Sharing The Pain, Silver Bullets And You

What is it that drives someone to perform? Along with the given family, friends, clients, bosses, partners and other tangibles and intangibles, it's simply that person's desire. Two things are clearly evident in the auto industry today: it's inextricably tied to the economy (if not one of the biggest drivers) and that companies reap what they sow, sometimes for an undeservedly long time. You can't change the economy but you can absolutely control what you do.

It's not rocket science to understand what separates a performer for an 'also ran'. While that may not be fair, it's reality. The winner always figures out a way to the desired result. They rise above circumstances and work on the cause side of the equation rather than the effect side. They also know that pointing a outward finger points three back at themselves.

Another wake-up call: even though the domestic auto manufacturers may not be building the most relevant cars in the world, the products sold by GM, Ford and Chrysler do not deserve the stigma attached to the cars from the 1980s until about 2000 or so today. If sentiment is the major indicator that it truly is, Detroit is still living the nightmare. In all fairness, however, I've seen more Traverse commercials in the past three months than I ever saw of 'Road To Redemption' ads.

What is it that continues to perpetuate that type of thought process today when products and services are truly better than ever? No one is impervious. Toyota is down around 50% over the past two months and layoffs there are eminent after the first of the year.

Sharing the pain is and will be one of the unfair realities (GM is holding incentive money from dealers for two weeks, which might bury more than a few stores) as is shortages of 'hot sellers' while your lot is filled with cars that don't move. And guess what…silver bullets just don't exist and likely never did.

So what can you do to change the perception of auto retail and service?  Quit letting the 'brands' dictate your actions and reactions. Build your own brand and reputation because people don't buy a Wrangler, Camry, Z, Malibu or Arnage from Jeep, Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet or Bentley. They buy from you. Start staring at the front door less and start staring at your screen more (and then email and call more, too). Read what people are saying about you online and realize that's what everyone reads!

Start using the reports from your CRM, utilizing your analytics, update your website (including updating your staff photos that show people that are no longer there and not showing people that are), market your pre-owned inventory (you market it, not the third party sites), add video to your site, emails and follow ups, take more pictures of your happy customers at delivery, call a customer you haven't touched in 12 months…

Don't hold Honda or Subaru responsible for slow traffic and hold back
on expecting Mazda to deliver 24 more customers this month.  Think like, plan like, act like and then become a performer. You're the only thing between not having it happen and making it happen. Be more effective by doing above what is needed and you'll have everyone else thinking that your holster is loaded with silver bullets. Go on…be great!

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

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