Bryan, not all suppliers are out schmoozing dealers at expensive restaurants... Some of us are in the trenches 8 to 10 hours a day managing everything from response to Internet leads, to writing blogs, building out syndication apps and responding to customer heat cases and resolving issues by negotiating with dealership managers and upset customers.
In fact, some of us get to work on being a "de facto" employee online for 10 different dealerships with an intensity and focus that would simply be impossible if we had the numerous interruptions that go on inside of a dealership.
I have been a supplier, a dealership employee, a dealer and an OEM employee... None of them are any easier or less challenging than the other... Just different.
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Bryan, was looking at your family pictures...Great shots. AND, I just bought my wife a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel...it's what I wrote this months article about in Dealer Magazine...those family shots belong on your public blog; they say warmth and human. Read the article on the link below...JIM
I saw your message to Paul about managing lead assignments to competing stores. I would like to see you start a forum discussion on this subject and I will gladly participate. I feel strongly, and have a lot of personal experience in this area. i believe it is one of the areas where we as managers can achieve significant improvement in sales results. One thing i know for sure... The idea of assigning leads on a random "rotation" basis is not effective in maximizing closing ratios... In an ideal set up, we would optimize sales results by assigning each lead to the resource with available response capabilties, that has the greatest liklihood of getting that customer who sent that lead into the dealership.
Thank you for the message and your kind words of encouragement... I have been selling cars using the Internet in various ways for well over 20 years, and in the distant past I was less likely to share strategy and tactics because, like many people, I did not want to give away my "trade secrets"... I have since come to realize that most successful dealers are in little risk of their strategies and tactics being used against them in a given marketplace because of the degree of difficulty required for the daily execution of tasks and processes required.
In order to realize the business benefits of almost any good strategy, managers and sales staff must execute the blocking and tackling activities required as part of that strategy. Not easy in and of itself, but your team members must do so with the ability and willingness to adjust the details of those process steps on a situational basis using the principles that drive the strategy's creation in the first place, rather the details of the tactical job at hand... Trying to copy that is like counterfeit money, it may buy a few things at a few places, but just try to deposit any of it in the bank.
Secondly, anything you do with digital marketing, Internet sales or eBusiness in general is out there on the web in plain site for anybody who is curious enough to study and analyze. Before I recruited Rich Lucy for Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix, everything I developed and deployed for the dealership was eventually studied and used by our local Chevy competition. In many cases, our competitors executed my strategies better than we did! Chapman Chevrolet and Midway Chevrolet would study every digital marketing tactic we used, copy it and build their own versions... Most of the time, I felt that their microsites (for example) were better than ours! But like a lot of things in this business, there is more to what it takes than meets the eye. In 2006 the team that I supervised sold more than 4,000 new and used cars to leads we generated using digital marketing strategies and tactics.
From a technical perspective, when you looked at what Midway, Chapman, Van, Sands, Bill Heard and Power were doing, all within 20 miles of us, bits and pieces were better designed, more expensive and should have produced more sales... We outsold all of them, and the proof of the effectiveness of the strategy and tactics we used in the second half of 2005, all of 2006 and through August of 2007 is evident in how many cars we sold to Digital Marketing generated opportunities then, and what happened to the volume of sales to those same types of sources when those strategies were changed and the tactical daily execution was stopped... No longer being maintained or managed on a daily basis.
I am a big believer in Rich Lucy's intelligence and intellect... He impressed the hell out of me when we first met and has continued to since then. But, sometimes what it takes for a whole team, or the whole dealership to make it all work and make money is a lot of sweat equity and leaders staying till late in the night to build all the pieces and connect all the activities... the dots... crossing the T's... dotting the i's.... Building, monitoring, adjusting, making judgment calls, changing tactics, the types of things that you cannot do by writing a check or handing the responsibility over to a vendor!
And even then, very few younger automotive professionals know or understand that sometimes you have to be willing to try a different way, use a new tactic, or simply not rely so much on "how we did it at the last dealership I worked at" (the phrase everybody who has been at a store for awhile simply LOVES to hear!). Brilliance is great to watch, and fun to test, but hard work and paying attention to details, trying new approaches, measuring, monitoring and making adjustments while doing the "clickety clack" on keyboards to execute tactical daily work steps required to keep things optimized in changing market conditions is what it takes to sell a LOT MORE cars and trucks.
Thanks for joining ADM and I know there is at least a million dollars worth of documents, files, templates, reports and insight here... But, do you and your team have what it takes to do the work necessary to execute?!?!?!
As a fellow member of the online community I value input from current "front line" car people over all others, including my own. I invetsed 25+ years as a general manager and auto dealer principal before focusing on automotive advertising and consulting and I envy you the real world experiences that are shaping the auto industry of tomorrow which is very different from the yesterday that I had to deal with. The "virtual" showrooms that are attracting today's car shoppers present new challenges for the real world and I would appreciate any insights that you could share on any of the forums that I have posted. Please review any that might be of interest and reply with your suggestions. Feel free to disagree! I have "borrowed" some of the best ideas that I have ever had and I would appreciate your lending me some of yours for my clients and the other ADM members anxious to listen. learn and teach. After all, what are firends for!
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