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Alex Andreus started a series of fascinating social media triggered events by creating an ADM Forum discussion titled "Need to Boost my internet and BDC departments" which he posted on March 20, 2010.  The Question Alex posed was that he was seeking information on who would be the best Automotive Digital Marketing Consultant available to serve his Brickell Honda dealership in South Florida.  Alex's Forum Discussion set off a flurry of over 165 responses, comments, debates and discussions in the first 48 hours...Eddie Coleman moderating with a timer on display for each consultant's allotted turn to answer... 
Culminating on Thursday March 25th with one of the most unique and virtually spontaneous "Webinars" I have ever witnessed... A virtual "Battle of the Bands" among several of the ADM Community's leading Digital Marketing Consultants who each answered the same questions with

   Eddie Coleman
I have to admit it was an impressive undertaking, with Eddie Coleman using his team's resources to set up a Go To Meeting webinar and conference call line, while the ADM message and content syndication systems invited thousands of automotive professionals to attend... With over 100 car dealers and consultants participating, everyone involved agreed that it was an amazing result for an event that was conceived, planned and executed in less than 4 days. 

Congratulations to Alex Andreus, Eddie Coleman and our distinguished Automotive Digital Marketing Consultants:


Phil Zelinger,

Joe Webb,
Shannon Page,

Megan Bucher

And big kudos goes out to all those who attended and were involved in coming together for an ADM "Meetup" webinar that was enlightening and a learning experience for all... Well done, I say... Well done!

One of the tools that was used to supply the participating DMC's to become familiar with Brickell Honda's current state of eBusiness Operations was a very detailed and thorough document that requires over 17 pages of data entry and written descriptions of every nuance of eBusiness strategy, process, tactics, tools and resources in operation, or not, in the dealership...  Several people have asked for these documents, so I am attaching them to the bottom of this ADM Forum discussion since they are buried in the middle of over 165 comments and responses to Alex's original Forum post...

The reason I started creating this questionnaire tool was that several car companies I was working with about 8 years ago made it very, very clear to me about the nature of the difference between a "Trainer" and a "Consultant"... About $1,000 a day in pay!!! This Digital Marketing Dealer Assessment Questionnaire was created so that the team of consultants I was responsible for would NOT drift into the ways of a "Trainer".  Besides compensation, here are a few consulting versus training principles:

1A. Training focuses on the repetition of a process so that process becomes habit
1B. Consulting focuses on conceiving, designing, implementing, testing and measuring a process so that it is optimized for the specific situation, and the specific conditions of the dealership being consulted so that it is efficient, easy to train people to do and will stick.

2A. Training can be achieved in a variety of ways making it very flexible and at times economical to acquire.  Training can be packaged into books, manuals, CD's, DVD's, USB's, web based and countless other communication mediums.  Training can be either leader led or self-paced and self-accessed from a library of resources.  Once a sound training course is developed, it can be reused and re-purposed for a long period of time.
2B. Retail automotive digital marketing Consulting requires the interaction between the consultant(s) and the people in the client's workplace while they are executing the various duties, roles and responsibilities of their workplace. The consultant must identify and engage the key people in each dealership that are vitally important, and often times overlooked when it comes to identifying the limitations imposed by the dealership's current setup of people, process, technology, strategy, tactics and leadership.  A consultant will engage many different people who work throughout various segments of the eBusiness operations, as well as ancillary yet related or supporting business processes, such as F&I, Inventory Management, IT, Sales Management, showroom reception processes, desk and traffic logs, accessory and aftermarket sales teams, etc.

3A. Training is regimented, detailed in its execution and process steps and duplicated with intentional redundancy on an infinite basis... It is not to be deviated, modified or skipped, the steps for completing a training course are linear and start at a defined beginning, leading a precisely dictated path to a conclusion and the testing required to ensure that the exact steps to the processes being trained have been memorized and can be regurgitated by the learners on command.
3B. Consulting involves several phases which have many facets within each of them, with not every facet being brought into service at every dealership.  There is an assessment phase which is much like the initial exam that a physician would apply when first seeing a patient.  Questions are asked, notes are taken, measurements are recorded and a chart is created to capture a snapshot of the patient's current status and well being or state of distress, whichever the case may be.  Like a physician, a good consultant will not prescribe and therapy, medication or treatments until he/she has completed an adequate assessment of the dealership's current state of eBusiness Operational Competency and has a complete knowledge of the tools, resources and constraints for that specific dealership.  When the assessment is complete, modifications to, or creation of a Digital Marketing and Sales Strategy that is complete, understood and adopted by the dealership's management team, and which will serve as the foundation for the creation of a tactical blueprint for implementation, monitoring, optimizing, planning continuous improvement as a process and defining the key principles which will support the dealership's business objectives.

