Things are getting better. Right? You hear it everywhere. Even amidst the issues that are having a significant impact on our industry (the switch from economic downturns to Mother Nature's havoc), there's bright talk and a focus on building. Ha! A perfect time for silver bullets...
Yeah, we've heard there's no such thing. But that can't stop the preachers from preaching and the sellers from selling. So last time we went off on "blocking and tackling", now it's "the new black" that we'll pick on. So, what ocurred to you first?
Was it the pitch telling you how many leads you'll get in your zip code (postal code for our friends in the Great Defrosting North)? Or is it the dozens to hundreds of websites you'll get from the latest social media and reputation management offering? Or is it the CRM that sells cars for you?
Purchases are earned by the business. Reputations are managed by the business. Retention is managed by the business. Traffic is earned by the business. No, really. Why do dealers believe that platforms win? Data wins. Releationships win. Granted, if your technoloy is better and you put great information in it, you DO have a better chance to attract and win business. But if the house is one of cards? Fail.
Silver bullets don't exist. Neither do #1 website SEO platforms that don't create their own content! Nobody goes to 50-200 social media sites. You don't. Why do you think others do? Facebook pages don't sell cars. Salespeople can close deals with people who want to buy cars. Granted, if you're not on Facebook, review sites (all 3 to 5 of them that matter), a blog and YouTube, AND your competition is, you are many times more likely to lose sales. Yes.
What is most important about your name, reputation, brand, processes and retention? That you own it with your customers. Too many dealers (95% plus) today still take the ill-advised approach of buying into selling. It doesn't exist. Platforms don't sell. Data and process do! Platforms make it better!
As a company, we love giving recommendations. When do we give them? When dealers ask, when we qualify, when we research, when we understand what their goals are, their processes are, where their failures come from and what things are working well. A certified technician would never just start going through a car, fixing things without knowing what the heck he or she is fixing in the first place. Then they'd likely assess what the required parts, techniques and intended results are. Why buy differently than you provide? It doesn't make sense.
There are companies out there that are raising the bar. All of the time. It's neat to watch the water level rise and see which companies also rise to the occasion and which ones sink. Remember that acting like a lemming makes you a lemming. Core competencies matter. Are your vendors calling you to add services that they've come up with overnight? Are you in a beta that's lasted months...or years?
Part of innovating is falling flat on your face. You wipe off the dirt and keep going. No company or vendor is perfect. There is no such thing as number one for longer than the ad or survey runs. Progress happens at the speed of tomorrow.
If you're building your business and you find that you're falling short because you or someone has identified if, discussed a roadmap, reviewed opportunities and processes and then proceeded with a plan that is talked about regularly, then you're bound to progress soundly.
Remember that you might build some showroom traffic off the big ad with low low prices. It might work better than a direct mail piece. It'll certainly work more than a Facebook ad. And a newspaper ad will still eat the lunch of a Twitter stream full of "I just uploaded a YouTube video of a 2007 fill-in-the-blank" that some inventory company told you is social media because you don't have to do it. But when that person does come on the lot, if the experience is not what's expected...
Shoot the silver bullets, put the new black back with the old black and question anyone selling a "bunch of sites" with...well that's where we'll stop on this post. We think...
Want more? Head to Orlando this Saturday morning and participate in the Automotive Marketing Boot Camp through Monday. Bring your laptop. Bring your mind. Bring your questions. Prepare to learn. Not just attend...
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