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Dealership Day Care.......... "WE'VE GOT OPENINGS"

Dealership Day Care….. “WE'VE GOT OPENINGS”

I am going to be very passionate with this subject, as I want to make sure you understand where I am coming from and for the reason I chose this particular article title.

I speak with many dealers’ day in and day out and hearing them say they have no choice but to choose a certain website vendor per the OEM / Manufacturer told them they had too. This places a sour taste in my mouth along with the dealer themselves.

From a National level I can see where they want to make sure their individual dealers are hitting numbers and selling their brand to help the manufacturer expand further into the consumer via online or even the newspaper but “WHAT ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL DEALER”………..?

The individual dealer’s are being pushed into a corner to make a choice; from a national level they never look at the competition the dealer has down the street or even up to 30 miles away. Why is it that the OEM / Manufacturer pushes so hard for the dealer to make a choice? Look the same as his competitor? And penalizes the dealers if they don’t?

The dealer is the one who sells the cars, gets their names out and pushes the manufacturer’s brand. Shouldn’t the dealer push the OEM / Manufacturer to make a choice?

It really bugs me that an OEM / Manufacturer can push around the dealer so much and hang things in front of them to choose a certain provider. When is the Manufacturer going to look at the individual dealer themselves? They all ready have to keep up with compliancy let alone having to choose a provider to purchase their website from.

The dealer is the one who has to fight for the sales each and every day and work harder to hit their numbers each month. Why in the world do they want to look like their competitor down the road online?

The dealer wants to make themselves unique, stand out & look different to attract the online consumer as this now is the new age of shopping online.

The shuffling of dealers from a national level, reminds me of a full time day care service provider. Being told what to do, when to do it and if you don’t do it this is what happens.

When are the OEM / Manufacturers going to step up and say “They are right, let’s give the dealer the choice this time?”

I won’t hold my breath. The dealer is the asset and should be taken care of with the utmost intentions.

Views: 96

Tags: auto, automotive, dealership, internet, management, manager, marketing, online, sale, sales


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Comment by Tony MacFarlane on June 7, 2010 at 11:44am
We are beginning to get this same feeling when we noticed that a disproportionate share of leads are being funneled away from us by regional management. We have seen that our website looks exactly the same as all the other dealerships in the region, and have been slapped down when we want to try something new.

My question is: how to get off the treadmill ...? Can anyone point me in a proper direction? What do I need to assess? Where can I start looking for options? How does my dealership get out of the OEM outfit?
Comment by Jimmy Vee on June 4, 2010 at 8:18am
So true... I'll drop $100 bucks in your lap... but you're a nicer guy than that and it won't get you much of a web site. :)
Comment by Fern Turpin Jr on June 4, 2010 at 6:00am
The unfortunate truth is that dealers are being FORCED to have 2 sites. They MUST tow the line of their manufacturers, but they also understand the benefit of being individuals in the sea of dealers. The OEMs are worried that a dealers site will not be say or show what they want, so they control their sites. However, the OEMs have no control on dealer owned sites. The facts are simple. For the Entrepreneur to succeed, they must show what makes them different that the store down the street.

It would be nice if the OEMs gace the dealers the choice, but it would also be nice if someone dropped $1,000,000 in my lap for being a nice guy...
Comment by Dara Moore on June 3, 2010 at 10:48pm
I am finding more and more dealers going with two websites. Mostly a .net for the OEM site that they do what is mandated and a .com for their primary site. The .com is where they put their individuality as the dealer out for the consumers. Most of their marketing goes to the primary, the time in maintenance, keeping the ads current and fresh. With the primary they will do, and allow me to do, so much more to show what sets them apart from the competition.

I recently had an Acura store I was working on a full custom site for to flow with the Honda site I had just completed to have the manufacturer come in and mandate they go with their "approved" vendor. I suggested the two site option to them and initially their reaction was negative. They felt that it was not worth their time and would just go with what they were told to do. To make a long story short, I was recently ask to if I can help them re-evaluate their options because they did not feel like essentially being squeezed into the same box as everyone else.

