Data Mystery Solved, Lotlinx, Google Analytics

As a small business owner I had to find a business model that provided me with exceptional product and service offerings with little to no overhead. (I am not independently wealthy and had to utilize every bit of savings I had to survive this past year but I did it.) When choosing who to work with I looked for transparency and integrity and found it with Lotlinx, a referral from a good friend of mine, George Magda… This however had been put to question lately.

Jeff Collins, Ecommerce Director ofAutoMax Auto Group, called me the other day and told me we had a problem. When you only have a few small handful of clients this can be scary to hear…”Since on boarding with LL there has been a mysterious referral showing up in his GA account that has thrown his  remarketting out of whack”…. Immediately he saw traffic coming from a mysterious 3rd party vehicle listing site, and the traffic was not positive. The site was giving him impressive amount of referrals but 100% bounce rate at 0 page views… a WTF moment began to happen.. This was bordering on dangerous. Where did they get his DATA! Each view on became a referral in his GA account. This was at the feed level…

0 page views + 100% Bounce Rate= Gross

0 page views + 100% Bounce Rate= Gross

Nobody had heard or seen anything about dealer5. The site was gross, no way to connect to the dealership website, vdp and had a unique phone number associated with it… I called Jason Knight from Lotlinx, it wasn’t them.

For the past week Jeff called his vendor partners to track it down. All data pointed to LL… unfortunately that did not jive with the Lotlinx business model. Lotlinx gets paid by unique referrals and performance only. They track this by a code that is placed within their network which redirects  a consumer to the dealership VDP from a 3rd party inventory listing site. Lotlinx is clearly sourced in GA as a stand alone referral and matches up with the Lotlinx dashboard quite well…D5 referrals never showed up on the dealership VDP.

Since according to the data it started the same day LL did the coincidence concerned him, a lot….Working together we jumped into action. Knowing we had little time to make sense of it in order to save the “account” we partnered to solve the issue. … hopping into the code of the site and diving into the ux we began to find some clues. Lotlinx only connects the consumer with the dealership and makes it easy to do so. The only way to contact the dealer on D5 was to email the vdp  to a friend. So we did. I emailed it to myself. We called the phone number and found it was a tracking number that matched with a block of numbers that the dealer had. By double checking we discovered that dealer5 was an entity that”craigslist” was using to drive additional views for the dealership, unfortunately they never disclosed this to the dealer nor provided any real value.

The problem was this:The GA account showed traffic because of the tags in the feed  but it never trafficked customers from D5 to the actual dealerships website. Unlike Lotlinx which delivered real shoppers, D5 and Craigslist created inflated traffic numbers that were detrimental to the strategy not complimentary. Dealers watch out for this! Look at your referral sites and see what the data shows. Your GA may not be perfect, your vendor partners may not always have the right answers but true partners will be transparent and will be happy to find the answer to your problems.

I loved working with Jeff on this and hope we never have to do it again.

p.s. Eric Miltsch just asked what did we do to fix it? Jeff canceled the feed from craigslist to D5, simple fix…

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Are Your Customers F-ing Stupid?

For a solid 10 seconds I was stunned, awkwardly I chuckled but could not believe what I had heard. It was shocking, it was crude, it was said to make a point.

oem vendors hate their customersThe Manager felt he was far smarter than the customer, not just smarter but superior. How often have you sat at your desk shaking your head because the customer didn’t understand the value you were presenting them? How many times did you try to explain all the benefits for it to fall on deaf ears?

That was the reason for the meeting. That was the purpose of getting all the salespeople into one room. To help train them to overcome the objections they were about to hear daily. Now you know me, I love training. I love the chance to role play,(keep it clean)I love to help others understand. But the way you go about the training is as important as the material you are training on.

This was not at a dealership, this training was not about selling cars. No, it was sales training for a vendor. A vendor whose Director, Enterprise Solutions in the Greater Chicago Area thought it appropriate to say those timeless words I will never forget. Words that will echo through the halls of infamy.

“If the dealer doesn’t buy into the “XYZ OEM platform” they are Fucking Stupid!”… Think about that. Really think about the pompous arrogance of a mandated OEM provider who feels that their product trumps all to the point of calling those who disagree with him “Fucking Stupid”…

Jesus Can't Believe You Said That

Jesus Can’t Believe You Said That


I worked at that vendor for only a few weeks after that. When I think back about what I miss about working for that vendor, the travel, diamond status on Delta, a couple decent people, I think back to that sale meeting and David’s words and feel just fine not working there anymore.


In the comment section below submit your guess as to which company thinks so little of their actual customers, share with your friends. When enough people have seen this post I will disclose not only the company but share the profile of the “Manager”…


Ready to share?


