| -

CARY, N.C. — Hundreds of dealers took part of their Tuesday afternoon to soak in valuable information and strategic recommendations from industry experts during the latest Webinar from the Auto Remarketing Training Series.

Almost 800 attendees registered for the event that covered topics which ranged from best inventory management practices, how to harness opportunities at auction as wholesale supplies tighten, what potential vehicle buyers are thinking and ways to highlight current inventory through online channels most effectively.

The Webinar began with a presentation from Doug Hadden, manager of training and development at DealerTrack. Hadden's focus centered on the theme, "Inventory Management Best Practices — Always Have a Plan."

Hadden assured participants at the outset by being frank about how the industry has behaved in the last few months — conditions dealers have rarely seen.

"We're dealing with a crazy set of circumstances so we need to maximize profit," Hadden stressed.

In order to accomplish that task, Hadden explained that dealers have to become an expert in inventory management.

Hadden said dealers must use all of the tools they have available to determine which vehicles turn quickly and create strong margins and which do not. To formulate such data, he pointed out that dealers can use whatever they have accessible, anything from a complex inventory management system, a sales spreadsheet from the finance department or simply walk the lot with a yellow pad.

"You've got to use every tool you have available and put it all together," Hadden reiterated.

Next up on the agenda was Greg Lubrani, business line director at OPENLANE. Lubrani's presentation focused on "Effectively Sourcing Wholesale Inventory Given the Changing Market."

Lubrani reiterated that dealers need to be careful how they stock their inventories since wholesale supply numbers have been soft for quite a while.

"More dealers are fighting for a smaller pool of vehicles," Lubrani noted.

Lubrani went on to share some general guidance for dealers. The recommendations ranged from having dealers consider whether the auction has the vehicles they need, how the organization handles title issues and what are the policies and procedures for arbitration of misrepresented vehicles.

As the Webinar rolled on, next on the agenda was Jay Luna, process improvement manager at Carfax. Luna took a different spin on his discussion, titling it, "Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes to Close More Deals."

Luna shared a few points he believes are often swirling through the minds of consumers. He mentioned that no matter how sincere and honest a dealer's personnel might be, consumers sometimes do not trust sales consultants. Furthermore, potential buyers are worried about buying a vehicle that's reliable, not a unit that caused headaches for the previous owner.

To alleviate those concerns, Luna shared that some dealers are leveraging Carfax data to be the centerpiece of a special sales event to generate consumer interest. Carfax offers special materials that dealers can use on vehicles and in the showroom to augment the entire campaign.

"You can use that Vehicle History Report to leverage better gross margins and increased traffic to your dealership," Luna noted.

The last segment of the Webinar featured a presentation based on CDM Data from Rob Lange, national sales training director for Kelley Blue Book. Lange's comments incorporated the theme "Strengthen Your Inventory's Online Presence in 2010."

Lange began by discussing how the latest online advancements often are quite appealing to dealers. However, before dealers look to the latest social networking site, he recommended they shore up their current online presence in order to enjoy the best ROI with Web initiatives already in place.

No matter what Web tools dealers may use, Lange explained that consumers use the Internet to make buying decisions for several reasons. He said that consumers often have severe time constraints and cannot go to a store. Lange also pointed out that some buyers believe going online "levels the playing field," because some have always felt the dealers have the upper-hand on the lot. 

"By going to their computer, customers believe there's the potential to come away with a greater-than-expected result," Lange said.

As customers demand more online, dealers have to be prepared to handle those requirements, he added.

For an audio recording of the Webinar complete with each presenter's slide presentation, visit http://www.autoremarketing.com/preownedsuccess

"Coming off of our successful series launch last fall, dealers again had the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable professionals who want to help them," said Bill Zadeits, associate publisher of Auto Remarketing and the Webinar's host. "The latest ARTS Webinar was a tremendous success, and we'd like to thank all attendees as well as our partners at DealerTrack, OPENLANE, Carfax and Kelley Blue Book for their support and insightful presentations."

Added Zadeits, "Dealers are seeking useful guidance even more as the industry rebounds, and we look forward to bringing you more education opportunities as we go forward with the Auto Remarketing Training Series."

The next Webinar to be hosted by Auto Remarketing is scheduled for Jan. 26, which will feature Stu Zalud, director of dealer services for NADA Used Car Guide. The Webinar is geared to help dealers learn how important having the right appraisal process is to both the bottom line and improving customer satisfaction.

Research shows that more than 50 percent of consumers were dissatisfied with their last trade-in experience. Zalud, a 38-year veteran of the dealership world, will discuss how a standardized appraisal process can increase customer satisfaction and boost your bottom line.

To register for the NADA Used Car Guide Webinar, visit http://www.autoremarketing.com/nadawebinar

Also, stay tuned to Auto Remarketing e-newsletters for more information on other upcoming ARTS Webinars.