Let’s Talk Next Spring (A Very Direct Monologue)

(Note: As a practice, IM@CS has not written in the first person. We
try to not call people out or make examples of them directly. This is a
slight departure from the past two years of blog writing for dealers. We
hope you enjoy it or are at least compelled to comment on this aspect
as well)

After talking with Internet sales staff and leaving
messages for management over the past months, I visited a prominent
LA-area import dealer recently to see about getting a few minutes with
the manager responsible for their web and eCommerce presence. After
finally having the courtesy to recognize that someone was trying to talk
with him (understanding two things very well: one you're busy and two
you likely have a lot of people calling on you and trying to sell you),
he gave me 45 seconds.

In that time, he was able to share that
the "departments are going through changes so it's not the right time
and we'll be able to put our eCommerce and Internet efforts on the
schedule next Spring". Not only is this one of the best qualifiers, it
is also a great indicator of how removed from reality most dealers
really are. This is not a judgement, we'll leave that to the customers,
staff and factory. But as a litmus test, that's just bad. Flat out bad.

Let's say you ignore every automotive publication. Let's say you never
attend a "digital" event in the industry. Let's assume you're not in a
20 group. Just for kicks, let's say you never talk with your staff.
Considering it's 2010, if you have spent any time on the Internet,
bought an airplane ticket, hotel room, checked a sports score or weather
conditions, how can you allow yourself to be ignorant of what ALL
consumers do?

By next Spring, your competition will be
significantly ahead of you. And maybe by my or another consultant or
vendor's doing. Maybe even intentionally. When you send that kind of
signal out, it's hard not to either try to convince you (unless the
manager was intentionally being dismissive) or leave the store and run
to the next closest store. I say this because it's being done. Every
day.

While I can't speak for others that may walk into the
store I'm referring to, I can guarantee you that if I take the time to
engage you, your website, templates, social media (if it exists), phone
skills and other aspects of your operation has been assessed. Don't even
think for a second that mine is a traditional "pitch", again
understanding that everyone that walks in with a briefcase is likely
trying to get money from you in exchange for services.

Just
know that sometime, really soon, your traffic will go somewhere else..
And with what your using for website and more, it won't even cause a
drop of sweat to fall.

With all the best intentions,

Gary May
IM@CS

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