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Logistics: I’ll Take “What Is A Dealership?” For $1000 Alex

Lo·gis·tics  ləˈjistiks,lō-/  noun

    1. The detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies.

We are in the game of logistics. Like it or not car dealerships, at a minimum, are hubs of logistic activities: connections to the factory and engineers, DMS uploads, inventory pushes and pulls, secure financial documents and transactions, lead migration, email and phone connections, server backups, marketing company, sales rep and little league treasure troves…it's dizzying.

Add to that the total of resources: staff, hardware, all the moving parts. And you want to put a 300-pound inflatable on top to make it look like a scene from a Chevy Chase Vacation movie. *burp*

A whole, as they say, is the sum of its parts. However some of those parts are more evident to the people you’re trying to attract: consumers. More important than ever is the media, availability/speed of information and communication we deliver to the public.

So riddle me this Batman: the most important part of your website is the:

 

  1. Template and main pages you reviewed two years ago with your website vendor that you get a PDF “report” from once a month and a visit with once a quarter, when they sell you more stuff.
  2. Inventory being online that you assume is feeding correctly with the automated “cheese” seller notes, not so robust VIN explosion/features and being syndicated to portals you’ve never heard f (although they’re fully disclosed in the document you’ve never read).
  3. SEO you’ve never checked on provided by the website or aftermarket company (that is ABSOLUTELY using spun content)…oh wait. What’s SEO? Yeah.
  4. About us video made a while ago showing some staff you still have employed inside the dealership before the new fascia when up

The answer is none of the above. Just like your dealership it’s the experience. Yes, it has to have what people expect however when’s the last time you met a customer, truly, that knew exactly what to expect. And that is, literally, exactly.

If you’ve not stopped, in a long time, and done a real deep-dive into analytics, feedback from customers and staff, taken more than a gander at your competition (which is everyone), looked and reassessed everything that has your name/brand on it and taken stock of actionable goals and roadmaps, you’re gliding on the rise in sales that’s taken place over the past couple of years now and are, still, not ready for what comes next. Get real about what you’re avoiding.

At the center of everything is a person, with a real need for attention, consideration, information, service, answers and solutions. We are in the logistics business.

Consider this again before you chat with your coworkers about Sunday’s games tomorrow with finite details and stats about passing yards, rushing yards, total years, carries, receptions, turnovers, time of possession, sacks, half sacks, quarter sacks and hurries…and then realize that’s the same level of passion we must exhibit and deliver on for every one of the people that give you the honor of walking through your front door.

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

The Difference Is One Letter…And What It Gets You Is Much More

Many times people ask me why IM@CS is not a training company, even though plenty of people call what we do by the "T" word. The response every single person receives, for the last five years – and emphatically – is that people despise being trained. People, more successful ones for sure, love learning. In short, we've never had a staff member at a client that ever deserved such a low pat of the attention span.

Education, however, is what people and businesses that want to succeed tune into. There are plenty of trainers to choke 17,000 new car franchises to death, and then some. There are so very few educators, especially in the digital space. That aren't beholden to vendors they recommend (read: if you take a fee from a client and a commission from a vendor, that's called a conflict of interest). That don't work at a store 40 hours a week (read: that's an employee, not a consultant). That learn from outside the industry (read: recirculating existing data, quotes, white papers and results from others is simply an affront).

Education, for the few that want it, is the only thing that moves our industry forward. "Getting back to the basics" and "blocking and tackling", while called for and part of daily operation especially when things drop through the cracks, is needed. However, you can't increase results from eCommerce, increase your SEO footprint, establish social media signals, improve your email lead response rate or conquest a new market or brand by "doing what has always worked".

This week brought a great opportunity to share what might be considered as more "digitally savvy" dealerships and vendors in a conversation with an industry colleague. He happens to be someone that I respect, having OEM, portal and agency experience including outside automotive. He asked, among other items, what we're most proud of that we were able to do with a now, more-successful client. My response was that he should ask them, not me…

You see, training is something you do everywhere for everybody that "needs it". Education is something that you provide with varying degrees of success, seeing the results later through your clients and only for those that absolutely want or will kill for it.

One thing I've always been passionate about in providing services to different business over the past twenty plus years is watching their growth. By providing turnkey services or an enterprise-wide platform, as needed as those services are, the baseline is so muted. That doesn't get me or the team of people I get to work with up in the morning. What does is making a difference through education and then supporting the education. Anyone call sell or buy a widget. And many will tell you their widget is better or drives better results. Bulls**t. The people using the widget to their best capability win. Remember who people buy cars from? The least educated one, right?

