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Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ, INFINITI AND LEXUS DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2013 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ, INFINITI AND LEXUS DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2013 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

July 2013

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 8, 2013 – Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2013 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured dealership treatment of car-shoppers. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success. Infiniti and Lexus dealerships, the luxury brands from Nissan and Toyota respectively, finished ranked second and third.

Nineteen of the thirty-three different brands led at least one PSI sales process category, and performance varied by brand within each category. For example, Jaguar, Volvo and Audi salespeople were most likely to discuss features unique from the competition. Infiniti, Land Rover and smart salespeople were most likely to conduct a vehicle “walk-around” demonstration. Kia, Fiat and Hyundai salespeople were most likely to give compelling reasons to buy now.

Industry average dealership performance was mixed when comparing 2013 with the previous year.

Salesperson behaviors more likely in 2013 than 2012 include the following:
• Mentioning the availability of different finance or lease options (now 67% of the time)
• Asking about factors preventing purchase (now 71% of the time)
• Asking if the prospect has a trade-in (now 83% of the time)

Salesperson behaviors less likely in 2013 than 2012 include the following:
• Offering a brochure (now 52% of the time)
• Discussing features unique from the competition (now 55% of the time)
• Involving prospect with visual aids (now 38% of the time)

2013 marks the seventh consecutive year of Pied Piper PSI auto industry benchmarking studies. With seven years of data gathered from tens of thousands of auto PSI evaluations nationwide, Pied Piper was able to fine-tune the study questions, weightings and scoring for 2013. As a result, Pied Piper reset the 2013 auto industry average PSI score to “100.”

The resulting “second generation” PSI scoring is now even more closely correlated to auto dealership sales success. Pied Piper has found that on average, when auto dealerships are ranked by their PSI score, dealerships in the top quarter sell 16% more vehicles than the dealerships in the bottom quarter. “Any dealership faces plenty of challenges that are difficult, if not impossible, to change, such as product-line sold or dealership location,” said Fran O'Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “In contrast, how a sales team sells is something a dealership can improve immediately.”

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Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS TOP RANKED BY 2012 PIED PIPER PROSPECT SATISFACTION INDEX(R) Treatment of car shoppers improves industry-wide; Highest industry average PSI score

Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS TOP RANKED BY 2012 PIED PIPER PROSPECT SATISFACTION INDEX(R)
Treatment of car shoppers improves industry-wide; Highest industry average PSI score

July 2012

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 9, 2012 –Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured dealership treatment of car-shoppers. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

Acura, Infiniti and Lexus dealerships, the luxury brands from Honda, Nissan and Toyota respectively, finished in a tie for second. Overall auto industry performance improvement was widespread, with twenty-four of thirty-four auto brands improving PSI performance from 2011 to 2012. Industry-wide improvement led to a new highest recorded industry average PSI score of 105.

» View PDF of Article (467.3 KB) PDF Document



Dealerelite.net How Important is the Facility to the Sale?

Dealerelite.net
How Important is the Facility to the Sale?

January 2012

There are studies that show facilities actually have little to do with whether a customer buys a vehicle from a dealership. One such study is Pied Piper Management LLC's annual Prospect Satisfaction Index, which sends anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 mystery shoppers into dealerships each year to determine what's most important to customers.

And yes, the facility ranks low on importance. In fact, it's the dealership's people that are the most important. Says Fran O'Hagan, Pied Piper's founder, "The sales team is what makes much more of a difference than the facility. That's not to say the facility doesn't make a difference, just that if you and I owned a dealership and had to pick between a great sales team and a great facility; we would pick the great sales team every time."

(For the record, the Pied Piper study is the most comprehensive and provides the most accurate picture of what's going on in the dealership that I've seen. O'Hagan has been in the business for a long time -- much of it as an OEM guy.)

So what role does a facility play in either the vehicle purchase or service for a customer? According to Pied Piper, there are five key points:

» View PDF of Article (1.36 MB) PDF Document



Automotive News First Shift Secret Shoppers Pick Mercedes

Automotive News First Shift
Secret Shoppers Pick Mercedes

July 2011

Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in a study by Pied Piper Management Company to measure how effectively dealerships sell cars. Jaguar and Lexus tied for second.



