10,000 What?

October 27, 2009

On October 20th I posted Incoming wake up call. In this posting I spoke about dealer Keith Kocourek’s impressive jump in used car market penetration relative to his competition.

Just in case anyone thinks that improvement happens by accident, below I am posting another communication that I received from Kocourek yesterday. In Kocourek’s latest note he celebrates the success of achieving 10,000 VDPs from his AutoTrader investment. Today, most dealerships don’t know what a VDP is, or have any clue as to whether they should get 10, 10,000 or 10,000,000 per month. The fact that Kocourek is celebrating this achievement suggests that he is in control and command of the conditions that lead to online success. He knows what most dealers do not, and he’s benefiting from his knowledge and control of the variables that really drive performance improvement.

I’ve come to understand that in the increased complexity of the used car business there are a multitude of new things that matter, many of which are outside of the scope of current management attention, for example SRPs and VDPs. OK, for a simple 101 lesson on SRPs and VDPs. SRP stands for Search Results Page and VDP stands for Vehicle Detail Page. When a shopper on a classified advertising site views a page of inventory resulting from a search, and your vehicle is on one of those pages, it constitutes an SRP. If they find your vehicle so compelling so as to click on it for more details, that counts for a vehicle detail page, VDP.

Why does this matter? Because an SRP is the virtual equivalent of a shopper driving by your dealership and a VDP is the virtual equivalent of somebody coming in off that street and saying, “I want to take a closer look at that car.” Can you imagine running your dealership without knowledge of the drive by’s or walk-ins? Well, if you don’t know SRPs and VDPs you’re missing the virtual equivalent of these two critical pieces of information.

Kocourek knows that just as there is a mathematical correlation between the number of walk-ins and the number of vehicles sold, there is also a mathematical correlation between how many SRPs convert to VDPs. Further, Kocourek knows that there are five factors that drive SRPs, four of them in his control. So stop and think about Kocourek’s improvement. He’s driving success by controlling variables of which most dealerships are completely unaware.

Take a few moments and read the exchange between Kocourek and me below. Take note of his reference to “Dwayne” and “Digital Debbie”. These are not actual names of individuals, but rather names that velocity dealers have coined for individuals tasked with specific new functions and responsibilities. In other words the “Dwayne” and “Digital Debbie” positions have well defined and consistent job descriptions, responsibilities and performance measurements. A so-called “Dwayne” or “Digital Debbie” can pickup and move from one velocity store to another without skipping a beat. It is this type of standard discipline and measurement that I am passionate about implementing in velocity minded dealerships around the country.

Congratulations to Kocourek, his managers, AutoTrader and his AutoTrader rep for driving to the critical performance of achieving 10,000 VDPs!

Dale – Huge, Huge, Huge jump in VDP’s this month, we are tracking for over 10,000 for the first time ever…..Almost hard to believe. Keith

Keith – This is an amazing performance given the size of your market. Dale

Dale – The early model listings just started on Friday. I will keep you up to date on how that works. We are working to become VDP masters. We are starting videos w/cheese at the Ford store. We will track the results against the Chevrolet store using Liquid auto.

I am meeting with our GM’s tomorrow to put a process in place to hire Digital Debbie and streamline Dwayne’s responsibilities in all four stores. We are planning on making one person responsible for all four stores in both of those positions……That makes it really, really cheap. Keith




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