AutoUSA May Interview

Mike War­wick MikeWarwick-Kelly
Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing
Kel­ly Auto Group
Boston, MA Area


AutoUSA: Can you tell me a lit­tle bit about your deal­er­ship and your back­ground in the indus­try?

Mike: The Kel­ly Auto Group is an 8 store deal­er­ship group in the Greater Boston Area. The Boston mar­ket is one of the most com­pet­i­tive mar­kets in the coun­try and we have sold more Nis­sans, Jeeps, Chryslers, Infini­ti and FIATs than any oth­er deal­er in New Eng­land.   We fea­ture (3) Nis­san deal­er­ships, Hon­da, Volk­swa­gen, Jeep/Chrysler, Infini­ti and FIAT.  Found­ed in 1965 by Roland D. Kel­ly as a Dat­sun fran­chise, the busi­ness was pur­chased in 1982 by Roland’s son Bri­an D. Kel­ly.  Over the years, the group has grown but our com­mit­ment to Roland D. Kelly’s found­ing prin­ci­ples of “Hon­est Sales and Excel­lent Ser­vice,” has remained the same.

I have been in the car busi­ness since 2001.  I start­ed as a sales­per­son and have held posi­tions as a Sales Man­ag­er, Inter­net Man­ag­er, Gen­er­al Sales Man­ag­er and my cur­rent posi­tion of Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing.  In my cur­rent posi­tion, I am respon­si­ble for all Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing efforts as well as man­ag­ing our 8 Call Cen­ters.

 AutoUSA: What is the size and struc­ture of your Inter­net Depart­ment?

Our Inter­net Depart­ments are struc­tured as in-store Call Cen­ters.  This allows our Call Cen­ter Agents to work close­ly with our Sales Man­agers and sales­peo­ple.  Our com­pet­i­tive advan­tage is the team­work we have between these groups.  Our com­mon goal is to pro­vide a trans­par­ent, cus­tomer focused process that makes car buy­ing a user-friend­ly, stream­lined expe­ri­ence.  After exper­i­ment­ing with a cen­tral­ized Call Cen­ter, it became appar­ent that we were los­ing busi­ness because of the dis­con­nect that occurred when agents would build rap­port with cus­tomers and then not be avail­able when the cus­tomer vis­it­ed the show­room.  Hav­ing the agents in the stores has increased our Inter­net clos­ing per­cent­age by 34% over the last 18 months.

AutoUSA: Do you use inde­pen­dent lead providers? And what is your expe­ri­ence with them?

We use var­i­ous inde­pen­dent lead providers and our results have been bet­ter than the typ­i­cal indus­try aver­ages.  AutoUSA has always been an impor­tant part of our new car lead mix. We also use the AutoUSA Show Pro pro­gram to get more appoint­ments and their PowerListings2.0 helps us with great expo­sure on Craig s List. For our group, the key to our suc­cess with leads has been our speed of response and per­sis­tence with long-term fol­low up.

AutoUSA: What types of mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing do you do to increase web traf­fic? 

We use all forms of tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing as well as Pay Per Click, Re-tar­get­ing, Dis­play, Social Media and blog­ging to increase our web­site traf­fic.  All of these efforts are con­stant­ly refined to improve our ROI.  They key to run­ning effec­tive Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing cam­paigns is to avoid part­ner­ing with ven­dors who employ a “set it for­get it” approach.  All of these cam­paigns need to be test­ed and adjust­ed over time to deter­mine what is per­form­ing well.

AutoUSA: What do you do to cre­ate a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence?

Our cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, both in-store and online, are extreme­ly impor­tant.  Our goal is to pro­vide a user-friend­ly expe­ri­ence that begins online and is car­ried through the show­room vis­it.  When we sched­ule an appoint­ment to vis­it our show­room, the customer’s record, last three emails and any pric­ing that was giv­en is placed in a mani­la fold­er at the recep­tion desk.  When the cus­tomer comes to the store, they are instruct­ed to check in at recep­tion.  The recep­tion­ist will intro­duce the cus­tomer to a Sales Man­ag­er who will review the customer’s file with them, select a sales­per­son to work with the cus­tomer and review the sales process with the cus­tomer and the sales­per­son.  This gives the cus­tomer a clear under­stand­ing of what will take place dur­ing their vis­it and allows for the Sales Man­ag­er who will be work­ing the deal to have an Ear­ly Man­ag­er Intro­duc­tion and build rap­port.