Back from another on-boarding of a client and our minds are full. The questions, typical. The intrigue, typical. The honesty, better than expected. The roadmap, slightly different. The approach. always the same…Dealership Culture.

No matter how many dealerships we visit, the approach has to be the same. If you start with the culture, everything else can fall into place. Yes, can. There are no guarantees, however there are hurdles and roadblocks that are the same from store to store, coast to coast. Digital is the epicenter, and not because of Google statistics or what you heat at an industry conference.

While solutions have to be tailored to store, brand, market and setup, if you don’t have the mindset, communication, accountability and discussions around digital, you will never be successful as possible. That means talking points around dealership processes, achievements, competitors, opportunities, challenges and customers must be digitally-based. CRM is the center of all activity and sales meetings, not save-a-deals exclusively, as well as benchmarks. Showroom traffic is part of the discussion around website traffic. Equity mining and sales opportunities include what vehicles (and their owners) are coming in to the service drive on service appointments that are also put into CRM. And that takes place each morning after management confirms that day’s appointments (or they’re not confirmed, period).

How many reviews the store accrued for sales and service, along with who was most mentioned from both departments, has to be part of the weekly meetings. Appointment shows rates and how to improve them must be woven into the dealership fabric, without manipulation for pay plans or embarrassment. Calls must be reviewed daily by management and turned into one-on-one coaching sessions. And not opting customers in for texting via a white-listed CRM or third-party system, especially when accepting an appointment or, better yet, in the dealership is mind-blowing (and so is texting prospects/customers from the native texting app of a smartphone – it’s illegal, has been and will continue to be. Quit asking why and then defending your actions as if the explanation makes it okay).

Most dealerships are losing between 15 and 50 cars a month due to poor lead and phone management, yet the typical cry is for more traffic, leads and inventory/VDP gimmicks. Unsold showroom visits fall into drip marketing campaigns faster than most people can recite the store’s why buy or value proposition (if at all).

Digital is not a marketing methodology, that leads to buying the shiny object of the week/month/year. Digital is a mindset, a go-forward plan and a reality. We are not to say other marketing mindsets don’t work along with digital, this is a reminder that if you’re not thinking, strategizing and executing with a digital mindset and complete store operations, you are losing the game.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results