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Are you harvesting potential or digging in the silo?
I have some good friends and know a few vendors that “take it personal”. That being said, as Dealers look toward gaining market share and capturing clientele, there seems to be an almost pervasive and dangerous trend in our industry. I’m talking about the detachment of Dealership personnel from the public image, identity and very persona of the Dealership. We see more and more of our advertising and public facing identities put in the hands of vendors and 3rd parties.
Now I’m not suggesting here that mutually beneficial relationships cannot occur or that there are not benefits to having a well-branded corporate identity. But to what extent are the very people who comprise your operation involved? After all, when customers contact the store they may receive a very different experience than what is purported in the blogs and newspaper ads.
The best vendors out there bring fresh ideas that mirror the ever changing marketplace and have a vested interest in the success of the content they produce. After all, employees, internal and external, are generally held to results. When your advertising reflects gimmicks and “something for nothing” then it is hardly apropos to hold accountable the salesman who took 10 ups in a row with bad credit because someone thought “we finance everyone” was going to draw a lot of traffic. It DID but in all business give me transparency over trickery anytime. First off most of your customers who can buy will see through it and not want to do business with such a shady operation. Second, doing so will probably land you afoul of your OEM if not other legal actions. But most importantly you establish yourself as a store of hype that over promises yet under delivers. I have yet to review an ad budget of any dealer that should they re-allocate a portion of their total spend to a more open, pervasive presence on the net, where the research occurs in spite of what your local paper or radio rep tells you, and invest in a transparent streamlined process, would not reap both increased profits and volume.
So, plan your strategy in advance with the input of your key dealership personnel, why? They only get paid if it works. If your local or national rep is coming to you with the same re-hashed, re-vamped, and regurgitated creative that they used last month or last year they’re more likely than not being lazy. “Well this worked before” is not reason enough to do it again. Look to your employees for their opinion of the piece as they’re the ones having to explain it and know if it generates sales, heat or both.
Grass roots movements seem to swell and gain a momentum enforced solutions never will. Get all the employees on board, give them input and time to watch it grow. As your empowerment becomes clear as more than a passing fad, you’d be shocked at the ideas that poor forth.
Remember, ultimately a vendor is someone who gets paid to sell you a product or service and an employee is someone who is paid to sell your product or service.