Just how much can a dealer and their team be pushed into the digital age? Just how far can a dedicated Internet Sales Manager push the dealer ownership into an internet culture? Just how fast can a trainer push the dealership’s online efforts? Just how quickly can a dealer demand old dogs to perform new tricks? Total buy-in is hard to come by, worth its weight in gold, and tremendously hard to achieve. Still today, opposition lurks around every corner.
This is the quintessential problem facing ISMs, facing trainers… and facing dealerships. Many know where their dealership should be, but are far too reluctant to cause an upheaval in the way the showroom and service department operates. No one wants a mutiny on their hands. So how hard should we push?
While visiting a new dealer client of mine, I found that the entire showroom still utilizes an up sheet to log their customers. (I use the word “utilize” amazingly loose here). The owner backs this strategy as they don’t even use a computer themselves. Worse off, only the customers that were sold were ever logged on the up sheet. “Phone ups taken are NOT to be logged on the sheet” said management. “Too confusing.”) To that, I say “WHAAAAAAT?” Their store is achieving strong numbers (I can only assume by sheer luck, will, and determination), so I wonder if it is right to force a CRM upon them if it possible the sales staff and ownership would never enforce its use?
Top-down support can be successful, but even a direct initiative from the top (or from a trainer) cannot guarantee total buy-in. Could the expense of a CRM cause more damage than good? Obviously, as a trainer, I believe if I impose my will, I can get the culture of the store to change for the better. But am I wrong to PUSH for it? Would an ISM bringing in a new technology be able to have the same push? If not… if it is for the good of the store… when would it be right to go from push to shove?
These are the types of questions many dealers, ISMs, and trainers ask. Obviously, I believe a CRM is one of the most useful tools that could EVER be employed at a dealership, but when pushing for something becomes shoving, it may be best to focus training efforts on those changes we can control. Is it just enough to have an ILM for the Internet and BDC team?
Should merchandising, pricing strategies, soc med, lead management, sales training, and phone skills be our focus until the salespeople and management switch sides in the game of dealership tug of war? Must we always wait until we have a team pulling with us? Sure, once the dealer and upper management help the push and majority rules, it is an easier change to make.
As a trainer/consultant, it is my duty to suggest (and push for) what is best for my dealership clients… even if they don’t know what is best for them. It is like forcing a child to eat their vegetables. It helps them grow no matter how much they hate the taste. Not all dealers are growing. Some are happy where they are, but still seek help from others just because they don’t know. When basic, real-world data is not enough of a driving force to make a switch, logical thinking gets you nowhere, and potential growth is disregarded because the fear the unknown, a Shove strategy must be utilized. Times like these call for the push and shove proposition.