Brett Strohmaier, Internet Sales Manager, M'Lady Nissan
April 2016 Autobytel Dealer of the Month
We'd like to congratulate Brett Strohmaier, Internet Sales Manager at M'Lady Nissan, for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for April 2016.
The Autobytel Dealer Awards Program honors exceptional dealers from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers who employ the highest standards in customer service, Internet automotive retail sales and lead management processes, and mobile and emerging technologies.
We recently spoke with Brett about the importance of response time, follow up, and persistence when it comes to working with customers, and how these qualities have helped this dealership shine amidst the competition.
Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?
I am the Internet Sales Manager at M'Lady Nissan in Illinois, where we sell new Nissans and a huge selection of new and pre-owned vehicles. We serve the Chicago area, including the Northwest suburbs and surrounding cities, as well as Wisconsin and other surrounding states. We once had a customer who took a train eight hours to come see us. I have been with the dealership for about two and a half years. I started in sales, then moved on to the Internet Sales department. I really love working with our CRM and lead sources, and talking with people on the phone. Working in Internet Sales allows you to contact so many different people, and it also allows me to learn the business even better. I really love being able to talk to people over the phone, and following up via email to build a relationship.
How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?
We have been with Autobytel for at least two years. I think the primary benefit to the program is that they advertise well, and as a result, we get solid leads. When I see an Autobytel source, I absolutely love it because I know that I will receive really accurate email addresses and phone numbers, and I am actually able to talk to someone. It makes my job so much easier. Autobytel allows me to connect to more customers.
What do you think makes you so successful at meeting the needs of today's Internet consumers? Please share a few of your best practices in terms of managing Internet leads.
The keys to our success are following up with our customers with emails and phone calls, and answering the customer's questions clearly, concisely, and quickly. Response time is key!
What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?
It's exciting! It's a huge honor to be recognized for our work, and hopefully we can keep it up.
What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?
Work to contact the customer, and when you do, listen to them, answer their questions, and hopefully you will be able to bring them into the dealership. Be persistent with emails and phone calls, and keep on top of them with communication. If they give you the option of multiple numbers, call them!
What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at your dealership or with your brands that you'd like to share?
Within the industry itself, it's exciting to see that the Internet keeps growing, and we are seeing more and more leads. We even contact people in other states who reach out to us. As for Nissan, they are always introducing new models and they seem to be continually meeting the customer's needs and wants which is exciting. I feel like we are attracting people to Nissan from other makes. Last year ours was the #1 volume dealership in the Midwest, and we're on track to do it again this year.
What are your thoughts on the new / emerging technologies coming out of Autobytel? For instance, receiving leads via text and texting with customers? Web based chat?
We don't use those technologies, but I think those products are great. So many people now are texting because everyone has their phone in their face all the time.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?
I have a two-year-old at home, and he keeps me pretty busy. When I had more time, I used to be big into fishing, canoeing, hiking, etc. I love outdoor activities, but I also love spending free time with my son.
Each month, Autobytel's sales and dealer operations teams evaluate prospective candidates from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers in the Autobytel network, with a monthly finalist selected based on key online automotive best practices, including conversion rates, lead management processes, customer service principles, customer and brand retention analytics and Internet department practices, among others.