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Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Eric Wass, Heuberger Motors

Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Eric Wass, Heuberger Motors

Eric Wass, Internet Sales Manager, Heuberger Motors
July 2014 Autobytel Dealer of the Month

We'd like to congratulate Eric Wass, Internet Sales Manager at Heuberger Motors, for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for July 2014.

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.

Eric recently spoke with us about his team's commitment to providing upfront, open and honest communication and pricing, and to addressing all of their customers' needs which has enabled Heuberger Motors to win numerous Subaru customer satisfaction awards.

Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?

My name is Eric Wass and I'm the Internet Sales Manager for Heuberger Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We've been in business since 1970 and we're a standalone, family-owned Subaru dealership located about 45 minutes from South Denver. I'm a relatively new addition to the Heuberger Motors team, coming up on my second anniversary this October. I'm one of two Internet sales directors - I was hired in sales and about six months later, I was promoted to the position of Internet Sales Manager.

How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?

Our dealership has been with Autobytel for over 18 months now. Prior to this store, I used Autobytel at another store and recommended that Heuberger use the program here. There's getting to be fewer and fewer third party lead programs. Autobytel is really one of the only ones left that provides quality leads in this format, and we pick up a decent amount of business from Autobytel leads.

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.

We run a strict cradle to grave system here instead of a BDC. We are firmly committed to this process and feel it's the best - from the client's perspective, you get to work with your salesperson the entire time versus being shuffled around. We also provide low upfront pricing from the very first email, and we try to provide our clients with as much information as possible - as much or more information than what they're looking for - so they feel comfortable working with us from the get-go.

What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?

Based on the number of dealers on the Autobytel program, it's a very nice honor. I always read about Autobytel Dealer of the Month award winners in the Autobytel dealer newsletter, so it's an honor to be named a winner.

What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?

You really don't have to reinvent the wheel. To me, the Internet customer is the most fearful customer. I rank people who walk into our dealership as the least fearful, people who call our dealership on the phone as the second most fearful, and Internet customers as the most fearful. If you do everything you can to allay their fears, that's where you will be most successful. You allay those fears by the quality of your communications. Give your clients low upfront pricing and as much information as possible and you'll be successful.

What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at Heuberger Motors or with the brand that you'd like to share?

The auto industry is still pretty strong but the Internet has certainly changed clients' perceptions. In my opinion, the bad old car business embittered customers and they have come to expect more from us and feel more entitled. It makes sense that the tables have been turned on our business. Every day, I deal with a lot of different customers and I see different trends among them. It's a bit like a sociological experiment.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?

My primary activity is volleyball. In the summer, I play outdoor doubles. We have big tournaments in the mountains that we participate in, and in the winter, I play indoor fours volleyball. I've been playing since I was 16 years old. My fiance played volleyball for Cal State Long Beach. She grew up in Redondo Beach and did a lot of training on the beach. We're both still passionate about volleyball. I also like to golf and play basketball when I can.

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.