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Sometimes I have to look for verification on a calendar that it is actually 2012 and not 1992, and while it shouldn’t still surprise me it continues to do just that when I am confronted with the extreme disconnect that still exists between the evolution of the car business as a whole and the dinosaurs that continue to populate most managerial roles at the dealership level. It seem like the manufacturers get where the business has adapted to, hell most car companies have dedicated staff handling social media and customer interaction and fully encourage dealerships to as well.

Many large dealer groups I have had experience with have some real forward thinkers on their boards and provide goals and guidelines about how to get into and manage online communities and their importance but when it comes to the application there are just so many out and out failures at so many dealerships due to lack of understanding and or unwillingness to even consider something that isn’t part of the way its always been, the way they have always done things… Believe it or not conversation’s like the following happen every day, yes in 2012!

GM: I just got an email from corporate; we need to set up a page on this plus Google thing. Its free and they want each dealer to get it done, you need to get on it.
Me: Uh, well… our page was up on Nov. 7th, the first day that Google + open up business pages actually. Would you like to see it?
GM: Is it gonna sell me a freakin car? No, I don’t need to see it, just make sure if I go and tell corporate its done that it is, don’t make me look stupid…

GM: Hey, we need to get some videos of our customers and post ‘em on that FaceTube crap pronto. Corporate is all hot about video so get on it so I can tell ‘em we did it and then we can get back to selling cars…
Me: Actually, we have well over 40 customer delivery videos already and they are posted continually on both our company Facebook page and our YouTube channel. Would you like to see them?
GM: Facebook, YouTube, Face Tube… whatta you making fun of me? Just get it done so I can get these guys off my back, and since your so on top of things smart ass how come you aren’t sellin more cars now??

GM: Hey, I just finished my projections and to hit my goals I need you and your team to increase sales up to 75 new cars per month so you need to hire more people cause you cant get it done with what you got now.
Me: Well, with our current closing ratios as strong as they are all that really needs to be done would be a combination of a strong PPC plan and perhaps increasing our lead volume from our best lead provider and we could certainly get to your numbers. I have emailed you each of the last three months with my recommendations on increasing volume.
GM: That’s sounds expensive so no. Just hire more people and if the ones you got want to keep their jobs and not see a drop in pay they will figure out how to sell more cars, more people always means more sales, dumbass…

Its so incredibly frustrating to sit through presentations from amazing folks like Ralph Paglia, read the wisdom and insights of folks like Brian Pasch, Kathi Kruse and the members of all the forums I pour through and then be inspired by incredible motivators like Renee Stuart only to be told to stop wasting time with my nose in a screen and get my guys out on the floor to ‘grab an up and sell a damn car’…
Out there, somewhere is a Dealer Principal or GM that gets it. Understands the value of a positive atmosphere in which employees strengths are praised and employees are valued as vital aspects of the overall success of the dealer ship and not easily replaced lackeys who should be able to consistently ‘man up’, take the chew out and go sell something.  The possibilities of what could happen if the shackles of what worked in the past aren’t restraining us from moving forward are incredibly exciting, evolution needs to speed up and the dinosaurs that yet still hold tenaciously on to the GM chairs across the land need to fall into the tar pits and go away!
I’m just sayin…

Thanks for listening... :)

Views: 896

Tags: Automotive, General Manager, Sales Manager, car dealer, management, team

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Comment by David DeSantis on February 27, 2012 at 7:00am

Check out my ADM post, "You Have to Read This Book!", http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/forum/topics/you-have-to-...

It directly relates to this discussion.

Comment by Mark Deutsch on February 27, 2012 at 4:37am

Thank you Michael,

There are some extremely acute observations here. Sadly, most of the folks observe will never read this; they are "too" busy and already know everything

Comment by Ray McGowan on February 19, 2012 at 10:24am

My immediate response to all the Principals and GMs' is that we aren't living in Kansas anymore!  A great management team realizes the importance of internet marketing and it takes a good IT person to carry it out.  The "just get it done" and "we can't afford the training" is the head in the sand mentality.  The bottom line for me is the investment in trained and qualified people!  I mean truly, isn't a trained and qualified person what we should be more interested in?  Like an IT person that is on top of the game that you can count on to give you the facts of why you should increase PPC and getting the proper exposure?  People, it's all about the right people!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 19, 2012 at 9:36am
With so many dealers contacting me about finding good Internet Sales Managers, Digital Marketing Directors and BDC Managers, this is a good article to read and consider within the context of your dealership's corporate culture.
Comment by George O'Sullivan on February 18, 2012 at 3:51pm

@Michael this is a great rant.  I think we have all been a party to this, to some degree.  One of my personal favorites was when the owner of our dealership asked if we had a "Twit" "that would be me"! We just have to keep our heads down and drive forward.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 18, 2012 at 9:42am

Good words of caution Mr. Warwick.

Comment by kevinkelly.it on February 18, 2012 at 7:59am

@ Mike Warwick  @ Thomas A. Kelly   Mr. Kelly proud to share a last name with you, you are on target.  Mr Warwick respectfully, if you are not on board with more of your Adv budget in digital Marketing, you will find this year very difficult year.  I can show you statistic after statistic that ADM is more effective, more efficient and what your customers prefers.   Certainly you need a mix of traditional print vs ADM, however the majority should be in ADM.  I truly believe this is the make or break year, those who embrace their customers, embrace technology, embrace genuine word of mouth social media will have a great year.   Look at your best/top selling dealerships in your area, how are they reaching the customer?   You will find Google +, FB, Twitter, you will find walk around videos on you tube, you will find vehicle pictures posted online the same day they are available and so much more.    The talent Michael Correra has is wasted on a dealership that simply wants to cover bases, not be successful.  Dealerships are gearing up their ADM departments and you want to be with one that is committed to it.  If your Owner/GM does not support what you do, no matter how important it is, you will never succeed.    

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 18, 2012 at 7:08am

@ Mike Warwick....A "slow and steady approach" will reward the dealer a slow and steady return....Often a dealer is all about one and not the other. "I little change at little cost, but I want a big return and I want it fast" I have witnessed it in several industries but in the dealerworld it seems to be more so...There is a disconnect in this sentence "Dealers are smart business people and many are resistent to change ...."

Comment by Jerry Thibeau on February 18, 2012 at 5:32am

Don''t forget this one:


GM - I just spent 40K in advertising.  We have a great ad coming out in the newspaper and on TV.

You - Perhaps we should get a trainer in here to teach the guys how to answer the phones.

GM - No, we can't afford that.  These guys know what to do. 

Comment by Mike theCarGuy Correra on February 14, 2012 at 3:11pm

After a couple of much needed days of rest and recharge I came in this morning rethinking if my post, if I should have even whined about things in the first place or just do as I usually do and suck it up and keep plowing ahead... I was blown away and so honored by the responses! To read the positive thoughts and encouragements of the best in the biz that I have such a passion for is completely awesome! I thank you all so very much for your input and support, I dont usually whine and dont want to be known only for my rant however it is really cool that this conversation will be here for me to look back on when times are tough and I will always find motivation from it! Thank you all for your thoughts and encouragement! Now, back to doing what I love to do because I LOVE to do it, whether 'they' get it or not! I hope you all have a GREAT day! :)

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