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Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Steve Roberts, Crown Motors
Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Steve Roberts, Crown Motors

Steve Roberts, General Manager, Crown Motors
June 2013 Autobytel Dealer of the Month

We'd like to congratulate Steve Roberts, General Manager of Crown Motors in Redding, California, for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for June 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.

Steve sat down with us recently to discuss Crown Motors and his team's relationship building approach to effectively meet the needs of today's Internet customers.

Tell us about yourself and your store? What's your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?

I am the GM and we sell Honda, Dodge, Nissan, Ford and Lincoln. We have a unique market here in Redding. We serve approximately 90,000 in Redding but the outlying area in the north state doubles that.

How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?

We started with Autobytel in January of 2011. At that time, we had two other 3rd party providers and have since weeded them out and went with the provider with which we had the best return.

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)?

Internet customers want what they ask for (price and availability and a quick response) and that is what we give them. We also try to form relationships with our customers over the Internet, as we want to be their one stop shop for all things automotive.

What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?

It is wonderful to be noticed for a job well done among your peers, and I would like to thank you for this honor.

What are some tips or advice you could give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?

The follow-up is the most important piece. With Internet customers, their buying cycle has changed in the last few years. Many customers are shopping longer. CRM and relationship building is huge with these customers and we use powered by the Salesforce platform as a CRM. We are seeing huge benefits as these customers come back to our store for future business past the initial contact.

What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at Crown Motors or with the brand that you'd like to share?

The Internet has changed the auto business forever. Dealers can either fight it, or learn how to embrace it in our culture and make it work for us; this is what we have done at Crown Motors. That is what we are trying to do here at Crown Motors. The new sales professional in the automobile business is going to have to have a different tool set than the previous generation. The Internet, follow-up and relationships are going to be the most important valuable assets in this new social media driven marketplace.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?

I enjoy my family, and the outdoors, which is one of the reasons I live in Redding. I am also very fortunate as I love the auto business and the people I work with. So I get to work on one of my favorite hobbies every day the Auto Business!!!

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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