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Besides being asked, “What’s the best lead provider?” or “What’s new out there?” the most
frequent question I get is about CRMs. “Which one is better and why?”
It makes me sleepy thinking about it… Each one claims to be the best, they are the fastest
growing or the one that integrates better to the DMS than you have than that one. Even their
desking tool is the best. Just ask them! Their database mining tool will do the same as Auto
Alert, just try it. Their used car evaluation tool will rival V-Auto’s tool and to top it off, they
all have hundreds of dealers using this tool and singing their praises. If you want to see a
dealer using the tool, they’ll take you right to one to see it working, just not in your area.
You’ll need to fly in to see it! But don’t worry about those pesky contracts, as they’ll let you
off this drug any time you want for any reason. Simply say you’re done and go right back to
your previous tool. Your data’s been saved, worked in both places waiting for you to take
up where you left off. And you know the tool will let you sell more cars. Just install it, drink
from our fire hose and off to the races you will go, selling more units right away because
you now have a great CRM and you’re capturing all this cool data. Just… Just… Just!
OK, time to wake up out of that deep coma!
When you change your CRM from the one you’re currently not using correctly to the
new one, you’ll get over the money losing drama it caused, wake up and realize it was all a
fairy tale. The reality of it all is that your data will not be transferred from the tool you’re
on to the one you’re going to in a smooth and flawless way at all! Rather in such a fashion
that you will absolutely lose deals, because of how awfully it transferred and the format it’s
been done in. Your staff will collapse in frustration over this event that you ground down to
get a deal on, from a vendor that can’t possibly spend the time they need to actually train
you on it correctly for what you paid. They’ll turn the fire hose on your staff to douse them
in information and be out the door on their way to the next launch. All with a promise that
they’ll be back to see you every 90 days. But, thank God for support tickets that are
available, that will fix it!
Is all of this sounding vaguely familiar? Well, guess what! You’re not alone. Of the
approximately 16 CRM tools on the market, all are marketed or pitched in almost the same
way. They all know what you want and many dealers drink the Kool-Aid of integration
without realizing the cost or reality of what it will actually take to get it done.
On the flip side of this coin, many of the tools can get close to this nirvana if they are used
correctly. However, most are not used correctly. Most CRM companies have less than 5% of
their clients using 25% of the tool to its proper capabilities. “Why?” you might ask. It’s all in
the launch and training.
When I learned to drive a stick shift, my father didn’t teach me in traffic. We went
someplace where I wouldn’t run in to anything and practiced until I got it. I mastered the
clutch release, then focused on the gear selection and then on to driving while doing all of
this. Sound familiar? Guess what? I didn’t get it first go round and drive home. In a similar
fashion to learning to drive a vehicle we must learn to drive our CRMs properly. I often use
this example; if I had a daughter that was repeatedly banging up the cheap Honda, I would
not buy her a new BMW to solve the issue.
Many dealers run to a new solution confident that the new and improved tool will solve a
use issue that should instead be remedied with training and accountability in their current
tool. There it is, that dirty hard word… accountability!
That’s it for this time. Next I’ll cover solutions, what to look for and how to prepare your