So what's the difference between training and education? Education is one letter longer. And likely the only thing keeping your dealership back from excellence…

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

 

If It Were That Simple, You Wouldn’t Have Done It Yet…

Things are changing. So fast, they’re staying put, at least for the most part. It usually brings a smile to my face when they phrase “We’re doing well. Things could be better, but compared with (fill in competitor) we’re actually doing fine/well“, is muttered for two reasons. First, it’s part of our selection process and second, it’s part of the business’ selection process. “No, we’re not changing” is a great response, even though most can’t get it out of their mouths.

Recently one of our clients called to advise us that they were being pushed be their OEM to do some print advertising, their first in nearly two years. So they advised us that they’ll do it for two months, just to get the heat of their back. That made me think about what business owners and senior management do to simply make their business partners happy, or trying to make competitors worried, or to make a statement as well as a list of other, mostly ego-driven or self-centered, reasons.

Many businesses today are out of touch with their customers even though consumer sentiment and feedback is so readily available today, to the point of nausea. And we don’t ask. Heck, we can’t even get accurate sourcing at the point of sale today as “the fastest way around the system” is what most of those in sales will do because “I just want to sell a (fill in the blank) now”.

Logic tells us if something is easy enough, we should just do it! Logic also tells us most people won’t opt to do things that are deemed difficult so the few that do that harder work reap the greatest benefit. Most things that can increase results relatively quickly, given the proper attention, will absolutely give an unprecedented advantage. Yet most fall short. Well short.

Take, for example, call tracking. Why would you want to use your cell, at your desk, when you can kill two birds with one stone on the business’ land line (unless you have a more advanced CRM that can append a cell call to a customer record)? Convenience is not a reason, that’s called an excuse. Sure, there are reasons to have your land line forwarded to your cell, however it makes sense to get the most out of each contact, being somewhere you can easily take notes and/or check something online and more, simply by making/taking the call at your desk on a tracked phone. (Using this example due to the fact that for most car dealerships this is a huge pain point in accountability and tracking.)

Do we really think the top producing salesperson will drop 20-70% of their sales when pressed to follow a process versus letting them “do it their way” since nobody wants to “rock the boat”? That’s not likely to happen and,  better yet, it’s more likely to provide a boost in production.

More than ever we need to stretch the rubber band if we expect to succeed, not just get along. There are so many simple things that we can get done offering huge benefits in return. They may not always be easy, but they are worth it. The salesperson chatting on the front line may just be able to reach five more people today on the phone. But it won’t happen..

Because if it were really that simple, it just won’t get done. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a big issue.

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Searching For The Digital “Leg Up”? Jump All In!

The mad scramble to do the crawl, walk and maybe run is still in full force. Yes, more are shifting toward digital but 2012 is nearing half way through and we're likely still under 20% of budgets going to true online and integrated strategy across 17,000+ franchise dealerships. We're talking the talk, ladies and gentlemen, but we're not walking the walk…

As a matter of fact, you might just say that the "Leg Up" everyone is looking for is only one jump away. But while you're looking at (and impressed with) your knee moving up, you miss the view of the real goal is a good leap away. And at the same time, our indsutry is being bombarded with new vendors, software and services along with the current ones continually trying to reinvent themselves. And for what?

What moves results? Sustained efforts. On top of solid education. Supported by execution. Surrounded by measurement. Without the entire package, not just the slick sale pitch that got you to buy, you might as well cut yourself off at the knees. No digital leg up for you! But why????

Because, for the most part, we allow vendors to pull the wool over our eyes. It's not about having the newest and greatest or even starting from scratch for your first time. It's outlining what success looks like, making enterprise commitments for training and utilization, how technology gets us there, insights to customers' technology use, understanding how people find us and so, so much more.

It is 2012, you're not in the game if you're simply buying a new website! Your website has to be completely integrated with your inventory. The dealership's CRM has to allow you to work remotely. Salespeople must enter data about their customers. You will not get a leg up in digital marketing or eCommece results if there are workarounds of any kind. This goes for everyone on the showroom floor to executive management.

One out of 100 customers are drive-bys today. There shouldn't even be a "drive-by" in the sourcing options of your CRM. Fudging a prospect's email or driver's license number to get a key for a test drive "just do to it later" is as effective as not having a customer sign the purchase contract but letting them drive off the lot. Having a website without real SEO, integrated incentives down to VDPs, model (and if called for) trim landing pages that are not copied from or framed in from your OEM, future models and everything people actually come to websites for is also unacceptable. Everything that you want to make easier with a digital leg up is real work. Yes, it takes real work. And it never, never, nover ends.

