Shawn Veronese, General Sales Manager, Maserati of Newport Beach
December 2014 Autobytel Dealer of the Month
We'd like to congratulate Shawn Veronese, General Sales Manager of Maserati of Newport Beach in Newport Beach, California, for being named the Autobytel Dealer of the Month for December 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, and mobile and emerging technologies.
We recently spoke with Shawn at Maserati of Newport Beach - the largest Maserati-dedicated dealership in the U.S. - about her forward-thinking approach when it comes to implementing technologies such as TextShield to improve communications, drive leads, grow sales, and enhance the car buying experience for Maserati of Newport Beach clients.
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 Shawn Veronese and I'm the General Sales Manager of Maserati of Newport Beach. We offer an incredible lineup of new and pre-owned Maseratis, including the Ghibli which is a game changer in the exotic luxury car market. We serve customers throughout Orange County and the surrounding areas, and our newly opened Maserati of Newport Beach Service and Repair Collision Center in Costa Mesa is one of the only factory-certified facilities in the country. We're blessed to be located in the most beautiful area in the country, with the best customers in the nation right here in our back yard.
How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?
Mobile has become an extremely important component in car sales, and today's consumers prefer to communicate by text. We approached Autobytel six months ago to implement its TextShield product into our dealership sales and service process, which has enabled us to communicate with upscale buyers of our exotic luxury products in the manner they prefer - while texting compliantly in the process. And we incorporated text calls-to-action into our marketing materials, on signage at Maserati of Newport Beach product displays, at events around our area, and on our website. So for us, the primary benefit of working with Autobytel, and implementing TextShield, is the ability to offer our customers multiple digital touch points to our dedicated sales and service staff, in a compliant platform.
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.
It's really not about distinguishing between digital customers and walk-in customers - it's about being dynamic, informative, and engaging no matter how that customer reaches you, whether they text you, visit your website, submit an online lead, or come to your showroom. You have to be passionate about your product, you need to know the benefits of your product and how to communicate those benefits in an exciting way, and you have to be honest and fair, bottom line. It's not about "managing digital leads", it's about understanding consumer behaviors and elevating their car buying experience. It's about exceeding their expectations throughout the car buying and ownership process.
What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?
It's an honor and we really appreciate the distinction. Maserati of Newport Beach is 100% committed to making sure we exceed our customers' expectations. I have been affiliated with Autobytel for the past 20 years through my work at dealerships around this area, so it means a lot to be recognized by a company with which I've had a longstanding relationship - by a company that continues to innovate through mobile and other emerging technologies.
What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?
Be excited, be informed, and be honest. And don't be afraid to try new approaches to marketing communications, whether it's with mobile or with new technologies that are being developed. Also, we think events are important, not only at our dealership, but also throughout our community, such as fundraisers for charitable causes, rallies, etc. We conduct tours at our service facility where our customers get to meet our staff and ask questions about their cars. It's also very important to communicate with our clients through social media and to provide a top notch experience for which the Maserati brand is known. For us it's about opening our doors by inviting our customers to come to our dealership, to participate in events with our dealership, and to enable them to communicate with our staff the way they prefer to communicate.
What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at Maserati of Newport Beach or with the brand that you'd like to share?
Maserati of Newport Beach was established in 2002. We have a longstanding relationship with the people here in our community, and we are the nation's largest Maserati-dedicated dealership. When it comes to Southern California residents, they are always looking for the newest and best in technology, luxury, and lifestyle, and this applies to their automotive needs too. When they want something different, something better, they come to the Maserati family. If they want a better sales and service experience, they come to Maserati of Newport Beach. From a product perspective, the Ghibli has changed the game for Maserati, and we look forward to growing with the brand as the new Levante SUV and Alfieri make their debut next year. From a general industry perspective, I'm incredibly optimistic. Anyone who has been in this business long enough knows that there are ups and downs. We look forward to a solid 2015, and a great transition into 2016 with the launch of exciting new Maserati products.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?
In addition to my role at Maserati of Newport Beach, I am the CEO of Marathons for Mom (www.marathonsformom.com), a charity I created in 2013 to support my mother and others diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer only has a 5% survival rate the first year. Through my passion for running, I've committed to running 12 marathons in 12 months to raise awareness and to support and guide cancer patients to the power of working together to fight this disease. The marathons I run are dedicated to current pancreatic cancer patients, as well as to serve the memory of those who have passed from this disease.
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.