If you’ve got children, or you’re just a fan of animated film, you’ve probably seen the movie “Up.” In the movie there is a lovable talking dog named Dug. His master gave him a collar allowing him to talk, which was pretty slick, but Dug had one problem. Every time he saw a squirrel, his attention was taken away from what was important, said “Squirrel,” basically freezing in place.
What in the heck does this have to do with technology in the automotive industry? Everything.
There are new companies showing up every day that offer exciting products. With so many cool new things available, many of us are anxious to give them a go, only to find out that those shiny new items aren’t always exciting six months later.
Sometimes it’s flat out due to us not investing the necessary time and energy to use the products properly. If that’s your problem, you need to own your own mistakes and start using the products you’re paying for before you say: “It didn’t work for us.”
But often that product we thought was the next big thing ended up being our version of Dug’s squirrel — a distraction preventing us from connecting with the people right in front of us.
I’m going to help you learn how to avoid the “squirrel,” and focus on how to find the technology that supports your main goals.
First of all, determine what your dealership’s main goals really are. You obviously need to sell cars and make a profit, that’s a given, but do you have realistic and achievable goals? Maybe it’s a renovation, or to hire enough staff to work shifts. Maybe you want a stable dealership growth number year over year. First thing’s first: Write out your goals.
Next, look at all of the ‘tools’ you’re using now: SEM, SEO, landing pages, road-show sales, consultants and sales trainers. Examine the cool new product/solution you signed up for at the last conference you attended and ask yourself: “Is this going to help with our long-term goals?”
This is a hard one because most owners and GMs go to a show and purchase a tool that they feel will be great, but they come home and tell their team: “Look what I signed us up for. This is great. Now, go make it work.”
This poses a few concerns:
1. The team you have may already be buried in “great” products that you signed up for at the last conference, and they may be overwhelmed with those products and processes that you’ve purchased.
2. Often the owner or GM who signed up for the new product only knows the sales pitch. But once it’s in the dealership, they don’t know how to implement it or how it fits their overall vision for growth.
3. Since most owners and GMs aren’t spending time using the products they’ve signed up for, they don’t even know what is working or not, so they can’t even set fair, realistic achievable goals for their team.
This brings me to the final step in avoiding the technology “squirrel,” and instead really focusing on consistent growth.
As the owner or GM, take 100 percent responsibility for the products you’re putting in your store. Frankly, this should be the first step, but some of us need to ease into things.
If you know that your store is having massive success from companies and vendors like AutoAlert, then keep doing it because it works! If you’re doing text blasts to people and they’re unsubscribing, quit making excuses for your bad decision to do it by saying “everyone texts,” and cancel that program.
At the end of the day, if you take responsibility for the success and failure of every tool you decide to add, as well as every person on your team, you’ll pay more attention to what is working and what isn’t. If you’re focused on what is going right in your dealership, you’ll be a lot less likely to get distracted.