I understand brand consistency. I work with the dealer groups on this idea all the time, trying to get some sense of uniformity among the stores. And this can be achieved through site compliance, just look at Nissan. But to tell the dealers they HAVE to use a vendor and they HAVE to choose from a small selection of site templates with virtually no customization to bring in the personality of the dealer is completely unacceptable.
Comment by Jimmy Vee on June 3, 2010 at 6:39pm
Fern, I love your definition of the entrepreneur. I guess the manufacturers have forget that it was us entrepreneurs who took the risk and became dealers in the first place and continue to take risks flying their banners of their poorly run companies. Putting our good names on the line.

When it comes to meddling in choices... it's really no surprise. It's a control thing and it's pretty normal especially when goals aren't necessarily aligned.

The manufactures job is to market, promote and sell the brand. It's the regional groups job to create awareness for the local dealers and it's the individual dealers job to sell the customer on why they should buy from them and buy from them right now.

The manufractures want us to spend our money doing their job, by their rules... if you do that, as a result you'll sell some cars. But not nearly the number you'll sell if you focus your efforts marketing the deal and the dealership.

Spend your dollars, your breath and your web copy explaining how you're different (this has nothing to do with the vehicles you sell) and how you can help the customer.

It's important to break down what we call "The Mighty Wall Of Mistrust" that stands between every dealer and every customer. This wall can not be destroyed by talking about vehicles -- as a side note, it also can't be done talking about low prices, good service and great selection either... but that's another discussion.

Dealers need to be the problem solving entrepreneurs they once were despite what the manufactures want us to do. Even if that means spending twice for something just to appease them. This goes for both online and offline marketing and advertising.

The manufactures represent their own interests and work to protect the brand. We need to represent our customers' interest and work to solve their problems and protect them. Those two goals are not in alignment but can work symbiotically with some creative juice, a bit of a renegade streak, the ability to handle criticism and a healthy set of balls.

And if all else fails... fortunately there are used cars and no one can take those away from us... Well... except maybe Obama.

Comment by Jennifer Schrader on June 3, 2010 at 5:46pm
Fern thank you so much! The feedback is greatly appreciated. I absolutely agree with dealers being the "Risk Taker".. You couldn't have said it better!

Mark I checked out the book online and may take up that offer on making the initial order for that book! Your comments are also appreciated too!

One day many dealers will get fed up with it and make a stand.. Shoot they are the ones making the sales!!
Comment by Fern Turpin Jr on June 3, 2010 at 3:18pm
The manufacturers are all about THEM. They truly have not shown that they "care" about the dealers. Yes, I WAS a proud GM dealer until I received an email to said "Thanks for the 55 years, now go away"! Its not just the web sites. The manufacturers have forgotten that the dealers are entrepreneurs. The definition is “Risk Taker”, “One who initiates or finances new commercial enterprises”, one who is able to solve problems with creativity. Why do the Manufacturers strip the dealers of that Creativity and force dealers to all be clones? Being a dealer does not make us drones of the manufacturer, being a dealer gives us the ability to show case their products, but NOT to the detriment of our own identities!
Comment by Mark Ragsdale on June 2, 2010 at 8:23am
As former owner/operator of nine franchised rooftops with a resume full of dealer council, state dealer board, and dealer marketing group service; I certainly have opinions on this subject.

I encourage you to pick up my book at Amazon by copying and pasting the followint link:

The Day Care mentality, which you so eloquently characterize, pervades virtually every sector of dealer activity. It is not just reserved for digital media sources, but all media sources. If a District Manager pitches an "optional" program, run away fast, if you can.

Comment by Jason Mickelson on June 1, 2010 at 2:48pm
We have maintained two websites so as to maintain our unique image with customers searching for our dealership while having a second one to satisfy the oem. Although more costly, it seems to be worth it for us.

Comment by Juanita Kiesler on June 1, 2010 at 12:07pm
Trust the Manufacturer, why? The last two years should have taught dealers a painful lesson. It's as if the dealers were "sucker punched" and then pick pocketed. I respect the dealers wanting to have loyalty, in theroy. Then reality sets in and the recent memories of an industry tsunami should be a WAKE UP call for ALL dealers!!!!! Dealers, you know whats right for your store, your demographics and customers. Why let a corporation that can't run their ship....tell you how to run yours?

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