And here's a newsflash: It's not all about the acronyms:

SEO – Shove Everything Overboard
SEM – So Everything's Mobile?
PPC – Perpetually Perform Catastrophically
CRM – Can't Review Monthly
SME – Social Media Euthanasia
SMO – Senseless, Mindless, Objectiveless

Now you're left with one thing to do…SOS! 

SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome

You can't and won't win the digital marketing war purely by spend while staying immersed in traditional media or by making incremental movements while the world is forging forward in digital consumption at 200 MPH. Dealers and managers, don't excuse yourself or your staff because that is followed by your customers excusing you to go down the street.

A digital leg up is going at your entire presence all the time, both online and offline. On the web and in the store. If you're not making the experience the same, don't ask an app or a CRM to save you.

Last weekend I participated alongside roughly 13,000 cyclists to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis in a ride form Houston to Austin, TX called MS150. Most finished. Some quickly. Many slowly. For those that didn't finish, some had mechanical issues due to their bicycles not being properly ready. Some had accidents which took them out, which is to be expected when thousands converge on a small area at the same time. And finally some just couldn't make it, their hearts completely in the game but their bodies not. They wanted to. But they didn't get the results they expected due to the fact that they didn't jump in. 167 miles is a long way in two days for most people, period. And my hat's off to everyone that participated. But to win, you can't just get a leg up or start "training" the week before. You have to jump all in.

Digital marketing and success online as well as in your store doesn't happen by will power alone. There needs to be a plan, equipment, partners, inventory and more. Make sure that your multi-million dollar investment doesn't have a nickel-and-dime presence online. And take the time to understand what it takes to go all in. If your vendors only want to give you a leg up and are not willing to jump in with you, you might as well stick your head between your legs and kiss your store goodbye…

 

Best Practices: Prefessional Insight, Powerful Results


Four Down, Seventeen Thousand To Go

The last four years have been a blur. Everything has been. From search to social. From template to script. From inbound to outbound. From high line to in line. From DMS to CRM. There have been times where the greatest part of building has simply been the lack of tearing down. It’s been work, even a pain, and it’s all been worth it.

The clients, the information, the partnerships, the alliances, the events, the suppliers, the sources, the reading, the sharing, the confusion, the mistakes, the opportunities, the defeats, the victories. One thing doesn’t stand out more than the other except the constant movement. Each day, all one thousand four hundred sixty of them, has started with an enthusiasm, a passion, a dream, a goal, a commitment, a push, a joy.

Yes, we've been eating the elephant a bite at a bite. One of the most gratifying parts is the tasty pieces. One of the most humbling parts is realizing what you’re doing while you’re in the moment. Our industry now moves at the speed of retail. Which means it moves at its ability to get out of its own way. Much too often there is a focus on moving ahead before there is even an understanding and acknowledgement of a desire to do so. Sometimes the hardest part of moving is the willingness to stop, look and listen.

Obstacles aren’t hurdles, they’re gut checks. They’re sometimes ways that remind us to adjust and sometimes they’re simply a deep breath before continuing on the path. Changing businesses is not a small undertaking. The level of trust required is awesome. Remember that success is measured by how long the changes last, not how fast you simply make change.

Right now is such an incredibly dynamic time. Better said, it’s likely the most dynamic ever. Yet businesses are being led down more paths than ever on guarantees that can’t be made, or measured, or tracked. If you do what we do and you do it more for a check than leaving a legacy, talk with yourself.

Four years later the work is harder, the goals are greater and results are sweeter. Every one of our clients deserves a heartfelt “Thank You” for making us work, keeping us honest and staying committed to their vision. Thank you to the clients that let us go too, as humbling as that is, because is made us think and become better.

And an important thank you to the entire industry. The good, the bad and the ugly. May we raise the determination to learn and change, ridding ourselves of old school mentality, waste and reluctance. Just because something worked for decades doesn’t make it right nor beneficial. Remember that at the end of the day we are all consumers. There a lots of “us” coming through the doors of dealerships. Let’s recognize and celebrate that. Let that fact evoke a stronger calling to improve. Every day.

Four years since IM@CS started. 17,000 more dealerships to improve. Who’s with us?

