Tom Gregg, Internet Sales Director, Toyota of Naperville
October 2014 Autobytel Dealer of the Month
We'd like to congratulate Tom Gregg, Internet Sales Director at Toyota of Naperville in Naperville, Illinois, for being named the Autobytel Dealer of the Month for October 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.
We sat down with Tom recently to talk about how Toyota of Naperville focuses on making the entire sales process the best - from the dealership's marketing efforts and website optimization, to the time their customers take delivery - which has enabled them to become the number one volume Toyota dealership in the Midwest.
Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?
I'm Tom Gregg and my role is Internet Sales Director for Toyota of Naperville. We represent Toyota and Scion and we are part of the Dan Wolf Automotive Group. Our dealership is located west of Chicago about 30 - 40 minutes, and we serve customers in the Naperville and Aurora markets, and all of the surrounding cities. This is a really good market and we've had great success due to our location and our processes.
How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?
We first became an Autobytel dealer back in 2008. For Toyota, the Autobytel program really works. We like it because it's another source of qualified leads for us, and we do quite well with Autobytel leads at around a 13% close rate. The stream of leads Autobytel sends us are highly qualified.
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 don't have one specialty. We do a lot of things well from start to finish. We have an upbeat professional attitude, and we take our jobs seriously here. Due to constant training and the help of AW Burgess from Proactive Dealer Solutions, our BDC reps do a great job of taking care of our customers, and we follow up with them to make sure our customers are getting the best level of service. We're the number one volume Toyota store in the Midwest because our customers who buy here, and who come here for service, are treated with respect. Our dealership is hitting on all cylinders. If we were getting great Internet leads but we had a poor sales staff, we wouldn't be selling the number of cars we sell. The bottom line is there is complete cooperation from everyone in our store. We have a great owner, a great manager, and excellent sales, service, and parts departments. Everyone works well as a team.
What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?
We're honored. There are a lot of Autobytel dealers out there, so to be selected out of the many is great. We're happy to accept this award.
What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?
I think to effectively manage Internet customers you must respond promptly, provide accurate information and be well informed. Most customers shopping online are looking to exclude the many stores to choose from down to a select one or two. Being one of the first responders with the information requested will position the dealer ahead of the others.
From a dealer's perspective, we try to get customers to transition from the Internet to the phone and from the phone to the store. We realize that we have a much higher percentage of shows when communicating on the phone. There are many reasons for this, but the main point is that if we can get customers on the phone, we will have a better chance of getting them in the store. So, our main focus is to get our Internet customers to have a conversation with us on the phone.
What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at Toyota of Naperville or with the brand that you'd like to share?
Overall, the market is improving for car sales. Secondly, we are continuing to evolve and innovate - internally at our store and externally in the industry. Toyota keeps improving and we've got great new products coming. Our dealership is in a good market, and it's a good time in the industry, with total overall sales for the year continuing to grow to record levels we haven't seen in seven or eight years. Automotive sales staffs are more professional than in the past, and dealers have shed the old school car guy image. Today, we are product specialists, focusing on a customer's needs and wants.
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 three little ones - a 4-year-old and two 1-year-olds. I also own rental properties and a technology company that helps dealers acquire vehicles from private sellers, which keeps me busy too - I like to be busy. I've been in the car business since I was 16 years old. I started as a porter and then at 18, I began selling cars. At 20, I became an Internet manager, and at 21, I became a sales manager. I've had a lot of good opportunities and plenty of great people around me who gave me chances. I was in finance, I was a used car manager, I was a new car manager, and today, I've come full circle on the marketing and Internet aspects of the business. I work a lot, but when I'm not working, I like to spend time with my family.
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.