There's a trend we're seeing from the automotive industry that is both interesting and a little disturbing for conscientious vendors. When sales are down, changes are often made. When sales are up, they're not. This model needs to be looked at more closely.
We know that it was a worse-than-expected month for many dealers in April because our lead count as a vendor rose. That seems to always happen; when sales numbers are not met, there's a reaction that prompts many dealers to make changes to their marketing. While we appreciate all of the new business, this should be much more steady from month-to-month. Why? Because when sales are down you should look to improve and when sales are up you should also be looking to improve.
The old idiom states that "when it ain't broke, don't fix it." We agree to some extent, but with a slight variation to that model.
Just because something isn't broken doesn't mean that it can't be improved.
You should always be looking to improve. It's not just a matter of fixing things when they're not working. It's even more important to make sure you marketing, processes, and intangibles are all in a state of improvement and maintenance.
Think of it like car maintenance. You would never tell a customer to wait to get their oil changed when they start smelling something burning in their engine. With your marketing, you shouldn't wait until you lose market share before you start to make adjustments.
In most cases, the adjustments necessary are not as dramatic as firing vendors and hiring new ones. We often tell prospects that they don't have enough room for improvement to take on our high-level services even if they're willing. Sometimes, a minor tweak here or focus paid to something there is enough to make the right impact.
There is always room for improvement, but there are also things that vendors can do that are detrimental to success. It should be a matter of degrees when turning the knobs. If sales are slipping, it might be time to make bigger changes, to turn the knob further. When sales are doing fine, the knob may only need to be turned a little bit, perhaps adding in a small element here or experimenting on something new over there.
The bottom line is this: don't wait for sales to drop before making adjustments. On the flip side, don't get rid of things that are probably working just because sales slip. Looking at the numbers, understanding the effects, and making decisions based upon effectiveness of the components of your marketing will help you to fix things when they're broken and improve things when they're working.