MSN CarPoint and Reynolds and Reynolds Provide New Training Program To Help Dealers Understand Changing Internet Customer

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 1, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq
) and The Reynolds and Reynolds Company (NYSE
) announced today the release of the newly redesigned dealer training program for the MSN TM CarPoint TM online automotive service ( ).

The new dealer training program, developed and delivered by Reynolds and Reynolds, focuses on the entire process of online car selling, providing dealers with insights about the changing needs of the Internet customer, highlighting best practices from dealerships across the country, and delivering enhanced retailing tools. The program uses an integrated learning approach that includes live classroom settings, online seminars, and ongoing consulting and support through a hot line and local field representatives.

“The profile of the Internet customer has changed from a demographic niche to the general population of car buyers, and our new training program reflects that change,”
said Lindsay Sparks, chief executive officer of MSN CarPoint.
“In addition, we are including technology enhancements such as online enrollment and Internet seminars to make it even easier for dealers to improve on their Internet sales process and build long-term relationships with customers.”

The training program includes the following new features:

  • Sales training. CarPoint offers subscribing members dealer training sessions led by highly skilled Reynolds and Reynolds representatives; the trainings are held approximately 15 times each month in cities across the country and members can attend as many as they want at no extra charge.

  • Sales guide. For dealers who complete the training session, the guide provides a quick reference to help them implement their Internet sales process.

  • Online seminars. Dealers can receive online training on the DealerPoint lead management tool and other topics.

  • Manager welcome kit. For general managers who are beginning their Internet sales process, the kit explains the CarPoint system, the type of employee needed for an Internet sales department and how to get started.

  • Pretraining packet. Dealers receive this detailed packet before the training session to help them prepare and to help answer their preliminary questions.

  • Online enrollment. Dealers can sign up for training via the Internet.

  • Online surveys. Dealers are asked to complete online surveys following a training session, and the resulting feedback is integrated into future training sessions.

“Reynolds and Reynolds is committed to keeping its training on the cutting edge so dealers stay ahead of the curve and don’t become victims of the fast-changing world of e-commerce,”
said Mark Brown, general manager of e-business, Reynolds’ Automotive Group.
“It’s eminently clear that clicks-and-mortar will win in automotive retailing. Reynolds has long been the retailing process leader and has created a powerful training solution for CarPoint-certified retailers. This enhanced training will help create a significant advantage for our CarPoint-certified retailers. We’ll continue to look for innovative methods to create e-tailing value as we release future specialized modules and advanced courses that build around these core processes.”

Kathleen Dillon, Internet sales associate for Les Stanford Oldsmobile in Dearborn, Mich., recently attended CarPoint dealer training in Detroit:
“Our dealership already had very successful close rates with CarPoint at 35 percent, so at first I wasn’t sure if we needed the training. But the training was excellent — we learned that we were doing many things right, and we also picked up suggestions for improvement. We are already implementing ideas learned from the training.”

Reynolds and Reynolds has a documented history of successfully training auto retailers to sell over the Internet. As a strategic provider of CarPoint, Reynolds developed the original sales process and has conducted all CarPoint-based training to date, which includes nearly 5,100 dealership personnel.

About The Reynolds and Reynolds Company

Reynolds and Reynolds, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, is a leading provider of integrated information management systems and related value-added services to automotive and general business markets. The company reported revenues of $1.56 billion for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 1999. For more information on Reynolds and Reynolds, visit or call The Reynolds and Reynolds Information Hotline at 1-888-4REYREY.

About CarPoint

CarPoint is a comprehensive automotive Web site offering users complete car-buying and car-care information on all makes and models. Launched on the Internet in July 1996, CarPoint gives users fast, convenient access to detailed specifications and pricing information, reviews and advice from leading automotive writers, interactive decision-management tools, a new- and used-car buying service, and personalized maintenance and recall information.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, MSN and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft® Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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