The Car Connection Study: Understaffed Dealerships Souring The Sales Experience?

The Car Connection
Study: Understaffed Dealerships Souring The Sales Experience?

July 2011

As U.S. auto sales gradually rebound, it would seem that dealerships and showroom salespeople would be eager than ever to let the good times roll once again. But could some brands be slowing their sales recovery due to understaffed dealerships that aren't making every effort to inform shoppers about the vehicle, get them in it, be straightforward, and complete the sale?

It's a question that automakers might find worth looking into. According to a major study from Pied Piper, a California sales and marketing company that also runs programs to improve dealership performance, a number of dealerships aren't performing as well as they could—or as well as they were—when it comes to the basics required to sell vehicles.

» View PDF of Article (686.9 KB) PDF Document



2011 Pied Piper PSI U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study Mercedes-Benz Dealers Achieve Highest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) Ranking for Third Consecutive Year

2011 Pied Piper PSI U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study
Mercedes-Benz Dealers Achieve Highest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) Ranking for Third Consecutive Year

July 2011

Annual auto industry benchmarking study shows industrywide decline in dealership treatment of car shoppers

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 11, 2011 – Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2011 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which marked three years in a row of top rankings for the U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealer network.

The independent Pied Piper PSI study sent 3,524 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” into auto dealerships nationwide, then used the patent-pending PSI process to compile the results into an accurate measurement of how each brand's dealerships treat car shoppers.

» View PDF of Article (173.2 KB) PDF Document



Automotive News Rethinking Scion

Automotive News
Rethinking Scion

May 2011

According to mystery-shopping consultancy Pied Piper of Monterey, Calif., although Toyota's sales practices are near the industry average, Scion's are the third-worst.
Scion trailed other youth-oriented brands such as Volkswagen, Kia and Mazda mostly because the brand's low-pressure sales techniques don't give customers a reason to buy now or return for a future visit. Scion salespeople fared well in product knowledge, not overselling, and having power over negotiating the selling price.
"We are improving the customer experience, the shopping process, the in-dealership, service," said Dawn Ahmed, Scion corporate manager. "There are lots of opportunities there."

» View PDF of Article (1.66 MB) PDF Document



Wards Auto Blog: Steve Finlay Don't Blame CRM System for Internet Ineffectiveness

Wards Auto Blog: Steve Finlay
Don't Blame CRM System for Internet Ineffectiveness

April 2011

If auto dealerships respond slowly to Internet sales leads, don't blame customer-relationship management software, says Fran O'Hagan. He is CEO of Piped Piper, a consultancy that does an annual study using mystery shoppers to gauge Internet lead effectiveness of dealerships by vehicle brand.

CRM systems help dealerships track and manage leads. But the systems only are as good as the people using them – if they use them at all. “CRM is great” and does what it is supposed to do, O'Hagan says. When Internet mystery shoppers encounter a problem, “it isn't a problem with the CRM systems. The dealership process is broken.”

» View PDF of Article (398.3 KB) PDF Document



Wards Auto Some Auto Dealers Master Internet, Some Don't

Wards Auto
Some Auto Dealers Master Internet, Some Don't

March 2011

Fran O'Hagan recalls when his vice president of operations, Miles Stearman, phoned him with a sudden realization about selling cars in the digital age.

“Miles called from a dealership he was visiting and said, ‘The Internet is no longer incremental business at dealerships; it is the business,' and that's so true today,” says O'Hagan, president and CEO of Pied Piper Management, a firm that consults with dealers on boosting sales.

» View PDF of Article (1.71 MB) PDF Document



Automotive News Survey: Dealers botch many Web leads

Automotive News
Survey: Dealers botch many Web leads

March 2011

Ninety percent of internet customers received some sort of response, but usually it's the e-mail equivalent of a form letter, according to a survey by Pied Piper Management Company of Monterey, California.

» View PDF of Article (127.7 KB) PDF Document