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Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Patti Scipione, M'Lady Nissan
Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Patti Scipione, M'Lady Nissan

Patti Scipione, Manager of M'Lady Nissan
March 2013 Autobytel Dealer of the Month

Congratulations to Patti Scipione, Manager of M'Lady Nissan of Crystal Lake, Illinois, for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for March 2013!

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 recently sat down with Patti to talk about the necessary ingredients for being a Dealer of the Month, key highlights of M'Lady Nissan, her take on the current state of the industry, and her advice to other dealers for best meeting the needs of today's online car buyers.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your store.

My name is Patti Scipione and I'm the Manager of M'Lady Nissan. Our primary markets are Crystal Lake, Illinois, in McHenry County, and we service customers in Schaumburg, Elgin, Palatine, Naperville and Chicago, among other areas.

What does it mean to you to be named the Autobytel Dealer of the Month?

I'm really honored to be named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month. I work with a great team of people who understand the importance of Internet customers and who make them a priority in our business. The owner of the store also wants us to expand our knowledge, to take advanced training and continuing education courses to learn more about how to successfully manage our Internet leads. It's made a big difference in our efforts.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your Internet lead management processes so effective?

We're honest and upfront about pricing. We give customers the price in email and over the phone. When you do this, customers trust you. Their guard goes down. We reply immediately in email and call our customers within 10 minutes by phone. Chicago is a very tough market. There are roughly 30 Nissan stores in a 60 mile radius and dealers usually talk about other dealers. We don't do that. We're not going to say negative things about our competition. We don't believe in that. I think the fact that we don't makes customers trust us more.

How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what is your opinion about Autobytel's Internet leads?

M'Lady has been an Autobytel dealer for eight years and we close a higher number of leads from Autobytel than any other lead provider we work with. Autobytel leads are more serious and our close rates are higher-bottom line. It's proven by the numbers. I really appreciate the higher quality, the higher close rates, and the relationship I have with my Autobytel representatives.

As a banner Autobytel dealer, what is the number one piece of advice you would communicate to other dealers when it comes to running an effective Internet department?

Be upfront and honest. Quote price in email and over the phone, upfront. Build customer trust. It's a new generation of car buyers out there. You have to be willing to change with the times. Autobytel helps with these efforts by sending us the best quality customers compared to other lead providers.

What are your general thoughts about the automotive industry at present? How are sales at your store?

Sales are picking up. Last year was a rough year. We were under construction but things are picking up for our store and for the industry. I have a good feeling about the year ahead and Nissan has a great lineup of vehicles (some redesigned models) so that definitely helps.

Can you give us some insight about what you like to do in your free time?

It's all about family for me. I work hard so I can go home and enjoy 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.

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Scott Pechstein

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Tara Wagoner

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