Todd Hilleboe, General Manager, Larry H. Miller Liberty Toyota
September 2014 Autobytel Dealer of the Month
We'd like to congratulate Todd Hilleboe, General Manager of Larry H. Miller Liberty Toyota in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for being named the Autobytel Dealer of the Month for September 2014.
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 spoke with Todd about how he closely monitors his Internet lead program, adjusting and improving the process along the way, to achieve better closing percentages than most Toyota dealers which has enabled his store to outsell the competition.
Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?
My name is Todd Hilleboe and I'm the General Manager of Liberty Toyota in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are a Toyota and Scion dealership and we are part of the Larry H. Miller dealer group. I've been here for 18 months, and prior to that, I worked with another dealer group. Our primary market is Colorado Springs, but we draw customers from Denver, Pueblo, and surrounding market areas.
How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?
We've been a part of the Autobytel program for four years. The primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program are having our cars out there digitally and our relationship Frank LaPorte, the Western Region Director for Autobytel. I like the fact that Frank and I discuss what's working, what's not working, and then we tweak our process to make ourselves better. We certainly didn't have the closing percentages we have now and that comes from making adjustments and improvements along the way.
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.
What works for us is having discussions with Autobytel, figuring out what we are closing and at what radiuses away from the dealership, and adjusting our lead volume. If we weren't able to sell a particular car from Autobytel leads over the last two years, we don't need those types of leads going forward. We found out we were really good at closing specific models, so we increased our leads for those cars and we expanded our radius. We also reply to our customers as quickly as possible, answer all their questions, and focus on setting appointments.
What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?
It's a cool honor. We've never had this happen before with any of our other lead providers. We have a better closing percentage than most Toyota dealers, whether it's our own leads, Toyota leads, or third party leads, so I think it's great to be recognized by Autobytel for that. We plan to use that recognition in our future marketing.
What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?
It's simple. Answer your customers' questions, get back to them in a timely fashion, and ask them to come in and experience the vehicle. It's not rocket science - if someone asks you about the car they're interested in buying or information they found online, answer them quickly and completely.
What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at Liberty Toyota or with the brand that you'd like to share?
I think the market seems to be growing and consumer confidence seems to be getting better. There are plenty of stats and metrics out there telling us the new car industry is growing again and we all have to take advantage of that. Toyota has a brand new Camry just hitting the lots. It's totally redesigned. Toyota has also added some new models, and new options to existing models. When it comes to the Camry, it's the number one selling passenger car in the world, and now it should get a nice boost in sales with this redesign.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?
I'm a workaholic. I live in Colorado so that I can enjoy the outdoors when I'm not working. I like to golf, fish, and hunt. I'm married and I have three dogs.
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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