­ing togeth­er effec­tive­ly, and hav­ing them all on the same page as we get this com­pa­ny going with­out hav­ing a repeat process. Every­thing is new; there is no real way to train some­one on how to do their job. We’re kind of cre­at­ing the play­book as we go. That would be the biggest chal­lenge right now. It is some­thing that I have done before and some­thing I am famil­iar with, but it’s still a big chal­lenge.

4. INDUSTRY & MARKET SITUATION

Well, used cars have been the big hit over the past cou­ple of years. But now I see new cars becom­ing the next big hit again. It has always been a pen­du­lum. I see it swing­ing back to new cars because the tech­nol­o­gy is improv­ing, and the econ­o­my is recov­er­ing — so peo­ple want new cars again. Large MegaDeal­ers are in the best posi­tion to weath­er the econ­o­my, sell those new cars and be around for the glo­ry days that are ahead of us. I am afraid there are many fam­i­ly-owned deal­er­ships that aren’t going to sur­vive until then … that’s what we aim to change. In fact, if we have any­thing to say about it, we will affect the future of the car indus­try.

5. MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT

Our most sig­nif­i­cant accom­plish­ment is this: we now rep­re­sent more rooftops than all of the pub­licly-trad­ed MegaDeal­er Groups com­bined.



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