What do you do with a GM that doesn't believe Google Analytics data and just cuts because sales are slow?

Chip Dorman

I'm pretty sure we've all been there. An owner or manager all of a sudden decides they need to cut the marketing budget. You suggest expenses that could be trimmed based upon real data. But, they refuse to look at the data or just say they don't believe it and start pulling numbers out of thin air because "they're the experts."

How do you handle this situation at your dealership?


Maddy Low

It's sometimes hard to explain marketing strategy and technology to people in dealerships who are very good at what they do, but don't understand the new digital world. I found the best option was to present a few different plans that would help solve the problem, and give detailed explanations as to why each plan would be helpful. Then they could choose a plan that they felt good about, and didn't have to make up their own plan based on less information! 

Sometimes getting someone to see things differently starts with ourselves and having a clear understanding of the other persons's thought process and what they value. Maybe a different approach to persuading this GM is the answer?

Chip Dorman

In my case, it was obvious it was more about power and control than logic. Both the owner and GM felt threatened by the fact that they really didn't know what was driving their business, didn't have the ability to understand it, nor did they want to admit that they had to rely on anybody other than themselves. Logic was of no use. Neither was offering alternative plans. They just weren't open. I told them that their decisions were going to cost them a lot of money, and their response was they just didn't believe it. So I gave our CFO a heads up and sat back and waited for the train wreck. We sold 140 fewer cars than I had forecast. At $4,000 a copy, their little power play cost them $560,000 in gross from about $60,000 in cuts to the wrong expenses. And that didn't include all of the holdback, incentives, and pack. Sometimes owners and GM's have to learn the hard way. Got my budget back...

Sometimes you just have to do a little digging to get to the root of the real problem, and then go from there to find a solution. Of course, it's much easier said than done. Whenever I come across a difficult dealer or GM, I have found personally that the best approach is to try to understand things from their perspective. If you can acknowledge their position (you don't have to agree with them), they may be more willing to listen to what you have to say.

At the end of the day, all you can do is provide good data and make a strong case. Regardless of how unreasonable someone is being, always keep it friendly, keep it professional :)

mark rask

data is data! some people just don't believe!

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