For all the UFC fans out there, you might remember that last fall, DealerSocket was a sponsor of Mixed Martial Artist and Ultimate Fighter, Rameu Thierry Sokoudjou, AKA "The African Assassin". Perhaps you also had the opportunity to meet him at NADA where he was in our booth signing autographs and taking pictures. The fight that we sponosored was UFC 89, and his match against Luiz Cane in Birmingham, England.
Sokoudjou came out strong, but when he went down in the 2nd round, the fight was called. Although he wasn’t the victor in this fight, I know he had already begun mentally preparing for his next match as soon as he walked out of the Octagon. This fight made me think how much running a dealership is like being an Ultimate Fighter.
Every day I speak to dealers who are looking for ways to improve efficiency in their dealership and save money. Some of them are looking to cut costs across the board and just hang on to fight another round. Others, the ones I liken to Sukoudjou, are looking further ahead. These dealers understand that they may be taking some serious blows right now, but they know this is an opportunity to fine tune everything in the dealership. These guys will be the ones who will last the whole fight and come out ahead of the competition.
Here are some Ultimate Fighter tips to get your dealership in top form:
1. Serious training makes a serious fighter. Training for a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight and running a dealership have many similarities. MMA fighters must master several different fighting styles and train daily to make sure that each discipline gets some fine tuning. This is not unlike managing sales, fixed ops, marketing and customer support in a dealership. Just like top MMA fighters, a successful dealer will hone each area, ensuring a solid understanding of strengths, and more importantly, areas that need a little more focus. As an Ultimate Fighter uses tools to ensure top performance, a dealer needs tools to do the same. Using a CRM tool that covers ALL areas of your dealership is a great way to make sure your dealership can get the fine tuning in needed areas.
2. Never underestimate your opponent. Taking an opponent lightly is the kiss of death for an Ultimate Fighter. Sometimes in a dealership, your greatest opponent is one you don’t even know. Don’t lose hard won customers after the sale! Now more than ever dealers need to make sure that all customers are coming back for service, trade ins and new vehicles. Get the upper hand by ensuring effective and timely communication. Mine your customer data to be able to send birthday emails, anniversary congratulations or service reminders. Your CRM should be able to help you do this, and it should do it well.
3. Get the right people in your corner. Ultimate Fighters know that who they train with is as important as how they train. These same training partners support the fighter during the fight by being in his corner to give advice and see him through to victory. Is your dealership partnered with the right team? Do you know your technology partners are going to continue to improve and support you for the long term?
Hopefully this scenario carries with it some enlightenment for all of us in the automotive industry, as there’s a valuable lesson to be learned:
It’s not always how hard you hit, it is very much how hard you can be hit and keep going that counts in winning a fight.