4A. Training does not provide customized scenarios, create new processes, nor does it involve the "Gestalt" of the mastermind that happens when meetings of key people in the dealership are facilitated in a skilled manner designed to create something new and unique to that dealership... Training is prepackaged and one size for each size fits all dealerships!
4B. The consulting process requires the "Gestalt" of creative mind mapping and the forging of strength from healthy debates and the realizations that come from information being expunged from people's minds during passionate discussions of current processes and the futility of systems that are not being utilized, but are available, as one example... With the consulting process, the outcome is born from the parentage of the dealership's key thought and organization leaders... It is tailored to the specific conditions, location, resources, customs and practices for each dealership.  The outcome is in the form of documents, or manuscripts that chart and identify the dealership's strategy and tactics, who does what and where responsibilities and accountability are now placed, and these documents bear the marks of each person whose opinions and passionate support matter in that dealership.
===============================================

I am attaching an "Automotive Digital Marketing eBusiness Assessment" Questionnaire with process scoring system, along with a couple other docs that I helped develop with Gerard Harrington at AHM and which have been updated periodically. You should provide the eBusiness Assessment Questionnaire to whoever you go with as an Internet Consultant as his/her first assignment... To complete the document and give completed version back
to you along with their initial recommendations.

NOTE: It is important to remember that any Internet Consultant who gives you process or technology implementation recommendations to support the dealership's strategies should also be willing to provide you with a "Tactical Blueprint" document that details the step by step instructions for executing the recommended action items. This will usually require additional billable consulting time and reasonable fees reflecting the consultant's additional time invested in preparing a tactical blueprint that is specific to your store's current situation, people and resources.

@ Everyone - Some of you may complain that there is too much detail and minutia in the "Dealer eBusiness Assessment" Document I have attached for Alex's use... My response is that putting yourself in the place of a dealer paying an expert to come into his dealership for a fee of between $1,800 and $2,400 per day; What level of detail, or lack of detail, would YOU consider acceptable?
  Ralph Paglia

Tags: Assessment Questionnaire, Brickell Honda, Dealership, Ralph Paglia, eBusiness

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I really did enjoy the dialogue once I was able to get "un-muted"... And, although the flow was a little choppy at times being this was the first event of its type, that's to be expected. Eddie, if you are up to it, I would like to suggest we try scheduling these types of webinars using the 3,000+ ADM Community membership base within the automotive digital marketing segment of the industry. Here's what I see as the key ingredients:

1. A real world dealer willing to share his key operating data, tools he has in place, people, current processes and his objectives for getting to a point more advanced than where his/her store is at today...

2. At least 4 actual Professional Consulting Practitioners who are available for hire and who agree to review the questionnaire the dealer completes in preparation for the "Battle of the ADM Consultants" (I can't help promoting our community when I get the chance).

3. Eddie Coleman and Ralph Paglia partner up as facilitators and moderators, each of us handling our respective assignments to make it all go off smoothly and with enough entertainment value that it is not "Masterpiece BDC Theater" or "Dawn of the Dead ISM's"...

I am going to take this comment and paste it into the new Forum I created for my assessment of Thursday's webinar and to make it easy for all those requesting the Dealer Assessment Questionnaire Docs that I provided to Alex for his store's data and the consultant's preparation...
I'm in -- nuf said! Oh, except; What are friends -- and ADM -- for!
This really was a great experience. I was grateful to be included, and hope that my 2 sense was helpful! I'll be putting together a synopsis of my responses in a blog that I'll post on ADM soon.
Great job everyone! And, great job, Ralph, for developing this ADM community.
It's grown so much!
Megan
Ralph,

I think you said it best when you stated "A consultant is like a Chef who walks into a kitchen that is not his/her own. Their goal is the make the best dish possible with the ingredients available to them."

I think this works, not just for consultants, but for any Internet Director. What an analogy. I will be using that one for a long time.

Joe
Ralph,

I have to say your words here are almost better than your documents. There is a huge difference in Consulting and Training. I also think Dealers, Trainers, Consultants confuse the three at times. Being a Consultant you really have to set the parameters with the Dealer and deal in strength and just tell him you are not there to train. With your permission I would like to use almost this whole explanation. Also kudos to Brickell and Alex to open up this opportunity for everyone.
Ready for an organized round two!

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