Do you remember this: The single-panel cartoon of a sales representative trying to interest a Medieval-era general engaged in battle about his newest product, a device called the machine gun? The general retorts, “I don’t have the time!”
I think one or more of these reasons explain attitudes like the general’s:
- “I’m already stunned by technology. I’m on overload.”
- “I’m still waiting for my last, new thing to pay off.”
- “It’s all smoke and mirrors, anyway.”
- “I’m too up to my waist in alligators now to consider it.”
Perhaps, though, the one reason best describing many dealers’ caution with regard to new technology is, “I’ll consider it once I see others’ results first.” That’s fair, that’s prudent…as long as the wait doesn’t leave your dealership in others’ competitive dust.
That’s the danger of not exploring how something new might benefit your business—the real risk of losing. Consider the following classic technologies that not so long ago were truly leading edge but are essential competitive tools today. Did you scratch your head the first time you encountered them? :
- Internet car listings and leads
- Email marketing
- Lender aggregation tools
- F&I menus
- Desking software
- Loyalty programs
- eBay listings and leads
- CRM systems
- Vehicle diagnostic telematics
- Opportunity-discovery software
You get the point. Most of these innovations delivered the results they promised, when implemented and used correctly and consistently. More innovative dealers and dealer groups jumped on board the technology revolution early. Their experiences have helped everyone fine-tune what dealers truly want and need to run more efficiently and sell more cars and technology vendors have responded.
That being said, many dealers continue to take a “wait and see” approach to the application of new ideas to selling cars. I understand why this is so, given the collaborative history, nostalgia, and sometimes Wild West thrill of selling iron. Anyone who sells just about anything for a living knows well the adrenalin that flows when actively selling. Who wants to replace that with technology’s unemotional efficiencies?
Yet technology can and does make it easier, more efficient, and less costly to sell vehicles. The right technologies also keep unsolds and be-backs from getting lost and sell more vehicles consistently than even a store’s best sales pros.
No technology provider is out to replace people in car sales, but the fact is that without much of the technology offered today many dealerships would not be enjoying the new car and service sales, month after month, that they do.
While I haven’t polled the opinions of the companies advertising in this magazine, I think they would agree with my invitation to check out their products and services. Until that is done, you may never know how many more cars you might sell a month and in the process gain great advantage in the customer retention battle.