Findlay Honda relies on Internet to serve buyers

Technology now leads the way in every aspect of running a car dealership, from the operations to how the product is marketed.

When Jeff Giles, business development manager for Findlay Honda, brought his knowledge, outgoing personality and extensive marketing background to the northwest valley dealership in January 2012, he found a perfect symbiotic relationship.

“Jeff is a quality person who had the skill set we needed,” said Allen Lee, Findlay Honda general manager, who joined Findlay Oldsmobile in December 1971. “The incredible changes in the car business include the fact that most people know what they’re looking for before they enter the doors.”

That makes an employee like Giles vital to the continued success of the dealership, he said.

“With so much of today’s business being initiated online we need to be very computer literate and knowledgeable,” Lee said. “Years ago, we never had to worry about this element of the business, but if you don’t respond immediately to a request from a customer now, that customer will end up purchasing from another dealership.”

Giles’ background is in the advertising and marketing business. One of his past employers was Swan Advertising, a Las Vegas-based company that works with many local automobile dealerships.

Computers have become an integral part of the car business. At Findlay Honda every salesperson has a computer at his or her desk and spends a good part of the day entering information and corresponding with customers.

“I manage the incoming leads that we receive,” said Giles, a native of La Habra, Calif., and a six-year resident of Las Vegas. “I make certain that our employees are quick to respond to the leads that we receive. Ninety percent of consumers do research online before coming to the dealership. So our relationship with the customer actually begins online. In addition to researching the vehicle, consumers also research the dealership on sites like Google and Yelp. This has been great for us since our online reputation is excellent. That’s part of the purchasing process these days. I’m constantly telling customers, friends and family before you buy anything look them up online.

“The Internet sales people have to answer their phone or their laptops at home many times,” Giles said. “I would say that the Internet started playing a big part in this as far back as 10 years ago. Because of modern technology the buying process has become more flexible and enabled us to conduct the transaction in a way that better suites the customer’s needs.”

In addition to leads it receives from its own website, the dealership also receives leads from about a dozen lead providers, which also plays heavily into Giles’ work.

“This is a very good job,” Giles said. “We had a great month for new and pre- owned vehicles in July. In fact, July was a record-breaking month for preowned vehicles.”

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Findlay Honda, which recently celebrated its sixth anniversary, is at 7494 W. Azure Drive. It is part of Findlay Automotive Group that was founded more than 50 years ago by the late Pete Findlay, whose son, Cliff Findlay, now leads 28 dealerships in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Idaho.