 

Man isn’t afraid of his own shadow. Just getting out of its way   –Gary May

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

 

When The Cover Comes Off The Onion

Let's face it, we still live in a marketing-based world. And nearly all of it still screaming for attention, sales, mass following, validation, acceptance and more while typically ignoring what matters most. Yes, it's morphed and transitioned and (partially) gone to the place called online but it is created and delivered in the same way it nearly always has. And for automotive, in both B-to-B and B-to-C arenas, the deliverables suck (we'll try to not use any more technical terms in this post).

It's not that the market, the public, the customers, the industry or even the actual providers don't expect any different, it's just that it's what's done. Is it that when you stop screaming "we're #1" it allows another company to scream the same thing, making it true? In the experience garnered by partnering with dealers all over North America, the most dissatisfaction expressed comes from dealing with companies screaming about top results while not backing it up.

Have we become so skewed that we'll actually do what we don't want to take part in ourselves? Or have we become so numb to the barrage of messaging that we don't notice? So let's take a layer off!

1. Old school. We practice what we preach, right? There is a lot of talk, once again, about "back to basics" and "blocking and tackling". Are you practicing what you preach, or is it time to get real? For starters, look at how salespeople are being "taught" typically, if at all. Motivational speakers? In-your-face, Glengarry Glen Ross "coffee is for closers" stuff (even though it may be true)? "Seasoned veterans that can do everything" sessions in your store? So…do you actually do that to customers? Do you talk to them that way? If not, why do you need it?

Salespeople are motivated by, wait for it, MONEY! If a salesperson is not on the ball, they may need a pep talk from an outsider for $5,000-$30,000. Right? More likely they need a couple days off, fresh air, a good book, some exercise and to get away from the naysayers at the dealership (which can also include management!). The first layer of the onion feel like the first burn of summer vacation…

2. Hyped 20 Group sales. For good and for bad, dealers talk to dealers that talk with other dealers. They recommend things. They invite speakers and presenters (don't forget the pitch masters) to their groups, associations and getaways. And then it happens: after providing a dealer/group with some great info, recommending appropriate partners, showing them how to best get the true answers as they consider the next move…you walk into the store that has been desperately needing a real kick in the behind treatment to get going, and alas…they had a round of golf with their buddy 86 states away and bought the same (fill-in-the-blank solution/vendor) because "they're selling cars like water".

No real research, no real competitive bids, no idea what they're doing. And, being as how it's automotive retail, after the install and training, the 30 days of excitement wears off and it's just another check. Until the next company comes in and…"nope, we don't need any new fill-in-the-blanks…we're all over it!". Yeah Bill (if you're a Microsoft fan or Steve if you like Apple more), you're all over it. That layer of the onion just put a divot in your business way bigger than the one you did on the 14th hole with your buddy.

3. Media. While that should be enough said, it still needs clarification. You are what you eat right? So, it is worth venturing a guess that you are what you read as well. Did you ever like a newscaster so much that the news was somewhat not as believable when someone else was on camera? That sure explains a lot in the automotive industry. A change of scenery is becoming more and more what the doctor ordered. Social media has surely facilitated the fact that a handful of sources is not as good as many good sources. Considering, at the same time, that there is definitely garbage out there called news, the world would just not be the same place anymore without the streams of great, timely and absolutely valuable information.

Or do you still get it from the same 10 people over and over and over? Better yet, do you get it from a place that sells what you end up seeing? Trust is absolutely required and good data is needed. So is a great line of questioning that deserves an honest, unbiased answer. Have you got your answer yet? The pain from that layer of the onion comes with a tear, a grimace and a cost.

 

Change is necessary, more than ever. And more than ever, things are remaining the same: The OEMs' ads. The Tier II ads. The vendors' pitches. The automotive media. The balloons. The gorillas on roofs. The radio spots. The newspaper. What are you trying to tell a public that is wide awake and ignoring it all?

Look outside, there's a new day. It's called opportunity. And it's not wearing yesterday's clothes. It's not driving a….oh boy. Better not go there. That onion might end up being really sour….