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10 ways to maximize your ProMax CRM

Originally posted on justinthepromaxguy:

In this modern age almost every dealership has a CRM system or Customer Relations Management system. I am a Senior Training Consultant with ProMax Unlimited and I wanted to give you detailed list of ways to really maximize your success with our CRM. While with this company I have been to a lot of stores and have seen some of them absolutely kill it and I have also seen some others that just bomb. In all of my years of see these stores I came up with a list of methods that you really need to implement and then make sure you continue to follow with no exceptions.

1. It all starts from the top- Meaning it needs to be bought in by everyone and it starts with the Owner or GM. I don’t know how many times I have been to a dealership and the Owner purchased our…

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Dealer Authority New Director-Me

Below is taken from the DealerAuthority site announcing my addition to the team. It was written by the one and only JD Rucker! I am so happy to be joining the ranks of superstars joining the DA team like Subi, Tyson and BMW

Automotive SEO and Social media

Micah Birkholz-Director of Dealer Relations

See what he wrote here:

In our continuing quest to search the galaxy for the best talent to bring to our dealer clients, we are pleased to announce the hiring of Micah Birkholz as Director of Dealer Relations. His strong personality and uncanny ability to help dealers succeed make him a perfect fit for our team.

After spending a decade on the retail side of the automotive industry, Micah has spent the last seven years with automotive digital marketing agencies honing his skills and learning new ones that he can bring to his clients. His consultative style and aggressive nature will prove to be beneficial to both his clients as well as the company culture at Dealer Authority.

Micah is no stranger to controversy, particularly in his choice of attire. This should work to our advantage as the company’s tendency to break free from the boundaries imposed by large vendors fits nicely with Micah’s willingness to do what’s best for dealers regardless of the obstacles placed before us. Dealer first – that’s the mindset that we have adopted and Micah has demonstrated time and time again that he is willing to step out on behalf of his clients in order to bring better marketing in the face of the mediocrity that has spread throughout the industry.

If you would like to work with Micah directly, please feel free to contact us. Between our delivering of incredible social media marketing and search optimization and Micah’s understanding of the industry and the marketing practices that drive dealers to be the best in their market, his clients are sure to have tremendous success knocking on their door. Fill out the form below and Micah will contact you personally.

We’re excited to have him on our team.


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Ride With Cox Recap – Buck Hill & Lester Beat Downs

Originally posted on Social Cox Team:

I realized this morning that #RideWithCox hadn’t been updated since our smash hit “10 Ways You’re In New Richmond” – a post that reached nearly 4,000 people.  I’m not going to pretend like this is as awesome to the general public.  Afterall, the gif count in this is substantially lower.  Here’s one though for good measure.

Danny Macaskill tearing it up.

Danny Macaskill tearing it up.

See that guy? Yeah, that’s nothing.  I do that every day.  Not really.  I would be in the emergency room getting fed through a tube if I remotely attempted that.

However, the Minnesota State Series has been in full swing and Ride With Cox has been showing up for the brutality.

Buck Hill Birch Bump

First and foremost, Sammy’s not a climber.  Sammy used to be, then her lungs vanished into the night and vowed never to return until Sammy cared more about her cardiovascular system.

Buck Hill…

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Ed Brooks, Carbucks and old man Ruggles

If you are in the automotive industry it is hard not to run across Carbucks, one of the very coolest places on the interwebs… It is filled with lively discussions and forward thinking people. Debates and some truly master debaters as well, heck the business is filled with colorful personalities isn’t it.

carbucks ed brooks and david ruggles

Scooby Doo solved another one

One truly fun ongoing saga of discussion is between Ed Brooks and David Ruggles… Two men who banter back and forth but always do so in a playful and respectful manner. Unfortunately not everyone gets along with David… he is as old school as they come(however the guy is on facebook and quite knowledgeable about digital marketing strategies), and in some cases misunderstood. I for one have yet to agree with much of what he says but I do respect his perspective. He has even received the nickname of “old man Ruggles” in a Scooby Doo-sh type villain reference.

The best part of an open facebook group is the ability to see and learn opposing viewpoints. Below is an exchange, just as an example of the conversations you will find in the group…. Enjoy


oh to connect with Ed Brooks Click here:

send smoke signals to chat with Ruggles…



Alan Smith discusses how the Internet has changed our world over the past 15 years and talks mobile both today and in the future..

