Why 2010 Is The Year For The Dealer In The Automotive Communities

You've seen them. You've registered. You've looked a couple times. You've even mentioned them at some of the events you attend to be in the 'know' . But the most you've been involved with what is likely the greatest area of information and opportunity for quicker growth ends with exactly that: not much. Post a comment on a forum? Nonsense. Ask a tough question of your peers? Waster of time. But your processes, results and even poorly rated vendors don't change and the answers are staring at you, through that nice flat screen you convinced your general manager you had to have.

So what will it take to propel dealership involvement in the communities? If we don't change retail, as great as the products have gotten, the fact that new cars are now launched on the web or mobile devices exclusively rather than traditional advertising (about stinking time), the fact that you read reviews of hotels and restaurants on review/forum sites and a list of other valid reasons, the dealer voice online is about as frequent as (fill in your least favorite 80's or 90's pop star here, mine's Cher) appearing on the Billboard Chart's number one spot today.

We can all agree, or let's just say we can, that a lot has had to change in automotive retail. And some are doing it with rewarding results. Even with 'better' results, it's not enough to drop your marketing expense by $50,000 a month compared to a couple years from now, redesign your website and expect cars to fly off the showroom floor. We must share and help each other.

Considering how many have chopped expenses including travel and 20 groups, stopped attending most events and don't even see their reps as much as before, how can you not leverage the online automotive industry communities? That is a rhetorical question considering how many dealers still step over a dollar to pick up a penny.

And let's have real involvement rather the same old list of suspects. A changing of the guard is totally needed, appropriate and refreshing. Does your favorite publication use the same contributors every month? (yawn) Boring! It's no different online.

Dealers, here is the challenge: write down your two or three biggest challenges. Everyone posts them starting tomorrow, for the next 50 weeks. Stupid questions? No such thing! Someone already asked the same or close question? See who else can answer it. What are you afraid of? This is your opportunity to learn while everyone else does. No two people will execute exactly the same so make sure you've got your spin on it.

As an example, after last October's DrivingSales Executive Summit, the comments were consistent not only about the value of the event but the content was more in line with what dealers needed. It was dynamic. The speakers were fresh. The subjects impacted attendees. Then, crickets on the website.

Folks, this is THE year for the automotive online community. Our future success depends on what we do today and for the next 354 days. We have one of the best industries out there, we should treat it as such.

Best Practices: Profession Insight, Powerful Results

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