CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
Someone gave me some good advice once and I often have to reflect on it when times get tough – “if you focus your energy on positive actions you will stay so busy you won’t have time to worry about the negative”. Words won’t get you the results you need but I can assure you that a focus on the positive will allow you to accomplish great things even in the face of adversity.
Nearly everyday we read about someone who has done some extraordinary feat and wonder how he or she did it. When asked how they reached the pinnacle of achievement they recall the effort and focus it took to be the best and most of us express that we are not willing to work as hard - even if it means remarkable achievement.
What is remarkable achievement these days?
Remarkable achievement these days could be as simple as keeping the dealership’s doors open whereas others may suggest that it is expanding their market share and increasing profits. Many of you know dealers who are having record years in sales and profits despite all the adversity in the market and I have witnessed first hand many dealerships operating at this level. I will outline a few common traits I have seen in these dealerships and share them with you.
Common traits I witnessed in successful Internet Dealerships in 2008
Students of the Internet – the Internet marketplace we knew 10 years ago or even 10 months ago is decidedly different than the marketplace of today. We all realize the impact of Google on the marketplace today and yet in 1997 it was still in Beta at Stanford University and in 1999 Google had to explain to people that it was designed to “search” the Internet. Few of us go even a day without using Google at least once. What company are we using or considering using today that will have an equivalent impact on our business in 10 years? A trait I have witnessed at leading Internet dealerships is that they spend time each month studying new trends and technologies that may give them a leg up on their competition.
Shared responsibilities – starting with the dealer principal and general manager the dealership management team leads the charge and helps carry the load of operating a successful Internet Dealership. The sales managers make sure their inventory and specials are online and in good marketing order. The finance manager studies the online consumer and provides a financing environment that motivates consumers to submit information. The service, parts and body shop managers do the research on different successful websites and weaves in those elements to their own sites. Most progressive Internet Managers/Directors would welcome the extra support and I promise each manager will enjoy seeing the fruits of their labor when they achieve greater success.
Focus on the positives – although this may seem trite I can attest to the fact that it isn’t in practice. Without trying to sound preachy or spiritual I have been in dealerships where the overall focus is on the positive and not surprisingly they have exceptional results. Similarly, when I am in dealerships where the focus is on the negatives the team can never do anything well. It reminds me of the old Henry Ford saying “Whether you think you can or can’t - you’re right”.
Open Mindedness – when I talk with some dealers I am a bit in awe of how well they operate their dealerships and yet they are attentive and open minded about what we have to say about their Internet operations. On the other side of the coin is the dealer who is not open to any new ideas because they have “tried them all” and know what they are doing is the right way even though they are struggling. On our Online Idea Exchange, a free forum we provide for dealership employees, there are always new ideas being introduced and critiqued by dealership employees. I learn something new everyday and it has served me well to model these open minded dealers who have experiences unique to my own. You should try it.
Certainly there are other traits that are part of the make up of these successful dealers who do well even in trying times. These are the ones that hit home with me I encourage you to consider them for yourself.
Hope you have a great sales month! If you have any questions or if I can ever be of assistance to you please feel free to contact me anytime.