How are your potential buyers shopping for a new vehicle?
LikeLike ·  ·  · Buffer
  • David CraderCraig Darling and 3 others like this.
  • David Ruggles Certainly MANY people, the vast majority, use the Internet to shop for a vehicle as well as most everything else. But they all don’t shop the Internet equally. And the certainly don’t know how to interpret the information they get from the web. Hell, its so complex most sales people either can’t interpret it or don’t have access to all the information anyway. This is all by design. Since it is none of a consumer’s business what a dealer pays for a vehicle, a complex system has been devised to make it virtually impossible for anyone but the dealership comptroller to figure out what the cost of a vehicle is. One thing we know for sure. Consumers to day have more information than they ever have. They typically take delivery of a new vehicle for less than the dealer has to pay of at his/her floor plan source. And consumers have never been unhappier if you believe the self serving surveys published by vendors with their own agenda. There’s a message in here somewhere.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • David Ruggles A LARGE portion of consumers come to the dealership with an strong idea of what they want to buy but leave with something much different. Why is that? Perhaps AutoTrader can explain that? Consumers spend more money on a new vehicle than on anything else other than their house and only need to test drive one vehicle? And many want to buy a vehicle like they buy a gadget? HINT: Only about 20% of consumers have “fast track” credit. And many of those as well as their less credit worthy brethren have negative equity in their trade. Fully a third of auto buyers are sub prime or BHPH candidates. Perhaps the survey questions should be worded by people with actual retail experience rather than those with a wish to “prove” results that further their own agenda? There is nothing like life on the front line to take one from theory to reality.
    38 mins · Edited · Like · 1
  • Ed Brooks What “survey” are you talking about David Ruggles? Alan it’s talking about hard data!
  • David Ruggles There are any number of surveys that have been taken that don’t reflect actual consumer sentiments. I’d feel a lot better if companies like AutoTrader would drill down to the real meaning rather than skimming over the top. Real interpretation would be helpful but can only be done by people who understand the difference between what consumers say and what they really mean. Survey questions need to be crafted to reflect that. If you assume that most consumers have fast track credit and can buy what they want, the Internet model as portrayed by AT, KBB, TC, etc. might have legs. The reality is it is MUCH more complicated than that where the rubber meets the road. Interpretation of “hard data” is as important as the data itself.
  • David Ruggles IMHO. I guess I’m supposed to add in a little sugar coating these days. 
  • David Ruggles BTW, this is NOT to say that AutoTrader, KBB, vAuto, etc. don’t do a lot of good. But every now and then I think you guys go off the rails in your search for growth and revenue, compromising your underlying relationship with your dealers. Then there are the vendors selling the same leads over and over again in the search for “growth.” Ever see Maryann Keller’s research results on this? More dealers need to be aware of this.
  • David Ruggles I’m off to watch some NBA summer league basketball….
  • Ed Brooks That will probably be a good use of your time 
  • David Ruggles Probably better than trolling FB, right? 
    26 mins · Like · 1
  • David Ruggles I really enjoyed Fran Taylor’s workshop. It was the REAL car business with REAL car people involved. The world of theory doesn’t mesh well with reality. When you’re in a room with a bunch of real and top producers you get the true picture. I used to spend a LOT of time in dealerships all over the country. Then I had to stop traveling so much and my life began to revolve around the conferences I could attend. There is nothing like being around real car people to keep one grounded. But they had to come to me this week. I did enjoy my time in the Quad Cities recently, however. Those are some real car guys.
    23 mins · Edited · Like · 1
  • David Crader Now every industry expert is wrong too? You’re too much dude. Seriously. Go away.
  • David Ruggles @ David – You really like putting words in my mouth don’t you. Who is an ‘industry expert?” The theorist who never owned a dealership or sold cars on commission or an actual practitioner? What makes Alan Smith an “industry expert?” What are his credentials? What are Scott Painter’s credentials?
    13 mins · Edited · Like
  • David Crader I’m not even going to engage you. You’re a fool. Go away.
  • David Crader Done now. Bye.
  • David Crader See what I mean Nancy? Can’t do it. Thanks for the memories CARBUCKS.
  • David Ruggles What are Jim Ziegler’s credentials? Fran Taylor? Maryann Keller? Cliff Banks? If you can find where I EVER said EVERY industry expert is wrong I’ll kiss your ass and give you a half hour to draw a crowd. Do you need to just make stuff up?
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Inspirational, Motivational Images, Get SOME

I am pretty much convinced that we no longer need therapists or motivational speakers. The “get them up and rocking” sales trainers have become obsolete. The Tony Robbins and Ted Talks are nothing more than regurgitated fluff… mehbe.

Now I can picture you reading this post all smug and snarky, and I am sure you can taste the sarcasm I am cooking up in this post. Fact of the matter is simple, you need motivation? You need to be inspired? Google the $#*+ and get some! There will be more motivational posters online than socks in my drawer(obscure #sockswag reference).

Here is my latest contribution to making the world a better place… you are very welcome.

motivational car dealer quotes success make it happen

The Most Inspirational Image Ever

In all seriousness you need to be lifted up check out this guy Joey Little and the #livealittle project.

Here is a bit about it…

Will You Make the 5 #LiveALittle Promises?

1. Become a healthier more active person


2. Don’t sit around complaining to be bored. Make a life. Get out and do things. You have no right at all to complain about being bored.


3. Stop making excuses. All excuses. Stop lying to yourself.


4. Cut all negativity from your life. Situations, people, choices, vices, you name it.


5. Inspire others to find a #LiveALittle lifestyle and make the same five promises to themselves


Thanks for taking the time to allow me to rant….


Be well be blessed…

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