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The recent NADA Convention is over. As always, there was plenty of information to gain and a lot of shiny objects being displayed. Dealers and major executives were out with their checkbooks looking for ways to increase their business in 2015. There were countless vendors that offered websites, digital marketing (reputation management, SEO/SEM, social media, etc.), CRM, equity mining, mobile, training, consulting, and much more.
What shiny objects did your dealership sign up for? How will your staff use these shiny objects? These are important questions that need to be asked before deciding on signing up for products and services. In fact, when signing up while on the convention floor, there should be a way to get a real testimonial from the vendor’s current clients. The reason for this is because it can be overwhelming to meet so many companies in a short three-day span.
Technology is constantly improving, and more vendors come out of the woodwork offering new solutions every year. The biggest discussions in the industry continue to include mobile, equity mining, reporting dashboards, and improved sales process techniques. In fact, there are even books being released to discuss digital marketing and sales expertise. While each technology solution offers great benefits to dealers, it is important to consider how the information can be used. Consider the level of commitment that it will take to be successful with a certain product or service.
It is also very important to consider the money that is being invested. It is no secret that every year dealers have expenses that do not generate return on investment (ROI). It is the basic cost of doing business. When buying the next latest and greatest shiny object, dealers need to budget time to get everyone at the dealership on board.
It all comes down to two of the same things: buy-in and training. There is a lot of talk about more units being sold in 2015, but there is very little talk about the training that it will take to be efficient enough to maximize those opportunities. Training needs to be conducted for every single technology product and service that a dealer commits to. This includes CRM, inventory management, websites, appraisal tools, phone techniques, and sales tools. Absolutely everything. Every item that was showcased at NADA was a shiny object marketed to promise ROI. However, very few products committed to offering a hands-on approach to help each dealer move the needle.
Even though NADA 2015 is over, there will be vendors with the shiny objects doing follow-up and continuing to try to sell dealers on their solutions. It is important to take every call and evaluate each opportunity. It is equally important to get valid testimonials and discuss with the management team how business can be improved.
Do not be the kind of hands-off owner or executive that signs up for a service because it looks nice to them but they will never even log in to use it. Each and every decision must be formed as a team effort to increase the success that this new shiny object will bring.
Stan Sher is the founder and president of Dealer eTraining, an automotive sales training and consulting company focused on internet, BDC and showroom sales operations. Stan is a millennial himself with over 11 years experience in the automotive industry. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.