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Posts with reseller tag.
Consulting Conundrum: “You can do whatever you want, as long as…”

Yes, this is opinion. However don't take it as fable.

It’s the consistent vicious circle in consulting: do it all as long as it’s what is wanted at that moment, backed up by someone else, doesn’t bite back at the factory stance, mostly makes sense and when you can grab the proper attention. And don’t blink because all of that can change with one call or a visit from a nice set of pearly whites with a tan and a low-slung top.

In a dramatically fluid world, all of that is a constant.

Meeting with a dealer the other day, their factory (only) site has issues, their SEO/SEM isn’t close to completely transparent in work, reporting or results, their new CRM isn’t installed properly or completely and their sales team can’t seem to do their job. And the store is doing, what most would consider, fine.

In less than five hours, a solution to every hole that was shot in their operation was provided, a path to resolution (in some cases multiple) was drawn out and improvement benchmarks were communicated. All without spending a dollar more in vendors, leads, software or services. And everything was documented.

Very few of us in the consulting world face this; because most aren’t consultants. Most of them are resellers, reps, paid advocates, commission reapers, factory program overseers, old-school trainers with a new world attack and/or recently departed vendor/dealership staff. Consulting, ladies and gentlemen, is a craft rather than a hobby. True consultants create understanding, buy-in, advocacy and results, in that order. And they listen, a lot.

If your costs just went up north of $10,000 per month and you’ll see your consultant one day per month, you should check the other hand of the person you just signed a contract (warning sign) with and see if their fingers are crossed.

As the industry shifted slowly over the past ten plus years, it created a natural recommendation engine that exists more powerful than ever. Don’t believe me? Contact your OEM, ask for a solution or provider for a problem you have in any category, especially digital, and then ask about results for any one or a group of dealerships. And get that preferably in a report with before and after metrics, costs, process changes and net improvement.

Oh, and you might want to hold on to your four-leaf clover.

In a world where businesses still make decisions by how many “covers” or “articles” someone was been on/in or how many times they’ve heard of a potential partner during a golf outing or 20 Group, industry metrics are moving slower than the speed of solutions. Hellloooo, it should be the other way around.

There are no overnight solutions, silver bullets or cash cows, at least legal and/or ethical. Use tried and true sensibilities: ask for more recommendations than someone offers. Look at more live solutions than you are given, dig deeper before you spend deeper. Oh, and if it sounds too good………

Car dealers, do yourself a huge favor. Get a second opinion on everything as if you’d just received a heartbreaking medical prognosis. In both cases your life depends on it.

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

The cost of information versus execution

We hem. We haw. We decide. We buy. We go. Then what? First,
let’s go back to the start. What is the education budget of your dealership?
There is likely a marketing budget, a maintenance budget and even a coffee budget
(especially if you’re a high-line store). Where is your education budget? How
much is spent on outside support and consulting away from a vendor rep or “consulting”
reseller that simply pushes products and trains on them specifically?

Sure, it is important to take care of your image, your
facility and your customers. However today, more than ever, the investment made
in dealership staff is more important than the payroll investment and on par
with any other expense or cost center. The number one thing that can move a
business forward is typically forgotten, let alone budgeted for.

So the dealer, general manager, marketing or Internet
manager make it to a conference. Once everyone is happily back in the nest, 30-95%
of what is learned is lost or not executed on (delayed loss). $2,000-3,000 is
spent to have one to two people there; however sustainment investment typically
runs about 5-10 times what the event does. Where’s the investment to ensure the
information, implementation and platform for success? $10,000 will usually be
spent in a flash to simply appease the manufacturer’s rep with some local newspaper
advertising to push the new model,
where’s the $10,000 over six months to keep the dealership staff on the leading edge?

Information is great, fantastic, liberating and exciting.
However the actual implementation and sustainment is more so and the other
benefit is you actually get to see the results rather than simply reminiscing “remember
back at that conference when the guy (or gal) talked about doing that new thing”
and then getting back to doing things the way you…always have.

The cost of the information is practically zero. Yes, some companies
and publishers in the industry charge you for webinars with expert speakers but
where’s the follow up and how do you actually do what they’re talking about.
The cost of implementation is significantly higher but it’s the only way to get
the results.

Don’t go to the conferences if you won’t back it up with the
real investment. Don’t send your staff to get information that, with about five
minutes of searching on Google, is otherwise available within the confines of
your dealership. And don’t send your Internet director for the “amazing networking
events”. Get the rubber to meet the road by attending, considering, spending,
measuring*, reviewing and reinvesting.
 *measuring that involves using a proprietary
dashboard rather than an unbiased third party is typically a short-sighted
move.

The greatest reward any dealer will receive from their
digital marketing is no different than any other investment, like a facility
upgrade or a redo of the fixed operations department. It causes people to work
and think in fresh ways, generating better results.

Invest in the best assets you have and make those efforts
ongoing. Replace "I liked that conference a lot and will likely go again, especially if I can fit in a couple rounds" with "I can't believe the growth we've had from doing what the speakers taught us about and am already booked for next year".

See you at the conferences!

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results