Avoid Long-Term Lock-In with Business Contracts

There seems to be a pattern in the auto business these days—vendors and big media companies are regularly trying to lock you into long-term commitments. We say, “no way!”

On the one hand, you have what seems a myriad of options when it comes to how you can market your business. But on the other hand, it’s hard to know exactly what will work for you and your store. And if you get locked into a long-term contract with a product or company that isn’t a good fit for your dealership, you could be stuck wasting thousands of dollars.

There are so many products, services, and media options available to dealers, and many of them are really good. But there are also some that are not so good, and worse yet, some that are just OK. Amidst all of these, though, it is virtually impossible to know from a glance what will and what will not work for you. We don’t know of any one-size-fits-all-stores solution. Which begs the question, why do so many of these companies try to lock dealers into long-term contracts up front?

We believe companies should deliver value. They should provide not just good but amazing service. They should have a relationship with their customers. They should care, and you should feel that they care about not just the business you’re giving them but about you.

We would even go so far as to argue that companies should deliver this kind of value first—before anything else. Yes, before they ask for a payday. And definitely before they ask you to sign a long-term contract (if they ever ask you to sign one at all).



Companies should be confident in their product’s ability to be useful and valuable. They should stand behind the product they are offering you. And their confidence in what they’re selling should be strong enough to offer that service on its own merits, eliminating the need for a long-term commitment.

Both companies and the products they offer should be held accountable to deliver enough quality to keep you happy, just as you have to do to keep customers coming back to your dealership. You don’t make customers sign a contract that says they have to buy their next five cars from you. That would be absurd.
If the quality of the product is high, then the company shouldn’t need a long-term contract. Your satisfaction will be enough to keep you coming back for more.

We’re big proponents of staying with things that work. You should be too. The ability to stick to something that works is a success principle missed by many. If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it! But if something isn’t working for your store, you need to have the freedom to find something that will work for you. The point is you shouldn’t lock yourself into big contracts. It’s a big mistake. Instead, choose companies whose confidence is bigger than their contracts.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers, and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit www.TrafficScale.com to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1502.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller

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