There seems to be a perpetual struggle in the dealer world between the client needing services, needing to change/improve, needing to stay in front of the competition and the vendors needing new places to hock their wares, prove their value, bang the 'we're the leader' drum and pay back their investors. They're both right while not typically paying attention to each other.
In the course of recommending vendors, after assessing the needs of the client, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint what services will be beneficial. This is more the case today with some providers offering truly integrated, real-time solutions. There are times when, over the course of an engagement, fitting vendors are brought in to do their jobs, but in hindsight it's realized that one larger provider could have done the work. And likely at a lower price while providing a more streamlined experience.
It is always appropriate to push for the larger picture and achieve more but automotive retail has been hit hard over the years with less-than-promised services at outrageous prices and lackluster support. This has been painfully evident with DMS and CRM systems. Many dealers are numb to the pitch today. But have they turned a deaf ear and a blind eye when now is the right time to hear them out again?
Many consultants have the benefit of working with leading-edge and/or forward thinking dealerships and it is a pleasure. In providing best practice recommendations (i.e. the suggestions are honest and the vendor doesn't pay anyone a finder's or recurring fee) it is always necessary to keep goals in mind while ensuring the possibility of exceeding them. Too often the client feels it's the vendors job to 'perform' and the vendor feels it's the client's job to do so as well.
Getting over this 'dealeritis' and 'vendoritis' type of game is essential. and many think it's not happening fast enough. One event started changing things last year and we need more change.
What suggestions do you have to get vendors and dealers together in not-simply-for-large-profits-for-the-promoter forums around the country? Can it be sponsored so the cost is free-to-low for everyone and vendors pitch or should it be a pay-your-way-and-bring-a-sack-lunch event? This is the year of the automotive community: pitch in so you'll win!
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results