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Folks, for better or worse it's 2011. Being in business is not about turning the open sign to "open". Being in business means you are serious about it. That every part of your business is on the radar. That being as how nearly everything that you do away from the dealership is digital you should be doing it at your dealership. You can't be serious about it being half-assed.
If you communicate with your Internet leads 50% of the time in your ILM/CRM and 50% of the time in Outlook, you WILL get 50% of the results, not 100%.
If you make a serious effort to contact leads, customers, be-backs and more 50% of the time and spend 50% of the time shooting the s&*t at the water cooler, the point, the desk, the lot and on the web, you WILL get 50% of the results, not 100%.
If you do a relatively good job at scheduling appointments 50% of the time, great job 50% of the time, you WILL get 50% of the results, not 100%.
And if you pay attention to half of the new, relevant, digital information available to you and pay attention to half of the old school, down and dirty, blocking and tackling, back to basics, you WILL get 50% of the results, not 100%. If you are lucky....
You see, as we close one year and start another what you do, and not what you talk about doing, will dictate what you get. This is not rocket science. Stop ignoring what is right in front of you... What we're hoping for is that you get the message. And there's no cost or strings attached! Ignore the messengers all you want. Don't ignore the message here!!!!! Heck, there are plenty in our industry getting (and paying for) a much larger audience and covers of magazines just to tell you what you should be well past.
Yes, it is our job to do the job right the first time. Especially if you have the information and resources! Dealers making sure the coffee and pastry service is just right while ignoring their sales process? Nothing in the world is more akin to stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Yes, the customer feel good is important. But calls filled with a bunch of ahs, ers and ums with a bunch of I's to boot or sending someone an email blast 120 days after they bought with a payment $50 less per month for the same car will never take the place of a great donut and a latte.
And it will never take the place of having the best new-owner orientation in the city or even the state or region. Oh yeah, those went away when things got tough and have now been replaced by $5,000 a day "trainers" and $4,000 a month social media services. Man, someone has your number and they've been sharing it!
Our parting shots for 2010 are absolutely no different at all from the starting ones for 2011. A number of dead-on predictions for the last year were ignored by at least 95% of the industry. Will an increase in sales for the majority of dealers in 2010, and hopefully again in 2011, have people ignoring really solid insight and strategies again? Let's hope not.
Aside from the factory banging on you to punch cars so they can reach new sales levels (or try to save their year), January 1 is not the start of a new month or new year. It's the next day after December 31, when you'll likely be doing the same exact thing you were doing on June 16.
So get real...
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You can read more IM@CS posts here on DrivingSales.com or on our blog.