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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
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Linda Pesonen

Linda Pesonen President

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Igniting Ideas – Fueling Collaboration

Dealers across the country report over 50,000 new car sales each day. Each sale represents the end of a customer sales journey.

Over weeks or even months  each customer conducts research, interacts with brands, and ultimately moves through the process of completing the sale.
Dozens – if not hundreds – of dealers, OEMS, vendors and companies influence the customer along the way.

For example, in the media alone, competing advertising messages impact the customer at each level:  OEM, Dealer Association, and individual dealership (Across tiers 1, 2, and 3). The path to purchase is complex, and yet, it all comes together. One sale at a time.

The complexity of our cross-tier community sparked the idea for this column. My goal is to build a community where people in our industry can come together and strengthen collaborative relationships across the tiers - especially between dealers and OEMs.

This column is quite literally meant to spark conversation, ignite ideas, and fuel collaboration. What will come out of this effort? Improved customer experience, stronger cross-tier relationships, and greater effectiveness for each of us within our industry.

I’ll be exploring a variety of topics along the way. From marketing, CRM, and advertising to technology and systems - we’ll openly discuss the issues and ideas that impact our community and our customers.

To get us started, I’m looking for your input. Dealers - how can OEMs best support you? What would improve collaboration? OEMs - how can stakeholders collaborate to create a seamless customer experience both before and after the sale? Vendors - how can dealers and OEMs help you navigate the complexities of the market? These are the types of questions I’d like to explore with you.

I’m excited to be a part of the Driving Sales community. My focus is building a forum where discussion, debate, ideas, and open dialogue can thrive. Most of all, I’m interested in helping each of you win in the marketplace. One sale at a time.

Let’s Talk! What do YOU consider to be best practices in OEM - dealer collaboration? Share your comments below. 

Allen Turner
It is difficult to comment on OEM communications with the dealers, without being biased, unfortunately I don't have a perspective from the factory viewpoint. I think most dealers view it as a balance sheet battle, where the two perform tug of war over much needed profits. Communication levels rise and fall on trust, and most dealers, deep inside, don't really trust their manufacturer, and I am sure there's a mirror image of this mindset inside the OEM. At the end of the day, we share the common goal....sell a car. That being understood, how do we communicate better. 1.)Be transparent and honest with one another. Dealers want accurate information that they can depend on, and may better understand if explained the reason for the decision. 2.)Make sure those communications are very clear and timely. We all hate policy that changes several times after being announced, and those late month changes that give us no time to respond intelligently. 3.) Smaller dealer meetings are much more effective. When it is time to get the dealers together, it is much more beneficial in a smaller setting, because most dealers won't speak their mind in a filled auditorium. Also, nothing helps communication better than a dealer having the opportunity to speak to higher management. Sure the national guy has to hear the gripes one on one, but at least the dealer walks away with the impression that someone from the "factory" heard what is important at his store.
Jeremy Alicandri
Hello Linda, First and foremost, welcome to the DrivingSales Community! You certainly have an impressive background. In response to your question on what OEMs can do to help dealers… I'm not sure that I have an end-all answer but I have a couple of thoughts. From a general perspective, I disdain OEMs engaging in activities that promote intra-brand competition, and not inter-brand competition. For example, OEMs routinely offer volume incentives that encourage bad behavior by same brand dealers that are really just stealing marketshare from within a brand or simply lowering grosses. Moreover, many manufacturers waste hundreds of millions of dollars on poorly timed and executed “incentives,” when they should concentrate on personalizing their brand’s customer experience (by improving their IT infrastructures internally and also with their dealers). With all that said, since policies vary by manufacturer, some are better at supporting dealers than others.
Andrew DiFeo
Welcome to the community Linda. I support Jeremy and Allen's points above, great comments. I would like OEM's to better communicate their Tier 1 advertising strategy, especially in digital, and clearly define the roles of Tier 1/Tier2/Tier 3 advertising. Often times there is overlap in the media with sometimes conflicting messages that may confuse the consumer.
Chris Reed
I was having dinner with a very prominent dealer on March 31 during our President's Club event and he was constantly checking his phone to see what the quarter end sales number was, and to authorize quarter end deals. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in volume incentives were at stake. He was very progressive in developing his brand and promoting a consultative, no-pressure sales process. He turned to me and said that he believed in the principles DrivingSales was advocating around customer experience but at the end of each month he felt his OEM was forcing him to violate his brand and principles with these incentives. Is this conflict and an inevitable result of OEM Sales management processes or could the OEMs support dealers in building their brand for the long term? Has any OEM moved away from a short term mindset?
Jeremy Buehler
@AllenTurner, being a Pensacola resident and native, I am not being biased, but as a web and mobile app developer in the automotive domain, I couldn't agree more with your statements.

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