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More often than not, businesses are left to turning part (or all) of their operation over to vendors and partners with the reasoning that they're not able to "do everything". In automotive retail the de facto excuse you hear usually has something to do with how selling cars is what gets done and nothing else matters. Well, it's 2012 and everything has to do with selling cars.
News flash: It always has been so.
More likely than not, as we're upon the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) season, hundreds if not thousands of dealers will leave with contracts signed, or nearly signed, convinced that simply punting their responsibilities over the wall is the best way to get 'er done. Fact is nothing is further from the truth.
Dealers must grasp a much more realistic perspective of controlling their business through action, education and accountability or they will absolutely have it taken over. And nobody is saying that's a bad thing, in the event that a business has no desire to be "in" business. While a $6M dealership may not scale, invest, market or operate like a Fortune 100 business, but there is not a single reason why it can't approach and plan business in the same way or using the similar methodology.
A few things to keep in mind as we go into the NADA conference this coming weekend.
While the above steps are no guarantee against "being had", it should at least put some steps between a mediocre quick decision and a thought out beneficial one.
Areas that seem to be gaining traction and popularity that don't make sense include:
There will be a lot of fanfare, parties, speakers pitching and snow jobs at booths. However, it's in everyone's best interest to see through the smoke and put the rose-colored glasses down. Our entire world is digital, mobile and fast. It's time for 17,000+ franchises (and who knows how many independents) to get so as well. Leave the hook, line and sinker at home, ignore the playmates for as long as you can and get real with your business.
There is a boatload of opportunity for those that want it in 2012 and NADA happens to be a great place to kick it all off or continue down the progressive road if you've already started. It's also where tons of dealers get sucked in by nothing more than marketing and get nothing for their hard-earned cash except for an open liability door.
So go with purpose to NADA. Come back and operate your business properly. Or someone else will take it from you. All of it.
Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results
You can read more IM@CS posts here on DrivingSales.com or on our blog