Here is my most recent Joe Webb “Tip of the Week”.
Here are some industry-best questions to ask when interviewing vendor candidates.
The “best vendor” phrase is completely subjective because every dealer has different needs. The best vendor, if there is such a thing, may not be the right vendor for your dealership.
However, interviewing and selecting the vendor that will help you achieve your goals is a science that dealers must master. At my former dealership, every single vendor with something to sell would have to go through me first. I know that once the vendors met me, they weren’t happy with that structure because I understood how to properly interrogate them. Here is a list of some of the most important questions a dealer can ask to ensure they are dealing with a reputable company willing to meet the dealership’s needs more than their own.
• How many dealers do you have nationwide?
• What local dealers use your solution?
• Do you feel another local dealer using you would have an adverse affect on the success (or effectiveness) of your solution/leads?
• Do you sell leads to my competition? (lead provider only)
• Where do you receive your leads from? In-house or external? Sites? (lead provider only)
• What are your terms? (Never agree to an auto-renew)
• Will you accept a month-to-month with 30 day notice of cancellation windows
• Will you promise in writing a “Guaranteed low price for market”? If another dealer signs with them at a lower price, they must adjust your monthly cost to match.
• What is the pricing? Look at hard cost (monthly fee x length of service + set up fees + training and support = $XXX product)
• Will you show a screenshot of your product? (Do not accept a power point or walk-through).
• Can I go see it live at another dealer?
• What are the set-up fees and support hours?
• How easy is it to change in the back-end? (Imperative for websites and online inventory management tools).
• Can I see a copy of the contract ahead of time and review it with our legal team? (Even if you don’t have a legal team).
• What type of initial and on-going training do you offer to ensure the success of your solution in my store?
Joe’s Favorite questions and talking points
• Tell me three things you wish your solution (lead provider/CRM/website/tool) offered.
• Which of your competitors’ solutions would you most like to sell? Why? – This is always hard for them to answer.
• Who’s considered the best in the industry? 99 out of 100 times, they will tell you they are. Bite your lip when you can’t believe the gall of them because your next question is…
• Who’s second best? –(my favorite question) I found my CRM by asking 10 other CRM companies this question. Eight said the same name. That’s who I went with.
• Tell me three things you like about your main competitor.
• Other than dealers that go out of business, why are you most commonly dropped as a solution?
By asking the right questions, you are preparing yourself for a long relationship with this vendor. I have several more, but these are the basics. Start out on the right foot by understanding their operations and knowing their faults. You will have to work just as hard as they are to improve your performance, regardless of the solution. It takes two to tango. A little interrogation from the outset goes a long way to making the choice of “best vendor”.