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Tricked Ya! Been Here The Whole Time…

So it's been eight weeks since the last post. It feels like an eternity. But it's likely been longer since the companies and people your business depends on have done something for you either. Was that the point of my hiatus? Not quite. It's been incredibly busy here as our client list as well as staff have grown. It has, however, been a great experiment to get requests to start posting again and watch the analytics. But not to worry, everyone else has had your back. Tricked ya! Well, maybe not…

So anyway, how has 2011 started for you? Chances are things are not much different unless the recent NADA and Digital Marketing Strategies Conferences are now on your "I've attended them" list. For the thousands of dealers at NADA in San Francisco, there was a significant buzz that has been absent for the past few years. For the fifty plus dealers at DMSC in Napa, the feedback has been tremendous and the workshop leaders are preparing…wait for it…for FOLLOW UP webinars with the dealers. That will be a first, and something I've been asking event promoters to do for four years (even recommending it to four event heads in the past eight months). Tricked ya! Nope, that's never been done before…

So change has been in the air and it seems that some of it is actually sticking. The dealers that have been ignoring the screaming and yelling have realized that this can be their year by achieving chunks of change consistently. Yeah, you can still hear "it's still about blocking and tackling!" and "it's back to basics for us!", but it's been the most refreshing eight weeks to get calls, emails, tweets and Facebook messages asking for change. Even from some otherwise typically content business owners and managers. Tricked ya! Well gosh, comfortable is not so much anymore…

So, more impotrant that what our small band of ambassadors think…what has been happening for you, your teams, your store, your community? What have you already achieved this year that you want to share? And what will you do to move our community forward? The dealers MUST participate in greater numbers than ever (even though that's not hard to achieve at all) to assist each other. So get your thoughts written down here…and make it count!

Tricked ya! Dealers don't really share on the forums and blogs… Well I hope you do…

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

2011 Will Be A Great Year…Even If You Don’t Participate

It's no secret that over the past three years, some pretty forward-thinking information was provided to the automotive industry franchise dealer body. All 24,000 plus of them (not ignoring the independents here, just making a point). Over the coming weeks, all 20,000 of the franchise dealers will get more critically important data. Just like before, it's up to them to participate.

2011 will be a great year. Fewer than last year will make up the bulk of increases in sales, count on it. The most web-versed, socially-minded, communication-skilled and forward-thinking will win. Many of those dealers will win impressively. So the same question bears repeating: why not more? Has the carnage not been great enough? Is there too much money in the coffers still? Or is it that management is still happy sitting on their "duffs" of the bay?

2011 will be a great year. There will be more talent available for dealers to select their next sales, service and parts teams and management from. Efficiency will increase, while hopefully not at the sake of bottom lines. In other words there should be more people working at dealerships unless dealerships ignore the potential increase to their business.

2011 will be a great year. The product lines continue to get better and consumer demand for a wider array of cars (not the same car re-badged) is greater than ever. Floor traffic at the dealers that deserve it will most definitely increase. Savvier dealer marketing and engagement will increase penetration in service departments, expect it. And many dealers will experience true conquest for the very first time because they did it, not the badge.

2011 will be a great year. Technoloy will continue to becon to a larger and larger customer base so those more comfortable with technology will take advantage of that. Chaging interests in Green and alternatives will compel a few more dealers to become as engaged with those movements as their customers. Building dealership brands will become a more heated conversation than building new dealership facilities (no, that won't go away).

So how great of a year will 2011 be for you and your store? Everyone, yes everyone, is betting their bottom dollar — and bottoms — that the numbers will be up. We even believe that will be the case. Remember: it's not what you make, it's what you keep. So if you didn't like what 2010 brought, you may not really be satisfied once 2011 closes it's doors.

2011 will be a great year. Oh by the way, for the ones that will be successful, 2011 has already begun. For those that want to join us, what's stopping you???…

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Quick, The Shiny Object Just Moved! Ouch, It’s Your Vendor…

Don't read too much into the title, it's not a slam on your (fill in the blank) vendor, although many deserve to be taken to task. This is about what they have to deal with. If you've been under a rock this year or simply have not been paying attention, Google changed significantly three times. Your vendors have had to change at least that many, even though they pitch that they're changing all the time.

So, what does this mean for the shiny object mentality? It's not changed. In fact, it may only get better. In other words, as things get a little more dicey in the online space in regard to results, there will be a larger "sorting out" of who really is prepared from a resource perspective to roll with what could be considered large changes in the way search and results are structured. And when a sales rep is not up to speed and things that happened a week prior, let alone a couple months, it's time to sharpen the pencil and make sure that door that hits them on the way out is primed.

All kidding aside, there have been countless changes since last December that have affected the search engines and how YOU get displayed in results. The biggest one from an overall view would likely be Google Instant, followed by the recent change to the Google Map/Local results that are also affecting the display of reviews and paid ads. There's lots of money, eyeballs and leads at stake.

