What Motivates a Dealer?

Jessica Russell
I'm curious to know what is going on in the minds of dealership management right now. What is it that makes a dealership choose one vendor or process, etc. over another? What motivates the decision? Is it cost? ROI, other people at the dealership, the results?
Steve Devereaux
What an open ended question. It's the entire package. The results have to outweigh the cost. Vendors have to be better than their competition and prove why. They have to have a good reputation. Venders also need to be affordable. Just because the results are good, doesn't mean they can afford it or that it's right for them.
Jessica Russell
Thank you for the reply. I posted this question because it appears that many dealerships are investing in CRM systems, etc. that have a high cost, but little ROI. And most of them do absolutly nothing for retention. Do you feel that this is the case because a CRM system and other such products allow little interaction/work on the part of the salesperson, service advisor or desk managers?
Dave Erickson
I think Steve makes a good point. Dealers do seem to rely heavily on the reputation of a vendor (who's using them, what they heard, etc..). It's not the wisest way to make purchases but then again it could work in your favor if you figure out a way to get them talking about you.
Jessica Russell
I agree that the reputation of the vendor is a big deal, but do you mean the reputation of the vendor because they're a big name (ex. DealerSocket) or because they have proven results in other dealerships and can back it up? My company has worked with 6 of the top 10 mega groups in the nation, but it seems that plays only a small role. Any suggestions on how to get the point accross that what we do (Customer Retention/CSI/Customer Aquisition)deserves at least an opportunity? Thanks for the reply Dave!
David Greene
Jessica - you need to recognize that dealers and GM's are typically starved for time and dealing with people and issues from the minute they walk in to their dealership every single day. On top of that they are inundated with sales calls from vendors selling every product imaginable. If they have heard good things about a product or service and the dealer has a perceived need for that product or service, I think it does make it easier to get their time and attention but even then you better have a benefit story they can relate to in about 3 minutes or less or your done. I would suggest that this is and always has been a relationship business. A personal introduction from another individual whose judgement is trusted by the dealer will almost certainly provide you with an opportunity to be heard. If you don't have a direct referral you might know someone who can refer you indirectly - think Linked-in. After that, I've found that dealers still pretty much make decisions the old fashioned way based on the perceived quality of your product, how its benefits relate to their needs and of course your selling skills. Hope that's helpfull!

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