Retrench! Dig in! Block and tackle! Just wait! Awww bullshit…. More and more today it seems that the chasm between the "doers" and those choosing "planned obsolescence" is growing. You hear a lot of good stories out in the field about who's doing what and which dealers are killing it. Then the numbers come in. Reality check.
So why is it that there are dealers growing market share (the minority) while there are those than seem to want to accept and participate in a challenged market (majority)? With everything facing dealers today, and it's a bleepstorm, it seems that the path of least resistance is the one leading the wrong way. Resources, blogs, data, events/conferences, outside assistance and more, are readily available. And to the point that they're so underused, they're essentially abused.
Have you hit the end of your rope? Down-sized to the point that your store is no-sized? Pushed the factory guy back on allocation to the point that they're giving you 365-day terms just to take cars? Listening to your 20 Group buddies' stories of success and smiling while shrinking in the back of the room? OK, so stop it. If the river is dry…why not pave it? Heck, make it a raceway!
There are no silver bullets but there are a number of effective shortcuts, that get you to where you want to be. No matter what your newspaper sales rep or the online inventory advertising company reps tell you, that's not where the customers are. Sure, they go there after they end up feeling like they can't get a straight deal, attention and common courtesy starting with your website or showroom. Sorry….
Yep, the proverbial question: how do I pave the dry river?
Lead responses: effective, in the shortest possible time. with validation, options and the most engagement that drive the strongest replies, appointments, profit anad retention.
Events: inexpensive, regular, value-based, informative, community-engaging, need-supporting, fund-raising, cooperative and non-self-serving.
Social media: Compelling, revealing, engaging, fun, relevant, contextual, intuitive, brand-building and even a bit giveaway-ish for the "what's in it for me?".
You see the river can be paved fastest when it's filled by things that consumers are looking for. What doesn't pave the rider, or fill your showroom, or get the phone ringing is what's been used for the longest time: lost leaders, false advertising, packing (especially recently), full-page ads, large traditional media spends, bait-and-switch and everything else that you know is despised by consumers (and us really).
Here's a wake up call: no matter how much the river fills with water soon (if you're waiting) or how nicely you can pave it, do things differently. "Old guard" stuff, as nostalgic as it is, is about as good for the auto industry as tainted meat is for McDonald's, faulty engines for Boeing and corrupt processors for Dell. So stop accepting, if not endorsing, it.
Paving the dry river bed takes strategy, commitment, insight and foresight, transparency and a willingness to change the size, shape and location of the sandbox. What do you have to lose? Not as much as you have to gain!!!!
Pave it like you own it….
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Resutls
Here here. The 3rd paragraph from the end is something we deal with daily…and NO ONE likes it! Why can’t we do things different? Need to start from the top though. This is a business…run it like any successful business and the rewards will come. You don’t to act like a ‘car dealership’ just because everyone else does…pave the way, make it unique and be honest about it. Profits will come.
Oh, and just FYI, regarding the 3rd last paragraph, when people STOP buying into the deception, everyone will be better off. I call it the “Howard Stern syndrome”. If you want him to go away, turn the radio off. Problem is, everyone turns it on wanting to see “what’s next”…don’t complain if you are part of the problem.
STOP buying from dealers to lie to you, and the industry WILL change.