The shiny object's location is changing, at what seems to be a continuously more rapid pace. Not just search results (and your traditional website) are facing the music, but also mobile: applications, marketing, social and more. And the third party lead market seems to be experiencing a larger ebb and flow in the market today. Just as there is no longer room in automotive retail for "what used to work", there's no room for "let's wait and see" in the vendor world. Rest for just a little bit and your a** will be kicked (but don't worry, dealers will still buy from lots of companies, especially if they keep sending "attractive" reps out to show impressive charts and talk about clicks….yawn….).

It's not easy being a website, CRM, pay-per-click, SEO or social media services company today. Engagement changes regularly and sometimes daily. By the time you send out pertinent information, run some webinars and update your systems and inform the rep force, that earth-changing update is old news and the next revelation has hit the news wires. And yes, even the vendors that do launch 25 updates a week and tweet about it do have to deal with issues outside of their control and fall down regularly.

As fast as the industry is changing, technology is changing many times faster. The balance between being bleeding-edge, leading-edge, between-the-edges and absolutely-no-edge is sometimes no greater than a whisker. Consumers control the content that is controlled by the big engines at such a great level today, what we have to yell about is less and less relevant, engaging and important. Who knows, maybe the shiny object is not even obtainable.

Even with the industry consolidation that we see year after year, it's always refreshing to see the new guy or gal on the block give it a chance. Dealers need much better services than what's been delivered historically and there are companies willing to do it. But the wake up call for dealers is that THEY need to do more in the way of understanding, goal setting and holding staff accountable. Vendor accountability is critical, but still not as important as making sure you can do what you're paying for.

So belive it or not something changed in how well you'll perform online since you started reading this. Maybe it was a vendor, a competitor, a search engine, a customer or even you. No matter what, don't take your eye off of the shiny object!

You did read correctly. Keep one eye on the ball, one on your customer, one on your brand, one on your staff, one on your marketing, one on your process, one on your future, one on your past….and one on the shiny object.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Vendoritis Or Dealeritis: Part Deux

After the recent seminars and events in the Los Angeles area it seems more clear than ever: dealers want to do more, are mostly eager to address new opportunities (or old ones sold as new), are baffled by new technology including social media, are looking at the factories for direction and don't seem to have the right questions to ask the not-so-prepared, over-eager vendors.

In a number of panels that spanned these events, the tough questions either weren't asked or answered. This is not a knock on either the speakers or the crowds, most very qualified to talk about new media and marketing. It's just a fact. One panel on social media had some great experts. On data. Not one person doing it for an OEM or a dealer (or, judged from afar, likely even doing it themselves daily). Another panel had some great participants from very disparate areas of automotive talking about some specific activities they're doing. Truly great examples, results and actions were shared. The missing component was how the average dealer, yes including those in attendance, can implement a plan.

What is happening, as our world moves forward at a speed more reminiscent of the amazing La Mans cars running around Circuit De La Sarthe as this is being written, might be another dose of "ignorance is bliss". And that doesn't help anyone. Dealers asking their factories and reps for help (as was overheard quite frequently lately) are getting shrugged shoulders, "we're working on that right now" or "hire the right company or employee to handle that" responses. In other words, dealers are on their own.

So the dealers' sources for information are limited to their 20 group, industry events and magazines, word of mouth and the old fashion pitch by the vendor. Most dealership decision makers aren't reading the blogs and forums because if they were, they'd be asking questions and participating (yes, we regularly scan for them). So, as with the first "Vendoritis Or Dealeritis" post a while back, the question needs to asked again: how do dealers move forward?

Our industry is always in flux. Lately there has been a more interesting bend, however. Dealers and vendors, for example, fixated solely on SEO for the past year plus are now looking at poor conversion stats to fix.There will be the same issues with social media in a year: those that chose to hire crap automation and get to 5,000 Facebook fans and 10,000 Twitter followers will discover that it's not done anything for brand or business building since over 1/2 of their social media throng is over 500 miles away if not in another country.

When you take your eyes off the ball, you can't catch it. You likely won't even see it. Many today say "bullshit, I can do it all". Well, good luck to you. The best of the Fortune 100 acknowledge that they can't. Maybe automotive retailers can do it all: sell the cars they need to monthly and still talk up a great story online. Just like the vendors that do a mediocre job for you somewhere else in your store and tell you that they can add something to their plate. Yeah, and there's a bridge in the desert that I need to show you…

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results