Archives

Focus Daniel-san, Focus!

Focus. We all need it. Sometimes we loose it. Hopefully we get it back. Focus is what, along with goals and direction, on the path to success. Simply put we're in the business of selling products and services, backing them up, and maintaining relationships with those that bought the products or services.

Broken focus is what allows us to view the products and services that we buy as those that will sell what our customers will buy. Yup…long sentence. What does it mean? It means simply stop thinking that websites, CRM, widgets, gadgets, software/SAAS and all of the other stuff (including social media) sells cars and then makes people service them at your business. People buy from people.

Don't get me wrong, we're all about more efficiencies and lower costs through all the items above. But if you think for a second that you can forget about an up, any kind of up, you're dead wrong. Companies continue at a break-neck pace to promote their "two cars pays for our service"and "with our leads you'll sell 8.7 more cars more month".

People sell cars, people sell cars, people sell cars. The 'best' lead, scored by some company that doesn't sell cars, sold to you by a company spending millions to promote themselves with your money, with the most gross ever not followed up on is a floating, polished  t**d. At the same time, the 'worst' perceived lead from your overpriced third parties, let alone your own website (if your cars actually showed up on Google from your own website which most don't), is closed in a 5 minute call or three emails because the person was dealt with quickly, honestly and had all of their questions answered.

Focus on setting appointments. Appointments that are confirmed. That then show up. That then are handled right. That then are closed right. Because they nearly all come from your website or some displayed listing. Focus on what drives people to your store…you and your co-workers.

It's amazing the amount of dealers spending $20,000 per month or more to sell a few more cars (plus salesperson's commission, managers' cut, overhead and all the rest) because they're convinced that without buying what they're selling, they'll be crushed. Yesterday a meeting at a store revealed that, while the staff was asking for more leads, one of their marketing sources had about 20 plus leads that weren't touched. At all. Yeah, it was from service marketing. So I guess people that service don't also buy?!?!?! Focus…

Your website is there to get appointments. Everything online and in marketing outside of your website is intended to drive traffic to your website. To get appointments. Everything else you use to drive impressions and retention is supposed to eventually drive people to your website. Please don't fool yourself. Look at your analtyics. Yours. Google's. Not your website company's 'unique' statistics.

Please focus. Dealers (And everyone in business that is trying to grasp online), it's time to stop. And focus. We're trying to invite people to buy cars and maintenance and parts and accessories. As an industry we say that but it's not how we buy services. We buy because our buddy did, our competitor did, all of our 20 group says to and so on.

It's down to focus. Remember that Daniel-san could block, sweep and jump AFTER he focused on painting and all the other chores that Mr. Miyagi gave him. No distractions. Complete focus.

So focus Daniel-san, focus.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Hey, It’s Digital

Another event in the history books. Digital Dealer 8 provided a new round
of talk, perspective, conjecture, ideas and repetitiveness. Well
attended, the eighth iteration of the event made way for a full expo,
some great sessions, loud receptions and the proverbial automotive
industry buzz.

It was a bit funny last week when two things occurred that caused me to
think about what it is to be "digital", take the leap of faith, change
some (ok, a lot) of the broken practices in our business and bring as
many willing people along with us. Brian Pasch and Ralph Paglia both had
digital device "snafus" in front of a bunch of people. And it was
funny. While some loudmouth from the crowd chirped "it's digital"
(please, no guesses) , it caused me to reflect on how connected we are
to everything digital. And what we continue to do wrong, including the
so called education of the dealers looking for assistance.

Automotive retail's entire existence is based on success in the digital
realm. We don't need a bunch of people, many barely versed themselves,
standing in front of rooms of people telling them that the train has
left the station. Dealers need real assistance, in real time, in real
terms, from real people to build real results.

One thing that tends to rub me is the intention versus goal aspect of
the conferences. What's happened to AAISP? certification programs? "put
the dealer before profits" and all of the other chatter over the past
four years? This is not a post meant to call bullshit on everything but
to avoid it completely would be a disservice. At many conferences, more
netowrking and business happens away from the event than at the event.
And…there is a belief structure that has to be maintained.

It strikes me as odd when people attend events that can have a
significant impact, offer extremely relevant information and otherwise
influence attendees in a positive way are charged the most, treated as
less-than-desireables and not invited to particiapte in the most basic
way. Actually it's flat out wrong. The leading events let the audience
and industry decide what's best. Not the promoter.

Changes in the industry are happening at such a rate now that those in
position to create, promote and execute on large-scale events need to be
more in line who they claim to help. Watch the bottom line? Sure you
should make a profit if you're going to be bold enough, especially in
these economic times, to front cash (which can be significant) and put
an agenda together.

Ego and enforcement also have no place in today's events. Protocol,
yes. Guidelines, yes. Omnipotent overlords focused on anything besides
what drives the most value need to, well…be somewhere else. The
digital shift is about practices, assistance, positioning, data and
more. Our industry has been dealt a deserved blow in the digital space
due to ignorance, denial and a refusal to recognize our own customers
and public. How can the auto industry be so large yet engage and learn
so little?

In my opinion, there should be more Internet department directors
(pardon the phrase), field reps for the larger companies and consultants
that are not beholden to vendors on stage. Those are the people moving
the industry digital every day. Attendees don't want pitches. They need
honest answers. They need examples. They absolutely want to understand
what to do. Not being told. Not being sold. Remember, just like a
customer at a dealership, they want to buy from someone they trust, that
listens to them, that can deliver on value and promises. Why should the
B-to-B part of our business be any different?

It time to start doing the work instead of talking the talk. No more
"we do that" and then scramble to execute it for the first time. No more
canceled cook-offs. No more delays in production. And a lot more
customer service. That's what we need at retail. That's what we need
from the companies making the claims and filling the magazines with ads.
The one's retailers are trying not to do themselves anymore. Because
they're listening to us.

Because, hey. It's digital.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results