You are ready to traverse through a crowded sea of vendors at the upcoming NADA Convention in New Orleans. Your flight and hotel are booked. You have already looked over the workshop schedules. With that, you maybe still recognize even more can be learned by examining vendor offerings in the exhibit hall than from listening to the speakers. You want to uncover what the possibilities (and capabilities) are of today’s technologies. You wonder what you’re missing. When conference time rolls around, dealers tend to think like Interior Decorators. They ask what pretty little shiny pieces they can add to make their dealership attractive to visitors. However, if you want to impress today’s customers, you need to instead think like an Architect.
Your dealership already has tables, chairs, desktops (or – hopefully – iPads), CRM, desking, websites, strong SEM campaigns, an Ad agency, and a slew of other digital pieces. You’ve already decorated your home with countless online marketing accents. Before you go looking for another piece of ecommerce art to hang (that is never fully appreciated), you need to take a close look at your home’s foundation. That is your people. Your team has fundamental, educational needs that truly help dealers excel, and those needs must be met before you dedicate more ad dollars to gadgets and gizmos.
Interior Decorators will actually begin buying furniture for a home before it is finished being built. I’m a tech head, and even I recognize that dealerships are investing a lot in digital while turning a blind eye to the skills of their team. Often, these Interior Decorating dealership marketing decisions only saddle salespeople with technology they aren’t yet savvy enough to use anyway. They only think of the aesthetics. Why decorate and furnish the second floor of the house if you haven’t even built stairs to get there? Think like an Architect and place an importance on your team. Look at the overall design of the house before buying the set pieces. Isn’t it best to fix the broken floorboards in your team’s phone, email, and sales tactics rather than investing another dollar in digital marketing? No Architect would hang puce-colored sconces because they’re pretty accents before the drywall is dry. Why should you drive endless leads to a team not yet trained to care for them?
NADA is a time to explore the great advancements from countless corporations. As an automotive consulting company though, while self-serving to say, we can all agree that your team could be stronger on the phone, online, in text, and on the lot. If you are going to invest money to help your dealership grow and compete online, you must start with your people. They are the foundation in which profitability is made. A good Architect would see the cracks and fix them before covering them with technological wallpaper. Architects look at the entire environment of the dwelling to ensure one cohesive design.
Before you make a financial investment in new technology, do your dealership a favor and consult with others who think like Architects. Dedicate your resources to making the foundation of your house stronger. You’ll build a happy home if you realize that team training is the most important marketing need.