Joe Orr
I have been in this wonderful business for 30 years. 1 year ago, I committed to open my mind to the possibilities of changing the "My way or the highway" processes that have proven to build a solid, loyal and extremely profitable business model, that was evolving with the same speed as the industry. In 2006. I set out to have the best advanced SEO in the USA and then in 2008, I set out to have the best Online Reputation in the USA. I studied and learned all that was available, then we wrote the maps, began the processes, studied the accountability and repeated the process until we knew we won those 2 very important games (score 2-0). We saw the direct benefit from that commitment. ROI and traffic that were unlike anything I had seen in my career. See Case Study here http://www.exteresauto.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.caseStudies. With this new found Advanced SEO and Online reputation win, I realized that we were entering a brand new world and I must force myself to go where I had ZERO interest in going – Social Media. I knew nothing about this Social media that was emerging and our store was not positioned to take advantage of the growth or early positioning that was becoming the topic of every media and gaining interest from every age group in the world. I could not escape it!! And on top of that…I hated it! I have travelled this country for business purposes more in 2009 than in my 30 years, and not simply for Social Media reasons but for new business model research. I have been fortunate enough to be invited into different 20 groups (that do things differently) as a guest and the dealers have welcomed my many questions with warmth and details. I have been to the Internet Summits and Conventions - I have asked questions like I was an 8th grade football player wanting to try out (and make the team) for the NFL. Many of my questions felt embarrassing. I have read too many books and become part of too many automotive industry blogs. I have RSS feeds from the most prominent "new" leaders and forums in our industry and it was not 1 year ago when I had no idea what a RSS feed was! I thought a Facebook was a photographer’s portfolio. I found whole new business models and dealership cultures that intrigued me. it has never been so apparent that if I do not force myself to learn about these new business models that are emerging, the profits that we have become accustom to will become extinct and so will I (sooner than I may be prepared to be). I urge all the GM/owners in this country to force your selves to open up to researching things that are not sexy and in the beginning…painful. It does become interesting once you get past that uncomfortable phase. It has actually revitalized an enthusiasm in me and shown me greater opportunity than I have seen in the history of our industry. A new game to play and win! As this year ends and I look back, I realize that it has been a year of transformation and a year of going places I did not want to go, reading books I did not want to read and saying things I thought “I” would never say like “Honey, did you get that RSS feed from the blog we learned about from the Twitter feed that was directly fed from their Facebook account..or was it Digg?” Our new year is filled with commitments. We have created a Social Media Directory for my stores and a solid plan and written processes. Now we move forward and will see the results from this year of learning and next year’s engagements. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

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